Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cosmic Cookies

Everytime I visit my sister Angela in Edmonton we always end up doing a Planet Organic pit stop at some point during the day to pick up a cosmic cookie or a spelt muffin as a little treat.

Sooooooo when my friend Andrea sent me the Planet Organic cookbook in the mail yesterday I was so excited to see the recipe for cosmic cookies was included!!!!

This recipe took 5 minutes to gather the ingredients in my cupboards, 10 minutes to measure everything and mix together and 24 minutes to bake in the oven. They were the perfect snack before Chris and I headed out to the AGO for lunch at their new restaurant, Frank.

2 1/4 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups spelt flour
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup flaxseeds
1 cup granulated cane sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 1/4 tsp sea salt
1 3/4 cups dark chocolate chips
1 1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
3/4 cup canola oil (I used sunflower oil)
1 cup soy milk

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl. Add the wet to dry and mix by hand until just combined.

I used an ice cream scoop to scoop the dough onto the baking sheets and gently flattened them before baking.

Bake for 24 minutes or until lightly browned.

These cookies turned out great. I only made 12 cookies and put the rest of the dough in the freezer for another time.

Oh and the lunch at Frank was delicious as well. Slow service but we weren't in a rush so we weren't too annoyed. I had the roasted sunchoke soup to start and Chris had a mediterranean lentil salad to start. The sunchoke soup was very mild whereas Chris' lentils had a bit more of a bite to them. Both were beautifully presented and the dishes were gorgeous. I had a roasted beet and arugula salad next while Chris had the beef brisket sandwich with gruyere and frites. Both were nicely presented and flavoured.

Happy New Year!

Hangover Cures

Last night Global TV aired it's story on natural remedies for hangovers. If you missed the health segment last night you can go to their website and click on family health.

The short version of my recommendations:

1. drink lots of water
2. eat before you go out
3. 1000 mg of vitamin C before you go to bed
4. b complex before you go to bed
5. could try a homeopathic remedy for your headaches or nausea like belladonna or nux vomica
6. cysteine - naturally found in eggs!!!

Have a great New Years Eve!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Rhinovirus and Exercise?

How's food? How's water? How's exercise? These are some of the basics questions I'll ask my patients that come in, whether it's for weight management or some other health concern.

In the winter, I commonly hear that colds put people on standby with their fitness routines or healthy eating plans. In today's Globe there was a story on whether people should exercise when they have a cold. There actually has been a couple of research studies done that concluded that exercise is not affected with cold symptoms.

So next time you have a cold or some cold symptoms are starting, ask yourself if you are using it as an excuse not to exercise or if you truly can't exercise. Most times exercising will actually help your cold symptoms, as heating up the body may help kill the virus!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Back to Basics

Christmas was great. It was relaxing. If I take time off from the clinic it's either a non-stop hustle and bustle vacation with Chris in a new city somewhere or it's a working vacation so I can do some clinic stuff that I don't have time for during the typical work week. This has been a nice change and I'm glad we ended up both taking time off and staying at home.

Xmas was filled with the usual tradition of 12 meatless dishes for xmas eve and midnight mass with my parents.

When we got back on Saturday I was feeling relaxed and decided I needed to work off some xmas treats so I went to moksha. For the last few months I have been going to moksha flow classes instead of the regular moksha classes. They are a bit shorter in time and definitely faster paced. On Saturday though I missed all the flow classes so I went to a regular 90 minute class. It was actually a good change to go through all the postures with an emphasis on technique.... it was definitely back to basics.

Back to basics is also really important for food during this time of the year. With all the holiday treats it's important to remember the 90/10 rule - 90% of the time be good and 10% of the time you can have a treat or enjoy something special. If you are one of my patients it means doing your lemon in water in the morning or your greens, drinking enough water (2 L) throughout the day, trying to have veggies at lunch and dinner, eating protein in every meal etc.....

This is also one of the reasons I love naturopathic medicine and why I do what I do.... It's all about the basics. In today's society, with all the craziness, we forget about what we need to be happy and feel good - enough water, solid sleep, exercise or an active lifestyle, and simple, clean food.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Natural Remedies for Hangovers

This morning Global TV came to the clinic to tape a story on hangovers and what can be done to ease the effects before going to bed and upon rising.

Alcohol does three main things to the body which in turn are the causes of hangovers: dehydration and loss of electrolytes, decreased production of sugar by the liver, and vitamin B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is a coenzyme that is used in one of the pathways of the metabolism of alcohol.

The story will air on Global on December 29th or December 30th during the health segment. You'll have to watch to find out what can be done!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cold Medicines and Kids

Health Canada issued a warning that cold medicines should not be used in kids under 6 years of age.

I have definitely noticed an increase in the number of kids that I see over the years. Parents are becoming more and more aware of potential side effects of cough and cold medicines and of safer alternatives.

There are alot of homeopathic remedies and supplements for kids that help increase their immune systems and help fight the many viruses they are exposed to everyday.

Holiday Diet Diary

ahhhhhhhhhh..... the diet diary of a patient the week before xmas.........

This week is always an interesting week in my practice. Because I focus mostly on nutrition and most of my patients have to do a diet diary, most visits are preceeded by "it hasn't been the best week..." followed by explanations of holiday parties, work stress, too little time at home, too much time spent in malls.....

I must have sounded like a broken record this week. I totally understand holiday parties and wanting to enjoy some holiday treats. However the problem comes in when the parties or baked goods start Dec 1 and don't end until Jan 1.

Moderation really is the key during the holiday season. If you know that you have 2 parties during the week, the rest of the week you should try to eat well and exercise so when you are at the party you can enjoy a couple of treats! If alot of time is spent outside the home, make sure to have healthy snacks in the car or on your person at the mall, like fruits or almonds. If you have to eat in the food court try to make the best choice... focus on finding vegetables, simple foods without a lot of sauces. Sushi is always a safe bet; most fast food places have salads now (just use 1 tbsp of the dressing not all!); a stir-fry; a smoothie; always lots of options.

I could go on forever but Chris always tells me I have to shorten my blogs! He just told me I should go on the Twitter diet, the blog that only allows 140 characters!!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


I just finished doing a facial with my mother-in-law and brother-in-law's girlfriend at home. It was a great chance to relax for an hour and try out different products on our faces. It totally reminded me of my sister Angela and I doing 'facials' when we were growing up. We used to love using the St. Ives products from Shoppers - the price-point was right and we felt we were doing something great for our skin!

So today we were using Yonka products - I usually use their gel cleanser and one of their nighttime moisturizers but Jane had some fun products in her drawer, like the serum, rose water, and a couple of masks. So we started by cleansing, then used a gel peel off mask called gomage, then the rose water, followed by a mask, finishing with a serum and moisturizer. It was lovely. It wasn't exactly the experience of getting a facial with Reni but nonetheless it did the trick!

This reminds me of an article I read in the Post yesterday about how with the tough economic times ahead people are losing their "luxury people" first. So people, especially women, may put a professional facial on hold for the next year but may buy a lipstick or do a facial at home to keep the feeling of doing something nice for themselves.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Herpes and Alzheimers?

Driving home from the clinic last night I was listening to 680 news on the radio. Something popped out at me that really made me listen and do a little of my own investigation.

A recent study in the Journal of Pathology has shown increasing evidence that the herpes virus, which causes cold sores, is a major cause of the protein plaques that are evident in the brains of Alzheimer's sufferers. The protein plaques are accumulated in the brains of dementia patients.

This will probably lead to more research using anti-virals for Alzheimers. This makes me want to extrapolate using natural anti-virals .... I love science.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Kale, it's nutritious.

Usually when I grocery shopping I keep my head low, grab my veggies and leave.

Friday mornings I usually teach at CCNM, up in North York. Today after teaching I decided to stop at the Longo's in North York, instead of coming back to my neighbourhood and doing my usual Friday night dinner grocery pick-up.

I picked up some brussel sprouts for tonight and a bunch of kale. As I was leaving the produce section a woman tapped me on the shoulder and asked how I prepare kale. She told me she buys it to feed her lizard but ends up throwing out two-thirds because she doesn't know what to do with it.

I was shocked and clearly it hit a nerve as I did something I don't usually do. I launched into how to prepare it, how I usually put it in pasta sauce or puree it into soups..... then I started in on the nutritional aspects to this complete stranger! It has tons of calcium, it's liver-friendly.... blah blah blah.

Not sure what got into me ... if you ever see me at a grocery store, run the other way!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I love leftovers. Usually the next day the flavours have all marinated well together and really come together. Today for lunch I had this great quinoa chickpea pilaf that I tried a couple of nights ago. I prepared it in less than 30 minutes and was delicious!

First thing I did was dice up a sweet potato and drizzle it with olive oil and roasted it in the oven on 450F for 20 minutes. I then made quinoa with vegetable broth, 2 minced garlic cloves and a pinch a red chili flakes. While that was cooking I cut up some green beans in 1 inch pieces and steamed them.... opened up a can of chickpeas and threw everything in the quinoa when it was almost done. I added some parsley and the sweet potato, a little Herbamare and pepper and heated it through. So quick and healthy - I love it.