Personal Healthy Eating Challenge – Day 3

Today’s menu worked out great as I decided to work until 6 PM at the last minute today so I didn’t have much time (or energy) to make a more complicated salad for dinner.  The breakfast smoothie was great too.  They really do fill me up so that I’m not hungry all morning until my salad at lunch time.  Here was my day!

CHERRY BERRY ORANGE BLOSSOM SMOOTHIE

** Does this not sound like you’re about to have a burst of summer for breakfast?!?! **

13087184_10156835621625237_8704178731352460109_o

Makes 1 serving

  • 2 oranges, peeled
  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 2 medjool dates, pitted*
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 cups coconut water or filtered water
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder or pure extract
* if the dates are hard, soak them in hot water for awhile before adding them to the blender

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.  Enjoy! 🙂

WALNUT PEAR SALAD

** So simple and delicious…great for a busy or lazy day! **

13173511_10156837528945237_2766598349080484941_o        13173034_10156837530510237_2657069303294351197_o

Makes 2 large servings

  • 1 head red leaf lettuce, chopped
  • 2 pears, cored and chopped
  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts, chopped
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries*
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • pinch sea salt and pepper
* I used raisins instead of cranberries and they worked great

Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss…that’s it! 🙂

Nighty night and stay tuned for Day 4!

 

 

Advertisements

Personal Healthy Eating Challenge – Day 2

So I made it through Day 2 of my personal healthy eating challenge.  FYI – what I’m doing is making the smoothies fresh for breakfast in the morning and then making the salads at dinner time.  Each salad makes 2 servings so I’m eating the remaining portion for lunch the next day.  So far so good!  Now, here are the recipes for Day 2!

CHOCOLATE MONKEY SMOOTHIE

** Who doesn’t love chocolate…and for breakfast?!?!  Come on! **

chocolate monkey

Makes 1 serving

  • 2 tbsp raw almond butter
  • 3 ripe spotty bananas, peeled and frozen*
  • 2 medjool dates, pitted**
  • 1/2 – 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 cup coconut water***
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder or carob powder
* no need to throw in the towel if you forget to freeze the bananas.  Just add a few ice cubes and it’ll cool it right down
** if the dates are hard, soak them in hot water for awhile before adding them to the blender
*** if you’re not the biggest fan of the taste of coconut water (like me) you can use half coconut water and half filtered water

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.  Enjoy! 🙂

THE BEST SHREDDED KALE SALAD

** originally from the Oh She Glows cookbook **

Kale salad

For the salad and dressing:

  • 2 medium bunches de-stemmed lacinato/dinosaur kale, finely chopped (8 to 9 cups chopped)
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 to 4 tbsp cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper (just eyeball it)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries, for garnish*

For the Pecan Parmesan:

  • 1 cup pecan halves, toasted
  • 1 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp cold pressed extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 pinches fine sea salt
* instead of cranberries, I used raisins.  I also added some cherry tomatoes and apples for that bit of extra colour and variety. 

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Spread the pecans onto a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes until fragrant and lightly golden.

Remove the stems from the kale and discard. (You can save them for smoothies if you are hardcore!) Finely chop the kale leaves (the smaller, the better). Wash the kale and spin dry. Place dried kale into a large bowl.

For the dressing: In a mini food processor, process the garlic until minced. Now add the lemon, oil, salt, and pepper and process until combined. Adjust to taste, if desired. Pour the dressing onto the kale and mix it into the kale with your hands or toss with spoons. Keep mixing for about 1 minute to ensure everything is coated perfectly.

For the Pecan Parmesan: Rinse out the mini processor and pat dry. Add the pecans into the processor and process until the pecans are the size of peas or a bit larger. Now add in the nutritional yeast, oil, and salt and process again until it has a coarse crumb texture. Be sure not to over process—we still want a nice crunchy texture here, not powder.

Sprinkle the Pecan Parmesan all over the salad. Toss on a handful or two of dried cranberries. Wrap and place in the fridge for 30 to 60 minutes to soften, or you can simply enjoy it right away. In the past, I’ve tried letting this salad sit overnight in the fridge and I greatly prefer the flavour of the salad served the day of, so I don’t recommend making this salad the day before and letting it sit in the fridge overnight.

It was another yummy day!  Until tomorrow!

It’s May…time for a personal challenge!

So I’ve been cravings salads recently for some reason (probably due to the beautiful weather we’ve been having up here on the west coast of Canada).  I figured I would go with the craving and do a 7 Day Salad Challenge this week.  To really go for it I decided to up the ante and add on a 7 Day Smoothie Challenge for the week as well.  I thought it would be fun to document my week through this blog.  It will also make me accountable, which is always good motivation!  Both challenges are through Grounded Nutrition, a local company, who you can check out here.

Today I enjoyed a Green Machine smoothie for breakfast and a BBQ Chickpea salad with Avocado Ranch dressing for dinner…both very delicious!  If you’d like to give them a try, the details are below.

GREEN MACHINE SMOOTHIE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Makes 1 serving

  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 2 medjool dates, pitted*
  • 2 oranges, peeled
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 cups coconut water or filtered water
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder or extract
* if the dates are hard, soak them in hot water for awhile before adding them to the blender

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.  Enjoy! 🙂

BBQ CHICKPEA SALAD with AVOCADO RANCH DRESSING

chickpea

Makes 2 large servings

Salad

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 2/3 cup home-made or organic BBQ sauce
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh/frozen corn
  • 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 2-3 green onions, sliced

Avocado Ranch Dressing

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • sea salt to taste
  • optional: fresh chives

Make the dressing in a bullet or blender.  Combine the ingredients and blend until smooth, adjusting seasonings if necessary.

In a saucepan over med-low heat, simmer the cooked chickpeas in BBQ sauce for about 10 mins, stirring occasionally.

In a large bowl, add the chopped romaine, tomatoes, green onion, corn and carrots.  Toss to combine.

When ready to assemble, divide the salad into bowls or on to plates, toss with desired amount of dressing, and then top with BBQ chickpeas.

If you have leftover dressing, it makes a great dip!

Adios…until tomorrow!

 

 

The More You Know

So you know how these days you can literally binge watch an entire series, minus the commercials and waiting a week for the next episode like you had to do in the ‘old days’?  It’s pretty sweet.  It can be good stress relief to get lost in the stories for awhile.  But it can also be easy to spend too much time on these shows.  I have definitely been guilty of this.  In an effort to counteract the binge sessions, I have been watching some of the amazing documentaries that are out there.  Some of the recent ones I’ve watched are Hungry for Change and Vegucated (both of which I would highly recommend!).  It’s crazy how watching the documentaries and soaking up the information truly invigorates me.  It really gets me pumped for watching and learning more and also for sharing with others.

So if you are signed up for Netflix or Shomi (if you’re not, why the heck not for around $8/month each???), or if you have cable and are able to PVR things, I would highly recommend that you watch a documentary that interests you.  Maybe between seasons of a show that you’re watching to begin with.  Then try to watch more and more, whenever you can fit them in.  I am definitely drawn to the documentaries about nutrition and the food industry the most, but my goal is to expand my focus to things I may not be initially interested in.  It’s important to be as well rounded as possible, right?

Children of the 80’s and 90’s may remember the infamous ‘The More You Know’ rainbow ad on t.v. from PSA’s back then.  As cheesy as it was, it still holds up today.  Knowledge truly is power.  I challenge you to watch at least 1 documentary this week and see how empowered you feel afterwards.

Happy Friday!

 

 

Soap Nuts Anyone?

In an effort to branch out my ‘clean’ journey, I’ve been using soap nuts to replace laundry detergent over the past couple of months.  I know what you’re thinking…what the heck is a soap nut?  Honestly, I was skeptical at first too. What are these things and how can a nut get my clothes clean?

First, a bit of a history lesson.  Soap nuts (also known as soapberries) are actually not nuts, but are fruits that grow on trees in Nepal and India.  They are natural, biodegradable, and petroleum-free.  You put a handful in a cloth bag (usually comes with the nuts when you buy them) and just throw them in with your laundry.  You can use 4 or 5 nuts for up to 5 loads.  They are available at health food stores but you can also find them online.

I have to say, I’ve been pleasantly surprised.  Not only are my clothes clean, but they smell nice and fresh (not like the fake chemical ‘clean’ smells from regular laundry detergents).  Plus you save tons of money and feel much better about yourself and the environment!  The brand I’ve been using is Earth Basics and I ordered them on Amazon, but there are many other brands as well.

There are so many other uses for these magical nuts also.  You can make a liquid detergent, use them in your dishwasher, as an all purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, shampoo, body and face wash, insect repellent, to clean your pets, to clean your jewellery, and to wash your car.  Wow!  Looks like I’ll have to try some of these other uses for them also!

Something I’ve found when trying new beauty and cleaning products is that the ‘cleaner’ they are, the less ‘suds’ they produce.  I think that we’ve all be so used to associating clean with suds that if something doesn’t produce suds we don’t think it actually cleans properly.  It’s just something that we have to reprogram in our brains.  Lesson of the day: Suds do not equal clean!

Give these crazy nuts a try.  I’d love to know your thoughts!

Have a happy Sunday!

soapnuts_11

 

 

 

 

A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That

I have a few things I wanted to tell you about today so today’s post will be a bit of a ‘mish mash’.

First up, coffee.  I was never a coffee drinker in my younger years.  I always hated the taste and smell of coffee.  I never understood people who seemed ‘addicted’ to it.  People who needed multiple cups to get them through each day.  Over the past few years I’ve warmed up to coffee (tee hee…I made a pun!).  I’m definitely not addicted, and still don’t LOVE the smell or taste, but it’s become a ‘comfort’ to me.  The warmth of it in my hands, and the soothing feeling of it going down my throat and warming up my belly is very comforting (especially in the Fall/Winter/Spring months).

Now, there are definitely positives and negatives to drinking coffee regularly, but I feel like there seems to be more negatives than positives.  So in an effort to make my coffee drinking a more healthy experience (until I cut it out totally) I add some things into my daily coffee.  I wanted to share them with you if you’d like to give them a try them as well:

  • Coconut oil
  • Cocoa powder
  • Coconut milk (can also use almond milk!)
  • Cinnamon
  • Pure maple syrup

I am planning on trying Dandy Blend in the near future, which is apparently a great coffee substitute (no caffeine and doesn’t give you the ‘coffee withdrawal headaches’!).  I’ll keep you posted on how it goes for me.

Secondly, I wanted to share that I made ‘Cauliflower Buffalo Wings’ today and they were awesome!  Just google them online…there are many recipes out there.  Give it a try! (picture below)

Last but not least, I finally made home-made deodorant and toothpaste today.  It was so easy!  I’ll keep you posted on my experience with these as well. (picture below)

It was a productive long weekend for me!  Hope you all had a great weekend as well!

IMG_6672

 

IMG_6662

Homemade Belly Warming Oatmeal

Smoothies are a great nutrient powerhouse any time of the day, month or year.  But I find that a delicious bowl of warm oatmeal hits the spot at breakfast time better in the colder months.  Here’s a recipe for one that I make a few times a week around this time of the year.

Homemade Belly Warming Oatmeal

Makes 2 Servings

1 cup steel cut oats
3 cups water
1/2 cup fresh or frozen fruit
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
1 apple, shredded or diced
1 teaspoon cinnamon (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (or to taste)
1 cup nuts (walnuts and pecans are my favourites)
1 tablespoon hemp hearts
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 tablespoons organic pure maple syrup (or to taste)

In a medium saucepan add the oats, water, fruit, coconut milk, raisins, apple, cinnamon, sea salt, vanilla, and ginger. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.  Scoop into bowls and add the nuts, hemp hearts, chia seeds, and maple syrup.  Enjoy!

IMG_6592

 

 

 

 

Is It Next Year ALREADY?!?!

The gifts have been given and received.   The food and drinks have been (most likely overly) indulged in.  The family and friends have been visited with.  The sleeping patterns have been disturbed.  Many lasting memories have been made and much frivolity has been had.  Good times.

So…now what???

Whether you’re feeling guilt over straying from your normal healthy diet (please don’t!), or you’re feeling pride from being able to stay on track (congrats!), it’s time for another year to begin.  Another year to be able to set and achieve your personal goals.  Whether big or small, I do believe that ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ can be a good motivator, as well as a reminder of things to strive for in the coming year.

I believe that it’s important to set and plan for bigger goals (for example, buying a home or starting a family), but it’s equally important to set and plan for smaller goals (for example, being more mindful on a daily basis or calling your loved ones more often).  Achieving the small goals will help to keep you motivated and moving forward to achieve more smaller and bigger goals throughout the year.

So however it works best for you, make some plans for next year.  Just remember…plan for both bigger AND smaller goals.  Motivation to continue to pursue your plans is key.

Here’s to feeling accomplished in 2016!!!

Lao-Tzu-journey-of-a-thousand-miles

 

 

 

 

 

Tis the Season

As usual, December has snuck up way too quickly!  It’s funny…for how much I looove Christmas, I’m never ‘prepared’ for it.  How does something that happens the same time every year surprise me EVERY YEAR???  Oh well.  Such is life.

So there are a few weeks left until Christmas and I’ve barely put a dent in my Christmas gift shopping.  I’m starting to feel the ‘pressure’, which is my least favourite part of Christmas.  My ‘warm fuzzy’ feelings surrounding Christmas come from my childhood, where there were so many ‘classic’ Christmas Eves spent at my Nana’s house with all of my relatives, along with the wonderful Christmas Days that my Mom lovingly put together for myself and my three younger siblings.  My most favourite parts were spending time with family and friends, along with watching their faces when they opened the gifts that I had chosen especially for them.

So the main focus of my day tomorrow (aside from putting up the Christmas tree and going to see a Christmas horror movie with the boyfriend) will be to put my thinking cap on, along with getting my internet-research fingers ready, and try to come up with unique and inexpensive ideas for my loved ones this year.  My plan is to get some ideas and use them in time for this Christmas, and then really hone my creative/research skills in time for next Christmas.

As I get older, I find that I don’t want (or need) as much ‘stuff’ as I did in my younger years.  Who has room for it all???  So trying to come up with new ways to celebrate Christmas (as well as other holidays) with my family and friends is definitely on my ‘to do’ list for the last few weeks of this year and going into next year.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress, and maybe even share some stories of ideas that worked out well for me this Christmas (here’s hoping!).  Feel free to let me know of any different ways that you’re celebrating Christmas this year, or ideas that you have that you’d like to try out.

Happy December!

keep-calm-its-only-christmas-200x300

 

 

 

 

What the World Needs Now

Have you ever had someone in your life (friend, family member, co-worker, etc.) ask you about the delicious-looking healthy meal that you’re eating?  Maybe they asked you for your advice for a more natural way to wash their hair?  They’ve noticed that you’ve been pursuing a more natural lifestyle and it’s piqued their interest.  They are hungry for information!

Doesn’t it feel great when someone asks you for your input to help them on their path to wellness?  I know it does for me.  I get a small but noticeable ‘leap’ in my heart.  That’s the best way for me to describe it.   I honestly think that one of the main reasons we are here on this planet is to help others as much as we can.  If you can teach people about being healthier it gives them some options…something to think about.  You are able to plant a seed and help it to grow.

Some people feel like they’re not able to impart any of their knowledge until they are an ‘expert’.  Before they help others, they need to know everything about everything about being healthy, as well as be in the best physical and mental shape of their lives.  So untrue!  While we should all continue to strive to be our unique best selves, we don’t need to be ‘perfect’ before we help others.  This was a recent revelation for me.  As someone who struggles with self-confidence in general, I thought ‘who am I to suggest ways to be healthier to others, when I’m not the picture of health myself’?

But you know more than you think!  I’ve found that when I’ve been asked for tips/suggestions by others, the information that I’ve learned here and there over the years just came pouring out like a faucet.  I may not know everything about everything (yet!), but I do know a lot about some things.  And I’m passionate about continually learning and sharing those things with others.

So go out there and share what you know!  Please don’t hold back because you feel you’re ‘not ready’ yet.  If not now, then when?  The world needs people who want to help others…now more than ever!

Have a lovely Sunday!

1e2f0b0