As we normally do at the beginning of the year, we look to change some of our bad habits from the previous year, especially when it comes to our health.
Here are some tips for how to start AND stick to a healthier routine that will help you feel great!:
Looking for some creative recipes to try at your Holiday get together this year? Try these light and tasty appetizers!
On a baking tray, add 1 chopped medium sized organic beet (peeled) on parchment paper, season with salt, pepper and olive oil, and bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 10 minutes, or until soft.
In a food processor, add the chopped beet, 1 can of organic chickpeas (drained), ¼ C tahini, 2-3 cloves of organic garlic, juice and zest of ½ an organic lemon, ¼ C olive oil, sea salt and pepper to taste, and blend until smooth. Serve in a bowl with veggies and crackers for dipping!
BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND SAGE CROSTINI:
On a baking tray with parchment paper, add 1 ½ C of chopped organic butternut squash, seasoned with olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until soft.
Add the butternut squash to a food processor and blend with 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp thyme, 1 clove of organic garlic, sea salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.
In a pan, add a small amount of butter and toast a sprig of sage leaves. On crostinis (or toasted baguette slices), spread on the butternut squash puree, a drizzle of honey, ricotta cheese to taste, and a toasted sage leaf.
STUFFED CHERRY TOMATOES:
Rinse 1 pt container of organic cherry tomatoes, slice the tops off, and empty the center using a melon baller. In a separate bowl, mix together 1 organic avocado, ¼ C plain Greek yogurt (or dairy free alternative), 2 tbsp. organic lemon juice, ½ clove of organic garlic (chopped finely), sea salt and pepper to taste, chili flakes, until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Stuff the tomatoes gently with this filling and serve as mini starters to your meal!
SWEET AND SALTY NUT MEDLEY:
In a bowl, add 1 C each of Mike & Mike’s organic walnuts, roasted almonds and roasted cashews. Dust with 1 tbsp. cinnamon, 1 tbsp. maple sugar, and 1 tbsp. sea salt, and mix well so that all nuts are well incorporated. Serve in a bowl for your guests to nibble on
What’s better than biting into a sweetly tart orange on a gloomy day? Oranges, although a popular summer treat, are also heavily featured in holiday cooking and baking.
Want more reasons to eat this fantastic fruit? Check out some nutritional benefits oranges carry:
High in antioxidants – when you think of oranges, right away your mind goes to Vitamin C! This antioxidant is super important in boosting your immunity, protecting your skin, and more.
High in potassium – this mineral is essential in lowering blood sugar.
High in fiber – fiber, as mentioned in previous posts, can help with balancing blood sugar (helpful in managing diabetes), promoting weight loss, and increasing nutrient absorption.
Here are some unique recipes to try at your next gathering:
In a large bowl, add 2-3 C organic arugula, 1 organic orange, peeled and roughly chopped, 1 C organic grapefruit, peeled and roughly chopped, organic ricotta (however much is preferred), sea salt and black pepper to taste, 2 tbsp. balsamic vinaigrette, 1 tbsp. olive oil, and mix well. Serve as a side salad.
ORANGE AND POMEGRANATE BARK:
Mix together 1 C of Greek yogurt, 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract, 2 tbsp. of honey, and 1 tbsp. juice from an organic orange juice. In a small cake pan (8x8in) lined with parchment paper, pour in mixture and smooth out to fill bottom layer of pan. Top with organic pomegranate and orange pieces to your liking, and freeze for 4 hours. Break apart and enjoy as a light snack.
BRUSSELS SPROUT BAKE:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a baking tray (lined with parchment paper), add 1 C chopped organic Brussels sprouts, 3 pieces of chopped bacon, ½ an organic small red onion chopped, ½ a chopped organic orange, topped with sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder and olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes, and serve warm as a side to your meal.
Turmeric is a powerful root with many healing properties. Not only that, but it can be a versatile ingredient in many recipes.
Here are a few reasons why you should be incorporating turmeric into your diet!:
Soothes digestion – turmeric contains curcumin, a strong element that is known for helping aid digestion and reducing an overactive stomach.
Great for improving inflammation – curcumin is mostly known for being a strong deterrent against inflammation caused in muscles and bones, such as arthritis.
Prevents heart disease and Alzheimer’s – turmeric is known to increase antioxidant capacity to a high degree, allowing our body to fight of free radicals or other damaging effects to our heart and brain health.
Try some of these tasty turmeric inspired recipes (be sure to look for that golden glow!):
TURMERIC VEGETABLE FRITTATA:
In a medium-sized skillet, sauté ½ C chopped organic bell peppers, ½ C chopped organic yellow onions, ½ C organic cremini mushrooms, 1 C organic arugula in 2 tbsp. of olive oil for 5 minutes.
In a separate bowl, mix 12 organic eggs, 2 tsp. turmeric, 2 tsp. garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste, 1/3 C milk of your choice, and pour over vegetables in skillet. Add 1/3 C goat cheese. Let cook for about 5 minutes, then finish baking in the oven (keep in skillet) for 10 minutes at 425 degrees. Remove and serve warm!
GOLDEN MILK LATTE:
In a small saucepan, heat up 1 ½ C of a milk of your choice. Add the milk to a blender once it reaches the temperature of your choice. Add ½ tsp. turmeric powder, ½ tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. ground ginger, ½ tsp. vanilla, ¼ tsp. black pepper, 1 tbsp. organic honey or maple syrup, and blend until smooth. Serve warm in your favourite mug!
Winter has finally begun! With the season change, new organic produce is now available for your holiday recipes.
Here is a list of some vegetables to look for at your local grocery stores:
Cabbage – high in fiber, this vegetable is great for aiding in digestion and lowering cholesterol. Enjoy it sautéed, cooked into rolls you can stuff with a delicious filling of your choice, or raw in salads or sandwiches!
Leeks – sulfur compounds found in leeks are known to promote brain function. A popular base used in winter soup recipes.
Potatoes – potatoes can be used in so many ways! Enjoy them pureed, baked with delicious toppings, or even cooked into soups. They are surprisingly beneficial as well, and are high in nutrients and contain starches that are good for gut health.
Yams – these tubular vegetables are high in potassium, which is a key mineral in promoting bone growth and health. Try them cubed and roasted with a maple glaze – perfect for any holiday side!
Turnips – turnips can help manage blood sugar and aid in digestion. They can be enjoyed in a similar fashion as yams and potatoes – try mashed, or roasted with brown sugar and sage.
We are fast approaching the holiday season, and that means lots and lots of amazing, home cooked meals!
Here are some healthy habits to work on incorporating into your diet so that you can enjoy those meals with a little less stress:
WATCH YOUR PORTIONS – if you are worried about potentially overeating to an uncomfortable degree, keep in mind the portions you are eating so that you are not hindering your digestion and reduce bloating.
WATCH YOUR SUGAR – try to reduce the amount of desserts you eat that have a lot of refined sugar. This can help lower your stress levels and help you avoid weight gain.
CHOOSE HIGH NUTRIENT FOODS – as tempting as it is to lean towards eating a lot of junk foods, choosing high-nutrient foods such as lean meats, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables will improve your immune system and give you more energy this holiday season.
CHOOSE WHOLE FOODS – if you are having trouble deciding what foods are best to add to your plate at the dinner table, whole foods are always your best bet! This guarantees that they haven’t been processed or refined in any way that could potentially be harmful to your health.
MODERATION IS KEY – with all this being said, it’s important to ENJOY the holidays! A balanced diet is all about not restricting yourself, so indulging in some treats this season will not push you over the edge.
This week is all about pears! Sweet, filling and with plenty of different varieties, pears are a fantastic ingredient to any winter or fall recipe. Check out just a handful of health benefits that pears can contribute:
Pears are high in soluble fiber – this type of fiber is important to supporting water balance in the body, good bacteria, and digesting your meals.
They are high in flavonoids – these antioxidants are known for their role in reducing inflammation in the body, such as joint, muscle, etc.
Pears are a low glycemic fruit – this is crucial when it comes to managing your weight and maintaining a healthy blood sugar level.
Pears are high in Vitamin C – this makes pears great for fighting of illness and boosting immunity and overall wellness.
Want to find ways to add more pears into your diet? Check out these amazing recipes you can make at home!:
PEAR, WALNUT, ARUGULA AND BLUE CHEESE SALAD:
In a bowl, mix together ½ an organic pear thinly sliced, ½ C chopped organic walnuts, 1-2 C organic arugula, 2 tbsp. balsamic vinaigrette, 1 tbsp. olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, and crumble blue cheese to taste, and enjoy!
HONEY OAT ROASTED PEARS:
Slice and core 4 organic pears and place on a baking sheet on parchment paper. With the skin side down, add 1 small scoop of organic rolled oats, organic chopped walnuts, 1 tbsp. of honey and 1 tsp. cinnamon to each pear. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes and enjoy warm!
PEAR AND BRIE GRILLED CHEESE ON MULTIGRAIN BREAD:
Add a light layer of butter to both sides of 2 slices of multigrain or whole grain bread. Add 3 thin slices of organic pear and 2-3 slices of brie cheese to one slice, cover with the other, and fry in a pan on medium heat on both sides until browned. Enjoy as a decadent lunch.
PEAR AND GINGER SMOOTHIE:
In a blender, add ½ an organic pear, ½ an organic banana, 1 tsp. of fresh organic ginger, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tbsp. honey, ½ C organic spinach, 1 ½ C almond milk, and blend until smooth. Serve as a morning pick me up or snack.
Like many other root vegetables, carrots are a very popular choice to cook with for this season. Although mainly used in savoury dishes, its sweet undertones make it a perfect dessert ingredient as well! Here are some other reasons why you should be eating carrots:
Carrots are a well-known source of antioxidants – with big hitters like carotenoids and Vitamin C, carrots are great for promoting good eye sight, healthy skin, protecting against cancer and much more.
Carrots are great for weight loss – they are not only high in fiber which is useful in digestion, but they are also low calorie!
Carrots contain a high amount of Vitamin A – this vitamin in particular is important in supporting bone health, as it directly effects bone cell metabolism.
Carrots contain glutathione – this amino acid is pertinent to promoting the detoxification of our livers and removing any waste in our body.
Now that you know why you should be eating carrots, here are some unique recipes with this amazing vegetable to try at home!
CARROT CAKE ENERGY BALLS:
In a food processor, add 4-5 medjool dates, 1 C shredded organic carrots, 2 tbsp. shredded coconut, ½ tbsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract, 1 tbsp. hemp hearts, and ¼ C chopped organic walnuts, and blend until well incorporated.
Roll mixture into 1 inch balls, coat with extra shredded coconut and put in the fridge for 1 hour to set.
BALSAMIC ROASTED CARROTS WITH THYME AND SHALLOTS:
On a baking tray on parchment paper, add an array of organic rainbow carrots (greens chopped off at the top), along with ¼ C chopped organic shallots. Brush with olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, and season with black pepper, sea salt, garlic powder and 3 sprigs of thyme. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or until tender. Serve warm!
CARROT PUREE with GARLIC AND COCONUT MILK:
In a pot filled with water, add 3 large chopped organic carrots and bring to a boil. Then, let simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until tender. Add carrots into a food processor, along with 1 clove of organic garlic, sea salt, black pepper and ¾ C coconut milk, ½ tbsp. butter (or vegan alternative) and blend until smooth (add more milk if necessary). Serve as a side to any meal.
Transitioning into the cozy winter season is never complete without comfort foods. And what’s more comforting than potatoes? This vegetable is very versatile and even packs quite a few health benefits you may not be aware of:
The starch in potatoes can actually be good for you! – even though starchy foods tend to be avoided when losing weight, the starches in potatoes can be converted into fatty acids in the body that are beneficial for the growth of good bacteria in the gut. This can help with nutrient absorption and immunity.
Potatoes are full of antioxidants – these can be crucial to reducing the negative effects from free radicals from food and the environment, as well as reducing inflammation.
Potatoes are high in potassium – this mineral is necessary for muscle movement, neurological functions, healthy blood pressure, and mineral and fluid balance in the body.
Check out some delicious potato-forward recipes that will warm you up this season!:
WARM POTATO SALAD (MAYO-FREE!):
Chop up one medium-sized organic red potato into cubes, and add to a pot of water. Let it reach a boil, then let simmer for 10 minutes. In a large pan, add the potatoes, ½ tbsp. minced garlic, 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. finely chopped organic red onion, sea salt & black pepper, and let fry on medium heat until potatoes are crisp.
In a bowl, add the potato mixture and season with one finely chopped organic green onion, 1 tbps. chopped organic parsley, 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard, 1-2 tsp. paprika and a little extra sea salt to taste. Mix and enjoy as a side to your meal.
SWEET POTATO FRITTERS:
In a bowl, add one peeled and shredded organic sweet potato, one organic egg, 1 tbsp. organic almond flour, 1 tsp. garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper to taste, and mix well. In a frying pan on medium-high heat, add 1 tbsp. olive oil. Once hot, scoop in two large spoonfuls of the potato mixture (flattened) and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until browned. Enjoy with a dollop of sour cream and chives, or with your eggs in the morning!
LEMON AND ROSEMARY POTATO WEDGES:
Chop 2 large organic Yukon potatoes into wedges and place on a baking tray. Brush with olive oil, sea salt and black pepper, and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
In a pan on medium heat, cook potatoes along with 2 tbsp. olive oil, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, 2 sprigs of organic rosemary, and 1 tsp of dried parsley. Cook for 3-4 minutes and enjoy warm.
Every year, Halloween is all about spooky scares – but did you ever think about the scary facts about some of the foods we eat on a daily basis?
Here are some creepy facts about popular food items and ways to avoid the freaky affects they may have on our health!:
Through the water bottling process and the fact that it remains stagnant in the plastic container for quite some time, it is easy for the water we are drinking to pick up these unwanted ingredients. Try to always have a reusable metal or glass water bottle on hand and drink fresh, filtered water!
Refined sugars can actually enter our neuropathways similarly to how some drugs do, giving it an addictive quality. This Halloween, lower the amount of sugary candies and chocolates you have, and switch for more naturally sweetened treats!
Not only can food colouring contain neurological toxins, but they can also contain carcinogens! Try swapping your store bought food colouring for more natural food colouring ingredients, like beet powder, spinach, etc. This will give the same pop of colour to your baked goods without the harmful ingredients!
There are lots of preservatives that are added to the food making process for shelf stability and appearance, such as shellac on your jelly beans, or trans fats in your chips. Our body has a hard time digesting these foods, so try to limit your consumption of them and switch to natural, whole foods when you can!
How can you think of fall without thinking about pumpkins?! Organic pumpkins are not only great for carving and decorating, but they are full of fiber and antioxidants! Check out these fantastic fall recipes featuring pumpkins as the star:
SPICED PUMPKIN PASTA SAUCE:
In a pan on medium heat, melt1 tbsp. of butter (or ghee). Add 1 tbsp. of flour to butter and mix until a roux forms. Add 1 clove of chopped organic to the pan as well to cook. Add 1 C of organic milk (or cream/ nut milk alternative) and stir until a thick sauce forms. Then add ½-1 C organic pumpkin puree, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. ginger, black pepper and sea salt to taste, and let simmer for 3-5 minutes. Serve over your choice of noodles!
PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE:
Skip the line at the coffee shop and make your own! In a blender, add 1 C of brewed coffee, 2 tbsp. of organic pumpkin puree (add more if you’d like the extra pumpkin flavour!), 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, 2 tbsp. organic nut milk, and ½ tsp. of pure vanilla extract, and blend until smooth and frothy. Pour into your favourite mug and enjoy warm.
Wake up to your favourite fall flavour! In a blender, add 2-3 tbsp. organic pumpkin puree, 1 tbsp. almond butter, ½ a banana, 1 tbsp. organic maple syrup, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, ½ tsp. ground ginger, 1 ½ C oat milk, and your choice of vanilla protein powder (optional). Enjoy!
Create a fan favourite with a bit of a twist! In a food processor, add 1 can of organic chickpeas, 1 C of organic pumpkin puree (or roasted pumpkin), 1 clove of garlic, 1-2 tbsp. olive oil, 2 tbsp. tahini, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper and sea salt to taste, and blend until smooth. Dip with your favourite veggies or chips!
Fall season is in full swing in Ontario, which means that grocery stores and farmer’s markets are packed with seasonal organic produce.
Not sure what’s in season? Here are some items to look out for:
Fennel – this fall vegetable is high in manganese, phosphate and calcium, all of which are perfect for maintaining bone health. With a slight licorice flavour, fennel pairs well with apples and would make a delicious fall salad.
Eggplant – Eggplants contain multiple antioxidants, and are beneficial for weight loss as they are high in fiber and low in calories. Because of its earthy flavour and meaty texture, they make a great meat substitution in lasagnas, burgers, pizzas and more!
Parsnips – This vegetable contains a high level of vitamins E & C, as well as folate, which are all beneficial for maintaining eye and oral health. To enjoy, boil until soft, then blend with garlic, salt and pepper to make a tasty puree.
Rutabaga – Eating rutabaga will provide you with antioxidants to prevent premature aging, as well as potassium that will maintain heart health. Similar to a potato, rutabagas can be served roasted or mashed.
Artichokes – Artichokes are high in a variety of nutrients and contain specific antioxidants that promote liver health and detoxification. Have then cooked in pasta, raw in salads, or pureed into savoury dips!
Squashes – With so many varieties available, these highly nutritious and fibrous vegetables are perfect for soups, pastas, roasted dishes and more!