Sunday, 29 December 2013
A while ago I bought a 1lb bag of organic, non-irradiated cinnamon, mostly because I got it for a really good price but also because I love it. It's just great. I use it in a lot of my recipes (especially breakfast) and it has a ton of great health benefits!
Before I even studied nutrition I used to research and collect all sorts of information on various foods and cinnamon was one of them. I love it with fruit, in smoothies, chia porridge and all sorts of other various homemade goodies. It enhances flavours marvelously and compliments root veggies and squashes so well like sweet potato, carrot and turnip. Yum!
Since I've been using cinnamon so much lately I thought I'd list some of the health benefits:
1. One of the greatest benefits of cinnamon is its ability to help regulate and lower blood sugar levels, which is especially great for those with Type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that compounds present in cinnamon actually help to stimulate insulin receptors which in turn increases our cells' ability to utilize glucose! That's why cinnamon is so excellent with your fruit or sweeter foods!
2. Cinnamon has the ability to block inflammation due to its powerful anti-inflammatory phytonutrient, cinnamaldehyde, which can also prevent clumping of blood platelets making it also great for our cardiovascular health.
3. Cinnamon has super magical anti-microbial properties due to the essential oils contained within it, making it able to help stop the growth of bacteria and fungi, including Candida and H. pylori (the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers).
4. Cinnamon isn't just a fragrant and tasty spice -- it's also a great source of bone-friendly minerals including calcium (who knew?) and manganese, as well as providing a source of fiber and iron.
5. Cinnamon is also super high in antioxidants which protects our body from things like free radical damage.
I hope you start to enjoy cinnamon in more of your recipes!
Saturday, 28 December 2013
I occasionally get asked what my beauty routine is or what natural beauty products I use so I thought I'd go ahead and share a few products that I use to clean my face. I'll start by saying that I keep things very simple and don't like to go overboard with all sorts of lotions and creams and makeup products. I hope these inspire you to explore the variety of natural alternatives to common beauty products that can be quite toxic.
This is absolutely wonderful for removing eye makeup. I used to use Green Beaver's eye makeup remover but as of recently have decided to simplify further and just use straight up coconut oil. Aside from it working really well, it's naturally antibacterial and super moisturizing. It's rich in good quality saturated fats and other nutrients so it leaves the sensitive skin around the eyes super soft. Nothing beats using just one simple ingredient!
Maiga Facial Cleanser:
I love this cleanser and use it pretty much every time I'm in the shower to cleanse my face of any makeup residue. I just lather all over my face and wash off - makes my skin feel super clean and I of course love how the ingredients are simple, minimal and organic: water, shea butter, cocoa butter, aloe vera, plantain peel, palm kernel oil, coconut oil and honey.
Green Beaver Facial Moisturizer:
I always use moisturizer right after I have a shower. If your skin is cool with using just straight up oil then as a moisturizer I'd suggest using something like coconut or olive oil, however, I tend to not react too well to really rich oily oils so I like to use a facial moisturizer by Green Beaver. The ingredients are pretty simple, consisting of a blend of different oils (jojoba, avocado, olive and grape seed).
I thought I'd also add in a Facial Scrub by Maiga that I use occasionally. I am not huge into using exfoliators and this scrub is by no means a staple but I was given a free sample of this particular one and it makes my face feel so incredibly soft. I don't use it all the time but I do here and there. You can also make a homemade scrub easily with olive oil and sea salt - I'll share how to make it sometime (inspired by my wonderful coworker!)
Side note: I highly suggest you check out the cosmetic database Skin Deep on www.ewg.org that will show you the levels of toxicity in today's common products.
Tuesday, 5 November 2013
Want to know a superfood that I've been loving lately? Maca. It's really super and I'm definitely going to have to make an entirely separate blog post/video on why it's so wonderful, but for today I'm adding it to my list that I'll be sharing on 3 foods that help balance hormones.
Unfortunately due to the abundance of various stressors, toxins, chemicals and endocrine disruptors surrounding us today, our hormones are easily imbalanced. Here are 3 foods that can help!
This seemingly simple and ordinary cruciferous vegetable is actually in fact kind of magical. This guy contains a phytonutrient called indol-3-carbinol that has the power to decrease the amount of harmful estrogen metabolites formed in the body. This, my friends, is good news especially when it comes to estrogen-related cancers such as breast and cervical. You can read more about that here.
Broccoli also contains lignans (although flaxseed is the richest source). Lignans are compounds in plants that contain phytoestrogens which help to balance estrogen levels. Basically, lignans provide estrogenic support if there is low estrogen and if estrogen levels are too high they attach to estrogen receptors, reducing their activity and blocking their effect. Lignans also prevent xenoestrogens (unnatural, toxic estrogens found in things like plastics and pesticides - one big reason to buy organic!).
The reason why coconut oil is so helpful for hormone balance is simple: fats are necessary building blocks for hormone production. Without good quality fats (especially saturated fats) like coconut oil or grass-fed butter, our body lacks those building blocks to make them in the first place. A lot of people have a fear of consuming fat and that's why I'm mentioning the importance of things like coconut oil, which is very rich in fat but yet so so good for us. Remember this: the fat content our body is made up of about 97% saturated and monounsaturated fat, only about 3% is polyunsaturated fat. According to this article here:
"The body needs fats for rebuilding cells and hormone productions, but it has to use the building blocks we give it. When we give it a high concentration of polyunsaturated fats instead of the ratios it needs, it has no choice but to incorporate these fats into our cells during cell repair and creation."Maca:
This is the most exciting food on the list! Mostly just because I feel absolutely amazing when I eat it. Maca is a root from peru, like a potato. Maca helps to balance hormones by working as an adaptogen by nourishing various parts of the body individually.
According to this article:
"If you're producing too much of a particular hormone, maca will regulate the production downward. However, if you're producing too little, it'll regulate the production upward.
Maca stimulates and nourishes the hypothalamus and pituitary glands which are the "master glands" of the body. These glands actually regulate the other glands, so when in balance they can bring balance to the adrenal, thyroid, pancreas, ovarian and testicular glands."I add about 1/2 - 1 tsp of maca powder in my smoothie. I had to cut down how much I used because I added a gigantic spoonful to my smoothie last week and I was wired for like 8 hours.
Side note: I use a gelatinized form of maca powder, which just means that as opposed to raw maca, the starch has been removed, increasing the absorption and digestibility of it.
Tuesday, 22 October 2013
Last weekend was Thanksgiving here in Canada. I know, I'm a little late for this post. Life has been crazy. At least I'm thankful for a few things like the quiet, the clouds and the wind outside my window today; colourful fall leaves painting my surroundings as of late, and of course, who can't be thankful for the shenanigans that the universe presents us with?
In the spirit of fall (and last weeks Thanksgiving) I'd like to share a simple, warm and tasty pumpkin spice breakfast stew. This time of year I love having various pumpkin related dishes and always have some pumpkin puree on hand which has many more uses than you'd think. I even tried making grain-free pumpkin muffins the other night except they were awful.
Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Stew
- 1/2 an apple, diced (any apple you prefer)
- 1 small ripe banana, sliced
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1-2 spoonfuls ground flaxseed
- 1/2 - 1 tsp pumpkin spice (ginger, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Warm coconut oil in pan over medium heat. Lightly sautee diced apples for 1-2 minutes, add banana and sautee for another minute. Stir in vanilla, spices and pumpkin puree and cook for about a minute.
Pour into bowl, mix in ground flaxseed and top off with chopped nuts or whichever else appeals. Delight!
Tuesday, 10 September 2013
Today is 40 degrees celcius. No big deal. Thanks September.
This morning I made a hearty egg, onion, kale & sundried tomato scramble. What I like most about scrambled eggs is how it's the perfect way to get creative and throw in a bunch of veggies. Eggs and greens are a simple fave of mine.
In my previous post I mentioned some of the benefits of eggs, including their source of things like good fats for our brain and skin and heart and eyes and everything you can think of. However, eggs are also a good source of the vitamin choline which is very good for cell membranes, nerves and brain cells. It's also a component of acetylcholine which is important for relaxation and combating anxiety. Eggs are a good source of iron, too, and heme iron at that. This form of iron is absorbed very well.
Kale & Egg Scramble
- 2-3 eggs (organic whenever possible)
- large handful kale, chopped (if using mature kale, remove tough stems)
- 4-5 slices sundried tomato, cut into thin pieces
- 1/2 small onion, diced
- 1 tsp coconut oil or butter (organic, grass-fed butter is ideal!)
- splash of water
- sea salt + pepper to taste
Method: Whisk eggs and splash of water in bowl, set aside. Heat pan to medium heat and melt oil. Sautee onion and sundried tomato. Add chopped kale and cook for 1-2 mins. Add in whisked eggs and mix until scrambled!
I went a little wild today and sprinkled on some paprika and hemp seeds. Sometimes I like to add crumbled goat cheese to my eggs too, so that's always an option as well.
How do you like your eggs? :-)
Sunday, 8 September 2013
Hello wonderful world! I have been nothing short of a busy mess with events such as moving and painting and working and organizing and yawning comprising my days. I haven't had internet for over a week due to moving but here I am now, finally finding a moment to sit at my desk and write.
The most comforting and exciting part of my life right now would be this very month of September; swollen with new beginnings, fresh starts and red and orange leaves painting the treetops. The fall is my favourite time of year; its overcast skies, subtle chills and burgundy scarves are charming, enchanting and poetic. I feel a sense of peace and a peculiar freshness this time of year.
I wanted to share some of the goodies I picked up from an organic farm this afternoon (plus I thought I'd throw in some health benefits just for fun). I was originally planning on sharing some photos of my newly painted and decorated bedroom (the other most exciting part of my life right now) but that will have to wait. It certainly is cozy though.
Acorn squash: Butternut squash was unavailable at the farm (my favourite) so I opted for the acorn instead, a variety I have yet to experiment with. Acorn squash, along with those carrots I picked up, are abundant in carotenoids, including vitamin A, and antioxidants such as vitamin C. Whenever you see brightly coloured orange and yellow veggies, think of those magical carotenoid phytonutrients. Also, winter squashes are a great source of alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) which converts to EPA -- this is good news for our cardiovascular system!
Kale: I love kale. It's so darn versatile and nutritious. With any dark green leafy, think minerals, especially magnesium and calcium.
Onion: Onions = sulfur! An antioxidant and potent hormone & toxin detoxifier.
Eggs: Eggs are a fun whole food. Protein-rich, full of b-vitamins and good fats found in the yolk. In fact, the yolk is where a majority of the good stuff is found.
I hope you explore your nearest farm or farmer's market!
Tuesday, 27 August 2013
I've been so busy lately I hardly have words, although, one thing that I can muster up is just how peculiar life really can be. I've been thinking lately about how our plans can change so suddenly, only to direct us onto another path that is just right. It's always right though, isn't it? Sometimes something terrible happens and it somehow transforms into the biggest of blessings. It's all meant to be.
Anywho, I was off for a few days so I spent this past weekend at a lake house which is always good fun. I always appreciate leaving the city behind and entering the quiet of still waters, warm sun and a seat in the breeze. Friday was spent meandering for 8 hours through Canada's Wonderland... a day fully equipped with excessive G-force and a headache. I do really enjoy roller coasters though, except I'd call it more of a love-hate relationship.
Tuesday, 13 August 2013
I wanted to share one of my favourite salad dressing recipes, inspired by one of my friends. I love basil terribly and find that it is what really gives this dressing its subtle punch of yummy herbalicious flavour. Mostly though, this dressing is great because it's only 4 ingredients! Yay for that! Who needs all the crazy ingredients found in typical pre-packaged dressings? Nobody.
I used to suck at whipping together a homemade salad dressing (or even salads in general). I just could never get the ingredients right and so I always felt like store bought dressings were necessary. But then I finally discovered the correct proportions and ratios of the oils and vinegars and now have tons of fun mixing up easy dressings in no time. The possibilities are endless my friends.
You will need:
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2-3 tsp raw apple cider vinegar (I like Bragg's).
- 1 tsp sesame tahini
- 1 tsp organic dried/fresh basil
With a fork, whisk ingredients together in small bowl until creamy and drizzle over your favourite salad. Today I mixed it with organic mixed greens and shredded beets and carrots.
Sunday, 11 August 2013
Mmm. Simplicity. It's been busy these days around my house with all the sifting and sorting and packing and donating and selling. Simplifying feels so good, especially when you sort through the years of papers and belongings that have been hanging around for no good reason: under the stairs, in the closet, in the drawers. We have all discovered some of the utmost useless possessions... my mother is the worst for holding on to most anything.
Simplifying my life is an urge that washes over me a couple times a year, especially with the changing seasons (although right now due to moving, it's been more of a necessity). I love getting rid of things I don't need, use, or value. That was the very first epiphany I had when I awoke spiritually... there's something powerful about seeing our material belongings in a new light and recognizing when we have just too much stuff.
Anywho, I just love the feeling of de-cluttering and de-stressing that comes with simplifying. It brings forth a sense of clarity and openness. I personally quite enjoy the process, although it can be a lengthy one. It's fun nonetheless.
I hope you simplify something in your life today!
Wednesday, 31 July 2013
Tomorrow is the first day of August, making today the day for reflection on what I have learned over the past month. July was feisty, full of shenanigans and the wonkiest weather you could ever imagine including the hottest temperatures possible for one week straight, and then now, it's autumn apparently. I nearly wore boots the other day.
I got my nose re-pierced at the beginning of July, which was really not as bad as I had anticipated. I first got my nose pierced in September of 2012 and due to some... misbehavior... I decided to remove it in February of this year. Piercing through scar tissue really wasn't so bad!
July really was a strange time. It was going relatively smoothly; I opened up this new blog, got myself some new gemstones, had a few peaceful and grateful-infused mornings and then everything just pretty much exploded toward the end. Exploded with random, unexpected catastrophes in the form of physical and spiritual crises. I'll have to elaborate another time. In the end though, troubles are lessons and blessings all at the same time and I strive to keep my heart open to that.
There's one song that I really want to share that has become a huge source of empowerment and inspiration for me during the steps I've been taking lately in the direction that's so right for me. I love this song! This is Meghan dance-off approved (definitely needs to be added to my iPod for precisely that purpose!).
"Brave" by Sara Bareilles... the words, beat, and overall message of this song is just. perfect.
Say what you wanna say and let the words fall out, honestly, I wanna see you be brave.