Friday, December 21, 2018

Food Fact Friday: Ginger!

One of my favorite Christmas cookies has got to be Gingersnaps (the other is whipped shortbread). I love them because they’re usually not too sweet, a little chewy, and have such a rich depth of flavor. Today, let’s dig a little deeper into ginger!

Did you know that the ginger root that we know (and love to eat) is actually the underground rhizome of the ginger plant?

Ginger contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which have historically made it a common, frequently used natural remedy for thousands of years.

Some of the things ginger has been used for: promoting digestion by increasing gastric emptying; helping to relieve joint pain and inflammation;  and reducing nausea to name a few.

Couple of fun facts about ginger:

·  It’s easiest to grate fresh ginger root when it’s frozen!
·  Ginger is part of the same family as cardamom and turmeric! (Have you ever tried the Cardamom ice cream from Village Ice Cream?? You totally should if you haven't!)
·  You can grow your own ginger from the actual ginger root!


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Try This Tuesday: Habit Stacking

Today’s “Try this Tuesday” is a habit hack. I absolutely love habit hacks!

This is a relatively simple one and helpful for small habits you might want to implement into your life quickly and efficiently. Credit goes to James Clear for this habit hack entitled “Habit Stacking”. (From his amazing book “Atomic Habits”).

Habit Stacking Formula: “After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].

Told you it was simple.

AND, once you have successfully added that stacked habit; you can always stack another one after. Here are some real life examples of how you can put this to work in your life.

Taking my vitamins: Brushing Teeth [CURRENT HABIT] + Taking Vitamins [NEW HABIT]

After I brush my teeth in the morning, I will take my vitamins.

The current habit of brushing teeth is one that most people don’t ever forget to do. It’s done daily; on autopilot; and not one often resisted. This is an excellent foundational habit on which to stack.

I personally often forget to take my vitamins in the morning. I don’t enjoy taking them and I am usually rushing out the door in the morning, so that doesn’t help. This is a habit that needs to be stacked. In order to make this work, I also move my vitamins into the bathroom and put them in the same drawer as my toothpaste.

This now becomes an absolutely easy task for me to do.

Sometimes, a slight change in your environment and a habit stack are all you need to get going on something.

Drinking More Water: Trip to Bathroom [CURRENT HABIT] + Water Refill [NEW HABIT]

When I am at work, every time I get up to use the washroom, I will make a trip past the office kitchen and fill up a glass of water. I need to drink it before I use the washroom again. Self-explanatory.

Meditating: Alarm Goes Off [CURRENT HABIT] + Sit and Meditate [NEW HABIT]

Immediately after my alarm goes off, I move to the floor, sit on my meditation cushion (which is right beside my bed) and meditate for 1-5 minutes.

Making Healthy Lunches: Prepare Dinner [CURRENT HABIT] + Make Lunch [NEW HABIT]

When I am preparing dinner, I either cut up some veggies to go with my leftovers or make a salad for my lunch the following day. (I am already making dinner – adding this in might take me 5 minutes – and then there is no excuse for buying lunch the next day).

Journaling: Wash Face (at night) [CURRENT HABIT]+ Write in Journal [NEW HABIT]

You may remember me mentioning in my last Try This Tuesday post that I have a really cool 5-year journal. Sometimes, I would forget to write in it for a week or two at a time, and then really struggle to remember what happened each day. Instead, I implemented habit stacking into my life to remember to write, as I know that reading this later (in 2, 5, or even 10 years) will give me enormous happiness.

Ok – you get the idea. The point is to tie things you are already easily doing day in and day out to something you want to introduce. Start smaller and build on it, remembering to select strong “anchors” (current habits).

Think about (and write down) a bunch of daily tasks that you do on autopilot, and select from those as your anchoring habit.

Please let me know if you implement this into your daily routine, as well as any clever anchor habits you use! I’d love to hear from you.

Finally, if this type of thing sounds interesting to you, make sure to check out James Clear’s book. It’s great!!

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:

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. (

Tips for Managing Stress & Anxiety (plus a smoothie recipe!)

Read my latest blog post on You Ate: And my smoothie recipe!