Follow Me

Close

Lets stop denying the fact that summer is over and fall is coming.  Although in Toronto it may not seem this way with the uncharacteristicly high temperatures, Fall weather will be upon us sooner than we want to come to terms with.  As the days get shorter and the temperature begins to drop, it is essential to adjust our cooking and eating habits. This is largely in keeping with the proceed that nature gives us at particular times of the year.

 Last week I was at the local farmers market and as I walked around the many farmers booths I noticed that the produce has already started to produce reflecting the autumn season.  I saw lots of winter squash, onions, apples and root vegetables.

Tuning into your body and understanding what it wants and needs at various times throughout the year is what I call whole body awareness.  You will notice that you do not crave fresh salads, cool drinks in the fall and winter like you do in the spring and summer.  Eating warming foods in the fall and winter is so vital in keeping the body healthy and balanced.  This philosophy of warming and cooling foods is derived from Ayurveda, which is the ancient Indian tradition of whole-body medicine.

Ayurveda suggests that the metabolism works harder in the fall and winter to keep us warm, and therefore the “digestive fire” must be well fuelled with heavier foods. Salads in the cooler months are suggested to zap the body of energy and possibly weakening the immune system.

Butternut squash is one of my favourite and most versatile fall vegetables.  From creamy soups, to hearty pastas, to nutritious tarts butternut squash truly shines in each and every recipe. I have decided to use this hard-shell squash in a delicious stuffed recipe. What I love most about this recipe are the leftovers!  Easy to warm up days after for lunch for a side to a dinner dish.

Gluten-free, Dairy-free

Yields:  4

Ingredients

  • 2 Medium sized Butternut squash
  • 1/3 cup fresh pomegranates
  • 2 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 bunch Kale
  • 1 1/2 cups Vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cups Quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • Instructions

1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Halve the butternut squash, scoop out the seeds, then place halves on a baking tray, cut sides up. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven for approximately 45 minutes just until the squash is tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F

  1. While the squash is baking, place the vegetable broth in a small pot and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa, reduce to simmer for 15 minutes covered. Set aside.
  2. In a large pan heat avocado oil over medium heat. Add the garlic until golden. Add the kale and cook until wilted approximately 3 minutes.
  3. Once the squash is cool, scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/2 inch-thick border around the sides. Reserve the flesh (this can be made into muffins, stuffing or mash!). Stuff the squash halves with the kale quinoa mixture and return to the oven for approximately 10 minutes. Serve warm

 

The stomach flu has been traveling in my house for the last week or so (yikes!). Parents warned me that once my little one started nursery school she would bring home gifts other than her cute art work LOL. I do have a protocol to boost her immune system, using different herbs and supplements, at various times throughout the year however sometimes it just can’t be avoided. With that being said, the weekend past and I was not feeling my best so Savannah and I stayed home and hung out around the house.  We woke up Monday morning and I did not have much in the fridge to whip up for breakfast. I saw the very few ingredients that I did have and decided to make a batch of these banana pumpkin breakfast muffins. Savannah and I sipped our camomile tea, had these delicious warm muffins on the couch while watching Dora. It is these small moments that I know I will cherish forever.

I was overwhelmed with the comments and requests for me to post the recipe I created on the fly. I hope you enjoy them as much as Savannah and I did (the batch lasted less than two days!).

 

Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Refined sugar-free

Yields: 12 muffins

 

Ingredients

2 ripe bananas

3/4 cup pumpkin puree, canned

1 egg

1/4 cup coconut yogurt (dairy free)

1 1/2 cups 1-to-1 baking flour (Bobs Red Mill, gluten free)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup raw honey or maple syrup

1 tablespoon raw unsalted pumpkin seeds (topping)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl mash the bananas, add sweetener of choice (honey or maple syrup) then add pumpkin puree and mix well using a hand mixer).
  2. Mix in egg, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Then add in flour.
  3. Spoon evenly into a 12 muffin tin greased with coconut oil. Sprinkle raw pumpkin seeds on top.
  4. Bake at 425 for 5 minutes then reduce heat to 375 and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Baking your muffins at a high temperature for 5 minutes allows them to rise and gives them a beautiful plump appearance.

Most of us have been perpetually reminded since childhood, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This meal influences how we perform physically and mentally throughout our day.

The average adult gets 8 hours of sleep per day (or should) and 10 hours for children. In those 8 to 10 hours hours that the body is resting it is also essentially “fasting”. If breakfast is not consumed in the morning the body does not get the energy needed for the day, affecting concentration levels (particularly in children), mood and weight maintenance. Eating a nutritious and balanced breakfast (protein, veggies, good carbohydrates) maintains blood sugar levels and sets the tone for a day of healthy eating.

5 reasons why breakfast is the most important meal of the day:

  1. Increase metabolism
  2. Maintain or lose weight
  3. Enhance mood
  4. Enhance immune system
  5. Stimulate the brain improving memory and concentration

However on the days when we are scrambling to get out the door, we tend to push it off. What we really need is a breakfast that can rush out the door with us. By taking the time to prepare and eat a healthy breakfast, you eliminate grabbing or picking up the high-sugar breakfast options at your local coffee shop.  My simple and nutritious egg muffins prepped in a muffin tin are tasty, healthy, and totally transportable, making your mornings easier and your days energized.

These delicious and healthy breakfast egg muffins can be made in advance and even frozen for more convenience! When you’re busy, portable breakfasts make all the difference. I have created three difference recipes below but you can swap out or change up the ingredients as you desire.

Yields: 12

Ingredients

Kale & Spinach

  • 8 eggs
  • 1 cup sliced mushroom
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 shallot diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Broccoli Cheddar

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup cooked broccoli florets
  • 1/4 cup sweet yellow onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast

Pomodoro

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves (chopped or minced)
  • 1 handful fresh basil torn
  • 1 cup quinoa cooked

Instructions

  1. Coat muffin tin with coconut oil and set aside. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Whisk the eggs in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Dice the vegetables into small pieces and add to the egg mixture (for the broccoli cheddar add the nutritional yeast at this stage as well).
  4. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes until centres are set and no longer runny.
  5. Allow to cool slightly before serving

** Please note that extras may be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in an air-tight container in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Everything in moderation. Except for Avocado

Guacamole is an avocado-based dip, originating in Mexico. Mexican cuisine uses guacamole as a condiment or side to their more snack-type dishes (burrito and tacos). However guacamole has become an addictive and very popular dip internationally and rightfully so!  Avocados are a unique type of fruit in that they are high in healthy fats.  Where most fruit contain primarily carbohydrates, avocados are also incredibly nutritious containing powerful health benefits.

Avocados have made the `superfood` list and it is not surprising considering its high nutrient content and health properties. Avocados are rich and creamy making them a fantastic addition to smoothies, desserts, salad dressings and guacamole. Guacamole has become well admired by most vegetarians and vegans, mainly because they contain 2 grams of protein, 2 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fibre and 15 grams of healthy fat making this fruit a low-carb friendly plant food.

Avocado is a high fat food in fact the majority of the calories are from fat, making it loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. It is important to note that the majority of the fat in avocado is a monounsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid. Oleic acid is proven to reduce inflammation and is also resistant to heat –induced oxidation, making avocado oil a healthy and safe cooking option.

Fat does not make you fat! I am persistent when it comes to demolishing this myth. Our bodies need good fats. When we eat healthy fats we are more satiated which allow our bodies to indicate to our brains that we are full and content (eliminating over eating or cravings for junk food). Most people confuse fat itself with the junk food that it is associated with. Do not be afraid of the heart-healthy fats that exist in avocados. Not only are they packed with healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre but they are loaded with powerful antioxidants, making them a healthy addition to any diet.

Avocados add that smooth and creamy texture and flavour to guacamole, making this dip an ideal snack or side dish. My guacamole bowl takes less than five minutes to make with very minimal utensils to clean afterwards.

Ingredients

3-4 ripe Hass avocados

Juice of 1 lime

¼ cup diced red onion

¼ cup diced ripe tomatoes

3 tablespoons of cilantro (chopped)

1 teaspoon kosher sea salt

A dash of black pepper

1-2 jalapeño (stems and seeds removed) – optional

Instructions

  1. Cut the avocados by running a knife around the avocado (top to bottom) and twist in half. Once the avocado is open, firmly press the knife onto the pit and twist to remove. Pull out and place the pit in a bowl to the side. Slice the avocado in strips vertically (top to bottom) and then repeat horizontally. Scoop the flesh out with a spoon into a medium sized bowl.
  2. Using a potato masher, mash the avocado until a smooth consistency. Cut the lime in half and squeeze both halves into the bowl with the avocado.
  3. Dice the onion and tomatoes and add to the avocado, mixing until well combined. Stir in all other ingredients. Place the avocado pits back into the bowl (this keeps the guacamole from browning).
  4. Serve with non-gmo organic corn chips

Guilt-free indulgence: A healthy alternative to the classic cinnamon roll

Have you ever smelt something that reminds you of your childhood? I can still remember the warm and cozy feeling I had as a child when I smell freshly baked cinnamon rolls. This sensory experience takes me back to my childhood in an instant. Fluffy, soft, doughy and bursting with cinnamon I just had to re-create the classic home-style cinnamon roll recipe to be gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free.

This recipe’s combination of brown rice flour and coconut sugar produces rolls that are pleasantly doughy with a subtle touch of sweetness. If you are like me and love cinnamon, you will adore the filling of these rolls as they are filled with the aroma of ground cinnamon while also delivering a healthy dose of fibre with the organic chia seeds. This recipe is not only delicious but it is also versatile. You can add nuts to the filling and even top with raisins once glazed.

I really want to speak a little about balance. As a holistic nutritionist I am very pro-balance when it comes to indulgences (and life in general!). It is funny, I usually see shock on people’s faces when I tell them about the indulgences that I have weekly. YES I indulge, I am not a rare creature who lives life restricted. I believe that depriving yourself will only lead to overeating or bingeing.  An overly healthy lifestyle can be restrictive and although I advocate for healthy eating habits, I also encourage my clients to indulge from time-to-time.  There are many healthier treats to indulge in and having something homemade is always a better option than out of a package.

My tips and tricks on exercising healthy indulgences:

  1. Commit to a healthy lifestyle with balance: Eating healthy most of the time (80%) with a few indulgences here and there (20%) and developing a healthy relationship with food eliminating all guilt
  2. Plan for your indulgences: By planning your treats you can ensure your indulgences are a healthier option rather than running to the grocery store to purchase anything that looks tempting. Getting excited about the indulgence, you’re less likely to feel any guilt.
  3. Release the need to eat overly healthy all the time: Food can be the most incredibly beautiful experience or the worst. If you have an intolerance or allergy, stick to indulgences that your body can tolerate. No one is perfect and no one can upkeep an overly healthy lifestyle, it is not healthy! Indulge, enjoy it and let it go!

 

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 2 cups glutenfree baking flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons ghee melted and cooled slightly

For the filling:

  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon organic chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoon arrowroot powder

For the glaze:

  • 2 tablespoon ghee
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
  • 1 teaspoon coconut milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Grease a 12 muffin tray with coconut oil.
  3. Dough: In a large bowl place all dry ingredients. Place all wet ingredients into a medium bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Set aside while you prepare your filling.
  4. Filling: In a medium saucepan melt the ghee over low heat. When melted add sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, chia seeds and arrowroot flour until consistency is thick.
  5. Roll out the dough, on lightly floured parchment paper, into a rectangle. Then spread the filling on the rolled out dough.
  6. Roll up the dough into a log and with string feed it under the roll and cut into 12 rolls.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Many people avoid snacks because they believe it will contribute to weight gain when in actuality it helps to maintain a healthy weight and keep energy levels at an ultimate high, avoiding cravings of junk food and refined sugar.  However not all snacks are weighed the same.  Choosing snacks that combine complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats is key!

No bake bars are one of my favourite on-the-go snacks because they are portable, easy to eat and do not require a napkin! WIN!  However commercial bars are what we nutritionists call junk food dressed up as a healthy snack. The majority of these so called “healthy snacks” that sit on the shelf in your nearby grocery store, contain a ridiculous amount of refined sugar and ingredients that even I cannot pronounce!

So why are these individually wrapped bars so popular?  Well because they are easy and can be eaten for breakfast and snack.  What if I told you, you could whip up a batch of really healthy bars in less than 20 minutes?  Would you consider making them?  I hope so because these 5-ingredient healthy bars are not only delicious but they are packed with complex carbohydrates, protein, fibre and a ton of vitamins!

Whether you`re looking to eat healthier, have more energy, fuel your workout or liven up your child`s lunch box these bars are the ideal addition to your life. They are stress-free, convenient and healthy. When you’re short on time, feeling tired, or don’t want to heat up the house, whip up these simple yet delicious no bake peanut butter cacao bars.

We all know that making our own treats means cleaner ingredients and these whole food bars are sure to keep you energized and fueled all day long. I highly recommend making a batch every few days and storing them in the fridge, or freezer, for fast, convenient and healthy snacking!

As a busy mom and entrepreneur anything that takes less than 30 minutes to make is my jam! These bars are an easy grab-and-go power-packed snack keeping my blood sugar levels balanced. In turn, this makes me a better mom, a better wife and a more energetic entrepreneur.

Dietary Restrictions: Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-free

Yields: Makes 8 square bars or 16 smaller bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup gluten free oats
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup organic almond butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  1. Place the dates in a food processor to form a dough
  2. Add all other ingredients until well combined
  3. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper and then press the dough tightly into the pan
  4. Place in the freezer for 1 hour
  5. Lift out of the pan and cut into squares or bars
  6. Store in an airtight container (these can be frozen)

As we have all likely noticed, smoothie bowls are the biggest trend on social media these days and for good reason! Take your smoothie make it thick and ditch your straw for a spoon. These thick and colourful bowls provide a ton of variety and the gorgeous toppings you can play with are not only healthy but fun.

Why are smoothie bowls so popular? You can eat them for breakfast, lunch or snack and feel confident that you will be getting the energy and fuel you need to tackle whatever the day throws your way. Filling your smoothie bowl with fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds and healthy fats gives you an easy meal packed with nutrients, fiber and vitamins.

The Açaí berry is the popular superfood from Brazil. It is an indigenous berry found in the rain forests of the Amazon. Along with this berry’s delicious taste, it provides an array of health benefits.  The Açaí is a powerful fruit and its popularity is well deserved.  Adding this energy-boosting fruit to your diet, will help stimulate your immune system and may help repair oxidative damage because of its high antioxidant content. In my popular eBook “Healthy is Sexy”, I speak a lot about beautifying from the inside-out and achieving true beauty from a whole foods diet. Antioxidants provide our cells with protection while slowing down the aging process.

Being an entrepreneur and mom I am always looking for fast and easy meals that are packed with nutrients to keep me going all day long. Needless to say, Acai smoothie bowls are my favourite these days.  After eating this beautiful bowl of deliciousness you will feel satiated and full for hours.  Not to mention it will satisfy any sweet craving you may have (minus any guilt or blood sugar dips).

Unfortunately here in Toronto, we are not able to get our hands on fresh Açaí berries. You can only purchase Açaí as a fruit puree and this can be found in the freezer of your local health food store. The biggest producer of this puree is Sambazon. Finding this puree is not the difficult part of this recipe, the challenge here is to find the balance of thickness for your smoothie bowl so that your toppings simply float on the top and do not sink into the mixture. Smoothie bowls really are not difficult but they can take a few tries, especially if you’re new to the smoothie-bowl scene.

If you want to blend a super thick and spoonable smoothie bowl follow my tips and tricks below:

  1. Make it thick – use frozen fruit to give you a thick base (you do not want a soupy smoothie bowl). The more frozen fruit and less liquid you use, the thicker the bowl. Be sure to use a powerful high speed blender like a Vitamix.
  2. Chill your bowl before starting – smoothie bowls can be delicate and can begin melting the moment you pour your mixture into the bowl. By chilling the bowl first you can avoid this.
  3. Find your perfect smoothie bowl – Its best to use a deep bowl versus a wide or shallow one to keep the mixture cold and it is a smaller surface to add your toppings to.

Açaí smoothie bowls are popping up at trending local juice & smoothie bars however I encourage you to try my recipe below. Remember smoothie bowls have personality so you can change up the toppings to whatever your heart desires adding your own flare!

Prep time  10 minutes

Total time 10 minutes

Makes: 2 Bowls

Ingredients

2 frozen Açaí packs (unsweetened)

1 frozen banana

¼ cup coconut milk

¼ cup coconut water

Toppings

½ banana (slices)

strawberries

¼ cup coconut flakes

¼ cup hemp hearts

1 Tbsp chia seeds

Instructions

  1. Run Smoothie Packs under hot water for 5 seconds.
  2. Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until well combined (consistency should be that of a very thick smoothie).
  3. Poor Açaí mixture into a deep bowl and top with toppings.

I am sure many of you moms reading this post can agree with me that feeding kids can sometimes be a tough job. As parents we constantly worry about their diets. Are they getting enough? Are they eating the proper nutrients? Are they trying new foods? It’s a never-ending process.

I have to admit that my daughter Savannah is a voracious eater (and always has been). I remember during the baby puree food phase, she wasn’t at all interested in what was in these little jars.  She would grab at our chopped up table food with her little hands. It doesn’t take much convincing to have Savannah try something new.  Her diet includes a wide variety of vegetables, protein and good grains so I do not worry (as much) with her.  However some of my friends and clients have expressed their concern with their children’s diet and always wanting tips and tricks on getting more greens in – most importantly a variety of greens!

Vegetable pancakes are a great way to get those veggies in and are as good as a side dish as they are a main, topped with a soft boiled egg. You can whip up this batter in less than 20 minutes and freeze them so that you have them on hand. If have already let your toddler in on the wonderful world of pancakes, referring to them as such would be a good idea so they are open to giving them a try.

I want to make myself clear, I do not agree with sneaking vegetables into kids food.  There are short-term benefits to doing this but long-term it doesn’t teach them valuable eating habits. Disguising superfoods inside kids’ favorite meals to get them to eat more healthfully, is not the way to go. I think it essential that kids know what vegetables and ingredients are in their food so that they are learning about each vegetable and the various ways in which they can be eaten and taste! These kale pancakes are definitely not disguising themselves as anything other than what they truly are.

Ingredients

4 large kale leaves, stalks removed and finely shredded (2 cups worth of leaves)

1 egg

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup chia seeds

1/2 cup hemp hearts

1/2 cup flax meal

Salt & pepper

1 teaspoon turmeric

grass-fed butter

Instructions

Lightly steam kale in pan

In a blender combine steamed kale, egg, garlic, salt, pepper and turmeric

In a bowl, combine kale batter, chia seeds, hemp hearts and flax meal

Heat a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Add a small amount of butter to coat the pan. When pan is hot, scoop ½ cup mixture for each pancake and flatten out until 1cm thick. Cook for a few minutes until bottom is golden brown, flip and cook on the other side. Cooking time will be about 4-5 minutes per pancake.

 

I have to admit I have been on a kale kick these past few days (or maybe weeks lol)! I can add this hearty vegetable to any dish and be pleasantly full and satiated. Try swopping out spinach or rapini, at your next meal, for this fibre packed cruciferous vegetable.  It contains a ton of fibre which is excellent for elimination and aiding in digestion which puts this leafy green vegetable high on the list of the world’s healthiest foods.

Busy days calls for quick and easy meals.  My days lately have been non-stop however I refuse to allow that to compromise our health and making wholesome nutritious meals are my top priority.  This simple, yet delicious, pasta dish is my family’s “go-to” on days like these.  This is one of those dishes that never disappoints!  You will love the look, smell and taste of this.  It is both hearty and healthy not to mention absolutely beautiful in colour 😉

Most bean based pastas, which are naturally gluten-free, pack more fiber and protein than your typical white pasta (which only raises blood sugar).  You can also opt for an organic brown rice pasta which is filled with fibre and iron.

If you’re a pasta lover like me, it doesn’t get much better than this! Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 bag orecchiette brown rice pasta, cooked to Al Dente
  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 2 Tablespoons Avocado Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 bunch organic kale, torn into pieces (stalks discarded)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

 

Instructions

Marinade chicken breast in olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and leave for 10 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes.

Heat the avocado oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and quickly stir (avoid burning). Toss in the kale and add salt and pepper and continue cooking until slightly wilted about 1 to 2 minutes.

Add kale, pasta and chicken and toss.  Serve hot!

 

The only thing that gets this girl energized in the morning is a breakfast filled with fuel.  As a crazy-busy passionate entrepreneur and mom, I have a few projects on the go right now and have been living  my life a mile a minute. This is most definitely not my preference but it is also reality right now. There are days that as soon as my feet hit the floor in the morning I am moving so fast that I forget to eat!  This leaves me low on energy which doesn’t start my day off on the right foot.  My blueberry super smoothie is nourishing, fueling and energizing, providing me with exactly what my body needs to get through these busy busy days.

If you are reading this and nodding you can relate. If you experience rough mornings from time to time then you can use a healthy-on-the-go smoothie that will take your mornings from rough and grumpy to smooth and happy!

Smoothie bars seem to be popping up impressively fast here in Toronto.  Some are good, most are not.  Most smoothies we think are healthy are actually filled with sweetened fruit juice, way too many bananas, dairy and can contain as much sugar as a large coke!

Be mindful of what ingredients are in your smoothie while out buying one! Or better yet, make my Blueberry Morning Super Smoothie and avoid wondering.  Enjoy!

Ingredients

½ cup blueberries

1 cup almond milk

½ cup coconut water

2 scoops Sunwarrior natural protein powder

½ cup spinach

2 tablespoons sunflower seed butter

½ Tbsp pure maple syrup

½ Tsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp chia seeds

1 Tbsp flax seeds

Directions

Blend all ingredients (add ice if you want it cold)