3 Food Favourites You MUST Try When Traveling To The Tropics

March break is upon us, and though tropical trips are usually associated with excessive drinking and dining that will have you dozing in your lounge chair by the end of the week….

When a holistic wellness enthusiasts goes, it’s a whole other basket of coconuts!

Coconuts
From the sandy beaches of sunny Cuba, these are my top 3 must have foods to try on your tropical vacay away;

1) Coco For Coconuts

  • Fresh coconuts!  I spotted these being sold by the beach bar, but as it was my first day on the resort, I reasoned I would wait to grab one. Can’t have too much excitement all in one day, right?! Big mistake as they were never sold there again the rest of the trip. To my luck, however, I ran into a friendly resort worker chopping them down on our last day and he was more than happy to cut one up for me to enjoy! 🙂

Why coconut water is your holistic must have:

  • MEDICINAL : Coconut water is your secret weapon for anything from exhaustion to dehydration to food poisoning. All of these require proper hydration and fresh coconut water is a pure source with added potassium, magnesium (to prevent muscle cramps) and anti-oxidants.
  • REFRESH – When dehydrated, pure water is often insufficient as an imbalance of our electrolytes will make it difficult for water to properly penetrate our cells. It is easy to become dehydrated in the hot and humid climates where you are prone to sweat, and the consumption of alcohol/caffeine or becoming ill will further exasperate this issue. The electrolytes from coconuts, however, allow water to fully hydrate at a cellular level and reduces bloating due to water retention.
  • DIGESTION: Rich in enzymes, coconut water enhances the digestion of our food and contributes to a healthy gut flora to boost our immunity.

2) Road Side Bananas!

  •  I love resorts for convenience and a stress-free trip, but exploration is always my favourite part of any vacation. This particular venture into the city was accompanied by a pit-stop at a roadside fruit stand to pick up these local mini bananas. Not only adorable, they were sweet, flavourful and tasted unlike any conventional store-bought banana (there are, in fact, hundreds of different varieties). With prime seats on the bus behind our tour guide, we ate our weight and snatched a few for our families too.

Why they are your holistic must have:

  • Fresh bananas are high in vitamin C to boost your immunity while traveling, are packed with fibre for good digestion, vitamin B6 for energy, magnesium for increased relaxation and make for the perfect, filling snack food!

mini bananas

3) Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

  • I think this has got to be my favourite thing in the world. The first time I ever indulged in freshly squeezed orange juice was in Cuba (several years before this last trip) and I have never been able to drink organic OJ without the thought. Even though I juice oranges from home, they never taste the same as those picked fresh and ripe right off the tree and squeezed by a hand-crank.  If you get the chance, this is a must!

Why fresh squeezed OJ is your holistic must have:

  • Fresh oranges are packed with vitamin C to boost your immunity along with polyphenols to protect against viral infections, beta-carotene to help protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun, and are alkalinizing to the body to reduce internal inflammation.
  • NOTE: Drink juice away from other foods and be active after doing so, as fruit will spike blood sugar when stripped of its fibre. Don’t let this deter you however, it is a much better option than alcohol (pure, liver taxing sugar) and offers you health benefits when savoured in moderation. Though moderation with fresh squeezed, tropical orange juice is not a thing for me!
Fresh, local food is always the most flavourful food, and when savoured on a sunny vacay, so much the better! But no matter where you find yourself this week, “shake” things up this St. Patrick’s day with last years Rock Your Shamrocks Shake!
Soaking up the Canadian sun,
Suzanne Eden

6 Ways Thanksgiving Just Made You Healthier!

Fragrant free-range roast turkeys, gluten-free stuffing, golden yams, potato casseroles and fresh pressed cider adorned the table for our Thanksgiving feast. What wasn’t on the menu? Guilt!

Whether you felt weighted down this week or brimming with post-festivity energy, your celebrations aren’t over yet, as we round out the ways this past weekend just made you healthier!

Autumn hike

1. You KNOW the power of proper food combining 

One of the biggest road blocks for optimal health is a disconnection with how our food directly impacts our bodies. Not anymore! After years of testament to this from your thanksgiving festivities, you are now better equipped for feasts of the future.

  • You know for instance;
    • Turkey + stuffing + potatoes = tired & sluggish 
      • This effect we owe to the heavy combinations of concentrated proteins and starches which utilize different enzymes to breakdown. Protein needs the enzyme pepsin and an acidic environment in the stomach while starches require ptyalin (salivary amylase) which functions optimally in an alkaline environment. Paired together, the acid and alkaline states neutralize each other and this difficult-to-digest combination drains our energy.

Prescription For Wellness; 

  • Keep concentrated proteins (meats in particular) and concentrated starches (rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa etc.) to separate meals of the day for optimal digestion and increased energy!

 

2. You’ll leave the stuffing to the turkey

After witnessing first hand what the turkey feels like, you’ll no longer stuff yourself! Both, everyday where we may eat a little too much and at holidays and parties, we’ll be more savvy when interpreting our need for seconds.
Prescription For Wellness;
 thanksgiving

3. You’ll now start your meals with vegetables

Never again will you forgo the ability of vegetables to entice the hungry guests and impress your family’s health enthusiasts. Each year, as we await the turkey, we feast on platters of vibrant vegetables from the garden, juilienned in unique shapes, and served with healthy homemade dips.
 
Prescription For Wellness:
Begin every meal with raw, enzyme enhancing vegetables with either veggie sticks or a salad.
  • Enzymes: vegetables and leafy greens contain the natural enzymes we need to breakdown our food to boost digestion.
  • Alkalizing: our bodies thrive on alkaline foods (raw fruits and vegetables) that promote blood alkalinity and help counteract the effects of acidic waste production from metabolism.
  • Filling:  Loaded with fibre, vegetables will help to satiate you before the meal without stuffing you for the main course.

 4. You’ll utilize one of the healthiest superfoods of the season!

Move over kale (though we still love you): bone broth is the superfood of 2016 and we can get a head start with the leftover bones of our turkeys!
Prescription For Wellness:
  • Save the bones from your turkey and buy whole chickens to bake or visit your local butcher to purchase (some places will give them away for free) the otherwise discarded bones and make your own bone broth. It is simple to do and stuffed with health benefits including:
    • Digestive healing
    • Growth of new collagen, repair of damaged joints and pain reduction from the high levels of glucosamine
    • Encourages hair growth, glowing skin and strong nails as it is rich in collagen
    • Supports bone growth and repair, being high in calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.

vegetable tray

5. You’ll avoid gobbling down your meal

The universal sign of a good feast: silence, as everyone slows down to taste the long-awaited meal, savour the flavours and enjoy every last forkful of turkey.

Prescription for Wellness:

 

 

6. You’ll take the time to anticipate your meals

It is my grandparent’s strategic tradition of fresh cider pressing to keep the family outside and away from the kitchen, fragrant with succulent turkey. It is a genius plan as the aromas warrant the wandering of guests, scouring the kitchen for any scrap of food they can manage to sneak. Though tempting, this anticipation of the meal is accompanied with a big health boost!

Phase 1 of digestion is the cephalic phase which occurs even before we begin to eat. It involves the brain signals of seeing, smelling and anticipating food which creates a catalyst of bodily reactions to prep us for the upcoming meal.

As you wait for your meal to be served, what happens? You start to salivate! This anticipation for our meal, signals to our body that food is coming which stimulates our entire digestive system. The greater the anticipation, the more effective this phase will be and ultimately, the better your digestion!

Prescription For Wellness:

  • Take a minute before eating to anticipate your meal by focussing on the sight and smell, for optimal digestion.

So there we go! Whether you channeled your inner stuffed turkey or navigated the feast like a seasoned pro, rest assured that this past weekend just made you that little bit healthier 🙂

 Off to steep bone broth,

Suzanne Eden

Holistic Life Hacks // 18 Tricks to Leave the Stuffing to the Turkey

Do you show up to Thanksgiving in an oversized sweater and stretchable waist line pants? We’ve all been there. One look at the mouth-watering buffet of hot steaming dishes and golden, aromatic turkey and our eyes swell to ten times the size of our stomach. This binging, however, can wreak havoc on our health, leaving us feeling as though we became the turkey: dead meat tired and over stuffed! Keep the pants fitting this Thanksgiving as I dish out your holistic guide to leave the table with your body feeling as grateful as your taste buds.

What Over Stuffing Ourselves Can Do

Think back to the famous I Love Lucy candy factory episode (or check it out on YouTube for a hearty laugh). Remember the chocolate assembly line? Think of that as the food coming into your system and your digestive system as the workers. At first, food comes and your body is taking care of it just fine. But then it just keeps coming, and coming, and your digestive system starts to fall behind. All of a sudden the food starts coming in faster and your body goes into overtime working incredibly hard to keep up but it falls further behind until you come out looking like you’ve just stuffed a dozen chocolates down your uniform!
When we eat more than we can handle, our stomach stretches, putting pressure on our internal organs (it’s uncomfortable enough for you, just think how your organs  are feeling), we put strain on our digestive system and we don’t properly digest our food, causing gas and bloating.

Fun fact: Why do you feel tired after a turkey dinner? 

Many people blame this effect on the high levels of tryptophan in the turkey which is converted to the sleep promoting hormone in our bodies. But don’t be so hasty to put the blame there.
It may not be the turkey… 
Our digestion requires a lot of energy from our bodies, so when overloaded, it zaps our energy leaving us wanting to curl up next to the turkey for a snooze.
The fix? Here are my top holistic life hacks to leave the stuffing to the turkey
Autumn
1) Take a Load Off: 
  • one of your ultimate secret weapons: digestive enzymes! Using digestive enzymes will help your body digest the food that it’s not used to. Please note: these do not assist enough for you to eat more than usual, but they will help take a load off your digestive system.
2) Eat a Metabolism Boosting, High Fibre Breakfast
  • Dont skip breakfast! By the time you hit dinner you will be so hungry that you could eat the entire buffet by yourself… and you will probably come pretty close. Eat a breakfast full of fibre to boost your metabolism and speed digestion up that night.
3) Sample
  • Taking smaller portions allows you to enjoy the food more, eases your digestion and you can pick your favourite if you want seconds instead of trying to cram in the last morsel of “so-so” casserole you were all too hasty with in the first round.
4) Mind Tricks
  • Using a smaller plate will help to keep portion size in check.
5) Healthy Dipping
  • Healthy dips are universal “do it all” little wonders. They convert seamlessly from dips, to spreads, to salad dressings by adding some olive oil or apple cider vinegar. These are delicious ways to cut back on the hidden and unnecessary junk that is in conventional dips and dressings (and can even replace the gravy!).
6) Go lean
  • It’s been estimated that on average we may consume around 3 000 more calories than usual. 3 000! Thanksgiving also tends to be a very fatty meal from the obvious gravy to the hidden butters and creams in stuffings, cassoroles etc. Go lean, go easy on these hidden stores of fat, and load up on veggies (no added butter), turkey without the gravy (or maybe just a splash) and any whole food options available.
7) Speaking of turkey…
  • Protein will help you to feel full faster. Just remember that this is also difficult for the body to digest but there is definitely space for it on your plate.
8) Be thankful, be present
  • Truly taste your food. The more we gorge, the less we taste and the more food we will want. Being present with our food and truly savouring it will bring more of an experience than habit to the table. It is not just about eating, but about savouring. Gratitude also puts you in a calm state, an optimal mentality to be in control of your mind and your plate.
9)  Be a socialite
  • Ever notice how as soon as the food is placed in front of us, the dinner table becomes a vow of silence as everyone scarfs down their meal? Sign of a good dinner, right? But really, this is the time to be social. It will slow you down so you chew more and this? Well…
10) Chew on this
  • The more we chew, the less our bodies have to do. Typically around 35-40 chews is what we have been told but this isn’t always sufficient, especially with chewy pieces of turkey. The real rule if thumb: chew until the meal is pulverized. Mush so to speak. As unappetizing as that sounds, it will actually allow the flavours to commingle and strengthen in your mouth so you get the full flavour while giving your body longer to register if it’s full.
11) Drink up – but not at dinner.
  • Drinking water will help to create the illusion of fullness to help you reduce your food intake. Just refrain from drinking a half hour before your meal and not for another hour after eating for optimal digestion.
11) Leave the stimulants be
  • Stimulants such as alcohol and coffee will interfere with the digestion of your food and should be completely avoided. If you must, a little sip of red wine should do the trick.
12) Practice food combining 
  • Stay away from mixing heavy starches and protein as much as possible. Of course, it’s bound to happen but focus more on the turkey and cut back on the potatoes, breads, and other starches.
 13) Go dairy free.
  • It is ridiculously easy to swap almond or coconut milk for regular milk in a recipe as they work the same and you can’t taste the difference. Virgin Coconut oil is your perfect substitute for butter.
14) The Thanksgiving that just keeps giving
  • Every year my family gathers at my grandparents’ farm for Thanksgiving where we make fresh cider from their apple orchards and enjoy juicy, free range, organic, hormone and antibiotic free turkey. But we don’t feel the need to cram it all in, why? Because we buy our own turkey to cook and enjoy at home for the next couple of weeks. The stuffing, gravy etc, is left out so that it’s the Thanksgiving that just keeps giving.
15) Did Someone Say Seconds?
  • Leave twenty minutes before helping yourself to seconds. This gives time for your brain to register how hungry you are  and allows your food to start digesting before you add more (if you still feel you need more).
16) You don’t have to eat it all
  • Did you know that? It may sound silly but we often forget this. Take a pass on the things that you don’t really want and enjoy the things you do want.
17) Walk it off 
  • A walk will help to stimulate your digestion and get things moving. Wait about an hour after eating to allow your stomach to settle before you get things churning.
18) Peppermint tea 
  • Your perfect post dinner treat: peppermint tea. This delicious tea will not only help you to curb dessert cravings by giving you something to enjoy but peppermint tea also aids in digestion! Oh… and it will hydrate you too! Keep a bag of this in your back pocket, and maybe a few more to share!
So there you have it! Your quicker than turkey guide to avoid feeling like the turkey. Get the giving flowing and share these simple, do-able tips with family and friends so no one is rolling away from the dinner table. It is Thanksgiving after all 😉
Dishing out some holistic tips for a happy healthy holiday,
Suzanne Eden

Apple Cinnamon Oat Bake With Cinnamon Ginger Swirl Cream

Warm, comforting food is the one thing I’ve really been missing during my weekly travels.

I don’t have a kitchen up at my place (just a mini fridge) so the only warmth I recieve is from what turn into very expensive trips to Whole Foods. I’m one of those people you may find wrapped in a wool sweater on a cool (in my opinion) summer night while the rest of my family boils just looking at me. To me, there is nothing better than the sunrise, a steaming cup of tea, an enticing hard cover and a cozy warm breakfast on a crisp Autumns day! Next time you feel the same, snuggle up and let this be your toasty, feel good breakfast treat.

oat bake

 

Apple Cinnamon Oat Bake With Cinnamon Ginger Swirl Cream

Adventure Level : 3/5

Apple cinnamon oat bake:

  • 1/4 Cup steel-cut oats
  • 1/2 Cup water

Soak overnight and drain most of the extra water out in the morning.

  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 Cup coconut milk

Soak about 5 mins, or until the chia seeds gel. Mix oats and chia seeds together, adding coconut milk as needed until it is moist but not too runny.  Then add:

  • 1/2 – 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 diced apple, skins and all
  • 5 drops Sweet Leaf stevia

Pour mixture into a ramekin and bake in the oven at 395 (farenheit) for approximately 15-20 mins, or until top is crisp and slightly browned. In the meantime prepare your cream (it just isn’t the same without it).

Cinnamon ginger swirl cream:

  • 1 medium banana, frozen overnight
  • 3-5 drops Sweet Leaf stevia
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Separate your recipe in half. To one half, add ginger (I like about a tbsp) and in the second half add cinnamon. Adjust flavours to your liking and swirl them together to create a marble effect.

Note:

  • You may want to stick the half you’re not working on, back in the freezer until you are ready for it so that it doesn’t melt.
  • I suggest Sweet Leaf stevia because it doesn’t have the same bitter after taste that some stevia brands have. If using another brand you may need to adjust the amount of stevia you use.

When your steaming oat bake is done, simply top it off with your cream and let it melt over your delicious breakfast!

cream

The smell wafting through the kitchen is heavenly, the top is crispy and the center moist. Soft, sweet apples, cinnamon oats, and a cool banana cream softening against this steaming dish is absolute bliss. Enjoy! 🙂

Much cinnamon spiced love!
Suzanne

When Fruit Becomes Toxic: The One Time To NEVER Eat Fruit

Fruit, in my biased opinion, is one of the most wonderful foods nature has to offer. If I could eat it all day, everyday, believe me, I would! Not only is it delicious but fruit is incredibly nutritious offering a fantastic source of vitamins, minerals, fibre and hydrating water. It is easy for your body to digest, freeing lots of your body’s energy for other functions. Fruit is alkaline and is a fantastic detoxifier. So you can imagine my surprise to find out that when you eat fruit is critical. There is, in fact, a time when this wonder food becomes toxic and very harmful to your body! It’s true, and this is the culprit for that uncomfortable gas, bloating, and other digestive issues after eating fruit. What I am about to share may shock you as it did me. So enjoy the slight jaw dropping experience and reap the benefits, not the toxins, of nature’s vibrant candy!

melon
What time should you avoid fruit?

The truth is, there is really only one time you should be eating fruit: on an empty stomach. This usually means first thing in the morning.

NOTE: If you feel discomfort from eating fruit even on an empty stomach, this is a sign of something more than poor food combining.

Why?
Fruit travels through your system so quickly that if trapped behind other food it will ferment in the high heat if your body. By the time it reaches your digestive tract (where you absorb the nutrients), the fruit will have become a rotting, toxic mess, devoid of nutrients. You won’t get all the good properties of fruit and instead get a whole lot of toxins, exactly what we are trying to avoid!


What does this mean for you?

This means that fruit should only be eaten on an empty stomach. And I know what you may be thinking; what about fruit as a healthy dessert? Turns out that isn’t such a healthy idea after all! But what better way to start your day than with a nice big bowl of delicious fruit? 🙂

fruit

The exceptions!

1) MELONS ARE AN EAT ALONE OR LEAVE ALONE: melons are mostly water and should be eaten away from other fruit. They pass through your system even faster and so they will also become toxic if caught behind other fruit.

2) Bananas, apples, coconut and dried fruit: these are heartier fruits which take a little longer to digest and are therefore typically okay to pair with other food (just not animal protein).
NOTE: dried fruit should be consumed in moderation. It has different properties than most fruit and will easily spike your blood sugar. Make it a special date for those dates 😉

So the order of eating fruit ranks like this:

  • Empty stomach
  • Melons
  • Most other fruit
  • Bananas, apples, coconut, dried fruit

I am still a self confessed fruit-aholic, just refined. Is it any wonder why I’m such a morning person? 😉