Healthy Holiday Treats

This time of year you can be surrounded by lots of temptations that maybe aren’t made with the best ingredients.

To help you resist these, I wanted to share some of my favourite healthy holiday treats that are made with real food deliciousness to satisfy that sweet tooth but also nourish your body.

Click here to download my Healthy Holiday Treat Ebook filled with 7 amazing recipes that are all gluten, dairy and refined sugar free.

Enjoy!

Mel

Advertisements

5 Ways To Make This Season Stress Free & Enjoyable

Holiday Season Stress FreeThe holiday season brings a great deal of joy and warmth along with it.  There’s something extra special about this time of year — but it often doesn’t come without stress.  A great deal of added stress is seemingly dumped on our plates, and it can be hard to catch our breath.  The pressure of finding gifts, rushing around in the hustle and bustle to visit everyone, having people visit you, getting to see relatives you miss and even having to deal with those that aren’t always a joy to be around.

This season really can be enjoyable and heart-warming, even with the stress involved.  Walking into this time of year with a great mindset and some helpful reminders gets me through every year… and I’d love to share my tips on how I do this with you.

For a stress-free holiday season, I try to…

1.Remember perfect doesn’t really exist

Your cookies turned out like blobs. Your lights aren’t lighting up. Your kids just made a mess of your clean house moments before the guests are arriving. Surrender your vision of what perfect is and just let it go. The only thing the people in your life care about is being with you.

2. Don’t feel bad about saying “no.”

You can’t do it all. There’s no reason you need to go to every party and event from now through New Year’s. Decide which ones are most important to attend and politely decline the others. Spreading yourself too thin isn’t good for anyone, and it makes the time fly by faster, also. You’ll enjoy the holiday months better if they don’t whiz by in a blink.

3. Stay away from crash diets

Please don’t decide to starve yourself to compensate for the extra calories you had or are going to have at that holiday party. If you do slip up, forgive yourself and make a point to be more mindful. Don’t punish yourself for any mistakes. Just move forward with better decisions, no punishment involved.

4. Know that asking for help is okay

Let me repeat: you can’t do it all. Let family and friends help out when they offer. They can bring a dish, grab something from the store on their way, or help with the dishes. If you have to go to someone’s party and don’t have the time to make something, grab something pre-made from the store. There comes a time when we all need help and learning how to accept it will be incredibly beneficial for your sanity.

5. Fit in time for yourself

Women, in particular, spend less than 30 minutes a day on themselves. Go for a run, get a limited-edition special-roasted coffee at the corner café and sit there in peace, read a book, take a bath, or make time with your best friend to just have one-on-one time without your kids tagging along. You’ll feel full again, which renews your mind and spirit like nothing else. We can’t give from an empty cup, as the saying goes.

Remember, the holidays are about joy. Find yours within, and you’ll be able to spread more of it around.  What makes you feel most joyful?

To help you get into the holiday spirit, check out my Gingerbread Protein Cookies, the kids and I had a great time decorating them this weekend.

Natural Ways to Boost Your Immunity to Dodge the Cold & Flu Season

Family Having Flu

Besides the flu, colds make their rounds during the colder months when these microorganisms flourish, so it’s up to you to be vigilant and protect yourself. Thankfully, there are natural ways you can help boost your immunity and lessen your chances of getting sick this winter.

Here are some of my favorite ways to use natural tricks to combat illnesses…

Use probiotic power

With all we now know about the gut microbiome, eating foods with probiotics is the best way to help keep your immunity strong. Kombucha, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut are just a few probiotic foods to help you out. Make sure you’re always eating plenty of fiber too to help that gut bacteria thrive. If you’d prefer a probiotic supplement instead, there are loads of wonderful ones to choose from to make sure you’re getting your daily probiotic needs. Genuine Health Advanced Gut Probiotic and Metagenics Ultra Flora are 2 of my favourites.

Eat right

Unfortunately, this time of year is also when all those holiday goodies are lurking about. Balance it out by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidant-rich foods are immune boosters that will keep your system fighting all season long, this is why i have a green smoothie every day regardless of the weather. Another warming winter food that will make your soups healthier is bone broth which you can sneak into your family’s diet without them ever knowing. I also use it when cooking grains such as rice and quinoa instead of plain old water.

Think zinc

The more vitamins you have in your foods this season, particularly vitamin C, the more immunity you’ll have. However, zinc is often forgotten for the powerhouse that it is. Zinc can help stop a cold’s cells from replicating and is a powerful tool to have in your wellness arsenal this season and beyond. You can eat more zinc in spinach, nuts, beans, and pumpkin seeds. There are also zinc supplements you can take daily, or when you’re feeling a cold coming on.

Balance activity and sleep

When the germs are swirling around, be sure you’re getting enough exercise as well as getting enough sleep. Compromising on either one can jeopardize your immunity. With the days shorter and quite frigid, getting in bed earlier isn’t a hard thing to do!

Sanitize with lavender oil

Soap and warm water are always best for cleaning your hands, but when you’re nowhere near a sink, try lavender oil. It smells great, keeps away germs naturally, and keeps your hands soft and supple even in the frigid winter weather.

Keep it clean

We know hands should be clean and kept from our eyes, nose, and mouth, but don’t forget about those things you use every day that can be contaminated with ease. Your phone, keyboard, desk, and door handles are prime examples. Want one that isn’t full of chemicals? Add purified water and distilled vinegar to a spray bottle in equal parts, and then add a few drops of tea tree oil or Doterra’s OnGuard. Spray away!

There are too many fun events you won’t want to miss over these winter months, and there’s no time to spend being sick in bed. Use these natural immunity boosters to live life to the fullest during cold and flu season!

Meet Your Matcha: Why You Should Start Drinking Matcha Green Tea

bethany-laird-311248-unsplash

Have you heard of matcha before? Green tea has been revered for better health for centuries, but matcha has become more popular in recent years. Matcha is a type of green tea that is created by taking the young tea leaves, grinding it into a powder, and then whisking it into hot water.

Instead of just drinking water infused with all the goodness of green tea, you are actually
drinking that green tea. That’s the difference between regular green tea and matcha, but there are so many incredible perks for drinking matcha regularly.

Here are some important ones that will have you heading to the tea aisle to pick some up for yourself…

1. Draws out toxins
Matcha produces extra chlorophyll because it’s shade-grown. That means it has stronger detoxifying properties that can help you naturally eliminate heavy metals and other chemicals from your body. We all need regular detoxification, so this is a huge plus!

2. Potent antioxidants
Green tea is an excellent source of antioxidants, but you’ve got to go with matcha to take that to the next level. Matcha has 15 times the antioxidants of superfood fan-favorite blueberries if that helps put it in perspective.

3. Super catechins powers
While we’re discussing antioxidants, catechins are one of the most potent, particularly EGCG. This incredible antioxidant can help with weight loss and keeping your heart and brain healthy. It also destroys oxidative stress and protects against free radicals.

4. Sublime skin
Drink more matcha, and you’ll soon see you have more youthful, glowing skin than ever before. Those catechins are responsible for that. When you finish drinking your cup of matcha, save a little bit and dab it onto your face after washing to get even more of a gorgeous boost.

5. Calmed focus
Need coffee to get things done but find yourself jittery? Give matcha a try. Drinking matcha gives you the ability to stay focused and on task while remaining calm. You’ll notice when you drink it, you feel alert yet clear — a great feeling when you need to get work done.

6. Burns calories
As mentioned with catechins, matcha naturally boosts your metabolism which leads to more calories burned on a regular basis. If you’ve felt a bit stagnant with your weight loss, try drinking matcha each day to burn fat naturally.

7. Better oral hygiene

Matcha is highly antibacterial which means it’s great for keeping your oral hygiene top notch. By inhibiting bacteria, it keeps things cleaner for longer for a healthier smile.
Matcha really does so much more than this. It can boost your immunity and memory, ease your joints, and provides you with loads of vitamins and minerals you might not be getting with the foods you eat. So if matcha isn’t a part of your life already, it’s time to give it a shot and see the positive changes that come as a result.

If you are ready to give it a shot, check out my Matcha Green Tea Latte Recipe, this is a staple in my house!

5 Ways to Stay Healthy This Fall

Header

Hi,

Fall is always the time of year when focusing on your health seems to be put on the back burner. You don’t have to let this busy time of year take you off track. There are certain things you can do to have a healthier fall for you and your family.

1. Make the most of seasonal foods
We always think about apples and pumpkins in fall because it’s prime season for them. While pumpkin pie and pumpkin spice lattes aren’t always so good for us, roasted pumpkin, pumpkin soup, or even mashed pumpkin is delicious and nutritious. Apples don’t need to go in pies to be sublime. Slice them up with your favorite nut butter smeared on top. Look for other seasonal foods that will do your health good, and you’ll find you can easily fill your plate with seasonal foods that you’ll love.

2. Prepare and protect from colds
Ideally, you should do this before you notice everyone around you sniffling and sneezing. Keep your hands off your face and keep them clean. Don’t forget good rest and a proper, healthy diet will help you, too. By taking care of yourself, even if everyone else gets sick, you’ll be less likely to succumb to the germs. For my family, I use probiotics, Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Deep Immune by St Francis to help boost our immune systems.

3. Stay out of the candy trap
Admit it. One of your favorite things about fall is Halloween. It’s a blast to decorate for and see all the kids in costume, but the most significant health problem we all face for this holiday is the surplus of candy and especially what is leftover after the trick or treaters are long gone! If you have alot still left in the house either give it away and throw it in the garbage. Your immune system will thank you!

4. Get into the great outdoors
With the colder weather, it’s nice to get outdoors and enjoy the crispness on your cheeks. It’s nice for hiking, biking, or just enjoying the change in the seasons. Staying active during the fall is an excellent way to keep your health in exceptional condition.

5. Make wise celebration choices
Halloween is just the beginning. The holiday season is just about here where it’s an endless buffet of food, sweets, and ever-flowing drinks. You don’t need to miss out on all the fun, but do choose wisely when you’re eating.  At parties, fill your plate up with veggies first before sampling sweets, so you’re too full to eat more than a bite or two. By doing that, you’ll avoid gaining weight by Christmas.

Don’t forget that fall should be fun, but if you fall into any of these fall pitfalls, take care and take steps to get back on track!

To help you stay warm this Fall/Winter, check out my Crockpot Veggie Wild Rice Soup, it’s delicious!

Enjoy

Mel

Simple & Healthy Halloween Recipes

Halloween and a crazy amount of processed sugar seem to go hand-in-hand.  With all of the parties and trick-or-treating in the very near future, you may be scrambling to find some healthier versions of fun & festive Halloween foods and treats.

I have compiled some of my favorite healthy versions of Halloween foods that will look great on your food table for that Halloween party that’s around the corner.  Enjoy!

Tangerine Pumpkins

Simple, healthy and fun — drawing faces on your tangerines is a great addition to your fruit bowl this season.  You can use any fruit with a rind on it for this: oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, even miniature pumpkins.

Tangerine Pumpkins

Halloween Fruit

Creating an entire plate of Halloween goodies is as simple as peeling some fruit.  Cut small pieces of celery stalk, peel a tangerine, and insert the celery piece into the top as a stem.  Peel banana, cut in half and stand each piece up on your plate.  Create a simple ghoul face out of melted dark chocolate.  Guilt-free and festive!

Halloween Fruit

Olive Spiders

This one’s especially simple!  Use a toothpick to poke four holes on each side of your olive.  The easiest “legs” to use are rosemary sprigs.  Pinch individual rosemary leaves off and insert as the legs.  Two other options for legs are small pieces of spaghetti, and small slices of olive.

Olive Spiders

Apple Faces

Core and slice apples.  Cut a chunk of the outside of the apple slice to create a mouth.  Fill with almond butter and a slice of strawberry as a tongue.  You can also use sunflower seeds as teeth, if you wish.

Apple Faces

Pumpkin Peppers

The great thing about Pumpkin Peppers is you can add anything you want for the stuffing.  I’ve seen them stuffed with mini-salads, rice and beans, roasted veggies, or anything you desire.  Cut the top of the pepper off and remove insides, carve your pumpkin face with a knife, and stuff with your desired toppings

Pumpkin Peppers

Frankenstein Pasta

How adorable is this?  You can get creative with this, but a great starting point is using zucchini noodles, a pesto sauce to add green to the dish, and funny face toppings.  Olives are great for the hair, a slice of red pepper for the mouth, celery piece as neck bolts and sliced olives for the eyes.  Have fun with your Frankenstein pasta and come up with your own version, too!

Frankenstein Pasta

Funny Face Toast

Avocado toast is the epitome of simple and delicious — a fan favorite.  Using your favorite Ezekiel bread or gluten-free bread, toast your bread and spread avocado on top.  Using olives, red peppers and radishes, create a funny face on top of the avocado.

Funny Face Toast

If you make any of the above goodies, please share pics with me, I would love to see them.

Happy Halloween!

 

Hidden Health Benefits of Pumpkins

Header (1)

Every year we go running to the stores to find ourselves anything pumpkin related we can get our hands on. Pumpkins don’t only decorate our porches but they also fill our plates, and it’s good they do, since pumpkin contains a lot of health benefits. So, let’s find out why you need to find reasons to eat pumpkin all season long.

Health Benefit #1 : Enough vitamin A for the entire day

Just one cup of pumpkin gives you enough vitamin A for two days! What is Vitamin A good for, you ask?

It keeps your eyesight healthy, especially in dim lighting. Aside from it’s main job of providing healthy eyesight, Vitamin A is also good for your skin and bones.

Health Benefit #2: They are filled with fiber

Fiber helps keep you satisfied, and can therefore help you control your appetite. Fiber also helps with healthy digestion and elimination. Eating fiber on a regular basis is also great for keeping your heart strong and healthy, so enjoy those pumpkins all you can this season.

Health Benefit #3 : Full of potassium

You might know that bananas are known for their high amounts of potassium, but pumpkins contain even more potassium than bananas do.

Potassium is great to consume after a work-out as it restores the body’s balance and keeps your muscles functioning smoothly. It’s also able to reduce cramps and boost your metabolism.

Health Benefit #4 : You won’t have any trouble sleeping

Pumpkin seeds contain tryptophan, which is an amino acid that assists in making you sleep like a baby. It also helps produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that’s responsible for making us feel happy and relaxed.

So not only will enjoying pumpkin & pumpkin seeds help you sleep great, it can also boost your mood!

Health Benefit #5 : Keeps your immune system strong

We’ve all heard of vitamin C and the magic it can do when you’re feeling under the  weather. Pumpkin provides a nice dose of Vitamin C, among its other health benefits, so keep finding ways to add pumpkin to your meals to keep your immune system strong.

If you are now hungry for all things pumpkin then come and watch me on Facebook Live 12pm Tuesday (16th October) where I will be making some Pumpkin Protein Balls & Pumpkin Overnight Oats to help satisfy those taste buds.