Detoxify

Topics for blogging generally reflect health related circumstances in my life that might be useful to share. Today detox is on the brain after several glasses of wine and a slow start to the morning.

Here are some healthy tips to get past that hangover feeling:

Hydration: Alternate alcoholic beverages with water. Drink water before, during and after your evening. It should help ease the headache! As I have mentioned before vodka water is my beverage of choice because there is less sugary juice involved and more H20.

Eat well: This might always be my biggest fail. Before a night out you want salad and greens for good digestion but it would also be beneficial to choose more filling foods like rice pasta, quinoa, roasted veggies or lentils. Acidic drinks on an empty stomach is a recipe for sickness.

Coconut Water: Now sold at select night clubs. I.e. Upstairs Cabaret. So at last call try asking for a coconut water instead of another shot ~ your morning will be better for it! There are some arguments to suggest that coconut water is no more effective than Gatorade for replacing electrolytes; the two appear to have very similar affects, however they differ in one important regard. We know that the ingredients involved with coconut water are simple, where as the formula for making sports drinks involves artificial colours and flavours (See the Live Strong site: The Ingredients in Gatorade Energy Drinks). When given the option I like to believe natural is the way to go.

Vega: Also known as my source of energy. This supplement is like coffee for me ~ I notice a huge difference the days I have it versus the days I forget. There are many products in the Vega line. I have found the most helpful one for a hangover is the Vega Sport line, which is specially formulated to help your body recover. The Vega Sport performance system is 100% plant-based, free from dairy, gluten and soy, and contains no artificial flavours, colours or sweeteners. Vega One can also be helpful if that is what you have!

Juicing: Early morning greens will help flush out the body and give you some much needed plant-based nutrients. Check out recipes from my earlier post: Ready, Set.. Juice. I went on a mission after yoga today to purchase some kale, celery, carrot and ginger juice!

Fitness: If you manage to wake up early enough drag yourself to a yoga class, the gym or go for a run! Sweating will help, and so will detoxifying twists. Yogis use twisting movements to encourage activity in the intestines which will flush you out. Get rid of all those acidic toxins lingering in your system.

Party Smart Capsule: The good people at Health Essentials introduced me to this product. I tried it several weeks ago and definitely felt a difference! The ingredients and science behind this little gem are linked here at Himalaya Herbal Health Care. Worth a try if you’re feeling low.

Just as alcohol negatively affects our systems, good nutrition positively affects us.  Unfortunately the reaction time for food is a bit slower so be patient. There are of course situations where you have done too much damage to cure the hangover ~ but  in the event that you are just feeling a little slow, these tips might be of some help!

It may seem counter intuitive to be reading a post about unhealthy behaviour on a health blog. But let’s face it drinks play a role in many of our social lives. I figure honesty is the best policy, and I hope these imperfections in my alkaline lifestyle make it easier to connect and relate to posts. As my foodie mentor mentioned this week, there’s always room to zig zag.

Hope your week is filled with happiness,

~B

Holistic Hydration

Hello foodies!

With warmer weather comes drinks! Some with a little alcohol, others of the hydration variety. Before reaching for that can of soda to quench your thirst, try exploring some alternatives. You might just find they taste better.

Juicing fruit and veggies is a  much larger topic for another post. Today I will outline some ideas for flavoured water and iced teas. Pop, juice and sugary blends are a trend of the past. Flip over these products and check out the ingredients… sugar (or some scientific name for sugar) is always the first ingredient.

Bring on the cucumber, ginger and lemon water ~ or perhaps iced herbal tea. Drinks without refined sugar will keep you hydrated longer and contribute to better overall health ~ including healthy weight management.

Sure water seems like a fairly basic subject, however our conventional knowledge of H20 is quite limited. We know we need it, but how much? how often throughout the day? and what kind of water?

The common thread seems to be ‘drink more’, because for a long time we have not been drinking enough. Experts in the realm of holistic nutrition recommend alkaline water, because ionized water should improve the body’s pH balance. Water ionizers can be very expensive, so at home I opt for a pH ion solution that is in powder form and stirred into my glass. Take a look at this pH Ion website for more information on the science and products behind these theories. Good water should invite alkalinity into the body by reducing acids. Making a commitment to drink plenty of water is part of living a health conscious lifestyle. Drink lots!

But what about taste? After giving up pop and juice, water has been my go-to beverage for several years now. At this point I pay very little attention to taste because I am so used to it as the only option. While eating at the Sitka Cafe last week I noticed they had cucumber water. Of course I had to try it… and the difference in really caught my attention. Since then I have been exploring new ways to spruce up basic drinks with a variety of ingredients. Getting creative with water will be a helpful tool for anyone looking to eliminate pop and juice from the fridge.

Inspiration for Flavoured H2O

  • mint
  • lemon
  • ginger
  • cucumber
  • orange
  • lime

*mix, match or by themselves. It’s a very easy process. Simply wash and slice your ingredients of choice before placing them into ice cool water. Give the veggies some time in the water for that flavour to settle in. Then keep the jug in the fridge ready for those who need hydration.

This also might be a fun way to get kids falling in love with water. They can help prepare it and perhaps eat any cucumbers that fall into their drink.

For those occasions where water is not the answer, it might be nice to try some steeped ice tea. One very warm day last week I was in Silk Road and tried their Alchemist’s Brew, ice cold. I quickly became one of those suckers who fell for the sales tactic. Before leaving the store I purchased a tin for home. This blend tastes really wonderful as an iced tea and I recommend you try it! It also looks more like juice, which might help win over younger ones!

It is worth experimenting with many types of tea, herbal or black ~ to see if you can enjoy them hot and cold, year round.

Hydration is essential for optimum health. What we choose to consume really does affect how we look and feel. Your skin, mind and body will thank you for keeping well hydrated with good holistic sources. Good hydration is one of the best ways to achieve a healthy glow.

And of course if you are really trendy you can opt to drink this water from a mason jar. Rachel will forever make fun of me for this, but look around ~ people are doing it.

Comment below if you have other ideas for sprucing up those simple drinks. Or share recommendations for iced teas.

I hope the long weekend was good to all of you. Wishing you a great second half of this one!

Cheers!

~B

Summer Supper Recipes

Happy Wednesday!

I have two recipes for you this week.

My intention was to write about fitness and food – but the more I researched the more I realized that it was going to take a lot longer to prepare that post. Despite taking this weekend off to relax and catch up I still ran out of prep time!

Hello sunshine! Who is happy about this? I think everyone. I always feel physically and emotionally better as a result of a little bit more heat and Vitamin D. This weekend was just beautiful and I managed to soak up my fair share of rays. I hope you took some time to get outside and enjoy!

On Saturday after hours lounging in the sun, my girlfriends and I made a delicious summer salad for dinner. It was simple, affordable and easy to prepare. I cannot take the creative credit – as it was all Brandy’s idea. We used a little bit of balsamic vinegar and lemon juice for dressing, but with the avocados and onions there really was no need.

Brandy’s Summer Salad

Yield 4

Ingredients

  • head of butter lettuce
  • 3 ripe tomatoes
  • 1 large can of organic garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 2 large avocados
  • 1/2 red onion

Method

  1. designate chopping duties
  2. wash the lettuce, tomatoes and onions
  3. rinse the chickpeas
  4. cut up onions, tomatoes, avocados and lettuce
  5. mix into a large bowl with the chickpeas until the avocado becomes a dressing
  6. add fresh lemon and a bit of balsamic to taste
  7. serve on its own or as a side

*Note: if you want to keep some for left overs try adding the avocado to each serving as opposed to the whole bowl.

In honour of Mother’s Day we prepared this meal at the Fetherstonhaugh house. We did our best to keep Mom and Grandma out of the kitchen, but it was near impossible!

Pesto rice pasta with veggies is something we have been enjoying since my Aunt began blogging alkaline recipes a few years back. The rice pasta is gluten-free making it celiac friendly and easier for most to digest. And as you can see there are also many veggies involved.

This recipe is adapted from one linked here via the Alkalinesisters.com. I cheated a bit and used pesto from a jar (which had whole ingredients of course). The rice pasta is made by Tinkyada, and you can find their products at most regular grocers. Not everyone enjoys the taste of this pasta so whole wheat or another alternative might be better for you.

Veggie Pesto Rice Pasta

Yield 6

Ingredients

  • 1 package of rice pasta
  • 2 crowns of broccoli
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 3 stalks of bok choy
  • 6 bell peppers (red/orange/yellow)
  • 1 cup of pesto – or homemade sauce of your choice

Method

  1. steam broccoli, kale and bok choy
  2. boil pasta (13-15 minutes)
  3. roast bell peppers
  4. prepare one cup of pesto sauce
  5. rinse pasta
  6. mix all the ingredients together
  7. let the veggies cool or serve warm- up to you.
  8. enjoy!

Meals with family and friends are the best. Making them healthy is even better.

I hope these ideas can be of some use for you as days get longer and warmer. Enjoy your long weekend.

Happy meal making!

~B

Making Sandwiches (sans deli meat & condiments)

There is something sentimental about a sandwich. I can remember the excitement in our house when dad took extra time to make our favourite sandwiches for school lunch. Today times and taste buds have changed~ deli meat, cheddar, condiments, gluten and pickles are off the menu, so it’s time to get creative.

Set aside the PB & J, bring on the sprouts, avocado, beans, chick peas, tomatoes, hummus, yams, guacamole and whole sprouted bread. Nutritious and delicious.

This wouldn’t be a health foodie blog without a little lecture to start. On the subject of condiments, why should we avoid them?? As a lover of ketchup, mayo and mustard, this was one of those pH rules that I was less keen on in the beginning. I thought really? could cutting out this seemingly small part of my diet make a big difference?

Well take a look at the ingredients your dealing with. Plenty of long scientific looking words ~ which can be translated to processed sugars and genetically modified corn products. These items play a big role in our addiction to refined sugars, while also offering empty calories and an overall acidic substance that our bodies struggle to break down and eliminate.

From the Heinz Ketchup wesbite:

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 1 Tbsp (17g)
Calories: 20    Fat Cal: 0in

Vitamin A 2% · Vitamin C 2% · Calcium 0% · Iron 0%
*Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

INGREDIENTS: TOMATO CONCENTRATE FROM RED RIPE TOMATOES, DISTILLED VINEGAR, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CORN SYRUP, SALT, SPICE, ONION POWDER, NATURAL FLAVORING.

KOSHER PAREVE
GLUTEN-FREE

- this ketchup is gluten-free, but those with gluten-intolerance should check the nutritional facts because many processed products will contain gluten.

We find similar ingredients when looking at mayonnaise, some mustard, margarine and especially salad dressings. Canola oil is also used often, known for being genetically modified and highly processed.

Dr. Robert Young, alkaline expert and author of the The pH Miracle explains the trouble with condiments in the following:

“most condiments are full of sugar, processed salt or both. Or they contain fermented or acidifying ingredients. Experiment to find your favorite alternatives to ketchup, mustard, vinegar, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, soy sauce and so forth – Your best allies are healthy mono- and polyunsaturated oils, lemons, limes, garlic, onion, ginger, spices and of course healthy whole mineral salts.”

Making simple sandwiches:

For bread I opt for Silver Hills because they use whole sprouted wheat, organic ingredients and no animal by products. If you are living gluten-free it can be difficult to find a bread that has the right taste and texture so be sure to try more than one brand. Or make your own! (Take a look at the blog Elana’s Pantry for delicious gluten-free bread recipes). Also try and find something that is sliced on the narrower side so that you end up with a larger ratio of veggies to bread as opposed to vice versa.

Great taste is in the spread. Get creative with avocado, kidney beans, chick peas and spices to create the base for each slice of bread. I often times use avocado like you would margarine because it is easy to do with a butter knife. A magic bullet or small food processor will be a big help when it comes to mixing ingredients and achieving the right texture. Of course there are plenty of recipes out there for hummus or guacamole but it is also worth exercising your creativity and making something original.

Then you want to add all your main ingredients. Sprouts, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers – or other veggies of your choice. Thinly sliced roasted yams taste excellent on sandwich or in a wrap! Eggplant, zucchini, carrots… mushrooms perhaps?~ the options are endless. The ingredients can be raw or lightly cooked ~ whatever you prefer. Sometimes I also use tempeh, which is a soy product that replaces the taste and texture of meat, depending on how it is prepared.

And if you want something to directly replace the taste of ketchup, mustard, relish and so on – then take a look at this bloggers post on Homemade Condiments. Make your own with fresh ingredients and its guaranteed to taste better!

There is a restaurant in Montreal that I miss A LOT. Santropol has an amazing sandwich menu full of interesting bites. Just thinking about it makes me smile. Some of their ingredients include raisins, apples, nuts and of course veggies. Take a look at the menu for inspiration. Look at those sandwiches! Take me back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t get into deli meats… that’s a story for another post. Lots of preservatives & salt make it best to avoid these processed products. If you choose meat research quality meat products from farms with healthy, well-fed  and well-treated animals.

Choosing whole foods including spreads with whole ingredients will improve your digestion, positively affect your energy and be better for your health in the long run. Once you seek out tasty alternatives it is a fairly easy transition to make.

Here’s to switching to simple sandwiches that are sooooo fresh and delicious!

~B

Becoming Nutrient Proficient

Hello followers! Happy Wednesday :)

Before I begin please note: my intention with this post is to share personal experience in an effort to inspire more exploration and initiative for you. I am not a nutritionist and therefore can only guide you with resources and ideas that were helpful for me in finding solutions. Yessss its a hot topic.

Recently my inbox has been flooded with ideas for blog posts, which is much appreciated ~ so keep them coming!

One in particular that I am addressing involves nutrient absorption and our ‘deficiencies’. I use this term lightly because it is one that stood in my way for the years leading up to taking better control of my overall health. After each blood test or physical the doctor would report back saying I was deficient in iron, B12 and calcium. Despite many efforts to follow his recommendations, drinking more milk and consuming more red meat ~ it was the same story with every visit. Seriously frustrating. Then I splurged on daily vitamin supplements, but that yielded little in the way of positive results. Given the doctors orders I felt that trying a whole foods, unprocessed approach would be more harmful than help.

Eventually a shift in attitude triggered a sustainable shift in results — as I focused more on becoming obtaining good nutrition, those classic deficiencies became a thing of the past. As later explained by a naturopath, a functioning digestive system allows for better nutrient absorption from plant-based sources. In a matter of months my iron, B12 and calcium were improving without any meat or diary ~ and I was feeling FULL of energy. New routines, including vegetable juicing and fresh salads are just some examples of efforts to become more nutrient proficient.

When someone is skeptical about these dietary choices the conversation usually lends itself to questions like, What about protein? and iron? and calcium? In response I explain that the alkaline approach is part of a bigger picture whereby the body is more balanced and therefore able to absorb such nutrients from plants. We have been socialized to believe that meat and dairy are the best sources of these, but experts like Brendan Brazier (Vega) shed a different perspective, connecting plants to optimum nutrition.

Take a read of the following articles:

Protein: Quality, Not Quantity is Paramount ~ Brendan Brazier

The Perfect Formula Diet Top 10 List of Plant-Based Happenings in 2011 ~ Janice Stranger Ph.D.

Iron in the Vegan Diet & Vitamin B12 in the Vegan Diet ~ Reed Mangels, Ph.D., R.D.

The processes for absorbing the nutrients and eliminating the toxins is complicated, therefore it makes little sense to look for isolated nutrients from only one source. Processed foods and empty calories contribute to our malnourished results, so it is essential to look closely at what we are eating. Theories on plant-based nutrition are grounded in holistic principles to consider your body’s ability to break down such foods and properly take advantage of the nutrients they offer.

(This week’s cafe find: dairy-free, gluten-free pizza made with daiya cheese and lots of veggies… delish!)

Looking back from the perspective of feeling well it makes more sense to analyze the big picture rather than to focus on those few nutrients that were appearing consistently deficient. So for starters when you hear the term deficient ~ try looking for ways to become more knowledgeable and conscious on the whole. This means improving overall dietary health. A sound digestive system is a huge part of this. Once your system is working well it will be easier to actively seek out those foods that are rich in nutrients~ as you are healthier and ready to absorb them.

If you are interested in specific details on plant sources for iron, calcium, protein, fiber and vitamins A/B ~ and so on… take a look at the chart linked below.

Dr. Decuypere’s Nutrient Charts: Vegetable Chart (listing Alfalfa through Zucchini)

Absorbing nutrients is such a tricky subject, and one that truly sparks my interest (as you can probably tell). Today our industrial food chain has depleted the minerals and nutrients in soil making it more challenging to produce nutrient-rich foods. Explained in this article, Supplements: The Cure for Modernity. To be sure that we are covering all the bases as omnivores or vegetarians it is wise to take a daily supplement (such as Vega).

It is difficult not to feel guilty when the doctor reports that you are deficient in certain nutrients ~ but remember a large percentage of our population is suffering from the same problem, and its not our fault. The good news is there are plenty of resources to take some initiative.

When you are well nourished you will feel better, and at that point there is no doubt that you are doing something right.

Feel free to share comments, perspectives and experiences below!

~B