Mothers Day Gatherings With The Mediterranean Lentil Summer Salad

This was a smashing hit this weekend at our Mother’s Day gathering (as evidenced by the lack of salad that made its way home to me) and it’s about time for another recipe!
  • Have you tried lentils before? They are one of my favourite plant-based ways to pack protein and fibre into my diet. When prepared properly they are easily digested, simple to make and we always have organic bags of them stocked in our cold cellar ready to cook up in a pinch. So whether you are looking for a way to dip a spoon into these legumes or are on the hunt for the ultimate entertaining salad for summer BBQ’s, this dish is your holistic fix!
   But first, a little taste of Mother’s Day…
oh she glows
 
We spent a “heartfelt” Mother’s Day bonding for bunch with these golden chia bagels from the “Oh She Glows” cookbook with dollops of homemade strawberry jam.
  • I made the jam using frozen organic strawberries which are more cost-effective and last longer than the fresh ones. When flash frozen, they maintain the same nutrient value they had fresh, though warming them as you do with this recipe, will unfortunately destroy most of its nutrients anyways.
  • In the bagels, I recommend using maple syrup as opposed to honey as it is more heat-resistant. These bagels are cooked at a very low temperature which is optimal and my mother, and a fellow coworker I shared them with, loved them! It was a good thing for extra ingredients as I maaay have spent Saturday night whipping up another batch after eating the first one straight out of the oven… oops!
 Though I wasn’t able to attend our Mother’s Day gathering this year, we packed up this Mediterranean salad for everyone to enjoy. We are so spoiled as our families get togethers are ripe with fresh veggie platters (much of which is supplied via my grandparent’s garden) with homemade dips & hummus and feature healthy dinners always tailored to our dairy-free, gluten-free needs! But this salad offers the perfect holistic life hack if you find yourself in a situation where it is the only healthy dish on the menu as the high protein content, fibre and healthy fats make this a light but hearty salad so that you can fill up with lentils and take smaller samplings of the rest of the food and/or desserts.
entertaining
The Mediterranean Lentil Summer Salad
Light, effortless and wholesome, this is the perfect entertaining salad for all of your summer gatherings!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cooked red or green lentils (soaked overnight)
  • 1-1/2 cups quartered grape tomatoes
  • 1-1/2 cups peeled and quartered cucumber
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper (organic as it is part of the dirty dozen)
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • ½ cup pitted olives (black or green. I go based on which organic ones I can find and pit them myself)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint leaves or cilantro
  • Optional but reccommended; 1-2 Avocados!

Ingredients for dressing:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey (raw, unpasteurized, unprocessed)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Rinse and cook the soaked lentils as instructed on the package and allow to cool (This can be done ahead of time and stored in the fridge).
  • Combine all salad ingredients (except avos) in a large bowl and mix well.
  • Whisk together dressing ingredients in a small bowl and gently mix into the salad. Add the avocado, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavours to come together. We prepared this dish the night before for an easy morning.
The Switch Ups:
To take you through the remaining few days of our seven days of salads challenge, there are lots of tasty things you can do to revamp this dish!
  • Make wraps with lettuce wraps, raw wraps or rice wraps and include avocado, sprouts, a little mustard or hummus or whatever other wholesome toppings you might enjoy.
  • Use it as a topping for a big, green salad
  • Stuff roasted red peppers, Portobello mushroom caps or squash
  • create a rustic “salsa” type of dip for brown rice or nut and seed crackers
Whether entertaining your family or an entire crowd, this simple, wholesome and yummy salad is your new quick fix go-to and  the perfect way to conclude our final days of the seven days of salads challenge!
To a deliciously plant powered weekend,
Suzanne Eden

The Rocky Road & This Weeks Seven Days Of Salads Challenge!

I’ve got a challenge for you this week!

It is so simple and a brilliant reboot for our health. I did it quietly for myself this past week (minus a pit stop… or two, for some dairy free gelato) and then a funny thing happened…

gelato

The ACTIVEist

Friday found my friend and I biking down to the beach for the first bike of the season which, in itself, should have been a warning sign for trouble and what an adventure it was! It started with the realization that we were biking on enTIREly flat tires for half of the journey… On the plus side, it turns out we’re not quite as out of shape as we had been thinking! But allow me to clarify that when I say flat, my back wheels looked something like a burnt pancake being steamed rolled against the tarmac.

Now loving a challenge and being slightly stubborn at times, I was determined to ride that flattened pancake all the way back up the two gigantic hills to the gas station to pump them up.  I carried nothing except my debit card but luckily knew the gas attendant who graciously offered up 50 cents to my disgruntled appearance and consequently chuckled when I relayed my story to him and a fellow customer. Now whether he was handing me the money out of the kindness of his heart or to get me out of there as quick as possible, is to be determined, but he hadn’t gotten rid of me yet! As we pumped the tires the air nozzle  slipped its way into the depths of the wheel and I was back in to grab a wrench and fish it back out again.

With a wrench in hand and grease stained limbs, my friend and I were bound to go a little (coco)nutty and rehydrated and replenished our electrolytes with some refreshing Thirsty Buddha coconut water 🙂

thirsty buddha

 But it was here at the gas station as we regained our breath and gulped down our waters, that we happened upon the conversation that elicited this week’s challenge. As it turns out, this friend, who happens to live 5 houses down and has a birthday six days apart from mine, was on the same wavelength and ate what I ate this week and was telling me all about how fantastic she felt. She said all of her bloating went away, her digestion was great, her cravings disappeared, she felt light and was running on an abundance of energy! I was thrilled and had personally experienced this as well and had to share with you all! The challenge? To eat nothing but salads for seven days! That’s it, that’s all.

The Seven Days Of Salads Challenge

The contender: YOU

The Challenge: to eat nothing but wholesome salads for 1 week!

The details:

  • Before you classify nacho salads and chocolate (chocolate comes from cocoa, which is a tree, that makes it a plant; chocolate is salad.) not so fast! The more wholesome, the more benefits you will feel, and that’s the whole point! So commit yourself to the healthiest salads you can possibly construct! Here are some tips:

beet salad

Variety: mix it up!

  • Experiment with different greens and salad mixes. Try lentil salads, add chicken and avocado and try that weird-looking veggie you’ve passed for weeks in the supermarket. Keep it bright and colourful for a full spectrum of nutrients and get playful!

Dress it up

  • Would you like some salad with that dressing? Don’t go heavy-handed on the dressings, keep them light and make your own. Store bought dressings are less than ideal and often contain dairy and soy and sugar galore. My super simple go-tos?
    • Olive oil, sea salt and garlic powder (optional)
    • Apple cider vinegar, stone ground mustard and a tiny sprinkle of avocado oil
    • Balsamic? I am asked about this one all the time. My quick answer; when it comes to vinegar I prefer to stick with alkalinizing apple cider but I do use balsamic here and there.

Salad for breakfast?

  • YES! Greens with some strawberries and blueberries make great breakfast salads but green smoothies constitute a salad too. Spinach, cucumber, crisp celery and romaine are all my favourites to add to smoothies to hide the green taste (unless, like myself, you love that taste!) while getting lots of nutrition packed in your blender.

Organic

  • Go organic as much as possible for increased detoxification and the most optimal nutrition! At the very least, purchase the dirty bakers dozen organic or peel your vegetables.

Here is one of my favourite salads (as pictured above) that is already in a post for you: https://lifeofeden.com/2013/10/01/liver-detox-salad/  With grapefruit juice and fresh apple, I love this one for breakfast after allowing it to soak in the fridge overnight and the apple cider vinegar helps to boost digestion for the remainder of the day!

Kick starting our seven days of salads!

Suzanne Eden

Earth Day & Birthdays // 5 Small Steps To Small Ecological Footprints

Happy (belated) Earth Day readers!

It was a busy week from reunions to yesterday’s CN tower climb and  Wednesday was consumed by  a flurry of chocolate and coconut flour and strawberries to make this cake for a very special birthday, but I still can’t resist an Earth Day inspired post!

 

cake

A holistic lifestyle is all encompassing and stretches well beyond our plates. It is both wonderful and terrifying to comprehend the profound impact we make on our ecosystems through the simple act of eating, which we do everyday, three times a day and I am adamant about not only eating for our own health but for the health of the planet.  Afterall, it is our responsibility to be green both on and off our plates and the wonderful thing is that it can be easy with small steps to small ecological footprints!
beach bends
Just imagine what would happen if we flipped our perspective to see every meal, three times a day, 365 days a year as the ripe opportunity to stand up for what we stand on. These are a few “piece of gluten-free, dairy-free cake” ways to start making a profound difference immediately, towards a more sustainable way of eating that benefits our bodies and planet alike and with that;

Here are a few of my favourite holistic life hacks for a healthy diet and healthy planet!

1. Eat Whole – Plan(e)t Powered

  • Americans discard an estimated 570 million pounds of food packaging every single day! And let’s face it, much of that packaging  is entirely unnecessary.  This excessive packaging of processed foods is typically comprised of unsustainable materials and energy intensive processes.
  • Whole food requires no packaging or processing. It’s simply real food as nature intended and the only “waste” is the scraps that are fed to your guinea pig or decompose to provide nutrients to our soil.

wholefood salad

2. Utilize reusable bags (or oversized purses)

  • The second option here is one of the many perks of having a purse the size of a shopping bag, especially when you’ve forgotten the reusable one at home or are attempting to sneak healthy snacks (or entire steak dinners if you were so inclined) into the movie theater. But men, you can stick to the reusable bags if you’d like.
  • Plastic bags take anywhere from 15-1000 years to decompose! What’s more, they are estimated to cost us around 12 million barrels of oil a year to produce and only about 15% of these bags are recycled world-wide. What happens to them? If not recycled they end up in landfills and oceans.

3. BPA plastic free (non pavement proof) mason jars

  • Ah, mason jars, my favourite! I use them for just about everything; water, kefir water, culturing sauerkraut, or portable salads, you name it! With glass, you don’t have to worry about toxic compounds such as BPA that leach from plastics. They also last much longer, provided you don’t test their resiliency on your car dealership’s parking lot pavement.
  • Tossable, plastic water bottles use a considerable amount of fossil fuel from both production and transportation and wind up filling our landfills. Bonus: by using reusable water bottles you save money too!

mason jars

The above is true “vitamin water” with blueberries | Lemon | Garden mint leaves

4. Pass on the plastic

  • It is easy to bring a reusable bag (or purse) but what about the sneaky plastics that find their way home with you? Simple! When shopping, take a pass on the little plastic produce bags. You will have to wash your fruits and vegetables regardless, save the plastic and throw the goodies right into your cart!

5. Eat local and in season

  • According to David Suzuki, the average meal currently travels 1200 km from the farm to plate.  One of the best ways to reduce the costly pollution from transportation and give you the most bang for your buck for health is to eat local and in season as much as possible. As Micheal Pollan once said:

“Skake the hand that feeds you”

  • When food is picked to travel distances, it is picked before its prime to avoid spoiling on the long trip over. This, however, is against nature’s design and will show up in the nutrient value (or lack thereof). When you buy local and in season you are eating foods that you were designed to eat at that time and they are picked in their prime! Perk: this typically offers greater taste as well!

storm

Eating should be at one with our environment and feed not only our own health and vitality but also the sustainability of our Earth and it’s a piece of holistic cake! These are just 5 ways you can make to have a big impact with a few small changes. Afterall, Earth Day truly is everyday 🙂

Stepping towards a smaller footprint,

Suzanne Eden

On The Glow // 7 Plant Driven Snacks To Fuel Your Engines

Snacks can be a tricky one.

They need to be fast food without being “fast food” and they need to satiate while boosting our energy levels. On long work days or yesterday’s road trip to an Auto show in Vaughan, snacking is a must for me when I don’t have time for a meal and I am always on the hunt for more ideas!

These are some of my top 7 plant driven favourites to fuel your engines!

lambo

 Smart Snacking Rules to Glow By:

Eat when hungry

  • A snack is meant for times when you have long gaps between meals, not as a means to satisfy boredom or ease emotions. Pay attention to your hunger cues and snack as needed to stabilize blood sugar and keep energy levels stable.

 Fill with a premium

  • Fuel yourself with only the best! Think quality, wholefoods over snack bars and packaged trail mixes etc. that are often high in sugar. Luckily it is just as easy to grab a juicy apple off of the counter as it is to grab a pre-packaged snack out of the cupboard.

Plan and prep

  • Plan ahead and have snacks handy. Take them with you on the road as it will be tricky to find them elsewhere. Utilize reusable containers (preferably glass for the environment) whenever possible and keep them with you wherever you go.

humua

 7 Premium Snacks To Rev Your Engine:

1. Veggies and hummus

  • The hummus provides both blood sugar stabilizing protein and healthy fats for satiation and energy! Making your own hummus is the best option but keeping some store-bought ones handy will keep you on track when in a pinch.
  • What to look for: dairy free, soy free and organic with as little preservatives as possible. General rule of thumb: the less ingredients on the label, the better and if you don’t recognize an ingredient as a food, your body likely won’t either.

2. Organic apples and bananas

  • Apples MUST be bought organic. They are part of the dirty dozen of the most highly contaminated fruits and vegetables. Bananas, though organic usually offers higher nutrition, do not have to be organic as they can be peeled.
  • Both provide fibre to fill you, while being a light and easily digestible snack and can be paired with cinnamon or almond butter.

 coco

3. Fresh coconut

  • For this weekends auto show in Toronto, this was my snack of choice along with bananas and carrot sticks. Fresh coconut offers a fantastic dose of healthy fats that satiated myself (my friend is not a big fan of coconut) and is utilized as energy in the body, especially when actively scouting out exotic cars for the day.

4. Quinoa

  • Quinoa is a complete protein, as it contains all essential amino acids and is an excellent source of fibre. Prepared ahead of time and kept in the fridge, this  is a great grab and go with a little lemon juice or extra virgin olive oil and Himalayan salt.

kale chips

5. Kale chips

  • Better and more cost-effective when homemade but alternatively available in many health food stores. There are many, many recipes out there for kale chips and they are simple to make, light, crunchy, and a little bit salty for a perfect snack.

6. Avocado

  • Simply cut it in half (a plastic knife will do the trick), twist the halves apart and enjoy with a spoon. The fats in avocados are incredibly nutritious and beautifying but will also help you to feel full longer without feeling over-stuffed.
  • Though fats are essential, if trying to lose weight I recommend sticking to the portion size of just half an avo a day. Otherwise, a full avocado as a snack on the go is a great option! I love pairing mine with garlic powder (when not at a public event of course!), Himalayan salt and red pepper flakes or salsa.

7. Smoothies

  • This is a super simple way to eat on the go. You can blend anything you would like into your smoothies which provide compact nutrition, hydration when using coconut water, and fibre. Smoothies are filling and can utilize some of those greens that you haven’t had a chance to sit down and eat, with a fuss free cleanup.

No matter where you go, stay fueled with holistic snacks to glow.

Fueling on premium,

Suzanne Eden

From SEA to C // A Plant Powered Toronto Roadtrip & Orange Overload

If there’s one thing a big city can guarantee it’s that you will never go hungry! And it’s a good thing seeing as a spur of the moment decision to pack my bags and head to the big city was a warranted opportunity to leave something behind in a tangle of clothes (when Canada turns from winter to summer in a matter of days, there’s no telling what you’ll need) and notebooks and supplements. What was left behind was one of my  favourites in my holistic traveling arsenal to combat late nights and big city air pollution; vitamin C! So what was a small town girl in a big city to do?

 

city skyline

As I quickly learned, whatever was lost was sure to be found within a block from your best friend’s apartment in downtown Toronto. We dashed out to the infamous Lablaws in the old hockey arena for a juicy vitamin C boost. In truth, I was more geared toward the fresh squeezed orange juice for the simple fact that it is without a doubt, my favourite drink of all time since being spoiled with it in Cuba. As it turns out, having forgotten my vitamin C supplements at home, it became my early morning prescription for wellness served up with a wine glass and the sunrise on the balcony. A deliciously stunning morning followed up by yoga and, you guessed it, more oranges!

One thing for sure, if you are what you eat, I was bound to become a walking, talking orange, pumped with vitamin C by my return home.
Having taken a splash into vitamin SEA on Monday, we now  take a quick trip into a juicy, plant powered dose of vitamin C!
See what I did there? 😉
orange juice
Holistic highlights of vitamin C:
  • Beautifies by boosting collagen production for healthy hair, skin and nails
  • Anti-aging
  • Supports detoxification
  • Reduces the risk of depression and anxiety by nourishing the adrenal glands and for its necessary role in making neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain) such as serotonin which regulates mood and appetite among many other functions
  • Effective Immune booster
  • Powerful anti-inflammatory and can help to reduce allergic reactions
  • Protects against cancer
  • Boosts cellular repair
  • Protection against free radicals – a must when in industrialized cities, from the high level of air pollution
Might you have a Vitamin C deficiency?
Signs:
  • bleeding, red and swollen gums
  • Easy to bruise
  • Increased infections
  • Slow healing of wounds
  • Poor stress management

 

longos

Vitamin C Beyond Supplements 
Though I supplement with vitamin C (with bioflavinoids for better absorption), I highly recommend consuming rich sources of vitamin C in the diet and this can be done through incorporating an abundance of fruits and vegetables. I recommend at least half of every meal be vegetable based.
The up side: 
  • Whole food sources contain a wide range of components that interact to boost vitamin C absorption. It is why the highest levels of flavonoids also happen to be present in foods with the highest vitamin C content. All of these factors simply cannot be replicated to such an intricate degree in a supplement.
  • Orange juice, for example,  contains most of its vitamin C in the juicy orange-colored sections, whereas many of the flavonoids are found in the white-colored flesh which is one of the reasons that it can be helpful to consume the “pulp” with your fresh pressed juice.
  • Just don’t be fooled by carton juices. You might as well chew on the carton itself for the nutritional content if you ask me. Stick to fresh, pure, unpasteurized, organic orange juice, with the pulp, for a little added fibre and nutrition 🙂
The down side: 
  • Whole food sources quickly lose their vitamin C concentration. It will, in fact, begin to decline as soon as it’s picked and must be stored properly to avoid further loss. Cooking will also destroy this unstable vitamin. Supplements offer convenience and a more concentrated dose.
Prescription for wellness: incorporate a large variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet daily and fill in the gaps with added vitamin C supplements with bioflavonoids as needed.
food to glow

 

Top Plant Powered Food Sources Of Vitamin C

(In order of highest concentrations according to WHF)

Papaya

Bell Peppers

Broccoli

Brussel Sprouts

Strawberries

Pineapples

Oranges

The Morning Boost: Do you drink warm lemon water first thing in the morning? Great! This is a fantastic boost of vitamin C as long as your lemons are stored properly to maintain their potency. You can also add slices to your water bottle to consume throughout the day.

toronto

Though home with my supplements, raw, juicy foods high in vitamin C are staples in my daily diet and for my next trip, vitamin C will be first in my bag. Until next time Toronto!

In a Sea of C,

Suzanne Eden

Ask Eden // The Quickie Guide To Blending Vs. Juicing

Hopping from Easter to a post-chocolate cleanse?
 
I hope you all had a holistically healthy holiday yesterday but if chocolate and sweets jumped their way onto the menu, you may be feeling in need of a little reboot today! A great place to start is to increase the amount of vegetables and leafy greens you consume to alkalinize the body and provide valuable fibre to push out the toxins. But what if you already feel pressed to incorporate enough into your diet on any given day? One of my favourite holistic life hacks to increasing your intake of greens is through green smoothies and juices, which leafs us with this week’s Ask Eden and one of the questions I’m quite frequently asked from clients;
“Which is better; juicing or blending?” 
 
The answer? I love them both! Both are beneficial when applied properly.
Saturday morning, for instance, I blended a large smoothie for a quick breakfast on the go as my best friend and I set off for a mini road trip.
A blend of; banana | coconut water | chaga | cinnamon | spirulina | acai | cacao (I love chocolate as an energy boost!)
Smoothie on the go
Last night, on the other hand, I was spoiled with a buffet of delicious food and veggie trays at my grandparents’ house in the country and woke this morning not feeling the need for a big meal. Instead of reaching for my regular green smoothie, I dusted off my juicer and pressed my favourite sunrise juice of orange, carrot and ginger and added romaine lettuce and lemon. The orange being graciously supplied by the Holistic Easter basket left for me with equal parts Giddy Yoyo dark chocolate and fresh fruit!
Holistic easter
So what is the difference? Is one more beneficial than the other? And how do you eat them to reap the most benefit from them?
It’s not the first time I’ve had this question asked and it’s a great one so without further ado, this is
your quickie guide to smoothies vs juices:
The WHOLE story
  • When you eat a smoothie, you are consuming the whole food and keeping the fibre intact to reap its full spectrum of benefits.
  • When you juice, you extract the water and nutrients and discard of the fibre. This allows you to make the nutrients more readily available to your body in much larger quantities. For instance, you could easily use an entire head of lettuce in a juice as opposed to a few leaves you might pack in your smoothie. However, you lose the beneficial properties of the fibre.

Smoothies are full of it

  • The fibre in smoothies will help to fill you faster and keep you satiated for longer as it provides bulk. This makes smoothies filling and suitable as a light meal. It is also the fibre that will bind to toxins to excrete them from the body when cleansing.
  • Without the fibre content in juices, you are likely feeling hungry faster. However, this makes a juice an ideal snack or addition to a meal when consumed 20 minutes beforehand (drinking too close to your meals will dilute your natural digestive juices).

Digest This

  • Smoothies are fantastic for digestion as they do much of the “breakdown” for your body. Blending your smoothie with a powerful blender (I use a Vitamix), breaks down the cell walls and pulverizes the food, taking a load off of your system which means more energy for you to go about your day. The high fibre content of a good smoothie will also help to regulate your bowels that may be compromised from poor diegstion.
  • With the fibre removed from juicing, it’s that extra step to make it even easier on your body  to digest and absorb the nutrients making it an ideal, energizing option when digestion is sluggish (after a delicious Easter dinner perhaps?).

 

The Nutrient Zap

  • The fibre in smoothies assists in slowing the digestive process to steady the flow of nutrients that hit your blood stream.
  • Without fibre, juicing creates a rapid surge of nutrients straight to the bloodstream so that you get the instant nutrient zap. The warning: this means that without the fibre, fruit will rapidly spike blood sugar and must be balanced with greens to avoid the potential jitters, mood swings, energy slumps and so forth that may result from imbalanced blood sugar.
Pressed for time 
  • With smoothies you simply blend and go with only the need to quickly wash out your blender.
  • Juices take more time to cut veggies and funnel through the nozzle into the blade. Then comes the washing of all of the separate parts, including the mesh cylinder.

 

Sunrise Juice

The above is this morning’s sunrise juice and the official sign that spring has sprung in our flower garden!

To Juice or to Blend, That is the Question!

My main beverage of choice? A smoothie! Quick, filling, and a whole food, smoothies are a staple of my diet and my number one go to through busy days. However, if I need a big dose of greens or my digestion is feeling a little sluggish, I will pull out my quality juicer and give it a go.

The key to blending or juicing? It is all about the right time, for the right person, in the right amounts.

A few keys:

  • Juices must, I repeat MUST be organic! Without the fibre to steady and bind to the toxic pesticides, you are absorbing those straight into your bloodstream. Be very careful of this when going to juice bars.
  • Because of the ability to jam pack juices with nutrients, it can be easy to overdo it on a given nutrient and aggravate certain conditions of the body. Be aware of this and practise moderation and variety.
  • Juices should be consumed ideally within the first 15 minutes of being made as light and air will destroy the vulnerable and valuable nutrients.
  • Smoothies MUST be chewed as drinking makes the body think that there is nothing to digest. The act of chewing stimulates the entire digestive system to prepare to digest food.

So, to juice or to blend, hopefully this post answers that question and whichever you choose for today, I wish you all an Easter Monday packed with green leaves and green hikes full of spring’s budding blooms!

 

Hopping into a juicy post Easter cleanse,

Suzanne Eden

Grills Gone Wild // Burger Bistros To Dining Rooms, How To Holistically Beef Up Your Dinner 

Measuring cups of water, witty puns, gluten-free buns… The works! 

No holistic diet is equipt without a girls’ night out and a juicy burger here and there… one of my favourites! Diets that may restrict these things are for temporary healing but are not sustainable long-term and a holistic lifestyle is about enriching your life, not restricting it. So when my girlfriends asked me to dinner at The Works Burger Bistro, I was instantly on board. Besides, I thoroughly enjoy the challenge of scouring menus and creating a holistic and healthy spin on what’s at hand!

From the witty puns beefing up the menus, the water served in measuring cups, the alternative rock music as the ultimate side dish to a good meal or the loaded burgers themselves, all of it combined “mustard” up a delicious dinning experience. Whether in a diner or your own dining room, this is your guide to get game with red meat!

Burger

Red meat and health

  • Meat products can be incredibly wholesome. They provide a rich source of B vitamins (including B12), iron, healthy fats and are a fantastic source of protein. What’s more, it is a complete protein containing all of the essential amino aids required to manufacture proteins within the body.
  • Optimal portion sizes of meat are about the size of your palm, with the showcase of your meal being a focus on non-starchy vegetables and leafy greens to provide balance. The key to reaping the full health benefits of red meat is both moderation and quality.

As Micheal Pollan once said:

“You are what what you eat eats”

If your beef is injected with antibiotics and hormones and eating food contaminated with pesticides, you are consequently ingesting those too. Excessive antibiotic use in agriculture is significantly contributing to the rise in antibiotic resistance in humans and meat is one of the highest sources of pesticide contamination beyond fruits and vegetables, although those are high as well.

Consuming quality meat products will not only ensure that these concerns are reduced but will  also provide you the must bang for your buck when it comes to nutrient density.

Always look for :

  • Certified grass fed
  • Antibiotic and hormone free
  • Free range (though visiting the farms yourself to review living conditions will always be most beneficial)
  • Organic (it is illegal for it to be genetically modified or irradiated)
  • Local when possible

 

 

the works

 

For a small downtown nook in the city, it is always packed and as we waited for our seats in the rustic booths, we scoured the menus and all of the options at our disposal. Bonus: As a person who has a difficult time deciding between all of the options on the menu, being a health nut makes the job marginally easier and with that, this is your 4 step path to building a holistic burger at The Works:

Step One: The bun

 

  • Steer clear of the gluten. Not only are these buns highly processed but they are also very difficult to digest. Beef in itself is difficult to digest and made increasingly hard with the addition of a wheat bun as carbohydrates and proteins require different digestive enzymes to breakdown. This will leave you feeling tired and stuffed by the end of the meal. 

 

  • The best choice? The naked wrap. Quite simply, this is a lettuce wrap and received my ginormous stamp of approval that this is offered on the menu! However, I decided to treat myself and opted for the  second best option: the gluten-free bun. Though highly processed and far from the optimal choice, it is a definite step up from the gluten.

 

Step 2: Got beef? 

 

  • I upgraded the burger to the lean, local, domestic elk burger which is grass-fed and hormone free, free of fillers and well worth the $1.02 extra. 

 

  • Another fantastic and meat-free option: the Portobello mushroom cap!

 

Step 3 : Fixing overload

  •  My burger of choice? The pesto piazza! A pattie slathered with garlicy pesto, olives and sundried tomato.
  • With the flavour packed pesto and loaded with toppings, you can skip the ketchup and mustard which are heavily processed and high in sugars, food colourings and additives.
  • There is more than enough “cheese” dished out in the menu’s puns to last you the meal. Go dairy free by opting out of the cheese.

 

Step 4; The side 

 

  • This is an easy choice, opt for the weeds! The simple salad with romaine lettuce, grape tomatoes, red peppers and cukes and olive oil with balsamic vinaigrette as the dressing. Opting for greens will assist in buffering the acidic state of the body which occurs as a byproduct of digesting meat. Meat should ALWAYS be paired with greens for this reason. 
  • There is also the choice of celery sticks and cucumbers as non starchy vegetables that will also assist in alkalinizing and balancing the body (potato fries not included)

 

Four seasons

 

Holistic Life Hacks:

 

  • I always sneak in a stack of digestive enzymes in my purse which wil ease the digestive load off your body so that the only thing that will feel stuffed is the loaded burger!

 

Whether sliding into a rustic booth at The Works Burger Bistro or flipping a pattie over at home, with the right quality, moderation and perfect pairings, red meat can be a wholesome dinner 1-2 times a week.

With a holistic burger under gluten-free wraps,

Suzanne Eden