Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fajita Sunday! Ole!

One of the easiest and quickest meals we do at home is fajitas. Fajitas are pretty simple and are quite healthy (because of all the veggies) before all the traditional toppings of cheese and sour cream. The other thing that drives me crazy are the fajita seasoning packages that the majority of people use for flavouring.

Our version is the healthy version. We usually dice up onions and mushrooms, slice a red and green pepper, chop up a bunch of asparagus, and throw in roasted sweet potato chunks, and saute everything together in a pan. Once all the veggies are almost cooked through we put a couple of teaspoons of this "fajita dust" we found down the street at the Cheese Boutique. The ingredients of this preservative-free concoction are garlic, paprika, cumin, white pepper, lime juice powder, black pepper, cayenne, and salt. How simple! Some time this week I'm going to try and re-create this mixture.....

I try and buy kamut flour tortillas when the faijitas are pre-planned or at the very least the ancient grain tortillas by Dempsters if its a last minute decision. We top with some of the Neals Brothers Organic Salsa and roll it up. A meal easily done, start to finish, within 30 minutes.

And tonight - The Amazing Race - they are still in Moscow this week - we laughed last week at their obstacles with the cab drivers in the city. When we went last year we had more than our fair share of communication issues!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

My inner Martha Stewart

Normally I don't have the patience to fiddle with all the decor stuff of every season. I love looking at all the planters in my neighbourhood and how they change every few months according to the seasonal foliage.

Most years in the past I have been a struggling student with no time, energy, or money to bother and last year - the first year we had a house - we were consumed with buying furniture and less so with pine boughs, wreaths, and candles.

However this year across from our place there is a woman that moved in and she is always busy working outside with her rubber boots and gloves arranging flowers and foliage in planters. I drive by every morning on the way to the clinic thinking how beautiful everything looks, yet irritated that I can't put something together on the weekends to join in the spirit and channel my long forgotten (or never realized) Martha Stewart.

So today, bright and early, in true Carol fashion I drove to a few little flower shops and bought some pine and cedar and evergreen boughs. I spent some time cleaning out my planters of the dried up herbs from the summer and then organized the planters and arranged the boughs. IT LOOKS GREAT!!!! And when Chris and I left this evening to go to a movie and saw the planters it brought me such happiness. Next up: maybe a little xmas cheer for inside the house!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Scary world

Sitting at home watching CNN with Chris. He points out he's stayed at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, as recently as last year. I've never been to India, but can't imagine what's going on on their streets right now. It's a small and scary world.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pregnancy Outcomes

Heard something on the radio on my home from the clinic that I always try to express to my prenatal patients. Health before pregnancy is directly related to pregnancy outcome and in turn health of baby.

There was a study done (still have to look it up and read through it) on women who had weight loss surgery before pregnancy. Those women who lost weight and were healthier before getting pregnant had a better overall pregnancy.

This is why earlier this year I introduced the Baby & Me Pregnancy Program at Zawada Health. The program is essentially an educational program to ensure that women think about every possible aspect of their health and their environment prior to getting pregnant and while pregnant. Many women have already been through the program and found the information invaluable.... information about the benefits of fish oil (DHA), why avoiding artificial sweeteners is important, how to gauge how much exercise to do during pregnancy, teas to drink in your 3rd trimester that can help with labour and delivery, etc....


This whole social networking thing is insane. My husband, Chris has been hounding me to have a facebook page. For the last 3 or so years as many of my friends have asked me "to be their friend" and join, I have insisted that I didn't want a part of it.

So last week Chris came home from an advertising company reception that focused solely on how businesses large and small are using facebook as a chance for their clients to discuss and compare notes etc....

Now I've been doing some research and thinking about this and am now considering it! I can actually envision my patients discussing ways to get through a detox, maybe sharing recipes or something.

Maybe I'll give it a try.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

On the verge of getting sick...

October was busy and I'm starting to feel it. I can always tell when I'm going through a busy period when my immune system is telling me enough!

So last night I kept my husband up with my constant coughing.... I was feeling a touch sniffly all week but I managed to keep it from becoming a full blown cold. I armed myself with my usual weapons. I always keep Echinacea Combo from St. Francis and vitamin C and zinc ready in the cupboard just in case.

This morning I woke up exhausted from my coughing spells and knew I needed a different supplement. Thanks to Tom at the OAND convention I had a sample bottle of Resp-fx by Integra Nutrition (alpha science laboratories). It is a specific combination of respiratory herbs specific for opening up the airways and coughs.

Worked like a charm! I did 1 Tbsp every 2 hours today and now it's suppertime and I'm all good. I'll take it easy tomorrow and hopefully I'm fresh for Monday!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Info on Macrobiotic Eating

The following is taken from a fun website from the author of Hip Chicks Guide to Macrobiotic Eating....

What is Macrobiotics?

The word macrobiotic comes from "macro" which means large, big or great, and "bios" which means "life". So to practice macrobiotics is to practice the art of a great life. Sometimes this means that your life is totally groovy, but it also means that the person eating macrobiotic foods begins to perceive things from a wider and wider perspective; we see the ups and downs of life and ride them like good surfers. When you perceive a bigger picture, you can let go of the small stuff.

What do you eat?

Most people practicing macrobiotics mix and match from the following foods: whole grains, beans and bean products (like tofu), organic vegetables (local and in season), soups, sea vegetables (a/k/a seaweed!), desserts (sweetened with rice syrup, barley malt, fruit and sometimes maple syrup), a little fish, a little fruit, pickles (to aid digestion), condiments (to provide minerals), nuts, seeds and non aromatic teas. However, every person has different needs depending on their age, gender, lifestyle and ambitions. Plus, the real spirit of macrobiotics is about freedom; one eats healthy food most of the time so that one can eat more extreme foods some of the time. So people in good health can go out and "play", having a glass of wine, or a piece of chocolate cake, or . . . whatever, when they feel it's appropriate to the occasion. They then return to their regular macro foods in order to maintain their health and eventually "play" again.

What are Yin and Yang?

Macrobiotic philosophy comes down to explaining everything through the lens of yin and yang. Yang force creates contracting and inward movement while yin force creates expansion and outward movement. From these fundamental forces we get everything: light and dark, speed and slowness, hot and cold, hard and soft, etc. All dualities can be seen through this lens. In macrobiotic thinking, it is believed that if we eat foods that are whole, local and in season, that our bodies get the perfect yin ness and yang ness needed for the natural environment in which we live. When we harmonize with nature, we experience strength, flexibility, freedom and happiness. Tropical foods are great for people living in the tropics; they provide the perfect yin ness and yang ness to balance the extreme heat. Likewise, blueberries are a great fruit for people in New England. When we start to eat really really yin foods like bananas, pineapples, yogurt and sugar (smoothie, anyone?) day after day in New York City, we lose touch with the natural world and eventually become weakened by all the excess yin force.

Why do people use the macrobiotic diet to recover from cancer and other serious illness?

In macrobiotic thinking, all illness begins with becoming out-of-sync with the natural environment. And the primary way that we do that is by putting food inside of us that has nothing to do with nature. Yes, there are other factors—lifestyle, emotional stressors and living next a to a nuclear power plant—and they all need to be addressed, but food is always either working for or against your health and freedom. Many people have found that when they return to whole, macrobiotic foods and respect the laws of yin and yang, their bodies rediscover a natural balance that supports their healing.

Macrobiotic Dish for Dinner

For tonight's dinner I'm shaking things up a little for us.... I was surfing around earlier today for cauliflower recipes because we haven't had cauliflower for a while and wanted to try a new recipe.

My mom used to make breaded cauliflower at least once a week and it was always so delicious. She use to boil the cauliflower and then pan-fry some bread crumbs with butter and then smother the cauliflower with the breaded goodness. Yes I know, I know.... it's a wonder how I became the healthy eating naturopath I am with a family that is traditional Polish and farmers. Meat and potatoes is definitely what I grew up on.

Anyway.... so tonight I stumbled upon macrobiotic eating and remembered how in the macrobiotic diet potatoes and other nightshades are "forbidden". So a macrobiotic version of mashed potatoes is what we are having tonight.

1 cup millet
1 clove chopped garlic
2 cups cauliflower
pinch of salt
3 cups water

Rinse the millet and put in a pot with some chopped garlic and some olive oil and heat on medium for 5 minutes stirring constantly.

Add the cauliflower, water and salt and bring up to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes and then puree everything in a blender or food processor.

Ok so I just finished eating the puree with Chris. Both of us thought it was a touch bland ... we added some fresh ground pepper to make it a bit tastier. It really did look like mashed potatoes but the texture of the millet and cauliflower before I pureed it was actually delicious.

Will definitely do the recipe again but next time no pureeing.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Crazy October...

Wow.... I cannot believe it's November and the sun is shining! For those of you who wondered what happened to my blogs in October - I'm back! It's been super busy around the clinic with people wanting to boost their immune systems for the upcoming winter season, last minute fall detoxes, seminars etc.

I also just finished up my 3rd annual mom's group detox. As usual they are always great - super motivated about their health, always asking me lots of great questions. It was interesting because they are finally noticing that the more often they do the cleanses the better they feel overall and the easier it's getting. They now have a great repetoire of detox recipes which always is the key to a successful detox. AND yes I'm still working on the detox cookbook.... Hopefully now with the craziness over I can focus my "extra" energy on that!

October 18th weekend was the annual OAND conference. Usually some great inspiring speakers on various topics, great "naturopathic food", and a supplier show always showing the newest researched products. I was super busy this year leading up to the conference as I was asked to speak on managing pain in a primary care practice. So needless to say, being my first time speaking in front of peers, it was nervewracking but I managed.

My lean, mean, yoga machine of a sister was also in town for 2 weeks for a level 2 moksha teacher training so I tried to see her as much as possible. Look for a butternut squash soup recipe we tried at Yorkdale's William Sonoma on Tuesday. It was wonderful - I got their recipe but have to try to recreate their bottled squash puree!

Ok back to work....