I’m sure you’ve heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Turns out, it’s a pretty accurate expression! As apple picking season starts to ramp up, it’s good to know the amazing health benefits you can get from the delicious fruits you grab from that tree!
Apples are high in soluble fiber – this type of fiber is excellent when it comes to lowering bad (LDL) cholesterol, as well as aiding with digestion, nutrient absorption and weight loss. The fiber from apples can also help reduce health issues attributed to obesity, such as type 2 diabetes.
Apples can help boost brain health – according to numerous studies, apples can help protect brain cells from degeneration, reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s.
They are high in polyphenols – Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants in apples that are great for fighting off infections, managing heart health, and more!
Try making these sweet and savoury recipes this fall that will win over any crowd!:
AUTUMN APPLE BITES:
In a food processor, add ½ C of grated organic apples (dry them out in a towel as best as you can, or try dehydrated apples), 4-5 Medjool dates, ¼ C raw organic almonds, ¼ C raw organic walnuts, 1-2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1 pinch of sea salt, ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract, and blend until mixture is well incorporated. Roll mixture into 1 inch balls and store in the fridge. Once cooled and firm, enjoy as an energizing snack!
APPLE PIE SMOOTHIE:
In a blender, mix 1 C organic nut milk, 1 tbsp. almond butter, ½ C organic rolled oats, 1 organic apple chopped, ½ medium sized organic banana, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. all spice and 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional) until smooth. Start your morning off with a tall glass!
TURKEY, CHEDDAR AND APPLE PANINI:
Build your own sandwich with ciabatta bread of your choice, 2 thin slices of roasted organic turkey breast, ½ an organic granny smith apple thinly sliced, 2 thick sliced of medium cheddar cheese, organic green leaf lettuce and 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard. Add to a panini press or pan fry until cheese has melted, and enjoy for lunch on a cool fall afternoon.
September is the perfect month for raspberries to be harvested in Ontario as the cool weather starts to roll in! Raspberries are unique with their sweet yet tart flavour – once you start eating one, you just can’t stop!
As your picking your raspberries this season, it’s important to remember the following health benefits that these yummy fruits can provide to you:
Raspberries are high in antioxidants – like many other berries, raspberries contain a high amount of antioxidants, such as anthocyanins. These flavonoids can be helpful in lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation throughout the body, and improving memory and brain health. They are also high in vitamin C, which is great for UV protection in skin, fighting cancer, and more.
They can help manage diabetes – raspberries are high in fiber, which helps stabilize insulin and blood sugar levels, reducing symptoms of diabetes.
Try these fantastic raspberry recipes this Fall:
In a bowl, add 1 handful of organic spinach, 1 handful of organic arugula, ¼ C chopped walnuts, goat cheese to taste, 1 handful of organic raspberries, 1 pinch of sea salt, ¼ C organic pumpkin seeds, balsamic vinaigrette to taste, and enjoy as a side to any dish!
In a pot on medium-high heat, add 2 C frozen raspberries, ¼ C water, 2 tbsp. honey, and cook until easy to mash. Once mixed, set aside to cool. Then mix in ¼ C chia seeds and add to a mason jar. Set in fridge overnight and enjoy in the morning with your toast!
LEMON RASPBERRY OAT PANCAKES:
In a food processor, blend 1 C of organic rolled oats until a flour like texture is created. Then, add ½ C of Greek (or coconut) plain yogurt, 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 2 tsp. organic maple syrup, zest and juice of half a small organic lemon, 1/3 C organic nut milk of your choice, and blend until a thick, smooth mixture is made. In a separate bowl, whisk 1 egg white until light peaks form. Fold this into your pancake mixture, along with halved organic raspberries.
In a pan on medium heat, add 2 large spoonfuls of your mixture and cook for 3-4 minutes until bubbles form, then flip and cook for another 3 minutes. Serve with organic maple syrup and enjoy!
September has arrived, which means back to school for kids! Getting back into the groove of the school year means restarting your weekly routine, which usually includes packing lunches for your children. Get creative this year with these healthy recipes:
On a large whole wheat tortilla, add ½ C organic shredded cheddar cheese (or try Emborg’s vegan option!), 2 oz of grilled chicken (or swap to black beans for a vegan option), ¼ C chopped organic tomatoes, ¼ C chopped organic red peppers and 2 tbsp. chopped organic red onions on one half. Fold the tortilla in half and cook in a pan on medium heat on both sides until the tortilla begins to brown and the cheese melts. Cut into 4 slices and serve with slices of avocado, organic salsa and Greek yogurt.
TURKEY LUNCH KABOB:
Build some skewers with flavours your kids will enjoy! On a plastic skewer, add 1 piece of cooked organic turkey (cubed), 1 piece of organic apple, 1 piece of cubed organic cheddar cheese, and 1 organic green grape. Continue to alternate each item until the skewer is filled!
CHICKEN AVOCADO AND CRANBERRY PINWHEEL WRAP:
On two medium sized whole wheat or whole grain tortillas, dress with 1 tbsp. of light mayonnaise (or try Litehouse organic raspberry dressing!), and add 2 oz of chopped organic grilled chicken (or replace with chickpeas for a vegan option), ¼ C dried organic cranberries, ½ an organic avocado sliced, 1 small handful of romaine lettuce chopped, and wrap tightly. Chop width wise into pinwheel shapes!
OVERNIGHT OATS WITH FRUITS:
In a mason jar, add 1 C of organic rolled oats, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp. hemp hearts, 2 tbsp. chia seeds, 1 tbsp. honey or organic maple syrup, 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract, and enough milk to submerge the oats. Mix well and let sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning, add a mixture of organic berries, mangos or melons to the oats for added flavour!
PROTEIN BENTO BOX:
In a divided lunch box, mix it up with some snacking favourites that will boost your child’s protein levels and keep them full! Try L’Ancetre’s snack size cheese with your favourite Jilz cracker, chopped vegetables like organic cucumber, carrots and celery, organic berries, and hard boiled eggs for added protein.
Most people know Mike & Mike’s for their reputation in distributing organic produce, but many are surprised to find out that we carry a huge variety of grocery products as well!
Here are just a handful of brands that we distribute to our customers and some information behind their amazing products:
Elmhurst initially started as a dairy company in 1925, and reemerged as a plant based dairy product company in 2017. Their nut milks are not only delicious, but are created through an innovative process known as hydroreleasing. This method of separating the milk from the nut grains utilizes only water, which maximizes the nutrition of the whole nuts and leaves the addition of stabilizers, emulsifiers and gums unnecessary! They are also vegan, kosher, and are GMO, gluten, carrageenan and artificial flavour free. Try their line of sweetened and unsweetened milks, hemp creamers and barista blends!
Booch is a kombucha company based out of London Ontario. Their craft kombuchas are hand crafted and fair trade, made with local, organic ingredients. The fermentation process in which the booch is made creates good bacteria, which is great for supporting gut health, boosting our immune systems and increasing energy levels. Try one of their many flavours that are made with love, such as citrus twist, chaga chai and raspberry lemonade!
Simply Delish is a South Africa company that launched in the early 2000’s. This line of all-natural desserts are quite unique, as they are vegan and contain no nuts, refined sugars, gluten, fat, preservatives, GMO’s, lactose and allergens! Desserts include puddings, pie fillings and jel treats that are easy to make and won’t make you feel guilty when you eat them!
Mother Raw is a raw food company that began in 2010. This brand is focused on creating products that are raw, organic and nutrient rich! They do this by maintaining the integrity of the ingredients they use by cold-blending them, a process which adds no heat to the foods which can ultimately take away vital nutrients. Their delicious condiments, dressings, dips and quesos do not contain any preservatives, fillers, or artificial ingredients, and are peanut, gluten, dairy, soy and canola free! Perfect for any BBQ meal this season.
Chocosol is a fair trade company based out of Toronto since 2006. They specialize in creating bean-to-bar and stone ground artisanal dark chocolate, as well as unique coffee products. Chocosol prepares their raw cacao on site through the process of roasting, winnowing and stone grinding to create delicious products that are free from dairy, soy, gluten and nuts. They also do not contain any preservatives, fillers or artificial flavours, and make excellent treats for any occasion!
August is peach season in Ontario, especially in the Niagara region! Peaches are sweet, delicious stone fruits that can jazz up your desserts, and in some cases your savoury meals!
While you’re enjoying your organic peaches, it’s important to note the following health benefits that they are providing you:
Peaches boost overall heart health – they can reduce high blood pressure as well as “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Peaches are high in polyphenols – these elements found in fruits and vegetables can greatly reduce the growth of cancer cells.
They can reduce the severity of allergies – eating peaches and control and reduce the release of histamines, which trigger allergic reactions.
Peaches are high in nutrients and antioxidants – perfect for boosting your immune system, aiding in digestion and nutrient absorption, and protecting from any free radical damage in the body.
Try out these tasty AND easy recipes that you can try at home with your local organic peaches this summer!:
BLUE CHEESE AND PEACH SALAD:
In a bowl, add 1 serving of organic mixed greens, ¼ C chopped organic red onion, ¼ C crushed organic walnuts, 1 small organic peach sliced, and blue cheese crumbled to taste. Dress with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and enjoy!
GRILLED PEACHES WITH MOZARELLA:
On your grill, brush on olive oil lightly, and grill 2 halved peaches flesh down on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes.
Slice a large mozzarella ball into medallions. Top with slices of the grilled peaches, organic walnuts, and drizzle with honey to taste.
Local Ontario zucchini is a big item this summer! With its light, delicious flavour, the recipes you can create with this vegetable are endless.
Need more reasons to hop on the zucchini train this season? Check out some amazing health benefits this vegetable can provide to you!:
Zucchinis are high in antioxidants – eating them will help improve your immune system, maintain skin and eye health, decrease oxidative damage to your body caused by diet and environment, slow the aging process and reduce inflammation.
They are high in water and fiber – we know that this combination is great for creating optimal digestion and nutrient absorption in the gut.
Zucchinis are high in B vitamins – from previous posts, we know that B vitamins are essential for hormone development, stress reduction and boosting energy levels.
They are low in calories – the fact that zucchinis are versatile in recipes and also low in calories make them a great substitution for complex carbohydrates in meals – “zoodles”, anyone?
Try some of these zucchini recipes that make for some tasty summer treats!
Take two organic zucchinis and slice them length-wise. Flat side up, coat with your choice of cheese (dairy free if preferred), ½ an organic roma tomato diced, ¼ C of finely chopped red onions, sliced black olives, sea salt and pepper to taste. Bake in the oven at 375 for 10-15 minutes or until cheese has fully melted. Serve warm!
Grate two medium sized organic zucchinis onto a dish cloth, and use it to squeeze any excess water out. Place grated zucchini into a bowl, and mix in two eggs, ¼ C almond flour, sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder (to taste), paprika and cayenne pepper. On medium-high heat, pour in 1 large spoonful of the mixture (the size of a small pancake) and cook in olive oil on both sides for 4 minutes or until browned.
Serve with organic sour cream, chives, and enjoy!
As we reach the last month of summer, it’s the perfect time to do a light seasonal detox! This involves reflecting on your current diet and making small changes to ensure your health is on the right track.
Here are some easy steps to helping your body detox:
Eat alkaline foods – overeating acidic foods such as meats, dairy, processed foods and alcohol can potentially affect your health by causing inflammation, weight gain, and more. Adding more alkaline foods like fruits, vegetables and legumes can help regulate your pH levels and improve your overall health.
Mix it up! – jump start your metabolism by switching up the meals you are currently eating, including ingredients.
Eat more detoxifying foods – dandelion, charcoal, chicory root, black pepper and dark leafy greens are just some foods that you can include into your diet that help filter toxins out of the body and support your liver.
Eat more watermelon – this delicious summer fruit contains glutathione, which is essential to liver function and the process of detoxification through the body.
Eat more mint leaves – adding mint to smoothies, desserts, and even salads can help you digest your food more efficiently.
Keep moving this summer! – remaining stagnant can reduce the natural flow of fluids in your body. Keep active this season to improve circulation and the overall filtration process your body needs to get rid of toxins.
Always stay hydrated – drinking ample amounts of water throughout the day can not only keep your energy levels up, but similar to being active, water can help move things along and detox.
Eat lighter and more frequent meals – avoid heavy meals high in saturated fats and sodium! Instead, eat light meals filled with seasonal fruit and vegetables to help improve your digestion and therefore clean out your system.
Local tomatoes are coming into their prime this summer! Organic tomatoes add freshness and flavour to many summer dishes, from being grilled as a side, to adding brightness to your salads.
Tomatoes contain plenty of health benefits, giving you more reasons to have them in your meals:
They contain lycopene – as mentioned in previous posts, lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that can reduce bad cholesterol, as well as promote good heart and skin health.
Tomatoes stimulate blood circulation – this can be useful for managing hypertension and other circulatory issues.
They are high in fiber – dietary fiber is important for maintaining healthy digestion, as well as aiding in the absorption of nutrients in your gut.
Tomatoes contain a high level of Vitamin K – this vitamin is essential for the creation of proteins the body needs, as well as the coagulation of blood to help the healing process of wounds.
They contain couramic and chlorogenic acid – these elements in tomatoes fight specifically against carcinogens in the body that are produced by cigarettes.
Tomatoes reduce oxidative stress from type 2 diabetes – with the help of lycopene and other antioxidants, tomatoes can help reduce damage done in the body from harmful free radicals.
Try a couple of these summer-forward recipes that will highlight any BBQ this season!
CHERRY TOMATO PASTA:
In a pot of boiling water, cook 1 serving of organic spaghetti as directed on the package.
In a food processor, blend 1 large handful of fresh organic basil, 1 clove of organic garlic, 1/3 C organic pine nuts, sea salt, black pepper, and add olive oil while blending until desired consistency is reached to create a homemade pesto.
Mix in the pesto with the pasta once cooked, and add 1-2 C of chopped cherry tomatoes and shaved parmesan to taste. Serve warm!
BAKED PARMESAN AND HERB TOMATOES:
Halve 2 medium sized organic hothouse tomatoes. With the sliced side facing up, top with 1 tsp. parsley, 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. chili flakes, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. sea salt and grated parmesan to taste. Broil in the oven at 375 for 15 minutes or until cheese melts and starts to brown. Serve as a side to any summer dish!
This summer is definitely a hot one! In order to keep cool in this heat, it’s important to always stay hydrated throughout the day. Besides water, here are the best organic fruits and vegetables to eat during meal or snack time:
Cucumbers – try sliced with dip, or in flavoured water.
Celery – another great addition to your veggie platter, or pair it with a little almond butter and raisins at a picnic!
Radishes – the perfect crunch to your salad.
Watermelons – when water is in the name, you know it’s the best go-to on a hot day!
Spinach – Along with being packed with nutrients, spinach is a great source of hydration.
Grapefruits – try boosting your smoothies with this delicious fruit!
Peaches – try your peaches grilled, in a salad, or in a fresh fruit tray.
Lettuces – always light and refreshing, try changing your lunch up with delicious lettuce wraps.
Cantaloupes – add a touch of honey to boost electrolytes when snacking on this melon.
Tomatoes – the perfect addition to a grilled skewer or salad.
Try some of these easy and hydrating recipes this summer:
In a mason jar or water bottle, add 1 tbsp. organic honey, ¼ C chia seeds, 1 tbsp. organic lemon juice and fill the rest with water. Leave in the fridge overnight and enjoy the next day. Chia seeds are perfect to add to any drink as they retain more water, provide you with water more quickly, and regulate the electrolytes you receive from the drink.
In a small bowl, mix together 1 wedge of organic watermelon chopped, a few cubes of feta cheese, 1 sprig of organic mint, 1 tbsp. Organic lime juice and 2 tbsp. olive oil, and enjoy!
Summer time is pepper time! Bell peppers make a great grilled pairing to any backyard BBQ meal, and have multiple nutritional benefits that are essential to your health:
High in Vitamin A and C – these vitamins are beneficial in reducing the effects of aging, as well as boosting your immune system.
Contain multiple antioxidants – peppers are full of other antioxidants that serve numerous purposes in our bodies, such as reducing heart disease, fighting oxidative damage to our organs and promoting eye health.
High in Vitamin B6 – this B vitamin specifically increases the production of “feel-good” hormones, such as serotonin, to boost your mood.
Great addition to diet – bell peppers are excellent for weight management as they are low in calories, as well as high in nutrients.
Here are some creative ways to incorporate bell peppers into your meals:
EGG-IN-A-HOLE BELL PEPPER:
De-stem and remove the seeds of an organic red, yellow or orange bell pepper. Bake flesh side up for 5 minutes at 400 degrees on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Remove the peppers from the oven, and crack 1 whole egg into each half portion. Add feta or a cheese alternative (to taste) and season with garlic powder, black pepper, sea salt and parsley. Bake for another 20 minutes or until egg whites have solidified. Top with chopped organic green onion and chili flakes, and enjoy!
ZUCCHINI NOODLE PAD THAI WITH BELL PEPPERS:
Using a spiralizer, create noodles out of 2 whole organic zucchinis (medium sized), or using a peeler, peel thin layers of the zucchini to create papardelle-like noodles.
In a pan on medium heat, cook thinly sliced organic red, orange and yellow peppers (about 1-2 C), 1 clove chopped garlic and 1 tbsp. olive oil for 3-5 minutes or until peppers are fully cooked. Add zucchini noodles about 2 minutes in. Season with black pepper and sea salt.
In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp. tamari (gluten-free soy sauce), 1 tbsp. almond butter, 1 tsp. finely chopped ginger, sea salt and black pepper until a smooth sauce is created. Remove noodles and vegetables from heat, top with sauce and serve warm.
Summer is finally upon us! With this season brings a peak in local Ontario produce. Check out some fruits and vegetables that are currently in season and available locally in your grocery stores:
Apricots – this delicious stone fruit can take any sweet or savoury dish up a notch in flavour! Apricots are high in Vitamin A and C, promoting eye and skin health, as well as fiber to support digestion.
Blueberries – these berries are one of the top exports from all of Canada! Blueberries make an excellent snack and contain an abundance of antioxidants.
Plums – plums are not only sweet, tart and tasty, but they have multiple health benefits, including being high in nutrients and fiber, as well as supporting bone growth.
Gooseberries – these unique berries make for great tarts and jams, and are also known to balance blood sugar and promote weight loss.
Raspberries – another berry favourite! Raspberries make for great smoothie and sorbet recipes, and also contain a lot of immune-boosting elements.
Watermelon – a summer staple, watermelons make a great after-dinner snack just the way they are! They are also full of water for hydration, as well as vitamin B’s for energy and hormone balance.
Corn – Although corn contains a lot of vitamins and minerals, they run the risk of spiking blood sugar. Try grilled as a side to any backyard BBQ meal.
Radicchio – roast it, sauté it, or eat as a base in your favourite salad. Radicchio is low calorie and high in Vitamin K which is essential for bone health.
Peppers – From spicy to sweet bell peppers, these vegetables make perfect BBQ skewers! They are high leutin for eye protection, as well as iron for increased energy.
Tomatoes – grill them, dice them, you name it! Tomatoes are not only good for your heart health, but can be included in almost meal you have this summer.
Happy Canada Day!
To celebrate our amazing country this week, we have included some recipes that highlight meals and produce specific to Canada:
Raw Nanaimo Bars:
A Canadian favourite! You can get these sweet, chocolate, creamy bars at any bakery from the East to West coast.
For the first layer, combine ½ C almonds, ½ C walnuts, ½ C medjool dates, ½ C shredded coconut and ¼ C raw cacao powder in a food processor until all ingredients are incorporated. Pat this layer down flat in a small baking dish lined with parchment paper. Place in freezer.
For the second layer, combine ¼ C coconut oil, ½ C soaked cashews, 3 tbsp. maple syrup, ¼ C coconut cream (refrigerated first) and 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract in a food processor until smooth. Add on top of first layer and place back in freezer.
For the final layer, blend ½ C soaked cashews, ½ C cacao powder, 1/3 C coconut oil, ¼ C maple syrup until smooth. Layer this on the mixture and let freeze for 2-3 hours. Once firm, cut into individual squares and enjoy with a coffee!
Maple Roasted Nuts:
You can’t go to any grocery store in Canada without seeing shelves of maple syrup!
For this recipe, roast a mix of ½ C almonds and ½ C of pecans on a baking tray lined with parchment paper at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes. Remove from tray and place into a mixing bowl, where you can coat them with organic maple syrup and cinnamon (to taste!). Place back on tray and bake for a remaining 15 minutes, and enjoy once cooled!
Garlic Parmesan Fiddleheads:
Ontario is known for having the largest harvest and distribution of these delicious ferns in the world!
To prepare, chop the curled shoots off of about 7-10 fiddlehead ferns and boil for a minimum of 10 minutes so that they are cleaned efficiently. In a pan at medium heat, add 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. grass fed butter, 1 small chopped shallot and 1-2 cloves of chopped garlic, and cook for about 3 minutes. Place fiddleheads into pan and cook for another 5 minutes or until browned. Top with parmesan cheese (to taste!) and enjoy as a side to any meal.
Blueberry Chia Pudding
In Canada, Nova Scotia, Quebec, PEI and New Brunswick are the top 4 provinces that grow and harvest wild blueberries. These delicious berries are packed with nutrients and antioxidants.
In a blender, add 1 ½ C of coconut milk, 1-2 tbsp. honey, 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract, ½ tbsp. lemon juice, a pinch of lemon zest, and ½ C fresh blueberries and blend until smooth. Pour into a medium sized mason jar, and add approximately 3-4 tbsp. of whole chia seeds, and stir into mix until all are dispersed. If you notice there are not enough in the mixture to fully disperse, add more to your discretion. Let sit in fridge overnight and enjoy for breakfast the following day!