5 Reasons to Switch to Raw Honey

Growing up I hated honey and would avoid it at all costs.  When I started to clean up my diet a few years ago, I read an article about the benefits of raw honey and decided to try it out in the hopes that I would like it better then the processed stuff that I had hated.  It was love at first taste!  I don’t know if it’s because my tastes have changed as I have gotten older or if it really does taste that much better, but raw honey has become a staple in my pantry.  I really don’t know how I ever lived without it!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with raw honey here is a quick overview:

  • Raw honey is not filtered or pasteurized
  • Raw honey is opaque rather then clear commercial honey
  • It is immediately taken from the cells of the honey comb
  • Raw honey is free from additives

Here are my top 5 reasons to include raw honey in my diet:

  1. Raw honey contains bee pollen  which helps to provide natural allergy relief, boost your immunity and helps to ward off infections.
  2. If you struggle with insomnia then you may want to try having a bit of raw honey before bedtime.  A known sleep promoter, raw honey helps to restock the glycogen in the liver which helps you to stay asleep during the night.  Try stirring it into some golden milk for a comforting bedtime beverage.  Get my recipe here
  3. I always reach for raw honey when I feel a cold coming on.  It is well known as a natural cough syrup and it can also help to reduce mucus secretion
  4. Raw honey is an antioxidant superhero.  It helps to block free radicals in the body which can cause disease
  5. Natural energy source – if you are struggling through a work out, consider having a bit of raw honey to give you a boost.  It’s 80% natural sugar, which will help you to power through that workout with ease

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Raw honey loses it’s beneficial properties as it is heated so it is best used incorporated into dishes and drinks after it has been removed from heat.  It is important to note that raw honey is still a source of sugar so do not go overboard when using it!

I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS

This blog post is for information purposes only, and does not constitute medical advice.  It is not intended to serve as a substitute for a consultation or medical treatment from a qualified physician or healthcare practitioner.

Beat The Heat With Watermelon Mint Limeade

When it comes to beverages I am pretty boring – I stick with plenty of water, teas or all kind and the occasional cup of coffee.  Lately though, the temperatures have been soaring and I found myself wanting to mix it up a bit.  The juice options at the store just didn’t sound appealing or the sugar content was way to high for me to justify, so I decided to create a few easy recipes that would help me beat the heat without sending my blood sugar level skyrocketing.

The first recipe that I will be sharing today is actually one of my favourite creations – watermelon mint limeade.  It only requires five ingredients!  It can be enjoyed on it’s own, mixed with sparkling water for a bubbly treat or as a base for a boozy summer cocktail. The watermelon offers extra hydrating benefits, the mint makes it extra refreshing and the limeade offers an enjoyable tartness without being too sour.

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Consider the recipe below just loose directions – I suggest that you modify the quantities to your own specific tastes.

Ingredients

4 cups of chopped watermelon

1 cup of fresh lime juice (aproximately 4 limes) + lime to garnish

3 cups spring water

1 sprig of mint (remove from stem)

2 tablespoon raw honey

Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and blend on medium speed until completely blended.

Strain if necessary (I prefer not to)

Serve chilled or over ice

Enjoy!

I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS

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One Bowl Nutty Banana Breakfast Bars

I have a love/hate relationship with breakfast.  When I was younger it was the meal that I most frequently skipped, but I got older I began to learn the importance of having a good breakfast.  Having said that, there are still days that I don’t quite practice what I preach and fail to properly nourish myself for the day ahead.  I alway regret it when this happens, so I decided that I needed a recipe that was simple to make, doesn’t require a ton of complicated ingredients and tastes great.  These breakfast bars have become the perfect solution to my breakfast problem.

Filled with many of my favourite breakfast ingredients including crunchy almond butter, nuts and oats, these breakfast bars are a great and satiating snack regardless of the time of day.  High in protein and low in sugar, they have become my most recent breakfast obsession.  On the days when I am not rushing out the door, I like to enjoy these bars with fresh berries and some extra nut butter.  They are also great topped with yogurt and fresh fruit.

It is super easy to make substitutions to tailor these bars to your own personal taste, so consider the directions below loose guidelines to making simple breakfast bars that work for you. Substitute your favourite nut (or a combination of nuts) instead of the almonds and cashews that I used in the recipe below.  If you don’t have chocolate chunks on hand substitute them for raisins.

Ingredients:

1 medium banana, ripened

1 1/2 cups oats

1 egg

1/3 cup crunchy almond butter

1/2 cup organic chocolate chunks

1/2 cup chopped almonds

1/2 cup chopped cashews

1 tbsp + 1 tsp maple syrup (you can substitute raw honey if you prefer)

1 tbsp coconut oil

pinch of cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F

Line an 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper

In a large bowl mash the peeled banana (try to get it as smooth as possible)

Stir in the almond butter, coconut oil, maple syrup and egg – combine until all of the ingredients are well incorporated

Add the oats and mix well

Add the baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon

Fold in the nuts and the chocolate chunks

Pour the mixture into the baking pan, smoothing the mixture into an even layer

Bake for 15 – 18 minutes or until golden brown around the edges

Allow to completely cool before cutting into squares

Enjoy!

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You can store the squares in an air tight container for up to a week either at room temperature or in the fridge.

I hope that you have a wonderful day!  ❤️XXS

Spicy Turmeric Zoodles

I may be studying nutrition but there are moments that I really struggle with eating healthy.  There are days when I am running on very little sleep and feeling a little stressed out, and I find myself craving a huge bowl of pasta or a cupcake (or three).   The last thing that I want to eat is an apple, a salad or a green smoothie.  There are times when I indulge my cravings as I firmly believe that life is about balance, but there are many times when I resist or find an alternative solution.  Today’s recipe was a happy and spontaneous dish that I created one day when I was particularly hangry (not in the best of moods due to overwhelming hunger and exhaustion).  I was craving an indulgent bowl of pasta but I was determined to resist.  With a few veggies left in my fridge I decided to put my little spiralizer to good use and created a simple and delicious dish that delivered some guilt free satisfaction.

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For those of you that are not familiar with the term zoodles, it is zucchini in the shape of a noodle.  Small handheld spiralizers like the one that I have are inexpensive and very easy to use.  You can also just use a peeler to cut thick ribbons of zucchini.  Zoodles are my favourite of all of the veggie “noodle” variations.  The texture and taste is most similar (in my opinion) to a regular noodle, so when I eat them I don’t feel deprived or that I am missing out.

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This dish uses two of my favourite vegetables – zucchini and asparagus.  I find both vegetables very easy to work with and they don’t require much prep or cook time which makes them perfect when you are short on time.  If you are not completely sold on zoodles, you can substitute any noodles that you prefer or mix the zoodles with a regular pasta to create a more hearty dish (just be sure to save a bit of the pasta water to add to to the pan when you putting this dish together).   To achieve the rich buttery taste that I was after, I decided to use a combination of olive oil and ghee.  When used in moderation, both are healthy fats that will help your body to absorb fat soluble vitamins from the vegetables, as well as give the dish an indulgent taste minus the guilt.  Serrano peppers up the heat factor of the zoodles (omit if you are not a fan of spicy food) and turmeric adds beautiful colour and increases the health benefits for this simple and delicious dish.  Pair this dish with a simple poached egg, a piece of wild salmon or toss with some shredded chicken breast for a delicious, healthy and well balanced meal.

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Spicy Turmeric Zoodles 

Ingredients:

1 medium sized zucchini spiralized

1/2 a bunch of asparagus (aprox 6 stalks) chopped

1.5 tsp of high quality olive oil

1.5 tsp of ghee

1 serrano pepper (finely chopped)

1 clove of garlic (minced)

1/4 tsp of turmeric powder

Lemon

black pepper

salt to taste

Directions:

In a medium sized frying pan melt the olive oil and ghee over medium heat

Add the garlic and serrano pepper to the olive oil and ghee combination and gently fry for 1 minute

Add the turmeric and a pinch of black pepper to the mixture and stir to ensure that the ingredients are well combined

Add the asparagus and toss to coat in the oil, cook for 1 – 2 minutes

Add the zoodles and stir to ensure that the zoodles are well coated.  Cook to your desired consistency, I like my mine with a slight bite so 2.5 mins is generally sufficient.  Please note that the longer you cook the zoodles, the more water the zucchini will release.  Season with salt and pepper and squeeze some fresh lemon juice onto the veggies.

Plate and top with your desired protein

Enjoy!

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I hope that you have a beautiful day! ❤️XXS

5 Self Care Practices You Should Be Doing

There comes a time in everyone’s life that they forget to take care of themselves.  With life moving at a frenetic pace and our ever increasing responsibilities, there are only so many hours in a day and it is easy to put your own needs on the back burner.  The problem with not making self care a priority is that you can only continue this way for a limited amount of time before your body forces you to start caring for yourself.  For many, this is normally a temporary wake up call as they eventually go back to living life at full throttle not taking the time to care for themselves.

Contrary to popular belief, self care is not a selfish act.  By not taking the time to nourish and rejuvenate yourself, you will eventually deplete yourself of the ability to do things for others.  The old adage “you can’t pour from an empty cup”  rings true in this situation.  Over the past few years I have tried to make self care a priority.  While I am not always successful, there are a few self care rituals that I frequently practice to centre and  rejuvenate myself.  They also help to remind me that I need to be on my priority list, and to schedule a larger chunk of time for myself in the (very) near future.    My top five favourite (relatively quick) self care practices are:

IMG_00401). Get outside

We spend way to much time indoors.  Being outside and enjoying the fresh air is good for the mind, body and spirit.  Take a few minutes to just sit and enjoy the view or go for a quick walk around the block to get your blood pumping.

IMG_00472) Meditate (or just breathe) or stretch

I used to think that meditation was not for me.  My mind is always racing and I am frequently multi-tasking, how on earth could I be expected to just sit and breathe???  It turns out that those reasons are exactly why I needed to develop a meditation practice into my life.  Ever since I started to meditate I feel more grounded and not nearly as scattered as I used to be.  Contrary to popular belief you don’t need to spend a lot of time meditating to reaps it’s benefits.  I normally meditate between 5 – 15 minutes first thing in the morning (before my to-do list kicks into high gear).  Some mornings when I am running late I take a moment to take five deep belly breathes then I head out to start my day.  I have met many people that are interested in beginning a meditation practice but they are overwhelmed with the amount of information given to them about how to practice successfully.  Don’t overthink it!  Find a quiet place, sit in a comfortable position and focus on your breath.  In and out, in and out.  If you find your mind starting to wander don’t worry about it, just calmly bring your awareness back to your breath.  Some people find it helpful to have a mantra.  If you feel that you would benefit from one  then just be sure to pick one that you can say/think with the flow of your breath.  Voila!  You are now a meditating superstar!

There are countless benefits to stretching or doing yoga.  It is good for the mind, body and the soul.  If you are to busy to take a class then roll out your mat and move through a few moves at home.  There are some great apps out there (my favourite is Yoga Studio) that will help you to achieve a successful yoga practice wherever you are.  Aside from the greater range of flexibility and the calming effect that yoga has on my mind, I love the rosy glow that I get from my yoga practice.

IMG_20393) Put your electronics down!  (Yes that includes your phone)

Chances are that this self care practice may take some well…….practice.  Most of us are overly reliant on our phones (yes that includes me most of the time), but taking some time away from our electronic lifelines is healthy.  While the idea of being away from our phones for even a second is frightening take baby steps.  Try leaving your phone in another room while you eat and don’t pick up your phone as soon as you wake up.  This will allow you to stay (and enjoy) the moment rather then mindlessly going through your day.

IMG_00504) Take a mini spa moment

In an ideal world we would all have the time (and the resources) to visit a spa for rest and relaxation.  This is obviously a far cry from reality but with a little effort you can have a mini spa moment in the comfort of your own home.  Apply a sheet mask while you relax. Light some candles, enjoy a glass of spa water or wine and read a leisurely magazine to achieve the full spa effect.  When was the last time you took a luxurious bubble bath?  Treat yourself to your favourite bubble bath and body oil and be sure to add in some epsom salts to help relax those tired muscles. It doesn’t matter how you choose to bliss out as long as you do it.  Even just 15 minute of spa time will rejuvenate your body and nourish your busy mind.

IMG_00375) Treat yourself to something that will make you smile

I don’t mean to go and splurge on a high price item and consider it self care.  It can be as simple as treating yourself to a bouquet of flowers or a picture that gives you a positive pause for thought.  Something as simple as flowers can brighten a room, bring the outdoors inside and encourage you (and those around you) to smile.  Small treats that you enjoy will help to remind you that YOU are worth making yourself a priority.

There are endless ways to practice self care but it is important that you take the time to do so.  What are your favourite ways to care prioritize yourself and nourish your mind, body and soul?  Let me know in the comments below

I hope that you have a fabulous day!  ❤️XXS