Cherry Watermelon Lemonade and the Secret to Heathy Sweetness

cherry watermelon lemonade sugar free Living Kitchen Toronto

It's the height of summer in Toronto and sometimes the only thing that we want to do is drink something icy cold.  The only problem is that ordering lemonade at a restaurant or cafe is a guarantee for consuming added sugar.  And, although drinking unsweetened lemon water is still refreshing, it just doesn't have the same appeal as a classic glass of iced lemonade.

The secret to finding that perfect glass of sweet lemonade (without the sugar) is to make it with a specific combination of ingredients that will provide the sweetness without the added sugar.  There has been a lot of hype about the plant stevia and using it as a sweetener instead of the artificial chemical sweeteners.  Stevia is a plant that naturally has sweet tasting leaves (while containing no sugar), so when it's ground up into a fine powder it can be used in cooking, without having  any effect on blood sugar.  The only downside is that stevia has a strong after taste and is quite noticeable in recipes.  But, when paired with lemon, the after taste disappears!  

This recipe could be made with just lemon juice, water, and stevia if you want to avoid all sugars (even from fruits).  But, we made our lemonade with a handful of cherries and a few slices of watermelon, which made a beautiful and delicious combination of flavours.  

Cherry Watermelon Lemonade

serves 2

1/2 lemon, with the peel removed 
1 cup watermelon
10-15 cherries
1 cup ice cubes
2-3 cups of water (depending on how icy you want the lemonade to be)

Directions:
1. Slice the peel off the lemon, but leave the pith on (the white part). The pith is actually rich in vitamin C.
2. Add all ingredients to a high power blender and blend until liquified.
3. Serve in glasses and enjoy!

cherry watermelon lemonade sugar free Living Kitchen Toronto


Lazy Lady's Pancakes

 
spelt pancakes

When I was kid, I was in love with Eggo waffles and pancakes.   In love – like, we had a full on love affair.  I can remember galloping downstairs to our electric turquoise 90’s kitchen before school started, popping the Eggos in the toaster, coating them in honey and digging in.  It’s no wonder years later I would develop severe digestive issues… hmmm…

I am not always a lover of sweet breakfasts, but every now and again a pancake will meet my eye and I will think…mmmm that looks damn delicious.  My days of refined flours and sugars may have passed, but I do still crave the comfort foods of my yesteryears.  

Eggos are passé – not only because they contain refined flour, soybean oil and sugar but they also contain yellow dye #5 and #6 in them.  Who still does that?!  Haven’t we read enough studies (like this one) on their links to behavioural problems and cancer!   Common, guys!

The other day the pancake craving came over me.  I made these delicious fluffy and super simple breakfast cakes that will make your belly flutter and your taste buds wiggle with glee.

Lazy Lady’s Pancakes

2 eggs
2 heaping dollops of plain sheep yogurt (or dairy free yogurt)
1 cup whole spelt flour
1 tsp maple syrup
½ Tbsp coconut oil

Toppings:
Blueberries
Banana
Unsweetened Coconut
Bee Pollen
Cacoa Nibs
Dark chocolate Chips
Maple Syrup

1.     Crack the eggs in a bowl and whisk well.
2.     To the bowl, add the sheep yogurt and maple syrup.  Mix until combined.
3.  Add the flour and mix until a liquid batter forms
4.  Heat a pan or a griddle to medium-high, add ½ Tbsp of coconut oil and push it around the pan/griddle until it is coated.  If heat gets too hot, turn it to medium.
5.     Add 1/3 cup of batter to the pan, it will somehow automatically shape itself into a circle.
6.  Allow the pancake to cook for 2 minutes, then flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes depending on the heat.
7.  Repeat several times until all of the batter is made into pancakes.
8.  You can top with any topping of choice.  I was a lazy lady when I made them so I went for straight up maple syrup.
9.  Freeze all leftovers in a sealed bag and re-heat in the morning for breakfast.

 

Why this Recipe is Kick-Ass!

1.     It’s such a simple recipe, any lazy lady (or lazy lad) can make it.
2.     It contains spelt flour – an ancient grain that is similar to wheat; BUT won’t irritate you the way wheat does because it contains a mixture of proteins.  It contains nourishing B vitamins that support energy production and a nice balance of fiber.
3.     It uses eggs and sheep yogurt making it a protein punch powerhouse pancake.  Each egg contains 6 grams of protein.  Sheep yogurt is also deliciously creamy and much easier to digest.
4.     You can freeze the extra ones and heat them up for a super fast, quick breakfast

 

  

Superfood Granola and its cancer prevention benefits

superfood granola, cancer prevention foods, Living Kitchen Toronto, mulberries, cacao nibs, meal delivery

We love granola and are always looking for new and different spins on the traditional granola recipe.  This recipe is still easy to make and uses some ingredients that are more unique than your average raisins.  

Walnuts:

Walnuts are one of the best nuts because they provide omega3, which is only found in a small number of food sources.  Omega 3 is the essential fatty acid that helps combat cellular inflammation, which helps maintain healthy cells and protect them from developing cancer.  Although omega 3 is essential, our bodies can not make the fatty acid and the standard western diet is lacking in the proper amount of omega 3. That is why it is so important to make omega 3 rich foods, such as walnuts, a part of your daily diet.

Macadamia nuts:

Macadamia nuts are a good source of MUFAs, monounsaturated fats, which is one of the healthiest forms of fat (olive oil is also a rich source of MUFAs).  Although you might avoid macadamia nuts if you are trying to lose weight (because they are one of the most fatty nuts) they are a great choice for when you are going through cancer treatment, because they will help prevent weight loss.

Mulberries:

Mulberries are not well known in the western diet, however they have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for ages.  Mulberries are a rich source of antioxidants and are an interesting and delicious substitute for raisins or dried cranberries (more often than not dried cranberries are loaded with extra sugar, so if you do buy them, make sure you find a brand that is fruit juice sweetened instead).   Mulberries are a much better choice when you have cancer or are preventing cancer, because they contain less sugar than raisins. 1/3 cup of raisins contains 28.7 grams of sugar, while in comparison 1/3 cup of dried mulberries contains only 18 grams of sugar. 

Cacao Nibs:

Cacao is raw chocolate, which is what chocolate is made from when cacao beans are roasted and combined with various other ingredients such as sugar and milk.  Cacoa beans (or nibs- when the bean has been broken into tiny pieces) provide all of the nutrients that have led to dark chocolate's reputation for being healthy. Here is where you will find the compound that makes your body produce endorphins and feel good. One interesting fact to note, 1 ounce of caco nibs contains 9 grams of fiber, which makes them an excellent source of fiber that is also quite tasty.  By eating cacao nibs  you can get a chocolate flavour without any sugar!

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Superfood Granola 

3 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup macadamia nuts
1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup dried mulberries
1/2 cup cacao nibs
1/2 cup shredded coconut or coconut pieces 

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
2 Tbsp molasses or maple syrup
2 Tbsp coconut sugar
pinch sea salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Melt the coconut oil and warm with the coconut sugar and molasses or maple syrup.
3. Mix all of the dry ingredients together (except leave the mulberries, cacao nibs and coconut separate).
4. Mix in the liquid ingredients.
5. Spread out on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned.
6. Once the mixture is removed from the oven, mix in the mulberries, cacao nibs and coconut. 

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Super Green Matcha Tea Smoothie

What is the best type of green tea to drink to prevent cancer?

matcha green tea smoothie

Green tea contains a compound called polyphenols, specifically catechins, which protect the plant from fungus and bacteria when it is growing.  When green tea is harvested, the catechins remain in the tea that we drink, which is why drinking green tea has been linked with preventing cancer.  There are several different types of catechins found in green tea, with EGCG having the strongest anti-cancer activity.   However, it is important to know that not all green teas are created equal, and depending on where the tea is grown, when it's harvested, and how it's processed can impact the catechin, anti-cancer compound, content of the tea.  

The book Foods That Fight Cancer, by Richard Beliveau, Ph.D, and Denis Gingras, Ph.D. published a comparison of data showing the variation in the content of the catechin EGCG in different types of green tea.  Japanese teas contained higher concentrations of EGCG than Chinese green teas. If you are interested in increasing your intake of catechins, the polyphenols found in green tea that prevent cancer, make sure to buy Japanese varieties of tea such as matcha, sencha, and gyokuro. 

Beliveau and Gingras also recommend brewing green tea for more than 5 minutes, as the longer it steeps the greater the anti-cancer compounds in your cup.  

Matcha is an interesting type of green tea because it is the fine powder of ground up green tea leaves.  This means you consume the entire tea leaf when drinking this tea.  As long as it is a high quality matcha green tea (so make sure you know where the tea is coming from and that it's organic) you will be drinking a large dose of catechins, including EGCG.

Here's a delicious smoothie that is an easy way to incorporate matcha tea into your diet, if you want something different from a hot cup of tea (plus get some extra greens and vegetables into your breakfast or snack)

matcha green tea smoothie, avocado, blue green algae, banana, almond milk, ingredients for smoothie

Super Green Matcha Tea Smoothie

1 cup almond milk (or other dairy free milk)
1 tsp matcha tea
1/4 tsp blue green algae (or other type of green supplement powder)
1/4 or 1/2 of an avocado (depending on how large of an avocado it is)
1 banana (delicious when frozen in advance)

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy!

Turmeric Breakfast Bowl

turmeric breakfast bowl

Unless you take turmeric as a supplement or make Indian food for dinner everyday, it can be quite challenging to get the bright yellow spice into your diet. As with most nutrients, turmeric is better assimilated by the body when it is eaten in a meal, in which other nutrients can help the body absorb all of the different components of whole foods (if you do take a turmeric supplement, try taking it with your meals as opposed to on an empty stomach to increase absorption).  Pepper and ginger, in particular, increase the absorbability of turmeric by 2000% (study by G. Shoba, D. Joy and T. Joseph published in Planta Medica in 1998). 

Dr. David Servan-Schreiber writes about the groundbreaking studies that have been done on turmeric in his book Anticancer, A New Way of Life, many of which have focused on curcumin, the compound in turmeric that prevents the development of tumors and inhibits the growth of a variety of cancers.

The following recipe is an easy way to surprisingly incorporate turmeric into breakfast!

 

Turmeric Breakfast Bowl

serving of homemade granola or nut/seed mix
serving of goat yogurt, sheep yogurt, coconut yogurt or almond yogurt
variety of fresh berries and other fruit of your choice 
(we used blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and papaya because berries are low glycemic and super anitoxidants, while papaya provides digestive enzymes)

 

Turmeric Cream: 

This makes 1 serving.  You can make larger batches of the recipe and store in the fridge to have for other meals.
 

1/2 tsp turmeric 
1 Tbsp tahini
1/2 tsp raw honey (or more for your sweet preference)
pinch ginger powder (to increase absorption) 
very small pinch black pepper (to increase absorption) 
water to thin out

Directions:

1. Mix all of the turmeric cream ingredients together.  Add a few spoonfuls of water to the mixture gradually to make a consistency that can be easily poured.

2. Combine the other components of breakfast in a big bowl- yogurt, granola, fruit.  Drizzle turmeric cream on top.

Turmeric Blueberry Muffins

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blueberry turmeric muffins

These golden coloured muffins are a treat for the the eyes and use the cancer-fighting spice turmeric in the most unexpected of ways!  This recipe has been inspired by and adpated from Turmeric Breakfast Muffins, posted by Green Kitchen Stories.  The compound curcumin gives turmeric its bright yellow colour and provides the anti-inflammatory property that helps prevent cancer. 

Turmeric Blueberry Muffins

3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 banana, mashed
3 Tbsp yogurt (or use your favourite dairy free yogurt)
2 eggs

1 Tbsp coconut sugar
2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cardamom
pinch sea salt
3/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour

1 cup blueberries

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350. In a food processor mix together the banana, 2 eggs, and 3 Tbsp yogurt until creamy.  Add in the coconut oil.
2. Fold in the dry ingredients and pulse the food processor a few times, until batter is combined.
3. With a spoon mix in the blueberries.
4. Spoon into lined muffin tin (will make 24 mini or 12 normal sized muffins)
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until knife comes out clean.