I'm so excited to be joined by Ayurvedic Health Educator, Marian Curran for this supportive cleanse at Now 'n Zen Wellness Centre in Stratford. Here's how the 5 days will break down:
Sunday, March 20th - 8am - 4pm:
We'll start with a morning yoga practice and meditation with Samantha. That will be followed by detoxifying tea and an introduction to the science of Ayurveda, a 5000-year old natural healing system from India with Marian.
Discover your dosha (Ayurvedic constitution) and learn about food, yoga and other lifestyle choices most suited for you.
We'll break for a mindful lunch, which will consist of an Ayurvedic meal suitable for all doshas. This meal is called kitchari and features beans, rice and specific spices for toning the digestive system.
In the afternoon, you will be supplied with Ayurvedic cleansing tools including a neti pot, tongue scrapper, massage oil and eye wash and shown how to use them. You are now ready for the next 4 days of the cleanse.
Monday, March 21st - Thursday, March 24th - 6am - 8am:
We'll start every morning of the cleanse with a detoxifying yoga class followed by breakfast eaten mindfully together. You will leave with your kitchari for the day, the meal consumed on the cleanse. Taking part in a cleanse has never been easier! And yes, we eat FOOD on this cleanse!
Included in the Cleanse:
- Lunch Sunday and all meals for the 4 day cleanse (Monday - Thursday)
- Detoxifying tea for the duration of the cleanse
- The Ayurvedic cleansing tools (neti pot, tongue scrapper & massage oil)
- Yoga classes
- The knowledge and tools to be able to conduct another cleanse on your own in the future
This course is open to the public as well as for 200-hour Yoga Alliance certified instructors. For those yoga instructors working towards their next certification with MYC, this course counts for 20 hours towards the 300-hour program or continuing education credits with the Yoga Alliance.
Register here: http://www.maritimeyoga.com/store/p11/_Ayurvedic_Spring_Cleanse.html
What do you get when you cross a coconut macaroon cookie with a truffle? A bliss ball! These are my favourite little treats. They are easy to make, contain no refined sugar/oil and even look festive.
I make a variation of these all year around. After you create your base of dates and nuts, the sky is the limit. You can create all sorts of combinations using cranberries, cocoa, raisins, nut butters, coconut, etc.
These particular bliss balls combine orange and chocolate for a lovely holiday flavour. We all know what comes out this time of year that is also orange and chocolatey -
Among the ingredients we have some delicious rancid milk products, artificial flavours and of course tonnes of sugar. Vanillin is also an ingredient, not to be confused with actual vanilla extract. Vanillin is a synthetic compound used in a lot of sweet foods to give a vanilla taste. You may be surprised to learn the starting material can come from many peculiar sources. “There is even a small market in vanillin that comes from the glands of beavers.”
So let's make some thing more appetizing shall we?
Orange & Chocolate Bliss Balls
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup raw cocoa nibs
1 cup dates (soaked and soft)
1 teaspoon of REAL vanilla extract
1/4 cup cacao powder (or carob powder)
Zest and juice of one orange
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut (to roll)
1. Add the nuts and cocoa nibs to a food processor and pulse to chop, making sure not to grind them into a powder...unless you would like a smoother more truffle like treat. I prefer to have a crunch to mine.
2. Add the dates, vanilla, cocoa powder, orange juice and zest and process until a sticky mass forms.
3. Shape small balls and roll in coconut. Or for a more truffle-like finish, roll in extra cocoa or carob powder. Shake off excess.
I sincerely wish everyone a happy holiday! Merry Christmas and all the best for 2015.
Spring is known as a cleansing time of year. A time to clean up one's diet, one's house and maybe even change one's relationship status. It is a time to get rid of that which doesn't serve us, including our attachments.
I enjoy the small things in life. One of those small things is a hot cup of fresh, locally roasted coffee in the morning. Then in the afternoon. Then, later in the afternoon.
While I see nothing wrong with enjoying these small sips of heaven, I do see something wrong with my attachment to it. I'm at the point where I NEED it.
I broke the coffee Bodum yesterday (sorry Mark). Then later at the studio, Erika gave away a few cleansing kits. I go the message - time to cleanse!
Being a Holistic Nutritionist, I'm skeptical of these sorts of cleansing kits. If I want to cleanse, I usually stick to a whole foods diet (nothing processed) and try to get rid of common allergens like dairy, wheat, soy, etc. and alcohol. I drink lots of water and perhaps add extra greens like spirulina to my smoothies.
Looking at the ingredients in this supplement, it didn't look too bad. It contains 115 whole foods, probiotics, a fiber complex and no harsh purgatives. It was also free, so why not! It does contain psyllium, a type of fiber that bulks up stool, but is VERY drying. Something to know if you take this on its own or in a complex. Drink lots of water and I also suggest supplementing with some fish or flax oil for shall we say, lubrication ;)
As you could tell by my last blog I've been very inspired by the fiddleheads lately. Not only to eat, but to admire. Have you ever really watched them grow? They start coiled up in a circle, facing one another. As they grow they spread their leaves, reaching out to the fern beside them, forming one big group hug. It's like they've got each others back and help one another grow.
So...who's in with me??
Not like you have to do a full on 2 week cleanse, but I'm sure there is an attachment to something you can let go of for 2 weeks. Alcohol? Refined sugar? Twitter? Coffee?
Group hugs included in this challenge :)
I couldn't get any more local than my backyard! This past weekend, the fiddleheads were ready to be picked.
Even if you don't have access to them in the wild, I did see both Sobeys and Superstore had some local fiddleheads for purchase.
So what are they and how do you prepare them? These are the same questions I had last year.
Fiddleheads are the young tender tightly furled new-growth shoots of the ostrich fern. I suggest you watch the video below to make sure, if you're out picking them yourself you're picking the right ones. Some ferns are poisonous to eat. I have those in my backyard too! I was so nervous when I first went foraging, but once you compare the pictures you'll see they are very easy to recognize.
Fiddleheads taste similar to asparagus. The most important note about preparation is they need to be boiled or steamed first before you use them in recipes. According to the University of Maine, that should be for 15 minutes to eliminate any possibility of foodborne illness.
Fiddelheads can then be sauteed in butter, added to omelets or frittatas, or even canned. I pickled mine and found other great recipes here.
Fiddleheads are high in antioxidants, vitamins (including A and C) , minerals and electrolytes (including potassium, iron, manganese and copper) and omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids.
Eating locally grown and seasonal foods ensures you are getting the most nutrition out of your food. These fiddleheads were picked at the optimal time and didn't spend hours on a plane to get to my table. Eating local means we cut down on that carbon foot print as well.
My other favorite way to increase locally grown and seasonal foods in my diet is to stop by the local farmer's market. Those in my area of North Granville, PEI will be happy to know there is a new farmer's market in Stanley Bridge Wednesdays. It's worth a stop for Remy's bread!
To follow up with my post yesterday on refined sugar, here are some great recipes that will satisfy that sweet tooth in a healthier way.
I use whole ingredients such as good quality maple syrup, unpasteurized honey and dates in my baking. I also find myself lately making a lot of baked goods that don't require baking at all.
Let's start with a great Nutella recipe. It's pretty disgusting how much refined sugar is in this store bought "breakfast" spread! Here is a great video showing just how much:
This recipe originally came from a friend of mine and fellow nutritionist, Susanne. She has it on her site along with other great recipes you should check out. I've made it twice now and adapted it slightly.
1 cup raw hazelnuts
1 tbsp. coconut oil (look for unrefined or virgin)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 ripe avocado (I know this sounds weird, but it gives the nutella body and creaminess and you can't even tell it's there :)
1/4 cocoa powder
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup almond milk
Roast the hazelnuts at 400F for 5-7 minutes. Once they have cooled, rub them in a dish cloth to peel off as much of the skins as you can. Soak the hazelnuts in water for at least 4 hours. This will make the hazelnuts creamy and help break them down a bit so the nutella isn't too grainy.
Put the hazelnuts in a food processor with the coconut oil and blend for a few minutes. It should eventually turn into a buttery consistency. Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend together.
I store mine in a mason jar in the fridge. It will keep for 4-5 days (if it lasts that long!)
CHOCOLATE WALNUT FUDGE
2 cups coconut oil (look for unrefined or virgin)
1 cup raw or natural unsweetened cacao powder
1/3 cup maple syrup (the real stuff ;)
1 1/2 cups walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 tbsp. course sea salt (optional, my finance recommends this addition)
Melt the coconut oil on low heat in a pot. Once melted take off the heat and whisk in the cacao powder and syrup. Stir in nuts then spread into a 9”x9” baking pan. Sprinkle with sea salt and chill in the refrigerator until set (at least 1 hour). Cut into squares and enjoy. (Store in the fridge or freezer).
The above recipes are also gluten and dairy free. Remember, these are still treats and should be eaten in moderation.
There is a lot of buzz about the new Katie Couric produced documentary "Fed Up". I'm looking forward to seeing it myself.
It's about the rise of obesity and Type-II diabetes in America especially in the younger generation. A generation that is now expected to lead a shorter lifespan than their parents.
Sugar is cited as the culprit, but it's also the food industry and the government that is to blame since they are knowingly harming the public to further their own agendas.
I don't think most people understand the severity of this problem. Sugar is DANGEROUS!
Eating a candy bar loaded with sugar (and all of its blood sugar spiking friends) should be looked at as being just as detrimental to your health as smoking a cigarette.
Sure, one once in a while may mot kill you, but over time sugar can cause insulin resistance, which contributes to many diseases including Type-II diabetes. It burdens your liver, messes with hormones and slows down brain activity. Not to mention, there is NO nutritional value in sugar and it's highly addictive.
The great news is, by making healthier food decisions, we can stay away from any of these unwanted side effects or illnesses. Here are some ways to empower yourself:
Lesson #1 - Read Labels.
Just because something is marketed as low-fat, gluten-free, dairy-free, etc. doesn't mean it's healthy. Usually these products have MORE sugar in them!
Look for blood sugar spiking friends. It's not only refined sugar from the sugar cane you have to watch out for.
Some of these are of course better than others, for example good quality maple syrup and honey in moderate amounts are much better forms of carbohydrates.
Cook and bake more at home. Tomorrow I will share some great uncomplicated recipes that will satisfy that sweet tooth and won't require any baking at all.
For now, I'm off to the movies (without my milk-duds). Have you seen it yet?
To follow up my post from the other day, I did make it out to the garden and I've been hooked on a delicious smoothie ever since! Blend together the following ingredients:
1 Handful of kale leaves
1 Handful of fresh mint
3 Peeled kiwi fruit
4 Inch piece of cucumber
1/2 Cup of crushed ice
1/4 Cup of water
Ok, not everything came from the garden, the other ingredients I had in the fridge. I do usually add in what I have on hand and sometimes the concoctions don't always work out ;) but this one was delicious.
At the Maritime Yoga College we talk about nourishment on all levels, including the nourishment we get from food. There is a great Holistic Nutrition workshop as part of the upcoming course I'm sure you'll also enjoy.
Director of Teacher Training for the Maritime Yoga College and Registered Holistic Nutritionist.