Thursday, March 29, 2012

Vega Brownies (GF and nut free)

These are yummy!  Too sweet for me but the kids love them!  I had a little helper for this recipe.  Yesterday a friend asked if I could suggest a healthy bake sale item.  I sent her the link to my "school safe healthy cookies" ( but I also thought it would be fun to find an actual recipe for this occasion.  I however would never recommend anything unless I've tried it first, so here goes. 


1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup coconut milk
1.5 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup vega (whole food smoothie infusion) = I used the whole food optimizer
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup unsweetened chocolate chips (I didn't actually have any chips so I used dried cranberries)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (to make this school safe I subbed in sunflower seeds)

In two separate bowls, mix all the wet ingredients together and dry ingredients together.  Fold dry mixture into the wet ingredients - don't over mix! Pour into lightly oiled 8x8 glass baking pan (I'm too lazy to bother - I just used parchment paper). Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.

Here are the pictures!!!

This is actually the very first can of coconut milk that I've ever opened.  I was surprised that so much fat was on top (not that I mind the fat) but I did put it in a bowl to mix it up.

I melted the coconut oil, added the coconut milk and here goes the agave (personally 1/2 cup is way to much for me, I think 1/3 or 1/4 would have been enough)... but then again I haven't had sugar in nearly 2 weeks.

Patrick helping me "wisk" the wet ingredients together.

I used more than a 1/2 cup of vega (I put in two full scoops) I'm sure any protein powder you have will work also.

Dry ingredients all mixed up!

Ok so the wet bowl doesn't mix up so well, the coconut oil separates...but the end result is awesome!

Generally I don't like the kids dipping in, but this recipe doesn't have any eggs!  So Patrick is sampling, so did I!  ummm

I won't lie, it was difficult to "smooch" into the pan.

But parchment paper is always worth the extra effort. No stick, easy to cut. 

Fluffy, sweet, chocolatey and...

well received :) 


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fermented Foods!

Well I think with everything I do, I am always striving to be better.  It must be the type-A thing, but I think I've mastered getting rid of the crappy junky food-like substances in my diet, I eat very clean, I supplement with chlora, fish oil, probiotics (lactobacillus acidophilu), vit D and a prenatal multi-vit. I've added tons more green leafy veggies, I eat less meat, less dairy and no gluten.  I consume loads of good fats (EFA's), ok not like it's really that hard.  Truth be told my favorite all time snack is natural peanut butter on celery.  I eat almond butter by the spoon full! 

The point is it's time to move on. My diet is clean, but is my gut? Who knows what I'm actually absorbing?  But I do know that from what I've read, eating fermented food is like eating food that is partially digested.  Ok ok.. relax, I know that might sound gross.  But seriously it's pretty awesome, half the work is done for you!  You are half way to absorbing all the healthy nutrients.  If you are interested here is an article that is a great spring board to your own personal research (

 I used to buy tofu every week at coscto because it was a cheap, high protein and low sodium food.  Now I've moved on to tempeh (a fermented soy product), it has basically the same texture as the firm tofu, but it tastes a bit more complex.  And it has the same amount of protein, not to mention the naturally occuring probiotics.  I've bought kimchi (just today actually) because it too contains probiotics and other great nutrients. 

Oh before I move on a short lesson on the difference between probiotics and digestive enzymes.  Digestive enzymes start to work in your stomach (they break the food down into smaller particles - aka catalist to the beginning of digestion), probiotics are strains of bacteria that continue the digestive process in your colon, by keeping strains of yeast, harmful bacteria and other pathogen infestations at bay.  Basically by adding  more probiotics you are keeping yourself healthy because most of us don't have enough probiotics left in our gut (look at how often we get sick) and by adding more digestive enzymes you are making it easier for your body to actually absorb the nutrients of the foods you are eating. And to complicate you life even more, probiotics are microbacteria, and prebiotics (have you seen that word) is basically food for your gut bacteria.  This is a very very simplified definition. But I'm trying to make this info user friendly. 

So back to fermented foods!  Here are 6 foods you should try! 

1) Natto: fermented soybeans
2)Kimchi: a mix of fermented (like pickled) cabbage,radishes,peppers and other veggies
3)Miso: produced from fermented soybeans/barley/brown rice
4)Tempeh: fermented from partially cooked soybeans
5)Sauerkraut: fermented cabbage
6)Kefi: fermented milk beverage 

Great info and descriptions of what these are and how to eat them found on this website:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Kale salad

Sometimes the tastiest meals are ones that are simple, healthy and shared with special people.  Tonight we had our adopted family over for a bbq.  I made burger`s because that`s always easy, and I didn't have any romaine to make some ceasar so I decided to try my hand at a light kale salad (inspired by the one made at the Naked Sprout).

 First I mixed flaxseed oil with some minced garlic and massaged that on the finely chopped kale and spinach, then I squeezed a lemon half over everything, added hemp hearts, green onions, some chopped apple, mixed seeds and dried cranberries.

  It was heaven, but not as popular as the roasted broccoli I also made on the bbq.  (I forgot to take pictures) But basically I put parchment paper on a cookie sheet, on the top rack of the bbq.  I placed the broccoli, which I had lightly coated in a grain oil I use (you could use coconut), on it and left it in the hot bbq until it started to turn brown on the edges.  Over half an hour I think.  Then I used the leftover flaxseed oil and garlic and drizzled that over the broccoli.  Huge hit! 

So my Sunday family meal was: burgers with those multi-grain flat bread, roasted broccoli, massaged kale salad and some raw veggies (cucs/carrots/broccoli) for the family members that don't like kale or cooked broccoli... ahemmm Mark!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Pictures of Clean Lunches for Cooler 1

Super clean Toco salad: ground turkey with cherry tomatoes and grated zucchini and chili spices, chili flavoured sweet potato chips on spinach. (dusted with flax meal)

Sweet potato and zucchini pancakes (made the on the bbq because it was to hot outside to turn on the oven) over spinach, topped with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, balsamic and flax seed oil. With a protein smoothy:cucumber, frozen apple slices, protein powder (plain, unsweetened), squeezed lime juice, parsley, ice and water

Curried sweet potato soup (sweet potato, celery, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, garlic powder and curry powder) drizzled with pumpkin seed oil, in the back is a piece of leftover frittata [made with some leftover grilled veggies from the other day (broccoli/tomatoes), some grated sweet potato and zucchini (leftover from the sweet potato pancakes) a green onion and celery] and steamed green beans.
So what do you think? Do I eat like a rabbit? (maybe a giant carnivorous one???) and yes these are the types of meals I make myself daily.  I use leftovers to make leftovers.  Did you notice a pattern in my ingredients? That is because I went shopping once on Sunday and bought tons of zucchini, sweet potato, celery, cherry tomato, spinach and cucumber (among other veggies) not much fruit though, only the apple that I cut up and put in the freezer to add to my smoothy.  Did you also notice that I add a healthy oil to every meal? I am very conscious of making sure that me and my baby get enough omega's. Good for my metabolism and good for her growing and developing brain.

 Cheers!  Happy clean eating.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Day in Cooler 1 (ok actually a really long lesson on food)

Here's the thing, cooler 1 might be restrictive but by no means does it lack in quantity of food.  And no I don't mean I'm eating like a rabbit (bushels of greens).  Many people will assume that because I'm losing weight I must be starving myself.  Ohhhh couldn't be farther from the truth, I actually get very tired of eating by day 5.  The other thing that people assume, "ohhh I guess you aren't eating fats and carbs".  Again, not true.  But I suppose it would be easier to beleive me if you read what I actually consume in a day. 

First of all I consume all the macronutrients which are essential in keeping me alive, I am consuming all the nutrients needed to support my body, my activity level and my baby.  Ok short biology lesson, skip the next few paragraph if you don't want the lecture!  Macronutrients are: protein, carbohydrates and fats.  We pretty much know what protein is, but just in case, proteins are made up of amino acids; basically these fit together like jigsaw to create what ever is needed, muscle (obviously), all cells, hormones, get it right?  They make things, they fix things... So obviously you need protein to live!

 Next is carbohydrate...  ooooohhh that big scary word that everyone on a diet thinks they don't need or should cut out!  Oh lord!  That thought actually pains me,  would you expect your car to run on water!  Nope, your body needs carbs because it is the energy (I think a high school teacher once told me a car would run on sugar water???)  Your body needs energy to LIVE!!!! Just in case you don't beleive me, understand this at least, your brain can only use carbohydrates to work (not fats,not proteins)! Ok seriously now that we understand that conscept.  Lets understand that carbs are not all made equal. Simple carbs are short chains of sugars that cannot be broken down anymore. These are the ones that I try to avoid at all costs.  These are the "white poison" of the food world.  These are the carbs that spike insulin levels which then makes your body "store, store, store"... NOT what you want when you are trying to lose weight!  Complex carbs..(complex and long strings of sugars) in short, are pretty much everything else (that isn't a fat or protein).  So yes, my celery is a complex carb, my oatmeal, my apple, my sweet potato, my green juice, my cherry tomatoes....All carbs.  Now I'm not going to bother with the fancy shamcy words like disachharides, oligosachharides, poly-sachharides... just know that fibres are also carbs, and the higher the fibre content of food the longer it takes your body to break down these "long" chains of carbs into "usable form" aka, glucose.  (anything ringing any grade 11 biology memories??)  I'm not sure if you've ever head the term Glycemic Index, well this basically means "how long it takes your body to break down and process carbohydrates into usable fuel", the lower the number the better!!!  I know it doesn't make sense, but trust me.  High GI foods (white bread, white potatoes, pineapples) think this, they have a high number, ZOOM into your blood stream.  Not good!  Low GI foods (oatmeal, sweet potato, celery) low number, SLOW into your blood stream.  Make sense? 

And now Fat...  ohhh the lovely and most delicious of all macronutrients.  It is the most energy efficient form of food.  Saturated fats,Monounsaturated fats,Polyunsaturated fats,Trans fatty acids = these are all fats.  Ok simply put for me: monounsaturated fats,polyunsaturated fats are the good guys.  The other two should be avoided as best as possible (if you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight).  So let me be a bit more practical.  Fats from animals (not so good) fats from plants, seeds, nuts (good).  Some of my favorite fats are peanut butter, almonds butter, flax seed oil, olive oil, coconut oil, walnuts, avocados, chia seeds, hemp hearts, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds.  I've learned a few tricks over the years of weight loss and educating myself.  Eating a healthy fat in combination with a carb will essentially lower the GI of the meal (overall), ha ha I've also learned that this can also be manipulated, ie a peanut m&m has a lower GI than an apple.  Doesn't mean I should be eating m&m's all day!  It just means that the fat from the peanut lowers the overall average (because obviously the candy shell and the chocoloate contain simple carb chains.. )  But as I discussed in yesterday's post, eating healthy fats can essentially lubricate all your body's metabolic functions so everything runs more smoothly and efficiently. 

Wow that was long winded!  Getting back to what I ate yesterday.

  • 1/2 c. GF oats with Bee pollen (basically the multivitamin of the "naturopathic world), cinnamon, 1 tbsp chia seeds, tbsp flax seed oil and a bit of unsweetened almond milk
  • 4 egg whites (one yoke)
  • a serving of turkey chili (packed with veggies)
  • chicken and veg stir fry with a tbsp of flax seed oil
  • 1/2 sweet potato made into crunchy chips and 5 inches of cucumber
  • a protein smoothy made from cucumber, 1/2 frozen apple, parsley and water
  • a hand sized piece of salmon (made with dill and lemon), half a plate of grilled asparagus drizzled with lemon juice and flax seed oil (yes I love my flax seed oil)
  • green juice (celery, cucumber, kale, parsley, lemon and apple)
  • and well over a gallon of water throughout the day
Now you tell me I'm not eating enough!!!!    

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cooler 1 preperation: a lesson on GOOD FAT!!!!

Well this is the third times since having the baby that I'm getting ready Sunday night for the big "cooler 1" event.  And hopefully the last in a long while.  I really can't live without berries and peanut butter.  I could easily live without GF bread/buns, corn products and rice chips.  But it's the nuts that I miss the most.  It's funny today someone mentioned to me that they thought I was a vegetarian.  Ha ha, I giggled because last night was my big date night with Mark and I had a 9oz steak with a plate of steamed veggies. "Steak!!! medium rare please!!!"  Red meat is a special treat, mostly because of all the fats it contains, not the good kind of fats.

 I am always consuming fats while on my "strict" diet plan, but those are used to increase my body's metabolism.  Did you know "good fats" (EFA's = essential fatty acids) cannot be produced by our body so we need to get them through food.  You've all heard of omega 3 and omega 6, well these are the two types of EFA's that contribute to fat loss.  Here's why: "Both types of EFAs are required for the production of the eicosanoids – hormones that are responsible for regulating the major body functions, including digestion, insulin production and the storage of fat."

So here's the thing...  insulin is KEY in weight loss.  You do not want your body to produce insulin (in excess) because it will promote fat storage, we want the opposite.  We want our body to use the fat that is stored on our body as fuel.  It was found that EFA's could reduce the amount of insulin production by 50%, SOOOOOOo have a healthy fat with every carbohydrate you eat.  It makes fat burning more efficient.  Try to get the old mantra "fat is bad" out of your head.  Because truly good fats (EFA's) are your best buddy in weight loss. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Heart Healthy Key Lime Pie

Well ok mine doesn't look like the one on the Steven and Chris Website, but I made it because I really approve of all the ingredients (plus I had them all).  In the next couple of days my diet is going to be restricted again, my tri-weekly reboot, part cleanse, part diet, part rebooting my palate.  I don't dread the two week process, not at all, I know I'll lose some excess weight, I'll feel amazing, and most of all I'll re-train my taste buds to what real (sugar free, un-processed food, salt-free) food really tastes like.  Sooo anyway here are my pictures to the recipe. 

1 cup raisins
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
3 tbs cocoa powder
2 tbs hemp seeds
 As you can see I didn't have the fancy shmancy pie molds that they had on the S&C show, but improvised.  I combined all these ingredients in my food processor (I took about 5ish minutes to really break down the ingredients), it looked crummy but when I pressed it together it held, so I assumed it was right!

1/4 cup key lime or lime juice, freshly squeezed
 I used 2 limes to make this.  Which is probably why it tastes fantastic.  Ummm real lime!!!!  but I don't actually have a "reamer" so I did it with a fork.
1 cup pecans ,1 avocado
1/4 cup key lime or lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tbs extra virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup agave nectar
 I just added these ingredients to my food processor and let it whirl away for a good long time.  The brown flakes were clearly from the pecans (I have no idea how theirs looks so good) and my avodado was really ripe so I think that is why the green colour isn't as vivid.  But let me tell you the taste makes up for it!!!
Add caption
 I ended up with 6 tarts!
It might not look delicious, but do not be fooled!!! This is amazing.  It is creamy and the fresh lime just bursts in your mouth.  And OMG I feel so good about all the ingredients. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Quinoa Apple Crumble (GF)

Quinoa Apple Crumble... (aka Healthy Heaven)

1 c washed quinoa
2 c water
1/4 c raisins
1 tbsp cinnamon (and an extra 2 tsp for the apples)
1/4 (ish) c coconut oil
1 c oats (Gluten free)
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1/4 c agave
2 -3 apples (peeled and sliced)
lemon juice 

Slice up the apples.  (that is my coconut oil on the left)

Cook the quinoa on the stove, add the raisin and cinnamon and let it sit while you get the other stuff ready.

Add lemon to the apples, add the 2 tsp cinamon and a couple of chunks of coconut oil (for good measure).

Add the coconut oil (the 1/4c) to the quinoa/raisin mixture, chop walnuts and add them to the mixture.

Add 1/4c agave. Mix well.  (I thought this was alot and it did make it very sweet for me, Mark thought it wasn't sweet enough)

Add the cup of oats and mix.

Layer it, put it in the oven at 350F for 45 minutes (or until your house smells devine)

Take it out of the oven and notice the crunchy top!!!

I added a dolop of plain fat free greek yogourt. 

OMG it was sooo good!!!! 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Is it Summer yet???

Banilla and Chocolate Banana Soft serve
3 frozen banana's
2 tbsp peanut butter
1-2 tsp vanilla
2-3 heaping tbsp cocao
almond butter
dark chocolate shavings


Process frozen banana's with peanut butter and vanilla until it resembles soft serve ice cream, (you might need to help it along, I use a wooden spoon and push down the sides as it's spinning-just be careful).  Take out half the mixture and put it in a bowl.  Add the cocoa powder to the remaining banilla mixture, process till combined.  Remove this chocolate banilla add to bowl, drizzle with almond butter and add chocolate shavings. Serve and enjoy!!!