Kale Chips! with a hint of lime.

Between the new job and weekend leisure (new to me), blog posts have been few and far between. This past week however, I completed my first half marathon and made a pretty awesome snack – both of which I am pumped to share!

Let’s start with the marathon. photo 8Running the Uclulet/Tofino half marathon was mostly appealing as an excuse to trip up island and enjoy the true West Coast. In regards to the race route, I had not fully considered the series of hills that would later challenge me to new levels. The end goal was to feel good, and I managed that – only with the help and support of a friend to pace with and family at the finish line. Six hills out, five hills back followed by a 5k trail overlooking the ocean — exhausting but the most beautiful.

On the drive home we stopped in Coombs, a small Vancouver Island community that thrives in summer, as locals and tourists come to shop the fresh local produce and artisan gift shops. The marketplace was heaven, I walked away with more fruit and veg than I can possibly consume alone. Of all my purchases, fresh dill was the best find – so fragrant. photo 1As part of my mission to make good use of all this fresh food, I invited a friend to join me in making kale chips. She had not made them before -which made experimenting with flavours a little more fun. Traditionally (in the last year) I have dressed kale chips with olive oil and sea salt, but as it turns out on recommendations from others~ a little dill and lime go a long way for taste!

Thanks to my awesome housemate I am luck enough to have a flourishing veggie garden – and we cannot eat the kale fast enough. Amanda picked a bowl full of fresh kale, I set up the other ingredients and we started baking chips.

Ingredients:

  • 2 bunches of curly kale (any variety *each will taste slightly different)
  • 2 limes
  • 1 bunch of fresh dill
  • quality balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil
  • sea salt

Method:

  • preheat oven to 350photo 2
  • rinse, dry and break kale into small pieces
  • spread pieces of kale on to a baking sheet
  • dress lightly with olive oil
  • sprinkle with sea salt
  • bake until crispy but not brown in colour (approx 8 minutes)
  • place in serving bowls
  • add sea salt to taste
  • squeeze fresh lime (1 lime per 1 bunch of kale) on chips
  • OR cut up fresh dill and sprinkle over chips
  • OR a bit of balsamic for dipping chips

The best part? this recipe is fool proof – and quick! Perfect for an afternoon snack or watching a movie. Who would have thought, kale could be the new popcorn.

photo 3

My posts may be less frequent moving forward, but that is only because I am focused on my new job while simultaneously brainstorming where to take this foodie thing next. Thanks for continuing to read and support me as I navigate health and happiness.

~B

photo 9

Full body restart

To thrive in times of transition keeping up a healthy lifestyle is paramount. I would say our bodies need good activity, sleep and nourishment to effectively adapt to a new routine and environment; yet the process of change makes it very challenging. Over these last four weeks I admittedly struggled to balance life change with a whole foods diet. Eating on-the-go quickly became part of my daily routine. Not even two weeks into the new job role, and I had caught a nasty cold. Now in my fourth week things are starting to settle.

photo 4With the realization that my new routine needed some clean-up I decided to take 12 days to cleanse. I use “cleanse” loosely for two reasons. First, the word can evoke negative connotations similarly to ideas associated with diets. Two because cleansing doesn’t have to mean abstaining from food. Really in this context it is simply the dietary lifestyle I aspire to stick to more consistently- that is dairy-free gluten-free whole foods. The other big piece is eliminating toxins, which includes alcoholic beverages.

Why cleanse? There are many theories behind the need to flush out our systems. Reasons can be related to things like cultural beliefs, seasonal change or weight loss. From what I have found everyone has different motivators. Despite being skeptical a few years ago, I have found cleansing very useful for bringing myself back to what feels very best on my digestive system, and that is unprocessed whole foods. Because of the highly modified nature of our food system, I would argue that modern society can benefit from cleansing now more than ever before.

SAM_9901One week into my heightened dietary consciousness and already I’m feeling much lighter. My taste buds have again shifted to more whole food options, which happens pretty quickly when sugar and wheat are off the table. It’s tough to abstain from casual drinks in social settings, but a worth while exercise. This week has also been good for creative lunch making. Turns out pre-cutting veggies and arranging snacks for the whole week makes packing meals a breeze.

SAM_9909Monday to Friday full-time work is a big transition from 3 jobs and shifts. I feel so privileged, especially as it will allow me more consistent free time to get foodie inspired. I think its fair to say I am nearly through transition!

Follow this link to a similar post from last year: Balancing pH with a Spring Cleanse. It has more information on the Wild Rose Cleanse, which is what I am loosely following this time around.

Already feeling the boost in energy! And how about this weather?

to health, happiness & sunshine,

~B

photobhp

Share the Health

In an age of smart phones and social media the sharing is instant and nonstop. I think its fair to say that over sharing has become a bit of an issue. “I’m not interested in what you just ate” — Well in fact I am kind of interested, but I am not everyone. While most of you are receiving photos of dogs and sunsets- my inbox is flooded with breakfast, lunch, smoothies and dinner. Followed by the odd plate of grease from those trying to get a rise out of me.

This photo courtesy of Jamie (Dad) was to let me know that his Wild Rose Cleanse is going well — with the caption “Holy I’m full” (surprised tone). Yes Dad, I told you veggies can be filling!

photo 5Receiving this message got me thinking about sharing. Sharing is what I am doing here, writing down my tools for healthy eating in the hopes that others might find them useful. According to Kinfolk – sharing is the reason we gather. We bring our experiences, our creativity and communicate it in anticipation of response or reaction. With friends we can expect that sharing is mostly positive – but of course it can sometimes ignite negativity, and philosophies on how to eat are no exception. I have to remind myself that opinions on the ‘right’ diet can be perceived as pushy and are for the most part quite biased. Who am I to say what is best for you?

So how do we share health without offending others? Without acting as though our ideas on food are superior to theirs? I had this conversation with a good friend at work. He is going through atransition to healthy eating – following a juice cleanse and plant based meals. Instead of sharing all recipe ideas and philosophies on a Facebook profile, he started a closed group for those who are especially interested in a whole foods approach to eating. I thought this was a great solution — because it includes those who are ready to ingnite conversation, rather than ‘preaching’ if you will, over social media.photo 1

The other approach I have found most useful is to share from personal perspective. Being careful that I say things like ‘eliminating dairy relieved my stomach aches’ as opposed to ‘you should or shouldn’t eat that’ (although I sometimes slip and say the latter). The most effective way to communicate a holistic approach to health is to give examples of what has worked for you — who can argue with that? Drinking green smoothies boosts my energy. Whole, unprocessed foods are more easily digested by my sensitive stomach. Limiting my coffee intake makes me less anxious! Alkaline foods make me happy.

With all this said – the biggest lesson on sharing is not to hesitate for fear of reaction. Share the health with others, because it is true – as a society we have to seriously consider some new approaches to dietary well-being. In the spirit of sharing, here is a new website link and a very cool FREE cookbook: The Sustainable Table – a useful tool no matter what foodie philosophy you align with!

to health and happiness,

~B

photo 4

Cafe Bliss

Bliss~ the trendiest term for happiness. It’s a fitting name for my best friend and my favourite vegetarian raw food eatery, as both make me smile. Today’s post is a restaurant feature, a place for the Victoria foodie bucket list.

Sitting down for lunch, juice or a smoothie at Cafe Bliss is always a treat. They offer a vast menu of living foods, often sourced locally. The environment is framed by natural light and shelves full of fresh ingredients. Definitely worth a trip downtown.

photo 3

For lunch Iast Saturday I had the avocado shitake wrap… and to compliment my lack of sleep, the Clean Green smoothie. Both were delicious (as you can see). Cafe Bliss has the most alkaline menu in this city. Lots of leafy greens and plenty of veggie juice — not to mention raw ‘pizza’ and ‘burgers’. There is also a full case of raw desserts – which are thankfully on the pricier side, making me less inclined to order the whole cake.

At some point I hope to be eating this clean at every meal. Perhaps their cookbook Blissful is the natural next step.

photo 5

The bar is a good place to sit and gather dream kitchen ideas. Juicers, blenders and food processors – plus wheat grass and rows of ingredients in mason jars. Healthy heaven.

photo 1

Just one lunch at Bliss and it becomes apparent that this green approach to eating is the way of our future. The healthy glow of everyone who enters the door is proof of how powerful living foods can be. To see such a business thrive in this little town is exciting. So save your pennies and splurge on a green lunch at Cafe Bliss — it may just inspire you to prepare alkaline meals at home.

to finding your bliss,

~B

photo 2

Snacks, Salads, Sandwiches and Smoothies

Stress is a funny thing. I sit here attempting to identify how much of my current anxiety is self-imposed versus placed upon me? No matter the answer, I could definitely be more prepared to deal with the pressure of deadlines at work. Lunches for example. Lately I have become lazy, relying on a trip to the grocery store at noon, where I thoughtlessly throw something together. In an effort to change this, I spent part of Sunday picking up fresh ingredients for snacks, salads, sandwiches and smoothies.

What does one eat when deli meat, cheddar and processed snacks are off the menu? Well, lots. The transition to a healthier way of eating can open your eyes to endless possibilities; avocado for example, something I never ate five years ago – a staple today.

photo 3 Here are the items I picked up:

Snacks

Salads & Sandwiches

  • Silver Hills 20 Grain Train (more ideal for sandwhiches), tomatoes, cucumber, avocado (as a spread with a little sea salt), chickpeas (put them in the food processor, season & use as spread), sprouts or pea shoots, quinoa

Smoothies

  • frozen berries, kale, spinach, celery, grapes, apples, pears, almond milk, coconut water, flax seeds

*Tip: Blend all the kale and spinach with water and pour into ice cube trays. Freeze and throw a few cubes in when you make a smoothie (reduces food waste).

photo 5With home made lunches I was better fueled to start the day and more capable to accomplish tasks at work. The smoothies and snacks were especially helpful in keeping me energized between meals. There are few problems in life that a little food (healthy that is) can’t make better, right? For more lunch ideas visit this post from last year, Lunch Box Days.

I follow a number of foodies and holistic doctors on twitter. The other day I stumbled across this article and had to share it with you: Mark Hyman, Why I Failed to Achieve my Goals (And What I Did About It). As a goal setter myself I often get discouraged at my inability to keep up. This blog for example. I would love to be writing bi-weekly as it keeps me in check, but it is rare that I am able to complete the post without being interrupted by other commitments. Hyman’s article sheds light on the importance of letting go of goals, while at the same time finding better tools to achieve them.

“Yes, I have goals and dreams, but they are more like peaks in a mountain range — something I am moving toward. But the journey is the best part. And when I get to the top of one of the peaks, there will always be another, and I won’t be able to see what’s on the other side until I get there. So how I am in the journey is all that matters. Then, I can relax and just enjoy the ride.” – Mark Hyman.

To your health and happiness,

~B

photo6

Fuel for running

My passion for food has led to an interest in fitness. As part of this I have acquired a new found love for running. Always fond of the activity, but never quite this committed. Last week I completed a snowshoe 5k, which was unbelievable ~ yes that is running in fresh powder with heavy feet (look for the Yeti Snowshoe 2014 race series and sign up). This weekend I managed to fit in a long trail run and two 9k city runs, working up to some 10ks in April and that half marathon in June. Never felt better.  thetis10kOf course fitness is only part of the equation. To maximize my results from running I have also been paying closer attention to what I eat/drink before or after exercise. At the MEC run meetups, finding the right fuel is often a topic for discussion. Each runner seems to have their own perspective, but in the end its about finding out what works best for you. Today I will post a few dos and don’ts from what I have gathered so far. It would appear that planning ahead, or failure to do so is generally the make or break piece of the puzzle.

319847_4891229212098_1048106278_n

Dos

  • eat something a full hour before activity (1 or 2 pieces of Silver Hills bread with avocado or almond butter is my best suggestion)
  • make a 8oz fruit/veggie smoothie with Vega or Vega Sport pre-workout
  • take the time to figure out what whole foods you are able to digest well
  • hydrate with a small glass of water before and after
  • choose snacks/gels with simple ingredients
  • operate on trial and error until you figure it out (this means lots of training time before committing to a race)

Donts

  • avoid those powerbars and gels if they lead to stomach cramps (cramping mid run is very often your body trying to digest your food at an inconvenient time) — while some runners see the benefits, I find they hurt my tummy
  • big meals before a race will slow you down, as your body is using up energy trying to assimilate the food and pass it through your system
  • try not to push past your abilities if you are not well fueled for the workout~ sometimes its best to quit and better prepare for the next day

320999_4891230972142_1083558007_n

Over the past few weeks I have had some wins and losses. Working long hours leading up to the snowshoe race meant that I was ill prepared with nourishment before hand – and that stomach ache creeped up at about 3k. However this weekend I took a bit more time to eat a proper morning snack or smoothie, and bring along my water bottle.

Do you have any tips for fueling a good workout? I would love to learn more.

Hope all of you allocate some time to get outdoors, in my biased opinion running is one of the best ways to take in all that fresh air.

~B

snowshoe5k

Pure Green Goodness

Spinach, kale, celery, pear, banana, frozen grapes, avocado, lemon and a touch of mint. A simple recipe for one tasty smoothie.

Only two weeks in to living with the Vitamix and I am in love. The process is as easy as finding ingredients, tossing them together and flipping a switch. Seconds later you have blended goodness. So far the biggest challenge has been balancing leafy greens with great taste. For the record, cucumber fails me every time.

SAM_9894Generally I function on trial and error, before coming to my senses and seeking out better resources. Simple Green Smoothies is one of the more comprehensive sites I stumbled upon. Their recipes are not just based in sweet berries but also alkaline ingredients such as kale, spinach and collard greens.

Recipes on this site are broken into categories including banana-free, five ingredients or less, healthy treats, immunity boosters, kid-friendly and seasonal. In addition you will find links to nutritional information, making it easier to pick the best ingredients for how you are feeling. I highly recommend taking a browse.

Pure Green Smoothie

Ingredients:SAM_9884

  • spinach, kale, celery
  • grapes, pear, banana, avocado, lemon
  • coconut water
  • mint

Method:

  1. cut up ingredients
  2. toss in blender
  3. add coconut water to improve consistency
  4. add mint or more fruit to sweeten taste

I’m not sure I can think of a more ideal way to start your morning, whether its fuel for the gym or office. I enjoyed this one on Sunday after too many cocktails Saturday night and am fairly certain its the only reason I made it through my run.

This blender really is the best. I look forward to getting creative and sharing more recipes with you!

~B

greensmoothiejan20