August 28, 2014
Part of the gourd family, which includes watermelon, zucchini, pumpkin and squash, cucumbers have a great nutritional profile: they’re low in calories (just 13 per cup), and contain vitamins C and A, as well as potassium, magnesium, folate, dietary fibre and the mineral silica.
Around for an estimated 10,000 years, cucumbers were used more recently by the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans for their skin-healing properties (they’re known to prevent water retention and be good for swelling and sunburn, too).
When they’re in season, not only are they abundant, they’re also cheap.
The creamy gazpacho from cowgirlchef.com has not one spec of dairy, yet is silky and smooth and, although cooling, also has a kick at the end.
CUCUMBER AVOCADO GAZPACHO
A couple of splashes of sherry vinegar and a bit of olive oil give this summer soup a Spanish accent – you may also want to add crispy croutons to this. Makes 2 regular-sized bowls or 4-6 small appetizer portions.
- 4 large cucumbers
- 2 large avocados
- 2 medium shallots
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 tbs sherry vinegar
- Juice of one lime
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Drop or two Tabasco sauce (you don’t want to overdo, or you’ll overwhelm the flavours of the cucumber and avocado)
- Cilantro leaves, to garnish
- Peel cucumber and cut off the ends. Cut in manageable pieces, about 4-5 inches long. Slice away the part with the seeds, leaving the flesh. Do this with all of your cucumbers and put in the blender.
- Peel the avocados and add to the blender, along with the rest of the ingredients. Puree until smooth. Taste and adjust ingredients.
- Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, at least, so the flavours can come together. Garnish with cilantro leaves.
Tips: This is even better the next day, so it’s a great soup to prepare in advance.
July 21, 2014
This Summer Salad combines the bounty of summer; fresh corn, peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, marinated kale, sweet green onions, fresh cilantro and basil. A big surprise with this salad is the corn is not cooked, if you haven’t tried raw corn cut right from the cob you’re in for a pleasant surprise!
The dressing combines white miso (great for your digestion because it’s rich in probiotics), tahini, sesame oil and fresh lemon.
Top this salad off with a generous sprinkle of hemp seeds and throw in about 2 cups of chickpeas and you have a meal-sized salad to fill you up not out
- 2 ears of fresh local corn (husk taken off)
- 4 cups kale, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces (middle stem removed)
- 1 small red bell pepper, diced
- 1 small zucchini diced or cut into strips using a spiralizer (you have to check this little kitchen tool out!)
- 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup mixture of finely chopped basil and cilantro (or your favorite fresh herbs)
- 1 can of organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Dressing (makes about 1 1/2 cups) good for dressing or veggie dip
- 1 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 cup light coloured miso
- 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water
- optional – 2 tbsp pure maple syrup or unpasteurized honey
- Placing the corn in a large bowl, use a serrated knife and carefully cut the kernels off the cob, cutting from top to bottom along the cob. No need to cook the corn!
- In a blender or a large bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients and set aside.
- Toss the chopped kale into a large salad bowl, sprinkle with the 1/8 tsp salt and lightly massage with your hands for just one minute (no more) to soften the kale.
- Add the rest of the veggies except the sliced cherry tomatoes.
- Gently mix in the dressing, 1/4 cup at a time, use as much as you want, but you won’t need it all. Save the rest as a dip for carrots sticks, snow peas and red pepper slices.
- Sprinkle with the hemp seeds.
- If eating right away, add the cherry tomatoes. You can store this salad for up to 5 hours in the fridge, add the tomatoes just before you serve the salad.
May 23, 2014
Personally I love summer – hot, humid, long sunny days – but summer has its own set of beauty risks. Increased heat can bring an imbalance of Pitta dosha, the mind-body operator that governs hormones, digestion and other metabolic processes in the body. It’s important to stay cool and hydrated to help prevent summer breakouts and rashes. Here are a few tips for keeping your skin looking great in summer, and two of my favourite hydrating and beauty-building beverages!
- Drink cooling water. You’ve probably heard that drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day is important for flushing out toxins, and in summer it’s even more important to keep replacing fluids that may be lost to perspiration.
- Avoid Drinks that Dry Out Your Skin.Sure, those caffeinated drinks look thirst-quenching on TV, but the fact is that caffeine actually dehydrates the body. Alcoholic drinks are even more dehydrating. Worse, both caffeine and alcohol are toxic to the liver. When the liver becomes overloaded, it can no longer do its job of screening out toxins from the nutritive fluid. That’s the point when ama (digestive toxins) and more harmful impurities, start to circulate to the tissues and organs of the body. And one of the first signs of toxins in the liver is dull, dry, lifeless skin.
Even non-caffeinated carbonated drinks disrupt the digestion and are a major cause of toxins. And ice-cold drinks are also to be avoided, as icy foods and drinks completely douse the digestive fire, again leading to toxins that detract from healthy skin. Cilantro, cucumber, and mint are great additions to water for a refreshing beverage that will cool you down.
- Eat foods that hydrate your skin:
- Cooling, sweet, bitter and astringent foods(coconut, cucumber, watermelon, all the fresh fruit in season, steamed greens, multicolored salads, watercress, endives, mung beans, basmati rice) and avoid spicy and fried foods.
- Sweet fruits, such as grapes, cherries, melons, avocados, coconuts, pomegranates, mangos, and sweet, fully-ripened oranges, pineapples and plums. Reduce sour fruits such as grapefruits, olives, papayas, and unripe pineapples and plums.
Both of these recipes are from The Balanced Plate by Renee Loux.
Lemon Cucumber Spa Hydrator - made with a blender
yields 4 servings
- 2 medium cucumbers, peeled and roughly chopped (about 4 cups)
- 1 lemon, peeled and seeded
- 1-2 tbsp raw agave nectar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 cups filtered water
Blend all ingredients at high speed until smooth. Pour through a fine strainer or sieve. Serve chilled
Green Lemon Ginger Beauty Tonic – made with a juicer
yields: 4 servings
- 1 head romaine lettuce
- 1 cucumber
- 2 organic green apples
- 6 ribs celery
- 1/2 bunch parsley
- 1 lemon
- 1″ fresh ginger
Cut up all veggies so they will fit through your vegetable juicer. Juice the romaine, cucumber, apples, celery, parsley, lemon and ginger, alternating for easy processing. Drink as fresh as possible.
April 18, 2014
Today we had a bit of a celebration at the Yoga studio, it’s Good Friday so lots of people were off work so our 9:30am Power Yoga class was packed! And our run club is training for the Ottawa Half-Marathon in May and completed 19km today, so they came up for a good stretch after the run. We had a full house enjoying coffee and treats, it was so good to connect with each other, laugh and chat! Below are the recipes for the chocolate inspired treats I made, both were big hits!
The coffee we enjoyed this morning is School Breakfast Program Coffee in stores throughout Ottawa. Buy a bag and feed 6 kids!
Nutty Chocolate & Date Power Balls
These are my new favourite little chocolate treats, inspired by a recipe on this website. These are super simple to make with basic ingredients, and are an awesome treat to refuel with after a workout or a good pick-me-up as an afternoon snack. Make sure to use soft Medjool dates, if they’ve dried out a bit then soak them in water for 30 minutes or so and discard the water.
Almond flour is just blanched almonds, ground into a flour-like texture, Bob’s Red Mill is a good brand to have on hand. For this recipe you can really use any nuts or combination of nuts (walnuts are delicious). The first step is to add them to the food processor and grind them to a flour-like texture, don’t process for too long or it will end up as a nut butter.
- 2 Almond Flour
- 1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder (or Roasted Carob Powder)
- 2 cups Dates, pits removed
- 2 TB Maple Syrup
- 1/2 tsp sea satl
- Dried shredded Coconut
- Add the Almond Flour and cocoa powder, salt to the food processor and whirl around to combine.
- Add 1 cup of the dates plus the maple syrup
- Blend together in the food processor, adding more dates until you get a “breakable” dough (not to goo-ey and not too dry like sand) that can form into balls
- Form into walnut sized balls in your hands
- Roll and gently press the balls in the coconut.
- Store in the fridge for up to 4 days… if they last that long!
This recipe is a staple in our house, it’s very easy to make and delicious. The recipe is from a wonderful cookbook called Vegan World Food Cuisine. I use a hand held blender to combine the wet ingredients but you could just mush them all together with a fork, just make sure to cut the dates into small pieces.
- 2 cup spelt flour
- 1/2 cup walnuts chopped
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup banana mashed (about 2 bananas)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup apple sauce (sugar free)
- 1/2 cup date pieces
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips (vegan: look for ones with no milk ingredients, PC brand is milk-free)
- 1/4 cup sunflower oil
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and oil a 9×5 loaf pan
- Place dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well
- Combine wet ingredients in another bowl, with a hand held wand blender, blend all the ingredients together, then pour into the dry ingredients and mix well.
- Pour into the oiled loaf pan and bake for one hour or until a toothpick comes out dry. Be careful not to burn the top.
April 17, 2014
During exercise you lose two important electrolytes, sodium and chloride, through your sweat. Women athletes as well as beginner endurance exercisers are most at risk. Also at risk is anyone who has been taking mineral depleting chemicals such as antibiotics or insulin.
According to John Winterdyke and Karen Jensen authors of the Complete Athlete “By regulating the fluid balance inside and outside the cells, electrolytes are necessary for muscle contraction, relaxation and general muscle metabolism. An imbalance in the minerals (sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium) which become electrolytes in the body can lead to early muscle fatigue and a corresponding drop in performance. For athletes, the muscles may feel ‘great’ but they just won’t respond to the demand you place on them.” To keep our muscles fueled many of us reach for electrolyte replacement drinks – but beware many are loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients which can do more to deplete your energy than add to it.
Here are some guidelines when purchasing Electrolyte replacement drinks
- An eight-ounce serving should contain between twenty and twenty-eight grams of carbohydrates for maximum benefit
- Drinks should contain key electrolytes such as potassium, calcium, sodium, chloride, magnesium and phosphates
- Avoid drinks that contain sucrose
- Fructose and maltodextrin are easily absorbed by the digestive system
- Avoid all artificial colours, flavours etc
- Consume drinks slightly chilled if possible, this allows for better absorption
Below are 2 that meet the above criteria and have been proven effective by our coaches
- Ultima Replenisher
- Vega Sport Performance Optimizer, my favorite right now, available at all health food stores
One of the best ways to avoid depletion is to eat foods high in electrolytes such as (in fact together these ingredients create an amazing smoothie)
- Coconut water – highest source of electrolytes found in nature
- Kale – provides heavy minerals necessary to nourish the muscles and alkaline elements neutralize lactic acid build-up
- Celery – replaces sodium lost during perspiration
- Cucumber – provides excellent fluid and fibre
- Bananas – great source of potassium
I try and add all of these to my daily smoothie to keep me energized not just for training but for all my daily activities. My favorite green smoothie is posted on the website, and I pulled out one of my favorite natural nutrition guides, the Sunfood Diet by David Wolfe for a few more recipes guaranteed to keep you replenished and full of energy!
Performance: David recommends blending together 1 cup coconut water, 1 cup ice, 1 heaping tbsp spirulina, you can drink this during your run. To that I add 1 banana and 1 orange as my pre-run smoothie.
Spirulina is the highest protein food on the planet, it comes as a powder and a little goes a long way. This is a superior replenishing drink for any athlete
Rejuvenator – made with a juicer
- 1 Bunch of kale
- 4-6 ribs of celery
- 1 cucumber
- 1 burdock root
- 1 lemon
- 1-2 apples
This is a lot like my green smoothie, with the addition of burdock. Juicing helps the nutrients get right into your cells. Burdock root is a blood purifier and an excellent base to help the body create hormones. Burdock contains one of the highest amounts of iron in any food. Kale provides a dense source of alkaline minerals including calcium. Cucumber and celery soften the taste and provide more minerals. The lemon should be shaved down to the white pith. Apples add sweetness. This is one of the most health-promoting juice combinations, great to consume every day.
April 14, 2014
There is no cooking required for this porridge making is super fast, you can even prepare this in the evening and keep it in a sealed container int the fridge for an easy breakfast on the go.
I used diced mango and fig, 2 of my favourite fruits, feel free to use an combination of fruit that you have on hand, fresh berries are particularly yummy.
Chia Power Porridge with Mango & Fig
- 2 tbsp chia,
- 2 tbsp hemp
- 1 cup organic and fortified plant-based milk
- diced mango and fresh figs
- in your favourite breakfast bowl combine the chia, hemp and milk, stir and let sit for 5 minutes or so to absorb the liquid
- top with mango and figs or any fruit you have on hand
March 22, 2014
As the snow and wind are swirling outside, I’m craving something warm and nourishing, trouble is I’m tired and don’t feel much like cooking, and the fridge is looking a little bare! Luckily I live very close to a couple of amazing natural food stores, and in no time I was home with a few key ingredients for a simple soup.
This is my quickest soup yet – 10 minutes start to finish; it’s tasty, and of course full of nutrients, you guessed it, one of them is kale.
The kale is included in a product from Cookin Greens called Athlete’s Mix (a frozen mix of kale, spinach, chard, red pepper and white beans), and the ravioli is from Rising Moon Organics, I used the Spinach Florentine filled with a soy ricotta. Both products are frozen so are great staples to have on hand. The broth of the soup is both vegetable soup stock and miso paste, together the add a depth of flavour and loads of extra nutrients. I used Cold Mountain brand Mellow White Miso.
Kale and Ravioli Soup with Sweet Potato and Miso
- 3 cups vegetable stock
- 1 package frozen Rising Moon Spinach Florentine Ravioli
- 1/2 package Cookin’ Greens Athletes Mix
- 1 small organic sweet potato, peeled and diced small
- 1/2 onion diced small
- 1 jalapeno pepper diced small (no seeds)
- 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 4 tbsp light coloured miso paste
- In a large soup pot bring 3 cups of organic vegetable soup broth to a boil
- Add 1 package frozen Rising Moon Spinach Florentine Ravioli, 1/2 package Cookin’ Greens Athletes Mix, the onion, jalapeno, and sweet potato
- Reduce heat and simmer for 8 minutes, remove from heat
- Stir in 1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, and the miso paste. The miso gives the soup some depth of flavour so don’t leave it out
- Serve topped with whole grain organic croutons
- Curl up in front of the fireplace and enjoy.
Note: replace frozen Cookin’ Greens Mix with 3 cups fresh kale, cut into small pieces.
March 16, 2014
This is one of my go to recipes, it cooks up in under 30 minutes and tastes delicious! This is also a variation on one of the staple recipes in the 5 Day Fat Blast online cleanse, a recipe everyone loves.
In the picture above I used Quinoa + Kale and topped with cherry tomatoes, beets, zucchini and yellow pepper. I used a cool kitchen gadget called a Spiral Slicer that I purchased online on Amazon.ca, it turns ordinary veggies into noodles, and makes all salads so much more interesting. Of course you can also use a grater if you don’t have a Spiral Slicer.
Quick and Easy Kale + Quinoa Bowl
Makes 4 servings
- 1 bunch of kale, washed, stems removed, and cut into thin strips
- 1 cup brown rice
- 1 beet, grated
- 1 small zucchini, grated
- 1 large red pepper, diced small
- 1 small red onion, minced
- Optional: one 14 ounce can chickpeas (drained)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Tahini Miso sauce ingredients:
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2-4 Tbsp. water
- 6 Tbsp. tahini
- 2-3 tbsp miso
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder or 1 garlic clove, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped walnuts or slivered almonds
- Dried cranberries (unsweetened)
- Diced avocado
- Bring 2 cups water to a boil, add quinos, lower heat to simmer, cook for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and keep covered.
- As soon as you take the quinoa off of the burner, minced onion and kale, on top of the quinoa, cover the pot and let sit for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, transfer the quinoa and veggie mixture into a large bowl, add beet, zucchini and red pepper and optional chickpeas.
- To assemble the bowl, divide among 4 plates, top with additional toppings of walnuts, dried cranberries, and avocado if desired. Drizzle the bowls with 2 tablespoons of tahini sauce.
*Any remaining sauce can be stored for up to one week. The tahini sauce is also great on a salad or over mixed steamed vegetables.
March 4, 2014
It’s Shrove Tuesday, and according to Wikipedia, pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent because they were a way to use up rich foodstuffs such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent. The liturgical fasting emphasized eating plainer foods. In many cultures, this means no meat, dairy, or eggs
These pancakes were a good kick start to Lent, because of course they already had a healthy twist, made with whole wheat flour, almond milk, flax, and of course bananas.We topped them with lots of diced berries and a drizzle of pure maple syrup – Divine.
If you observe Lent you have a wonderful opportunity to fuel your blessed body with Pure Food for the next 40 days, check out all our rockin’ vegan recipes and experience the amazing connection between clean food and a clear mind, get started with our recipe below!
Blissful Banana Pancakes – makes 6-8 pancakes
- 1 cup whole wheat or spelt flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 1 cup non-dairy milk, such as almond milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp ground flax mixed with 3 tbsp water
- 1 medium sized ripe banana, sliced thin
In a large bowl combine the flour and baking powder, add the cinnamon and salt and stir to combine. In a small bowl, combine the non-dairy milk, vanilla and flax-water mixture and stir through. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir through until just well combined, if it seems a bit thick add a tbsp more non-dairy milk. Stir in the banana slices
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat for a few minutes and then reduce to low. Scoop the batter into the skillet to form pancakes and let cook for a few minutes until small bubbles start to form on the outer edge of the pancakes and then the center. Flip and cook on the other side for a few minutes.
Top with fresh sliced fruit and pure maple syrup.
February 13, 2014
This recipe from MindBodyGreen is not only delicious and decadent but it’s also good for you and super simple! It only takes five minutes to prepare and you only need five ingredients!
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 1 cup almond butter (you can also use unsalted crunchy peanut butter)
- 2 cups raw cacao
- 1 cup dates (pitted)
- 1 to 2 pinches of unrefined sea salt
Soak your dates in hot water for about 20 minutes to make them soft and sticky.
Carefully melt your coconut oil on very low heat.
Place all your ingredients, except the almond butter, in your high speed blender and blend until soft and well combined.
Add the almond butter at the end to keep the crunch.
Spread evenly in a tin or container, or – for a special occasion – press into specially shaped candy molds!
Place in the fridge for about one hour.
If you like this recipe, check out Elation Centre’s Recipe Page with tons of healthy and delicious, plant-based recipes!