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Recipe: Savoury Turkey Pie

Canadian winters are as cold as a woman scorned.  You could curl up in sadness under a dozen layers of Hudson’s Bay stripe wool blankets waiting for the polar vortex to pass; or you can make some comfort food, put on your best onesie, and surf Netflix until the last snow flakes fly.


Savoury Turkey Pie is a new take on the classic Sheperd’s Pie.  In the new year turkey parts are abundant and as grocery stores try and move the fresh meats off the shelves it is also highly affordable.  Turkey is incredibly nutritious, and is a highly bioavailable source of protein.  (Without going into a lesson about bioavailability, in short it means how much of the protein is actually absorbed and used in the body, and in turkey, it’s very high!)  The pie is hearty and flavoured with herbs reminiscent of holiday stuffing. It smells so good you’ll think that your Grandma was in the kitchen cooking for you!
 


Suggested sides for this dish: steamed broccoli or green beans, leafy green salad, and even cranberry sauce!  Fresh cranberries are in season from September till harvest in November, and are available in stores through January.  Frozen cranberries are available year round.  And if you find yourself in a point of low desperation, there is always canned.  (You did NOT see me blog that.)
 

Savoury Turkey Pie


*Gluten free, nut free

Serves: 12
 
Ingredients:
3lb extra lean ground turkey (or 3 butcher’s packs)
3 whole eggs*
100g prosciutto
3/4 c butter, ghee, coconut oil, or butter flavour coconut oil
2 c white onion, chopped (approximately 2 medium onions)
2 to 2-1/2 c celery (approximately 4 stalks)
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
*Eggs are optional, but I include them because I find that the pie holds together much better opposed to crumbling apart.

 

Potato Topping Ingredients:
4lb potatoes (or more to your liking, I use 6lb!)
1 whole egg*
1/2 c whole milk or full fat coconut milk
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
*The egg is optional here too, however it helps the mashed potato hold its shape and contribute to a nice golden hue when broiled.
 
Recommended Equipment:
3 qt rectangle glass baking dish
Potato masher or immersion blender

Garlic press


Directions:

Prepare potato topping first.
Peel and cut potatoes into chunks. 
In large pot of boiling salted water, cover and cook potatoes until tender, 15 minutes.
Drain
Using a potato masher or immersion blender mash with choice of milk, salt and pepper.
Let the mixture cool completely.
In a separate bowl whisk egg and pour over potato mixture, stir until combined.

 

Turkey filling:
In skillet, melt butter or coconut oil over medium heat.  Cook celery, onions, garlic, sage, rosemary, salt, pepper and prosciutto until just tender, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
Add lean ground turkey.  Sauté until no longer pink, but do not cook.
Drain off all liquid.  Allow to cool.
In a separate bowl whisk the eggs.  
Pour drained turkey mixture in 3 qt rectangle glass baking dish.
Pour eggs over turkey mixture and stir until combined.
Using the back of a large spoon or spatula press the turkey mixture into the baking dish so it is firmly combined.  Use the same utensil to level the mixture in the dish.

Scoop mashed potato on top up the turkey filling.
Using the back of a large spoon or spatula press the mashed potato into the turkey filling and use the same utensil to level the mixture.
If you want to get fancy you can create designs on the top of the mashed potatoes.
  
Bake at 370 for 40 minutes
Broil on low to medium for an additional 10 minutes until potato topping appears golden
 
Let stand 15-20 minutes before serving.


Approximate macros are not for the faint of heart!  This dish is satisfying and a great option for the muscle builder to meal prep for the week.
Per Serving:
Calories: 523  -  Protein: 33g  -  Carbohydrates: 44g  -  Fat:24g

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Recipe: Mojito Rice Salad

-Originasl Post: August 4, 2017-  

Hot days and cool sides.  Cold salads are a staple on every picnic table all summer long.  In a season saturated with potatoes and macaroni, serve something unexpected!  Mojito Rice Salad captures the perfect summer flavours combining fragrant jasmine rice with coconut, lime, and mint; and just like the cocktail it's equally as refreshing.  It's so delicious you may save a little bit for dessert!  
 
Mojito Rice Salad pairs exceptionally well with spicy main dishes, sweet-dry white wines, dry-hopped IPAs, gin cocktails, and of course the cocktail bearing its namesake.  

 

 

This recipe is easy to prepare ahead of time, and scale up into a bigger batch for larger groups.
(Or just to hoard some for yourself for when the guests are gone and you're rooting through the fridge for that thing you are going to eat straight out of the bowl.)
 
Mojito Rice Salad
 
Ingredients:
Jasmine rice, package instructions for 4 servings.
1 and 1/2 fresh limes
3 TBSP agave syrup, or 3 packets stevia, or stevia drops (manufacturer's vary in strength- know your product.  I don't advise testing 20,00000 drops in a new recipe!)
1/2 c fresh mint, chopped
1/4 tsp sea salt - add more if you prefer.
 
Recommended Equipment:
Basic juicer (also called a "reamer").
 
Directions:
 
Prepare jasmine rice as per package instructions yielding 4 servings.  -Replace water from package instructions with coconut milk beverage, such as Coconut Dream, or you can use 1/2 water and 1/2 canned coconut milk.
 
Once complete package instructions, let cool completely.
 
In a large bowl measure out "4 servings" of rice.  I found that the package directions produced double the amount I actually needed.  I used 354g (12oz) of cooked jasmine rice.
 
In a small bowl combine juice of 1 and 1/2 limes, your choice of agave syrup or sweetener, and sea salt.
 
Add liquid mixture to the rice and combine.
 
Gently stir in fresh chopped mint.
 
Serve well chilled.
 
Store refrigerated in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
 
Per 3oz serving: 
Calories: 156  -  Carbohydrates: 41g  -  Protein: 2.7g  -  Fat:1.7g  -  Fibre: 1g
 
*If using stevia instead of agave syrup:
Calories: 146  -  Carbohydrates: 29g  -  Protein: 2.7g  -  Fat:1.7g  -  Fibre: 1g

 

 

 

 

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Recipe: Citrus Grilled Bok Choy

-Original Post: July 26, 2017- 

 

Up your nutrition game by putting something green on the bbq that you and your guests will eat up!  ('Cause let's face it, no one really gets excited about salad anymore.)  This citrus marinade dressed over healthyful baby bok choy is the perfect balance of spicy, sweet, and a little bit tangy, balancing the char of the grill and the general hatred of leafy greens.  -Just kidding.  Bok choy, otherwise known as Chinese cabbage is from the crucifer family which carries beneficial sulphuric compounds and as leafy greens do, a slight bitter taste.  When cooked the flavours soften and meld together, making it the perfect base for this marinade.
 
How nutritious is bok choy?  A 1 cup serving provides 64% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin K1, necessary for blood clot formation and has an anti-inflammatory effect beneficial for the cardiovascular system.  It provides 59% of your daily vitamin C, most notably known for immune health, collagen formation -the very structure of our bodies, and building hormones.  You might say that bok choy is comparable to its evil cousin kale, however it is more nutrient dense in vitamins B6 and folate, and far more mineral rich in potassium, calcium, and iron.  And not to sound like we're bragging, but bok choy is also loaded with antioxidants which help protect the cells from oxidative stress and reduce inflammation.  These two factors have been linked with the reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.

 

 

This side dish pairs nicely with any main, however it does have a tendency to steal the show.  It has been previously tested alongside the Thai-Inspired Chicken Burgers as pictured above.
 
Citrus Grilled Bok Choy
 
Ingredients:
6- 8 heads of baby bok choy, washed and cut in half lengthwise
Juice of 1 orange - fresh is best.  Prepared orange juice will not import the same flavour
1 tbsp spice infused olive oil, such as this, or you can use 1 tbsp oil + 1 tsp your favourite hot sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tsp dry ginger
1 tsp dry mustard
Sesame seeds
 
Recommended Equipment:
Basic juicer (also called a "reamer")
Nonstick BBQ grill topper
BBQ tongs
Baking sheet
Optional: parchment
 
Directions:
 
Extract juice from orange by cutting in half through all sections of the orange.  Then press down onto the reamer, twisting as you go pressing all juice from the fruit. Repeat with the second half.
 
In a small bowl add juice, spicy olive oil, rice vinegar, coconut sugar, dry ginger, and dry mustard.  Stir until combined.  Set aside.
 
Thoroughly wash and pat dry bok choy.  Cut in half lengthwise and lay face up on baking sheet.
 
With a spoon, or a basting brush, dress marinade over bok choy.  If there is any leftover you may use it to continue to dress the bok choy while it is on the grill.
 
You may let this rest for an hour to two hours, however this step is not necessary.
 
Using tongs place bok choy on nonstick bbq grill.  Cook until leaves are crisp and centre is just tender.
 
Top with sesame seeds and serve.
 
Now you can finally get everyone to enjoy eating greens!

 

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Recipe: No Carb Bread? YES! Cloud Bread - Two Ways

-Original Post: July 18 2017-

 

No carb bread?  Yes.  Read that again.  No carb bread.  It's called "Cloud Bread" and if you are gluten intolerant or watching your carbs for personal or health reasons then this recipe will change your life.
 
Cloud Bread is a fluffy little egg base bun made with only three ingredients and a dash of care.  They are perfect in place of your traditional sandwich or hamburger bun, as used with the Thai-Inspired Chicken Burgers, as an English muffin under your eggs benny, or an anytime snack.  Once you've made a batch this will become a household staple.  And I've prepared the recipe in two variations for you:  A paleo Coconut Cloud Bread, and a Skyr Cloud Bread (dairy), which produces a lower calorie content and a higher protien, lower fat nutrition ratio.
 
Choose your version, and enjoy your life again!

 

Coconut Cloud Bread
 
Yields 8 buns.
 
Ingredients:
3 whole eggs, separated
3 tbsp coconut cream, from the can of full fat coconut milk
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
 
Calories per bun: 38
Protein: 2g - Carbs: <1g - Fat: 3g
 
Skyr Cloud Bread
 
Yields 8 buns.
 
Ingredients:
3 whole eggs, separated
3 tbsp Skyr yogurt, unflavoured
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
 
Calories per bun: 30
Protein: 3g - Carbs: <1g - Fat: 2g
 
Recommended Equipment:
Stand or hand mixer.
Two mixing bowls, small and medium.
Cookie sheet.
Parchment paper.
 
Directions:
 
*For best results chill mixing bowls and beaters beforehand, and make sure eggs are well chilled.  To get the best coconut cream chill a can of full fat coconut milk overnight.   Do not mix.
 
Preheat oven temperature to 325F and prepare cookie sheet with parchment.  I crumple my parchment so that it stays put on the tray.  -And it just looks so rustic, doesn't it!

 

Open the can of coconut milk and carefully scoop three tbsp of the cream off the top, leaving any water in the can and put it in the first bowl.
 
If using Skyr it's best to open a fresh container and scoop from the top where it is thickest.
 
Add three egg yolks to the coconut cream, setting the white aside for the rest of the recipe.
 
Beat the coconut cream and yolks together until smooth.  Set aside.
 
*Clean and dry your beaters.
 
In the second bowl, add the egg whites and the 1/2 tsp of cream of tartar.  Beat on medium until fluffy and stiff peaks form.  Once it is thick you are done.  If you overdo it your eggs will go flat and then you are making low carb crepes instead.
 
With a spatula or spoon gently fold in the egg yolks and cream.  Once completely mixed divide mixture onto the prepared parchment into 8 - 4" rounds.
 
Bake for 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven.  I had one batch go in for 30 minutes.
 
Store in an airtight container up to one week for coconut version, 3-5 days for Skyr version.
 
Enjoy!

 

 

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Recipe: Red Pepper Jam

-Original Post: July 7, 2017-  

 

A condiment with kick that sticks!  For anyone who likes a little heat, this is the perfect accompaniment at your next bbq.  The heat from the red chilis and fresh ginger meld together for that spicy zing, complimented by the caramel flavour of coconut sugar.  This jam makes an excellent topping for burgers or steaks.  Try it with the Thai-Inspired Chicken Burgers featured on the blog. 

 

Red pepper jam can be enjoyed by anyone looking for a little spice in their life.  It's gluten free, low FODMAP, soy free, nut free, dairy free, egg free... Free to put on anything!  Other possibilities for this jam are: as an ingredient in meat marinades or wing sauces, as an ingredient in tomato-based sauces.  Mix with greek yogurt for a healthy nacho dip.  And It also works well on baked brie or as part of your cheese/charcuterie board!  

 

Red Pepper Jam

 

Yields approximately 3/4-1 cup

 

Ingredients:

125g red chilis - medium hot (but I'm not the boss of you, choose according to your comfort level.  Just don't be a sissy.)

1.5 cm or 1 tbsp fresh finely grated ginger

1 tsp garlic infused olive oil

3/4 c coconut sugar

3/4 c raw apple cider vinegar

 

Recommended Equipment:

Grater with a fine grating side.

Latex first aid gloves for handling chilli pepper.  Let's not talk about how many ways you can hurt yourself discovering the oils from the peppers under your skin.  Wear gloves!

 

Directions:

 

Combine ingredients in a small bowl.

 

Wearing protective gloves, remove the pith from the red chilli, dice very small, and add to the bowl.

 

Grate ginger using the fine side of the grater, add to the diced chilis.

 

Add the final ingredients: garlic olive oil, coconut sugar, and apple cider vinegar, and stir.

 

Transfer to a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.

 

Reduce heat and simmer for 35-45 minutes until sauce thickens.  

 

Remove from heat and allow to cool before serving.

 

Consume within 2 weeks.

 

Per 1 tsp serving: 

Calories: 18  -  Protein: 0g  -  Carbohydrates: 4g  -  Fat:0g

*Based on 3/4 cup yield*

 

*1 cup yield, per 1 tsp serving: Calories: 14  -  Protein: 0g  -  Carbohydrates: 3g  -  Fat:0g

 

 

 

 

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Recipe: Thai-Inspired Chicken Burgers

-Original Post: June 28, 2017-  

 

Try something new on the grill this weekend!  These Thai-inspired chicken burgers are a healthy alternative with a lot of flair compared to the standard beef patty.  The burgers themselves have a full dimension of flavour incorporating fresh grated ginger, red chilli, fresh cilantro and lemongrass.  And they also sneak in an extra serving of vegetables from the shredded zucchini tucked inside, tricking even the most resistant guest into putting something green in their mouth.

 

The burgers themselves are gluten free, dairy free, and low FODMAP, however how you choose to dress them is up to your palate.  Pictured here are the Thai Chicken Burgers dressed in goat cheese, red pepper jam (check out the recipe!), fresh cilantro, and capped off with no carb coconut cloud bread.

 

Suggested sides for this dish: jasmine rice, cauliflower rice, sautéed or grilled vegetables like napa cabbage or bok choy, or cole slaw.  (Recipes coming soon!)  

 

Thai Chicken Burgers

 

Serves: 4

 

Ingredients:

1lb extra lean ground chicken

4oz zucchini, grated

1 egg

1 red chilli, medium heat

1" fresh ginger, grated

2 lemongrass stalks, white part only

2 green onions, green stalks only

1 bunch fresh cilantro (1/2c - 1c), diced small

2 tsp garlic infused olive oil

2 tsp fish sauce

1 tsp pink peppercorns, crushed

1/2 tsp pink sea salt

 

Recommended Equipment:

Grater

Cheesecloth

Latex first aid gloves for handling chilli pepper.  Even a mild to medium pepper could cause skin discomfort, or, tragically, hours later you will likely have an itchy eye and forget you were handling a pepper...  Protect yourself!

Non-stick BBQ Grill topper, such as this one here: Click to see

A sense of adventure.

 

Directions:

 

Grate zucchini and using a cheesecloth, squeeze all the excess water out.  Too much water will make the burgers fall apart too easily.  Time permitting, I recommend laying the zucchini on a plate with a paper towel on top and letting it dry more in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

Begin putting ingredients in a large bowl.  Wearing protective gloves, remove the pith and seeds from the red chilli, dice very small, and add to the bowl.  Discard gloves and switch to a clean cutting surface and a clean cutting utensil.  Grate ginger using the fine side of a grater.  Discard the stalks and woody bottom of the lemongrass, and only the white part, approximately the last 1.5"-2", dice well.  Remove the white part of the green onion and cut the remaining green stalks into pieces.  Chop cilantro leaves and most of the stems as small as you can.  Add garlic oil, fish sauce, crushed peppercorns and sea salt.  Mix well.

 

Add shredded zucchini and egg and mix again.

 

Add chicken and mix until combined, but do not over mix.  T

he more you handle your ground meat the more it will shrink while cooking!

 

Form chicken mixture into four patties.  It will seem goopy, but will cook to a fine solid on the grill.  If you have a Non-stick BBQ Grill topper, such as the one suggested, it will come in handy to keep them up and from falling through.

(The recipe will yield four large, hungry adult sized patties.  You can divide into six or four smaller patties if you like.  Chances are no matter what size you cook up they are going to disappear fast!)

 

Cook until internal temperature reaches 165 F / 74 C

 

Enjoy!

 

Per Serving:

Calories: 250  -  Protein: 29g  -  Carbohydrates: 3g  -  Fat:14g

 

Suggested pairings (because life is about balance): Sweet or fruit based beverages. Wine such as gewurtzraminer, resiling, or a light rose, or a fermented apple or pear cider.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blueberry Protein Pancakes, With Fibre!

-Original Post: March 11, 2017-  

 

Whether you are an athlete maintaining physique or an individual on weight loss journey you likely require a greater amount of protein to support the growth and maintenance of lean muscle mass.  Daily intake is increased anywhere from 1.4-1.8g per kg of body weight per day making up to anywhere from 25%-35% of total daily calories, this can be a difficult task!  The addition of protein powders in the form of whey, egg white, collagen, hemp, pumpkin seed, and pea to name a few are popular in shakes and smoothies, but sometimes you need to get creative.  Protein is now used in bars, cookies, nut butters, and the popular protein pancake!
 
Here's a fact that will really move you. (Pun intended.)  When eating on a macronutrient specific diet, that is calculating the right percentage of protein, carbs, and fats for your needs and health goals we often forget about an important nutrient for the ultimate healthy body.  Fibre - And we're not getting enough of it!  According to a U.S. study* the average adult consumes only 9g of fibre a day.  This is less than half of the recommended daily intake of 25g for women, and 38g for men.
 
Now that you want it, what is it?  -  Fibre is a non-digestible carbohydrate found in plant foods; fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and grains.  It's as simple as that.  It is an important part of a healthy diet and plays many roles in the body.  Fibre helps to:
 
-Keep you fuller longer.  Fibre slows down digestion keeping you satiated, which may help with weight loss.
-Helps maintain stable blood sugar.  Fibre slows your body’s breakdown of carbohydrates, therefore slowing the  absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.
-Reduces cardiovascular disease risk.  Fibre helps lower levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein), aka, “bad” cholesterol,  which when too high can for deposits of plaque in your arteries.
-And overall, keeps you regular.  And don't we love being regular!  Fibre helps ad bulk to your stool, sweeping all the  unwanted bacteria and toxins out to sea.
 
Let’s get chewing on some of that roughage!


Blueberry Protein Pancakes, with Fibre! 

 

Ingredients:
1 scoop protein powder, I like to use whey protein isolate
1/4 c liquid egg whites
1/4 c almond milk or water
2 tbsp coconut flour
2 tsp psyllium husk powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp baking soda
3 oz fresh blueberries, divided
1+1/4 tsp coconut oil
 
Directions:
Heat frying pan with coconut oil at low to medium heat.
Combine protein powder, coconut flour, psyllium husk powder, and cinnamon in a medium bowl and combine.
Add liquid egg whites, almond milk, vanilla extract, and apple cider vinegar.
Fold in 2oz of the fresh blueberries, reserving 1 oz for topping.
Add baking soda last, and stir in very well.
Pour approximately 1/4c of batter per pancake onto the hot pan.
When edges start to round and the top no longer looks fluid, time to flip! 
When cooked through top with the remaining fresh blueberries.
 
Enjoy!
 
Serves 1, makes approximately 3-4 pancakes.
 
Calories: 311  -  Protein: 36g  -  Carbohydrates: 19g  -  Healthy Fat:10g  -  FIBRE: 9g!
 
 
*U.S. study found here: Food Surveys Research Group: Fibre Intake Of The U.S. Population 

 

 

 

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Why You Should Eat Chocolate!

-Orginal Post: February 14, 2017- 

 

Chocolate is good for you!  It is a nutrient dense superfood and here are 10 reasons why you should be eating it on Valentine’s day, or every day!

  1. High in antioxidants.  Antioxidants absorb free radicals in the body from toxins, pollutants, and cancer causing agents.
  2. One of the highest plant sources of magnesium.  Magnesium is essential for heart health, turning glucose into energy, and is unfortunately one of the most common deficiencies in the human body.
  3. High in plant-based iron.  Iron is used for red blood cell production and transporting oxygen within the body.  Plant based iron is different from animal based heme iron,  and therefore is best absorbed with vitamin C.
  4. Contains healthy fats.  Raw cacao contains healthy fat similar to that in olive oil, contributing to many metabolic functions in the body including hormone and immune function, and aiding the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
  5. Cacao contains fibre which can support a healthy digestive tract and intestinal balance.
  6. Promotes healthy skin.  The flavanols (phytonutrient/antioxidant) in cacao can improve blood flow and hydration in the skin, helping to reduce sun-induced damage.  And the polyphenols (antioxidants) help our cells resist premature aging!
  7. Reduces inflammation.  The anti-inflammatory effect of flavanols can reduce inflammation in the body supporting cardiovascular and joint health.
  8. May help protect against cardiovascular disease.  The flavonols can stimulate the arteries to relax, reducingg blood pressure and improving circulation.  New science may also be showing that cacao has a positive effect on lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol, and increasing “good” HDL cholesterol.
  9. Energy boost and mental focus.  Cacao contains theobromine, which is a natural stimulant similar to caffeine.
  10. It elevates mood.  Cacao is a natural source of serotonin, dopamine, anandamide and phenylethylamine, which promote happiness, and can reduce feelings of depression. 

Look for 70% or greater raw, organic fair trade chocolate.
My favourite bars are:
Giddy YoYo
Hummingbird Chocolate
Zimt Chocolates

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fight Cold and Flu Season By Taking Back Your Immune System - Recipe Below

-Original Post: January 31, 2017-


Cold and flu season is here with a take no prisoners attitude.  Uncontrollable runny nose, coughing until your muscles collapse, and extreme fatigue.  Everyone seems to have been touched by this.  The illness seen to take longer than usual to recover from, keeping us worn down trying to make it through a day’s work.  It is by far the worst I have ever seen.  But do we really catch an illness, or do we create an environment for one?  We often wait until we have symptoms and then reach into the medicine cabinet for the thing we use to suppress them to get by until it’s over.  We suppress the symptoms, but do we address them?  Do we support our bodies mechanics to fight illness or better yet, create an environment where it cannot thrive?  I have some news for you.  We don’t catch an illness, we opened the door and invited in.  We are in charge of our immune systems.
 
Here are the top 5 ways we are sabotaging our immune systems:
Insufficient and poor quality sleep.  The body rebuilds and repairs while at rest, and that includes the immune system.
Stress causes the release of cortisol, which is immunosuppressive.
Lack of exercise.  Muscle movement actually moves the body’s detoxification (lymphatic) system.
Poor gut health due to poor nutrition, food intolerances, antibiotic use, or toxins that can destroy or reduce the healthy gut bacteria that supports immune function.
Poor nutrition.  Overconsumption of caffeine, sugar, refined foods, and alcohol are at the top of the list.  Lack of protein and essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
 
What we can do:
Get good quality sleep.  The body requires 6-9 hours per night.  Practice a routine that includes enough time for pre-bed hygiene and “winding down”.
Practice stress management.  Use deep breathing techniques, yoga, delegate/eliminate tasks, or plan some quality family time.  (Or alone time, I get it.)
Exercise more frequently.  Health Canada recommends you move your body for a minimum of 30 minutes a day.  This could be as easy as walking the dog.
Improve gut health by avoiding pollutants and toxins, food intolerances and replace with probiotics like real yogurt and fermented foods, and foods that contain more fibre.
Improve our nutrition.  Eat enough food to fuel your immune system.  And improve it with whole, natural sources of protein, vitamin C, zinc, and antioxidants.
 
“Wait…  Protein?  I thought I just needed to drink my body weight in orange juice.”
 
I’m about to blow your mind.
 
Protein is the most essential nutrient for a healthy immune system.  As you already may know protein is made of amino acids that are broken down and reused to build new cells.  This includes your immune army!   And some amino acids are further used to fuel the cells helping mobilize them to fight viruses and bacteria.  Protein can be obtained from both plant and animal sources, but of the 22 amino acids used by the body, the immune supportive ones are found highest in meats including poultry, eggs, and dairy.
*The recommended daily amount of protein ranges from .8g - 1.5g per lb of bodyweight.  This can vary with activity level.  Example: 4 oz of chicken breast provides 26g of protein.
 
Vitamin C really is a super vitamin, supporting a countless number of functions in the body.  It is an antioxidant, protecting our bodies from free radical damage.  Its specific application to the immune system is that it is needed to activate the immune system and help to increase its production.
Two important facts about vitamin C:
It is not stored in the body, and therefore needs to be replenished.
It can be easily destroyed by cooking.  It is best to consume sources of vitamin C raw or lightly steamed.
The highest sources of vitamin C are papayas, bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and strawberries…  Not your classic glass of oj.
*recommended daily amounts of vitamin C is 90mg for women, 75mg for men.  Example: 1 cup of broccoli provides 101mg of vitamin C.
 
Zinc is an important mineral for the immune system by increasing production, function, and the response of the immune cells, and it contributes to cell structure.  The best natural sources of zinc are found in: beef, lamb, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and spinach.
*Recommended daily intake is 8mg for women, 11mg for men.  Example: 1/4c of pumpkin seeds provides 2.5mg of zinc.
 

Putting it all together:  
 
Your Super Immune Building Salad  
(Gluten free, grain free, dairy free, SCD, low fodmap)
Servings - 1
 
Ingredients:
Please thoroughly wash all fresh vegetables before consumption
2 cups baby spinach leaves (zinc)
1/2 cup red bell pepper (vitamin C)
1/4 cup shredded carrot (carotenoids-antioxidants)
4 oz grilled chicken breast (protein)
1 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds (zinc)
Garnish: chopped fresh parsley (vitamin C)
 
Dressing:
1 tbsp whole grain natural mustard *whole, cracked seeds (ala form of omega 3 fatty acids)
1 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar (fermented, gut health)
1 tbsp spring, reverse osmosis, or filtered water
1 tsp pumpkin seed oil (ala form of omega 3 fatty acids)
 
Per Serving:
Calories - 307, Protein - 32g, Carbohydrates - 11g, Fats - 11g
 
Recommended sides:  Roasted sweet potato, quinoa

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2017 Has Started, Your Goals Are Waiting

 

-Original Post: January 14th, 2017-

 

It's been two weeks since we toasted to the New Year and with deep introspect, made plans of self-betterment for 2017.  So my question for you is: where are those plans now?  What happened to the resolutions you made with every ounce of self certainty to begin to tackle this year?  For some of you, you started strong and things sort of trailed off.  For others you never got started.  And for those of you who dove in and stayed strong this post isn't for you.  (Post something on instagram with the caption "two weeks and still on track" and tag @platesandpines so we can give you a high-five.)
 
Let's look at the reasons why New Year's Resolutions end up on the curb next to the Christmas tree.  For starters, the word "resolution":
Resolution - defined as:
1. an official decision that is made.
2. a promise to yourself to do or to not do something.
3. the act of solving or ending a problem or difficulty.
Number 1. and number 2. sound great, but number 3. indicates that there is a negative aspect about yourself that you want to change.  The biggest reason we often do not commit to a change of habits is because it is founded upon negative enforcement.  Focusing on the negative rarely motivates anyone, or anyone for very long.  Don't get me wrong, it is wise to see that we as human beings are imperfect, but a negative opinion of ones self cannot be a driving force.  It keeps you in an unhappy state, one of which you will need to get away from.
 
1. the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.
2. the destination of a journey.
3. a point marking the end of a race.
These are the definitions of "goals".  These are the reasons you should have if you aim to achieve that which you have set out to do.  Trade in the idea that you have an imperfection, a flaw, or an aspect that makes you feel lesser than your full potential, because it isn't.  This is an opportunity for incredible growth and all you need to do is set your sites on the outcome you are looking for.
 
Set goals, not resolutions.
 
The second reason you may be stumbling on how to keep or how to start working toward your goals for this year is a lack of, or poor planning.  If you want to build a house, a business, or cook a delicious meal, all of these successes begin with a plan.  A goal is no different.  A plan is so crucial to achieving your goal.  You must realize that at the end point, there is no more work, it becomes a new chapter, but it's the day to day steps you made to get there that ultimately won the battle.  It doesn't work just waking up and hoping that you'll begin making motions to achieve your dreams.  Take time to sit down and figure out how your day can shift to include working towards what you want to achieve.  It will be the most valuable time you have given yourself this year.
 
When planning how to get your goal there are two types of approaches: one is to go all in and the other is take it one step at a time.  To understand those who go all in, it is easier to eliminate bad habits and risks of falling of track by making the plan to change all at once.  Those who take it in steps find it easier to focus on mastering one skill at a time, often through repetition.  For anyone who needs to take it in steps it is tremendously important that you not only make a plan for your goal, but plan each step along the way and set a realistic timeline for each success.  Most people find themselves as either an all in or a taking steps kind of person, but as we are all unique and individual human beings, you may find success balancing both methods, maybe going all in with fitness, but taking steps improving your nutrition, or vice-versa.
 
The final reason you may find it difficult to start or stay on track is that you don't know where to begin.  Your goals do not have to be a solo effort!  Ask for help.  Get a nutrition coach and/or fitness coach to work out a plan with you.  Enlist friends and family to support and motivate you.  They may even join you!  Start a journal or social media account to document your journey and create accountability, even if it is just with yourself.  If your goal is not health or fitness related seek out the guidance of your local small business advisor, financial planner, or therapist.  There is nothing you cannot achieve in health and happiness in 2017.
 
A goal isn't an idea, it's where your future self will be. 

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Laura Livesfit
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January 31, 2019
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