Currant Carrot Clusters

Want an energizing snack that tastes so delicious that you won’t believe it’s actually good for you? Try this Currant Carrot Clusters recipe! It goes well with this smoothie.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup grated carrot
  • ½ cup oats
  • ¼ cup dried currants
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • ¼ banana (mashed)
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp ground flax seed
  • ¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions

Combine all ingredients into a large bowl. Mix together well and form into 2 inch balls. Let set in the fridge and enjoy.

Keep sealed in an airtight container in the fridge.

Outstanding Breakfast Options: Protein Power Pancakes

We have all heard the saying “eat breakfast like a king”. Why should you eat like a king, you ask?

The benefits are numerous:

  • Breakfast gets your metabolism revving, helping to burn more calories through your day
  • A quality breakfast provides much needed macro and micro nutrients- key for maintaining a healthy immune system as we approach cooler weather
  • Eating breakfast helps to keep blood sugars stabilized (and consequently hormones stabilized), better ensuring quality energy and sleep.

…and more!

Here are my top protein packed, energy fuelling, yummy –in- your- tummy breakfast choices:

  1. Protein Power Pancakes.

The reason I love these so much is that you get that warm, comforting pancake texture but without all the white flours and sugars. The flax in this recipe adds some healthy fat that helps keep you feeling fuller longer and the nutmeg and cinnamon bring an added sweetness while helping to naturally lower your blood sugar. This by the way is great for those trying to drop body fat.

Find the recipe for this here

Stay tuned next week for the next yummy breakfast choice!

Pair up these pancakes with a Vanilla Blueberry Bliss Smoothie!

 

Picture source

Surviving September

We’ve been dreading it for months, the weather is getting cooler, there’s more traffic on the streets, school lunches need to be made again…yes, September has arrived. I’m as sad as you.

A concern I hear on a regular basis from my clients is how to maintain or resume healthy habits when chaos ensues.

Bulk Up:

A great method I really appreciate is prepping all or some of the meals ahead of time. This method takes a little upfront effort, but think about how seamless your week would be!

I hear a lot of concerns about the month of September from moms in particular. Kids are back to school, extracurricular activities have started again and dinner is just barley being squeezed in. Think about prepping and freezing some meals ahead of time (now) so when the madness ensues you are ahead of the same. See below for one of my favourite prep and freeze recipes.

Map It.

Last week you learned one meal prep method to ensure healthy meals get on the table despite a busy schedule. Everyone has their own way…

Here is how I do it:

Here is an analogy that I like to use. Pretend that you were going to spend 2 days driving to Florida for a relaxing vacation at the beach. In order to get there, you’d need to plan your route, book a hotel to stay in for the night, make reservations at must-have restaurants you have never been to before and perhaps, pack some snacks and some games/books for a little entertainment.
While en-route, after having done all the initial prep work, would it make sense that you would change your route for no particular reason? Re-booking new hotels and restaurants would just be a pain in the butt and, not to mention, a waste of time.
The point is, once you have made your plan, the odds of sticking to this are very good. The same goes with food prep. If you lay out a plan ahead of time, the odds of you straying from your original plan are slim.

My way:
Step 1. Make a list of 7 different dinners you would like to have. Take into account busy nights of the week (i.e. don’t plan to make a roast on the same night you need to drive your kids all over hell’s acres).

Step 2. Write down the groceries needed to make these meals. Tip: Plan to make extra portions so you have left over’s for the next day. Buy groceries for the whole week at one time.

Step 3. Put this list up on the fridge so everyone in the household knows what to expect for meals.

Step 4. Put this list in a file folder and reuse every 4 weeks.
Simple.
What I like most about this, is that the thinking, during the busy week, has been eliminated. If I follow my plan, I know what needs to be pulled out of the freezer the night before, I know if I need to prep something ahead of time and I feel like dinners go off without a hitch.

Picture source

Giveaway:

If you want the template I use for my weekly meal prep, comment below. The first 10 people to comment at the bottom of this blog with a meal prep tip will be sent my weekly template. Make sure to include your email address in the comment.

Taking a look at modern “food”

Getting back to basics: Taking a look at modern “food”

Written by: Michelle Armstrong, Registered Holistic Nutritionist

From an evolutionary point of view, as humans we are supposed to consume the foods that mother earth has provided; fresh water, vegetables and fruit, seeds, legumes and whatever protein sources we could catch. All these examples of foods free of pesticides, colourings, preservatives, herbicides, stabilizes, emulsifiers, bulking agents, sweeteners, flavour enhancers, thickeners, bleaching agents and trans fats.  These natural foods provide the perfect balance of vitamins, minerals and electrolytes, and it is this balance that we seem to have drifted away from. Most of us now search for balance in our busy days and find it in the convenience of processed foods. Quick, tasty and infinitely available, they seem to be the perfect answer. That is until we really look at what these ‘foods’ are and what affect they are having on our health.

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Canadians of all ages get more than 20% of their caloric intake from “other foods”, which are foods not recognized by the traditional food pyramid. These “other foods” are invariably fast foods, soft drinks and baked goods, foods that are not recognized by the human body as a source of nourishment. Consider these statistics:

  • On any given day 30% of kids living in North America will visit a fast food restaurant
  • Over 60% of the population 18 years and older are considered clinically overweight or obese.
  • According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition conservatively 30,000premature deaths/year in the United States are attributable to consumption of trans fatty acids.

In addition to these man-made chemicals directly contributing to increasing rates of chronic conditions, they also impede the body’s natural ability to detoxify. The saying rings true, “you are what you eat”, studies show that those who consume large quantities of trans fats, subsequently have cells made up of these very same fats. These altered cells are arguably inferior as their ability to move nutrients in and waste out is compromised. If cells are affected, it would stand to reason that so would the rest of the body.

With all the research out there to support the health consequences of consuming man-made toxins such as trans fats, why not make the decision to start new today. Fresh vegetables and fruit are packed full of disease fighting vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. In addition, whole grains and legumes provide a much needed source of fiber; these complex carbohydrates also help to regulate blood sugar levels and supply fuel for the production of energy.

No matter how you look at it, consuming foods that are whole and unprocessed are far superior than consuming “foods” that have been altered by man. Decide to make it a priority to find new balance in life by focusing on real, whole foods.

Michelle Armstrong RHN FLT

Registered Holistic Nutritionist

First Line Therapist

Antioxidants: What are they, and why do we need them?

Antioxidants: what are they and why do we need them?

Written by: Michelle Armstrong Registered Holistic Nutritionist

We have all heard rumors of these marvelous anti-cancer substances called antioxidants, but what exactly are they and how do we incorporate them into our lives?

Antioxidants are substances that help to prevent damage to cells caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unhinged or unstable molecules which are thought to be responsible for cellular damage or cell death[i]. Factors that cause free radicals to form include cigarette smoke, radiation, digestion, environmental pollutants and even breathing[ii].

In their article “Free radicals and antioxidants in health and disease”, Bagchi and Puri use the analogy of a free radical as a bachelor being let loose into a dance party that is all couples. As the bachelor starts cutting in, he leaves one man without a dance partner, breaking up couples as he moves through the dance floor. These now unstable couples (molecules) can be highly destructive; it is these damaged cells that are thought to play a role in disease processes.

The main purpose of an antioxidant is to help stabilize free radicals and counteract or prevent any damage they might have or will cause.  They are hugely abundant and take many different forms. They range from vitamins like A, C, E to bioflavoniods (plant chemicals found in foods like grapes, cherries, bright vegetables and buckwheat). Antioxidants also exist as minerals like selenium (found in foods like rice and sunflower seeds), and enzymes which are substances that speed up biological reactions. Carotenoids are another common example; these antioxidants represent a class of pigments found in foods such as tomatoes, carrots and sweet potatoes.

Although research on antioxidants has not yet been absolute, many studies have suggested that “consuming large quantities of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk for several types of human cancers”[iii].

In 2009, The Canadian Cancer Society published their annual report in which it states that 40% of women and 45% of Canadian men will develop cancer in their lifestyle; 1 out of every 4 Canadians will die. With statistics like these, maybe we should wake up and focus more on consuming whole, natural foods, high in beneficial properties, like antioxidants instead of processed foods that contain little or no nutritional value.

Example menu based on high antioxidant foods:

Breakfast– whole grain oatmeal with fresh blueberries and raspberries. Cinnamon and ground cloves sprinkled overtop

Morning Snack – small handful of walnuts, 1 plum

Lunch – Chicken breast, marinated in olive oil, paprika, chili powder and fresh ground pepper. This served over a fresh spinach and red cabbage salad.

Afternoon Snack – Quality protein shake blended with blackberries and ground flax seeds

Dinner – Fresh white fish baked with lemon and fresh dill served over a medley of sweet potatoes, red bell peppers and broccoli.

Michelle Armstrong RHN FLT

Registered Holistic Nutritionist

First Line Therapist


[i] Santosh k, Mukhtar H. Tea antioxidants in cancer chemoprevention. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 1998; 67: 59-67.

[ii] Bonnefoy M, Drai J and Kostka T. Antioxidants to slow aging, facts and perspectives. Presse Med 2002; 31(25):1174-84

[iii] Khachik F, Beecher G and Smith C. Letein, Lycopene, and their oxidative metabolites in chemoprevention of cancer. Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 2004; 59 (S22): 236-246.

iv Bagchi k and Puri S. Free radicles and antioxidants in heath and disease. Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal 1998; 4 (2): 350-360.