The solution

It’s always a little mind-blowing when I see statistics like this, but it makes perfect sense – America has soaring rates of obesity and chronic disease, and I truly believe that these are a few of the reasons behind that.


But what can be done? If we live in a world that is so pressed for time that we don’t even make the time to sit down to eat our food anymore, what are our options?


  • Choose real food (even better if it is eaten raw! Then it takes less time to prepare too)
    • Real food nourishes our bodies and gives them the nutrients that they need to thrive
    • Just to make it super clear and east for you all – real food = ideally ONE INGREDIENT
  • Eat at home WAY more often!
    •  Going out to restaurants every other day will pile on the calories and transfats faster than you might think… even if you think that you are choosing the healthier foods on the take-out menus, a lot of the time there are still some pretty terrible things included in there
  • Get back into cooking again (and eating it with your family, while sitting down around the table)
    • It’s amazing what a difference even just changing this one things can make to your health
  • Get moving!
    • Being active doesn’t have to be difficult or exhausting or anything like that at all! Getting more active can look as simple as taking the stairs up to your third floor office, walking to the corner to get the mail instead of driving, or starting up a game of touch football with your family in the yard after dinner

Living a vibrant, healthy life is actually so much easier than we all seem to think… but just DO IT! MOVE! DANCE! JUMP! BREATHE! And choose healthy sources of fuel. It is these tiny little things that can make the hugest difference in our lives.

The solution

A precarious balancing act

Blood sugar. More specifically, I am talking about your blood glucose levels. Blood glucose is the sugar that the bloodstream carries to all cells in the body to supply us with energy. This sugar (glucose) comes from the foods we consume.

Blood sugar balancing

Normal fasting blood glucose levels for non-diabetics should typically be between 3.9 and 7.1 mmol/L (70 to 130 mg/dL). The numbers will fluctuate throughout the day, but for the most part, they are usually relatively stable.

That’s because our blood sugar levels are regulated by insulin, which prevents them from getting too high or too low. Stable blood sugar is beneficial for things like brain function, because your brain needs energy (in the form of glucose) to support your balanced brain chemistry and the prevent neurodegeneration.

Brain activities such as thinking, learning and memory are closely linked to our blood glucose levels and how efficiently your brain uses this fuel source. (Ever wonder why we are always told to eat a solid breakfast to start the day? There is a lot of logic behind it!)

Your brain is rich in nerve cells (or neurons) which have an incredibly high energy demand. This means that they require continuous delivery of glucose from the bloodstream.  If there isn’t enough glucose in the brain, then the brain’s chemical messengers (known as neurotransmitters) are not produced. This causes the communication between the neurons to break down. Similarly, when neurons in a certain region in the brain lose the ability to use glucose efficiently as a fuel, your brain cells begin to atrophy, which also contributes to neurodegeneration.

Why keeping your blood sugar balanced is important

Blood sugar imbalances occur when your blood sugar swings out of a normal, steady range. Blood sugar imbalances can present as symptoms that include:

  • Brain fatigue
    • This can impact your attention and cognitive function, or make you feel nervous, lightheaded, anxious, spacey or irritable
  • Poor brain function
  • Depression
    • Have you ever thought that maybe a lot of people would no longer need anti-depressants if they just started eating properly? Food for thought…
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
    • It can be either the things that you DO EAT or the things that you DO NOT EAT that cause this
  • Chronic pain

High blood sugar can also trigger an inflammatory response, leaving you feeling lethargic or drowsy. The inflammatory cascade that is triggered by excessive blood sugar in the brain can also impact your mood, contributing to feelings of depression, anxiety, or irritability.

Maintaining stable blood glucose levels is important because constant fluctuation in blood sugar levels throws your body into a state of chronic stress, adding fuel to your inflammatory fire. That’s where insulin comes in – insulin’s key function in your brain is helping your brain to utilize glucose, so when the brain becomes resistant to insulin it does not assimilate glucose properly.

Your cortisol rhythms are also associated with blood sugar stability. Excess blood sugar can result in chronically high cortisol levels (the stress hormone), which can damage and atrophy an area of the brain known as the hippocampus that plays an important role in memory and brain function. When your adrenal glands (which are responsible for releasing cortisol) become stressed, they release excess cortisol which can trigger an increased production of inflammatory proteins associated with a heightened immune response.

Stabilizing your blood sugar in the brain may help stabilize many autoimmune, inflammatory, and brain-based disorders.

Balancing your blood sugar

To balance blood sugar in the brain, it’s important to observe how eating impacts your energy and brain function.  If your energy and focus are enhanced after eating, you are probably dealing with low blood sugar. When blood sugar is balanced in the brain, eating should not impact your energy or functioning.

Insulin resistance occurs when the cells in your muscles, body fat and liver start resisting or ignoring the signal that the hormone insulin is trying to send out. A common symptom of insulin resistance is becoming extremely sleepy after eating. Blood sugar imbalances and things like insulin resistance can also interfere with your neurotransmitters (like serotonin) and can contribute to symptoms of depression.  Insulin resistance also throws your “pleasure and reward” neurotransmitter dopamine off balance which can trigger low dopamine feelings of hopeless, worthless, or feeling unmotivated, and short-tempered.

Balancing your blood sugar

I know that all sounds pretty scientific and scary, but trying to balance out your blood sugar is easier than you might think! Here are a few simple things you can do to your your blood sugar under control:

  • Eat breakfast!
    • Something as simple as eating breakfast within an hour of waking (containing a source of protein and complex carbohydrates) can provide your body with a source of fuel that will slow down the release of glucose in the system
    • An ideal health and balanced breakfast might look like two scrambled eggs, with some multi-grain toast topped with coconut oil and a hefty side of a low-glycemic fruit (such as grapefruit, plums, apples or oranges)
  • Pre-plan your meals
    • Taking the time to meal plan using fresh, good quality ingredients can really help you to control your blood sugar and ultimately improve your mood, energy and overall health
    • Meal planning can be as simple as sitting down with your family on the weekend and spending maybe 30 minutes deciding what to eat that coming week. You can shop for all of the ingredients in one swoop and prep a lot of the food on the weekend when you have a bit of free time, then pop it in the fridge to use throughout the week
  • Make our meals as nutrient-dense as possible
    • Try to use as many fresh ingredients as possible, while avoiding overly processed foods
    • Your best option is to fill your plate with colourful, whole foods that are minimally processed and low GI, which will work to lower your blood sugar levels and avoid spikes
  • Avoid foods that cause a major spike in your blood sugar
    • This includes things like refined white sugar, white breads and pastas, or anything that falls high on the Glycemic Index, like soda pop
      • The Glycemic Index is a numerical scale that tells us how quickly and by how much a particular food can raise blood sugar. The lower the GI or glycemic load, the less it affects blood sugar and insulin levels
      • Foods with a low GI score (like apples, grapefruit, broccoli, lentils, nuts and seeds) are great for keeping blood sugar levels stable
      • Foods with a medium GI score are good when you need a quick energy boost but don’t want to spike your blood sugar. Medium GI foods include brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes and peas
  • Ensure that your main meals are well balanced
    • Balance is crucial to good digestion! Each meal should include protein, healthy fats and fibre. When we consume healthy sources of carbohydrates with plenty of good fat and protein, the glucose from the meal enters our blood slowly, which is what we want
  • Eat smaller, but more frequent meals throughout the day
    • Large, infrequent meals will cause bigger shifts in blood sugar, than smaller more frequent meals
      • This means that smaller portions throughout the day with simple snacks in between should help you to maintain steadier blood sugar levels
    • Be prepared, plan your meals and bring snacks with you
  • Make sure you’re getting enough protein
    • Protein helps to slow the release of glucose into your bloodstream when you include protein with every meal
    • This is also important for the growth and repair of muscle tissue
  • Don’t shy away from healthy fats
    • Healthy fats help slow the release of glucose in the bloodstream and also provide a feeling of more satiety for longer periods of time
    • Think things like coconut oil, avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds… great in moderation!
      • One serving of almonds is roughly 23 almonds (or about ¼ cup to one handful)
      • One serving of cashews is about 16 cashews (about 1/3 cup)
    • Get moving and exercise!
      • Exercise helps the cells in your muscles take up more glucose in order to use it for energy and tissue repair and lowers blood sugar in the process
      • Long term exercise makes cells more responsive to insulin while helping to prevent insulin resistance
      • Try to get your heart rate up and sweat at least 3 times a week
    • Get enough good quality sleep
      • Not getting enough quality sleep can raise your stress and appetite hormones (cortisol and ghrelin) that make you hungry
        • This makes it harder to say no to those sugary snacks… ever wonder where a lot of your cravings are coming from? Amazing how simple it can be to fix that!




A precarious balancing act

A healthy lunch option for today

It isn’t very often that I choose to have a smoothie for lunch, but I have been noticing that I feel drawn to do that more often as the weather gets warmer and my options for ingredients grows along with the fruits and veggies. The weird thing today is that I am leaning more towards making a peanut butter smoothie rather that one that utilizes the abundance of fresh berries that is currently taking up space in my fridge. Weird, but not unheard of for me – peanut butter is one of my favourite foods and I will eat it any way that it is offered to me!

But it’s actually kind of perfect that this is where my cravings are at today… I have been working on getting some serious work done for the cookbook that I have been planning to write for a few years now all morning, and right now I am plowing through the smoothie recipes section.

I like this recipe because it’s super full of protein on top of the protein powder from both the Greek yogurt and the peanut butter. It gives you a pretty hefty hit of fibre and a ton of yummy flavour too.

Want to make this so that it impresses even the toughest critics? Try sprinkling a few chocolate chips on top before serving!

If I do choose to make this one, it means that I will have to run across the street to the grocery store to grab a banana and some cocoa powder, but it just might be worth it…

peanut butter soothieChocolate-Peanut Butter-Banana Smoothie:

  • 1 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup nut milk of your choice
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 to 3 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 serving chocolate protein powder of your choice
  • Mini-chocolate chips (for topping)
  1. Add all ingredients to a blender
  2. Process until smooth
  3. Top with a few mini-chocolate chips and serve immediately




Inspiration for this recipe came from


A healthy lunch option for today

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… it’s… a superfood?

I want to start off today by stating the obvious: superfoods are pretty super!

But wait… you want to know what a superfood actually is? It isn’t some cucumber that looks really good in spandex or a head of broccoli that can totally rock a cape. It isn’t Brussels sprouts that can fly, radishes that have x-ray vision or sweet potatoes that can break through brick walls. No, a superfood is simply a nutrient-rich food that is considered to be especially beneficial for our health and well-being. They typically contain a range of vitamins, minerals and other health-promoting and -enhancing compounds, and usually come in all manner of bright and vibrant colours (usually… the colours are where a lot of the phytonutrients are found. There are a few that are not as brightly coloured but are still healthy). We couldn’t live without them and definitely live healthier with them.

In other words, superfoods are a great way to get a super big bang for your nutritional buck.

The thing that technically puts the “super” in superfoods is measured by nutritional density (foods that are high in nutrients but relatively low in calories. Nutrient-dense foods contain vitamins, minerals, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats). Most superfoods are plant-based, though there are some (like salmon) that are also considered as being in the same category. It’s hard to define exactly what a superfood is though, mainly because the entire concept of a superfood was just something that was dreamed up as a marketing ploy! But even though it is an extremely effective marketing tool, the concept of superfoods is also a really convenient way to categorize certain foods that are nutritionally dense and therefore highly beneficial to our diets.

One way of thinking of it is that the foods which are considered the world’s healthiest foods are typically foods that would be considered superfoods. Not all superfoods are exotic superfoods or hard to find in the grocery store. In fact, many are quite common and readily available for a fraction of the price of many of the popular processed foods that litter our grocery store shelves. Some foods that are commonly referred to as superfoods due to their higher levels of nutritional density include…

  • Almonds
  • Beets
  • Berries
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Cacao
  • Chia Seeds
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Goji
  • Green Tea
  • Kale
  • Maca Root
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Salmon
  • Seaweed
  • Walnuts

There are even more superfoods out there that are not included in this list (think of the foods available on a global scale that we may not have here in Canada), but as you can see even from this list, superfoods are plentiful and readily available. The thing that I think we all need to be doing more of is evaluating not only if the foods that we are eating taste good, but we should also be examining what the nutritional value of those foods is. Also, how easy is it for our bodies to turn that food into fuel and continue to operate at its most optimal level? The answer will be different for everyone, so it is up to each of is to become more in tune and aligned with what our bodies are saying. We need to observe which foods best support our bodies to thrive, while giving us the highest levels of energy and vitality.

Spring is a fabulous time of year for superfoods, as many start coming into season again, thus giving us the ability to grow them right in our own backyards! You know the ol’ family garden that you have neglected for the past decade? Roll up your sleeves and get out the trowel! You can grow all manner of healthy superfoods with very little skill or effort required, like beets, blueberries, kale, spinach and other salad greens…

So to celebrate the arrival of my favourite time of year, I wanted to share my favourite super-yummy superfood salad recipe. This salad is loaded with roasted sweet potato croutons, avocado, pickled onions and dressed in one of my favourite light lemon vinaigrettes.

Salmon is an amazing source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is a good thing because these can be hard to get in the Standard American Diet. There is a huge difference of the quality of salmon based on where you get it as well (wild-caught or farm-raised makes a big impact on the nutritional value of the fish).

This superfood salmon recipe not only has all the nutrients from the salmon but from the other superfoods as well — leafy greens, sweet potatoes, pickled onions and pepitas. The combo is super flavourful, especially with the light lemon dressing. This is one of my favourite spring or summer meals, especially if you serve it up to your friends with a pitcher of sangria! The best part (besides how healthy it is) is that it is an easy go-to meal that you will love having as part of your weekly rotation!

Super-Yummy Superfood Salad:

  • 2 (4-oz. each) boneless wild-caught salmon fillets
  • 1 tbsp. avocado oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups baby kale
  • 2 cups baby bok choy
  • 2 cups sweet potato croutons (see note)
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • ½ cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cup pickled red onions
  • 2 tbsp. pepitas

For the dressing:

  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 to 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 tbsp. fresh oregano
  • 1 tbsp. fresh basil
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. raw honey
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • ½ to ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil


  1. To make the dressing: whisk together all of the dressing ingredients except the olive oil in a small bowl. Slowly add the olive oil to the bowl, whisking together constantly, until emulsified (you can also blend everything together in your blender or shake the dressing together in a jar)
  2. Make pickled red onions, the lemon vinaigrette dressing and bake your sweet potato croutons (see note)
  3. Season the salmon filets with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat and place the salmon in the pan (skin side-up) for about 4 minutes or until the flesh is golden brown. Turn and cook until salmon is medium-rare, about 4 more minutes
  4. In a large salad serving bowl, toss the greens with the sweet potato croutons, pickled red onions, feta and pepitas. Divide between 2 plates. Top the salad with salmon and avocado, then drizzle with the lemon vinaigrette. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste and serve

NOTE: to make the sweet potato croutons, preheat the oven to 450 F. Chop up 2 cups of sweet potato chunks and toss with 2 tsp. avocado or coconut oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until the chunks are browned on the edges and have a little crunch on the outside. Stir the potatoes halfway through baking time


Nutrition facts:

  • Serving Size: 1 salad without dressing
  • Calories: 476
  • Sugar: 9g
  • Sodium: 650mg
  • Fat: 22g
  • Saturated Fat: 5g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 11g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 38g
  • Fiber: 9g
  • Protein: 32g
  • Cholesterol: 82mg




It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… it’s… a superfood?

The Supplementation Solution

mineral-vitamin-multi-supplement-icons-vector-20723644(1)Let me start out by stating the obvious: crops grown decades ago were much richer in vitamins and minerals than the varieties that most of us get today. The culprit? Soil depletion. Modern intensive agricultural methods have stripped increasing amounts of nutrients from the soil in which the food that we eat grows. The trouble is that treating the plants this way actually diminishes their nutritional value! Sadly, each successive generation of fast-growing, pest-resistant carrot is truly less good for you than the one before.

Studies done on the U.S. Department of Agriculture nutritional data from both 1950 and 1999 for 43 different vegetables and fruits showed reliable declines in the amount of protein, calcium, phosphorus, iron, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C over the past 50 years. Many researchers attribute this declining nutritional content to the preponderance of agricultural practices designed to improve traits (size, growth rate, pest resistance) other than nutrition.

Is there a solution?

The key to healthier produce is healthier soil. Setting up a crop rotation (alternating fields between growing seasons to give land time to restore) would be a great first step. This applies to both mass market vegetable growers as well as home gardeners… everyone’s garden can benefit from doing this.

In addition, switch over to organic fertilizers and methods of pest control instead of using pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic growing methods are good for the soil, the produce and its consumers.

Those who want to get the most nutritious fruits and vegetables should buy regularly from local organic farmers.

How much do we need?

Due to the fact that produce has less of a nutritious bang for your buck, should we just give up on vegetables entirely?

NO! NEVER!! Don’t even suggest such a terrible idea.

The obvious solution is to simply EAT MORE OF IT! Eat lots of fresh, green and brightly coloured things. Get into the sensations of it all – the crunch of the carrots, the smoothness of the flesh, the bright colours… food can be a total experience if you let it (which is something that I suggest!).

Vegetables and fruits are extraordinarily rich in nutrients and beneficial phytochemicals (various biologically active compounds that are found in plants). These nutrients are still there, though possibly in smaller amounts… but vegetables and fruits are still our best sources to get these nutrients.

Spring has sprung!

Because spring is here, that means that gardening season is just around the corner (yay!)… so fresh, often mostly-organic produce will be flying off the shelves in your local farmer’s market. Eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies is the best way to get your nutrients, and its easy during the warmer months… but what about during the months when these are not readily available? We have a long, harsh winter season up here in Canada, making having access to fresh produce more difficult for most of the year.

That’s one of the reasons why I start recommending supplementation to my clients. Even if all you add to your routine is a few of the vitamins or minerals that you might not be able to get enough of through your food alone, you will likely notice a huge change in the way your body feels and functions.

The basic things that all humans REALLY need to not just survive, but thrive, are magnesium calcium, potassium, and vitamins A, C and E. These will cover your nutritional bases, and most supplements will contain at least these nutrients.

  • Vitamin A
    • RDI:2,310 international units a day
    • Benefits:Important for vision, red blood cell production, embryonic development, and immune function
    • Sources:Organ meats; orange vegetables; green, leafy vegetables
    • Try snacking on kale chips! These contain up to 25% of the RDI of Vitamin A, thanks to a few superfood ingredients, like kale, tahini, sunflower seeds and carrots
  • Vitamin C
    • RDI:75 milligrams a day
    • Benefits:Acts as a disease-fighting antioxidant; may help to maintain a healthy immune system
    • Sources:Fruits and vegetables, including citrus fruits, red and green peppers, kiwis, and guavas
    • Oranges (or other citrus fruits) make a great midday snack!
  • Vitamin E
    • RDI:15 milligrams a day
    • Benefits:Acts as a disease-fighting antioxidant; may support eye health
    • Sources:Some ready-to-eat cereals, some oils, almonds, peanut butter
    • Nuts are always a great go-to healthy snack… try adding lots of vitamin E-rich ingredients, like almonds and cashews, plus cranberries, which are high in antioxidants
  • Magnesium
    • RDI:310 to 320 milligrams a day
    • Benefits:Helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function and develop and maintain bones
    • Sources:Nuts, seeds, bran, halibut and other fish
    • Dark chocolate is a great source of magnesium, but make sure that you get the good stuff
  • Fibre
    • RDI:25 grams a day
    • Benefits:Protects against coronary heart disease and reduces the risk of diabetes
    • Sources:Fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains
    • One of my favourite fibre-rich snacks is homemade granola – plus, you can use any flavour profile you want to! Feeling savoury? Sweet? A little spicy? The choice is yours!
  • Calcium
    • RDI: 1,000 milligrams a day
    • Benefits:Bone health
    • Sources:Dairy products; fish with bones; dark, leafy greens
    • Mix in fresh berries, chia seeds, or pure vanilla extract for natural sweetness and bonus nutrients
    • Watch out for yogurts that are loaded with extra fats and artificial sweeteners
  • Potassium
    • RDI:4,700 milligrams a day
    • Benefits:Helps maintain healthy blood pressure and reduce the effects of salt; may reduce the risk of recurrent kidney stones and possibly decrease bone loss
    • Sources:Potatoes, tomato paste and puree, white beans, yogurt, soybeans, bananas
    • Bananas are a fruit that is rich in potassium – one banana alone contains 12% of the daily recommended value!
    • They’re the perfect snack to stash on-the-go, toss them in a smoothie, add them to peanut butter toast or make healthy banana bread

As far as my recommendation for which supplement to choose from the literal wall of options at most pharmacies or natural health stores… it really depends on if you have other goals for your health other than just normal maintenance. Maybe you want to lose weight. Maybe you want more energy. Maybe you are after better sleep. Whatever it is that you want to achieve, I believe can be achieved through food.

I am offering *FREE* Vitamin & Mineral Lifestyle Assessments… if you have 15 minutes and want to improve your health and your life, please contact me!




The Supplementation Solution

Herbs for detox

There are a variety of herbs have been used for centuries to assist in detoxification and cleansing rituals. Many are used in their fresh, live form but they can also be taken as capsules or as teas to support your process.

I want to share some of the most widely used ones with you today, as we are just getting into our Holistic Spring Detox program and some of these may help you (it’s different for everyone):

  • Black cohosh
    • Loosens and expels mucous in the respiratory tract, and stimulates lymphatic, liver, and kidney function
  • Burdock root
    • Purifies the blood and improves liver function
  • Cayenne pepper
    • Purifies blood and increases fluid elimination and sweat
  • Cascara sagrada
    • Promotes peristaltic action in the colon but may be too harsh for some individuals
  • Dandelion
    • Stimulates liver detoxification and promotes healthy circulation
  • Echinacea
    • Improves lymphatic drainage and immune function
  • Garlic
    • A blood cleanser and natural antibiotic
  • Gingerroot
    • Stimulates circulation and sweating and aids in cleansing of the bowels, kidney, and skin
  • Goldenseal
    • Cleanse*s the blood, liver, kidneys and skin and stimulates detoxification. Never use for longer than two weeks!
  • Horsetail
    • Tones the urinary tract and soothes the bladder, supports the skin
  • Licorice Root
    • A general detoxifier and mild laxative
  • Marshmallow root
    • Helps remove hardened mucous in the intestinal tract and lungs
  • Milk Thistle
    • Enhances liver function and helps rebuild the liver
  • Parsley
    • Flushes the kidneys
  • Peppermint
    • Brings oxygen to the blood and strengthens the bowels
  • Yellow dock root
    • Cleanses the skin, blood, and liver

Many of these herbs are safe for just about everyone, but always check with your doctor before starting a herbal protocol if you have any medical conditions or have any questions.

Herbs for detox


We live in a time when a scary percentage of our food can be deemed “nutritionally deficient”, and it may be impacting your health without you even noticing! If your diet contains an inadequate supply of essential nutrients (such as vitamins and minerals), then you are said to be nutritionally deficient… and this may lead to malnutrition or disease.

In an ideal world, we would simply get our nutrition out of the foods that we consume every day. However, we live in a day and age when pollution, stress, our busy 21st century lifestyles and a damaged ecosystem have all reduced the amount of nutrition that is available to us through our food. What’s worse, there are now harmful components in many of our foods that may not have been there originally (enter the transfat – an industrially produced type of fat that is now found in some foods. Artificial transfats are created when hydrogen is added to a liquid vegetable oil, thus making it more solid. This is how margarine is made. Actually, transfats may be found in many commercially baked and fried foods that are made with vegetable shortening, like French fries, doughnuts… it’s also found in hard stick margarine and shortening and some snack and convenience foods. If you see the words “partially hydrogenated oils” on the label of a processed food, that means it contains transfats).

But the problem goes deeper than these harmful fat molecules. It extends to our poor food choices (who wants to eat vegetables when there are burgers available?), the times at which we actually eat our food (midnight is not dinner time…), and the incorrect combinations of food that we eat (did you know that you should never combine protein with acid fruits? Goodbye, Hawaiian pizza with your delicious ham and pineapple!). Certain nutrients may also be more difficult for our bodies to absorb, and the quality of these nutrients also plays a role.

It isn’t all bad news though! There are ways to make sure that your body is still getting the nutrition that it needs. Check out these top 5 vitamin deficiencies and ways to correct them:


  • Vitamin D
    • Low levels of vitamin D have been linked with depression, obesity, heart disease and cancer. Vitamin D is also crucial for regulating calcium levels, improving muscle function and protecting lung function
    • Vitamin D deficiency is surprisingly common (an estimated 1 billion people worldwide are deficient). Widespread vitamin D insufficiency is a recent phenomenon that is reflective of our modern lifestyles – we drink less milk (especially whole milk, one of the few dietary sources of this vitamin). We are also fatter, which correlates with low levels because this vitamin is taken up in fat cells. Additionally, we spend less time outdoors, and sunlight triggers our bodies to manufacture vitamin D (to further complicate matters, wearing sunscreen blocks our skin’s ability to make vitamin D)
    • Signs of deficiency: problems can start with insufficiency, a state between flat-out deficiency and adequate levels. Studies link low vitamin D with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, infectious illnesses, autism and cancer. Severe deficiency softens bones, causing rickets in children and osteoporosis in older people. Muscles weaken and falls become more likely
    • Getting enough: the best source to get your vitamin D is from sunlight, but with today’s dangerous UVA and UVB rays causing skin cancer, it may be more ideal to opt for food sources:
      • These include cod liver oil, cold-water fish, shiitake mushrooms, egg yolks and fortified foods. However, it may be difficult to get enough through food along, so supplements (vitamin D3 or D2) are often needed, especially during winter and for breast-fed infants, pregnant and lactating women, and others at risk for deficiency
    • Calcium
      • Calcium contributes to the mineral content in bones and teeth. It’s required for the normal functioning of muscles, nerves, blood vessels and glands. Hormones tightly regulate blood calcium levels (when levels fall, calcium is released from bones. When blood levels rise, calcium is deposited into bones)
      • Two-thirds of Americans fail to get adequate calcium from their diets. Compared with men, women and teen girls are less likely to consume enough calcium
      • Signs of deficiency: because hormones maintain blood calcium levels, short-term insufficiency doesn’t produce obvious symptoms. To make up any deficits, calcium is leached out of bone… but over time, bones weaken and risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures rises. If blood calcium levels fall below normal, symptoms include fatigue, poor appetite, muscle cramps, numbness/tingling of fingers, and heart arrhythmias
      • Getting enough: calcium-rich foods include dairy products, calcium-fortified dairy substitutes and juices; sardines and canned salmon (with bones); tofu made with calcium sulfate; broccoli; Chinese cabbage; and leafy greens (kale, chard, dandelion leaf, nettles). Spinach and collard greens also contain calcium, but their oxalic acid content inhibits absorption. The same is true of rhubarb, sweet potatoes and beans. Whole grains, seeds and nuts contain phytic acid, which also binds to calcium, interfering with absorption


  • Magnesium
    • This nutrient is required for more than 300 bodily systems. It’s essential for blood sugar control and normal functioning of our hearts, muscles and nerves
    • Figuring out is someone is deficient in this mineral can be difficult, because blood tests can’t measure magnesium levels (it’s stored in bones and cells). However, inadequate intake is common
    • Signs of deficiency: symptoms of deficiency include fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting, muscle cramps, and numbness/tingling in hands and feet. The kidneys restrict urinary magnesium loss, so signs of outright deficiency are uncommon. However, persistently low intake increases risk of a number of conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, asthma, anxiety, migraines and Alzheimer’s disease
    • Getting enough: good sources include leafy vegetables, legumes, avocados, whole grains, nuts and seeds. When it comes to supplements, magnesium bound to citrate, aspartate, lactate or chloride is better absorbed than magnesium sulfate or oxide
  • Vitamin B12
    • Our bodies need vitamin B12 for proper neurologic function such as clear thinking and reasoning, DNA synthesis and the formation of red blood cells. Vitamin B12 deficiency usually develops gradually over many years and is sufficiently common
    • It is estimated that up to 15% of the general population is deficient in this vitamin. Healthy children and adults usually consume enough, but deficiency is fairly common among older adults (even among elders who consume plenty of vitamin B12-rich foods)
    • Signs of deficiency: until deficiency becomes severe, signs and symptoms are typically subtle or absent. Signs and symptoms include fatigue, weakness, anemia (too few normal red blood cells and the presence of large, immature red blood cells). Nerve damage leads to numbness and tingling of the hands and feet. Changes in the central nervous system may produce depression, confusion, unsteady gait, faulty memory (and overall cognitive decline) and, eventually, outright dementia (persistent erosion of memory, reasoning and personality). Low vitamin B12 levels are also associated with cardiovascular disease and stroke
    • 4 micrograms for the average adult), but what we do need is easy to get from animal-based foods (seafood, poultry, meat, eggs and dairy products). Breakfast cereals and some nutritional yeasts are often fortified with this vitamin
  • Iron
    • Iron is a part of hemoglobin (a protein that carries oxygen in the blood) and myoglobin (which stores and releases oxygen to muscles), so iron is crucial for energy levels and mental health. It also contributes to enzymes, molecules that speed biochemical reactions in the body
    • Signs of deficiency: some common symptoms include fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath with exertion, rapid heart rate, tongue inflammation and increased risk of infections. Iron-deficient infants can have developmental delays; deficient teens can experience problems with mental function. Research links deficiency in childhood and adolescence with psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and autism
    • Getting enough: poultry, seafood and meat (especially organ meat) contain a readily-absorbable form called heme iron. Plants contain non-heme iron, which is not as bioavailable. Sources include dandelion and nettle greens; legumes (soybeans, white beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, navy beans, lentils); pumpkin seeds; almonds; blackstrap molasses; apricots; raisins; prune juice; and fortified grain-based foods (cereals, pasta, rice, breads)

There are obviously many other vitamins and minerals out there, and there are a lot of people who simply don’t get enough of too many of them… but by consciously consuming a balanced diet, it IS quite possible to get more than enough to not only survive, but to thrive.

Having trouble planning your meals to ensure that you are getting all of the nutrients you need? Contact me today and set up your FREE 20-minute phone consultation to go over ways to improve!





I need some more spring recipes in my life these days

Well, with the passing of the Spring Equinox marking the beginning of spring this week that’s just wrapping up, I am definitely feeling the need to start infusing more fresh produce into my life again! Spring is the real beginning of the growing season, and is typically the time of year when people start planning out their gardens and getting things actually in the ground. Love it! Best time of year in my opinion.

It looks like I am moving dwelling spaces again in a week or two, so it looks like this is going to be another year when my garden is balcony-bound. Not that this is a bad thing! I still have my entire milk crate garden set-up, and it is easily movable so I can just pick it up and drop it on the new balcony when we are moving in there next week. Plus, who knows – maybe this new set-up will be a great opportunity to edit the design and layout of the garden as a whole?

However I end up gardening this season though, all I really care is that I have at least a few planters and a bunch of greenery growing in my space. The added bonus of increased oxygen because of the plants is just an amazing bonus (which totally helps with my migraines). Besides, who wouldn’t want to help make the earth a greener place?

But this recipe that I want to share with you all together is a great way to welcome spring back into the world. It contains a whole bunch of fresh veggies and a flavour profile that is off-the-charts delicious! Feel free to change the veggies you use or add even more if you like – it’s all up to you!

I really like the brightness of this salad, both in visual appeal and flavour. The ingredients used to make the dressing make just about any veggies that you choose to include in the salad really taste bright and vibrant.

Happy spring J

Asian Chopped Salad:

  • 1 boneless-skinless chicken breast, baked
  • A few leaves of Napa cabbage
  • Handful of mung bean sprouts
  • ½ red sweet pepper
  • ½ green sweet pepper
  • 1 medium carrot
  • ½ medium cucumber
  • 2 or 3 small broccoli florets
  • A few red cabbage leaves
  • Small handful of snow peas

For the dressing:

  • ½ cup Medjool dates
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • ½ tsp. Himalayan salt
  • 1 tbsp. cold pressed sesame or olive oil
  • ½ tsp. toasted sesame oil
  • ½ tsp. Chinese 5-spice mix
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small piece of ginger
  • For the garnish:
  • Small handful of cashews
  • Small handful of fresh peppermint leaves
  • Small handful of fresh coriander (cilantro)

chopped Asian salad

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F
  2. Wash and sprinkle the chicken breast on both sides with salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes, then flip the chicken over and cook until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear (about 15 minutes more). An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 F (74 C). Set aside to let it rest for about 10 minutes, then slice on the bias
  3. Add all dressing ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside for the moment
  4. Gather all the salad ingredients onto a chopping board and give them a rough chop with a mezzaluna knife (a mezzaluna knife is one that consists of two or more curved blades with a handle on each end. You chop by rocking it back and forth over the ingredients). If you don’t have a mezzaluna knife, just use a good size chef knife
  5. Place all of the chopped salad ingredients into a bowl and top with roasted chicken. Pour the dressing over top. Toss well and top with cashews, peppermint leaves and fresh coriander
  6. Serve immediately  



(The inspiration for this recipe originally came from )

I need some more spring recipes in my life these days

Cardamom and rose coming together for a truly feminine experience

According to ancient Ayurvedic wisdom, we all have a mix of feminine and masculine energy – ying and yang – and learning to balance the two is the key to thriving.

Shakti is feminine life-force. It is the energy that moves through us, making us feel alive, luminous and vibrant. While Shiva (masculine energy) observes, Shakti creates. She is the process of intention to formulation to expression. Without her, there would be no life.

This beautiful rose latte (originally designed by ayurvedic expert Sahara Rose) brings all the divine qualities of Shakti out and feeds our feminine energy. It is laced with the intoxicating flavours of various plant-based ingredients and has a positively beautiful colour.

Cardamom is a spice with an intense, slightly sweet flavour. It originated in India, but its popularity has spread across the globe. It can be used in both sweet and spicy recipes. It has many health benefits: it has antioxidant and diuretic properties, it’s a fantastic anti-inflammatory, it’s great for helping with digestive issues (including ulcers), it may have anti-bacterial effects, it may improve breathing and oxygen use, it may help lower blood sugar levels, may aid in weight loss, it is a great liver protectant, and it may contain cancer-fighting compounds. All of this makes it a fantastic ingredient for this latte! Combined that with rose water (which has positive effects on your skin, can be used to treat things like diarrhea and throat inflammation, helps regulate the digestive system, and has diuretic properties that help support the work of the kidneys), and you have a winning combination for a healthy body. An added bonus for your health are the saffron strands (which help promote mental health, help prevent macular degeneration, enhances the skin, prevents hair loss, supports the respiratory health, increases sexual vitality, relieves pain and supports hormone systems) and thyme (which helps lowers blood pressure, boosts your immunity, boosts your mood and helps stop coughing).

Overall, this is one beverage that you will want a “latte” of!

Serve with spice cookies for an incredibly warm and lovely experience.

Shakti (divine feminine) Rose Cardamom Latte:


  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 4 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • ½ tsp. rose water
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. natural beet-derived pink food colouring (optional, for colour)
  • 1 tsp. dried rose petals
  • Pinch of saffron strands
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme


  1. In a small saucepan, stir together the milk, cardamom, rose water, vanilla and food colouring. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat for 3 to 5 minutes
  2. Remove from heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve
  3. Froth using an electric frother and serve sprinkled with rose petals, saffron and thyme



Cardamom and rose coming together for a truly feminine experience

A new medicinal food

Shiitake mushroomsMushrooms have probably been around for as long as humans have… the difference between us and this functional fungus? While as a species, we tend to take-take-take from Mother Earth, mushrooms give something back – they actually provide some of the most powerful natural medicines on the planet! Science has been digging into the health benefits of about 100 species to see just what they are capable of, and a few are standing out as superior sources of health! In fact, nine recent studies showed a wide variety of health benefits, from helping with weight management, to improving nutrition, to increasing vitamin D levels, to improving immune system function:

  • Weight loss:
    • One study found that substituting red meat with white button mushrooms may help enhance weight loss. Obese participants with a mean age of just over 48 years ate approximately one cup of mushrooms per day in place of meat. The control group ate a standard diet without mushrooms. At the end of the 12-month trial, the intervention group had lost an average of 3.6% of their starting weight, or about seven pounds. They also showed improvements in body composition, such as reduced waist circumference, and ability to maintain their weight loss, compared to the control group
  • Improved nutrition:
    • One dietary analysis4 found that mushroom consumption was associated with better diet quality and improved nutrition
  • Increasing vitamin D levels through your diet:
    • Consuming dried white button mushroom extract was found to be as effective as taking supplemental vitamin D2 or D3 for increasing vitamin D levels (25-hydroxyvitamin D)
  • Improved immune system function:
    • Long chain polysaccharides, particularly alpha and beta glucan molecules, are primarily responsible for the mushrooms’ beneficial effect on your immune system. In one study, adding one or two servings of dried shiitake mushrooms was found to have a beneficial, modulating effect on immune system function
    • Another study done on mice found that white button mushrooms enhanced the adaptive immunity response to salmonella

Lingzhi Mushroom Ganoderma Lucidum Isolated on white backgroundOne side note: it is important to only consume ORGANICALLY GROWN mushrooms, because they absorb and concentrate whatever they are grown in (heavy metals, air and water pollutants, etc.). Also, a November 2012 article published in The Atlantic highlighted some recent cases of lethal food poisonings that were related to consuming wild mushrooms, pointing at a real need for caution when foraging mushrooms or any food:

“Of the over 10,000 species of mushrooms… about 50 to 100 are toxic. About 6,000 Americans each year end up eating them. Over half of those cases involve unsupervised small children… Over 90% of deaths, including these most recent ones, are caused by amatoxins.”

So today, to help us survive these last few weeks of wintery weather, I wanted to share a recipe that I got from one of my friends in nutrition college. The broth is rich and flavourful, with a hit of healthy nutrition in every bite! Best ever when you eat it with some crusty bread for dipping.

mushroom brothMushroom Broth:

  • 8 cups water
  • 10 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 large reishi mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup dried chaga mushrooms
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 stalks celery (with tops), roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2” piece of fresh gingerroot, grated
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar (“with mother”)
  • 1 to 2 tbsp. white or red miso paste
  • 1½ tsp. Himalayan pink salt
  • 1 tsp. pink peppercorns
  1. Place all ingredients in a crockpot set to Low
  2. Cook for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally
  3. Strain contents through a sieve, reserving the broth. Discard everything else except for the shiitake mushrooms, which can be saved for future dishes



(The inspiration for this recipe came from )

A new medicinal food