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.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Recipe of the Week

This is a recipe I've taken from Chef MD's Big Culinary Book of Medicine. This book has some great recipes and you know that you are getting nutritious fare when you are using this book as inspiration!

Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa Recipe

1 cup organic 1% low fat milk
1 cup water
1 cup organic quinoa,
(hs note: rinse quinoa)
2 cups fresh blackberries, organic preferred
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted*
4 teaspoons organic agave nectar, such as Madhava brand

Combine milk, water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat; let stand covered 5 minutes. Stir in blackberries and cinnamon; transfer to four bowls and top with pecans. Drizzle 1 teaspoon agave nectar over each serving.

Serves 4.

*While the quinoa cooks, roast the pecans in a 350F degree toaster oven for 5 to 6 minutes or in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes.



Meal of Champions

What's the most important meal of the day?

Breakfast! I know...this isn't new, but for some reason there are still people out there skipping it. Breakfast is beneficial for so many reasons....it helps kick start the metabolism to help keep weight in check, it refuels your body after going without food during sleep and it helps reduce cravings for high calorie snacks and lunches.

Of course, breakfast is only as good as you make it; if you're waking up to a bowl of Captain Crunch, or a grande chai latte and giant chocolate chip cookie you're pretty much setting yourself up for fail the rest of the day.

I think a lot of people are either short on time or get bored of the usual breakfast fare. So, here is a list of great, nutritious ideas to replace your boring breakfast (taken from http://evolvingwellness.com/topics/food/) :

If you like:Healthy Substitution

(white or brown spongy, or heavily processed whole grain)

Choose the healthiest, least processed, most nutritionally dense breads likeEzekiel bread or Sprouted Grain Bread
BagelsSprouted grain or whole, multi-grain, least processed bagels

Consider less bulky, healthy bread options above

NutellaSpread Hazelnut Butter with Raw Honey

Any natural, unsweetened nut butter with sliced bananas on top

JamHomemade, fresh fruit spread:

Banana – mash ripe banana in a bowl and use as a spread or topping

Berries – mash desired berries in a bowl and use as a spread or topping


(fried or scrambled)

Scrambled Organic firm tofu

Hard-boiled eggs – choose local, organic, free range eggs


(boxed, dry, processed)

Cooked real whole grain (steel cut oats, oatmeal, amaranth, teff, oat bran, kamut, etc.)

All natural (unsweetened) Musli, Granola, or other grain flakes - Bob’s Red Mill Grains

Homemade granola

Bacon or SausageSorry, there is no healthy substitute for these food choices. For optimal health, they should be avoided. Not even the vegan/vegetarian mock versions of these items are healthy.
CheeseTo spread – use hummus (homemade or most natural store bought varieties)

To drizzle – use cashew & nutritional yeast ‘like cheese’ sauce

To slice – use Organic Firm Tofu

Coffee or TeaEat more greens and focus on getting more sleep for better, more regular energy levels

Green Tea

Herbal Tea

Orange Juice

(processed, store bought)

Peel and blend fresh oranges in a blender with water/ice cubes
Granola Bars

(boxed, processed)

Lara Bars, Salba Bars, Weil Bars, Organic Food Bars, Oskri Coconut Bars, other all-natural Fruit & Nut bars

Homemade granola or fruit & nut bars



Sorry, there is no healthy substitute for these high sugar, high bad fat food choices.

(store or restaurant bought)

Homemade muffins (opt for healthy ingredients, eliminating bad fats, sugars and chemical additives)
MilkRaw, organic milk

Organic Brown Rice, Soy or Almond Milk (choose least processed brand)

Make your own milk like Banana Milk (blend banana with plenty water in blender), or Almond Milk.

YogurtOrganic Kefir

Organic, natural, unsweetened yogurts (add your own fruits, nuts or raw honey to sweeten)

Fruit Juices/DrinksBlend fresh fruits together using a blender (add more water to make a juice, or less water to make a smoothie)

Use a juicer to make a homemade fruit and/or vegetable juice

Protein Shakes


Hemp Protein or Hemp Seeds blended in fruit smoothie
Pancakes, Waffles orCrepesMake your own homemade (from natural ingredients) versions of these items (top with fresh fruits & nuts, raw honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup) –homemade crepes

Sweet Potato pancakes



Steamed, Baked or Boiled sweet or regular potato

Sweet Potato pancakes

Food additive: Sugar

(white or brown)

Raw Honey

Brown Rice Syrup

Maple Syrup

Agave Syrup (must be organic & raw certified)

Food Additive: Salt


Sea Salt – must be grey or pink (not white and refined for maximum benefits)
Other Healthy OptionsGreen Smoothie

Fruit and/or nut and/or vegetable salad

Potato Salad (homemade, no mayo, or processed dressings)

Bean Salad (from cooked, not canned beans)

Raw nuts

Hemp seeds

Enjoy your long weekend!

In good health,

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Gearing Up...

Tis the seasons for racing...at least in our part of the country it is! Mountain biking, triathlons, marathons...there are some pretty hardcore athletes out there! But, how do you know if you are properly fueling your body to perform optimally, when you need it the most?

Well, here are a few tips of what to eat before, during and after a race:

Before - most everyone is familiar with the typical "carb loading" dinner that many athletes will indulge in the night before a race...but, there's "carb loading", then there's "Carb loading"...what's the difference?? Most people will fuel up on refined pasta, with refined bread and salad with high fat dressing the night before a race; it's understood that the body needs to increase the glycogen in the muscles (which is done through eating carbs), but with all that refined food, you're really just putting stress on the digestive tract. I don't know anyone who wants to race with sluggish feeling bowels!

You are better off eating a well balanced diet all week long (if your diet consists of 50% carbs throughout the week, that is enough to build up glycogen stores), just make sure you include whole grains and lean protein.

The morning of the race, keep your meal light and include lots of water. Try to make it about 70% carbs (remember, whole grains here!), 15%protein and 15% fats...and you want to consume this meal 2-4 hours before your race. And also, try to avoid foods that contain a lot of fibre and dairy, as these can cause stomach cramps.

During - most people will just opt for energy bars or gels for during a race, with a pack of gatorade/water mix to keep them hydrated. While it's fine to go this route, remember to test these products before the big day, to make sure that your body doesn't have any adverse reactions to them (highly recommended since a friend related a story about Cliff bars having a bad effect on her digestive system during an endurance race through the desert...enough said!).

But, you can also opt for "real food" during your race. Things such as a banana; a bagel with natural peanut butter; steamed, salted potato slices or good old trail mix (with almonds, seeds, raisins and dates) can be just as satisfying (and are made from whole foods, instead of processed chemicals). And make it easier on yourself by packing these items in small serving sizes for easy eating.

After - it is also really important to refuel within 30 minutes after your race. Bananas, whole grain crackers and yogurt are all good foods to start with. Then, you'll want to be sure to have a meal that is a good combination of protein and carbohydrates afterwards (some athletes swear by a steak and potatoes for getting the body to feel good again). Whatever you choose, just remember to drink, drink, drink!!!

Enjoy the race!!

In good health,

Monday, July 12, 2010

Grilled Salt & Vinegar Potatoes

I found this recipe the other day...they don't taste exactly like Salt & Vinegar Chips (if that's what you're craving), they taste way better!!

This recipe is taken from 101cookbooks.com, which is a fantastic blog that has all kinds of delicious recipes to choose from!

Grilled Salt & Vinegar Potatoes

The original recipe calls for white vinegar. I used a white wine vinegar instead - but you can use either. I suspect you could actually experiment over time w/ different types of vinegar. I used fingerling potatoes that were on the large size, but any waxy potatoes will do.

2 cups / 475 ml white wine vinegar

1 pound / 16 oz / 450 g waxy potatoes (see head notes), cut into 1/4-inch slices

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, plus more for seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

fennel salt* to taste (optional)

Pour the vinegar into a medium saucepan, then stack (or arrange) the potatoes so the vinegar covers them completely. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the potatoes are just fork tender. You want them to hold their shape, so they don't fall apart on the grill later. Let the potatoes cool in the vinegar for 30 minutes. Drain well, then very gently toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Heat the grill to medium high. Grill potatoes, covered if possible, until golden on one side, then flip and grill the other side - roughly 3 - 5 minutes per side. Serve sprinkled with salt or fennel salt to taste.

Serves 4.

*To make fennel salt: toast 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds in a skillet, pound to a powder with a mortar and pestle, then combining it with about two tablespoons of flaky sea salt.

Adapted from a recipe in Martha Stewart Magazine, June 2009

Eat This...Not That!

This was developed as a pregnancy cheat sheet, but I think that we can all use help some days when it comes to cravings. Sometimes it’s hard to have self control, but ideas will help you keep for food cravings at bay:



Ice Cream

*Banana Ice Cream


Pelegrino, w/a splash of fruit juice.


Slice of whole grain raisin toast, w/jam.

Baked tortilla strips, sprinkled with cinnamon & raw sugar.


Trail mix, w/nuts, seeds, dried fruit and a few chocolate chips.


*Carob-Coconut Truffles

Graham crackers


Baked tortillas & salsa

Fast Food

Homemade pizza on tortillas, loaded with veg & goat cheese.

Homemade turkey burgers, w/baked yam fries.


Graham crackers (or other crackers), w/goat cheese and fig spread

Canned Fruit in Syrup

Frozen fruit, thawed in low fat coconut milk

You can check out my website for the recipes on this list; www.originswellness.com and for some other yummy recipes!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

July is National Blueberry month

Since blueberries are in peak season in July, it’s the perfect time to stock up on this sweet treat. Whether you pick your own, or purchase them at the market, when they’re in season they cost half the price. Or you can purchase some blueberry plants and grown your own; if you don’t have a garden look for the dwarf variety plant to grown in containers.

Blueberries are one of the many super foods, they are full of antioxidants and are great for our bodies and our immune systems; and help ward off heart disease and cancer. They also contain compounds called, anthocyanocides which have been shown in clinical studies to slow down vision loss. These little berries not only burst with flavour, but they pack a nutritious punch!

Ripe blueberries can be stored in a covered container, refrigerated for about a week, although they are best if eaten within a few days. To freeze, wash and dry berries, removing any sticks and spread out on a baking sheet, then throw in the freezer. They will freeze quickly this way, then you can transfer them to a plastic storage bag and return to the freezer; they should last up to a year in there.

Blueberries are great, when added to smoothies, topped on your cereal or in fruit salads, but they can also be used in baking muffins, pies or cobblers or try this recipe for something different:

Vegetable Couscous with Blueberries


1 cup (250 mL) vegetable stock
3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil
1 cup (250 mL) couscous
1 tsp (5 mL) grated lemon rind
Pinch ground cumin
2 carrots, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
1/4 cup (50 mL) walnut halves, chopped
1 1/4 cups (300 mL) frozen wild blueberries
1/2 cup (125 mL) cooked (canned) chickpeas
Salt and pepper
4 sprigs each fresh coriander and flat leaf parsley, chopped


1. In small saucepan, bring vegetable stock and 2 tbsp (25 mL) of the oil to boil. Add couscous, lemon rind and cumin; stir to combine. Remove from heat and cover; let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and scrape into large bowl.

2. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in skillet over medium heat and cook carrots for 5 minutes or until becoming softened. Add zucchini and cook for 3 minutes or until softened. Remove from heat and add walnuts. Add to vegetable couscous. Add wild blueberries and chickpeas to bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add coriander and parsley and stir to combine well.

Tip: Cover and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days. Serves 4