Monday, December 8, 2014

I'm back!

It’s now been almost 2 years since I wrote my last post and put that part of life on hold for a little while. I loved putting this little blog together – and when I look back on some of the things I wrote I feel quite proud, both for making the time to do something I love and for the effort, research, and writing time I put into it. Now I feel a small sense of regret for putting it on hold, since in the past 2 years the internet has really exploded with blogs on the topic of nutrition and health. There were quite a few out there when I started but now there really are a LOT. So what to do? Pat myself on the back and say oh well, I gave it a good try? That wasn’t really the point. Recently have I started to think about getting back into writing about nutrition, and it has quickly become clear that it’s what I want to do again. The knowledge gained from the act researching for, and writing each article was always worth it, as was the satisfaction of just doing something that I enjoy.

Now nearly 2 years later, I’m not longer fresh from a big move overseas, trying to get my qualifications transferred and finding my feet as a new graduate nurse in a different country than where I trained. I’m not longer wondering when my husband’s immigration papers will go through so that we aren’t living on the other side of the world from each other. I have now been studying natural nutrition for a year and a half and live in an apartment that is quiet, warm, cozy and just the right size for us. Although it’s not the city we pictured living in, we are lucky to live in a beautiful old neighbourhood, with interesting old homes and the river valley at our doorstep. Our neighbourhood and apartment are perfect for spending my days off from working at the hospital doing what I love: cooking, going to yoga/bootcamp/trail running, studying and now - writing.

My blog may not be fancy and my knowledge of websites is still basic,  but hopefully I can teach myself a thing or two in that area.  Even so, this is my own space for sharing what I love do to with those who are interested, and I think there are a lot of people out there who want to know more and who want to make some changes to the way they eat. What I write about it how I see it, what I have learned from many reputable sources, and how I try to live life every day. So if this sounds like your cup of tea, stay tuned for some topics that I hope you will find interesting and helpful in the world of natural nutrition.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Healthy On-The-Go Lunch Ideas

If you're like me, lunches are always the hardest meal to plan for the week. Normally I like to try and make enough leftovers from dinner to use for lunches, but this doesn't always work out! If you take out the option of the standard sandwich-and-processed luncheon meat, then things can get a bit tricky. Thankfully I've managed to learn a couple of healthy lunches to make that are not very time-consuming and are also easy to take with you and put together at lunch time. If you're really hungry at lunch like me, you can also add more options - I like to have herbal tea, a piece of fruit, nuts and maybe a homemade cookie or Lara bar. Leftover soup in a thermos also works well with both of these.

Healthy Lunch #1 
Chicken & Veggie Salad

-Leftover cooked chicken (especially easy if you've cooked a whole chicken for another meal and saved some for lunches.)
-1/2 an Avocado
-1-2 Green onions, chopped
-1 Tomato
-1/2 Small cucumber, sliced
-Mixed salad greens
-Dressing: Olive oil and balsamic vinegar with a squeeze of lemon juice

Healthy Lunch #2
Spelt Toast with Avocado, Cheese, Cucumber, Tomato and Pepper

-1/2 Avocado
-4 Slices of cheese of your choice
-1/2 small cucumer
-1 Tomato
-2 Pieces Spelt Bread or other gluten-free bread
-Ground Pepper

What do you make for a healthy lunch to take with you to work or school? Maybe you can offer some inspiration to myself and others :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Leek & Chicken Soup (GF, DF)

Hello! It's been a little while since I've posted anything, and that's mainly due to the fact that I've just moved to Canada from New Zealand. It's been a crazy couple of months of going on the most amazing trip to Torrent Bay in the Abel Tasman for Christmas, having a very fun engagement party with a lot of wonderful people, finishing up work, saying goodbye to a lot of friends and family, and definitely lots of packing. Now I'm back in Edmonton, and it's still a big adjustment - especially the season change of going from the middle of a beautiful, hot NZ summer to a snowy (and dark-forgot about that part) Alberta winter. So needless to say, it's been a pretty big change overall. I'm trying my very best to think of the good things about winter, however small - and one of these things is that it feels so great to make a big pot of delicious, warm and hearty soup. I love making recipes that involve throwing a whole bunch of healthy ingredients together! Here is one of my all-time favorite soup recipes, made with chicken drumsticks from Sunworks Farm which produces certified organic chicken, beef, eggs, turkey, bison, lamb and pork right here in Alberta. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

Leek & Chicken Soup

Prep and Cooking Time: Approximately 1 hour 40 minutes
Serves: 4
Making the broth
8 organic chicken drumsticks
2 carrots, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
1/2 bunch parsley
Approx. 30 grams of organic butter
2 medium-sized leeks, pale parts only
2 large potatoes
1/4 cup (55g) rice pasta

1. For the broth -  place the chicken, 1 carrot, 1 celery and half of the parsley in 12 cups of water in a large pan on high heat. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and summer for 1 hour so the chicken meat falls off the bones.

2. Strain the broth into a large heatproof bowl and set this aside for now. Discard the vegetables you've used for the broth, and when the chicken is cool enough, remove and discard the skin and bones. (You can soak the chicken in cold water to help it cool down more quickly). Tear the meat into small pieces and set aside.

3. Melt the butter in a large saucepan on medium heat, and cook the leeks for 4-5 minutes until they are soft. Stir in the remaining carrot and celery, and add the potato then cook for 5 minutes.

Prepping my ingredients while the broth simmers
4. Add the pasta and reserved broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

5. Add the chicken meat and summer for another 5 minutes, until the pasta is cooked (*hint - for cooking rice pasta, make sure you don't over-cook it by turning the heat off when the pasta is still a little firm and you should end up with perfect pasta.)

6. Serve with the remaining parsley, chopped and sprinkled on top.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Quick & Healthy Minestrone Pasta (GF, Vt)

This is a recipe for a quick, inexpensive meal that is perfect for when you don't have a lot of time to cook, or when you feel too tired to prepare a more time-consuming meal. This would also be great for kids! The recipe I have posted is probably the quickest and cheapest version, and you could add to it to make it a bit more interesting - for example, using fresh vegetables instead of frozen, adding free range chicken or sausages or having it with a slice of bread or salad on the side. I've also added a Printer Friendly option at the bottom of each post so you can print out a copy of the recipes on this site. 

Quick & Healthy Minestrone Pasta

2tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp. tomato puree or paste
300 grams frozen mixed vegetables
700 ml vegetable stock
175 grams pasta (I used Orgran corn/vegetable pasta spirals)
220 gram can of baked beans (make sure there is not a lot of sugar added)
grated cheddar to serve (optional)

1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and fry the onion for 2-3 minutes until it begins to soften.

2. Stir in the tomato puree and add the frozen vegetable and stock.

3. Bring to a boil, then add the pasta and stir the mixture. Cover and simmer until the pasta is cooked.

4. Stir in the beans until they are heated, and serve hot with grated cheese on top (if using).

And enjoy!

Recipe adapted from:

Saturday, June 9, 2012

10 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

A strong immune system is crucial in terms of overall health and well being  so if you find you’re frequently run-down or getting sick, then this article may be helpful. Your immune system is like your personal medical team ready to fight the battles that will keep you healthy and strong. It’s something that's worth looking after so that you can function at your best, and these days there are so many things that can stress our immune systems and keep us from staying well. I have divided it into ways you can boost your immune system to hopefully prevent getting sick, and things you can do when you are getting sick or already unwell.

5 Ways to Boost Your Immune System: 

1. Eat plenty of colorful, varied fresh fruit and vegetables, especially red, orange and purple colored produce like berries, sweet potatoes and red peppers.  Include plenty of vitamin C-rich foods such as broccoli, peppers, peas, cabbage, lemons, oranges and strawberries.

2. Talk to a health professional about taking immune system boosting supplements. These could include: Vitamin A, a B complex, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Calcium & Magnesium, Iron, Selenium and/or Zinc. 

3. Get enough sunlight, ideally every day. Skin cells produce powerful immune boosting substances and natural daylight stimulates them, which is why it’s important to spend time outdoors every day (approximately 15-20 minutes without sunscreen so your body can absorb enough Vitamin D and possibly a supplement in the winter months). Even better is combining it with some type of exercise outdoors like running, cycling or walking since getting your heart rate up for just 20 minutes, 3 times/week is associated with increased immune function.

4. Try to get good night’s sleep (usually 7-9 hours for an adult).This may be harder depending on your living situation but fatigue increases your susceptibility to illness studies show that your immune function drops by an average of 60% after 3 nights of poor sleep. Like stress, this can cause a  rise in inflammation in the body, which is likely because lack of sleep also leads to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol.

5. Do dry skin brushing once per day to activate your immune system. Dry skin brushing has been shown to help strengthen the immune system and can reduce the length of infections and illness by moving the toxins more quickly through the lymphatic system. For instructions on how to perform dry skin brushing see this link:

5 Ways to Boost Your Immune System When You Feel Like You’re Sick:

1. Increase your intake of Vitamin C. This is one that most people know about, and the ideal daily intake of vitamin C is between 1,000 and 3000mg. For anyone fighting an infection you may need a much larger amount such as up to 20,000mg/day short-term. If you have a cold, take 3 grams (3000mg) every 4 hours until symptoms start to improve. Always take a large doses divided into smaller doses, take lots of fluids at the same time and gradually decrease your intake as you get better.  Speak to a health professional in regards to any questions about appropriate dosing of Vitamin C. When you’re sick or coping with additional stress you can take Zinc supplements, and you can often find Vitamin C and Zinc combinations.

2. Take Echinacea droplets or drink Echinacea tea. This is one of the most well-known herbs used for boosting the immune system. It can be taken regularly or when you feel like you’re becoming unwell.

3.  Eat lightly and rely mainly on fruits, vegetables and foods rich in Vitamins A and C such as carrots, citrus fruit and green peppers. Some studies show that it can be beneficial to avoid mucus-forming and fatty foods when you’re unwell like meat, eggs and dairy products as they can congest your lymphatic system. (Lymphatic fluid is the main transport for immune cells).

4. Avoid all alcohol, tobacco, black tea and coffee and increase your consumption of water and herbal teas. Some examples of immune system boosting herbs include Cat’s Claw Tea, Echinacea and elderberry extract.

5. Rest and take it easy! Easier said than done, right? But there's a reason we're told to rest when we ge sick, and those around you will be thankful if you take the time to stay home and rest rather than spreading the sickness to them. Try to do everything a bit more slowly when you're unwell so your body can put more energy towards your immune system and fighting off the infection.

Some information from the following sources were used in this article:
Patrick Holford (n.d.). Boost your immunity. Retrieved March 15, 2012 from

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