Did You Know … Chia Seeds are a Nutritional Powerhouse

Did You Know … Chia Seeds are a Nutritional Powerhouse

Chia Seeds - Nutrtional Powerhouse

Chia seeds are referred to as a nutritional powerhouse due their high nutritional content. These little seeds are loaded with fiber and are high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids and so much more.

Chia seeds can also be used in a vegan diet as a substitute for eggs and butter.

These little seeds can be added into our daily foods, add them into your smoothies, your salads, onto your toast and your oats. They are very hydrating so add some into your water bottles for the day or after an intense workout. These seeds can be used to make a natural fruit jam in place of pectin or added into your baked goods, granola bars, granola and homemade snacks. You can add them right into your overnight oats, which is one of my favourite ways to enjoy them. The possibilities are endless.

Please note, as with everything we eat moderation is key, too much of anything (even a superfood) is not a good thing.

Including chia seeds in your diet can:

  • Help control appetite
  • Balance blood sugar levels
  • Lower cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Helps control sugar cravings
  • Aid in digestion and weight loss goals
  • Provide high amounts of antioxidants and strengthens the immune system
  • Improve memory and mental clarity
  • Help cleanse the colon
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Help maintain healthy hair, skin and nails

These little seeds are jammed packed with an abundance of nutrients and contain more vitamins and minerals then many of the common foods we eat.

Chia seeds have:

  • 15 times more magnesium then broccoli
  • 8 times more omega-3 then wild salmon
  • 7 times more vitamin C then oranges
  • 6 times more protein then kidney beans
  • 5 times more calcium then milk
  • 3 times more iron the spinach
  • 3 times more antioxidants then blueberries

So get creative and have fun with these powerful seeds.

Garlicky Lime Ancient Grain Salad

Garlicky Lime Ancient Grain Salad

Salads are a great way to get in your daily vegetables and the many nutrients they offer. Get creative with your salads they don’t have to be the same boring ones everyday, add in some fun and nutritious items to mix up your regular bowl of green giving it some extra pizzazz.

This salad can be made with cooked quinoa if you do not have ancient grains. Quinoa and ancient grains are a very nutritious add in to any meal, and with a little meal prep you can add them in at the last minute and save some time and effort. Cook a large batch and portion pack them into smaller bags/containers and freeze them. Take them out when you want to add them into your meals, they can be defrosted and tossed into a cold dish, or you can heat them to enjoy them warm. The ancient grain mix I use is made by Trù Roots and contains white quinoa, red quinoa, millet and buckwheat, a high fiber nutritious blend.

When making a salad remember to add in various coloured vegetables and fruits, the more colours you eat the more phytochemicals and antioxidants your body absorbs and the better able it is to fight off unwanted toxins from within. More about the many benefits of eating the rainbow here.

Benefits of Quinoa:

  • high in protein; a complete protein containing all 9 amino acids
  • contains almost 2x the fiber as most other grains
  • good source of iron and magnesium
  • contains lysine; important for tissue repair and growth
  • helps control blood sugar levels
  • high in antioxidants
  • gluten free

Garlicky Lime Ancient Grain Salad

Salad:
(These are the veggies I had on hand, you can add whatever you have)

  • 2 mini cucumbers chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper chopped
  • 1/4 sweet onion chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley chopped
  • 2 tbsp garlic chives chopped
  • 1/2 cup cooked ancient grains (or regular cooked quinoa)

Gently mix it all together.

 

Garlic lime dressing:

  • 2 tbsp garlic infused extra virgin olive oil (or just extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 small clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 tbsp lime and spice seasoning (can substitute for 1 tsp fresh lime zest and crushed red pepper to taste)
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Whisk well (I usually add dressing ingredients into a jar, close the lid tight and shake, shake, shake).
Add dressing to vegetable mix and toss well. Let rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours for flavours to infuse.

Enjoy!

If you remake this recipe let me know your thoughts, I love hearing from you!:)

Energy Balls and Protein Bars

Energy Ball and Protein Bars

It seems by mid-afternoon many of us need a quick little energy fix to keep moving, but rather then heading over to the vending machine or grabbing a pre-packaged snack try one of these. One of these energy ball or protein bars is all you need to put the pep back into your step.

I made a batch of both before Ramadhan started this year. We always open our fast with dates, but I thought we could add in some almonds and chia seeds as well to get an extra punch of nutrients and benefits. We now enjoy an energy ball when we open our fast to help jumpstart our metabolism and give our bodies the energy it needs to begin the digestion process. At Suhroo (early morning) time, right before we close our fast we try to have a protein bar to provide our bodies with some extra protein, fiber and natural sugars to help us get through the day.

Both treats contain dates, almonds and chia seeds which all contain an abundance of health benefits that are important to our diets while fasting.

Benefits of dates:

  • high in fiber
  • help the digestion process, relieves constipation
  • great source of energy
  • high in vitamins and mineral
  • reduce the risk of heart disease
  • can help reduce blood pressure
  • is an anti-inflammatory

Benefits of almonds:

  • high in nutrients
  • loaded with antioxidants
  • help control blood sugar levels
  • can lower cholesterol
  • high in magnesium
  • helps control blood pressure levels
  • can reduce hunger

Benefits of chia seeds:

  • easy to digest super food
  • high in nutrients
  • loaded with antioxidents
  • high in dietary fiber
  • high in omega 3
  • lots of protein
  • helps feel fuller longer
  • high in calcium
  • hydrating

Almond, Date and Chia Energy Balls

  • 1 cup almonds coarsely ground in blended
  • 1/2 cup dates (soaked and softened) blended in the blender
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Mix all ingredients together and place in fridge for an hour.
Remove and roll into balls and roll into shredded coconut or ground nuts for an extra treat.

Almond, Date And Chia Energy Balls

 

 

Vanilla Protein Bars

  • 1 cup oats, coarsely ground
  • 1 cup almonds, coarsely ground
  • 1/2 cup cashews, coarsely ground
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder **optional

Mix everything together,

Add in:

  • 1 cup dates (soaked and softened) blended
  • 1/3 cup nut butter of choice (I used a coconut cashew blend)

Mix everything together well.

Pat flat onto a lined tray and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Remove and cut into desired size bars.

Vanilla Protein Bars

 

Hydrate!

Hydrate!

Hydrate

Drink Up!

Sounds like an easy enough thing to do, but getting our recommend daily amount of water can be difficult at times, especially with our busy lives and go-go-go schedules.

We have always been told that we need to drink 6-8 (8oz) glasses of water a day, which is a generalized amount. To know exactly how much water YOU should be drinking divide your body weight by 2 for the number of ounces you should have a day, then divide that number by 8 for the number of 8oz glasses recommended for YOU. Round up, a little extra water is always good.

YOUR body weight /2 = total ounces of water per day

Total ounces /8 = number of (8oz) glasses of water YOU need per day

 

Why Water?

Our bodies needs enough water to function the way they were designed to, and it’s essential for good health.

Here are a few ways that water benefits us:

1 – Water helps support the balance of fluids in the body: 60% of our body is made up of water, which is then used to support our internal body systems, when we are low in water the brain sends a message that we are thirsty. Listen to that message and drink up.

2 – Water can help support a healthy weight: Drinking water can help you feel full and cut the temptation to snack unnecessarily. Sometimes when the body sends a message that it’s hungry what it may really be is thirsty, start with some water and if you are still hungry then grab and healthy snack. Choosing water over higher calorie drinks ensures that you are not ingesting excessive calories.

3 – Water is energizing:  Muscles in the body require enough fluid to stay strong and avoid muscle fatigue. When you’re feeling fatigued all you may need is a drink of water to help you through. Make sure you drink extra fluids after exercising to replenish the water lost through sweating.

4 – Water is great for the skin: The skin contains water which gives it its elasticity and helps the skin maintain a smooth and clear appearance. When dehydrated the skin appears droopy, dry, chapped and fine lines and wrinkles tend to be more visible.

5 – Water assists kidney function: In order to properly do its job of removing contaminants from the body the kidneys require an adequate amount of fluids to flush out what the unwanted toxins gathered within. The more water in the body the better the flow, colour and odor of your urine. There is a higher risk of getting kidney stones if you do not drink enough water.

6 – Water helps with digestion: Enough water in the body assists in the digestion process and helps the body rid itself of waste easier. Constipation can occur due to not enough fluid in the body to help with the flow through the intestines.

 

Eat your Water

The good news is that you don’t have to drink all your water, many of the foods we eat have a high concentration of water.

Try including foods from the following chart into your daily diets. You can eat them plain, add them to salads, juices, smoothies or soups. The possibilities are endless.

Hydrating Foods

 

Tips to help you drink more water:

  • Choose water: When given a choice of drinks opt for water first, you can then choose something else after or just stick to water.
  • Get creative: As great as plain water is, it can get boring drinking it all the time. Have fun with your water, add in some fresh fruits and herbs to help mix up the flavour and get the added benefits from them as well. Mint is a great herb to add in if you have any digestive distress.
  • Measure out your water: Get a bottle or jug that is large enough to hold your daily amount of water, then use that bottle/jug to drink your water from. Use that bottle/jug to fill up smaller bottles that are more easily transportable, or your glass throughout the day. Any extra water you drink is just a bonus 😉
  • Get it through foods: Use the above chart as a guide to the fruits and vegetables you should try to incorporate into your daily diets.
  • Be prepared: Try keeping a bottle of water with you at all times within reach.

Blueberry mint

There you have it, water really is magical tonic for us, so drink up!

 

 

Benefits of Omega

Benefits of Omega

Omega Seed Blend

Our bodies require many ingredients in order to achieve ideal health. One of those necessary ingredients are Essential Fatty Acids (EFA), most of which the body is able to provide itself, except for two; Omega 3 and Omega 6, these EFAs need to be ingested through food.

Omega 3 and Omega 6 are essential for healthy brain development in both children and adults of all ages; they enhance memory, reasoning and problem solving abilities. Omega 3 and 6 are also important for heart health and optimal immune system functions.

Omega supplements are readily available, but getting what we need from raw foods is more beneficial to our long term health. Cold water fish and fish oils are high in omega 3; dark green vegetables, raw nuts (especially walnuts), seeds, nut and seed oils are rich in both omega 3 and 6.

Below is a recipe for an omega seed blend that can help ensure that you are getting enough of these two important EFAs daily without having rely on supplements.

The ratio to keep in mind when making this blend is 3:1 flax seeds to other seeds. For optimal benefits ensure that the seeds you use are raw and unseasoned.

Omega Seed Blend

  • 3 tbsp flax seeds
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts

Add all the seeds, except hemp hearts, into a blender/grinder and pulse till ground. Mix in hemp hearts.

An ideal amount of blend to ingest is 1 tablespoon a day which can be sprinkled over cereals, yogurt, smoothies, salads, toast and mixed into batter and mixes.

Keep omega seed blend stored in a sealed container in the fridge.

Enjoy daily 🙂

Did You Know…Iron & Citrus?

Did You Know…Iron & Citrus?

Did you know...iron and citrus

Iron is a very important mineral for the human body. It plays a vital role in the production of red blood cells, energy, metabolism and the transportation of oxygen to all parts of the body. Many people today are deficient in iron due to their lack of dietary intake which can leave one feeling tired, pale and irritable. Food is one of the best and most natural sources of iron.

Citrus fruits help the body better absorb the iron from the foods we eat. Try to include citrus or vitamin C enriched foods to your iron rich meals. A glass of fresh orange juice, a lemon/lime based salad dressing, or orange/grapefruit segments added to your salads are just a few ways to incorporate citrus into your meals.

Some iron rich foods include:

  • Red meat
  • Poultry
  • Seafood; especially clams, mussels and oysters
  • Beans
  • Lentil
  • Tofu
  • Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale
  • Dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots
  • Iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Ginger
Some Vitamin C rich foods include:
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Broccoli
  • Kiwi
  • Leafy greens
  • Melons
  • Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerines
  • Tomatoes

Meals don’t have to be fancy or stressful just keep them healthy and be creative – eat well and have fun!

Did You Know… Avocados vs. Bananas

Did You Know… Avocados vs. Bananas

Did you know...

 

Avocados have almost twice as much potassium as Bananas.

Next time try an avocado for a post workout snack and get double the potassium benefits.

Potassium provides the body with much needed electrolytes that get lost during excessive sweating.  It helps regulate the internal fluid balance, prevents fatigue, maintains muscle mass and nerve functions. Potassium rich foods help lower and regulate blood pressure, and may prevent heart disease and stroke.

Potassium rich foods include:

  • avocados
  • bananas
  • white beans
  • dark green leafy vegetables
  • potatoes (baked or mashed with milk)
  • dried fruits: apricots, figs & peaches
  • fish
  • acorn squash
  • sweet potatoes
  • plain yogurt

Make sure your diet is rich in potassium and other vitamins and minerals for optimal health.

 

Source: The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods – Michael Murray

Eat More… Turmeric

Eat More… Turmeric

Eat more Turmeric

Turmeric, a member of the ginger family, is a bright yellow spice that is commonly used  in East Indian and Asian cooking. It is used in a variety of dishes for its bright yellow colour and distinct flavour. These cultures have also been using turmeric as an ingredient for many home remedies for many, many years.

With my East Indian heritage I grew up eating a lot of turmeric, an integral spice in Indian recipes. Unfortunately, I never appreciated or understood the great benefits of this amazing spice until just recently.

I recall, as a child, my brother got a rather nasty cut on his ear and my mom packed the cut with turmeric powder. At the time I thought she was crazy (I never told her that) but now I realize she did that because turmeric works as an antibacterial agent and helps wounds heal quicker.

One of my fond memories of my dad growing up was his insistence for us to drink turmeric and honey milk when we were sick, and how I always refused it. Now I’ve realized how beneficial it was due to turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties.

Curcumin is a chemical component found in turmeric that is responsible for the bright yellow pigment. This chemical compound is responsible for all the health benefits of this powerful spice.

Nutritional Benefits:

This spice is cholesterol free and is high in dietary fiber; and is a great source of vitamins and minerals. It contains moderate amounts of:

  • B vitamins (niacin, riboflavin & B6)
  • folate
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin E
  • iron
  • manganese
  • zinc
  • magnesium
  • calcium
  • potassium

Health Benefits:

With such an assortment of vitamins and minerals its no wonder that turmeric is such super spice. Adding turmeric to our foods and drinks can provide us with an amazing number of benefits. Studies have shown that turmeric can be used as a natural:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • antioxidant
  • antifungal
  • antibiotic
  • antiseptic
  • blood purifier
  • digestive aide
  • wound healer
  • flu and cough fighter
  • skin tonic
  • fat metabolizer
  • cholesterol reducer
  • gas reducer
  • cancer preventer

This miracle spice can be added into your foods or drinks, and can also be found as a supplement in capsule form. The strong yellow colour of this spice can stain your fingers, clothes, counters and dishes – use caution when handling turmeric.

NOTE: Studies show that mixing turmeric with a little black pepper and/or ginger helps with the absorption of curcumin (turmeric).

A quick drink that I make when I start feeling the symptoms of a cold is mixing some honey, turmeric, cinnamon and lemon in hot water.

Turmeric honey tea

Enjoying  a cup of this amazing tea daily would be extremely beneficial to your health.  However it may be a little time consuming for those rushed mornings. A quick time saving way to enjoy this tea is to:

Take one lemon and cut it into thin quarter slices, add in some honey, turmeric, a little ginger, a little black pepper (according to taste) and some cinnamon powder for an extra anti-inflammatory push. Add all the ingredients into a bottle and stir it together till well mixed. Keep the sealed bottle in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, use a tablespoonful and mix it with hot water whenever you desire.

Bottled lemon turmeric mix

I have been giving the hubby, kids and anyone else who happens to be visiting, a paste mixture of honey and turmeric whenever they start getting a sore throat or cold. My kids know that when they get sick they will be getting some of this paste – I admit it doesn’t excite them but they understand the benefits.

honey turmeric paste

 

Turmeric has a very strong flavour and does take some getting use to. Start off with a little amount (especially with kids) and work your way up to taking more – the more the better!

Stay healthy – eat more turmeric! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dirty Dozen

The Dirty Dozen

The Dirty Dozen

 

Many have heard this term in regards to what we eat, but here is a quick explanation of what the dirty dozen means; what foods fall into this category and what you can do about it.

The dirty dozen refers to 12 common fruits and vegetables that many of us eat regularly. We often hear about pesticides being used on our fresh produce, and unfortunately some produce need higher doses than others. Fruits and vegetables are being continually tested for pesticide contamination and levels of pesticide exposure, the 12 fruits and vegetables listed below have been sample tested and proven to contain the highest levels of pesticide exposure and residue.

The “Dirty” Dozen Most contaminated: (8 fruits & 4 vegetables)

  1. Apples
  2. Peaches
  3. Nectarines
  4. Strawberries
  5. Grapes
  6. Raspberries
  7. Pears
  8. Cherries
  9. Spinach
  10. Celery
  11. Sweet Bell Peppers
  12. Potatoes
This does not mean that these 12 fruits and vegetables should be eliminated from your diets, they each provide an abundance of nutrition, but it does mean you need to take a little more precaution when preparing to eat them. Organic fruits and vegetables are grown in less toxic soil and are not exposed to pesticides. If you are able, it is always better to eat organic, especially the above 12 fruits and vegetables. If organic is not an option for you, you should be extra diligent in the washing of all fruits and vegetables but especially the above 12. There are mild soaps specially designed for the cleaning of produce, they can be found at most supermarkets.
The “Clean” Dozen Least Contaminated: (5 fruits & 7 vegetables)
  1. Pineapples
  2. Mangos
  3. Bananas
  4. Kiwi
  5. Papaya
  6. Sweet Corn
  7. Avocado
  8. Cauliflower
  9. Asparagus
  10. Onions
  11. Peas
  12. Broccoli
Fruits and vegetables should continue to be the main component of your daily diets, their nutritional benefits and healing properties are abundant. Include as many colours of fruits and vegetables for even better benefits, refer to Eat The Rainbow for more information.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, Michael Murray ND

 

Eat The Rainbow

Eat The Rainbow

Eat The Rainbow

We keep hearing about “adding more colour” to our daily diet and are encouraged to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. What is the reason for the different colours and what are the benefits of the rainbow?

Fruits and vegetables are packed full of essential vitamins and minerals that should be included in our daily diet, however the colours of the fruits and vegetables are also important. The different colour pigments of fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants that are vital to achieve and maintain good health. The more colours we include in our meals, the more antioxidants and nutrients we provide our body.

Studies show fruits and vegetables contain a number of substances known as phytochemicals that work together with antioxidants to provide what we need to fight various diseases including cancer. Individual pigments are loaded with numerous antioxidants that help the body defend against the free radicals that may cause damage to our cells and lead the way to chronic diseases.

What better reason to increase the number of fruits and vegetables we consume than to better our health and the health of our loved ones.

Fruits and vegetables are always best eaten raw, that’s when they provide the most nutrients and phytochemicals. When cooking them, remember to avoid boiling, as nutrients get lost into the boiling water and drained away – unless you are making soup or are otherwise using the boiled water as broth or sauce.  The best way to cook vegetables is to lightly steam, bake or lightly stir fry. If you are unable to use fresh vegetables then opt for frozen over canned and pickled. Some vegetables provide different benefits when eaten raw or cooked. More information on individual fruits and vegetables with their benefits and tips on cooking and storing will be shared over the coming months.

I have included a quick reference of fruits and vegetables categorized by colour. Make your meals as colourful as you can by adding in at least one ingredient from each category

Don’t be afraid to try something new – you never know if you’ll like it until you give it a chance.

Aim to try one new fruit or vegetable a week – have fun with them and be creative! 🙂

Eat The Rainbow

* Let me know if you would like an email of this chart.