Saturday, 12 April 2014

Salmon & Quinoa Bowl

This recipe will take you about 10 minutes to prepare and then 40 minutes to cook, and will make approximately 2 servings!

1/3 Cup Quinoa
1 Onion (Diced)
3 Cups Broccoli (Bite Sized Florets)
3 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Salmon Fillets (6-Ounces Each/Skin Removed)

- Preheat your oven to 400 F, and line a baking sheet with foil.

- Rinse the quinoa under water, drain, and place in a saucepan. Put 2/3 cup water into the saucepan with the quinoa and bring to a boil.

- Keep the saucepan covered, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the water is evaporated (about 15 minutes).

- While the quinoa is cooking, place the diced onion in a pan with a splash of olive oil and sauté on medium-high until golden brown.

- Once the quinoa has finished cooking remove the pot from the burner and let stand (still covered) for 5 minutes.

- While the quinoa is standing, toss the broccoli, garlic, and oil (w. salt and pepper to taste). Place this mixture on the lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for 10 minutes.

- Fluff the quinoa with a fork and add in the caramelized onion.

- Season the salmon with salt and pepper, remove the broccoli from the oven, and nestle the salmon in with it on the tray.

- Roast until the salmon is cooked through, which is approximately 12-15 minutes more.

- Divide up the quinoa into two bowls, and top with the broccoli mixture. Lay the salmon fillets on top.

*You can coat the salmon with pesto before baking it to give this dish a bit of a flare!
*Adding in some sliced avocado at the end is a great additional topping!


Natural Energy Drinks!

The Pick-Me-Up...
1 Lemon Slice
1 Pinch Cayenne Pepper

...lemon is alkaline to help maintain a healthy pH level within your body
...cayenne raises energy naturally and maintains proper cardiovascular movement (protects your heart)

The Orange Flax Shake...
1 Orange (Thinly Sliced)
2 Teaspoons Flax Oil

...the orange is loaded with potassium, magnesium, and folate to help turn food into energy and battle fatigue
...the flax will provide a healthy supply of energy as well

The Energy Shot...
Boiled Water
1-2 Teaspoons Honey
2 Slices Fresh Ginger Root
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cardamom
1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric all of the ingredients in your mug before adding the water and stir while adding to avoid clumping of the spices
...ginger and turmeric increase metabolism and circulation, and aid with digestion
...cardamom increases circulation and improves energy
...honey is the all-natural equivalent of an energy shot

The Apple-Cinnamon Detox...
1 Apple (Thinly Sliced)
1-2 Cinnamon Sticks

...letting it steep overnight gives the water more flavour
...apples are a natural source of energy, eating an apple is equivalent to drinking a cup of coffee

The Green Banana...
4 Bananas
1 Cup Spinach
3 Cups Cold Water
1 Cup Ice

...the riper the bananas the less bitter this drink will be
...placing the water, ice, and greens in the blender first and blending those on their own before adding the bananas eliminates the papery texture of the greens
...the potassium in a banana helps to eliminate fatigue, and bananas also contain vitamins B1, B2, B3, and B6 which all help to convert food into energy
...the phosphorus in bananas also helps to reduce tiredness and increase endurance


Healthy Food Swaps...

Sometimes it's hard to completely cut out our guilty pleasures when it comes to snacking on typically unhealthy foods. Or sometimes we're completely unaware that these guilty pleasures are actually not the greatest in terms of the value of the nutrients! With these healthy food swaps it's a great way to cut down on calories and increase vitamins/minerals, while at the same time still getting the satisfaction of your favourite "unhealthy" foods...

- Instead of iceberg lettuce, use darker, leafier greens!
*the darker leaves have more of the vitamins A and K

- Instead of white rice, use quinoa!
*quinoa has more protein as well as a higher fibre content

- Instead of store-bought salad dressing, use homemade salad dressing!
*store bought dressings often contain unpronounceable ingredients
*use a mixture of olive oil and balsamic vinegar instead as a simple and healthier alternative

- Instead of sour cream, use greek yogurt!
*yogurt has less calories, more protein, and will give your dips a creamier texture

- Instead of croutons, use almonds!
*the nuts have a higher protein and fibre content, and less carbohydrates

- Instead of white flour, use coconut flour!
*coconut flour contains less carbohydrates and has a higher fibre content

- Instead of chocolate chips, use cacao nibs!
*the cacao nibs have 0g of sugar and a much higher fibre content

- Instead of 2% milk, use almond milk!
*almond milk has fewer calories, less sugar, and much higher iron and vitamin E contents


Friday, 11 April 2014

5 Killer (Lower) Abs

Some of the best exercises for the lower abs to get rid of that pesky bit of extra belly fat and to tone up for the summer!

Pulse Ups:
- Lie flat with your hands under your butt.
- Tighten your abs and raise your legs until they're vertical (this is your starting position). 
- Squeeze your lower abs and butt and push your legs directly upwards (make sure not to bend your legs).
- Hold for 5 seconds and slowly lower before immediately repeating the same motion.
- Do 15 reps...and if this is too easy add a light weight between your feet!

V Holds:
- Lie flat on your back with both hands by your side.
- Lift both legs at the same time as the torso to form a V with your body in the air (make sure to keep your back and legs straight).
- Contract your abdominals and hold the V pose for 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

90-Degree Static Crunch:
- Lie on your back with your knees and hips bent in tabletop position (feet flexed). 
- Stretch your arms to place both hands on the top of your thighs.
- Breathe in, and as you exhale contract your abs as you push your thighs into your hands (pushing back against them). 
- Your legs should not move, hold this position for 1 count and release.
- Do 3 sets of 10 reps...if this is too easy lift your upper shoulders off the floor as you contract.

Leg Lifts:

- Lay flat on the floor with legs straight and arms by your side with palms flat on the floor.
- Contract your abs and with a slight bend in the knees lift your legs to become nearly vertical. 
- Lower your legs slowly until they're almost at the ground and repeat.

Reverse Crunches:
- Lie on your back with both legs raised in tabletop position.
- Contract your lower abs to lift your butt up off the floor pulling your knees in towards your head (make sure to not move your upper back).
- Repeat 12-20 reps...and if this is too easy add a light weight between your feet!


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Healthy Dessert Recipes!

Chocolate Chip Cookies:
Ingredients -
3/4 Cup Rolled Oats
1/8 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 Teaspoons White Sugar
1 Tablespoon Oil
2 Tablespoons Chocolate Chips
1 Tablespoon Milk (Any Kind)

Instructions - 
- Preheat oven to 375 F. 
- Blend the rolled oats, salt, baking soda, brown sugar, and white sugar in a blender. 
- Mix this with the other ingredients, mould the cookies into shapes, and place on a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
- Bake in the oven for 6 minutes.

*Only makes a small batch, but the recipe can easily be doubled.
*The baking sheet doesn't necessarily need parchment paper, although that does make it easier to clean afterwards. Make sure to grease the pans if not using the parchment.

Spiced Maple Dip:
Ingredients - 
Greek Yogurt
Maple Syrup

Instructions - 
- Simply combine the ingredients in the proportions that suit your taste buds best!

*Pumpkin pie spice can be used as a substitute for all of the spices listed above.
*This dip is great with apple slices and strawberries!

Healthy Chocolate Brownies:
Ingredients - 
4 Tablespoons Butter
2/3 Cup White Sugar
1/2 Cup Water
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips

Instructions - 
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Coat the bottom of a 9x9 inch baking pan with oil or nonstick spray. In a saucepan melt the butter, and then remove it from the heat. Stir in the vanilla, water, and the sugar.
- After that is mixed well stir in the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Following this add the chocolate pieces.
- Pour into the baking pan and bake for approximately 15 to 18 minutes.

*You can sprinkle them with powdered sugar at the end if you wish!

Homemade Frappuccinos: 
Ingredients - 
2 Cups Milk (Any Kind)
2 Teaspoons Instant Coffee
1/16 Teaspoon Salt (Don't Omit)
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Instructions - 
- Mix together the ingredients, separate into two containers, and freeze.
- Once frozen thaw until just soft enough for your blender.
- Blend the two servings individually until the texture of your choice.

*Other ingredients can be added such as cocoa, cinnamon, berries, chai, etc.


Wednesday, 9 April 2014


1. Spot reduction is effective...
...false! Targeting areas will make those muscles stronger, but it's an ineffective way to trim fat build up in the area. The process of calorie-burning works throughout the entire body, so to effectively burn fat it's a mixture of a nutritious diet and combining cardio and strength workouts!

2. More sweat means burning extra calories...
...false! Sweat is simply a biological response to regulate your internal body temperature. It doesn't mean you ridded more calories than normal, however you may weigh less immediately after because you've lost extra water weight. Make sure to re-hydrate accordingly!

3. Skipping sleep will cause you to gain weight...
...true! Sleep deprivation increases ghrelin production (a hormone which triggers hunger). When sleep deprived you're more likely to be extra hungry that day, which will cause you to eat more than you normally would.

4. Running outside and treadmill running are equivalent...
...false! When running outside more muscles are engaged due to the constantly changing terrain and the weather (wind). The net result is on average about 10% more calories burned outside than when running the same distance on the treadmill.

5. Women and men can use the same training plans...
...true! Both women and men have the same body structure, but with hormonal differences. These hormonal differences will cause differences in muscle strength but both sexes can still work out the same way. While men mainly focus on the upper half and women on the lower, it's important to get in workouts that targets both halves of the body!


Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Delicious (Healthy) Smoothies!

Add 1-2 ice cubes to the following smoothies or substitute the ice cubes with frozen fruit instead of using fresh fruit...

Raspberry Almond Smoothie - 
1/2 Cup Almond Milk
1/2 Cup Low-Fat Plain Yogurt
1/2 Banana
1/2 Cup Raspberries
1 Tablespoon Honey
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon

*Using greek yogurt will give the smoothie a creamier texture and a slightly sweeter taste!

Orange Almond Smoothie - 
1 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1/2 Cup Orange Juice
1 Lemon (Juiced)
1 Lime (Juiced)
1 Tablespoon Honey

*Juicing a fresh orange makes this recipe more time consuming but greatly reduces the unnatural sugar content of this smoothie!

Kale Banana Smoothie - 
1 Cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 Banana
1 Cup Chopped Kale
1/4 Cup Water

*Using a very ripe banana will make this smoothie less bitter!

Strawberry Citrus Smoothie - 
1 Grapefruit (Peeled, Seeded, Chunked)
1/2 Cup Crushed Pineapple
1/2 Cup Strawberries
1/2 Cup Low-Fat Greek Yogurt

*Using canned pineapple is easier than crushing a fresh one, just make sure to read the label to ensure the canned fruit isn't soaked in sugar as most name brands are!

Green Smoothie - 
1 Cup Spinach
1 Cup Kale
1/2 Banana
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1-2 Tablespoons Cacao Powder
1/2 Can Coconut Milk

*Use less greens/a full banana to make the smoothie more fruity!



Monday, 7 April 2014

Acne & Scarring @ Home Remedies

Let's face it, you can't go through life without a pimple. Some are fortunate enough to have what seems like a perfect complexion, while others unfortunately have poor genetics and aren't as lucky.

Everyone's skin is different, and a variety of things cause different people to break out. What causes a huge breakout for me is completely different for every single one of you. Not all of these tricks will work immediately, and not all will work for every single person. It's about what works best for you as an individual, and that just takes time to figure be patient!

Home Remedies:

...the acidity dries up active breakouts, and the Vitamins A, C, and K act as healers. Slice a tomato and place on trouble areas. Using mashed tomato as a face mask serves the same purpose.

Apple Cider Vinegar...
...I was told this would clear up my face almost immediately. I used the vinegar as an overnight toner and saw zero results. 
...However, mixing 1 tsp of cider vinegar with 2 tsps water has proved to be a very effective toner for others.
...During the day it should be rinsed off, because it can dry out the skin. But, if the breakouts are severe, it can be left on overnight (just make sure to moisturize well). 

Baking Soda...
...very effective for me. By mixing the soda with water (1:1 ratio), and using a Q-tip to apply to active breakouts and scars, leaving on for 15-20 minutes and then washing it off, it cleared up my skin in only a few days. I used it twice a day (morning and night) and it didn't cause dryness, although I've heard it can. It can also cause your skin to become excessively oily in some cases.

Honey & Cinnamon...
...honey is an anti-bacterial, and cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory. Using the two as a face mask is most effective.

Lemon Juice...
...the acidity dries up pimples and also kills acne bacteria. The Vitamin C content prevents dryness. Squeeze a lemon onto a cotton ball and apply to the trouble areas.

...slice one in half and apply to acne. The raw potato heals and acts as an anti-inflammatory.

Lifestyle Remedies:

- eat less refined carbohydrates (bread, pasta) and reduce excessive sugar consumption (natural sugars are fine)
*corn pasta tastes identical to traditional white pasta however is gluten free and reduces bloating!

- eat probiotics (fermented foods: sauerkraut, goat cheese, natural yogurt)

- eat vegetables (and whole grains) to provide your body with energy which prevents it from metabolizing junk

- drink more water and less sweet drinks

- get enough sleep to reduce stress

- don't touch your face! 

Hope you find that one of these works for you!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

The Science Behind Coconut Milk!

I can't be the only one out there that hears about these "super-foods" or these foods that become so popular that it seems like everyone is talking about them. Well...coconut milk appears to be one of the big ones right now, and after buying it in bulk I decided to really research it!

The milk is lactose free (vegan approved). It can be used as a perfect smoothie base or as a dairy alternative when baking.

Be Careful!
What I was really shocked about was the fat content of the milk! That's why they suggest that it should be consumed in moderation. 

BUT...the fats are chemically bonded in medium length chains so they metabolize quickly into energy within the liver. This means they're less likely to build up in the body and be stored as fat. particular one chain is called lauric acid. This is an antiviral, anti fungal, and antibacterial that destroys many disease causing organisms. So drinking coconut milk can actually protect the body from infections and viruses!

*Buying the unsweetened organic coconut milk helps to eliminate the added sugar and extra calories in the more common brands of coconut the label!

Other Health Benefits...
...promotes digestion and can relieve acid reflux symptoms
...very high in iron (22% of the recommended daily allowance) so can help to treat anemia
...helps to relax nerves and muscles
...lowers blood pressure, controls blood sugar level, reduces joint inflammation
...relieves sore throat symptoms
...antioxidants to fight poor vision and low bone density (arthritis)

In Addition... care: cleans pores, removes dirt, and acts as a gentle exfoliator, but keeps the skin well moisturized at the same time, as well as sunburn relief care: contains Vitamin E/fats to moisturize hair, nourish, control excessive hair loss, promote growth, and reduce dandruff

Quinoa (Flake) Hot Cereal

1 Cup Vanilla Almond Milk
1/3 Cup Quinoa Flakes
Dried Fruit (Gogi Berries)
1 Tablespoon Nut Butter (Almond)
Handful of Strawberries

*For the milk, dried fruit, nut butter, and strawberries I just listed what I've been using, however any type of milk, dried fruit, nut butter, and fresh fruit would taste delicious!

- In a small saucepan bring the milk to a boil, pour in the quinoa flakes and turn off the burner. Stir the mixture constantly for approximately 3 minutes (or until it thickens to be the consistency you like).

- Stir in the dried fruit and nut butter, and top with the fresh fruit.

*You can top it with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup as well!

Quinoa Flakes?...
...they're a gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan breakfast option. The flakes are made from quinoa, and have all of the health benefits, but in a more familiar breakfast texture (think oatmeal).
...they're very low in calories, fat, and are cholesterol-free.
...a great source of protein, and dietary fibre.