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

A Country Bound Food Diary & Raw Superfood Clusters

This week I packed my things, namely piles of textbooks & notebooks and a few warm sweaters and made for the tranquility of the countryside. My grandparents own a hobby farm along the escarpment with a yellow pine house my grandfather constructed, flower gardens, trails, and my favourite of course; vegetable gardens(!) all blanketed under the winter’s snow.

into the wild

Every new year I find my way here for a couple of days to recharge. It is a time to retreat into the expanse and solitude of their property, to work a few hours with warm tea and spend the evenings chopping salads in my grandparents’ kitchen, hiking the back trails, burying myself in the snow and learning to make a fire to keep warm while teaching my grandfather how to culture sauerkraut. And in the midst of it all was a surplus of fresh produce from their garden, chopped for salads or sliced with nutbutters and a whole slew of delicious food to spoil their guest. If there’s one thing you can rely on with grandparents, it’s that you will never go hungry! And here is a taste of what became of our plates:

With the sunrise: 
  • Each morning we awoke as the sun broke across the horizon of naked trees. The fire having long died out in the night lied peacefully of ash. We first set the kettle to enjoy warm lemon water as we waited for our oats to cook over the stove top. We had set these out the night before to soak which makes them easier to digest and makes the nutrients more available to the body. We topped this with a blend of ground seeds (pumpkin, flax, chia) and spices (cayenne, turmeric, curry, ginger etc.), a splash of flax oil and basmati brown rice milk and this, to my request, was the breakfast to energize us each morning.
In solitude and left to a delicious kitchen…
  • While my grandparents were out at Tai Chi or chiropractic appointments, I would get hungry and scour their kitchen for food, of which there is plenty! Nuts and seeds, vegetables and sprouts, it’s a holistic foodies haven!
Every day I had a protein drink with MSM, L-glutamine, and so forth and mixed in detoxifying beet crystals which turn the vanilla drink a bright pink.
Others:
  • nuts and seeds
  • sprouts
  • banana
  • crackers slathered with coconut oil and nutbutter
  • Raw superfood clusters

 

raw superfood clusters

Raw Superfood Clusters

There is no exact recipe, simply mix ingredients until desired:

  • Almond butter
  • Apple sauce (for sweetness)
  • Coconut oil (to make them solid)
  • Cinnamon
  • Pinch of sea salt

Mix together almond butter, apple sauce and oil until the coconut oil is well mixed in. Then add the bulk ingredients to form clusters. You can use any nuts or seeds here, I used:

  • Unsalted, raw Pumpkin seeds (which we dried out ourselves)
  • Sprouts (my grandfather had sprouted mung beans and green lentils)

Once in little clusters, pop them in the freezer to harden, then enjoy! The healthy fats help to stabilize blood sugar, provide a fantastic source of energy and will assist in keeping you satiated to lunchtime.

Upon their return: 
Lunch time and large appetites where synonymous with my grandparents arrival home. We would set to work in the kitchen right away to prepare vegetable plates served with nut and seed butters.
veggie plate
 
Possible accompaniments:
  • Poached eggs
  • Chicken
  • Sardines (my favourite! A treat we picked up when my grandmother brought me on a special trip for my first time to Goodness Me)
  • Gluten free, dairy free, sugar-free pancakes topped with nutbutters, apple sauce, red currants and a little maple syrup (high quality)
Midday snacks:

 

dates

Dinner 
  • We usually made salads of my grandparents’ vegetables. The root veggies we had were harvested in October and stored to eat through the winter as they do not spoil when kept properly. We shredded these finely which aids digestion and used olive oil and apple cider vinegar as a dressing, topped with sprouts and served with the rest of the meal:
  • Chicken two days
  • One day we ate lightly steamed veggies with rosemary & humus as we sat around the fire

chopping salads

Post dinner: 
  • Green tea which was brewed continuously throughout the day
  • Chia seed cereal pudding from Earthly Choice
  • sprouts
  • a small dried fruit platter

I was sent home with dried apples juuuust in case I should find myself feeling a bit famished on the voyage home and was greeted with a warm hug from mom and a furry little animal (Aussie) who shared a dried apple or two with me before bed. My road trip playlist? A mix of Eddie Vedder and Matthew Good! Though I infinitely love the peace, tranquility, and rather more primitive life of the countryside, it has been wonderful to be reunited with my family, Aussie and my Vitamix once more!

Blending an end to another delicious week,

Suzanne Eden

Your Holistic Guide to Dining Out

This weekend my friend (and fellow holistic nutritionist) and I packed our bags and took a road trip to the States to give a speech at a yoga retreat. It was a day packed with several sessions of yoga, kombucha, my first sweaty Zoomba class out in the rain and mindfulness meditations. We spoke about cardiovascular health and prevention to an enthusiastic crowd of women and of course, indulged in the smorgasbord of raw cleansing food from handrolled wraps (of which I now consider myself a pro-wrap roller) to humus to kale chips and everything in between.

on the road

Just when we thought we couldn’t possibly eat more, we hit the road home and suddenly felt the post yoga hunger kick in. So after an entire day of cleansing and seeing as we were driving through an unfamiliar  place, where were we to go? Cue the only place we knew existed there; the Olive Garden!
Rarely do I eat out and if I do it’s someplace like a raw food restaurant where we have meals such as this flavourful zucchini noodle Bolognese below.
pasta
Going to a restaurant like the Olive Garden was a complete change and a great one because here’s what came of it;
Your holistic guide to dinning out: 
1. Go green
  • I scoured that menu and could not find a single green item on it and resorted to asking the waitress for help. She pointed to a section at the bottom, buried amongst pastas and pizzas that consisted of two salads, bingo!
2. Stay clear of the meat
  • I’m not vegan, my coworkers joke that I’m a vegan who eats meat, but I go vegan when I eat out. At home, we visit the local farms where we get our meat and see the living conditions for ourselves. When eating out, you don’t know where the meat came from and I bet you wouldn’t eat it if you did.  To top it off, these animals are also full of antibiotics and hormones, not an appetising entrée is it? Needless to say, the chicken ceaser salad was out! Which left me with one option…
3. Get zesty with the dressing!
  • Dressings are hidden holistic disasters. Usually packed with sugar, dairy, soy, preservatives etc. This one in particular was an Italian dressing so I opted out of that and went for something a little more my style: I’ll typically ask for some olive oil and a zesty slice of lemon to squirt on it. Yesterday they brought over olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
And there you have it! The great thing is, I’m not always the best at making decisions when it comes to food (how am I expected to pick just one?!) but in this case, the decision was practically made for me 😀  The salad hit the spot and we were back on the road, driving straight into this hypnotic storm and scarlet  sunset on our way home.
sunset
With the long weekend it feels as though school does not exist, but it’s wrapping up. In a couple of weeks we will be done, which means plenty of blog posts are on their way to you!
Suzanne Eden