• Sarah Miles

A Beginner's Guide to Holistic Living with The Life Store Jamaica

The Life Store truly makes holistic living easy. Their one-stop shop is like no other on the island and was the perfect space to embark on my holistic journey.


Last Monday, I celebrated my 22nd birthday. Birthdays are a celebration of life; a toast to the blessings and lessons gained from the previous year and a nod to what more is to come. Approaching this birthday, I reflected a lot on what my 21st year taught me while envisioning what I wanted my 22nd year to look like.


One thing I've realize this past year is the importance of health and wellness- and how I've been ignoring this. The COVID-19 pandemic put a lot of things into perspective- including my priorities and values and how I've been upholding them.


Something that I want to uphold in this new year of life is holistic living.

Holistic lifestyles acknowledge that our health and wellness is interconnected; mentally, physically, emotionally and more. Living holistically is living intentionally, mindfully, respectfully and as a whole.


This is something that I have always wanted to find my footing in- but was unsure of where to start. My initial motivation spurred in 2017 during my acne journey where I turned to holistic living to find a cure. While I made some lifestyle changes- essential oil therapy, reducing my dairy and gluten intake- some lasted and others didn't.


I'll be honest, I'm stubborn...and picky, and lazy, and can be very unhealthy at times. Out of the blue, I have bursts of ambition to become healthier, more active and invest in my future- but then I tend to lose track of the long-term goal.


In Montréal, it was easy experimenting and incorporating holistic living into my lifestyle. Moving back home, I found it hard to find a similar space- that was until I came across The Life Store.


The Life Store describes themselves as "Your place for holistic living" and they truly are. Located in the new Super Valu Towne Centre on Constant Spring Road, this store is truly the holy grail for any holistic living needs in Jamaica.

Walking into their shop was so refreshing. Their space has such a welcoming, inviting and aesthetically pleasing atmosphere. As a beginner, I was unsure of where to start but was given so much guidance and support by the store's founder and health coach, Natalie Murray.


Their curated collection of products is extensive; from food to skincare to lifestyle and more. At The Life Store, there truly is something for everyone; whether you're an expert or first-timer. Everyone's journey is different and The Life Store acknowledges, appreciates and welcomes that!


The amazing goodies from The Life Store!

Thankfully, their store is also available online at thelifestoreja.com where free delivery is available! Not only is this convenient and thoughtful during a pandemic, but it's so helpful for those who live outside of the city.


When presented with the opportunity to review some of their amazing stock, I couldn't pass it up. Natalie truly helped me curate a personalized and authentic range of products that captures so many of my passions and interests; from baking to sustainability to beauty to supporting local brands!


Over the past few weeks, I've been incorporating these products into my lifestyle and loving every second of it! I'm so excited to bring you along for the beginning of my holistic journey. These are truly products that I see myself using and loving long-term.


TREAT YOURSELF, YOU DESERVE IT

During quarantine, one of my favourite activities was to bake; not only did it pass time but it had a delicious outcome. However, this was only short-term gratification and was actually doing more harm than good. Luckily, when Natalie asked if I loved to bake, she immediately guided me to the store's amazing range of guilt-free baking goods, mixes, and flours. I was hooked!


PURELY ELIZABETH: Ancient Grain Pancake Mix

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and starting the day off healthy and nourished is essential. Recently, waffles have been my go-to comfort breakfast food. I was ecstatic to see The Life Store's range of mixes, specifically their Purely Elizabeth Ancient Grain Pancake Mix.


This mix is made with only five grains and seeds- yes, only five- including chia, teff flour and buckwheat flour. It's such a refreshing feeling to be able to read a package's ingredients and contents and not be overwhelmed and unsure of what you're actually eating. I have to admit, I was initially unfamiliar with teff and buckwheat flour but it was so easy to research them- versus, trying to understand scientific jargon.

Purely Elizabeth waffles infused with Lily's Milk Chocolate Baking Chips and Lakanto Maple Flavoured Syrup.

The instructions provided were so easy to follow- and they even provided alternative measurements for making waffles instead of pancakes! Overall, I was able to make about eight waffles from the entire bag- although, this is also dependent on the size and depth of my waffle machine tray.


With zero added sugar, these gluten-free and vegan pancakes are not only mouth-watering, but 100% guilt-free. The Purely Elizabeth mix is truly a game changer. Sometimes it's easy to spot out gluten-free or vegan alternatives to your favourite foods- but this isn't the case.


LILY'S: Milk Chocolate Style Baking Chips

Don't get me wrong, the Purely Elizabeth waffles were delicious but they weren't complete without infusing Lily's Milk Chocolate Style Baking Chips. I love chocolate-chip waffles and these 32% cocoa baking chips were truly the real kick! They have zero added sugar and are botanically and naturally sweetened with stevia. When I say that these gluten-free milk chocolate chips are guilt-free, I mean it. As a fair-trade certified product, it's up to par with ethical social, economic and environmental standards.


These chocolate chips are so delicious and have become a staple in my kitchen. They pair so well with other baked goods- such as banana bread, chocolate-chip cookies and brownies- and even smoothies and hot chocolate! I even catch myself grabbing a few chocolate chips throughout the day as a treat. I'm so excited to test out more of the Lily's products that The Life Store offers, such as their dark chocolate baking chips and milk chocolate caramel popcorn!

Homemade vegan banana bread with Lily's Milk Chocolate Baking Chips.

As a chocolate lover, it feels so rewarding being able to indulge in one of my favourite 'guilty' pleasures while being reassured that I'm not consuming copious amounts of sugar. For an even better taste than traditional commercial chocolate chip brands, and at a similar price point, there is no reason not to make this sweet switch.


LAKANTO: Maple Flavoured Syrup

Waffles aren't complete without their toppings and the Lakanto Maple Flavoured Syrup didn't disappoint. This sugar-free and Ketogenic syrup is sweetened with monkfruit, a fruit with anti-inflammatory properties. This syrup is the perfect alternative to sugar-packed commercial brands; it tastes and makes you feel 10x better. Its natural sweetness beats the 'real' thing and isn't overwhelmingly rich.


Alongside some banana slices, this syrup was truly the perfect addition to my chocolate-chip waffles. What I loved was how much thinner and lighter its consistency was! Since it doesn't have a syrup's traditional thickness, I enjoyed pouring the syrup on the side of my plate and dipping each bite into it to soak up its delicious taste without getting my waffles soggy.


My family has fallen in love with this syrup and we've been using it constantly, even beyond baking! It's not only perfect for waffles and pancakes but for oatmeal, yogurt and even as a coffee or tea sweetener! Clean eating is clean living. Being able to find products that add to and enrich my palette, versus place limits on it, is such a refreshing feeling.


Make sure to check out the baking process behind these delicious waffles in one of my latest videos: 'A Weekend in Ocho Rios'!



SUSTAINABLE LIVING IS HOLISTIC LIVING

To live holistically is to live sustainably. Our world is interconnected and many of our daily choices and actions, the products we buy, the food we consume directly impact our environment. We need to learn to not only be mindful and conscious of our own health, but also the health and wellbeing of our planet and only home.


SIMPLY GUM: Cleanse & Natural Gum

Simply Gum is simply amazing. This vegan gum is not only the perfect pick-me-up but is sustainable. Most gum brands contain synthetics and plastics which are not biodegradable and remain in the environment for years and years. Simply Gum simply uses natural in