Simple Gluten-free, Dairy-free Bread

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole tahini butter (from ground sesame)
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt

Directions:

  1.  Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix together tahini and eggs until very smooth
  3. Add in apple cider vinegar, baking soda and salt
  4. Transfer batter to pan greased with coconut oil
  5. Bake at 350° for 35 – 45 minutes depending on your oven.
  6. Enjoy!

 

10 Health Myths Debunked

10 health myths debunked

Amidst all of the marketing and hype and information overload, it can be difficult to really know what to believe.  If you regularly consume these “healthy” choices, you just might want to reconsider…

1. Fruit Juice

Juice seems like it should be healthy, right?  In reality, it is concentrated sugar.  It takes 2-4 oranges to make one cup of juice.  It is unlikely that you would eat that much fruit in one sitting, yet it is not uncommon for someone to consume multiple servings of juice in one day.  Since you are drinking and not chewing, it is difficult for your system to register the caloric (and sugar) intake.  Fruit contains fructose, a special type of sugar, that bypasses the liver and goes straight into your bloodstream, which makes it very easy to overconsume.  Opt instead for whole fruits, since the fiber found in fruit slows the release of sugar into the bloodstream and limit yourself to one to two pieces per day for optimal health.  Your best beverage options continue to be water or herbal tea.

2. Foods Labelled “Low Fat” or “Fat Free”

Most low fat/fat-free foods have had the fat replaced by sugar and/or chemicals to compensate for the change in flavor that fat provides.  Sometimes, this change doesn’t even mean the product is lower in calories!  Not only does your body need healthy fat, fat is what helps satisfy your appetite.  Every year, the food industry tries to dupe us into believing eating fat makes you fat, when in reality, we continue to eat our “low-fat” and carb-rich diets and get heavier every year. If you are going to eat store bought mayonnaise, buy the best (& healthiest) one you can afford and enjoy it.

3. Antibacterial Soap

Antibacterial soap contains triclosan, a known hormone disruptor that contributes to antibiotic resistance.   Opt instead for regular soap and water, as it is equally effective in washing away bacteria as antibacterial soap.

4. Bottled Water

Plastic water bottles are simply not sustainable. It is estimated that it takes 450 years on average for the earth to digest a single plastic water bottle.  Add to that the chemicals that leach into the water as it gets packaged and transported (even if it is not BPA) before consumption.  And to top it all off, bottled water itself has fewer, if any, regulations that ensure it is healthy drinking water.  Some brands are nothing more than tap water that has been filtered and repackaged for you.  From both a health and financial standpoint, you are better off carrying a reusable glass or stainless steel bottle for when you are out and getting a good quality filter (I like Santevia) for the tap water you have at home.

5. Frozen Yogurt

We think of yogurt as a health food.  Even the non-frozen variety is often candified, unless you choose plain quality yogurt.  What people don’t realize is that frozen yogurt often contains more sugar than ice cream.  If you are buying it from a frozen yogurt boutique, that means you are likely indulging in bigger portions with added toppings (usually candy or chocolate) that increase the sugar content even more. Not all yogurts contain probiotics and even when they do, it is not usually in an amount that makes any noticeable impact on your health.

6. Scented Candles/Air Fresheners/Incense

Scented candles and air fresheners are a quick and enjoyable way to either mask unpleasant odors or create ambience.  The scents in these products are created by hazardous substances such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), allergens, and phthalates, which have been shown to cause hormone imbalance, respiratory difficulties such as allergies and asthma, and even DNA damage.

Most candles are made from paraffin wax, which emit toxic toluene and benzene when burned (both known carcinogens).  When lit, scented candles also give off formaldehyde and contribute to indoor air pollution (the air inside your home is 10X more polluted than the air outside).  Their wicks are often contain heavy metals like lead which also get airborne when burned.

A better choice is to buy candles made from soy wax or beeswax (which help to improve indoor air quality) and/or an essential oil diffuser.   Other ways to improve your air indoors is to get a good quality air filter (I like IQair), have indoor houseplants (your best choices are weeping fig, Boston fern, peace lily and English ivy) and use salt lamps regularly.       

7. Sushi

Generally, sushi is considered a healthier eating option. The reality is, depending on the sushi you choose, eating two sushi rolls is like having six slices of white bread!  Sushi rice is so tasty because it has added sugar.  A better choice is to have sashimi (or at least sushi made with brown rice instead of white) with reduced sodium soy sauce and skip the tempura or rolls made with heavy sauces.  Don’t indulge too often though, as tuna tends to be high in mercury.  Salmon and shrimp are better options.

8. Protein/Meal Replacement Bars

A protein bar or meal replacement bar will never outperform an actual meal or snack.  Sometimes it is convenient to have something you can have on the go.  But not all bars are created equal.  Be careful to look at the ingredient list, the number of ingredients, the added sugars and the overall calorie count. Choose a bar with a small list of ingredients that you can identify, with low sugar content and depending on whether you need it as a snack or as a meal, calories that range from 200-400.  Otherwise, you might up with something that is no better for you than a candy bar.

9. Smoothies

Smoothies from a juice bar or a restaurant are usually loaded with fruit with additional sugar added and can end up as calorie (and sugar) bombs.  Make them at home instead, being careful to use an unsweetened base milk or water, low glycemic index fruit (like berries), an added serving or two of health promoting leafy vegetables, some healthy fat (like avocado, nut butter or seeds) and protein for a balanced meal.

10. Honey/Maple Syrup

People seem to think that if they make treats with honey or maple syrup, somehow that has made them sugar-free, which of course, is not the case.  Treats are treats and while it is certainly better for you to have ones that are homemade with quality ingredients and less processed types of sugar, sugar is still sugar.  If you really want to make a serious impact on your health, you could omit eating baked goods/desserts completely, and opt instead for fruit to satisfy sweet cravings.  Barring that, don’t kid yourself into believing that if it is made with honey or maple syrup, that a muffin is suddenly transformed into a health food, because, well, it is still a muffin.

6 Easy Ways to Spring Clean Your Eating Habits

easy ways to spring clean your diet

In the book “In Defense of Food,” author Michael Pollan writes:

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

How simple life would be if we could all consistently follow that ridiculously simple advice.  As the bounty of nature recedes over the frozen winter horizon, for many of us, so does our commitment to eating well.  If you are anything like me, it is easy to allow comfort food, chocolate and red wine to creep in on more than an occasional basis to take the edge off winter.

Thankfully, the return of spring naturally catalyzes a desire to lighten up and refresh.  When it comes to eating right, being consistent about making better choices, however small, add up.  Follow these tips (the more the better) to add some spring to your step:

  1. Hydrate.  Most of us are chronically dehydrated.  This spring, ditch the warming coffees and hot chocolates (and the extra liquid calories) in favour of good quality drinking water (I like filtered, alkalized, room temperature best)  to support elimination and metabolism. Make sure to drink half your body weight (eg. a 160 lb person would need 80 oz or 10 glasses/day) daily for best benefits.  A great way to start your day is to drink warm water with fresh lemon squeezed into it.
  2. Drop a starch (or two).  Root vegetables and grains are readily available and make for great comfort food over the winter months.  Starches are essentially concentrated sugars and unless you are very physically active, chances are you tend to eat more than you need.  Opt for leafy greens and healthy fats (think avocado, fatty fish, nuts, or coconut oil) to round out your meal at least once per day and notice how much lighter you feel.
  3. Reduce/eliminate sugar. Giving up sugar is one of the greatest things you can do to improve your health. The easiest way to avoid sugar is to eat whole foods, since sugar hides under many names in processed foods.  Other strategies include choosing water over smoothies/juices, choosing vegetables over fruit (I consider 2 pieces of fruit/day a healthy maximum), and including protein in every meal (especially breakfast).
  4. Increase your fiber. A recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that simply increasing the amount of fiber you eat—even if everything else about your diet stays the same—will help you lose weight just as successfully as if you were following a strict diet plan. Fiber has many benefits – it satisfies hunger; is loaded with nutrients; detoxifies; promotes weight loss; improves blood sugar and cholesterol profiles, and slows aging. Aim for a minimum of 30 g/day. High fiber foods include vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruits, beans and whole grains. 
  5. Eat fresh.  Substitute winter root vegetables in favour of spring arrivals such as leafy greens, asparagus spears, fiddleheads, green beans and fresh peas.    
  6. Make a weekly meal plan.  Cooking is the best health insurance.  Planning a weekly menu and cooking results in less takeout and decreased food costs, as well as lower calorie intake with smaller portions and healthier ingredients.  It is also the only way to ensure what foods end up on your dinner plate.  Invest a few hours a week stocking and prepping, to ensure timely and efficient meal preparation during the busy weekdays.

Enjoy the return of the sun 🙂

Spicy Curry Lentil Soup

Another fall favourite, hearty and filling.  Freezes well too. Can also be made in a pressure cooker.

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Onion, Diced
3 Garlic Cloves, Minced
1 Jalapeno/Serrano Pepper, Seeded and Diced (optional), or Madras Curry Paste (also optional)
2 teaspoons ground Turmeric
2 teaspoons ground Cumin
2 cans lentils – green or brown
2 Cups Broth
15 oz Diced Tomatoes
15 oz Full Fat Coconut Milk
5 oz Fresh Baby Spinach or other greens like kale
1 Tablespoon Fresh Lime Juice
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Add olive oil to your pot and saute onion, garlic and jalapeno if using with a pinch of salt. Saute until your onion is translucent. Add in the turmeric, cumin and curry paste (if using), stirring cook until fragrant about 30 seconds. Add the lentils and broth, stir being sure to scrape the bottom of your pressure cooker. Pour the entire contents of the diced tomatoes on the top and stir.  Cook on medium about 15-20 minutes.

2. Add the coconut milk, baby spinach, lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Puree with hand blender for a less chunky, creamier consistency, if desired.  Heat and stir until the greens are wilted.