• Recipe: Liver Cleanse Juice

    Picture 27December is always full of sweets, alcohol, and other indulgences but January has arrived and it’s time to give our bodies a break.  The liver feels these indulgences the most and that’s why we have to give it a little extra support come January.  The liver is responsible for detoxifying our bodies and the milk thistle drops in this liver cleanser juice certainly help it along.  If you don’t have a juicer you can blend all ingredients in a high-power blender and strain.  Enjoy!

     

    Liver Cleanser Juice:

    -3 Organic Beets, washed and trimmed

    -2 inches Fresh Ginger, washed and peeled

    -1 Grapefruit, peeled

    -1/2 Lemon, peeled

    -30 to 40 drops of Milk Thistle (available at Whole Foods or Choices)

    Add beets, ginger, grapefruit and lemon to juicer.  Add milk thistle. Stir.  Enjoy!

  • Black Bean Chocolate Cake – Flourless and Gluten Free

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This cake is so moist and delicious your guests will never guess the surprise ingredient…. black beans!

    The best part about this cake is that it’s totally budget-friendly. It’s basically beans, eggs, and cocoa. That gives you no excuse to not try it.

    Ingredients:

    1-15 ounce can of unseasoned black beans
    OR 1 1/2 cup cooked beans, any color
    5 large eggs
    1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    6 tablespoons unsalted organic butter OR coconut oil
    1/2 cup of honey or other sweetener + 1/2 teaspoon pure stevia extract
    6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1 tablespoon water (omit if using honey)
    Mint Chocolate variation:
    2 teaspoons mint extract (in place of 2 teaspoons vanilla)

    Preparation:

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Spray a 9 cake pan with extra virgin olive oil cooking spray, or just grease it with a thin layer of butter.
    Dust cocoa all over the inside of the pan, tapping to evenly distribute.
    Cut a round of parchment paper and line the bottom of the pan, then spray the parchment lightly.
    Drain and rinse beans in a strainer or colander. Shake off excess water. Place beans, 3 of the eggs, vanilla, stevia (if using) and salt into blender. Blend on high until beans are completely liquefied. No lumps! Whisk together cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder.
    Beat butter with sweetener until light and fluffy.
    Add remaining two eggs, beating for a minute after each addition.
    Pour bean batter into egg mixture and mix.
    Finally, stir in cocoa powder and water (if using), and beat the batter on high for one minute, until smooth. Scrape batter into pan and smooth the top.
    Grip pan firmly by the edges and rap it on the counter a few times to pop any air bubbles.
    Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cake is done with the top is rounded and firm to the touch.
    After 10 minutes, turn out cake from pan, and flip over again on to a cooling rack. Let cool until cake reaches room temperature, then cover in plastic wrap or with cake dome (I use an overturned plastic chip bowl). For BEST flavor, let cake sit over night. I promise this cake will not have a hint of beaniness after letting it sit for eight hours! If you are stacking this cake, level the top with a long serrated knife, shaving off layers until it is flat and even. Frost immediately before serving

    Frosting:

    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted organic butter,
    1/4 cup sugar
    5-6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    2 tablespoons half and half OR coconut milk
    1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    Pinch of sea salt
    Good-tasting pure stevia extract, to taste
    Optional addition for a glossy finish:
    1 fresh organic egg yolk

    Preparation:

    Cream the butter in a small bowl until fluffy.
    Stir sweetener into butter with a spatula, then beat until smooth.
    Slowly blend in the cocoa powder (unless you want to redecorate your kitchen), vanilla, and sea salt.
    Beat in the half and half and egg yolk, if using.
    Add stevia, starting with 1/16 teaspoon. You’ll probably use less than 1/4 teaspoon. Just keep tasting and adjust sweetness to your liking.

     

    Adapted from http://healthyindulgences.net/category/black-beans/

  • Support Local Food

    There are many ways to increase the amount of local food in our daily lives…and many benefits in doing so.

    It’s Good For You & Your Family
    When you provide your family with juicy peaches, hormone-free chicken and crisp baby carrots, eating healthy becomes very easy, not to mention incredibly enjoyable.

    It’s Good For BC Farmers & Communities
    By supporting local farmers you are voting with your dollar to keep BC farmers farming, and safeguarding BC’s agricultural land for future generations.

     
    It’s Better For Our Environment
    The fresh produce sold at BC farmers’ markets usually travels less that 300km to get to you. Compare this to the average North American meal, which travels 2,400km to get from field to plate and contains ingredients from 5 countries in addition to our own. All that transportation results in a lot of fossil fuels being burned, which contributes, to air pollution, acid rain and climate change.

     

    Here are 3 great ways to eat local

     

    Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
    Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) fosters a closer link between local families and their food. CSA members make a commitment to the farm at the beginning of the season by paying in advance for a portion of the farm’s products throughout the season. This guarantees the farm a market for its products, provides members fresh food at a discount, and fosters responsible relationships between farmer, eater, and the land where the food is grown.With most CSA’s  the produce is chosen for you, but some offer a “debit-style” program which allows you to choose the amount you’d like to prepay and what produce you prefer to have.
    See a list of local CSA programs here.

    Farmers Markets
    A farmers’ market is a place where you come to learn about healthy food. It’s a meeting place to connect with friends, family and neighbours. It’s a springboard for local farmers to introduce their wares to new audiences, and it is a celebration of community and the bounty of our land. People come to farmers’ markets week after week for many reasons, including the community gathering experience, the opportunity to talk directly to farmers, and the reassurance that they are eating nutritious and ethically sourced food.
    Find out dates and times of farmers markets in your area.

    BC Seasonal Availability Guide
    If you are looking to modify your diet or your menu to include more local and sustainable food products, understanding which farm products are available locally and when they are available is critical.  You can download and print a copy of the BC Seasonal Availability Guide here .  Keep a copy at home in your kitchen and keep a copy with you to bring to the grocery store.
    Download and print the BC Seasonal Availability Guide here.

  • The World's Healthiest Cookie

    From start to finish, these cookies take about 30 minutes to make (including bake time).  The cookie dough is so good you won’t want to bake them!   Sweet Potatoes are a good source of mag­nesium, which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral.  As well they are high in vitamin B6 and a good source of vitamin C.

    They’re a cinch, and you’ll be so glad you made them; so bake some sweet potato cookies, and enjoy them knowing that they’ll make you smile from the inside out!

     

    World’s Healthiest Cookie Recipe

    2 ripe bananas, mashed
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
    1/4 to 1/2 cup maple syrup (depending on how sweet you like)
    1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats (for GF buy gluten free oats)
    2/3 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
    1/2 cup pecans, chopped (can substitute with other nuts or seeds)
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 cup sweet potato packed tightly peeled and shredded (add up to a whole cup if you like a more moist cookie)
    1/4 cup chocolate chips (add up to 1/2 cup if you like)

    Preheat oven to 350° and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

    In a large mixing bowl mash 2 ripe bananas.  Add vanilla, coconut oil and maple syrup ; mix well.

    In a separate bowl, combine and mix oats, coconut, pecans, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.  Slowly stir the sweet potato into the oat mixture making sure to break up all of the clumps.

    Stir this mixture into the wet mixture, then fold the chocolate chips into the batter.

    Dampen your hands a little, and spoon about 2 tablespoons of the batter into your palm.  Shape them into balls then press them flatter onto the parchment.  Bake one dozen on each baking sheet, or set the dough aside, and bake one batch at a time.  Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and allow them to cool for about 15 minutes.

    Voila, Magic!

  • Eating Right For The Seasons.

    Alison McKenzie RMTThe arrival of September always brings a natural shift of temperature, and a shortening of the days.  It is the time to begin another school year, back to regular work hours, and to re-examine our habits and routine.  As we officially enter into the fall season later this month, it is a great time to check in with our body’s natural rhythm and dietary needs.

    There is no shortage of information these days on health and wellness, especially what we ‘should’ be eating. Unfortunately, due to this overwhelming amount of advice, we often forget to listen to our greatest advisor…our own bodies!  If we are constantly following a specific diet, cleanse, or the latest food trend, we have no chance to befriend our greatest ally in our personal health.  Yes, periods of meal planning and cleansing are of great benefit, but it is when we are perpetually nourishing via some sort of plan that we are drowning out our inner voice.

    Everybody’s body is unique and brilliant. They will tell us exactly what we need if we listen. Fall is one of the greatest times to tune into this voice because of the distinct change in what is abundant and available.  It is my favourite time to visit the local farmer’s market: winter squash, a variety of apples, pears, potatoes, and pumpkins. The harvest gets heartier and denser as the weather cools, and our bodies will be preparing for a warmer nourishment of grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. It is a time to prepare more warming foods such as soups, stews, and heartier grains to balance our internal environment with the shifting external.

    To eat with the seasons is to tune into the earth’s natural cycle, as well as our own innate cycle.  I invite you to take some time this month to observe what your body is saying.

    Alison McKenzie is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. You can reach her at amckenzie.rhn@gmail.com

     

  • Lori's Spring Detox.

    This spring I did a crazy thing. I participated in a 3 week cleanse from Arise and Shine. These cleanses are often recommended to help the body get rid of toxins, kick-start a sluggish digestive system and give the body a rest from foods that are difficult to metabolize.

    The Arise and Shine cleanse involved cutting out all the things I love: coffee, wine, baked goods, cheese, meat and dairy. The first week prepares the body for the cleanse by eating only raw, fresh fruits and veggies. The second week involved eating that same way and adding “detox drinks” and nutritional supplements. By week three, I was only taking the “detox drinks” and supplements. What that was done, I began the process of easing myself back into eating solid food.

    If it sounds intense, I am here to tell you that it was! But it was one of the best things I could have done for myself this year.

    The first week was the most difficult: I had a headache from no coffee, I was grumpy and frequently asked myself why I willingly agreed to this insanity. I have to say I was glad my husband was doing it with me–he understood my mood swings.

    By the second week, my body was adjusting to all the wholesome food I was eating and I no longer wanted a glass of wine with my salad. The detox drinks were beginning to work wonders on my elimination system and I was feeling great. Because I had no stimulants in my body, I felt in touch with what it needed. I had alot of energy throughout the day, but often had to put myself to bed early and respect my fatigue.  It was a little difficult to socialize, but I kept reminding myself, “Lori, it is only 3 weeks of the year. You’ve got this”.

    The last week was very interesting. I was really beginning to feel the effects of the cleanse. The detox drinks filled me up and for the first few days I wasn’t hungry. I was feeling light and clean. We got a few colonics, which seemed to speed up the cleansing. My skin was radiant, I slept so deeply at night and woke feeling rested. My eyes were bright. I did see my Naturopathic Doctor (Keith at www.awenhealth.ca) at this point, and he gave me a few supplements to support my body as it cleansed. I have to say that I was starting to dream of food. Not just any food. Beautiful, well made, healthy, and wholesome food. I also looked forward to a piece of chocolate. I love chocolate!

    It was an amazing 3 weeks, and I realized that it’s good to occasionally go without the foods that you think you need. I have a deep appreciation for healthy food, and feel so lucky that I have enough, which is not true for many people in our world. I feel more in touch with my body since the cleanse. I’m not a tempted to overeat, or to eat foods that irritate my system. The cleanse will become a yearly practice…and in the meantime, I will enjoy eating, socializing over food, and celebrating my healthy body.”