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Tips to Help Improve Digestion

Tips to Help Improve Digestion

5 Tips to Help Improve Digestion

  1. Chew your food! No matter how hungry you are or how rushed your schedule, take the time to chew your food properly. Swallowing smaller pieces of food helps with digestion, making you feel more full and prevent overeating. Take the time to enjoy and taste the food!
  2. Drink plenty of water and eliminate sugary drinks and alcohol. Our bodies need water and it’s important to stay hydrated.
  3. Eat fibre. Most people don’t get the recommended daily intake. Fibre lowers cholesterol and blood sugar. It also massages the digestive tract and feeds the probiotics. Women should aim for 21 to 28g of fibre and men should aim for 30 to 38g of fibre. The best way to increase fibre is to increase consumption of whole foods like vegetables, fruit, oatmeal, quinoa, beans and lentils.
  4. Support probiotics. The natural digestive “bugs” in the gut help break down food and stimulate a strong immune system. They help toxins from being absorbed into the body and create essential nutrients. Eating fermented foods, which are full of good bacteria, is important like yogurt (non-dairy is my preference) and sauerkraut. Some newer research also suggests prebiotics are also important. The best foods to support prebiotics are fresh fruits and vegetables, especially dark green leafy vegetables.
  5. Exercise regularly. But choose your exercise times wisely. Digestion requires a large amount of blood flow and exercising right after a big meal can cause indigestion, heartburn and bloating. A light walk after a meal is ok because it stimulates the rhythmic digestive muscles. Save the big workouts for before the meal or 2 hours after a meal.

Listen to your body. If you have digestion problems, consider an elimination diet to determine foods that may cause you problems.

 

What tips help your digestion?

Please leave your comments below…

Read also about Intermittent Fasting and Portion Control.

Orange Spice Candied Almonds

Orange Spice Candied Almonds

Orange Spice Candied Almonds

This is a versatile recipe that you can make quite quickly. It can be a delicious snack on the go or even a treat during the holidays. Nuts are a good source of protein and almonds are one of my top choices. Nuts are great for topping on a salad too. (Just make sure not to over-indulge since they are more calorie dense.) You can substitute your favourite nuts here or even use a combination like pecans, walnuts and cashews.

  • 5-1/2 cups raw whole almonds
  • 4 Tbsp canola oil
  • 4 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • rind of one navel orange
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 4 Tbsp brown sugar

 

Preheat oven to 325F. In small bowl combine cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, turmeric and brown sugar. Set aside spice mixture.

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Then spread almonds evenly on each. Toast almonds for 6-7 minutes. Next, whisk together canola oil, maple syrup and orange rind in large bowl. Remove almonds from oven and to large bowl and coat almonds generously in oil/maple syrup mixture. Add the spice mixture and mix evenly. Return almonds to 2 cookie sheets, spreading evenly. Bake another 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes to ensure even cooking. Allow to cool completely. Enjoy!

What’s your favourite nut to snack on?

Leave your comments below…

See some other recipes here.

Chocolate Almond Brownies

Chocolate Almond Brownies

Chocolate Almond Brownies

This is a delicious go-to recipe from OhSheGlows and has a really nice brownie texture. I love how it seems light but chewy at the same time! I always make a double batch since they don’t last in my house! Here is the double batch recipe…

  • 2 flax eggs
  • 2 cups ground almond meal
  • 1-3/4 cups brown rice flour or oat flour
  • 4 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup (plus ½ cup) non-dairy chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup vegan butter (Earth Balance)
  • 2 cups organic sugar
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

 

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line two square pans with parchment paper. In a small bowl mix 2 flax eggs (2 Tbsp flax seed mixed with 6 Tbsp warm water). Set aside to gel.

In large bowl whisk together ground almond meal, rice or oat flour, arrowroot powder, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda. In medium bowl melt 1 cup chocolate chips and vegan butter in microwave until most chips have melted, being careful not to over heat. Stir until smooth. Stir in flax eggs, sugar, almond milk and vanilla until combined. Add to dry mixture and combine well with spatula until there is no flour on the bottom of the bowl. Fold in walnuts. Press better evenly into the 2 square pans and sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top pressing slightly into batter.

Bake for 30-34 minutes. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.

How do you eat brownies?

With (n)ice cream, fresh strawberries or simply as is? 

See also Rocky Road Fudge.

Thai Crunch Salad

Thai Crunch Salad

Thai Crunch Salad

This is a healthy, flavourful dish that is quick to prepare and very colourful. It makes a meal in itself, but could also be a side. I love the peanut based dressing!

  • 4 cups Savoy or Napa cabbage, Romaine lettuce (or a combination) thinly sliced
  • 1 medium carrot, julienned
  • ½ cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 2 green onions thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red pepper thinly sliced
  • 1/2 yellow pepper thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup frozen edamame, thawed (or chickpeas)
  • optional toppings:
    • cilantro
    • crushed peanuts
    • squeeze of lime or lemon wedge

Toss all ingredients in large bowl. Prepare salad dressing:

 

Thai Peanut Dressing

  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp plain almond milk or coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp sweet red chilli sauce
  • ½ tsp lime or lemon juice
  • 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1-1/4 tsp rice vinegar
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • ground ginger, to taste
  • dash of Siracha

Combine all ingredients in microwave-safe jug. Heat on high for 30 seconds or so until peanut butter is melty. Whisk together and pour over salad. Toss to coat. Garnish with optional toppings. My favourite is crushed peanuts and squeeze of fresh lime juice.

What’s your favourite Thai dish?

Please leave your comments below…

Original recipe from Happy Herbivore

See more of my recipes.

Reduce Sugar Intake

Reduce Sugar Intake

How to reduce your sugar intake…

The biggest hurdle to reducing sugar is initially taste. Store bought processed foods all have an excessive amount of sugar (and salt) so our taste buds are used to more sweet flavours. Sugar is hidden in foods you wouldn’t think contain too much added sugar like crackers, condiments, peanut butter to name a few! When we eat this way our blood sugar levels are unstable and puts us on track for conditions like diabetes.

The way we start our day is especially important for setting the tone. I find if I eat something particularly sweet for breakfast, I am constantly craving that sweetness all day. Do you find that too? To help reduce sugar, start breakfast with unprocessed foods like fruit, fruit smoothies, whole grain bread, granola or oatmeal.

Add natural ingredients for sweeteners, like maple syrup and honey. Even fruit itself is sweet (bananas, pineapple, strawberries). Coconut has a natural sweetness, when added to trail mix or granola.

Try not to stock processed foods and sweets in your house. They are difficult to resist and if we keep these foods for treats, then an indulgence once in a while is ok compared to every day. Consider changing your definition of treat from store-bought chocolate chip cookies to a healthier homemade version. Keep them in the freezer so you have to defrost it before eating. If the temptation passes, keep it for another time.

Try roasting vegetables and eating as is or top them on a salad. The simple process of roasting vegetables brings out more flavour and sweetness. They start to caramelize and taste so delicious! Also make your own salad dressings to reduce sugar and oil content.

Be careful with beverages. Fruit juices and pop all contain a lot of sugar and most of us don’t take those extra calories into account. Instead drink flavoured water or herbal teas.

Lastly balance the sweetness with fibre. Fibre slows the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream giving your liver more time to deal with the calories. You can do this by adding nuts and seeds (like ground flax) and focus on sweets that involve fresh fruit that has its own fibre.

Once you more aware of added sugar in foods, your taste buds will change and you will start to appreciate foods in a more natural state, as they were meant to be eaten. Flavour can be added without the extra sugar.

How did you reduce your sugar intake?

Please let me know if the comment section below…

Read also Understanding Nutrients

Ginger Beans and Carrots

Ginger Beans and Carrots

Ginger Beans and Carrots

This recipe is flavourful and can stand on its own or as a side. It’s even delicious as leftovers for lunch the next day! It only takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete…

  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp peeled and grated gingerroot
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled, sliced into thin rounds
  • 12 oz green beans, trimmed (or green & yellow beans)
  • 1 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar
  • sprinkle of sesame seeds (toasted if desired)

Heat wok over high heat, then drizzle canola oil around edges. Wash carrots and green beans, then add to wok along with ginger. Saute for 2 minutes while continuing to stir. Season with soy sauce and vinegar and toss to coat. Cover with large lid and allow to steam to desired doneness. Once done, serve immediately and sprinkle sesame seeds over top. Enjoy!

How do you prepare green beans?

Share your ideas in the comments below…

See also Roasted Vegetables.

Tomato Veggie Pasta

Tomato Veggie Pasta

Tomato Veggie Pasta

This is one of my quick go-to dinners when I’m tight for time. It comes together quickly and is pretty flexible if you want to replace any of the veggies with something else you have on hand.

  • 2 cups pasta
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 (400mL) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
  • 3-4 dashes hot sauce (Tabasco) optional
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • fresh basil leaves for garnish

 

Prepare pasta as per directions. Try different types of pasta – like tricolour rice rotini for a colourful dish.

Wash, chop and prepare all veggies. In large pot, water sauté onion and garlic over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until onion is soft and translucent. Add carrot, zucchini, pepper and Italian seasoning. Toss to coat and cook another few minutes. Add tomatoes and tomato sauce. Stir and simmer until veggies are cooked through. Add salt and pepper to taste and hot sauce, if desired. Once pasta is cooked, drain and rinse, then add to pot with tomato veggie sauce. Stir then serve immediately and garnish with fresh basil.

What’s your go-to quick dinner?

Please leave your comments below…

See more vegan recipes.

Portion Control

Portion Control

5 Tricks to master portion control

  1. Learn and serve correct portion sizes. See also Mayo Clinic visual cues guidelines.
  1. Eat off smaller plates. This automatically makes portions look bigger.
  2. Share a meal at a restaurant or set aside leftovers before you start eating. Or at a buffet, survey the whole buffet before taking anything.
  3. Stop eating straight from the bag. Eat mindfully.
  4. Save TV watching for after your meal. Enjoy a meal with your family. Be engaged in conversation at dinnertime. This means you won’t rush your food.

Avoid portion distortion!

What’s on your plate?

Read also How to Lose Weight.

Blueberry Lattice Pie

Blueberry Lattice Pie

Blueberry Lattice Pie

My wonderful husband knows how much I love blueberries and recently prepared this beautiful lattice pie. I helped with the lattice part but it was delicious and made a special dessert. It was a shame to cut it up but it was a real treat to enjoy! It’s not low fat by any means, but you’d only indulge like this occasionally right?

Double Crust Fruit Pie Dough:

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup vegan butter (Earth Balance)
  • ¼ cup cool water
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • almond milk for brushing
  • course sugar for sprinkling

Blueberry Filling:

  • 4 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2-1/2 Tbsp cornstarch

 

Prepare the Pie Dough:

Combine the flour, sugar and salt together. Add the oil and blend in using a pastry cutter until the flour looks evenly crumbly in texture. Add the vegan butter and cut in until rough and crumbly. Stir the water and lemon juice together and add all at once to the flour mixture, mixing just until the dough comes together. Shape into 2 disks, wrap and chill until firm (about 1 hour). The dough can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored chilled.

 

Prepare the blueberry filling:

Bring the blueberries, apple, sugar, lemon juice, zest and cinnamon up to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Cook until the blueberries are soft and tender (about 10 minutes). Whisk the cornstarch with a few tablespoons of cold water and add this to the blueberry filling, stirring and return to a simmer until the filling has thickened (and looks glossy). Set aside to cool at room temperature. If you make this ahead, store at room temperature, but bring up to room temperature before baking into a pie.

Preheat the oven to 400F. Pull the dough from the fridge 15-30 minutes before rolling. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the first disk into a circle (just under 1/4-inch thick) and line a 9-inch pie plate with pastry leaving the edges untrimmed. Spoon the blueberry filling into the crust base.

Roll out the second disk of pastry slightly thinner than the first but this one can be more rectangular. Use a knife or pastry wheel to cut long strips about 1/4 to 1/2 inches wide. Gently lay out the strips in one direction across the pie. Fold back half of the strips, then place a new strip perpendicular, weaving them under and over each other. The next new strip will weave opposite to the first making a weaving pattern. Continue until all strips are used and the pie is fully covered. Trim away any excess pastry from the edge and create a fluted design for the crust edge. Brush the lattice with almond milk and sprinkle with course sugar.

Bake at 400F for 10 minutes, then reduce to 375F and cook for another 40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Cool the pie to room temperature and the chill until ready to serve.

What’s your favourite way to enjoy blueberries?

Please leave your comments below…

See more of my recipes.

Original recipe from Anna Olson – Food Network

Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto

This is a nice lower fat version of risotto that uses balsamic vinegar to enhance the mushroom flavour and the creamy cheesiness comes from nutritional yeast. It’s quite simple to prepare and makes a good side dish or you could have it as a main with fresh tomato on the side.

  • 1-1/2 cups short grain brown rice
  • 3+ cups vegetable stock
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 lbs mushrooms, washed & sliced
  • 2-3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 heaping Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp dried rosemary

Prepare rice as per directions using veggie stock instead of water. The type I use needs to simmer for 45-50 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms. In a large pot, on medium heat, water sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent. (Water sauté by adding a little hot water instead of oil. Add a little more water as needed so the onion doesn’t dry out.) Once the onions are soft add the mushrooms and balsamic vinegar. Toss to coat. Allow to cook with the lid off, stirring occasionally. The volume will diminish down to about ¼ the original amount.

When the rice is done, add to mushrooms. Add nutritional yeast and seasonings. Stir well and taste. Adjust seasonings as required. Voila!

What do you put in your risotto?

Let  me know in the comment section below…

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