Category Archives: school

Healthy Happy Liver

Right now I’m taking a herbal medicine class at school and I am LOVING it! It has been so interesting learning about the power of herbs! One class I enjoyed in particular was all about digestion (I have celiac… AKA I have major digestive problems!). The class discussed the use of bitter herbs and how they stimulate the production of digestive juices as well as aid the liver in detoxification. I feel like we can all use a little help in the digestive/ detox department!

Unfortunately, because of its unpleasant taste (to most people), we have almost eliminated bitter tastes completely from our western diet. It’s such a shame too because some of the most common diseases, such as indigestion, acid reflux, any digestive issues and most metabolic disorders are derived from the lack of bitter in our diet.

Interested in adding a little bitter back into you life? A few examples you should try:

  • Arugula, kale, dandelion and endive is a great addition to any salad
  • Cacao- not to be confused with a bar of chocolate 😉
  • Sesame seeds, sesame oil
  • Cumin, turmeric

Easy enough right!

I’m currently doing a liver detox with some friends from school as well as the man friend. Although I believe the body is made to detox itself, I also recognize we live in a much more toxic environment than ever before so a little help never hurt!

We aren’t doing anything too extreme just a herbal detox with a simple diet. We created a herbal tincture to help us detox and support our livers through the process, it contains:

  • Dandelion root- great for liver detox! helps stimulate the secretion of bile
  • Milk thistle-great to help increase the secretion and flow of bile from the liver and gall-bladder
  • Licorice- an all around super herb! Licorice is a great adaptogen used to help the body adapt and deal with stresses, it also contains anti-inflammatory and anti- spasmodic actions which are all great for the digestive system because as we all know stress causes inflammation and also has a huge impact on our gut health.
  • Schizandra berry- another adaptogen known for its amazing health and body regulating abilities. Also known as a whole body tonic.
  • Turmeric- the super herb! Honestly turmeric has so many amazing properties it’s hard to do it justice. Turmeric is a carminative meaning it helps relieve gas and bloating, it stimulates bile production in the liver, is anti-inflammatory to the mucus membranes that line our GI tract, is anti-spasmodic to help decrease digestive/menstrual cramps…. Basically it’s the best, and it’s super yummy-bonus!

The diet we are following for the detox is merely a whole food, no sugar (including honey, maple syrup and molasses), no dairy, no gluten, no booze (duh!) diet. We are doing the detox for 2 weeks total so I’ll keep you posted on how I’m feeling! Right now I’m on day 3 and I have to say I’m HANGRY! I’m definitely having some sugar cravings but I know those will pass…I’m excited to see how I feel at the end. Wish me luck!

So what will I be eating during this 2 week period? Well , lots of fresh fruit and veggies, quinoa, organic meat and eggs, nuts, seeds and lots of avocado 🙂 It’s actually been really delicious so far!

I’m also trying to add as many greens as possible, I have been using 2 different products to try and make this easier. The first is called organic greens + and the second is vega’s chlorella. During the winter I sometimes struggle to find good quality organic greens, these definitely make life easier. Both are amazing sources of chlorophyll, protein, vitamins and minerals- sounds great to me!

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To make life a little easier for the man friend I made him some portable protein bars as well as a breakfast bake, both loaded with quinoa and hemp hearts to help him feel extra satisfied.

Apple cinnamon quinoa bake:

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2 cups cooked quinoa

1 tbsp coconut oil

3 apples chopped

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

½ cup chopped walnuts

3 eggs

1 cup almond milk

¼ cup hemp hearts

¼ cup chopped dates

Cook the apples in coconut oil over medium high heat on the stove with the cinnamon and the dates. While that’s cooking whisk the eggs with the vanilla and slowly add in the cooked quinoa. Once the apples are cooked, add them to the quinoa egg mixture and stir in the walnuts and hemp hearts. Pour into a greased casserole dish and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes. Serve with a big dollup of almond butter for a super filling yummy breakfast

Next up

Almond butter quinoa protein bars:

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2 cups cooked quinoa

¾ cup almond butter

1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2cup sunflower seeds

1/2cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 hemp hearts

¼ – 1/2 cup chopped dates

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla

Heat the almond butter in a pot on the stove over medium heat, once warm and gooey stir in the vanilla, cinnamon, quinoa, seeds, nuts and dates and stir until well combined.  Pour dough into parchment lined casserole dish and press down firmly. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes; allow bars to cool completely before cutting. The bars will be quite crumbly so I keep them wrapped individually in the freezer for easy grab and go convenience.

I used walnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds because that’s what I had on hand but feel free to use whatever mix-ins you want.

Hope you enjoy!

 

I should also add a little note: if you’re preggo, be cautious with bitters because they have the ability to cause uterine contractions which is obviously not a good thing until you close to your due date!

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Back at it

Today is the day… I start my 2nd and last year of school (hopefully forever… i’ve said that before!). In just 11 short months (I hope) I will be graduating as a certified and registered holistic nutritionist! yay… hopefully by that time i’ll have a better idea of what I want to accomplish with this new sought certification… anyways, with school just kicking off I thought i’d throw out one of my favourite easy, portable, go-to school night dinners.

Loaded baked sweet potato:

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roughly 1 pound ground turkey (sub beans for veggie version)

1 large carrot diced

2 stalks of celery diced

1 medium red onion diced

3 cloves garlic minced

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 heaping tablespoon almond butter

3 -4 large sweet potatoes

preheat oven to 400, poke holes in sweet potato using fork, wrap in tin foil and place in oven for about 35-40 minutes (until cooked through)

While the potatoes are cooking heat coconut oil over medium high heat, sauté veggies in oil for about 5 minutes, add ground turkey and stir until cooked. Once thoroughly cooked add in almond butter and stir until incorporated… add s&p to taste… remove from heat.

Once the potatoes are cooked, remove from oven and scoop out the middle (be careful, really really hot!), add to a mixing bowl. Mash the potato innards thoroughly and add meat mixture. Once everything is properly incorporated add the mash back to the potato skins and throw them back in the oven for about 5-10 minutes to heat through and crisp up… your done! easy peasy.

I know the almond butter is a weird addition but trust me, it’s a must!

Hope you enjoy!

It’s the little things

A couple people have asked me about the changes I alluded to in my previous post. These are not major changes and upon reflection they seem so obvious.

So what have I changed since starting at IHN?

1-    Drink water, lots of it. I know, duh! The funny thing is until I truly understood why drinking lots of pure clean water was so important I just couldn’t get myself to drink it, now that I’m informed I can’t get enough! Water is needed for every single bodily function. It is needed to help move fiber through the body and GI tract, it flushes toxins, it lubricates the joints, speeds up your metabolism, it assists in protein and enzyme production, it acts as a solvent in the body, aids in transport, aids in chemical reactions in the body, is needed for the transmission of messages within the body, etc… It is needed for everything! Since I started drinking water I have noticed my skin is clearer, my digestion is much better, my cravings are reduced, I’m not as stiff first thing in the morning, I have more energy, I could go on and on. Moral of the story drink more water! I used to think herbal teas were sufficed, nope! Your body needs clean fresh water to perform all of its many jobs so make sure your drinking a minimum of 8-10 glasses a day.

2-    Food is for fuel. Again, duh! But until I started at IHN I really only saw food as something super delicious and something to make the hunger pains go away. Now I see food as a way to support my work outs, support healing and support my well-being (emotional, physical, mental). I used to look at food as a certain amount of calories, fat, carbs… Now, I could care less how many calories or grams of fat a food has, I much more care for how it is going to support me in feeling my best. I used to be hungry all the time, never ever feeling fully satiated. Now, because I focus on including as many minerals and vitamins in my diet, I never feel that voracious hunger.

3-    Slow down, especially at meal times. I used to almost always eat on the run or when I was working but now I’m trying (note: still trying, its tough) to take a step back and eat in a more relaxed, present state. I don’t know about you but when I’m eating in front of the computer, TV, while driving etc., I often don’t even remember what I’ve just eaten and how it tasted. It’s so easy to think of eating as something that just slows you down and gets in the way when, like I said in #2, food is our fuel and if we want to live optimally we need to not only be conscious about what were putting in our bodies but the state in which we eat. Our bodies have 2 different autonomic nervous system responses: sympathetic-fight or flight and parasympathetic-rest, relax and digest. When we are stressed, working, distracted, on the go, etc., our bodies are not designed to digest, they are designed to either fight the lion or run from it however, when we are relaxed and present, we are able to digest and assimilate our foods. You often hear the saying ‘you are what you eat’ but really it should be ‘you are what you digest and assimilate’. By taking time out of my day to prepare and enjoy my food I’m actually tasting my foods and enjoying them much more, I’m also able to detect my hunger and fullness factor which is very important for weight loss/weight management.

4-    The importance of chewing your food properly– your stomach doesn’t have teeth! I already wrote about the benefits from properly chewing your food

5-    If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin. This was a big change for me, before IHN I didn’t own a single organic natural beauty product. All of my shampoos, conditioners, detergents, soaps, lotions, etc., were chemically laden goods. If you really think about it, your skin is your largest organ and is highly absorbable; whatever you put on your skin is going to end up inside your body. I would never ever think about ingesting some of those un-pronounceable ingredients so I decided to change things up, out with the old in with the new. Another resource that helped me learn the dangers associated with each product and each brand was the Environmental Working Groups consumer guide website– it’s so eye opening, go check it out! My skin and hair has never looked as good and my poor liver finally has a chance to do it job instead of being overloaded by all my chemical producsts.

6-    Choose organic foods when possible, especially produce. Really this picture says it all…

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Clearly I have learnt a lot, and I could go on and on for hours (just ask my friends and family). Again, these all seem like duh! Things to do but I was not doing them prior to IHN. It is so easy to get brain washed by the ever constant flooding of advertisements and social media telling us to eat a certain way, use a specific product, live a certain way that we are no longer listening to our intuition. Our bodies know what they need to act optimally, we just need to slow down and listen.

If you are keen to make some changes you can start small. Here is a really effective homemade deodorant: ¼ cup melted unrefined coconut oil, ¼ cup baking soda (aluminum free), ¼ cup corn starch, 10 or so drops of essential oils (I like using lavender and tea tree oil) and a glass jar with a lid… basically all you do is mix everything together really well and pour into a glass jar. I like to put it in the fridge to set but I keep it out on the counter for easy application. This easy to make deodorant has complete bacteria and odour fighting power and is completely chemical free!

Summer lovin

Hi Hi its been a while! well I have officially finished my first year at IHN! one more year until I have to make some big girls decisions on what I want to do with this education. This year has been a whirlwind, lots of ups and downs but i’m really really happy I stuck it out, I have learnt so much and I already feel like i’ve made some positive changes from this past year. On to the next!

Since being off I have enjoyed many a good meal.

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(my first homemade poached egg-yum!, smoked salmon dill eggs benny, gluten free waffles with fresh strawberries, chocolate avocado cupcakes, maple bacon pancakes, eggs and sweet potato hash, double bison bacon avocado burger)

An amazing girls night potluck, everything was so delish!

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As you can see i’ve been very busy enjoying elaborate delicious meals 🙂

I’m still farmers market obsessed, in fact I normally hit up 3 a week: 1 Friday night, 1 Saturday morning and then 1 Sunday morning. I love walking around checking out the goodies and chatting with all the different farmers and vendors. My favourite things to do these days is to gather a bunch of random ingredients and then pretend i’m on the show chopped (I get cooler every day I know) and try to create something super yummy.

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A super simple local kale, strawberry salad sprinkled with roasted almonds and hemp seeds

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Local cherry tomatoes, steamed green beans and avocado with a hearty glug of EVOO, salt and pepper.

ImageA beet, carrot, apple, parsley, quinoa slaw with fresh lemon and EVOO

ImageLocal organic chicken and BBQ veggies (peppers, onions, zucchini)

I still have a few weeks off from school to relax and enjoy the gorgeous weather we’ve been so blessed with. I will be sure to squeeze in some quality cooking time and will pop in from time to time when I land on a goodie 🙂

Just thought i’d check in and say hi, hope everyone is having a gurreat summer so far.

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Taffy says hi too 🙂

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 ¾ full and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes (yields 12 muffins)

Any other favourite coconut oil uses out there?

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