3 Tips to Spring into Spring

“Spring has returned. The earth is like a child that knows poems.” Ranier Maria Rilke

Happy spring equinox! Spring symbolizes a rebirth. Look outside at what’s happening, the snow is melting and the ground unthawing to make way for new sprouts and then plants to emerge. This is known to be the time of year that is most stressful for mother nature.

Our body’s systems reflect the energy present in the world around us. Our bodies are very dependent on the sun’s energy; with the longer and brighter days, we naturally have more metabolic energy.

With today being the spring equinox (and spring starting tomorrow!), try these tips to renew yourself and align yourself with nature:

1. Let go. What can you give up in order to move forward? Think of this as either mental/spiritual or physical. Can you clean out your physical space? What items from your house can you give up to make more space for new things to come into your life? What ideas, thoughts and habits can you let go of? Seasonal anxiety is typical in the spring, and it’s made easier by lightening up our lives and getting rid of things that no longer serve us. How would you like to be reborn?

2. Add more raw foods. It’s time to shake off the slowness of winter with lighter, more expansive and yang foods. As green plants start to emerge, you’ll want to slowly increase fresh tasting foods and bitter greens into your diet. Start by slowly adding some raw foods into your diet, as your metabolic energy is increasing as the days get longer and warmer. Still keep your focus on eating warming foods, but add a few more salads here and there (see below for a fantastic Spring Equinox Salad recipe).

3. Add some liver-loving foods. Spring, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is liver season. This is the time of year when your liver is most active because it wants to clear out old junk! Sour and bitter flavours aid digestion and metabolism and stimulate healthy liver function. PMS can also be related to a sluggish liver (come to my talk tonight if you want to learn more about this – details are below!).

Eat these liver-loving foods:

  • Lemons – their bitter taste is very, very good for your liver. Juice half a lemon into a glass of water and drink it first thing in the morning to stimulate your liver and digestion.
  • Arugula – contains glucosinates, which stimulate natural cleansing enzymes. And arugula’s bitterness helps to encourage the digestive process and stimulate the liver.
  • Brussels sprouts – support both phases of liver detoxification and also contain glucosinates, which help the liver to eliminate toxins and excess hormones.
  • Garlic – known as a liver protector, and, in Ayurvedic medicine, is said to speed up circulation and cleansing. Garlic contains strong antioxidants and provides important sulfur compounds that the liver uses to build certain enzymes.
  • Beets – one of the most common and effective natural liver detoxifiers. Betaine, found in raw beets, helps to protect the liver and gallbladder and encourage detoxification.
  • Radishes – excellent for detoxifying the liver and gallbladder.
  • Herbs – especially those with a pungent flavour, such as basil, fennel, marjoram, rosemary, caraway, dill, bay leaf. Dill is especially good for your liver, as it supports both phases of liver detoxification.

Make this spring salad, below, and get excited about all the shades of green to come.

Spring Equinox Salad

Spring Equinox Salad

2 cups arugula
2 cups any other green (I like spinach or romaine)
1 cup green grapes, sliced in half
2-3 green onions or 10 ish chives, sliced
¼ cup fresh mint leaves or fresh dill, torn into rough pieces, chopped or left whole (depending on your preference)
1 cup chopped other green vegetables (get creative! Some of my faves: avocado, cucumber, endive, Brussels sprouts leaves, snow peas, celery, savoy cabbage, sliced radishes, steamed green beans…)
1 batch of Shallot Vinaigrette

Tumble arugula and spinach onto a big plate or bowl and scatter grapes, green veggies, chives or green onion and grapes overtop. Drizzle with Lady of Shallot dressing, or any other lemony and garlicky vinaigrette. Serves 4 beautiful people.

Other great spring recipes:

UPCOMING EVENTS

PMS Workshop Poster Innate

Foods and Natural Remedies to Beat PMS

If you suffer from pre menstrual syndrome, know that there are things that can be done to lessen your symptoms. Learn what your PMS symptoms are telling you and what you can do about it. Learn about foods to balance hormones and natural remedies to reduce symptoms.

  • Thursday, March 20
  • Innate Wellness, 5 Quebec Avenue
  • Free!
  • Call 416-760-9424 to reserve your spot!

Snack Workshop

Introduction to Snacks

Snacks are the key to more energy, a happy metabolism and balanced blood sugar. But it’s hard to find the inspiration for exciting snacks. Come out and learn how to make five super easy, healthy and delicious snacks. Watch me prepare each snack, learn the health benefits and taste each one! As one of my clients said, “snacks aren’t going anywhere.” You should come.

  • Sunday, March 23, 11am-2pm
  • Innate Wellness, 5 Quebec Avenue
  • $40
  • Call 416-760-9424 to reserve your spot!
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3 Supplements to Keep Your Belly Happy While Travelling

Lake Atitlán is a 2000' deep volcanic lake in the Guatemala highlands. It's a mysterious and magical place, and has been called the 'navel of the Mayan cosmos.'

Lake Atitlán is a 2000′ deep volcanic lake in the Guatemala highlands. It’s a mysterious and magical place, and has been called the ‘navel of the Mayan cosmos.’

I just got back from ten amazing days in Guatemala. My dear friend Joshua Lewis was leading a yoga retreat on the spectacular Lake Atitlán, so I got to tag along. We spent a week unplugging, exploring the nearby Mayan villages, eating delicious vegetarian food, seeing healing herb gardens, swinging in hammocks, swimming in the chilly lake, hiking, meditating before breakfast, exploring our personal edges in candlelit yin yoga and working with renowned healers. Amazingness.

So now that I’m back, I’d like to share my three favourite supplements to keep your tummy happy and immune system strong while travelling to developing areas. (The first two recommendations can be used no matter where you go.)

One of the most helpful things I can recommend, however, is to boost your immune system BEFORE you go on your trip. You’ve likely spent a lot of money and time planning your amazing vacation, and you want to enjoy it! Lessen the chances of coming down with something by improving your body’s terrain. (Sidenote: A good friend just got back from a wedding in Panama where guests were dropping like flies due to a nasty stomach bug. The guests spent much of their trip in fear of catching whatever was going around. Avoid this fear and discomfort by boosting your immune system!)

And here are my specific travel recommendations:

1. Probiotic. Probiotics are your “friendly” bacteria. In addition to keeping your digestion on track, they’ll help to improve your immunity by populating your gut with friendly bacteria (and preventing unfriendly bacteria from proliferating). You could either take a strong probiotic or you could take a specially formulated probiotic for travel.

  • Take at night, away from GSE if using (more on that in a bit)

2. Vitamin C. In addition to helping to combat bloating that results from inflammation from a long plane ride, vitamin C will help to keep your immune system healthy. I personally like a buffered vitamin C powder with electrolyte minerals – this will help to keep you hydrated if you’re travelling somewhere hot and sunny. So add some to water and sip on the plane and while you’re on the beach or on a sweaty hike.

3. Grapefruit Seed Extract. Travelling exposes us to different microbes than we’re used to. In particular, travelling to central America and other developing areas. It’s estimated that travellers’ diarrhea affects 40-60% of people from industrialized nations who visit developing countries. Many doctors recommend antibiotics to prevent travellers’ diarrhea, but Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) works great. GSE is an antiviral agent that helps to stop harmful intestinal organisms from moving into your intestines. GSE also helps to give your immune system a boost! And while antibiotics only kill bacteria, GSE has been shown to disarm viruses, yeasts, fungi, parasites and worms.

  • Take 10 drops in a little glass of water in the morning, away from probiotic
  • Don’t take GSE if you currently take medications for blood pressure or cholesterol, or if you are sensitive to citrus

Wishing you amazing travels. xo Andrea

This is me on a hill overlooking the Spanish colonial city of Antigua. So beautiful!

This is me on a hill overlooking the Spanish colonial city of Antigua. So beautiful!

UPCOMING EVENTS

PMS Workshop Poster Innate

Foods and Natural Remedies to Beat PMS

If you suffer from pre menstrual syndrome, know that there are things that can be done to lessen your symptoms. Learn what your PMS symptoms are telling you and what you can do about it. Learn about foods to balance hormones and natural remedies to reduce symptoms.

  • Thursday, March 20
  • Innate Wellness, 5 Quebec Avenue
  • Free!
  • Call 416-760-9424 to reserve your spot!

Snack Workshop

Introduction to Snacks

Snacks are the key to more energy, a happy metabolism and balanced blood sugar. But it’s hard to find the inspiration for exciting snacks. Come out and learn how to make five super easy, healthy and delicious snacks. Watch me prepare each snack, learn the health benefits and taste each one! As one of my clients said, “snacks aren’t going anywhere.” You should come.

  • Sunday, March 23, 11am-2pm
  • Innate Wellness, 5 Quebec Avenue
  • $40
  • Call 416-760-9424 to reserve your spot!
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4 Steps to Rock Your Next Kale Salad

kale salad healthydelicious.ca

It’s full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It’s anti-inflammatory, beautifying and supports detoxification. It’s got antioxidants that help to keep your eyes and heart healthy and reduce the risk of cancer. With all these health benefits, are you searching for more ways to get kale into your life?

I’ve fielded many a question on how to make a perfect kale salad and want to share my secrets with you and empower you to rock your next kale salad. The perfect kale salad is easier than you think, and requires just a few steps and a little creativity.

Choose Your Own Adventure Kale Salad

STEP 1: Choose your kale. There are a few varieties of kale with slightly different tastes and textures:

  • Curly:  your best bet if you’re a kale salad newbie, it’s the milder, more silky variety
  • Lacinato (dinosaur, cavolo nero): an Italian variety of kale with a stronger kale taste, your best bet with anchovies, hard cheese, lemon juice and a sweet dried fruit
  • Purple: it’s got purple stems and a more floral, almost soapy taste, your best bet with a shallot dressing with lots of lemon and something sweet
  • Baby: more convenient because it usually comes washed, baby kale is a good bet for busy people. It’s not as high in nutrients as full grown kale and has a lighter taste and texture, so omit step 2

Wash the kale, remove the stems, tear into bite-sized pieces and proceed to step 2.

STEP 2:  Massage, massage, massage. Remove your rings, roll up your sleeves, and dive in with a mixture of fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and a small pinch of sea salt. This massagey love breaks down the fibrous kale, leaving it silky smooth. Do this early. Since kale is a hearty green, it doesn’t really get soggy. It needs your massagey love and a little down time to become amazing. So don’t skip this step! If you’re taking your kale salad to a party, do the massaging earlier in the day and then dress it when you get to the party (more on that later).

OR

Steam. Steamed kale will be silky smooth, just like massaged. Allow to cool and proceed to steps 3 and 4.

STEP 3: Add some sweet and crunchy flavours and textures.

  • Sweet: grated beets or carrots, roasted squash or sweet potato, tomatoes, peppers, goji berries, dried cranberries, currants or raisins.
  • Crunchy: jicama, sliced red peppers, toasted or raw nuts and seeds.
  • Always appreciated: avocado, olives, tempeh, any hard goat or sheep cheese, such as pecorino romano (if using cheese, you can omit dressing in step 4).

STEP 4:  Top with a bold, flavourful dressing. Bold flavours are garlic (either raw or roasted), shallots or anchovies, lemon, and/or a hard goat or sheep cheese, such as pecorino romano (if you can tolerate dairy). The best dressings are held together with olive oil or creamy tahini. Some of my favourite go-to kale salad dressings: Dreamy Tahini, Shallot, Caesar.

Enjoy your beautiful and creative kale salad. Feel free to share your creation in the comments section.

Want more kale recipes?

Try my Kale Caesar, Fall Kale Superfood Salad or Miso and Tahini Creamed Kale. Not a kale salad fan? Try my Lemony Lentil Stew (with Kale) or Recovery Kale Smoothie.

I’ll be away next week in Guatemala, doing lots of yoga and exploring the beautiful sights. I’ll see you back the week after. xo Andrea

UPCOMING EVENTS

Foods and Natural Remedies to Beat PMS

If you suffer from pre menstrual syndrome, know that there are things that can be done to lessen your symptoms. Learn what your PMS symptoms are telling you and what you can do about it. Learn about foods to balance hormones and natural remedies to reduce symptoms.

  • Thursday, March 20
  • Innate Wellness, 5 Quebec Avenue
  • Free!
  • Call 416-760-9424 to reserve your spot!

Introduction to Snacks

Snacks are the key to more energy, a happy metabolism and balanced blood sugar. But it’s hard to find the inspiration for exciting snacks. Come out and learn how to make five super easy, healthy and delicious snacks. Watch me prepare each snack, learn the health benefits and taste each one! As one of my clients said, “snacks aren’t going anywhere.” You should come.

  • Sunday, March 23, 11am-2pm
  • Innate Wellness, 5 Quebec Avenue
  • $40
  • Call 416-760-9424 to reserve your spot!
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3 Ways to Love Your Heart (Plus Recipe!)

Heart

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about the amazing organ that is the heart. The heart circulates blood to every cell in our body. It’s also the emotional centre for joy and love. I’ve put together three tips to support your heart. And for you food lovers, there’s a recipe for heart healthy red velvet bites at the end.

But first, did you know that our hearts have a magnetic field? It’s said that it is 5000 times stronger than the brain. Heart cells from different humans and animals will beat in unison in a petri dish, brain cells will not.

Support your heart

“Love is a daily, even hourly, conscious commitment to behave in a loving and caring fashion toward ourselves and others.” –Anodea Judith

  • Open your heart. The poet Rumi said, “Your task is not to seek for love, but to find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Chest, or heart openers, stretch our front body and help to “open” the heart and channels for joy. Opening the front body is also an antidote to depression and sadness. We often sit hunched over in front of computer screens and it’s so good for us to stretch the opposite way. Do this easy heart opener anywhere: in a standing position, place your hands on your low back (approximately where your ribs end). Take a deep breath and expand through your collarbone, pulling your shoulders back and your chest forward and up. Repeat often.
  • Know what ignites you and feeds your heart. It is said that love and belonging are actual nutrients. We need to know where we fit in in life, and once we find it, we find greater connections. Find a hobby or activity that you LOVE and you will feel that sense of belonging and meet like-minded people. (I’ve found amazing outlets for myself and have met some lifelong soul friends by learning to play the drums, practicing yoga and becoming a nutritionist.) Repeat this affirmation often: “I am loved and connected to all that is.”
  • Eat foods that are good for your heart. These include avocados, olive oil, eggs and coconut oil. In Chinese medicine, vegetables are said to be good for the heart because of being balanced, reflect the balanced nature of the heart. Veggies are high in antioxidants and are great for your heart because antioxidants help to counteract damage from free radicals and protect the artery walls. My food mentor, Moira Nordholt, used to say that she imagined the colour of beets coursing through her veins. Check out my recipe for healthy red velvet bites made with beets.

Red Velvet Bites

Red Velvet Bites

1 small beet, peeled and chopped into chunks
½ cup coconut flakes, unsweetened + extra for rolling
1 cup raw cashews
½ lemon, juiced
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I used Vegan Proteins+ by Genuine Health)
3 medjool dates, pitted and chopped into pieces
2-3 tbsp coconut oil

Process everything but coconut oil in a food processor fitted with the ‘S’ blade on low/medium until the mixture looks crumbly. Add coconut oil and process on high until mixture resembles dough. Roll into balls. Then, roll balls in coconut flakes to coat.

Makes 28-30 bites. Share with people you love.

Be good to your heart. xo Andrea

UPCOMING EVENTS

Introduction to Snacks

  • Sunday, March 23, 11am-2pm
  • Innate Wellness, 5 Quebec Avenue
  • $40

Snacks are the key to more energy, a happy metabolism and balanced blood sugar. But it’s hard to find the inspiration for exciting snacks. Come out and learn how to make five super easy, healthy and delicious snacks. Watch me prepare each snack, learn the health benefits and taste each one! As one of my clients said, “snacks aren’t going anywhere.” You should come.

Call 416-760-9424 to reserve your spot!

A Solution to Your Winter Cooking Rut + Recipe

Soup Swap

Ever wondered why we get in a rut in the kitchen? The average person only makes a handful of recipes. This is super boring, causes us to lack motivation and subsequently eat more takeout.

Solution… I attended a soup swap last Saturday, held by a past cleansing client (and new friend), Rachel.

This is a type of party that my friends and I talked about doing but never could pull the trigger. I’m so glad I went and thought I’d share some details with you so you can plan your own.

Why soup?

Soup is the easiest dinner, even when just out of the freezer. In all honesty I’m not a fan of leftovers, so I like to freeze different soups in individual servings. I like to have a lot of different options so I can actually choose what I’d like to eat rather than feeling like I have to have whatever is leftover. I often get home from yoga or the clinic and want something warm and fast so I’ll throw some semi-frozen soup into little saucepan, hop in the shower, and when I’m out, soup’s on. It’s faster and so much healthier than take away.

I urge you to throw a soup swap with some of your friends so you can come away with four different soups to keep you warm (and keep things exciting).

Guidelines and how it went down:

  • Soups could be whatever we wanted. New recipe or grandmother’s, or one we just made up. Could also be a curry, stew or chili. Note: you can also request that people bring only gluten/dairy/meat free soups, too.
  • Bring soup frozen (easier transport).
  • Bring 4 containers of soup labelled with what kind it is.
  • Containers should be 946 ml or one quart (AKA a large yogurt container or a square Glad Tupperware).
  • Once at the party, we snacked and enjoyed some vino.
  • We put all soups on the counter and checked out each other’s creations.
  • We drew names from a hat to determine the order that we chose.
These were all the amazing soups for the choosing.

These were all the amazing soups for the choosing.

I made my current favourite soup, my Lemony Lentil Stew. If you want some other inspiration, check out my recipes for Broccoli Soup with Tahini Sauce, Curried Root Vegetable Soup or Sweet Potato, Miso and Ginger Soup.

I came away with a chili, roasted tomato and carrot soup, lentil and caraway soup, and a cauliflower and potato leek soup. I had this sexy potato leek soup the other day at the clinic and everyone  commented on how envious they were because it smelled so good. Yay soup swap!

Adding cauliflower to a potato leek soup is clever because the cauliflower makes the soup lower g.i., meaning that it has a lower glycemic index and will have less of an impact on your blood sugar. This translates to balanced energy and fewer cravings. Yes! I asked Rachel to share her recipe. Here it is.

Rachel’s Sexy Potato Leek Soup

From Rachel: “Soup is my favourite dish to create. It might be the most warming and sensual thing your kitchen can make. A bowl of soup has the power to heal and make amends. It can help you detox or lose weight. You can even make someone love you with soup – and that’s a fact!

What makes this soup sexy? You’re a diva in the kitchen because you’ve subbed out half the potatoes in a regular potato leek for nutrient rich cauliflower. The great thing about this soup is you can play with it. Don’t have any onion? Add garlic. No cauliflower left? Sub in broccoli.”

1 onion chopped
1 large leek (or 2 small) chopped (be sure to soak the leeks after you wash them in cold water, they can be super sandy)
4 cups chicken stock
4 yukon gold potatoes
1 head of cauliflower chopped and well washed
2 pieces each of celery and carrot chopped
2 bay leaves
Salt and pep
Nutmeg or white truffle oil (optional)
Olive oil
Small knob of butter at end (optional)
Splash of white wine or vermouth (optional)

Sweat the onion and leek in the warm oil in a big soup pot. Meanwhile peel and chop your potatoes. I like to par boil them separately in salted water to get some of the starch out.  Salt and pep the onions and leeks and add in the carrot and celery. Saute for about 8-10 mins. Deglaze with either white wine (anything you have in the fridge will do) or some vermouth. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pot with your wooden spoon to get all those brown bits where the flavour is.

Pour in the stock and turn up the heat to boil. Toss in the raw cauliflower and bay leaves, 5 mins later toss in the well drained potatoes. Min heat for 25 mins with a lid on. Come back, stir. Let cool, remove bay leaves, and then use hand blender. At this point I like to taste. Might add in a drizzle of white truffle oil (a little goes a long way) or nutmeg or knob butter or more salt and pep.

Freezes beautifully and this is a soup that tastes even better day 2. Served alone is great. Also can be dolled up even more with some parmesan shavings on top, or fresh dill sprinkled. Bon appetit!

Big thanks to Rachel for her great idea and sharing her delicious soup.

Lastly, tonight I’m teaching the last session in my Inside Scoop on Healthy Eating workshop, and it’s all about cravings. Ever wanted to learn…

  • why you crave what you crave
  • what to eat and what to avoid to get rid of that craving
  • possible nutrient deficiencies or imbalances
  • the emotional connection and how to overcome it
  • superfoods to keep you craving-free

We’ll be running Inside Scoop again soon at Innate Wellness. It’s an amazing program that’s full of fantastic information.

I highly, highly recommend that you join. Call to reserve a spot in the next session.

xo Andrea

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