Mindfulness

Big Life Journal for kids

big_life_journal_second_edition.progressive.jpgBig Life Journal for kids 
I would recommend this journal to anyone with kids. Even just signing up for newsletter comes with a lot of benefits. When you subscribe to their mailing list you get free PDF downloads for journal entries that you can do together with your kids. Benefits Journalling Include:
·· Higher Self Esteem
·· Becoming more resilient and less afraid of failure
·· More confidence when faced with challenges
·· Better understanding of navigating emotions

Recipes

Crispy Kale Chips

I love chips!  I love the salt, the crunch, the taste, basically everything about them.  The only thing I don’t love is staring at the bottom of an empty chip bag, realizing it was me who ate the entire thing, and then dealing with the guilt of consuming all those empty calories.  In my house we have a rule, we don’t keep chips around, and therefore helping to save me from myself.  So what’s a healthy alternative when you have that salt/crunch craving?  Kale Chips!  Kale chips are just dehydrated pieces of kale.  The great thing with Kale chips is you can make them in 10 mins and get them to taste however you want.  Kale chips are a great alternative to regular chips, they satisfy that salt/crunch craving, are packed full of nutrients, and easy to make; kale is one of the most nutrient dense cruciferous vegetable, and easily found at most grocery stores.

The Many benefits of Mighty Kale:

♦     An excellent source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, and contains manganese, fibre, and minerals

♦     Contains high amount of antioxidants like Quercetin and Kaempferol.  Antioxidants help combat free radicals in our body.  Free radicals cause oxidative damage, and are known to contribute to faster aging, as well as certain diseases.

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 Bunch of Organic Curly Kale (Kale is part of the dirty dozen, so best to buy it organic)
  • 1 Tbsp Organic Coconut Oil – melted
  • 2x Pinch of Himalayan Pink Salt

Options for a different flavour:

*1/2 tsp of Organic Chili Powder & 1/2 tsp Organic Paprika for a BBQ chip flavour
*Onion Powder instead of Himalayan Pink Salt for an Onion chip flavour
*I also like Curry powder and Turmeric
*Nutritional Yeast flakes will add a cheesy flavour

♦  Nutritional Yeast contains fibre, protein, is a great source for B-vitamins, and also contains many different minerals

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit
  • Wash and cut Kale into bite size pieces (I use a salad spinner to dry the kale, It crisps better when it’s dry)
  • In a bowl toss the kale chips with coconut oil and flavouring of choice
  • Bake for 10-12 mins on 350.  Make sure to keep an eye on the Kale as its baking.  I usually check at 8 mins because depending on the size of the kale and your oven the kale can go from crispy brown to burnt very fast.
  • Once they have reached your desired crunch, remove from oven and let cool for about 3 mins, this helps them crisp a bit more
  • Bon Appetit!

 

 

 

Recipes

Recipe: Bacon Butternut Squash Soup

With Fall just around the corner I’m excited to try out and share some soup recipes made in my Instant Pot.  This Bacon Butternut Squash soup is quick and easy to make, and is lick the bowl delicious.  I found this recipe on Dr. Kellyann’s website.  I wanted to change a few of the ingredients from her original recipe, and also try it in the Instant Pot.  The Instant Pot version below turned out beautifully.  If you are someone who likes to eat with the seasons, late summer to fall is a perfect time for this recipe.  As the weather is cooling down it’s important to use seasonal produce, and eat hearty foods that warm you up.  This recipe is paleo, gluten free, dairy free, and can be made vegan.

Health benefits of Butternut Squash

     ♦    Full of vitamin A which helps boost your immune system

     ♦    Supports your vision and reproductive system

     ♦    Contains a high amount of potassium which helps support strong healthy bones 

     ♦     Potassium can also help to alleviate and prevent muscle cramps

Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 Large butternut squash, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 lb bacon I purchase local, free range, gluten and nitrate free bacon from Gelderman Farms
  • 2 small onions chopped
  • 2 small apples chopped
  • 2 cups of chicken stock Recipe here I did a batch w/o salt that I use for cooking
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 tsp of himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 1/2 tbsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground curry
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon to taste
  • 1 tsp turmeric (optional) 

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 333 degrees fahrenheit
  • Slow cook bacon in the oven until desired crispness (about 30mins)
  • Put squash, carrots, onions, apples, stock, salt, sage, and curry into the Instant Pot
  • Cook the soup for 10 mins HP, then 10 mins NPR (Natural Pressure Release)
  • Puree the soup using an immersion blender
  • Blend in 1 cup of organic coconut milk
  • Add nutmeg and cinnamon starting with above measurements then to taste
  • Crumble in the crispy bacon
  • Bon Appetit

♦     For extra health benefits add 1 tsp Turmeric.  Turmeric contains curcumin which is a natural anti inflammatory.  Other benefits of turmeric (curcumin) are improved brain function, lower risk of brain disease, and preventing alzheimer’s disease.  

Mindfulness

Getting my Green Thumb

After years talking about wanting an indoor herb garden I finally got one!  Last Saturday my fiancé and I set out for a day date at our local garden centre.  What we thought would be a quick trip turned into an entire afternoon.  We ended up being those customers that you can’t get rid of, at least until we heard the ‘We are closing in 5 minutes so get your butt to the till’ announcement.

I’m really excited to share future posts with individual recipes and health benefits of all the herbs, but for now I’ll just mention some of the general benefits you get from growing your own indoor herb garden.

Benefits:
1. Add flavour and nutrients to your meals.
2. Full of Specific antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. 
3. Food as fresh as you can get it.
4. Save money and waste less by clipping only what you need.
5. Connect to nature by growing your own food.

 

My fiancé and I hadn’t done a ton of research before our trip to the garden centre, we had an idea of what we might want but ultimately ended up winging it.  Thanks to the support staff at West Coast Florals we came out of there pretty confident we could successfully build our own herb garden.  Luckily the employees were equally as excited and passionate as we were, and didn’t seem to mind us bending their ear all afternoon. 

What we purchased at West Coast Floral:

Planting box
Soil
Plant Food(Fertilizer)
Rosemary
Chives
Dill
Mint
Cilantro
Lavender

As soon as we were home we got right to work and planted our rosemary, chives, dill, and mint in the planting box.  We added holes to the planting box for drainage, and made sure to give the herbs enough space to grow.  We left more space by the mint because we learned that mint grows fast and tends to take over.  We then planted the cilantro and lavender in their own pots because these herbs also tend grow fast and yield a lot.

Tips for tending to an indoor herb garden:
1. Expose them to sufficient natural sunlight.
2. Make sure to have proper draining to keep them from rotting.
3.  Trim regularly.
4. Feed the soil with a fertilizer.
5. Research the herbs so you can sufficiently care for them.

 

That’s it for now! Stay tuned for future blog posts on the health benefits of the herbs I’m growing and some delicious recipes.

Check out my previous article here for some spring power foods to get you on track to feeling your best 

Nutrition

Spring Into Action With These 5 Power Foods

For those of you on the Northern hemisphere I would like to congratulate you on surviving what seemed to be one of the longest winters yet.  At last spring has finally sprung!  Over the last few months of winter you may have been feeling tired, had lower energy, or maybe life felt a bit more challenging.  The good news is that’s what naturally happens to our bodies and mood in the winter.  Our primitive self wants to hibernate, rest, and eat heavier fuller fat foods.  Now that spring is here it’s time to SPRING into action! get outside, enjoy the sun, and start moving.  Just like spring cleaning for your house, spring is a good time to renew, reset, set goals, be creative and plan for the future.  In this post I discuss Spring Power Foods that you can incorporate into your weekly meal plan to support you in this transition.  These foods will improve your energy, mood and help to shed that extra winter weight.  So Let’s get you on track to feeling good this spring!

“Let food be thy medicine and

medicine be thy food.” ~Hippocrates~

5  foods you can start consuming this spring to look and feel your best!
#1 Spinach

This nutrient packed dark leafy green is so versatile it can go in anything from smoothies, to soups, spring salads, omelettes, and even stir fry.  I’ve highlighted below the amazing vitamins and minerals that this nutrient packed veggie contains

Niacin, zinc, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, and much more.

Spinach also helps with mood, memory, brain function and clarity.  

A quick smoothie you could try that I make is:

1 large handful of Organic Girl Spinach
1 cup of frozen Organic Blueberries
½ a handful of Organic Girl Baby Kale
½ Organic Avocado
Broccoli Sprouts
Stevia
Water

For an Extra Boost try adding

1 Scoop of Natural Factors L-Glutamine Powder
1 Teaspoon of Organika Maca powder

L-Glutamine is an essential amino acid that promotes digestion, brain health, and supports your immune system, I use Maca for energy and balancing hormones. 

#2 Walnuts

Walnuts contain an amino acid called tryptophan and tryptophan is responsible for creating the neurotransmitter serotonin.  90% of serotonin is produced in our gut and is responsible for mood, sleep, digestion, memory, and appetite.  If you are feeling down you may be low in this feel good neurotransmitter. Walnuts are also a great source of plant based omega-3’s.  Our bodies need to obtain our omega’s from our food, and the western diet tends to be higher in Omega-6, causing an imbalance for many people. When we have too much omega-6 in ratio to omega-3 that causes inflammation.  So try keeping walnuts as a snack on hand as an easy way increase your omega-3’s.

#3 Blueberries

This is my favourite berry and I couldn’t imagine making a smoothie without it.  Blueberries are amazing because they are low on the glycemic index (so they won’t cause a spike in your blood sugar) AND they are also PACKED full of ANTIOXIDANTS.  Antioxidants protect our cells from being damaged by harmful free-radicals.  This means blueberries delay aging which keeps us looking and feeling young.  The antioxidant anthocyanin (which gives blueberries their bright blue colour) helps maintain brain function and memory and is also known to guard against alzheimer’s disease.  Finally just ONE CUP of this amazing berry provides 24% of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin C.

#4 Artichokes

Artichokes improve liver function and promote the flow of bile.  They are anti-inflammatory because they are loaded with antioxidants and are packed full of magnesium.  Magnesium is responsible for over 300 biochemical reactions in the human body, including energy production, fat and protein synthesis, and regulating muscle tone.  Magnesium is easily flushed out of our bodies with coffee, alcohol, and even too much water, so it’s important you are getting enough of it from your diet.  I know what your thinking what can I make with artichokes? I’ve attached a great recipe you can try.

#5 Wild Salmon

Wild salmon is another good way to get those omega-3’s.  Salmon is high in  eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which is a form of Omega-3.  EPA protects our skin from UV damage, which keeps it hydrated, helps it have more elasticity and less wrinkles.  If that wasn’t benefit enough wild salmon is packed full of nutrients that help with joint and bone health, brain health, heart health, skin health, and has even shown to help reduce ADHD in children.

Well that’s it 5 simple foods to incorporate into your menu this Spring!  Remember it’s not ‘all or none’ and eating right doesn’t have to be complicated.  Have fun adding these foods into your meal plan and enjoy feeling more energized as well as look and feel younger.

Bonus #6 Sprouts

These amazing little guys are packed full of nutrients. Check out a previous article here