Singletree Winery: escape, gaze, taste, + breathe

Rolling into the launch for this new Fraser Valley winery, I was greeted by three children in matching t-shirts, who happily directed me to where I was to park. There was an assigned attendant for this job, but he was quickly overruled by the kids.


The display was totally in sync with the family feel of the event: founded by father and son, Singletree Winery is all about family, history, and taking giant leaps of faith.

The first four varieties of grapes were planted five years ago after Andrew Etsell caught what his wife terms “the wine bug,” while doing an apprenticeship at Mission Hill Family Estate Winery. With the encouragement of their son, husband and wife team Garnet and Debbie Etsell began their grape experiment with two acres, and after the first four grape varieties flourished, more varieties were planted on the lower level of the property in 2012 and 2013.

In five short years, the 67 acre property has seen 12 of those acres planted to vineyard.


Land that had previously been used for dairy farming, fruit and vegetable planting, and turkey raising, is now officially full of grapes. It is the same area that was home to Lehman’s Landing, a gold rush stop used to offload supplies. The name Singletree refers to this rich heritage—a singletree is a part of a working horse harness, and both the name and logo of the winery speak to the very Canadian history this area of the Fraser Valley can attest to.

The formal launch was attended by a few dozen family members, friends, various media personnel, and city officials. Both Abbotsford MLA Mike de Jong and Deputy Mayor Patricia Ross gave short (but entertaining) speeches, and the presentation of the singletree that inspired the idea for the winery’s name was followed by a ribbon cutting and a catered lunch of salmon and greens.

The best part of this event? The wine, of course. Being a red wine drinker, I was hesitant to accept the glass of Pinot Gris that was offered to me. Being around 25 degrees in the hot morning sun, white wine made sense over red. And guess what?

It was lovely.


Located on the corner of Harris and Mt. Lehman, Singletree Winery should be on your radar as a place to escape, take in the gorgeous view, taste a little wine, and take a deep breath. If you’re interested in trying one (or more!) of Singletree’s vintages, shop HERE.


*If you’re interested in having fun, energetic, and informative blogs written for YOU by Fresh + Fit Vancouver writers, click HERE.

Cooking in the City—Where to Go

There are only so many times a girl (or boy) can eat take-out before she wants to learn how to cook her own food.

We don’t blame you. Food you don’t make for yourself is often unhealthy, not fresh, and definitely not as tailored to your palate as you would probably like. Lucky for you, there are plenty of cooking schools in Vancouver, and a small handful of them are amazing:

Rooted Nutrition

The name really says it all, doesn’t it? This is, in my opinion, Vancouver‘s healthiest option when shopping around for cooking schools. The goal of the instructors is to create healthful, simple, mindful dishes that are both pleasing to the eye and palate.

Rooted Nutrition offers cooking classes Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the year, and their core values include sustainability, environmentalism, community, and health. Partnered up with such organizations as the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, UBC Farm, Radha Yoga, Community Kitchens, and Edible Landscapes, this passion project of Andrea Potter‘s has become a Vancouver institution for healthy food education.

The Dirty Apron

Not gonna lie—I’m partial to this one because I won the cookbook. Yep. ME. And not my sister-in-law, and she was mad, but now I’m getting off track.

Anyway, The Dirty Apron offers classes seven days a week; each one different from the next. They also offer special events, like team building classes designed to get your kitchen staff working together and having fun while doing it.

Visit The Dirty Apron for more information on delicatessen hours and more.


Between their private cooking classes and their corporate team building events, Quince has become the quintessential cooking school of Vancouver. They may not offer as many classes as the other guys, but that’s no reason to overlook them.

Their catering service and express food counter are two added bonuses of the Quince experience, and they offer videos on a variety of cooking topics HERE.

The Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts

Culinary Arts

Last but not least, this Vancouver cooking school offers the full package.

Located just before the entrance to Granville Island, this classic and professional cooking school offers accredited cooking programs for chefs-to-be. While their official resume includes wine and casual classes as well as catering and group events, their list of professional alumni is wildly impressive, and includes graduates from all over the world.

PICA also offers a chef instructor-led walk through Granville Island throughout the year. To find out more information about these tours, visit HERE.


*If you’re interested in having fun, energetic, and informative blogs written for YOU by Fresh + Fit Vancouver writers, click HERE.


Insoluble vs. Soluble Fibre

Fibre in general is great for your digestive system and overall health.  However, insoluble fibre and soluble fibre are digested differently and have different health benefits.

What’s the Deal with Fibre?

According to Dieticians of Canada, adults over the age of 18 should consume 21-38 grams of fibre daily. Individuals who eat a high-fibre diet are less likely to be obese, and have lower levels of diabetes, heart disease, and digestive conditions. Eating fibre also helps your body to absorb necessary nutrients from the food you eat. However, most people are consuming less than half the amount that’s recommended!

Soluble Fibre

Soluble fibre absorbs water as it digests to form a gel, which helps to slow down digestion and keeps you feeling fuller longer. Because of this, soluble fibre intake has been shown to be beneficial for weight loss. Intake of soluble fibre is also shown to be helpful for lowering blood sugar and `bad ‘cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Sources: Oat bran, nuts, seeds, legumes, psyllium husk, passionfruit, and avocado.

Insoluble Fibre

Green leafy veggies

Unlike soluble fibre, insoluble fibre does not break down in the digestive system.  This means that it’s great for treating and preventing constipation, as well as other digestive issues like hemorrhoids and diverticulitis.

Sources: Whole grains, seeds, broccoli, cucumbers, popcorn, rolled oats, and dark leafy greens.

Awesome High-Fibre Foods

  • Beans are awesome because they’re a source of both soluble and insoluble fibre. Try using hummus as a sandwich spread, make a decadent-tasting chickpea cookie dough dip, or try a new-to-you meatless dinner option like burrito bowls or bean burgers.
  • Chia Seeds. Just a single serving of chia seeds has 1/3 of the recommended daily fibre intake, as well as plenty of protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Try using chia seeds as a yogurt topping or whip up a quick chia pudding.
  • Lentils are another great vegetarian protein that pack a fierce fibre punch. They also have plenty of nutrients, like folate. Try a lentil salad this summer, or make your own lentil-walnut taco meat in Oh She Glow’s Ultimate Green Taco Wrap Recipe.


  • NutraCleanse. If you’re having trouble getting enough fibre, Nutracleanse™ is a great option. One serving contains 14 grams–more than half of the daily recommended intake! Add it to a smoothie, or try adding it to baked goods for a fibre boost.
  • Popcorn is a whole grain, so it’s high in insoluble fibre but is also low in calories. Add fresh herbs for a savory snack, or drizzle melted dark chocolate for a sweeter treat.
  • Heart-healthy avocado is also a good source of both kinds of fibre. Guacamole, anyone?
  • Oatmeal is a top pick because it has an ideal mix of both soluble and insoluble fibre to help keep you feeling satisfied. A bowl of oatmeal in particular can help to lower cholesterol as it contains a special kind of fibre called beta-glucan.
  • Just one cup of this summer fruit contains 1/3 of the daily recommended intake of fibre, so be sure to toss some raspberries on your next salad or bowl of cereal.

Flax seeds

  • Flaxseeds. These tiny seeds are packed with fibre, not to mention heart-healthy omega-3’s! Try adding a tablespoon to your smoothie or morning bowl of oatmeal.

*If you’re interested in having fun, energetic, and informative blogs written for YOU by Fresh + Fit Vancouver writers, click HERE.

Author Bio

Janelle Martel is a freelance writer and psychology student based out of sunny Tsawwassen!  She also writes a healthy lifestyle blog at


Digestive Health: Your First Line of Defense

While being sick is never fun, getting a cold or flu in the summer seems to be the worst, because you’re hot and sticky in addition to being all stuffed up. So, how do you build up your immunity to prevent this from happening in the first place? Surprisingly, the best place to start is with your digestive health, as 70% of your immune system is in your gut. Let’s talk about what things you should be including in your diet to boost your healthy bacteria to fight off all those bugs.

Greek Yogurt

Yogurt is loaded with all those healthy bacteria in the form of probiotics. By adding some Greek yogurt to your smoothie, you’ll be helping to create balance in your gut to fight off any illness-causing bacteria.  While regular yogurt also contains probiotics, Greek yogurt is a great choice because it’s higher in protein.


Along with fibre, flaxseeds are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which help to repair any damage in the cells of your intestine, strengthening your immunity. They also help to reduce inflammation, which is at the root of many chronic health issues. Ground flaxseed, like that found in NutraCleanse™, is the best option for the nutrients in flax to be absorbed by your body.

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil.

Coconut oil is a great source of healthy fats, particularly lauric acid, which has natural antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties to help keep your immune system healthy. What’s more is that coconut oil is antimicrobial, which means that it can help kill off the unhealthy bacteria in your digestive system to help you stay healthy.


Ginger has been used for thousands of years to ease tummy troubles like nausea and indigestion. In addition to acting as a digestive aid, ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties and is great for detoxification, both of which are great when you feel the sniffles coming on.


Artichokes are a great source of prebiotics, which act as a source of nutrients for probiotics. They’re also loaded with antioxidants and Vitamin C to help keep your immune system healthy.


Kombucha is all the rage right now—and for good reason! The sweetened, fermented tea drink is packed full of those beneficial probiotics. Kombucha is also a great source of antioxidants to support immunity.


Beet Juice

You just can’t beat beets! Beets (and beet juice) is high in Vitamin C and iron, both of which are important in boosting your immune system. Beets also contain a compound called betaine, which helps with detoxification and reducing inflammation in the body.


Pitaya (or dragon fruit) smoothie bowls are huge among health bloggers right now! Pitaya is full of antioxidants, vitamin C and B vitamins, all of which your body needs to stay healthy. This fruit is also a great source of fibre to keep your digestive system healthy.

Dandelion Greens

Dandelion greens are another superfood that make a great addition to an immunity-boosting smoothie or juice, but also work well in salads. They’re high in antioxidants and also make a great digestive aid.

Bottom Line?

Stay healthy this summer, by reinforcing good gut health—and start by trying NutraCleanse™.

*If you’re interested in having fun, energetic, and informative blogs written for YOU by Fresh + Fit Vancouver writers, click HERE.

Author Bio

Janelle Martel is a freelance writer and psychology student based out of sunny Tsawwassen!  She also writes a healthy lifestyle blog at

5 Things to Know about Eyelash Extensions

Whether you’re new to this trendy beauty procedure or an experienced lash extended diva, we’ve unearthed a few great facts and tips about eyelash extensions that anyone should read up on.

Check them out:

1. There are 3 types of eyelash extensions.

Yep—synthetic, silk and mink. They also come in different sizes, varying from around 6mm to 17mm. Once you choose what you want, the lashes are professionally applied one at a time, using special semi-permanent lash glue. The idea behind the glue is that is won’t damage your natural lashes, or cause irritation on your lids. Don’t worry—if you have sensitive skin, there’s a kinder glue for you. The downside? It sometimes doesn’t work as well.

2. The length + thickness should mimic your natural lashes.

MOSCOW - JUNE,5: Singer KATY PERRY. Press Conference Muz-TV Award 2009 at Olimpiisky Stadium. June 5, 2009 in Moscow, Russia.

This is to ensure that your own lashes remain healthy. For example, if your natural lashes are on the shorter, skinny side, you won’t be able to obtain that dramatic Katy Perry look, because they won’t last very long. It’s recommended to start out with a half set (around 50% of your top lashes) if you aren’t sure, or if you’re a lash extension virgin. Remember: it’s much simpler to add more lashes than it is to remove them!

3. Applying a full set of lashes takes about 2 hours.

If you’re careful with them, it’s possible to keep them for up a year, but they DO require maintenance and touch-ups. Just like artificial nails, upkeep is required around once a month.

4. Lash glue may contain formaldehyde.

Glues that are shipped across continents can contain formaldehyde by the time they reach their destination. Ask your lash specialist how fresh the glue is, and if you want to be super diligent about how the glue may affect your skin, ask her (or him!) to apply a tiny bit to the inside of you wrist the day before your appointment.

5. Watery eyes can be indicative of a reaction.

If you begin tearing up during the application, or experience any burning or discomfort, that’s a huge red flag and you should definitely speak up–your technician may need to change the glue.

While we’re on the topic…

It’s important to understand the difference between an allergic reaction and an infection. An experienced and licensed lash technician would never let an infection occur, but if you’re straight-up allergic to the glue, you’re still going to be allergic, and it doesn’t mean the glue is inherently harmful.

Bottom line:

Getting lash extensions should be a completely fun and pain-free experience, and the results should be loved. If you live in the Fraser Valley and are thinking about trying lash extensions, talk to Kristina of Fusion Hair Design in Abbotsford.

If you’re in Vancouver, try Yaletown’s Lash Lab, Gastown’s Joanna Keller BeautiqueNoir Lash Lounge in Yaletown, or downtown’s Mink Lash Boutique. All come highly recommended by BCLiving.

*If you’re interested in having fun, energetic, and informative blogs written for YOU by Fresh + Fit Vancouver writers, click HERE.


Vancouver’s New BEAN HEAD

About a year ago, I was introduced to some really amazing coffee. At the time, it was only available back east, but guess what? It’s finally come to Vancouver and the valley!

I’m talking about BEAN HEAD.

BEAN HEAD - Premium Organic

“BEAN HEAD is an industry leading organic coffee company that has bridged the gap between high-end reserve coffee and affordability. We should all be able to enjoy coffee that is not bitter, burnt, weak, dull and boring! BEAN HEAD’s top rated blend, packed in its unique and authentic straw bag has defined a new standard of quality.”

Aside from stating the obvious (the bag is RAD—I mean, anything sold in burlap is freaking awesome. Potatoes? Just try and tell me you’re not into those), there are 5 solid reasons why you should ditch your fave coffee for a week and give BEAN HEAD a try. You may never look back!

So channel your inner bean-head (this will never get old), and consider the following points:

Bean Head Coffee

Number 1: It’s DELICIOUS. And I am a coffee snob, y’all. I worked at Starbucks for 3 whole months, and now I can’t even stand the smell of office coffee. Gross. But BEAN HEAD is really, really good coffee. Like, really good.

Really, really, really good.

Number 2: It’s USDA-certified organic. And Fair Trade. And pesticide-free. So in other words, there’s not a single thing anyone can ask for that this company hasn’t already thought of. This coffee is quality, and its creators are thoughtful and know what coffee drinkers want in their fave bevy (and what they want left out).

Number 3: It’s sold in k-cups—recyclable ones. Yup—this might be the best part. BEAN HEAD’s Keurig-compatible cups are sustainable. I have to admit, this has always been an issue for me. I’ve always thought it seemed pretty wasteful to create a little pile of garbage every time you want a cup of coffee. But with recyclable cups, that worry’s gone with the wind.  

Number 4: It’s Canadian. The beans are shade grown elsewhere, but roasted right here in Canada. And the president of the company is young and just had his first baby, so you should support.

Because I said so.

Number 5: The bag. I know—I promised this wouldn’t be a reason because I already pointed it out, but come on! Burlap?! SO awesome.



BEAN HEAD is now being sold in select BC stores, including Wal-Marts in Abbotsford, Surrey, Duncan, and Victoria. Hopefully, that list will grow larger, and soon we’ll all be tripping over those crazy-awesome burlap bags. If you’re outside of those areas and would like to order online, this coffee is available HERE.

In the meantime, check BEAN HEAD out at and tweet at @beanhead.

The Only Cleanse You’ll Ever Need

If you’re anything like me, you’ve tried a cleanse or two before. I didn’t know what would happen the first time I tried one (I mean, I kind of knew), and I don’t think I was totally prepared. You know why?

Because most commercial digestive cleanses suck. I was out of commission for 48 hours, and my body hated me for days. Fun times.

Previously, if I had to choose a great way to clean out my digestive tract, gain some major energy, and drop a few pounds, I’d usually just juice for a few days. Honestly, it’s just much more straight-forward than a quick and dirty only-eat-hotsauce-and-bananas-for-a-month kind of cleanse, or nasty powder in a box. At least it makes sense.


But recently I’ve discovered something worth telling people about, so I’m going to do just that. NutraCleanse is a preparation made from ground flax, psyllium husks, dandelion root powder, burdock root powder, and fenugreek seed powder. (I’m actually reading the ingredients on the back of the bag right now.) It’s local (made in Mission, BC!), it’s fresh, it’s REAL, and it works. And it doesn’t work by exploding your intestines from the inside out.

‘Cuz that’s gross. Nobody really wants that.

Banana oatmeal smoothie with NutraCleanse

Throw 1/3 of a cup of this stuff in your morning smoothie, and you’ll be as regular as…something that’s very regular. It’s not weird, not expensive, and contains nothing worth hiding. There are no preservatives, additives, colours, flavours, or any other kind of crap in there. (No pun intended.)

Sooo…if you feel like you could benefit from a product like this, then visit to learn more or order. Speaking of ordering, you don’t have to, because it’s for sale everywhere. I’m even willing to bet that you’ve seen a bag or two around town. It’s vegan, gluten-free, GMO-free, and locally-produced. Who could want more?!

Also, this product is not just limited to smoothies. I throw it in oatmeal, muffins, cookies, yogurt, and anything else I can think of. Honestly, if you go to the Fresh + Fit Instagram feed, you’ll see NutraCleanse hashtagged in a lot of food stuff.

I’m in love.

Ok. Rant over. Just try it, and when you fall in love with it too, you can thank me by posting a pic on Instagram and tagging @FreshFitVan and writing #NutraCleanse in the description.

Peace! xo

Life is Good: get inspired in 10 short videos

Because it’s sunny and beautiful and we live in a gorgeous city…

I don’t know about you, but when the sun is shining, I become happier and feel much more motivated to live healthfully. Because I’m the type of person to quickly become inspired by others, I’m guessing you might be, too! If you have 15 minutes this week, whether it be on your lunch break, or after dinner tonight, please watch at least one of the following videos. Find one that speaks to you and give it your full attention. Sometimes all we need is something small to want to change or improve upon ourselves, and these videos might assist you through your week and help you kick off a fantastic, sunny, Mother’s Day weekend.

The videos below touch on topics that include meditation, the importance of movement, how to find out if you have a toxic relationship with technology, self-care, the importance of germs, being your own best advocate when it comes to your health, how to believe in yourself, the importance of community, western medicine, and the dangers of sugar.

Do it!

Here is my top 10 video compilation for getting you motivated and healthy (thanks to MindBodyGreen), so you can enjoy this summer to the furthest extent possible. Get both fresh and fit–watch and learn, Vancouver!












Vancouver’s May Health and Wellness Guide

Looking for something to do next month in Vancouver? Don’t worry—we’ll hook you up! Get outside of your comfort zone and consider checking out some of these local grand openings, wellness workshops, and fairs. Here’s a ‘lil health and wellness guide for the month of May:

What: 2015 Health, Sports, and Lifestyle Expo at the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre

When: April 30th – May 2nd

Why: Check out this premier event in Ayurvedic and Herbal industry. Visit for more information.

What: All Bodies Wellness Centre—grand opening

When: May 2nd 

Why: Show up and support a local health and wellness business! The address is 7846 Edmonds St. Burnaby. Visit for more information.

What: The Well-Rounded Tomato—workshop

When: May 10th from 1 – 2:30

Why: Learn everything you need to be a master tomato grower. Visit for more information, and to find out more about the Edible Garden Project.

What: The Vital Health and Wellness Fair

When: May 23rd

Why: In partnership with the Vancouver Thriving Community Foundation, the Vital Wellness Group is hosting this event to help support Vancouver’s healthy, happy, vibrant community. Explore self-care, mindful food choices, and your relationship to the community of Vancouver as part of your daily practice for personal health and well-being. Visit for more information.

What: Usana-U Wellness Vancouver 2015–workshops

When: May 30th from 10 – 4:30 in Richmond

Why: Learn some amazing information about how to achieve personal wellness from some incredible guest speakers, including:

Brian Dixon: Executive Director of Health and Science Education

Heather Tick: Expert in functional medicine

Fiona Yao Yu: Expert in microbial pharmaceuticals and supplement quality control

Adrian and Vincent Chan: Your financial health checkup

Rena Nong Ren: Building healthy teams

Vivian Lee: Achieve optimal health with time and financial freedom

Visit for more  information.