get on that D train

We woke up to snow this morning, so in my mind it’s winter. Although I love ice skating, sledding and even a good old fashioned snowball fight, I don’t love the sniffles, sneezes and restless nights with stuffy noses. Vitamin C can help, sure, but we eat a pretty balanced diet with lots of fruit and veg so I do not spend my money on this supplement. I only use one supplement in the winter: Vitamin D.

The bright sun on a winter’s day is beautiful and uplifting, but it’s not going to help you in the Vitamin D department. As I recently found out at a symposium, if the UV index is less than 3, and your shadow is taller than you, you’re not going to make Vitamin D from that sun. So in Canada, that means autumn and winter is time for supplementation. Chances are you aren’t getting enough vitamin D from your diet, unless you are guzzling cod liver oil and gorging on wild salmon every day. So, you need to supplement, but why? The bottom line is the closer you are to optimal Vitamin D levels in your body, the less risk of multiple diseases (we’re talking schizophrenia, cancer, big stuff), and things just work much better. Vitamin D unlocks the DNA library for cells to make the equipment they need to fix things. It’s important.

To read more about Vitamin D and the amazing statistics you can visit Grass Roots Health and The Sunlight Institute.

nature’s fat, round 2

20131114-132235.jpgSo last week I posted a picture of avocado being used in tuna salad instead of mayo. Some of you may be wondering why it’s a big deal. Well, to me, a jar of mayo represents some negative things: Processed food with added sugar, salt, artificial colour, and waste. Yes, you can make your own mayo. As a Mom, although I like to create in the kitchen with my kid (we made the egg salad pictured together) I appreciate some convenience so making mayo just isn’t high on my list of foodie priorities right now. And yes, I do have other condiments in my fridge. The dreaded ketchup is there, and mustard. But I was committed from the beginning to teaching (enforcing) good eating habits to my son, so the ketchup rarely gets used. The mustard I consider a lesser evil because there is no added sugar and the colour boost comes from turmeric (my fav!). So I really don’t need another jar, especially when there is an alternative that I don’t have to make, comes straight from nature, and has nutritional benefits.

I only used mayo as a sandwich spread, in egg salad/deviled eggs and tuna salad. You can use avocado for all of that. And guess what? You can even use avocado in smoothies, pasta sauces and cupcake frosting! And geez, I almost forgot GUACAMOLE. So seriously less waste, you know you’re gonna use up your avocados somehow.

When my son was a baby, I’d buy an avocado, cut it open and feed it to him as a snack in the park. Your body needs fat, it’s great for your brain, and this is the best way to get it. Avocados are loaded with good fats including omega-3s that help lower cholesterol and promote brain health. They are also full of fibre, potassium and vitamins. Yes they are high in calories: That’s what makes them a great snack on their own, not just as an additive in recipes. Really I could go on and on for days about all the great nutrients in avocados, but I like to sum it up like this – grab it, slice it, go. You really cannot go wrong with an avocado.

If you want to know even more about avocados, I have a link (over there, on the right!) to a great website, The World’s Healthiest Foods. They have all sorts of interesting history, benefits and recipes for so many foods. Green food rocks! Just tell your kid it’s monster food. 🙂

full circle

Honestly I don’t even know how to start this post, I have so much to say, so here it goes.

First of all, I wanted to explain the slightly cheesy and rushed style of the last few posts. I have not been updating this blog regularly since my son was born, which is when I took a break from nutrition consulting. I threw up a few posts quickly last week in case I got an influx of people visiting the blog, because there was a slight chance I would have my info in print in a newspaper. But that did not come about, yet.

My son will be starting full-day school next year, so it’s time for me to refocus, and plan what I will be doing. Starting my nutrition practice was exciting, eventful, and was proving to be popular and successful, and then I got pregnant. I am blessed that I was able to stay at home with my son until now, and I would not change a thing. But I am also nervous, excited and hopeful about stepping back into a separate role from “Mom”.

As a holistic nutritionist, and holistically-minded person, many things influence my well-being and balance. One of the biggest factors for me is music. I have made this a central factor in my son’s development, and the benefits and potential for great things in his life are already showing. Music is definitely a form of nutrition for the soul and mind. Melodies, beats, passion can shift your mood, focus your mind, and give you insane amounts of motivation. For instance, switching the radio on while washing the dishes. It works, right? 🙂 Over the past few days, I have had some sort of musical rebirth. I have become nostalgic, remembered my roots, embraced my gifts and just let loose and let music dominate my days in a way I have not done for a LONG time. It feels so good. It has inspired me and motivated me. I am ecstatic about this turn of events.

I had a feature on this blog called morning lemon, and a few times I posted songs. The first morning lemon post way back on April 30, 2007 included this:

Today my son and I were playing song roulette and I saw this, and had to play it. Lately my friends have become obsessed with lemon water, another thing I wrote about and talked about frequently as a nutritionist. Just the other day I told someone I was not going to use Lemon Holistic as my business name anymore. I try to pay attention to the signs and go with my gut and now I am thinking Lemon Holistic may not be going away just yet.

Thanks for reading, and if you followed me before, I appreciate you returning for another look. If you are a new reader, welcome and I hope you check in once in a while.

Who knows what the future holds…

orange you glad you had some carrots

carrot muffinIt’s getting cold here in Toronto, and when it gets cold, I can’t help but bake. I especially like to bake when I have ingredients to use up in my fridge, like carrots. I tweaked a great carrot cake recipe I got from my sister-in-law to create these muffins, using whole wheat flour, shredded carrots and crushed pineapple. They are perfectly naturally orangey coloured. Muffins like this are a great way to get more fruit and veg into your kids. Great for school snacks! Also great for Mommy’s breakfast with a sneaky swipe of butter…

pumpkin everything

pumpkinI know “pumpkin spice” has turned into some kind of cruel joke but when Autumn hits, I’m still gonna do the pumpkin thing, oh yeah. I love the synergy of the nutrition and the seasonality, and of course the vibrant colour. I get such a good feeling preparing multiple recipes using this versatile food. From one pie pumpkin I made a pie, pumpkin mac and cheese, pancakes, and muffins. That’s a whole lot of pumpkin fun. I got it out of my system. Until next autumn.

no more mayo

avocadoFor a long time, I thought about using avocado in tuna salad (for the every once in a while that we have tuna), then happened to see a friend’s post on facebook doing this very thing. So I thought, ok, enough is enough, just do it. You see, having a 5 year old child who is a good eater is a blessing, which also took hard work on my part, but sometimes you’re just not sure how far you can push them. But I made it, and he ate it. Just like the egg salad I made with avocado. So now I can finally say, I refuse to buy another jar of mayonnaise just to use 1/4 of the jar, feel bad about it, then end up disposing of the almost full jar after it sits unused in the fridge for a year. I’ll just use nature’s fat instead, thank you.

angry birds, happy cakes

angrybirdcakesIt’s a challenge making fun and exciting birthday cakes for my son using natural food colouring, but somehow it always works out great. This year he was really into angry birds, and I can definitely do red and yellow thanks to paprika and turmeric! The red frosting was dyed with a commercial natural food colouring from the UK, but the yellow frosting I tint with my own ground turmeric. I love the way these turned out and they were a big hit with the boys.

PS: I recently found out the trick to making blueberry frosting blue, not purple, and also found out it doesn’t taste like blueberry (a good thing) – I will do a blue post once I have perfected the colour!

Beans, beans, they’re good for your heart…

In an interesting turn of events, as we walked into the drugstore to get my little man a new toothbrush, he noticed and demanded to hold this tube of brightly coloured jelly beans. Once he was distracted by the toothbrushes I took a closer look and noticed my favourite line “no artificial colours or flavours” on the tube making it an official purchase “for baking” (as opposed to “for immediate stuffing in the mouth”). Upon even closer inspection it turns out that these beans are made in Ireland, and they somehow ended up on a random shelf in a Canadian drugstore, and to top off the weirdness of the situation, they scanned at 26 cents – ? I love finding new naturally coloured products and sharing the information about these progressive companies who “get it” and manage to create something fun and better for you. Take a minute to look at and if a tube ends up in your or your little person’s hand, relish those lovely natural colours!

Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Wow it’s hard to believe that when I wrote my last post on here my son was 8.5 months old, now he is nearing 3! So much has happened – we are happily back in Toronto and I managed to start up and leave behind a cupcake business in the UK. When we left Toronto, naturally coloured smarties were only to be found in the UK but lo and behold upon our return Nestle Canada wised up! I am hoping to start blogging again regularly so watch this space…

it can be done…

Wow, long time no post. I guess this is just what happens when you have a baby, and they take up more and more of your time as they grow. My son is 8.5 months now, and very demanding! Am taking the opportunity during nap time to tell you all that I am moving to the UK at the end of this month. We are going for a year and are excited and nervous about our big adventure. I had all these plans of blogging about what I’ll miss about Toronto, but that never came to pass. So, I am going to talk a bit about something I am NOT going to miss about Toronto, but that I look forward to in the UK – more foods made without artificial colours.

The other day I picked up some UK smarties (made without artificial colour) at a candy store and thought I would compare them to their North American counterparts, which use artificial colour.

Well, you tell me – is the difference so much that you or any kid you know is going to be heartbroken if they have to eat the ones coloured naturally? It’s crazy. I actually like the way some of the naturally coloured ones look better. And of course, the taste is the same, as far as I can tell.

So the big question is, why does Nestle in the UK make candy using natural colours, but cannot do the same thing in North America? Yes, I know the answer ($$$?), but I’d like to really know the answer they would give if I wrote a letter and asked them.

I feel lucky that I am going to be making my 1 year old’s first birthday cupcake in a country where I will have more options for going wild with the decorative toppings, along with my own naturally coloured frosting. Fun should not have to be artificial…