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

20 + 16 Holistic Swaps For A Healthier New Year

The path to optimum health can be effortless, instantaneous, and worthy of its own chapter in the “Optimal Wellness For Dummies” book in the series. This post is exactly that: a quick roundup of a few of my favourite swaps to implement through 2016. These are lifestyle choices that you can practically trade out without even thinking about it!

Ready? Set. GLOW:

swaps

BREAKFAST

Coffee -> Herbal tea / Teeccino

Fruit Juice -> Green juice

Cereal -> Steel cut oats

Fried eggs -> Poached eggs

Wheat toast -> Sprouted / Glutenfree toast

Peanut butter -> Pure almond butter


BAKING / DESSERT

Milk -> Coconut / Almond milk

Honey -> Heat stable maple syrup

Butter -> Coconut oil

1 Tsp Baking Powder -> 1/4 Tsp Baking soda + 1/2 tsp Apple cider vinegar

Candy -> Dark chocolate (70% or more, no dairy or soy) / berries

Ice cream -> Blended frozen banana

MEALS

Microwaves -> Ovens

Wheat pasta -> Brown rice pasta / Spaghetti squash / Zucchini noodles

Cream sauce -> Vegan pesto

Cheese -> Nut based “cheese” / nutritional yeast

Soy sauce -> Coconut aminos

Sugary sauces -> Spices

Wraps -> Collard / Lettuce wraps

Ketchup -> Tomatoes

Salad dressing -> Olive oil + Lemon juice + Himalayan salt

Mayo -> Stone ground mustard

DRINKS

Lattes -> Blended coconut Oil + Teeccino + Stevia (if desired)

Soda -> Kombucha

SNACKS

Chips -> Kale chips / Raw coconut chunks

Gum -> Fennel pods

Protein bars -> Nuts & Seeds

Gatorade -> Electrolyte elixir

LIFESTYLE

Non-organic -> Organic

T.V. -> Books

Movies -> Documentaries

Indoors -> Outdoors

Driving -> Biking

Emotional eating -> Meditating / Journaling

Plastic water bottles & Salad containers -> Glass mason jars

Perfume -> Essential oils

We have been talking all about detox’s and cleanses this past month but sometimes our smallest changes make the most significant impact. Becoming healthier really is as simple as this!

With a big dose of holistic life hacks,

Suzanne Eden

The Holistic Guide To Winter’s Cleansing Challenge

I was hereby appointed the proud DDB (designated detox buddy) of New Years Eve!

  • As my friends’ personal consultant to their drinking escapades, I was set to cover everything from what to eat before a night of drinking (do be sure to eat!), to what to consume the following morning to replenish electrolytes and minimize hangovers. And for this, may I direct you here.
  • I was the one asked to come armed with niacin to assist in the metabolism of alcohol, and the one joking (and seriously contemplating) providing goodie bags for each of them to carry home with shots of wheat grass, vitamin C and milk thistle.
Though I’ve successfully fulfilled my duties to my New Year’s friends, I want to extend this service now to you!
Winter cleansing
Before you begin, read our last post on how to properly cleanse your body and take the rest of this month to prepare. Buy the groceries that you will need, scour Pinterest and this blog for recipe ideas, build up your motivational arsenal to keep yourself on track and have treats handy that you can savour on your cleanse: seaweed snacks, coconut water and kombuchas to get you started. And then, come February first, begin!

The Winter Cleansing Challenge

This challenge was already set forth for us back in the spring and is one that allows you to tailor it to exactly what you are looking for. Even choosing one section to eliminate will do wonders for your health!

This cleanse, however, was designed for our nutritional needs of spring and as these requirements change with the seasons as fluently as the solidity of our cabinet coconut oil, we need to change with it.

So as we embark on this challenge together, this is our guide to winterize our New Years cleanse:

 

Bring The Heat

What appeals to you? Raw salads and cold blended smoothies or warming soups and hearty stews?

  • Traditional chinese medicine holds that we should not be consuming cold salads during winter. But aren’t salads good? Throughout these cooler months, our bodies are working extra hard to keep us warm and this takes energy. Cold food, which reduces our internal body temperature can cause our systems to work harder to keep us warm, draining our vital energy and potential ability to absorb nutrients. Increasing our consumption of cooked foods will assist our bodies into working more efficiently.
  • Rather than raw salads, think of warming vegetable soups, lentil stews, steel-cut oats for breakfast, quinoa vegetable stir-frys and root vegetable hash.

Look To Nature

  • Nature always knows best! To eat locally is to eat seasonally as it is specifically tailored to our geographical and biological needs. It is wonderful to have the variety of cross climate agriculture readily available at the supermarket, but for optimal health, we want to look to what naturally grows or is cultivated in our environments.
  • These foods include: hearty sweet potatoes, beets, rutabaga, artichoke, cabbage etc. This is produce that was once store and/or pickled after its harvest to consume through the winter months.

Spice Up Your Detox

  • Thermogenic foods are those which the body naturally burns calories to utilize, thus  increasing our circulation to warm us up. For those of us lacking the natural internal furnaces (the “Pitta” dosha in Ayurveda) that keep us burning from the inside out, this is the way to do it! Not only will thermogenic foods ease the discomforts of winter but this circulation boost will also enhance the effectiveness of detoxification.
  • Examples include: cayenne pepper, ceylon cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, and curry powder.

carob cookies

Featured above: Spicy superfood carob cookies : carob powder | rolled oats | chaga medicinal mushrooms | pure vanilla extract | grated ginger | ceylon cinnamon | cayenne pepper | a touch of stevia | coconut oil | Himalayan sea salt

Ferment!

  • Fermented foods, such as sauerkraut and kimchi, have been cultured in tradition as a way to preserve the summer harvest well into the winter months. They are whole food sources of probiotics for digestive health, rich in plant enzymes for the optimal breakdown and nutrient intake of our food, and are packed with vitamin C as a boost for your immunity.
  • I am a horder of mason jars, many of which find their home in the cellar packed with fermenting cabbage, carrots, caraway seeds etc. It is so simple to culture this cleansing superfood and inexpensive when fermented from home.

 

Hydrate The Ayurvedic Way

  •  The ancient indian practise of Ayurveda highlights our need for warm water for optimal digestion. Consider your Agni; your internal digestive “fire”. What happens when you dump cold water onto a burning fire pit? It begins to extinguish the flames. This is what happens internally when we shock our systems with cold water and in the winter months this can drain our digestive fire.
  • Instead of iced water, think of warm, hydrating and soothing drinks such as:
    • Luke warm water – The act of which stimulates peristalsis (the wave-like muscle contractions within the intestinal walls) to keep food and waste moving through our systems.
    • Tea – be sure that it is only herbal teas as caffeinated teas (black, green etc.) will have a dehydrating effect. Look to the ingredients label for true herbal teas free of inconspicuous “natural flavours”, colours etc.
    • Lemon water – either drank warm on an empty stomach to boost digestion or with organic lemon slices to raise the natural alkalinity and detoxifying properties.

 

I was well into my New Year’s cleanse (commencing January first), when I was informed that cleansing ought to be done after you’ve had a chance to savour some of your Christmas goodies. So while I continue this cleanse with a closet stocked full of Giddy Yoyo chocolate, this post is for you, in prep!

And of course, we couldn’t forget our complete guide to our New Year’s winter cleansing challenge: HERE!

The best way to enhance this challenge? Take it with others! Get your friends and/or family involved, choose which sections you’re commiting to, exchange recipes, set up your exact start and end date, and take this challenge with me 🙂

 

To our cleansing February’s,

Suzanne Eden

 

 

(20)15 Gifts For Every Wellness Enthusiast On Our List

For those of us with an appetite for the world of wellness, the feast of advocates for sustainability, the soul seekers and rejuvenation junkies, we may beg the question: what on earth does one buy for us?! Well, if you’re thinking earth, you’re on the right path. A path paved by aloe plants, bouquets of kale and petals of Echinacea, if it’s earthly and earth-wise, chances are we’ll dig it!

For us wellness enthusiasts and every holistic personality on our list, this is our ultimate holistic gift guide of 2015!

 Gift guide

For The Scent-sational

This is the individual who is seduced by the allure of perfumes and fragrances but forgo’s the chemical cocktails linked to neurotoxicity, asthma, migraines and irritability. The ones distributing fragrant pine branches throughout the home, with simmering pots of blood oranges and cinnamon steeping on the stove top…

1) A Diffuser + Essential Oils

  • My work party did something very special this year. We all regifted items from our home, (funny or otherwise) drew numbers and decided to open a new gift or steal someone else’s. It’s a great way to reduce excessive Christmas spending, rid your basement of lingering junk, and is all fun and games until the diffuser you stole gets stolen from you! I begged, I pleaded, I drew the “I’m new” card, to no avail.
  • At the top of my list, essential oil diffusers make the perfect home air fresheners without the synthetic chemicals. These oils also offer a host of medicinal properties when you are sick (oregano) and the ability to relax and enhance sleep (lavender) or revigorate and energize (citrus).
  • They can also be used as perfumes (forgoing the up to 3,000 chemical constituents of conventional fragrances) and in beauty products.

For The Wild Soul

 

Those of us with a flaming passion for wildlife, the preservation of endangered species and the deep longing for the safari’s of Africa …

2) “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas”

  •  Give or receive an ACTUAL hippo! My guinea pig, Aussie, was my “all I want for Christmas” last year, but animals (even miniature ones) are big, daily commitments. Not yet ready for that responsibility? Thankfully there are “pets” we can give with  no clean up, free to roam their natural habitat, and bypass the aggressively deadly behavior of the territorial hippo. Sadly, no, the house hippo is not a real thing.

aussie

Remember this? Though he no longer fits in the palm of my hand, Aussie still loves Asian pears too (the perfect stocking stuffers)!

For The Holistic Culinary Adventurist

Those of us who are no strangers to the kitchen. The ones who dare experiment in the mishaps, the joys, the dangers of blenders on turbo and the triumphant successes of gluten-free, dairy-free baking, this is for you!

3) CUPCAKES

  • Kelly’s Bakes Shoppe cookbook is topping off my list this year as I’m eager to replicate their decadent baked goods in my very own kitchen. Featuring dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free recipes that would trick even the most health weary members of our family. To all local family and friends; expect some special deliveries with the overflow of desserts guaranteed to be wafting through my home.
  • Order here: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/made-with-love-more-than/9780147529831-item.html
To give you an idea of the truly special treat you’re in for, check out my review of the bake shoppe; https://lifeofeden.com/2015/07/24/restaurant-in-review-kellys-bake-shop-burlington-on/
triple fudge brownie

For The ACTIVE-ist

The trail runners, the rock climbers, the insatiable ACTIVEists. For those of us who can’t last the movie without a good stretch..

4) Yoga Membership

  • The gift of exercise, stress reduction, increased circulation through the winter and detoxification sounds like the holy grail of gifts to me! Bonus; there’s minimal wrapping required.
  • Deals on memberships surface this time of year to entice us in for our resolutions of the New Year but should this be too much, opt for an instructional yoga DVD (Crunch Yoga Body Workouts) or the Yoga Girl series you can purchase from her website here: http://practice.rachelbrathen.com/
 christmas tree

The Lovers Of SOUL-itude

Those of us silently retreating beneath the christmas tree for steaming herbal teas with a juicy soul read…

5) Eckhart Tolle’s : The Power Of Now

  • Or any Eckhart Tolle. Originally brought to light by Oprah Winfrey, he has been a transformative spiritual spark for millions. If you have yet to read this, add it to your list!

 

6) A Course In Miracles

  • Coming about the same way Eckhart Tolle did, I’ve seen, heard, and read about this book everywhere recently, taking its spot on my wish list!
  • For a more easily digestible read, showing how to apply the principles of A Course in Miracles; opt for “A Return To Love” by Marianne Williamson.

7) Robin Sharma’s: The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

 

  • An equally eloquent and insightful writer, this book is a soulful adventure laced with meaning, purpose and inspiration. A must read for us all.

 xmas tea

8) Japanese Tea Steeper

  • The all-in-one Steeper and mug and the necessary companion to every warming read. Pair with a loose leaf bag of herbal tea, particularly digestion reliving peppermint or cleansing chai.

For Us Who Know: Theres No Place Like OM For The Holidays

For those of us who beg the question:”are they resting… or meditating?”…

9) Oprah And Deepak’s Latest Meditation Series

  • With Oprah and Deepak as our guides, we are whisked into effortless meditation, relaxation, rejuvenation and empowerment. This, in my personal opinion, was their most powerful series yet. Welcoming you whether you are a seasoned meditator or are new to the experience, we will all benefit from coming OM for the holidays.
  • For only $39.99, this CD pack comes with online access to meditate anytime, anywhere. https://chopracentermeditation.com/store/product/116/become_what_you_believe_streaming

Beanth the christmas tree

To Our Natural Beauties

Those of us whose beauty routine is practically edible, doubling as a wholesome breakfast and equally exfoliating skin mask…

 

10) Giddy Yoyo’s Edible Body Butter

  • Made from cacao butter, coconut oil, olive oil and vanilla, you will smell (and taste) like chocolate! Need I mention it’s organic, vegan and cruelty free? Oh, and it all acts as a natural lubricant… Just be sure to remove this tip when sharing this gift guide with your mother. 😉

11) A shower head filter

  • Want  shiny, healthy hair and smooth, glowing skin? This is a must! If not filtered, that water is flowing with chemicals including chlorine which binds to hair and strips it of its natural oils leading to oily, frizzy and unruly hair as well as dandruff and an irritated scalp. It also disrupts the beneficial bacteria on our skin causing excessive dryness and irritation.
  • The water flowing over our skin (the largest organ of our body) is absorbed into our blood stream, intensified in hot showers where our pores are open.  This lending the case that we are not just what WE eat but what our BODIES eat. For our healthiest, most radiant hair and skin, this is a MUST.

The Rejuvenation Junkie

Likely to be caught soaking in a tub of epsom salts (a great socking stuffer) with lavender essential oils and the soulful harmony of Trevor Hall, our rejuvenation junkies will revel in gifts that sooth their wellness souls.

 

12) A Bed Of Nails

  • It is the de-stress mattress of 2016. Though it doesn’t sound comfortable, it feels amazing! The acupressure mats have thousands of non-toxic plastic spikes that stimulate energy to induce deep relaxation, stress reduction, improve clarity and mental alertness.
  • Some find the experience intense and may benefit from a sheet or shirt between themselves and the mat. I, on the other hand, enjoy the full effect and will stand on it, lay bare backed on it and even sit on it.
  • Find them here: http://bedofnails.org/products/

Acupressure mats + Aussies

Tip; its rejuvenating effects are amplified when coupled with your favourite Aussie!

13) Himalayan salt lamp

  • Responsible for the eery, luminescent glow from my bedroom, these lamps are soft, non stimulating lights with medicinal and rejuvenating properties from its illumination of negative ions. I received this last year and use it all day everyday until I go to sleep at night as we should aim for total darkness for the adequate release of our sleep hormone melatonin.
  • Disclaimer; for these potent benefits, be sure you are purchasing one made with authentic Himalayan salt.

For The Foodies

For those of us more enticed by the unveiling of the christmas feast than the unwrapping of gifts beneath the tree…

14) Giddy Yoyo Dark Chocolate

  • Of course we love chocolate! Chocolate is a superfood after all, so long as it’s done right.
  • Real chocolate is high quality  with at least 70% cacao (which means less sugar is added), and only real, whole food ingredients. With a rainbow of flavours to choose from, there is something for everyone on your list! My top picks;
    • Spicy for those who love their chocolate with a kick (my personal favourite)
    • Vanilla salt, or raspberry, for those who enjoy the sweetness
    • And mint which comes in 76% and 100% dark.
  • Read more here: http://shop.giddyyoyo.com/chocolate-bars-1

 

15) Kale Bouquets

 

Whether this is your wish list or your cheat sheet gift guide to the holidays, grab your favourite ones and share! 🙂

 

Happy shopping wellness enthusiasts!

Suzanne Eden

 

 

 

6 Holistic Life Hacks To Curb Overeating – Part 1

If you’ve ever felt guilty for overeating, if you crave sweet and fatty foods, or if you find yourself browsing the kitchen more frequently than Pinterest… this post is for YOU!

~*~
Following the last time you over-ate, how did you feel?
Guilt is one of the leading responses to this question which can put us in a vicious cycle as guilt and shame can lead to more overeating. Whether you are part of the majority who say their biggest binge is pizza and pasta (sugar + fat + salt), or have your own unique vice, the great news is that: overeating is a message and when listened to accurately, it will greatly improve your health! This is our Sunday’s dose of Holistic Life Hacks to overturn overeating into our healthiest relationships with food yet!
overeating
* Above: Gluten-free, dairy-free, thin crust pizza from Blossom Bakery. *

1. Just Add Nutrients

  • Ever feel full but wanting food? This can be your body craving nutrients. Think of it this way; we eat not just for calories and macronutrients (fat, protein and carbohydrates) but for the vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) that keep our cells, tissues and organs functioning optimally. If the food we are consuming is lacking these key factors, we may crave food as our body is intuitively searching for this intake of nutrients.
Prescription for wellness: supercharge your diet with nutrients from fresh fruits and vegetables, high quality meats, nuts, seeds and legumes.

2. Choose Soul Food

  • Ask yourself; what are you hungry for? Hunger may come from boredom, stress, cravings for fulfillment or love. Food is strongly linked to our emotional states and vice versa, so understand the difference between cravings for whole food vs soul food.

Prescription for wellness: healthy bites of soul food comes from journaling, meditating, practising yoga and long walks on the beach.

 

3.  Take A Power Nap

  • You may just be tired! When we are lacking sleep, our bodies are lacking energy, and they often respond by signaling cravings for energy rich foods. This used to benefit our ancestors who would seek out supplies of naturally sweet foods such as fruit and berries for a quick boost of energy. Now-a-days, sweetness is concentrated and readily available causing us to crave foods such as pizzas, donuts and candies which have the opposite effect: less energy, more food cravings!

Prescription for wellness; Get your full nights sleep of roughly 7-8 hours, take 20minute power naps when needed and eat foods that are rich in energizing nutrients such as whole fruits and vegetables.

 

4. Brush your teeth

  • This past Saturday’s Halloween wedding was the perfect union of sophistication, fake blood and vampire fangs as the ultimate portion control… I highly recommend it 😉
  • But for those of us not sporting fangs at the dinner table, there is another, less painful (when you take a wrong bite) strategy to curb your appetite… brush your teeth! This works especially well when using peppermint toothpaste (the all natural, essential oil kind of course!).

5. Oil Pulling

  • An Ayurvedic detoxifier and distractor from the kitchen: simply take a tablespoon of coconut oil, or safflower oil and gently swish it in your mouth for 20 minutes. Be sure not to swallow it and rinse your mouth thoroughly when done as it draws bacteria out into the oil. It will leave your teeth so clean you won’t want to eat a thing.. unless you’re truly hungry!

6. Drink Tea

  • Sometimes food cravings are not cravings for food at all but for hydration. When our bodies are in a state of dehydration, they may crave food as a way to obtain water. Thinkhttps://lifeofeden.com/2014/08/27/holistic-life-hack-7-in-season-foods-to-eat-yourself-hydrated/
  • Herbal teas (especially peppermint which eases digestion) can help curb appetite. They keep you occupied, provide warmth and comfort, promote feelings of fullness and hydrate, all helping to keep hunger at bay. Bonus: drink tea while you cook to avoid over snacking before your meal.
Your body is brilliant, intuitive and aims to tell you what you are needing at any given time. Instead of thinking of overeating as a negative thing, shift your perspective to seeing it as the message your body is trying to convey and use these tips to overturn overeating in a productively holistic way!

To our soul-food Sundays,

Suzanne Eden

 

Feature Friday // Cashmere & The Barefoot Contessa’s Lentil Vegetable Soup

Whether you’re desiring to entice the entire family to the dinner table, searching for a chemical-free home fragrance, or seeking to cozy in with a cashmere sweater and a bowl of something just as comforting,

this is your fix!

There is nothing more suited to cozy sweater weather then a simmering pot of steaming stew, aromatic with herbs and spices, hearty and holistic with vegetables and lentils. For this one, we have Food Network’s Barefoot Contessa to thank!

 

 

cashmere

6 Reasons to love lentils:

  • Reduced cholesterol
    • High in soluble fibre which helps to control cholesterol levels.
  • Stable Blood Sugar
    • Say goodbye to the post lunch crash! With the soluble fibre to slow the digestion of carbohydrates (sugars), you will be keeping blood sugar levels stable. This makes lentils a great option for those with hypoglycemia and diabetes.
  • Promotes Proper Digestion
    • The insoluble fibre helps to regulate your digestive system to prevent constipation and promote proper elimination of toxins from the body.
  • Heart Health
    • Lentils are also a great source of folate to lower homocysteine levels (correlated with increased risk of heart problems) and magnesium to improve blood flow and oxygenation to the entire body.
  • Energy
    • Complex carbohydrates are metabolized slowly leading to steady and sustained energy much like a hearty bowl of steel-cut oats. Lentils are also a great source of B vitamins and iron, both essential for high energy.
  • Vegetarian protein
    • The protein source of meatless Mondays! Though I do not follow any one day, 1-2X a week I participate in eating meat free. This means that my protein is sourced from plant-based whole foods which includes lentils. Just remember to pair this with food that will make a complete protein (having a net result of all essential amino acids) such as quinoa.

 

 

Holistic Recipe Swaps:

  • Kosher salt for Himalayan:
    • You will need to season wisely here as Himalayan salt is generally a finer grind more reminiscent of table salt. This pretty pink salt offers a higher and broader range of health benefits.
  • Chicken Stock:
    • Look for a quality chicken stock. Health food stores are excellent places to prowl for your pantry. Check the ingredients list to ensure that it is all real food, free of yeast when possible. The brand I like for broth is Pacific.
  • Red Wine Vinegar:
    • Where the recipe states that red wine and the vinegar are interchangeable, I recommend staying away from the wine to avoid all possible sulfites. Opt for the red wine vinegar instead.
  • Cheese:
    • We omitted the cheese entirely. This was not only for the sake of optimal health but also for the flavours of the soup to stand out on their own, as they did.

Holistic Hacks

  • Make in large batches to enjoy through the week and freeze to thaw on late nights when you want to heat up a quick and warming soup.

 

THE RECIPE

Find the full recipe here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/lentil-vegetable-soup-recipe.html

lentil pizza

THE SWITCH UPS

The wonderful thing about this soup is its versatility. My personal favourites:

  1. Wrap it up – Create wraps by easily separating spoonfuls of lentils and vegetables from the broth. I wrapped mine in sushi rice wraps with avocado, salsa, lettuce and olives. You could also use other gluten-free wraps, nori sheets, collard leaves, or lettuce leaves. Try it with humus or stone ground mustard or perhaps pesto, there are endless options available!
  2. Top your pizza & pasta – Using a brown rice wrap as a crust, I topped the pizza with a layer of tomato paste mashed with garden fresh tomatoes into a pizza sauce and layered the lentil mix (without the broth) on top. You could mix this soup into your next pasta sauce as well.
  3. Add it to roasted vegetables – Roast root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, parsnips and beets in the oven and add some of the soup for extra flavouring to the dish.

 

With a few swaps, this recipe became one the whole family enjoyed with the Barefoot Contessa to thank! Though they quickly regretted my ability to eat it as the leftovers mysteriously vanished (Oops! 😉 ), I think this stew will be making a comeback to the table again very soon.

To your cozy cashmere Fridays,

Suzanne Eden

 

 

 

 

 

3 Ways To Strike A Homerun With Homemade Pizza

Golden, flavourful and highly addictive, these effortlessly healthy pizzas are guaranteed to knock it out of the ballpark!

 

homemade pizza

Much like myself, cheering on both teams at the recent baseball game,  this is pizza that plays the field as both a holistically healthy meal and sinfully addictive dish.

Before we take a swing at this one, however, there were a few lessons learned in the name of striking out at a sports game…

  • Firstly: do not to attempt to attend the Blue Jays game in Toronto as a New York Yankees fan (more accurately a New York Yankees logo fan with the desire to sport a baseball cap at a baseball game).
    • For the record, I assure you I’m team Toronto Maple Leafs, if only to create a loving family rivalry with my uncle’s team being the Ottawa Senators!
Needless to say I was now left with three goals:
  1. Catch a Yankees game.
  2. Avoid getting beaten up by Jays fans before making it to Yankees game.
  3. Spot a fellow Yankees fans in the sold out crowd of white and blue. (we spotted 7 between the concession stands, walking from the stadium and standing at the train station… 8 if you want to include me!).

Baseball game

So I struck out on that one but we did come fully prepared for our final goal as we stashed a couple double chocolate chip vegan protein bars as an easily packable, filling treat to offset the tempting scents wafting their way through the stands.

  • Goal #4: remain unseduced by the alluring aromas that had us craving our latest obsession of make-your-own-pizzas.

Seeing as hotdogs that warranted their own seat by the size of them, greasy pizzas more slippery than the batter’s hard hats, and trails of butter popcorn, strike out faster than you can say Yankees fan, I waited to satisfy my craving until I was in the comfort of my own kitchen…

Genuine health
 Fresh, wholesome pizza on golden, crispy thin crust! These take minimal time to make, are loaded with vegetables (it’s basically salad), effortless and in no need of cheese (but I will still give you options!).

With this, allow me to pitch to you my top 3 tips to hit a home run  on your next pizza!

1: First – Base

The Strike Out:
  • Classic pizza crusts consist of  processed grains, devoid of fibre, which break down to sugar in the body, thus promoting unstable blood sugar and insulin levels, and encourage inflammation.
  • Whole grain pizza crusts and pita breads are no better as these, too, contain glutenous grains which have been heavily refined.

The Holistic Swap:

  • Opt for wraps as the perfect base to your thin crust pizza! Choose between gluten-free brown rice wraps or Ezekiel (a sprouted grain) if you can tolerate gluten.
  • They become soft in the middle from the sauce and crispy around the edges. Being thin and mild in flavour, you will taste more of the toppings rather than the starchy breads and have my full nutritionist-approved-permission to eat the whole pizza!
 

2. Second base- the sauces

The Strike Out
  • Have a look at the ingredients of your favourite tomato sauce. Many are loaded with added sugars, dairy, soy and preservatives.
  • One cup of tomato sauce can add up to 20 grams of sugar!

The Holistic Swap:

  • Ideally we would be making our own pizza sauces. I do this year round by freezing our excess of homegrown tomatoes in the freezer to defrost and make sauces through the winter. By making your own, you control the quality of ingredients and can ensure that there are no added sugars being incorporated.
  • Alternative options:
    • Use tomato paste as the base. Look for tomato paste that comes in a glass jar instead of a can which leaches BPA’s and other harmful chemicals.
    • Use pasta sauces. Look carefully at the label. These sauces will be more flavourful but should be mixed with tomato paste/puree to reduce the sugar content.
    • Create a pesto pizza using a dairy-free pesto spread across the crust.

3. Top it off

The Strike Out
  • Greasy pools of pepperoni and cheese are about as far out in left field as we can come with low-grade meat and dairy.

The Holistic Swap:

  • For toppings:
    • Veggie overload: lightly stir-fry the vegetables first to soften them as the pizza won’t be in the oven for long.
    • My favourites: red pepper, artichokes, broccoli, green olives, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms.
  • Creamy cheese substitutes:
    • If you are adamant on cheese, look for goat’s or sheep cheese which are more easily digestible and use sparingly.
    • Avocado is my favourite swap being creamy in texture, mild and complimentary in flavour.
    • Nutritional yeast: This adds a nutty, almost cheesy flavour when sprinkled on top and melts over your freshly baked pizza.
  • Additional:
    • I’m slightly obsessed with garlic powder and it gets sprinkled generously over my pizzas creating a 3 foot radius between myself and fellow diners. It adds a delicious boost of flavour without overpowering the slice.
    • Add fresh leaves of basil, tabasco for heat, etc. Get creative!
The switch up: making these with kids? Remember that they are wraps and you can roll them into pizza wraps to avoid a mess of toppling toppings.
~*~
 I have been obsessed with pizzas in all different varieties. Having long texting conversations of the copious amount of combinations we could try (Mexican, Mediterranean, sushi pizza), I’ll admit I’ve even dreamt about them and I would love to hear what you cook up!
Though the Yankees won that night 6-4 (and you can bet I sported that hat in pride the whole game through),  the Blue Jays played an incredible game and might have officially swung me to their side… and yes, that Blue Jay logo is pretty darn cute too 😉
Be-it baseball or our upcoming hockey season, no matter the team you’re cheering on, this pizza is sure to score you a homerun even if your team strikes out!
Stepping up to the holistic plate,
Suzanne Eden