pink sunrise!

Sometimes, if you pay attention to your body, you can feel that you just need a particular food. For the past few days, I had been feeling like I needed grapefruit juice, so this morning I went down to the kitchen, squeezed away, and ended up with the perfect glass of bright pink bittersweet juice. As a bitter food, it is helping to stimulate my digestion (today, “bitter” is a highly underused taste in our diets, which has so many benefits!). Packed with vitamin C, it is helping to boost my immunity. Grapefruit has also been shown to aid in weight loss. Finally, who can resist smiling at that bright pink colour. It truly uplifts the soul.
Why not skip the OJ and try grapefruit instead – variety is the spice of life. Your body will thank you!

(There is a potential problem with medications – grapefruit and meds don’t mix well, so if you are on medication, skip the grapefruit for now. If you want to know more about this, you can contact me at lemon holistic.)

The information provided in this post is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as cure or prescription, and should not be used as substitute for advice received from a qualified health practitioner.

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the power of the word “real”

The other day, I heard a radio ad for a fast-food chain, pushing the fact that their broccoli and cheese sauce baked potato was made in a “real” oven.

That scared me a little bit, and I couldn’t put my finger on why, until I visited their website and looked up the ingredients in their cheese sauce. Basically, they have to use a concept like “real oven” to hook a listener, because they certainly can’t say “real” about their food.

How scary is it when the only way left to promote your food product is to say “real oven”. (is there such a thing as a “fake” oven? oh thank you fast food chain for not using the fake oven)

I hope other people have a similar reaction when they hear the ad – and don’t stop there. If it disturbs you, go to the website, look at the ingredients, and then don’t buy the product. Last time I looked, “real” food (like cheese) didn’t have an ingredient list that had about 50 items, and included things like food dyes and artificial flavours.

Farmer’s Daughter saved my butt

So, on the day of the Women’s Culinary Network dinner, I was frantically baking and frosting multiple rounds of cupcakes, and also had to prepare a dish for the dinner. I was making edamame dip, and realized I forgot to buy cilantro. My husband was out with the car, and it was freezing cold outside. I started to panic. Before I got too crazy, I thought – “Hey, Farmer’s Daughter is just down the street, and they always have fresh herbs, and that’s not far enough for me to freeze to death if I walk.” So I called them, and they said they had cilantro in their KITCHEN they could give to me. Not that they had it out for sale, but they would sell it to me, if I didn’t need that much. Now that is what I call service. I scurried over, got a nice bunch of cilantro for a dollar, and scurried home, and made the edamame dip. So this is an official THANK YOU to Farmer’s Daughter for being one of the best food stores around, and saving my butt on a cold day.

how sweet it is…

cupcakes may not seem like something a nutritionist would be talking about, but as a holistic nutritionist, I believe we have to have balance in all parts of our life. there is definitely a time and a place for a cupcake – and these cupcakes are special. the cupcakes themselves are from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, and they are awesome! the frosting however, that is my creation – a standard buttercream recipe, but colored with herbs. as a promoter of natural alternatives, I love the idea of using herbs as coloring instead of commercial dyes. instead of maybe getting a headache, having an allergic reaction, or worse from commercial dyes, why not use something that’s side effects may include cancer prevention and an increase in vitality?

This Wednesday February 7, I will be doing a presenation on herbs as food coloring at the Women’s Culinary Network dinner in Toronto. Stay tuned for a recap and hopefully some pictures after the event.

show someone you care this month with GARLIC

As February is Heart Month, let’s take a look at a food which should be part of everyone’s diet to promote heart health – garlic.

Garlic: the sweet smell of health

It is affectionately known as “The Stinking rose”. Garlic or Allium Sativum, is a member of the lily family. It is native to central Asia and is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world. There are approximately 300 types of garlic.

People have always been of two minds regarding this herb. It has been traditionally used for its exceptional culinary and medicinal qualities, yet garlic has a bad reputation due to its pungent odor. The odor comes from the sulfur-containing compounds which are the very substances that promote health. As written by William Shakespeare in a Midsummer Night’s Dream: “…eat no onions, nor garlic, for we are to utter sweet breath”.

If one were to exclude garlic from their diet, they would be missing out. Aside from warding off vampires, including 1-2 cloves of garlic daily in your diet can be an effective way to prevent and reverse serious health issues.

First of all, garlic may reduce your risk of colon cancer. According to current statistics of the Canadian Cancer Society, 2 in every 5 men and 1 in every 3 women will develop cancer sometime in their life. Overall, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of death from cancer. Substances found in garlic, such as the sulfur-compound allicin, have been shown not only to protect colon cells from cancer-causing chemicals, but also to stop growth of cancer cells once they develop. A study done at the University of North Carolina concluded that a high intake of either raw or cooked garlic may be associated with a protective effect against both colorectal and stomach cancers.

The same garlic compound that may protect you from colon cancer is also a powerful antibacterial and antifungal agent. Allicin has been shown to be effective against common infections like colds, flu, stomach viruses and Candida yeast, as well as harmful microbes including tuberculosis and botulism. The antibacterial power of garlic may also be responsible for the reduced risk of stomach cancer, due to its potential ability to decrease gastritis caused by Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium responsible for most peptic ulcers. A recent study conducted at Faith University in Istanbul, Turkey showed that people who consumed raw and cooked garlic regularly had the same prevalence of h.pylori, but less antibodies – meaning there was less reproduction of the bacteria, reducing further damage.

As if those reasons are not enough to encourage you to add garlic to your diet, garlic may protect you from cardiovascular disease, which is the world’s leading cause of death. Several risk factors for heart disease that can be addressed with diet are high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and platelet aggregation which can lead to arterial blockage. In the prevention of cardiovascular disease, many of garlic’s nutrients are working together including the sulfur-compounds, vitamin C, selenium and manganese. According to the Mayo Clinic, the risk factor with the most scientific evidence linking it to garlic is high cholesterol. Research has shown a 9% decrease in total cholesterol due to garlic consumption, according to a study done at New York Medical College.

Now that you are convinced and ready to incorporate garlic into your daily diet, here are some easy things you can do:
1. add a crushed clove of garlic to your salad dressing. If you eat salad every day, this modification alone could allow you to start feeling the health benefits of garlic.
2. make hummus – a popular protein snack made from chick peas which gets its delicious taste mainly from garlic.
3. cook with garlic – the taste of many stir-fried, roasted, or baked dishes is enhanced by the addition of a few cloves of garlic. And for those brave souls who want to get a monthly dose all at once, they can try the classic French recipe “Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic”!

Hopefully, you will see garlic in a new light – look past the “stink” and see it just as a rose. In the words of Robert, Duke of Normandy in 1100 AD: “Since garlic hath powers to save from death, bear with it though it makes unsavory breath”.

© 2006 lemon holistic
The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for the advice of an appropriately qualified and licensed practitioner or health care provider.

women, listen up: nutrition is key to help prevent cardiovascular disease

It has been all over the news the past couple of days – women and cardiovascular disease. This is a serious issue, and has taken a back seat in terms of priority for women when compared to issues such as breast cancer. According to the mayo clinic:

“…more women than men die of cardiovascular disease each year. Women are six times as likely to die of heart disease as of breast cancer. Heart disease kills more women over 65 than all cancers combined. ”

But that does not mean other age groups can turn a blind eye:

“While heart disease is the leading cause of death for women 65 and older, it’s the third-leading cause of death for women 25 to 44 and second-leading cause of death for women 45 to 64. All women, of all ages, should take heart disease seriously.”

So we realize the gravity of the situation, and most of us know that proper monitoring of physical symptoms such as high blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglycerides are good preventative measures. Also quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake, and more exercise are important factors to address.

But what I want to stress, is that according to the Amercian Heart Association:

“A healthy diet and lifestyle are the best weapons you have to fight cardiovascular disease.”

Many women put others’ needs before their own, and have lost the ability to take time for themselves to relax, enjoy the small things in life, and care for their own health. Body, mind, soul – everything about a person must be in balance in order to achieve an optimum state of health, and prevent degenerative disease.

You can improve your quality of life by eating nutritious foods, managing your stress, sleeping well, and challenging your body with exercise. This is your life – take the time to look after YOU – you’re worth it :).