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

Cookbook Launch Tour: The Quinoa Sunshine Salad

I am thrilled to announce the release of Jesse Lane’s collaborative cookbook: “Healthy Fresh Salads” with a personal feature of my Cranberry Apple Kale Slaw!

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Jesse and I share this one simple thing: we love our salads!

And in her latest cookbook addition, she beautifully encapsulates this flare for fresh flavour. Bursting with recipes for vibrant, creative creations and complementary dressings that would entice the most leery of plant-eaters and transform any vegetable enthusiast into a masterful salad connoisseur.

As a fellow Holistic Nutritionist, Jesse delves into the health benefits of eating the rainbow, avoiding GMOs, properly cleaning vegetables, and how to save money, all the while enjoying a plethora of palate stimulating salads.

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To give you a taste of the cookbook, this recipe is a sunny burst of flavour featuring hydrating cucumber, crunchy carrot, spicy radishes, sweet cranberries, and detoxifying coriander. With flavours that fuse together over a bed of arugula and protein-rich quinoa to keep you feeling full for hours.

 The Quinoa Sunshine Salad

Recipe by Andrea Kmecza

(no soy, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian)

Prep time: 20 minutes | Inactive prep time: 30 minutes | Serving size: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (1/2 cup dry cooked in 1 cup water)
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • 1 large carrot, shredded or thinly diced
  • 4-5 radishes, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chopped coriander (or parsley depending on your preference)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp hemp or flax oil
  • 4 cups of baby arugula (optional)
  • 2 avocados (optional), sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Toss all ingredients in a large mixing bowl (minus the arugula) and let it sit for 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Place 1 cup of arugula in bowl and 1 cup of quinoa salad on top. Top with ½ avocado if using.
To cook quinoa:
•Rinse quinoa well and drain.
•Bring water to a boil in a medium sized pot. (1 quinoa:2 water)
•Add quinoa and bring to a boil again.
•Cover, lower heat and simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
•Once cooked, allow time to completely cool.
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It was such a pleasure to be a part of this collaborative cookbook! To purchase your personal online or paperback copy (and for a further sneak peak), click HERE!
With a sunny take on a fresh cookbook,
Suzanne Eden

A Student Survival Guide For Back To School Stress

It’s been a few years since my university days and without hesitation I can say : I miss it!

I loved learning and being surrounded by like-minded thinkers. I loved digging into text books and the sounds of laptop keys furiously clicking through lectures. I loved the in-betweens of classes, sneaking off into the trails, the late nights working away with friends.

And then I happened upon my friend, Denis, here in the streets of Montreal and I too remembered: the once considered mandatory exam coffees (I don’t even like coffee!), the all nighters, the deadlines, the hunched shoulders, the sugar cravings… oh yes! I remember. And while it took me a few years, by my final year I felt I had just about learned the ways of university and the most useful and practical subject I have studied: nutrition.

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Perhaps you are off to school, or simply feeling the stress of the September season. In either case, remember that the psychological key to reducing stress is not in the situation itself, but in your mindset towards it. And as a clean body equates to a clean and clear mind, these are my holistic tips (with the help of our good friend Denis) for a September that’s stress-free!

Refine Your Take On Refined Foods

  • You’re under enough stress as it is, you don’t want food to be another!
  • Refined foods are stressors to the body as they create unsteady blood sugar levels causing you to crash on the school couch, and create a rapid spike in cortisol – our stress hormone! As the icing on the cake, a junk food diet has been shown to affect your brain’s synapses, thereby impairing learning and memory.
  • Instead? Ditch the fried french fries spewed over the bench and burger bag hidden behind Denis’ shoe and opt for fast, fresh and wholesome foods instead!
  • Bananas, for example, are conveniently prepackaged, naturally sweet, and packed with stress busting nutrients such as calming magnesium, energizing vitamin B6, and components that increase the production of serotonin in your brain to promote optimal stress relief.

Kick The Coffee

  • As my professor once said “coffee is stress in a cup!”
  • But as a staple of many students’ daily routines, caffeine is often relied on to boost energy and reduce stress. The issue? This boost of energy is only short lived and unsustainable, and the coffee can actually trigger the body’s stress response.
  • Instead? Opt for green tea or matcha (concentrated green tea powder) with the amino acid L-theanine that helps to reduce stress, boost energy and enhance productivity, while promoting a sense of relaxation.
  • NOTE: In either case, caffeine should be used as a boost when needed but not as a crutch. For the everyday, opt for energizing B vitamins (a supplement that supports the adrenals, your body’s “stress glands”), and ginkgo biloba which not only works as an adaptogen to help you cope with stress, but is well known for boosting blood flow to the brain to enhance learning and memory – all without the caffeine jitters!

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Move To Manage Stress

  • While excessive sitting, on city benches or otherwise, has been proclaimed “the new smoking”, exercise has long been known for its stress busting benefits. Movement will instantly refresh and energize you while oxygenating the brain and boosting your feel-good neurotransmitters.
  • While movement is a necessity in health, vigorous exercise is a stress to the physical body, so engage predominately in light to moderate movements on a daily basis. Run the stairs at your breaks, take a hike through campus trails, and participate in group activities in between lectures such as yoga (my favourite way to de-stress on a long day!).

A+ For Denis

  • What Denis did get right? He’s taken it outside! In fact, I have a feeling he spends an awful lot of time here.
  • Fresh air and nature spaces have both been shown to dramatically reduce stress. With the last of our beautiful summer weather and fall on the horizon, it is the perfect time to soak up the sun. Bonus points for removing your shoes to harness the stress relieving benefits of earthing!
  • Can’t get outside? Bring the outdoors in with green plants and open windows.

Study these tips and you are well on your way to a healthy, happy, stress free semester!

From A(+) to Zen,

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