Archive for ideal diet

the dark side of the moo

oat milk

Hello & Gelukkig Nieuwjaar (Happy New Year) from the Netherlands! Sorry, I have neglected my blog over the past month due to the big move overseas and Christmas…but don’t fret, I am now here to write on a regular basis. It’s been an adventure so far and I can’t wait to share all my new Euro food discoveries with you!

the dark side of the moo

Dairy allergies, sensitivities and lactose intolerances are becoming increasingly common. In the western diet, dairy is often consumed at 3 meals a day, 7 days a week, similar to what’s happening with gluten. Many people are turning to substitutes, whether allergic or not, just to get a little variety in their diets…or perhaps their holistic nutritionist recommended it. Another reason for using milk substitutes is that dairy can be congesting to the gut, mucous forming (avoid when sick), and constipating (especially cheese).

The dairy industry has done an excellent job making us believe milk is THE ONLY source of calcium in our diets. Well, this couldn’t be further from the truth! There are lots of fantastic sources of calcium, my favorites include sesame seed, dark leafy greens and seaweeds. Not to mention, there have now been numerous studies showing dairy consumption does not protect against osteoporosis. In fact, there is higher incidence of osteoporosis in countries where dairy consumption is higher, and likewise less osteoporosis where dairy is consumed less. To top it off, dairy may also increase our risks of ovarian and prostate cancers.

Click to enlarge: By John Robbins (Author of Diet for a New America), 2002.

That being said, total avoidance is not always necessary, as long as you dont have any allergies and are choosing high quality, organic dairy products. Just ease up a bit on your consumption.

the solution: make your own nut, seed or oat milk

This recipe is incredibly easy, and versatile! If you don’t like oat milk, use any nut or seed or a combination.

nut/seed/oat milk

  • 1 cup – nuts/seeds/whole oat groats/steel cut oats/old fashioned rolled oats of choice (try almonds, cashews, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seed, Brazil nut or any combinations)
  • 4 cups – filtered or spring water

Soak nuts/seeds/oats overnight in a bowl with water & 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or anything acidic – like apple cider vinegar) to break down enzyme inhibitors and make your milk easier to digest.

In the morning discard the soak water and rinse the nuts/seeds/oats. Place in a blender with just enough water to cover them so that the nuts are close to the blades, blend until creamy. Add the rest of the water (in general it’s 4:1 nuts:water) and continue to blend for a few minutes. Strain the mixture with a nut milk bag (you can buy one here) then add a little sweetener (optional) like unpasteurized honey, stevia or dates. Add vanilla if desired, or raw cacao powder for chocolate milk.

To make nut cream, use 2 cups of water instead of 4. This will have a thicker consistency and is great for nut milk tea lattes.

To make brown rice milk or quinoa milk, soak then cook the grains, then blend 1 cup cooked grain to 4 cups of water.

other stuff worth checking out:

sam’s fave superfoods

goji, maca root, raw cacao, spirulina

Let’s face it, nearly every superfood is my “favorite” something or other…I may be a little over enthusiastic about them, but honestly, they are in fact really super. In general they are all known for their high antioxidant content, their ability to aid in detoxification, boost metabolism and help us maintain a healthy body weight. Note: some of these are what I would call “hardcore food nerd” superfoods, you are going to have to find these bad boys at health food & superfood shops…I may however post an “everyday grocery store superfoods” post soon though!

It was hard to narrow it down, but here we go:

  • Raw cacao(chocolate): Ok this one was obvious if you know me. Raw cacao has not been heat treated like commercial cacao powders, and therefore retains WAY more nutrition. It is the highest natural source of anti-stress mineral Magnesium, and a source of iron. You can get it as nibs (the whole bean crushed), a powder, or raw cacao butter for your skin or chocolate making. I can go on and on about this one (and I do in my 2 hour raw chocolate making class), but you really cant go wrong with raw cacao (sounds like kuh-kow):
    • most delicious food ever – check
    • 30x more antioxidants than blueberries – check
    • wonderful to add to smoothies, breakfasts, desserts or nearly every meal or snack – check
    • brings me joy like no other food on the planet – check
    • ‘nuff said!
  • Spirulina, chlorella, or other blue green algae: I call these my “whole food multivitamins” they are so nutrient packed that one tsp is like 2-3 servings of veggies for antioxidant content. I put 1 tbsp in my smoothie daily (you can start with less if the bright green colour freaks you out, but once you feel the energy this food provides, you will get over the alien-like appearance).
  • Coconuts: Young coconut water, raw coconut flakes and/or virgin coconut oil tend to make their way into my diet on a daily basis. Ok so maybe it is no where near “local” for us Canadians, but it sure is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It is true that coconut oil is primarily saturated fat, but this kind of saturated fat is actually good for us! It is great for cooking as it can take more heat than polyunsaturated fats. It also boosts metabolism and kills yeast in the body. Young coconut water is a perfect electrolyte drink, so perfect it has been used for blood transfusions!
  • Hempseed: A fab source of our ever so important essential fatty acids (omega 3’s & 6‘s). Omega 3’s are anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, blood pressure reducing and hormone balancing. We need more 3‘s North America, so eat up! Use hemp seed on your breakfast, in smoothies, drink hemp milk or sprinkle on salads. They are an excelled vegetarian source of protein with loads of fibre to boot.
  • Chia seed:Yep, the same seed we used to plaster on ceramic animals and stick in the window sill (ch-ch-ch-chia). One word says it all – REGULAR. Seriously my fave source of fibre, the good kind that helps pull toxins out the body and well, ensures a regular morning visit to the can. Another fabulous benefit of chia is that it helps to regulate blood sugar (type 2 diabetes is on the rise every year). Try it in smoothies, on breaky or in water with fresh squeezed lemon (just shake it up before you swig).

    hemp, chia and flax seed

  • Unpasteurized honey: Loaded in B-Vitamins, our energy spark plugs, raw enzymes to help us digest and the taste is unsurpassed by any other sweetener (in my opinion). Use as a sugar sub by using 1/2 to 3/4 cup honey per 1 cup of sugar in your recipe, and reduce other liquids in the recipe by 1/2 cup per 1 cup of honey. It is also a natural anti-microbial and is great for coughs & colds. Please don’t feed to kids under 1 for risk of botulism.
  • Goji berries: They look like little red raisins, but pack a nutritional punch. Again, crazy high in antioxidants and for this reason have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. I eat them by the handful, in trail mixes, in my breakfast porridge, or even throw them in my water or tea.
  • Golden berries (Incan berries): The highest protein berry (16%). They are tart yet sweet, making them the best healthy substitute for sour candies. I prefer to eat them solo, but many others enjoy them in a trail mix or with other dried superfood berries.
  • Maca root powder: A fabulous hormone balancer, libido booster, fertility enhancer, also used for strength and endurance for athletes (or the Incas back in the day). It comes from the cruciferous veggie family, a root similar to a radish that is dried, then ground to a powder. Again I would throw 1 tsp – 1tbsp in a smoothie, or add to raw chocolate bars.
  • Kelp: Seaweeds are our highest source of iodine, which runs the thyroid and boosts our metabolism. They also help to pull heavy metals like mercury out of the body. I find the easiest way to integrate seaweeds into my diet is by sprinkling a little kelp powder into savory sauces, dressings and soups. We only need a little bit every day.
  • Matcha green tea powder: I was only going to do 10, but I couldn’t leave out the all mighty matcha. Matcha is powdered green tea leaves, with TONS more antioxidants than regular steeped green tea. It also boosts metabolism, keeps cholesterol in check, regulates blood sugar, detoxes and alkalizes the body. I try and start nearly every day with a delicious nut milk (usually almond) matcha green tea latte, add a few drops of french vanilla liquid stevia (a zero calorie, all natural sweeter)…deeeee-lish!

Stay tuned for more ideas and recipes on how to use these glorious foods.

Also check out David Wolfe, superfood guru, for additional info via videos and books.

I’d love to hear about how you use your fave superfoods below :)

the ‘ideal’ pre-pregnancy diet

we focus primarily on women's health, pre-pregnancy through early motherhood

Pre-pregnancy diet is incredibly important for maintaining optimal health. If you are scraping by on the Standard American Diet (SAD – in more ways than one) then unfortunately you and babe are not going to be in an “ideal” scenario to say the least. Lack of nutrient dense whole food and a reliance on nutrient poor, convenience food could lead to future serious health problems. To give you a general idea, this is the type of diet I would consider to be “ideal”.

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