morning lemon – get more iron with lemon

lemonkale.jpgThings have been very busy around here, and I haven’t had much time to update this blog, and just realized now, hey, it’s Monday! Yesterday, I put on my first nutrition workshop. It went much longer than I expected, but the attendees seemed to really enjoy it, and there was a lot of interaction. It was about foods to support a fitness routine, and one of the things we touched on was getting iron from vegetarian protein sources, for energy. Vegetarian iron is called “non-heme” and it not as absorbable as “heme” iron which is found in animal products. Dark leafy greens like romaine, spinach and kale are great sources of vegetarian protein, iron, and many other nutrients (B vitamins, calcium, the list goes on). Care needs to be taken when cooking, as the iron can leech out into water if you are blanching/boiling, so either use the water (soup, sauce) or steam your greens, or eat them raw. If you’re eating them raw, a great way to increase the absorption of the iron is to add vitamin C – so salad dressing made with lemon, or simply squeezing lemon juice on cooked greens easy, and tasty! That lemon, it’s just great at everything.

morning lemon – everyone knows you need lemon to shift dirt

Happy Victoria Day! In Canada it means a day off from work and an excuse to have BBQ and set off fireworks. Also, Sunday night you can spend having fun, since you’re not getting up for work Monday morning. I don’t watch TV, but have an extensive library of DVDs, including quite a few British comedy shows. Here is a clip from one I was watching last night, which contains the profound quote which is the title of this post:

This is from The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer, and this sketch is called “Slade in Residence”, where they parody the 70s glam-rock band Slade. It’s hard to grasp the hilarity of the sketch with this small clip, but trust me when I say the comedy is genius (and the actors’ representations eerily spot-on).

Back to lemons. Aside from all the internal health benefits of lemons, you can improve the quality of your environment by cleaning with lemons instead of harsh chemical household cleaners. Here is a page with a few tips on how to clean with lemons. The last section on bleaching brought back memories of suntanning in my parents backyard with my radio blasting Prince songs, while I sprayed my hair every half hour or so with a lemon/water concoction, to get that perfect streaky summer mane.

reusable bags are great, if you reuse them

jutebag.jpgThere has been a surge in popularity of the eco-friendly shopping bag here in Toronto. Everyone got a free Loblaws bag at the Green Living Show, and virtually every grocery store in Toronto has their own style of reusable bag for you to buy (some of the bags are trés chic, so you don’t even have to give up style to get in on the trend – this one will be available at Holt Renfrew June 20). This is a great way to get everyone in the spirit of cutting down on plastic . But as Susan Sampson at the Toronto Star pointed out today, there is one little issue: forgetting to take the bag with you to the store.

Sure, the bags are cute, and sure you totally want one because everyone is doing it, but then you go for your weekly shopping and boom – your habits are hard to break, so you forgot your funky new bag, again. I am not ashamed to say, this has happened to me on more than one occasion, and I have several of these bags including a super-special you-know-you-want-it natural jute bag from Sainsbury’s in the UK (pictured above), which was a gift from my sister-in-law. Recently, I have been telling myself I have to come up with a way to not forget this bag, so here are 2 suggestions (for you, and me) to remember to tote our hot new accessories:

1. Keep one in your car at all times – this way, even if you left the house without one, there is one in the car when you arrive at the store. Now, forgetting to take the bag out of the car? That’s another story…

2. Hang one by your back door, or door you most often leave the house from – this way even if you don’t drive, you have the visual cue of the bag when you are going out.

Now, this is only what I came up with so far, which I know will work for me. If you have any ideas, or ways you are already reminding yourself to take the bag, please share! It would be awesome to put together a big list, so we can all make sure we are truly reducing plastic, not just collecting pretty trendy things!

Special thanks to Alison on this post :).

morning lemon – a drop of pure fun

180px-lemon_drops.jpg The other day, someone told me that when they were young, one of their favorite candies was a lemon drop. I can understand the appeal. Read this definition from wikipedia, and tell me it’s not intriguing:
“A lemon drop is a sugary, lemon-flavored candy that is typically colored yellow and often shaped like a miniature lemon.”

I think it’s the miniature lemon part that I am most drawn too. They’re so cute! But unfortunately, when I looked up the ingredients, I saw some of my most dreaded foes, synthetic food dyes like yellow #5,6, etc. These food dyes are bad news – they have been implicated in allergies, ADHD, and have been shown to be potentially carcinogenic. It is a shame that so many products available in North America today still use these dyes, when many European countries have banned them. If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I have been experimenting with herbs to colour food, and guess what – other people are catching on to the idea.

purefunbag.jpgpurefunlist.jpg

I recently found these hard candies at Whole Foods Market which are made with natural ingredients, and coloured with HERBS. One of the flavours is lemon, and although not shaped like a mini-lemon, they look like little lemon slices.

purefunlemon.jpgAnd guess what – they taste good! Of course, they are candies, meaning once in a while indulgences, or maybe not at all depending on your situation. It is nice to know that for those who can indulge but still want to feel ok about what they are eating, the choices are increasing. It’s an exciting time in food history, when we are truly going back to basics, with a modern twist.

top 5 reasons to see a nutritionist

There has been a lot of “top 5” lists making the rounds recently, so I thought I would jump on the bandwagon.

781482_grapefruit_-_pomelo_21.jpg Nutritionists are trained professionals skilled in developing unique, customized programs including foods, supplements and lifestyle modifications that will allow you to reach your specific health goals. We provide the education and motivation required to get you on the path to your optimal state of health.
The following are my top 5 reasons which should prompt you to see a nutritionist:

1. Prevention – this is the nutritionist’s best case scenario. Many people have genetic weaknesses and family histories of cancer, heart disease and other major illnesses. By taking control of the factors you can change including diet and lifestyle, you have a chance of beating the odds. Investing in your health today will pay off with a happy, healthy future.

2. Support your body during illness – when diagnosed with an illness, all contributing factors must be assessed in order to effectively manage and/or reverse the progression. What you eat and how you live is going to have a direct effect on your body’s ability to fight and recover.

3. Lose weight effectively – being overweight puts you at a higher risk of developing serious conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. In order to lose weight properly and keep it off, more than just a “diet” is involved – a whole change in lifestyle is required, and those changes must be tailored to your unique physical, mental and emotional makeup.

4. Maximize the benefits from your fitness routine – being active and building muscle is half the battle – without the right foods going into your body, plus proper rest and relaxation for recovery, you will not reach your optimal state of health. Why put all the effort into challenging your body physically, if you are not going to do everything you can to ensure health from the inside?

5. Increase your energy and sense of well-being – sometimes we get in a rut, and our work and family life suffers. Finding out what you may be doing wrong, and incorporating positive health-promoting changes can help you live the life you crave. Eat well, feel well, and look great – people notice when you are radiating health, and it will boost your confidence and energize you!

I would love to hear from you: have you seen a nutritionist? Have you thought about it? Do you fit into my top 5?

morning lemon – a tree to call my own

635218_lemon1.jpgSo, Sacred Suzie asked me an interesting question about lemons. Have I ever tried growing a lemon tree, and is it hard?

First of all, no, I have not tried growing a lemon tree. But after some googling, I am intrigued and might add this to my list of to-dos. It turns out that it is not outside the realm of possibility for someone to grow a lemon tree, even from seed, inside their house. How cool would that be, to have lemons right there on a tree in your kitchen when you needed them?

I found this great page, on a website of a company selling organic plant fertilizer packs, which gives a lot of info on growing a lemon tree indoors. Is it hard? Well, you have to make sure it gets lots of light, and a fairly warm temperature – which may be hard for some. But overall it seems doable to me. Also, it turns out you can order meyer lemon trees on amazon, but unfortunately they will not ship them to Canada. If anyone knows where a meyer lemon tree can be bought in Canada, please let me know!

I leave you with the chorus of the Peter, Paul and Mary song “Lemon Tree”, which is a classic, but I disagree with it, as someone just told me the other day that they like lemons so much they eat them like oranges!

“Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.”

And special thanks to Suzie, for giving me a lovely mention on her blog!

coupon book giveaway, changes coming

Very soon there will be some major changes to my blog. I can’t wait for you all to see them! Things have been very busy around here, what with working at the trade shows, writing for Torontoist, and general nutritionist duties! Thought you might like this pic of me at the Green Living Show working for The Healthy Shopper again (I’m on the left!)

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This time I got to talk to a lot of people about Nut Thins, a nut/rice cracker made by Blue Diamond which is gluten-free. I knew that there were a lot of people suffering with celiac disease, which is when the body cannot digest the proteins in wheat, rye, and barley resulting in a lot of suffering and big changes in lifestyle, but did not realize just how many until I encountered it first hand at the show. It seemed like about 1 in 10 people came by and said “I have celiac disease” or “My brother has celiac disease” or “Our friend has celiac disease.” They were all happy to find another tasty and convenient product that they could actually eat. It felt great to be able to hear their stories and answer their questions. One of my favorite blogs is Gluten-Free Girl, written by Shauna James, who has celiac disease and has finished her first cookbook. Her writing is extremely personal and poignant – I am sure her book is going to be a huge success, and there are obviously plenty of people ready and waiting for more gluten-free recipes. I am planning on doing a story on this subject for Torontoist – stay tuned!

I have saved the best news for last. The Healthy Shopper coupon book is now available in natural food stores, containing over $110.00 in savings on amazing natural and organic products!
healthyshopperbook1.jpgThe only problem is, they can be hard to find, they get grabbed fast leaving none for you, and if you order one online, you have to pay shipping. I will send one of these hot little numbers to the first THREE people (living in Canada) to comment with the top three questions they would ask a nutritionist. The coupons are good across Canada, so if you are outside of Ontario, you still qualify!

Now, go outside, soak up some vitamin D, and enjoy your weekend!