The Best Spring Quinoa Pilaf Ever!

spring quinoa pilaf, chickpeas, herbs

One of our favourite, classic dishes is a quinoa salad.  Quinoa is easy to make because it cooks so quickly, will stay fresh for several days, and adds instant nutrition to any meal.  That being said, quinoa salads can get boring.  We are all about making food fun, exciting and delicious here, so our go-to quinoa pilaf is bursting with flavours!

In addition, to make this recipe even simpler for you, you can substitute the vegetables with any veggies that you have in stock in your fridge or that you prefer to use.

The Best Spring Quinoa Pilaf

1/2 cup dry quinoa
1 cup water
2 carrots
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
handful green onions
2 cups kale, chopped
handful sunflower seeds
handful pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup chickpeas


3 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp maple syrup
2 tsp mustard
pinch sea salt

quinoa pilaf salad, fresh herbs, chickpeas


1. Cook the quinoa in a small pot with the water.  Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes.

2. While the quinoa is cooking wash all the vegetables.  

3. Finely chop the parsley, cilantro, and green onions.

4. Chop the kale and grate the carrots.

5. Mix together the dressing ingredients in a bowl until blended well.

6. Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Mix with the dressing.

Why You Should Detox Your Colon (this is NOT gross, we promise)


Spring Detoxing

Since it is Spring and officially the season of detoxing,  we have recently written about how to detox different parts of your body.  There are 5 main detoxification organs in your body, which all play an important role in your everyday health and removal of waste from your cells. We have gone over how to detox your liver, the importance of detoxing your kidneys, how to support your skin, as well as how to detox your mind (our honorary 6th organ to detox!).  We still have the intestines (the colon) and the lungs to go over and detox. 


Your Intestines (Colon)

The digestive system is a long and winding path that begins in your mouth (actually your digestive system gets activated by both sight and smell, so it all starts even before your mouth).  The colon is the last section of your intestines that food moves through before it is eliminated; any excess water in the indigestible food matter is absorbed into the body through the colon.  The majority of nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, are absorbed into the body earlier in the digestive process through the small intestine. 

There are billions of bacteria found in the colon that are responsible for maintaining balance and properly fermenting the waste. Some of these bacteria are also responsible for producing different vitamins- in particular vitamin K (which helps with proper blood function) and vitamin B12 (which is an important B vitamin for the body to deal with stress hormones).


Why Detox the Colon?

It is so important to support the health of the colon because in order for waste to properly be removed from the body, the colon must be working optimally.  Constipation or other bowel problems are messages from the body that you need to do something to support colon health.  While there are a multitude of factors that contribute to challenges with waste removal (ranging from dehydration to food allergies), sometimes an imbalance in the colon could be a huge contributing factor.

It is common for the bacteria to be out of balance in the colon, meaning there could be a lack of "good" bacteria and an overabundance of "bad" bacteria, yeast, and other microbes that have a negative impact on health and wellness.

How to Detox the Colon

1. Eat Fiber.  

There are two different types of fiber- insoluble (think of scratchy, rough) and soluble (think soft and squishy).  You want to focus specifically on insoluble fiber to get things moving in the colon.  Soluble fiber is important too, but serves a different purpose- it will make you feel full and satiated for longer, slow down digestion, and help lower blood sugar.  

Sources of insoluble fiber: celery, broccoli, brown rice, quinoa, dark leafy greens, whole grains, the skins of root vegetables 

2. Increase your water intake.

As with all of the detox organs, water is essential to keep things moving and flush toxins out of the body. 

3. Consider a parasite cleanse.

Doing a parasite cleanse is one of the best ways to clear out bad bacteria, yeast, and parasites from the colon.  If you want to do a parasite cleanse we highly suggest consulting with a health practitioner.  We have a lot of experience with parasite cleanses.  Let us know if you want more information-

4. Restore your good bacteria.

Probiotic supplements are an amazing way to replenish and restore the good bacteria in your gut.  We recommend taking probiotics after you have done a parasite cleanse or herbs/supplements that help clear out the bad bacteria (because some of the good guys get cleared out too).  You do not need to take probiotics forever.  Taking a high quality probiotic supplement for 2-4 weeks will repopulate your gut. 

The April Detox Diet

The April Detox Diet starts on April 21st.  This 5 day program is designed to support all of your detox organs and get you feeling groovy for the spring!  Check out the details here.


Jicama Basil Almond Slaw

jicama carrot basil almond cucumber slaw

Jicama is one of those odd vegetables that doesn't get used very widely in North American cuisine.  Jicama is a root vegetable from South America that can be used as a great low-carb alternative to starchy grains and vegetables like potatoes, especially if you are on a paleo diet, gluten free diet, or low glycemic diet.  Most of the carbohydrates found in jicama are fiber, which is great for digestion.  While jicama does not offer a huge array of vitamins and minerals, it does act as a prebiotic.

Prebiotics serve as the "food" for probiotics, which are the good bacteria in our digestive tract that are needed to properly breakdown food and remove waste.  This prebiotic comes from inulin, which is a partly indigestible starch found in some root vegetables.  Inulin is also found in onion and garlic.

Jicama can be cut into this strips and then roasted to make an alternative to white potato fries.  Jicama can also be eaten raw and added to salads.  This following recipe is a great way to serve it up!

jicama carrot cucumber almond basil slaw


Jicama Basil Almond Slaw

2 cups jicama (peeled), grated
2 carrots, grated
1 cup cucumber, julienned in thin slices
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped

Almond dressing:
3 Tbsp almond butter
2 limes, juices
1 Tbsp honey, maple syrup or honey
2 tsp tamari
1/2 inch piece ginger root, sliced (or grated if making dressing by hand)

1. Prepare all of the vegetables.
2. Blend all of the dressing ingredients together in the food processor until smooth and creamy.  If you are making the dressing by hand, make sure to grate the ginger finely.
3. Toss together the vegetables and almond dressing. 

jicama carrot cucumber almond basil slaw

The Number One Skincare Mistake and How to Detox Your Skin

Are You Making these Skincare Mistake?

Truth be told, there are many skincare "mistakes" to be made.  However there are a few that we think are worth making an extra effort to avoid.

1. Over-exfoliating- Although exfoliating the skin is a great way to clear away dead skin cells, you can easily overdo it.  You only want to exfoliate about once a week.  This gives your skin the time to regenerate and grow new skin cells.

2. Lack of Sleep- Similar to any other organ in the body, your skin needs rest and time to heal and rejuvenate.  Getting a proper night sleep is one of the most important things you can do to help your skin health (as well as your overall health).

3. Sleeping in Makeup- Take your makeup off before you go to sleep.  Wearing makeup blocks your pores and prevents your skin from breathing and properly detoxifying. 

Spring Detoxing

Since it is Spring and officially the season of detoxing,  we have recently written about how to detox different parts of your body.  There are 5 main detoxification organs in your body, which all play an important role in your everyday health and removal of waste from your cells. We have gone over how to detox your liver and the importance of detoxing your kidneys.  We still have a few major organs to go over- the skin, the intestines and the lungs. 

detoxing skin, spring detox

Detoxing Your Skin

It is easy to forget that our skin is also an organ, in fact our largest organ.  It is often only when something is noticeably wrong with our skin that we will pay attention to it.  From sunburn to eczema and psoriasis to acne to discoloration, there is a huge variety of issues that can happen with our skin.  And it can be quite frustrating when something goes wrong with our skin, because it's visible to the outside world.  Most people are walking around daily with internal health challenges and discomfort, but you can't always detect this from first appearances.  But, the skin never lies!

One of the magical things about our skin if that it can deliver many messages to us about what is going on internally.  If there is inflammation on the skin it is a clear indication that something is off balance inside the body.  This could be something as simple as an allergic reaction to something more complicated such as blockages in the liver or digestive system.  If the other detoxification organs (liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs) are not functioning optimally, then toxins can get stuck inside of the body and can try to leave through the skin.

What to Do for Skin Detoxing

1. Dry Skin Brush.  Here's some instruction on how to skin brush easily!
2. Hot Shower and Cold Shower.  Switch between hot water and cold water every 30 seconds for 2 minutes.  It is challenging, but it will really invigorate your skin and get your metabolism going too!
3. Sauna/Steam Room.  The heat will help bring toxins to the surface and out of your skin pores.
4. Salt Scrub.  Take a sea salt bath or use sea salt scrub in your shower.  Even better, swim in the salty ocean if you can!  Salt is a natural cleanser and detoxifier.  *Be careful not to overdo it though!  You need to give your skin a chance to regenerate before exfoliating again. 
5. Drink herbal teas that support the health of your skin: nettle, burdock, ginger, rosehips
6. Use essential oils that are good for skin: lavender, tea tree (melaluca), frankincense 
7. Incorporate healthy, nourishing oils into your diet: flax oil, hemp oil, olive oil, coconut oil, fish oil

What You Eat Matters

This may be old news, but just a reminder that everything that we eat impacts the health of our skin.  For some specific foods that you can actually use as bodycare skin products, read here.

If you need help with adding more detoxifying and cleansing food into your life, sign up for the April Detox Diet.  This is a 5 day program, starting on April 21st.  For more details, menu, and pricing, continue reading here:

April Detox Diet 2014


Coconut Broccoli Curry

coconut broccoli curry

Coconut Broccoli Curry

1 can organic coconut milk
2 tsp coconut oil
2 tsp tamari (or more to taste)
pinch sea salt (or more to taste)
3 tsp maple syrup or coconut sugar (or more to taste)
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 inch piece ginger root, sliced finely
1 bunch broccoli, cut in florets
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 servings of protein of your choice (we like to use organic shrimp, chickpeas or organic sprouted tofu)

 1. Saute the garlic and ginger for a minute in coconut oil.  Add in the broccoli and cook for a few minutes until starts to turn bright green.
2. Add in protein of choice and saute for a few more minutes.  
3. Add in the coconut milk, tamari, sweetener of choice.
4. Cook for a few more minutes, until flavours are well blended.  You can add some sea salt or more tamari of sweetener until it tastes perfect to you!
5. Serve with brown rice, quinoa or rice noodles. Top with fresh basil leaves.

The Most Important Part of Your Body to Detox

detoxing mango salad

Detoxification Organs

Since it is Spring and officially the season of detoxing,  we have recently written about how to detox different parts of your body.  There are 5 main detoxification organs in your body, which all play an important role in your everyday health and removal of waste from your cells. We have gone over how to detox your liver and the importance of detoxing your kidneys.  We still have a few major organs to go over- the skin, the intestines and the lungs.  However, before we get to them, there is one part of your body that is ultimately the most important thing to detox.


Your Mind

Your mind is the most important part of your body to detox.  The thoughts that we have are constantly impacting our health and the rest of the our physical bodies.  What we focus on, expands.  If we are working on building something, such as a business or a house or a family, we think about it a lot.  We put out attention and focus on the things that are important to us.  Our minds are able to dream anything.  And it is only our own limiting beliefs and fears that stop us from achieving everything that we desire in life.

It's easy to get excited and lit up about the good things in our lives.  We feel good when we think about the memories of feel-good moments and things we have accomplished. We feel good when we dream about the future and the possibilities of what lay ahead.  However, just as or minds are very talented at focusing on positive things, our minds are also very skilled at focusing on negative things.

When it comes to health, it is so easy to spiral into negative thought patterns and beat ourselves up about being sick, about being tired, or about the parts of our bodies that just doesn't look exactly how we want them to look, or about that unhealthy food we should not have eaten earlier in the day.

In order to truly detox your body and get healthy for spring and summer, you must detox your mind.  It does not matter how much health food you eat or much water you drink, if you are full of negativity, fear and stressful thoughts.  Your mind can not only help you feel better mentally and emotionally, but can help you better detox your physical body too.  


How to Detox Your Mind

1. Start your day off with breathing or meditation.  You have to clear your mind to empty out the negative thoughts.  Find a breathing exercise or meditation practice that works for you.  Even 5 minutes of deep inhale and exhales first thing in the morning can be the best thing to empty your mind.  This way you can start filling your mind with the thoughts that you want to have, the positive thoughts.  Instead of placing those positive thoughts on top of worried, fearful, anxious thoughts (which doesn't really empty the mind of them, just covers them up). 


2. Focus on the reasons why you want to detox.  Detoxing can sometimes be overwhelming or can easily be an opportunity to make yourself wrong for slipping up on your detox diet.  Even if you do eat something that isn't that healthy for you, stay focused on the exciting and uplifting reasons for doing a detox.  Remind yourself why you are detoxing- to feel healthy, to have energy, to be beautiful, to feel younger, to be able to accomplish everything you want, to be free of pain, to love life more...


3. Detoxing your mind and your body at the same time is the most powerful combination you can do!  You can still sign up for the April Detox Diet, which starts on April 21st.