Tag: wellness

Foodie Swellness: Hydrating with Bonne O (+ a giveaway!)

Bonne O water

If you’ve ever traveled with me or have followed me on the blog for awhile, you probably know that drinking water is not something I do very often. I drink water when I run, of course, and when I work out, but I haven’t been able to make it a habit to drink several glasses of water daily. I did make a real effort to drink plenty of water years ago when training for my first half-marathon, and found I was frustrated with being in the bathroom all the time. And I noticed that when I stopped guzzling water, my running didn’t seem to be affected, so I stopped drinking it as often (and interestingly, more recent research challenges how much fluid we actually need).

One thing I have been able to do when it comes to hydration is swap out some of the juice and a lot of the soft drinks (I used to consume a half a can daily and now I don’t usually have any in my fridge) and I’ve replaced it with flavoured sparkling water. As you may recall, I tried out Sodastream last year to help me do this, and I was super curious about Bonne O, another at-home machine to make your water bubbly so when this Canadian company asked me to try out their sparkling beverage system, I told them I was in as long as I could share my honest review to which Bonne O said of course.

So, how’s it measure up? My first reaction to the actual Bonne O machine itself is that it’s not very sleek or modern looking. Compared to the modern look of my Sodastream Power, the white machine and overall shape is much less appealing to me than the boxy and more compact shape of the Sodastream Power I have (besides aesthetics, I need kitchen gadgets that take up the least amount of space in my small kitchen, and I feel like Bonne O takes up more counter space).

Bonne O

Bonne O’s major difference, in my opinion, is the carbonators. What are these mysterious little white pucks that somehow make water bubbly? Instead of the usual heavy canisters of compressed CO2 (the kind you use with Sodastream), Bonne O uses small round pucks, which are made of food-grade materials (think citric acid and sodium bicarbonate) that react with water to create CO2 gas.

Another thing that sets Bonne O apart is you can use it to carbonate lots of different beverages and ingredients. With Sodastream, you’re carbonating water and adding fruit or syrup. But with Bonne O, you can make fruit infusions so that flavours are incorporated during the sparkling process. And, people, you can sparkle wine or your favourite cocktail! Whaaaat. I could get behind some sparkling white wine on a hot summer night!

That said, because I go through phases, lately I’m focusing less on what I’m drinking (my juicer hasn’t been used in while…) and focusing more on cooking, so I’ve been using the Bonne O mostly to drink sparkling water really simply with lemon or lime. But I did whip up some ginger syrup as the Bonne O 100 Sparkling Creations book that comes with the unit inspired me to try the recipe. And the result is delicious, and I like the idea that I’m making my pop from scratch.

So which machine do I prefer? I found that Bonne O, using one carbonation puck, results in exactly the level of bubbliness I enjoy (N.B. You can use half a Bonne O carbonator if you prefer less bubbles). My Sodastream Power, while it offers three levels of carbonation, I found that the results weren’t consistent (I sometimes selected the highest carbonation twice to get a decent amount of bubbles, but sometimes I’d end up with great bubbliness and sometimes less so).

It’s the carbonators that are, in my opinion, the major advantage to the Bonne O system. With my small kitchen’s limited storage and no car to do grocery shopping, I really dislike buying, storing and and returning the CO2 tanks. The carbonators in comparison are lightweight and are in a compact box, and this is what’s won me over. The only thing I feel Bonne O comes in second on is its design, as I mentioned above. Sodastream Power is a much sexier looking machine. If choosing between the two machines, I personally think it boils down to the CO2 tanks vs carbonators and the machine’s design, as I find the actual beverage results pretty comparable if you’re planning on carbonating water (if you’re keen on carbonating wine and other drinks then, of course, Bonne O is the way to go).

And what about that giveaway I mentioned?!


CONGRATS TO SHAMARRA G., the winner of her own Bonne O! Thank you to everyone who entered!

Here it is! You don’t just have to take my word on what Bonne O is like because one lucky winner in my giveaway will win a Bonne O Sparkling Beverage System (valued at $169.99 Canadian/$149.99 U.S.)! The giveaway is open to Canadian and continental U.S. residents. You can enter in three different ways (enter all three ways as each way counts as an entry!):

INSTAGRAM: Follow me on Instagram (@healthandswellness), and comment on the photo related to this giveaway — tell me what beverage you’d use the Bonne O to make. Would you add a certain fruit? A cocktail? Herbs?

TWITTER: Follow me on Twitter (@healthswellness) and tweet:

I love bubbles! And I’d love to win a @bonne_o Sparkling Beverage System from @healthswellness! http://bit.ly/2nCvvQX #bonneoswellness

FACEBOOK: “Like” the Health and Swellness Facebook page, and reply on the photo on the page — tell me how much water you drink daily. I’d love to hear what everyone’s hydration habits are!

This giveaway is open until 11:59 p.m. EST on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. The winner will be chosen at random on March 22, 2017 and contacted via the method they’ve entered to provide their shipping address and contact info.

Thanks, good luck and happy hydrating!







2 Comments March 14, 2017

Healthy Swellness: “Soleistic Health”

Considering how much I put my feet through every day, I don’t pay them enough attention.

I run a few times a week, logging about 30k a week if I’m not in training for a marathon, many more kilometres if I am. Walking is my preferred method of getting around to wherever I need to go, and I live downtown so much of where I need to go for work or just for errands or seeing friends is usually within a 45-minute walk. While I’m often in flats because of all the walking I tend to do, I occasionally wear heels to events, which more often than not are incredibly uncomfortable after about a half-hour of standing (although I have a few pairs that I can walk in relatively comfortably for hours).

All of this to say that my feet go through a lot, and could use a little attention. The idea of “Soleistic Health” is just as important as taking care of my skin (and I make sure to slather on SPF daily) or my heart (which I get pumping with all that running) and yet I have neglected them. What’s Soleistic Health? Well, I can’t claim to have created the term. The folks at Dr. Scholl’s came up with it and it’s the concept that proper foot care can impact a person’s overall comfort of body and mind.

I’ve spent more than a few parties in shoes causing me so much pain I’ve had to gingerly make my way home (years ago I even walked barefoot on the sidewalk because the stilettos were that excruciating). Or I’ve been on runs during which I’ve gotten blisters or had on shoes that are too minimalist for my liking (I prefer more cushioning for my runners) causing me to be distracted. That discomfort becomes all you can focus on. Who’s been in the same situation? Runners, I know we’ve all experienced this (we don’t suffer black toenails and unattractive feet for nothing!).

Consider, too, that three out of four people develop foot problems as they age. And that the feet are such a complex part of our bodies: each foot consists of 26 small bones, 33 joints and more than 100 tendons, ligaments, muscles and nervesFeet need to be tended to!

While I can usually wear just about any running shoe (I have run in all types of shoes with few issues), I decided to give the Dr. Scholl’s Active Series Replacement Insoles a try. What they promise sounded promising so I was intrigued: they help reduce shock; provide protection to the ball of the foot, arch and heel; help relieve pain from shin splints, runner’s knee and plantar fasciitis; and help reduce odour thanks to DryMAX technology.

So I pulled out the insoles that came with my runners, trimmed the Dr. Scholl’s insoles to size, and tested them out for a month.

I was skeptical of how much I’d benefit from them, but the Dr. Scholl’s insoles do make for a more comfortable run. With the Dr. Scholl’s insole I could immediately feel they offer more support for my arch, and overall just a greater sense of cushioning between my feet and the shoe with each step.

I can’t quantify how much impact they helped reduce, and I’ve never experienced common running issues such as shin splints, but as a runner who’s logged more than 10,000 kilometres since becoming a runner, I can say that for running and walking, it made for a more comfortable run. And that’s key to helping me make it through each run; reduced impact and greater comfort helps me focus on the task at hand, say, for example, putting my best effort into speed work.

Oh, and that DryMAX tech is a bonus, too. I sometimes run with no socks in the summer, which can lead to some less than fresh smelling running shoes. The DryMAX has helped with the stinky shoe issue, so thumbs up from that, too!

It’s not a complicated task–swapping out the insoles–but wearing the Dr. Scholl’s insoles helps me step up my game when it comes to my “Soleistic Health”, which until now has consisted of just the occasional pedicure (although let’s not downplay the importance of pretty pedicured feet!).


Leave a Comment October 27, 2016

Fitness Swellness: RBC Race for Kids Toronto, September 17, 2016

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I was asked several months ago if I’d be interested in coming on board as an ambassador for the RBC Race for Kids, and while there are many worthy causes and I would love to be able to pitch in as much as I can, that’s not always possible, but in this case, the cause is one I personally find very important (I’ve heard too many stories of kids suffering from mental health issues, and who’ve had a tough time finding help) so I didn’t hesitate to join as a media ambassador.

I’ve never run the race before, but I like that there are three not too intimidating distances (5, 7 or 15k) — and the 5k is super approachable as it’s open to those with strollers, dogs and walkers. The race takes place on Saturday, September 17, 2016 at Mel Lastman Square.

As for the cause? Well, the race has raised more than $5.1 million for youth mental health over the past three years. Over two million youth in Canada suffer from mental illness yet only one in five get the help they need.

Unlike most other races, this one has no race registration fee, however when you register you do make a personal commitment to raise money (a minimum of $100) for the cause. I have not yet started fundraising, so if you’d like to sponsor me, please feel free to click on over your support, even if it’s just a few bucks. I’m happy to support a race in which donations go to the Family Navigation Project at Sunnybrook. The Project is a non-profit service that helps families of young people 13-26 living in the GTA suffering from mental health issues or addiction navigate the  complex health system to find the resources that can help them.

I decided to run the 15k (I’ll use it as a training run, in case I end up doing a fall half-marathon) and I’ll be wearing gear from race sponsor New Balance (like this outfit I have on here from their fall collection). I’ve roped in a few friends to run as well, and I think it’ll be a fun one, so I hope to see you there! Please note that registration closes tonight (at 11:59 p.m. September 8, 2016).

Learn more about the RBC Race for Kids here.

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Leave a Comment September 8, 2016

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