Clean Eating Update

I am coming into my 34th day of clean eating from my Digestive Spring Clean and I am starting to feel pretty fantastic.  I was able to stick to my clean eating program while sick, and in all likelihood it probably helped me to recover from my cold a lot faster than I would have normally.

After getting over my sugar withdraw everything has been pretty spectacular.   My eczema (reappearance from my not so optimal food choices) is almost all cleared up, my digestive system is starting to feel way less taxed than normal (less bloating and general uncomfortableness), my face is clearing up and a whole bunch of other positive benefits like more energy and better sleep.

I also think my new organic food delivery has a lot to do with this.  Yes, I am eating clean and changing my diet has a lot to do with starting to feel better and yes, I have started taking my vitamins and supplements again. However the food box that is delivered opens me up to a larger variety of different organic and non-GMO products.  I mean when I do the groceries I load up on vegetables and fruits but being completely honest I go for the same ones time and time again.  With the food box I get a varied assortment of different fruits and vegetables that I would likely only buy on occasion or never (what do you do with a star fruit?) Which leads me to an important part of clean eating, which is mixing it up.

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I find that when I start modifying my eating I end up finding a handful of things that work for me and then just stick with them until I become so sick of them I pretty much never want to eat them again.  Not only do I get bored of the foods I am eating but I am also limiting the type and amount of nutrients (vitamins and minerals) that I am feeding my body.

Our bodies are complicated amazing things that require support from a wide array of nutrients to function and if we want our bodies to function optimally we, as the owners of said bodies, have to do what we can to provide ourselves with a variety from various sources.

So give it a try this week. When you are doing your weekly grocery for the up coming week try and add two items (fruit or vegetable wise) to your cart that you normally wouldn’t select.   Pick something bright and colourful, or maybe it is that yucca everyone is always talking about.   Regardless of what it is try two new things, maybe make it a bit of a challenge for yourself, picking more and more and more new things each week to keep a healthy mix of vegetables and fruits in your diet, who knows you might find a new favorite food.

Happy Thursday Everyone!

 

Food Fridays – 5 Benefits to Watermelon

Keep with the trend of giving some tasty little tid bits about different foods I figured I would pick one of my summer favourites. I know I have talked about delicious this one is in the past but I didn’t get any further than that.

Well friends, I am talking about watermelon. The glorious orb of sweet watery goodness.

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This wonderful little number is more than just delicious it is also great for your health and energy levels.  Here are just a few of the great things that watermelon can do for you:

1. Good for your heart – Watermelon like tomatoes are full of lycopene. Lycopene has been proven to be responsible for helping keep your heart healthy so load up!

2. It will load you up with energy – watermelon contains vitamin B6.  B6 is used to help convert proteins into energy giving you the boost you will need to keep moving through your day.

3. Cancer fighter – watermelons have been proven to have some of the highest amounts of lycopene of any fresh fruit.  Lycopene has not only been linked to heart healthy, but it has also been linked to cancer prevention, in particular to the prevention of prostate cancer.  So boys and men of the world out there get eating.

4. Great for weight loss – Every 100g serving of watermelon has only 30 calories. Although the fruit is high in sugar it is primairly made up of water helping your body to feel satisfied earlier and with less. So not only is it refreshing but it might also help you when to resist that “snacking” feeling.

5. Keeps you healthy –  Watermelons are full of vitamin C which plays a huge roll in your body’s immunity and healing.  No one likes a summer cold so make sure to stock up on watermelon while it is in season to keep you healthy and your immune system strong.

I am sure none of us need another reason other than “it’s delicious” to keep eating watermelon, but if you did I hope these five reasons have won you over!

Have a happy long weekend!!

Day 13 & Another Weekend

well you have made it this far!!! 13 days into the challenge and 2 weekends under your belt, I am sure you are all started to feel the great benefits! You are probably less bloated, more energy, and feeling lighter. I hope for you all these positive side effects of eating clean are making it easier for you to resist temptation throughout the days.

This weekend may have been a bit tricker for a lot of the ladies out there, especially the moms seeing how love and pampering can often come in the form of a good glass of wine and a nice slice of chocolate cake, so hopefully you either used a cheat meal to avoid driving yourself nuts or you were able to navigate the treats and stick to your clean eating, either way I am sure you made the right decision for you and your situation.

This weekend was a little tough for me because we were at my inlaws and my mother-in-law is a particularly amazing baker, so it took a little bit more willpower to resist the delicious chocolate chip cookies and cherry cheese cake that were waiting for us when we arrived. Even though I didn’t partake in any of the decadent sweets my mother-in-law made sure to have loads of fruits, veggies and pre-cooked lean protein for me so I never felt like I was missing out, and boy was I ever grateful for that. It is easier to say no to a slice of cheesecake when I had a bowl of fresh strawberries specially prepared for me.

Besides resisting the temptation to stuff my face with all the sugar treats my belly could handle my husband and I got to visit with his family. It was a great weekend filled with good conversation, catching up, and getting to marvel at how grown up our niece is getting. Kids really do grow up so quickly and it is pretty exciting to see such huge changes. The little lady had a better idea of what was going on on my iphone than I do.
Lucy Collage

We headed home after some more visits and a nice mother’s day breakfast, and headed right into the regular grind of life, so that means my mind is back on food prep, routines, and the Gingersneezes run club. Although, I do enjoy breaks from my regular routine, I always seem to miss it after an extended period of time, so I am happy to be returning to my routine. I understand that I might have a love for routine, that sentiment might not be felt by all, and see how we are moving into our THIRD week of the Gingersneezes Eats Clean challenge I wanted to throw in an extra challenge for everyone.

Starting tomorrow, for the next 7 days I want everyone to start having a glass of warm lemon water in the morning. Warm is the ideal temperature, but if you are like me and know you won’t make your way to the kitchen in the morning to warm up the water prepare your lemon water the night before in a bottle or cup with a lid, and set it on your nightstand for you to have first thing in the morning. The goal is to have your glass of lemon water within 30 minutes of waking up so your body has some time to process it before you eat your breakfast.

Lemon Water

Why lemon water? Well besides tasting GREAT lemon water helps to clean you out (it is a natural diuretic), it will help balance out your internal pH, it will help to clear your skin, give you energy, boosts your immune system and aids in weight loss (as if you needed anymore reasons why).

So get ready to experience some awesome benefits to adding this extra step to your morning routine.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful weekend and I hope that positivity translates into your week.

Happy Monday!

P.S. Gingersneezes has a competition for everyone in the coming days. So keep your eyes peeled for the details!

It’s Food Friday – Sugar Edition

So this food time Friday is brought to you by my running/ exercise partner Susan. For Gingersneezes anniversary she graciously donated her time and amazing baking skills to make us some dairy free, bite size fruit tarts.
bannerAlthough it took a bit of wrestling and testing out the recipe to make them dairy free, she did it and they turned out absolutely amazing, thank goodness she made so many of them because they were definitely in high demand.  Please note that these treats are super tasty but they are treats, it is good to indulge every now and then, it is a part of finding a balance.  With that in mind always remember to reward yourself but do what you can to keep your progress on track.

So here it is Susan’s Sugar Post:

Vegan Fruit Tarts:

Makes approx. 45-50 mini tarts

Pie Crust:

2.5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp
sugar
1 cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
4 tbsp ice water

1. Preheat oven to 350. Mix the flour and sugar in a large bowl.

2.Cut the “butter” into the flour with a pastry blender, 2 knives, or just your hands until it is crumbly. Add the ice water one Tbsp at a time until the dough comes together (try not too work it too much). You can add up to 4 additional Tbsp of water if necessary.

3.Divide dough in half, wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 to 60 minutes. Once ready roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut to fit in mini muffin tray (or regular muffin tray) using a cookie cutter (or glass).

4.Bake for approximately 18 – 20 minutes. Keep a close eye on pastries when baking! Remove and allow to cool.
pie collage
Pie Filling:

1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
4 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1 1/3 cups coconut milk
2 tsp vanilla
11 quartered strawberries
22 halved blackberries

1. Chop berries and have them ready to go. Once the custard is finished it will set quickly so you will want the pie crust and berries ready to go.

2.  In a medium bowl, beat together the sugar, flour, cornstarch, and water until creamy, an electric mixer is recommended for this if you don’t have an electric mixer put some elbow grease into it, should take about 4 minutes. Set aside.

3. In a saucepan, bring the coconut milk to a simmer. Pour about 1/3 cup of the hot milk into the sugar mixture and stir till well mixed, be sure the milk and sugar combo is slightly runny. Pour this sugar-milk mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Return to the stove and heat over medium-low heat, whisking constantly.  Don’t stop whisking!  Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan as you whisk.  Continue cooking and mixing until the mixture thick and creamy (it may bubble but it likely wont) and then whisk as fast as you can for about 30 seconds.  Remove from heat.  Depending on the milk you have used it

5. Scrape the bottom and sides of the pan as you whisk. Cook until it begins to bubble, then whisk as vigorously as you can for 30 seconds, and remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. (Mine never bubbled. If yours doesn’t either, just remove from heat when it seems about as thick as your average chocolate pudding.)

Assembling your Tarts:

1. Pour the custard into the mini pies right away, smoothing it flat with a spatula or a spoon.

2. Top with halved blackberries and strawberries immediately.  The custard firms up quickly so be sure to top as fast as you can.

3. Serve and enjoy!
pies CollageThank you so much Susan for treating everyone to these tasty little bits! I hope everyone that braves the recipe enjoys them as much as we did!

Happy Friday! I hope everyone is looking forward to the weekend!  

*original recipe found here

Juicin’ It

Okay I have mentioned a couple of times now that I have recently fallen in love with a juicer. Now I am not going to lie my first couple attempts to wing it on my own and just throw in some fruits and veggies lousily based on recipes has been absolutely revolting.
Untitled Revolting may be a strong word to use, but I am going to stick with it. Luckily we were saving the plup from the juicing process so not everything was lost. So here are some of the things I have learnt before I leave you with a delicious recipe.

Lessons Learnt:

  1. WASH YOUR FRUITS AND VEGGIES! it is important to wash them off. Even if you are using organic products it is best that you wash your fruits and veggies to make sure they are as clean and chemical free as possible.
  2. Follow a recipe. Much like everything else, once you get the hang of it, and understand the different flavours I am sure you won’t need to follow a recipe exactly, but until that happens, and if you are new to juicing I strongly recommend it.
  3. Use ginger sparingly. Even if the recipe calls for say a two inch chunk of ginger I recommend putting it in a bit at a time and tasting it as you go. Ginger is great for your body and your metabolism but too much ginger is really hard to drink down.
  4. Unless you LOVE celery (why by the way I thought I did) I would not put it into a juice until you become a veteran juicer. The flavour is way over powering!
  5. Put loads of leafy greens in the mix, you can barely taste them and they add so much in the way of nutrients and health promoting wonderful to your drink.
  6. Your juice is never going to look like those V8 Splash drinks. How they make their veggie and fruit combos anything but brown or dark green is something I would prefer not to think about, having been someone that used to drink them. Be prepared to drink something that isn’t a brightly coloured fruit beverage.
  7. Experiment with peels on and off. Not all recipes tell you to peel lemons and oranges, seeing how the peel can be bitter, and seeing I am new to this I have been taking them off, but I will eventually attempt it with the peel on. Who knows it might be delicious.
  8. Save the pulp for things like veggie broth, veggie burgers, meat loaf, turkey burgers, carrot bread/muffins, zucchini muffins, and various other baking and cooking goods.
  9. Lastly, it really doesn’t take a load of veggies and fruit to make 800ml of juice, until you get the hang of how much it takes to make some juice, follow a recipe.

So since I have started juicing we have tried a couple different combinations, and I am always surprised at how much you can actually taste each fruit and/or veggie that has been put into the mix, but I am also often surprised at how delicious it is when you get it right.
UntitledHere is how the juicing process looks. I will post some pictures later on with pictures of the actual juice all mixed up, it isn’t appetizing to look at but delicious to consume. So basically assume as gross as it looks it tastes about 100 times better.

Now for a recipe that really worked out nicely.

Pineapple Surprise:

1/2 pineapple (cleaned)
1 green apple
6 strawberries (fresh)
2 cups of spinach
6 stalks of Kale
1/2 lemon (peeled)

This makes about 800ml. It shouldn’t be kept in the fridge for more than a day or over night.

Happy Wednesday! I think Wednesday is my favourit day of the week. It marks your halfway point, and having lunch time yoga really pushes it over the edge as a great day! Anyone else feel the same?

 

Sunday – Food Porn

So here goes my second attempt at writing this…the first post was mysteriously deleted so that was fun.  So this week I have made some pretty tasty foods and I have been struggling to pick one to post. So I figured today I would put up a recipe that I am going to be making instead of one that I have already made this week.  If there is any interest in the recipe for one of the delicious pictures I put up let me know and I will make it available.  But today’s food will be Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas.

Some foods from the week:
fruitFruit Salad (kiwi, strawberry, blueberry, asian pear, pineapple)

tunaPanko Crusted Tuna with Orange Ginger glazed Green Beans

chickenSpanakopita Chicken with Lemony Orzo Salad

Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas

Serves 4

2 chicken breast diced
1.5 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion diced
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 small sweet potato diced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup chipolte pepper
8 tortilla shells (corn or whole wheat)
1.5 cups daiya cheese (Italian flavour)
2 jalapeno peppers
1 tomato
1 shallot
1 green pepper
1 cup loosely packed cilantro
Juice of 1/2 a lime

In a small pot boil sweet potato for 10-15minutes or until tender. Drain water, and set aside.

In a large skillet heat oil. Add onions and cooked for 3-5 minutes until no longer raw. Add in chipolte pepper and 1 diced and seeded jalapeno pepper, cook to release flavours, approximately 3 minutes. Now add diced chicken cook until no longer raw.  Halfway through cooking the chicken add sweet potatoes, mushrooms and black beans, cook thoroughly. Once cooked remove from heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350degrees.

In a food processor combine, tomato, jalapeno, shallot, cilantro, green pepper, and lime juice. Pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped and mixed together.

Spray a shallow casserole dish with cooking oil.  Take 1-2 tablespoons of the tomato mixture and spread a think layer on the bottom of the casserole to prevent sticking.

Now take tortilla wraps and fill with chicken mixture and 1tbsp of daiya cheese. Wrap and place in casserole dish, repeat until all the shells have been filled.  Top the rolls with the remaining tomato mixture and daiya cheese.  Cook for 30minutes.

To round out the meal serve with a salad of mixed greens.