Finding The Right Type Of Holistic Health Treatments For You



Finding the right type of holistic health treatment can be a very daunting task; and most newbies find themselves overwhelmed with all the choice. Today’s guest post demystifies holistic health and brings you one step closer to finding a holistic regimen that is tailor made to your health goals.

Enjoy!

Finding the Right Type of Holistic Health Treatments for You

Western medicine has many benefits and is excellent for healing issues such as heart attacks, broken bones and cancer, but it isn’t the only way of creating your healthiest life possible. To assist your body to be a vital, happy being it is highly suggested to incorporate complimentary healing modalities such as holistic health into life.

But what does that mean exactly?

Holistic health, according to the Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, is a, “concept that concern for health requires a perception of the individual as an integrated system rather than one or more separate parts including physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional.” In other words, it looks at the integrated system of body, mind and soul to connect with complete health. So how does one incorporate these three facets into their healing regime? Here are descriptions of some of the most popular holistic treatments available:

Acupuncture: a practice that has been used in the East for thousands of years, acupuncture incorporates the use of thin, micro needles that are inserted into the energy channels of the body. These needles help break up congestion in these meridians, helping to influence healing. It is suggested that acupuncture be used in a consecutive fashion, as one treatment is usually not as effective as a series is.

Chiropractic Adjustments: a licensed chiropractor has the gift of helping the spine and bone structure stay in alignment. This assists with issues of pain as well as problems such as asthma and stomach challenges.

Meditation: this form of holistic health is one that you can do on your own. It has been scientifically proven that involving a daily practice of meditation into life will greatly decrease stress and increases positive body functioning.

Mental Therapy: taking the opportunity to discuss issues with a trained professional is highly suggested for mental wellbeing. A therapist has the ability to see a person’s life from an outside perspective which is incredibly beneficial for shifting unwanted or negative patterns.

Reiki: a practice that was discovered by Dr Mikao Usui on a quest in the Japanese mountains, this holistic healing approach uses the healing affects of the hands. The trained practitioner uses the energy of their hands to promote healing and healthiness.

Homeopathy: a style of medicine that was initiated in the late 1700s by Dr Samuel Hahnemann, it was discovered in his medical trials that using certain aspects of plants could heal the sick. By using himself as a test subject, he found that certain characteristics that showed up on a healthy person as symptoms of disease could heal the sick by implementing an active ingredient that stimulates the body’s own healing responses.

The Vitality Kitchen Edmonton Farmers Market Summer Salad



Saturday marked my first ever appearance at a farmer’s market EVER! It was fantastic, we sold out of everything.

But life isn’t without it’s challenges. It rained, all day; which made for less than stellar market attendance. Initially I was disappointed, but after some careful reflection, I realized that had the farmer’s market been popping like it usually is, I would have sold out of product by 11 am.

I learned  a few lessons this past weekend; here are my top two take-aways…

  • Bring layers. I didn’t think I would need winter socks, but in the deluge that was Saturday, an extra pair of socks would have been most welcome.
  • Make more than you think. Honestly, I was sort of lost in regards to how much product to prepare for the market and I was lucky that the weather was less than stellar, because I simply didn’t make enough. I also learned that beverages outperform salads; I mean, who can resist a green juice or a smoothie?!

But I digress completely.

Because I am so grateful that people chose to brave the elements and visit me at the farmer’s market, I wanted to share the recipe for the SOLD OUT green pea, strawberry and cucumber salad with mint lemon dressing.

Thank you to all that came out, I very VERY much appreciated. I will be back at the City Farmer’s Market in downtown Edmonton on August 9th!

Green Pea, Strawberry and Cucumber Salad with Lemon Mint Dressing

1 cup green pea (mixture of peas and pods), blanched
¾ cup strawberry, halved
1 long English cucumber, shaved with a peeler

½ cup mint, chopped
½ cup lemon juice
¾ cup olive oil
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
Salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl whisk together the mint, lemon juice, olive oil, Dijon, salt and pepper until completely emulsified.

Toss the strawberries, green peas and cucumber with dressing and serve immediately.

Feeding Our Faces- Nutrition For Skincare



Everyone goes through a phase where there is neither the time nor the inclinations to eat healthily; starting a business, moving house or a break-up can derail any well meaning healthy eating endeavor, such is life. But it goes without saying that this neglect shows on our skin almost immediately; it’s no wonder, considering our skin is our largest organ, which is constantly renewing itself.

Recently scientists have begun to uncover more about the relationship between our skin and our diet. World renowned dermatologist and Oprah expert Dr. Perricone believes the typical western diet is a major cause of wrinkles; singling out sugar and simple carbohydrates such as white bread. A sugary diet causes collagen fibers to stiffen (they should remain springy and firm); the stiffening is called glycation and it leads to visible signs of ageing.

Our skin relies heavily on oxygen from our blood; so avoiding sugar and anything that compromises circulation is essential in the quest or preservation of younger looking skin. On the other hand omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidant rich fruits and vegetable can boost skin by reducing inflammation and fighting free radicals.

So what is the recipe for skin success?

A great skin diet should include all the food groups- fats, carbohydrates and protein- plenty of water and plenty of antioxidants to fight free radicals and boost our immune systems. This will not only show on our faces but in energy levels too.

It is extra important to feed our bodies with the nutrients it needs to produce and maintain our tissues and boost collagen; which can be found in protein and vitamin C. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and they also contain the detoxifying amino acid cystine, which aids the formation of collagen. And the consumption of B vitamins has been shown to slow the loss of collagen fibers, so be sure to consume whole grains such as brown rice and oatmeal- this will also keep us regular; and many will attest to the fact that constipation leads to frowning and grimacing- another wrinkle culprit.

Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate.

We are comprised of over 50% water, so without it, we are dry- dry body, dry skin, it’s simple. Two to three liters of water a day is a must- even more if we are exercising or living in hotter climates. In addition, essential fatty acids found in nuts, seeds and fish can help retain skins hydration levels. There is even evidence to support that fish oils can help repair sun damage, thinning of skin and wrinkle formation. EFA’s and B vitamins are well known anti inflammatory so stocking our pantry’s are  with avocados, nuts, seeds, chicken and fish ensures that our bodies never run dry.

Protection Baby!

The power of anti oxidants cannot be overstated, and they are the foremost protector of our skin. The rule of thumb when it comes to anti oxidants is to eat a rainbow of vividly colored fruits and vegetables. Dark leafy greens, carrots, squash, berries- you name it, if it is brightly colored go wild! These vivid eats are all super potent and loaded with the coveted anti oxidant. And let’s not forget about co-enzyme Q10, yes, the one in all the creams; it can be found in liver and soybeans (not tofu, which is fermented and therefore the enzyme is disabled). Also remember the less cooking and processing that our food goes through the better; steaming and grilling are the best ways to cook food while still preserving the nutrients.

Beat Sun Damage

Apart from sunscreen and the external control factors that come along with sun protection; it is advantageous to us to bolster our protection with vitamin A. This vitamin provides a natural sunscreen; and is found concentrated in sweet potatoes, carrots, kale and broccoli. Also a diet rich in anti oxidants and omega 3 fatty acids also offers an internal defense against the sun. Anti oxidant- is there anything they can’t do?!

Eating a diet rich in antioxidants and omega fatty acids is not only essential for the repair and maintenance of youthful looking skin; but for the maintenance of a healthy body and mind. And although some days healthful eating is the last thing we care to think about; but it’s about making ourselves a priority. Are you worth it?

Email Question Juicing



I receive a great deal of questions via email; from recipe advice to cooking preparations. But the topic that comes up the most in recent emails is the topic of juicing. I love juicing, it’s no secret; just take one look at my Instagram feed and you’ll see! The juicing questions run the gamut from what to juice with what, to what juicer to buy and everything in between; but I recently received a question that I knew I had to answer here because it’s very important.

“Bianca, I’m new to juicing and also a very busy mom of two; I recently lost 15lbs and now I want to start juicing. I was wondering, since I’m so low on time, can I juice my fruits and vegetables with skins on? I don’t buy organic food (it’s a bit too costly at the moment), so I want to know whether I should be peeling all my produce? I plan juicing for myself and my girls and I want to make sure that I’m doing it right. I’m hoping you’ll say I don’t have to peel them; but I’m willing to do whatever you say, because I want to get the most out of my juicing.”
~Tammy H.

Well, Tammy, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it is absolutely imperative that you peel all your produce if you aren’t buying organic. I know buying organic can get quite pricey and depending on where you live the price of organic food can be downright astronomical; so if you are going to juice conventional produce it is essential to peel it all- I know, so time consuming, but here’s why.

Most conventional produce has been sprayed with waxes, preservatives, pesticides and the like. Here’s what I saw on a package of mandarin oranges at the grocery store:

“Treated to maintain freshness in transport with one of more of the following: Thiabendazole, Imazalil, Fludioxonil and coated with food grade natural resins and/or vegetable wax.”

Scary, to think that there is so much more to that mandarin then what meets the eye.

Now I’m not sure about you but I don’t want that stuff in my body- HELL NO! By juicing the toxic skins, you turn what can be an amazing vitality promoting product (fresh juice) into toxic swill. So although you have a little bit more preparation to do prior to juicing, I think the health of you and your babies is worth the extra work- I know you agree!

I hope this helps Tammy (and whoever else was wondering)!

Raw Ice Cream- Cashew Style



When the idea to make raw ice cream came into my head, the process started small; I would use cashews. Then from there the ideas began to inundate my brain. Coconut, cacao, red chilies- I was starting to get ahead of myself; however, once I regained my composure, I thought to myself “why not”. There are moments when I feel like being a rebel; THIS was one of those moments.

Now to many, chocolate is an indulgent treat, reserved for special occasion; but cacao contains flavanoids, magnesium and iron which work very hard to protect us from heart disease- special occasion or not. However, before I continue my endorsement of this burnished colored super food, you must know that the quality of the chocolate/cacao products we eat, have a strong bearing on the nutrient content. Raw cacao, which is just that, raw, retains all the essential nutrients that make cacao so potent. Cadbury and Hershey unfortunately do not reserve the right to claim the same. And if you are going with dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids or more is the benchmark of quality goods.

Ok, back to the facts! Cacao is loaded with flavanoids, which provide a protective shield from environmental toxins; and when we consume foods that are rich in plant based flavanoids, the body’s ability to clot blood is reduced. Yes, this may sound as though we are getting into hemophiliac territory, but this is important when we are talking about heart health. If the body isn’t unnecessarily clotting blood, then fat like substances in our blood aren’t able to clog the arteries- get it? Good!

During the months of November, December and January, when the weather is cold and dreary, lots of little’s are conceived; which makes sense to me. Between going out and freezing or cozying up between the sheets, I think given the choice we would all choose the latter. And successful hanky panky requires good circulation, if you follow; so to spice up my ice cream creation and lend a hand to the lover birds, I added chili flakes. By doing this we add a nice aromatic punch without it being overwhelmingly hot- it’s neat; but beware of heavy hands, if you add too much, the ice cream will be ruined.

The process of making ice cream can be really easy or really labor intensive, depending on your equipment. If you have an ice cream maker and a food processor, this recipe will be a breeze; but if you’re old school like me, this is going to require a little bit of elbow grease; but I promise the end result is completely worth it.

I chose cashews as the base for my raw ice cream, but substituting pistachios, hazelnuts (skins removed) or macadamia nuts would yield the same heavenly results. If spice is not your bag, feel free to omit the chili flakes and substitute cinnamon or cardamom in its place; the flavoring agents lend themselves very nicely to customization- so go wild.

Alas, raw ice cream when there’s 25cm of snow on the ground may seem crazy; but I promise this spiced raw cashew ice cream is crazy good!

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2 cups raw cashews
1 cup hemp seed milk
¾ cup coconut milk
1 tsp red chili flakes
½ cup coconut sugar
¼ cup raw cacao powder
2tbsp coconut flakes
1 tbsp coconut oil

Soak the cashew and chili flakes in the coconut and hemp seed milks overnight.

Add the soaked mixture to a food processor with the remaining ingredients; and blend for 12-15 minutes, until completely smooth- you will have to scrape the sides down once or twice. If you are using an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into the ice cream maker and follow the machine instructions.

For the old school ice cream method

Place the mixture in a bowl and put in the freezer. Every 45 minutes stir the mixture vigorously until the mixture is well frozen; this process took me about 4 hours- but I repeat SO. WORTH. IT.

Chocolate, vanilla, neopolitan? Winter, Spring, Summer and/or fall? How and when do you enjoy your favorite ice cream?

Pensions, Manhattan Style

New York Times reporter Mary Walsh and Michael Cooper offer a grim assessment of New York City’s pension finances in their August 20, 2006 article entitled “New York Gets Sobering Look at Its Pensions”. Their research suggests a funding gap as large as $49 billion or “nearly the size of the city’s entire annual budget and the equivalent of the city’s publicly disclosed outstanding debt.”

A key point of contention is how to properly measure the true economic value of the city’s pension obligations. According to the article, New York City employs a unique method that sets the pension shortfall to zero. By doing so, it is never clear whether the plan is in deficit and to what extent. Apparently the method started at a time of bounty, with the aim of preventing a raid by officials.

As this author has repeatedly said, you must be able to properly measure the pension liability. Otherwise, how can one identify what corrective action to take, if any, to set the plan right? (Written for private plans, the same commentary applies in concept to public plans. Good information is everything. Click here to read “Will the Real Pension Deficit Please Stand Up?”)

10 Reasons Why We Should Eat Locally Sourced Food



The locavore movement is steadily gaining steam. I know this because my city which is the northern most metropolis in the world manages to deliver many a farmer’s market to choose from, as the demand for quality produce that is sustainable and supportive of small farmers is growing. But, in addition to being sustainable and farmer supportive, locally sourced food allows us, the consumer, to speak directly to the people who nurtured our food into maturity- I doubt either of us can get the people at Dole on the phone.

I digress.

As the weekend aka farmer market mecca is upon us, I wanted to share this guest post highlighting 10 benefits of eating locally sourced food.

Enjoy!

There are many benefits to eating locally sourced food, from improving our health to reducing our spend. As well as generally being fresher and tastier, locally sourced food helps support sustainable farming, and contribute to your local economy. Moreover, locally sourced food reduces the cost of distribution, and produce environmental and nutritional benefits in terms of preservatives, diversity of diet, and your self reliance as a cook. These advantages, and more, all go into making locally sourced food an excellent option.

1 – Fresher and Tastier
Local food tends to be grown seasonally, which means they’ve only been out of the ground a short time before ending up on your plate; the reduced amount of time between being harvested and being eaten means that you enjoy fresher tastes, and higher nutritional benefits.

2 – Sustainable Farming
Another advantage to locally sourced food involves the contribution they make to sustainable future farming. Local and independent farms and co-ops tend to focus on restricting over farming of their land, which can help to prevent soil erosion, and protects biodiversity.

3 – Lack of Preservatives
Locally sourced food is also recommended for their organic qualities – the speed by which foods are grown and sourced, and then sold, means that they usually avoid genetically modified ingredients, hormones, and other synthetic preservatives.

4 – Local Economy
Sourcing your food locally has the advantage of supporting your local economy – farmers are able to compete against larger multinationals, with the long term effect of keeping local businesses running in a tough economic climate.

5 – Ecosystem Benefits
The attention taken by local farming to keeping the land in good condition, and to avoiding over farming, has a wider impact on preserving hedgerows, water supplies, and grazeable land for animals.

6 – Less Distribution Costs
Non local food that has been shipped or flown internationally tends to be packed full of preservatives, and incurs a carbon footprint as it passes from suppliers to retail outlets. Locally sourced food skips these steps, and are much more economical and eco friendly.

7 – Ensures Diversity of Diet
By eating locally, you’re able to sample the seasonal produce from your area; you get crops and produce at their ripest, and get to enjoy both winter and summer vegetables, as well as year round perennials.

8 – More Eco Friendly
Again, the reduced packaging, pesticides, and other synthetic ingredients in locally sourced food emits less harmful chemicals and materials into the atmosphere and the environment. Farming co-ops that use recyclable and green technologies also help to prevent farming and animal rearing from having a significant cost to the environment.

9 – Healthier For Us
It is important to note that not all locally sourced food will be healthier for you, however a lot of it will be. Many healthy women choose to incorporate locally sourced food into their diet plans to help them eat more nutritional foods which boost exercise efforts.

10 – Self Reliance
By investing in local foods, you can become more active and self reliant in terms of your cooking, food selection, and diet; buying local food can inspire you to start your own personal garden, and to participate in co-ops.

Author Bio
Luke James writes about healthy eating, from the benefits of Rapeseed Oil from www.mrhughs.co.uk to planning your diet for the year ahead. In his spare time he runs healthy cooking seminars.

Guest Post The Truth About Protein Products



Everyone knows that whey protein is a truly great product, which delivers a series of benefits due to its complex of amino acids, minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins. Unlike the regular whey products, the organic ones include a truly great antioxidant, known as Glutathione, which is also refereed to as the master antioxidant. Obviously, this name helps everyone to understand that Glutathione is the most important antioxidant that exists within our bodies.

However, it is very important to know that not all whey protein products contain the aforementioned ingredients. Actually, most of them do not contain any amino acids, minerals, antioxidants, and vitamins. This indirectly means that taking a whey protein product that does not contain all these ingredients cannot really help a person to develop good overall health and vitality. But how can you actually know whether specific products contain these ingredients or not?

Organic Whey Products versus Non Organic Ones

It is true that you can find the best organic whey protein products by simply asking an expert. But, we all know that finding such an expert can prove quite complicated. Additionally, you must be aware that most protein products are highly processed, which means that they lose their beneficial qualities.

Another factor to consider is that most products are made from cow milks which are usually subject to genetically modified and unnatural diets. This indirectly means that the milk is genetically modified, resulting in modified whey protein. These said protein products simply cannot be compared to the organic variety. Therefore, it becomes important to be aware of the most important elements, which measure the quality of organic whey products. These elements include the followings:

  • Ingredients: Before opting for a specific whey product, always read the label. By doing so, you can easily discover whether the product is organic or not.
  • Processing: It is also essential to read specific processing details about the product. For instance, whey protein that is treated at high temperatures loses its active properties; this is because the high temperature kills the natural qualities of the product.
  • Grass Fed Whey Protein: One of the best protein products that you can find these days is processed from the milk of the grass fed cows. It is essential to check various reports that direct you towards the producers who manufacture these types of protein products. Therefore, the secret to finding a truly good whey protein product is cows that produce healthy milk. Healthy cows create healthy milk, that, therefore contributes to a quality milk based whey protein product.

The aforementioned points will help you find organic whey protein products of good quality, which is far superior to that of other whey protein alternatives. Organic whey protein is superior because it’s free of chemicals, coming from healthy cows that were respected during the course of their lives.

Grass Fed Whey Protein and Its Advantages

You already know that grass fed whey protein products come with numerous advantages, including antioxidants and vitamins that boost the immune system. Grass fed whey protein products are beneficial to a healthy diet; which is why you should opt for these types of products instead of highly-promoted non-organic brands.

Author Bio
This is a guest post by David Veibl, occasional guest blogger on health issues, business, SEO, sports and technology.  David now writes for Well Wisdom about natural whey protein. Well Wisdom is a service business. Our products like grass fed whey were developed specifically for individuals in need of help to recover from and to prevent relapse of immune compromised diseases

Leek Potato Broccoli Soup Recipe



Have you done a self breast examination yet? If not, pause from reading this post, head over to the Vitality Guide for Women Facebook page and get the how to guide (you may have to scroll to see it) and DO IT; then come right back and continue reading. Every woman should know how to examine her breasts, so if something changes she is aware; because that’s what October is all about, Breast Cancer Awareness. And if you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times, our health and wellness is our responsibility, not that of our doctors.

Rant over!

Broccoli in my opinion should be considered vegetable royalty, as it finds itself on many “Top Healthy Food” lists; and broccoli has been lauded for its cancer fighting properties for years. As a member of the brassica family of cruciferous vegetables- the same family as cabbage, kale and Swiss chard- broccoli is an excellent source of anti-cancer phytochemicals called isothiocynates. Isocthiocynates fight cancer by neutralizing carcinogens by reducing their poisonous effect and stimulating the release of carcinogen scavengers, and speed their removal from the body.

So why is it important that women eat broccoli?

The anti-cancer properties of broccoli have been well established, due to various compounds that impact our health; but the one that deserves a special mention is the indoles. Indole-3-Carbinol (I3C), which is not only a powerful antioxidant and stimulating detoxification enzyme, seems to protect the structure of DNA. It also reduces the risk of breast and cervical cancer.

I3C is important to women because of estrogen. Now estrogen has three basic metabolites, and they all behave differently in the body. Two of these metabolites- 16-alpha-hydroxyestrone and 4-hydroxyestrone possess carcinogenic action, but the third, 2-hydroxyestrone, is benign and has protective effect. I3C increases the ratio of the benign estrogen metabolite to the harmful ones. And since men also have estrogen, vegetables with indoles are protective and helpful to them as well. As if that weren’t enough to get you on side with broccoli, I3C has also been shown to protect against the carcinogenic effect of pesticides and other toxins.

Although broccoli is available year round, the best of the bunch is available fall through winter to spring. With dark green broccoli, the heads should be dense with no separation between the green buds and no yellow flowers showing; the presence of even one flower means the plant is turning fibrous and woody. Broccoli, despite many people carrying longstanding aversions to it, is quite versatile; and it plays nicely with bacon, anchovies, cheese, pesto, hollandaise sauce, lemon garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and the list could go on forever.

This leek, potato and broccoli soup recipe is a delicious way to meet your indole requirement; and virtually effortless to prepare. Truthfully I was simply going to make leek and potato soup, but I’m always looking for ways to boost the nutritional content of my food, and the addition of broccoli fit the bill rather nicely. Soup has been a longtime favorite of mine, as I love layering flavors; and that’s the beauty of soup. Crafting a delicious soup required that you take simple flavors and build on them; which seems simple enough but there is an art to making soup. Throwing all ingredients into a pot with water does not a delicious soup make; the key is layering the ingredients in the right order- onions, celery and carrot go first (but this soup only has onions), then the main component like broccoli and potatoes along with spice and then the liquid component, this ensure the maximum achievement of flavor.

Although this leek, potato and broccoli soup recipe has very few ingredients, don’t let that fool you; in this case less is more! One slurp of this delicious soup will show you that cancer fighting has never tasted this good!

6 potatoes, cubed
1 leek, washed and sliced- white part only
1 head broccoli, roughly chopped (reserve some florets for garnish)
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp pepper
2 tsp salt
1 cup water
4 ½ cups vegetable broth
1 tsp chili flakes

To blanch broccoli floret for garnish, boil salted water and plunge the broccoli in the water; cook until they are the brightest of green, about 1 minutes and set aside. Heat oil in pot on medium high heat, add the leeks and 1 tsp salt; cook until the leeks are fragrant and transparent, about 4 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook stirring for an additional 4 minutes; add the broccoli, stock and water. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a rolling simmer; cook for 25 minutes, or until the potatoes begin to fall apart. Remove from heat and blend with an immersion blender until completely smooth. Garnish with blanched florets and chili flakes.

Sweet Pea Avocado Pesto Sauce



I have officially dubbed this week, the week of the avocado; because I cannot seem to get enough of this pitted fruit. I’ve been spreading it on sprouted grain toast, putting it in smoothies and making lusciously smooth sweet pea avocado pesto sauce.

Now I’ve covered all the reasons why we should be consuming avocados, from their healthy fats that lower cholesterol, to their 11-17 grams of fiber per one whole avocado and, lastly, their  lutein for healthy eyes and glowing skin; but I have yet to mention their best quality- well one of their bests. And one of the reasons avocados and vegans, or wannabe vegans, should become acquainted.

Every time I consider becoming a vegan, I stop because I think “how will I get the creamy texture I have come to love from cheese and Greek yogurt?” I will freely admit that I love Greek yogurt, as most of my smoothies feature this probiotic rich ingredient; and I have a soft spot for cheese. And, although, Greek yogurt has quite large smoothie shoes to fill, when avocado is added to a smoothie, the yogurt is barely missed. And when making a pesto, cheese is rather nicely replaced by avocado.  And it’s also worth a mention, because it’s National Organic Week in Canada, that avocados find themselves on the Clean Fifteen list; meaning they aren’t heavily sprayed with pesticides and do not need to be purchased organic!

No cheese in a pesto? Well, I made this pesto cheese free, which I normally don’t do, because I am currently cleansing after a very indulgent week in Toronto and the Muskokas; and quite frankly, cheese has no place on a cleanse. Dairy slows down our digestion and the goal of cleansing is to get things back in working order, so whether it’s organic or not, it’s a no go. So that’s why there is no cheese in this pesto. But you know what? I didn’t miss, and you won’t either.

The addition of sweet peas was off the cuff, as I had planned to save my frozen sweet garden peas until the depths of winter; but I have always had a problem with restraint, so I used a handful in this pesto because I was craving their distinctly sweet flavor, which makes this pesto decidedly unique.

This sweet pea avocado pesto sauce, as with most pesto, makes for a lovely garnish on fish, mixed in to mashed potatoes or whatever you’d like; I served it generously on Kamut pasta. Kamut is an ancient grain which has a rich nutty flavor; and it has a high concentration of selenium, zinc and magnesium and it’s a rich source of complex carbohydrates. But like I said, pesto is well placed in many dishes, so the choice is yours.

Basil pesto, as good as it is, has been done to death, while this avocado and sweet pea pesto is a breath of fresh air- new season, new pesto!

1 avocado, pitted
1 lemon, juiced
½ cup sweet peas
3 cloves garlic
¼ cup pistachios
1/3 cup basil leaves, packed
1/3 cup chives
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ cup olive oil
¼ tsp red chili flakes

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until completely smooth. Refrigerate in an airtight container for 1 week.

Homemade Stevia Syrup



Sugar. What hasn’t been said about this white dusty enemy? There are moments where sugar consumption is inevitable; however, since the dawn of this year I have endeavored to cut it out of my life, which has proved challenging, to say the least. Sugar is everywhere, from your Starbucks latte to your morning piece of toast; and the negative effects of consuming sugar can be seen everywhere as well, from tooth decay to obesity to mood disorders and skin problems…the list could go on forever.

Enter stevia.

Now initially I didn’t like the idea of stevia, I thought that it fell into the same category as Splenda, Sugar Twin and the like; however, the leaves of this perennial shrub contain a chemical called stevioside and the compound in the leaves is up to 300 times sweeter than sugar. And not only do these leaves provide a natural sweetness to whatever your sweet heart desires, they also don’t contribute to any of  the aforementioned health problems; and, instead, contain potassium, zinc, magnesium and B3- which is why I chose to blend up the leaves as opposed to steeping them.

So how did I get my hands on stevia? Well, I have a friend with a thumb almost as green as a stevia leaf; and he so kindly grew the plant for me. But you need not have a green thumb to grow your own; the stevia plant is adaptable and easily grown in the ground or in a pot on your balcony, all you need is sun exposure.

Let there be light said the stevia; and it grew!

Stevia powder, it’s most common conception, is made by drying the leaves and grinding them up; but I chose to steep, blend and strain leaves to make my own homemade stevia syrup for two reasons;

    • I was far too impatient to wait for the leaves to dehydrate
    • I like liquids, I feel that I have more control of my portion size; and considering stevia is ever so sweet, portion size is king

Ah Stevia,  you are proof that Mother Nature’s bounty is all we need!

½ oz stevia leaves
1 cup water
½ tsp organic vanilla extract

In a pot bring all ingredients to boil. Remove from heat and steep the leaves for 10 minutes. Add all ingredients in a blender and blend well combine. Strain the liquid and discard the pulp. Liquid keeps in the refrigerator for at least a month.

Blendtec Blender Drink Recipes Pistachio Milk Matcha Latte



I’m a big fan of rituals and routine; especially my morning routine. I don’t like to talk for at least 30 minutes when I wake up; just enough time to prepare my lemon water and my morning latte. And those who mess with this routine are sure to feel the chill.

Every morning I either make a spiced Chai latte or a Matcha latte; but lately I have been completely obsessed with matcha; having at least two in a day. And Matcha lattes are made even better with nut milk- pistachio milk to be exact.

With nut milk in my life I don’t miss cow’s milk at all; and although the advertisers would like you to believe that cow’s milk is best, quite frankly, it isn’t. With over processing and homogenization, traditional cow’s milk is devoid of the nutrients our milk drinking ancestors enjoyed; and, humans are the ONLY species to drink another animal’s milk- kind of gross if you ask me.

A word about homemade nut milks; I am currently obsessed with hybrids. I have been making hybrid milks in my kitchen for a few months now and WOW, they are amazing! Coconut hazelnut milk or pistachio pecan milk; the combinations are endless. To make your own hybrids, simply revisit my DIY almond milk tutorial and substitute whatever combination of nuts and/or coconut meat for the almonds in the recipe. And PLEASE tweet me your thoughts!

Back to the topic at hand, Pistachio Milk Matcha Latte.

Another reason that I have become so enamored with DIY lattes is their cost effective nature; as an admitted Starbucks addict, I simply cannot justify $5.00 a pop for a latte. And their lattes are loaded with astronomical amounts of sugar- I cannot justify that either. When I make my latte at home I save money and I have the added benefit of knowing exactly what is going into my body. And although I have mentioned this before, Matcha is an excellent alternative to coffee because it offers sustained energy (6 hours); and Matcha is brimming with antioxidants to fight all the free radicals swirling around our environment.

The way that I get a frothy latte that compares to that of a coffee shop is by warming the milk and then combining all the ingredients in my Blendtec Blender and blending on high; this serves to get all the lumps out of the Matcha and froth the milk at the same time. This latte is hands down one of my favorite blendtec blender drink recipes!

So, cheers to morning rituals; and Matcha lattes!

Pistachio Milk Matcha Latte

Serves 1

1 ¼ cup pistachio milk, warmed

¾ tsp matcha green tea powder

1 tsp raw honey

In a blender (I use my blendtec) combine all ingredients and blend until frothy and lump free. Serve immediately.