What I Ate Wednesday

I woke up today and realized, it’s October! This year has absolutely flown by. I am excited for fall though….warm sweaters, pumpkin everything, Thanksgiving, Halloween, and more.

Fall also marks the return of warm breakfasts! Hot, creamy, stick-to-your ribs oatmeal to be exact.

IMG_2031Steel cut oats soaked overnight and then cooked in almond milk and half of a banana, 1/4 cup of egg whites whipped in towards the end along with some cinnamon, a pinch of salt and a tbsp of vanilla protein powder. Topped with some shredded coconut, hemp hearts, and homemade almond butter!

If the hot summer months are characterized by smoothies, chia puddings, fruit, and overnight oats, then the fall months are all about the hot porridges, toast, eggs, and pancakes.

Lunches have changed also. Salads are replaced by more warming roasts, baked dishes, and steamed veggies.

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Grass-fed ground beef sauteed with some organic kale and roasted delicata squash on the side. Warm, filling, delicious.

And of course we can’t talk about colder weather without mentioning comfort foods. Sandwiches, pasta, casseroles, and breakfast for dinner.

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This is my version of the classic French Croque Madame sandwich. Usually made with buttery croissants and stuffed with cheese, ham and topped with an egg; I kept all the original components but swapped some organic kamut sourdough bread for the croissant.

Hashtag that yolk porn will you?

Have a great day my friends!

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Flu-Buster Juice

I remember our very first winter in Canada back in 2000. A few days before Christmas, my parents were out shoveling the 30+ cm snow in the bitter cold. A few days after that, they were bed-ridden with the worst flu to ever have taken hold of them. At 5 years old and the only healthy member of the family, there was very little I could do to help them. Times have changed, and today we have much stronger defenses when flu-season comes around.

One of those defenses is this Flu-Buster juice. It’s spicy and isn’t one of those juices you can sip through a straw. Pour it into a shot glass and drink it down fast.

I’m happy to submit this Flu-Buster Juice in collaboration with Williams-Sonoma’s Juice Week and this week’s “Juices that Bite Back” theme.  After all, one of the secrets to making great juices is spicing them up–literally!

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This drink is fantastic for detoxification and boosting the immune system, especially during the cold and flu season that is just around the corner.

Flu-Buster Juice

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • 1 inch fresh turmeric, peeled
  • 1 inch fresh garlic, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 cup pack fresh herb of your choice (I like parsley)
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

Directions

  1. Run all ingredients through a centrigugal or masticating (recommended) juicer. Alternatively, you can blend the ingredients in a high-speed blender and strain through a nut milk bag or fine sieve.
  2. Sprinkle with a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  3. Drink fast!

Notes: I use an Omega 8005 masticating juicer. But a centrifugal juicer works great too! Check out Williams-Sonoma’s awesome selection of masticating and centrifugal juicers here.

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Now I want to hear from you: What’s your routine for staying healthy during the cold and flu season?

Have a great week!

Marvelous Monday

Marvelous is…my latest obsession:

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Oat milk. Or rather the oat pulp leftover from making oat milk. I know some of you may be scratching your heads at this one so let me tell you the story….

Girl comes across oat milk recipe.

Girl makes oat milk and has an abundance of leftover oat pulp.

Girl hates throwing things out.

Girl decides to mix in some maple syrup, organic peanut butter, cinnamon, pinch of salt and a scoop of vanilla protein powder.

Girl falls in mad lurrrve and lives happily ever after.

The end.

All jokes aside, I can’t tell if I make Angela’s oat milk recipe for the milk itself or for the pulp leftover at the end. It tastes just like peanut butter overnight oats and that my friends, is never a bad thing.

Marvelous are….my new custom Reebok CrossFit Nano 4.0 (a.k.a. the baes)IMG_1941

I love the colour (shade?) grey and it matches with pretty much every piece of clothing I own. I took these for their first test run (literally!) on Saturday and they are super comfy and light yet also sturdy at the same time. I did the benchmark WOD “Eva” in them which is:

5 rounds for time

  • 800m run
  • 30 KB swings @ 35 lbs
  • 30 push-ups

I find the 4.0s offer a lot more support than my Nano 2.0s and they are just a great versatile shoe.

The workout itself was not as tough as I expected, I paced myself the way I would for a 2.5 mile run and felt really good the whole time! I finished in 37:50.

Marvelous is…the Cody App. It’s an online training platform where you log your workouts and share them with other members, kind of like Instagram.

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I usually write down my CrossFit workouts in a journal but this way seems a lot more interactive and fun! Plus it gives me a chance to log my non-CrossFit workouts like swimming and yoga. It lets you know how consistent you’ve been with your workouts and lets you create training plans to achieve your goals.

Marvelous are…my plantain protein brownies! Sweet, dense, fudgy, chocolaty—all the characteristics of a good brownie while boosting 8g of protein and 3g of fiber per serving. IMG_1933Did I mention they taste amazing? Can’t get enough.

Marvelous is…Monday! A new week, a new chance to be better than you were yesterday, live life to the fullest and be happy. And in case you need a little humor in your day, one of my favorite quotes:chewbaccaGets me every time.

Have a great week :)

Plantain Protein Cake Brownies

What’s your favorite part of a brownie? Is it the dense, fudgy center or the crisp, chewy edge? And is that even a question?

These brownies have it all. Sweet, cakey and fudgy they will fulfill all of your expectations of a great, healthy treat.

Now lets talk ingredients. As a Latin American let me just say plantains are practically embedded in my DNA. Fried, baked, steamed, they are a culinary staple. Even so, it had never occurred to me to try baking them into brownies. Plantains after all, at least where I come from, are usually associated with the savory.

I was inspired by a few bloggers who used plantains as the base for grain-free breads and crackers and thought well, why not? In the past I had great success using sweet potato in brownie batter and figured I could have similar results using the starchy plantain.

Fortunately I was right and the plantain makes a great base for these cakey, chocolaty treats! Rest assured you cannot taste the plantain in them at all besides the subtle sweetness they provide. The protein powder makes this a great balanced and satisfying snack and also adds a rich, chocolaty flavor.

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Plantain Protein Cake Brownies (Dairy, Gluten, Refined Sugar Free)

Makes 12 brownies

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe plantains (should be yellow with black spots)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite chocolate or vanilla protein powder (I used a grass fed whey)
  • 5 tbsp raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar (optional)*
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life brand)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F (180 C) and lightly grease a 9 x 9 inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor or high speed blender combine plantains, eggs, vanilla and coconut oil. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute.
  3. Pour plantain batter into a bowl and whisk in protein powder, cacao or cocoa, cinnamon, coconut flour, baking soda, sea salt and optional coconut sugar.
  4. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour batter into your greased pan and bake for 30 minutes. Allow brownies to cool in the pan, then slice and serve.

Notes

*I personally prefer my brownies without the addition of the coconut sugar but if you have a strong sweet tooth or are serving these to a non-healthy eating crowd, I would add it in.

*You can omit the protein powder if you want and it won’t affect the texture much, it may lower the sweetness so you can add an extra tablespoon or two of coconut sugar or some stevia.

 

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Thinking Out Loud #3

For some reason, Thursdays tend to be one of my favorite days of the week. I presume its because of the feeling that its almost the weekend. But also because…

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Some things on my mind this week:

  1. Summer school was a BLAST. I took a pre-university Biology course that I needed to be able to apply to the Applied Nutrition Major (!!). Some of you may recall that I was in Business Administration just this past year….I am just going to scratch the surface and say it wasn’t for me and after a long hard look at my options, I have decided to follow my gut and go the nutrition route.  But anyway, I enjoyed Biology so much and it made me much more confident in my decision to pursue a health-oriented degree.
  2. Reading. Now that summer school is over, I am taking advantage of the time I have to read Jodi Picoult’s books (fave!).
    I just finished The Storyteller and started Vanishing Acts. Her books are so captivating and move me to tears every time.
  3. Pet Nutrition. Besides fiction, I also started reading the Healthy Homemade Pet Food Cookbook by Barbara Taylor-Laino that emphasizes the importance of good pet nutrition.IMG_1915I love the recipes and her inclusion of quality ingredients like grass fed beef and organ meats. I am determined to switch my dog over completely to homemade meals. So far I have made a beef/potato/spinach combination and a salmon/rice/kale meal and he has gobbled both up. IMG_1918Taylor-Laino recommends 1 cup portions for medium-sized dogs like mine 2-3 times a day; I usually make a big batch and freeze it in 1 cup portions then thaw at meal times.
  4. My Lululemon Addiction is out of control. The Final Sale section on their website is a blessing AND a curse. I love their stuff though and I justify it because I do work in a gym after all!
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  5. Our Tomato Harvest has finally begun! Besides the usual hot house tomatoes, this year we also have a bounty of cherry tomatoes. And besides tomatoes, we are growing peppers, lettuce, and a humble raspberry bush. IMG_1917Our nectarine and plum trees have failed us this year, unfortunately.
  6. Foodie Find of the Week is Dimpflmeier (yes I had to google the name) organic sourdough breads. My favorite is the spelt with wild rice. All of the breads are made with organic grains and contain no yeast.IMG_1920 They also have a dense texture and a tangy bite–signs of a true sourdough bread! Unleavened breads like sourdough are far more nutritious than regular yeast breads because the souring process makes the grains more digestible. My favorite way to enjoy a piece of sourdough is with some grass-fed butter or smashed avocado or in a sandwich with some cold cuts and lots of cultured veggies! A truly gut-health promoting meal.
  7. The CrossFit Games. I wasn’t rooting for any one particular athlete to take the podium but I am happy that fellow Canadian Camille Leblanc Bazinet took the podium along with Annie Thorisdottir and Julie Foucher.Rich Froning, Central East Its great to see Thorisdottir and Foucher make a come back after missing last year’s games. As for Rich Froning…I don’t think there has been or ever will be anyone like this man.
  8. Tara Stiles. Probably my hero and the best yogi out there, I love all of her videos on YouTube and have gotten so much out of them.

 Do this one before you go to sleep tonight and you’ll feel so much more relaxed :)

Have a great Thursday and head on over to Running With Spoons to read more Thinking Out Louds!

8 Ways to Become the Healthiest Version of Yourself

Hello there friends!

I wanted to write a post based on a question I get asked quite often, “How do I become healthier?”

With all the information on the world wide web these days navigating nutrition can seem impossible. I think the true path to health is the simplest, and involves just a few simple adjustments to your daily routine.

1. Move

It doesn’t matter what form of exercise you choose to participate in, as long as you make a point of being active on a daily basis. The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate-to-intense exercise per week for adults and more for kids.  This includes anything from brisk walking to swimming, weightlifting, or jogging. I love to emphasize variety into my daily exercise routine and I rarely ever do the same workout twice. This I find is key to staying motivated and making exercise fun.

2. Eat real food

Eating healthy is not complicated or boring. Emphasize foods in their whole form, fruits, vegetables, meats and fats from happy animals, whole grains, and a moderate amount of nuts and seeds. Stay away from most things that come in a package or “convenience foods” with unrecognizable ingredients. Treat yourself every once in a while but keep it real for the most part. As you start to eat more whole foods your palate will adjust and you will start to feel good and crave the healthier alternatives.

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3. Surround yourself with like-minded people

Join an online community or make a friend at the gym. Swap healthy recipes with family members or friends. Hold a healthy food potluck. Find people you can turn to for support. The sooner you start to see prioritizing health as a lifestyle, the sooner it becomes routine. People may start to take notice and ask you questions, keep it up, you are inspiring!

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4. Appreciate the little things

At first progress may seem slow, but slow changes in the short term lead to big changes in the long run. This is not a 21-day detox or 2 week quick-fix. Diets don’t work. Consistency does. If you find you are down a dress size or maybe you can run further than you ever thought possible, you are making progress. And progress, no matter how small, is progress. Use these changes to fuel your motivation in the gym and in the kitchen.

5. Find new ways to treat yourself

Instead or rewarding a week of clean eating and exercising with a weekend binge of fast food and alcohol, celebrate with a new cool pair of shoes or a snazzy workout outfit. Call a friend and tell them your progress, or host a family dinner filled with lots of fresh, healthy food. Don’t undo your hard work with bad choices. That being said, don’t completely deprive yourself either. Partake in a small piece of cake at a birthday celebration or some pizza on date night. Be aware of your portions and indulge smartly.

6. Healthy Mind, Healthy Body

Don’t become uptight about your diet or exercise routine. When healthy living becomes an obsession, it is no longer healthy. Don’t feel like you can’t partake in social gatherings because there won’t be any healthy food served or because it entitles missing your workout. Have a relaxed approach to health, and if you have one bad day, forgive yourself and get back on track.

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7. There is no magic formula

This is perhaps the most important one. There are hundreds, probably thousands of diet books and health gurus out there that will convince you that they have found the path to radiant health, better digestion, and the cure to every disease. Any health ailment that you may have, they can cure it. This is a farce and there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to health. A balanced diet and exercise routine is all you need to achieve the healthiest version of yourself. No superfoods or magic pills involved.

8. Listen to your body

Learning what works for you in terms of fuel and exercise comes from trial and error. Find foods that you like and that your body responds well to. Find an exercise routine that leaves you feeling energized and strong. Your own intuition is the best guidance for optimal function.

 

Now I want to here from you! Would you add anything to this list? What is something that has helped you on your healthy living journey?

WIAW #14

Howdy and welcome to another rendition of What I Stuffed My Face With Lately!

It’s finally sunny summer here in the Canadian East and that means the arrival of fresh, local produce. I’ve been loving starting my day with a green juice made with fresh produce from the farmers market.

GreenjuiceAround mid morning I love to fill my belly with some chia buckwheat ‘cereal’. I have been kicking myself for not trying chia pudding out earlier. It is thick and creamy and so filling! I  make it with my homemade sesame seed milk (using my Cheater’s Nut Milk recipe with tahini instead of almond butter) and top it with some soaked buckwheat groats, banana, cacao nibs, and hemp seeds.

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Perfect summer breakfast.

Because really who wants to eat hot oatmeal when its 40 degrees outside? Not me!

Keeping with the cooling theme, I’ve really been craving crisp salads for lunch. Lots of fresh organic greens and veggies, with some lentils and sweet potato fries on the side. I can’t really ask for more.

IMG_0132For dinner we have been taking full advantage of the grilling weather and using the BBQ almost exclusively. Besides the usual ribs n’ burgers, we love to grill fish.dinner

Wild caught haddock, broccoli, red quinoa, lemon tahini dressing

I’m really looking forward to harvesting our garden in a few months. This year we have a few varieties of tomatoes, peppers, and raspberries.

IMG_1510But the real highlight will be the plum and nectarine bounty (remember last year?).

My precious

My precious

Between summer school, farmer’s markets, work, and sunshine, this summer will be one to remember!

Question: What do you love about summer?