5 Unconventional Fast Foods For Travelers And Scholars

Whether you’re hitting the road or cracking the books, such times call for quick, clean, perfectly packable snacks and meals!

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A few weekends ago we stuffed our duffle bags and departed for cottage country in Lake of Bays Muskoka. With a drive a few hours long at the peak of lunch hour, we found ourselves in a hunger pinch and took a road side stop to the organic section of a Superstore. So while some of the following unconventional snacks entail a specialty stop to a health food department, others can be snagged just about anywhere you may find yourself. Never will you have to drive yourself into excuses and all will enhance concentration, energy levels and brain power.

This is what we snacked on in Muskoka as a cheat sheet to a few quick and affordable fast foods!

 DRINK

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Chaga Tea

 Not to be fooled by the cup: my friend brewed this tea for me of medicinal mushrooms for the drive up to Muskoka (you can see why we’re friends 😉 ).

  • Native to the birch forests of the northern hemisphere, Chaga mushrooms have become well known for boosting the immune system. Yet, being an adatogen, it also helps us to cope and adapt to the stresses of university studies.
  • Bonus: Chaga is a natural source of melanin to help provide protection against solar UV rays. An added boost of cottage sunscreen in a cup!
  • Note: While this is a quick and easy brew, it is not readily available. At coffee shops, opt for a hydrating herbal tea (I personally love the perk of peppermint). Use stevia and/or non-dairy milk if desired.

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Greens Powder Pouch

  • Perhaps you need a mid day boost  without the caffeine or didn’t consume the most optimal meal. The solution? Crack open one of these pouches, shake into a bottle of water, and drink. Not only does it have a pleasant flavor from the green apple, but greens powders provide an instant boost of energy to both the body and brain.
  • Didn’t squeeze in a nutritious breakfast this morning? Greens will realklinaze the body to counteract some of the negative effects of an unbalanced meal.

EAT

Perfectly Packable Chia Pods

  • With the simple base of chia seeds and coconut milk, you can easily and affordably whip this up yourself in any number of flavours. But when in a pinch, Chia Pods can be purchased from local health food stores in compact cups with a built-in spoon.
  • High in omega-3 fatty acids for brain health, these compact packs are loaded with fiber to keep you feeling full through to your next meal making them ideal for on-the-go student studies and thrifty travelers alike.

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Watermelon

If you are what you eat, we were bound to become walking, talking watermelons by the time we were homebound!

  • Not ideal for long road trips or lectures as they consist of 92% water and are a natural diuretic, but don’t toss this idea yet!
  • Watermelons make a delicious way to eat yourself hydrated on a hot day and are packed with natural sugars that your brain uses to run efficiently. Its high vitamin C content assists in counteracting the stress on students and boosts the immune system while the high fiber reduces blood sugar spikes (that can lead to brain fog) and promotes good digestion when traveling.

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Other pre-packaged Fruit

  • Equipped with their own containers, fruit such as apples, bananas, grapes, and mandarin oranges, etc. all make perfect grab-and-go snacks.
  • We snatched these up for a canoe ride on the lake along with coconut that we had freshly cracked. Coconuts are loaded with brain boosting fats that will satisfy your hunger and the MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) present in coconuts have been shown to enhance cognitive performance as they can be turned to ketones and used as fuel for the brain.

We really loved  Muskoka. It was magical. And perhaps the most magical part came from laying beneath the stars with ginger teas and a mountain of melon beside us. I can’t imagine how beautiful it will be in a few weeks with the first fall of snow. But until we make it back again (perhaps for a winterized version of this food guide??), we’ll be savouring our stress-free snacking!

Suzanne Eden

 

Five Food Hacks To Help Bounce Back From Your Thanksgiving Festivities

I hope your weekend has been filled with family, food and festivities, but if you’ve been left feeling as stuffed as the turkey, this is the post for you!

While overindulgence in a feast can leave us tired, bloated and backed up, food in the proper proportions can also be used to counteract these effects. So whether you are opening up a second stomach compartment today for Thanksgiving part 2 (see HERE) or burying the hatchet on yesterday’s soiree, these are 5 holistic life hacks from foods to use.

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FEAST TO FAMINE

  • Think our ancient ancestors wouldn’t have partaken in such a feast? Think again! As meat (turkey or otherwise) wasn’t as easily come by back then, any hunted game was generally cooked and eaten in large quantities and was often followed by longer periods of time before their next full meal.
  • Following a feast, opt for small, easily digestible, plant based meals or partake in intermittent fasting. This provides your body the opportunity to rest, digest, and reset.
  • NOTE: When fasting, it is important to increase your water intake to stay hydrated and help your body in the cleansing process. Also note that this does not, and should not be, be an extended fast. When your natural hunger kicks in, think soups, salads, smoothies and bone broths.

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CHIA SEEDS / STEEL CUT OATS

  • Packed with prebiotic fibre for good digestion, chia seeds and oats (the unprocessed kind) help to flush the excess toxins and sweets from our system and regulate our bowel routines.
  • Craving last night’s pumpkin pie? Opt for my sugar-free Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats.

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FERMENTED FOODS

  • The feast for our gut bacteria! While we may have chosen turkey and gravy, our digestive system prefers foods loaded with probiotics that keep our immune systems strong and our guts happy and healthy.
  • Add kimchi, sauerkraut and/or sparkling kombuchas to your day.

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ABOVE: Fresh pressed cider from our organic apple trees!

SKIP THE SWEETS

  • Offsetting our blood sugar causes us to crave sugary foods or an excess of calories in general. Instead? Alkalinize! Start your morning with lemon water, a shot of blood purifying chlorophyll (one with mint is particularly refreshing), and pack as many veggies as you can into your day!
  • Alkalinizing cuts the cravings for sugar and calories so that you can enjoy your meals in moderation.

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TEA

  • Bloating, distention, indigestion? Both peppermint and ginger tea soothe our internal systems and being herbal, they keep us hydrated while the warmth stimulates movement in our intestines.
  • These two teas are also considered antispasmodics which relaxes the muscles of our digestive tract to reduce digestive distress.

With these holistic life hacks, you can leave the stuffing to the turkey, and whats more? No matter how you felt the following day, you can rest assured that Thanksgiving just made you healthier for the coming celebrations that are on their way!

From a weekend stuffed family festivities,

Suzanne Eden

4 Ways Your Pumpkin & Chai Spiced Autumn Addiction Is Boosting Your Health

As Autumn arrives, everything turns to spice!

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ABOVE: Dairy-free, gluten-free, pumpkin spice scone from Kelly’s Bake Shoppe.

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Its seems the moment fall fell upon us, the air turned crisp and pumpkin emerged from its slumber. From smoothies, to lattes (with coconut milk of course!), from cookies to chili’s, pumpkin slips its orange carotenoids into just about everything.

While my favourite fall produce remains forever faithful to the apples of our backyard and aromatic notes of chai, this year I decided it was high time to snag some squash and plunge into the popular world of pumpkin spice! After all, who could go wrong when cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves are involved?!

Whether a chai girl such as myself, or with pumpkin spice as your vice, these are 4 ways to validate your autumn addiction!

1) They spice Up The Season

  • As the weather cools, spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg are thermogenic foods that boost your internal body temperature and raise your metabolism. This is one reason why we intuitively crave pumpkin spice and chai when the temperature drops.

2) Enhances Digestion

  • According to Ayurveda, spices heat up our digestive “fire” (otherwise known as Agni) to enhance energy, increase digestion, reduce bloating etc. Adding warming spices to your foods is like wrapping your digestive system in a winter parka so that it can comfortably and efficiently continue doing what it needs to do!

3) Daily Detox

  • The spices found in traditional pumpkin spice and chai are equipped with both natural detoxifying and anti-inflammatory agents.
  • Take ceylon cinnamon, for example, used prominently in Chinese Medicine for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and blood purification properties. Cinnamon is the base to both spice blends and a powerhouse at that!

4) Immunity

  • Just in time for cold and flu season!
  • And as the famous French biochemist Francois Beauchamp once said: “The terrain is everything.” By keeping your internal systems working efficiently, we effectively keep our immune system strong, and spices, through all of the wonderful benefits listed above, assist in doing just that!

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Your favourite fall brew may just be the perfect medicinal boost in a mug. But of course, when aiming for the therapeutic effects of these spices, look to quality and potent sources. Making your own blend is the best way to ensure the quality of the product but if ordering out, search for those made without syrups -you want the real deal! At coffee shops, I ask for unsweetened, coconut/almond milk chai tea lattes brewed with the tea bag instead of syrup.

All in all, your autumn addiction can be both nutritious and delicious with full permission to indulge… responsibly 😉

Spicing up September,

Suzanne Eden

Sticking To The Bear-Necessities Of Life

If there’s one thing learned, living out of a suitcase,

its that life becomes fuller when you stick to the bear-necessities.

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This point proven not solely by our friend the furry Mountie (and beloved Jungle Book), but in clinical studies of psychology.

So while this may entail leaving our life-sized bear-hugging buddy in Quebec city, it also requires that you live lighter, smarter and with much more happiness!

From our suitcase living, to small cabin bunking, these are 3 ways to stick to the bear-necessities:

Weigh Your Baggage

  • Every travel luggage has its limit. Thus preventing you from cramming in the entire contents of your closet, forcing you to evaluate the necessity of each item and become resourceful with your belongings.
  • While it’s okay to own more than a suit-case worth of items, it begs the question: how much of it do we actually need? And is our stuff owning us more than we own it?
  • When it comes to your home, weigh how much each item means to you, how often you use it, if it is a true necessity, and should you find it weighing you down rather than creating a lighter load upon your shoulders, leave it behind!
  • Donate it, discard it, release it. You will feel a lot lighter in doing so and what’s more? You will gain back the average 3,680 hours or 153 days spent searching for misplaced items in a lifetime of losing approximately 9 items a day, according to the Daily Mail. That equals a whole lot more time to explore!

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Make It Multipurpose

  • When I travel, coming with me are all my own soaps, moisturizers etc. And while I highly recommend doing so to ensure the quality of  ingredients and integrity of the products, it’s extra to pack. To get around this, I use multipurpose items such as Green Beaver soap that triples as a body wash, hand soap and facial cleanser.
  • This tip can be easily utilized at home with beauty care, furniture, such as our cruise room couch that pulled into a bed, and all-in-one agents like our beloved  coconut oil.
  • What’s more? Going multipurpose significantly reduces the 14.3 million tonnes of waste Canadian households produced in 2012, reported by stats can.

Shop Smart – Bear Without Your Mountie

“There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little.” 

—Jackie French Koller

  • Teaming with adorable shops in every stop, the temptation of coastal trinkets is very alluring. And while we picked up some souvenirs on our trip, all were things that I use virtually everyday (a ring from Maine, a lanyard from Peggy’s cove etc.).
  • Knowing you have limited space, in suitcases or otherwise, you’ll spend less and spend smarter. By being more intentional and contemplative with your purchases, you can save for higher quality items that will last and sustain you much longer.

The perks of living the minimalist way are endless! You spend less, clean less, stress less, lose less, define yourself less and free up time to do more and go explore!

Leaving a bounty of furry Quebec Mounties,

Suzanne Eden

Three Healthy Minded Restaurants On The Streets Of Montreal

Home to smoked meat sandwiches and french poutine, Montreal is fit for a foodie. But how does a wellness enthusiast navigate the city of cultural cuisine?

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While I’ve always been one to plan vacations around food, this travel tour was packed with sightseeing and left little in the way of food planning. Thus posing the presumptuous predicament of where a holistic foodie can eat in a city populated by fried potatoes, gravy, and cheese curds.

You can image my relief in happening upon a hub of holistically tailored dinning options in every city that we visited. And for the two days that we spent in the metropolis of Montreal, this is where and what we ate!

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 1. Pizzeria Bros

Location: 13 Rue Notre-Dame O, Montréal, QC

In our quest for lunch, we wandered the streets of local shops and stumbled upon the menu of this popular pizzeria.

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  • This humble nook of Old Montreal has a little something for everyone. Kneading the traditional dough by hand, they also offer gluten-free pizza crusts, homemade tomato sauce, the option to forgo the cheese, and a whole host of unique toppings including anchovies and capers, making this the perfect stop for conventional and holistic foodies alike.

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How to make it holistic:

  • 1) Opt for gluten-free crust:
    • Bypassing the uncomfortable side effects many experience from gluten, this thin crust doesn’t overpower the toppings which enhances the flavour of your pizza.
    • NOTE: Do be aware that there is an additional charge of $1 to do so. For those with celiac disease, there may be a chance of cross-contamination, though the man who made mine was exceptionally careful and diligent not to touch the dough with his floured gloves. Merci monsieur! 🙂
  • 2) Omit the cheese:
    • Cheese stimulates our opiate receptors which induces the post-lunch sleepy sensation. Because it is so difficult for our bodies to breakdown, your energy is directed to digestion and leaves little for you to carry on with your day.
    • NOTE: You can substitute the cheese for an additional topping of your choosing!

Follow these two rules and your delicious pizza will leave you satiated and energized for your adventures ahead!

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2. Délices Érable et Cie

Location: 84 Rue Saint Paul E, Montréal, QC

  • A quaint cafe along one of my favourite streets of Montreal that sings of Europe with its unique french flair. As it was rainy and overcast, I sought after a warm tea.
  • Initially drawn in by the samples, this cute cafe is teaming with the maple syrup staple of Quebec. You can sample it in tapioca balls, crystals, or my personal favourite of whipped maple butter with course sea salt!
  • They also serve dairy-free gelato which I tasted but left for a warmer day. Opting for a peppermint green tea as an antioxidant boost and sweetened with maple syrup crystals. Come rain or shine, this is a must stop shop for all maple syrup enthusiasts!

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3. Reubens Deli

Location : 1116 Rue Sainte-Catherine, Montréal, QC

 How to feel like a fish in a fish bowl: take a window seat at Reubens on the inner city strip with a smoked meat sandwich (hold the bread), vinegar based coleslaw and substitute the french fries for an alkalizing salad with balsamic vinaigrette on the side. A MUST!

This was one of my favourite meals on the trip. So much so that I hardly noticed the attention we drew of passersby through the window. Shy? Ask for an inner table as I guarantee you will have intrigued and envious eyes upon you.

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How to make it holistic:

  • They have an array of salads but if you want to experience Montreal’s staple smoked meat, ask for the basic smoked meat sandwich without the bread. It will come in a stacked pile and is so tender, it disintegrates as you transfer it to garnish your salad.
  • The coleslaw is not based in mayo, but rather vinegar which makes an ideal side.
  • Omit the fried french fries and opt for the salad. This is at an additional cost but well worth it! A light salad balances the meal leaving you feeling full without feeling stuffed.

NOTE: It is a popular joint and for good reason, so check in and enjoy a walk through the neighboring shops while you anticipate a delicious meal.

Bon appeptit,

Suzanne Eden

Seasonal Sundays || Peachy Keen

“An apple is an excellent thing – until you have tasted a peach.”

George du Maurier

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Juicy with tips, tricks and holistic life hacks, this is the guide to one of our most beloved seasonal summer fruits: peaches!

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Life gets even sweeter with these juicy superfoods. But as any peach enthusiast would preach: you haven’t tasted a peach until you’ve tasted one in season and locally grown.

This Monday I did my weekly produce overhaul at Overholt Farms and happened upon a display of perfectly plump peaches freshly picked from the orchard. Sweet and fragrant (and admittedly the golden colour of our yard), these stone fruits are guaranteed to be staples of my counter-top through the upcoming months and sneak their humble way into most of our dishes.

As we dash to our local farmer’s market, here are my top tips and tricks to get the most out of a season that’s just … peachy!

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 Grow/Pick Your Own

  • As a child, we used to have a peach tree in our backyard that one year filled our kitchen, overflowed into the garage and trickled down into the basement with boxes bursting with these sweet fruits. I would run outside, stand on my tip toes and grasp the branch, plucking one loose and take a big, organic, mouthful of the juiciest, most flavourful peaches I have ever tasted!
  •  As with all fruits, they are sweetest when picked ripe off the tree. And though this tree is long gone, we reside in the fruit belt of Niagara which is bursting with local peach trees this time of the year.
  • Holistic Life Hacks: It is wonderful to visit the local farms for peaches, but going to the orchard to pick them yourself is best. Picking them fully ripened means there’s no wait to eat them (the most challenging part of any overhaul) and yields the juiciest, most flavourful and also the most nutritious fruit!

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Opt For Seconds

  • This is not in the sense of treating yourself to a second helping, though I am in full support of that too. “Seconds” are the peaches that don’t make the cut. They may have a small bruise, or indent and therefore won’t be found on display at the fruit stand. However, these peaches are just as juicy and delicious and are sold for much cheaper!
  • HLH: Ask for seconds at the fruit stand. They may be hidden behind the counter or you may have to take a mini drive/walk to pick them up.

Sift Through The Seasons

  • Peaches are my all time favourite fruit, but I won’t dare purchase one in the winter. When consumed in season, as nature intended, these fruits with have significantly higher antioxidant contents, are at their peak of flavour and texture and may have up to three times the nutritional content of their out-of-season counterpart!
  • HLH: The best peaches are found during the middle of peak season. If you do get ones with a taste of texture that seems “off,”(particularly near the beginning or end of the season), don’t toss them! These are perfect to freeze and throw into a shake or make a baked good or peach applesauce.
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Peach Sorbet : Frozen local peaches | Frozen sweet banana | A generous squeeze of lemon juice & blend.

Get Dirty Or Go Clean

  • As part of the dirty dozen, peaches are highly sprayed with chemical pesticides. Though we live in the fruit belt, tracking down a local, organic grower isn’t easy pickings. If your produce is conventional, remove the skins to eliminate the contamination of the outer layers of pesticides that cling to the fuzzy exterior.

What’s In A Label?

  • To become organically certified is an expensive endeavour. For this reason,many small, locally run farms skip the certification, even though they don’t follow conventional practices. Though they cannot say that they are officially organic, you can get around this by asking if they spray their produce with pesticides and if they try to abide by organic standards of growing.

Fast Track The Ripening

  • Though an optimal opportunity to exercise our patience, peaches will ripen quicker in a paper bag. Add an apple which emits ethylene gases and you’re well on your way to a perfectly ripe peach!

To our peachy keen seasonal Sundays,

Suzanne Eden

The Calm After The Storm : Harnessing The Positive Power Of Negative Ions

“It’s not the light we need, but fire.

It’s not the gentle shower, but thunder.

We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.”

~ Frederick Douglas ~

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Yesterday morning, everything was lit up.

Just as Sunday’s concert was twinkling with illuminated cell phones in the air, yesterday the skies were lit with lightning.

And while these moody skies may look anguished and turbulent, they are charged with negative ions and laced with the potential to uplift even the stormiest of moods and calm the most overactive of nervous systems.

Electrical Beings

  • Just as lightning is an electrical spark that bursts through the sky, electricity courses continuously throughout our bodies and is vital to our well-being. Electrical and chemical impulses (otherwise known as synapses) are how our cells communicate and send messages from our nervous systems to brains (and vice versa) that control our heartbeats, our movements etc. Without electricity, we couldn’t survive, but optimizing these synapses is what allows us to thrive.

“We are all meant to shine, as children do. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Expect your life to be full and beautiful. Magnify your own qualities of light and love. You will break free of your own stuckness, with the energetic voltage to electrify possibilities all around you.”

-Marianne Williamson

Positive Feelings With Negative Ions

  •  When it comes to our health, negative ions are anything but negative. These molecules promote a sense of clarity and well-being, have both a stimulating and calming physiological effect, decrease inflammation for pain reduction and increase the oxygen flow to our brains for mental alertness.
  • Think of how you feel near the ocean or standing beneath a waterfall. This same effect can be experienced after a heavy rainfall as negative ions are present in abundance where air molecules are being manipulated in intense circumstances.

Harnessing The Healing

It has been estimated that one in three people are sensitive to the concentrations of negative ions (myself included!). How can you tell? A good indicator is that you feel instantly refreshed and energized upon opening a window or stepping outside and find that spending too much time in enclosed spaces can make you feel sluggish.

But whether you are a particularly ion sensitive individual or not, we can all reap the benefits of these negatively charged molecules and these are a few great ways to do so:

  • Take a walk after the storm
    • Fresh after a heavy rainfall, the concentration of negative ions in the air is at its peak, making it the ideal time to submerse yourself in it.
  • Earthing
    • If you can walk barefoot comfortably, so much the better! Having direct contact between the soles of our feet and the earth allows for the transfer of negative ions from the ground.
  • Open your windows
    • This allows the negative ions to flow into your home (a space with a higher concentration of positive ions) to boost your mood.
  • Meditate
    • With the calming negative ions, meditating during or just after a storm has the potential to heighten our experience.
  • Invest in a salt lamp
    • No storm? No problem! Authentic Himalayan salt lamps produce these negative ions and can be left on all the time to add a continuous flow (and glow) of mood enhancing negative ions.

In light of the lightning,

Suzanne Eden