karen's blog


Gettin'er Done

08 Apr 2013
Posted by karen
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Gettin'er done...

The shirt was included in my race packet (for the record, I ran the half and not the full marathon).

I did gett'er done. I expected to finish and I did.

Ten years of running a whack of races from 1K - 56K prior to that event inspired confidence; I did my usual routine by:

-- Registering.

-- Training.

-- And - to repeat myself - the expectation of crossing the finish line (upright and smiling!).

 

As a holistic nutritional consultant I love working with people who are accepting challenges to start making changes. In dietary and lifestyle habits. They may be seeking improved wellness, weight loss, increased energy, better sleep patterns, overcoming symptoms of disease - looking for long term benefits and results. 

In my work, clients express their sense of need by contacting me or making an office appointment. Like my race analogy, they "register." It's an act of commitment: "I need to change some things." 

We get started on a plan. This is where the training starts.

 

The plan will vary, but working with my In Balance health and wellness participants, it will look something like this:

-- logging food, activity, etc.

-- meeting with me once/week (in person or online) for 4-8 weeks for education and coaching on the factors to build a balanced life

-- being physically active

-- adopting a positive attitude

-- accepting the reality of consistent lifestyle and dietary changes for longterm healthy benefits (i.e change takes time!)

Change - or training - is never easy, even if/and/or when the plan is simple and straight forward. 

 

However: following through to gettin'er done will be more successful - and enjoyable - if you follow these five keys:

-- put aside perfection and "train" with your best efforts - go for excellence

-- accept your body type, your personality - not everyone "runs" at the same pace 

-- make both short and long term goals

-- grant yourself some grace and start a daily thanksgiving journal

-- expect to "finish" and align yourself with an accountability partner who believes in you too

 

It's within your power to knock down the roadblocks hindering you from getting to your finish line. You can make it - you're just not there YET.

I'd love to hear how you get to your finish line. And in the meantime, I'm going to follow through on today's "race plan" - to make a batch of my current favourite cookies: click on Sweet Potato Coco-Nut Cookies for the recipe.

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Emotions.

 
Need 'em - to add spice to our lives, fleshing out the spectrum of feelings associated with living.
Love 'em - for their ethos, their passion, their need for expresssion - particularly on special occasions like February 14th!
Hate 'em - their power can be frightening, depressing, confusing.
 
Emotions can be sneaky, tricky - creating a hunger that we think can be satisfied with food.
 

Here are some tips to help us decide if our hunger is a physical or emotional one.

 
* Emotional hunger comes on in an instant - with an urgency that's overwhelming. Physical hunger doesn't usually demand, "I need food right now!" (unless you haven't eaten in a long time), it gradually sneaks up on you. 
 
* Emotional hunger craves specific comfort foods, e.g. usually the refined sugars and refined grains kind - that provide an instant rush. It sends the message you NEED cheesecake or chips. Now. Physical hunger calls out, " I'm about to expire here, sure could use a spinach omelette, or a loaded salad, or chicken and stir-fry - even granola and fruit sounds good!"
 
* Emotional hunger often leads to eating a whole bag of chips or a pint of ice cream without so much as giving it a thought - and probably not really savouring it. You're usually more aware of what you're doing if you're eating in reponse to physical hunger. 
 
* Emotional hunger wants you to eat - and keep eating - often until you're uncomfortable. Stuffed. Physical hunger usually is satisfied when you are comfortably full.
 
* Emotional hunger doesn't have a growling hunger pang gnawing in your stomach. It's more tuned in to things like crunchy, salty, and other aspects of texture and smell. 
 
* Emotional hunger often leads to regret, guilt or shame. (Negative emotions that tend to get stuck on the "repeat" button in our brain.) Physical hunger is nutritionally satisfied..
 

At some point, we all are challenged by the temptation of using food to meet an emotional hunger.

The first step is start being aware of recognizing it as such.
 
Number two is being mentally prepared for alternative non-food solutions to meet that hunger:
** phone your grandkids or kids and treat yourself with a "visit"
** make yourself a cup of a special tea you've been saving for such a time as this
** get outside for a walk or if you work in an office building, do a short stretching session and walk the stairs to the next level
** pull out a handwork project or read a few chapters of a book (even in the middle of the day)
** go to the florist and buy yourself one Gerber daisy
** etc. etc.
 
Number three: as you gradually "read" the signs and meet the emotional hunger with ways that feed your emotions, you will be developing your will power muscle and become stronger in determining between the two kinds of hunger. 
 
We were created with emotions - and thankfully so. Embrace the discovery how you are emotionally wired.
 
Valentine's Day is this week -  a perfect day to experience and celebrate the gift of life and love. Be kind and gracious to those you love - and that includes you too. If chocolate speaks your" food love language", make this simple and delicious raw chocolate pie. Enjoy it with intention, pleasure and without guilt!
 
 
Click for recipe → Chocolate_Cream_Pie
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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For the last 10 days I've been on a sugar-free, grain-free cleanse. This has also meant no natural sugars, including fresh and dried fruits. The night before I started it I had a huge fruit smoothie - does that tell you anything about my relationship with fruit?!

 

This choice was made for several reasons:

- I'm presenting an In Balance wellness and weight loss program that has a gentle dietary cleanse as part of Finding Your BALANCE, and I thought I   should experience the process to understand what I'm teaching/asking the participants to do.
 
- I've never done a cleanse for an extended period
 
- I live in a real world with real toxins so my body could use some house-cleaning
 
- I wanted to start a habit of eating more vegetables than fruit rather than the other way around
 
- I wanted to test my self control
 
- I wanted to see how it would affect me - physically, emotionally, mentally
 
- I was curious to see how my body would react without grains
 
 

I've discovered a few things:

 
- it hasn't been as difficult as I thought it might be,  (i.e. I'm not feeling continually hungry and craving foods )
 
- when my husband grinds the coffee in the morning, it doesn't bother me all that much, that instead of java I will be drinking caffeine-free, herbal tea (I've renewed my friendship with Rooibos)
 
- as much as I love nuts and seeds, I have my moments when I feel like a squirrel
 
- I miss my fruit - cranberries are on the okay list, and I'm so very grateful for Terra Beata, a local bountiful cranberry bog)
 
- I rarely go out for lunch but two times in the last week it happened. One little cafe had the best roasted veggie soup that I could have asked for. (Well, thinking on it, there was more oil in it than I would have used.) Everything in it was legit - and the roasted flavour was delic. (Probably thanks to the oil :)
 
- the preparation and planning period has value, and not only in practical terms,  (i.e. even though my pantry and refrigerator was stocked with cleanse food ingredients, the first morning it took a few minutes to shift from my almost-daily default menu - home made granola or cooked hot cereal)
 
Here's what I whipped up: sauteed leeks and red peppers, scrambled in a couple eggs and served it up on a bed of greens. Protein and veggies - yummy!
 
 

Some Conclusions:

- I have plenty of energy (even without eating grains) - I was a little concerned that my running and other fitness activities might need to be curtailed. Thankfully, not so. 
 
- I can't help but think how very blessed I am. I decided to use self control in my food choices (which meant eliminating some regulars) -  compared to the huge percentage of people who exist on the barest of nutrition and food options because they have to.
 
- will I do it again? I might. After today, I have 3 days left of my two weeks and I don't foresee why I will cave now.
 
- I fortunately had only one day of a very low-grade headache (can a habit of one- (sometimes more) - cup of coffee/day really make you that addicted?)
 
- my mental alertness and stamina has been at par if not better than normal. 
 
- I got to digging through recipes to add some variety to " how many ways can you eat broccoli, cauliflower, greens, carrots, etc." and there are many delicious options
 
- I miss eating quinoa and brown rice and sweet potatoes  
 
- would I recommend a cleanse? A variety of variables weigh in here: the type of cleanse, the reason for the cleanse, if a person has strong cravings for refined sugar and other refined foods, the timing of doing the cleanse, etc. Generally, I'd say most people would probably benefit from an occasional  cleanse.
 
- Has it been dreadful? Not at all.  I have understood the feeling of being even more intentional about what foods I eat. And it's not about denial, but understanding some of the recalibrating my body can do when I say "no" to foods that I thought, "But I always have .... for breakfast."
 
- And this week I found an acceptable substitute for granola. Yeah!! So of course I'm going to make it to the end.
 
Click → Printable recipe for Sugar-Free, Grain-Free, Cleanse-Friendly Granola
 
 

Sugar-Free, Grain-Free, Cleanse-Friendly Granola

1/2 cup organic unsweetened coconut flakes (could also be shredded)

1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/3 cup chia seeds

1/2 cup raw walnuts

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/4 cup pecan pieces

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ginger powder

 

Pulse ingredients in a food processor or high-powered blender until desired consistency. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.

To Serve:
 
Scoop 1/4 - 1/3 cup of granola into a bowl.
 
Pour 1/2 - 2/3 cup almond mik or yogurt over top and let sit for about 5 or 6 minutes.
 
Spoon fresh (or thawed) cranberries on top and enjoy!
 
Optional:
 
- sprinkle with hemp seeds for extra protein
 
- lightly toast granola before serving, using heavy stove-top skillet
 
 
 
Have you done a cleanse? I'd be interested to hear your experience and if/what you felt were the benefits.
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Fermentation - Part 1 

This summer a few readers asked about fermented foods. My apologies for such a tardy response (you know who you are), and you have every right if you toast me forever as a reliable source for anything!
 
Now get to it.
 
The fermenting process is one I enjoy dabbling with: mostly yogurt and sauerkraut. This summer I tried a new experiment: lacto-fermenting veggies, using produce from my first-year fledging garden.
 
 
Credits for the instructions go to Whole Life Nutrition, a source I am grateful to for their inspiration to have fun "playing around" with different tastes, using what you have available.
 

What You Will Need:

- glass quart jar with a plastic lid
 
- salt brine - with a ratio of 1-1.5 Tbsp. sea salt to 2 cups water (filtered water is recommended - chlorine can inhibit the growth of beneficial bacteria, not to mention it's not particularly healthy for us) 
 
- chopped raw organic vegetables: e.g. cauliflower, beets, bell peppers, turnips, broccoli, onions, green beans, garlic, etc. 
 
- cabbage leaves (for the top)
 
- combination of herbs and spices: e.g. dried chili peppers, black peppercorns, bay leaf, fresh dill or tarragon
 
- salt brine using this ratio: 1 - 1.5 Tbsp. sea salt dissolved in 2 cups water
 

What to Do: 

- put your combination of vegetables into a glass jar (or a ceramic crock if you're so lucky to have one) 
 
- add a few layers of herbs and spices. Tip: if using peppercorns put them at the bottom of the jar so they don't float to the top. 
 
- leave about an inch at the top of the jar
 
- cover with the salt brine, leaving about 1/2 inch where you place a folded cabbage leaf and press into the brine. This helps keep the vegetables fully submerged with the water floating on the top.
 
- cover with a plastic lid (metal ones can become corroded by the salt and acids)
 
- screw the lid on - not too tight, to leave space for gasses to release
 
- place jars in a rectangular container to catch any drips that might happen and set in an undisturbed spot on your kitchen counter - out of direct sunlight
 
 

Wait and taste:

- after 5 days, taste your veggies to see how soured they are - you'll probably want to leave them more like 7 or 8. Fermenting takes longer in the cooler months, less time in the summer.
 
- total sitting time is according to your taste - there's no set, scientific formula when working with fermented foods
 
- once the veggies are soured, remove the cabbage leaf and store jar(s) in the refrigerator - where your fermented veggies will keep for months.
 

My version:

I made the following two combinations: each one was a 2-litre jar.
 
1 Tbsp peppercorns
beets
few garlic cloves
carrots
sprigs of fresh dill
green pepper
salt brine
 
1 Tbsp peppercorns
summer turnip
green beans
garlic cloves
tarragon leaves
salt brine
 
Each jar sat on the cupboard for 8 days. 
 
Initially I didn't care for the turnip combination: I think because the tarragon flavour over-powered the summer turnip, which has a milder flavour than the winter variety. However, after sitting in the fridge for a few weeks, I'm liking it more.
 
I still prefer the beets one the best, although I would add more garlic and some hot peppers next time.
 
Will I dabble around with this more? Definitely. I'll try different combinations, probably add more garlic, choose my herbs carefully and cut the veggies smaller - small-diced, not chunky like in the picture.
 
These lacto-fermented veggies are handy additions to a salad, or mixed with grains and greens, or whatever way suits your eating fancy.
 
And oh yes: fermented foods are healthy for your inner "ecosystem". Improve digestion, stimulate the liver, and help control sugar cravings.
 
My next fermenting schedule is making kimchi and a kraut using cabbage and other vegetables that are ground or finely sliced.
 
To be continued .... Fermentation Part 2 -  I promise.
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September. The month synonymous with the return to packing lunches: specifically, school lunches and the challenges that brings.

This doesn't apply to me anymore (the school lunch part) but my husband still regularly needs a packed lunch for work so I am always on the look-out for healthy take-along lunch ideas. These little mini quiches serve equally as well for breakfast, lunch or otherwise. Quick to make too.

Click → Printable recipe for Garden Mini Crustless Quiches
 

Garden Mini Crustless Quiches

 
Ingredients:
 
3 eggs
 
2 large stalks kale (swiss chard can be substituted)
 
1/2 cup frozen peas
 
1/2 small zucchini, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
 
2 Tbsp pine nuts (yes, they're expensive, but the small amount needed here goes a long way with texture and flavour)
 
fresh herbs if available: I used about 1 Tbsp dill and 2 Tbsp basil 
 
spices of your choice: I used about 1/2 tsp each of cumin and a thyme seasoning mix called za'atar, 1/8 tsp chili powder, dash of sea salt and fresh ground pepper
 
optional: 3-4 Tbsp. cheese of your choice; I used grated Parmesan 
 
Directions:
 
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
 
In a medium-sized bowl, combine all ingredients (except for the optional cheese) and mix well.
 
Scoop out 7 - 8 equal portions into a muffin pan with lightly greased paper liner cups.
 
Bake at 450 for about 15 minutes - if using cheese, sprinkle a spoonful on top of each "muffin" for the last 4-5 minutes of cooking.
 
These are delicious and nutritious for "anytime" eating - and very transportable for take-along lunches.
 
 
I'm one of five siblings and for a few years we all caught the school bus at the road, making sure we had grabbed our lunch kits - or lunch bags when they became the cool thing - as the only other option in our country school was to beg off our friends. Amazing Mom made our lunches - no small feat considering we had to eat breakfast and be out of the house by 7:45. The lunch "prize" was the dessert, and we were rarely disappointed.
 
Kids still like something sweet. Peanut butter balls that my daughter got me hooked on last summer are my perfect sweet fix; because of the nut-oil content they travel best packed in a small container. Pesonally I don't mind them being a little soft so a couple stowed in a baggie where they're somewhat protected works for me.
 
I've adjusted the recipe a tad: click → printable copy of Raw Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls.  Make some for lunches of all kinds - kids, work, camping and cycling trips, etc.
 
Last week I came across a recipe the closest I've seen to the chocolate-roasted hazelnut spread we know as Nutella. In good health conscience (though on occasion I indulge in a spoonful from someone else's jar), I can't recommend it for great health benefits (even with its hazelnuts, skim milk, and cocoa). And I have a hard time believing some claims that "star" Italian soccer players are energized and nourished with the product -  eating this healthier version, however, wouldn't be such a bad idea. Here's the recipe, by another name.
 
Click → Printable recipe of Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
 

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Ingredients:

2/3 cup hazelnuts, with skins on
 
*1/4 cup raw honey and 3-4 pitted Medjool dates
 
3-4 Tbsp. organic cocoa powder
 
1/3 - 1/2 cup milk (I used soy milk: other options are dairy, rice, almond, hemp)
 
(* other sweetening options: 1/2 maple syrup or raw honey, without dates. This will make it sweeter and smoother; I chose part honey/part dates for a less-refined product.)
 
Directions:
 
Toast hazelnuts in a pre-heated 350F degree oven, for about 12-15 minutes. A toaster oven works well when toasting such a small amount.
 
Let nuts cool slightly before rolling through your hands to rub most of the skins off.
 
Process the nuts in bowl of a food processor, pulsing and scraping down sides as necessary, until nuts are like a nut butter. This might take about 5 minutes.
 
Add sweetener and cocoa to hazelnut butter and process until smooth, about 5 minutes.
 
Add as much milk as necessary to achieve the consistency of cream cheese.
 
Scoop spread into a jar or other airtight container and store in the fridge for up to two weeks. I doubt it will last that long!
 
 
To Serve/Pack-a-long Hazelnut Spread:
 
spread desired amount  (a.k.a. thick layer!) on favourite Ryvita cracker - top with another cracker
 
scoop spread into small plastic container with lid - pack along with rice crackers or cakes, pita chips, etc. Don't forget to send along a plastic knife!
 
spread desired amount on whole-wheat tortilla. Roll up, cut into wedges - and divide amongst the family!
 
What's your favourite healthy lunch idea? Please pass it along!
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Our summer berry season was very short this year - I missed the pleasure of picking them myself.

Except for the blueberries. Both my husband and I love picking berries. So far, we've each spent an afternoon at the Lunenburg County Winery, happily filling our pails off their acres of high bush blueberry bushes. We've "filled our faces", my freezer has several large Ziploc bags full, and I've made some raw berry "cheesecake" pies. The pie in the photo has half raspberries (purchased at the farmer's market) and half blueberries. This pie tastes delicious with one berry type or a combination of your choice.

Click → Printable recipe for Raw Berry "Cheesecake" Pie

Raw Berry “Cheesecake” Pie

 
The Crust:
1/2 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight and drained
1 cup raw, flaked coconut
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of sea salt – to taste
 
The Filling:
2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 vanilla bean, scraped (or 1 tsp. extract)
about 1/4 cup water
pinch of sea salt
3 cups fresh berries – blueberries, raspberries or combination thereof
 
Instructions:
 
Place almonds in a food processor and process until almost fine. Add flaked coconut and process for a minute or so.
 
Add in the syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon and salt. Process until everything is nicely incorporated.
 
Remove mixture from the bowl and press into the bottom and side of a 9-inch pie pan. Place in the freezer while you make the filling.
 
Place the cashews and about 1/4 cup water in the pitcher of a blender (or a food processor). Blend well, slowly add lemon juice, coconut oil, maple syrup, nutmeg, vanilla and sea salt.
 
Blend until creamy. (May be necessary to add more water.)
 
Remove the crust from the freezer and pour in about half of the filling. Scatter about half of the berries on pie, then add the rest of the filling. Place remaining berries on top. 
 
Freeze for a few hours. Cover with plastic wrap and foil, if pie is going to be in the freezer for more than a day.
 
Before serving, remove pie from freezer and place in refrigerator for a couple hours. (This pie can also be eaten directly from the freezer, however, I found it difficult to cut using just a fork – pieces broke off, with some of the chunks “flying” off the plate. That's why I like to allow the pie to soften a bit before eating.)
 
(Thanks to Heather Bruggeman for her generosity in allowing me to share her recipe.)
 
I still need more berries to put away for winter smoothies, muffins - and raw pies. Our season should continue for another 3-4 weeks so we've got time to head back to the patch for more fun.  
 
What are your favourite berry recipes? 

K is for Kale

31 Aug 2012
Posted by karen
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Following a long hiatus, this was my first year back into vegetable gardening. Last summer, we prepared the soil: adding lime to balance the pH, mixing in organic matter hauled in from a local farm, mixing in the "dirt" our composter produced from all our fresh produce scraps.
 
This initial year my garden plan was not too complicated. I planted plenty of garlic last fall, which grew well (it's pretty hard to mess up with garlic) and is now curing - hanging on hooks in the shed. Greens are an important part of my daily menu so chard, spinach, mustard greens, and kale were on my list. Carrots, beets, onions, potatoes (my first experience with potato beetles @##&$!!), squash, leeks, summer turnips - with tomatoes, one jalapeno plant, a few (prolific) cucumber plants and some herbs filling in the rest. 
 
Some vegetables produced better than others - due to the timing of planting, the amount of rain (I had to supplement with hand watering), and the care that was given to it (which was on the short side for the veggies - not to mention the weeds: apologies to my Mom, whose gardening example I couldn't follow).
 
The biggest rewards have been my tomatoes, the volunteer squash that grew from the composter dump, the herbs - and the kale, which just goes on and on.  
 
I try to have a green smoothie or salad every day - plus toss extra greens into sauces and other dishes. I still have kale left in my garden.
 
 
 
On the recommendation from Gisele, a good friend and cook extraordinaire, I am freezing it for future frostier days. I've tasted Gisele's green smoothies made with her frozen kale and am confident in encouraging you to try this too.
 

How to freeze kale.

Wash kale leaves carefully (those little green worms can easily hide) and remove as much water as possible in a lettuce spinner.
 
Place a piece of waxed paper about 12"X12" on the cupboard and cover with torn kale leaves. For the amount of smoothie I make, I use about 2 1/2 oz. of kale. 
 
 
Carefully tucking in the leaves, roll the wax paper up into a tube.
 
 
Place tube in a Ziplog freezer bag. Once your bag is full of kale "rolls", put into freezer.
 
 
Take out rolls as needed to use in smoothies (or soups, etc.).
 
 
Freeze your kale - forward your garden's goodness to cold weather nutrition.
 
 
 
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This has been a summer of all summers for hot beach days. And when you have a house full of grandkids (those six beautiful kids you see above) -  that's a wonderful thing.

Our favourite beach for this energetic bunch is 20 minutes from home, and with the kids able (pretty much) to pack their own gear/bags, our "getaway" time is fairly quick.

That is, as long as the snack department is prepared - and some days that is Nana's department. 

To accommodate food sensitivities and health issues - and to meet our healthy, real food standard - our choices may be deemed different than the contents of other picnic coolers. But the proof is in the eating - coming home with empty containers (and sandy towels, toys and bathing suits) - without an aftermath of digestive upsets, but appetites asking "what's for dinner?!"

Here's a recent beach snack list - good for a couple hours of fun in the sun and sand.

- fresh fruit: cut up watermelon, cherries, fresh strawberries or blueberries - great finger food packed with phytonutrients and loaded with water

- bag of raw nuts that have been soaked (for better digestion), drained and rinsed - walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts (a special treat)

- sunflower seed paté (recipe below)

- eatmore energy bars (recipe below)

- plenty of bottles of water

 

Click → Printable recipe for Sunflower Seed Paté

Sunflower Seed Paté

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

5/8 cup warm water

1/4 cup olive oil

1 onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

1/4 cup tamari (I substituted coconut aminos for non-soy option)

1 large potato, peeled and diced (I substituted sweet potato: a colorful, sweeter, healthier option)

1 cup raw, shelled sunflower seeds

1/2 cup whole-wheat flour (I substituted buckwheat flour for gluten-free option)

1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1 or 2 garlic cloves (or 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. garlic powder)

1 - 2 tsp. dried herbs of your choice: I used oregano and basil

Instructions: 

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until very smooth.

 Pour into two greased (or parchment-lined) fruitcake loaf pans.

Bake for 60 - 70 minutes or until set. Cool thoroughly, remove from pans carefully and wrap well in plastic. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Serve with home-made pita chips or baked nachos, or by itself is delicious too! Also tasty cut in cubes and tossed on a salad.

(Baked in small fruitcake pans, this would make a great gift, if you can resist eating it all yourself!)

(Recipe adapted from The LEADING VEG Cook Book - printed by Vegetarians of Alberta, 2002

 

Click → Printable recipe for Eatmore Energy Bars 

Eatmore Energy Bars

1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

1 cup raw sesame seeds

2/3 - 1 cup cocoa powder (or carob, for caffeine-free version)

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup almond butter

1 cup date pureé (soak dates for min. 25 minutes; pureé in blender or food processor, adding date-soaking water as needed).

Instructions:

Mix together coconut, sesame seeds and cocoa (or carob) in a bowl. Heat nut butters and date pureé together slightly for easier mixing - add to the dry ingredients in the bowl and mix well. Press into lightly greased 9x9 pan. Refrigerate for a couple hours to set before cutting to serve. Yum!!

Beach fare or otherwise, these two recipes  - new-to-me this summer - are fast becoming favourites.

What are your favourite healthy beach-picninc snacks? 

Posted by karen
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Salad meals take centre stage any time of the year -  and are top billing especially now with summer's bounty of garden greens and the cornucopia of fresh veggie toppings.

But don't stop there.

Make it a meal deal by adding cooked beans;  nuts and seeds; chunky fruit.

There is still something missing .... the dressing!!

This is what gives Eat This - Meal Salads & Whole Food Dressings "podium status" as compared to many other salad recipe books: Renee Tougas has included dressing recipes that bring nutritious satisfaction and delicious balance "to the plate."

 As a (w)holistic nutritionist I wholeheartedly recommend this product - as Renee's proud Mom, I am delighted to encourage my readers to buy this e-book. And as an affiliate I sincerely endorse this product; authentic to my philosphy and passion for real food nutrition.

Click at Fimby to purchase Eat This.  At $4.99 it's affordable to get one for yourself and a friend (know someone heading off to college?). These recipes have been successfully tested and tried for children too so don't forget the younger set in your circle of family and friends.

(P.S. there's non-salad recipes too - bonus!)

Salads and yummy dressings - you'll want Eat This... for your newest recipe resource.

Drink Up!!

23 Jul 2012
Posted by karen
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No, I'm not on an extended vacation cycling through vineyards and staying at villas in Italy (though that's on my bucket list), nor am I picking and preserving heaps of berries (this winter I am so going to regret missing this year's short season, counting on getting the blueberries) - my house and routine has been "summerly" askew with: my son and family's extended visit, my valiant attempts to keep head and hand in Real Food Matters studying an In Balance weight loss and wellness program, dabbling in my garden, etc. etc. It's mostly all good -the reality is there ARE things about this stuff of living you can't say is ALL GOOD - and one of those presently for me is finding time and head-space to write. 

However - I'm here now so get to it!
 
 
From my office window I can see the new hummingbird feeder I recently attached to an adjacent window. (This post is not about whether or not you should provide food for these hummers, or any other wild life, for that matter...it's my choice to do so. And considering they need 8X their body weight of nectar/day I am happy to give them some help.) The sound of whirring wings moves my attention beyond the keyboard to view the very active feeding station. (One of the etc. on my above busy-life-list is keeping up a supply of my water/dissolved sugar solution - no red food colouring!). I know they also eat elsewhere, because there are times the container runs dry, but somehow they know when it's full again (no, they can't smell - they are directed only by their eyesight. Amazing.)
 
 
A hummingbirds' wings beat 3000X/minute - it's no surprise they need to drink so much - and though I have no idea how to extrapolate their exertion to our exercise/physical activity (especially on a hot summer's day), I do know we need to stay hydrated and replace the electrolytes lost through sweating. 
 
Commercially prepared sports drinks are mainly comprised of two ingredients: sugar and electrolytes (usually sodium and potassium). These help muscle contraction remain fluid, and reduce cramping. The downside, though, is that they are packed with artificial colours and flavours, and corn-based high fructose syrup or solids are the most common source of carbohydrate. There are natural ingredient sports drinks available, which are usually pricey - including one powder I tried that tasted so bad all I could think was "horse pee" - so my recommendation is to try some of these simple alternatives, given to me by an RHN colleague, Paulette Millis and others picked up from "here and there."
 
- pure coconut water
- mix half coconut milk (or coconut water) and Bolthouse Carrot Juice
- blend half water and half unsweetened fruit juice - add a pinch of organic sea salt (minerals of the sea are very similar to our own electrolyte composition in our blood - so a better option than table salt)
- chicken and vegetable broth (think winter post-workouts) 
- green tea, with optional additions - honey, sea salt
- blend hydrating foods, e.g. watermelon, cucumbers, honeydew, cantaloupe and other water-packed fruits and vegetables - with water and sea salt
 
-  For post-workout, blend this chocolate almond smoothie - (BrendanBrazier.com). Make ahead, chilled in fridge. Fresh is best - keeps up to 3 days.
    - 1 banana
    - 2 fresh or soaked dried dates
    - 1/4 cup raw almonds
    - 1 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
    - 1 Tbsp. hemp protein
    - 1 Tbsp. raw cacao nibs
    - 1/8. tsp sea salt (my addition)
 
 

Electrolyte Replacement Drink

 
1 quart water
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/3 cup honey
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 crushed calcium tablets (available from health food store)
 
Mix together and store in refrigerator. I recommend diluting it at least half and half with water. 
Drink is good foor during/after exercise, also for replacing electrolytes during fever with vomiting and/or diarrhea.
 
 
Do you have any sports drink favourites? I would like to hear how any of these options work for you.

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