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Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free

Yields: 8-10

As a child Brussels sprouts was one of those vegetables that I cringed even at the thought of eating them.  They have become one of my favourite adult vegetables (when in season of course).  Brussels sprouts are a great source of iron and potassium (important for bone health) and offer other benefits that can boost your overall health. Butternut Squash is a staple in my household in the fall and winters months.  It delivers an ample dose of dietary fibre as well as potassium and vitamin B6 (essential for the proper functioning of  both the nervous and immune systems). I try my best to incorporate vegetables, herbs and spices that boost the immune system during the fall and winter months to protect us from the common cold.

I adore the combination of ingredients here with all the flavours of winter. This dish is not only low-maintenance but it makes a beautiful presentation too – it was a wonderful holiday side dish that made a great addition to our Christmas menu.

Enjoy xx

Ingredients

  • 4 cups Brussels sprouts (halved)
  • 1 medium size butternut squash (peeled and cut into chunks)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup pecan halves
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (Roast). Place the butternut squash chunks in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano. Place the Brussels sprouts halves into another large bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss with your hands to distribute the oil evenly.
  2. Place the butternut squash on one baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place the Brussels sprouts on another baking sheet lined with parchment paper (tip: place the Brussels sprouts cut side down so they caramelize much more evenly).
  3. Roast the vegetables for 25-30 minutes, flipping them gently 1 to 2 times.
  4. Place the pecan halves in a pan and toast for 5-7 minutes until golden.
  5. Gently place the roasted vegetables in a large serving bowl or platter. Drizzle olive oil and toss the vegetables gently until they are lightly dressed. Serve warm.

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)

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)

I am a highly sensitive person and I often feel more than I can express sometimes.  I pick up emotions from people around me and the environment quite easily.  Many times I feel emotions that I know are not mine and only recently have I learned ways to control them.  I am not perfect and sometimes the emotions are so strong that they spiral out of control and I get into a panic and anxious state.  These are the times that I feel very vulnerable and off balance.

These feelings, at times, can be so heavy and draining.  When I am in this state the emotions are suffocating and I instantly feel overwhelmed – not only by my own feelings, but by those of others around me or even by those who are far away, but with whom I am energetically connected to.

As a kid growing up I was very involved in athletic sports – any sport you name it I played it.  Sports can be very grounding and now I understand why I excelled in this area of my life. As a child I was very quiet and introverted (crazy to think I know!) but I was an observer, I took all in and released nothing.  As I got older these emotions carried with me and I released them through exercise and sports not understanding that I was truly in my element when participating in these activities.  They instantly made me feel balanced, strong and at peace.  They still do.

I have always been one who needs and enjoys her solitude. In fact, I get stir-crazy if I do not get quiet time. Past friends of mine used to make strong comments to me like “oh right Lisa likes to be alone” or “I know you like to be by yourself” as if this is a bad trait to have.  However if they only understood that this is a necessary trait that I need in order to function.  Solitude is where I find peace and where most of my questions are answered.

Grounding for me is an essential skill that I have had to learn.  It allows me to be present in my body and connected with the earth, allowing me to feel more centered and balanced regardless of what is going on around me. Particularly in my line of work I have had to make this a daily ritual for me both in the morning and in the evening.  I begin the day with a grounding meditation, followed by journaling.  I end my day with clearing all energy attached to me by burning sage and inviting the sacred smoke around my body from head to toe and front to back as I say a little prayer. I open all windows to allow the energy to leave.

If there are days when you feel off-balanced or that your energy is all over the place do not try to make sense of it.  Step into nature and surround yourself with Earth.  Take deep breaths and just feel your body relax.  Nourish yourself from the inside-out and rest.