52 weeks of good health....

every week I will share with you a tip to improve your eating habits or lifestyle to help you reach maximum energy levels and increase overall physical and emotional health.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Clean Eating Apples and Yams

Here's a great healthy alternative to candied yams...taken from the Gracious Pantry BLog (http://www.thegraciouspantry.com/clean-eating-apples-and-yams/)


2 very large yams
2 apples
1 tbsp. Molasses
2 tbsp. Agave or maple syrup
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. corn starch
1/2 cup prepared orange juice (no added sugar)
2 tbsp. walnuts – chopped

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Boil your yams with the skins on for about 40 minutes. Remove from water and allow to cool. Peel your yams and your apples. Remove the core as well. If you have an apple peeler, all the better as it will do both jobs at once! Slice your yams and apples about 1/4 inch thick. Spray a casserole dish with a light coat of olive oil. Then, layer your apples and yams in rows. In a sauce pot, combine your remaining ingredients (except the walnuts) using a whisk. Be sure to dissolve your corn starch so you don’t have any clumps. Heat as you whisk until the sauce is nice and thick. Pour sauce over yams and apples and top with walnuts. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Staying Healthy this Holiday Season

Now that the holiday season is upon us, many people are trying to figure out how to enjoy themselves without overindulging at parties and getting run down from squeezing in too many festive activities. Here are a few tips to keep you feeling healthy, while still being able to have fun!

  1. Get your greens - wake up in the morning with the intention of either having some greens in the form of a salad or smoothie. Keep veggies pre-cut in your fridge to help avoid making excuses about not having time to throw something together. This should help prevent you from grabbing fast food on your way home from shopping.
  2. Get enough sleep - most of us will have some late night parties to attend, but make sure to try to maintain your regular sleep schedule as much as possible.
  3. Find time for exercise - even on Christmas day you should be able to find time to take a walk; suggest heading out before dinner with other family members; this will also help you avoid pre-dinner snacking.
  4. Avoid grazing - allow yourself to enjoy some holiday appies and treats, but limit yourself to a plateful. If you fill a little plate when arriving at the party and graze off of that all night, it'll help you keep track of how much you've eaten.
  5. Construct a healthy holiday menu - if you are hosting a get together or dinner, make sure to include healthy alternatives to the heavy, high fat dishes. It's a great opportunity to introduce your friends and family to some great vegetarian and raw food dishes, that taste great!
  6. Go easy on the alcohol - if you are choosing to indulge in desserts, having a drink or two less than you normally would is a great way to balance out your caloric intake for that day.
Staying healthy during the holidays is entirely possible, with a little preparation and self control!

In good health,

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Healthy Snacking

Most of us snack during the day...and there's nothing wrong with snacking, if you're snacking for the right reasons. Snacking can bridge that gap between meals, so that you don't experience that blood sugar drop that can lead you to unhealthy meal choices.

There are some things you want to consider to make sure that you are getting everything out of your snack and that you are not just mindlessly binging. Snacks should be considered as an important part of your daily food intake; not just a chance to have a treat. Before you reach for a snack, there are a few things to consider:

  1. what have you already eaten for the day? Was your breakfast lacking a certain nutrient? Have you had enough fibre or calcium? Snacks are a great way to ensure that you are getting all the proper vitamins and minerals that you need to stay healthy.
  2. why are you snacking? Is it out of boredom or because of a craving? If you find that you are having certain cravings every afternoon, you might want to look at what you are eating for lunch...it could be that you are missing balance in your lunch time meal leading to cravings later on.
  3. don't plan on hanging around, snacking in the kitchen...this is a recipe for trouble, as you will often find yourself reaching for "just one more piece", if it's available. As with any other meal, go sit down somewhere and be mindful of what you're eating.
  4. choose slow to digest foods; complex carbs, protein, fibre...something that will fill you up and not leave you looking for more. You want to make sure that you will be ready to eat when the next meal time comes around.

Sedentary days

  • ½ cup 1% cottage cheese and a handful of sliced grapes/strawberries or small piece fruit
  • ½ cup sliced fruit or 1 whole piece of fruit & 15 almonds
  • ½ cup, low fat, plain yogurt & ¼ cup blueberries
  • ½ cup cooked Edamame & 1 orange
  • 1 pear & 15 TLC Honey Sesame crackers
  • 1 apple & 2 oz cheddar cheese or 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 Kashi TLC granola trail mix bar (or homemade granola bar) & ½ cup sliced strawberries
  • 2 Plums & Nuts and seeds (small handful)
  • 1 cup snow peas & 3 tbsp hummus
Active Days

  • protein shake, with a banana
  • Hummus and pita (1/4 c hummus)
  • Peanut butter and banana on rice cakes
  • 1 small whole wheat tortilla, with 2 tbsp almond butter, roll up with ½ a banana
  • 4 ounces deli turkey, 1 soft cheese wedge and 1 apple
  • Dried fruit and nuts
  • Hardboiled egg and raw veggies with dip
In good health,

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Take Time for Yourself

Today's blog post is a bit of a cop out...just a bit! My post this week is about taking time for yourself; meaning know when to sit back and just relax and enjoy yourself, instead of always pushing to get things done and trying to meet silly deadlines.

That being said, since today is my birthday and I'm in the midst of preparing for my daughter's birthday on Sunday (and seeing as it's a snow day, here in Squamish) I'm opting to take time for myself today!!

I'll be back next week, with a great tip and a tasty recipe, but for now...I'm going to go play with my dog in the snow!!

In good health,

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Healthy Gift Giving

Tis the season...what are you shopping for this holiday season? Do you go out there with a plan or do you just purchase things at random? And what do you buy for the person who doesn't need anything?

There are lots of things you can purchase that will promote healthy living or help support your local economy and I've put together a small list of those things for you to keep in my, while you're shopping for the, "hard to shop for"!

  • This is the time of the year when all the Christmas fairs start popping up...have you always avoiding them thinking that they are just full of knitted doll clothes and crocheted socks? Well, check them out this year; it's a great place to buy locally made soaps and lotions, spices and of course, jewelery.
  • books on health; some good reads include In the Defense of Food, Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Food and Healing and Food Inc - this is actually a DVD for people who don't enjoy reading.
  • how about a cooking book full of healthy recipes? Some of my faves are: Super Natural Cooking, Eat, Drink, Be Vegan and Rebar Modern Food Cookbook
  • handcrafted ceramic tea pot and tea cups, along with some loose leaf tea.
  • reusable water containers...some places are banning the sale of water to cut down on waste (which I think is great!), so you'll want to make sure to have a reusable bottle to bring your own water when you head out the door. These water bottles are cool and support a good cause.
  • alcohol is always an easy fall back gift option...you can make it healthier by purchasing a bottle of organic wine. Most liquor stores are carrying large selections to chose from these days.
  • and of course, if all else fails you can never go wrong with the gift of food! I love giving gift baskets filled with raw nuts and seeds, organic chocolate and a pack of coffee. Who would like to receive that??
Whatever it is you are shopping for, try to keep in mind how much packaging is used, whether the person will actually appreciate the gift (or whether it will end up in the landfill!) and how it will contribute to their own good health!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Boost up Your Immunity

It's that time of year again...the season's are changing, the weather's getting colder and coughs and sniffles must be right around the corner...right? No one likes to get sick or feel run down, so this year why don't you try to be proactive with your health and keep your immune system running at optimum performance. There are lots of natural ways to do this and if you've already been following many of my tips, then chances are you are already on your way!

pH Balance - I talked before about pH balance and the effect it has on your body; a good pH level supports healthy bacteria growth and wards off viruses. Approximately, 70% of our diet should come from alkaline foods and 30% acidic in order to maintain a balance. Eat veggies throughout the day, take a green supplement (a green drink a day has so many health benefits!), and avoid acid forming and acidic foods and your body's pH level will gradually be balanced.

Get a full nights sleep - sleep has been linked to hormone levels; including human growth hormone and the stress hormone, cortisol. When are bodies are stressed, it depresses our immune system.

Get enough protein - protein is the building block for a healthy body, mind and immune system. Diets low in protein are often higher in carbs; and too many refined carbs can spike the blood sugar, which can stress the immune system.

Avoid refined white sugar - if there is only one thing that you want to do to improve your immune system, this should be the one! It can rob your body of needed vitamins and minerals.

Include more fruits & vegetables - if you have not already increased your consumption of fruits and veg, this is a great time of year to do it, especially dark colour produce (which contain vitamin C and antioxidants). Your body will benefit from the additional vitamins and minerals, which will protect your immune system from damage from toxins.

Get outside - even in the cold weather, it's good to get outside, get some exercise and breathe some fresh air!

and lastly....

Nurture youself - since stress has such a negative impact on your immune system, it only makes sense to take care of yourself; indulge in that massage, have dinner with friends, take a hot bath. Pay attention to your body and make sure that you take a step back if you are starting to feel run down...when you're happy, you're actually less likely to get sick!

If you can pick at least 3 of these tips and stick to them, you will substantially improve your immunity!

In good health,

Thursday, November 4, 2010

20 Quick Tips to keep you Healthy and Organized

Cook 2 batches of chicken breasts and freeze in 3oz or half chicken breast portions in small sandwich bags. They then can be grabbed easy for chicken wraps, salads, or to be used with rice or other dishes in a pinch

Cook a whole pot of Quinoa and freeze in ½ cup portions, again can be grabbed easy for snacks, lunches, breakfast etc, also freeze some in dinner size portions 2 cups to grab easy for dinners

3. Cook a pot of brown rice and freeze in ½ cup portions and dinner size portions for ease when preparing

4. Boil 6-8 eggs at a time and leave them in the fridge for snacks, salads, breakfasts etc

5. Make 2-3 batches of granola bars and cut and freeze

6. Make a huge batch of granola and freeze in bags to so you can grab it easily when you run out

7. Make a big container of whole grain cereal to use for breakfasts/snacks

8. After you get groceries put together a Tupperware container of vegetables so they are easy to grab for the week

9. After you get groceries make a fruit salad that will last 5 days to be used throughout the week when time is limited

10. Plan your grocery list and shop for everything you will need for the week, spend some time after pre-preparing things you will need, this will make cooking easy

11. You don’t need to order out...an easy egg omelette or frittata can be made in 5 minutes (using the veggies you already have cut up) and a spinach salad can be whipped up in minutes if you buy the prewashed spinach. Your dinner can be made and on the table in less time than it would take you to get your food delivered. Or you can easily grab some wraps and the chicken you have in the freezer and make quick quesadillas with chicken, spinach, peppers and salsa, served with a quick salad or some of the fruit salad you have in the fridge.

12. Make big batches of soup and chilli and freeze them in individual containers. Chili can also be used to top a salad with some baked pita chips, makes a quick and easy supper in a pinch.

13. When you have leftovers, freeze them, you can use them another time when time is of the essence

14. Low fat salad dressings make great quick sauces for stir fry’s and chicken and such keep a good stock.

15. Make a big batch of breakfast cookies and energy bars and freeze.

16. Make lots of trail mix as this is great to grab when you are in a hurry

17. Make a double batch of muffins and freeze.

18. Freeze bananas so you can always make a smoothie and not have to worry about having fresh ones on hand.

19. Buy frozen fruit in big bags to be used to in smoothies and to be used as a snack or breakfast with yogurt and granola.

20. Always have tuna and beans in the cupboard, a quick tuna casserole can be whipped up in no time, beans also are great for a protein that can be whipped up into a soup in 20 minutes (as long as you have a good stock of reduced sodium stock in your cupboard)