recipes

Sugar Detox

Last year, after receiving the diagnosis of a rare autoimmune skin disorder, I committed to doing everything in my power to get to the bottom of it and ultimately to the end of it.  

So after working with a great naturopath and getting several tests done, I've been experimenting with my diet. I decided to transition to a more paleo diet and reduced my sugar intake to almost null. Being someone with a strong sweet tooth, it wasn't easy.  

My pitta nature craves sweet taste to take the sharp edge off, to ground my energy and to cool my fiery tendencies. I have a propensity to get laser-focused on whatever I'm working on to the point where it becomes all-consuming (great for productivity, not so great for work-life balance).  

Sweet taste has a dulling, sedative affect (once you get over the sugar high) and is associated with the emotions of love, connection, compassion, joy, happiness, and bliss. It's no surprise we love our sweets!  

However, the evils of sugar are hard to ignore. Sugar leads to inflammation, premature aging, cancer, diabetes, liver disease, hormone imbalances, high cholesterol, skin problems, and more. Even if we are choosing "natural" sweeteners like honey, maple syrup or raw cane sugar, they still carry many of the adverse effects (despite having some nutritional benefits as well).  

So over the past few months I've stopped eating most fruits (except low sugar fruits like berries), grains, legumes, and sweeteners of all kinds. I know this is extreme and I don't suggest everyone needs to do this but if you're dealing with auto-immune disorders, gut issues, health problems, excess weight, low energy, moodiness, or skin problems, it would be well worth the effort to do a sugar detox.  

Having gone through one myself, I've discovered a few tips that make it a bit easier. Make no mistake - it's still hard, but strapped with these, you'll be less likely to find yourself with your hand in the cookie jar! 

d3c7dee0-802e-48fc-ad33-7f8e9dce0416.jpg

Self massage

Remember the emotions associated with sweet taste - love, connection, compassion, joy, happiness, and bliss? When we crave sweets we want to feel grounded, taken care of and comforted. Self-massage, or abhyanga in Ayurveda, is the body practice of rubbing oneself with oil. It's a way of generating self love. It increases oxytocin, the "cuddle hormone' which allows us to feel those same qualities we're looking for when we search for something sweet to eat. 

How to: Make your own oil with high quality unprocessed almond, coconut, sunflower or sesame oil. Use sweet essential oils like vanilla, bergamot, or lavender to feed your senses 

Licorice candy (made with 100% licorice) 

This only works if you like licorice. Not only does licorice pack many nutritional benefits (anti-inflammatory, demulcent (soothing), antioxidant, immunostimulating), but they are naturally sweet and will satisfy the sugar cravings. 

Find them at your local Italian grocer and make sure they are made with 100% licorice and no sugar or other additives. Valorosa has them in Kelowna. 

Meal Plan  

I talk about meal planning ad nauseum but it truly is the way I can follow a clean and healthy diet. Make sure each meal has lots of healthy fats (avocado, nuts, seeds, coconut and olive oil), a good source of protein and plenty of nutrient dense greens and veggies. 

Instructions on how I meal plan here 

Spicy Herbal Tea

If you're used to dessert after eating, make a naturally sweet spicy tea instead. Cinnamon stabilizes blood sugar and has been shown to reduce sugar cravings.  

I like Bengal Spice by Celestial Seasonings and Market Spice by Chai Baba. But any caffeine-free chai blend should do the trick. 

Peppermint

This uplifting and invigorating scent is a natural appetite suppressant. It's also a great stress and tension reliever, helps with mental focus and even soothes upset tummies.  

How to use it: drink it in tea, diffuse the essential oil, or place a few drops in your palms, rub together and inhale deeply.  

And last but not least, focus on making your life sweet. But that's really what we really want - not that extra piece of chocolate : ) 

 
xo,
Dana

3 Things I Consume Every Single Day

Human beings thrive on routine. Whether you're a free spirit or a more ordered individual, we can't deny that our physiology loves rhythm and regularity. Whether you recognize this deep human need or not, our nervous system feels the effects of living an asynchronistic lifestyle. The more we can embed what Jonathan Fields calls "certainty anchors" into our day, the more our subtle body relaxes into ease.  

As adults living in a free world we can choose to make every day different. But damn – that's a lot of decisions to make on a day-to-day basis which inevitably leads to decision-making burnout (which equals poor choices).  

This is why creating healthy routines to start and end your day enables your body to reap the benefits of good habits done consistently over time as well as frees up and generates a whole lot of energy for the rest of your life. 

You can learn more about my morning routine here, but I thought I would share the 3 beverages I consume every single morning. 

Hot water with lemon
Upon arising I rehydrate with about a quart of warm water with a squeeze of lemon. This boosts digestion, encourages proper elimination, increases metabolism, and supports proper liver and lymph function. 

Nut milk matcha latte
When I wanted to give up coffee a few years ago I needed a replacement. I loved the ritual of my morning coffee and I loved the rich, creamy flavor (I drank mine with chocolate almond milk). So I needed something that was equally delicious and had that ritual aspect to it. When I discovered matcha lattes it was a perfect fit. Not only do I love the taste, but I love the fact that it's chock full of health benefits. Matcha is also unique in the fact that it provides a slow release of energy as opposed to the crack-like buzz of coffee.  #Iloveyousomatcha #goodenoughtogiveupcoffee Watch my how-to video on how I make the perfect matcha latte.

Green smoothie
I started drinking green smoothies for breakfast about 5 years ago when I wanted to eat a more nutrient dense diet. It was a perfect way to consume a large amount of vitamin and mineral rich leafy greens without having to eat buckets of salads. My green smoothie has evolved over the years and now the only fruit (besides avocado) that I add is blueberries as I've transitioned to a more low-sugar diet. This was my go-to recipe for years, now it looks more like this or this

The idea is that I never have to think about what I'm going to eat for breakfast. I know what sets me up for a great day ahead so I do what works. 

What about you? How do you bring ritual into your morning routine? 

How to get through Thanksgiving without feeling like a stuffed turkey

As Canadian Thanksgiving approaches I thought I would share some tips on how to survive a Thanksgiving feast without feeling comatose and having to pay for it the next day (or week). Thanksgiving is a tradition with a wonderful intention, yet the ritual of stuffing a turkey and then stuffing ourselves might feel outdated for those of us trying to evolve the way we eat. 

I just returned from a two week vacation with my family and I found so much truth in the quote: 

 

Going home to be with family can often bring up a lot of "stuff". Especially with yogis on an evolutionary path, it can be challenging to be with others who are stuck in old patterns and lack the healthier habits we're working on strengthening.  

However, as yogis we try to look for the good in everyone and have the recognition that everything we encounter is the "guru in drag" and every situation is an opportunity for our own growth and learning. So this Thanksgiving, approach your family with the desire to see the positive and learn from the wisdom of our elders. And maybe try to convince them to eat a bit earlier – preferably before 4: ) 

Tips to get through Thanksgiving without feeling like a stuffed turkey: 

  • Start your day with a thermos of hot water with lemon.
  • See how long you can enjoyably last just on hot water and lemon. Let your deeper hunger awaken. 
  • When you feel true hunger, make a quart of green smoothie in a blender, a green juice, or stewed apples. Then, return to hot water with lemon. 
  • Take advantage of the extra time on your day off and go on a family bike ride, hike in nature or enjoy an extended yoga practice. Declutter your house. 
  • When the feast is ready, pause. Be grateful for the bounty. Take it in with all of your 5 senses.  

Drink in the aromas. 

Listen to each other. Feel the presence of being surrounded by those you love. 

Take in the vibrant colors and textures  

Taste. Savor. Delight. Appreciate the love and the effort. 

  • Eat with gratitude for our abundance and celebrate the connection. Enjoy the nourishment.
  • Relax. 
  • Then walk. 
  • Then go back to hot water and lemon and try not to eat again until the next day.  

Below are a few "healthier" Thanksgiving-worthy recipes. Enjoy! 

Pumpkin Pear Soup  

 This is the perfect fall soup - silky, velvety, delish! Serves 6-8  

Ingredients: 3 tbs butter or coconut oil, 1 onion diced, 3 garlic cloves minced, 2 pears, peeled, cored and halved, 4 cups roasted pumpkin 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth 1/2 tsp cinnamon  

Directions: To Roast Pumpkin And Pears: Preheat oven to 375. Cut the pumpkin into thick slices, removing seeds and stringy loose flesh inside. Reserve seeds for roasting. Cut the pears in half, peel and core. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the pumpkin and pears on top. Bake until both the pears and pumpkin are fork tender and beginning to brown, about 25 minutes for the pears and 45 minutes for the pumpkin. Allow to cool and scoop out the pumpkin flesh keeping 4 cups for the soup and reserving rest for another use. Chop the pears coarsely. In a heavy soup pot heat the butter and add the onions. Cook over medium low heat until the onions are translucent and beginning to brown. Add the garlic and cook an additional couple of minutes. Add the pumpkin and pears and about 4 cups of broth. Season with salt, pepper and cinnamon and cook over low heat for about 30 minutes. Blend, then taste and adjust seasonings as needed, and adding additional broth if soup is too thick. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds or plain yogurtOptional Toasted Pumpkin Seeds: Scoop out the seeds from the stringy flesh and place in a sieve over running water. Rub the seeds gently to remove any clinging flesh. Pat dry. Toss the seeds with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a foil lined baking sheet. Roast in a preheated 375 degree F. oven for 7 to 10 minutes or until the seeds are lightly browned and crispy. Cool.

 

White Bean and Turnip Puree (healthier alternative to mashed potatoes) 

(from Gwyneth Paltrow's It's All Good Cookbook) serves 2-4

Ingredients 
1/2 head garlic, unpeeled, top 1/2 inch cut off and discarded 
2 tbsp ghee, melted 
1/2 small yellow onion, diced 
1 small turnip, peeled and quartered 
1 14oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained 
1/4 cup vegetable stock, chicken stock or water 
sea salt, to taste 
black pepper, to taste 
 

Directions 
Preheat the oven to 400F. Tear off a piece of foil and place the head of the garlic in the center. Drizzle the top with a spoonful of ghee, wrap the whole thing up, and roast it for 1 hour, or until the cloves are very soft and a bit caramelized. Set aside until cool. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of ghee in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the diced onion and cook, stirring often, until softened and a bit browned. Meanwhile, steam the turnip until it's completely cooked through, about 10 minutes. Once onions are browned, add the beans to the pot along with the stock or water, a large pinch of salt, and a drizzle of ghee. Add the steamed turnip to the pot. Gently squeeze the garlic cloves from their pockets and add them to the pot. Stir everything together and let it bubble for 2 to 3 minutes. Using a handheld blender, puree the mixture until it's completely smooth. You can use a food processor or blender if you don't have a handheld one. Season with sea salt and pepper before serving

Give thanks.


Spring Salads for Dinner

As we move into spring I've been craving more salads. These spring season salads are perfect for a lighter dinner. Roast Cauliflower and Grape Salad

Heat oven to 500. Roast a cut up cauliflower for 20-25 minutes.

Dressing: whisk 3 T olive oil, 1 T sherry wine vinegar, 1 T honey.

Toss dressing with 2 T capers, 1/4 c toasted pine nuts, 1/4 c grapes sliced in half, 2 T chopped parsley and roasted cauliflower

Three Pea Salad from The Forest Feast

1 c snow peas, 1 c peas, 1 c pea shoots, 1 T lemon zest, 1/4 c chopped pistachios, 1/4 golden raisins. Dress with olive oil, lemon juice and honey

forest_feast_05
forest_feast_05

Fennel, Arugula, Apple and Smoked-Trout Salad with Horseradish Dressing

Ingredients

1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream or plain yogurt

3 teaspoons olive oil, divided

2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh dill

1 1/4 teaspoons white wine vinegar, divided

2 cups arugula

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb

1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion

2/3 cup smoked trout or smoked whitefish, coarsely flaked

1 red apple thinly sliced

Preparation

Whisk sour cream, 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, horseradish, dill, and 3/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar in small bowl. Season dressing to taste with salt and pepper. Place arugula, fennel, and onion in medium bowl. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide salad between 2 plates. Top with smoked fish. Drizzle horseradish dressing over and serve.

Brussel Sprout Quinoa Pear and Chorizo Salad from Small Bites Sweet Treats

1 lb brussel sprouts

½ c quinoa

2 Bosc or Anjou pears

3 oz chorizo (optional)

½ c arugula

Preheat oven to 400

1. Boil 1 c water and add quinoa and ¼ tsp salt for 20-25 min

2. Toss brussel sprouts w/ 3 tbs EVOO and ¼ tsp salt and bake for 20 min

3. Sauté chorizo in 1 tbs EVOO for 3 min

4. Toss quinoa, brussel sprouts, chorizo, pear and juice of ½ lemon with arugula

Girls Gone Wild

My other title is: Why YOU Should Eat Your "Weedies"

Several years ago I was introduced to the idea of eating my weeds, or put more politely “invasive species” by my Ayurvedic teacher Cate Stillman. I was intrigued but didn’t know where to start. Three years ago after having accrued my very first garden, I was a raw beginner and didn’t know an invasive species from a cultivated one. But I was curious and the desire was there to learn more and integrate these superfoods into my diet (more specifically my green smoothies). Over the past few years, foraging has become more widespread and is picking up speed - and for good reason! Below are a few of my reasons for eating my “weedies”:

It’s free. My husband calls me “depression-era Dana”. I hate wasting. I squeeze my toothpaste tubes to death. Organic produce is expensive! You have an abundance of chlorophyll-packed greens right in your backyard!

It’s environmentally responsible. Take eating “green” to a whole new level. Wild-crafting is local, sustainable, seasonal and organic (provided you don’t spray your yard) AND your carbon footprint is non-existent.

It’s healthier. Farmed veggies have less phytonutrients than their wild ancestors and weeds that haven't been subjected to thousands of years of selective breeding.

It’s detoxifying. Green = clean. Leafy greens are bitter and many have pungent and astringent tastes which, according to Ayurveda, help clean the blood and detoxify the bodily tissues.

It’s stress-relieving. A stroll in nature is one of the best ways to ground and calm yourself.

It’s retro. Channel your hunter-gatherer ancestors. It’s the real-deal Paleo diet!

It’s life-affirming. Foraging connects you to the abundant nature of the universe and cultivates gratitude and appreciation for earth’s many gifts. It fosters trust in the fact that you are supported by life.

Are you ready to take a walk on the wild side?

lamb's quarters
lamb's quarters

Mild, entry level weeds include: lamb’s quarters (contains more protein, calcium, and vitamins B1 and B2 than cabbage or spinach) 

Purslane (has the highest amount of absorbable heart-healthy omega-3 fats of any edible plant AND scientists also report that this herb has 10 to 20 times more melatonin—an antioxidant that may inhibit cancer growth—than any other fruit or vegetable tested)

purslane
purslane

and chickweed (high in protein, liver decongestant, dissolves cysts, appetite suppressant)

chickweed
chickweed

For the more daring: dandelion (excellent liver and kidney detoxifier, ranks in the top 4 green vegetables in overall nutritional value):

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Dandelion-emoedgars-sxc.jpg2_

thistle (liver detoxifier) and nettle (great for spring allergy prevention) **use gloves and blend or sauté lightly.

How to eat them: Blend them into a green smoothie, add to salad or sautéed greens, make superfood “greens” powder (see below) or bittersweet treats (see below).

WILD GREEN SUPERFOOD POWDER FOR WINTER (DRY IN SUMMER OR FALL) byCate Stillman

De-Stem  & Dehydrate at 110 degrees (or spread on your trampoline in the heat of summer), until crisp:

1 lb dandelion leaves

1 lb lambs quarter

1 lb thistle

1 lb nettles

1 lb chickweed, or whatever else you have too much of!

Once the leaves are dry you may choose to put them in a coffee grinder or vitamix to make a powder. Store in a dark glass jar in a cool cupboard.

Add teaspoon of this powder in your smoothies in the winter.

BITTERSWEET TREATS a brilliant idea from Celeste Davidson: Dried cherries (or other dried berries or raisins) wrapped in dandelion leaves

This beautiful book is an excellent guide and cookbook to inspire you to go wild : )

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feasting-and-foraging-1

A few winter salads and THE KEY to feeling satisfied

Have you ever noticed times when you eat that you can eat and eat and eat and never seem to feel full or satisfied? Most likely what you were eating only had one or two tastes. Lately when I eat I do a little check-in to make sure my meal includes all 6 tastes (sweet, salty, sour, bitter, astringent and pungent). In Ayurveda, incorporating all six tastes in every meal aides with proper digestion and helps nourish and satisfy the body and mind, and reduces cravings and overeating.

Here's an easy guide to the 6 tastes:

Sweet: carbohydrates/grains, rice, bread, sweet fruit, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, milk, oils, meats, nuts Sour: citrus fruits, yogurt, alcohol, vinegar, cheese, tomato, raspberries, strawberries Salty: all salts, celery Pungent: garlic, onion, ginger, wasabi, black pepper, cloves, cayenne pepper, horseradish, salsa, jalapenos, all spices Bitter: coffee, rhubarb, tumeric, most green and yellow veggies, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, leafy greens, cabbage Astringent: fruit peels, leafy greens, blueberries, cranberries, beans, legumes, peas, green tea, raw apple, pomegranate

Here are a few winter salads that fit the bill. They are delicious, nourishing and deeply satisfying!

Butternut, Apple and Pomegranate Salad from True Food by Andrew Weil

1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces (sweet) 2 T EVOO 1 t salt (salty) and black pepper to taste (pungent) 6 oz(9 cups) mixed baby greens (bitter) 1 apple, fuji, gala, cored and sliced (astringent) 1/2 c Balsamic Vinaigrette (sour) 5 oz goat cheese, crumbled (sour) 1/4 c walnuts, toasted and chopped (sweet) 1/4 c pomegranate seeds (astringent)

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or foil. Toss squash with olive oil and salt. Arrange in single layer on prepared sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes, until squash is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Toss mixed greens, squash, apple and Vinaigrette. Top w/ goat cheese, walnuts and pomegranate seeds

Warm Winter Vegetable Salad

1 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges 1 small sweet potato (about 8 ounces), cut into 1-inch pieces 1 carrot, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces 1 parsnip, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces 1 small celery root (about 12 ounces), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces 1 small beet, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces  (all the roasted veggies are sweet taste) 3 T EVOO Salt and freshly ground pepper (salty and pungent taste) 1/4 cup walnuts (sweet) 1 1/2 t balsamic vinegar (sour) 1 1/2 t fresh lemon juice (sour and astringent) 1/2 t Dijon mustard (pungent) 2 T chopped flat-leaf parsley (bitter)

Preheat the oven to 425°. In a medium roasting pan, toss the onion, sweet potato, carrot, parsnip, celery root and beet with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper and roast for about 45 minutes, stirring once or twice, until tender and lightly browned in spots.

Meanwhile, spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast until golden, about 6 minutes. Transfer the walnuts to a work surface and coarsely chop.

In a large bowl, whisk the vinegar with the lemon juice, mustard and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and fold in the parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Add the vegetables and walnuts to the dressing and toss.

Eat in a quiet, settled atmosphere and enjoy the different tastes dancing on your tongue : )

Warming Ayurvedic Foods for Winter

After all the excitement and preparation of Eye of the Tiger, I came down with a bit of a cold. I've been loading up on Ester C, Cold Formula tea with raw local honey, Echinacea and Goldenseal Tincture and keeping up with my green smoothies and juices. However, it's gotten quite cold these last few days and I've been craving nurturing and warming foods. According to Ayurveda, the root of most illness and disease is improper digestion. Therefore, when you're sick, eat healthy and easy to digest foods that give your system a break so it can focus it's energy on healing.  Below are a few of my favorite healing Ayurvedic recipes for when the temperature drops. I've included some of the properties of the spices used.

Stewed Apples from Eat/Taste/Heal,my favorite Ayurvedic guide and cookbook. 

  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 4 dates, pitted and cut in half
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1 TBSP maple syrup
  • 1 TBSP grated fresh ginger (heating, aids in congestion, digestion, circulation and inflammation)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom (health benefits - too many to list here)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (warming, aids in digestive, respiratory and reproductive health)

Put all ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, reduce to simmer and cook for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally. Transfer 1/3 of the ingredients into a blender, puree, and return to pan. Serve warm. Serves 2.

Ayurvedic Dahl Soup from Eat Pure Food

Serves 6-8

  • 2 cups Red Lentils (Masoor Dal)
  • 7 cups Water
  • 2 medium Carrots, 1/2 inch dice
  • 2 Tbsp Ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 Tbsp Curry Powder (anti-cancer, curry powder is a combination of many herbs and is full of health benefits)
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut or Olive Oil
  • 5 Green Onions, minced
  • 1/4 cup Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 cup Raisins (optional)
  • 1 can Coconut Milk
  • 2 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Tbsp Cilantro, Minced (aids in digestion, heavy metal detox, inflammation, anti-oxidant)

Rinse the lentils in a fine sieve under cool running water 3-5min or until the water runs clear. Place lentils in a large soup pot with the water and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Add the carrots and 1 tsp of the ginger.  Cover and let simmer for 30 min. Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the remaining ginger and green onions.  Saute for 2 minutes. Add the curry powder and tomato paste and cook 2 minutes more. Add mixture to the lentils along with the raisins, coconut milk and salt. Simmer uncovered for 20 min on low heat.  The dahl will be fairly thick when finished.  Remove from heat and stir in the cilantro. (Keeps well for 3-4 days)