The ‘Angry Banana’ Smoothie

I went to the Western Fair Farmer’s Market yesterday with a friend to stock up on a few weekly essentials. We had a great time; bought some delicious juices and checked out the new organics. I was also pleasantly surprised to find some organic rainbow carrots and purple kale among the stalls and as soon as I got home I felt inspired to create some sort of violet, magical concoction with my dark, leafy friends!

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to make a juice or a smoothie, so I got creative and went for a little bit of both! I juiced the kale, with some beets, a carrot, apple and an orange, then blended up some bananas with sprouts, kiwi, lemon juice, blueberries and a few leaves of basil. Mixed ‘em together and this vibrant super-drink was created! 

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Ingredients: 

Chop up the following and run through your juicer. Alternatively, if you don’t have a juicer at home you can use a blender and strain it through a cheesecloth after. Be warned: this juice will be very deep in color and stains easily - if you’ve juiced beets before you know what I’m talking about - just be a lil extra cautious about where you wipe your hands. This should yield ~500mL of fresh juice depending on the size of your produce.

  • 2 beets
  • 1 bunch of purple kale
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 apple
  • 1 orange

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Next, mix the following ingredients in your blender (keeping the greens on the bottom to eliminate any big leafy chunks) and slowly add the juice to the mix to even out the consistency. 

  • sprouts (here I used pea tenders)
  • 4 bananas
  • handful of basil leaves
  • 1 kiwi, with skin
  • 1/4 cup of blueberries
  • juice from 1 lemon

Pour it into a big glass and enjoy! The recipe takes a bit of extra work but it’s surprisingly smooth & rich! Has a nice, light Earthy flavor & I really am pleased with it! And it definitely packs a nutritional punch! ;) Let me know if you give it a whirl and what you think! What’s your favorite way to use purple kale?

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Feelin’ the Green Smoothie Love

Like I said I would in my last post, I’ve hopped back on the green smoothie train and never felt better! I’ve lost the few lbs I gained last month and I’ve bounced back into my training routine; yoga 20-30 minutes a day, weights 5 x a week, cardio 3 x a week. I’m chugging back the water, eating clean and lord help you if you get in the way of my 8 hours of beauty sleep. ;) It feels good to be energized again. 

As some of you might know, my usual routine is fresh fruit, juices and/or smoothies for breakfast. Over the past couple weeks I’ve been putting the emphasis on the big green smoothies to super-charge me throughout my day. Kale, spinach, parsley, basil, broccoli, chard, kiwi, celery… Basically anything green I’ve been tossing it in and hoping for the best! I have so many combinations that I LOVE but this one was especially tasty and simple, so I thought I’d share it with you guys!

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Ingredients: 

  • 1 russet apple 
  • 2 cups of chopped spinach
  • 2 bananas 
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 kiwi, with skin
  • juice from 1 lemon 

**Remember to put your leafy greens on the bottom when you load up your blender. It helps ensure that they get pulverized and not left in chunks. Gives it a smoother, creamier texture! 

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Try it out and let me know what you think!  What’s your favorite green smoothie recipe? A quick Google search shows literally thousands of different shades of green for you to pick from, so no matter what your taste preferences you can always find a smoothie that tantalizes your taste-buds AND gives you your daily dose of chlorophyll! Kale and spinach are my two favorites that pack a punch! I also like adding herbs like parsley, basil and mint into my smoothies for a well-rounded flavor and sometimes a surprising kick! 

After having at least one green smoothie per day this week, I’m definitely feeling the green smoothie love! My body is thanking me with more energy, my hair and skin are hydrated and smooth and my mood has definitely brightened! I think I’ll be keeping up my green-themed breakfasts for a while! ;) 

Do you feel the love? <3 

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Thanking Myself With Good Nutrition

I woke up this morning feeling happy, energetic and alive in my skin for the first time in far too long, and very thankful. Since coming home from my trip I’ve felt sick and in a funk; my eating habits were all off and I didn’t feel as excited about food as I normally do. After a few weeks of off and on again bad eating habits (LOTS of processed & cooked foods) I finally got smart with myself and got out of the way to let my body do the healing.

After just one day of clean eating with proper sleep and hydration, I woke up feeling strength in my frame and a spark in my soul. How silly we are sometimes when we’re feeling down to rely on “comfort foods” that really do us no comfort at all and in fact promote the moody, uncomfortable and dis-eased state that is a direct result of poor digestion, poor nutrition and an over-toxic system. I felt foolishly full of gratitude as I gulped down my lemon-water like in communion. Wow, so this holistic thing really works! 

I’ve put on a few lbs, big deal. My weight will work itself out once I’ve established myself back into a healthy pattern. I’ve stayed reasonably active; lifted weights a few times and cardio twice a week but nothing that has really challenged me - my inner trainer is being soft on me! Tisk Tisk!

A few days of abundantly raw meals will work my mood and energy back up and this laziness in my gut will be kick-started with green smoothies galore! ;) Have you ever felt like it was time to give your body a break and reward it with good, clean fuel? I’m taking a couple days to really repay my body for all that it puts up with from me. After all, she’s all I’ve got! 

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My Starbucks Alternative

Just in case someone was reading my last post about coffee and worried as to how they could ever give up their Starbucks addictions… I present to you my personal alternative for those devilish desires. A frothy cinnamon, banana and almond butter blend topped with frozen ‘chocolate’ shavings. Go ahead, spoil yourself! ;) 

Banana-Booster Blend*

  • 3 ripe bananas, 1 frozen
  • 1/4 cup ground cinnamon 
  • 1.5 tbsp of raw almond butter
  • 1-2 cups of water (optional: almond milk)

Blend the ingredients until smooth and evenly combined with bubbles frothing at the surface of your smoothie. Pour into a mug and top with shavings. 

*makes ~4 full cups

'Chocolate' Shavings: 

  • 1/2 cup raw crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • dash of organic coconut sugar

Roll the whole mixture into a ball and store in your freezer. Use a knife to shave off the chocolate into slices, mini rolls or as a light dusting. This recipe makes a palm-sized ball and has lasted me for several deserts and treats. Use at your own discretion. 

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How I Became a Morning Person

I used to hate mornings! Getting out of bed was a chore in itself some days. I remember trying to ‘get a run in’ before class and by 10 am my mind was just done. I’d be sluggish throughout the day and since I’m not a coffee drinker, I never relied on caffeine for a pick-me-up, but I’d resort to fast, cheap foods to numb me or alcohol (not in moderation) practically every evening. My morning’s sucked. And so the rest of my day suffered. I’ve come to believe that the way you start your day can have a huge impact on how you spend your next 23 hours.

When I started changing a few things, a few habits and behaviors, I began to notice that my morning’s got a little brighter, a little less painful and as a result my positive mood and actions carried on into other aspects of my life during the day. And no -  I did not start drinking coffee! ;) Check below for why coffee is not a healthy addiction. I started incorporating these 5 things into my life and suddenly instead of just rolling out of bed each morning, I noticed there really was some shine to my rise that continued throughout the day. 

  1. Stretch - Usually our first instinct when we wake up is to stretch out a little bit. Don’t you? For some people it’s the mega-yawn accompanied by full, wide arm and leg extensions (with or without sound and/or hair ruffling) and for other’s it’s a quiet squeeze of core, chest and back muscles before rolling out of bed. It feels good and gets blood flowing. I decided to focus on making stretching a part of my wake-up routine. I began by practicing a minimum of 10 sun-salutations every morning and it not only improved my flexibility, but it gave me this serene, calm awareness as I continued my morning. (For those who don’t know what a sun-salutation is check the beginner’s video by Kino, here to learn how to do this properly.) Maybe just start out with 5 every morning for a week and see how you feel - I guarantee you’ll feel a difference! 
  2. Drink More Water - This sounds like a no-brainer, I know. But I cannot stress enough the significance of water for weight-loss, health and just general happiness. Nearly 75% of North Americans are chronically dehydrated and that’s a serious issue. Water is our life force; it’s essential to all aspects of our digestion and absorption of nutrients. It deters hunger cravings, and makes our hair, skin and nails look healthier and juicier! To start the day off on the right foot, I began drinking a minimum of 1L of water (preferably lemon-water or a herbal infusion of some sort) within the first 15 minutes of rising. It’s not as much as you think, and I’ve seen frat boys who can chug-a-lug way quicker than that! ;)  Now let’s talk toilets for a second: take a peek at your wee a couple times a day, if you’re hydrated, it should be clear or very close-to. When you first start increasing your water intake, you will probably have to visit the bathroom a little more frequently, depending on your body and level of toxicity, activity level etc etc. Get used to it, a frequent flusher is a healthy flusher! 
  3. Move That Body - Turn on some beats, pick-up some weights, do a few push-ups, walk, run, whatever! Just get the blood flowing! You’ll be nice and warmed up after those sun-salutations and if you’ve got a passion for dance or a goal to hit in the gym, there’s no better time than the AM to focus on what’s important. For me, it’s different nearly every day. This morning I took my dog for a 20 minute jog, yesterday I tried learning how to bellydance via youtube and the day before that I threw around some dumbbells. It doesn’t have to get boring and stagnant, pick something you enjoy or have always thought you should try. There are countless workout vids online and if you liked the sun-salutes, try a morning yoga class or a full at-home practice!
  4. Eat Fruit For Breakfast - If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: fruit is the best food you could possibly eat to start your day. Smoothies and/or juices are fantastic ways to get more nutrients and more calories into your belly. I aim for a minimum of 700 calories from fruit for breakfast to feel satisfied and energized. Some days it’s just a bowl full of 7-12 pieces of fruit, and other days it’s a mega-smoothie or a funky green juice! Fruits and veggies digest so clean and quickly in our bodies,  immediately fueling the cells in our brain and body with glucose. If you want to kick-start your day with clean, healthy food that will GIVE you energy and not take it away, then start eating fruit for breakfast and notice how quickly your whole day improves! 
  5. Maintain a Positive Mind - This can be as simple as writing an affirmation on your bathroom mirror and repeating it to yourself, or making a quick list of the things you are grateful for each morning. Do you ever notice how stubbing your toe or losing your keys in the wee hours of daylight can totally change your attitude for the rest of the day? Don’t sweat the small stuff. Take each moment as it comes and let it go. Maybe take 2 minutes to check yourself out in a mirror and take note of all the things you love about yourself. What can you look forward to? What awesome creation can you come up with today? 

If you try to incorporate these 5 tips into your morning routine I personally guarantee that you will notice a difference, probably lots of little differences, even in the first week! If you’re just sick and tired of being tired all day long, a morning-makeover is just what you need! Give it a shot, worst case scenario is you lose a little weight and learn how to touch your toes! ;)  Let me know how it works for you and what your morning habits are! 

Why You Should Give Up Coffee

"Think about how widely accepted it has become that people need coffee to wake up. You should not need anything to wake up. If you can’t wake up without it, it’s because you are either addicted to caffeine, sleep deprived, or a generally unhealthy slob… But it’s not heroin and you’ll learn to live without it!" - Rory Freedman

It seems like everyone I know is addicted to their coffee. Their Tim Horton’s double double or the Starbucks syrup concoction of the season, there are so many options in today’s fast food world. I’m here to give you a few reasons why you should give it up, for GOOD! 

Caffeine increases stress hormones and causes indigestion and digestive discomfort. Not to mention heartburn, dehydration, decreased insulin sensitivity and elevated urinary excretion of important minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. Does that sound like a healthy way to begin your day? Pissing out nutrients and giving yourself a stomach ache? I don’t think so! If there are other natural ways to be bright-eyes and bushy-tailed in the mornings and throughout the day, then the negative side effects and health problems caused by coffee really outweigh the claims of "but it tastes good" and "I’m addicted". Need more reasons to give up the ‘jo? How ‘bout peptic ulcers, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, headaches, anxiety and depression? And you’re PAYING for it! Ditch the caffeine for water, juice or herbal tea and watch how quickly your mood lifts and body brightens! If you’re worried about withdrawal, don’t sweat it, after the first 3-7 days you’ll be through the worst of it and you’ll never have to have a caffeine headache again! ;) 

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Had some post-workout green juice right after I hopped outa the shower. I was craving greens so I threw in a little bit of everything; kale, chard, parsley, spinach, celery, cucumber, some pineapple, lil ginger &amp; carrots. Random, I know! It actually turned out alright, though maybe less cucumber next time. Feels good to get back to my workouts! 

Had some post-workout green juice right after I hopped outa the shower. I was craving greens so I threw in a little bit of everything; kale, chard, parsley, spinach, celery, cucumber, some pineapple, lil ginger & carrots. Random, I know! It actually turned out alright, though maybe less cucumber next time. Feels good to get back to my workouts! 

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I’m back from my trip, busy working my way back into the swing of things, working on a full post for you guys but just HAD to share some pics from my adventure through Morocco and Spain. Great food, wonderful people and LOTS to share about my stay in the Sahara and La Tomatina; the world’s biggest food fight!! 

Definitely had an amazing trip and can’t wait to share more with you guys! <3 

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The Adventure Countdown Begins

So, I have a little sort of announcement to make that I can’t believe took me this long to fill you guys in on! I’m leaving for Spain in 5 days! :D My boyfriend (Cam) and I have been planning a little vacay for a while; he has family in Madrid, we both love to travel and since he is quite the experienced globe-trotter (he’s been to 36 countries - heyo!) he planned us a little hop over to Morocco to spend a couple days in the desert, yeah the Sahara Desert, maybe you’ve heard of it? It’s only the largest hot desert in the WORLD! I’m so excited! 

One part of the trip that I am particularly excited about is a little venture to a town called Bunol in Valencia for ‘La Tomatina’ - the world’s biggest food fight! Some 50,000 people come crowding into town one day to throw tomatoes at each other! LOTS of tomatoes! We even went out and bought goggles for the event - to maintain throwing accuracy while not getting tomato juice in our eyes. ;) 

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I’m packing right now and only really guessing as to what I’ll be needing. I’m focusing on light, loose and comfy clothing, a few dresses and skirts, lots of tanks with long-sleeve shawl and wrap-arounds. Cam recently convinced me to buy a pair of Keens so these will be the shoes I wear everywhere (except like out to dinner, I’m bringing a comfy pair of dress sandals for restaurants and such). They’re heavier than my Minimus runners but so far I like them a lot and I’m looking forward to seeing they hold out on the road! 

I’m so excited to taste the local fruit and check out the markets in Madrid! I can only imagine what kind of amazing flavours I’ll get to savor when I’m there! I PROMISE to take lots of photos and stay as up to date with you guys as possible while I’m gone with WIFI whereever I can find it. I’m bringing my ipod so I can stay in touch on instagram, facebook and twitter and my digital SLR camera that I haven’t used in YEARS so hopefully I’ll have some decent photos to share with you guys as well!

So, if you don’t hear much from me between August 10th - 30th you’ll know why! ;) Have you been to Spain before? Any tips or advice for while I’m there? 

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