Sunday, December 20, 2009

Wooden Spoons as Cooking Utensils

How long have you had your wooden spoons in your kitchen? I looked at mine today and I think I remember mom giving me a couple of hers when I moved into a house with friends in 3rd year university! Waaaaaaaaaaaay too long. So then I remembered a random comment from a chef on tv saying how wooden spoons are the handiest utensil to have (and cheapest!) in the kitchen but they harbour a lot of bacteria.

So today I decided to do a little bit of research on these utensils that seem to last forever; or do they?

Did you know?
1. They are more porous then metal and plastic and that's why they are a sponge for bacteria.
2. They shouldn't be put in the dishwasher! They may crack and could potentially be a fire hazard.
3. They shouldn't be used if there is any part of them that is dark or soft or mushy. It's rotten wood.
4. Best way to disinfect is with 1 part bleach to 20 parts water, soak, and then wash with a mild detergent. One website listed that a day behind a fridge or stove would warrant a bleaching.

I'm throwing ALL of our wooden spoons out today AND I hope Santa brings me some new wooden spoons in my stocking.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

plant2body Nourishing Serum

Emails like the following from another NDs patient who tried the Nourishing Serum makes it all worth it:
Thanks SG and KP for sharing!!

I’ve been meaning to send you a note to tell you just how much I love the face serum. I have tried everything and spent so much money trying to fix my acne problem and this product has won over all the junk that’s being promoted out there. I no longer need my acne medication and my skin is just glowing. I still get a few breakouts but nothing like before. The scarring has decreased and my complexion is brighter. In my experience it is really hard to find products that work for dark skin and this really has helped.

Thanks so much and please keep a supply of this product on hand. This is truly my beauty secret but I would be willing to share my story with anyone who has doubts about this product.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Soft Ginger Cookies - Vegan and Wheat-free!

I love Sundays like today. Chris and I met up with friends for a late brunch, we did some running around getting fruits and veggies for the week at one of the markets on Bloor, stopped for tea at David's (Spicy Chocolate Rooibus for me and Berry Sorbet Green tea for Chris!) and then parked ourselves at home for the rest of the afternoon.

I made tofu frittata for a dinner later on in the week, chopped up some kale and cabbage for 3 lunches for myself, cooked a pot of beets to have ready for another dinner this week, AND made some festive ginger cookies. It's a recipe I got from a friend in 2004 and bake consistently every year around this time of the year! I've changed the recipe over the years and this year I love the final product. Here's the recipe! You can do all spelt flour if you don't have or want to use quinoa flour.

4, 1-inch pieces of fresh gingerroot
8 Tbsp pure maple syrup (not Aunt Jemima)
3 Tbsp dark molasses
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1.5 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
1.5 tsp orange zest
1 cup spelt flour
0.5 cup quinoa flour
2 Tbsp demerara sugar (pure cane brown sugar)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
pinch ground cloves
10 pieces crystallized ginger - chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor blend maple syrup, molasses, oil, juice, zest, and ginger. Sift flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, white pepper, cloves and salt in a bowl. Pour ginger mixture into dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Using a spoon, scoop 1 tbsp batter for each cookie and place on baking sheet. Top each cookie with a few small pieces of crystallized ginger. Bake 15-18 minutes until edges are light brown.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Breakfast Frozen in Cubes!

With the chilly mornings here a warm cereal is a nice way to start the day. Rushing around in the morning usually doesn't make cooking steel cuts oats for 30 minutes an option for a lot of people; so what I usually recommend is making a big batch and keeping in the fridge for 3 or 4 days and just reheating each morning.

A complaint I sometimes hear with doing this is "I get bored and don't want to have the same thing each morning for breakfast." Soooooo I always have an answer for every complaint I hear and here is my answer for this one:

Line ice cube trays with plastic wrap. Fill each cube with oatmeal, cover with plastic wrap and freeze. Once frozen solid, remove the cubes from the ice tray and freeze in a plastic bag. For each portion, thaw three or four cubes in a microwave on the defrost setting (or better yet on a stove). Add additional rice milk and almonds or flaxseed and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Smart Meter

My husband Chris looooooooooooooves our new smart meter. I have a fear that one day soon he'll be looking at our account online and then all of a sudden I'm cooking in the dark in 16 degrees to save energy and money.

We got a notice 2 days ago that Toronto Hydro installed a smart meter at our house. Right away he went online to activate our account and immediately he was looking at our 'on-peak' and 'off-peak' energy usage. He states that there is a pattern - we are using a lot of energy on Fridays during the 'on-peak' hours..... hmmmmm....

Yes I am home on Fridays cleaning when I should be working on my cookbook and other projects. The lights are on, the computer is on, and the tv is on for background entertainment. Other than Fridays, we are great because we are never home! We work too much!! :(

Then I started looking at the flyer and the table of examples of prices. I was so surprised!

1 load in the dryer - off peak - costs 10 cents while peak time costs 20 cents
1 load in the washer (hot water) - off peak - costs 34 cents while peak time costs 73 cents
1 load in the washer (cold water) - off peak - costs 5 cents while peak time costs 10 cents
1 load in the dishwasher - off peak - costs 16 cents while peak time costs 33 cents

You also get a sticker with the package that you can put on the washer or dryer to remind you of when the off peak and peak times are. Chris says if I use something during peak hours he'll place the sticker on me! :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Friends, Entrepreneurs and Holiday Gift Giving Ideas

'Tis the season for friends and family, spending quality time with those you love and of course gift-giving. As a naturopathic doctor I'm always looking for quality products that are safe and gentle to recommend to friends and family. This year I am so happy to share some gift ideas that have been created by fellow naturopathic doctors and friends.

Olive Baby is a line created by Anna Falkowski, a mother, my friend, colleague and fellow Polish chick. There are currently 4 products that are all olive oil based and chemical and fragrance-free that are wonderful for babies AND adults. There is a cult following of her lip balm at Zawada Health. Check out for more information.

Next up is Aileen Lim-Trotter, and her ZenSkin line. As long as I've known Aileen she has been into cosmetics and products; so it's no surprise she has put out her own line that uses her knowledge of naturopathic medicine and herbs and of course cosmetics. Check out her Calendula Cleanser on her website that is essential oil free and contains my fave - green tea extracts!

Andrea Beaubrun, my dear friend and colleague out in Calgary has created Chickaboo Organics with her eco-savvy, graphic designer of a sister Kerri! Organic cotton onesies that feel like luxury! The silk-screening uses natural inks so they are PVC/solvent/phthlate free which is so important for those little developing bodies! Check out for more information.

And of course I can't blog about new products without tooting my own horn! Plant2body Organics is a company founded by myself and Anna (see above) in order to provide our patients with a versatile nourishing serum for fine lines, acne scarring, and stretch marks. Our velvety oil is organic, chemical and fragrance-free and only has 3 ingredients: Camellia oil (green tea), perilla seed (omega-3 like flaxseed), and vitamin E. After only one use, your skin will start to glow with this antioxidant packed serum.

Happy shopping!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Beet Green 'Chips'

Earlier today I bought a bunch of beets and kale for dinner. I didn't want to throw out the beet greens so I left them to soak until I figured out what I was going to do with them. I've done kale chips before so I thought I'd try the same thing with beet greens for a quick little snack while waiting for dinner to cook.

I spread the washed greens on a baking sheet and drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled some sea salt on top and placed in an oven at 450 degrees. I let them roast for 15 minutes and then blasted the broiler on HI for a minute. They were great - Chris and I ploughed through them in less than 5 minutes!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dinner in a Food Court

I was on the 401 tonight crawling along around dinnertime and decided to go to Yorkdale to eat a quick dinner (ok maybe that's how I rationalized a quick shopping excursion!).

I haven't eaten in a food court in so long so I decided to have a little adventure and see what kind of healthy dinner I could find. As soon as I climbed the stairs up to the food court I saw New York Fries (banned), then Taco Villa (also banned), Mrs. Vanelli's (banned although part of my childhood shopping trips with my mom and sister!), A&W (definitely banned)....

I then spotted Cultures, Jimmy the Greek, and Teriyaki Experience. Those were the 3 I even bothered to check out their menus... where am I going to find maximum veggies? Hmmmmm....
Cultures looked liked my best bet - for $9.03 I got a bottle of water and a plate of 3 salads - beets, spinach and broccoli, and a mixed chickpea and kidney bean blend (yay protein!). They actually had 11 salads to pick from and these were definitely the most nutrient dense.

As I looked around I'm clearly in the minority with kids, teens, and adults lined up for burgers, fries, and deep fried foods. I wanted to go around and stop to talk to everyone about their meals. If I knew this was their 'once a month' little treat then I would be more likely to just look away. Something tells me these foods are being consumed a little more frequently. Ok that's my rant ....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Who Ate Better?

We just got back from a glorious walk through High Park. So sunny and beautiful for November!! We wanted to make sure we weren't nature deficient :)

I just turned on Sunday AM and there was a little blurb about who ate better and why - cavemen in the paleolithic era or us?

Consensus is: that they did. They chased down their food, getting lots of exercise and they ate things that didn't need cooking - meat, nuts, berries. Even more important to note is what they didn't eat - dairy, refined sugars, and wheat! Some food for thought!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Cast Iron Skillet

I love my cast iron skillet. In a day where most everyone uses non-stick cookware, cast iron skillets are few and far between.

Tonight, as always was Fish Fridays at our house. We had salmon fillets and a delicious stir-fry of a shallot, a red, green, and orange pepper and a handful of chopped kale with a touch of olive oil and red chili flakes, salt and pepper. We did the stir-fry in the cast iron skillet and this reminded me of when I first got the skillet.

The day I got the skillet I was so excited to use it. I asked the lady at the store about 'seasoning' the skillet as I vaguely remembered something my mom saying years ago. She explained that when I got it home I should rub some oil on the skillet and place it in a warm oven (around 300 degrees) for an hour to prevent it from rusting. She also told me never to wash the skillet with soap and water, just some hot water or a paper towel with some salt to remove any stuck-on food.

So after dinner that night Chris started washing the dishes as per usual. I came back to the kitchen 5 minutes later only to find him scrubbing the cast iron skillet with soap and water. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh......

Yes the skillet is heavy but it cooks everything very evenly and you get the added benefit of some extra iron in your diet instead of the chemicals from non-stick cookware!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Nature Deficit Disorder

A new term has been identified in environmental medicine and naturopathic medicine - NDD (nature deficit disorder) instead of ADD or attention deficit disorder. It's becoming a problem in today's children (and adults!) which makes me sooooo sad.

Growing up on a farm (even though it was a tobacco farm!), my sister Angela and I were far from nature deficient. Walking around barefoot on the grass and the soil, making mudpies, being outside in the fresh air all summer long (working hard in the tobacco fields!), having a huge garden (ahhhh the rows and rows of potatoes and tomatoes that needed weeding!) and a creek in our backyard, all truly connected us with nature and kept us grounded.

In today's society, children are being shuttled from indoor activity to indoor activity, or sit in front of the tv or video games and have no connection with the Earth and nature. Meanwhile adults aren't any better ...

Try to make it a point of getting outside for at least 15 minutes every day. Not only do you get some vitamin D, but you have a chance to slow down and breathe and relax.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lead in Wine

Today was day one of the OAND (Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors) annual association conference. Fantastic line-up of keynote speakers with a conference theme of Environmental Medicine. Last night David Suzuki officially opened the convention, which I unfortunately could not attend..... however....

Most people have heard of the mercury in fish debate and the mercury in dental amalgams story. But did you know mercury is also found in high concentrations in high fructose corn syrup? If you go to the iatp website you can see a whole list of common 'grocery store' purchases that have HFCS as a first or second ingredient that have a crazy high amount of mercury - Quaker Oatmeal to Go, Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce, Hershey's Chocolate Sauce, Pop- Tarts, among others!

Another little tidbit that stunned a lot of people in the room was the amount of lead in wine! For 432 wines tested in the bottle, the lead in domestic wines ranged from 1-521 parts per billion, with an average of 41. The level in imported wines ranged from 4-673 parts per billion with an average of 94. To put this in perspective the limit for lead in drinking water is 50 parts per billion.

I'll be back tomorrow with so more interesting tidbits....

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Receptionist Position Available

Well Alexis is leaving.... :(

She has a great opportunity to move to LA so she is outta here - just in the nick of time as the Canadian winter approaches!

I need a part-time receptionist; so if anyone out there knows someone who is organized, loves people and multi-tasking, and has an interest in the health and wellness field tell them to send me their resume!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Chocolate Brownies - A Hit This Weekend.

Saturday my in-laws came over for a little lunch-time feast and this was dessert. I just served a large square of it with a handful of fresh raspberries and it was a hit! Of course I played my little game of 'guess what's in this' and as always my audience was surprised! I got it off a raw vegan blog a few weeks ago and knew I'd want to try it sometime in the future so I kept it in my 'must try' recipe file. I didn't use the almond extract but I had some ground almonds left over from something else so I put 1 tbsp in the mixture instead. I also didn't have medjool dates so I used regular dates.

1 cup raw walnuts

3/4 cup raw pecans

1 3/4 cups (packed) pitted medjool dates (see note)

1/4 cup dried organic pitted cherries

1/3 cup + 1 tbsp raw cocoa powder (or regular cocoa if you prefer)

1 vanilla bean (see note)

¼ tsp sea salt

½ tsp almond extract (optional)

In a food processor, first add walnuts and pecans. Pulse through until fine and crumbly, then add dates and cherries and pulse through again to partially combine (mixture should be crumbly, but not yet coming together). Then, add cocoa powder, salt, and almond extract, and pulse through. With a sharp tip knife, slice the vanilla bean down the outer side to open up the bean. Using a blunt (butter) knife, scrape out all the tiny seeds from the bean on both sides, and add them to the processor. Process again, along with the almond extract if using (almond extract enhances cherry flavor). Process until the mixture starts to come together but do not overmix so that the nuts release their oils (see note). Then remove the mixture and press into a brownie pan (8” x 8”) lined with parchment paper. Use a small piece of the parchment to help press and flatten the mixture evenly into the pan. Refrigerate for a couple of hours, and then cut into squares. You can also freeze the squares after cutting, and enjoy them out of the freezer!


  1. You can substitute 1 – 1 ½ tsp of pure vanilla extract for the vanilla bean seeds.
  2. If your dates are on the dry side, you can add 1-2 tbsp of water to the mixture to help assist the pureeing and the mixture easily coming together. Or, you can presoak (then drain) the dates to soften before pureeing. Also, if you use presoaked nuts, the mixture will puree easier (though presoaking is not a must).
  3. If you process the mixture too long, the heat generated by the food processor will bring the oils out of the nuts. If this happens, the brownies won’t be ruined necessarily, but they will have an oily appearance and be oily to the touch. So, process minimally to begin, rather than over processing the nuts at the outset.
  4. If you don’t have the pitted cherries, you can substitute another dried fruit or simply add another 3 or 4 dates to the mixture.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Royals Going Vegan?

Ok so I have the Royals on my mind.... Prince Charles and the Duchess Camilla are in Canada this week and I had the opportunity to meet them both last Wednesday night at a reception. They were warm and gracious and surprisingly 'less stuffy' than I thought they would be. The Duchess even said to my friend and I that she was jet-lagged and tired. Darn! I should have told her I'm a naturopathic doctor and offered her melatonin!!!

So today I find out that Prince Philip, hosted 200 people in Windsor Castle, for a "Celebration of Faiths and the Environment" and did a vegan feast! Yes meat-less and dairy-free! For a gathering that included Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus among others it was almost necessary because of all the dietary restrictions - Halal, Kosher, vegetarian etc. How do you make vegan glamourous? You can't just give the Prince tempeh and quinoa and some butternut squash and call it a day right? Apparently one of the dishes was a pearl barley risotto with a portobello mushroom stuffed weith artichokes with a sprinkle of lemon zest and parsley on top!

If anyone wants an 'elegant' vegan cookbook one of my favourites is called Voluptous Vegan. It is entertaining based in that there are meals put together with 3 or 4 dishes that are thoughtfully combined. The recipes do have many steps and aren't ideal for a quick meal but can easily be made on a weekend to be enjoyed later in the week! The shepherds pie is delicious - it was one of my first vegan dishes 8 years ago!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Brussel Sprouts

I know, I know.... no one likes these little trees. I never liked them either but one day last year I bought them, (because I know how good of a cruciferous vegetable they are for my liver and hormones!) and decide to roast them. We both love dijon mustard so I slathered the brussels with dijon, salt and pepper and olive oil and roasted them at 450 for 20 minutes. I've never looked back since - delicious!

Now we have them this way every couple of weeks. I especially love the little crispy leaves that fall off during the roasting process.... mmmmmmm.... they're what we pick at while everything else is cooking!

I'm picking right now while I'm waiting for the cauliflower to steam and Chris is BBQing our fresh tuna steaks!

If you want to disquise brussel sprouts even more take a look at Zawada Health's October newsletter for my shredded pecan brussel sprouts recipe!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cold vs Flu

Yes I know it's crazy pandemonium about this cold and flu season..... lots of information out there... the spin on this topic is unbelievable. I'm doing a lunch and learn for a company on Tuesday about H1N1 - what the facts are, symptoms, how it's spread AND what are some immune boosting or prevention strategies. I'll try and post some of the presentation later next week.

For now it's important to stay calm and treat this like any other flu season and be able to recognize the difference between a cold and a flu.

The incubation of the H1N1 is 1-4 days, possibly as long as 7 days and the clinical symptoms include:
  • Sudden onset of fever (usually high);
  • Headache;
  • Extreme tiredness;
  • Dry cough;
  • Sore throat;
  • Runny nose; and
  • Muscle aches and stomach symptoms -- more common in children.
The symptoms of H1N1 are similar to those of a seasonal flu but the trend is more GI symptoms emerging i.e. diarrhea and vomiting.

Colds may have similar symptoms but usually no fever and no muscle aches. Be vigilant, wash your hands and stay at home if you are sick.

AND with Halloween coming up be careful with sugar .... 1 tsp of sugar can decrease your immune system for 24 hours.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Morguard Health Fair

This week I was at the annual Morguard Health Fair. Morguard owns the office building my clinic is in and their head office is a few buildings down the road. Michelle Johnston of The Working Well, ( organized the health fair bringing together some great businesses, including Toronto Sprouts, an organic farmer from Brampton, a golf swing analysis guy, a fitness centre - Wynn Fitness, among others.

I've done a lot of health fairs over the last 6 years and have to say this health fair is one of the best organized and easy to do. The employees of Morguard are also great to chat with, most being very conscious about their health. Here's a pic of me talking about the importance of taking a fish oil - great for hair, skin and nails, very anti-inflammatory, wonderful for decreasing LDL cholesterol.....

I'll be back at Morguard in 2 weeks to do a lunch and learn about the H1N1 - history of the virus, symptoms, the vaccine, prevention and immune support from a naturopathic perspective.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Quinoa? Kale? Strange Foods?

Sometimes I take for granted what I know and how I eat. Sometimes a patient, (if not Chris), reminds me that these foods are not in the regular repetoire and seem scary.

Today was one of those days where 4 of my patients today wanted (or needed) to make some changes in their diets and were scared about trying different things, in particular quinoa and kale.

If you want or need to try something different and want to up the nutritional quality of your meal start with quinoa. It is a grain, looks like cous cous, cooks like rice and is eaten like you would eat rice. Where do I get this funny grain? Bulk barn, health food stores like Whole Foods or Planet Organic, or the health food aisle in a grocery store like Loblaws or Highland Farms.

Now I have it at home... what do I do with it? Put 1 cup of the quinoa and 2 cups of water into a saucepan, cover the saucepan, and put the stove on high heat. When it starts to boil, turn the heat down to low and let the quinoa simmer for another 20 minutes. It should be done!

You could use vegetable stock instead of water to flavour it up or saute some onions and carrots and celery and add it into the cooked quinoa or let it cool and make it into a cold salad by adding cucumber, celery, some parsley and some herbs. Another thing you can do is make a breakfast hot cereal out of quinoa by adding some cinnamon, fruit, and nuts or flaxseed!

New foods don't need to be overwhelming. One thing at a time... baby steps.... this week try quinoa, next week try making kale, the following week buy swiss chard... after a couple of months you'll have a whole new repetoire!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Medical Information on the Internet

Just saw a quick clip of a hockey player and his wife talking about her being diagnosed with cervical cancer. The story has a good ending but she did say that the one thing she wouldn't do and tells people struggling with the disease is NOT to read the internet.

As a healthcare professional I know how much health info is on the internet, credible and not, and I also know how many people come into my office with pages of internet information or a checklist of symptoms trying to self diagnose.

I think it is very important to be responsible for your own health and have a better understanding of how things (food, environment, medications, etc.) can affect your health. But I also know how intricate the body is and how every process in the body is connected and how many years of education it took to truly understand how to properly differentially diagnose pathologies. The most credible and scientific websites are not meant to be read by the average untrained person. The majority of information is to be read with a knowledge of physiology and pathophysiology to truly understand how disease happens and changes.

Anyway.... my point is .... if you are experiencing symptoms whether intense and /or frequently, go see your naturopathic doctor (or family medical doctor) to get and idea of what is going on so you are properly followed. Don't go in blind... have a few questions ready and expect answers and a plan. Keep asking questions of your healthcare professional until you are satisfied... but don't use the internet to self-diagnose. You wouldn't self-diagnose your car trouble right? You would take it to a mechanic and get it fixed properly.... take as much care with your health.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

How Old is Your Mustard?

Read a quick article today on shelf-life of foods, once opened, in your fridge. Roast chicken was 5 days, deli meats (which there shouldn't be any in your fridge anyway!!!! ) last 2 days, yogurt was 5-7 days....

I ask you how old is your mustard and how long does it last? Doesn't it last forever??? Apparently 3 months is the max time it should be in your fridge. First thing I'm doing when I get home is throwing out my mustard. I use dijon mustard weekly for making quick salad dressings so that one will stay, but the good ol' French's yellow mustard has been there quite a while - at least since last summer when I bought it for a BBQ we were having for friends!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Jalapeno Corer

Ok gotta love Williams Sonoma.... I got a great birthday package in the mail yesterday filled with Williams Sonoma goodies. I was giddy with my new kitchen goods while Chris was rolling his eyes, knowing that it was just going to become harder to find things in our kitchen drawers with more gadgets.

Never heard or seen of a jalapeno corer before ... this is fantastic. I haven't tried it yet to see if it actually works and gets all of those little hot seeds out but I'll let you know.

Here's a little dressing to try next time you buy a jalapeno! It's tangy and definitely has some bite. I love this over any salad or over warm sweet potatoes!

1 clove of garlic
1 jalapeno
juice of 1 lime
olive oil
sea salt and pepper

In a small food chopper (another kitchen gadget!) pulse the garlic, jalapeno,sea salt and pepper. Add the lime and puree for a minute. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and puree together until well combined!

Chris may not welcome the jalapeno corer but I think he's happy about all the pie baking paraphenalia! Thanks AK!!!!!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cranberry Sauce

I just made such a delicious cranberry sauce! My parents are coming over tomorrow for a brief little lunch. Usually Chris and I go to their place and don't do much except sit and eat; this year we've both been so busy we decided they would come here!

In preparation, Mom and I decided that they were going to bring the turkey (no tofurky this year!) and I would make the veggies. So I was planning on some roasted root veggies - parsnips, squash, carrots, and sweet potato and the pecan brussel sprouts that I put in the last ZH newsletter. Yesterday Mom and I decided these few things plus a few nibblies to start and some fruit for dessert, would be enough for an early lunch.

So today of course is a different story and I knew this was going to happen..... I just got off the phone with Mom and now she is also bringing perogies and a plum harvest cake! I also know that Dad loves cranberry sauce so I started looking around for a recipe on the food network and came across a recipe from Ina Garten, the barefoot contessa - a chef that I love - well maybe her house in the Hamptons even more than her food!!!!

I decided to tailor the recipe a little as usual.... and it turned out great!
1/2 bag cranberries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup agave nectar
I brought these together in a small saucepan on low heat for 10 minutes and then added juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon and 1/2 an orange and some peeled and diced pear. I cooked this all together for 20 minutes, took it off the heat and add a handful of chopped walnuts and then put it in the fridge for tomorrow.

Just a little note that the original Ina recipe used a full bag of cranberries and 1 3/4 cup white sugar.....

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Coconut Butter Truffles

Last week one of the massage therapists in the clinic brought in a dark chocolate ganache torte that was raw. Super easy crust made of coconut butter and maple syrup and almond flour and of course cocoa, while the 'filling' was coconut butter, maple syrup and cocoa.

I decided to make truffles out of the ganache filling part. I also made half the recipe so we didn't have 2 dozen truffles in the house!

In a food processor I ended up using 1 cup cocoa, 3/4 cup maple syrup, and 1/2 cup coconut butter. I processed it for a few minutes until it was completely smooth. I poured it in a small pie plate and placed it in the fridge for an hour. After an hour I used a melon baller and made little truffles and placed them on a plate and put them back in the fridge for another 3 hours. I rolled half in shredded coconut and the other half I left as is.

Delicious. And all gone!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Urban Getaway - Mighty Leaf Tea

My husband Chris surprised me this weekend with a little urban getaway - a night at a hotel in Toronto. Yes we live in Toronto, but nothing beats blackout curtains, fluffy white robes and pillows, and not looking at my dusty baseboards!

We had a fabulous time walking around the neighbourhood, having dinner and breakfast out and relaxing without computers or to-do lists! Sunday morning we had breakfast at MBCo., a cute all-white place with a decadent supply of croissants and other breads and filled with wheat and gluten! I don't usually order egg-white omelettes as they are usually dry and lack flavour, (AND I think egg yolks get a bad wrap - everything in moderation!) but the spinach and goat cheese filling enticed me. We shared a fresh fruit bowl and I had a Mighty Leaf tea called African Nectar that was delicious. It is a rooibus tea with hibiscus and mallow and marigold flowers and some rose leaves. The omelette was fantastic and I ended up finding the tea in our neighbourhood at a store called Fresh and Wild and buying a box. It is expensive for a box, so it definitely won't be my daily tea but as a weekend tea it will hit the spot.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Amaranth Porridge

Time for hot cereal again!
I just got back from a run through High Park. Yes it was cold this morning; it was the first morning I had to find my toque and running gloves! But wow was autumn ever in the air. The leaves have started to change colour and you can smell the crisp leaves.
So when the weather changes like this my morning smoothie doesn't cut it. I want something warm and nutritious to soothe. This morning there was a bit of an incident with my amaranth. If you have never cooked with amaranth, I urge you to go to your local bulk store and buy 1 cup to try it out. Amaranth is a gluten-free grain that is high in protein, calcium, and iron, which is quite rare for a grain!
Anyway so I was measuring out my amaranth and it spilled everywhere on my counter and floor. It isn't easy to clean up as it is such a tiny tiny grain, smaller than couscous or millet.
So today I made some amaranth porridge with pears, walnuts, ginger, and cinnamon. 3/4 cup amaranth and a pinch of sea salt with 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Bring it up to a boil and then let it simmer for 20 minutes. Add in any fruit and nuts or seeds that you have around the house and stir thoroughly and hea through for another 10 minutes. Let it sit for 5 minutes and enjoy! This will make enough for 2 servings.
Enjoy the cooler weather and some warm cereal!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sleep for Good Health

I remember even as a teenager not being able to fall asleep, needing to watch Johnny Carson or wanting to read books or whatever to 'lull me to sleep'. Sleep has always been something I have needed to consciously work on over the years. After becoming a naturopathic doctor I realized how important sleep actually is to keep all hormones working efficiently.

I'm definitely not the person that can do work until the last minute before going to bed. I need to have some relaxation time to wind down..... and that is something I have to consistently work at and be conscious of, otherwise forget it - I'm not falling asleep for a couple of hours. So recently I've been excited about my detox cookbook getting closer to being finished and launching plant2body organics Nourishing Serum among other little projects on the go; and sure enough the last two weeks my sleep has been awful. I've hit my point - action must be taken. Back to my restful hour before bed, reading (maybe I'll finally finish that Hillary Clinton biography!), dry skin brushing, castor oil packs, taking my cal/mag before bed etc.

Funny enough yesterday I read a study from the Archives of Internal Medicine that concluded people who sleep well and long enough are less susceptible to viral infections. People who got 8 hours or sleep were approximately 2.94 times less likely to catch colds than those who slept for 7 hours or less AND even more interesting was that people with a 92% sleep efficiency (actual sleep time as a percentage of total time in bed) or less were 5.5 times more likely to develop a cold. Something we all know but now there is one more study to prove it!

Good night!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Swine Flu Vaccine

Necessary? Not necessary? I'm clearly on the not necessary side..... there are definitely certain patient populations that may need a flu shot, whether it is seasonal or pandemic but I do believe having a good lifestyle, eating well (lots of fruits and veggies and little sugar), getting outside everyday, managing stress well, sleeping enough, and of course washing hands frequently are all key.

I thought it was interesting that yesterday it was reported that people who got the seasonal flu shot last year were more likely to contract swine flu (H1N1 virus). These findings are now prompting some people to delay or cancel their seasonal flu shot programs.

If you are concerned or just want a little booster for your immune system come by the clinic for your immune booster/homeopathic flu shot today! Good for any age!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Green Hand Wipes You Make Yourself

Hand-washing is probably the best thing you can do to prevent unwanted bugs, like the H1N1 (swine flu) virus away.

Of course being proactive and keeping your immune system functionally optimally by eating well, sleeping, exercising, getting outside everyday, etc. is also equally important.

Just flipping through a Healthy Directions magazine and I just came across a cute little recipe for 'green hand wipes' that I had to share. Mix 6 drops of tea tree oil with 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar. The oil will cancel the smell of the vinegar and kill bacteria. Dip 10 paper towels in the mixture and wring them out so they are damp, but not dripping. Fold and place in a Ziploc bag for you and your family to use at work or school before eating lunch!

Visiting Zawada Health for your immune booster flu shot should also be high on your flu prevention list!!!!

Medicinal Benefits of Tumeric

Beautiful Saturday so far. After a nice morning bike ride and a breakfast out at High Park, reading the papers, I've settled in, leafing through the September fall issue of InStyle.

While paging through I noticed a new product featured because of its odd ingredient - tumeric! DDF has a new cream that has tumeric, as it is currently being touted as having anti-aging benefits.

Old news to me! Tumeric is something I get all my cancer patients to take either in food/spice form or supplement form. Tumeric is something I remember painstakingly learning about in Year 2 Botanical Medicine. Curcumin is actually the part that gives the herb its therapeutic benefits. Its a powerful antioxidant, fighting free radicals and having strong anti-inflammatory benefits as well as being anticarcinogenic. A study in UCLA has even seen how tumeric may benefit those with Alzheimers, by reducing the build-up of protein plaques in the brain.

Sprinkle a little tumeric in your next stir-fry, in a smoothie, or on your quinoa!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Scones - Acceptable Dinner?

Today in a rare event I left the clinic early and was actually home by 5:30 pm. I also figured out that this is when the majority of my neighbours come home as I never see them when getting home at 7:30!

I was determined to finishing testing out a chicken nugget recipe for my detox cookbook and try another recipe from the Babycakes cookbook. So the chicken nuggets were fantastic - I finally figured out the right proportions of herbs and rice crackers for the 'coating'!

I made the raspberry scones and not only was it a super easy recipe with only a few ingredients, but it turned out beautifully. They only had spelt flour, coconut oil, agave nectar, baking powder, salt, and raspberries. Ok soooooooo back to the banana bread..... as many of you can see the author (or someone from Babycakes) commented on my blog and I will email her as suggested about what happened and let you know as my receptionist has also had problems with the banana bread but said the cupcakes were delicious and no problem to make. I'll let you know what I find out!

Anyway so I had the chicken nuggets and had full intentions on making green beans and kale for dinner but the scones smelled so good, so I had one and now have no desire to make my veggies!!!!

Plant2body Nourishing Serum

YAY! What a great feedback from people! Our new skin formulation is a hit. Plant2body is working on a website with more information but for now check out the pic and the information on in the "Shop Online" section. Come in and pick yours up today for $27.99. If you loved the silkia camillia oil, you will go crazy for p2b's nourishing serum. My colleague Anna and I have been working hard over the last year to create this great formula for wrinkles, stretch marks, scars, and uneven skin tone, that is safe to use on all skin types (even cystic acne and rosacea), that is ultra restorative and moisturizing.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cream The Urban Dairy

Delicious! Yesterday Alexis and I went to the TFC Soccer Game (thanks JG!) -- what a fantastic way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon. I love those fans! After the game we went to Lemongrass for some tasty thai food (I had my usual thai green vegetable curry) and then Cream The Urban Dairy at Queen and Leslie (1298 Queen St. East) for a little treat.

Alexis had been there before and had had a goat's milk ice cream last time, so I was curious to try it out! No goat's milk ice cream last night but instead they had a sheep's milk banana nutmeg ice cream. Didn't know what to expect but it was great! I would totally go back there AND for all my patients(kids and parents!) that have cow's milk allergies, this will be a great recommendation.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


So annoyed with this cookbook. I've tried 3 different recipes and all 3 I've had to change the bake time. This book is from a bakeshop in NYC that does mostly wheat and/or gluten-free and some celebrities rave about her baked goods. I think she's famous for her cupcakes but her cookbook has scones, tea breads, and pies as well.

The first incident happened over a month ago, the morning we were leaving for our road trip out East. I wanted to bake a gluten-free banana bread for my friend, who we were visiting in New Brunswick, who has Celiac's (allergic to gluten). Chris didn't think it would last the road trip as it would be hard to resist a baked good in the car that he wasn't allowed to eat! However the banana bread didn't even make it in the car - it was raw inside when I pulled it out! I had even left it in the oven an extra 10 minutes. I didn't give it much thought because I was in a rush, maybe I didn't measure something or forgot something so vowed to try it again after the trip. Tried it again and really took my time and same thing! Last week I halved the recipe and kept the same loaf pan and it worked - AND it was delicious - could not tell it was gluten-free. DELICIOUS but how frustrating.

This past Monday night after we got back from Waterloo I wanted to try something else so the apple toastie bread was the next thing that caught my eye. Quite a lot of sugar in the recipe but again gluten-free, this time using chickpea flour, and I kept checking and checking and checking this loaf until finally 30 minutes after the 'scheduled bake time' I took it out and it was done.

Now I've baked quite a lot, especially in the last 5 years, mostly wheat or gluten-free, some from recipes, and some by just making it up as I go along and I have never, NEVER, had any issues before. Sure some of my creations weren't delicious, but were edible and most of the time I knew they weren't going to be moist and wonderful.

The author and owner of the store, Erin, does a beautiful job with the look of the cookbook, the pictures, the little stories, but maybe there is a little trick I'm missing..... I've even read all the preamble at the beginning but there is nothing I don't know. I'm going to try one of the scone recipes this weekend and maybe a cupcake recipe but if it doesn't work out, I'm not wasting any more ingredients on this cookbook!

Friday, September 4, 2009


I had full intentions to come home after yoga this morning, quickly clean the house and then get groceries to test out a few more recipes for my cookbook. It was also supposed to be day 1 of no cable so I thought it would be easy to focus and get things done. (YES I said no cable.... we're trying it out ... we'll see how long we last!)

Well before starting to clean I instinctively turned on the tv and much to my surprise we still had cable. Trouble. I watched Cityline and then a bit of Ellen before getting to my toilets. Finished cleaning, and made a quick grocery list before remembering my brother-in-law Dave was coming this weekend and staying with us next week. I wanted to bake and freeze a few things so there are a few healthy treats around, so I added a few things to the list and headed out.

Made cosmic cookies from the Planet Organic cookbook but substituted a few things. I did coconut flour instead of spelt flour, sunflower oil instead of canola, and the oats weren't quick cooking oats as I usually use. I baked half the recipe and put the rest of the dough in the freezer. They weren't bad but not delicious; a touch too crumbly. I also made a gluten-free apple toastie bread from the Babycakes cookbook which turned out great.

While I was baking I had the US Open Tennis tournament on in the background. I got wrapped up in a game for half an hour before starting my chermoula for our halibut tonight. Chermoula is a blend of spices, almost a paste that originates from Northern Africa. The blend of spices varies between countries but garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice are always in there. Chermoula is typically paired with fish but upon doing some research, it is also used with roasted cauliflower or chicken from time to time.

After making the chermoula I put it on the halibut fillets and then in the refrigerator. Tonight I'll bake it in the oven (350) for 15 minutes or until the fish flakes. We're having sauteed fennel and roasted brussel sprouts with the halibut.

Here's the recipe for the chermoula:
2 cups fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 cloves garlic
½ tsp sea salt
2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted
1/2 tsp coriander seeds, toasted
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp cayenne
¼ cup - ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 large lemon

1. In a food processor, puree cilantro and parsley. Remove and set aside.
2. In the same food processor, puree the garlic and sea salt. Slowly add spoonfuls of the cilantro and parsley mixture and pulse until everything is blended together.
3. Add the remaining spices, lemon juice, and olive oil and puree.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Plastic Surgery for Migraines

Come on?!? Really? No I'm not a migraine sufferer and maybe if I was I wouldn't think this was so outrageous but....

The Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, recently reported a double blind study where more than 80 percent of patients who underwent surgery in one of three “trigger sites” significantly reduced their number of headaches compared with more than 55 percent of the group who had sham surgery. More than half of the patients with the real surgery reported a “complete elimination” of headaches compared with about 4 percent of the placebo group.

The lead author of the study, a plastic surgeon, found some of his patients migraines were improving post-forehead lift (typically for smoothing furrowed brows). He began searching for a surgical answer to migraines, hence the study.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

SIGG Water Bottles

Rats. I have to throw out my SIGG water bottles. I have 3 or 4 of them that I love from my sister Angela that have her Moksha Yoga Edmonton logo on them.

What irritates me about this is not that I have to throw them out, but because I have told many patients, family, and friends that SIGG do not have BPA in the bottles or liners. SIGG has finally confirmed their "water-based" epoxy liners in bottles made prior to 2008 have BPA. In their past statements they have always maintained that their liners have 'never leached BPA', never lying to consumers, but deceiving or in my husband's lingo, spinning the story. UGH. Apparently they switched to an 'eco-care' liner quietly in 2008.

There are countless other options including glass or stainless steel. Time to go shopping.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Plant2Body Organics - Nourishing Serum

As many of you know I love my camillia oil (green tea oil) as a nightly moisturizer. Not only has it been the main moisturizer I've been using for the last 5 years (with some expensive brands in between), but it's the one I have recommended to countless patients wanting a simple moisturizer without chemicals, parabens, and fragrances, whether they have perfectly clear skin, cystic acne, rosacea, or acne scarring from years before.

My friend and colleague, Anna Falkowski, had also always felt the same way about the camillia oil, yet we knew we could improve it with the knowledge we had learned and accumulated over the years about skin and how it responds and what it needs. So we are so excited to finally have our new oil, Nourishing Serum, inspired by the benefits of green tea and perilla seed oil, to share with our patients and friends. An oil that will nourish the skin (and hair) without preservatives, fragrances, or chemicals; an oil that is organic that will help skin preserve elasticity and retain moisture.

Thank you to all our friends and family that have helped Plant2Body Organics develop Nourishing Serum. We hope everyone loves it as much as we do!!!

Fresh Greens from the Garden

On Friday, after Anna and I spent the day bottling and labelling our new product - Nourishing Serum (debuts tomorrow at Zawada Health!), we went through her garden and she gave me a bagful of dark green leafies to take home - kale, swiss chard, and beet greens!

So Friday night for dinner I picked up some salmon steaks, and a fresh head of cauliflower (since it's on my healthy and active list!) on my way home. I ended up sauteeing the swiss chard with some olive oil, red chili flakes, fresh lemon juice, and a tonne of garlic. The swiss chard was so tender and flavourful, so much less bitter and tough then from the grocery store. It was enough to inspire me to buy another planter for next year and dedicate it to growing dark green leafies!!!!

The cauliflower was nice for a change as well since I usually roast it. I did the cauliflower similarly to the swiss chard but added 1/4 cup water to the saute pan at the beginning to let it steam to cook the cauliflower and then added lemon zest and parsley at the end of cooking.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

New and Exciting Projects

Several patients have asked me what happened to my blog as I've only had one post in the last month. Don't worry, I haven't abandoned my blogging!

Chris and I went on a little 12 road trip out East at the beginning of August - we did New Brunswick, PEI, and Nova Scotia. It was fantastic except for the rotting blackberries we found under the seat of the car half-way through our trip! I have a list of 10 stories or blogs that I will slowly start to publish from our adventures.

My colleague and friend, Anna, and I have also been working on a serum for nourishing the face, and for wrinkles, scars, and stretch marks for the better part of this year that is organic and uses simple, powerful ingredients. Plant2Body organics and its nourishing serum will make its debut at Zawada Health and Vitality for Life this Monday!!!

And last but not least my detox cookbook is slowly falling into place. As some of you know this has been close to a 3 year project. And now that Chris is going back to school this September I will have some 'extra' time to finally finish the book!

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Check this product out.

I was walking along Bloor in Bloor West Village this morning and passed by a children's store (Diaper-eez) that I've walked by a hundred times but never stopped to check things out. This time the window caught my eye so I walked in surrounded by BPA-free bottles, soothers, baby clothes, and toys!

I have been slowly throwing out all my plastic tupperware with the intention of buying new glass ones. I always hesitate because of the weight. Lately I've been using glass jars, much to my husband's dismay. Our one corner kitchen cupboard is a disaster with empty salsa or almond butter jars, spilling over everywhere.

Anyway so these greentainers are stainless steel, a safe alternative to plastic containers, and can be bought with lock mechanisms. They come in a few sizes. I took down the information, ready to check out their website and noted I could go back and purchase! The lady at the store said the containers are easily opened by kids 7 years old and up.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Quick and Random Dinner

Ok so there is very little in our fridge right now because we're leaving on Friday for a 10 day road trip out East. I had Monday (trout and salad) and Tuesday (parlsey pesto on brown rice pasta with chicken, asparagus and fennel) dinners planned out but clearly I wasn't thinking straight when picking out veggies for the rest of the week!

So we sliced up 2 red peppers, chopped up a bunch of kale, and sliced a cup of green beans... definitely not one of typical combinations for a stir-fry. I put some olive oil in the saute pan and some red chili flakes, threw all the veggies in the pan, and a random combination of herbs - a teaspoon of basil, a teaspoon of fennel seeds, and a tablespoon of Bragg's liquid aminos (similar to soy sauce). I would have never thought to combine basil and fennel seeds but it was delicious!

This dinner reminded me of a conversation with a patient earlier this week. She had said one of her obstacles with eating healthy or preparing new dishes is not knowing how to combine spices or herbs. I told her it's all about experimenting; reading as many recipes and trying them; watching food network; asking friends; googling; tasting spices; whatever! I remember ruining plenty of dishes in my early 20s when I was experimenting and from time to time even now, Chris gets a lame duck meal.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Lahore Tikka House

What a busy weekend! We did a lot of visiting over the weekend as well as eating.

Saturday morning we met a couple of friends at a restaurant called School for brunch in Liberty Village. Great atmosphere and pretty good menu, very accomodating. I had an omelette and was able to substitute a few things (which was rare for any restaurant during busy breakfast or brunch hours!) and had a delicious arugula salad and fruit salad instead of the homefries!

In the later afternoon we were over at a friends for a birthday celebration and had some nibblies. Afterwards we decided since we were close to Little India we would go out for dinner. We saw one restaurant that was really busy and had a large patio... people looked happy so we thought we'd try it out. One of our rules about trying random restaurants is that they would have to be busy and look like people were having fun. So Lahore Tikka House definitely fit the bill! Service was quick - I got my usual palak paneer and Chris had Karahi Gosht (lamb) - it was delicious - and we had fun!

I have a great little recipe for palak paneer but no matter how many times I've tried, it never tastes as good as when I order it from a restaurant. Some things are just better left to the experts!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Obama Healthcare Comment

The following is taken from a transcript of Obama's press conference last night regarding health care:

"We can pay for it in the short term, but we can also pay for it in the long term. And in fact, there's going to be a whole lot of savings that we obtain from that because, for example, the average American family is paying thousands of dollars in hidden costs in their insurance premiums to pay for what's called uncompensated care, people who show up at the emergency room because they don't have a primary-care physician.

If we can get those people insured and instead of having a foot amputation, because of advanced diabetes, they're getting a nutritionist who's working with them, to make sure that they are keeping their diet where it needs to be, that's going to save us all money in the long-term."

My ears perked up when he said diet. I think naturopathic doctors can provide an invaluable service to any healthcare system, whether it is in the US or here in Canada, specifically Ontario.

In a time when a lot of people say they can't get a family medical doctor, and many have health concerns that are preventable through diet and lifestyle like heart disease and diabetes, NDs can address the changes that need to be made either before a diagnosis or before a medication is needed or while on medication to minimize side effects.

More and more people are coming in to see me that don't have major health concerns but they know that they have a parent or grandparent with heart disease or diabetes and want to do everything they can to live with optimal health. I love it! The integration of naturopathic doctors within a family health team here in Ontario would be beneficial ... just a thought.

Raw Raspberry Cheesecake

I think I have perfected it. This will be my third time making this cheesecake but the first time for Chris. I learned my lesson the first time with the avocado pie, that I must divulge what the 'item' is made of and not try to 'fool' my husband.

If you don't receive the ZH newsletter every month go onto the website ( and click under July newsletter to get this recipe. It is so refreshing and no one will guess what the inside is made of -- cashews, orange juice, lemon juice, coconut butter, and honey!

The recipe itself is very simple but there are a couple of things that will make the cheesecake even better. When blending the crust in the food processor, allow the mixture to ball up. This is unlike the date and almond crust for the raw avocado pie as this one just requires coarse crumbs. Second tip is go the extra distance and buy fresh oranges and lemons and squeeze them yourself - it makes a huge difference in the tangy filling. Last thing is try to dry out the cashews after soaking them.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Freezing Fresh Local Berries

We all (Chris and my sister Angela), just got back from visiting my parents. We stayed for the whole weekend which meant a weekend of relaxing, napping, and of course eating.

One of the great things Mom reminded me about was freezing all the local fresh berries now, to have an ample supply for smoothies and sauces. I think the most delicious dessert my Mom makes is cheesecake with homemade cherry sauce. We usually just have it for Easter but this weekend was a special request with Angela visiting from Edmonton.

My parents had been picking the last of the fresh cherries last week so this weekend we pitted a few baskets of cherries, spread them in one layer among several baking sheets so they freeze individually, and then bagged them once frozen, into ziploc bags. This is a great technique for any berry and a wonderful way to eat local for much longer time.

This is also a great weekend activity to do with kids. I know a few parents who take their kids to apple orchards in the fall around the Milton or Caledon area. What a fabulous way to get kids to understand where strawberries, or blueberries, or raspberries come from - how they grow, and how they are harvested!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Anti-aging Seminar

Wow... great seminar. Yesterday I went to a seminar that was put on by a company called GUNA, and Dr. Frasca, a plastic surgeon from Torino, Italy. She used to do a lot of face lifts and fillers and has moved away from invasive procedures and is actually using homeopathic remedies, like homeopathic collage, among others, to inject into wrinkles, stretch marks, scars, and cellulite. She still uses botox and some fillers and lasers but has changed her practice dramatically. It was fascinating to hear her speak and listen to her experiences and have her share her knowledge. It was also interesting to hear how many medical doctors and plastic surgeons in Italy (and most of Europe) are open to natural therapeutics and how women (mostly) view skin care not as a luxury but as a necessity.

Of course Anna and I did the seminar together, and my friend and fellow colleague Aileen also came. It was wonderful because the first hour was theory and then the rest of seminar was all practical. We worked on our thighs, our faces, our arms... any surface we could get our hands on. The older ladies in the seminar were quick to volunteer when Dr. Frasca needed some models to show the technique!!!

Right now I've been doing the cosmetic acupuncture on most ladies wanting a little anti-aging treatment. It's been great for the middle-age demographic with a fairly decent lifestyle (water, non-smoker, exercise) but it's been harder to get good results with older women unless they are willing to come in for 15 or 20 sessions. Cosmetic acupuncture is also an hour long where as this technique is 15 minutes. The acupuncture is fantastic as it is a whole treatment approach, and with a few sessions other minor health concerns disappear! I can definitely see myself incorporating this new technique into my practice.

Even though she doesn't know yet, my mom of course will be my first 'patient'... I'm glad she doesn't use the internet and can't read this!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Herb Garden

My herb garden is a disaster. It looks like my mom's garden looked like in the middle of August.... picked through, weeds peeking through everywhere... ugh.

This morning I went to grab some dill and parsley to throw into my chickpea salad that I was making for lunch and was greeted by a mess. My arugula (I got 3 big family sized salads out of it!) was flowering and drying, my dill (my pride and joy being Polish!) was becoming brown, and the rest I couldn't even tell if what I was looking at was a herb or a weed!

It totally reminds me of being on the farm. My mom had a HUGE vegetable garden. Rows upon rows of potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, peppers .... The workers that stayed on the farm from St. Lucia used to love picking through her garden (much to my dad's dismay!). I remember the garden looking pristine for the first few months. It was always irrigated in the evenings and my sister Ang and I would have to weed the garden every week. However it never failed by the time tobacco harvest started in August, everyone was too busy and too tired to tend to the garden so it always fell by the wayside; still producing tons of delicious vegetables, but looking horrific!

Just more proof I have to stick to being a naturopathic doctor!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Back from the Cottage

Flurry of activity around the Morley household today. Last night we got back from the cottage, after being there for a week. Yes it rained, everyday except one, but it was great to sit, relax, and do nothing. But now it's time to get the house in order and prep for the workweek ahead.

We always love our week at the cottage. It is a time to sit and think, enjoy nature (it's right on Lake Huron), read (we read 3 books each), and tune out of the everyday craziness. There isn't a tv and there are no newspapers... just us and nature. Oh and of course according to Chris it's a time for treats! There is always a stop at the Lucknow bakery, which is a bakery run by mennonites that has delicious strawberry tarts and pies, and date squares and buns for Chris' burgers! They actually now do gluten-free baked goods which is crazy.... cookies, pie shells, and tarts!

Anyway so last night we eased into being back in Toronto by unpacking, responding to a few emails and starting new books. Today after a relaxing breakfast outing, and starting on our laundry, we did our grocery shopping so I could prep a few things for the week. Tonight we're having rainbow trout and my beet and arugula salad. While the beets were cooking I pulled out my favourite appliance, the food processor, made tofu frittata for tomorrow night's dinner, and then made some hummus so we would have something to snack on during the week while making dinners. Plan, plan, plan.....

Friday, June 26, 2009

Baron Baptiste Inspired Power Flow

Last night I went to my first official power flow yoga class. Whoa.... definitely not a class for beginners. It was also my first time to a studio called Leewi on Lakeshore and Mississauga Rd in Mississauga.

It was a good reminder that it good to shake things up in your fitness routine. I'm always saying how important it is to increase your food repetoire and try new veggies or try something crazy like quinoa; however as far as my exercise routine it's always the same thing! Awful! I like my morning moksha yoga classes a few times a week and then a run or two or a bike ride.

Anyway the studio was beautiful and the instructor was great at adjusting everyone's postures throughout the class and sequencing or flowing the postures together. It was strange not to have a mirror in front of me and really have to think of my alignment. The first half of the class was great, then there was a little incident with another person in the class having to leave and the balancing postures started. I was done. Never had to take a time-out like that.... it was pretty much savassana and childs pose for the rest of the class.

So clearly I have to go back and really do the full class!!!!! I also can't wait to go back to Edmonton and take one of my sister's power flow classes. Angela just got back from level 2 Baron Baptiste training in Montana.... And she really is the best yoga instructor!!!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Baby Massage and Global TV

If you have an unhappy baby, whether it's gas, constipation or teething or anything in between, a massage can help. One of the first things a parent can try, is to give baby a little abdominal massage.

Check out the following link as Global TV was back at Zawada Health to interview one of the massage therapists, Helene Roby, about the benefits of baby massage.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Carrot Quinoa

Chris and I just got back from a quick run before we meet our friends for brunch. We got soaked on our way back but at least we got out there!

I'm just making a grocery list as we're having some friends over for dinner tonight. Searching through the fridge to see what we have I see the leftover carrot quinoa from last night.

I tried a new recipe last night. A patient told me about it as it was from Oprah's magazine or show or something.

After rinsing and draining the quinoa, I toasted it for 5 minutes in a saucepan and then put it aside. I then put a couple of teaspoons of olive oil in the saucepain with some diced onion (1/2), diced celery (5 ribs), and diced zucchini (1). I let it heat through for 5 minutes and then added 2 cups of bottled carrot juice (Bolthouse) to let simmer for a couple of minutes. I added back in the quinoa, along with some salt and pepper and a 1/2 tsp of nutmeg. I just let it all simmer for 20 minutes until it was cooked! We had this with salmon (with fresh dill from my planter!) and a fresh Ontario tomato and some kale and cabbage salad.

Definitely a keeper of a recipe. It was delicious and I'm sure it'll be even better today with all the flavours blending nicely. I'll try some different veggies next time or see what it tastes like without the nutmeg.

Ok back to my menu for tonight.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Jane Fonda and Exercising

Jane Fonda just had a knee replacement. All those years of high impact aerobics catching up with the best of them I guess..... cross-training was a term back then I guess!!!

I heard this on 680 AM this morning on my way to work and got that familiar 'warm fuzzy' feeling. Immediately I remembered being 10 years old trying to do all the Jane Fonda moves in front of the tv..... then I graduated to doing the 20 minute workout every morning, (while wearing leg warmers of course), and then purchasing Kathy Smith's fat burning workout on VCR tape!!!

I know alot of my patients don't like exercising and it's so hard for them to get into a routine to be consistent because they think it's a chore. For me it's something I grew up with so it's nothing for me to think about exercising - it's not about fitting it in, it's just something I do like people brush their teeth.

I understand how difficult it must be to make exercise a part of your life in your 30s, or 40s, or 50s onward. This is why all parents must introduce activity at a young age... kids must see their parents being active too..... it's key to make those routines young. However it's never too late! Even if it is getting outside for a 10 minute power walk every morning, or skipping for 10 minutes after work, or biking around the block everyday. Being active doesn't mean going to the gym every day for 2 hours; but it does mean planning for 10 minutes of formal activity every day along with your active daily living, like walking up the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking far from the door etc.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Norwex and Cleaning

I don't mind cleaning a toilet or scrubbing tubs or some baseboards. Maybe it was seeing my mom on her hands and knees cleaning floors when I was growing up or her quest for streak-free windows ... not sure.

I always loved that fresh clean smell when cleaning, until I learned how bad those chemicals were for our health! Then I switched to all the 'green cleaners' and was disappointed with how the majority of them cleaned things. I've been pretty happy with Seventh Generation, using not only their detergent and dish soap, but their shower and glass cleaner as well....UNTIL I tried Norwex cloths.

A patient had told me about them so I bought 2 from her - a general blue one and a yellow glass one. Wow. I didn't know what to make of them at first because all you do is use water. The cloths remove 99.9% of bacteria AND the best streak-free windows ever. I don't use them in the bathroom - I've been using more vinegar and water and the Seventh Generation toilet bowl cleaner for this room - but definitely in the kitchen and living room and bedrooms!

In last months newsletter I wrote about some different natural cleaners and totally forgot to mention Norwex!!!!

Happy cleaning!

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Disappearing Male

This is so scary. As a healthcare practitioner that sees alot of patients as a last resort I'm never surprised in the health concerns I see from day to day. However the rate of infertility among couples, male and female, over the last couple of years that I have seen is staggering.

One of my best friend's and colleague, Anna, saw a documentary on CBC on the disappearing male last night and forwarded the link to me as we are both seeing this increase in practice. CBC did a great job in putting this story together on how a class of common household chemicals, called endocrine or hormone disrupters are changing sperm counts and male birth rates. It's something we as NDs are aware of when treating male infertility among all the other factors that can be part of the picture - poor nutrition, alcohol, sugar, and of course stress!

No Need for KFC

Ok I haven't seen KFC on a diet diary for a long time but this week I saw it twice. AHHHHHHHHH!

I always say there are always options..... if you are going to KFC for some crispy fried chicken because it's a fast food restaurant nearby - stay away. There is always a better option - most chains carry salads or lower fat menu items. There may be a pita place, a sushi place, a Japanese stir-fry place, and of course there is always a Tim Hortons for soup and/or half a sandwich.

If you are going to KFC for the fried chicken because you are craving fried chicken, you can always make a healthier version at home. One of the best things you can do is use corn flakes or brown rice flour or panko (Japanese bread crumbs).

If you have never made 'fried chicken' at home all you have to do is cover the chicken with some plain yogurt for a few hours and place the topping in a separate bowl. You can add sea salt and pepper, parsley, lemon zest, or some ground nuts to the crumbs/cornflakes/flour.

Roll the chicken pieces out of the yogurt and in the toppings to coat, place on baking sheet and in the fridge for an hour. Remove and put in preheated oven (350) and bake for 45 minutes to an hour.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Healthy Golf Treats?

Are you kidding?!? I was shocked.

Chris came home from golfing at The National and told me last night they ACTUALLY had healthy snacks! Yogurt, granola, fruit, AND smoothies!!!! You could put protein powder in your smoothies and everything. That's fantastic ...

Too bad it's a members-only club and women can only golf a couple days a week as a guest of a member!

Maybe I'll open up a 'healthy golf cart' business....

Monday, June 8, 2009

Goji Bliss

OH MY!!!!

This is one of the most delicious things I have tasted in a while. Alexis brought me a little gift this morning! It's this raw spread called Goji Bliss by Artisana that is organic coconut meat, organic goji berries, and organic agave syrup all blended together in this delicious creamy spread. She bought it at Whole Foods on the weekend.

I could seriously eat the whole jar... wow ... great to spread on my buckwheat pancakes on Saturday morning or on a rice cake as a snack or just as a sweet treat after dinner... AND healthy, healthy, healthy. Lots of calories and fat but it's good fat and you don't need much. (Just a bit of willpower!!!)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Hindu Wedding and Spicy Chickpeas

Last night Chris and I went to Lisa and Alvin's wedding. Lisa is the chiropractor at the clinic... they've been together for 14 years and last night we witnessed their wedding ceremony!

After a 2 1/2 hour traditional Hindu ceremony, we lined up for a vegetarian food feast. Chickpeas, dahl, pumpkin, pakoras, and of course rice and naan, among other treats.

The food reminded me of a quick curry dish - Spicy Chickpeas with Ginger - that's easy and tasty.

Heat 3 Tbsp sunflower oil in a large skillet over medium heat and then add 1 large onion that has been diced, stirring unitl browned (15 minutes). Lower the heat and add 1 bay leaf, 3 minced garlic cloves, 2 Tbsp grated ginger, 2 tsp ground coriander, 2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp ground cardamom, and 1/2 tsp sea salt and pepper. Mix together and add 2 peeled and diced tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth or wtaer and 2 cans chickpeas. Simmer until liquid is reduced so the sauce is thicker and then season with the juice of 1/2 lemon and sea salt (if necessary).

Off the golf!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Red Latte at Cherry Bomb

Mmmmmmm .... I'm thinking about the red latte I had on Saturday.

If you are ever in the west end of Toronto on Roncesevalles, a street originally filled with Polish kielbasa and Polish bakeries, go check out Cherry Bomb cafe. The street is now starting to be filled with cute restaurants and hippie coffee places and original clothing stores. A Rowe Farms store also just opened for organic and free-range meats!

On Saturday, after our bike ride, Chris went out to get us a treat. He brought me back a rooibus soy latte from Cherry Bomb and it was delicious. If you have never had rooibus give it a try. It actually has more antioxidants than green tea but is caffeine-free. So if you are sensitive to caffeine but want a healthy herbal tea that packs a powerful antioxidant punch, rooibus is a great alternative. Starbucks has one called African Red Bush and Second Cup has a vanilla rooibus that is also nice and soothing.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hello Sunshine!

What a cute store.....

Chris and I were visiting friends and new babies today so we went to check out this children's store near us called Hello Sunshine. It's right across from High Park on the ground floor of a building at the corner of Bloor and High Park. What a great store filled with clothing, puzzles, eco-friendly toys, and of course Sophie, the teething giraffe that many of my patients have bought for their infants. This giraffe is around $20 and is hand-made in the French Alps, natural rubber (phthlate-free), and food-quality paints.

We just finished dinner and I'm just making my lunch for a few days. Butternut squash, adzuki beans, and kale, all sauteed together with some olive oil, shallots, Bragg's, and basil. Oh and we may have a little strawberry rhubarb crisp leftovers while we watch some tv (The Hills season finale - my guilty pleasure!) before going to bed!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Entertaining Tonight!

What a nice Saturday! We went for an early bike ride along the Humber River and then started our chores. Chris and I are having another couple over for dinner tonight so we planned our menu this morning, cleaned the house, bought most of the ingredients, and now I'm looking for a new strawberry rhubarb crumble or pie or square recipe while watching the French Open (Federer is playing - my favourite!)

I've done Emeril's crumble several times substituting the 10 TBSP OF BUTTER for sunflower oil. It has a touch of grand marnier and orange zest that makes it slightly more interesting than your average crumble. You can google strawberry rhubarb crumble and emeril and his recipe will pop up.

Chris always makes fun of me when we having people over because it's an all-day affair for me, planning the menu, buying everything, organizing all the ingredients on the counter, planning the order of cooking things, prepping the food .... we also always end up making way too much food (maybe that's the Polish in me!). It gives me a chance to try out new recipes or perfect old ones. I'm definitely doing some kind of arugula salad as the arugula I planted is finally ready! I'm also doing something I never do for guests - perogies!!!! No not mine but my mom's. We usually have a batch of hers in the freezer.... Ok off to start prepping!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

How Much Weight Should I Gain in Pregnancy?

I get asked this question all the time. I've always answered conservatively and usually answered around 25 lbs unless the woman is overweight then less is safer.

So it was nice to hear yesterday on the radio and this morning in the Globe and Mail's Life section that new guidelines were released giving more specific guidelines for women that are overweight (BMI of 25-30) and obese (BMI over 30).

Overweight women should aim for between 15-25 lbs while obese women should aim for 11- 20 lbs. Overweight and obese women are at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes and preeclampsia and they have higher rates of miscarriage and c-section. The babies of these women are more likely to be a lower birth weight which can in turn cause problems for the baby.

I think one of the important things about these new guidelines is that it should put more emphasis on women trying to get healthy and be an optimal weight before pregnancy. And of course not to put the onus only on women ... it is equally important for men to be at an optimal health as well prior to conception to increase sperm quality and numbers!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Anti-Aging and Resveratrol

Sunday night on 60 minutes there was a segment on a couple of biochemical researchers that are studying the effects of resveratrol on the aging cycle among other things. I think their company is called Sirtris Pharmaceuticals.

It was a fascinating story on how resveratrol (the antioxidant found in grape skins or red wine for you lushes!) may turn on a survival gene in the body increasing the life span and decreasing the chance of any chronic disease like diabetes, cancer, or heart disease. Now as an ND I know the benefits of resveratrol but for a supplement to come out that is equivalent of drinking 1000 bottles of red wine daily that actually promotes longevity is potentially amazing.

They are starting on human trials right now but the trials done on mice are significant. Not only do mice on resveratrol keep slim while being fed extra calories, but their organs upon autopsy are pristine, young looking!

I thought there was resveratrol in the greens I do every morning and sure enough there is! Greens First by Doctors for Nutrition contains 100mg of a ResveraMax Proprietary Blend, 25% of which is trans-Resveratrol from a Polygonium Cuspidatrum extract, as well as acerola cherry powder anda concord grape powder.

Interesting look at where not only science but pharma companies are possibly going...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Busy Weekend - Friends, Tears, Family, and Spring Foods

We just got back from Waterloo. We went for a quick Saturday afternoon trip to Kitchener to see a friend who is battling brain cancer. She is unbelievably positive and doing well. It was nice to see so many of her friends in one spot to celebrate her. Alyson is a highschool friend of one my best friends, Anna, as well as Chris. Chris and Alyson were actually co-presidents in highschool! As some of you know that's how I met Chris - Anna and I became friends in naturopathic school (CCNM) and she introduced us.

Since we were in the area we decided to spend the night at Chris' parents and as usual had a great time chatting and eating. Jane had all the local seasonal fruits and veg and some mennonite maple syrup from Lucknow for us. Of course local asparagus, some rhubarb (she made some stewed rhubarb with fresh strawberries for breakfast), and had a cherry tomato seedling ready for me to plant in a planter on the balcony all came back with us! So this afternoon, after yoga, I want to try to find a new rhubarb recipe for the few stalks we took home. The usual is strawberry rhubarb crisp but I think I should venture out and try something different. I'll let you know what ends up happening!

Friday, May 22, 2009

CCNM Convocation

Ahhhh memories....

Today the class of 2009 graduated from CCNM, at Convocation Hall at U of T. 6 years ago I was there, in their shoes, nervous, excited, and exhausted. I was also there today but this time in my gown and hood on the stage, as an invited guest as a member of the Board of Governors of CCNM. I'm on month 6 of a 3 year term of sitting on BOG and have loved my experience thus far.

Being there today reminded me of how lucky I am to be part of such a compassionate profession. There may have even been some 'welling up' when reciting the naturopathic oath again.

"I dedicate myself to the service of humanity as a practitioner of the art and science of naturopathic medicine. By precept, education, and example, I will assist and encourage others to strengthen their health, reduce risks for disease, and preserve the health of our planet for ourselves and future generations. I will continually endeavour to improve my abilities. I will conduct my life and practice of naturopathic medicine with integrity and freedom from prejudice. I will keep confident what should not be divulged. I will honour the principles of naturopathic medicine:
First, do no harm.
To cooperate with the healing power of nature.
To address the fundamental causes of disease.
To heal the whole person through individualized treatment.
To teach the principles of healthy living and preventive medicine.

With my whole heart, before these witnesses, as a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, I pledge to remain true to this oath."

After convocation was over I walked over to Kensington market (around College and Spadina) for a spelt muffin at Urban Herbivore and a matcha green tea soy latte at Moon Bean. When Chris lived around there that used to be a standard trip on a Sunday afternoon for us. I was thinking about that spelt muffin all day!!!! The apple cranberry is delicious and is what I usually get, but sometimes I'll grab the sweet potato and date spelt muffin.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Gluten-Free Blog

Alexis, my new receptionist pointed me towards a blog she's been following for a while, (since she's religiously gluten-free).....

I've been looking at it for the last 2 weeks and tried a couple of things... it's worthy for me to add to my following list! Karina does a good job explaining how to become gluten-free and has some good resources.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Stratus Wine

We had a wonderful weekend! We went to Niagara for the weekend to visit my parents and do an early anniversary hello to Stratus - the winery we had our wedding reception at! It was great to do a tasting of their new releases - 2007 Reisling, and the 2006 Red and White. Oh and we did the white and red icewines as well....

If you have never been to Stratus in Niagara-on-the-lake it's worth the trip up there. I may be a bit bias but the building is beautifully designed and it is LEED certified. We had our dinner in the tasting room overlooking the vineyards by Tony deLuca - also worth a trip to Niagara if you've never had his food before!

On our way home we also stopped at Southbrook winery because someone had told Chris that they do wood oven pizzas and he was determined to have that for lunch. Southbrook is also LEED certified, not as stunning as Stratus, but their big purple wall does make you stop and look. Their pizza dough is made from the grapeskins adding valuable antioxidants, iron, and fiber so it has a slight purple tinge to it. The pizza guy told us that Anna Olson makes the pizza dough.... it was funny because we visited her new food store/cafe at Ravine Vineyards earlier in the morning.

Thanks to Hayley for our trip to Stratus today!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Global - Alternative Medicine and Children's Health

A few of you have asked for the link to the global news story that aired on Wednesday night. Here it is! If you are a fan of Zawada Health on facebook then you've already seen this!

Have a great long weekend! We're off to Niagara to visit my parents, hopefully play some golf, and visit Stratus, the winery we got married at 2 years ago (May 25th!!!).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Naturopathic Medicine and Children's Health on Global

A few weeks ago Global TV came into the clinic again to shoot another story for their health segment.

This time it wasn't hangover cures and natural remedies it was alternative medicine and children's health. The segment is airing tomorrow (Wednesday) on Global at 6 pm. I think the health segment is on around 6:15.

We chatted about what kinds of things naturopathic medicine can do with kids. It was great because over the last couple of years I've noticed a huge increase in parents bringing in their kids for alternative options whether it's for the eczema, ear infections, asthma or their colds and flus. Kids are so vital; they respond so well to simple, natural things. The solution may not always be as quick as a conventional route but at least we're working with the body to stimulate healing instead of just blocking processes and in the long run making the child healthier and stronger. Sometimes it's a quick homeopathic remedy for a fever or rash, sometimes it's a herbal infusion for diarrhea or eczema, or sometimes it's a probiotic and fish oil!

A quick thank you to Leona and Joshua who helped out with the story!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Halibut with Artichokes and Capers

Last night our friends Steph and Doug came over for dinner. I know you shouldn't try new recipes when entertaining but I figured I've cooked enough fish in my life that it shouldn't be a disaster.

And it wasn't a disaster .... it was delicious! I found this recipe in the this month's issue of Food and Drink.

2 tsp olive oil in a large saute pan on medium-high heat. Halibut flesh side down in the pan for 6 minutes. Took the fillets off the pan and put on baking dish in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12 minutes. Meanwhile I sauteed (in the same pan as the fillets) 2 cups quartered cooked artichoke hearts and 2 tbsp capers for 3 minutes then added 8 thin slices of lemon, 2 tsp freshly chopped oregano and some more olive oil. I cooked this for another 5 minutes and then put on top of the fillets when they were done cooking. It was a wonderful combination of flavours.

Chris made some red quinoa and then I added some previously sauteed shallots and kale to finish it off; we also had asparagus and my arugula salad with beets!

Dessert was quite as virtuous I'm afraid.... Molten chocolate lava cake .... mmmmmmm...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Moroccan Quinoa

Sunday night is a great night for me to try different recipes out. A couple weeks ago I got the new Clean Eating magazine issue and put this recipe aside as I knew I wanted to give it a try. If you like flavour and have a good spice collection or have a bulk store with all the spices nearby give this one a try.

Of course I put my own spin on it and made it 'detox friendly'......

• 3 tsp olive oil
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tbsp Ras El Hanout (recipe below)
• 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
• 2 small turnips, peeled and diced
• 1 medium zucchini, diced
• 2 carrots, peeled and diced
• ¼ head cabbage, diced (I used preshredded colesaw from the grocery store!)
• ½ red pepper, cut into chunks
• ½ tsp salt
• 1 16oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
• 2 cups of quinoa
• ½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Ras El Hanout
• 11/2 tsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp ginger
• 1 tsp turmeric
• ½ tsp pepper
• ½ tsp all spice
• 11/2 tsp ground cumin
• ½ tsp coriander

Combine spices in a small bowl.

Heat oil in large stockpot over med high heat, add garlic and Ras El Hanout stir until brown. Then add next 5 ingredients. Pour in enough water to cover veg. Cover and cook 25-30 minutes or until veg are soft but not fully cooked.

Ladle out 3 cups of broth and veg (11/2 cups each) Puree in blender until thick. Add back to stew. I originally didn't measure and made it too watery :(

Mix in chickpeas and bring to a simmer. Cook covered for 10-15 minutes.

While stew is cooking boil 4 cups of water in a sauce pan over high heat. When water comes to a boil add quinoa cover and reduce heat to medium cook for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes remover from heat and let stand 15 minutes. Fluff with fork.

To serve, place ½ cup of quinoa in a bowl. Pour 1 cup of vegetable mixture over quinoa and sprinkle with cilantro.

Of course it makes a huge pot so I froze a couple of jars and had it for lunch all this week so far!!!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Cookies for Dessert

Last night when we went for dinner to our friends house I brought dessert. I brought the raw avocado pie (key lime pie) and a few of the cosmic cookies that I was busy baking this weekend to bring to the clinic for naturopathic medicine week.

Kevin also baked cookies for dessert. They were great so I asked for the recipe. He had found the recipe on a blog and now I'm sharing it with you! Such a simple recipe! Kevin said sometimes he grabs a few for breakfast or a snack before the gym!

Thanks Kevin and Aaron!!!

2 cups oats
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 medium overripe bananas
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chopped dates

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spray with nonstick spray.

Use a good blender to blend the oats into fine flour. Pour the oat flour into a mixing bowl and add the baking soda and cinnamon.

Put the peeled, overripe bananas into the blender and blend until completely smooth. Add to the oat mixture along with the sunflower seeds and dates, and mix until well combined.

Use a 1-ounce cookie scoop to place spoonfuls of the cookie dough on the baking sheet.

Bake for 12 minutes. Cool cookies on a wire rack and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.


Last night we went over to our friends for dinner. It was a great meal with some nice surprises including fresh from Ontario fiddleheads!

We started with a mixed green salad with cherry tomatoes and sunflower sprouts and then moved on to the main course which was beautifully served. Tilapia on a bed of steamed kale and fiddleheads on top of quinoa! Now as most of you know quinoa and kale our staples in our house but the fiddleheads were a great surprise and a good reminder to try things out of the hum drum routine.

Fiddleheads have a short harvest season - approximately 3 weeks in Spring. They are part of traditional diets in Asia and Australia and New Zealand. Fiddleheads are actually ferns. They can be used in any way similar to other hard green veggies like asparagus and broccoli. Here are some ideas:

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Refreshing Quinoa and Shrimp Salad

About a month ago I was looking for a quinoa recipe to shake up my quinoa repetoire and came across a recipe in the NY times. I printed it off and kept it in my recipe folder (which is bulging and badly needs proper organizing!) putting a reminder in my blackberry for the following week when we go grocery shopping.

So I picked up a couple things that I didn't have fresh (cilantro and scallions) this weekend knowing that I wanted to try this recipe this week. I replaced a couple of ingredients as I typically do to make it a bit 'better/healthier'. It took about 25 minutes start to finish - it would have been less if we used leftover quinoa.

In a mixing bowl I put 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar, 1 tsp minced fresh ginger, 1 small garlic clove minced, pinch of sea salt, pinch of cayenne, 2 tsp sesame oil and 1/4 cup sunflower oil (original recipe called for canola). In a separate bowl I wanted to make a substitute for the buttermilk the recipe called for - 2 tbsp soy milk and 1 tsp lemon juice. I let the soy milk sit for 5 minutes before whisking it into the rest of the dressing.

I made the dressing while Chris made the quinoa and then we chopped up the cucumber (1/2 English cucumber, halved, seeded, and thinly sliced), 4 scallions (sliced thin), and 1/4 cup cilantro. We also stir-fried a half bunch of asparagus and a half a fennel to round out the meal.

After the quinoa was done we mixed everything together and tossed in 12 cooked and peeled shrimp (we always have a bag in the freezer for a quick protein) and dove in!

It was so refreshing. A bit of a nice bite with the ginger. Great summer salad for entertaining I think. I may toss in some cubes of avocado next time or try to concoct something that would be detox-friendly!

Ok now to find the episode of LOST we missed.....

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine Flu - Wash Your Hands Everyone!

1. Do you have a NEW or WORSE cough or shortness of breath?

Please put on face mask and wash your hands thoroughly with soap.

2. Are you feeling feverish?

If the answer to BOTH of these questions is YES:

Best common practice to avoid unnecessary spread: stay home if you are sick, wash your hands thoroughly and often, and do as much as possible to keep your immune system healthy and happy.

Watch your sugar and alcohol intake both of which decreases your immunity. Make sure your are getting a variety of fruits and vegetables and get enough sleep.

We've seen this before with SARS and with the Spanish flu in 1918. Everyone is a little more prepared this time. Unfortunately we don't know how swine flu will spread and what the impact globally it will have. So everyone has to do their part and stay informed!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Coffee Before Exercise and My McMaster Supervisor!!!

One of my best experiences at McMaster was doing my thesis on "Gender Differences in Carbohydrate Loading" with Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky in my 4th year. The faculty at McMaster, specifically in the Kinesiology department was and is first rate and am grateful I was able to learn from such a great group of people. The practical experience I got in a lab and actually seeing and organizing a study was phenomenal. Not too mention all the research studies that I had to read gave me a greater appreciation of the human body and its potential.

The other area of exercise physiology that had a large amount of research at the time was the use of caffeine in endurance exercise. Even at that time (eek 10 years ago!!!) the consensus was that caffeine improved fat burning and increased length of endurance time, essentially being a performance enhancer.

One of my friends from McMaster is currently finishing med school out East (Becky!)and she recently emailed with a NY times article that reminded her of me and our times at MAC. Reading it reminded me of my supervisor and also the question I often get from my patients about drinking coffee before going for a run or exercising.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Parents Coming Over

What a beautiful day! I just managed to finish seeing patients at the clinic and go out for a quick run before the rain showers! I'm glad I got to enjoy a bit of the day. Tomorrow my parents are coming over to see our vacation pictures so we just spent a little time cleaning up the house (all those dust bunnies that only my mother manages to find!!!) and planning what we're going to have for lunch.

The last time they came over my dad was surprised I knew how to cook and cook well. In his mind only Zofia (my mom) knows how to cook so he's always a little suspicious of anyone elses' food especially his daughter, who again in his mind thinks is still 6 years old. Last time I made tofu frittata and roasted root veggies and the key lime pie (raw avocado pie) for dessert. He was a touch skeptical but ended up loving everything, having seconds and making sure mom got the recipes from me.

This time I'm going to go with a house family favourite that's easy but quite "creamy". I may have even blogged about this before? Arugula, roasted beets, avocado and goat cheese... the dressing is olive oil and balsamic vinegar, honey, sea salt and pepper. Half is drizzled on the beets while they are roasting and the other half is reserved for the salad.

Chris and I will run over to Roncessvalles before they get here to get some fresh rye bread and I'll have to get some butter (yes it's true - bread and butter - only for my parents!).

Tonight we're having rainbow trout, sweet potato fries, and salad. We may even have a little port as a little apertif - in Portugal at one of the wine cellars they told us it's common to have white port with tonic water and a slice of lemon.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Back from Vacation!

Oh my! It's been forever since I've blogged. It's always so crazy before you go on vacation and then afterwards you are well rested but running around catching up with everything you missed.

London and Portugal were great. Chris and I didn't relax too much - we were busy running around trying to see as many sights, get as many checkmarks in each city as we could.

It was my first time in London - wow is it ever expensive. I paid 2 pounds (approximately $3) for an apple one afternoon for a snack. That's an expensive apple. Great city. I think more manageable than New York but still something to see around every corner. Great people watching, amazing shopping, and lots of history. Did Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, National Gallery, British Museum, Tate Modern, Portobello Market (lots of fruits and veggies!!!), Chris rowed me around the Serpentine in Hyde Park, saw the Diana Memorial Fountain, Harrods...... we were definitely busy.

Portugal was a food and wine bonanza. I don't understand why the Portuguese serve FRIES and rice with almost every dish but nonetheless they do. Chris was happy but by the second day I was getting smarter and ordering the caldo verde (I think kale, cabbage and potato?) and the salada mista (mixed salad) for most lunches.

The antioxidant filled vinho tinto (red wine) was also very much in supply; as well as the port wine in the 6 of 60 wine cellars we visited in Porto. The seafood was delicious - we ate A LOT of cod and we even tried this fish called Sea Breem!

The timing of dinner was a bit tricky in Portugal. I grew up eating dinner at 5:00, sometimes even earlier if Dad had to go back out into the fields to do some more work. Chris and I usually eat at 7:30 but in Portugal most restaurants didn't even open until 8 and if we were there at 8 we pretty much ate alone until our last few bites. Of course being on vacation means shifting your eating habits and schedule ... Most of the time people were out having a bica (I'm sure their 5th or
6th espresso of the day!) when we were walking to dinner! Last but not least I have to mention all the pasteleria's with those tasty custard tarts. They are everywhere.

Obrigado Portugal!