Saturday, 3 May 2014

Homemade Salsa Recipe

Homemade salsa is not only fresher than store bought, but also contains way fewer preservatives. The preservatives in store bought salsa do allow it to have a longer shelf life, however this results in a much higher sodium content than in homemade.

3 Fresh Tomatoes
1/3 Red Onion (Chopped)
Cayenne Pepper
1 Lime (Juiced)
2 Garlic Cloves (Minced)

- Chop the tomato up into medium sized pieces.

- Mix the tomato in with the onion, cilantro, and garlic.

- Squeeze the lime juice over the mixture, and add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper.

- Place the mixture in a food processor for a few quick pulses to create a chunky salsa, or pulse for a bit longer to make a thinner dip.

*Feel free to add some processed jalapeƱo pepper into the salsa for a bit of a kick!


Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Lowdown on Minerals...

Vitamins are often the central topic when we talk about foods and our required nutrients, but it's important that we focus on our required minerals as well! Most people are aware of their calcium intake, but we often forget about the other essential minerals. Here is a list of the required minerals, evidence of a deficiency, and the most common source of each mineral!


Salad Making Guideline!

There are countless foods that taste good mixed into a salad that allow you to pack in a ton of nutrition within just one meal. The trick is knowing how to build a salad from the greens all the way to the extra toppings so you can optimize the nutritive value of the meal!

Start w. Leafy Greens...
...1.5 - 2 Cups
- Arugula
- Lettuce
- Mixed Greens
- Spinach

Add Protein...
...1 or 2 Servings
- Sliced Boiled Egg
- Crumbled Feta Cheese/Mozzarella
- Grated Parmesan Cheese
- Grilled Chicken/Turkey
- Salmon/Tuna (Fresh/Canned)
- Black Beans/Kidney Beans
- Chickpeas
- Lentils

Add Veggies...
...2 Tablespoons
- Avocado
- Chopped Asparagus
- Sprouts
- Beets
- Bell Peppers
- Broccoli
- Shredded Carrots
- Celery
- Corn
- Cucumber
- Peas
- Tomato

Add Fruit...
- 1/2 Sliced Apple
- 1 Teaspoon Cranberries
- Handful of Grapes
- 1/2 Sliced Pear
- Sliced Strawberries
- Mandarin Chunks

Additional Toppings...
...1 Tablespoon
- Almonds, Cashews, Pecans, Walnuts
- Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Sesame Seeds


Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Best & Worst Smoothie Ingredients

Best Ingredients -

High Protein:
  • Low Fat Yogurt
  • Low Fat Milk/Almond Milk/Soy Milk
  • Natural Peanut Butter/Almond Butter

Fruits: fresh, frozen, canned (NOT in sugar)
  • Berries/Banana
  • Mango/Peach/Melon

Vegetables: raw (cooked vegetables will create an unpleasant texture)
  • Carrot/Cucumber
  • Kale/Spinach
  • Avocado/Beets

  • Flax/Chia Seed
  • Oats
  • Cinnamon & Nutmeg Spice/Vanilla Extract
  • Cocoa Powder (Unsweetened)/Raw Cacao

Worst Ingredients -
  • Fruit Juices
  • Sugar
  • Full Fat Dairy Products
  • Flavoured Yogurt
  • Ice Cream
  • Chocolate Syrup


Monday, 28 April 2014

Common Ingredient Substitutions!

Baking Powder (1 Teaspoon) - 1/4 teaspoon baking soda + (1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar) OR (1/2 cup buttermilk...decrease the liquid in the recipe by 1/2 cup

Bread Crumbs (1 Cup) - 1 cup cracker crumbs OR 1 cup ground oats

Broth (1 Cup) - 1 tablespoon soy sauce + enough water to total 1 cup

Brown Sugar (1 Cup) - 1 cup white sugar + 1/4 cup molasses...decrease the liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup

Buttermilk (1 Cup) - 1 cup yogurt OR (1 tablespoon lemon juice/vinegar + enough milk to total 1 cup)

Cream: Half & Half (1 Cup) - 7/8 cup milk + 1 tablespoon butter
Cream: Heavy (1 Cup) - 3/4 cup milk + 1/3 cup butter
Cream: Light (1 Cup) - 3/4 cup milk + 3 tablespoons butter

Egg (1 Whole) - half a banana (mashed) + 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Honey (1 Cup) - 1 1/4 cup white sugar + 1/3 cup water

Lemon Juice (1 Teaspoon) - 1/2 teaspoon vinegar 

Yogurt (1 Cup) - 1 cup sour cream OR 1 cup buttermilk


I Hate My Body...?

I hate my hair, I hate my nose, I hate my arms, are all things that are said or heard fairly often. The one saying that's really starting to show up is the broader version: I hate my body. People hear or say things like "ugh I hate my legs" with such ease, and in a jokingly light tone...but now that people are easily voicing "I hate my body" it's important that we all learn to take it seriously.

I believe that a big portion of why people comment negatively about their body is due to how they believe others will perceive them based on what others look like. We see seemingly perfect women and men plastered across billboards and on TV screens in front of us, and then any little flaw we see when we look in the mirror becomes a big deal in comparison to those airbrushed ads. We go and hang out with our friends and know that they have seen these "perfect people" in the media and we think to ourselves that we don't amount to them so we jokingly comment on our perceived flaws. It's almost like we think others will voice our flaws if we don't, so saying them on our own makes us feel better because then we can assure our peers won't be secretly thinking about them. But that's just wrong.

If it's about thinking you won't have friends if you're not stereotypically beautiful, or if it's about not being able to find a boyfriend or girlfriend because you think they'll see you as ugly, then it's truly an issue of psychological nature.

On the other hand, if it's others that tell you you're not beautiful then it doesn't actually have anything to do with you at all, it's an issue that the other person has to deal with. It may hurt to hear those negative comments, but you can't let it lower your self-esteem. You just have to remind yourself that it's the other person who has an issue if they think it's okay to say those things to you.

The beauty in our world is uniqueness. Yes people say it's all about being beautiful on the inside, but let's face it, beauty on the outside is a factor and we all know that. However, it's about the fact that beauty on the outside is not measured by stereotypic beauty portrayed in the media, it's about beauty found within uniqueness.

You don't have to completely prevent yourself from thinking negative thoughts about your body. It's about being able to recognize what you are thinking, and to actively let the thought go. After the thought passes it's important to concentrate on more positive thoughts. Work on accepting your body without making comparisons.

We are overly critical of our own bodies mostly due to what we believe we are perceived as. But most of the time others don't see what we see when we're standing up close and over analyzing ourselves in a mirror.

In the end, everyone is beautiful in their own unique way, and it's one thing for me to say that, but it's important that everyone out there is able to say it about themselves. Let's work together on appreciating not only our own body but also everyone else around us. Let's not jokingly say we hate things about ourselves, because it's important to remember that it really isn't a joke in the end.

I believe it's important for us to eliminate this saying from our vocabulary...and in the process learn to enjoy fuelling your body with nutritious (and delicious) foods, and getting some exercise with friends and family.

Learn to love yourself and those around you, on the inside and out.


Cauliflower Potato Salad

1 Head Cauliflower
6 Eggs
3 Celery Stalks (Chopped)
1 Cup Peas
1 Bell Pepper (Chopped)
1/2 Cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes
1 Cup Greek Yogurt
1 Tablespoon Mustard
Ground Pepper

- Hard Boiled Eggs: place them in a pot, cover them with one inch of water, bring the water to a gentle boil, remove the pot from the heat, and let the covered pot stand for 8 to 10 minutes.

- Rinse the eggs under cold water, de-shell them, and chop them into bite sized pieces.

- Boil the cauliflower until tender (about 15 minutes).

- Mix all of the ingredients together and place in the fridge for 3 to 4 hours.


Unusual Weight Loss Methods!

Peppermint: the scent of peppermint can reduce hunger before a meal (lower caloric intake)
- brushing your teeth w. mint flavoured toothpaste right after eating tells your brain the meal is done and you'll be less tempted to take another bite of food

Vanilla: the scent of vanilla after eating suppresses dessert cravings (light a vanilla candle after eating) 

Colour: blue is an appetite suppressant
- wearing blue, eating off of a blue plate or tablecloth, and/or eating in a blue room will make your food look less appealing and you'll likely eat less

Size: eating off of smaller plates will cause you to serve yourself smaller portions, and often you'll find you're satisfied with these smaller meals

Temperature: sleeping in a colder room can increase weight loss (revs metabolism)
- you'll likely burn more calories while sleeping

Pictures: keeping pictures of healthy foods on your fridge and seeing them before snacking can help you stick to the healthy foods when choosing what to munch on
OCD: studies show that if you keep your desk tidy you'll be more likely to snack healthy

Seating: if you're out for dinner try to sit at the end of the table
- chairs near the centre of the dining table are within arms reach of the shared items (ex. bread baskets)

Guilt: if you eat an unhealthy meal it's better to not feel guilty afterwards
- dieters often overeat due to stress, so if you feel guilty after a meal it'll often cause you to eat another unhealthy meal

Snack Whole: eat unprocessed whole foods as much as possible, it requires more energy to break them down and digest therefore you burn more calories when you eat them (vs. refined foods)


Sun-Dried Tomato Dip


3/4 Cup Sun-Dried Tomatoes
4 Garlic Cloves
2 Cans Chickpeas
1/3 Cup Lemon Juice
1/3 Cup Tahini
1 Tablespoon Honey
1/2 Teaspoon Cumin
1/4 Teaspoon Paprika
1/4 Cup Fresh Basil

- Blend the sun dried tomatoes and garlic cloves in a processor.

- Leave that mixture in the blender and add in the chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, honey, cumin, paprika, basil, and salt. Continue to process until the chunks disappear.

*You may need to add some water to make it the consistency you prefer!


Sunday, 27 April 2014

The 99 Workout!

If you're looking for a killer workout to provide cardio/to help you tone up at the same time, then here it is. The workout is 8-9 sets long but can easily be adjusted for your personal fitness level. It's also easy to do anywhere with a bit of open space and a wall! This workout is easily adaptable, whether it's differing levels of experience, or length of time available for a workout, you can adjust The 99 Workout to suit your lifestyle...


Cauliflower Mac-&-Cheese

8 Ounces Pasta (Gluten Free)
1 Head Cauliflower (Chopped)
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Onion (Diced)
2 Garlic Cloves (Minced)
2 Tablespoons Flour
1 Cup Skim Milk
1 Cup Chicken Broth (Low-Sodium)
10 Ounces Cheese (Cheddar)
1 Pinch Cayenne Pepper

- Preheat the oven to 350 F.

- Bring water to a boil for the pasta, and cook the pasta until 5 minutes are left from it being finished. Put the cauliflower in with the pasta and continue cooking until the pasta is ready.

- In a frypan melt the butter and add the onion. Fry the onion until slightly golden and add the garlic, cooking only for about 30 seconds.

- Add the flour and cayenne into the onion and garlic mixture and stir for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and the chicken broth, then simmer until it thickens (around 5 minutes).

- Turn down the heat and add the cheddar cheese slowly until it melts into the sauce (stir while doing so to avoid clumping).

- Add the pasta and cauliflower mixture to the sauce and mix. Pour this into a baking pan and bake for 35 minutes.


Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle

THINK positively doesn't mean you have to avoid the unpleasant situations in life, it's about having a positive mindset when approaching unpleasantness

EXERCISE daily improve your posture, confidence, memory, and energy level, as well as to reduce stress and improve your sleep cycles

EAT healthy
...this doesn't mean that you can't indulge on sweets or unhealthy foods once in a while, but it does mean that you should always consider the healthier options to keep your heart, brain, muscles, and bones healthy

WORK hard
...the age old question is "why work hard, we're all going to die in the end?", but it's not about working yourself as hard as you can, it's about finding a healthy balance between a job you love and your home-life so that you can feel satisfied with and enjoy your accomplishments

STAY strong
...every little event that tries to weaken us is just there to help us become stronger for the other events that'll occur on our journey through life so it's important to make do with what you have, and to not compare your life to other people's seemingly "perfect" lives

WORRY less
...worrying doesn't help you to accomplish anything it just wastes your time, the energy that you spend worrying can be spent more productively, so it's important to place your focus in the right direction

LOVE often's not just about loving others, it's about being able to love yourself, and love what you've accomplished in life thus far

BE happy happy with who you are, be happy with the people who have always been there for you, be happy with your choices, and accept everyone (including yourself) for who they (you) are