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.

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

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!

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

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. 

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

The Living Kitchen Spring Detox Program

We are accepting ONLY 5 PEOPLE to take part in the Living Kitchen approved and guided Healthy Detox.  This is because we want to make sure that you get the personalized support and guidance that you need in order to experience the best unique detox for you.

 

A gentle detox doesn't mean that you have to stop eating or only drink juice or water for a week.  In fact, when doing a food based detox- enjoying and experiencing food is one of the best parts about it.  In a food based detox we focus on adding in foods that are nutrient dense and support the cleansing of toxins out of the body, while removing foods that contribute to inflammation, congestion, and chronic health issues.   After 3 weeks of eating a gentle detox based diet, you will feel refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to keep on eating well.

 

Week 1:

  • Slowly transition into your detox diet.
  • Menu plan includes recipes that use alternatives to sugar, refined flour and packaged foods.  This week is all about making some basic healthy recipes from scratch so that you can quickly put together detox friendly meals.
  • You will lean about the foods to eat on a detox, the foods to avoid on a detox, and the benefits of doing this.
  • Support call from Certified Nutritional Practitioner

 

Week 2:

 

  • This week is the most intense week of the detox.  This week is when we avoid eating the most ingredients- so that you can deeply benefit from the healing foods you will be eating.
  • Menu plan includes cleansing smoothie and juice recipes.  There will also be plenty of more recipes to keep you supported with lighter foods this week.
  • Support call from Certified Nutritional Practitioner

 

Week 3:

  • This week will help you transition back to a healthy sustainable diet that you can continue to enjoy.
  • Menu plan includes recipes with foods you can reintroduce into your diet after doing the cleansing detox diet.
  • You will also learn about the healthiest desserts out there- that taste great and are nourishing for your body.
  • Support call from Certified Nutritional Practitioner

 

What Your Detox Includes:

  • 3 weeks of detox menu plans and recipes
  • 7 Days of Green Smoothies E-Book
  • Weekly personal call consultation with a Certified Nutritional Practitioner
  • List of "The Best Detox Foods" and List of "The No-No Foods"

 

Register by Friday April 19, 2013

Detox Starts on May 1, 2013

Registration is limited to 5 people only

$150 + HST

The Power of Positive + Quinoa Chickpea Salad w/ Butternut Squash

written by Colleen McCormick

We are perfect the way we are and just need to start believing it.

What are we telling ourselves?

In our society we are often telling ourselves that we are not good enough, comparing ourselves to others, or always wanting to be someone else instead of being ourselves.  In society we are bombarded with the media painting a picture of who “we think” we should be and who “we think” society wants us to be.  But in reality, trying to be someone other then who we are, rarely makes us happy.

 

 

So what can we do about it?

Here are 5 things that can help change your thought patterns to be positive, help boost self-confidence, and lower stress levels.

Affirmations – are a great way to help install positive thinking, by changing your negative thought patterns to positive thought patterns.  Tell yourself everyday that “I am beautiful and love my self unconditionally.” See what happens in a few weeks, you will start to believe it!

Believe in yourself – If you truly believe that you can do something you can make it happen.  Even if you’re scared or nervous, having that belief in yourself goes along way.  Believe in yourself and pretend as though you’re confident. “Fake it till you make it.”

Vision board – Having a vision board of all your goals and dreams in life painted out as a picture to look at daily and remind yourself of the direction you want to go can be a powerful motivator.  The idea behind vision boards is to help you see yourself in situations and states of being that you haven’t achieved yet.  Statistics show that we retain 75% of what we write down.  The first step to achieving goals is remembering them.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) – This technique is based on the science of acupuncture and taping into energy points to clear out negative energy that is restricting the proper flow of energy in the body.  This tapping technique can be done in as little as 10 minutes a day and can be used for almost any problem.  To learn more about this technique visit here.   This website gives videos and detailed instructions on how to start tapping to your emotional freedom today.

Proper nutrition – eating properly and ensuring you are getting enough vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats in your diet can make a huge difference in your emotional and physical well being.

Need a healthy lunch idea?

Try this delicious  Quinoa & Chickpea Salad with Butternut Squash recipe.

Quinoa is great because it is a complete protein and is a great alternative for vegetarians, especially because is is source of iron.  Quinoa is actually a seed, not a grain, making it low on the glycemic index.  This means it won’t spike your blood sugar, and will keep you full and satisfied longer helping to avoid afternoon cravings.

Butternut squash is great for adding a little sweetness to this recipe and contains omega 3 fatty acids that are essential in the body and must be obtained through diet.   Omega 3 fatty acids are great for boosting the metabolism, lowering inflammation in the body and are needed for proper mental function and brain development.  Butternut squash high in vitamin C, which is an important nutrient for the overall health of the adrenal glands, the adrenal glands are important for stress management.

Quinoa and Chickpea Salad with Butternut Squash

1 cup of cooked quinoa

1 cup cooked chickpeas

2 cups diced butternut squash (½ - ¼ inch cubes)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

zest of 1 lemon, chopped

1 clove of garlic minced

1 tbsp chopped cilantro

½ cup chopped parsley

1 tbsp chopped red onion

1 tbsp diced red pepper

1 tbsp coconut oil or ghee

handful of sunflower seeds

sea salt and pepper to taste

Optional:

handful goji berries handful almonds

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Mix the diced squash with oil and cinnamon and roast in oven until tender, let cool.

3. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and season to taste.  Serve over a bed of mixed greens or your favourite lettuce.

Cancer Cleansing Burdock Chai Chai Smoothie

guest post, written by Lisa Robbins, BScHN, RHN, CTT

One thing I’ve come to realize after interviewing many people who have found their own cure for cancer is that each healing journey is very much the same as any other one. Anyone who has been through a serious illness like cancer and successfully removed it from their life, has healed his or her whole self. A diagnosis of a tumor or cancerous cells in your body is like the tip of the iceberg; a manifestation of an underlying imbalance, due to a serious lack of nutrition and closely related to the depth of congestion, which includes stress and emotional knots.

While they are similar in outcome, each person’s approach to healing is very different. Each healing protocol varies so much that it can cause you to become confused about which path is best for you. Do you eat a macrobiotic diet? Should you go 100% raw? What about a ketogenic diet? What about vitamins, minerals and other supplements? What kinds and what doses do you take? It can get very confusing and frustrating, which may cause you to move away from the very things that could work to save your life.

The best way to any destination is by taking baby steps. Hold the vision of your perfect health and move toward it through cleansing, healing and rebuilding your life.

Cancer Cleansing Burdock Chai Chai Smoothie

Here’s a simple one-day blender cleanse with creamy, cancer fighting and rebuilding nutrition. If you like it, add it to your protocol once a week or once every few days. If it doesn’t fit well with you, feel your way toward wellness by finding something else that does.

Burdock Tea

1/4 cup burdock root (you can substitute dandelion root) 3 cups water

Directions:

1. Simmer the root with water in pot for 5-10 minutes. 2. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 10 minutes. 3. Let cool completely. 4. Strain the burdock root tea and compost the spent roots.  In the future, once you are accustomed to the cleansing and drawing effects of burdock, you can blend in the roots as well.

Smoothie

2 cups organic fresh or frozen berries 2 large handfuls fresh organic sprouts or greens.  Mix it up or alternate: spinach, kale, swiss chard, beet greens, parsley, broccoli, rapini, dandelion, arugula, lettuce, lentil sprouts, radish sprouts, red clover sprouts 1/2 cup raw nuts or seeds.  Mix it up or alternate: hemp seeds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, almonds, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds 1 tsp cinnamon 3 dried cardamom pods 1 large hunk fresh ginger root burdock tea (from above)

Directions:

1. Blend all ingredients together in a blender until smooth and creamy. 2. You can pour the smoothie into a pitcher and store in the refrigerator, to drink throughout the day.

Drinking Herbal Teas

You can alternate this smoothie with fresh water and herbal teas.  You might like a blend of calming anti-cancer herbs like chamomile, oat grass, and pau d'arco.  Use 2 tsp of mixed dried herbs in a teapot.  Herbs can have powerful effects, which are mostly very helpful.  Always be sure the herbs you are taking do not conflict with any medications or pre-existing conditions.  If necessary, consult with a qualified practitioner first.

You may use this cleanse to break a pattern of poor eating, to jumpstart your healing process and to add oomph to your healing cancer protocol.

You may feel a gentle pulling sensation under your right rib cage as your liver is stimulated, which will improve digestion and begin to draw congestion our of your body.  Rest, relax, and be at peace knowing that healing is taking place right now.

About the Writer

Lisa is a researcher, teacher and passionate author who loves to share simple ways to cleanse, nourish and heal. She uses a variety of teaching methods including video and audio interviews with people who have cured themselves. She shares simple at-home cleanses, delicious healing recipes, herbal medicines, tips and expert nutrition advice for holistic healing. “My passion for how to cure cancer naturally was born the moment I watched my mother pass after years of debilitating cancer treatments. It was the saddest time of my life and it was also a major turning point. I decided I would never, ever again, watch my friends and family members suffer with cancer and treatments and not know what to do instead.”

Author of The Cancer Journal Heal Yourself! www.TheGoodWitch.ca

To watch remarkable stories of what others do to heal, go to: www.IncredibleHealingJournals.com

Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/incrediblehealingjournals/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/thegoodwitchca

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/thegoodwitchca/

More Reasons to Love Chocolate- Peanut Butter Brownies

Valentine’s Day, then Easter…tis the season for chocolate! I consider chocolate a healthy choice for dessert or snacks, but, not all chocolate is created equal.  It’s always best to choose dark chocolate (55% - 85% cocoa) because it has a higher amount of cocoa and less sugar & fat than regular milk chocolate.

 

What is cocoa?

Cocoa beans are actually seeds of the cacao pod (fruit), which grow on cacao trees in South America. They are dried, roasted and ground to make cocoa powder & cocoa butter; the basic ingredients of chocolate.

The more cocoa, the better

Cocoa is rich in theobromine & flavonoids; substances which improve circulation, and may be used to treat high blood pressure & heart disease. This means chocolate is good for your heart – what a perfect excuse to give your sweetie chocolate on Valentine’s Day!

 

Chocolate keeps us young & happy

Cacao is rich in antioxidants, which protect us from free radicals (out of control molecules that wreak havoc on our cells, which can cause cancer & pre-mature aging), and is said to raise serotonin; a neurotransmitter in the brain that contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness.

 

My favorite chocolate

Giddy YoYo Raw Chocolate Bars  My friends at Living Kitchen introduced these to me, and they’re amazing. Made with all-natural, quality ingredients; they have an intense chocolate flavor, and being raw, they retain all the health benefits of cacao. I like combining a couple squares with dates & almonds – a match made in heaven.

 

Giddy YoYo cacao nibs Cacao nibs are the result of crushing the beans after they’ve been dried & roasted. Nibs have a crunchy texture, and true chocolate flavor. They’re not sweet, but taste amazing when combined with banana in oatmeal or smoothies, or used as a substitute for chocolate chips in baking. They are truly a super food because they contain no additives or extra ingredients. I sprinkle a tablespoon in my Homemade Cereal  every morning – delish.

 

Camino  A Canadian company that sells fair trade, organic, chocolate available in 12 delicious flavors (my favorite kind is the Espresso 55% cocoa).

 

Homemade healthy chocolate

If you really want to impress your sweetie, family or best friends on Valentine’s Day; here’s a recipe for Peanut Butter Brownies that are gluten-free, and have no butter, eggs, refined flour or sugar. Want to know the best part? They’re healthy, easy to make & delicious – enjoy!

 

Peanut Butter Brownies

(gluten free, sugar free, dairy free)

 

2 cups cooked quinoa (3/4 cup dry)

2 cups pitted dates ½ cup cocoa powder 2 tsp vanilla extract 4 tbsp coconut oil (melted) ½ tsp sea salt

 

Frosting ½ cup natural peanut butter 4 tbsp real maple syrup 2 tbsp coconut oil (melted) 1/4 tsp sea salt 1 tbsp raw cacao nibs

 

Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 350F 2. In a small pot, combine 3/4 cup dry quinoa with double the amount of water. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat down to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork. 3. In a food processor, combine cooked quinoa, dates, cocoa powder, vanilla, coconut oil and sea salt. Process until smooth (batter will be very sticky). 4. Spread batter into a small square baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. 5. While brownies are baking; combine the ingredients for the frosting in a small bowl. 6. Allow brownies to cool before icing.  Cut into squares and store in the fridge or freezer.

 

Lauren is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist in downtown Toronto and is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. She loves to cook with wholesome, natural ingredients and make meals that are healthy, easy & delicious. She aims to do something active every day, which usually includes jogging, dog-walking and weight training. In her spare time she can be found spending time with her husband, their 3-year old Yorkie, friends & family, and travels with her husband every chance they get. Lauren offers nutrition consulting services and writes a blog called ‘the other big O’  where she educates her readers about nutrition, shares her health & fitness tips, and healthy recipes.