Posts tagged with fruit:

Strawberry Salad & Orange Basil Tea

We seem to have stumbled into a warm spell over the last few days. The weather keeps calling for rain and thunderstorms but we’ve yet to have more than a light morning drizzle to quench our thirst. And the humidity remains. I’m not really complaining; after all, this past winter in Ontario was one of the most brutal that I can recall in my 25 years and I’m happy to be back in the sunshine. My uncle from the Shillington area was around for a visit over the weekend and even he and my father - two cold-hardy Canadian men - were commenting on the brutality of this winter season; not so much the temperatures (though 20 or 30 below zero is nothing to scoff at in my opinion) but the length and darkness that can really affect your overall mood. 

So to say the least, I’m soaking up the sun when I can and enjoying the perks of the season. I’ve been adventuring to the markets and local farms a lot more and this weekend I picked up a flat of some gorgeous strawberries from Heeman’s Strawberry Farm and have been putting the delicious lil suckers to good use! 

Last night’s dinner spread was a light combination of a few local flavours and some personal favourites. On Saturday I picked up some local asparagus and onions from the market, and so I chopped and lightly sautéed those together with some lemon juice and pepper to pair with some organic brown rice. But the best part of the meal - in my humble opinion - was the Seasonal Strawberry Salad and Sweet Orange & Basil Tea!

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Sweet Orange & Basil Tea

It’s like the nectar of the gods! You can have it chilled on ice to ease the humid effects of these hot summer days - or hot and freshly steeped for getting cozy by the camp-fire! The recipe is simple: just brew a fresh pot of your favourite organic tea - for this particular round I chose a hibiscus and blood orange blend - then toss the following ingredients into your cup for added zest and flavour! 

  • 1 valencia orange, thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 handful of fresh mint
  • 1 tsp of raw agave

I put one bottle in the fridge for an hour or so to cool and tossed in a few ice cubes before serving. 

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If you’re not a tea drinker or just simply want to switch it up in a healthy way - you can opt for water instead of tea and have a refreshing vitamin-infused glass of H2O! 

Seasonal Strawberry Salad

This is why I love eating seasonal foods! By narrowing the distance between the farm and your plate you’re not only helping the environment by reducing the carbon-emissions via the transportation of the food, but the freshness of flavour is undeniably superior! I mean, who in their right mind can say no to fresh local spinach and strawberries picked the morning of?! 

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Thanks to the spinach and strawberries, this meal is packed with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant benefits! As with all my recipes, feel free to opt in or out any particular ingredients you wish - food is meant to be thoroughly enjoyed after all! ;) 

  • 4-6 cups of red stemmed spinach 
  • 1 cup of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1-2 cups of strawberries, halved
  • handful of cherries, pitted and halved
  • 1/4 cup of diced dried apricots

You can blend up some cherries and lemon juice for a simple, light and refreshing dressing. Or top it off with your own house favourite

What are some of your favourite seasonal, summery meals? Do you like to venture to your local farms or farmer’s markets? Let me know what you think in the comments below! <3 

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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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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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“When life is sweet, say thank you &amp; celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you &amp; grow.” - Shauna Niequist
I’m having a sweet fruit salad for breakfast with a wedge of melon &amp; lemon/lime for dressing. When I eat like a queen, I feel like a queen! ;) 

“When life is sweet, say thank you & celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you & grow.” - Shauna Niequist

I’m having a sweet fruit salad for breakfast with a wedge of melon & lemon/lime for dressing. When I eat like a queen, I feel like a queen! ;) 

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My latest food haul of organic greens &amp; fruits! 

My latest food haul of organic greens & fruits! 

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Fruit Yourself For Breakfast

What’s the first thing you put into your body in the morning? Are you fueling it up properly for lasting energy and hydration? Or are you loading it down with difficult to digest foods and caffeine? Even if you change nothing else about your diet, starting the day off on the right fruity foot can make a world of difference! 

Immediately upon rising you should be drinking water to rev your metabolism, flush out unwanted toxins and to hydrate that gorgeous body of yours! I add lemon to mine for a little added zest and to alkalize my system. Yes - lemons are acidic but not once your body digests them. Their acids, such as citric acid, are weak, and the lemon’s overall nutrients are alkaline. The end product of metabolism is ash and its effects on the body make it alkalizing.

The next thing you reach for, after water, should be fruit. If I’ve said it once, I’ll said it a thousand times; fruit is the best source of clean-burning fuel for your body. Eating fruit on an empty stomach allows for quick and easy digestion (hello flat tummy!) and the healthy carbs and sugars are converted promptly into long-lasting fuel for your day!

Check out this casual video from Freelee, the Banana Girl, about why you should make your breakfast fruit-only! :) 

Fruit also makes for quick and easy meals! No cooking time! No waiting! You can have a few pieces of fruit straight-up or you can blend, juice or chop, dice and slice your way to flat-tummy-ville! ;)

Whatever you do, make sure you’re getting enough! One banana or one cup of berries is NOT going to hold you over or fuel your body properly. I aim for 700 calories for breakfast, or 500 if I’m having a snack before lunch. You want to fill your stomach with all that delicious, nutritious goodness and I promise you, within a week or two of just changing the way you start your day, you will totally see and feel changes in your body! Isn’t fruit awesome?! :)

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A Fruitful Walk in the Rain

Today was a rainy and blustery day in London-town, but the weather was a bit warmer than expected so I got outside as much as possible despite the spitting rain and merry little breezes. I took a walk downtown to the Covent Garden Market to check things out and grab some necessities before the weekend. I found this really wicked little salad bar that had fresh pressed juices and cut fruit available! It was calling my name so I grabbed some mango juice and chopped watermelon for lunch.

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My food haul consisted of blood oranges, a few mangoes, kiwis, some celery, peaches, kale, bananas and a cucumber. Not too much, because I had a long walk back home (~5k) and I tell ya, what I thought was a small haul got very heavy by the time I neared home! I also grabbed some dog food, homemade incense and candles to add to my load! 

When I got home I was pleasantly surprised to find a package waiting for me in my mailbox (don’t you just LOVE that feeling??). It was the tshirt I ordered from Megan Elizabeth! It fits well and is nice and cozy. I like to support the raw peeps who have inspired me towards this lifestyle and Megan is definitely someone who inspires! If you haven’t, you should check out her YouTube channel for great recipes and FAQs about eating a raw foods diet. :) 

All in all it was a pretty good little outing. I got some fresh air, fresh food, and even a bit of a workout in from hauling all that juicy goodness home! ;) Now I’m off to relax a bit before dinner and then some at-home candlelit yoga & meditation. The rainy days always make me crave candlelight. Until next time… Peace out!

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