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!
Having troubles with acne? Wrinkles? Oily skin?
Your skin is a very delicate organ and can easily get affected by environmental factors, as well as the food you eat. Therefore, by carefully selecting the foods in your diet, you can really change the quality of your skin!
Here are some food suggestions that will greatly benefit your skin health:
Citrus fruits and berries – these fruits which are high in vitamin C are great for detoxifying your skin and protecting it from harmful environmental elements and sun damage. Vitamin C can also boost collagen growth, which is key to firming up skin and reducing wrinkles.
Chia, hemp hearts and avocados – these foods are high in Omega-3’s, healthy fats that keep the membranes of skin cells healthy and prevent toxins from entering and causing breakouts.
Brazil nuts – these nuts are high in selenium, which is an important factor in lowering the risk of skin cancer.
Almonds – high in vitamin E, eating more almonds can help promote skin cell growth and reduce any oxidative damage caused from pollution, poor diet, etc.
Spinach, kale, collards, and arugula – dark leafy greens are very liver friendly, and help promote the filtering out of toxins that can negatively affect skin.
Featured Recipe: MIXED BERRY & NUT SALAD
In a bowl, add (quantities are up to you!) organic spinach, baby kale, goat cheese, crushed walnuts, mandarin slices, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, sea salt, pepper and hemp hearts. Mix and enjoy as a side dish, or add protein such as cooked chicken or a hearty vegetable like beets to make it a main course!
Continuing on with easy changes to your health in the new year, one thing that can make a huge impact is switching your cheat snacks (like chocolate bars and chips) to eating more fruits and vegetables.
One fruit that everyone loves to snack on is undoubtedly the blueberry. Blueberries are not only a delicious treat, but they also contain many important health benefits:
Blueberries are high in antioxidants – we have stressed the importance of antioxidant in previous posts, commenting on how they are needed to boost your immune system, protect against free radicals and prevent against cancer. Blueberries contain a particular antioxidant, anthocyanin, which is responsible for all of these benefits.
They are essential to your digestive system – blueberries are high in fiber and nutrients which help reduce bloating, promote weight loss, and improve the digestive process.
Blueberries are a smart snack – not only are they high in nutrients and fiber, but they also have a high water content which is important for detoxification and hydration. Blueberries are also low in calories, making them a good snack to have without feeling like you are overindulging.
They have long term health benefits – multiple studies have shown that including more blueberries in your diet can actually aid in brain function and lower the risk of degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Featured Recipe: NO-BAKE BLUEBERRY COCONUT BARS:
To make this delicious treat, start with the crust! In a food processor, add 1 cup of pitted dates, ½ C almonds, ½ C walnuts, 1 tbsp. coconut oil and ½ tbsp. honey, and blend. Line a small baking dish with parchment paper, pack down the crust and freeze for 1 hour.
While you are waiting, add 1 can coconut milk, 1 C blueberries, 2 tbsp. honey, 1 tsp coconut oil, 1 tbsp. lemon juice to a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour onto the crust and let set in the freezer for 2-4 hours. Cut into squares and enjoy!
New year, new goals! As we step into 2019, most of us are thinking about personal resolutions and how we are going to achieve them.
In regards to your health, there are tons of small changes you can make that are easy to stick to, and can actually make a big positive impact on your overall health!:
Drink more water – Drinking more water will help you stay hydrated, increase your energy, and even promote weight loss. Having trouble sticking to it? Try setting alarms on your phone or downloading an app that provides you with daily reminders.
Support your gut – Your gut is the underlying powerhouse to your immune system! It’s where all of your nutrients from the food you eat gets absorbed and transported throughout your body. An easy way to keep it healthy is by slowing down on the refined carbs and eating more fermented foods. This includes yogurt, kefir and sauerkraut.
Improve your digestion – When your digestion is working optimally, you don’t need to worry about weight gain or bloating. This can be done by eating more fiber and leafy greens in your diet, eating smaller, more frequent portions, and chewing your food more!
More meal prep, less eating out – Eating at restaurants frequently can lead you to having more calories, more unhealthy foods, and less money! Try budgeting these meals, or keeping yourself accountable by only going out once or twice a week.
The holiday season is right around the corner – have you finished your shopping for friends and relatives?
Not to worry! Mike & Mike’s has some awesome – and easy! – gift ideas that will have everyone baking up a storm in the new year. Recipes with dry ingredients in a jar is a great personalized present that everyone will enjoy, and it gives them a chance to create in the kitchen.
How to set up each jar:
HOT CHOCOLATE MIX:
Mix in a medium or small jar raw cacao powder, coconut sugar and cinnamon to taste. Make sure to note that they can add the amount to a cup of milk to taste (once heated). Put some marshmallows on top and seal the lid.
Add 1/3 C coconut shreds, 1 C of oats, 5-6 pitted dates, 1/3 C M&M organic dried cranberries, 1/3 C dark chocolate pieces in layers. The only direction is to blend in a food processor and roll the mixture in to little balls and refridgerate.
Add 1 C whole wheat flour, 1 tsp. baking powder, pinch of salt, 3 tbsp. raw cacao or cocoa powder, ½ C coconut sugar and a handful of dark chocolate chips. For the ingredient sheet, let them know to mix in 2 eggs and 1 C milk and to mix well, heat at 350 for 25 min and enjoy!
Add 1/3 C raw cacao or cocoa powder, 1 C M&M raw cashews, 1/3 C dark chocolate chips in layers to a jar. Make note to add all the ingredients to a food processor, with 1 C almond milk, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 3 tbsp. honey or maple syrup, and 1 tsp. peppermint extract or mint leaves, and blend. Pour into moulds and freeze until firm, and enjoy!