energizing-carrot-orange-juice-with-turmeric

Energizing Carrot Orange Juice with Turmeric Powder

“You’re Spanish and despise pork?”
“You’re a Nutritionist, yet you despise carrots?”

Touche, old friend.

It’s true, I really do dislike carrots. Growing up I was that weird child who would eat smoked oysters, sardines, and Brussels sprouts, but if you made soup with carrots I would refuse to eat it; claiming, “It tastes like carrots!!” (Insert whiny 5 year old voice). Now days, I can just pick out the carrots from things and I force myself to eat them shredded on a salad. I feel like I’m my own parent sneaking carrots into things just so I can trick my child self into getting the health benefits. Is it working?

Sort of …

Juicing them is my favourite way so far and this juice is my absolute favourite. It combines the sweetness of carrots with the tang of lemon and ginger with a spicy after kick of turmeric that ways me up and motivates me to get on with the rest of my day. Get that 2 o’clock slump where you need to step away and get energized? This will do the trick!

Note – I find it hard to find fresh turmeric, which is why I use the powdered version. If you can find the fresh rhizome, great, juice a hunk of that instead.

orange-carrot-juice-ingredients

Turmeric

Is it just me or does anyone else usually pronounce this as toom-eric? Oops! Thanks spell check!

Let me introduce you to your new best friend – Turmeric, probably the most effective nutritional supplement out there. This little rhizome was talked about repeatedly at IHN with good reasons, it’s full of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and it has carminative and alterative benefits. Meaning it helps boost the health and vitality of your body. This is great for people who suffer from bowel inflammation like IBS or IBD.

Its main constituent that you’ve probably heard of before is curcumin, you may have seen this in supplement format.

turmeric-powder-for-juice

Top Four Ways Curcumin Kicks Ass

  • Arthritis Be-Gone, not completely, but it’s strongly anti-inflammatory and can match the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs. It can help with rheumatoidand osteoarthritis, tendonitis, and pain in general.
  • Modulates Blood Sugar Stability, by improving insulin receptor function and activating nuclear proteings, curcumin can modulate sugar uptake in the bloodstream. This also has a function with liver enzymes and storing glycogen.
  • Cancer Fighter. Studies have shown that curcumin can reduce the growth of new blood cells to tumours (can’t get their food) and the actual spread of cancer cells. So far these have only been proven in a lab.
  • Anti-inflammatory boost for Alzheimers. Inflammation plays a huge role in Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown that curcumin can cross the blood brain barrier, potentially reducing oxidative damage being done.

Interactions – tumeric does have the possibility to slow blood clotting, ski or be careful if you are regularly taking medication that also slows blood clotting like Aspirin, Voltaren, Advil, etc.

Energizing Carrot Orange Juice with Turmeric
Hit the afternoon slump? Boost your energy with this anti-inflammatory and antioxidant juice.
Ingredients
  • 10 carrots
  • 3 naval oranges, peeled
  • 3" hunk of ginger
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
Instructions
  1. This recipe yields 2 x 500ml servings.
  2. Juice your carrots, oranges, ginger, and lemon in your juicer.
  3. In two large glasses, mix ½ tsp of turmeric powder (1/2 tsp of turmeric in each glass) with a little bit of the juice you just made until it makes a little slurry. Add more juice and keep stirring until everything is incorporated. I highly recommend keeping a spoon or a straw so you can stir occasionally while you drink. Feel free to mix the turmeric powder all at once with the juice if you want to get clumpy bits of spice that isn't pleasant.
  4. Enjoy!

teas-for-stress-traditional-medicinals

My Five Top Herbal Teas for Stress

Disclaimer – I am in no way affiliated with Traditional Medicinals, nor is this a sponsored post. Out of the herbal tea brands my local health food store stocks, they are my preferred choice.

It’s been a week since we received a call stating my Grandpa was unconscious and Mum raced up to see how he was. I later got a call stating he in fact had passed away. As my Grandmother tells it, they had just come back from a walk, he was tired and went to lay on the bed, finding him, she curled up beside him, he put his hand on her knee and they lay there gently having a nap.

My Grandparents and I have never been close, my Grandpa least of all. I look at them as blood; because of their genetics I am here, but I don’t see a close bond full of laughter. My Father’s parents passed away when he was young and the only other “close” relative passed when I was quite young, almost too young to grasp the terms. It’s been an interesting experience; understanding that I have a different conception of death, the fact that people want to coddle me and discuss the issue drives me crazy. I find people try to label death, put meaning behind it; death is just another stage. There is nothing people can say to change it or make any type of wound caused by it go away, which is why with the friends around me who’ve suffered a loss I simple say – hugs.

We all grieve in our own way some people bawl, others get angry, some get into a depressed like state, but it all causes stress on the body. I’m sure most of us have heard of the fight or flight response. Back in the cave man days we would have faced saber tooth tigers, yet today we face modern versions of the same stress, but yet we don’t know how to deal with it effectively in these modern times. I’m talking about – your high paying client left, your boss unjustly demoted you, or even getting stuck in traffic while you’re heading to a meeting. These things and more put stress on the body.

When tea was first discovered in China it was used largely for medicinal purposes, something I think we actually forget. The following teas are actually herbal tisanes though, but the premise of healing with active constituents still applies. I don’t think there’s anything more relaxing or nurturing like a warm cup of herbal brew in your hand. So next time you find yourself getting uptight, take a little Zen moment for yourself and wrap your hands around one of my top five herbal teas for stress.

chamomile-tea Chamomile – A very gentle sedative, my absolute favourite to use and a staple in the house. Its volatile oil, isadol, affects the entire nervous system helping the entire body to relax and sooth the mind. As soon as I feel myself get uptight I know it’s time I need to step away and pour myself a cup. I usually combine this herb with dried ginger and lemongrass for a very good calming tea.

lemon-balm-teaLemon Balm – This little plant is a nervous system tonic and relaxant used to lift depression and negativity from the mind; usually used for people with anxiety and/or a depressive mood. Unlike chamomile that calms, lemon balm strengthens the brain and it’s resistance to stress and delivers a sense of wellbeing. *

passion-flower-teaPassionflower – This tea is harder to come by, probably due to its strength; you can usually find it in sleep aid teas or a herbal store. The active constituent here is chystin, great for anxiety and stress. In twin studies, passionflower was compared to Xanax and came up par with anti-anxiety medications. Due to its strong benefits I would recommend taking this in the even before bed. *

licorice-ginseng-teaLicorice & Ginseng – Unlike the top three, licorice and ginseng are adaptogens, as such they help support the body and bring everything back into equilibrium. As adrenal tonics, they support the adrenal glands that are in charge of our endocrine system, this is where our body’s hormonal response to stress comes from; think of the fight or flight response. If the adrenals are overworked, by constant stress your body will exhibit chronic fatigue, weakened immune system, and therefore an inability to handle stress. Adaptogens taken on a regular basis help boost and strengthen this very important hormonal area.

*Note – Do not take if you are on anti-depressants. If you are incredibly stressed or anxious on a day to day basis, please examine your symptoms and get help from a licensed naturopathic doctor.

References
The Naturopathic Herbalist

Belight Tea – 6 Best Teas for Herbal Relief

Book – Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman
green-tea-smoothie-featured

Matcha Smoothie with a Healthy Twist

I came across a recipe the other day while doing a rough search for, “What goes into a Starbucks Green Tea Frap?” with the ingredients, “ice cream and low fat milk” and I had to stop and laugh. Both those ingredients are so full of sugar, antibiotics, hormones, and chemicals. Not to mention that the ice cream is laden with so much cream makes me laugh that the person had to make it with low-fat milk. If you’re going to be bad you might as well just go all the way.

Which brings me to this recipe.

I adore the idea of a green tea shake with the delicious creaminess, the vibrant almost unnatural green colour, with the grassy yet oddly sweet floral flavour of matcha powder. What I abhor is the lack of nutrients that goes into a green tea frap. There’s nothing good you’re putting into your body except for the water in the ice cubes and the antioxidants in the matcha powder. It’s just milk, ice cubes, matcha powder, topped with disgusting fluffed up fatty air. (I despise whipped cream with a passion, seriously why do people think it’s so delicious?!) So the goal was to come up with a green tea shake that I felt good recommending to people, a shake that gave you that feeling of having a dessert in a cup, but also giving you a healthy boost.

matcha-green-tea-powder

Let’s talk about matcha powder, the key star to this shake.

What exactly is it? Simply put matcha is a green tea that has been pulverized into a powder form. The tea harvesters cover the bush in complete shade forcing the plant to produce an increase in nutrients such as chlorophyll (that bright green colour), L-Theanine (an amino acid), and other antioxidants and push it to the very tips of the plant. They then pick these nutrient dense tips, flash steam it very quickly to remove the moisture thus keeping the antioxidants and nutrients in place before they can oxidize. The dried leaves are then ground into a very fine powder what we know as matcha.

Chlorophyll; The Super Antioxidant

For everyone who needs a refresher on science 8, chlorophyll is a biomolecule found in plants critical in photosynthesis. This little guy allows plants to absorb energy from light. I read somewhere people attribute this to “plants blood” which makes me feel a little vampire-ish BUT it’s a good way of seeing how nature mimics our body. Chlorophyll has been shown to increase the oxygen uptake in our blood increasing our energy. Crazy cool right?! Ok, I admit I was the Bio Chem nerd at school …. But for those people who want to know more, some other benefits of chlorophyll are :

  1. Enhances immune function by increasing the number of B cells, T cells, and macrophages.
  2. supports healthy blood cells by increasing the uptake of oxygen.
  3. Aids in detoxification by having a cleansing and protecting effect on the blood.
  4. Reduces the risk of kidney stones by protecting against calcium oxalate build up.

If at the end of this post all you can think of is your drinking Vulcan blood while having this smoothie I’ll be ok with that. Now go out and drink a bright green smoothie for St. Paddy’s day and know you’re drinking something that not only tastes good but is healthy to boot.

healthy-matcha-smoothie

Random Tip aka the Healthy Twist

Ever had a huge bag of kale/spinach in the fridge thinking good intentions and realize after even a week the bag has turned into slime? That happens more often than I would like to admit until I started making “green” ice cubes at home. I essentially take 3-6 large handfuls of the mix with a bit of water; blenderize it until roughly smooth than spoon into ice cube trays. Freeze. Feeling the urge to be good with a green smoothie? Making a chickpea stew and want to add some greens? These things are so versatile and always easy to have on hand without worry of slime. You won’t even taste the greens in this recipe which makes it perfect for those children, boyfriends, girlfriends, parents, dog, cat etc who think veggies are rabbit food and make you sneak them into anything you can.

making-veggie-ice-cubes

Matcha Smoothie with a Healthy Twist
Take that decadent green tea smoothie and elevate it with a healthy twist you'll feel good about drinking.
Ingredients
  • 1 banana, frozen
  • ¾ - 1 cup sweetened almond or coconut milk (I prefer a vanilla almond milk)
  • 2-3 "green" cubes
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts/seeds
  • ½-1 tbsp matcha powder
Instructions
  1. Place everything into a blender and blend till smooth. Makes one serving.
  2. I just want to make a note - if you're used to drinking regular milk, this smoothie will probably taste "different/off" for you if you use almond milk and you'll probably best off to make it with coconut.

 

The Top 4 Health Issues I Saw Working at a Chocolate Shop

At 3:00 this afternoon I’ll be lounging in my pjs probably watching an episode of Dexter while having a chai latte embracing the fact I’m not walking to work. After nine months, I decided to leave my job at the chocolate shop; a decision that was both easy and very difficult. It’s a hard decision to decide on taking a pay cut, but I did in order to have my social life back and most importantly my health. Yes, it was a minimum wage job which after earning 50k a year was a hard pill to swallow, but it happened to be the best job I’ve ever had. The bosses were nice, I found a new friend in my co-worker, and people are always happy to walk into a candy store.

I constantly had people laugh at the irony of a holistic nutritionist working at a candy shop and even the bosses during my interview wanted to know why someone of my caliber would be ok with the job. I have the philosophy of everything in moderation even sweets. Honestly, I took the job for the money, but I didn’t expect it to teach me things about people and the way they view sugar and treats. A lot of what I saw was based on misconception due to contradicting knowledge and a lot of marketing. So I present to you …

into-chocolate-loves

The Top Four Health Issues I Saw as a Holistic Nutritionist Working at a Chocolate Shop

Fat Does not Equal Fat. Excess Sugar Equals Fat.
Our body did not evolve to handle a lot of refined and simple sugars in our diet. We foraged for complex carbohydrate plants to give us long release of energy. Simple sugars like honey were hard to come by so when we did find them we gorged ourselves, we didn’t know when our next “fix” would come. Our body can handle about 20 grams of simple sugars a day before it will transform any excess amount to fat; this is usually held in the abdominal area. I had a customer that would come in every week to pick up a package of York patties. She believed they were healthy because they market themselves as “low in fat”. This is purely a marketing scheme; most candy do not contain a lot of fat in general because they are made out of sugar and chemicals. They label this on there to capitalize on people thinking “low in fat” is healthy. In a small three piece York patty candy bar you’ll find 3 grams of fat and a whopping 26 grams of sugar. That means if you eat anything else throughout the day with sugar in it; think Starbucks lattes, yoghurt, tomato sauce, all that excess sugar (plus the 6 grams from the York pattie) will turn into fat cells within your boy. Those “low fat” treats don’t seem so healthy now.

“All Natural” Doesn’t Really Mean All Natural
At Christmas we got a bunch of large candy canes in, they were super popular, when I was putting them on the floor I noticed some were labeled as “all natural”. Curious and impressed that my bosses would think of catering to a crowd looking for those kinds of candies, I asked him what they were made out of. He didn’t know. According to the label it stated, “ Sugar, Corn Syrup, Natural Flavors, Natural Colors.” Now I don’t want to open a can of worms with this statement, but most likely 99.9% if a candy uses corn syrup in their recipe, if they don’t state its GMO free they are using GMO corn. That’s not exactly natural especially when we are still learning the repercussions of genetic modifying. When a candy labels themselves as “all natural” that doesn’t mean all ingredients they use are natural, this just applies to the flavouring and colours.

“No Sugar Added” Actually Means “Chemical Soup”
It amazes me how many people especially mid 20-30 young ladies come in buying no sugar added candy and chocolate thinking they are getting a healthy treat that doesn’t involve any sugar. Except companies have to sweeten these treats somehow, instead of making it with a natural sweetener like stevia these babies are sweetened with chemicals like xylitol, lactitol, or malitol. These are members of the sugar alcohol family, an artificial sweetener that your body does not recognize. Consumption can cause digestive issues including diarrhea, abdominal pain and flatulence. The worst chemical found in “sugar-free” candy is aspartame; accounting for over 75 percent of the adverse reactions to food additives reported to the FDA and warrants its own post. Personally I feel, if you’re coming weekly to buy sugar-free candy/chocolates and needing those candies despite the junk in them, there is an addiction to something sweet and very habitual that needs to be broken.

Sugar is an Addiction
Most of us laugh when we say, “I have a major sweet tooth,” I even do it, but it’s a real fact we need to be aware of. In our society there is a conception that drugs are bad for you and we shouldn’t be taking them, for example – cigarettes, cocaine, meth, etc. (I don’t want to get into the talk of marijuana.) But I find it interesting that we look at sugar as an ok substance to feed ourselves and our children. Too much sugar can lead to a substance abuse and lead to a natural form of addiction. We on a daily basis reward ourselves, usually with food; these natural rewards can create responsive pathways in our brains. Sugar itself releases opioids and dopamine thus having an incredibly addictive potential. I see parents come in to give their kids as young as one, candy as a reward for good behaviour. This is creating a platform for life of unhealthy food habits. Try natural foods or praises instead.

If you’re doing a sugar detox/cleanse instead of slowly breaking the habit this one is best done cold turkey. Even if you have chocolate chips in the pantry, you’ll find an excuse to eat them when the craving sets in.

I believe people should be allowed to treat themselves once in a while. In the photo you can see my favourite treats I came to love working at the store. A few of those especially the Taza dark chocolate which are made with organic cacao beans, cane sugar, cocoa butter and vanilla beans, I will be returning for. But I urge people to read and gain knowledge about the food they are ingesting. Question everything, even what I have to say, and come to your own conclusions about what you put in your body. Don’t be like one of my last customers I had who rattled off a list of ten ingredients the first one being corn syrup and ended with artificial preservatives, flavouring, and colour and told her four year old there was nothing bad in it.

back-to-basics-ghee

Ghee/Clarified Butter

One of my favourite conversations of last year’s was at the Food bloggers conference with a chef cooking at the omelette station. I had asked her to surprise me and oddly got talking about whole foods including butter versus coconut oil. “Why do people get caught up with all these fancy new foods?” she said. “Just eat whole natural foods. Butter is made from cow’s milk which is directly linked to the earth. It’s delicious and good for you, just eat it in moderation.” I left her station with a delicious omelette in hand with a smile on my face feeling oddly better about myself. My philosophy in eating is purely down to earth whole foods. Let’s stop eating processed foods even if they claim “low-fat”, “gluten-free” or any other marketing scheme. The only thing those companies are doing is marketing chemicals in fancy health packages.

Talking about fat and butter have you ever heard of the word ghee? In Sanskrit it means “sprinkled” and is commonly used in South Asian cuisine specifically Indian and Pakistani foods. In European cultures it’s known more by the name of clarified butter? During the clarification process of butter milk solids are removed leaving the healthy butter fats behind.

cubed-butter-for-ghee

Hold up, if Ghee is Made From Butter, What Makes it Different?

GHEE BUTTER
Casein and Lactose free Contains casein and lactose
Higher smoke point Lower smoke point
Slight alkalizing effect Slightly acidifying effect
Can be stored longer (low moisture content) Needs to be stored in the fridge (high moisture content)

So Why is Ghee Better?

  1. Lactose friendly. The impurities are removed during the clarification process; people who are lactose intolerant usually have no problems consuming ghee. If you have an allergy though, please contact your physician.
  2. Contains antioxidants – vitamin A and E. These antioxidants fight free radicals which promote skin cell growth and immune system health.
  3. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are readily absorbed. Ghee helps increase the uptake of fat-soluble vitamins, by binding to them and absorbs them into cell walls.
  4. Increases flexibility. Our cells are made of a phospholipid bi-layer, the less good fat in our diet the more rigid we become. Increasing your daily intake with good quality fats can help with flexibility.
  5. Could possibly help fight inflammation. Studies have been shown to reduce leukotriene secretion and reduce prostaglandins; both play a role in inflammation. Current studies done on rats.

Making ghee is really simple to make, anyone can do it at home with a little time on their hands. Ghee has a unique flavour by itself slightly sweet and nutty, adding a bit of decadence to any meal especially an omelette. If you’re getting a tired of coconut oil, take some good quality grass fed butter and turn it into a glorious creamy gold ghee.

steps-on-making-gheehomemade-ghee

Ghee/Clarified Butter
Turn your butter into a delicious fat safe for people with lactose or casein intolerances.
Ingredients
  • 1 pound grass fed unsalted butter
Instructions
  1. Cut your butter into cubes and place into a saucepan that holds all the butter. Turn to medium-low heat and melt the butter.
  2. You do not want to overheat and burn the milk solids, this is a bit of a time consuming process (30-60min) due to the lower simmer and skimming you will be doing.
  3. Once the butter is melted and bubbles start to form, turn your temperature down to low. You want a gently simmer with a few bubbles popping up. After a little while you will see white clumps form at the surface. This the milk solids and "gunk" you want to skim from your ghee and discard. Keep doing this until your ghee is clear and you can easily see the bottom.
  4. Turn the heat up to a medium and gently cook for five minutes. Apparently this is to cook the bit of solids at the bottom of the pan, giving the ghee a nice nutty flavour. You do not want to burn this! Once down, turn off the heat and set the ghee aside to cool.
  5. Pour into a glass container and store sealed either in the fridge or on the counter.

 

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