Watermelon, Cucumber and Halloumi Salad

As a holistic nutritionist, it would be easy to assume that I eat a lot of salads.  But the reality is, that it depends on the time of the year and the weather outside.  While I eat a ton of vegetables year round, the idea of digging into a crisp cold salad when it is -40 outside doesn’t seem remotely appealing to me. It is during the warmer months that salads become a staple in my diet, and it would seem that I am not the only one that hones their salad making skills during the warmer months.  If your Instagram feed looks anything like mine, then you are probably being inundated with tons of pictures of salads on a daily basis, the most popular being watermelon and feta cheese salad.  While I consider watermelon and feta to be a delicious combination, lately have I wanted to kick things up a notch.  Enter Halloumi cheese.  For those of you that are not familiar with Halloumi, allow me to introduce you.  Halloumi is a Cypriot unripened brined cheese that is normally made from goat or sheep’s milk.  More recently, it is also made with cow’s milk so be sure to check the ingredients list if you have any difficulties with digesting cow’s milk.  Halloumi is often used as a protein replacement by vegetarians in a variety of dishes, but it’s salty delicious flavour makes it a popular cheese among many, regardless of whether they eat meat or follow a vegetarian diet.  Halloumi cheese with watermelon just makes sense to me – the salty and sweet flavours pair perfectly together in my opinion.  Adding cucumbers to the mix elevates the water content of the dish and helps to meld the stronger flavours of both the watermelon and the cheese together.

Watermelon and cucumbers are both hydrating nutritional powerhouses in their own rights.  Watermelon is a good source of Vitamin A, B6 and C, lycopene, antioxidants and minerals and is helpful in neutralizing cellular damage and cancer prevention.  Cucumbers are high in enzymes, B vitamins, nutrients and electrolytes along with minerals such as magnesium, potassium and calcium.  The skin of a cucumber contains silica which is helpful in boosting your skin from within to help you achieve a glowing complexion.  When purchasing cucumbers, I strongly encourage you to purchase organic ones (if your budget allows) so that you can eat the skin without having to worry about any pesticide residue that may be left on the skin after cleaning it.

To call this a recipe would be comical.  Consider them loose guidelines on how to assemble a delicious, refreshing and simple summer salad.  Both cucumber and watermelon are great to eat when you are feeling a little bloated.  Skip the cheese if you want to up the anti-bloat factor of this meal.

Ingredients:

1 organic baby cucumber, chopped

1 cup of watermelon, chopped

2 thick slices of Halloumi cheese

1 tsp fresh mint, chopped

Extra virgin olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

Cracked black pepper

Heat a bit of olive oil in a pan over medium heat.  Fry the halloumi cheese until it is golden brown on both sides.  Remove from heat.

In a bowl, combine the watermelon, cucumber and mint

Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with black pepper

Top with Halloumi cheese

Enjoy!

IMG_0366The information provided in this blog post is solely for information purposes and not as a substitute for medical advice.

I hope that you have a beautiful day! XXS❤️

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

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

My Top 4 Beauty Foods For Spring

Hi Everyone!

Now that the warmer weather has slowly but finally arrived it is time to step up your beauty routine.  So as you reacquaint yourself with your razor and erase any residual signs of winter paleness,  you may also want to consider adding in a few beauty boosters into your diet to help you glow all season long.  My favourite dietary beauty boosters for spring are:

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Blueberries

Blueberries are one of my favourite fruits of all time.  These gorgeous little berries are a fantastic source of  antioxidants, that fight free radicals and help to maintain youthful skin.  Rich in vitamin C, blueberries also help to boost the collagen in the skin which is great for keeping your skin looking taut and smooth.  Blueberries are also a good source of fibre which helps to keep your digestive system healthy.  Remember: a healthy digestive system is integral to getting and maintaining healthy glowing skin.

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Asparagus

Asparagus is one of the easiest vegetables to cook making them a breeze to add to many dishes.  Filled with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals such as selenium, silica, zinc and iron this delicious vegetable helps to keep your skin clear and your hair and nails strong.  Asparagus is also a great natural diuretic which is helpful in removing toxins from the body along with supporting any weight loss goals.

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Eggs

Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse.  Many people only eat egg whites to achieve their weight loss goals but you should be eating the entire egg.  The yolks are packed with important vitamins (such as vitamins A and D) which helps to keep the skin clear and youthful while the egg whites work to brighten and repair the skin.  Buy organic or free range in order to get more beneficial Omega 3 fatty acids in your diet.  Eggs are a complete protein and are a good source of selenium, B vitamins and vitamin D.

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Coriander

I know that coriander (aka cilantro) is a polarizing herb – either you love it or you hate it.  For those that enjoy coriander here are a few more reasons to add it into your diet:  they are rich in antioxidants which helps to destroy any free radicals in the body.  It helps to fight signs of aging and brightens the skin.  Coriander is helpful in preventing spikes in blood sugar which is a potential skin ager.  It also supports detoxification in the liver which further supports skin health.

What are your favourite beauty boosters for spring? Let me know in the comments section below!

I hope that you have a beautiful day!  ❤️XXS

Hot Chia Oats

I often motivate myself to get out of bed in the mornings with plans about what I am going to eat for breakfast.  While I don’t often have a lot of time in the AM, I have developed an arsenal of quick breakfast recipes that are quick, delicious and easy.

Oatmeal has been one of my favourite breakfast foods for a number of years.  It is delicious, healthy and filling – a total winner in my book.  Recently though I decided to up my oatmeal game.  Combined with one of my favourite superfoods chia seeds, lightly sweetened  with some raw honey and topped with fruit (blueberries are my favourite) and a drizzle of almond butter,  it may be super simple but hot chia oats is my new breakfast obsession.

You can make this recipe two ways – you can combine the ingredients in a jar or bowl the night before and store it in the refrigerator as a ready to eat cold breakfast the next morning, but my favourite way is to make it hot.  There is something comforting and nourishing about a hot breakfast (especially oatmeal) in the morning and this hot chia oats dish tastes indulgent but is filled with nourishing and nutritious ingredients.  Love!  Love!  Love!

Hot Chia Oats (serves 1)

1/4 cup of oats

1 – 1 1/2 tablespoons of chia seeds

1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk (or whichever type of milk you prefer)

1 teaspoon of raw honey or maple syrup (you can adjust the sweetness to your own taste)

pinch of cinnamon

Directions

Combine everything but the honey in a small pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally

Once the chia oat mixture starts to boil, remove from heat and stir in the raw honey (if using maple syrup, you can add it in while the oatmeal is still on the heat)

Top with fruit and your favourite nut butter

Enjoy!!!!!

I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS