Homemade Healthy Vegan Granola

This granola is so simple to make and will save you money in the long run, the other great benefit of making your own granola is you can control exactly what goes in! So many natural and organic granola brands still pack a ton of sugar into their granolas! This granola I created to help keep you full and balance your blood sugar because it is full of healthy fats, minerals, B-vitamins, and cinnamon! (Cinnamon is known to help balance blood sugar) .

In this recipe is:

  • 2 cups of organic large flake rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw pecans (organic if you can get it)
  • 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (get organic if possible)
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 3 tbsp virgin coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp to 1tbsp cinnamon ( just use as much as you think you’ll like if you’re a cinnamon fan)

Firstly, preheat the oven to 350 on bake. Mix in a large bowl the oats, nuts and seeds. Then in a small saucepan heat on low the coconut oil and maple syrup just until they are melted and whisk them together. Pour the maple syrup and coconut oil mixture over the granola mix and stir in the bowl until everything is well coated. Then sprinkle in the cinnamon and mix again.

Get ready a baking sheet and place parchment paper down to prevent burning or sticking.

Spread the granola mix out evenly on the parchment paper. You can then sprinkle a bit more cinnamon on before placing it in the oven.

Place in the oven and set timer for 10 minutes: after 10 minutes you’ll stir the granola and then put it back in for another 10 minutes and then it should be slightly browned and crispy 🙂 . Let cool before you put it away in a glass container or jar.


Enjoy!

Advertisements

Nourishing Cup of No-Jo

As you may know I have a reaction every time I have coffee and so now have sworn to not have it for a very long time (never say never). So to fill that void of a comforting warm cup of Jo, I have found the wonderful Kickstart formula by Harmonic Arts made on Vancouver Island which is pretty awesome!! Kickstart has a medley of cacao, chaga mushroom, maca, dandelion root and more! I was skeptical but it is actually much tastier than other coffee subs I have tried.


Here I wanted to share my favourite way of enjoying this magical coffee  replacement when I have some extra time, this is also good to replace a traditional hot chocolate, or make it a latte by adding more heated frothy almond milk!


What you’ll want:

  • 2-3 dates with pits removed ( I like these ones pictured the best, found them at fairways if you’re in victoria)
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup of organic unsweetened almond milk or nondairy milk
  • 1 tsp organic virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp organic cinnamon
  • 2 tsp of kickstart by harmonic arts
  • 1 tsp cacao powder
  • 1.5-2 cups of boiled water


Place ingredients into a blender ( put some of the liquid in before you put in the powders! ) and blend for a few seconds until it’s well mixed and enjoy!

Healthy Eating: ‘Keep it Simple Stupid’

GOPR1298

All too often I hear from people who want to make healthy changes to their diet, but they are lost. They are bombarded with information on the internet, from television ads, magazines and even their doctors. The key is to make small, simple changes, that one can follow not just for a few weeks but as part of a maintainable, healthy lifestyle. So the theme of this post is going back to the K.I.S.S. principle we all learnt back in school: ‘Keep It Simple Stupid”. I have broken down 5 simple steps to implement to begin the journey of healthier eating.

 

#1) Drink more water. Water is THE most important tool for your bodily functions. You can live longer without food than you can water for a reason. In today’s world, we seem to overconsume food and under consume water. The human body is very good at adapting to decreased water consumption, but these adaptations are merely for survival and are not optimal for long periods. Unfortunately, most people are chronically dehydrated without even knowing, leading them to symptoms such as have poor energy, increased hunger, poor elimination, dry skin, and toxic build up to name a few. One easy way to know whether you are well hydrated or not is to check out the colour of your urine, that’s right, look before you flush! If your urine is NOT clear and virtually colourless, you need to drink more water. So if you are well hydrated, you should be seeing minimal amounts of yellow in your urine if at all (keep in mind if you take a supplement or vitamin that can make urine yellow because of excess vit B’s and C in the urine). Avoid soda’s, pops, commercial juices, fancy starbuck’s drinks, and energy drinks. Stick to water, and herbal teas are great as well!

#2) Eat more fresh food. This is super simple, we all know fresh homemade food is better than the drive-thru. Try to minimize and eliminate foods that come from a drive by window, or that only require the microwave. The most nourishing food is freshly cooked or prepared to eat. This will include food that is raw, but also food that is cooked, steamed, baked, roasted or sauteed but not fried in oil or destroyed in a microwave! (I hate microwaves…). Just think, what would you rather eat, your grandma’s lasagna made from scratch OR a frozen lasagna? Let’s just say neither will help you fit into your skinny jeans but grandma’s will be much more wholesome.

#3) Eat local and seasonal produce. This is not only good for your health, but also good for the planet, local economy and your pocket! Fruits and vegetables that are in season offer the most nutrients and they actually help your body adapt to that current season. Plus, the less distance a fruit or vegetable has to travel before it gets to your plate, the more of its original nutrients will be intact. This also helps keep variety in your diet which is very important! Berries are great but they do not grow all year round, same goes for apples, enjoy each while they are in season in abundance. Aim to be eating atleast one fruit or vegetable at every meal/snack. 5-8 servings is the goal! (one serving is a handful).

#4) Be careful with your condiments. Read your ingredients! The most typically used condiments that are not great for our health are commercial soy sauce, relish, mayonnaise, table salt, margarine, and sour cream to name a few. Rather than using these items to flavour your food, opt for the healthier options such as spices which can offer a variety of actual health benefits (ie. garlic is great for fighting colds and flus). Opt for wheat free or organic soy sauce (Bragg’s is the best!) which has no additives or preservatives. Sea salt is good in moderation, cracked pepper is also great for seasoning without consequences. Opt for healthier fats to flavour your food such as extra virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds. And keep in mind if you are using good quality, fresh in season foods, your meals will always taste better!

#5) Don’t overeat. Although you may be in denial, obesity is a major issue for so many of our health concerns and costs our health care system a lot of money! This suggestion not necessarily just for people who want to lose weight, even if you are happy with your weight, it is best to make sure you do not eat too much at once for optimal health. Eating past your body’s satiation point can leave you feeling sluggish but can also wreak havoc on your digestive tract and cause inflammation in the body. It’s best to eat just until you are satisfied, but not stuffed, and simply save your leftovers for another meal. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you’re full, it’s so simple it’s stupid!

There you have it! 5 simple ways to start eating better and improve your health without doing anything crazy! I hope you find this helpful and please share this with anyone you know who may be feeling overwhelmed but would like to start eating healthier.

Thank you for reading!

-Holistic Hayley 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mineral rich Avocado Cacao pudding

Decided to experiment with a nutrient rich and decadent breakfast this morning. My secret ingredient is organic molasses to add a mineral kick, as well as cacao and dates which are all great sources of minerals including potassium, magnesium, iron, calcium and more!

  
Here’s what I used:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • Dash of sea salt
  • About a teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • Tablespoon of organic molasses
  • 5 small raw dates
  • 1/4 cup of organic cacao powder
  • Splash of non dairy milk (unsweetened) to blend- I used almond but coconut would be great too!

You may have to scrap the sides of the blender down a few times but be patient! And enjoy!


I topped mine with some homemade granola for a crunch!

4 Foods you may think you need to eliminate and 4 Foods that you really should

Potatoes:

Many people associate potatoes as being bad for their figures or simply as an unhealthy option. Truthfully, it is everything that we tend to put on or eat potatoes with that is bad! Mayonnaise, Butter, Cream, Cheese, Sour Cream, Steak, Tons of Salt, Bacon and Bacon bits, and Canola Oil and the foods we should really be eliminating. Fact: Potatoes are tubers; they grow underground off the root after the plant has grown and flowered. They are rich in nutrients such as vitamin C, B vitamins (esp. folic acid, thiamin, niacin, and pantothenic acid), potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, and zinc. Their fat content is barely existent, and they are approximately 2/3 starch and 10% protein. Potatoes can be baked, roasted, steamed, boiled, sauteed or turned into soups and when enjoyed without their usual fattening suspects can be part of a healthy diet.

Nuts:

I have heard some people who are trying to lose weight say “Oh I can’t have nuts, their way too fattening” yet their think eating red meat and dairy products is helping them and that is simply ignorance. Nuts are rich in plant protein and unsaturated fats, and when eaten raw, and unsalted they are low in sodium, provide a mix of the B vitamins, vitamin E, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and other trace minerals. Raw nuts should also be stored in the refrigerator to ensure freshness. Nuts are best eaten in small portions (handful) as a snack to ward off cravings for things such a chocolate, or soaked and made into easily digested nut milk! Nuts also make a great apres-workout snack to replenish your muscles. Again, rather than blaming nuts for being fat, try reducing your consumption of animal fats.

Dates, Bananas, and other Tropical Fruits:

Since when did anyone think that a piece of sweet, delicious fruit was bad for your figure? Cause they’re not! Now of course you should ensure you have a varied diet and not eat the same foods all year round everyday, but sweet fruits can be a part of any healthy diet. Fruits contain a diverse amount of nutrients individually, and they also contain lots of healthy fibre. The fibre in fruit slows down the digestion of its natural sugars so that they don’t spike our blood sugar levels like refined cane sugar would. Fruits also have many other good qualities, Dates for instance are surprisingly concentrated in iron, and also boast good quantities of niacin, pantothenic acid, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Bananas not only make a great pre-workout/activity snack with their pure carbohydrate content, they also provide potassium, magnesium, selenium, iron, and other vitamins and minerals. Instead of worrying about how much sugar is in an innocent piece of fruit, try to avoid any food that contains refined cane sugar or corn syrup, two of the biggest blood sugar disruptors.

Whole grains:

A whole rant could be done on the misinformation out there about grains, but I’ll keep this short.  Whole grains are a good source of complex carbohydrates which provide us with sustained energy for our busy lives. They are rich sources of fibre, B vitamins, vitamin E, and many minerals. Now lets keep in mind wheat is not the only grain out there, and if something is gluten free it is not necessarily healthy. Healthy wholegrains include brown rice, quinoa, oats, barley, buckwheat and corn. These are healthiest in their unprocessed, organic form. With the exception of quinoa which is already a complete protein, whole grains can be eaten in conjunction with legumes in our diet to provide all the necessary amino acids for a healthy body. Instead of avoiding grains all together and doing the whole “caveman” diet simply avoid refined processed grain products like white bread, packaged cookies, white rice and crackers.

Reference:

Haas, E.M. & Levin, B. (2006). Staying Healthy with Nutrition. NY: Ten Speed Press

Healing inflammation naturally with herbs and food

Whether you’re simply health conscious, healing from surgery, or recovering from an injury, these things are easy essentials to include into a healthy diet.

Anti-inflammatory nutrients and herbs:

img_5895.jpg IMG_0007edit copy

Bromelain – an enzyme found in fresh, raw pineapple

Carotenoids and Flavonoids – both found in fresh fruits and vegetables, especially citrus fruits, carrots, apricots, cherries, kale, chard, etc.

Aloe Vera – commonly used to reducing the redness and swelling of a sun burn, aloe vera can actually have the same soothing effects inside your body! You can find it in pure, liquid form at health food stores.

Echinacea – commonly used to fight infections, some of its other benefits are fighting inflammation and immune system support.

Garlic – load up on that garlic! It is most effective if eaten raw, but cooked lightly is good as well.

Ginger – another spicy herb that helps with not only nausea but also inflammation. Ginger can be drunken as a tea or added to foods. May also help reduce joint pain and inflammation.

Licorice – not everyone loves licorice as much as I do, but it has so many health benefits whats not to love? Not only an anti-inflammatory agent, licorice is also wonderful for digestion and detoxification. Get yourself some licorice tea and enjoy its mildly sweet flavour!

Turmeric – One of the spices in curries that give it the yellow or orange hue, it has fantastic anti-inflammatory properties. You can add even just a little bit to any meal and you won’t taste it too much if you’re careful, but having vegetable curries is a good way to go 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Green coconut pudding

20140708-093032.jpg

Experimenting in the kitchen this morning and i wound up with this magical pudding, its green, its vegan, its healthy and delicious! This makes for a great apres workout meal because you got your protein, carbohydrates, fats and loads of vitamins and minerals to promote recovery!

-half a cup of organic canned coconut milk ( dont use the light stuff it aint creamy enough! )
-4 to 6 dates with pits removed ( depending how sweet you like )
-handful of organic spinach
-1/2 or 1 serving of vanilla protein powder ( i used vega )
-splash of unsweetened almond milk to help blend

Throw these ingredients into your blender or food processor, start blending slow and speed up gradually. Pause it now and then to scrape the sides, and once it’s the consistency you want you can sit back and enjoy! Eat it alone or with some fresh berries, some granola, chia seeds, etc. 🙂

6 tips to make healthy eating cheaper

 

Image

Scope it out: Always look at flyers from the different grocery stores in your area, check out which one has the best deal on the foods you want/ like.

 

Plan Ahead: Always make a list, because just like going to the gym, if you go without a plan, you’re going to waste a lot of time and maybe even money on things you don’t need.

 

Stock up: If there is something that you eat a lot of and it goes on sale, buy lots! For example, peanut butter or canned chickpeas, these things can last awhile in your cupboard so why not buy a bunch when they are on sale, and save money in the long run, rather than buying them every week over and over at the standard price. You can also do this with fruit and freeze it.

 

Keep it Simple: You do not need to eat expensive raw cacao, goji berries and organic kale chips all the time to be healthy, YOU JUST DON’T! Don’t fall for all the superfood gimics, you can get more nutritional value for your money from making your own food and eating seasonal fruits and veggies, grains, nuts and seeds. Those typical “health food” items are nice to have but are not affordable on a regular basis.

 

Eat Seasonally: It is tempting to buy strawberries and grapes in the winter, but they are not cheap, nor are they high in nutrients! And for a good reason, because they are not in season! Eating seasonally is one of the best things you can do for your health and your wallet. You do not need to eat the same fruits and vegetables everyday year round. Aim for variety in your diet on a yearly basis.

 

Make your own food: Don’t complain you have no time, because at some point in your day you probably sit on the couch and watch TV or sit on the computer not really doing anything productive. It is so much cheaper and healthier for you to create your own meals from the basics than it is to buy packaged, pre-prepared food. You can easily make your own cereal and granola with oats, seeds, and nuts. You can make your own trail mix with your favorite nuts and dried fruits. You can make your own salad dressing with your choice of vegetable oil, lemon, vinegar and herbs. Eventually once you have made it a habit, preparing food is no different than brushing your teeth everyday, its just something you do! Preparing your own food is also very rewarding. 

My Vegan Food Finds In Europe

Some people have asked me how I found being vegan was while traveling, well it’s pretty easy actually, aside from the two hard boiled eggs I may have had when there wasn’t much else (I ain’t perfect!) and accidentally ordering a stuffed pepper that had meat in it which I then gave to a friend. I had some of the most delicious food I’ve ever had while traveling and I also had some of the nastiest ( sorry Paris your pizza sucked… )

So here I’ll share with you all my good vegan food finds and hopefully you’ll see how vegan-friendly Europe can be.

Image

British Airways let me request a vegan meal for my flight over and my flight home, it was bland but looked better than everyone else’s gross plane food!

ImageImage

Image

Image

Image

London had some really good vegan food and is in general a really veg-friendly city. The two above photos are from the Vegetarian Pub that I went to, the meal I had was Tofu Fish ‘n Chips and it was delicious! A vegetarian pub seems like such a strange concept, and when you go inside it looks just like any other funky pub, but they don’t serve any meat! Yay 🙂

Image

Here’s some goodies I found in London and carried them with me for a short while before deciding I had to eat it all to lighten my bag. PS that soymilk was the best soymilk I have ever had. And that VEGO bar… heaven.

Image

Image

IMG_0234

IMG_0241

IMG_0242

IMG_0273

These next few pictures are from Holland, which is slightly less vegan friendly than London, but I found a health food store which I frequented while I was in Bloemendaal and they sold vegan “chicken” (pictured above) which was frighteningly a lot like chicken. And in Amsterdam I had a lovely buffet lunch at a vegan restaurant/store. I also ate lots of fries 🙂 with ketchup not mayo!

IMG_0279 IMG_0286

These next two are from my favorite cafe/restaurant in Brussels called Le Pain Quotient, they had awesome vegan muffins as well as other food, and I always got a cafe au lait avec soya 🙂

IMG_0301

IMG_0306

The above pizza was from Paris and it was pretty disappointing, but in Versailles we went to the market and got food to eat by the Palace and I got a baguette with some tapenade, currants, and figs which was yummy. Paris didn’t impress me unfortunately, maybe because I was alone and so intimidated by it all, but Paris is where I broke down and bought a 6 euro jar of Skippy Peanut Butter…

IMG_0317

This pizza I got in Pisa and it was pretty good, I was disappointed though because before I went I had researched this vegan restaurant super close to the Tower, when I got to the address the store was completely closed down, this was a recurring thing in Italy because so many people close their shops for the month of August to go on Holiday, which sucks if your traveling in Italy in August! But I made due.

IMG_0328

IMG_0329

IMG_0330

IMG_0331

In Florence I had some really good food, again some of the vegetarian places I had scoped out were closed (waaahh) but I had some great pizza and one night I had these tuscan beans as a side with my pizza (didn’t have my phone to take a picture) but they were delicious and so simple! White beans in a thin tomato sauce. I also had some delicious fresh fruit and found vegan gelato and sorbet at a famous family owned gelateria! I went there a few times 🙂

IMG_0355

My hostel in Zagarolo made dinners for us and this pasta was one of the best I have ever had (and I’ve eaten alot of pasta!)

IMG_0374

IMG_0375

This is a shop in Bodrum that I frequented while I was there, here I stocked up on turkish delight, nuts, dates, and dried apricots. They also had tons of different kinds of tea and spices.

IMG_0492

IMG_0505 IMG_0506 IMG_0507

IMG_0516 IMG_0517 IMG_0520 IMG_0521 IMG_0527

IMG_0536

Okay so Turkey won overall with its amazing vegan food, and cheap too! The two pictures with vegetables and rice were both filling dinners from a canteen and only cost 6 turkish lira, which is approximately $3 Canadian! The cafe/store where I had cake was one that I simply stumbled upon while walking one day, I had a really yummy meal there and had planned to go back but didn’t have the time. The fresh fruit and juice in Turkey was also incredible and again, so cheap! These photos are from Istanbul.

IMG_0567 IMG_0575

These two pictures are from the vegan “fast food” place in Split. I was so excited when I saw their sign, I think I ate here 5 times while in Split but only took these two photos, they had one of the best veggie burgers I have ever had here with grilled veggies on it, yum!

IMG_0576

and then there was another not so great pizza in Split.

IMG_0634 IMG_0636 IMG_0638 IMG_0667

In Dubrovnik our Contiki Rep took us to this vegetarian restaurant that we went back to a number of times while there, all the food there was delicious and most of the menu was vegan, I also had some delicious local organic blackberry wine from here which I bought a bottle of and drank all myself  🙂

IMG_0718

This was my last euro meal, from the Heathrow airport, since I became addicted to olives in Turkey I ordered olives, a smoothie (finally a freakin smoothie!! ) and a cappuccino with soy milk which I probably shouldn’t have had because it made me super antsy for my flight.

A Beautiful Lentil Mistake: Cheezy Vegan Fried Lentils

Yesterday I was attempting to make some Red Lentil Latkes, the recipe called for some eggs and cheese, and I thought “I can make this vegan easily!” so I pulled out my Ener-G Egg Replacer and Daiya and went to town… But it turns out I couldn’t make Lentil Latkes, instead I created something amazing and did my own thing! Here’s what I got:

 

Cheezy Vegan Fried Lentils:

–       1 cup red lentils

–       3 small potatoes

–       1 small yam, peeled

–       3 vegan “eggs” (I used Ener-G Egg Replacer, but you could use any egg substitute)

–       2 heaping tbsp Veganaise

–       5 small cloves of garlic (or 3 large ones)

–       2 heaping tbsp of Ketchup

–       a few sprinkles of salt

–       pepper (as much as you like!)

–       1 tsp of cumin

–       ½ – 1 tsp of chili powder (depends how spicy you want)

–       4 green onions, chopped

–       2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional, but gives a good cheezy flavour)

–       a good drizzle of cooking oil (I used extra virgin olive)

–       ½ cup or more of Daiya Vegan Cheese (I used the cheddar)

 

Start by cooking the Lentils in a medium sauce pan with about 2 ½ cups of water and a sprinkle of salt, bring it to a boil, then stir and lower the heat to medium and cook until their tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes.

While the Lentils are cooking, grate all the potatoes and yam into a large bowl, dab the potatoes with a clean towel or paper towel to remove excess moisture.

When the Lentils are done drain out the excess water and add them to the bowl (they will be hot so don’t use a plastic bowl!) and combine it all, then add all the other ingredients except the Daiya and oil, and combine well.

 Heat a large frying pan to a medium-hot temp, add the oil, and then add the whole lentil mixture. Spread it out flat on the pan and let sit for a few minutes, then stir. Repeat this 4-6 times until it starts to smell good and you can see some of the lentils getting a little crispy, then add the Daiya cheese, stir and let that melt in for 5 minutes minutes, then turn off the heat, let it cool a minute, and eat!

 Image

You can eat this just as is, have it for dinner with some veggies for a complete meal, or put it in a tortilla and make a burrito! The possibilities are endless 🙂 Enjoy!