Cherry Icecream Recipe to Celebrate the Last Glimpse of Summer

Can you believe it’s September already?! I am amazed at how quickly this summer has gone by. I know that fall doesn’t officially start until September 21, but having been a student for so long, in my eyes, fall starts right after labour day.

I absolutely love fall – it’s my favourite season, but I also love summer and am trying to enjoy the last little bit that’s left before I say goodbye to my summer favourites: hanging out by the pool, sandals, and icecream! You already know I love icecream, and I shared this chocolate icecream recipe with you – but this cherry icecream is even better.

So, in celebration of the last glimpse of summer I will share my favourite “icecream” recipe with you.

Cherry Icecream

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups frozen cherries
  • 2 small scoops protein powder (vanilla or chocolate)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • ½ cup almond milk

Mix all ingredients in a blender or food processor.

Just a warning: I usually don’t measure the ingredients for the ice-cream, and I just experiment with the ingredients until I get the desired consistency, so the measurements are approximate.

Alright friends, enjoy this icecream and soak up the last little bit of summer, then let’s jump in to fall!

Until next time,

Sam

Happy Monday! Weekend Recap and A Super Quick Recipe

Hi friends! Happy Monday evening (yay you made it through Monday)! I hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

Even with the weird weather we had,Cam and I had a really nice weekend.

Cam and I started our weekend with an amazing seafood feast. Seriously so good. I could eat seafood everyday.

Seafood

Cam and I went to the movies yesterday to see Mad Max. It was so nice to go – we love going to the movies together, and it’s been a long time since the last time we went (between the two of us we couldn’t even remember which movie we saw last!).

Movies

Cam and I did a crazy clean up of our apartment yesterday too, and our place feels so fresh now! I love it!

Cleaning essentials when you have a puppy...

Cleaning essentials when you have a puppy…

And, I created a super easy summer treat recipe! It might be a strange time to create a refreshing summer recipe given that the temperature was only 8 C, and it was raining, but I’m sure I will keep revisiting this recipe when it gets warm again! Also ‘recipe’ is perhaps too strong of a word for this… that’s how simple it is. But, it was delicious enough that it’s still worth while to share with you.

Peanut Butter Banana

You will need:

  • A banana cut in half length wise (or quarters)
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 4 dates (chopped)

Spread the peanut butter over your banana and add your chopped dates to the top, and then put the banana in the freezer for an hour, then enjoy!

Until next time,
Sam

Remember me?!

Oh, hey! Remember me? Well after a longer-than-planned break I am back in action!

So what the heck have I been up to over the past month? Here’s the highlight reel…

Trying out some new smoothie recipes

Smoothie

…and more smoothies

Smoothie

Eating my eggs and plantain fries…what else is new…

Eggs and Plantains

Trying out some new recipes… say hello to dijon salmon

Dijon Salmon

And cherry ‘icecream’ with chickpea brownie pieces

Cherry Icecream

Drinking this beauty of a drink in the mornings

Morning drink

Having a kombucha ‘pop’ when I go to my favourite local natural foods store

Kombucha

Wearing some pretty outrageous workout pants…what can I say, I like to keep it fun!

Pants

And did I mention I’ve been drinking a lot of smoothies? 🙂

Smoothie

There you have it – some highlights from my month of being MIA. As you may have suspected from all of the pictures… there may be the odd recipe coming your way soon!

And, on a completely separate note, you might have noticed a few changes around here! I may have been away, but didn’t forget about this little blog! I have lots of exciting things planned, starting with this new blog design!

It feels good to be back! Thanks to everyone who stuck around despite my being away!  🙂

Until next time,
Sam

Inflammation Fighting Foods

Inflammation is a natural part of life – it’s the body’s way of trying to protect and heal itself when something is out of balance, but when inflammation becomes chronic we start to have problems and various diseases can occur.

Chronic inflammation is not fun. This is something I know well having experienced colitis, but inflammation is definitely not exclusive to the digestive tract (even if that is where it may originate for some people). In fact, inflammation can be at the root of everything from arthritis to asthma. 5 million Canadians suffer from a chronic inflammatory disease – that is a staggering number!

So how do we alleviate symptoms associated with inflammation? How do we help our body heal when we experience inflammation? Or better yet, how do we help prevent chronic inflammation in the first place?

I’m not saying that there’s a magic bullet solution here, but one of the ways we can feel better is through nutrition. What we put into our body is so important, and an anti-inflammatory diet has been linked with lowered levels of C-Reactive Proteins (a marker of inflammation).

So what does an anti-inflammatory diet include? Here’s a tip sheet to help you pick out some inflammatory fighting foods to incorporate into your diet:
FoodsthatbeatInflammation

Until next time,

Sam

Sources:

http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/49032.html

http://www.naturalmedicinenewsletter.com/anti-inflammatory-diet.html

Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

Today I had chocolate ice cream for breakfast. Okay…maybe I didn’t, but it was just as delicious, and an incredibly healthy version of ice cream!

Chocolate 'Icecream'

Ingredients:

  • ½ avocado (ripe)
  • 1 heaping tbsp cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds (1 in recipe and 1 to garnish)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or unpasteurized honey
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup coconut milk (approx.)
  • 1 cup ice (approx.)
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter

Instructions:

Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Garnish with chia seeds and freeze for 10 minutes (uncovered).

Enjoy this amazing bowl of ice cream whenever you crave a sweet treat, or you can add your favourite protein powder for a post-workout snack.

Other than the delicious taste of this treat, there’s another big reason why I love this recipe SO much – it includes some serious power foods!

Avocados contain monounsaturated fatty acids, dietary fibre, essential nutrients and phytochemicals. Some studies show that eating avocado can even support weight management, cardiovascular health, and healthy aging! Who can say no to a super-food that does all of that?? And, in this recipe, the avocado makes the ice cream deliciously creamy.

The chia seeds in this recipe add to the texture while packing a punch by providing omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, protein, and minerals!

And that’s just a snapshot of this amazing ice cream, so run, don’t walk to your kitchen and make this delicious ‘treat’ 😉

Until next time,
Sam

Sources:

  1. http://www.nutritionj.com/content/12/1/1
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3664913/
  3. http://www.naturalnews.com/048362_avocado_heart_disease_LDL_cholesterol.html
  4. http://www.naturalnews.com/040564_chia_seeds_omega-3_sources_healthy.html

7 Tips to Successfully Change Your Lifestyle

The other night I was sitting down eating a salad with homemade dressing before I went to the gym and it hit me just how much my life has changed over the past few months. I have always enjoyed cooking and had an interest in nutrition and health, but I have also had my fair share of hiccups and a couple of months ago, the idea of even making my own salad dressing seemed overwhelming to me.

Thinking of all of these changes that I have made recently made me realize that despite being overwhelmed initially, the transition has felt relatively smooth and sustainable, so I thought I would write a post on some things to keep in mind when making a big lifestyle change. If you find yourself in a similar situation as I was, I recommend the following things to keep in mind to try and make the transition to your new lifestyle as smooth as possible.

Do your research. Before I made any concrete plans of what my diet and lifestyle would look like, I did a lot of research. I read about different approaches to healing my body and my relationship with food; I read about the timelines associated with each approach; I read about other people’s experiences; cooking prep-time etc. The point here is that I read a lot and it gave me a fairly good idea of what to expect when I took the plunge. This really helped me feel mentally prepared to commit to making the changes.

Read!

Make a plan. I am not just talking about an overarching plan (although you need that too); I am talking about a plan for each week. I use an agenda and plan out my workouts and most of my meals for the week and it helps keep me on track.

Planner

Be flexible. I know this seems kind of counterintuitive since I just told you to make a plan, but even with a plan, things will change and you will have to go with the flow in order to be successful and fulfilled with your new lifestyle, which brings me to my next point…

Have a back up. Plan for your pitfalls. If you’ve tried to make a lifestyle change in the past and you didn’t maintain it, what happened? For me, one of my pitfalls is if I let myself get too hungry I will eat anything (embarrassing, but true), so my backup is a quick meal that I know can be done in no time (like a jam-packed salad).

Salad

Keep your fridge stocked. This is sort-of implied in the tip above, but it deserves it’s own paragraph. Trust me, being hungry and finding that there’s nothing in your pantry or fridge that will satisfy you is a HUGE bummer and can limit your chances of sustaining your new lifestyle.

Be willing to try new things and take baby steps. As part of my healing journey, I decided to eliminate processed foods, and this has meant that even something as simple as salad dressing, or granola bars, have to be made from scratch. Two months ago I felt so overwhelmed by the idea of making things from scratch, but it’s not nearly as hard as I thought. In fact, it’s been fun coming up with my own recipes.

Homemade Larabars

Show yourself some compassion. I already talked a lot about learning to love yourself, and self-compassion goes hand-in-hand. When you decide to make a lifestyle change, it’s important to recognize the extent of the change you are making. It is a journey, and you need to be patient. When I decided to make all of these changes, I knew it would be drastic, and I decided that I would start with my relationship with food, and once I felt strong enough I would reintroduce fitness back into my routine. I was patient with myself, and took my time adjusting to my new routines, and as a result, I now feel completely at-home in my lifestyle.

If you are facing some big lifestyle changes, I hope you can learn from some of my lessons and make lasting, fulfilling changes in your life. And, if you find yourself needing a little bit of extra support, you can always find it here.

Until next time,
Sam

Recipe of the Weekend: Turkey Burger with Pesto Sauce

Happy Saturday friends, and happy Spring!

I have been craving lighter foods lately, and one of the signature staples of BBQ season (which I keep telling myself is right around the corner)…burgers!

We aren’t quite at that BBQ time of year yet, but that didn’t stop me from craving a burger, so the other night, I whipped up a quick, but delicious burger recipe with an amazing pesto sauce to top it off.

The burger is delicious, but let’s face it – the pesto sauce totally makes this recipe.

Turkey Burger with Pesto Sauce

Burger (makes 8 patties):

  • 1 package ground turkey
  • Finely chopped onion slices (amount depends on your preference – I put about half of a small sweet onion)
  • 4 tablespoons garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 egg
  • Paprika (again, amount depends on your preference – I used about ½ tsp)
  • 1 tsp finely chopped garlic

Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, scoop into ‘burger’ shapes (I used an ice-cream scoop…sounds weird, but hey, it works)

Cook using your method of choice: I fried these in a pan with coconut oil, but come spring and summer weather, hello barbeque!

Pesto:

  • Handful fresh basil
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • Olive oil (approx. 1 – 2 tbsp)
  • Salt (to taste)

Mix all ingredients in blender or food processor (I used a Magic Bullet) – add oil slowly until you reach your desired consistency.

Turkey Burger with pesto

Then voila, put your burger and your pesto on a bed of greens and you’ve got yourself an amazing dinner! And another great thing about these burgers – they are versatile – say hello to an amazing breakfast with your leftovers!

Breakfast with leftover burgers

Enjoy!

Are you excited for lighter Spring foods?

What are your favourite Spring staples?

Back to the Gym and Feeling Awesome – a Mishmash Post!

Well friends, I am so happy to tell you that I am finally feeling well enough to get back to the gym. No, scratch that, I am feeling amazing! Between the treatment that my doctor gave me, and the complete change-up of my diet, I am feeling SO MUCH BETTER. And that is exciting! So, this post is going to be a bit of a mishmash of things. One, I want to tell you about some of the things that are making me feel better, because even though I know my situation is somewhat unique, I am so sure that the lessons I am learning can help other people too! And, because it is so exciting to be back at the gym, I am also going to share a lower body workout with you.

Let’s start with what has been making me feel better – I’m not going to talk about the medication side of things because that is pretty self explanatory, but I’m going to talk about some of the other changes that I have been making that have made a HUGE difference in my recovery, but also in my life in general. Remember when I said that sometimes challenges are truly just opportunities? It has already proven so true for me in this situation.

So what are these big changes?

There is the obvious diet overhaul. This has made a huge difference in how I’m feeling. For the past three weeks I have been on an ‘elimination diet’ – for those of you who don’t know, this is just a very basic diet that contains only food that I know doesn’t hurt me (coincidentally, for me, this looks a lot like a modified Paleo approach). After 30 days, I can start adding in foods gradually to determine which foods my body can and cannot tolerate. I honestly do not feel rushed at all to start adding foods back in – I am feeling so strong and nourished right now that I haven’t even been missing other foods.

Source: Google Images

Source: Google Images

Now, this leads me to the other things that I have been changing in my life. This is not the first time that I have made changes to my diet, or tried to change my lifestyle. But, this is the first time it has felt easy, and balanced. The reason it seems so different this time is because all of the changes I am making have come from a place of self-love. This has been a long journey for me. In the past I would try to make changes that were motivated by something I didn’t like or accept about myself, and this time, I decided to make changes because I love myself as I am, and want to help myself feel even better. I know this is not the first time I’ve talked about it, but I cannot express just how important self-love and self-compassion truly are. When you decide to make a change in your life, doing it out of self-love makes it so much easier, and it helps make sure that you are making the changes for the right reasons! I could talk about this all day, but I did promise you a workout, so I will continue this rant in a future post!

Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

As promised, here is the workout:

  • 3 x 10-12 squats
  • 3 x 10-12 deadlifts
  • 3 x 10-12 walking lunges with hand weights
  • 3 x 10-12 standing calf raises
  • 3 x 20 sumo touches (sit into sumo squat with a hand weight in each hand and alternate touching the floor behind each heel with your weights)
  • 3 x 10-12 seated leg extensions

I felt like Bambi learning to walk after this workout – it’s a good one! Give it a try!

Until next time,
Sam

The Opportunities that Come from Challenges

I want to start my post today by thanking you. In my last post I shared my health struggles with you, and I am so thankful for the support you gave me. Having some of you reach out to me was touching, and I cannot tell you how grateful I am.

Even though my health struggles have been challenging, knowing that I need to make some lifestyle changes to feel better, it is also a time of opportunity. I have been doing a lot of research over the past few months, and I realize that this is a chance for me to re-learn how to take care of myself and listen to my body. It seems like a strange concept at 23 years old, but I suppose it’s better late than never right??

Source: Pinterest

Source: Pinterest

All of the research that I have been doing has reignited my passion for nutrition and its impact on wellbeing. The more research I do, the more I want to learn. And the more I read about other people’s struggles, the more I am reminded that I am not alone in having to learn how to take care of my body. Even some of you who reached out to me after my last blog post are going through similar struggles, or have already gone through the same kind of struggle and learned how to help yourself. As a society we have so much information thrown at us, and so much of seems to be contradictory. So how do we really know the right approach to taking care of ourselves? My research has brought me to a realization: I want to learn as much as I can and create my own path to well-being, and I want to learn how to help other people do the same.

This realization led me to the decision to study nutrition on the side, and I have recently started taking online courses at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. I already love the courses I’m taking and am finding that I am learning a lot.

IMG_2070

I’m excited to see where this journey will take me, and what I will learn about myself in the process.

I want to hear from you!

Tell me about a time a challenge presented an opportunity for you.

Have you found your own way to well-being? What worked for you?

Until next time,

Sam