“Blog Of The Week: Eat Chocolate, Get Healthy? Say What??!



So did anyone have a whole lot of chocolate last weekend at Easter?  My hand is raised, oh yes indeed (even though the amount was far smaller than years gone by).  I find if kids are a part of your Easter, eating chocolate is almost inevitable. And let’s face it, the Easter egg hunt is tons of fun. But if eating healthy is our goal, do we really need to feel guilty about eating our chocolate?  The knee-jerk reaction is perhaps yes:  chocolate is often considered a sweet and didn’t we say sweets are bad for us? Yes we did. But perhaps we have been too hasty to lump chocolate in with sweets? Perhaps there’s a little bit more to know about chocolate before we disregard it.

Recently I was listening to The Healthy Eating Show hosted by Samantha Heller on XM Radio (great show by the way. She always has interesting guests and gives lots of excellent tips for healthy eating). So in this show they were discussing recent research on chocolate and how positive it is, even if weight loss is your goal.  Rumours that chocolate can be “healthy” for us have circulated for a while but initially it seemed that you needed to eat huge amounts to reap the health benefits. For weight loss, large portions prove problematic since chocolate is very rich in fats and can be combined with large amounts of sugar. Recent research has been able to isolate that the healthy benefits of chocolate come in a portion of 40 grams per day.  That equates to about 4 squares of a Lindt chocolate bar.  Hmmm….

So let’s talk about quality.  Candy bars are chocolate, right? Although the answer is yes, candy bars will not improve your health.  Research shows that the chocolate we need is high in cacao.  Chocolate is basically processed cacao beans. Cacao is a great source of anti-oxidant flavanols. Anti-oxidants help prevent cell damage in our bodies. Research shows that “healthy” chocolate is at least 70% cacao.  So, 40 grams of 70% chocolate per day is the suggested amount to reap the health benefits.  If you enjoy chocolate that is higher in cacao than 70% your portion can be smaller than 40 grams to get the benefits. Higher percentage cacao can make the chocolate taste bitter… be suspicious if you are eating chocolate that says it is 90% cacao yet it tastes sweet. One last word about quality: it goes without saying that since we can’t grow Cacao trees locally, look for the best quality organic dark cocoa powder or chocolate you can find.

If you don’t like the taste of the high cacao chocolate there are other ways to consume cacao that don’t lead to adding more sugar to your world.  One of my favourite movies of all time was Chocolat.  It weaves a whole story around consuming chocolate.  Although they do make “chocolates” which have sugar, they also make savoury dishes adding cocoa and chili peppers to the sauces.  Very different but perhaps fun to experiment with a good quality dark cocoa powder in gravies, stews, chili and sauces.

However you choose to consume your chocolate, eat it mindfully, savouring taste and texture while you carve out a quiet, peaceful moment in your day. And I hope you check out the blog on Friday when I will share a link to some of the current research findings on the benefits of chocolate.  You will be pleasantly surprised how healthy dark, organic chocolate actually is!   Next year, I hope your Easter Bunny gifts you with this yummy health boost.

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Lisa Goddard BA, BScOT, Certified Pilates Mat & Reformer Instructor, Owner


“Monday Recipe: Avocado Chocolate Cookies”

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Hi Everyone,

This week’s theme of chocolate may seem odd considering many of us overindulged in the sweet stuff this weekend. But my hope this week is to feature some of the great things about chocolate when it is dark and not loaded with sugar. This recipe is a great way to get the amazing health benefits of chocolate and avocado. Check out the blog on Wednesday on how to eat chocolate and not feel guilty 😉


Avocado Chocolate Cookies

Makes: 24 cookies


4 ounces’ organic fair trade unsweetened chocolate. Melted in 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil

1 organic avocado

¼ cup unsalted organic almond butter (may substitute peanut butter)

½ cup honey

3 organics, cage free eggs

¼ cup organic dark cocoa powder

3 Tablespoon organic almond flour


  1. In a food processor, puree the avocado until it’s very smooth
  2. Add the other ingredients, one ingredient at a time, and pulse until the batter is combined
  3. Chill the batter in the fridge for at least an hour
  4. Fill a pastry bag with the chilled batter and pipe the batter out onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, about a tablespoon at a time. Or, drop the chilled batter onto the paper by heaping tablespoonsful.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 17 minutes (check after 15 mins)
  6. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack or plate.

Nutritional Information per cookie: Calories: 90, Fat: 6.3 g, Sodium: 9.2 mg, Carbs: 9 g, Fiber: 1.7 g, Sugar:6 g, Protein: 2.2 g.

Source: Erica Hale  @ http://www.thankyourbody.com




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Lisa Goddard B.A., BScOT, NWL, is a Certified Pilates Instructor with special training in Pre and Post-Natal Pilates. She co-owns Balanced Motion Pilates and Yoga Studio in New Liskeard, ON




“Wednesday Blog: Spring Cleaning ~ Mind, Body & Spirit”

Spring Cleaning


Spring Cleaning – Mind, Body & Spirit

Just as we spring clean to remove dust, accumulated debris and cobwebs from our homes, our bodies benefit from this same spring cleaning.  Over the winter months our bodies tend to accumulate “stuff”.  In general, we tend to eat a little more, exercise a little less, and are housebound more often with colds and the flu  (particularly this year).  Each change of season gives us a chance to re-assess our health and wellness goals and perhaps to fine tune them.  Spring provides us with a wonderful opportunity to cleanse our body, clear our mind and lift our spirits.

So, as you swing open your windows to welcome the fresh air of Spring, take a few more extra long breaths, take a long walk in the sunshine followed by some movements that open and revitalize the body (lots of great classes at our Studio to help you do that).  Energize your body with pure water, nutritious food and an optimistic view to what Spring has to offer.



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Lorrie Mickelson M.A., B.A/BPHE, Registered Yoga Teacher, Certified Pilates Instructor, Certified Personal Trainer, M.A., B.A/BPHE

“Monday Recipe: Golden Tea – Ayurvedic Spring Detox Tonic”


Happy First Day of Spring!
Some of you may have already started with a little spring cleaning, well this recipe is a little spring cleaning for the body.  I have included the write-up with this week’s recipe as the rationale for using the tea is very interesting.  In general, through the sneezing and snorting of colds, we help clear the winter sludge.  If this Spring is any indication, there are a lot of us clearing the winter sludge (myself included).  Enjoy the tea and know that you can use turmeric powder and sometime I don’t even make the paste – experiment and see what suits your schedule and your taste 🙂
Golden Tea – Ayuverdic Spring Detox Tonic

It’s Springtime! The famous Indian poet Kalidas beautifully describes this colorful season:

“Gentle breeze, softens the chilly air of the winter. The land comes to life as the flora suddenly bursts into maturity and young flowers bloom all over. The air is filled with intoxicating smell of fresh flowers and the effect is seen even on the cuckoo which is in an inebriated state”.

According to Ayurveda, every change in season has an effect on our three doshas: vata, pitta, and kapha. And to keep these doshas in balance Ayurveda recommends to follow Ritucharya (seasonal routine) suitable for our specific doshas.

The warmth of spring starts to gradually break down kapha in our bodies (that has been accumulated in the winter). This is the main reason why we may start to get cough, sinus problems, cold, and yes, allergies during the month of March, April, and May (the months of spring in the Northern Hemisphere). Ritucharya gives us the knowledge to follow a particular diet and regime to prevent these symptoms to manifest in our bodies.

Here, I introduce you to my favorite Ayurvedic Tonic – Golden Tea! This drink promises more than you can think of…seriously the combo of ginger and turmeric works like a high-powered scrapper that scrapes away all the residue and toxic build-up of winter.

Both ginger and turmeric are rhizomes and have been lauded for thousands of years in Ayurveda for their medicinal and culinary properties. Turmeric and ginger, both highly rich in antioxidants work synergistically to strengthen the digestive agni and increase the metabolism.

Here is how I prepare this tea, simple few ingredients but strong potent tonic! :)

Golden Tea

. 2 cups of Water

. 1 tsp fresh grated Ginger

.1 tsp fresh Turmeric Root or Turmeric Root Powder

. 1 tsp Natural Sweetener (of your choice)

. 2 tsp Lemon/Lime Juice (optional)

. 1/8 tsp crushed Black Pepper (optional)

 Begin by making the ginger-turmeric paste. Add it to two cups of water and bring it to boil. Simmer this for about 15 mins on stove until the liquid reduces in half. Switch off the heat. Add the sweetener of your choice, I generally have this without any sweetener. But you could add maple syrup or honey (if not a strict vegan).

The most benefit you get drinking this tea is when you use freshly grated ginger and turmeric. But in today’s modern world it is not very practical to expect that with everyone, so you could use turmeric powder but would strongly encourage using organic good quality one. I have written a post on how to buy good quality organic turmeric.

I buy dried organic turmeric rhizomes and grind them in small batches in my Vitamix Dry Grinder which does an amazing job!. For ginger, I buy it in Whole Foods where they sell really good quality organic Hawaii ginger which I just LOVE!!

I enjoy sipping this warm Ayurvedic Golden Tonic just before my breakfast and also have it just before dinner in the evenings, if I feel heavy and lethargic.

Enjoy this tea smelling the intoxicating fresh flowers of spring!!

Click here to see full article.

Enjoy 😉


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Lorrie Mickelson M.A., B.A/BPHE, Registered Yoga Teacher, Certified Pilates Instructor, Certified Personal Trainer, M.A., B.A/BPHE

“Friday Education: Walking… A Step In The Right Direction”


Happy Sunny Friday Everyone!

There is a hint of spring in the air and I know that I am excited to get back into walking. The snow is melting and the streets are clearing, even the gravel roads aren’t bad to walk on. Just a few things to think about as you get back into your walking routine. Click here to read this weeks education piece. It is all about taking a step in the right direction!




Sherry Morton-Jibb PTS. RYT. FIS. NWL, Certified Pilates Mat & Reformer Instructor Registered Yoga Teacher. She co-owns Balanced Motion Pilates and Yoga Studio in New Liskeard, ON.


“Wednesday Blog: Celebrating Women in Business – Come Join Our Team!”

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Celebrating Women in Business- Come join our Team!

I had the pleasure of attending the International Women’s Day dinner on March 7th put on by Enterprise Timiskaming. A big thanks to Chantal Charboneau and her staff for making sure this happens in our community. Our speakers this year were Sonja Gagne, Paula Davey & Sue Cavanaugh and they all did such a great job. Their stories of their entrepreneurial journeys  were truly inspiring.

Here at Balanced Motion Pilates & Yoga we are celebrating 5 years in business this May. We are so grateful to our amazing clients, families and friends who have supported us and brought us to this point.  As we celebrated International Women’s Day I couldn’t help but feel grateful for the amazing women that I work with. We are a wonderful team with Lisa Goddard of Balanced Motion,  Lorrie Mickelson of Active Options, myself Sher-Fit Personal Training, Yoga & Pilates along with Trudy Rivard and Maddy Goetz. We have amazing support staff  Shannon Landry and Liz Allen, to complete our team. Many people do not realize that we are three separate businesses, sharing resources and ideas to offer the many classes, workshops and personal wellness sessions that have come together under the umbrella of Balanced Motion Pilates & Yoga. We support and respect each other on all levels. I love this positive work environment that we have created.

This year we are looking to make some changes at the studio, we are looking for another entrepreneur or possibly two to join us. If you own a wellness business and are looking to share space or thinking about expanding your business we would love to hear from you.  Even if that person is not you but you know someone who may be interested please pass it on. We know that the right person is out there who would love to share beautiful space and is open to the co-operative possibilities. If you’re interested please contact us.

Happy Wednesday!



Sherry Morton-Jibb PTS. RYT. FIS. NWL, Certified Pilates Mat & Reformer Instructor Registered Yoga Teacher. She co-owns Balanced Motion Pilates and Yoga Studio in New Liskeard, ON.


“Monday Recipe: Spicy Sweet Potato Salad”

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Happy Monday everyone!

This weeks recipe uses the high fiber sweet potato and adds some great spices in a yummy dressing. Great lunch idea or as a side for dinner. Was a hit at my house!

Enjoy 🙂

Spicy Sweet Potato Salad

Servings: 6

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Source: POPSUGAR Celebrity


4 large sweet potatoes

2 tablespoons coconut oil

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup red wine vinegar

1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded and quartered

2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

½ cup sliced scallions

½ cup minced fresh mint leaves

1 or 2 fresh minced chilies (jalapeno, Thai, serrano or habanero) or to taste

¼ cup raisins (optional)



  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into bite size pieces. Put them on a baking stone or sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons melted Coconut Oil (or Avocado Oil) and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast, turning occasionally, until crisp and brown outside and just tender inside (about 30 minutes) Remove and keep on the pan until ready to dress.
  2. Make the dressing while the potatoes cook. Put 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a blender, along with the vinegar, bell pepper, cumin and zest. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Puree until smooth.
  3. Toss the warm potatoes with the scallion, mint, chilies and raisins (if you are using them). Add ½ cup of the dressing and toss to coat, adding more if necessary. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately or at room temperature.


Nutritional Information per serving: Calories: 249, Fat: 14.3 g, Sodium: 121.3 mg,

Carbs: 24.9 g, Fiber: 5.7 g, Sugars: 9.7 g, Protein: 2.1 g.




Sherry Morton-Jibb PTS. RYT. FIS. NWL, Certified Pilates Mat & Reformer Instructor Registered Yoga Teacher. She co-owns Balanced Motion Pilates and Yoga Studio in New Liskeard, ON.



“Friday Education: 3 Things I Didn’t Expect from Prenatal Pilates”


When this blog came across my desk I knew I had to share it with you. The author took her Pilates Mat, Reformer and Prenatal Certifications with me and now works at Body Harmonics in Toronto where we all trained.  Her insight into Pregnancy Pilates as a client when she was expecting her first baby are worth checking out. Click here to read her article. I hope you enjoy and if so, please share with any pregnant women you know.
Happy Friday!! Wishing you all an enjoyable weekend!
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Lisa Goddard B.A., BScOT, NWL, is a Certified Pilates Instructor with special training in Pre and Post-Natal Pilates. She co-owns Balanced Motion Pilates and Yoga Studio in New Liskeard, ON

“Blog Of The Week: Pilates for Pregnancy”



Wow!! Thinking back, it’s hard to believe that 5 years has passed since I did my specialist’s course for teaching Pilates for Pregnancy and Post-Partum Pilates. Since then I have been blessed to teach one class per week each for Pregnancy and Moms + Babes.  Those two classes have always felt special to me because I find working with pregnant women so rewarding. Also, working with new Moms and their babies is one of Pilates’ great applications in my humble opinion: helping the Mom strengthen and rebalance her body after giving birth while she plays with her sweet baby. I truly wish I had been aware of this type of exercise during my pregnancies and post-baby.  Maybe if I had reconnected properly with pelvic floor and abdominal muscles (without doing my least fav exercise – abdominal crunches), I could have avoided many years of stress incontinence and lower back pain (which, by the way, did rectify once I found Pilates J )

Pilates for Pregnancy is designed to help women feel better in their bodies as their body accommodates the growth of the baby.  For example, as the chest and abdomen get heavier, pulling the shoulders forward and rounding the ribcage, chest and shoulder blades can get bound down and feel tight.  Pregnancy Pilates works on fluid arm, spine and shoulder blade movement plus breathing techniques which all assist in releasing tightness in the upper carriage.  Pilates upper back strengthening helps combat the tendency to round shoulders forward by lengthening chest and front shoulder structures while shortening and strengthening the upper back and back part of the shoulders.  Following delivery of the baby the forward focus of a new Mom’s world grows as she holds feeds and comforts her baby.  All the more reason it makes sense to have prepared the upper back, and chest in advance.

The exercise regime focuses equally on: low back and hip tightness, often present during pregnancy; pelvic floor/core strength and flexibility; as well as breathing skills for comfort, relaxation and labour. We play with myofascial release techniques for lower leg cramping, hips, back and shoulders and feet.  I have heard from clients that they often sleep best on the day they have attended Pilates.  They say they move more freely for their daily activities and feel better overall.  I have also heard from some clients that the breath work done in Pilates was the most helpful during labour and delivery of the baby.

It feels really good knowing that in some way my work has contributed to the wellbeing of my pregnant clients.  It fills me with warmth and fortifies my purpose when I hear from them that their little wonder has arrived. Those moments remind me what I love about my work and that is such a gift!

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Lisa Goddard BA, BScOT, Certified Pilates Mat & Reformer Instructor, Owner