Detoxing 101

With the post-holiday blahs and everyone starting to falter on their healthy New Year's resolutions, what better time to get re-motivated with a good winter detox! Besides, Valentine's day is coming up in less than a month and admit it - as much as you think it's a dumb holiday, you still secretly want to look your best.


So how do we design a good detox? There are so many different types of detoxes out there, the choices can be overwhelming. We've all heard of the master cleanse and enviously listened to people's stories who claim they felt great going 30 days without solid food. We've all tried the little kits from the store. Some of them are good. I guess it depends on your definition of good....having to suddenly relieve about 5 years worth of crap built up in your colon at the most inopportune time isn't ideal for most of us. What other options are there? Lots. Here are some basic steps in designing your own detox.


Decide What You Will Eliminate

There are a few things that (in my humble opinion) everyone should eliminate on a detox. These are: alcohol, nicotine, refined sugar, refined flour products, fried foods, gluten, trans fats, MSG and anything that contains additives, preservatives and colouring. Some people might want to go vegetarian / vegan / raw for their detox. Some might want to eliminate dairy completely, while others may choose to keep probiotic rich items like kefir in their diet. Some people may give up grains. The key is to listen to your body, and go with the options that make you feel the  healthiest.


Decide How Long Your Detox Will Be

Detoxes can run anywhere from a few days to a few weeks - the choice is yours. If you have a hectic schedule and can only manage a couple of days, it's still better than nothing. Also, if you plan on doing a liquid cleanse then a few days is much more manageable and safe. If you're only cutting out a few basic items, then a longer cleanse might be more thorough.


Support Your Digestion

Detoxing is a critical time when your body will need energy to eliminate waste. Therefore, easing the digestive process will allow your body to focus on other tasks. How do we do this? A good multi-enzyme supplement will do the trick, along with some raw apple cider vinegar before meals.


Support Your Liver

This step is key. Your liver is your master cleanser, and it will need all the help it can get in neutralizing and eliminating wastes. Support your liver with foods (or juices) like lemon, garlic, broccoli, beets, and milk thistle.


Support Your Colon

What's the purpose of a detox? To get rid of CRAP. So let's make sure you're eliminating. Especially if you're on a juice cleanse, you want to make sure you're getting adequate fiber by mixing some ground flaxseeds or oat bran with warm water. You can try enemas or colonics too if you're brave.


Last but not least, take some time to relax and unwind during your detox. Meditation or yoga are a great addition, as well as avoiding stressful situations if you can. If make the time now to do this one little thing for yourself, your body will thank you later.


About Monica

Monica is a Holistic Nutritionist and avid cook. She is often found in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes or buried behind a pile of cookbooks. Local, organic, plant-based ingredients are her weapons of choice. Click here to follow her on Facebook and Twitter

Inspired Food - Unleashing Creativity In The Kitchen

Written by Monica Kovacs

Creativity seems to be one of those things that people assume they either have or don't have, kind of like a genetic trait. I usually hear it in response to the 'What's your background?' question. When I tell people I majored in music, I always get reactions like 'Oh, I'm not artistic' or 'I've never been talented in anything'. It always baffles me because I know, having gone through the program, that it's really not about talent (trust me, it's not). A little talent is great, but it's mostly the love of your art, the desire to create something beautiful and meaningful, that fuels one's passion to succeed.


So this brings us to the topic of creativity. It's so easy in our society to get caught up in the analytical, logical side of things. I personally know I've drifted too far to the other side when I get a profound urge to just immerse myself in a project of creation - whether it's sitting down and writing for 3 hours, or playing the piano, or creating a beautiful gourmet dessert. It helps balance all the organizational and left-brained activities of my life.


Cooking/baking I think is just as satisfying as any other artistic outlet. It allows certain parts of the brain to relax while our senses are pleasantly stimulated - the delicate smells, colors, textures and tastes. Even the sound of a crunchy carrot breaking or a pot of soup bubbling on the stove allow us to drift into another world. And the nice thing about cooking is that it's something we all have to engage in once in a while so its a skill you might as well cultivate.


I like to encourage all my clients to discover their love of cooking and use it as a creative outlet in their lives. While it may initially seem like a chore to come home at the end of a long day and have to prepare something, it's important to look at the sensual side of it. Imagine going to the farmers market and smelling and feeling all your vegetables, trying to find the best ones for your dish. Then imagine finding something new and exciting that you decide might go well with your dish. All day when you're at work you're excited about going home and preparing this amazing meal because you know it's going to be sooo good. Finally, you get home, turn on your favourite music and start chopping and blending and simmering. You get into an almost meditative state as you savour each smell and take in all the beautiful colors - a lot more sexy than throwing a box in the microwave and plunking yourself down in front of the TV.


And maybe that first dish you create isn't going to be as awesome as you had thought. But then again, the greatest musicians and artists weren't that awesome when they started out either. It's all about loving something enough to find the time to cultivate it. It's also about enjoying the process rather than focusing on the end result. Enjoy the sensualness of it. Get excited about your creation. Lose yourself in it. Try to make your presentation beautiful, even if it's just for you. Before you know it, you will be creating masterpieces. Hey, you might even be inspired to journal that night, or take a picture of your food and share it with your friends.


If you're inspired to go create something sexy and beautiful, tweet about it and let us know @LivingKitchenTO or post it on our Facebook Page. Lets get the inspiration flowing!

Follow Monica on Facebook and Twitter


A Better Breakfast Cereal - Raw Chocolate Orange Spiced Granola

Written by Monica Kovacs, CNP

Growing up I rarely remember having family breakfasts where we all sat around the table and enjoyed a well-prepared meal...except maybe on special occasions. Instead, I used to hit the snooze button about fifty times until I had three minutes left to get ready, during which time I would pour myself a bowl of cereal and shovel it into my mouth at lightening speed.


Needless to say, a lifetime of starting my day with dairy, wheat and sugar led to some unpleasant digestive problems and food sensitivities. Even many of the so-called healthy cereals out there are wheat-based and contain a generous amount of sugar.


Some mornings though (actually...most mornings) I'm just too lazy and rushed to get out my blender and chop things for a smoothie, or get out the pot and make a bowl of porridge. I just want the simplicity of: cereal, almond milk, bowl, eat.


To solve my dilemma, I started creating my own cereals. Raw buckwheat groats are one of my favourite bases to use since they're gluten free and sprout quickly. Nutritionally packed, they are high in iron, manganese, magnesium and zinc. I use raw honey instead of sugar as a sweetener for its antibiotic, anti-fungal, antioxidant and enzymatic properties.


This particular recipe has flaxseeds and hemp seeds, which are high in anti-inflammaotry omega-3's and fiber. The raw cacao nibs give you a boost of magnesium and serotonin. And to top it all off, the spices in this cereal make your whole kitchen smell like Christmas while it's in the dehydrator. Once you make a big batch, you're good to go for a while so on your next lazy morning you can just pour it into your bowl and eat.


Raw Chocolate Orange Spiced Granola


2 cups raw buckwheat groats, soaked for 1 hour+, or sprouted

1/4 cup ground flaxseeds

4 tbsp hemp seeds

3/4 cups raw honey

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cloves

2 tbsp orange zest

2 packets stevia

1 1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup raw cacao nibs


Place soaked buckwheat in fine mesh colander and rinse off starchy residue.


Place buckwheat in a food processor and pulse until soupy but still a bit chunky. Mix with remaining ingredients in a bowl.


Pour mixture onto Teflex-lined dehydrator trays (or parchment-lined baking sheets, if you don't have a dehydrator) and spread about 1/8- inch thick. Dehydrate at 115F for 8 to 12 hours until top is dry and it peels away from sheet easily. Remove sheet and flip (don't worry if it breaks  - just flip the pieces individually) and continue dehydrating for a few more hours until completely dry and crunchy. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a few weeks.


*If you don't have a dehydrator, you can try this recipe in the oven at the lowest temperature with the door propped slightly open.


About Monica

Monica is a Holistic Nutritionist, Personal Trainer, Reiki practitioner and food lover. She believes in bringing fun and creativity into all aspects of life, including the kitchen. Click here to find more recipes and articles on her Facebook page.

5 Fabulous Foods for Fall - And They're Local!

Written by Monica Kovacs, CNP

October has finally come, which means that most of the farmer's markets have wrapped up for the season. This is usually a sad time for me since I looove shopping at the farmer's market so much more than I do at the grocery store. You're outside, there are often live musicians, and not only do you find lovely organic produce, there are many hand-crafted items you would never find anywhere else.

Being a bit of a locavore, I like to focus my diet on foods that are grown nearby and in season. And while most people think of summer as the season of abundance, there are lots of great foods to be enjoyed around this time of year too.


5 Fabulous Fall Foods Grown in Ontario

Here are five great foods that are available in Ontario throughout October and November. Not only are they delicious, they are also loaded with health benefits.



Beets are a rich source of phytonutrients called betalains, which provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and detoxification support. They are especially great for cleansing the liver and also provide a good dose of folate, manganese and fiber. Instead of roasting them, try shredding them into your raw salad.



Cabbage is a great source of vitamin C, vitamin A and other antioxidants. It is currently being researched for its unique cancer fighting abilities and has also been shown to successfully lower cholesterol. Try eating it raw in some healthy coleslaw, or lightly sautéing it with some garlic.



Garlic, as we know, is a powerful immune booster and anti-viral, anti-fungal agent. Not only can we load up on it when we're sick, we should aim to eat some every day in order to stay healthy. And like cabbage, garlic is also great for lowering cholesterol. Eat it raw by tossing it in your home-made salad dressings - but try to let it sit for five minutes first before using it (this will allow its beneficial properties to become more active).



The little known parsnip is similar to the carrot, only lighter in color. Not only does it add rich flavor and variety to dishes, it is also high in fiber, vitamin K, folate and vitamin C. Try roasting it with some carrots, or steaming it and mashing it with your mashed potatoes.


Winter Squash

Known primarily as a source of carotenoids, squash is also a surprisingly rich source of antioxidants. Even though it is high in carbohydrates, much of it is made up of pectin and other polysaccharides that have insulin regulating properties. Try baking squash and pureeing it into a soup - and don't forget to roast the seeds too!


About Monica
Monica is a Holistic Nutritionist/Reiki Pracitioner/Personal Trainer working in the Toronto area. She has a passion for cooking and creative work and encourages her clients actively pursue their happiness. For more information, click here.

Do You Do Intuitive Eating? WIN WELLNESS TEA!

Do you know what your body wants to eat?

You know the moments when you have those intense cravings for something and you just can't think about anything else?  Or what about those times when you are busy and on the run and you need to eat something, but you just don't know what to grab?  And how about those evenings when you come home after a long day, need to eat dinner, but have no idea what to cook?


It sucks.  It's stressful.  And sometimes you end up feeling worse and gross after eating certain foods.


Even as holistic nutritionists, we often find ourselves facing these questions.  We are the same as you.  The only difference, is that, we have the tools to help you understand what to do with these questions.


We want you to have freedom to powerfully choose what you eat not only because you want it, but because you know it will nourish your body and your life.  We want to put the power into your hands and show you that you can figure out what would be best for your body.  We want you to break free from rules, restriction and anxiety around food and instead find freedom and joy in loving your body, honoring your inner voice, and enjoying your experience with eating food.


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The information, tools and exercises that you will find inside are valued at $150.

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