Friday, December 14, 2018

How to Survive the Indulgent Holiday Season

Let me save you some time, as I know you don’t have a lot of it right now.

Do you want to know how to survive the indulgent holiday season? 

Here’s your answer: Be Intentional


Being intentional means that you have given thought…thought about what you really want (and equally as important; what you don’t want).

The holiday season is overwhelming: Overwhelming varieties of baking in the office kitchen; an overwhelming number of social gatherings; overwhelming amounts of food and drink; and overwhelming lists of obligations.

When we can be intentional, we can make better choices.

Don’t really give a crap about the sub-par baking "Susan" brings in to the office every year? Don’t eat it. Bring in a couple of those amazing whipped shortbread cookies your neighbour makes for you (with real butter)! Eat those instead and really enjoy them!

Feeling like you must attend every event you’re invited to? Forget that. Choose events that are either hosted by the people who are most important to you, and/or the events that you know you will enjoy the most.

Don’t love mashed potatoes? Don’t take any at dinner. Take more of what you really get excited about – stuff like your mom’s special stuffing or a big slice of homemade pie at dessert.

Want absolutely everything that is being served because it all looks so great? Absolutely! Just don’t take heaps of each and keep it to one plate. (After all, you need to save room for dessert!)

Eggnog make your stomach hurt? Don’t drink it! Bring your own almond milk “eggnog”…I’ll bet you $$ that other people would enjoy some with you!

Not a big drinker? Bring a couple cans of LaCroix or Bubly with you. Pour it into a glass with ice and drink up with everyone else. Enjoy the free show as you remain sober and they become drunk J

Tired of hearing the political arguing that ensues after dinner? Choose not to partake or be drawn into the drama. Instead, take your nieces or your sister with you for a walk around the block and enjoy the fresh air.

By now, you should get the point. You are in control. Make Intentional Choices.

Need extra help? Reach out and ask! I'd love to hear from you, or help you figure out some better options for your unique holiday triggers and challenges. 


Food Fact Friday: Tigernuts!

Here’s yet another “nut” that’s not actually a nut! Nuts! 





















These guys are actually tubers! That’s right! Tubers as in sweet potatoes and cassava.

Tubers are great sources of resistant starch. This type of starch is just what it sounds like: resistant to digestion. Resistant starches are not fully digested, passing through most of the small intestine, and then getting consumed by our microbiota in the large intestine. (Food that our healthy gut microbiome “consumes” is referred to a PRE-biotic).

Tigernuts are really funny looking. You can buy them whole, sliced up or ground up into flour. I have used them in the sliced up form on top of salads and oatmeal, although they are definitely “chewier” than an actual nut.

Some Fun Facts:

• They have a cute Spanish name: Chufa
• Horchata is a traditional Spanish drink made from these nuts
• Tigernuts have been used as an aphrodisiac! (Although no human clinical studies have been done yet – any takers?)
• People with nut allergies can eat these
• Tigernuts can be made into milk also (similar to almonds and cashews)

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Try this Tuesday: The Good Year Jar

 As the end of the year approaches, I wanted to share this amazing idea that I came across on FB recently.


In January, you simply begin with an empty jar and at the end of every week, you reflect back and choose a nice memory that stood out. You write that memory down and put it into your jar.


 At the end of the year, you take out the little memory notes and read them all. Some years are tougher than others, and this is a great way to hold focus on the positive, especially on the years that are tougher.

This past year, I have done something similar…I have this really cool 5-year journal (One Line A Day: A Five-Year Memory Book). Every day I write a short sentence or two about what happened. I started the journal this year; and each page has 5 entries. So in the year 2022, I will be able to look back at the previous 4 years and see what happened on those days. I think it’s pretty cool.


Friday, December 7, 2018

Food Fact Friday: Nutritional Yeast!


Have you heard of it? Have you used it? If you happen to be vegan, chances are much higher that you’re familiar with it for a few reasons.

First of all, nutritional yeast is actually considered a complete protein. (Foods are considered to be “complete proteins” when they contain the nine essential amino acids that the body cannot make on its own: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine).

Secondly, fortified versions of nutritional yeast also contain a number of B vitamins including B12 (cobalamin). This is a vitamin that can only be obtained from animals, seafood, supplements* or B12 shots.

Finally, nutritional yeast has quite a unique flavor profile: cheesy and nutty! Because of this, nutritional yeast is often used in vegan cooking for things such as “creamy” sauces and dairy-free cheeses. It can also be sprinkled on top of dishes like pasta, or on top of popcorn.

However, you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy nutritional yeast in regular recipes! In fact, I just used it this past week when I made Real Food Whole Life’s great recipe for meatball veggie soup. (It was added to the turkey meatballs, and it provided some great flavor)!


Couple of Fun Facts about Nutritional Yeast:

·      It’s also referred to as “nooch” (have no idea why but it sounds funny)
·      It’s grown on molasses and sugar cane
·      It is an inactive/deactivated form of yeast
·      Taste can vary brand to brand
·      Claims to have health benefits related to it’s antiviral and antibacterial properties
·      It is naturally gluten free

Want to #nutritionnerd out on some more nutritional yeast facts, including the steps to manufacturing it? Check out this website: http://redstarnutritionalyeast.com/the-5-steps-in-manufacturing-nutritional-yeast/

Let me know: have any of you cooked with nutritional yeast before??

*Mushrooms may provide some B12 – but the amount is so small. (Most healthcare providers—including most nutritionists—currently recommend that persons who exclusively consume plant foods take steps to ensure their B12 nourishment by adding foods fortified with B12 or B12-containing supplements to their daily routine. As a general rule, we support this approach, although we realize that there can be exceptions. (http://www.whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=107)

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Try this Tuesday: Choose a Holiday Theme!


I got this fantastic idea from the “Happier with Gretchen Rubin” podcast. I love Gretchen’s work on habits, which I consistently incorporate into my own work with my accountability-coaching clients.



On one of her last podcasts, a listener had suggested choosing a “holiday motto” to use throughout the holidays. The idea is that this motto will help shape your holiday experience (instead of simply reacting) into what you want it to be. As someone who doesn’t love the season (mostly because of over-consumption, waste, frantic-ness and desperate gift-giving) I thought that this was JUST what I needed. Maybe you need this too. 

Here are a couple of ideas that you could adopt: 

• Comfort & Joy
• Tis the Season to be Jolly
• All is Calm, All is Bright
• Let your Heart be Light
• Walking in a Winter Wonderland
• Don’t get your Tinsel in a Tangle
• He knows if you’ve been bad or good ☺ 

It could also be more simplistic: 

• Gratitude
• Connection
• Family
• Festivity
• Celebrate
• Relax 

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed, and by focusing on a theme, it can really help to direct your thoughts and actions towards what you have chosen. I think it’s going to make a big difference for me this year. I have decided on “Let your Heart be Light” as my theme. This is what it means for me: 

Go with the flow (At this time of year, not everything goes as planned. Accept it.)

Don’t worry about the mess (It WILL get cleaned up.)

Realize that there will be excess (I have personally done all I can to reduce it; AND not everyone agrees with me about gift-giving – I will respect that.)

Don’t worry about extra calories & some indulgences (I trust myself anyway and have developed excellent tools over the years to deal with indulgences.)

Focus on the positives of the season (how can your heart be heavy if your focus is on the positive?)

Picturing Sam Smith singing “have yourself a Merry Little Christmas” is really relaxing and beautiful ☺ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnEqv8WcVq8

So that's it for this Try This Tuesday. What Holiday Motto would you adopt!?

Friday, November 30, 2018

Food Fact Friday: Tomatillos!





Arrrrriba!!!! Last week I ordered 3 meal kits through Good Food. I was in a bit of a dinner slump and quite frankly; I needed someone else to decide what to make for dinner. Anyway, one of the recipes included a tomatillo sauce and I realized that although I have eaten tomatillos, I have never really cooked with one!

The tomatillo is pretty unique. It grows within it’s own leafy, papery husk which is pretty cool. All you have to do is slide off the husk and wash off the slightly sticky green fruit that is underneath. The tomatillo is often compared to a tomato, but it has its own identity. Tomatillos have a less sweet flavor and are slightly more acidic, which makes them very versatile in sauces of all kinds.

Here’s a guide from “What’s Cooking America” (https://whatscookingamerica.net/tomatillos.htm) which outlines the various ways you can prepare them:

Raw – Raw or uncooked tomatillos are often in Mexican sauces.  They add a fresh citrus-like flavor.

Blanching – Blanching mellows the flavor.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the whole tomatillos (husks removed and rinsed) and boil for approximately 5 minutes or until soft.  Drain and crush or puree as directed in your recipe.

Fire Roasting – Roast under the broiler, with a propane torch, or over an open flame such as a grill.  Make sure the heat is quite hot before roasting.  If the heat is not hot enough, the tomatillos will turn mushy before being charred.  The charred or slightly blackened skins will enrich your sauces with a smoky flavor.

Dry Roasting – This will produce an earthy, nutty flavor.  Place the tomatillos in a heavy fry pan (preferably a cast iron pan).  Turn heat to low and roast for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

Have you cooked with tomatillos before? Let me know in the comments below!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Try This Tuesday: Remove Social Media Apps from your Phone

Recently, I realized that I was spending way too much time on both Facebook and Instagram. I even tried to justify some of it with the fact that I do use these apps as “tools” in my business; but that was weak. With all of the other apps on my phone that I use daily (such as a podcast app; an app I use with my accountability coaching clients; texts; emails; and lists) there were just too many opportunities to be picking up my phone and checking social media!


My immediate reaction was that I needed to take a break from both of them – like log out for month or so. However, they are a tool for me, and the real problem wasn’t the apps themselves, but rather my inability to set boundaries with them. So with that – away went the two apps from my phone. It’s been a week or so now, and I can tell you that it’s been the absolute best decision. Now, I use my iPad to check Instagram usually in the evening, and I will log into FB from my computer during the day. (I have had to add instagram back on to my phone for work-related stuff, but I take it off right after). It’s resulted in a TON less time spent on my phone and social media in general – and I haven’t missed out on a thing!

Do you need to implement some boundaries around your social media usage? Let me know if you choose to implement this Try This Tuesday tip yourself!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Food Fact Friday: Blueberries! (And Fresh vs. Frozen)


These little berries really are phytonutrient powerhouses! Lately, my daughter has been enjoying frozen blueberries – which is great, because they are harder to get in the winter.



Since we’re on the topic, let’s talk frozen over fresh for a moment! In a study conducted in 2015, eight fruits and vegetables were ‘put to task’ in an effort to compare fresh vs. frozen. The findings? Overall, the vitamin content of the frozen commodities was comparable to and occasionally higher than that of their fresh counterparts (with the exception of β-Carotene, which was found to decrease drastically in some commodities). (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25526594) Another similar study was done in the same year; this time on minerals and fiber: “The retention of nutrients was highly dependent on the commodity, but the majority of the commodities showed no significant difference between fresh and frozen for all analytes (p ≤ 0.05)”. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25525668)

Needless to say, this is excellent news for those of us in areas where year-round produce production is a challenge! I would actually even argue that because frozen fruits and vegetables are picked at their peak (rather than picked slightly before ripe so that they can endure often long transportation to intended markets); that they could potentially be even more nutritious. So if frozen fruit and vegetables make your life a little easier (especially in the winter months) – GO FOR IT!

Couple of fun blueberry facts: 

Let’s talk vitamins. Would it surprise you that Vitamin K is high in blueberries?  Vitamin K is an important vitamin when it comes to bone health and is probably most well known for its role in blood clotting. 

Blueberries are low in calories but high in antioxidants, fiber and other micronutrients – so almost anyone could benefit by incorporating these babies into their diet on the regular. 

Finally, did you know that here in Canada we grow wild blueberries? Yes! They grow abundantly in 4 Canadian provinces actually (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI and Quebec) – and these are the ones (wild Canadian) that my daughter happens to love. Find more info here.

Happy Friday! Now go get yourself some blueberries!


How to Survive the Indulgent Holiday Season

Let me save you some time, as I know you don’t have a lot of it right now. Do you want to know how to survive the indulgent holiday sea...