We're Talkin'... Digestive Pain, Indigo Girls, Cancer & Pink Ribbons!!

I had the amazing privilege of being on my friend's radio show.

 

 

(Tash and I just before going on air - can you tell how excited we are?!)

 

The FANTASTICAL host, Tash Jefferies, is on a SERIOUS mission to heal this world (in the most action oriented, non hippy-dippy way!).    Check out her business - Green Minutes and be inspired to start making changes in your own life!

Click here to listen:

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The Super Food that Grows through the Crack in Your SideWalk

What's That??

You’ve probably heard or seen the names of many superfoods like maca, mesquite, lucuma, cacao, chia, goji and shilajit - just to name a few. If you’ve ever come across some of these rare gems, you’ve also probably seen the super price tag.

  Now, I love superfoods, and I definitely do use those listed above as a little extra something special for my smoothies, but the term superfood tends to get misused a lot - only saving it for trendy hard to find (and somewhat pricey) items. And yes, while they do have some awesome nutritional benefits and pack a lot of punch, there are many other superfoods that get ignored that are more widespread and cost effective.

 

The Best Free Superfood

One of my current favorite superfoods can be found in your own backyard, it’s a great detoxifier (especially for the liver), is high in calcium, iron, Vitamin C and Vitamin A. We usually discard this little wonder as a weed– so instead of composting Dandelion leaves why not add them to your meals? Dandelion leaves do have a bitter taste, but bitters are great for stimulating digestion so they are an ideal way to start off your day. I love to juice the leaves, but you can also add them to a green smoothie if you don’t have a juicer. Other great ways to use them would be in a salad, nori rolls, or a wrap.

 

 

Most grocery stores are starting to carry dandelion leaves and they should cost around the same price as a bunch of kale or head of lettuce.

 

 

If you do decide to pick them, make sure it’s in a location you’re allowed to pick from and to steer clear of areas where pesticides (like the common grass fertilizer) has been applied, and keep away from areas located near the street as you don’t want all that exposure from car exhaust.  A good rule of practice is – if you’re picking it; make sure you know what you’re picking.

 

A Well Loved Super Food

My next favorite superfood gets a lot of attention in the holistic world, and for good reason; I present the Avocado. I used to have a huge fear of consuming anything with fat in it – but we need fat, our cells are made of lipids. Without fat, we end up depriving our bodies and this can lead to inflammation, skin and hair issues (dry, damaged, dull), and can cause us to harbor a little extra weight.

Avocadoes are considered a complete protein, and help raise HDL cholesterol levels (the good fat) while lowering LDL levels (the bad fat). They are high in Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, selenium and zinc. My favorite way to incorporate avocadoes is in a big salad with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil and Himalayan salt, but they can be added to smoothies to create a smooth creamy texture, quinoa/rice bowls, guacamole, and so much more.

 

A Super Herb

 

One of my all time favorite herbs is also one that’s super accessible, and that’s none other than Parsley. Most people are familiar with using parsley as a way to help combat bad breath, as it’s often been said one should chew on a parsley sprig after consuming garlic. It’s also a versatile herb that’s great in dips such as hummus, or as a salad topper, or an addition to fresh homemade pasta sauce, and it’s also great to add to your morning juice.

 

Parsley is high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and folic acid. Some raw foodists also praise parsley for preventing or helping treat iron related anemia.

The Forgotten Superfood

Lastly, a superfood that’s often been ignored, or more likely overshadowed, is Carob. Ok, I know it doesn’t quite taste the same as chocolate and I’m not saying to replace your beloved cacao either, but carob shouldn’t be left on the shelf as it has a lot of great benefits. It contains magnesium, iron, calcium, Vitamin B, and Vitamin E, and it contains no caffeine.

 

Chocolate is actually a high allergen food – many people are sensitive to it, so carob is usually a great replacement. Yes the taste is a little different, but adding it to a coconut (another awesome superfood) smoothie, or with some frozen bananas you’ll be able to re-create a delicious smoothie shake just in time for summer. You can easily substitute carob in recipes where you’d use cacao, just be aware you might have to play around with levels as it does have a sweeter taste to it.

 

Superfoods are all around us, and though some of the “trendy” superfoods are still great, it’s no reason to ignore the great benefits we can find around us, sometimes even in our own backyard. Will you be trying any of these superfoods soon?

References 

http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/herbs-and-spices/health-benefits-of-dandelion.html http://www.naturalnews.com/034370_avocado_nutrition_facts_health.html http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=100 http://www.gilead.net/health/carob.html

Alison Klektau is currently a student at The Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Vancouver where she is studying to earn her certification as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. It is her passion to educate others on the power of eating a plant-based whole foods diet while incorporating regular exercise, as she believes in a mind-body approach. Previous to that, Alison earned her BFA in Theatre and Film Studies from the University of Victoria.

 

 

 

 

 

The Top 10 Secret Tips!! Organic Doesn't Have to Be Expensive

 

 

Regardless of the benefits of eating organic, the availability and price sometimes leaves us with little or no option. Though most people I know say they’d rather eat organic, it often comes down to affordability, and unfortunately the initial cost of organic compared to non-organic can be significant. However, there are ways that can help you save a few bucks on organic food, not only making it affordable but sometimes even cheaper. Here are my top 10 tips for keeping organic on budget.

Buy food that’s in season.

This is when an item is most in abundance; so not only will this help lower the price, but the naturally occurring flavors will be at their best and so will their vitamins and minerals.

 

Buy food that’s local.

Local food does not have to travel as far compared to some of the imported items, and sometimes when you actually buy from the farm there are options like “pick your own berries” which ends up costing less than if they were pre-picked. What a better way to get some fresh air, vitamin D from the sun and spend time with friends and loved ones.

 

Make friends with the farmers.

Farmer markets can be a great way to get local and in season produce, and it’s a good opportunity to talk with the people growing the food. Did you know that some of these farms may be organic but they’re not certified organic because they can’t afford the certification? Don’t pass up an item because it doesn’t have that fancy sticker, ask them. It’s also a great way to get more involved, though many farmers at these markets are organic some might not be and it then becomes a good opportunity to approach them to voice (in a friendly loving way) your concerns and let them know why organic is important to you.

 

Start your own garden.

There’s a vast amount of information on the internet about starting up a garden regardless of whether you live in an apartment or have access to a yard. Not only do you get to enjoy the fruits of your own labor, its added exercise and can be a great way to reduce stress. There are also garden shares in some cities, or perhaps you have a friend that wouldn’t mind sharing their yard with you.

 

Join a Share.

Depending on where you live, there are shares you can join where for a certain fixed amount of money you get organic produce delivered to your door. This is a great way to be more in tune with eating seasonally but it also might introduce you to some new veggies. Some even have the option of being able to opt out of foods you may not enjoy if that’s a concern.

 

Check out the flyers.

Don’t be afraid to shop around, you might get the best deals in some of the most unexpected places.

 

The dirty dozen.

EWG (Environmental Working Group) puts out a list every year with the produce you should buy organic, due to the heavy use of pesticides/residues on those items, and a list of produce that are considered safe to buy conventionally. This is a great starting point, especially if on a tight budget, to know where you can save and splurge.

 

Buy in Bulk.

A lot of the time the items in bulk are cheaper than the pre-packaged counterparts, and some big box warehouse grocery stores are even adding more organic food items to their shelves. There are also online businesses where you can purchase bulk orders on things like organic nuts, seeds & dried fruit, which can help save  a lot of bucks in the end.

 

Select Nutrient Dense Foods.

Items like broccoli, carrots, kale, cabbage, apples, bananas, etc, can make a good base for meals like smoothies, soups and salads. These items tend to be on the cheaper side, and since they can be pretty filling in themselves they can be great items to stock up on.

 

Buy foods in their whole form.

As convenient as prepackaged foods and canned items may be, you’ll save a lot in the long run by buying food in its whole form. Not only will you help reduce waste (less plastics) you’ll be avoiding things like BPA and xeno-estrogen (a synthetic estrogen that’s found in plastics). It might mean a little more work at first, but then you’ll probably be more inclined to not waste the food and save some for later, and once you get the hang of it, it’s really not a time sucker. If time is a concern consider prepping the materials or making a base once or twice a week that you can add items to throughout the week (thing like quinoa, lentils, beans, soups and lettuce mixes will keep well if stored properly). The best part is that you’ll be enjoying fresh food made by you and you’ll know exactly what’s in it and what isn’t.

Resources:

Dirty Dozen: http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/ Xeno-Estrogens: http://www.energeticnutrition.com/vitalzym/xeno_phyto_estrogens.html

Do you have any tips for saving on organic foods?

Leave your ideas in a comment below!!!

 

Alison Klektau is currently a student at The Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Vancouver where she is studying to earn her certification as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. It is her passion to educate others on the power of eating a plant-based whole foods diet while incorporating regular exercise, as she believes in a mind-body approach. Previous to that, Alison earned her BFA in Theatre and Film Studies from the University of Victoria.

Organics 101: GMO's a No No?!

Something that we hear a lot about, especially in the holistic world, is the importance of buying organic food. We all know that it’s ideal, but for many the price difference and availability sometimes leaves us with little option.

So what’s the big deal about buying organic food; why should we even bother?

 

  1. Conventional foods (i.e. non-organic foods) are something we’re accustomed to as they are the most readily available in the marketplace.
  2. Not only are they initially less expensive, but they’re usually more aesthetically pleasing as items like oranges are sprayed to give them that full eye appealing orange glow that says “Buy me, I'm a sexy orange orange.”
  3. With the numerous types of sprays used, bugs/insects will not be an issue and the items will appear to last longer and survive the greater shipping distances. What many people don’t realize is that the toxicity of the sprays used on these foods are measured in PPB (parts per billion)

Hold Up - what's that?

  • - This means that the producers can use a certain type of spray up to the level it is considered toxic.
  • - The scary thing is we don’t know for certain what level is toxic when taking into consideration age, and the amount of food consumed per day or even per week is. The fact that we have to even decide a level of toxicity on something that’s being sprayed directly onto our food is frightening enough.
  • - Worse yet, the insects are becoming more resistant to the toxins so higher amounts of the sprays are required in order to be effective. The professional pesticide applicators have higher rates of developing cancer and yet these pesticides are in the food of what many people are eating because it’s deemed “safe.”To make things even more ridiculous, we’re now dealing with GMOs, or Genetically Modified Organisms, and because we’re still battling to have GMO foods labeled, we simply don’t know what we’re consuming.

What's the Deal with GMO's   (say this in a Jerry Seinfeld voice in your head...  got it? - good!)

  • - GMOs, as many environmentalists agree, are a disaster waiting to happen.
  • - The idea behind GMO food is that you take the DNA of one organism and splice it into the DNA of another organism so that it will be resistant to certain conditions such as fungus and disease or always look/taste a certain way – it’s basically playing around with nature.
  • - A major concerning factor is that it’s not real food. Our bodies do not recognize it and do not know how to properly digest it. This can lead to inflammation, allergies, chronic illnesses, and well, who really knows what else – GMOs haven’t been around for a lifetime so we simply don’t know. With the exception of a clear label or certification guidelines, it’s impossible to tell if the product is GMO free.

We Have the Power to Change Things

This isn’t about scaring people it’s about educating and spreading the word. We have the power to change things; we drive the food businesses. Whenever we go to the grocery store we are voting with our dollar, we are creating demand for a product to exist. This is why I truly believe, that within our budgets and access, that it’s important to opt for organic whenever we can.

 

By eating organic, fewer resources are used, thus reducing environmental pollutants. There are more nutrients available as it is in its natural form and our body will recognize it as food thus leading to better digestion and health. We would also not be ingesting carcinogenic chemicals and we would be more likely to avoid GMOs as it is part of the certification guidelines that organic food is GMO free.

 

I totally understand though, upfront organic can be pricey. I’m a student living in Vancouver – things here are not cheap by any means, so make sure to stay tuned for part 2 in which I’ll share some affordable ways and tips for shopping organic on a budget.  In the mean time, be conscientious, and take the time to inform yourself. Only you can create change in your life, but together we can make a global difference.

 

Cancer health effects of pesticides: http://www.cfp.ca/content/53/10/1704.full

Dangers of GMO food: http://www.naturalhealthstrategies.com/dangerous-genetically-modified-foods.html

Reasons to buy Organic: http://www.thedailygreen.com/going-green/latest/4070

 

Alison Klektau is currently a student at The Institute of Holistic Nutrition in Vancouver where she is studying to earn her certification as a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. It is her passion to educate others on the power of eating a plant-based whole foods diet while incorporating regular exercise, as she believes in a mind-body approach. Previous to that, Alison earned her BFA in Theatre and Film Studies from the University of Victoria.

Redefining Tabouleh

written by Nicole Boyd

Today I took an inventory of my garden to see what I should be using up soon before the inevitable first frost comes along. Our garden has an enormous amount of parsley left as we haven’t been using this herb often for some reason.... I am not sure why because I love parsley.

So I thought, “What dish can I make that uses a large amount of parsley?” Tabouleh of course!

I took a holistic cooking course last year and we made this version of tabouleh. Not only does it taste divine but it is also more satisfying and filling than traditional tabouleh because of the edition of quinoa.

Quinoa is high in protein and therefore gives the dish some substance to make us feel satiety.

Meal idea with tabouleh:

Fill your plate with different dips like hummus or babaganoush, whole grain pita, olives and tabouleh. With all the flavours together it certainly creates an abundance of satisfaction for your palate and provides a nutritious meal.

The main ingredient of tabouleh is, of course, parsley.

Parsley is a rich source of vitamin C and A. These two vitamins have antioxidant properties. We all could use a good dose of these vitamins to boost immunity to fight cold/flu infections that are common this time of year. I have seen a lot of people already with the sniffles. In the herbal world, parsley is known as a carminative. Carminative means it has properties to ease digestion by relaxing the digestive tract and therefore easing flatulence and colic pains.

Parsley is also very high in vitamin K. This vitamin is needed for blood clotting function and to prevent build-up of calcium in our tissues. This salad will keep for a couple days and the flavour just gets better with time.

Tabouleh

inspired by Institute of Holistic Nutrition

Ingredients:

1 cup water ½ cup quinoa

¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes 1 ½ cup chopped tomatoes ½ cup diced cucumbers 1 bunch parsley, very finely chopped 1 tsp dried or 1 tbsp fresh oregano ¼ cup fresh basil ¼ cup fresh chives (optional) 1-2 tbsp tamari or ¼ tsp sea salt 3 + tbsp cold pressed olive oil ⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook the quinoa in 1 cup of water for 15 minutes, until fluffy, and set aside to cool.
  2. Put the chopped cucumber and tomato in a bowl. Add the parsley, basil and chives.
  3. Add the chopped sun-dried tomatoes, oil, lemon juice, tamari and dried herbs if you are using.
  4. Mix well and let sit for 30 minutes for the flavours to blend.
  5. Fluff up with a spoon and serve.

Sprouting 101

mung bean sprouts written by Nicole Boyd

Enzymes are critically important for every cell of your body. Most of us know of the digestive enzymes that help break down food, but did you know that there are thousands of enzymes that have been identified?

Enzymes are the catalysts that speed up reactions in the body. Without them, biochemical reactions would be too slow for us to benefit and we most likely wouldn’t be alive. They help with many bodily functions. To name a few, enzymes are required for:

Breaking down food into usable molecules Energy production Healing wounds Absorbing oxygen Reducing inflammation Regulating hormones Getting nutrients into your cells

Raw Food?

Before I studied nutrition I often wondered-- why is there so much hype around eating raw food?

I learned that raw foods are enzyme-rich, and consuming raw food decreases your body's load to produce its own enzymes. The enzymes in food are very sensitive to temperature and pH (measure of acidity or alkalinity) and most enzymes are lost or destroyed when foods are:

Cooked over 116 degrees F Processed High in added sugar or salt

Aging and Enzymes

Did you know that as we age our body’s ability to make enzymes decreases as each decade passes?  There are two major things that we can do to decrease the load on our body to produce enzymes.

 

1) We can eat less. A lot of people in our society over eat. The more we eat, the more our body has to keep up with enzyme production to digest all of our food.

 

2) We can eat more raw food ( As long as our digestive system can handle raw food.  Some people are more sensitive and have difficulty digesting raw food).

 

What is the connection between enzymes and sprouts?

Sprouted seeds and legumes are powerful, super enzyme-rich foods. By sprouting, the enzyme content actually increases. When I first started sprouting, I was surprised at how easy it is. You can sprout practically any seed or legume to increase the enzyme value and improve digestibility.  Add to salad, hummus, cereals, sandwiches, spreads, smoothies.

What is your favourite food to sprout ?

Sprouting 101 - Mung Beans

What you will need:

1 large mason jar Cheese cloth Elastic band ½ c mung beans Water Strainer

Directions:

  1. Put mung beans in the strainer and rinse.
  2. Put in the jar, cover with 2 cups water and let soak overnight (or 8 hours).
  3. In the morning drain the water and rinse the beans.
  4. Put the beans back in the jar and place cheese cloth over lid and secure with elastic.
  5. Turn jar upside down and leave on the counter (I usually put it in my dish rack to catch the extra water).
  6. Rinse the beans every 12 hours to avoid bacterial growth.
  7. Mung beans will sprout in 1-5 days depending on the temperature. The warmer it is inside, the quicker they sprout.
  8. You can eat them when they are small (after 1-2 days) or wait until the roots grow big (2-5 days). Rinse before eating and be sure to store in the fridge.  Eat within 1 week.