Exciting News! Our Collaboration with Backroads Family Farm Market

Exciting News! Our Collaboration with Backroads Family Farm Market

Spring is in full swing and one of my favourite things about this season is the fresh, local produce that is available here in Ladner.

I am so excited to announce that Alongside You will be collaborating with Danielle and Alicia from Backroads Family Farm Market for some exciting things this summer.

To kick this off, I asked Danielle and Alicia some questions. So here is a little snapshot of the market itself and the ladies behind this beautiful place.

1. What variety of crops do you grow?

We farm on the one acre behind our store and we grow multiple colours of cauliflower, green and purple Brussel sprouts, corn, kale, rainbow swiss chard, field cucumber, yellow and green zucchini, artichokes, multiple varieties of pumpkins, gourds, ornamental corn, sunflowers, dahlias, gladiolas, peonies, eucalyptus, farm fresh eggs from our own chickens, basil, cilantro, rosemary, sage, mint, thyme, chives, beets, and garlic…. I think that covers it!

2. What variety of crops do you get from other farmers?

We source many fresh berries, tree fruit (Okanagan), and assortments of other local vegetables that we do not grow. (It’s really a lot to list out!)

3. How do you source for the crops from other farmers?

We have built long-standing relationships with local farmers since we were teenagers. We call directly to farmers as there is no need for a ‘middle man’ when these relationships have been formed. That sets us apart from grocery stores.

4. What’s one thing you love most about farming?

Coming from a 5th generation farming family, we are deeply rooted here in Delta and passionate about our farming community. We love watching the process from planting to harvest and that every day is different. We love connecting the community to fresh local produce and educating people the best we can about why supporting local is so important and what is really grown in Delta’s backyard. We get to be creative in our business and really choose what we directly support and what we get to promote. We also love that it is a family effort.

5. What are you both most excited about this coming season?

We are excited about planting more of our own crops in the field behind the store! We also always look forward to our new employees. We love hiring all local students!

6. What’s one thing you both want people to know about Backroads Family Farm Market?

When you shop at Backroads, you are getting quality produce that is locally grown. If not by us, it is sourced locally from other local farmers. We are proud of local farmers who advocate for women in agriculture and the future of farming in our community. We love our connection to our community and enjoy working with many different businesses.


Officially Open For The Season

Backroads Family Farm Market is officially open now so you can your hands on fresh produce daily. For the produce, you can expect this upcoming season,check out their handy list here. Stay tuned here for more exciting news about this collaboration!

If you’re looking for new ways to turn these vegetables into simple, real meals, I can help! Contact our office for more information.

Recipe: A Teen-Approved Chocolate Snack

Recipe: A Teen-Approved Chocolate Snack

Here’s the truth – I love chocolate! It’s my go-to sweet snack. So, naturally, I wanted to create something chocolatey but delicious at the same time. I used this recipe in a nutrition workshop I taught to teens, and they loved it. So, if teens approve of this then we can all love it too.


Here’s what’s in the recipe:


Medjool dates are the perfect natural sweetener and also known as “nature’s candy.” Unlike their processed sweetener counterparts, they are rich in polyphenols which are powerful antioxidants that help protect against free radical damage and cancers.

Hemp seeds are a great vegan source of protein that contains all nine essential amino acids. They are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and iron.

Rolled oats are a great source of fibre. In one cup, there is 9.6 grams of fibre, 39% of the recommended daily intake. It contains loads of iron, manganese, selenium, phosphorus, and magnesium.

Cacao powder is the raw form of chocolate and is not processed like cocoa powder. Cacao powder is rich in nutrients including magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper, and manganese.

Ceylon cinnamon is also known as true cinnamon. Most of the cinnamon in the supermarket available is cassia cinnamon. One of the biggest benefits of Ceylon cinnamon is its ability to regulate blood sugar.

Sea salt is not processed like table salt. Depending on the salt you have, it’ll have a different nutrient panel as well.


Raw Hemp Chocolate Energy Bites


1 cup (12-15) of packed, pitted Medjool dates
½ cup of hemp seeds
½ cup of rolled oats
⅓-½ cup of raw cacao powder
¼ teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon
Pinch of salt (optional)
Cacao powder for rolling (optional)

1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process on high speed until a dough forms.
2. Take the dough out of the food processor and place in freezer for 15 minutes to harden.
3. After 15 minutes, take the dough out of the freezer. Form into small one-inch balls and roll the energy bites in cacao powder if desired.
4. Put your energy bites in the fridge in an air-tight container. Enjoy 1-2 at a time!


Did you try the recipe? I’d love to hear your feedback. If you made any adjustments, please share as well!

5 Simple Ways Eat Well On a Budget

5 Simple Ways Eat Well On a Budget

Let’s face it. Walking down the “Natural Foods” aisle at the grocery store can be pretty intimidating. When you stop and look at the choices and the prices, it feels even harder to start eating healthy. But it should be simple.

Whether you’re looking to start eating healthy or have already started, I’m here to give you a few simple ways on how you can do so on a budget. Because to me, eating healthy can be accessible.


Buy local vegetables and fruits


Besides supporting your local farmer, buying local can help you save money. When you buy locally grown produce, they’ve been harvested when it’s ripe and ready for consumption. Vegetables and fruits that travel to get here are harvested before they ripen and lose their nutrients by the time arrive at the grocery store. Not to mention locally grown vegetables and fruits also tastes much better because they’ve got all their nutrients.

Here in Delta, we’re lucky to have many local farms such as Schoolhouse Farms, Back Roads Family Farm Market, Copthorne Farm, Westham Island Herb Farm, and Earthwise Society.

The BC Farmer’s Association provides a great resource for finding out which vegetables and fruits are in season. Currently, in-season vegetables and fruits include apples, pears, beets, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, leeks and squashes.

Tip: When you buy local vegetables and fruits, wash them and freeze them. That way, you will always have fresh vegetables and fruits on hand.

Bonus Tip #2: Consider purchasing a community supported agriculture (CSA) harvest box. This supports the local farmers and gives you a share of their harvest weekly.


Buy local meat and eggs


On that note, you can also buy local meat and eggs.

When buying BC meat including chicken, beef and pork, they adhere to certain regulations. Did you know, the use of steroids and hormones for chickens have been banned in Canada since the 1960s? Organic chickens are fed a vegetable-based feed, are free-range, and raised without antibiotics. Most local farmers don’t raise their pigs and cows with antibiotics or steroids.

An additional benefit of buying produce and meat locally is the open conversation you can have with your farmer. Take the time to know your farmer and ask how the animals have been raised.

Newman’s Fine Foods carries an amazing selection of local meat products.

Tip: When buying meat from a local farm, find out if you can purchase a share of the pig or cow. This will save you some money and allow you to try different cuts of meat.


Meal plan and prep


Ever walk into a grocery store when you’re hungry? You almost always end up buying way more than you need. Spend some time to plan your meals before heading to the grocery store. This way, you’ll have a list to focus on before even stepping foot in the store.

If you have kids, get them to help you plan for meals by asking them what they want to eat. This way, you’ll make sure the groceries get eaten. If it’s a “non-healthy” meal, there’s always a healthier version out there. This is what I really enjoy making my own meals at home.

If you spend a few hours at the beginning of the week (doesn’t have to be Sunday) to prep your meals, you’ll ensure you are getting a healthy meal. This doesn’t have to be a full week’s prep. Even a few days out of the week is a great start.

Tip: Don’t like soggy roasted vegetables? Prep your veggies when you first get them by cutting them up and putting them in a container. This way, they’ll be ready to be roasted by the time you get home from a long day of work.

Tip #2: Need help meal planning? I offer meal planning only services if you’re not looking for a full nutritional consultation.


Make your own and use leftovers


Making your own food can help save a ton of money. Often, items we buy like yogurt, nut milk, sauerkraut, pickles and jams are simple enough that it can be made on our own.

For example, nut milk is often filled with other ingredients such as locust bean gum, gellan gum, ascorbic acid, and sunflower lecithin. When you make your own nut milk, it can purely be nuts and water. To get started, you will need a nut milk bag and a good blender.

After making your nut milk, you can use the pulp to make crackers or use it as flour in your baking.

If you’re having chicken for the week, consider buying a whole chicken. You can roast the chicken and use the meat in several ways. After, you can use the bones and make a healthy bone broth with it.


Grow your own food


It might not be the season to start growing vegetables right now in the Lower Mainland. However, when January and February come, Westcoast Seeds is an amazing resource for finding out what you can grow in the size and type of garden space you have.

You can also sprout 12 months of the year! Try a variety of certified organic seeds at Westcoast Seeds including fenugreek, red radish, green lentils, red clover, and more. Sprouting is simple and can be a fun fail-proof experiment no matter how old you are. To start, all you need is a wide mouth jar, sprouting lid and some seeds.

Have you tried microgreens? You can grow microgreens in your kitchen all year round as well. All you need is a shallow tray, potting soil, seeds and light.

The beauty of both microgreens and sprouts is their nutrient-dense nature. They’re miniature greens, herbs and vegetables and are packed of beneficial enzymes. They also sprout and grow within 1-2 weeks.

Eating healthy can be simple and budget-friendly. It takes a little planning but I hope that these tips will help you get started in the right direction.



Need a hand in healthy meal-planning? Contact me for more details!

5 Benefits of Yoga for Children with Special Needs

5 Benefits of Yoga for Children with Special Needs

“It’s time to lie down and rest,” I say to a 5-year old student of mine with autism.

As I say that, my student gets ready to lie down and tells me where to place my weighted bean bags to help her relax. She lies there for a whole 10 minutes barely moving. I watch as her belly rises and falls as she focuses on her breathing.

In recent years, yoga has gained in popularity. Kids are now doing yoga in the community and in their schools. But for kids with special needs and autism, I’ve witnessed what an amazing difference it can make in their lives. Today, I want to share five benefits yoga has for children with special needs.


Yoga can reduce anxiety.


Many children with special needs and on the autism spectrum are in a constant heightened state. This is the body’s response to stress and sleep disruptions, which can be exacerbated into full-blown anxiety. This can be seen physically through their breathing. You can see them chest breathing or hyperventilating, which can worsen the anxiety symptoms. The yogic practice of breathing exercises, poses and guided imagery helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, an activity also known as “rest, relax and digest.”


Yoga can provide consistency.


The daily practice at home and weekly sessions in a group or privately can help provide consistency and an order. In a class for children with special needs, a visual schedule is generally used to ease anxiety about class but also provide consistency. Students learn yoga sequences that are performed in the same order and open and close a class in the same order. This supports their need for consistency. However, students can expect different poses or modified sequences to challenge them as well.


Yoga can increase self-awareness and improves motor skills.


As children practice mindful movement in various yoga poses and learn to identify body parts, they can develop a greater sense of self and their body. Practicing poses on both sides of the body, the students cross the midline. Poses such as tree, airplane (warrior 3) and seated twists can increase body awareness and develops gross motor skills.


Yoga can help with emotional regulation.


Children with ASD can have difficulty expressing their emotions and communicating in social settings. At this time, this can be seen in unexpected outbursts or inappropriate ways of communicating. Through the combination of movement, music and breathing exercises, the brain’s emotional region is activated. This encourages children to develop emotional awareness. Also, yoga teaches children that it is okay to feel emotions both positive and negative and how to express their emotions in a healthy manner.


Yoga can help improve confidence.


Sometimes, children with special needs have low-esteem due to being teased for not being able to move and behave like other children in school and social settings. By learning self-calming techniques through mindful breathing, movement and meditation, children are able to regulate their emotions and can become more confident in social settings. Especially in a group class, they’ll be able to learn how to work together in a safe space and learn how to interact with one another. Through movement and the development of motor skills, children grow more confident in being able to move comfortably in their bodies.


Join me in my upcoming classes in January 2019 for children with special needs. I’m also available for 1 vs 1 private session. This can be especially helpful for children that have not been to a yoga class before or those who need extra support.

What is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist

What is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist

What is the difference between a Registered Holistic Nutritionist & a Registered Dietitian?


When I tell people I am a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, I often get asked, “What’s the difference between a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (R.H.N.) and a Registered Dietitian (RD)?” While both healthcare practitioners working in related fields, there are distinct differences as well.

Here at Alongside You, you’ve been familiar with our Registered Dietitian, Annie Tsang. I’ve recently joined the clinic as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (R.H.N.) and wanted to introduce myself as well as let you know how I can help you achieve your health goals.

Let’s start by explaining the differences between an R.H.N. and an RD.


What is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist?


It is worthwhile to note that there are different nutritionists out there. Each coming from a different school with varying program lengths and certified differently. The term Holistic Nutritionist is an unregulated term.

In Vancouver, there are two schools that certify holistic nutritionists: the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and the Institute of Holistic Nutrition.

I graduated from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition (CSNN) and am certified as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (R.H.N.) with a Natural Nutrition Diploma. Because I haven’t been to the Institute of Holistic Nutrition (IHN), I will only speak to my experiences as an R.H.N. from CSNN. To complete my program, I completed case studies, did a board exam, and am registered with the CSNNAA (CSNN Alumni Association).


As an R.H.N., I follow a Code of Ethics:

“The Canadian School of Natural Nutrition has as its mission the education of the individual in the principles of holistic healthcare and the principles of natural nutrition, to further the well-being of people and the healing of planet Earth.”

As Holistic Nutritionist, I use evidence-based and science-based tools to help guide clients through their health goals and concerns. Recommendations include dietary, lifestyle, and supplementation changes.

Like most holistic health care practitioners, I look at an individual as a whole. That’s why recommendations don’t only include dietary changes. An R.H.N. looks at your complete health history, current diet, and lifestyle habits. We take into account how stressed you are, are you sleeping, are you exercising, etc. Through our intake process, we work with the root cause to identify imbalances in the body and make recommendations based on all of that.

For dietary recommendations, I take a whole foods approach with the belief that natural nutrition is a tool in preventing diseases and bringing the body back into balance.


What is a Registered Dietitian?  


Registered Dietitians have regulated professions that register with a provincial dietetic regulatory body. 

In BC, most RDs graduate from the UBC Nutrition Program with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Food, Nutrition, and Health. In the program, an RD takes courses on nutrition, general science, and agricultural science. In the fourth year of the program, they take a few nutrition courses. RDs use the Canadian Food Guide as a tool to help their clients. The Canadian Food Guide is based solely on science and suggests that everyone’s nutritional requirements are the same. Because they are regulated, they are covered by most healthcare benefits programs.


How can I help you?

As an R.H.N., I can help with:

  • Chronic pain management
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Blood sugar imbalances
  • Detoxification/cleansing
  • Disease prevention
  • Digestive issues
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Mood imbalances
  • Stress and sleep issues
  • Weight loss

It is important to note that I do not treat, cure, or heal any diseases.

As an R.H.N. and a Certified Yoga Teacher, I blend both modalities in my recommendations to help my clients achieve their health goals.  I use my knowledge I can help with 1:1 health coaching, weekly meal planning, and group support sessions.


Are your services covered by my benefits plan?

Currently, holistic nutrition services are covered under some healthcare benefits plans as “Nutritional Counselling”.  Companies such as Greenshield and Manulife will cover my services. However, you will need to check your benefits plans to see if nutritional counselling is covered.


Get in touch

Curious what it’s like to work with me? I offer free 15-minute consultations. Call the office at (604) 283-7827 ext. 0 to book your consultation to see how we can work together!