Free Exercise Videos Online

Exercise tv's bootcamp with Kendell HoganI enjoy going to group classes at the gym or rec centre, but sometimes I’d rather exercise at home. Try some of these out and save your favourites to come back to again and again.


There are thousands of instructional videos on YouTube, of various quality.

BeFit has HIIT, yoga, pregnancy workouts and more.

Search for “Exercise TV” to find exercises led by personal trainers. They used to be on something called the Exercise TV channel.

If you’d like to laugh while exercising to a dance video, subscribe to The Fitness Marshall

The host of YogaMazing, Chaz, creates truly interactive yoga shows. He invites viewers to submit requests  and tapes them.

Yoga Yak

YogaYak has over a dozen free yoga classes, which range from 30 to 60  minutes. I often suffer from stress-induced shoulder and back pain, and so I love Michael Riel’s Yoga for Neck and Shoulder Pain. Diane Jacobs’ Hatha Yoga Flow 2 is great for spinal elongation.

Yoga Today

Yoga Today offers a free video every week. You have to register to see it, but the sign-up process is quick and painless. Their videos are set in beautiful outdoor locations, and the teachers often offer some words of wisdom. Their classes are often challenging and range from 50 to 60 minutes.

Hopefully these videos inspire you to exercise.  I’m sure your body will thank you.

Buying healthy food

Natural and Organic Health Food Stores in BC

Updated February 2019

Sometimes I am asked, “Where can I find organic and gluten-free food?” I have listed some of the stores in Surrey, Vancouver and other communities in BC below. When I was dealing with food intolerances in 2003, many of these stores did not exist. Now you can find organic vegetables, gluten-free bread, coconut oil, chia seeds, and more at many local Save-on-Foods, Independent Stores, Superstores, Thrifty’s, IGAs, Safeways and Costco. London Drugs carries many good products for people with wheat-intolerance now as well. But the biggest variety is often at natural health food stores.

choiceswr2Health food stores are a good place to find less common foods (quinoa pasta, spelt flour, tapioca flour) so that you can add variety to your diet and avoid foods you are intolerant to.  They are also a great place to buy healthier versions of some packaged foods.  Keep in mind that even though they are selling it in a health food or natural food store, it may not be healthy for you or anyone else. Read the ingredients and ask questions if you’d like to learn more.  Some of the stores below (like Choices, Stong’s and Donald’s Market) are regular grocery stores that have a large selection of organic goods on the shelf and a variety of organic fruit and vegetables.

In Surrey/Langley/White Rock:

  • Nature’s Fare – on 200th near Willowbrook Mall and near Johnston Rd in White Rock
  • Choices – in South Surrey on King George Hwy just north of 32nd Ave
  • Antony & Sons – in South Surrey at the corner of 32 Ave and 140th
  • Organic Grocer – near King George Hwy and 73rd Ave
  • Natural Focus – near Scott Road and 64th
  • Rustic Roots (formerly Country Life) – on 200th in Brookswood, Langley
  • Country Sun Natural Foods – Johnston Rd, White Rock

In Vancouver:

In Port Coquitlam/Coquitlam/Pitt Meadows/Maple Ridge:

In Burnaby/New Westminster/Richmond/Ladner:

In North Vancouver/West Vancouver/Squamish/Whistler:

  • Whole Foods – in West Van, I love stopping here after taking the ferry back from the Island, and in North Van near Lonsdale and 13th
  • Nourish Market – Lynn Valley
  • Choices – Marine Dr in North Van
  • Stong’s Market – Dollarton Hwy in North Van

In Abbotsford/Chilliwack/Mission:

In the Okanagan:

  • Nature’s Fare – Kelowna, West Kelowna, Penticton, Kamloops, Vernon
  • Choices – Kelowna, Kamloops & Penticton

Vancouver Island:


Please let me know – what stores haven’t I included?  Which have opened up recently or closed down? I don’t include supplement stores on this list unless they also sell lots of food.

Buying healthy food Healthy snacks

Unhealthy Yogurt

Yoplait YogurtYogurt is thought of as a healthy food.  It provides healthy bacteria, protein and calcium.  Unfortunately most yogurt available in the grocery stores is not what I would consider healthy.  When my older daughter was young I bought her yogurt tubes because she could take them to school and loved the taste.  What I didn’t realize was how unhealthy they were because of the food colouring and sugar in them.  I believe that yogurt is no longer a healthy food once you add those.

The bacteria in the yogurt helps keep our system in balance and helps us avoid sinus, ear and candida infections.  The bacteria also decreases the amount of lactose in yogurt, which means that yogurt is easier to digest than milk.  In my opinion, to buy the best yogurt:


  • artificial food colouring (“colour” as an ingredient, Yellow #5, Red #40, or Tartrazine)
  • sugar (on the ingredient list, not the nutritional panel that shows “sugars”)
  • aspartame, Splenda and other artificial sugars
  • additives or extra ingredients like cornstarch


  • plain yogurt
  • yogurt sweetened with fruit juice or fruit
  • yogurt sweetened with honey or stevia
  • yogurt without colour, or coloured with beet juice or annatto

I buy plain yogurt and add fruit to it myself.  I love plain yogurt with fresh raspberries or bananas. Sometimes I add homemade granola, raw nuts, pumpkin seeds or unsweetened coconut.  I buy vanilla yogurt for my daughters occasionally, buying the ones with organic sugar so that the sweetener isn’t quite as processed.

More reading on the health benefits of yogurt:

Reasons Why Yogurt is a Top Health Food by Dr. Sears

In this blog post I have been writing about dairy yogurt, but the same information applies to goat yogurt, soy yogurt and coconut milk yogurt.

Buying healthy food Easy healthy food

Healthy Energy Bars

box of key lime pie LarabarsI often keep an energy bar in my purse in case I am out longer than I expect to be. Yesterday my appointment went an hour longer than I thought it would and I was very hungry when I left. I saw fast food restaurants but nowhere nearby that had quick healthy food, so I ate the energy bar I had with me. Having a snack with me decreases the times that I eat food that I wish I shouldn’t have eaten. The energy bars I eat have good ingredients in them, test healthy for me, and are flavourful.

I like the taste and ingredients in Larabars (sweetened with only dates except for the chocolate chips in some bars), Taste of Nature bars (sweetened with agave), and Honeybars (sweetened with honey). I avoid bars with white sugar, artificial sweeteners, or chemicals in them. I choose bars that are sweetened with dates, brown rice syrup, agave syrup or honey. I used to love Kind bars, but unfortunately they changed the formula and they now have sugar as one of their sweeteners.

You can make your own healthy energy bars at home, which allows you to choose only ingredients you like, but I usually choose the convenience of buying bars that someone else has made.

I buy Taste of Nature bars at Costco or Nature’s Fare, Honeybars at IGA, and Larabars in Washington State. I like the lemon, lime and cherry flavours of Larabars and those are no longer available in Canada (please let me know if you see them in Canada and I’ll update this post!)

Exercise Making changes

Tracking Exercise and Food Habits with an iPhone app

MyFitnessPal app
iPhone app to track exercise and food

When you are ready to change a habit, it is easiest to see how you are doing if you track your progress.  If you set a goal of going to they gym four times a week, writing down the days that you go will help you to appreciate your efforts when you are doing what you planned, and motivate you to go one more time if you have not yet met your goal for the week.

Two iPhone apps that help:

MyFitnessPal allows you to record your exercise, water intake, and food that you’ve eaten. It calculates how many calories you have burned in exercise compared to how many calories you have eaten.  Although weight loss is not a simple math equation, it can help you become more aware of what you are doing.  The library of food choices is excellent.  I was able to type in Key Lime Larabar and Happy Planet Thai Coconut Soup, and found that another user had already entered the calories, protein grams and vitamin percentages.  There is a social component if you choose to use it, to allow you to add friends or strangers to cheer you on as you develop new habits.

Diet & Food Tracker by SparkPeople allows you to do similar logging, but doesn’t have quite as good a library of food choices.  They have a large group of contributors to their main SparkPeople website, with lots of inspiring ideas.

The apps are also available for Android phones and Blackberry.  You can also use just your computer to track your progress and connect with other people.

Have you used either of these?  If so, what is your experience with them?


Healthy Exercise Goals

Happy healthy womanThis post was written by guest blogger Maria Ginsbourg.

A while back, at a college gym, a trainer asked me what my fitness goal was. I told him I wanted to be healthy when I’m eighty years old. He cocked his eyebrow.

“So you want to lose weight?”

“No. I just want to be healthy.”

“So toning?”

He didn’t get it, and I’m not surprised. Our culture is obsessed with appearances. Popular men’ s magazines say Get Ripped. Women’s magazines say Lose Weight. Considering the myriad of benefits that exercise offers, focusing on appearances seems a little – dare I say it – superficial. After all, if ‘Getting Ripped’ or “Losing Weight” are our only goals, then what stops us from trying fad diets, extreme workouts, and magic pills?

What if our exercise goals went a little deeper?

If you’re exercising to feel good, you might soon notice that you have more energy, that you sleep better, that you feel better and that food tastes better.  If you exercise for your long-term health, you won’t be tempted by fad diets or extreme work outs, and you won’t ‘forget’ to stretch. Furthermore, you won’t measure your progress solely by pounds shed or pant sizes dropped because you will know that the benefits of exercise can’t always be seen or numbered.
Here are some of the ‘invisible’  and ‘hard to measure’ benefits of exercising:

Live Longer and Healthier

  • Reduce the risk of breast cancer.
  • Reduce the risk of heart-attacks
  • Offset osteoporosis, a bone disorder that affects many older women.
  • Reduce the risk of diabetes
  • Prevent falls by improving your sense of balance

Have a Stronger Mind & Spirit

  • Improve your mood
  • Deal with stress better
  • Manage depression
  • Improve mental concentration
  • Sleep better

Be healthier now

  • Increase your energy (get more done with less fatigue)
  • Strengthen your immune system
  • Increase fertility

Improve your relationships

  • Exercising with your partner or your friends can make you feel more connected

Some people say it doesn’t matter why you exercise as long as you do it. I believe that if people exercise for the right reasons, they’re more likely to have fun, stay safe and stick to their exercise regimen.

Buying healthy food

New Health Food store in South Surrey

Antony and Sons Organic FoodAfter visiting my naturopath at Living Wellness Center, I stopped in at a new health food store that has not yet officially opened.  Almost everything in their store is organic and some is unique to the area.  It is called Antony & Sons, and is located in Elgin Corners – the corner of 32nd & 140th in South Surrey.  I recommend that you stop by if you live in the area or if you are heading out to Crescent Beach.  They have excellent prices on fresh organic produce (98c/lb for organic oranges!) and great prices on the food on the shelf.  In addition to the oranges and some basics, I bought some dried tart cherries, which I have only seen in health food stores south of the border.  They also have unpasteurized raw almonds, which are hard to find.  It is a family-run store with very knowledgeable and friendly owners.

Easy healthy food Healthy snacks

Quick Healthy Snacks

Here are some more ideas for healthier snacks:

  • unsalted nuts (buy in Costco or the bulk section of the grocery store)
  • Wasa rye crisp crackers with sundried tomato hummus
  • Carrot sticks, celery, cucumber, red pepper, cauliflower; with dip or hummus
  • hard-boiled (organic) egg with dash of sea salt
  • pre-cut cantaloupe or pineapple
  • unsweetened applesauce (available in a jar or in small cups; berry and mango flavours too)
  • raspberries
  • panda licorice (sweetened with licorice root and molasses, not sugar)
  • homemade dried fruit and nut mix (use unsweetened, unsulphered fruit and raw nuts)
  • plain yogurt topped with berries (fresh or thawed from frozen)
Easy healthy food Food allergies Healthier recipes

Bean Quesadillas for Kids and Adults

rice tortillas recipeWhen my older daughter was on an anti-Candida diet to clear up some health problems, I needed to get creative to find foods she could take to school to eat and that she was willing to eat.  To improve her health she was temporarily avoiding wheat, corn, dairy, ham, beef, white sugar, food colouring and other foods.  The school does not allow peanuts or nuts because some kids in the school have severe allergies.  One of the meals she liked (and still likes) is bean and cheese quesadillas.


1 rice tortilla, thawed (either in the fridge, or on the frying pan before the oil is added)
grated  cheese (dairy cheese, goat cheese or non-dairy cheese)
canned Romano beans (drained and rinsed)
cilantro (optional – my daughter didn’t want it)
dash cumin (optional)

Heat frying pan on medium.  Drizzle a bit of olive oil on the hot pan.  Add thawed rice tortilla.  Spoon beans onto one side and top with grated cheese.  If desired, add cumin and/or cilantro.  Fold tortilla in half over beans and cheese.  Squish down with potato masher or frying pan flipper.  Wait until it browns, then flip over.  Remove when both sides are lightly browned and crisp.  Cut into three triangles and enjoy!

Emotional eating

Avoiding Sadness with Food

head in handsIt is natural to want to avoid pain.  We usually do not like feeling sad, lonely, overwhelmed or anxious.  It becomes a bigger problem though when we eat because we are feeling sad, even though we are not hungry.  Have you ever grabbed a bag of chips, something chocolate, or a baked treat because you thought it might make you feel good?  It may not even have been at a conscious level.  Perhaps you were looking for the sugar rush, the taste you enjoyed last time, the carbohydrate high, or the memory of something that comforted you as a child.  Unfortunately the pleasure only lasts a short time and then the feelings that you haven’t dealt with come back again.  The food you ate may end up adding to your size.

Many people avoid their feelings with:

  • eating
  • shopping
  • smoking
  • drinking alcohol
  • taking drugs

Healthier ways to deal with your feelings:

  • noticing what you are feeling, acknowledging it and letting it go
  • tapping on your upper chest with your fingers where Tarzan used to pound his chest and breathing deeply
  • going for a walk
  • laughing with friends or at a tv show
  • using the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
  • talk to a friend
  • write in a journal
  • paint, draw, create