Friday, 16 January 2015

Recipe: Apple Crisp Oatmeal


Lately I've been fiddling around with different oatmeal flavours. When I was younger I used to love oatmeal. It was easily one of my favourite breakfasts. But over the years I actually stopped liking it so much, and it's been a pretty long time since I've even eaten it. Part of it is because I don't eat as many grains as I used to, and because oats are sometimes just a lot less appetizing than they used to be.

However, I had been thinking of a way to turn the traditional apple crisp that uses wheat flour into a healthy version, and I indeed managed to create the most incredibly delicious apple crumble topping for an oatmeal I ate the other day. I'm so excited to share the recipe! It is beyond easy.

For the oatmeal:

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup coconut milk  (I use canned) + 3/4 cup water
1/2 apple, diced
1 banana, mashed
1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the crumble:

2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tbsp coconut palm sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon





Add coconut milk, water and oats to saucepan and simmer over low-medium heat. Add diced apple and ground cinnamon, stir. 



Add mashed banana to saucepan. While oatmeal is thickening, in small bowl mix coconut oil, ground flaxseed, coconut sugar and cinnamon with fork until you reach a crumbly texture.



Once oatmeal is finished cooking, add to bowl and top with crumble mixture. Add a few sliced apples and you're done! Enjoy!

Meg xx

Friday, 9 January 2015

Banana Toast


I love eating simple meals, and every now and then I go through periods where I obsess over this quick & easy breakfast recipe for a few days in a row. It's a total go-to.

When I eat grains I like to choose sprouted grains. Sprouting improves the digestibility of grains and they're also much more nutritious. Lately I've been loving Ezekiel bread, which is what I like to use for this recipe.

Banana Toast:

1 slice sprouted grain bread, toasted
1 spoonful of organic, natural (non-sweetened) almond butter
small spoonful of raw, unpasteurized honey
half banana, sliced
sprinkle of cinnamon

Top ingredients on bread in order listed! It is so hearty and so yum.

.   .   .   .   .

When choosing a nut butter, make sure you always opt for one in its natural form! Most conventional peanut butters are loaded with straight up sugar and poor quality vegetable oils. Read the labels, and make sure your nut butter is just one ingredient. I love almond butter, but hazelnut butter is a fave, too.

What's the deal with raw honey? Honey that is raw and unpasteurized means that it hasn't been heated and still retains all of the beneficial qualities: antibacterial and full of minerals. (And did you know? Eating raw honey that is local to your area can assist your body in defending itself against local pollens that cause seasonal allergies!)

We can't forget about the sprinkle of cinnamon on top, for delicious flavour and a boost of blood sugar balancing goodness.

Enjoy!

Meg

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

2014 Reflection


Christmas has come and gone and it's nearing the end of the year. I came down with a bit of a cold a few days ago and have been enjoying many pots of steeped Well Throat Tea, made of marshmallow root, mullein, and ginger. I have to say, though, that my immune system seems a lot stronger than it ever used to be - maybe it's because I've been taking plenty of vitamin D and zinc. I'll share some of my favourite immune boosters, soon!

They said this winter was supposed to be as bitter and snowy as last year, which was by the way treacherous, and never-ending, but so far the days have been mild and wet, or dry, but with little excitement in terms of weather, besides the whistling from last weeks wind-storm through the cracks in the windows and doors. I was really looking forward to a white Christmas, but it was rainy instead.

Besides the weather, my holiday season has been very merry. I've been feeling increasingly grateful for the people in my life lately, especially my incredible boyfriend, Kyle, who has taught me more than anyone could ever know. The end of the year is always a fine time to reflect on what was learned over the past twelve months; what we've done, how we've changed:

This year I let go of a lot. My eyes (re)opened, my gaze softened, my perspective shifted. I discovered a whole lot this year about myself and other things, and it all makes me so excited for what's to come in the future. I think 2015 will be a very good year.

This year I learned the power of decisiveness, assertion, speaking up, and being honest. This year I found the liberty in confidence.

What did you learn this year? x

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

first snowfall & lessons lately


It snowed for the first time this season a couple weeks ago and I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am about Christmas. I love Christmas. It is without a doubt my favourite time of year. I started some Christmas shopping and I'm looking forward to the wrapping: this year I want to wrap my gifts with brown paper, and twine and ribbon and bow from the craft store. I used to always just use the wrapping paper my mom would buy, but I really want to decorate my gifts from scratch. I love crafty projects and I think I may even just blog some of my artsy DIY gift wrapping ideas.

This is a peculiar time, where the year is coming to a close. I'm always thrilled about the new year, the lessons that await, and the lessons that have already come my way. There are a few notable lessons I've learned lately, revelations actually, a perspective shift of sorts, and it has definitely been profound. Sometimes, it can be difficult to understand where it is that you need to improve, or shift.

I can be a stubborn person. And I can point the finger easily. And also, I make mountains out of molehills. But that's a different story.

Over the past six weeks I have learned that sometimes you need to look within and see where you could be less impatient, or more compassionate; where you could communicate better, or listen better, or love better, or understand better, or have more empathy, or sympathy; or where you could not act upon your anger, or speak with that tone of voice, where you could take a step back, where you could look at the bigger picture, and listen to their side of the story, too.

In essence I have learned that life isn't always perfect, and it isn't always going to match your expectations. In fact, expectations rarely equal reality. And that's a pretty big deal. Thanks, November.

Also, here's my new favourite word, aka the best character trait ever:

Noble
having or showing fine personal qualities or high moral principles and ideals.
"the promotion of human rights was a noble aspiration"
synonyms: righteous, virtuous, good, honourable, upright, decent, worthy, moral, ethical, reputable

Seriously. We should all be a little more noble.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Recipe: Beautifying Beet Juice


This is my new favourite juice recipe. I made it a couple weeks ago and deemed it one of the best I've ever made. My juices always turned out awful when I first began juicing several years ago, but now I enjoy plenty o' delicious juicy juices.

Beets are fun to juice because they are so vibrant and crimson. They are potent in antioxidants, and are known as a liver~loving, beautifying vegetable. One of the compounds in beets, betaine, specifically aid the liver in detoxification as it stimulates the removal of toxins by the liver cells. Beets are also naturally rich in nitrates, which improve blood circulation.

I love this recipe because of the addition of two large oranges, which gives the flavour a rich yet citrusy touch.

Beautifying Beet Juice
  • chunk of fresh ginger
  • leaf of kale
  • 1/2 - 1 medium-size beet
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 navel oranges, peeled
Juice vegetables one at a time, ginger & kale first (so the rest of the ingredients will pull the ginger and kale juice through). Enjoy!

Meg

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

October Favourites


A few of my favourite things from the month of October:

1. My new super cozy sweater (I'm on a mission for more) - Forever 21

2. These are my favourite moccasins in the world. They are on my feet the moment I step foot into my house. I got them earlier this winter up north.

3. "Thieves" essential oil blend toothpaste. Fluoride free. My favourite ingredient is the antibacterial clove oil - Young Living Essential Oils

4. Homemade lip balm made by my doula friend

5. Red nail polish. I will admit that the colour I like, but the quality not so much - Sante

6. Liquid Vitamin D supplement. I take 5,000IU/day. Health benefits here and hereNatural Factors

7. I love this deodorant. This is the only natural deodorant besides Tom's of Maine that hasn't gone on sticky, or completely dried out my skin. Citrus scent. - Green Beaver


Meg

Saturday, 18 October 2014

health benefits: vitamin D



The fall is my favourite, favourite season. I am always in my element each year when the leaves begin to change, and I can finally layer with scarves and boots. Although I will admit that I love cloudy days (sometimes even more than sunny days), I do reach a point here in Southern Ontario where I feel pretty deprived of some bright, warm sunlight, and some good ol' Vitamin D. Because truthfully, we need it!

Vitamin D is made from cholesterol when our skin is exposed to sunlight, but those of us living in the cooler climates with limited sun exposure need a bit of a boost, and can benefit hugely from supplementing with the sunshine vitamin this time of year. This little vitamin carries out some pretty big roles in our body, including influencing over 2,000 genes. There is a Vitamin D receptor in every nerve cell in the body!

Vitamin D has a significant impact on brain, bone, and immune health:
  • Immunity: Vitamin D supports our immune system, and actually activates the T cells in our body which seek out and destroy different bacteria and viruses that can cause colds and flus.
  • Brain health: Vitamin D helps to effectively activate our "feel good" neurotransmitters, like serotonin and dopamine. This can be especially helpful for those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), where a lack of sunlight can adversely effect our mental health. Vitamin D also maintains our nervous system, heart function, and normal blood clotting.
  • Bone health: Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium into the bloodstream, increases absorption of calcium from our intestines, helps put calcium and phosphorus in teeth and stimulates the resorption of calcium and phosphorus from bone.
    • Vitamin D works synergistically alongside vitamin K2 and magnesium for optimal bone health, where D ushers calcium into the bloodstream, and K delivers it from blood to bones and teeth, and out of soft tissue. I like to take this Vitamin K & D supplement here.
Are you low in Vitamin D?

Dry skin, cracked heels, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), lowered immune function (frequent colds and flu), osteoporosis, nervousness, inflammation, and conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer, can be signs of low levels of vitamin D.

Supplementing with Vitamin D

There are two kinds of vitamin D you can take as a supplement: Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). Vitamin D3 is derived from lanolin, the oil found in sheep's wool. D2 is a plant-based source and is therefore popular amongst vegans, however I recommend opting for D3 as it is much easier for the body to absorb and doesn't require your body to do any converting.

You can take vitamin D in a liquid, soft gel, or tablet form. Liquid and soft gel are the most easily absorbed and assimilated, as vitamin D is fat-soluble and absorbed better when taken in liquid or encapsulated in an oil, as opposed to a hard, chalky tablet. It is shown that you absorb much more vitamin D when taken with a full meal, so be sure to take your vitamin D with your biggest meal of the day.

Dosages vary depending on individual needs, but a safe amount to start with is 1,000IU, although many people require much more than that (2,000-4,000IU and higher). Be sure to speak with your natural health care practitioner for the right dose!

Where else can you get Vitamin D? Food sources include fatty fish, cod liver oil, and grass-fed butter.

In health,

Meghan

Friday, 19 September 2014

this too shall pass

morning tea
love is where compassion prevails
and kindness rules.
Today was the first day I've had off in what feels like six weeks where I have had no plans. No agenda. No to-do's or arrangements or deadlines. I'm off because I have come down with a cold. And isn't that always it - we push ourselves to the limit, hardly stopping for anything until we absolutely have to. 

This has happened to me plenty before and I find it pretty curious when we are forced to retreat and withdraw, with no voices but your own and if only for just a day to have little to do but sit, think, or perhaps even spend some time on something you wish you had more time for. Today was one of those days and so I went for a walk to take some foresty fall photos and I actually ran into some terrifying wild turkeys. Seriously it was so unexpected I didn't know how to react.

I have been in a very exciting place lately, doing (and planning) more than I've ever done before, truly leaping outwards and saying yes to most anything, which feels so good. Have you tried it? I think I have talked before about the importance of saying yes to things, opportunities, outings, whichever, and how I used to say no all. the. time.

I feel that what really drove me to start doing things and stop saying no was two years ago during the time I went through several months of extremely severe anxiety and depression. When you endure that degree of mental angst, you reach a breaking point. A point where you have no choice but to push through it and start doing things anyway. You decide that even though you feel completely bad, and uncomfortable, and afraid, that you are just going to feel all of it and move forward anyways. Those were undeniably the worst months of my life, and on the contrary, the most inspiring, the most empowering.

Over the past couple years after my experience, I would avoid doing certain (and sometimes very important) things in fear of having an anxiety attack. But I am so proud of myself now, because I have been able to do the very things that I feared I wouldn't be able to handle.

If there's one thing that I have taken from my shadow days it is that this too shall pass. That phrase is my most favourite mantra, and is on my mind frequently. Whenever I feel anxious I know that it will not always be that way. That my emotions will shift. And I take that attitude with me wherever I go, with whatever sort of emotion I am feeling: sadness, worry, guilt. I have so much more control over the things I feel because I've learned to be patient with myself and the various processes of simply being human. This too shall pass. This too shall pass. If I ever feel a strong, overbearing (and often convincing) emotion or thought, I ride its wave. I see where it will take me. I feel it, and I let it go. I am so much better at not acting impulsively on my emotions, just due to the nature that they have a tendency to shift and twirl and change. Just wait and see.

Monday, 8 September 2014

5 Healthy Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar


One of my favourite things to have on hand is apple cider vinegar. I absolutely love the taste of vinegar, and I love that it is so useful and multipurpose. Today I want to share with you 5 uses for apple cider vinegar, and why you should always have a bottle in your cupboard!

Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting the juice from crushed apples. It is rich in minerals and friendly bacteria (also known as the "mother"), so long as you choose a raw, unpasteurized brand. I like Bragg's, and Omega Nutrition is a good choice too.

1. Digestion

Apple cider vinegar is great to stimulate gastric juices. In fact, the acidic nature of apple cider vinegar mimics stomach acid and in turn aids digestion. That's why many people find relief from taking apple cider vinegar for heartburn -- often the issue is not too much stomach acid, but too little.

Just like lemon and water, a spoonful of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water is excellent as an alkalizing tonic. Despite its acidity, apple cider vinegar actually becomes alkaline internally after it has been metabolized.

1tsp in a little water before a meal is all you need to stimulate digestion.

2. Salad Dressings

This is of course one of the best uses of all - apple cider vinegar is a delicious addition to all kinds of salads, dressings and marinades. One of my favourite salad dressing combinations is olive oil, apple cider vinegar, tahini and basil. You can find my recipe here.

3. For Healthy, Silky Hair

One of my most recent uses for apple cider vinegar is as a hair conditioner in the shower, and it works marvellously. Two of my good friends can both vouch for this: it truly leaves your hair feeling soft and clean, and is great for detangling. Apple cider vinegar is also useful for dandruff.

I add equal parts apple cider vinegar to water in a spray bottle, spray it on wet hair in the shower, and leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing. This is my favourite new conditioner! You'll know what I mean if you try it. Best part is it's inexpensive, too.

4. Skin

If you're looking for super soft skin, try adding 1 cup of apple cider vinegar in your bath. Fun fact: the inside of our body loves a more alkaline environment, but the outside of our body - like our hair and skin - prefers more acidity. The pH of apple cider vinegar helps to balance us both internally and externally (and is also why #3 works so well!) Apple cider vinegar can also be used topically for a variety of skin ailments including insect bites, warts, and sunburn. Apply directly to skin, or dilute in a little water.

5. Fruit Flies

Apple cider vinegar works wonders for getting rid of fruit flies! I discovered this recently thanks to my brother: Simply pour undiluted apple cider vinegar into a small container, cover with plastic wrap, and poke a few holes in the top. The flies will collect in the container. It's actually pretty gross. But it works.

Sidenote: these tips are for apple cider vinegar and do not refer to white or other vinegars. Make sure to dilute apple cider vinegar when consuming, or when used topically if you have sensitive skin.

There are dozens of uses for apple cider vinegar. It is an inexpensive, highly versatile addition to anyone's lifestyle. What have you used it for? Leave me a comment below!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

late summer


September has arrived and my favourite season is approaching, making subtle appearances in the chill of the wind, the crisp of the morning, the dull of the sky, the rusting of leaves. It is the utmost inspiring of all seasons, at least for me, where I am somehow propelled into a world of imagination, ambition, daydream.

Today it rained and my back yard was beaming wildly with the red and orange of the setting sun, droplets on leaves and florets by my feet. I am, in essence, changing once again. And maybe not so much changing but exploring, finding, who I am perhaps. The past year of my life was wobbly and imbalanced and sensational and perfect and took me where I didn't want to go, and at the same time, exactly where I want to be. I am a true believer that every single thing that we are presented with in this life is exactly what we need to take us where we need to go, to teach us what we need to know.

August was a test for strength and I am in fact stronger than I once was, in head and in heart: it's not always easy doing the right thing. But at least it proves to be freeing; a liberation of sorts, and there's no better feeling than looking ahead at the future knowing it is an entirely blank canvas, nothing and everything and neutral, perched atop an easel, awaiting creation from my fingertips, my footsteps.