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

Manifest Monday // 4 Nike Inspired Lessons To “Kick” Our Goals Into High Gear

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great”

– Zig Ziglar

Have you been wanting to change your diet? Telling yourself you’ll start exercising? Continuously contemplating dusting off the intricately cob webbed nutrition novel on your bookshelf? What have you been waiting for?

Nike

The fact is; life can change in an instant and so can you.  You do not have to wait for tomorrow to get motivated. You don’t have to wait to get back on track or to strap on your sneakers and hit the trails, or grab your yoga mat and head to the park. All you have to do is decide that your health outweighs all of the doubts in your head, decide to move, drink water, eat more plants, read the ingredients and eat real food. Every little thing you do is bringing you that one step closer to full, radiant health.  So forget what happened yesterday or the day before that, what will you do with today? That’s what counts!

In honor of our fresh starts, the weekends blue moon and a brand new month, these are 4 tips and tricks to run with and “kick” your goals into high gear!

1) Mission Possible

  • I recently purchased a pair of bright blue sneakers with the infamous Nike swoop sporting the sides. I have been eyeing runners like these for years and as a birthday gift, my grandparents graciously invested in them for me! First and foremost, let me tell you that these gave me a good run for my money before I even got my hands, or feet, on them. But  it was my mission, and this determination is what got me ultimately got me started.

 

  • How to run with it:
    • No matter your goals, create the mindset of determination. Instead of thinking of that goal as a must do, think of it as an adventure or mission! This positive shift in mindset will assist you in reaching any goal you set out to achieve.
sneakers

2) Find your footing 

Now the second thing I want you to know is that I DID get those sneakers after persistent phone calls and sports store shopping. When I walked out triumphantly with kicks in hand, those did not come off my feet for days and the morning after they came home with me, I was motivated and ready to hit the road running!  Here’s the thing: new is exciting! It’s thrilling and this excitement and anticipation in the new, will fuel us with the motivation to start our goals.
  • How to run with it;
    • When you’re looking to begin something, remember how you felt when it had that initial spark of a new idea, and create something exciting around it. You don’t have to go buy a sleek new pair of sneakers to start running, just pick a new and exciting trail. Want to start eating more salads? Find an adventurous, fresh topping to incorporate such as avocado, or mango or jicama. Whatever it is, find excitement in what you aim to achieve.

3) Embrace the black flies

I hit the trails the other day in expectation of a leisurely walk through the woods. The black flies, on the other hand, had a different idea entirely and apparently, well into the thick overgrowth, felt I was out of shape and in need of a run. And so once again, these sneakers gave me a good run, stop free, until I’d reached the top of the steep hill to the parking lot.

Though I don’t recommend taking an extensive run in the dead of heat (and I was sure to refuel with my electrolyte elixir; https://lifeofeden.com/2014/09/01/the-biggest-workout-mistake-i-see-the-electrolyte-elixir/), I will say this; often times we allow ourselves to think too much of how we can’t. Did I think I was in any condition to run that day? Nope! But when my attention was taken away from my thoughts and focussed on avoiding the relentless feasting of black flies, I found that I ran, I ran a whole awful lot and didn’t tire until I saw I was near the end.

  • How to run with it:
    • If you want to do something, look to the black flies! In other words; shift your focus. For every one excuse that says you can’t, give yourself three excuses that say you CAN. Do this every time and this repetition of “I cans” and all of the possibilities you create of HOW will rewire the patterning of your brain. And when you can; stop thinking, and just go do it! When the impulse is there, run with it!

 

4 ) Small steps in the right direction

One of the top obstacles that prevents people from beginning is the daunting feeling of being overwhelmed. Have you wanted to start dieting but felt so overburdened by all of the conflicting information and abundance of overbearing diet regimes that you called it quits before you began? Or perhaps you fell into the never-ending cycle of: “I’ll start tomorrow”. Let me tell you this; there is no day like today! You will always run into heated days, busy days, days with nagging black flies that want to prevent you from doing what you are doing; do it anyway and start that mindset today.
 
Wellness Weekly Challenge;
Right now, choose one thing that will start to progress your health. Write down one big and attainable goal you can accomplish this week.  Commit to doing that one thing every day this week for a certain amount of time. It could be meditating for 20 minutes, walking an hour each morning, or drinking a liter of water as soon as you wake up. Whatever it is for you, make it count!  That’s your mission! So go write down this weeks goal, be clear, be committed and in the wise words of Nike: Just Do It!
Running with this weeks mission,
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

Manifest Monday // 5 Bites To A Guilt-Free Week With Lemon Meringue Pie

Birthday meals have always varied but there is one thing that’s remained the same these past few years and that’s my absolute favourite dessert of lemon meringue pie! Baked fresh by my mother, sweetened with nothing but love (no refined sugars at all right? 😉 )  and topped with a light and fluffy layer of golden peaked meringue, it is to die for and no lifestyle would have me denying you this basic human right to a homemade lemon meringue. That is simply unethical. But understanding our relationship to food and how to best indulge is the key to holistic success and exactly what we’re taking a sweet little bite into this morning!
First, let me ask you this:
What was the last thing you ate that you felt guilty about?
  • Perhaps it was candy, ice cream, potato chips, cake, pastries or fast food as these were the top guilt inducing foods according to a survey published in Appetite in 2009. Or perhaps it was a late night binge or a craving you succumbed to.  Whatever it was for you, let yourself off the hook!
The  one thing I would never want you do is become afraid of food or to associate food with guilt. Food can greatly enrich our lives and make us feel AMAZING! But nothing in life is so serious that we should be experiencing feelings of guilt, regret or self sabotaging thoughts over it and if you do, redirect your thoughts to being grateful for what you ate instead.
lemon pie
  • The other day I was listening to a Tony Robbins podcast where he spoke about how for years he was meticulous and adamantly strict with his diet until his wife came into the picture. A nutritionist who savoured greens juices and salads until one day they went out and she ordered a hot fudge sundae. The voice of a shocked Tony Robbins was comical to hear but when he asked “what are you doing?!” she replied; “living you bastard!” Brilliant.
  •  Now, a hot fudge sundae is not on my list of indulgences. The sheer thought of dairy to someone who is lactose intolerant is simply, well… intolerable. But at the Canada Day carnival a few weeks ago, though my friend graciously offered to eat the candy off a candy apple for me  or lick off the butter and salt and give me the popcorn kernels, instead we walked up to the local shops and found dairy free sherbet. A rainbow of sugars and food dyes and who knows what else and you know what? Who cares! I almost always travel prepared with food but when in doubt, I pick the best thing I can scavenge and savour every last bite of it.
gelato
Food is wonderful! It is nourishing, empowering and, of course, tasty. But we don’t want it to consume our thoughts. When we obsess over everything we eat, we create stress in our body and this will negatively impact what it is that we are eating. You know how to intuitively listen to your body and give it what it needs, that is all you need. Now you can heave a sigh of relief, relax and enjoy your treat!

5 go-to tips to enjoying every bite!

 1) Think of food as an experience
  • Food is not “good” or “bad,” that’s our labeling of it. Food is an experience. Like all experiences in life, they come with consequences and so if it is a consequence we like, we choose to have that experience again. Likewise if the result was something that we did not like, we choose to avoid it the next time. Don’t like the way you felt after have that ice-cream cone or slice of cake? Remember that and chose to steer clear of it the next time. Instead of being a bad experience, it was a learning experience and one that progressed your health rather than diminished it.
2) Forbid the Forbidden
  •  The mindset of guilt can, in fact, heighten the pleasure of an experience. Think about this for a moment; if drinking was entirely acceptable, would it have been as appealing to you growing up? The same is true for foods. We tend to associate “forbidden” foods with delicious foods and so when we experience guilt, we think that the food must be delicious and we anticipate more pleasure. See the issue?
  • Instead of thinking of “forbidden foods”, recognise that it is simply food and is there for you anytime if you choose. Taking the labeling away from food takes the power back from your plate and puts into your hands.
3) When applicable; Make it as healthy as possible
  •  Choose the healthiest option you can. Neither dairy nor gluten work for me, so even with treats, I avoid these except for the odd thing once or twice a year (or Paris! French baguettes and real, authentic goats cheese beg for a little splurge). For the lemon meringue pie we used a store-bought gluten-free crust mix that, although had some ingredients I normally stay away from, it was a far cry from gluten and something I could feel good in treating myself to!
4) Savour it and be present
  • Really taste your food. Pick out the flavours, notice the textures. This is the difference between mindlessly scorfing down food without experiencing it vs truly being present to savour it. Closing your eyes removes one of our key senses thereby heightening the others, including taste. Take your time and chew at least 35-40 times which will allow for the optimal digestion of our food to reduce stomach pains of indigestion.
  • Bonus: Doing both of these will help us to feel satisfied faster, enabling us to need smaller portion sizes than what we would if we were gulping it down fast.
5) Keep on track the remainder of the day – to treat yourself is not to cheat yourself!
  • Eating a cookie does not mean that the rest of the day has gone to crumbs, quite the opposite! Instead, enjoy the treat and balance it with awesome and healthy meals the rest of the day.
  • If feeling a post treat guilt trip creep in, do something particularly cleansing. Perhaps you will drink lemon water or drink a green smoothie or balance it with a salad. You may even try oil pulling or soak in a bath. Whatever it is to remind yourself that you are taking care of your body and nourishing yourself.

~*~

Wellness Weekly Challenge;
  • Don’t get so hell-bent on your diet that you forget that food is just, well… Food! Let food enrich your life, not restrict your life. I  adore whole, energizing foods that make me feel amazing and have healed me for years and every now and again a night at the carnival, a good dose of Giddy Yoyo dark chocolate (my favourite!), and a slice of homemade lemon meringue pie.  I LOVE food, and it can be used to make our lives, well, come to life! But always remember that it’s not about restricting or guilt, it’s about experiencing it and having fun with it, all of it!
  • This week; be present with your food and treat it as a gift. What you ate in the past is in the past! Let that go, move forward, enjoy your food, experience and implement these strategies to drop any guilt and replace it with self-love and the experience of learning what works for your body.

 

Savouring our own holistic slices of lemon meringue,
Suzanne Eden