The Top 5 Nutrition Tips for Breast Cancer Prevention

turmeric latte, cancer prevention, vegan

As October is breast cancer awareness month, it’s an important time to think about this disease that affects so many people in our country and around the world. I have recently experienced the loss of a dear family friend from breast cancer, and many of you will have also, as it is the most common cause of cancer death in women. 

Breast cancer is strongly affected by dietary, lifestyle and environmental factors, and therefore taking preventative measures may help reduce the risk of developing the disease. Diet appears to be one of the most critical components of breast cancer prevention. In particular, maintaining a normal weight and adhering to a traditional Mediterranean diet have a protective effect on breast cancer.

The Mediterranean diet is characterized by a high intake of vegetables, fiber, fruit, fish and unsaturated fats (particularly omega 3), and a low intake of refined carbohydrates and processed meat. Let’s take a look at the most important factors to find out how they make a difference in breast health.


Increase Vegetable and Fruit Intake

Cruciferous vegetables contain antioxidants that are potent stimulators of detoxifying enzymes in the body. In particular, they can increase the conversion of estrogen from cancer producing forms to non-toxic breakdown products. Broccoli sprouts have particularly high levels of these antioxidant compounds.

Vitamin C is found in many vegetables and fruit and acts as a powerful anti-cancer agent. Vegetables and fruits with the highest sources of vitamin C are: bell peppers, broccoli and brussels sprouts (vegetables) and papaya, strawberries and pineapple (fruits).


Increase Fiber Intake

The typical Western diet is high in refined carbohydrates and therefore low in adequate amounts of fiber that is needed to keep toxic wastes from being absorbed into the bloodstream. The bowels must move daily for healing! Great sources of fiber include many whole foods such as legumes, vegetables and fruit, whole grains and nuts and seeds. 


Consume Omega 3 Fats

Flaxseed is an excellent source of the omega-3 fatty acid ALA (alpha-linolenic-acid), which is capable of interfering with the cancer-promoting effects of estrogen. Flaxseed can be ground and added to smoothies or applesauce, or consumed as flax oil on salad or drizzled on vegetables. Make sure to keep your flax oil in a dark, glass bottle in the fridge and consume within 8 weeks!


Reduce Consumption of Red and Processed Meat

Recent studies suggest that high intake of red and/or processed meat is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. In particular, by-products produced during high temperature cooking and hormone residues are recognized as possible sources of the positive association. Therefore, if you do choose to eat red meats, ensure you select organic, hormone free products and cook them with care.


Utilize Turmeric in Foods and Beverages

Turmeric not only tastes great, but also has a wide range of benefits including decreased cancer risk. Curcumin (the active constituent in turmeric) has a role in the phase of detoxification where our cells bind to potential toxins and are excreted from the body.  

Wondering how to incorporate turmeric in your diet?  Try out this recipe below...


Turmeric Latte

1 cup dairy free milk of your choice (or filtered water)
1 Tbsp hempseeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 dates

1. Blend together the milk, hempseeds and dates in a blender until smooth and creamy.
2. Pour into a small pot and heat.
3. Add in the turmeric and whisk until combined.
4. Heat gently (don't boil).


Bonnie Flemington is a passionate nutrition consultant and educator, and student at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. Bonnie coaches clients on nutritional strategies for disease prevention and weight loss, and has motivated numerous others through corporate and educational workshops. She is committed to empowering people with knowledge to help them take control of their health.
Facebook: Bonnie Flemington
Instagram: bonnieflemington


Balch, Phyllis A. Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Penguin Group, New York, 2010.
Guo Jingyu, et al. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, “Red and Processed Meat Intake and Breast Cancer: A Meta Analysis of Prospective Studies”, May 2015, Vol 151, Issue 1, p. 191-198.
Murray, Michael T. et al.  The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Atria Books, New York, 2012.
The World’s Healthiest Foods Articles on Vitamin C, Fiber, and Turmeric.

Making Gluten Free Healthy

These muffins are one of our favourite gluten free recipes.  There are many types of gluten free flours and these muffins use chickpea flour.

These muffins are one of our favourite gluten free recipes.  There are many types of gluten free flours and these muffins use chickpea flour.

While about 1% of the population has been diagnosed with celiac disease, more than 10% of adults now report suffering from a non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and avoid gluten to address their symptoms. These individuals often feel better when avoiding gluten, but with the large amount of gluten-free products available, it can be easy to mistake “gluten free” for “healthy”.

Common symptoms of gluten sensitivity include: bloating, abdominal pain, fatigue, diarrhea/constipation, nausea, reflux, headache, brain fog, anxiety, joint pain and skin rashes. Often, these symptoms occur hours to days after ingestion and therefore it can be difficult to make the association with the food eaten. The best way to determine if gluten is affecting you is to try an elimination diet for a minimum of 2 weeks. If symptoms disappear, and then reoccur when gluten is reintroduced, that’s a good indication you should avoid gluten in your diet.

We can’t just look to the marketing label “gluten free” as a green light to include the product in our healthy diet since many of these products are just as processed as their gluten-containing counterparts. In addition, many gluten free formulations are more expensive. So, if you want a gluten free diet, that is also healthy and affordable, follow these tips the next time you are out food shopping...


Focus on Foods That Are Naturally Gluten Free

This is my top recommendation as there are so many fantastic and delicious foods that never contained gluten to begin with! Vegetables and fruits, organic/antibiotic free poultry, and wild fish to name a few. There are many resources available to help you create full gluten free meal plans without having to buy any specialty gluten free products.


Buy Produce In Season

Buying local produce in season has multiple benefits. Since these foods do not have high transport costs to reach the end user, they are both less expensive and have a lower environmental impact. The short distance from farm to table also allows the produce to be picked ripe and avoid prolonged storage that reduces nutrient levels (vitamin C levels are particularly affected by this). Attending your community’s weekly farmers market, or ordering from a local CSA (Community Shared Agriculture) provider are great ways to get local produce at a reasonable price.


Avoid Packaged Goods with Unrecognizable Ingredients

It’s a great idea to become one of those people that reads labels. This arms you with the knowledge of what you’re eating and also helps you avoid accidental exposure to gluten. If there are ingredients on the label that you can’t pronounce or don’t recognize, I suggest you put the product back on the shelf! Here are a few common products to watch out for when trying to avoid gluten...

Foods that often contain gluten

Granola bars
Processed meats
Soy products
Prepared burgers
Brown rice syrup

Grains containing gluten



Bonnie Flemington is a passionate nutrition consultant and educator, and student at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. Bonnie coaches clients on nutritional strategies for disease prevention and weight loss, and has motivated numerous others through corporate and educational workshops. She is committed to empowering people with knowledge to help them take control of their health.
Facebook: Bonnie Flemington
Instagram: bonnieflemington



How to Stay Healthy With Food (what you should eat as we transition from summer to fall)

staying healthy with food, healthy foods to eat, what to eat in the fall, what to eat for immune system

written by Bonnie Flemington

There is something fresh, new and exciting about the arrival of September. Whether it’s starting at a new school, a new project at work, or just a return to routine, the arrival of autumn is like a new year for many people.

However, with the excitement of this new season comes colder weather and more time indoors. While these changes often lead to an increase in illness, we have more control over our health than we think. The foods we eat can either support or hinder our immune system’s efforts. Let’s take a look at how we can help ourselves be the ones to stay healthy this season ...


Ditch the Sugar

We all love the taste of sugar! Consuming it stimulates our brain’s pleasure centers so we want to consume more. From an evolutionary perspective, this was important for survival, however, today, the abundant availability of sugar results in overconsumption and an overwhelming list of negative health effects, including reduced immunity.

Excess sugar consumption is damaging to our immune system as high glucose levels inhibit vitamin C’s ability to promote healthy immune function. And, sugar has also been shown to reduce white blood cell functioning by over 50% for more than 5 hours.


Fermented Foods

Adding fermented foods into the diet has many benefits, including boosting immune function. Fermented foods work to provide the body with beneficial bacteria that support our immune cells' ability to attack unwanted invaders. And, adding these foods to the diet is easy and delicious! There are many quick and easy ways to incorporate fermented foods into our diets, such as: yogurt for breakfast, miso stirred into a lunchtime soup and sauerkraut or kimchi as a condiment with dinner.


Vitamin D

As we spend more time indoors and are covered in clothing during the winter months, it is very difficult to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from exposure to the sun. This nutrient is important in helping to keep us from getting sick, or to fight off illness faster. An excellent food source of vitamin D is a 4oz portion of wild salmon and it’s a tasty addition to meals. Vitamin D3 is also found in egg yolks, which is a good vegetarian option (for those who eat eggs). 



The active component in garlic responsible for its immune enhancing effects is the sulfur compound allicin. Allicin has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties that have significant benefits in reducing the incidence of colds. The active properties are best absorbed when garlic is eaten raw, so incorporate garlic into vegetable dips such as pesto for a great immune strengthening snack.



Beta-carotene is a source of vitamin A and is a strong anti-oxidant that is responsible for enhancing immune response. You can find carotenes in colourful vegetables such as sweet potato, carrots, and dark, leafy greens. These nutrient dense foods are easy to incorporate into meal plans to make up appetizing salads, side dishes and on the go snacks.


Need Help Staying Healthy this Fall?

Whether you are stressed with an increased work load this fall or busy balancing life with your kids and family, we can help you with the food prep.  

Get fresh meals delivered every week so that you have food ready to go.  Check out our Meal Delivery service.

Want something more personalized? Check out our Private Chef service and we can come cook for you in your home.


Bonnie Flemington is a passionate nutrition consultant and educator, and student at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition. Bonnie coaches clients on nutritional strategies for disease prevention and weight loss, and has motivated numerous others through corporate and educational workshops. She is committed to empowering people with knowledge to help them take control of their health.
Facebook: Bonnie Flemington
Instagram: bonnieflemington

Murray, Michael ND et al., The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, Atria books, New York (2005).

How to Make Home Made Electrolyte Drinks in the Summer

homemade electrolyte drink

Electrolytes are important nutrients for our bodies that impact the heart, muscles, and nerves. A lack of electrolytes can result in muscle cramping, delayed muscle soreness, and spasms, which can contribute to headaches that you may experience post-workout. When you sweat, you lose electrolytes, which then can be replaced by plant-based foods, and beverages. It's especially important to replace your electrolytes in the summer when the heat and sun cause additional water loss from the body. 

It can be tempting to buy electrolyte drinks, but we highly recommend avoiding any bottled drinks that are coloured and sweetened with processed and refined sugar (or worse, nigh fructose corn syrup) and flavoured with artificial ingredients.  It's actually really easy to make your own electrolyte drink.  We have 2 easy recipes below for you to try and make home made electrolyte drinks that are healthy and naturally refreshing.


Where are Electrolytes found naturally?

Electrolytes are found in sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. This may sound intimidating at first glance, but you are consuming all of these minerals without even knowing it! All of these are found in plant-based foods, mostly in your fruits and vegetables, specifically the red, orange, and/or yellow ones.  Nuts, seeds, and beans contain a good source of magnesium and calcium, while green leafy vegetables are a good source of calcium and potassium.

Electrolytes are primarily found in beverages and juices made from the electrolyte-rich infused fruits and vegetables.


Foods containing natural electrolytes:

Coconut water (potassium, magnesium and sodium)
Bananas (potassium)
Avocados (potassium)
Celery (Sodium)
Beets (sodium)
Bok Choy (sodium)
Bell peppers (red, yellow, orange- sodium)
Beans, white (magnesium)
Almonds and cashew nuts (magnesium and calcium)
Sunflower and sesame seeds (magnesium and calcium)


What about water?

Water plays an important role of hydration to the body that should not be ignored, but does not contain any electrolytes. Consuming about 64oz-80oz of water daily is highly recommended. If you are having coconut water or any other electrolyte-rich beverage, just remember that they do not count as your fluid intake of the day, and that your main source of hydration should be coming from the 64-80oz of water.

Electrolyte Rich Strawberry Coconut Refresher

3 cups of coconut water
1 cup of fresh water
1 cup of spinach
1 cup of strawberries
1 cup of ice

Blend together in a high power blender until smooth. 


Easy Peasy Electrolyte Refresher

3 cups fresh water
3 Tbsp lemon juice
1/8 tsp sea salt
3 tsp maple syrup or raw honey

Blend together in a high power blender until smooth. 

About the writer:
Morgan Campbell, George Brown Nutrition student

Smith, I. (2014). Everything You Need to Know about Electrolytes | Reboot With Joe. Retrieved June 16, 2016, from to-know- about-electrolytes/

Why do you crave sugar?

sugar cravings, candida, Toronto, black bean brownies, healthy dessert

Do you ever find yourself walking back and forth in your kitchen, scouring your cupboards and fridge for something sweet?  It's the bittersweet craving for sugar.  You know you don't need it, but your body is telling you that you have to have it!  

There are many reasons why we crave the sweet stuff.  Sometimes after eating a savoury meal, dessert is expected as the perfect complement to the main course.   Dessert is part of celebrating.  Sweet things are delicious and make us feel good.  And, sometimes it's important to enjoy this part of life.  But, sugar can become problematic when cravings begin to overtake us.  

Adrenal Glands

The adrenal glands are located at the top of each kidney and are responsible for producing hormones that help the body to regulate blood sugar levels, and support a healthy metabolism to burn carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The adrenals release a number of hormones such as the stress hormone, cortisol. This hormone is specifically linked to sugar cravings.  When the adrenal glands are overworked, the stress response is activated. In our culture, we are often stressed due to our demanding lifestyles, putting stress on the adrenals. In response, we produce too much cortisol for our body to handle. Producing too much cortisol for a long period of time can lead to many negative effects such as blood sugar imbalances, fatigue, and inflammation, increased abdominal fat and lowered immune function. This is also known as adrenal fatigue. When you suffer from adrenal fatigue, you tend to crave sugar as a quick source of energy just to keep you going. 


Candida Growth

Another reason for your sugar cravings may be Candida, a tiny yeast that lives in our gut and creates imbalance. There are good and bad types of bacteria throughout the digestive system. The gut relies on this balance between good and bad bacteria to maintain optimal health. Due to many of our everyday choices, we tend to destroy that balance from making poor food choices, stress, and harmful chemicals in the environment. All of which tilts the balance in the favour of bad bacteria in the gut.

When we eat large amounts of sugar and foods that act like sugar in the body, we tend to grow gut flora that also likes to thrive on sugar. The bacteria and yeast in the gut will eat most of the sugars you consume and leave you craving more because they have stolen and consumed them first!


Don’t worry, we’ve got some tips on how to deal with your sugar cravings.

  • Aim to consume low glycemic snacks such as: nuts and seeds, carrots with hummus, and fresh strawberries. These foods will not spike your blood sugar as quickly.
  • Chose sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes.
  • Aim for whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, oats) over processed white grain products. 
  • Increase your legume and bean intake, they help to stabilize blood sugar levels and keep you full, longer.
  • Consume foods that contain probiotics for optimal gut health such as: kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh (we use soy-free tempeh in our Meal Delivery meals!!) and kombucha tea.
  • Incorporate healthy fats and protein such as avocados, hemp oil, extra virgin olive oil and fish into your diet to keep blood sugar levels stable.
  • Use natural sweeteners in moderation such as maple syrup, honey, dates and stevia.
  • Drink plenty of water, sometimes you’re just thirsty!
  • Wean off carbonated drinks by replacing them with sparkling water, maybe add a lemon wedge too. 
  • Eat mindfully and be mindful of portion sizes. It’s okay to splurge and treat yourself in moderation. 


We can help

We hope that you find these tips useful. Let us know how they work for you and share this post on Facebook or Twitter. 

Still struggling to kick sugar to the curb? We can help make it easier for you! Check out our Meal Delivery menu online or try our June Detox that begins June 6th 2016. You can do it, after all, it’s just sugar.


About the writer:
Celena Morgan, George brown nutrition student, passionate about feeding people delicious and nutritious foods.

Wilson, James L., DC, ND, PhD, Cortisol & Adrenal Function (2016)
Olson, Scott, ND, Sugar and Candida (2014)

Black Bean, Quinoa and Kale Salad with Cumin Lime Dressing

Spring is approaching us, slowly but surely. When we think of spring we think fresh, colourful and light ingredients that are nutrient dense. So, what better thing to eat than a fresh, vibrant salad? Salads are quick, easy to make and versatile meals. They can be eaten as a main or side dish and they make a great on-the-go meal.

This plant based salad is protein packed, high in fiber, and filled with a variety of vitamins and minerals. Black beans and quinoa are a wonderful addition to salads due to their high source of protein and fiber. Quinoa is also a gluten free grain and is a complete protein, making this salad a great option for vegans and those on a gluten free diet. 

For some of our clients who have diabetes, this recipe is the perfect option as fiber helps to control blood sugar, manage blood pressure, and aids in weight management as it will allow you to feel satisfied, longer. 

This beautifully coloured salad will be a great addition to your first patio dinner, your next pot luck or tomorrow's lunch. 

This recipe can easily be made ahead of time for those who find themselves pushed for time. Did I mention there will be leftovers? It tastes even better the second day and you won’t have to worry about lunch for a few days, fantastic!

Give our recipe a try and let us know what you think by sharing this post on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.  @LivingKitchenCo

Happy munching!

black bean quinoa kale salad cumin lime dressing gluten free vegan living kitchen toronto nutrition

Black Bean, Quinoa and Kale Salad with Cumin Lime Dressing

1 can Black beans
1 cup Red or White Quinoa, rinsed and cooked
1 bunch Kale, washed, destemmed and chopped
3 Roma Tomatoes, diced
1 Red pepper, diced
1 small Red onion, finely diced
½ bunch Cilantro, stems removed, roughly chopped
½ bunch Flat Leaf Parsley 

2 Limes, juiced and zested
4 tbsp. Olive oil
2 tbsp. Apple cider vinegar
3 tsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp honey or maple syrup
4 cloves Garlic, minced
2 tsp. Cumin, ground
Pinch Sea salt or to taste
½ tsp chili powder and ground pepper

1. Using a fine mesh strainer, rinse the quinoa and cook in a pot for 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool completely.  Drain and rinse off the black beans.
2. Wash and remove kale from stems. Chop finely.
3. Prepare the dressing by placing all ingredients in a small bowl and whisking until combined. Set aside. 
4. Finely dice the red bell pepper, onion and tomatoes. 
5. Remove from stems and roughly chop the cilantro and parsley.
6. In a large bowl, place all the ingredients and add the dressing, toss to combine. 
7. Serve immediately or chill covered in the fridge for at least one hour to let the flavours combine.

About the writer:
Celena Morgan, George brown nutrition student, passionate about feeding people delicious and nutritious foods.