Coconut Date Poppers

This is a quick 2 minute recipe to curb that sweet tooth attack and add a few vitamins, minerals and protein in one bite!

Medjool are the sweetest/softest dates you can use…the rest will pale in comparison and be far less buttery.

Make sure you’re working with room temperature dates or allow them to sit out for an hour or so before you put this recipe together to maximize buttery-ness.

Ingredients: 

1 small/medium sized medjool date, pitted

.5 tsp shredded coconut

1/4 tsp lemon juice (fresh)

.1 tsp coconut oil melted

Method: 

Split your date(s) in half but not all the way through. Remove pits.

Add coconut and top with a tiny bit of coconut oil and top with lemon juice.

Repeat for as many poppers as you can handle/fit your diet plan.

Note: I used small/medium dates to come up with the nutritional information below. The extra large californial medjools will blow this out of the water by double.

Great to take on the road as well.

Nutritional Info: 

Total Calories: 93

Fat: 1.5 g

Carbs: 22.4 g

Protein: .7 g

225 g of Potassium & 36 G of Vitamin C!

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Sweet Superfood Salad

 

Summer, finally.

Summer, finally.

Summer is here and it’s time to celebrate by taking in all the colour and nutrients we can.

Here’s a simple, crisp, savoury and sweet salad that takes just 10 minutes to make – including the homemade dressing.

Ingredients: 

3 cups torn kale

2 cups baby spinach

1/2 cup chopped cucumber

1/2 cup chopped strawberries

1/2 cup of micro greens – these ones were grown in Alberta – Thanks to Reclaim Urban Farm

Handful of mixed nuts

Dressing: 

1/4 cup spring water

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 heaping tbsp tahini

1 tbsp tamari

2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 clove garlic

Method: 

Mix all salad ingredients in large bowl.

Blend all dressing ingredients with hand blender/magic bullet type device OR double/triple recipe and use a standard blender.

This should serve 2 as a side salad, 1 as a meal.

Sugar – some things you may need to know.

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I was packing a school snack for my step-daughter the other day. Seaweed crisps, dates, strawberries and a vegan marshmallow for a surprise treat, which is super rare. You’ll have to notice that my blog also rarely includes sweets.

For whatever reason, she got into her head that dates are “just full of sugar”. SO I had to have the *birds and bees* conversation about sugar. Good sugar, bad sugar and how it’s processed.

If you’re struggling with how this sugar game works, there are some pointers to keep in mind in the grocery store and out on the town when you’re met with uneducated comments on sugar.

Remember, not all sugars affect our insulin levels, but some do. They also interfere with our overall energy levels. Be sure to meet with a medical professional if you’re suffering from Diabetes or any other illness which may be adversely affected by changing your sugar intake.

As a cancer survivor, my road to recovery did not include any processed sugars or foods in a box. I am 10 years free and clear and I attribute a lot of my success to the respect I’ve paid my body since diagnosis.

Sugars are simple carbs. They contain about 4 calories of energy in each gram. This energy fuels your brain and nervous system – precious operating systems of our beautiful bodies.

Complex carbs are not broken down easily and take ages to process while spiking your insulin. I call them “dead calories”.

Natural VS Processed Sugars

Natural sugars are found in a high amount in most fruits. Sugar is made of two components – fructose and glucose. These two components are IDENTICAL in fruit and in pastries/pop/candies etc…make no mistake.

The ratios of fructose and glucose are nearly the same in fruit and table sugar with fruit being about 40-55% fructose. (Ever wonder why your kids LOVE bananas but not kiwis?). This does not mean that the sugar composition in cake is the same as fruit.

Fruit has added vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, water and fiber – candy/cakes/sweets are a nutritional wasteland.

A half a cup of strawberries has around 3.5g of sugar while ice cream by the same measure has around 15g!!!! Not to mention the added bad fats from dairy.

Neither type of sugars are necessarily “bad” for you however, your body does process refined sugars a lot differently than natural sugars. FRUCTOSE breaks down in the liver and has no insulin response. GLUCOSE breaks down in the stomach and requires insulin to be metabolized.

Insulin spikes are not good because over time it leads to fat gain. Unhealthy fats to boot! This can lead to sugar crashes, hypoglycemia, which also triggers your body to believe it is hungry even when it is not.

Insulin table.

Insulin table.

Natural sugars are found in foods like milk and fruit but this doesn’t mean you should be eating a whole tonne of them. Especially if you’re eating a diet that is mainly out of restaurants, packaged and pre-made foods and lacking in fresh green leafy veggies. The standard diet of people today does not hold any space for going crazy on fruits all day!! Where the average diet is concerned, women and men should consume no more than 6-9 teaspoons per day, respectively.

For me? Well, I eat a vegan diet full of fresh fruits and veggies. Never out of packages and rarely at restaurants. If I’ve ever cut out fruit I’ve never lost a pound or inch!

Health foods to avoid

Running through the grocery store and stocking up on quick “healthy” snacks for you or your family? Think twice and avoid these items: 

– Granola bars – Here’s my RECIPE for a healthy homemade version packed with protein

– Fruit juices/from concentrate

– “Real Fruit” jellies of any kind

– Sports drinks

– Microwaveable popcorn

– Powerbars and all types of bars found at supplement stores that are not NATURAL. I reommend Vega bars.

– Flavoured yogurt (the kind with radioactive fruit fillings)

– Canned soups / boxed lasagna & pasta dishes

– Pre-packaged apple sauce/puddings

– Cheese strings

– Fruit leather

aaaand obviously: cookies, muffins, cake pops etc…

We all know that feeding ourselves and our family through a drive-through window is insanity – I feel sorry for those folks who don’t feel like they have the time to do the right thing by their bodies. You also have to know that eating out of a Starbucks Coffee pre-made food display is equally horrific. I’ve got a few things for you to carry around that are amazing for your body and mind.

Don't eat out of windows!

Don’t eat out of windows!

DO’s 

– Baby carrots

– Dates

– Seaweed crisps

– Trail mix

– Natural beef/chicken/turkey/ Jerky or Vegan Primal Strips

– Vega, meal supplement powder with water or almond milk

– Raisins

– Nut crackers and hummus

– Apples

– Bananas

 The best thing to remember is; if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. We have become so accustomed to eating unnatural foods and thinking we can “diet” the pounds, bad skin, rotted teeth, damaged hair, insomnia and digestive issues away. We can’t. If you treat your body like garbage…….garbage in, garbage out is the saying. You cannot exercise away poor nutrition and if you are prepared and aware you’ll never have to eat out of a drive through window (aka the trash can) again.

For more information to add to your library of health check out these links:

That Sugar Film – LINK HERE

Article, Glucose & Cancer – LINK HERE

Article, Kids & Sugar – LINK HERE

Article, Sugar Addiction – LINK HERE

Article, Sugar & Cocaine – LINK HERE

Article, Sugar & Weight Gain – LINK HERE

Article, Your Brain on Sugar – LINK HERE

Vegan pumpkin French toast

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This recipe is in honour of October, camping, crisp nights, frosty mornings with piping hot black coffee, dogs, love and real food.

 

Ingredients:

8 slices “little big bread” by Macks Flax

3 bananas

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

3/4 cup almond milk

1.5 tbsp ground flax seed

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp earth balance soy free spread

1/4 cup raw, organic, granulated sugar

1 cup water

4 small pears

2 cups strawberries

Method:

To prepare your vegan batter add bananas, milk, flax seed, almond milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract  and pumpkin puree into hand blender vessel & blend well. If your mix is looking too thick or dry, add more almond milk a few tablespoons at a time.

Let mixture sit for at least 30 minutes to thicken up.

In small pot add peeled (or not) and sliced pears. I do not peel mine. Add water and sugar, heat until rolling boil achieved. Turn heat down to simmer and stir often until liquid is reduced.

In frying pan on medium heat add 1/2 earth balance until melted. Dip bread slices into liquid mixture and transfer to frying pan. Cook until browned on both sides. Avoid soaking for too long as bread will become too soggy.

Brioche bread works the best…FRESH sourdough is also amazing.

Plate with sliced strawberries, top with pear reduction – who needs syrup????? If you’re feeling extra saucy, add Tofutti cream cheese with pear reduction and “stuff” between two slices of french toast. Top with fresh fruit & cinnamon.

Serves 2-4 depending on how much you love it – I say it serves two.

Skinny fat / Fat skinny – why you’re rotting

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You’re skinny. You never have to work out because you just can’t gain weight. You’re a “lucky skinny girl”, you have “great genes”….blah blah blah.

What if your luck was actually a curse? On the outside you look amazing (ish) but on the inside, you’re falling apart.

I took this AMAZING 😉 picture of myself in the washroom today just before I went to work out and was reminded that of an experience I needed to blog about.

I was prompted to write this post after a short vacation we took to Mexico last month. While strolling by the beach, a young girl in front of us was preoccupied with a conversation on her phone. Twenty, thin and wrinkle-free, I was drawn to her as she walked ahead wrapped in a towel. I looked her up and down (as most females at least do) and as I came to see her knees and what dangled below them, I was shocked. Twenty-four inches of noodles held together by feet and knees stood erect, tubular and without shape. Slightly bowed, thin and tanned.

I looked at my partner and said “please tell me that my legs do NOT look like that, they’re so dead looking!” He quickly responded with a “NO!” and something like “gee, those things have no shape….”

My mind swam with all of the STUPID ideas that women have been made to accept, and I was mad. Nuts are fat, avocado is fat, coconut milk is fat, you have to weigh XXX in order to be sexy…diet, lean cuisine, Dr. Bernstein, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers. I mean c’mon, space food in micro-portions, filled with preservatives, GMO’s and carcinogens, burned to a crisp in your microwave is healthier than eating heaps of REAL food and moving your body???

There’s something very wrong with this picture.

And so the person that lingered up the beach before me bore the resemblance of what I see so often in the mainstream media and unfortunately in the general public.

Skinny-fat people, as they are sometimes called, fall prey to some pretty harsh health realities because of the neglect and damage they unknowingly subject their bodies to. Namely a lack of exercise/nutrition. Heart disease, type 2 diabetes(not just for fatties), dental hygiene damage, hair loss, dermatological issues, stress, depression, anxiety…..you name it.

Why you would neglect your HEART, the force that gives you life, I do not know. But PLEASE, please for your own sake, educate yourself. Go for a walk, do some weight training, be active, see the world. There is a happier, healthier, more amazing person in that tiny flabby body, I promise.

If you choose not to, that’s your life, but please, for the love of all things holy, do not breed. The world does not need any more people with nothing to give back. Even better, get yourself fixed.

If you want help, Google is there for you. If not, I am. You can do it.

Vegan Zucchini Boats

I’ve nearly conceded that fall is on the way ~ so we’ve booked a preemptive trip to Cabo for November. What does this mean to a recipe? Well friends, lets just say because the summer didn’t show up this year, neither did the bikini body. 
Cue panic mode. 
It’s time for some serious work: weight training, running, clean diet, no booze and lots of water. That, and some MEAN recipes to keep cut and full. This bad boy is a favourite I adapted quite heavily from a quinoa cook book in my pantry. 
INGREDIENTS
3 large zukes
2 cups fresh spinach
4 large RIPE tomatoes diced
1 large carrot shredded
1 med yellow onion diced
2 large cloves garlic pressed or diced
1.5 cups quinoa rinsed and drained
1/4 cup pecans chopped
handful of fresh parsley chopped
1/2-1 cup veggie broth
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
*OPTIONAL* Grated cheese/vegan cheese 1 cup
METHOD
Pre-heat oven to 400. 
In large pan heat coconut oil (olive in a pinch) to med/med high heat. Add garlic, onions and carrots. Sautee for 3 minutes. 
Add 3/4 of the diced tomatoes & salt to the mixture. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. 
Add quinoa and veggie broth & bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover and cook for a minimum of 15 minutes. You *may* need to add more liquid if your quinoa is not becoming tender, then cook for additional time. 
In the meantime half and scoop out zucchini as pictured below. Do not make too thin/shallow or the zuke will burn!!! Keep middle for adding to a veggie soup broth mix or other dishes. 
Once quinoa is completed, add spinach and cook until wilted – approx 2-3 minutes. 
Scoop out mixture into boats, sprinkle with fresh tomato. Top with cheese/cheese substitute if desired. Place on baking sheet in oven for 20 minutes. Check for tenderness. If as desired, remove from oven and top with cracked pepper and parsley. 
Serves 4-6. 

Tropical Breakfast Smoothie

Inflamed? Lethargic? Bored of your usual Cheerios? Then it’s time to try this great breakfast drink. 
Ingredients & their benefits: 
Banana – 2 medium – tryptophan helps battle depression, regulate blood sugar / PMS symptoms, prebiotic. 
Pineapple – 1.5 cups – Anti-inflammatory, Vitamin A & C, bone builder, gum saver. 
Mango – 1.5 cups – Antioxidant (cancer fighter), lowers cholesterol, skin cleanser, alkalizing, low glycemic. 
Kale – 1 cup – 0 fat, high in iron, anti-inflammatory, cardio support, Vitamin A & K (fights Alzheimer’s), anti-oxidant.  
Hemp Seeds – 2 tbsp – high in (veg) protein, high in amino & fatty acids (cardio & immune strength).
Cinnamon – 1/2 tsp – reduces: LDL cholesterol levels, pain due to arthritis, fiber, calcium, manganese, menstrual pain reliever, bacteria fighter, anti-oxidant. 
Method
Place all ingredients in high powered blender with 1.5 cups of water and 1 cup of ice. Blend until smooth, drink immediately. 
ENJOY