Holistic Nutrition​

Foods, Facts, and Recipes​

Be True to Yourself

Healthy with Hanifa

Jan. 24, 2019

Having taught fitness for so long, I know the importance of image and having a fit appearance.  You can also say that I am a professional dieter.  I have been on every diet imaginable--raw vegan to paleo, from food pyramids to counting calories, from The Zone diet to a conventional bodybuilder's diet.  Having experimented, I can honestly say I know what works best for my body.


However, here's the problem--


I have been derailed.  Whether it's the lure of a more beauty, a leaner body, or greater mental focus, I have been switched off what I knew worked for me in hopes of finding something better.


And you know what?


I always return to what works best for me.  


This is a lesson for all of us: in spite of the newest die, the latest workout,  or the trendiest detox, there will always be something newer, shinier, and replete with promises.   The key is to reach deep within you.  You know deep down what works and what doesn't.  Don't be swayed, stick to it, and be true to yourself!    

  

3 More Healthy Gut Tips

Healthy with Hanifa

Sept. 27, 2019

Why is there so much emphasis on the gut in complimentary medicine these days?  Because it really is the center of health!  Your gut is where the body absorbs nutrients, which gets distributed via blood to all your cells and major organs.  Imagine if your gut has an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria along with little holes that allow these toxins to escape into the bloodstream. 


If you want better skin, a flatter stomach, and prevention of both physical and mental illnesses, work on your gut health!  Here are 3 tips:


1. Go grain-free -- Grains are hard to digest for a compromised gut.  I had been dealing with chronic parasites, and I didn't come out ahead until I took out grains. 

    

2. Take L-Glutamine--This important supplement helps repair the lining of your gut wall and recover muscle.


3. Stress Less -- Stress affects digestions. If you want better digestion, eat slowly and consume whole foods that you enjoy.  You may even want to ensure your environment is stress-free, so maybe take your lunch out to the park.  

They Haven't Discovered Your "Ideal" Diet Yet

Healthy with Hanifa

Nov. 19, 2019

If you read my book "Healthy with Hanifa: A Woman's Guide to Holistic Health & Fitness," you will realize that aside from there being no one-size fits all diet, I ask people to combine the best elements of various diets.


Thus, if you're someone who feels like she's tried everything, maybe you haven't tried everything yet after all.  It's possible they haven't discovered or popularized your "ideal" diet yet.  


Let me explain:


When I first started in the fitness world, it was all about calories in/calories out.  I thought that I could lose my belly if I just exercised a lot and ate next to nothing.  The whole concept of food sensitivities and even gluten-free foods wasn't trending yet.  It was not until gluten-free became a thing that I lost some weight in my mid-section. 


It was not until much later that I could purchase software or do tests to customize my diet even further.  It also wasn't until a year ago that I learned that I don't digest raw fruits and vegetables without my tongue or throat tingling.  


So currently, my plan is a hybrid, customized, gluten-free program with all  cooked fruits & veggies.  Up until that point, I had tried raw vegan, paleo, the food pyramid, and too many other diets to count.  


This is why if you're in nutrition programming limbo, I would suggest going back to what worked for you and tweaking it.  Keep doing the best version of what you know works.  With new trends and information coming out, there may be something that works even better for you in the future - just give it time (and stubbornness).        


Nutrition is Not a Laughing Matter!

Healthy with Hanifa

Dec. 18, 2019

 I say this because even when I give clients recipes to support a condition or issue--let's say a turmeric paste recipe for inflammation--it's often ignored and sloughed off.  We have been conditioned in our society to accept that food doesn't really work or affect our health that much.  Nothing could be further from the truth.


Here are examples about how food has a direct relation to your health:


- My dog is turning 15 and my vet can't believe it!  I have used nutritional knowledge to bump up the antioxidant content in her recipes. This has subsequently kept her cataracts at bay.  


-When I had sprained an ankle badly and I needed to teach the next morning, I embarked on an anti-inflammatory protocol and kept bombarding myself with foods such as flax oil, fish, and cherries.  By the next morning, the swelling had gone down and I was able to teach the class.


-I used to have a fall full of acne.  I was able to clear it up through the elimination of sugar and dairy.  Now people say that I have perfect skin. 


Food has a direct effect on your digestion and microbiome, which your immune system is dependent upon.  It is also the type of nourishment your cells understand the most.  It is the building block for skin, hair, and muscle, and it alters hormones.  Please don't dismiss nutritional advice in support of conditions -- they do work on not just the condition, but your entire body! 

Edible Eddoes

Healthy with Hanifa

Jan. 22, 2019

Benefits:  A great substitute if you're sensitive to potatoes or cutting down on grains, eddoes are satisfying, higher in starch, and absorb the taste of sauces well.  They are also a source of vitamin A, C, E, and B6 along with minerals such as magnesium, phosphorous, and manganese.  


How to cook them: Just like a potato!  You may boil them, covered for 15 minutes.


Tips: Wash all the hairy bits off too before skinning with a potato peeler.


They are good in stews and/or with coconut milk. 

  

Holistic Nutrition​

Foods, Facts, and Recipes​

Be True to Yourself

Healthy with Hanifa

Jan. 24, 2019

Having taught fitness for so long, I know the importance of image and having a fit appearance.  You can also say that I am a professional dieter.  I have been on every diet imaginable--raw vegan to paleo, from food pyramids to counting calories, from The Zone diet to a conventional bodybuilder's diet.  Having experimented, I can honestly say I know what works best for my body.


However, here's the problem--


I have been derailed.  Whether it's the lure of a more beauty, a leaner body, or greater mental focus, I have been switched off what I knew worked for me in hopes of finding something better.


And you know what?


I always return to what works best for me.  


This is a lesson for all of us: in spite of the newest die, the latest workout,  or the trendiest detox, there will always be something newer, shinier, and replete with promises.   The key is to reach deep within you.  You know deep down what works and what doesn't.  Don't be swayed, stick to it, and be true to yourself!    

  

3 More Healthy Gut Tips

Healthy with Hanifa

Sept. 27, 2019

Why is there so much emphasis on the gut in complimentary medicine these days?  Because it really is the center of health!  Your gut is where the body absorbs nutrients, which gets distributed via blood to all your cells and major organs.  Imagine if your gut has an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria along with little holes that allow these toxins to escape into the bloodstream. 


If you want better skin, a flatter stomach, and prevention of both physical and mental illnesses, work on your gut health!  Here are 3 tips:


1. Go grain-free -- Grains are hard to digest for a compromised gut.  I had been dealing with chronic parasites, and I didn't come out ahead until I took out grains. 

    

2. Take L-Glutamine--This important supplement helps repair the lining of your gut wall and recover muscle.


3. Stress Less -- Stress affects digestions. If you want better digestion, eat slowly and consume whole foods that you enjoy.  You may even want to ensure your environment is stress-free, so maybe take your lunch out to the park.  

They Haven't Discovered Your "Ideal" Diet Yet

Healthy with Hanifa

Nov. 19, 2019

If you read my book "Healthy with Hanifa: A Woman's Guide to Holistic Health & Fitness," you will realize that aside from there being no one-size fits all diet, I ask people to combine the best elements of various diets.


Thus, if you're someone who feels like she's tried everything, maybe you haven't tried everything yet after all.  It's possible they haven't discovered or popularized your "ideal" diet yet.  


Let me explain:


When I first started in the fitness world, it was all about calories in/calories out.  I thought that I could lose my belly if I just exercised a lot and ate next to nothing.  The whole concept of food sensitivities and even gluten-free foods wasn't trending yet.  It was not until gluten-free became a thing that I lost some weight in my mid-section. 


It was not until much later that I could purchase software or do tests to customize my diet even further.  It also wasn't until a year ago that I learned that I don't digest raw fruits and vegetables without my tongue or throat tingling.  


So currently, my plan is a hybrid, customized, gluten-free program with all  cooked fruits & veggies.  Up until that point, I had tried raw vegan, paleo, the food pyramid, and too many other diets to count.  


This is why if you're in nutrition programming limbo, I would suggest going back to what worked for you and tweaking it.  Keep doing the best version of what you know works.  With new trends and information coming out, there may be something that works even better for you in the future - just give it time (and stubbornness).        


Nutrition is Not a Laughing Matter!

Healthy with Hanifa

Dec. 18, 2019

 I say this because even when I give clients recipes to support a condition or issue--let's say a turmeric paste recipe for inflammation--it's often ignored and sloughed off.  We have been conditioned in our society to accept that food doesn't really work or affect our health that much.  Nothing could be further from the truth.


Here are examples about how food has a direct relation to your health:


- My dog is turning 15 and my vet can't believe it!  I have used nutritional knowledge to bump up the antioxidant content in her recipes. This has subsequently kept her cataracts at bay.  


-When I had sprained an ankle badly and I needed to teach the next morning, I embarked on an anti-inflammatory protocol and kept bombarding myself with foods such as flax oil, fish, and cherries.  By the next morning, the swelling had gone down and I was able to teach the class.


-I used to have a fall full of acne.  I was able to clear it up through the elimination of sugar and dairy.  Now people say that I have perfect skin. 


Food has a direct effect on your digestion and microbiome, which your immune system is dependent upon.  It is also the type of nourishment your cells understand the most.  It is the building block for skin, hair, and muscle, and it alters hormones.  Please don't dismiss nutritional advice in support of conditions -- they do work on not just the condition, but your entire body! 

Too Much Protein

Healthy with Hanifa

Jan. 8, 2019

I believe that everyone's digestion and genetic makeup is different.  There are people who thrive on high protein diets while there are some others who are better off on small to moderate amounts.  In the fitness industry, there is a lot of emphasis on protein, which includes at least 3-4 oz. of meat protein at every meal.  Now, that may work for some of you, whereas others may struggle with feeling healthy.  


Is it possible that you can get too much protein?


Absolutely, because you can get too much of anything!  Here are the signs of excessive protein:


-brain fog

-dry skin, dehydration

-bad moods (anger, depression, irritability)

-constipation

-digestive issues, including IBS, parasites, candida, bloating. (This could be the same for too many carbs, but I will save that for another post.) 

-low energy

-weight gain (believe it or not, some people will actually put weight on with too much protein). 


We know that health is about balance, but these are all symptoms that you're out of balance. 


Keep checking in for my next posts on protein 'Too little protein' and then 'Just enough protein.'

  

Holistic Nutrition​

Foods, Facts, and Recipes​

Be True to Yourself

Healthy with Hanifa

Jan. 24, 2019

Having taught fitness for so long, I know the importance of image and having a fit appearance.  You can also say that I am a professional dieter.  I have been on every diet imaginable--raw vegan to paleo, from food pyramids to counting calories, from The Zone diet to a conventional bodybuilder's diet.  Having experimented, I can honestly say I know what works best for my body.


However, here's the problem--


I have been derailed.  Whether it's the lure of a more beauty, a leaner body, or greater mental focus, I have been switched off what I knew worked for me in hopes of finding something better.


And you know what?


I always return to what works best for me.  


This is a lesson for all of us: in spite of the newest die, the latest workout,  or the trendiest detox, there will always be something newer, shinier, and replete with promises.   The key is to reach deep within you.  You know deep down what works and what doesn't.  Don't be swayed, stick to it, and be true to yourself!    

  

3 More Healthy Gut Tips

Healthy with Hanifa

Sept. 27, 2019

Why is there so much emphasis on the gut in complimentary medicine these days?  Because it really is the center of health!  Your gut is where the body absorbs nutrients, which gets distributed via blood to all your cells and major organs.  Imagine if your gut has an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria along with little holes that allow these toxins to escape into the bloodstream. 


If you want better skin, a flatter stomach, and prevention of both physical and mental illnesses, work on your gut health!  Here are 3 tips:


1. Go grain-free -- Grains are hard to digest for a compromised gut.  I had been dealing with chronic parasites, and I didn't come out ahead until I took out grains. 

    

2. Take L-Glutamine--This important supplement helps repair the lining of your gut wall and recover muscle.


3. Stress Less -- Stress affects digestions. If you want better digestion, eat slowly and consume whole foods that you enjoy.  You may even want to ensure your environment is stress-free, so maybe take your lunch out to the park.  

Hosting Dinner for Different Dietary Restrictions

Healthy with Hanifa

Nov. 12, 2019

Ok, so you've got a mix of people.  One is paleo, one is gluten-free, one's a vegan, and several are omnivores.  How on earth do you host a dinner if you've got so many restrictions?  I just finishing teaching a class entitled "Healthy Dinners on a Budget," so I know about this. Here are some tips for your next party or dinner:  


1. Make it all gluten-free - everyone go eat gluten-free, including your regular people, so why not make it all gluten-free.  Swap bread for rice, regular wraps for gluten-free wraps, and regular soy sauce for gluten-free soy sauce.  Gluten-free doesn't mean taste-free either; you can still use vinegars, oils, spices, and sweeteners to flavor your food.    


2. Communicate - who's bringing what.  Maybe one of your special diets people want to bring her own food instead.  Maybe your gluten-free person can't have sugar either.  How will you cover you bases?  What recipes do you need to look up?  


3. Offer variety and choice - one of my favourite go-to's is tacos.  You can go with gluten-free tortilla shells.  Your vegans can stick to shells, tacos, rice, and veggies.  Your paleo people can leave out the shells and simply do a taco salad with meat and all the fixings.  Your omnivores can eat everything.


Other ideas:

-make your own pizzas

-stuff your own pitas

-pasta with a choice of toppings

   

4. For meals that do not require assembly,  cook 1 meat dish, 1 vegetarian bean salad (no dairy), 1 regular veggie salad, and 1 potatoes/rice dish (make it all gluten-free) - There, you've covered all your bases.  Your paleo people stick to meat and veggies.  Your vegetarian people can have bean salad, veggie salad, and starch.  Your gluten-free and omnivore people can have everything.




    


Holistic Nutrition

Food, Facts, and Recipes

Allergic to Supplements

Oct. 8, 2019

Did you know that you can actually become allergic to supplements or an ingredient within supplements? I had taken something last week before bed only to break out in hives from toe to neck. Then when I took it again the next night I broke into hives a second time. Now taking this product hadn't been a problem for me for a number of years. This is why I suggest switching up your supplements. If you take a probiotic for example, switch to a different brand after a few months. Same goes for anything else!


Holistic Nutrition

Food, Facts, and Recipes

Be Weary of Nutritionism

Oct. 6, 2019

Nutritionism is faulting a food for one component instead of looking at the merits of its whole.  A good example of this would be fish.  Fish tends to be higher in mercury, and thus, it's easy to label it a bad food and not eat again.  However, there's a lot of other good things in fish too--vitamin A, vitamin D, iodine, omega 3's, and calcium.  I am not saying to ignore the mercury in fish, what I am saying is that you should still have it in moderation as part of a varied diet.  If we practice nutritionism, we can find fault with anything.  Tomatoes are inflammatory, lettuce is too high in pesticides, bread makes you fat . . . you get what I'm saying.  The key is to evaluate food as a whole and find what foods work best for you.   


Holistic Nutrition

Food, Facts, and Recipes

Getting a Flatter Stomach: Digging Deeper

Sept. 16, 2019

If you've been exercising regularly and eating healthy most of the time, but you're still not losing you're mid-section flab, consider removing gluten and dairy . . . However, even after the removal of gluten and dairy, mid-section flab remains.


This is often very frustrating! 


In this case, I suggest you dig deeper. Aside from removing main food culprits, this means healing the intestinal system.  Two protocols I recommend are


SCD/GAPS diet - this includes protein, nuts, most vegetables, most fruits, some dairy, and some legumes.  This grain-free diet allows you to remove foods that are not easily tolerated by a compromised gut and allows for healing to occur.  You should see a reduction in bloating and mid-section girth.


FODMAPS - allows for certain fruits, vegetables, grains, and most proteins.  It also eliminates foods that are likely to ferment in the gut and create abdominal distension and distress.


Both these plans are temporary, lasting anywhere from a few months to 2 years.  You will need to add in some foods, and have a life again.  However, I recommend these plans as they will help you get off the merry-go-round of a go-nowhere diet and fitness regimen.  


Holistic Nutrition

Food, Facts, and Recipes

Too Many Supplements

Sept. 5, 2019

Even too many natural herbal supplements can stress your liver. To prevent this, support your body with as many natural foods as possible and only take what's necessary. For example, my multi-vitamin company tells me I should take a capsule 3 times a day. I really only take one pill, and the rest of the day I eat a balanced diet with a lot of variety.


In addition, consider taking a supplement for a short course. You may take an adrenal supplement for stress over 6 months, but don't become too dependent on it. Work on decreasing stress instead!


Holistic Nutrition

Food, Facts, and Recipes

5 Foods that Cause Anger

Aug. 8, 2019

Foods can and do affect your mood.  If you're sensitive to the foods you consume, and if you eat something that doesn't quite sit right, it could very well lead to a temper.  Here are foods that may lead to anger from a holistic standpoint:   


Gluten - If you're not digesting it well erodes intestinal lining.  Serotonin, your happy hormone, is manufactured in the gut.


Too much meat - If you're eating too much meat, that may cause excessive acidity in the blood that your body must neutralize.  In addition, too much meat protein blocks the manufacturing of serotonin.


Sugar, processed white breads, etc.  - the roller coaster high from sugar and then subsequent dive affects blood sugar, causing you to be angry and irritable.  


Tomatoes (and eggplants) - according to Ayurvedic medicine, these foods give off heat to the body.  If you want your temper to cool, eat other vegetables--such as cucumber and zucchini--instead. 


Greasy foods - this especially taxes the liver.  Eastern medicine speaks about how the liver is the seat of anger.  

Keep the liver clean by avoiding greasy foods.


Stay tuned for '5 Foods that Give You a Happy Mood'  . . .


Holistic Nutrition


Diet, Starvation, and the Collagen Connection

May 6, 2019

 In my book Healthy with Hanifa: A Woman's Guide to Holistic Health & Fitness, I speak about the importance not only of observing your body, but observing your face.  One thing you may notice about people on diets - especially severely restrictive diets - is that they may look a little gaunt.  That's because when you're not getting enough food, your body starts robbing itself of collagen, which has a direct effect on facial structure.  


I recommend following dietary guidelines loosely e.g.'s eating whole foods, including protein, fat, and carb in each meal, but to also listen to your body's natural hunger signals.  If your body wants more protein, eat more tofu or fish.  If you feel like more fruit, have another slice of pineapple.  Chronic under-eating will impede you from building lean muscle, leave you lethargic, and rob you of natural beauty!   


Here's an interesting study on the effect of starvation on lizards and collagen



Holistic Nutrition

Food, Facts, and Recipes

5 Amti-Candida Foods

Apr, 24, 2019

 5 Anti-Candida foods


Candida is a natural yeast within our gut that overgrows as a result of a compromised immune system. The overgrowth may result in acne, fog, ab girth/bloating, headaches, etc. Women who can't seem to lose their mid-section weight despite exercise and healthy food choices, I suggest they look at an anti-candida protocol!


Here are 5 foods that combat candida:


apple cider vinegar - have with salads or use as a marinades, apple cider vinegar kills candida yeast cells while helping you break down protein.


non-dairy yogurt - I emphasize "non-dairy" because dairy is hard to digest for many, but yogurt is a good source of beneficial bacteria.


kimchi or sauerkraut - these fermented foods are an amazing source of beneficial bacteria strains that help crowd out pathogenic gut bacteria. Look for gluten-free and vinegar-free versions of these foods because gluten is hard to digest whereas most vinegars (except apple cider) feed candida yeast.


garlic - garlic contains potent chemicals that destroy candida cells.


onions - part of the garlic and allium family, onions are anti-fungal, slowing the spread of candida yeast cells and killing off bad bacteria.


I suggest using these foods not only as part of an anti-candida diet, but permanently as part of a healthy lifestyle.

 


Holistic Nutrition

Food, Facts, and Recipes

First Pillar of Health: Nutrition

Feb. 19, 2019

First Pillar of Health: Nutrition

(I should clarify that while these are based on Paul Chek's 6 Pillars of Health, what I have to say is based on my own knowledge.)


There is much controversy in this subject, so I will stick to my training and philosophy on this one:


THERE IS NO ONE SIZE FITS-ALL PROGRAM


If you look at different cultures in the world and our evolution as a human species, you'll see that different people thrived on different diets. The Inuit thrived on fat and fish; the Incas on beans and corn; certain East Indians on a mainly vegetarian diet.

You need to find the diet-style that works best for you. How do you know which one? Hint: Of the plans that you've tried, which one gave you the most benefit and was the most sustainable? Go with that one, and then tweak it to suit your individual needs.


 


3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Squares

Apr, 18, 2019

Here's a healthy vegetarian and paleo-friendly recipe that takes no time. It is much less time-consuming than your average peanut butter cookie recipe, but just as satisfying.


1 C. natural peanut butter (optional: substitute with almond butter)

1/2 C. honey

1 egg


Mix all 3 ingredients really well in a bowl. Pour batter into a greased baking dish, and bake at 350F for 30 minutes. Let it cool and cut into squares.


 


Holistic Nutrition

Food, Facts, and Recipes

Swap White Potatoes for Sweet Potatoes

Mar. 23, 2019

Don't get me wrong, I like the occasional white potato, but sweet potatoes offer so much more. In spite of their sweet taste, they are low sugar, less inflammatory, and high in nutrients such as Vitamin A and beta carotene. They are good for your eyes and for preventing cancer! Oh yes, and they are a beauty food too, improving your skin colour and facial glow.


Some ways to swap white potatoes for sweet potatoes:


-as an occasional treat, pay a bit extra for sweet potato fries. Even better, bake sweet potato fries at home.


-have mashed sweet potatoes. Try this as a topping for sheperd's pie.


-okay, kind of weird but it works: juice sweet potatoes or have pureed sweet potatoes in your smoothies.


-again, as occasional treats, nibble sweet potato pie, breads, and cupcakes!


 


Holistic Nutrition

Food, Facts, and Recipes

Simple Herb 'n Spice Combinations

Nov. 26, 2018

Here are some simple yet tasty spice combinations for protein, legumes, and vegetables (add salt as desired):


For an Asian Flare--Ginger, garlic, and soy sauce (gluten-free if you're gluten-free)

For a South-American Flare--cilantro, lime juice, and garlic

For Greek--lemon juice, olive oil, oregano

For general cooking--garlic, lemon, pepper

For sweetness--honey, nut butter


 


Holistic Nutrition

Food, Facts, and Recipes

Gut Bacteria and a Flat Stomach

Nov. 2, 2018

This is something I've written about in my book, and have posted about time and time again. If you've got an overgrowth of bad bacteria over good, the number of planks, ab exercises, and cardio you do won't matter!


Get your gut bacteria balanced and your digestion under control, and you will notice your mid-section flatten without even exercise.


A few notes:

1. Take a good probiotic with at least a 50 billion count and with multiple strains.


2. Take a higher count of probiotics after surgery or after a course of anti-biotics. Anti-biotics kill good strains of bacteria, so you'll need to replenish.


3. If you've lived in another country different from your ethnic origin and you've been eating the other country's food, you may have lost good strains of bacteria that allow you to digest your heritage foods. At this point, you have to meet your gut where it's at, and focus on the foods that you can digest while repairing your intestinal lining.


Holistic Nutrition

Food, Facts, and Recipes

Acceptance that it's Hard Work!

Nov. 1, 2018

I never had that metabolism that allowed me to eat anything I wanted. I would often sit at work and envy my peers who could go out and get any takeout they wanted. If I even ate half a sandwich, my mid-section would pop out. It turned out I had a gluten intolerance among a sensitivity to many other foods.

Now I follow not one, but two customized nutrition plans. It's a lot of work merging both plans and then sticking to it, but I've never been one where "easy" worked well for me.

I think this could be true for you too: you could be someone that doesn't achieve anything without hard work first.

What's harder though: accepting this fact!

But, let me tell you, the sooner you accept this, the more energy you can put into work rather than complaining why you have digestive issues or were cursed with the wrong parents.


Holistic Nutrition

Food, Facts, and Recipes

Pumpkin

Oct. 29, 2018

Pumpkin season is here, and I'm a fan of this member of the squash family. It is a fantastic source of vitamin A, beta carotene, and more digestible than sweet potato. Even those who are on the most restrictive diets can handle a bit of pumpkin.

Some interesting trivia about pumpkins:

-in Australia, pumpkins refer to all winter squash, not only the plump, round vegetable we call a pumpkin.

-pumpkins can reach up to 75 lbs.

-pumpkins are 90 percent water

Here are some ways, you can incorporate this healthy squash in your diet:

Pumpkin pie - who doesn't love a nice slice of pumpkin pie? Yum!

Smoothie - you can throw pumpkin into a smoothie with your choice of sweetener along with powdered nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves.

Mashed pumpkin - one of my favorites! Boil peeled pumpkin chunks, mash them with a bit of salt, butter, and garlic.

Cubed pumpkin - just add into stews along with carrots and potatoes.

Pumpkin soup - use as squash; pumpkin soup is savory and delicious!

Pureed pumpkin - you can add pureed pumpkin into cookies, muffins, and breads!


Holistic Nutrition

Food, Facts, and Recipes

A Health Investement

Aug. 7, 2018

I had given my dog multivitamins in her senior years.  Trusting the packaging a little too much, I continued giving her a scoop a day.  One year later, she developed allergies--big red splotches that would cover her hind leg and abdomen area.  After reading the package, I realized that her vitamin powder was high in dairy, a common allergen for dogs.  Most interesting though was how the allergy didn't manifest until an entire year later.


My dog's health is not too different from human health.  What you eat today and every day for the next 6 months will have a direct impact on your health.  Understand that your daily choices are investment in long-term gains. 



Holistic Nutrition

Food, Facts, and Recipes

How Much Protein Do You Need?

Apr. 18, 2018

You've probably heard everything from eat lots and lots of protein to the fact that North Americans get too much protein (or that you don't need much).    The truth as usual is that 'it depends.'  How much protein you require is associated with several factors: your goal, your body type, and your type of activity/activity level.  


Your goal: If you goal is simply to achieve overall health, then the food pyramid's recommendation of two servings a day for a total of 50-60 g is enough.  However, if you want cosmetic benefits, i.e. a ripped or more toned appearance, then you'll need to increase your protein needs for maximal muscle gains.  I recommend 0.8-1.2 g of protein for every lb. of bodweight, e.g. for 150 lbs. x .8 g = 120 g of protein.


Your body type: If you're too skinny or even overweight, I would recommend eating more protein, not less. 

   

Type of activity/activity level: If you're an endurance athlete, you won't have to eat a  ton of protein at each meal, but if you do weights on a regular basis, I recommend that you get 20-30 g of protein at each meal or snack.


For vegans/vegetarians who want to look more toned: You still need to get your required protein amount!  I suggest going with a vegan protein powder to meet your daily needs.   Also, look at focusing on lentils, chia seeds, and nut butters.  


Holistic Nutrition

Food, Facts, and Recipes

The Beauty Queen's Beauty Book

Feb. 26, 2018

The Beauty Queen's Beauty Book


I believe in eating for beauty, so I looked up "eating for beauty" on Amazon.com and came across a Beauty Queen's recipe book.  She eats mainly vegan foods which include a lot of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.  But just because something works for her doesn't mean it will work for you or me.


Looking at her recipes, I realized the food she was on would feed my gut issues because of the high fruit content.  I also realized I needed more concentrated amounts of protein, since not only do I teach a number of classes a week, I go through additional workouts on my own.  I realized that in order to eat like her, I would have be in the kitchen and eat all the time.


This brings me to something I keep emphasizing.  There is no one-size-fits-all approach.  Your diet depends on many factors:


-budget

-lifestyle

-ancestry

-medical challenges

-gut health


And many more other factors!   

Holistic Nutrition

Food, Facts, and Recipes

The Magnifence of Magnesium

Jan. 5, 2018

The Magnificence of Magnesium

If you're on a grain-free or even a simple balanced diet to improve health, remember it's important to ensure that you're eating lots of magnesium. Whole grains such as buckwheat contain concentrated amounts, but if you're not getting it from whole grain sources, try:

-pumpkin seeds

-walnuts

-spinach

-swiss chard

-cocao powder

-yogurt

Magnesium relaxes the gut, the brain, and your muscles. It's perfect for aiding in insomnia, muscle soreness, and depression.


Holistic Nutrition

Food, Facts, and Recipes

Recovery Foods

Sept. 10, 2017

Pre-Workout Foods


Anyhow who knows me well has the knowledge that I am a huge WW2 history buff fan. I was watching a documentary about Omaha beach and how soldiers were given rich breakfast foods: eggs, bacon, toast, sausages, and even ice cream. This proved to be fatal because many of them were seasick with vomit. Imagine being seasick and riddled with German artillery!


This brings me to today's tip, which is about selecting appropriate foods for the task at hand. When choosing pre-workout foods, especially at breakfast, pick foods that a) will sustain you and b) will digest well.


Some of these foods include:

-lentils

-porridge

-oatmeal

-cereal

-toast with peanut butter

-sweet potato

Foods that are harder to digest include heavy proteins and greasy foods.


Holistic Nutrition

Food, Facts, and Recipes

Top Fruit Picks

May 22, 2017

1. Blueberries - High in antioxidants, good for your brain, high fibre, and low sugar. 


2. Apples- An apple a day may truly keep your doctor away. Its vitamin A will help you support your eyes and skin. Also, it contains quercetin-- a flavanoid that can help you calm down allergies and inflammation.


3. Avocado - Rich and filling, avocados are a great source of healthy fat and vitamin .


4. Coconut--this super fruit is used for its water, milk, meat, and oil. Coconut flour lowers blood sugar, water from coconut makes a great sports drink, and coconut oil can withstand high temperatures without becoming carcinogenic.


5.Cherries - not only are cherries tart and sweet, but they are effective at calming down gout and arthritis. A friend of mine had a swollen ankle after running a marathon. Drinking unsweetened cherry juice completely took down swelling in one day.

Holistic Nutrition

Food, Facts, and Recipes

Make Your Salads Substantial

January 15, 2017

To bulk up your salads, add any combination of the following:

Meats

Nuts

Lentils

Sprouts

Cheese or nutritional yeast

Nut-based cheese e.g. dill-flavoured cashew nut cheese

Fresh Fruit

Dried fruit such as raisins, apricots, and cranberries

Quinoa

Rice

Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Grilled veggies such as mushrooms and onions

Peas

Beets

Pasta, GF varieties too

Healthy oils such as flax and olive oil

Avocado

Croutons, GF varieties too

Leftovers from dinner

The Easiet Smoothie

April 21, 2017

1/2 cup of each:

fresh or frozen blueberries

baby spinach

fresh, chopped pineapple

almond milk or dairy-free alternative (add more for a less thick smoothie)


Blend together and enjoy!

Bottled Water Controversy

April 23, 2017


The jury's out.  Should you even spend your hard-earned money on bottled water? One study suggests that most bottled water is simply tap water with a fancy label stuck onto it. I would beg to differ. Tap water is susceptible to the conditions of your pipes as well as to higher levels of chlorine and other chemicals. Even though most bottled water is technically tap water, at least it's been through the filtration process once. It should have less chlorine and is not compromised by the quality of your plumbing.  Bottled water--although not the best source for water--is still one step better than tap water.  


Sources: 

Bullers, A. C. (2002). Bottled water: better than the tap?. FDA Consumer [Internet journal], 36(4).


Seed, M., RHN. (2012, September). Water. Lecture presented at Fundamentals of Nutrition Class in ON, Ottawa.