Plant Based Bars Review

Hello everyone!

How are you guys today?

To be honest, it’s been a whirlwind of a weekend. I’m jumping from one thing to the next without much time to take a breath. But it’s alright – today, the sun is shining and the day is young!

I just wanted to drop in and let you guys know that I just put together a video reviewing some plant-based bars – I would appreciate it so much if you checked it out!

 

 

Until next time!

Quick Coconut Flour Pancakes Recipe

Hey babes!

Since enough of you expressed an interest over Instagram in me sharing this recipe, I thought I would drop by today and post it up!

These pancakes make breakfast feel decadent, without leaving you feeling sluggish. They are so easy to make (you’ll see!) and are an awesome way to jumpstart your morning. Having a really heavy breakfast always leaves me feeling physically taxed – and then, shortly after, I can tell that my brain is also feeling the effects.

I get foggy, slow, emotional, and sometimes – you guessed it – anxious!

But not with these pancakes – nope. The coconut flour makes these super light, and would you believe that there are three eggs in these pancakes? Talk about getting your protein.


Oh and by the way: these pancakes are dairy free, gluten-free, high protein and low carb.

Ingredients 

  • 2 TBSP coconut flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 0.5 TSP vanilla
  • 0.5 TSP coconut oil
  • 1 TSP baking powder
  • Handful of blueberries (optional)

Directions: Crack three eggs into a bowl and whisk in the coconut flour 1 TBSP at a time. Once mixed well, add vanilla and baking powder. Add in the handful of blueberries last (optional). Warm a small stovetop pan on medium heat and add .5 TSP of coconut oil (or olive oil).

To make one large pancake, add all of the batter at once. To make two small ones, simply divide the batter into two and pour half at a time. Once bubbles begin to form at the top and the bottom is golden brown, flip the pancake. Leave it for 3-6 minutes depending on thickness.

Once it’s done, plate and add your desired toppings (for me, it was more blueberries) !


Blueberries and pancakes are amazing together – but don’t be afraid to get creative with your combinations! Other additions could be raw cacao powder, raspberries, strawberries, chocolate chips, coconut shreds … whatever you fancy!

Happy pancakin’!

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Happy Sunday Strong Babes !

How goes it?

I heard that this season is going to go on record as the warmest winter Calgary has ever seen. We have only seen a very tiny bit of snow so far, and none in the week to come. But it is still November here, so I have every inclination of eating some of that yummy Novemberish food (think cinnamon, squash, soup, comfort).

So when I had an extra sweet pumpkin on my hands after Halloween I knew I could put it to good use. Plus, I hate wasting food – and that pumpkin was graduating from home decor to edible.

And so this gem was created – warm, rich, Creamy Pumpkin Soup

 

Ingredients (makes 4-6 servings)

  • 1 sweet pumpkin
  • 2 baking potatoes
  • 1 container chicken or vegetable stock *
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp coconut oil

*I used chicken broth for this recipe – substitute with vegetable broth for a vegan option

Directions: Cut the pumpkin into halves (lengthwise) and remove seeds. Layer the inside with 1 tsp coconut oil and roast in the oven face down at 350 for about an hour (or until soft and golden). While cooking the pumpkin, boil potatoes until soft. Once the pumpkin and potato are done, allow them both to cool.

While the pumpkin and potato are cooling, it’s the perfect time to take the additional 1 tsp of coconut oil and heat it up in a small pan. Add the diced onion and cook until clear – add the garlic in for the last two minutes.

Put all remaining ingredients as well as the cooked pumpkin, potato, onion, and garlic in a high speed blender or use a hand blender to mix. Add the liquid ingredients slowly to control the consistency of your soup. I like mine thick – you can always add more broth for a smoother, thinner consistency.

This soup was awesome to just grab on the go in mason jars and bring it to work, or a quick reheat at home on the stove top.

Do you have a favourite comfort soup?

 

I love to see your recreations, so don’t forget to tag me on Instagram!

 

Pumpkin Chia Overnight Oats

Hi Everyone!

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada and I am beyond thankful for it. An extra day in the weekend is more than enough reason for me to celebrate. But I have another reason in my heart too.

In past years, it has been increasingly difficult to get my family together for the holidays. Between my mum and three sisters, at least one of us is always away or has prior arrangements on a holiday. But not this time. 

Us three “Standing Girls” are all going to make it for this Thanksgiving dinner, and for that I feel gratitude. My big sister and brother in law are bringing their beautiful new baby Amelia. I’m very much looking forward to being in the company of everyone.

And I’m very excited to not have to cook.

Who else’s mom makes the best thanksgiving dinner ever? I believe that the reason we get attached to our mother’s cooking on a whole ‘nother level is because it’s like taking a boat down memory lane. And the familiarity of it all brings us comfort.So not only do I not have to cook, but I also get gifted with one hell of a meal.

Speaking of comfort, as everything green around here turns white many of us are looking for just that. I’ve always loved “comfort” foods – and for me that doesn’t necessarily mean “warm” or “fattening” , I think my mind goes to “earthy”.

And this Pumpkin Chia Overnight Oat Recipe will bring you there.

 

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup pure water
  • 3/4 cup oats (I used gluten free)
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 2 TBSP pumpkin puree
  • 1 TBSP coconut sugar
  • 1 large banana
  • 2 TBSP molasses
  • 2 TBSP pumpkin seeds

Directions:  Mix coconut milk, water, oats, chia seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin puree, pumpkin spice, and coconut sugar in a bowl. Let sit for a few minutes, and mix again. Cover and set in the fridge overnight.

In the morning you should find most of the liquid has been absorbed by the oats, chia seeds, and hemp seeds. Separate into two bowls. Use half a banana on top of each bowl. Add 1 TBSP molasses and 1 TBSP pumpkin seeds to the top of each bowl.

Bon apetit!

 

I was going to name this “Pumpkin Hemp Chia Overnight Oats”, but I realized that it’s a mouthful to I took out “Hemp” from the name. Which is awesome, because now the hemp is almost sort of this secret nutritional ninja that snuck in there.

I am so on board with adding a generous amount of chia and hemp seeds to my overnight oats because it adds an extra hit of fats and proteins. Molasses is also one of my favourite breakfast additions because it’s a good source of iron, calcium and magnesium! I swear the universe invented molasses specifically for me.

Matthew ate his half at the table like a normal person, but being that I am always in a hurry I stacked mine in a jar to take with me to go!

Do you guys enjoy pumpkin flavored stuff? I can’t wait to get to cooking up some more fall recipes!

Thanks for stopping by!

Do Carbs Make You Fat?

As a wellness enthusiast, I feel the need to address this question today.

Why? Well I’ve been encountering a lot of people lately who share this belief: Carbs make you fat.

So lets talk about it: Do Carbs Make You Fat?

Carbohydrates are actually the foods containing a particular ratio of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Foods that fall under the carbohydrate category can be anything from bread and grains, to fruits and vegetables.

But I know when a lot of people talk about their carbs, they are mainly thinking about pizza, pasta, and french fries – hence the bad rep. These are all carbs too – but keep in mind they are also processed foods (which in my opinion makes them a whole different animal of sub-category under “carbs”). 

It is important to understand that carbohydrates are essential for a healthy body and brain. Carbohydrates are your body’s main and preferred source of energy. Long story short, your body converts carbohydrates to glucose, and glucose is used by your body for energy.

For this reason you will notice professional athletes typically eat a higher carbohydrate diet, and will also take carbohydrate supplements in the form of gels and powders – because they require more energy for their activity.

On the opposite spectrum, there are people out there living a low activity lifestyle eating a high carbohydrate diet. So what happens when the body has tons of available energy in the form of glucose, but has no where to use it? Well, the body is pretty smart. It thinks hey, I might need this extra energy sometime, so I’m going to store it. That excess fuel is then converted and stored in the body as fat.

So do carbs make you fat?

Absolutely not.

Carbs give you energy.

But when you routinely get into the habit of not using that energy, your body will store it.

With this (albeit limited) knowledge it is easy to see why some people decide to go low or no carb for weightloss purposes. I do not have a problem with people going low-carb for weightloss purposes, although I do believe all restrictive diets are fundamentally flawed in that they are very difficult to maintain long term.

That being said, many people go low-carb for short periods of time for weight loss, and I understand why. What hurts my heart is when I see people doing it wrong. Without carbs, where will your body get energy from?

Again, your body – it’s smart. It will find fuel somewhere else – “else” being fats and protein. Your body can adapt to use fats as fuel, and if it really has to it will adapt to use protein. When your body is using protein for fuel, it is a last resort, and you are essentially muscle-wasting. This is not a state you want to get into.

So if you do decide to go the low or no carbohydrate route, please up your fats (fats will also not make you fat , but I’ll save that for another post).

I chatted with a woman last week who is on a low-carb diet and admitted that she was feeling especially lethargic. I asked if she had “upped” her fats and she looked at me like I was a space alien. Well it’s no wonder she’s tired, I noted. Her body is having a very difficult time finding a source of energy! Her goal was to build more muscle and look toned – ironically enough she was likely not seeing those results as I suspect her body was in protein using (also known as muscle-wasting) mode.

I know this post was a bit more heavy than my usual, and truly I just want to leave you with one message: weight gain and loss simply comes down to a mathematical equation. If you take in more “energy” (food) than you output, you gain weight. Everybody’s needs are different based on their lifestyle. I encourage you to find out what works best for you!

Please feel free to drop any questions below!

 

7 Scary Food Additives

It’s so easy to encourage one another to read our food labels. On the other hand, what’s the point, when they are so dang hard to interpret? Acesulfame Potassium? Monosodium Glutamate? Sounds complicated and probably harmless. Right?

I wish that was the world we live in. But honestly, becoming food consious is not easy. It’s also kind of a scary place to venture.

But if you are ready for the journey (which I really hope you are!) check out this image from naturallysavvy.com that helps to break down 7 food additives that we as consumers should be looking out for.

scary7

 

Unfortunately if your diet reflects the typical North American, these food additives are all over your kitchen. My advice? Start small – swap out your dressing for one with less preservatives, or make cookies at home instead of buying them from the store.

Me? I’m going to print this out and put it right on my fridge – as a way of holding myself accountable for my choices.

If you have time, jump in and browse around naturallysavvy.com ! Expand your knowledge! They have some really great articles if you are looking to make some healthier changes in your life.

 

What do you guys think? Anything in the pantry you might clear out after reading this?

 

preview image via http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com

Would the REAL Cinnamon please stand up?!

Hands down the cheesiest blog title I’ve had yet, but once I got it in my head I just couldn’t help myself.

I want to share a tiny bit of information today that I really feel should be common knowledge…. but isn’t.

As consumers, how are we supposed to make informed choices if we are not informed? So here let me drop this truth bomb:

Did you know that the typical cinnamon you buy at the grocery store is not real cinnamon? That’s right – it’s an impostor. 

Cinnamon is originally from a plant called the Cinnamomum Zeylanicum, which also goes by the name “Ceylon Cinnamon”. The one you will typically find in the grocery store, unless otherwise labelled, is from another plant called Cinnamomum Cassia. It typically goes by the name “Cassia Cinnamon”.

The two plants themselves are related and therefore do share some similar properties. Ceylon cinnamon is typically more expensive, but you get what you pay for. It is nutritionally potent and great for medicinal use. It also contains less coumarin than it’s Cassia cousin, which has been shown to have negative health benefits for some people in moderate to high doses.

Ceylon Cinnamon is also much better tasting. Cinnamon should have a sweet aroma as opposed to a bitter one, which is one way to distinguish between the two types. Ceylon cinnamon breaks easily, so if you want to test any sticks at home see if you can split it in half. Cassia cinnamon is extremely difficult to break.

Other things to keep an eye open for:

Any fillers, for example flour.

Also: freshness. Like other spices cinnamon can go stale, so keep in mind where you are buying your cinnamon and how (sealed container vs. bulk).

Real cinnamon has great nutritional value and is an excellent anti-inflammatory. It also helps to lower blood sugar and may even fight against infection.

Now that you are informed, it’s your choice! Cassia cinnamon in small amounts is pretty much harmless. If you consume a substantial amount of cinnamon like me and want the full medicinal benefits of it, it is worth springing for the Ceylon version.

Thanks for reading!

 

Sources:

Authority Nutrition – 10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Cinnamon

BfR – FAQ on Coumarin in Cinnamon 

Food Renegade – Is Your Cinnamon Real? 

 

Image: 

“True Cinnamon” – myherbclinic.com 

 

10 Amazing Summer Popsicle Ideas!

What I love so much about summer is that it brings out my “inner kid”. Playing in playgrounds, running in the sunshine, and exercising myself into an afternoon flop on the couch!

Another thing that brings out my inner summer child: popsicles. They are easy to make and so versatile! But I’ve been able to appreciate even more just how versatile they are by scouring the internet to bring you my TOP TEN Amazing Summer Popsicle Ideas!

Prepare to feast your eyes because these photos and recipes are seriously astounding! And just as an FYI – all recipes are dairy free!

Black Forest Popsicles from Artful Desperado 

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Blackforest Cake was the cake that my sisters and I always wanted for our birthdays as kids! Turning it into a popsicle is absolutely brilliant. My mouth is watering!

Tart Rhubarb Ice Pops from Vega 

Rhubarb-Ice-Pops

I’m such a big fan of rhubarb and the tart flavor it brings to any creation. I love with recipe and would probably play around with the added orange and ginger ratios just to see what suited me best… you know… at least 7 or 8 times!

Dairy Free Fudge Pops from Against All Grain 

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You can never go wrong with chocolate in my books, but these popsicles have the added benefit of gelatin! Against All Grain also posts a link on their own page about the benefits, so you can get the recipe and get caught up on the greatness of gelatin all in one!

Coffee Popsicles from Wonky Wonderful 

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I am a coffee junkie, and these popsicles are an absolute dream. Sometimes when I get home from a long day I debate putting a put of coffee on, but during the summer I would much rather just grab one of these out of the freezer!

Key Lime Popsicles from Whole New Mom

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Look at these beauties! These popsicles are stunning yet simple enough to please a crowd. These popsicles also contain gelatin to give them a creamier texture, but Whole New Mom offers a vegan variation if that’s more your thing.

Mango and Dragon Fruit Pops from Young and Raw

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I have been so into Dragon Fruit lately; I love the grainy texture. Just looking at this Pop makes me feel like I’m on vacation! And I love the flavor separation – it gives you something to look forward to halfway through!

Blueberry Coconut Ice Pops from The Little Epicurian 

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The aesthetic appeal here is blowing me away. The ingredients are so simple that you might even have all ingredients on hand!

Tropical Ice Pops from Simply Beautiful Eating

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This presentation is EVERYTHING. I am so blown away! Simply Beautiful Eating has taken tropical Popsicles to a whole new level. I love the purple contrast inside the yellow popsicle!

Chai Spiced Coconut Fig Popsicles from Tasty Yummies 

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Chai is one of my favourite things ever, I love creamy textures mixed with spice! This is officially on my lift of “must make” popsicles!

Blueberry Basil Matcha Pops from The Girl Who Knows

Matcha-Blueberry-Popsicles-Healthy-Taste-Eat-Summer-Very-Sarie-TheGirlWhoKnows

A few months ago I bought a bunch of matcha, and it’s been awesome in my smoothies- but I would love a different way to enjoy it! Blueberry suits perfectly, don’t you think?

Okay – officially obsessed with popsicles! I hope you guys enjoyed this post! It has been one of my favorite to date. And now that I’m feeling inspired… It’s time to get to my own creation! That will be up next, so stay tuned!

This blog is officially 365 days old!

One year ago, I started this blog.

I have enjoyed so much sharing all the things that I have on this blog. But to be honest, there were other times where I realized what a commitment this blog was really going to be. Times I doubted myself, my posts. Moments in which I realized what this blog really means to me. This blog is only just now growing into what it will be.

In honor of my blog birthday, I want to announce something that really encompasses not only my commitment to this blog, but to health and wellness in general – my commitment to helping us all be our best selves, if only in some small way.

One year from now I am going to be well on my way to becoming a R.H.N. Holistic Nutritionist.

I’m so excited to share that I’m going back to school in September for Holistic Nutrition. I want to use this, as well as my B.A. in Psychology, to help people eat their way to health and happiness.


The venture of starting my own business with wellness coaching has been amazing, and I have learned a lot. But what I have learned the most has been truly humbling, and it’s this: I’m not done learning. I want to offer my clients phenomenal care and life change – but I can’t do that until my knowledge base is, well, more phenomenal.

The school that I will be attending offers a very “mind body and soul” approach to nutrition, which aligns perfectly with my passion and my values. The program is very intensive, and I know it will be a hard year, but it’s just a hard year of doing more of what I love.
So if you notice I’ve been sharing a few more recipes on the blog, you should know that is the direction that this blog is going – towards food – but not away from anything else. Wellness is, in it’s nature, holistic – you can’t just look at nutrition, or spirituality, or physical and mental health… it’s all of it.

September first life’s next great adventure begins!

Wish me luck 🙂

How Does Food Apathy Affect You?

Are you experiencing food apathy? I have always been fascinated by what drives people, what motivates them. I love digging deep to figure out why people do what they do.

One thing that’s been on my mind lately is why some people get stuck in harmful eating habits, and why despite their best intentions they end up in the drive-thru almost daily.

Does it come down to lack of knowledge and education? Information is readily available at our fingertips. In fact, many of us check the health labels on our food, read the news reports, and watch the documentaries on how food affects our function at a cellular level. We have the tools and information available to eat healthier, but sometimes we still don’t.

One argument commonly made is that eating healthy is more expensive. Is this true? Actually, Yes. But to put this into perspective, we need to ask how much more expensive it really is. This report indicates that eating healthy isn’t too much more expensive; in fact it only costs an extra $1.50 per day. We’ll spend that $1.50 on food, alcohol, or an expensive latte, but hesitate to invest this in our health.

What about convenience? Most fast food joints offer healthier options, you just have to know what they are. I enjoyed this article on Buzz Feed because it breaks down healthier options at some of the most popular fast food restaurants. The toughest part is choosing that option in the moment once you get there.

It’s important to remember just how important eating healthy is for your body and your mind. A healthy diet means you will ingest the nutrients required to keep you operating at your best. Diet has been shown to greatly influence mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, and also works as a preventative measure against:

  • Cancer
  • Heart Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cognitive Impairment
  • Depression

Despite knowing the power of a healthy diet, so many of us still struggle. This is a complicated topic that really can’t be simplified. There are so many mental, emotional, and socio-economical barriers that inhibit us from committing to eating well.

But in some cases, it is simple. For those of us who have the money, the emotional space, and the readiness to eat healthy, we still don’t do it. Could it be food apathy?  It’s easy to feel indifferent about one junky, refined meal because it doesn’t matter. We feel apathetic about our food because we see it as one isolated meal, rather than one part of our routine which contributes to the whole.

And perhaps it comes down to a lack of value for ourselves. We don’t care enough to nourish our bodies. We’re too consumed with life – too busy and too stressed to make it a priority.

I don’t have all the answers. But I think understanding what’s underneath the decisions we make is the key to setting ourselves free from unhealthy patterns of behaviour, because it’s often the first step.

Are you apathetic about your diet? Feel free to share your experience in the comments.

Later Babes!