Category Archives: Articles

The Single Biggest Lesson Yoga Has Taught Me

The single biggest teacher in my yoga practice to date has been working through an injury. It forces me so be SO fucking humble every time I get on my mat. Some days I barely have the strength to do anything. Having an injury has taught me not to equate progress in asana with progress along the spiritual path. To practice patience and acceptance. And self love. And most importantly NOT to equate “doing” with self worth. Having an injury has taught me to detach from progress all together and just BE with myself and my thoughts. The goal is first and foremost to practice without a goal. To practice without any attachment to results. To get on my mat without any expectations. And it’s definitely NOT easy. This experience has taught me to let go and surrender to the practice. It’s like what Tim Miller said —-> “The practice itself, done consistently, is the real teacher”. Thank you, Ashtanga.head to toe pose

The BEST Veggie Enchiladas

So simple and SO DELICIOUS.  These bad boys take under an hour to prep and cook.  😀

What you’ll need:

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small onion, chopped

5 large white mushrooms, chopped

1 can of black beans (no salt added)enchiladas, rinsed

1/2 tsp of cayenne, 1 tsp of coriander, 2 tsp of cumin

Daiya (shredded cheddar), 2 cups (depending on how “cheesy” you like your chiladas)

1  jar of salsa (I used Mrs. Renfro’s mango habanaro)

2-4  whole wheat tortillas (depending on the size)

parchment paper

aluminum foil


  1. In a large skillet, heat 1-2 cups of water and cook garlic, onion and mushrooms until liquid is evaporated.  Stir in black beans.  Add spices.  Remove pan from heat and add 1 cup of Daiya to mix.
  2. Place tortillas on a work surface and spoon filling into the centre.  Fold up bottom edge over filling, fold sides and roll.
  3. Place into a 13X9 inch pan lined with parchment paper.  Repeat with the rest of the tortillas and filling.  Top with salsa.  Cover with foil.
  4. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes.  Uncover and top with remaining daiya cheese.  Bake for about 10 more minutes until cheese melts.


Thank you Mom for this delicious recipe!! 😀


3 Reasons Why I was Reluctant to Try Yoga

I’ve known Matt for over ten years. We met working at a bookstore during our University days. Studious as we both were, (wink, wink) I ended up with a Bachelor of Arts Degree and he one-upped me with an Honours Degree in Kinesiology & Exercise Science. He was a personal trainer when I met him. Matt’s level of athleticism, as well as his understanding of kinesiology has always impressed me. He’s been training for nearly twenty years and training others for about fifteen.

So, my question was simple. How had someone like Matt, who is so interested in training, athleticism and human movement, NEVER been to a yoga class?

I sat down with Matt before our first yoga session to get the scoop on WHY he had waited ALL of these years to try yoga. He gave me THREE REASONS….

1) YOGA IS FOR WOMEN Matt said that he was reluctant to try yoga because he thought it was something that was marketed for women. Fair enough. Typically, public classes are still 70-80% women. I could see how that number would be intimidating for a dude. I assured him that men attend public classes – they may be in the minority, but they’re still in attendance. I also told him that yoga is a system from the East that was designed by MEN! Get that. Most lineages of yoga that we practice in the West were developed by male gurus. Clearly not just a practice for women.



Matt said that he felt uncomfortable going into a class with a bunch of flexible people. I think this is a common misconception about yoga. The assumption is that in order to attend a class, you have to have a certain level of flexibility. Let me tell you this: before I started practicing yoga, I could barely touch my toes! I played sports for many years and rarely stretched. My hamstrings, hips and shoulders were incredibly tight! If you’re inflexible, it’s a GREAT reason TO attend a class!   I assured him that there weren’t any requirements for flexibility and that with regular practice, his flexibility would improve.



Matt told me that with his busy schedule (like many of us) he didn’t want other forms of training/movement to interfere with his weight training time. I completely understood.  Our time is valuable. And we have to make time for the things in our lives that are most important to us. I let Matt know that complimenting his work out regime with a yoga practice could help improve his recovery time and overall training results. I explained that yoga is often categorized as a “flexibility” practice but that it also significantly helps to strengthen under-utilized muscle groups in the body. Practicing yoga also helps to improve your posture and bone health, along with many other physical benefits. ‘Nough said.

So, I’m happy that I got to the bottom of this! Hopefully I’ve cleared up some misconceptions that you may have had about yoga. If you’re a man and you want to try out some yoga, I’m offering two workshop series for men who are brand new to yoga  in Vancouver and Burnaby in January 2016.  Check out the links below for more info!! Matt


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Thanks and happy yoga-ing!!


Gillian Tate

E-RYT 200

Yoga Alliance

Certified Yoga Instructor



Is Sugar A Drug?


Simple answer. No. Sugar is NOT a drug. Our bodies thrive on natural sugars! Often, people deny their sugar cravings throughout the day and end up binging on junk! “Nutrionally, fruit comes closer to satisfying all of our needs than any other food! (as meat does for a carnivore). When ripened, fruits convert their carbohydrate components into glucose and fructose, simple sugars that we can use without further digestion”. Doctor Douglas Graham (Raw Foodist, Author of “The 80-10-10 Diet”). Fruits give us everything we need to stay energized throughout the day! AND they are packed full of nutrients.

Sugar doesn’t make your fat! Fat makes you fat. Our bodies THRIVE on natural sugars from fruits.   You want to know what packs on the pounds? Meat and dairy.   Steak, pork, lamb, you name it! And don’t think “lean meats” like poultry and fish are any better. They are FULL of fat. And it’s not the sugar in the junk food that makes you fat, it’s the butter fats that are in cookies, cakes and ice cream!

Eating a high-carb, low fat vegan diet (80% fruits and veggies) will make you lean. And extremely healthy! I have recent blood test results to prove it.

If you get a “sugar rush” from fruit, it could be for a few reasons…

  •  You’re dehydrated! I drink 3-4 litres of water a day. Starting with 1 full litre first thing in the morning, before breakfast. You should be peeing 8-10 times per day and your urine should be clear. If it’s yellow, you’re not drinking enough water!
  • Your diet is too high in fat! (Fat blocks sugar absorption from the cells, which leads to sugar highs and crashes). If you haven’t already, cut out meat and dairy.   Reduce the amount of oil you use for cooking. When I bake potato wedges, I use parchment paper. Watch your intake of nuts, seeds and avocadoes. Your diet should consist of less than 10% fat from your total daily calories.
  • You’re not getting enough sleep! You’re body needs time to rest and recover.

Bottom line: Every cell in the body operates on sugar. It is used in almost every bodily process.

Want to feel energized?  Want to be lean?  Want to reduce your junk food cravings?

Here’s the solution…

1) Carb-up!! The majority of your calories on a high-carb, low-fat vegan lifestyle should come from fruit!  If you’re getting enough calories from fruit, you won’t crave the junk!

2) Cut out the meat and dairy (if you haven’t already). Animal products are high in fat and cholesterol. This includes eggs!

3) Cut the fat down to less than 10% of your daily calories! Remember, the majority of your calories should be coming from fruits and veg. If you’re already vegan, cut down on the fatty filler foods – processed and packaged soy products, nut butters, etc.

What about Diabetes?

This lifestyle (high-carb, low-fat, vegan) has been proven to reverse diabetes. If you want to learn more about preventing disease and adopting a whole-foods diet you can check out the Tedtalk below with Dr. Neal Barnard.

If you don’t know where to start, check out my article A healthy diet and nutrition for yoga.  (Even if you don’t practice yoga, it’s a good starting point).

Thanks for checking me out! Good luck 🙂

Delicious, dairy-free potato salad!

If you’re looking for something healthy, light and delicious to bring to a picnic or a potluck, look no further!  This recipe is full of flavour without any of the heavy stuff.  I added the ingredients to taste (eyeballed most of them) but I recommend using equal parts lemon juice and olive oil for the dressing.  I tossed the cucumber, chives and sprouts in the dressing first and added the potatoes last.  I hope you enjoy this dish I much as I did!

Salad ingredients

Potatoes of your choice, diced.  Boil for 10-15 minutes and set aside.  Make sure you don’t overcook or you’ll have a mashed potato salad 😦

English cucumber, diced.

Chives, chopped.

Sprouts of your choice


Dijon mustard (I used lots!)

Garlic (I used one clove and chopped it into the smallest pieces I could.  Note:  I don’t have a garlic press!)

Lemon zest from two organic lemons (I HIGHLY recommend using organic lemons. They are MUCH sweeter and smoother tasting).


Lemon juice from two organic lemons

Olive Oil (portion equal to the lemon juice)

Nutritional Yeast (for the “cheesy” flavour)

Fresh or dried Dill

Salt and Pepper

Mix all dressing ingredients. Add cucumber, chives and sprouts. Toss well. Add cooked diced potatoes. Toss and serve!