Monthly Archives: April 2013

5 Minutes

We started a new class last night at school: Psychology of disease. We ended up talking a lot about intuition last night, especially about taking the time to listen to your subconscious. Our instructor spoke about a life changing challenge she took part in about 20 years ago, it was essentially the 5 minutes to a better life challenge.

What is it? what do you have to do?

What you need to do is take 5 minutes a day to meditate and just be with your thoughts for 100 days straight.

At first I thought, wow thats easy, only 5 minutes a day, I can do that. But then I really got thinking. Although I try to take some time for myself daily it usually involves my computer, my phone or my TV, its hard to really ‘check in’ with yourself with those kind of distractions. I’m definitely going to make an effort to take 5 quiet minutes a day. These few minutes will allow me to check in and really listen to what my intuition, my gut, is telling me about how I’m living my life, about the decisions I make daily. I’ve never really done any sort of meditation before so I plan on starting by just lying on the couch, eyes closed, focusing on my breathing and trying to clear my mind.

Why do it? At first I was a little sceptical but now I’m thinking whats the harm? It might be nice to take a few minutes each day to just visualize the things I want to accomplish and how I’m going to get there or to simply just quiet my mind- Im a bit of an over- thinker 🙂

What I like so much about this kind of challenge is that it focuses on something we all have- intuition- but don’t use. Think of how many difficult situations we would all avoid if we had all only listened to ourselves a little more. I don’t know about you, but when I slow down and really listen to myself the answer I’m looking for is always so obvious- almost shouting at me.

I’m hoping it will get my days off to a good start, wish me luck!

Now onto one of my current favourite treats.

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Blueberry banana crumble for 1 (Paleo, gluten-free, vegan):

Filling:1/2 ripe banana sliced thinly, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1 tbsp maple syrup… stir together and put in the bottom of a single oven safe ramekin

Topping: 3 tbsp unsweetened, un-sulphered shredded coconut, 1/4 cup almond flour, 1handful almonds chopped, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp coconut oil, 1 tbsp maple syrup… mix together and top filling.

Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until nice and golden on top. I love this with a big dollop of organic vanilla greek yogurt, coconut milk ice cream or as a ‘cereal’ with a little almond milk poured on top.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we do 🙂

Filthy Fifteen…with a side of GMO deets

When I first started on this nutritional journey I was still pretty skeptical about this organic movement. I thought it was just another trend and a way for major companies to make more $$.

Well, now I’m definitely singing a different tune. I’m now happily apart of that organic crowd, especially when it comes to produce and animal products. I’m sure you have all heard that some fruits and veggies are sprayed with pesticides more heavily than others; I like to call these the filthy fifteen. (Side note- organic also means no GMO (genetically modified organism-NOT NATURAL!), any produce that you buy non-organic can potentially be GMO). Excess pesticides and herbicides are not only bad for our health but they are devastating to the environment. Extra chemicals being sprayed results in more chemicals in the environment as well as the creation of super bugs and super weeds leading to even more pesticide/herbicide use the following years.

In my opinion, pesticides are not the only reason to be concerned. GMO’s are not only bad for your health but they are also devastating to the environment. Merging DNA from different species creates GMO foods.

Why is this done? Mostly to combine the most appealing traits of 2 or more species into one, that way GMO corn for example, has the ability to kill the pests that eat it without hurting both their crop and capital. Other appealing trails are often to increase size, shelf life and enhance color. The problems with GMO foods are extensive but the big ones, in my opinion, are that GMOs have never been proven in a single study to be safe for human consumption- how can a food that has its own built in pesticide be safe! Apart from the obvious human health concerns there is also the health of the environment. A major threat is the extinguishment of vegetative and animal species through airborne pollution. Airborne pollution occurs when GMO crops transfer their genes to wild crops through either wind blown or animal pollination. This then results in a hybridization of the GMO crop with the non-GMO crop, which will drastically alter the ecosystem. Another concern with GMO’s are the increased use of herbicides and pesticides, because the crops are modified to be herbicide/pesticide resistant, farmers are more likely to over spray knowing their crops are resistant… what does this mean? much more herbicides and pesticide in our food and the creation of herbicide/pesticide resident weeds and pests meaning even more stronger chemicals the following year.

…wow quite the tangent, i started talking about organic versus non-organic and went off about GMO’s but as you can see they are not separate issues. Obviously I can’t force anyone to automatically switch from non-organic, GMO foods but hopefully by providing you with the information you’ll be able to make the right decision.

So with that being said, what foods should you avoid if you don’t want GMO?

The most common GMO foods are:

1-soy

2-corn

3-cottonseed (used in veggie cooking oils)

4-Canola

5-sugar from sugar beets

6-Hawaiian papaya

7-zuccinni (some varieties)

8-crookneck squash

And for the filthy fifteen, try to always always buy organic of the following:

1-apples

2-celery

3-sweet bell peppers

4-peaches

5-strawberries

6-nectarines

7-grapes

8-spinach

9-cherry tomatoes

10-cucumbers

11-summer squash

12-potatoes

13-hot peppers

14-kale

15-tomatoes

I know some people question the cost of organic non GMO foods, but in my opinion i’d rather spend the money on good quality food than on the eventual doctors bills…

So what should you do with all that yummy organic, non GMO food? eat a yummy fresh salad (or 2) of course.

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First up is my mock whole foods sesame kale salad: 1 bunch organic kale washed and chopped, 1 tsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil, 1 clove garlic minced, 1/2 tbsp minced fresh ginger, 1/2 tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce or soy aminos), 1 tsp honey, 1 tbsp sesame seeds… mix all dressing ingredients together and massage into kale, let sit for about 30 minutes before eating and enjoy 🙂

Second up is my toasted almond, cranberry quinoa salad (submitted to wellness weekend):

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1 1/2 cup dried quinoa, cooked and cooled, 2 handfuls dried cranberries, 2 handfuls almonds toasted then chopped,1 large handful cilantro- 1/4 cup chopped,1 pint cherry tomatoes cut into quarters, 1 red or yellow pepper diced, 1 bunch green onion diced

dressing: juice from 1 large lime, 1 tbsp maple syrup,1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of salt

toss and let flavors mingle for a while in the fridge before serving

And just because… Taffy says hi 🙂

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For the love of coconut oil

You know that deserted Island question? The one where your asked what 5 things would you bring with you to a deserted Island… well 1 of my 5 would most definitely be coconut oil. I have a deep deep love for coconut oil. At first I thought it was just a phase, but here we are about 3 years later and i’m still crushing. I use coconut oil not just for baking and cooking but for hair care and face care.

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(Note the size… I blow through this stuff crazy fast)

The health and nutritional benefits of coconut oil are endless! Not only is coconut oil naturally anti fungal, anti viral and anti bacterial, but it also promotes weight loss, is safe for cooking and baking and can be used as an all purpose body care product.

Yes coconut oil is a fat, mostly saturated fat, but, as stated before, it is composed of mostly medium chain fatty acids, which are very readily absorbed and used for immediate energy instead of being stored as fat.

So what are some of my favorite uses of this magical oil?

1-   Baking… I use it in almost every single recipe.

2-   Stir-frying, baking, roasting… there’s nothing like roasted veggies tossed in coconut oil, salt and pepper.

3-   Moisturizer… I use it as an all around body/ face moisturizer, bonus I smell like coconut.

4-   Scalp care… I have a fairly dry scalp and find massaging a small amount of oil into my scalp before bed a few nights a week really helps.

5-   Makeup remover… I have yet to find anything that works better.

6-   Hair conditioner… I use it as a over-night hair mask, your hair will never feel softer.

7-   Smoothies…I love a rich thick smoothie, the coconut oil adds a depth and richness that I can’t get enough of.

Sounds like a pretty amazing product right! Hopefully at this point everyone has some coconut oil kicking around the house and just needed a little reminder of how versatile it really is.

As I said before, my favorite use is for baking. I made these muffins the other day when I had a chocolate craving and they were a huge hit, hopefully you’ll enjoy them too.

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Chocolate chip muffins (submitted to wellness weekend)

3/4 cup brown rice flour

3/4 cup millet flour

1/2 cup almond flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup applesauce

1/4 cup coconut oil melted

1/4 cup coconut milk

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 flax egg

1 cup chocolate chips

Mix dry together, mix wet together. Mix wet into dry, stir in chocolate chips, fill muffin tins Âľ full and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes (yields 12 muffins)

Any other favourite coconut oil uses out there?

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