• Cooking with Quinoa

    The Incas were the first to use quinoa for human consumption more than 3000-4000 years ago.  Today Quinoa is becoming known as a super grain of the future and can be used in many different dishes like this delicious and easy to make quinoa burger recipe.  Give it a try and read about seven health benefits of this super grain.

    Seven health benefits of quinoa:

    1. Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat. It is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids.

    2. Quinoa contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains. Fiber can help to prevent heart disease by reducing high blood pressure and diabetes.

    3. Quinoa contains Iron. Iron helps keep our red blood cells healthy, is the basis of hemoglobin formation. and supplies oxygen to our muscles.

    4. Quinoa contains lysine. Lysine is mainly essential for tissue growth and repair.

    5. Quinoa is rich in magnesium. Magnesium helps to relax blood vessels and thereby to alleviate migraines. Magnesium also may reduce Type 2 diabetes by promoting healthy blood sugar control. Other health benefits of magnesium include body detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth.

    6. Quinoa is high in Riboflavin (B2). B2 improves energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells and is known to help create proper energy production in cells.

    7. Quinoa has a high content of manganese. Manganese is an antioxidant, which helps to prevent damage of mitochondria during energy production as well as to protect red blood cells and other cells from injury by free radicals.

    Quinoa Burger Recipe
    1/2 cup dry quinoa
    1 cup of water
    2tb olive oil
    Medium onion, diced fine
    2 cups brown mushrooms, diced fine
    3/4 tsp dried marjoram
    1/4 tsp dried oregano
    1/2 cup nuts (I used pecans or almonds)
    2/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar
    1/3 cup rolled oats
    1 egg
    1 tbs tamari/soy sauce
    Black pepper
    Chili flakes (optional)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees

    Cook water and dry quinoa on high until it boils. Then reduce to low and cook until water is absorbed, about 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.

    Heat oil and onions in pan until translucent. Then add the mushrooms, marjoram, and oregano. Cook about 5-7 min. Set aside to cool.

    With the same pan toast nuts/almonds to a golden brown. Then chop finely

    In a large bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add the quinoa (cooled) and mushroom mixture. Stir to incorporate. Then add oats, cheese, chopped nuts, black pepper and soy sauce (chili flakes if u like)

    Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form mixture into patties 4-5inches in diameter and about an inch thick. This will be a bit messy and the burgers might not hold together well… But fear not as they will firm up in the oven.

    Bake burgers for 35min. Do not try and flip them!

    Enjoy with a your favorite toppings and a toasted bun!

  • Energize Your Life

    Ashley Charlebois is a Registered Dietitian with a private consulting business based in Vancouver BC.  She specializes in sports nutrition and digestive health.  Ashley works with a variety of athletes ranging from the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, national and provincial level athletes, to individuals just starting to include more physical activity in their lives.  On the digestive health front, growing up with IBS inspired Ashley to specialize in this are to help others treat their illness an discomfort with diet.  She collaborates with gastroenterologists in the city to further improve the health of individuals with IBS, Chrohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis and other digestive disorders.

    This month Ashley shares her personal experience and expertise on how proper nutrition can be used to fuel your life and keep you energized through out the day.

    How to Energize Your Life

    Ever feel fatigued halfway through your workout? Feel like you want to push yourself harder but physically are just unable to? How about that mid-afternoon slump during the workday where you just can’t get anything done? It all comes down to energy levels. And guess what – diet has a huge part to play.

    Last week during the second half of an intense cycle class at the gym I was feeling… fantastic! I looked around, and it made me feel even stronger, because I seemed to be one of the few that was able to keep up with the instructor, an elite cyclist. How could this be? I am in no way an elite cyclist. Yes, I do enjoy biking, I do have a good base level of fitness, and I am determined to regularly challenge my body physically. But I hadn’t been to a cycle class for weeks before this one, yet alone started to commute daily to work by bike (that started this past week when the sun came out!). I am 100% convinced that the reason I could push hard throughout the hour long class was because of my diet. I had a pre-workout snack, yogurt and fruit, high in carbs (our primary source of fuel during moderate to intense activities) just over an hour before my workout, and healthy meals and snacks throughout the day leading up to it. This enabled me to push myself hard, keep up with the instructor, and feel great throughout my workout.

    A simple explanation for this – blood sugar levels. When we eat foods, they cause a rise in our blood sugar levels. Our food is digested and some of it (depending on what we eat) is broken down into glucose, or sugar, which gets fed into our cells and used for energy. This is what kept me going during my cycle class. This is also what keeps anyone going during everyday activities. However, when we feel hungry, tired, or just low in energy – this is when our blood sugar levels are below normal. We have no fuel in our bodies for our everyday activities. But our bodies are still functioning – how? By breaking down internal stores of fat and muscle. This in turn causes a decrease in strength and endurance during activities, and the feeling of fatigue and poor concentration at work.

    How can we avoid low energy levels and their side effects? By eating small frequent meals throughout the day. Aim to not go longer than 3 hours without eating. This will ensure energy levels are consistent throughout the day – avoiding the spikes in blood sugar or extreme lows in blood sugar, but staying somewhere in the middle, within our normal range (somewhere between about 4 – 8 mmol/L). Here’s a sketch to help you visualize:

    The effect of smaller, more frequent meals on blood sugar levels.
    What we’re eating also has a part to play. A nutritious, well-balanced diet is key. A diet rich in vegetables and fruit, whole grains, protein, and low-fat dairy products or alternatives (to provide us with calcium and vitamin D).

    Everyone is different. Depending on your schedule, your daily activities, or your sport and the intensity and duration of your training sessions – you will need to fuel your body accordingly. What and when you eat are two key things to take into consideration. If you’re an athlete, or even just engage in sport or exercise once in a while – timing, specific nutrient make-up, and size of meals and snacks depends on when you will be engaging in exercise. You want to eat something that will be digested in enough time to fuel you for your activity, but no too far in advance that you have no energy left during your activity. Sometimes it is necessary to top off your energy levels with a high carb snack during your activity, and always necessary to re-fuel with carbs and a little bit of protein after your activity.

    No matter what, DO focus on eating healthy foods throughout the day at regular intervals. Nutrition is a powerful tool that can greatly affect how you feel throughout the day, and throughout your workouts or sport!

  • Yoga with Laura Arpiainen

    Laura is a Vancouver yoga teacher who currently teaches at Heart Centre Yoga in Burnaby, the False Creek Community Centre on Granville Island and Fraser Health Authority’s corporate headquarters in Surrey.

    I got into yoga relatively late in life.  I had been a modern dance enthusiast and once that stage of my life slowly came to an end, I found myself looking for other forms of body expression that had deep meaning.  Once I found yoga, there was no turning back.  All my yoga teacher training has been in the USA, with Aadil Palkhivala, an incredible teacher who studied (and lived) with the Iyengar family for years. It has been a true privilege to learn directly from a Aadil. I have over 2000 hours of teacher training so far, and I add about 50 -100 hours to that each year. I have found this to be a truly meaningful life long learning quest.

    My teaching varies – in workplace yoga, most students are primarily looking for relief from sitting all day – they have stiff shoulders and hip flexors. In longer asana classes, I enjoy creating complex sequencing to effect  true, deep  body sensations. Yoga is such a powerful tool for transformation, and once you really start felling the effects, your practice will move to another level.

    I regularly also give therapeutic and specialized workshops and classes, as well as retreats (one day – extended weekends) – also by request!

    Laura’s next workshop is:

    YOGA NIDRA – at Heart Centre Yoga, Sat February 9, 2013 at 7:00 – 9:00 pm
    Cost $ 20.00 + HST(until Feb 2) or  $25.00 + HST (after Feb 2)
    Please call 604.294.4954 or email info@heartcentreyoga.cato register.

    Yoga Nidra is a deep, guided yogic relaxation technique in which
    participants learn to direct their consciousness in a state of yogic sleep,  and work on bringing positive shifts and profound improvements into their lives.
    This deeply transformative practice is open to yoga practitioners of all levels.
    Please feel free to bring an extra blanket from home!