Tips on Staying Healthy in Cold/Flu Season

During this time of year it can be especially challenging to stay healthy.  Here are a few things I do that help me maintain my immune system throughout the year, and especially during cold/flu season.  *Knock on wood* I haven’t had a cold in 2 years (compared to most of life where I spent most of the year being sick).  This means I have learned a lot about maintain health throughout the process!  This week I am reminded I am not invincible, as I feel the lingering of a cold trying to come on, and so I will practice what I preach and see if I can ward it off with the tips below.

I will rank them based on the importance I give them 🙂

#1:  SLEEP!  Sleep is the only time of day we completely relax our body, and is the only time of day we allow our body and immune system to regenerate and grow stronger.  Without proper sleep and recovery our immune system will suffer.  I don’t bargain on my sleep.  I will put aside anything I have to do to get a few extra winks in.  In the past when I used to cut myself off from 7-9 hours a night of sleep, and drink a ton of caffeine during the day I was ALWAYS sick, and I mean- ALWAYS.  Not only would I get sick but I would be horribly sick, bed ridden, and it would last for weeks.  Since I started sleeping/napping at least 7-9 hours a day, and even more when my body wants/needs it I have a much stronger immune system.  Poor sleep is a sign of an imbalance in your body or potentially your life.  I am not a sleep expert, but I do know that something might be off internally if you can’t fall asleep at night or don’t stay asleep.  There may be a nutritional issue, stress issue, hormone issue, etc.  Speak to a Naturopath or your preferred health practitioner for help on this one.

#2:  Stress!  Stress can come from work, to- do lists, social anxieties, overwhelming fears, personal expectations etc.  Stress is everywhere in our society.  When stress accumulates in our body we produce hormones that are catabolic, inflammatory, and damaging to our systems.  The times I get sick, are the times I am most stressed.  By practicing some of the following stress management techniques you can start to decrease stress in your life, and boost your immunity:

  •  Meditation practice
  • Breathing practice (being more away of proper breathing throughout the day)
  • Journalling & Conversation
  • Relaxing activities (art, music, dance, etc.).
  • Managing boundaries and expectations

#3:  Maintain a Healthy Gut.  The research being done studying our gut is astounding.  More studies are showing that our immune system starts in our gut, and by creating a healthy environment full of good bacteria we are healthier and better able to ward off disease.  In my own life I know that for most of my life I ate a shitty diet and really suffered from bloating and GI discomfort.  When I started filling my body with plants and whole foods I noticed first of all that my GI discomfort went away and I no longer get bloated, and also that it had a correlation on my ability to ward off illness.

How do I build a healthy gut?  For me, by eliminating dairy from my diet I saw a drastic improvement in my gut, skin, and overall health.  Next, by cutting out processed foods and junk foods I felt even better.  Now that I focus mostly on eating as many whole foods as I can my gut is the healthiest it’s ever been.  Start there and see how you feel.  (oh- and remember, everything in moderation- you won’t get sick from having a few processed foods here and there).

#4:  Oil of Oregano

Whenever I feel that tickle in my throat of illness I drop 6-8 drops of oil of oregano into water and down it back!  It tastes disgusting, but it really does seem to help to ward off sickness.  Oil of oregano has been shown to ward off infection and fight the immune system, yet human scientific studies are still lacking.  You can read more about it on my favourite website for looking into supplements:  https://examine.com/supplements/Origanum+vulgare/

#5:  Lemon, Ginger, Turmeric, and Garlic

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These are my illness fighting super foods!  The first thing I do to ward off a cold is grate fresh ginger, lemon, and honey into a warm tea.  Ginger has a HUGE list of notable benefits to the body (including decreasing inflammation ) you can read more here:  https://examine.com/supplements/Ginger/.  Lemon is hydrating and detoxifying to the body, and the honey adds a soothing touch**.  Sometimes I will also add turmeric to the mix to boost up the inflammatory compounds https://examine.com/supplements/Turmeric/ .20170125_094229-1

 

 

This is a tea I made this week that simmers all the ingredients together (including turmeric) and it was surprisingly delicious!  Check out the recipe and more information about turmeric here:  http://www.meghantelpner.com/blog/tea-time-with-turmeric/

 

 

 

Next, I find ways to get as much garlic into my food as I can.  My favourite way is to fry up a bunch of greens  (covered with a lid) with my meals in numerous cloves of garlic and lemon juice.  Garlic has antibacterial properties (among other medicinal uses)  https://examine.com/supplements/Garlic/ (check out the evidence for garlic’s effect on our blood profiles).

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This is one of my Eat Your Cake delicious meal deliveries (cauliflower Kashmiri) and I’ve made an entire head of Kale on the side!

So there you have it- these are all my ‘secret tips and tricks’.  If you have any more to share feel free to post them below!

** In New Zealand I learned that their Manucka honey is an antibacterial agent that is used in hospitals and throughout the country for fighting infection, especially for people that are antibiotic resistance.

My Favourite Sites for Recipes

What are your go to sites when you are looking to whip together a recipe?

I wanted to share my top 4 favourite recipe sites with you today.  Although the food  I eat doesn’t contain dairy or meat, I believe you will also enjoy these recipes as an occasional meatless meal (these chefs and authors create unbelievably delicious meals!).

Minimalist Baker

  • All recipes require 10 ingredients or less, 1 bowl or 1 pot, or 30 minutes or less to prepare. 
  • Everything I have made from this site is delicious, and easy!!
  • http://minimalistbaker.com/about/

 

Deliciously Ella

Here is what the author say’s about her blog:

Deliciously Ella is all about natural food. It’s not about diet or deprivation, but about celebrating what you can do with simple, unprocessed ingredients. There’s no one size fits all and everything I do can be adapted to suit you. I like to eat foods that I love, that satisfy me and that help me feel the best that I can so that I can be the best that I can – it’s really as simple as that!

https://deliciouslyella.com/philosophy/about/

** Check out her Instagram too

 

Best of Vegan

The most recent post on this blog is the Peanut Butter Peach N Berry Parfait.  You know this one’s going to be good…

I follow this Instagram account:  https://www.instagram.com/bestofvegan/ and this is how I found the authors amazing recipes.  They also have a blog where you can access the recipes if you don’t have Instagram: https://www.brusselsvegan.com/category/recipes/

 

Oh She Glows

Although I own Angela’s cookbook, and will buy her next one, you can access some of her amazing and delicious recipes here:  http://ohsheglows.com/categories/recipes-2/.  Whenever we make these recipes for company they are always a big hit!

 

I hope this short but sweet blog today reminded you of some great resources for healthy and nutritious foods that are made from all natural from the earth ingredients 🙂

A Recipe for Fall- Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s pie is my favourite and always has been.  Since I’ve stopped eating meat as of a year ago I have’t made one, but last week Kyle pulled out a vegan recipe and it was fabulous!  You don’t have to be a vegan to like this recipe.  Even a big meat eater is going to enjoy this extra nutritious and delicious recipe.

Why do I want to share this recipe with you?

  •  Remind you that not EVERY meal needs to contain meat.
  • Show you how lentils can be snuck into many meals.  (Considering how nutritious lentils are I am always trying to find ways to get them in).
  • A shepherd’s pie is a perfect meal to make on the weekend and have for a few days throughout the week!
  • It’s a perfect opportunity to sneak more veggies into our day, and our week!

Just a note:

  •  This recipe uses regular potatoes, but we chose sweet potatoes for more nutrient value.
  • We didn’t use the vegan butter (just some olive oil did the trick).

Here is the recipe we followed:

http://minimalistbaker.com/1-hour-vegan-shepherds-pie/

Enjoy!

 

Where do you get your protein? (A look at red lentils).

90 % of the time I don’t eat meat or dairy.  Sometimes I am sad and eat a grilled cheese.  Sometimes I am at a wedding and have some cake.  Sometimes I order fish for dinner.  But 90 % of what I eat contains no meat or dairy.  I feel and look better when I eat this way.  More on that topic another day.

Today what I wanted to talk to you about is one of the most common questions I get from people who find out I don’t eat meat, “Where do you get your protein?”.  I confess, I use to wonder this myself about vegans and vegetarians.  We grow up with 0 % nutritional knowledge, and we are taught to live by Canada’s food guide which promotes both meat and dairy.  I can totally understand your confusion.

My protein comes from a variety of different sources (beans, lentils, nuts, nut butters, chickpeas and chickpea products like falafal and hummous, sometimes a protein powder, sometimes tofu, as well as many other foods we often don’t consider to have any significant level of protein).

After making a delicious red lentil stew last night I thought I would share with you some findings about red lentils!

I found a lot of this information on my favourite nutrition website:   nutritiondata.com

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At first glance we see that one cup of red lentils is a fantastic source of complex carbohydrates and fibres.  These are the type of carbs that provide us with sustained energy, as well as promote a healthy amount of fibre in the diet to maintain healthy digestive function (colon cancer prevention!!).

Also- one cup of red lentils also contains 18 grams of fibre and 37 % of my daily recommended level of iron.  

I think that stat is worth repeating.

one cup of red lentils also contains 18 grams of fibre and 37 % of my daily recommended level of iron.  

The average person should consume between .8-1.2 g/kg of protein, To make it simple let’s round that to 1g/kg.  So for me, if I weigh 65 kg then I need 65 grams minimum.  18 grams in one cup of lentils is coming close to 1/3 of what I need in a day!

We can also see that red lentils are INCREDIBLY low in fat and sodium, for those who need to watch this in their diet.

 

Screen Shot 2016-09-19 at 3.29.25 PM.pngThis next graph shows us that red lentils have a low glycemic load.   In simple terms this means that lentils will not have a huge effect on spiking your blood sugar.  Instead red lentils are used and digested without giving you the sugar spike and crash and burn that would follow have a higher sugar, higher glycemic load lunch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2016-09-19 at 3.31.32 PM.pngThis graph shows us that red lentils rank 58/100 in terms of their ‘completeness’ meaning containing nutrients.  As you can see red lentils are definitely high in some nutrients like potassium, phosphorus and zinc, and yet lacking other nutrients like vitamin A, and E.  (This is why we need variety in our diet :)).

 

 

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-3-33-54-pmI found this graph quite interesting as it highlights whether a protein is a complete or incomplete protein.  A complete protein means that it contains all of the amino acids, incomplete would mean it is missing some amino acids and needs to be combined with another food.  Red lentils rank really well!  86/100- and are missing only methionine and cysteine.  Nutritiondata.com also offers a handy chart that teaches you how to ‘complete’ a protein by combining your lentils with a food high in M+C.

So in the end, I feel pretty good about my nutrition choice to make a red lentil stew last night.  And guess what?  It was delicious!!  To be honest I just made the recipe that was on the back of the lentil package, but I thought I would point you in the right direction by looking at another red lentil stew that looks interesting to me:

Stew Recipe Here

I’d like to explore more vegetarian protein options in the future- stay tuned!

 

A message to anyone who wants to hire me for weight loss..

Good Evening!  I have another video for you today – I hope it helps you.

I work with a few people to lose weight, but it is definitely not part of my messaging to attract people who want to make weight loss their priority.  Do I have a few reasons for this?  Yes..

But most of all my reason is that working out with a trainer in the gym isn’t the first priority you should make when trying to lose weight!

There are so many other factors that influence your weight more than how hard you push in the gym.  Because of this I decided to film a little video for you today.  In the video I break down the top 6 things I think people need to consider before hiring a trainer for weight loss.

Could a trainer support you in making these 6 changes?  YEP!  But don’t expect just to bust your ass in the gym with a trainer 1-2 days a week and see major weight loss.  There are a few more variables to take care of.

Here’s the video:

https://youtu.be/YWfSnQPI7lI

Eating More Veggies- Guest Blog Post from Vancouver Based Meal Delivery Service

I AM A HUGE FAN OF EATING MORE VEGGIES!

Whenever someone asks me what they could be doing to lose more weight I say..

EAT MORE VEGGIES

When someone asks me how to be healthier, boost their immune system and get sick less I say….

EAT MORE VEGGIES

When someone wants more energy, vitality, to improve their workouts or to focus easier at work I say……

EAT MORE VEGGIES

When someone wants to feel fuller, volumize their meals, have less cravings, and eat less junk food I say….

EAT MORE VEGGIES

 

Which I why I am happy to bring a guest blog post today on this exact topic!

The post today is brought to you by Natasha from Purple Radish Kitchen.  Natasha is the brains and chef-knives behind Purple Radish Kitchen. She is passionate about sustainability, bringing positivity to her community and serving people amazing food that is also good for them. She has turned the art of comfort foods into a daily indulgence that also nourishes the body and mind so that you can be fuelled to be the best you. She runs a meal delivery service based in Vancouver that provides healthy meals to your door so that you can do what you do best and feel great doing it. www.purpleradishkitchen.com

Here is what she has to say about eating more veggies and living healthier:

“When I first started exploring how I could improve my diet and that of my clients, I discovered an abundance of information—sometimes conflicting—about clean eating, whole foods and their definitions. While there are many different interpretations of what eating healthy means, one thing is definitely agreed upon: you need to get more fruits and vegetable on your plate”.

 

Does healthy eating instantly bring endless salads and steamed vegetables to mind? That’s really just the tip of the iceberg here – and I’m not talking lettuce.

 

Here are 5 easy ways to make some classic comforts food into whole food powerhouses:

 

  1. Cauliflower is your friend

Use cauliflower in any takeout inspired dish like Kung Pao or Buffalo Wings. Simply toss the florets into a seasoned batter made with ¾ cup water, 1+ cup flour of choice and seasonings then bake at 415F for 16 minutes on a parchment paper lined sheet. Toss into your favourite sauce and devour.

** Side note from me (Katherine)- we tried cauliflower buffalo wings made this way a few weeks past and they were DELICIOUS!

 

  1. Pulverize those greens

I bet you’ve never thought to puree greens into your pancakes or waffles, have you? There are plenty of whole grain based mixes to choose from if you don’t have a go-to recipe. Just add a large handful of spinach to the wet ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

** Katherine:  Greens are a great way to get a huge punch of vitamins and minerals in a low calorie low sugar form.  Hide them in wherever you can 🙂

 

  1. Casual date-ing

Use dates to sweeten smoothies and desserts.

 

  1. Embrace your adventurous side

Explore unique ingredients like green jackfruit in brine and hearts of palm to make great taco and sandwich fillings. Just sauté with onions, peppers and your favorite BBQ sauce to make a great pulled “pork”.

 

  1. Getting sweet on whole foods

Sweet potatoes are amazing to use as a binder in any savory recipe like meatballs and loafs. Simply replace the egg volume with pureed sweet potatoes.

** Katherine:  Eating healthy often requires a little more creativity then just pulling food out of a box, but it can be fun!  I hope that these tips from Natasha got you thinking about creative ways to hide nutritious foods and ingredients into your dish!  Be sure to check out her website if you find yourself with not enough time/energy to cook as healthy as you’d like, and you need a bit of support from her!

 

Recipe to Share- Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein

Once in awhile I run into a recipe that is so delicious I absolutely have to write a whole blog post for it.

I loved this spaghetti squash recipe this week.

I found it on facebook and here it it’s original link if it works for you:  https://www.facebook.com/foodiefitmama/photos/a.675055032512522.1073741828.672172726134086/1180170352000985/?type=3&theater.  It’s from a Facebook page called Foodie Fit Mama.

Let’s just say, I made a huge batch and it was gone before a) I remembered to take a photo and b) before there was any possibility for leftover lunches the next day!

It’s a spaghetti squash recipe, so I thought I would write a bit about why Spaghetti squash is so great.

#1)  If you are looking for a lower carb/calorie meal option than spaghetti so for some spaghetti squash which you scrap out of the squash shell in a way that it looks jsut like spaghetti.

2)  Even better is that the squash contains a ton more vitamins and minerals than a spaghetti would naturally.

c)  It contains 45 % of your recommended daily vitamin A and 52 % of your vitamin C.

d)  Spaghetti squash contains a huge number of other antioxidants (which fight off free radicals that cause diseases like cancer!).

e)  Spaghetti squash is loaded with B vtaimins, folate, potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, zine, and manganese.

Read more about spaghetti squash and it’s vitamins here:  http://foodfacts.mercola.com/spaghetti-squash.html

Here are her directions just in case you can’t find it via the facebook link:

Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein

Ingredients

1 large spaghetti squash
1/4 cup soy sauce (or coconut aminos to make paleo)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 stalks celery, sliced diagonally
2 cups cole slaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)

Directions

Cut a spaghetti squash in half length wise and scoop out seeds. Lay skin side up in a 13 x 9 pyrex and pour 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of the pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until flesh is very tender. Once done, scoop out flesh with a fork so it breaks apart into strings, set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, ginger and white pepper; set aside.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and celery, and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in cabbage until heated through, about 1 minute.

Stir in spaghetti squash and soy sauce mixture until well combined, about 2 minutes.

Serve immediately.

 

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!

 

Photo Source:  stock.tookapic.com