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.

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.

IMG_0516

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

IMG_0504

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!

IMG_0204IMG_0209IMG_0210IMG_0215IMG_0217

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.

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