Grilled Asparagus, Radish, Scallion, Arugula & Sesame Salad.

This simple, grilled asparagus salad is quick and easy to prepare, offering plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Lightly grilling asparagus brings out its natural sweetness, and allows it’s tender yet toothsome texture to remain in tact. Radishes are usually served raw, but are fantastic when roasted, braised, or grilled. The sharp ‘spiciness’ of radish dulls when cooked, and the inherent sweetness of this beautiful vegetable is released. Try adding asparagus and radishes to your BBQ vegetable medley for a wonderful mix of tastes and textures!

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Focus on Farro. A Nutritious & Delicious Ancient Whole Grain.

Farro is an original wheat variety, along with spelt, emmer, and einkorn, other types of unprocessed or modified wheat. Farro may also be called Emmer, which is grown in Tuscany, and is traditional to the Italian diet. While farro is less commonly consumed in North America, it is slowly becoming more popular as people move back to eating whole foods. Farro is packed with protein, which is why I consider it a ‘pseudo-grains’, like quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth. In fact, 1/2 cup of dried farro has about 12 grams of complete protein, iron (15% RDA), and B vitamins. It is also lower glycemic (less sugars/starch) compared to other grains like brown rice, which means it keeps your blood sugar and energy levels steady. Look out for this delicious and nutritious grain at your local health food store, and ask your grocer to carry it if they don’t already. The more variety we can bring into your diet, the healthier!

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Create A Daily Health Checklist.

I created this basic checklist of things to consider each day for your optimal health! Feel free to adjust or add to this list to suit your individual needs, personal values and goals. This can be a helpful exercise to do each season, to set the intention of creating a more balanced life!

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Alvéole. Urban Beekeeping & Honey Company. Montreal.

Alvéole is a young and inspiring Montreal-based Company, founded and run by my friends Alex McLean, Declan Rankin Jardin, and Etienne Lapierre. These passionate and hardworking entrepreneurs are committed to supporting the plight of the bees, by educating people about the important practice of small-scale, sustainable beekeeping. Alvéole’s primary service is setting up home hives, either on the roof, the balcony or in the yard, providing people with the opportunity to produce their own natural honey, while supporting the local honeybee population. The team offers ongoing guidance to beehive owners, and pay regular visits to the hives, to ensure that the bees are in good health. Come Fall, the team extracts the organic honey from each hive, about 10kg worth, which can be enjoyed and shared with friends and family. This experience of caring for a hive allows people to connect with nature, and appreciate the amazing world of honeybees!

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Banana Vanilla ‘Ice-Cream’ Sandwich with Almond & Date Cookies.

This nutritious and delicious plant-based summer dessert is made from only whole foods, without any added sugars or refined ingredients. There is no need for processed sugar when using naturally sweet organic ripe bananas! When frozen and blended, bananas create a creamy, satisfying gelato-like texture. This fruit is a source of vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and fiber. Unlike dairy ice-cream, there is no saturated fat or cholesterol found in this version. Many of the vegan ice-creams on the market are made with coconut, which is also high in saturated fat, like in animal-products. When it comes to plant-based ice-cream, this banana recipe is the healthiest option I can recommend – plus it is cheap and easy to make at home!

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Evaluate Your Priorities. Healthy Diet & Lifestyle Change.

How do you spend your time? This is a reflection of our priorities. Priorities are those things/people/activities we treat as more important and valuable, compared to others. A healthy, balanced lifestyle is achieved when we pair our priorities with our personal needs and values. Bringing attention and intention to how you choose to spend your […]

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Banana Cashew Cream ‘Trifle’ with Maple Toasted Almonds.

This is a delicious dessert made from only whole and nutritious plant-based ingredients. It provides plenty of protein from the (organic GMO-free) silken tofu and nuts, as well as healthy unsaturated fats. This is a healthier version of a classic comforting dish, that would traditionally be created with saturated fat and cholesterol-rich animal products (eggs, cream, milk). 

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Restaurant Day. May 2015. Montreal.

Restaurant Day is a unique ‘culinary carnival’ that takes place 4 times a year, in which people have the opportunity to open their dream pop-up restaurant, cafe, or bar for one day. What began in Helsinki four years ago, has since spread across the globe and become an international food event. I had the pleasure of attending the most recent Montreal edition of Restaurant Day last week, on Saturday May 16th 2015.

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Summer Squash ‘Pappardelle’ with Garlicky Mushrooms.

I’m a big fan of zucchini aka summer squash in any shape or form, including as ‘pasta’ as seen in this recipe! Preparing zucchini this way is quick and easy, however it does require the handy mandoline (as seen above), a kitchen tool when it comes to vegetable preparations. Using this nutritious and delicious whole plant food as ‘pasta’, makes for a light, low glycemic, and easy to digest option!

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Spring Salad Starring ☞ Fresh Peas, Beans & Greens.

This is a light and refreshing salad that is made up of a wide variety of colourful whole foods, offering a spectrum of nutrients, tastes and textures! like all salads, this is a versatile dish that can be made using whatever fresh crunchy seasonal green vegetables you have access to or enjoy. The watercress, scallions, and radish are now in seasonal in QC, the fava beans and pears were on sale, and the green beans and yellow wax beans looked fresh at my local grocery store. Stocking up on a range of vegetables and fruits allows you to put together more interesting salads and other plant-based dishes. These naturally delicious whole foods simply require a little care: washing, prepping, cooking and assembling!

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Cabbage Cups with Crispy Tempeh & Peanut Sauce.

This light and flavourful, nutritious recipe is quick and easy to prepare! offering a complete balance of fiber-rich complex carbs, plant-based protein and healthy unsaturated fats. This dish is also incredibly versatile! you can use a different combination of crunchy veggies as filler, swap the tempeh for tofu if you have that on hand, or use Napa or red cabbage instead of white.

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Mind-Muscle Movement.

My approach to holistic nutrition is based on the notion that all aspects of a person are interconnected. Recognizing the influence and power of the mind is essential in helping people achieve their diet & lifestyle goals. I encourage my clients to challenge negative self-talk with positive thinking! Harness your thoughts by observing self-destructive inner dialogue or self-doubt, in a non-judgemental way, and mindfully replacing these thoughts with uplifting & motivating statements. Write down any self-defeating thoughts that you notice, and next to them, write a self-compassionate affirmation to counter it.

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Pear & Pistachio Pie. Plant-Based Dessert.

This is a nutritious and delicious raw, plant-based dessert made from only whole foods, with no added sugars or fats. Incorporating the additional flavours of cinnamon, camomile tea and ginger, help boost the taste and health benefits of this dessert. Rather than using added sugars or fats in desserts, utilize spices, herbs and teas!

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Being Present for Optimal Health.

Learning to be present in yourself by becoming more in tuned with your thoughts, feelings, and sensations, supports healthy diet and lifestyle choices. When we make decisions based on our thoughts, emotions (which are often habitual reactions), we are more vulnerable to making diet & lifestyle choices that do not serve us. Thoughts and emotions come and go like clouds in the sky, we can simply observe them as such, rather than acting on them. Rather, try focusing on the present moment, your inner stillness. Calmly come back to this space whenever your mind wanders, or you notice yourself getting caught in feelings or sensations. Connect with your inner and outer environment: pay attention to your breath, close your eyes, or gently gaze at something in your surroundings. Practicing ‘mindfulness’ in this way, can help you make healthier & wiser diet & lifestyle choices!

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Spicy Sesame Tofu Seasoned with Shichimi Togarashi.

Tofu ingredients: – Firm tofu (organic/GMO-free) Marinade: – Homemade DIY red curry paste, 2-3 tbsp (red chili/garlic/ginger/shallot/salt/lemongrass/kaffir lime/red miso) – Braggs, 1/2 cup (lower sodium soy sauce) – Maple syrup, 1/2 cup (minimally processed sweetener & local QC product) – Toasted sesame oil, 3-5 drops (strong flavour) Garnish: – Shichimi togarashi Instructions: 1. Once removing the […]

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Apricot, Almond, Cashew & Camomile Truffles.

This healthy whole-food dessert or snack provides a wide range of nutrients, with no added sweeteners or oils. Almonds are a fantastic source of protein, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, Vitamin E, B vitamins, fiber, and healthy fats. Cashews are a good source of protein, iron, B vitamins, vitamin K, Magnesium, selenium, potassium, zinc, and good unsaturated fats. Apricots are a great source of vitamin A, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and fiber. I normally use unsulfured apricots, which you can find at most health food stores, but I only had sulphured apricots in this case. Sulfur dioxide is used as a preservative to extend its shelf life and preserve the fruit’s bright color, which is why un-sulfured apricots are a darker brown. While it is optimal to avoid preservatives and processed foods, being flexible around food is also important in maintaining a healthy diet and relationship with food. Simply focus on making the healthiest choices you can with the resources you have!

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Facing Fear of Healthy Diet & Lifestyle Change.

In the pursuit of adopting a healthier diet & lifestyle, some may experience inner resistance or fear, a roadblock to change. Shining a light on these fears with non-judgemental self-awareness, by looking closely at what thoughts/feelings are behind them, gives you a greater understanding of yourself and your challenges. By identifying and naming your fears, you can overcome them! Take courage, practice self-compassion, and give yourself permission to change.

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Spiced Roasted Carrots & Fresh Herb Sauce.

This dish celebrates the humble yet delicious & nutritious carrot! The warming, smoky spices included in this recipe compliment the natural earthy sweetness of the root vegetable. The olive oil and maple syrup support the roasting process, allowing the natural sugars of the vegetable to be released. Pairing the caramelized carrots with a bright, fresh herb sauce helps balance the dish! This herb sauce can be used in a variety of different preparations, served with grilled tofu/tempeh, or added to zucchini/veggie noodles as a lighter pesto for example.

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Blueberry Buckwheat Bars. Giddy Yoyo Collabo.

These delicious whole-food bars were designed to provide a nutritious balance of complex carbohydrates, plant-based protein, healthy unsaturated fat, fiber, plenty of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Enjoy one of these bars as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack, or as a healthy dessert!

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Kitchen Sink Salad with Sesame-Ginger Dressing.

A ‘kitchen-sink salad’ is all about making use of whatever whole food ingredients you have on hand, including vegetables, fruit, nuts & seeds, legumes and whole grains. To make this a complete meal, add a serving of protein like edamame beans, crispy baked tempeh or tofu. You can also easily replace one or more of the veggies, using cabbage instead of lettuce, beets instead of carrots, pear instead of mango for example. A delicious salad is composed of a variety of textures and flavours, and a bright, well seasoned dressing.

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Passion Fruit Pie with Maple Cashew Cream & Fresh Mango.

Crust ingredients: – Natural almonds – unsweetened desiccated coconut – Dates – 100% passionfruit pulp * – Dark cacao powder – Sea salt Filling ingredients: – Raw cashews – Passionfruit pulp – Maple syrup Topping: – Fresh mango Directions: 1. Soak the cashews in passionfruit pulp overnight. Soaking allows the nuts to soften, making it […]

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DL’s Peanut Sauce – Put it on everything savoury!

This recipe is great as a dipping sauce for rice-paper rolls/lettuce wraps, baked crispy tofu/tempeh or as tofu/tempeh marinade. Enjoy it as the dressing in a crunchy asian slaw, squeeze a little into your stir-fries, had with zucchini/veggie ‘noodles’!

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Black Rice, Edamame, Butternut Squash & Sesame Salad.

Black rice is one of numerous varieties of rice that is grown in parts of China, Indonesia, Thailand, and  India. It has a satisfying tender texture/bite, a wonderful sweet nutty flavour, and fragrant aroma. Compared to brown or basmati rice, black rice is higher in nutrients, specifically iron, vitamin E, magnesium, manganese, zinc, selenium and antioxidants – indicated by its dark purple pigment (like dark coloured berries!). In fact, the outermost layer of brown rice, the hull, contains one of the highest levels of Anthocyanin antioxidants found in food, a type of flavanoid antioxidant with anti-cancer properties. Black rice contains about double the protein in brown rice, making it a more nutritious and efficient protein source for plant-based eaters. It is can be used in both sweet and savoury preparations, eaten as a warm breakfast ‘porridge’, in a simple side dish, as a main dish like this complete-meal salad, or in a dessert like my favourite Thai style ‘mango & sticky rice’!

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Butter Beans with Roasted Vegetables, Fresh Herbs & Tomatoes.

This simple, fresh ‘complete-meal salad’ is both delicious and nutritious, providing a balance of complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. Using Butter beans instead of the usual suspects (chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, lentils), offers a different, tasty, and nutrient-dense alternative. Incorporating different whole foods into your diet not only gives you a wider spectrum of nutrients, but also makes your meals more interesting. Butter beans are especially high in fiber, and packed with protein (10 grams protein/1 cup cooked), Iron, B vitamins, Zinc, and Magnesium.

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Earl Grey Tea Infused Date & Almond Cacao Truffles.

This flavourful and nutritious dessert is quick and easy to make, composed of just a handful of whole food ingredients. Free of refined sugar/flour/oil, these healthy ‘truffles’ are satisfyingly sweet, sure to be enjoyed by everyone. As a longtime fan of tea, I often incorporate this ancient beverage into my cooking, used as a seasoning or spice, in both sweet and savoury dishes. Rehydrating the dried dates in Earl Grey instead of neutral water, boosts the flavour of the dessert in a healthy way!

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Apple, Clementine, Cranberry Cider.

This warming cider can be enjoyed by the whole family! It is non-alcoholic and caffeine-free, as well as free of added sugar. The combination of nutritious, antioxidant-rich fruit, and health-giving spices, makes this beverage both delicious and immune supporting – a wonderful winter drink!

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Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D) & The Winter Blues. A Holistic Approach.

  Winter’s shorter, dark days, and cold weather affects many of us living in the Northern Hemisphere to some degree. While some people experience a slight dip in mood and energy, aka the ‘winter blues’, others endure a more severe condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or S.A.D, as it is appropriately abbreviated to. Officially defined […]

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Festive Fruit & Nut Chocolate Tart. Healthy Holiday Dessert.

Holidays gatherings are often centred around cookies, cakes, and chocolate, usually made from less healthy ingredients. However, we CAN indulge in sweets and enjoy holiday desserts in a healthy way! Using whole food nutritious ingredients like nuts, dried and fresh fruit, citrus zest, spices and tea’s, one can create rich and flavourful holiday desserts that everyone will enjoy. This recipe for my Fruit & Nut Tart, is packed with vitamins, minerals, healthy un-saturated fats, and plant-based protein. A rich and indulgent tasting dessert that you can feel GOOD about eating and sharing with your friends and family!

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Carrot Nut Oat Bars & Orange Maple Silken Tofu Frosting.

This ‘carrot cake bar’ is a healthy plant-based dessert! Made from nutritious whole ingredients, the carrots, oats, almonds, walnuts and tofu all provide complex carbohydrates, good monounsaturated and essential omega fats, plenty of protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The carrots are inherently sweet, so make a great base for any sweet preparation. The nutmeg, cinnamon and orange zest add flavour and enhance the natural sweet taste of these other ingredients. The oats and nuts act as the ‘flour’, holding the carrots together to form a cake. Raisins provide natural sweetness, texture, and are a visual reminder of the carrot cake you may have grown up eating. The natural smooth consistency of the silken tofu provides a perfect base for the ‘cream cheese’ frosting, minus the saturated fat and cholesterol! This recipe uses minimal added sweetener in the form of maple syrup, the most an unprocessed/natural and local sweetener available, making these bars an appropriate dessert for diabetics. I made both a raw and cooked version of these bars as seen above, and personally preferred the baked ones. I would recommend serving the baked bars to kids or those who are not accustomed to fully raw desserts – as a transitional dish!

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