3 Reasons To Start Adding Cardamom to Your Diet

I use to hate cardamom.  Growing up it was sporadically used in certain dishes, and for some reason I would always end up biting into a cardamom pod while enjoying my food. The bold flavour of this pod always turned such a minor incident into a traumatizing experience and would always ruin the entire meal for me.  While calling this experience with cardamom pods traumatic may be considered an overreaction for some, when you enjoy food as much as I do anything that ruins a meal gains an automatic spot on my hate list.

For many years I avoided cardamom determined to not experience the trauma I had offered suffered while I was younger.  Then a few years ago, I was trying out a new cake recipe that required ground cardamom and I decided to give this exotic spice a second chance.  Thankfully, the cake turned out delicious and the cardamom enhanced both the flavour and the fragrance of the cake.  This led me to start adding ground cardamom to other dishes, my favourites being my golden milk recipe and warm chia pudding.  The spice that I had hated for so long was suddenly a spice rack staple that I couldn’t live without.

IMG_0758For those of you that are not familiar with cardamom, it is a member of the ginger family  and is well known spice from India.  It is often considered a warming spice with a beautiful fragrance making it an ideal spice to use in desserts, tea and coffee.  There are two types of cardamom – green cardamom and brown cardamom.  Green cardamom is the more superior form of cardamom, is available in both pod or powder form and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes.  Brown cardamom is only used in savoury dishes, it is an essential ingredient in Garam Masala which is a popular Indian spice mix and it is also known for its medicinal properties.  There are many reasons to include cardamom into your diet but I have narrowed it down to my top three:

  1. It is filled with antioxidants.  Many of the vitamins and minerals in cardamom act as antioxidants within the body.  These antioxidants help to clean up any free radicals and helps to prevent cellular aging.
  2. Bad breath – a great and natural way to freshen your breath is to chew on a couple of pods.  The antibacterial properties in cardomom help to fight germs and may also be helpful when dealing with mouth ulcers and infections.
  3. Alleviates digestive issues – many people reach for cardamom to help with any digestive issues that they may be struggling with.  Used in a warm tonic, cardamom can help when you have over eaten, or are dealing with indigestion and flatulence issues.

Try using cardamom in desserts, tea or coffee to add flavour and to reap the benefits of this wonderful spice.  What’s your favourite way to use cardamom? Let me know in the comments below👇🏼

I hope that you have a beautiful day! XXS

Please Note: This blog post is for informational 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.  IMG_0754

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

IMG_0571

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.

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❤️

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.

IMG_0065

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.

IMG_0067

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.

IMG_0081

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!

IMG_0078

I hope that you have a beautiful day! ❤️XXS

Clean Beauty Product Review

It is becoming easier to be a clean beauty product junkie.  I discover a new line almost every week!  While not everything that I use is “clean”, I have made a concerted effort over the past few years to minimize my toxic load from chemicals in cleaning and personal products.  It’s not alway easy as clean beauty is a fairly unregulated industry, and the term is often just tossed around as a buzz word to attract attention.  Many products are not as “clean” as they pretend to be.  While I haven’t found all of the clean beauty products that I have tried to be effective, there are some great products out there.  I recently picked up two new clean beauty products to try out:  Herbivore’s Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask and Farmacy’s Honey Savior.

Herbivore Blue Tansy Resurfacing Clarity Mask

IMG_0071

Herbivore is a brand that has been on my radar for quite a while, but this was the first opportunity that I had to actually try a product from the line.  This beauty line is well known for it’s oils, clarity mask and body scrub.  Founded by a husband and wife duo in their Seattle kitchen, the line is made with organic, high quality and food grade ingredients.  I chose to try the resurfacing mask first because exfoliating has always been one of my favourite beauty rituals (seriously, I am obsessed).  The Blue Tansy Resurfacing Mask is advertised to exfoliate, smooth and resurface the skin and it’s active ingredients include Blue Tansy Oil  (natural anti-inflammatory), White Willow Bark (natural BHA), fruit enzymes (natural AHA) and aloe leaf (natural complexion soother).

IMG_0070

I was a little skeptical when I first applied the clarity mask.  There was not really any tingling and the texture was completely smooth.  I generally prefer a manual exfoliant so I was hoping for a bit of “grit” in the mask.  Nevertheless, I left the mask on for 20 minutes then washed it off with warm water and a clean wash cloth as per the directions.  My face felt smoother but the effect wasn’t anything spectacular.  There is a tip sheet that comes with the mask and it suggests to use the mask everyday for 3-4 days (on the website it says every other day) and then reduce usage to a few times a week.  I decided to use it everyday for four days in the hopes of seeing some great results.  By day three the results were noticeable and by day four my skin had a softness to it that I hadn’t seen in a very (very) long time.  I am so impressed with this product!  I am hopeful that it has positive long term effects as well – I will do a follow up post in a few months.  The price ($48 CAN) is fairly average for a chemical exfoliant from Sephora and a little goes a long way so the jar should last quite some time.  I can’t wait to try more products from this line in the future!

Stylishly Zen Beauty Rating:   4.5/5

Honey Savior by Farmacy

IMG_0075

I have been a a fan of the Farmacy brand since I first discovered it a Sephora early last year.  There is a lot of science behind this brand, and I absolutely love how much information they provide about the brand on the packaging.  According to the box the products are cultivated by farmers and activated by scientists (there is even a picture!).  Free of parabens, formaldehyde and artificial colours many of the Farmacy products are powered by their trademarked Echinacea Greenenvy Honey.

IMG_0083

Honey Savior is advertised as an all-in-one skin repair slave that is rich in amino acids and B vitamins to help smooth dry skin giving it a renewed, healthy and nourished appearance.  Honey is a great natural hydrator so it makes sense to have it in it a salve.  I love using a salve to moisturize my feet before bed, and given my love of the Farmacy brand I was more then willing to give this one a try.  In terms of quality, the texture of the salve is a slightly more liquid then others that I have tried which would make sense as it’s primary ingredient is castor oil.  The less viscous texture means that a little bit of the product goes a long way, and it’s easier to use then a thicker version. I found it surprisingly helpful with helping to revive my tired aching feet after a long day – within 15 minutes the aches and pains were a distant memory.  I am not sure why it was so helpful with this issue, but I am grateful nonetheless.   The one downside of this product is the price ($44 CAN)! That is a lot of money to spend on a salve even if it is clean beauty.  I am hopeful that this tube will last a long long time as you only need to use a very small amount at a time.

Stylishly Zen Beauty Rating:  4/5

IMG_0085

Overall I was happy with both of these clean beauty products aside from the price of the salve (clean beauty needs to be more affordable).  If the Blue Tansy Resurfacing Mask continues to be effective then I would definitely repurchase but I am not sure about the salve.  As much as I love the Farmacy brand, the higher price point a little hard to justify.  I am hopeful that this tube will last a long long time!

I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS