With everything going on in 2020, it’s easy for there to be heightened stress among everyone. Here are some fruits and vegetables to look out for on your next grocery trip that are known to naturally reduce stress levels:
Avocados – these are high in essential fatty acids, which are great for promoting a healthy nervous system, as well as improving your mood.
Citrus fruits and berries – noted in previous posts, fruits such as lemons, limes, grapefruits, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries are extremely high in Vitamin C, which is known to help fight both oxidative stress as well as moderate emotional stress levels.
Leafy greens – vegetables including, spinach, kale, collards, bok choy and chard are high in folate, a B vitamin that is the precursor for dopamine – the feel good hormone!
Garlic – garlic is high in both magnesium and sulfur, which are important in helping the nervous system function properly.
Cherries – unknown to most, cherries are actually a natural source of melatonin, a hormone responsible for relaxation and sleep promotion.
Try this delicious treat before bed to help you destress and relax:
DARK CHOCOLATE AND CHERRY TRUFFLES:
In a food processor, blend together 1 c of organic dried cherries (pitted), ¼ dried walnuts and ¼ C almonds until smooth and sticky mixture forms. Double boil 1 C of dark chocolate (high in magnesium, also good for stress!) until smooth and fully combined. Roll mixture of cherries into 1 inch balls and coat in melted chocolate. Set aside in the fridge for a few hours until chocolate hardens, and enjoy!
Who doesn’t love bananas?! They are exceptionally sweet, easy to snack on when you’re on the go, and can be used in so many different dessert recipes.
Not only do they have great flavour, but they contain numerous qualities that can improve your wellbeing:
Bananas are high in potassium – as mentioned in previous posts, potassium is an important mineral that is beneficial for muscle and bone health, water balance, and maintaining healthy electrolyte levels.
High in tryptophan – tryptophan is an important amino acid that directly contributes to boosting your mood, promoting relaxation and reducing stress.
Bananas promote probiotic growth – probiotics in the gut are needed to feed healthy gut flora, which is responsible for absorbing important nutrients your body needs, as well as calcium for bone health.
The recipes for bananas are endless! Check out some of these tasty treat ideas:
BANANA BERRY ICE CREAM:
Perfect for a dairy-free option! Peel, roughly chop and freeze 3 organic bananas for 5 hours or overnight. Once they are firm, add them to a food processor and blend with ½ C mixed berries and 2 tbsp. organic maple syrup. Blend until smooth, but thick. Spread mixture in a freezer-safe container and leave in freezer for another 1-2 hours to firm up slightly. Using an ice cream scoop, take out the amount of your choice and enjoy on a warm day!
BANANA CHOCOLATE BITES:
A great treat that will last! Melt ¼ C of dark chocolate chips until smooth. Peel and chop 2 organic bananas into small medallions. Using a fork, dip the ends of the banana pieces into the chocolate mixtures (coat them as much as you’d like!) and place them on a tray lined with parchment paper. Put in the freezer for 1-2 hours, or until chocolate has firmed up. Enjoy cold.
CINNAMON AND BANANA PANCAKES:
In a bowl, peel and mash 3 overripe organic bananas. Mix well with 1 organic egg, ¼ C milk of your choice, and 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, mix together ¾ C oat flour, 1 tbsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. baking powder, ½ tsp baking soda, ¼ C organic maple sugar, a pinch of salt, and add to the wet mixture. If too dense, add more milk if necessary. Stir in crumbled organic walnuts, and add heaping spoonfuls to a pan coated with butter on medium heat. Cook until bubbles start to form, and flip over for another 1-2 minutes. Serve warm with sliced bananas and maple syrup!
ALMOND BUTTER AND BANANA SMOOTHIE
In a blender, add 1 organic banana (peeled), 1 tbsp. almond butter, ½ tbsp. cinnamon, ½ C spinach, 1 C almond milk, 1 scoop protein powder (optional), 1 tbsp. dark chocolate chips, 1 tsp. maca powder, and blend well.
Brussels sprouts may have made us cringe as kids, and it may still not be everyone’s first choice for vegetables, but we urge you to reconsider! Brussels sprouts are packed with health benefits, and there are plenty of recipes that can change your mind.
High in fiber – Brussels sprouts are great for promoting healthy digestion and nutrient absorption.
Anti-inflammatory – they also contain anti-inflammatory properties that are useful in relieving symptoms caused by arthritis and Type 2 diabetes.
Balance blood sugar – Brussels sprouts, like most cruciferous vegetables, are key in moderating blood sugar to a healthy and manageable level.
High in Vitamin K – this mineral is extremely important when it comes to the mineralization and strengthening our bones.
Still not convinced? You will be when you try out these creative recipes!
SWEET AND SALTY BRUSSELS SPROUTS:
In a toaster oven or pan on medium heat, toast ¼ C of organic pine nuts for 5 minutes, or until browned. In a separate pan on medium heat, cook a large handful of halved organic Brussels sprouts with 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp. organic honey, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. sea salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, until Brussels sprouts are bright green and browned on each side (about 4-6 minutes). Add in pine nuts, and extra honey or balsamic if needed to get the correct flavour you desire. Serve warm as a side!
COLD BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD:
In a medium sized bowl, mix together 1 C shredded organic Brussels sprouts, 1 C shredded organic red and green cabbage, ½ C organic dried cranberries, ¼ C chopped organic almonds, sea salt and black pepper to taste.
For the dressing, blend ¼ C plain yogurt (vegan or dairy), ¼ C olive oil, ½ tbsp. lemon juice, ½ tsp. sea salt, ½ tbsp. poppy seeds, 1 tbsp. organic honey, and mix into salad. Enjoy as a side, or mix in a lean protein to make it a full meal.
This Sunday coming up is Mother’s Day! For new mothers, it can be tricky to determine which foods are best to eat that will directly affect your baby during the process of breastfeeding.
Here is a small list of fruits and vegetables that are beneficial for both new moms and their babies:
Citrus fruits – lemons, oranges, limes and grapefruits are very high in Vitamin C, which will help in immunity development within babies, and keep moms healthy at the same time.
Papaya – this fruit, along with being very tasty and great in both sweet and savoury meals, is known to help with lactation inducing milk production.
Bananas – high potassium, bananas are great when it comes to maintaining fluid balance and electrolytes while breastfeeding.
Leafy greens – kale, lettuces, chards, collards, spinach, dandelion and other leafy greens are very high in minerals and nutrients for your newborns, as well as vitamin A, which is extremely important in the growth and development of infants.
Carrots – beta carotene in carrots, which is the precursor for Vitamin C, should be eaten to help with lactation, and to also act as an antioxidant in newborns to help fight off any harmful free radicals from the environment.
SUPERFOOD SMOOTHIE RECIPE FOR MOM:
In a blender, add one half of an organic banana, ½ C organic spinach, ½ C organic pineapple, ½ C organic papaya, ½ C organic orange (peeled), 1 tbsp. coconut yogurt and 1 C water, and blend well. Enjoy cold!
With most of us staying at home and avoiding multiple trips to the grocery store, it’s easy for certain items to run low. Take dressings and condiments, for example!
Instead of worrying about making another outing to get more, put those DIY skills to work and make your own at home!
Here are some super easy and VERY delicious recipes for condiments, sauces and dressings:
CREAMY AVOCADO DRESSING:
In a food processor, add ½ an organic avocado, 1 tbsp. lime juice, 1 tbsp. water, 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. sea salt, 1 tbsp. hemp hearts, a few sprigs of organic cilantro (to taste), and ½ clove of organic garlic. Blend until smooth, and top your salad or pasta!
SPINACH & BASIL PESTO:
In a food processor, blend 1 handful of washed organic spinach, 1 handful of fresh washed basil, ¼ C almonds and pine nuts (mixed), 1 clove organic garlic, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. sea salt, 2 tbsp. olive oil, and blend. Keep adding olive oil and blending until a fairly smooth consistency is created. Use on a wrap, sandwich, pasta, and more!
BLUEBERRY CHIA JAM:
In a small pot over medium-high heat, add 2 cups of organic blueberries, 1 cup of water, and 2 tbsp. of organic maple sugar or stevia. Reduce berries to a simmer until cooked down, and blend in a food processor. Add 1/3 C chia seeds, mix into berry mixture, and add to a jar. Keep in fridge for a couple of weeks – add to your toast in the morning!
VEGAN CAESAR DRESSING:
Soak 1 cup of organic cashews overnight. Drain, and blend cashews with 1/3 C olive oil, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 clove organic garlic, 1 tsp. sea salt, 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard, and blend well (add some water to mixture if too thick). Top your salads with this delicious mixture!
In a large mason jar, add ¾ C olive oil, ½ C red wine vinegar, 1 tsp. minced garlic, 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp. oregano, 1 tsp. parsley, 1 tsp. honey, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. basil, and shake well before refrigerating and before serving.
Avocados are an amazing fruit! Not only can it be added to savoury breakfasts, lunches and dinners, but its creamy texture allows it to act as a dairy substitute in a lot of dessert recipes as well.
Avocados, along with being delicious, provide us with many health benefits:
They contain healthy fats – avocados are high in Omega-3, an essential fatty acid, as well as mono-saturated fatty acids. These “good fats” reduce inflammation, improve skin health, balance your mood, promote weight loss, and much more.
Avocados are high in riboflavin – Riboflavin, a B vitamin, is beneficial in boosting energy, promoting cell growth, as well as protecting your skin.
They are also high in potassium – this mineral is useful in maintaining bone health, muscle relaxation and lowering high blood pressure.
Avocados lower cholesterol – the “bad” cholesterol, or LDL cholesterol, that builds up in our bodies can be caused by an unhealthy diet of processed foods and trans fats. Introducing avocados to your diet can actively lower these levels.
They can boost nutrient absorption – the healthy fats within avocados are extremely beneficial for good bacteria in our guts, which are responsible for promoting the uptake of nutrients from the foods we eat.
Check out some recipes you can try out with this awesome ingredient:
SHRIMP AND AVOCADO SALAD:
In a pan on medium heat, cook 1 finely chopped clove of organic garlic in olive oil for 3 minutes. Add in a handful of shelled, deveined shrimp, season with sea salt, pepper, and add 1-2 tbsp. organic honey. Cook shrimp for 3-4 minutes on each side until opaque.
In a bowl, add organic chopped tomato, organic chopped red onion, 1 organic avocado chopped, organic chopped red pepper, and top with shrimp, olive oil and lemon juice to taste.
CHOCOLATE AVOCADO PUDDING:
In a food processor, add ½ an organic avocado, ¼ C milk of choice, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 2 tbsp. cocoa powder, 2 tbsp. honey or maple syrup, ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract, and blend until smooth. Top with an organic whipped topping and strawberries and enjoy for dessert!
In a pan on medium heat, cook 2 organic eggs over butter or oil over medium (or over easy if you like runny eggs!).
On a medium tortilla, place the cooked egg, a few slices of organic avocado, 2 slices of organic tomato, cheese of your choice, sea salt and pepper on once half, fold it in half, and cook on medium heat until each side is browned. Slice into smaller pieces and serve warm with salsa and sour cream.
Spring is now upon us! Usually this signifies a change in more light and refreshing options in your diet. Check out some new produce that is now in season in Canadian and US markets that you can add to your meals this season:
Dandelion Greens – known for containing a high amount of minerals and vitamins, dandelion is also a fantastic liver-cleansing food. Try it out as a secondary green in your salads or throw a small amount in your morning smoothie!
Green Beans – high in iron as well as Vitamin C, A and K, beans can work well as a warm side or a cold veggie mix.
Shallots – Similar to onions and garlic in their ability to promote immunity and fight off bacteria, shallots can give any dish a flavour boost! Try it in fresh salads, pan fried with a light protein, or a chopped topping to your morning omelet.
Grapefruit – contains lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that works well to protect your skin and heart. Grapefruits give off a sour kick that can be great for flavoured waters, fresh citrus salads and smoothies.
Peas – These little vegetables are high in fiber, protein and minerals such as phosphorus, which is essential to bone growth and maintenance. Fry them up with some olive oil or butter with your choice of seasoning.
Happy Easter! Easter is holiday full of shared time with family and friends, as well as delicious spring meals.
Here are some creative recipe twists including some Easter-centric ingredients that we know and love:
PORTABELLO EGG BAKES:
When you think of Easter, the first thing you think of is eggs (no, not the chocolate ones)!
Clean out 4 large organic portabello heads and remove the stems, lightly brush olive oil on the top of them, and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees in an over for 5-7 minutes.
Remove the tray from the oven and spread 1 tbsp. of organic tomato sauce on the flat side of the mushroom, top with a few leaves of organic spinach, 1 tbsp. of chopped shallots, and crack one egg over top. Season with salt and pepper, and place back in the over at the same temperature for another 10-12 minutes, or until egg is cooked. Serve warm for a quick lunch treat!
CARROT CAKE PANCAKES:
A quirky spin on the Easter Bunny’s favourite snack – carrots!
In a large bowl, mix 1.5 C shredded organic carrots, 1 C whole wheat flour, ¾ C milk of choice (add more if wetter consistency desired), 1 egg, 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, ¼ C maple syrup, 1 tbsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. ginger, 1 tsp. nutmeg, and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. In a pan, add 1 tbsp. of butter or oil to cook in, and add large spoonfuls of the mixture and let cook on medium heat for 4 minutes or until bubbles start to form. Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Serve with maple syrup, coconut shreds and crumbled walnuts.
FRUITY CHEESECAKE BITES:
Line a muffin tin with cupcake wrappers and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix together 2 C almond flour, 2 tbsp. honey, a pinch of salt, and ½ C melted coconut oil. Pat down about 2 tbsp. of the mixture at the bottom of the tins and bake for 5 minutes.
In a bowl using a hand mixer, blend 1 8oz package of cream cheese (room temperature), ¼ C organic plain Greek yogurt (or vegan alternative), ¼ C organic maple or coconut sugar, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 egg, 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract until fully incorporated and smooth. Add to muffin tins on top of crust mixture and bake for 18-20 minutes (middle should be slightly jiggly). Let cool for 1 hour on a cooling tray, then place in the fridge for 2-3 hours to set. Serve with fruit toppings such as blueberries, raspberries or strawberries.
Sweet potatoes are a versatile vegetable that can be added to both sweet and savoury recipes. Take a look at some reasons why you should add sweet potatoes to your meals (other than the fact that they are so delicious!):
Sweet potatoes are packed with nutritious elements – sweet potatoes contain loads of vitamins, minerals such as potassium and magnesium, and fiber to help boost a healthy digestive system.
Sweet potatoes are great for promoting eye health – Beta carotene is a precursor for Vitamin A, which can significantly benefit eye development and overall health. Like carrots, sweet potatoes carry an abundance of this antioxidant.
They are full of choline – choline is an essential nutrient needed in humans for healthy muscle movement, learning and memory.
Check out some delicious recipes containing our beloved sweet potato!:
BLACK BEAN AND SWEET POTATO QUESADILLAS:
Peel and chop one medium sized organic sweet potato and place in a pot and fill with water until potatoes are covered. Let water come to a boil, then simmer for another 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Drain the water, and mash potatoes together. Mix in 1 tsp. cayenne. 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg, sea salt and pepper to taste.
On a soft whole wheat tortilla, add the sweet potato mixture, organic black beans, sautéed organic red onions chopped, chopped organic tomato, cheese of your choice, and fold in half. In a pan on medium heat, cook quesadilla on each side for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat, slice into smaller triangles and top with Greek yogurt and chives. Serve warm!
SWEET POTATO HASH BROWNS:
Grate one medium organic sweet potato into a small bowl. Mix with 2 eggs, 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. garlic powder, sea salt and pepper to taste. In a large pan on medium-high heat, add 2-3 tbsp. of oil so that the bottom of the pan is completely covered. Form flat patties of the sweet potato mixture to the size of your palm, and fry on both sides for 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with sour cream and your choice of eggs and enjoy as a side with your breakfast.
SWEET POTATO DESSERT BARS:
In a food processor, mix 1 C organic almonds, 1 C oats, 1 egg, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg. In a small baking pan, line with parchment paper and pat down mixture. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Clean out the food processor, and add 2 medium sized sweet potatoes, baked or boiled and chopped, ¼ C almond flour, ¼ C maple syrup or honey, 1 tbsp. cinnamon, 1/3 C milk of your choice, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. ginger, 1 tsp. vanilla, and blend until smooth. Pour on top of the crust and bake for another 20 minutes. Let cool for an hour and cut into squares for serving.
With the current global situation we are facing, there is a lot of pressure to practice social distancing and self care during this time
Whether you are at home or at work, there are lots of things you can do to boost your immune system that are-hassle free!
We’ve got green on the brain for St. Patrick’s Day! Green vegetables are packed to the brim with nutrients, minerals and antioxidants, but are usually not your first choice to pick up and snack on. So, why not give it a sweet make over?
Here are some sneaky (and DELICIOUS) ways to hide your greens in treats:
AVOCADO PEPPERMINT SMOOTHIE:
In a blender, add ½ organic avocado, 1 organic banana, ¼ C organic chopped green kale, 2 tbsp. cacao powder, 1 tbsp. cacao nibs (or chocolate chips), 1-2 tbsp. organic maple syrup (depending on the level of sweetness), 1 sprig of organic peppermint leaves and 1 ½ C of nut milk of your choice (or water if preferred), and blend until smooth. Serve immediately!
In a large bowl, add 1 C of shredded organic zucchini, 2 organic eggs, 1/3 C organic maple syrup or honey, 1/3 C milk of your choice, 1 tbsp. organic coconut oil (slightly melted) and blend well. Then add 1.5 C organic whole wheat flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tbsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. ginger and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Pour into a small loaf pan and top with crushed walnuts. Bake for 50 minutes at 365 degrees (or until sides have browned and the center is not runny). Let cool on rack for 15 minutes, then enjoy!
KEY LIME AND SPINACH BITES:
In a food processor, blend together ½ C organic walnuts, ½ C organic almonds, ½ C organic cashews, 4-5 pitted organic medjool dates, and 1-2 melted tbsp. of coconut oil. In a 8×8 pan, line with parchment paper and pat down nut mixture to the bottom. Freeze for 30 minutes.
In a small blender, blend ½ C spinach with a bit of water until a green liquid is created. In a bowl, whip 1 C organic coconut milk (thick!) until fluffy. Then mix in 2 tbsp. lime juice, 1/3 C honey, the spinach liquid you created, the zest of one lime, and add onto the nut crust you made from earlier. Spread it evenly on top of the crust and freeze for 3-5 hours. Cut into squares and enjoy as a tasty treat!
SPIRULINA AND MATCHA CHIA PARFAIT:
In a small bowl, add 1 C nut milk of your choice, 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract, 1 tsp. matcha powder, 1 tsp. spirulina, 1 tbsp. organic honey (can adjust sweetness level) and blend well. Incorporate 1/3 C chia seeds until fully distributed throughout the mixture and let sit in the fridge until pudding-like mixture is formed.
In a separate small bowl, mix together 1 C plain Greek yogurt, 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 tbsp. honey.
To assemble as a parfait, in small mason jars, add granola of your choice to the bottom third of the jar, then add the yogurt mixture, then the chia as your top layer, and garnish with blueberries and raspberries. Serve as a healthy snack! Serves 2.
Cabbage is a delicious vegetable that can be used in many different recipes. Along with being a staple food item this season, cabbage is also packed with multiple health benefits:
Cabbage can boost your immune system – sulforaphane, found in cabbage, is a natural sulfur compound that can help fight against cancer and other illnesses that could affect your health.
Fermented cabbage is high in probiotics – fermented cabbage in the form of kimchi and sauerkraut are not only tasty, but are full of probiotics to support a healthy gut, which in turn improves your immune system, increases nutrient absorption, and aids in digestion.
Cabbage is in high fiber – eating fiber-containing foods can really help improve digestion and metabolism.
Cabbage can potentially lower the risk of Type 2 Diabetes – studies have shown that with its high fiber content, along with other properties, cabbage can help balance blood sugar.
Cabbage can reduce inflammation – the high sulfur content in cabbage can actually help soothe inflammation in the digestive system and other areas of the body.
Try out one of these yummy cabbage sides to go along with your next meal:
In a small bowl, mix together dressing ingredients: ½ C plain Greek yogurt (or a dairy free yogurt option), 1 tbsp. white vinegar, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 1 tbsp. honey (smooth), 1 tsp. garlic powder, sea salt and pepper to taste.
In a separate bowl, mix together finely chopped organic red and green cabbage (about 2 C total), and ¼ C shredded organic carrot. Add the dressing to this mixture and stir well. Let sit in the fridge overnight and enjoy the next day!
Roughly chop half a head of organic green cabbage. Add to a pan on medium heat along with 1 tbsp. butter (or vegan butter if preferred) and seasoned with sea salt and pepper to taste. After 5 minutes, add in 2 tbsp. soy sauce (light sodium or Tamari gluten free soy sauce), 1 tbsp. maple syrup, ¼ C crushed organic Mike & Mike’s roasted almonds. Cook for another 5-10 minutes or until tender, and serve warm.