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Pure, unadulterated goodness

What do blueberries, Brazilian inspired underwear, and a couple butt-lifting exercises have in common? Absolutely nothing.

So moving on, we’ll start with the blueberries.

We know they’re good for us, we’ve heard all about it, I’m not going to go on about that. What I am going to go on about is how if you’re like me and live in an area that supplies some amazing spray-free and organic blueberries, you stock up in the summer to freeze a bunch to enjoy all year round.
 
But if you’re like me, you'll also go through them all by the end of fall (blueberry smoothies are where it’s at!). Coming to the end of the stockpiled blueberry batch in the freezer is certain to make the oncoming winter months look even more grim – the price of organic frozen blueberries is enough to make your pants drop, and not in a good way. Even your conventional, pesticide-ridden brands are pricey (especially considering they should be paying us to eat those). But is all lost? Nay! North of 49 Naturals, a family owned company in North Vancouver, has the answer with their 100% Pure Organic Blueberries (“no junk whatsoever” says the packaging). 
 
 
You can tell by the rich, velevety, colour that this stuff is the real deal. Dried at low temperatures, keeping all the enzymes intact, this blueberry powder should find its way onto the shelves of all health enthusiasts and those looking to for an easy way to work more nutrition into their diet. Here’s the description of the product, taken from the website: 
Rich with antioxidants, fibre, vitamins, and some serious nutrients, organic blueberries are one of nature’s most powerful foods. We take fresh-picked organic blueberries and dry them at their peak of freshness. Two spoonfuls of our dried blueberry powder equals one full cup of whole organic blueberries. And when you see the colour of our 100% pure powder – that gorgeous deep blue that can’t be imitated – you know it’s jam-packed with healthy stuff.
 I’ve used it primarily in smoothies, but I look forward to experimenting a bit more with it. Thanks, North of 49 Naturals - I can now stop thinking of ways to turn my spare room into a berry-growing greenhouse.
 
Speaking of antioxidants, how many of you are out there spreading the word: blueberries and pomegranates this, cancer-prevention that. The word itself, antioxidant, makes you sound pretty official, doesn’t it, and you saw some  Dr. Oz episode so now you’re practically an expert yourself, right? Most people wont question it, fine by me. But your big word wont fool everyone. What exactly is an "antioxidant", anyway? I can tell by your quick mouse-click in your Google search bar that you don't actually know. So here’s a bit of info to keep in your back pocket, just in case (all you science know-it-all’s, keep your shirt on. I’m just trying to keep it simple and accessible for the everyday person):
 
The body’s normal processes use oxygen, O2 (two oxygen molecules), and sometimes one of oxygen molecules breaks lose and damages any cell it comes into contact with. This is an example of oxidative stress (linked with various disease, illness, and aging).
 
“Antioxidant” is a name given to nutrients and enzymes that are capable of counteracting, preventing, or slowing down the oxidative damage to our bodies.
 
The most commonly known antioxidants: Vitamin A, Carotenoids, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Selenium.
 
All sorts of fun things are coming out of this post, aren’t they?
 
Enough with the berry-talk, get onto the underwear? Well these don’t taste quite as good in a smoothie, but they certainly look a lot better on your behind (this statement is relative, I suppose). The reason I wanted to include this in a post is if there is anyone out there who has as hard of a time as I do finding a flattering pair of underwear that satisfy not only aesthetically but also functionality, you will appreciate this discovery.
 
Photos taken from Vivvos website
Vivvos “Brazilian inspired under?wear” come in all the best colours and would make anyone’s butt look great. No, that’s not a typo, and you’ll have to venture over to the website to find out more about the question mark. Breathable, comfortable, and hot as hell, I basically cast my bikini bottoms aside and sported the boyshorts all summer long. And as far as exercising goes, these have officially set the bar. Nothing else will do. And no, I’m not sponsored or anything by Vivvos (but this is me shooting a hopeful smile towards Kathy Pettigrew, the lovely founder of the brand), I just simply felt the need to share my discovery of the world’s best underwear. If you’re in the Kootenays you can find Vivvos at Esprit de la Femme in Nelson.
 
And to compliment the above (not that you would need it, those boyshorts literally make everyone’s butt look dynamite) here’s some butt-sculpting and lifting exercises to get ready for bikini season.
 
Do 20 reps of each exercise, holding in the air on the 20th, and doing short pulses for 10-20 more. Do both exercises on one side before switching legs to really feel the burn!
 
Donkey Kicks
 
 
 
Down on your hands and knees, keep you abs engaged and your spine neutral, neck in alignment with your spine (so you should be look at the floor between your hands). Bring your knee towards your chest, but not so far that you arch your lower back, and keeping your leg bent, push your leg backwards, pushing the bottom of your foot towards the ceiling. Try to keep your hips square with the ground during the entire exercise (avoid turning your hips out the side). Bring your knee back into your chest, and repeat 20 times. On the 20threpetition, hold your leg in the upwards position, and pulse your foot to the ceiling 10-20 more times – short, small reps.
 
 
Kneeling Straight-Legged Leg Lifts
 
 
 
The same position as above (remember to keep your abs engaged to protect your lower back). Extend your leg straight behind you, and point your toes out to the side. Keeping your leg as straight as possible, lift your leg off the ground, keeping your hips square and without arching in your lower back. 
Repeat 20 times, and on the 20th rep hold in the air and pulse 10-20 more times.
 
Teralee Trommeshauer lives in Castlegar, BC, and is a health, food, and fitness enthusiast currently working on her Holistic Nutrition and FItness Education certifications. This column originally appeared in her blog, Real Life, Real Health.