Decorating Easter eggs is a highlight of the Easter holiday. But did you know eggs carry a lot of health benefits for us in our diet?
Here are a few reasons to eat this tasty and versatile ingredient:
Eggs are a complete protein – this means that eggs contain all nine essential amino acids that we cannot synthesize ourselves. These amino acids are responsible for so many processes in our bodies, such as hormonal production, muscle growth, energy, etc. Most vegetarian protein sources such as nuts and legumes are not complete proteins and must be combined to get the full benefit.
Eggs contain “good” cholesterol – while eggs actually get a bad reputation for contributing to cholesterol build up your arteries, this isn’t really the case. Eggs have HDL cholesterol, which is responsible for removing the “bad” (LDL) cholesterol in your blood that can contribute to heart and circulation issues.
Eggs are full of nutrients – eggs contain carotenoids such as lutein, which is an antioxidant responsible for protecting your eyes from disease, degeneration and other issues. They also contain an abundance of vitamins and minerals.
Eggs can help promote weight loss – because eggs contain a high amount of protein, making them the star of your meal can make you feel fuller, contribute to muscle growth and lower the chance of unhealthy weight gain!
Here are some deliciously egg-y recipes you can try this Easter holiday that will be a hit with your guests!:
MAYO – FREE DEVILED EGGS:
Hard boil 8 eggs, peel them and slice them length-wise in half. Remove the yolks and place them in a bowl. Mix them with ½ an organic avocado, 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard, 1 tsp. lemon juice, salt, pepper and dill to taste. Pipe the yolk mixture back into the egg whites, sprinkle with smoked paprika and enjoy!
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Use 1 tbsp. of butter to coat the insides of a muffin tin. In a bowl, mix 6 eggs well and pour into the muffin tins. Add your desired amount of chives, shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled bacon (optional), salt and pepper to egg mixes. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes and serve warm.
Spring is here! Now that the snow has disappeared and the rain has begun, it is the perfect time to begin planning your at-home garden.
If you are a beginner and are looking to grow your own vegetables, here are some tips to getting started:
Spring is officially here! Soon we can say so long to the snow and hello to the fresh flowers – and produce! As we head into the new season, there are plenty of new varieties of fruits and vegetables to look forward to:
Artichokes – delicious in cheesy spinach dips, salads, soups and more. Not only are they tasty, but also high in fiber, are healthy for your liver, and can lower blood sugar.
Asparagus – asparagus makes a great side to fish dishes, especially when grilled. It naturally aids in the body’s water balance and reduces cognitive issues.
Apricots – high in vitamin A for skin health, as well as calcium for bone support. Try it cooked down into a jam, or dried in your favourite granola.
Beets – raw or cooked, beets are extremely versatile and can be added to many different recipes – salads, pastas, baked sides and more. They are also high in iron, B vitamins and antioxidants.
Brussels sprouts – you can never go wrong with pan fried garlic and lemon Brussels sprouts! This sulfur-filled vegetable is an incredible source of antioxidants and plays a big part in protecting your body from free radicals.
Spring greens – chard, arugula, spinach and lettuce make a big appearance in Spring time, and are all full of nutrients and support liver detox. Spice up your salads with these greens, citrus and nuts!
Peas – add to your favourite pasta or salad dish to give it a nice crunch! They can also reduce bloating and keep you feeling fuller with their high protein content.
Radishes – hydrating and full of fiber, radishes are the perfect addition to any salad with their unique taste and texture.
Rhubarb – possibly the most representative of the Spring season, and a big contributor to bone and heart health, the stalks of rhubarb are great in sweet desserts, pies, cobblers, cakes and more!
As we wind down from March, which is Nutrition Month, there are so many things to keep in mind for your everyday diet that can help benefit your overall health. Here are just a few basics that you can easily incorporate in your nutritional habits:
Eat whole foods – eating foods in their most basic form ensures that they are free from any additives, preservatives, chemicals, or allergens. This also means your body will be able to digest them much more easily.
Avoid refined sugars and carbs – foods that have been overly processed can be hard for the body to digest, and refined sugars can especially be harmful to your mental health by contributing to stress, anxiety and depression, as well as promote weight gain.
Eat simple carbs before your protein or complex carbs – because it takes much longer to digest proteins and heavy carbs, it’s always preferred to eat them last. If you tend to eat fruits or other simple carbs after a meal, they will digest quickly and begin to ferment as they are sitting in your stomach with the other food, causing bloating and indigestion.
Stay alkaline! – eating heavy fats, proteins and carbs consistently can leave your body acidic, which can cause bloating, nausea, body odor, and more unpleasant symptoms. Eating more alkaline (or high pH) foods like dark leafy greens, fruits, nuts and legumes, can help alleviate these issues.
It’s all about variety – try mixing up the foods you eat! Don’t just stick to the same foods over and over, as overtime you could potentially develop a food sensitivity.
Eat more probiotics – fermented foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut are very high in probiotics, which will support your gut health, improve your mood, reduce bloating, improve mental clarity, and help absorb nutrients from your food.
What’s your favourite nut? There are so many tasty varieties, it’s hard to choose! Not only do they make a great trail mix, but all of them contain different nutritional benefits:
Brazil Nuts – selenium for thyroid, antioxidants for skin, magnesium for muscles and blood pressure.
Almonds – protein and fiber, minerals, high in nutrients, and vitamin E to help boost immunity as well as protect your skin and eyes.
Cashews – high magnesium for bone and joint health, copper to synthesize collagen and protect potential damage caused by osteoporosis, and when soaked and blended, makes a great dairy substitute!
Walnuts – high in omega-3’s that contribute to brain function, focus and lowering inflammation, and increase the amount of healthy bacteria in your gut which are responsible for nutrient absorption.
Pine Nuts – contain anti-aging antioxidants (such as vitamin C), lutein to reduce the risk of eye disease, high in zinc to boost immunity, as well as iron for higher oxygen levels in the blood for energy.
Bored of plain nuts for snacking? Try these delicious and healthy recipes:
In a bowl, mix together 1 C organic rolled oats, ½ C chopped almonds, ½ C chopped walnuts, 2 tbsp. organic maple syrup, 1 tbsp. honey, 1 tbsp. coconut oil, ½ tsp. vanilla extract, 1 tsp cinnamon and a pinch of sea salt. Spread flat on baking tray with parchment paper and bake for 12 minutes at 300 degrees. Add ¼ C dried mangoes, ¼ C dried banana chips and ¼ C shredded coconut and let cool. Use as a topping for a yogurt parfait!
In a bowl, add 1 C of your favourite nut butter, 1 tbsp. organic maple syrup, 1 tsp. maca powder, 1 tsp. cinnamon, ½ C organic rolled oats and dark chocolate chips to taste. Mix and let cool in the fridge for 1 hour. Once cool, roll into 1-inch balls and enjoy!
As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, it’s time to celebrate everything green! Here are some fruit and vegetable superstars that are not only green, but contain healthy benefits as well:
Spinach – liver detoxification, vitamins C, fiber, potassium, B vitamins.
Kale – Vitamins A & K, fiber, protein, omega-3s, antioxidants, lower cholesterol.
Chard – iron, magnesium, calcium, balance blood sugar.
Leafy lettuce – high water content, weight loss, vitamin K, skin health.
Limes – antioxidants, iron absorption.
Broccoli – high sulfur content that helps fight against cancer.
Arugula – reduces blood pressure and inflammation, liver detoxification.
Avocado – healthy fats that promote mental clarity, weight loss and improved mood.
Asparagus – high in vitamins, iron, protein, reduce urinary tract infections.
Green apples – high in dietary fiber, low on the Glycemic index.
Green pears – high in fiber and antioxidants, reduces inflammation.
Try one of these deliciously green recipes to rep your St. Patrick’s week!:
GREENER THAN GREEN SMOOTHIE:
In a blender, add 1 banana, ½ an organic Granny Smith apple, ¼ C spinach, ¼ C kale, ½ juice of a lemon, 1 tsp. fresh ginger, 1 tbsp. hemp hearts, 1 ½ C almond milk and an optional scoop of vanilla protein powder. Blend and enjoy!
PESTO PASTA BOWL:
In a small pot filled with water and ¼ C olive oil, add 1 serving portion of organic pasta and bring to a boil for 8 minutes (or as directed on packaging). In a pan on medium heat, sauté chopped asparagus, spinach, garlic, yellow onion and green peas in olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt and pepper for 5 minutes. Combine vegetables and cooked pasta, along with 2 tbsp. pesto*
*For pesto, blend 1 C basil, 1 C pine nuts, ¼ C olive oil (add more if needed), salt, pepper, and 2 cloves garlic in food processor.
These days, organic produce and grocery sales are booming, with over 60% of Canadian shoppers currently buying from the organic section. But the question always remains – is it REALLY better to buy organic?
There are tons of pros to eating organic that not only affect us, but our planet:
Growing organic is better for the environment – due to growing standards, owning an organic farm means that there are lots of restrictions to adding pesticides and herbicides to crops. This means that there are less chemicals in the water runoff, which is safer for us and animals when it comes to our drinking water. The soil will also be protected from chemicals as well, therefore being more fertile, better quality and with more minerals for the continued growing season.
Less danger of us getting tainted produce – With the restrictions on pesticides, this means that our food will have far less chemicals that could potentially be harmful to us over a longer period of time.
Organic food is guaranteed to be fresh – this is because no preservatives can be added to organic food, unlike conventional produce, so the quality of the product is based on how recently it was harvested. There will also be a higher amount of natural antioxidants and nutrients present.
Organic farming is more sustainable – by using natural fertilizers that contain little chemicals, as well as using techniques such as crop rotation, organic farming prolongs the chances of being able to harvest on the same land without causing pollution.
Now, for the dirty dozen of 2019! These items should always be purchased organic, as they have the highest chance of containing the most chemicals and pollutants:
Celery is a very trendy vegetable these days – and for good reason! Most people think of celery as a plain item that’s just an easy snack or the base for a soup, but there is way more to it than meets the eye.
Celery is great for managing your weight – with a high fiber and water content, celery is great for helping promote digestion, providing energy, absorbing nutrients, which in turn can actually help promote weight loss. It is also very low in calories, which makes it a great alternative to other high-calorie snacks.
Celery is packed with good stuff! – there are tons of nutrients, vitamins and minerals packed into celery that not many people may be aware of. It is high in vitamin K, which is involved in blood clotting, metabolism and bone growth, as well as folate, which plays a part in the production of blood cells and energy conversion.
It contains antioxidants – vitamin C, in particular! This we know is very important when it comes to protecting skin from UV damage, fighting the flu, and more.
Try this warming soup recipe, with celery as the main ingredient:
CELERY, LEEK AND POTATO SOUP:
In a medium-heat pot, cook 1 chopped onion and 5 chopped garlic cloves for 3-5 minutes. Once browned, add 5 cups of chopped celery, 1 large yellow potato (chopped and peeled) and 1 C leek and let cook for another 3 minutes. Add 4 cups of bone broth, 1 cup of water, salt and pepper to taste, and cover with a lid. Let simmer for about 10 minutes on low heat, or until potatoes become soft. Once cooked, emulsify mixture, pour into bowls and enjoy!
Although you may think of hot, tropical seasons when it comes to eating papayas, they are actually planted early in the year, harvested and ready to be eaten year round!
Papayas have important properties that not many people are aware of, and can be very beneficial to multiple aspects of your health:
Papayas contain lycopene – as mentioned in previous posts, lycopene is a very potent antioxidant that can help with a number of health issues. For example, lowering blood pressure, alleviating inflammation related to arthritis, boosting your immunity and more!
They are great for your digestion – papayas contain papain, a powerful digestive enzyme that can help break down your food, especially proteins and complex carbs, and reduce bloating or discomfort after heavy meals.
Papayas are high in fiber – the fiber from this fruit is also useful when it comes to aiding in digestion and balancing your gut bacteria, which plays a big role in absorbing nutrients.
Luckily, papayas can make excellent sweet AND savory dishes! Here are a couple of recipes for you to try:
In a blender, add ½ C organic mango, ¼ C pineapple, ¼ C papaya, 1 tbsp. coconut shreds, 1 tbsp. coconut oil, 1 ½ C coconut milk, 1 tbsp. honey, 1 tsp. hemp hearts and 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional). Blend until smooth and enjoy!
Chop 1 C organic mango, 1 C papaya, 1/2 C bell pepper, ½ C red onion and 1 garlic clove and add to a small bowl. Add cilantro, salt and pepper to taste, and 1 tbsp. lime juice. Mix together and serve as a side dish for lunch or dinner.
Its Valentine’s Day week! This day not only represents romance, but also self-love! And since hearts are the main symbol for this holiday, we have a few tips on how to eat well for your heart health:
Citrus – fruits that are high in vitamin C, such as oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit, are essential to your heart health as this vitamin helps protect against heart disease.
Tomatoes and blueberries – high in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, tomatoes are great to eat that will lower bad cholesterol, also known as LDL. Berries, particularly blueberries, contain high amounts of antioxidants called flavonoids that also lower LDL cholesterol, as well as dilate your blood vessels to lower blood pressure.
Green tea – green tea is filled with multiple antioxidants that can help boost your immune system and protect your heart. It also contains and LDL-reducing element, known as catechins.
Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds – nuts and seeds that contain high contents of healthy fats can actually help protect the heart by displacing bad cholesterol and building up your good cholesterol (HDL).
Cacao – raw cacao is high in magnesium, which is great for reducing hypertension, lowering blood pressure and maintaining a healthy heart beat. It also contains an abundance of flavonoids.
Featured Recipe: HAZELNUT AND RASPBERRY TRUFFLES
In a food processor, blend 1 C hazelnut flour, 1 C rolled oat flour, ½ C hazelnut butter, ¼ C maple syrup, ¼ C honey, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, ¼ C raw cacao powder and blend until smooth.
Halve raspberries and fold mixture over them until they form small 2-inch balls. Coat in raw cacao powder (if too bitter, skip this step) and enjoy!
Now that we are right in the heart of the winter season, it’s obvious that there are some changes that always come along with the cold weather – energy decreases, dry skin, cold and flues become more prevalent…
To make sure we are at optimum health during this time, here are a couple of tips to keep in mind:
Increase your vitamin D intake – with lack of sun in the winter, especially in Canada, we are depleted of the natural D vitamins we receive from UV rays. Try supplementing with D3 vitamins, or eating more foods with healthy fats that can help convert vitamin in our bodies (ie. fish, eggs, nuts and seeds).
Sleep in! – as the days get darker sooner, it is very tempting to go to bed earlier – go with it! Our immune systems work best during sleep, so it’s important to get as much as you can during cold and flu season.
Stay active – winter activities such as hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, etc. are fun, but sometimes not practical to do often. Try to get at least 30 minutes a day of mild to moderate workouts, even just walking, to keep up energy levels and boost mental health.
High energy foods – It’s often that our energy levels can get a little low during the winter months due to the cold. Try eating foods that are high in iron, vitamin B’s and healthy fats to improve mental clarity, reduce stress and keep up energy throughout the day. This includes dark leafy greens, coconut oil, beans, lean meats, fish, etc.
Increase magnesium intake – SAD (or seasonal affective disorder), common during the winter months, can lead to symptoms of anxiety and depression. Having more magnesium in your diet can actually help relieve these symptoms, as well as boost your circulation to increase your energy. High magnesium foods include nuts and seeds, legumes, seafood, etc.
Although a little messy to deal with, beets have a delicious, slightly sweet flavour profile that allows it to be used in multiple dishes. Cooked, baked, or raw, this vegetable is not only tasty, but it is packed with lots of nutrients that are essential to our health.
Beets are high in iron – In our red blood cells, iron is responsible for aiding the transport of oxygen from our blood to the rest of our body. The more iron in our diet, the more oxygen that will be available to our organs, giving us more energy overall. This makes beets an important staple to vegetarians and vegans, as iron is usually found in high quantities in meat products.
They contain high amounts of B vitamins – B vitamins, such as B12, play a big part in increasing energy at a consistent level throughout the day, reducing stress, keeping our hormones healthy, etc.
Beets are high in antioxidants – noted by their deep redish-purple colour, beets are high in vitamins A and C, powerful antioxidants that are beneficial to our immune system.
They can help mediate blood pressure – beets are actually quite high in nitrates, which have the ability to dilate blood vessels. This allows for an easier blood flow and reduced blood pressure rate.
Beets are high in fiber – as mentioned in previous posts, fiber is great for improving digestion and losing weight, and beets have plenty!
Featured Recipe: BEET AND GOAT CHEESE CROSTINI
In a small bowl, mix together a small package of goat cheese with black pepper, garlic powder and chopped organic green onions. Using organic crostini or crackers, spread the goat cheese mixture onto the crackers. Top with chopped organic cooked beets. Serve as an appetizer at your next get together!