5 Trail Approved Snacks To Raise The (Granola) Bar

You never know when hiking hunger might strike and if you are anything like myself, direction impairment and the longing for new paths may find you stranded in the woods for hours. Though foraging is a breeze in the season of black caps, whose bushes line our local trails, with these berries gone for another year, scavenging in the wilderness may not be as easy and so we never hit the paths without a few stashed snacks!
Mounstburg
Yesterday my mother and brother and I packed up a lunch and hit the road for a day trip to Mountsberg conservation area. Home to wilderness walks, raptor shows and my favourite birds; Bald Eagles!! Approximately 80% of the birds found in the sanctuary are rescued from across Ontario and well looked after in captivity as they can no longer survive in the wild. It was just our luck that as I had to sneak another peek at these majestic creatures before we flew the grounds, it was their feeding time and we watched as they ran and flew around their spacious cages and feasted on the fresh meat.
bald eagle
We, ourselves, feasted on a picnic of egg salad sandwiches. I made mine using avocado instead of mayo and wrapped it with fresh spinach in a gluten-free rice wrap. For dessert we had my Raw  Cranberry Chocolate Macaroons: https://lifeofeden.com/2014/07/11/raw-cranberry-chocolate-macaroons/
dessert
And then came the snacks!
  • The criteria; quick, light, easy and energizing.
  • The common contender; grab and go granola bars. But is this the healthiest option?
The next time you go to grab a box of these from your local market, give the nutrition a once over. What has long been promoted as a healthy food option sporting refined oats and roasted (oxidized) nuts and seeds may have a little more unwrapping to do behind its shiny, enticing packaging. Conventional granola bars are hidden sources of sneaky sugars, preservatives and other less than ideal ingredients that counteract much of the beneficial health properties a walk in nature provides.
Instead? Take a cue from nature’s finest and come back to 5 real, whole foods that meet all of our hiking needs; quick, light, easy and energizing!
1) Trail mix / Nuts / Seeds
  • Pack raw, unsalted nuts and seeds which provide high nutrient density, protein, complex carbohydrates and energizing fats to keep you satiated and boost your stamina. Yesterday I packed a few raw brazil nuts, a more expensive option but one of my favourites with the selenium being praised for giving you a subtle skin glow and improving its elasticity. Though high in calories, you will only need a few to reap the selenium benefits and satisfy you for the remainder of your hike.
  •  Always combine your own trail mix to control what goes into it. To do so, simply mix nuts and seeds together with dried, crunchy coconut chunks and perhaps a few pieces of dark chocolate or gogi berries for a sweeter treat.
Brail nuts 
2) Veggies
  • Carrot sticks, sweet red peppers, snap peas etc. Eat plain or pack a mini container with humus or pure nutbutters for a more satiating snack.
  • NOTE: Support organic as much as possible here. One of the major factors responsible for the decline in Bald Eagle populations was the use of pesticides such as DDT. Since the use of these pesticides has been banned and/or restricted, the populations are recovering but they are still a concern for these birds and supporting organic growers helps to ensure these chemicals aren’t used to grow your fruits and vegetables and that equates to happy birds 🙂
3) Fruit
  • Locally grown grapes were my personal favourite yesterday! Fruit is both hydrating on long hikes and hot summer days (though yesterday was anything but hot). Bananas, apples, pears, etc. are all fantastic grab-and-go options.
grape snacks

4) Crunchy crackers & kale chips

  • Craving a crunchy snack? Look for gluten-free brown rice crackers or nut and seed crackers such as Mary’s brand.
    • Holistic Life Hacks: depending on where you go, one box of Mary’s crackers averages around $6-9, which is a bit of a pricy snack to munch on. However, packed with fibre and wholesome, less refined ingredients, these are my go to and can be much cheaper when bought from bulk food stores.
5) Granola
  • The typical graNOla packs around 15-20 grams of sugar in the average bag and is mixed with gluten and preservatives. Unlike granola bars that use sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, dates etc.) as partial binding agents, granola can go without it, the key is to find the right brand. Look for one that’s unsweetened or very lightly sweetened and made with all wholesome ingredients. You’ll be able to bypass much of the sugars this way and can add your own fixings of nuts, seeds or coconut chunks as you please. Better yet? Make your own!

granola lotus

Healthy snacks are wickedly simple, delicious and leave you energized rather than depleted for the hike ahead! Finding out that this conservation area offers private tours for those who want a closer encounter with the birds, may just have me taking another trip back if Bald Eagles are involved. 🙂 And may I point out that with their bird adoptions from Pip the Kestral or Echo, Jazz and Chomper the owls, the Bald Eagle I want to adopt has to be named: Pawgwashiing Migizi! So while I wrap my tongue around that mouthful, I’ll be packing up the last of my brazil nuts to head out for another rejuvenating hike tonight.

Happy snacking!

Suzanne Eden

 

Your Holistic, Explorative Guide To Downtown Burlington, ON

At the time, looking out onto the waterfront with our dairy-free ice cream and being shielded in the shade of the willow tree, my friend and I declared it a great idea to hop on our bikes and ride the three-hour trek from home to downtown Burlington. Fast forward a week or two, sitting with another friend on the pier, roasting in the heat of the sun and burning on the scorching black bench which stung as it stuck to our thighs, it struck my mind that the idea may, perhaps, be an ambitious adventure better left for fall.

In contrast to biking, this Tuesday we found ourselves taking a slow and leisurely stroll through the area to scout out the holistic haven that resides here. From secretive village squares, to plant-based eateries, authentic olive oil sampling and waterfront views, this is your holistic explorative guide for a day trip to Burlington.
 new guide

TASTE

 1) Kelly’s Bake Shoppe

401 Brant St

Conventional Diner (CD) approved

lettuce love
2) Lettuce Love Cafe
399 John Street
  • Holistic Highlights: gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, plant-based
  • The sister store to Kelly’s Bake Shoppe, run by the same two passionate women. I had the pleasure of eating here with my family upon graduating last year. The curry bowl with chick peas and split avocado fries were both good dishes.
  • What to watch for;
    • Though vegan, many of the items on the menu are soy based, so make sure to converse with your server. It may also be a good idea to call ahead and make reservations as it is a small venue and was very busy the night we stopped by. Though not a favourite amongst my non-health-nut family, I enjoyed my meal.
grad
3) Rawlicious 
496 Brant Street
  • Holistic Highlights: 100% raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, plant-based
  • A cozy location tucked in amongst the stores, Rawlicious is 100% raw food, desserts and all. Definitely geared towards health enthusiasts. I tried this back in Toronto where my friend and I both thoroughly enjoyed and raved about our raw sandwiches on dehydrated garlic bread with coleslaw and Thai dipping sauce for the raw spring rolls!
raw
4) The Olive Oil Dispensary
2003 Lakeshore Rd
CD Approved
  • We savoured mini samples of fig balsamic vinegar paired with infused bergamot olive oil as we stumbled upon this nook nuzzled amongst the surrounding shops. Walk in to find large barrels equipped with spouts specifically for taste testing as you please. Skip the white bread samples and drink directly from the mini cup, mixing together a balsamic and high quality oil of choice, the flavours stand out on their own.
  • Holistic Highlights:
    • Each, unflavored, olive oil is certified “extra virgin” meeting the highest standards of quality and taste. All olive oil we use in our everyday kitchens should be extra virgin to help ensure its potent health benefits.
olive oil
5) SPENCERS!
1340 Lakeshore Rd
CD approved
    • Just to see this sleek, black building with its balcony overlooking the water and pool of model sail boats, brings back fond memories of our special meals here. Featuring sustainable seafood and an earth to table menu with a focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients, it is a semi formal venue geared to be high quality and an affordable dinning experience.
    • On my birthday a few years ago, I was thrilled to have a tour of the kitchen and back rooms by the executive chef, and could personally attest to the cleanliness and care of this restaurant. Though we no longer know the head chef who left to pursue his cider business, and I have not been back since, I still highly recommend this restaurant for fine dinning and exquisite views.
    • What to watch for:
      • The menu is often revamped based on the ingredients available at that time of year and to keep the experience fresh each time you visit. However, this makes it hard for me to pinpoint one dish for you to enjoy. Don’t be discouraged by the gluten or dairy, you still have plenty of fresh choices to choose from and cater around. Holistic Life Hacks;  Check out the menu online or call ahead of time to discover your options!

EXPLORE

 

magazine

 

1) Walk the store fronts of Brant street, especially Centro
437 Brant Street
  • You wont find many of your conventional, commercial stores here. Instead you are whisked into whimsical gardens, vintage boutiques, kitchen stores and rustic home decor.
  • My personal favourite store to browse is Centro. Grabbing your attention with a green garden setting in the alleyway beside the boutique with mosses, cacti and herbs. Venture inside to find all of your future home inspiration from rustic wooden dishes and platters, hanging cactus planters, fresh food cookbooks and plenty of trinkets.
  • I stopped in this last time, to pick up a beautiful copy of Pure Green Magazine.
pure green
2) Stroll the pier and waterfront
  • Watch for festivals! I have been here when it was bustling with beer festivals, tranquil in the mid afternoon’s heat (when everyone else was wisely taking shelter in the air-conditioned shops), and even caught wedding photos being taken; the clear sign of a beautiful backdrop! And to my fellow rock enthusiasts, they host the annual Sound of Music concert coming again June 11th-19th 2016 (the lineup is released in May).
3) Take a walk into the mansion neighbourhoods 
  • Ah Burlington, you sure know how to build them. Though many of us may be looking for houses with geothermal heating, lush vegetable gardens, and moderate sized homes, the surrounding mansions are quite something to feast your eyes on! When facing the waterfront, walk left along Lakeshore Road and keep walking until you know you’ve come to the right houses. Feel free to stroll the subdivisions that jut off to the side, it is usually well worth it!
4) Locate the Artists Walk Village Square
  • I have been to Downton Burlington a handful of times over the years and never had I stumbled upon this. Tucked away along an alleyway amidst the strip of pubs and bars, you’ll find a 19th century inspired inner village. Much of it is dedicated to business services but there is a gazebo and Parisian inspired restaurant that gives it a European feeling in the heart of Canadian culture.
 I have to admit that now, as I am sitting, writing to you in the comforts of  an air conditioned home, the summer bike trip seems rather appealing once again. But whether you take the day to bike your way to Burlington (there are many beautiful bike paths through the area!) or take the high road, do be sure to experience all it has to offer. It really is a special little destination for a mini road trip and afternoon ACTIVEists stroll.
In a series of explorative events,
Suzanne Eden

Six Ways To Think Globally By Eating Locally

You’re a car pooler, an HOV lane local, a savvy  navigator of public transportation.

You are fully aware of the impact of gas emissions on our environment and carefully manage your ecological footprint, but did you ever consider the mileage on your plate?

 local

The average meal now travels around 1500km from farm to table according to David Suzuki. That is one costly road trip for the produce and environment alike. To put this into perspective, from MindBodyGreen, that means the average North American meal composed of some meat, grain, fruits and veggies, uses 4 to 17 times more petroleum if buying conventional versus buying local ingredients.

Take a look at your breakfast this morning. Where did it come from? Was it picked fresh from your garden, plucked from the your local fruit stands, or pulled from the grocery store aisles? Most supermarkets are supplied by global (national and international) farmers, whereas local growers are based right in the region, reducing the cost of gas, while fueling the community.  Buying locally from farmers markets and fruit stands is a simple, nutritious and delicious means to support our environment and our local economies. Here’s how:

  1. Fueling the food systems
  • The global system uses anywhere from 4 to 7 times as much fuel for transportation, and produces 5 to 17 times more CO2 emissions than regional or local food systems, according to Cornell University.
  • The Center for Agricultural Business reported that in California alone, more
    than 485,000 truckloads of fresh fruit and vegetables leave the state
    every year and travel from 100 to 2,100 miles to reach their destinations.
  • What you can do:
    • When buying local, the gas emissions from transportation are dramatically reduced. It is simply you driving, or better yet, walking or biking, and the transport from farm to the fruit stands.

fruit stand

2. More Nutritional Bang For your Buck

  • Conventional produce is picked before its prime to avoid spoiling on the long distance it travels for distribution to supermarkets.
  • Furthermore, fresh food can lose up to 50% of nutrients 3-5 days after harvest. So if our food is lacking nutrients in the first place, then is losing many of these nutrients on the way to our dinner tables, we’re losing a large portion of what we were wanting in the first place; valuable  vitamins and minerals. Thinking globally, we all know the vast expense of health care and the more we incorporate fruits and vegetables rich with nutrients, the more we access the power of preventative health care!
  • What you can do;
    • When you buy locally, you are getting the full spectrum of nutrients from fresh produce, picked ripe from the vines and sold directly to you to diminish nutrient depletion.

3. The Price Is Right

  • Generally far cheaper, as the money is going directly to the support of your local growers. There is no watering down costs to distribute to drivers, the supermarket sellers etc. This money is most likely recycled back into your community to benefit jobs on a local level.

 

eat local

4. TASTE!

  • I’m willing to bet that the main reason so many people think they don’t like veggies is because they aren’t having the true, flavourful vegetable. Take the taste test yourself, particularly with a tomato. What is hard, flavourless and more reminiscent of a rubber ball than a healthful food sold in supermarkets, is plump, juicy and nutritious when picked ripe. We are absolutely spoiled to live in the fruit belt and have a garden overflowing with heirloom tomatoes, but all you need is a visit to your local grower to reap the real taste.
  • Where does this lack of taste “stem” from? Take a look at the freelance article I wrote for EcoEating here: http://ecoeating.ca/case-of-the-tasteless-tomato/

 

5. Less waste

  • Globally, close to half of all food produced is wasted according to David Suzuki. Take the summer strawberry for instance where the average total loss from harvest to the consumer’s table is estimated to be more than 40%!
  • Holistic life hacks;
    • Ask for “seconds” at your local fruit stand. As the misfits of the fruit stands, seconds don’t look as pretty, may be sporting a few bruise spots that need to be sliced off or have an irregular shape. 30% of fruits and vegetables don’t make it onto North American superstore shelves for this very reason. By purchasing these perfectly good fruits, you will save yourself money and also decrease the waste of them potentially being tossed away.

 

veggie basket

6. Better Biodiversity

  • Smaller run, local farmers are far more likely to utilize the practises of crop rotation for more sustainable agriculture. This means rotating many varieties of crops which makes them more resilient against disease without using pesticides and promotes healthy soil. Conventional produce on the other hand, is often the practise of mono-culture which creates a vast host of issues leading to a need for increased pesticide use.

 

There are SO many perks to going local that extend beyond this list, from developing a greater sense of connection to our food, to getting one on one interactions and making friendships unlike you would in the grocery line. Instead of a quick “hello”, scan through of food, grab your money and go scenario, local farms encourage an open and friendly atmosphere and many of the workers work all week. It’s the ample opportunity to grow friendships while you grab your fresh picked peaches.

Diets rich in nutritious fruits and vegetables are cooperatively the healthiest for ourselves and the environment. This is true plan(e)t powered eating.  Fresher, tastier and better for both the consumer and local communities, you have every reason you need to grab your reusable shopping bags and head out to your local farmers market!

Suzanne Eden

Seven Ingredient Chunky Monkey Superfood Cookies

Craving a cookie after all of the sweet treat teasing we’ve been through this week?

In the name of guilt free and bakery’s, these cookies can be whipped up in minutes, are soft, chewy and naturally sweet.

  • With cookies, chocolate chip in particular, being one of the all time most popular desserts, these Chunky Monkey Cookies forego all of the classic wheat, sugars, corn starch and dairy so that I can give you full, nutritionist approved permission to go right ahead and even eat the batter!

In  conclusion to a week of sweet talking, these are your bite sized, guilt free indulgences to treat yourself to today.

 chunky monkey

3 Reasons To Go Banana’s

1. Flour free & refined sugar-free
  • Completely free of refined flours and sugars which are devoid of nutrients and spike our blood sugar with a subsequent crash. Ever felt the sudden rise of energy directly after eating sweets, only to be caught snoozing with you head on the table the next? That’s your blood sugar talking!
  • Instead of refined sugars, we owe this cookies sweetness to the whole food; bananas. Where 12 grams of of sugar are in just one tablespoon of table sugar, a quarter cup of mashed banana contains less than 7 grams!
  • Quick tip: making sure they are brown and spotted is to ensure that they are more alkaline to the body and make a sweeter cookie.
2) Makes just 4 a batch
  • Portion control at its finest! Most cookie recipes make around 2-3 dozen cookies, a lot of temptation to have hanging around in reuseable food containers on the countertops. 4 cookies makes just enough for you to enjoy without going overboard.
3) 7 Wholefood ingredients
  • All of which you are more than likely to have as staples in your holistic cabinet. With just seven, wholesome ingredients and minimal time to make, these are easy to whip up whenever you have a craving for a sweet treat.

Chunky Monkey Superfood Cookies

Adventure level: 2/5

Yields 4 cookies per batch

Ingredients:

  • 1 mashed banana
    • Making sure its ripe and spotted brown to ensure sweetness!
  • 1/4 C gluten-free rolled oats (I like Bob Redmills)
  • 2 TBSP unsweetened coconut flakes
    • Also look for sulphite free
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Sprinkling of sea salt
  • Handful of gogi berries, dark chocolate chips or crushed pecans (I used a combo of all three!)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Combine all ingredients together, mixing well
  • Spoon onto a baking sheet forming cookie shapes and gently flatten the top
  • Bake 15-20 minutes, let cool 10 minutes

Cookies that aren’t monkeying around on taste or nutrition, enjoy!

Suzanne Eden

Restaurant In Review // Kelly’s Bake Shoppe; Burlington, ON

This is love at first bite.

It’s not everyday that you stumble upon a bakery brimming with your holistic morals. So in the name of bringing you the most intimate reviews, I had to savour as many goodies as possible… for quality assurance purposes of course!

Kellys bake shop

Located in downtown Burlington, these tasty creations are designed to be dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, egg-free, butter-free, casein-free, preservative-free, peanut-free, vegan and composed of organic, fair-trade ingredients, with natural colours sourced from flower petals.

Here is where you realise that real ingredients are cause for real flavour!

hiking

This Saturday marked my third trip to the bakery after reading that they served chocolate vanilla swirl soft serve! Something that I haven’t had since my days of dairy cones and summer road trips. So we made our own excursion to scout out Burlington boutiques, stroll the pier with our dairy-free ice cream and steal a few treats for our late night hike up the escarpment to catch the sunset (and a few mosquito bites in the process).

From decadent brownies to rich raspberry squares, wether or not you are near the area to be tempted into this adorable cafe, or looking for inspiration to whip yourself up a deliciously wholesome treat tonight,  allow me to give you a sneak peek into the whimsical world of Kelly’s Bake Shoppe!

kellys

The Bakery

  •  Surrounded by charming boutiques and outdoor gardens, Kelly’s Bake Shoppe is hard to miss from the swarms of health food and dessert enthusiasts alike. Created by a dynamic mother-daughter duo, it is evident the ingredients of love and passion are infused in every nook and cranny. From witty puns of sweet desserts, decorated with fragrant flowers, and the inviting and inspirational atmosphere begging to be every bloggers second home.
happiness
  • Stepping inside, you are welcomed to the smiles of exuberant employees (the sign of a passionate business), and the sounds of chatting customers and steaming of coconut milk cappuccinos. And then you feast your eyes on the line up of freshly baked goods scattered neatly along the countertops…
Muffins

The Decadent Desserts

You will be uprooted in a swirl of tempting treats, gawking at all of the possibilities and lost in a sea of frosting and donuts and soft serve but this is my MUST have for you: Snag yourself a triple fudge brownie! Rich, indulgent  and layered with a  creamy spread of chocolate frosting, their brownies crept their way into my dreams after my first stop here last year. If you love chocolate (and who doesn’t!) make this your go to.

triple fudge brownie

Now this Saturday, as any chocolate enthusiast would understand, it was a daring decision to trade in my usual brownie for a Raspberry Coconut Square, but this treat could make ANY chocoholic question their loyalty. It’s sweet, fruity, filled with raspberry jam and topped with golden toasted coconut. It is heavenly.

I have also had the pleasure of indulging in their Skinny Cookie which we bought to split over our soft serve. This one being geared as a breakfast cookie as it is entirely flour free and based with roasted bananas, oats and sunflower butter. The World Peace Cookie was also tasty when savoured with a coconut milk latte back when I first visited in the fall.
raspberry bar

What To Watch Out For

  •  In all of my chocolate-vanilla-swirl-soft-serve excitement, I failed to notice that it was based in soy. So though, yes, they do have soy-free options here, that does not mean that everything is soy-free. They do have binders to check all ingredients for you and are more than happy to answer any of your questions about your personal dietary needs.
soft serve
  • Though they are renowned for their cupcakes, many of these are extremely indulgent with some sporting their own donuts on top of a mountain of frosting. Though too much for me, they would make a good treat to split if you wanted to try one. Their award-winning Mile High Brownie is also something that I have not tried as that, too, is far too much for me, but I have a funny feeling that nobody would mind sharing 🙂
muriel

A Place For Non-Health Nuts?

Absolutely! These desserts taste far better than any gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar and artificial baked goods. Truly. And the best part is that these treats, savoured in moderation, won’t leave your stomach in an uproar and your head in a fog. Bring your unassuming guinea pigs here, while shielding their eyes from the health food signs, and I guarantee you, they would never suspect a thing!

Want to try these for yourself?

Kelly’s Bake Shoppe and I are teaming up to give one of you a free cupcake and $25 gift card! Follow @lifeofeden and @kellysbake on Instagram to find out how you could win!
cupcakes
I can just image more of these health conscious cafés cropping up in towns and cities over the years, with many more of my reviews to inevitably follow in their footsteps, but those footsteps will have some big shoes to fill!
A sweet, gracious thank you to Kelly’s Bake Shoppe for your exceptional service, inviting atmosphere and dream inducing desserts. I’m sure I will be paying your bakery another visit very soon!
Sweet dreams of decadent desserts,
Suzanne Eden

Shark Weeks 6 Ways to Make Waves In Our Health And The Health Of Sharks

Whoever considered that soup could be a deadly concoction to both human beings of land and majestic creatures of the ocean? Or that liver oils and aphrodisiacs could heighten your mood but deflate a 4,000 pound predator of the deep?

~*~

With thoughts of shark week, holistic health may very well not be the first thing to swim into your mind (or even the last thing for that matter), but our everyday lifestyle choices affect the health of sharks just as much as they affect ours. These impressive creatures have been swimming the oceans for over 400 million years (100 million years before the first dinosaurs appeared on land) and have been contributing to the delicate interplay of our oceanic ecosystems ever since.

They are integral to our oceans and though recent news has surfaced with shark attacks on the rise, the shark population is on the decline, with Green Peace reporting that some species have declined over 95% in the last decade. The empowering news is that we DO have the power to protect these predators and much of it takes place on our plates!

jelly

Random FACTS of kindness:
Most shark species are docile and couldn’t give a shark’s fin about humans. What they DO care about is feeding their enormous bodies with seals which we so conveniently resemble as we’re floating in the water. Most shark attacks are not fatal because, just as you would a mushy apple, a shark takes one bite, realises we’re not what it thought we were and spits us out.  The unfortunate thing is that on the  jaws of a standard shark, this “test bite” is pretty substantial. But all things considered, sharks are really wonderful creatures and an important part of the sea. Turns out we don’t need to be as afraid of sharks as we should be afraid for them.

In honour of shark week, let me take you on a dive into the 6 ways that we can make waves in our health and the health of our sharks!

1) From bait to plate: Do not eat shark. EVER.

  • Have you ever tried shark? If not, you are missing out on one of the greatest sources of mercury you could eat from the sea! Sound appetizing? I have never been one to turn down a strange food experience but this would be one of them. With extremely high levels of mercury contamination and inhumane killing practises, we’re swimming in over our heads with each bite.
  • Mercury is a neurotoxin to both humans and animals and found in extremely high amounts in sharks. Pollution has dramatically increased the amount of mercury found in our water with The Whole Life Nutrition book stating that the top 100 meters of the ocean now has twice as much mercury as it did in the previous century. The larger and fattier the animal, the more this accumulates in the tissues with up to 9 million times the amount that’s found in the water, according to Mercola.
  • Predatorial fish (such as sharks) now contain 12 times the mercury they did during pre-industrial times. Why such large amounts? Sharks, being top-of-the-food-chain creatures, are eating other fish that are already contaminated, which causes the mercury to accumulate within their bodies. When we eat them, that mercury will accumulate in us.

Beware that shark can be disguised under other names such as flake, rock salmon, dog-fish, rigg or rock eel.

  • In Asia, shark fin soup is a delicacy but an indelicacy to sharks, who are cruelly killed for their fins (utilizing only 1-5% of the shark’s body weight) with the rest of their bodies being discarded back into the ocean (often with the shark still alive and left to bleed to death). The fresh fins can fish prices of up to $400 / kilogram according to wildaid.org.

RFOK (random facts of kindness):

Even with those tell-tale razor sharp teeth, sharks don’t actually chew their food but rather swallow them. As for us, we need to chew our food around 30-40 times for optimal digestion!

shark tank
2. Some-things a little fishy: Eat sustainably caught fish

  • So you’re not eating shark, but what about your everyday seafood choices such as fish? Turns out over half the amount of sharks caught each year are done through by-catch while attempting to catch other fish such as squid, tuna, and other commercial species.
  • This way of farming or fishing doesn’t jeopardize the health of our oceans and is an easy and effective way to make a change each and every time you purchase seafood. To find sustainably caught sea food, follow this link which will give you access to consumer guides, downloadable apps and even lets you compare you favourite sushi! http://www.seafoodwatch.org/

RFOK: We aren’t the only ones who like variety in our seafood! In captivity sharks will refuse to eat if they have eaten the same thing too many times.

3. Hooked on health: Choose shark-healthy health products

  • There are unfortunately a few health care products utilizing components of shark. Some of these include aphrodisiacs, shark liver oil, arthritis and cancer prevention products that use shark cartilage. The effectiveness of these supplements is backed up by very little, if any, scientific facts. Stay away from the use of any of these products, especially with the potential risks of contamination that appears in sharks.

RFOK: Speaking of aphrodisiacs, female sharks have thicker skin, as males have to bite the females while mating. Due to the fact that they heal rapidly, bite marks on a female shark is a telltale sign that you’ve found their mating grounds.

deep blue

4. Give them a High Fin!

  • Flying can impact our deep-sea diving friends! This is one tip I “flew” with after reading it on the Discovery shark week website. Many shark fins are transported via airplane and choosing airlines that refuse these practises is a simple way to hop on board and take a stand as you take your seat.

RFOK;
Sharks move like airplanes by creating forward movements with their tails (like propellers) so that water moves over their fins like wings.

5. Adopt a shark!

  • Now, I am certainly not encouraging you to strap on your scuba gear and dive into a swarm of hungry sharks with your adoption agency papers looking for the right one to bring home to your living room aquarium. On the other hand, or fin, there are many organizations such as WWF, that allow you to “adopt” an animal, thereby donating to the protection of that species. This makes a great gift too! 😀

RFOK:
There’s a species called the cookie-cutter shark (presumably gluten and refined-sugar free!) that takes cookie-cutter shaped bites of its food.

jellyfish

6. Share Socially!

  • Share this and other articles! Tweet it, Facebook it, email it. Social media has become one of the biggest ways to make a splash in our world. It allows us to instantly share information and bring awareness to important issues that we care about. Whether it be this article, a Greenpeace article, the shark week website, or any other modality, create waves by creating awareness.

As we sit down with our lemon waters and humus to take a bite of shark week, consider that with our everyday choices, we have the power to influence these magnificent creatures of the deep! And it is easy, so easy, to make waves in their health, right now! It starts with knowledge and changes with action. And your first line of action? Share this article and get the message out there!

For loads more information check out: http://wildaid.org/sites/default/files/resources/EndOfTheLine2007US.pdf

Wishing you all a Holistic Chomp of Shark Week!

La fin,
Suzanne Eden

Canada Days & Camp Fires // The Holistic Swap In The Roast Of The Marshmallow 

Happy Canada Day friends!

From my birthday and that of nearly every member of my family, June has been a busy month of Gemini’s and tonight’s birthday celebrations kick-start July with fireworks over the beach and bonfires over fire pits.

When you think of campfire food, is a marshmallow one of the first things to make a “pit” stop in your mind?

If so, I have the perfect swap for you!

Pineapple.
Superior to marshmallows in just about every way.

The case? They are naturally tart and sweet (without being a slap to your sweet sensing taste buds),  caramelize in the hot embers of your fire pit (without turning into a dangerous flaming ball of sticky sugar) and retain their juicy interior so as not to leave a chalky taste in your mouth that warrants a gulping jug of water before you can proceed to speak again.

pineapple

We devoured this pineapple Friday night at the first bonfire of the season to commence the time of BBQs, campfires and today’s Canada Day celebration where this is the perfect holistic swap for a sweet and healthy treat.

So why do we have such a strong association with these sweets? Tradition. When it comes to kids and nutrition, I’m a big marshmallow and many of the things we do with food come from habits that we develop as children. In developmental psychology we call this the critical period. This is a time when development is rapid and where what we are taught is critical to forming habits we often carry through our life. This follows closely in the development of our children’s bodies and though we often think kids can get away with eating more junk food during this time (signs of nutritional deficiencies don’t show as prominently until later years) this is a period of rapid growth and development of their bones, organs etc. The early years are when we want to focus on developing healthy bodies and healthy habits alike.

 camping

I, personally, have so many fond memories being gathered around a fire in our campsites and roasting marshmallows to eat off a stick or squash between graham crackers and chocolate for s’mores. But the pineapple we roasted over Friday night was  soft, sticky and sweet but also juicy and I can only imagine that if I was brought up eating this around a campfire, I wouldn’t have wanted anything else. It’s a simple change for a new tradition and with Canadians consuming an estimated 51-53 g of sugar per person per day, according to the 2014 nutrients study, it’s a needed change.

 

 Marshmallow Vs Pineapple

  • Every 100grams of the average marshmallow contains around 58 g’s of sugar!
    • 100 g’s of pineapple contains around 10g
  • The ingredients for marshmallows include: sugar, glucose syrup (more sugar), invert sugar (even MORE sugar), artificial flavourings, colourings, dustings of corn starch (often GMOs and one of the top food allergens)
    • Pineapples are a whole food with no need for an ingredient list.

 

Random FACTS of kindness; does your tongue go numb from eating pineapple?

  • Though it’s important to rule out a food allergy, pineapple contain the natural digestive enzyme bromelain which breaks down proteins and is used in many digestive supplements. This powerful enzyme is what makes pineapple easily digestible but may also be responsible for irritating your tongue and mouth.
  • Cooking and heating deactivates these enzymes to reduce or alleviate this side effect.

 

Whether youre kids are doing the roasting or you are, instead of getting stuck with gooey fingers and crumby graham crackers,  “stick” to this new, sweet tradition for the summer with 100% pure pineapple!

 

Roasting tonight over beaches and bonfires,

Suzanne Eden

 

 

 

Suzanne Eden