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.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Recipe of the Week

This weeks recipe can be a side dish or a full meal...it's great for those of you who want to eat veg, but maybe your spouse thinks that he isn't getting enough protein without the meat. All you need to do is add chickpeas to this dish and the rice/chickpea combination becomes a complete protein!

Curried Squash & spinach over basmati rice

This recipe is taken from Clean Eating Magazine; if you haven't checked it out yet, you should. Great meals, great idea's for menu planning...even meals for under $5...and all yummy!

  • 1 c brown basmati rice
  • 1 1/2 lb acorn squash, seeded, stemmed and diced into 3/4" pieces
  • 6 oz spinach (about 10 c loosely packed)
  • 1 1/2 c low-sodium chicken or veg broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp tumeric (I actually use curry and it works too)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  1. prepare rice according to package directions. Remove from heat and let stand covered, until ready to serve.
  2. while rice is cooking, in a medium bowl, combine broth, coriander, cumin, tumeric, salt and cayenne. Set aside.
  3. when rice is about 10 min from being done, in a large skillet or sauce pan with a tight-fitting lid, warm oil over medium heat. Add squash and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth mixture, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce to low, cover and cook until squash is tender, about 10 min.
  4. remove lid and add spinach, 1 handful at a time, stirring after each addition until wilted. Serve curried squash-spinach mixture over rice.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I'd also like everyone this week to check out this video from TED...

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tame that Sugar beast!

Cookies, muffins, dark chocolate...mmmm....ask my husband, I love to bake. And I love to eat what I bake. Lately, I've been making scones (like these ones here..http://www.tastebook.com/recipes/638411-Raspberry-Spelt-Scones...I like to add some walnuts in too...or do dates instead of raspberries), they're so yummy in the afternoon with a cup of tea!

But, every 6 months or so I feel the need to tame my sugar cravings. How many of you finish a meal and feel the need for something sweet? Or need something sweet to get you through the day? Yep, time to tame the sugar beast! It's easy to become addicted to sugar, because of all the processed foods on the market that are full of it. Did you know that the average person eats more than 115lbs of sugar a year?? Salad dressing, cereal, condiments...read your labels, it's in everything! (check out this site; http://www.sugarstacks.com/) The good news is, the longer you go without it, the less intense the cravings are and the easier it becomes to just say no.

Anytime you do a cleanse, your success really depends on being prepared. It's no different when you give up sugar. Since I already avoid processed foods, giving up sugar is relatively easy for me, but, if you normally consume a lot of processed/packaged foods, it may be a little harder. You really need to become good at reading labels, because sugar will disguise itself under many different names....but, if it ends in "-ose", there's a good chance it's sugar!

Follow these tips to beat your addiction:
  • eat foods in their most natural form
  • eat protein with every meal; and don't forget breakfast!
  • eat 6 small meals a day; this will keep your blood sugar stable and reduce cravings
  • opt for brown rice and WHOLE wheat breads (if it says enriched whole wheat, it's not whole!); they provide the benefits of carbohydrates without unbalancing your blood sugar
  • don't starve yourself; make sure you have lots of tasty, fresh food on hand for snacking (I rely on nuts and fruit, when I cut out sugar)
  • stay busy, get outside, be active!
  • learn how to bake sugar free; I like to avoid all sweet stuff for the first 5 days or so, then I will make something (like the energy balls posted below) to have as dessert.
  • drink lots of water
  • Prepare your meals ahead of time, plan for the week and shop for the week (which is a good idea anytime), so you don't find yourself stuck and grabbing something you shouldn't be eating.
  • and lastly, if you slip up; don't get down on yourself. Just keep moving forward from there. Remember, moderation is always the key, if you are having a really hard time getting away from sugar, maybe you need to ease into it rather than going cold turkey!

3 main reasons for cutting sugar out of your diet:
  1. Sugar increases fat storing.
  2. Sugar disrupts normal brain functioning.
  3. Sugar decreases your overall health and makes you age quicker.

So, give it a try....let me know how you feel! I'm a week in and I feel great!

In Good Health,

Recipe of the Week

Here are some yummy treats that I made that are sugar free, but tasty all the same! They're taken from this site; http://www.marksdailyapple.com/cocoa-and-coconut-snacks/#more-10893 ...check it out for other ideas!

Cocoa and Coconut Snacks

1/2 cup each:

Pecan nuts
Hazel nuts
Pumpkin seeds
6-8 dates
2-4 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
To taste:

Unsweetened cocoa powder
Freshly ground coffee
Shredded coconut


  1. Run the nuts and pumpkin seeds in a food processor until ground into a fine flour.
  2. Remove the nut flour and grind the dates and shredded coconut in the food processor until smooth.
  3. Mix these ingredients together with coffee and cocoa powder according to taste.
  4. Finally, add the coconut oil and mix it all together by hand. Roll the paste into small nibbly balls and sprinkle them in shredded coconut.
  5. These snacks should be refrigerated to become firm.
I didn't have time to roll them all out, so I pressed them into a glass pan and sprinkled them with coconut.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Recipe of the Week

Since people are still looking for more Vegetarian meals, here's another yummy dish...in case you haven't noticed, most of the meatless dishes I make are stew like!

Vegetable Curry


  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 1 medium eggplant, cubed
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tablespoon sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds
  • 1 zucchini, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 10 ounces spinach

( I tend to add extra spices than what is called for...you'll probably want to play around with the amounts to satisfy your taste buds!)
  1. In a large Dutch oven (you don't need to use a Dutch oven, just make sure that you really watch that it doesn't burn if you don't!)place sweet potato, eggplant, peppers, carrots, onion, and three tablespoons oil. Saute over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  2. In a medium saucepan place 3 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, turmeric, curry powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper and saute over medium heat for 3 minutes.
  3. Pour garlic and spice mixture into the Dutch oven with vegetables in it.Add the garbanzo beans, almonds, zucchini, raisins, and orange juice. Simmer 20 minutes, covered.
  4. Add spinach to pot and cook for

  5. Enjoy!
  6. WEndy 5 more minutes.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Food for Healthy Skin

Our skin is the largest organ of our body. It measures 1mm thick when we're born and grows to 2mm think by the time we are adults. As we age, our skin gets thinner and becomes more susceptible to sun damage. So, what can we do to take care of it?

Well, like I have said before...you are what you eat. What you are putting in your mouth can have a big effect on how your skin looks and feels. Here are some tips of what you can do and eat to keep your skin glowing and beautiful, even in the cold months of winter...

Water - we've talked about water before...hydration is very important in keeping skin looking and feeling healthy. Since drinking lots of water helps flush toxins out of the body, it in turn helps the skin stay clear of blemishes.

Low fat dairy products - since our skins cells are dependent on Vitamin A, and low fat dairy products are a great place to get it from. Dairy products contain the "true" form of vitamin A (as opposed to many vegetables that contain beta carotene that needs to be converted), this is especially important to people with thyroid conditions or diabetes that cannot convert the beta carotene to vitamin A.

Berries and plums - these fruits are high in antioxidants...these antioxidants protect the cells membranes from damage and disintegration. By protecting your skin from damage, you are helping ward off premature again...and who doesn't want to do that?

Healthy Oils - fish oil, walnut oil, flax oil...these all contain essential fatty acids, which are essential for cell membrane protection. Your cell membranes act as a barrier to harmful things, but they also hold water in the cell, so the stronger your cell membranes, the better your cells can hold moisture.

Green Tea - this tea has anti-inflammatory properties and is protective to the cell membrane. It may even help prevent or reduce your risk of skin cancer. It also contains polyphenols which are good not only for your skin, but for your overall health.

Moisturize - cleansing, toning and moisturizing are of course also important for healthy skin. Make sure to chose good quality, clean products...emu oil, shea butter and olive oil are all natural moisturizers.

And finally, eating a balanced diet, lots of fruits and vegetables, avoiding fried foods, and limiting the alcohol all improve skin health as well....so, continue doing all of those things and you're headed in the right direction!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Take Your Time When Eating

Many digestive problems such as bloating, gas and general stomach discomfort can be alleviated by taking the time to carefully chew food. Chewing our food isn't just something we need to do in order to swallow it, it is actually the beginning of the digestive process. Just think that whatever food you don't chew properly, your stomach and intestines have to do later.

I think that most of us forget the reason behind eating, when we actually sit down at the table to eat (that's if you even sit at the table!)...we're sometimes reading, watching tv, talking on the phone or maybe even arguing. Really, food is meant to be savoured and enjoyed...not rushed.

You are helping your body in a few different ways, by chewing throughly;
  • chewing longer ensures that your food is well saturated with saliva, which contains lot of enzymes to help break it down faster (carb digestion begins with the saliva)
  • it prevents bacteria by eliminating the risk of incomplete digestion, since you're breaking it down into smaller pieces
  • it prevents the heavy feeling that you sometimes feel after a meal. It takes a few minutes for your body to recognize it's full...this may also help you lose weight, because you may end up eating less!
  • your brain will thank you, because you will enjoy the food more
And what are some tricks to help us slow our eating down?
  • breathe, when your food comes to you take a minute to look at it and appreciate it...take a few deep breathes before you begin.
  • break, between mouthfuls put your fork or spoon down while you chew.
  • bite size, take smaller bites. Ever notice how much slower you eat when you are eating with chopsticks
It might seem weird at first, but really take the time to smell the food, think about the taste and texture of the food, while your chewing it. See how much more you begin to enjoy your eating!

In good health,

Recipe of the Week

Sorry...I'm a little behind this week in posting a recipe. It's been a busy, crazy week...but, I guess that's what happens when you have a sick one year old, a husband working crazy long hours and are trying to launch your own business!

Anyways....we make a lot of smoothies in our house. My daughter loves them and I love them, especially for breakfast. But, fruit smoothies can get a little boring, so here's a new one to try!

Pumpkin Smoothie


1/2 c. canned organic pumpkin

1 c. skim milk/milk alternative (we use rice or hemp) or coconut milk (for a twist! yum!)

1/2 c - 1 c. ice

1 tsp. honey

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 scoop vanilla protein powder or brown rice powder


Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Note: When making smoothies, always put in the liquid ingrdients FIRST. This will prevent all of your solid ingredients getting stuck at the bottom.