Blogmas Healthy Hors D’oeuvres

It’s that time of year where holiday parties are in full effect. With both Christmas and New Years on the horizon, food is the one common denominator binding us together to celebrate. While gingerbread cookies and candy canes may be examples of some of the season’s favourites, holiday foods tend to be  full of processed sugars and other additives.

Trying to maintain a balance with healthy eating may be a challenge. Below I have included some ideas for healthier options.

 

1.Baked Pear with Feta & Pomegranate

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What you need:

  • fresh pears
  • pomegranates
  • feta cheese
  • walnuts

 

Directions:

  • slice pears in half and scoop out seeds in centre
  • place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 350F
  • top the pears with feta, pomegranates and walnuts then continue to bake for another 5 minutes or until pear is golden and cheese is slightly melted
  • Pears are best served warm.

 

2. Chocolate Avocado Mousse

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What you need:

  • half an avocado
  • 1/2 cup dark cacao nibs
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp pure cacao powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

 

Directions:

  • In a saucepan, melt the cacao nibs. Once melted, let cool for a few minutes
  • In a food processor blend all the ingredients – avocado, cacao nibs, honey, almond milk, vanilla essence, cacao powder, salt and coconut oil until the texture is creamy.
  • Spoon into glass bowls then refrigerate for  a few hours
  • Garnish with shredded coconut, fresh berries or any other topping you desire.

 

3. Veggie and Fruit Chips

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What you need:

KALE CHIPS

  • kale
  • salt
  • pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • Cajun spice

 

APPLE CHIPS

  • sliced apple
  • cinnamon
  • coconut oil

 

ZUCCHINI CHIPS

  • sliced zucchini
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ginger powder
  • EVOO

 

SWEET POTATO CHIPS

  • sliced sweet potato
  • cinnamon
  • dried thyme
  • EVOO

 

Directions:

KALE CHIPS

  • In a ziplock bag, mix the kale in with the various seasonings and EVOO.
  • Shake the bag, and then spread the kale on a baking sheet
  • Bake for 10-15 mins at 350F, making sure to stir half way

 

APPLE CHIPS

  • In a ziplock bag, mix sliced apples with melted coconut oil and cinnamon
  • shake the bag, and then spread the apples on a baking sheet
  • Bake for 30 mins at 350F, making sure to flip half way

 

ZUCCHINI CHIPS

  • In a ziplock bag, mix the zucchini in with the various spices listed above and EVOO
  • Shake the bag, and then spread the zucchini slices on a baking sheet
  • Bake for 30 mins at 400F, making sure to flip half way

 

SWEET POTATO CHIPS

  • In a ziplock bag, mix the sweet potato in with the spices and EVOO
  • Shake the bag, and then spread the sliced sweet potatoes on a baking sheet
  • Bake for 30-40 mins at 400F, making sure to flip half way

 

4. Banana Boats

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What you need:

  • bananas
  • plain greek yogurt
  • honey
  • cherries or other fruit as toppings

 

Directions:

  • Slice bananas in half
  • Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-15 mins at 350F
  • Spread plain greek yogurt and top with fruit like cherries
  • drizzle with honey
  • Serve while still warm

 

 

5. Swirl Energy Balls

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What you need:

  • dried strawberries
  • dried apricots
  • dried dates
  • crushed cashews
  • coconut oil
  • shredded coconut
  • honey
  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • almond milk

 

Directions:

  • in a food processor, blend strawberries with a few drops of coconut oil, almond milk (enough to make it moist, not liquid), cacao powder, honey and cashews
  • repeat with dates and apricots, keeping the 3 fruits separate
  • take part strawberries, part dates, part apricots and roll into a ball. Top with shredded coconut.
  • Repeat until you have used all the fruit
  • refrigerate for a few hours then serve

 

6. Frozen Yogurt covered Grape 

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What you need:

  • handful of grapes
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • handful toothpicks

 

Directions:

  • wash a handful of grapes and pull them off the stems
  • pierce the centre of each grape with a toothpick
  • pour plain greek yogurt into a bowl
  • pour chia seeds into another bowl
  • dip each grape into the yogurt followed by the chia seeds
  • place each grape on a baking sheet and freeze overnight

 

 

7. Date Pops

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As I have previously posted about date pops, please refer to this link for the recipe:

https://scrubs2sweats.com/2017/06/28/date-pop-recipe/

 

8. Black Bean Hummus

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What you need:

  • half can black beans
  • 1 tsp fresh garlic
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp tahini sauce
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • pinch salt
  • dash cumin

 

Directions:

  • In a food processor, mix all the ingredients above
  • Add more salt, EVOO and lemon juice to taste, as needed
  • Garnish with greek olives

 

Hope you enjoy trying out some of these healthy yummy recipes. Please feel free to comment below.

xo

Jessy

TEA-licious: top Tea Cafes in Toronto

I frequently see blogs about coffee spots across the city, but not often do I encounter ones that cater specifically to TEA. If you are a non-coffee drinker like myself (never had a cup in my life), then tea may be your best alternative for a hot drink, especially on a cold winter day.

And just like my last blog post (top fitness studios in Toronto), I spent many months exploring cafes across the city as I compiled a list of my top spots. The places that I listed provided more than just a tea bag in hot water; I was looking for unique blends, tasty lattes, great ambiance and Pinterest-worthy decor.

 

  1. Early Bird Espresso & Brew Bar 

Located at 613 Queen Street West (Queen and Bathurst), Early Bird is one of my favourite cafes in the city. The patio upstairs is the perfect hideaway and the food is Instagram worthy AND heathy- double win.

 

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The tea menu is your typical selection that can be made with water or milk (almond, regular, soy). Their chai lattes was my go to but as of this summer, I became obsessed with their charcoal latte (charcoal and milk; no coffee. Stay tuned for an upcoming blog about all the benefits of charcoal).

 

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Charcoal Latte with Smoothie Bowl

 

In the winter or rainy day, the atmosphere is perfect for meeting a friend for a tea or doing some solo work with the many other entrepreneurs in there. You may get lucky and meet a new friend. I had an unexpected good chat with actress Troian Bellisario, who played Spencer Hastings on the popular show “Pretty LittleLiars” and wife to Patrick  Adams (Mike Ross from the  show “Suits”). In fact, I left her reading through my website so who knows, maybe she is reading this one too?

 

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Chai Latte with Almond Milk

 

2. Forget Me Not Cafe 

This is one of Toronto’s hidden gems for a coffee shop. It’s part retail store (dishes, jewellery and other hand made items) and part coffee shop. I walked past it many times for years before I ventured inside 506 Adelaide Street West.

 

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Forget Me Not makes one of my favourite tea lattes year round. In the summer I order an iced almond tea latte made with almond tea from the brand “Tealicious” (it gives it the pink colour pictured above) and almond milk. In the winter I order the same as a hot drink. And it tastes as yummy as it looks pretty.

 

3. Calii Love 

Calii Love is known for their Poke and smoothie bowls. During the opening week at the King Location, the owner made a tea latte for me that was unique and became a favourite of mine- coconut latte.

 

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They have a list of teas from the brand “Serenitea”, one of which is called “coconut dream”.  He made this for me with coconut milk and it was one of the tastiest tea lattes I have ever had. It’s not on the menu so you will have to ask for it explicitly, but the staff are always agreeable to making this tropical dream.

 

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http://caliilove.com

 

4. Sud Forno 

Sud Forno has a few spots across the city, but one of my favourite locations is on Queen street. They carry the “Sloane Fine Tea Merchant ” brand with flavours like Rouge Provence (rooibos French florals), Ginger Twist, Jasmine Snow Dragon, to name a few.

I usually grab the tea to go as I roam Queen street,  sit in Trinity Bellwoods or hang out in the back patio of Kit and Ace (pictured below).

 

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5.Cafe Cancan

This place blew up instragram this summer for its decor and cute patio. And I admit that I jumped on that bandwagon. While many frequent here for a meal, I think it would make the perfect tea date.

 

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They carry the Pluck brand tea, which you can request with milk for a latte or with water. I ordered an Earl Grey tea latte, pictured below.

 

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https://www.cafecancan.com

 

6. Simit and Chai

I go to this authentic Turkish cafe on 787 King Street W for a Simit (Turkish circular bread that I get with olive paste and prosciutto) and a Chai. On occasion, however, I get the Turkish black tea , which has a unique yet rich taste that I enjoy.

 

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7.Maman Tea

I first stumbled on this cute cafe in NYC and was pleasantly surprised to find out that they have a location in Toronto at the First Canadian Place on King Street. The decor of Maman is top notch including their bathroom!

 

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Maman  carries the Sloane brand tea. But they are also known for their Blueberry Lavender Loaves. I am not a fan of pastries and cakes, especially if they haven’t been made with minimal processed ingredients. However, this loaf is one of the few pasties I enjoy and I usually compliment it with the “Rooibos French Florals”  tea latte.

 

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http://mamantoronto.com

 

8.Jacked Up Coffee 

You can’t venture into Yorkville without noticing this bright blue truck parked on Yorkville Avenue. Jack, the owner, is often manning the truck during the weekdays and brings with him some serious barista skills from many countries (Australia, England).

 

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While Jacked Up Coffee is known for their coffee, they also sell tea (by the Genuine Tea Company). The atmosphere there is perfect for grabbing a cup of peppermint or English breakfast tea while people watching.

 

http://www.jackedupcoffee.com

 

9.The Poet Cafe 

This Persian inspired cafe is located on King East and offers customers an atmosphere  reminiscent of Old Tehran. I’m a huge fan of unique business, and while many boast of the cuisine here, I love the vibe the Poet cafe brings to the city.

 

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One of my favourite chai lattes in the city comes from here as they make an in house chai syrup consisting of saffron, rose, cardamon, black tea and honey.

 

https://www.thepoetcafe.com

 

10.Rooster House Coffee 

With a few locations across the city, Rooster house is becoming one of the more popular coffee shops in the city. I’ve gone to both their King and Jarvis locations a few dozen times and I have never seen it empty (even at opening and closing time).

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The Jarvis location remains one of my favourite decorated cafes. I love the old English vibe that makes me feel like I am trapped in time.

 

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They are also one of the few cafes that has more than a chai tea latte on the menu. Two of my favourites tea lattes from here are the Ginger Honey Tea Latte (perfect if you are feeling sick) and the Toasty Almond Latte.

http://roostercoffeehouse.com

 

11.Music Garden Cafe 

Music Garden Cafe is a quaint little spot on the Harborfront. I used to live in the area and love the decor (especially at Christmas) which made me feel like I was sitting at my grandma’s home. Also, the location is perfect for a grab-n-go tea followed by a stroll along the waterfront.

 

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They cary the brand “Two Leaves and a Bud” tea with a variety of flavours but my go to is usually the organic mountain high chai.

 

12.Versus Coffee

I am obsessed with the minimalist look so I was instantly drawn to Versus. The customer service and the fact that they are an independent company were also bonuses for my attraction towards them.

 

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Versus also carries the Genuine Tea brand, my favourite of which is the vanilla rooibos flavour. I rotate between getting this as a latte with almond milk or with just water.

 

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13.The Place 

I was turning around the corner from the Flat Iron Building off of Church street when I randomly stumbled on The Place- a flower shop complimented with a cafe. French music played in the background of this fairly quiet cafe, which immediately drew me in.

 

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Their signature latte is the rose latte- but it is coffee based. Seeing that I wanted to try these rose petals but omit the coffee flavour, the barista created a unique latte for me that I must share with you – a cinnamon tea latte garnished with rose petals. It isn’t on the menu but I encourage you to request it if you go.

 

14.Her Majesty’s Pleasure

One of the most popular spots in the city for a bachelorette or birthday, Her Majesty’s pleasure is often sought out for their cocktails and spa services. But the bright atmosphere, leaf-printed cushions and metallic decor just screams for you to come in and enjoy a spot of tea. It is called Her Majesty, after all.

 

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As with many of the places that carry the Sloane tea brand, you can enjoy as a latte or with hot water. And maybe as a bonus while you sip away, you can book yourself a quick manicure.

http://www.hermajestyspleasure.ca

 

15.Kitten and the Bear

This tiny little tea room in Queen West offers only 2 seating arrangements for a jam and tea service – a 2 seater and a 3 seater table. I am a huge advocate for balance so I had no problem enjoying their freshly made scones with gelatin-free all natural jams to compliment my Sloane tea.

 

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They don’t take reservations so be sure to visit off peak hours or take your chances coming down there. The quaint atmosphere and intimate service though will make it worth your while. You can however grab a tea to go, but I would recommend sitting down for high tea.

 

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https://www.kittenandthebear.com

 

16.Plentea 

Plentea is almost exclusively just teas- probably  one of the few cafes heavily void of a coffee selection. Hello Tea heaven!

 

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This spot is another one of my favourite spots namely because they offer a large variety of tea and tea lattes . Some of my recommendations here include coconut cream, black velvet, and for the fall flavours like numeric milk and pumpkin.

 

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http://www.plentea.ca

 

17.Infuse Cafe 

Another unique tea only spot is just steps away from Eaton Centre. So this Christmas while you are doing your shopping, be sure to check this cafe out. They also serve iced teas so the perfect spot year round

Their teas range from herbal, green, black, organic milk, white and oolong.

Some of my favourites include: apple pie, scarlet rose, turmeric ginger, chocolate chai and marshmallow smores.

 

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http://www.infusecafe.ca

 

18.Strange Love Coffee

With a couple locations in Toronto, the Spadina one became increasingly popular this summer namely because of its pink instagrammble “Toronto” sign mural painted outside the cafe.

 

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They serve gelato and coffee, but the teas shouldn’t be ignored. Specifically if you are a matcha lover, then you will want to try out their seasonal “gingerbread matcha latte”.

 

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https://www.strangelovecoffee.ca

 

19.Fika Cafe

Fika is a Swedish word, meaning “to have coffee”. So it is no surprise that someone was bound to name a coffee shop “Fika”.

 

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Fika is nestled in Kensington Market and is one of my favourite cafes in the city (I am aware I wrote that a lot but when there are hundreds of cafes, have a handful of favourites is inevitable). It takes the cake for decor, atmosphere and teas. I am yet to figure out how or why, but their chai lattes are the best. They use the Genuine Tea brand but the baristas admit to adding both honey and cinnamon to the milk, giving it an even more enjoyable flavour.

 

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https://www.fika.ca

 

20.Dineen

In the hustle and bustle of the Financial district, Dineen offers many city goers coffee both on the go and in store. It is rare to find it peaceful in there as the energy of Toronto is evident. And one can’t help but feed off of it.

 

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My go to at Dineen is the Chai latte. I admit that this place is a high contender for atmosphere and decor. Many bloggers and instagrammers are often seen taking photos of their drinks showcased above the patterned tiles (case in point below).  Often in the summer I will sit on the road side patio with friends or people watch.

 

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http://dineencoffee.com

 

21.Light cafe 

Light Cafe is a Taiwanese inspired cafe that takes pride in their decor (green plant covered wall) and presentation. They stand by an interesting philosophy ” Eat fresh. Live true. Stay hungry”.

 

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While they are known to many for their charcoal waffles and cotton candy coffee, they do make some pretty tasty teas including their Earl Grey Rose latte.

http://lightcafe.ca

 

22.Balzac’s Coffee Roasters

Balzac’s is growing coffee company with 13 locations across Canada. They are highly rated for their coffees, and this summer they became known for serving coffee in a cone!

 

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Their teas are not to be overlooked. Specifically they serve an organic chai tea, which unlike many places, is not too sweet (I like to taste the spices in my chai latte, not the sugar).

http://www.balzacs.com

 

Pumpkin Spice & everything nice

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It’s that time of year again here in Canada and many other countries. The time where we start adding the layers of clothing, see the leaves changing colours and resume our obsession with everything pumpkin.

I personally do not like coffee so the infamous Starbuck’s Pumpkin Spice Latte, or PSL according to some, never excited me but I am obsessed with pumpkin – pumpkin pies, pumpkin smoothies, you name it. Most of it I have to make on my own though as I don’t enjoy processed foods so over the years I have tweaked some of the popular recipes to replace butter, sugar and white flour with healthier options.

This year I have decided to share some of those recipes. AND I have formed a collaboration with some of my Instagram friends to also include some from them.

I hope you enjoy these recipes.

Leave a comment if you have any suggestions or future requests!

Also, I have created a Facebook page called “Scrubs2Sweats”. I would like to invite you to follow so you can be notified on any new posts- fitness, wellness or travel oriented including blog notifications.

 

 

  1.                    Pumpkin Pie

 

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Ingredients:

Pie filling:

  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2  cup egg whites
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1.5 cups almond milk

 

Crust:

  • 3 cups coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup almond milk

 

Directions:

  1. Mix wet ingredients together for pie filling
  2. Mix dry ingredients together for pie filling
  3. Mix wet and dry ingredients together to form the pie filling batter
  4. For the crust, spread out the coconut flour in a pie pan. Mesh together using a fork to form a crust. Slowly add in drops of coconut oil and almond milk to “stick” the flour together. If you have access to a pie impression mould, you can use it to flatten the flour and create the pie crusted edges shown in my photo above.
  5. Refrigerate the pie crust for about an hour
  6. Preheat oven to 425F
  7. Pour the batter into the pie crust
  8. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes
  9. Reduce temperature to 350F for 45 minutes
  10. Let pie cool for about half hour. Ideally put in the fridge for another hour before serving.
  11. Serve with tea or your favourite gelato. Enjoy!

 

Contributor: Jessy

Instagram: @scrubs2sweats

Facebook: Scrubs2sweats

 

 

2.                   No Bake Pumpkin Chocolate Energy Balls

 

PumpkinBallsEdit

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup pecans
  • 1/3 cup cashews
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 tbsp. hemp hearts
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 6 medjool dates
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cloves and nutmeg
  • pinch of ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp of sea salt

 

Added later:

  • 5 tbsp. rolled oats (use gluten free if necessary)
  • 2 tbsp. chocolate chips

 

Directions:

  1. Add all of the above into your food processor until the mixture comes together.
  2. Refrigerate this for about 20 minutes so they can harden a bit.
  3. Add the rolled oats to the mixture and pulse until they are combined.
  4. Move the mixture to a medium sized bowl and add the chocolate chips.
  5. Roll into balls and keep them in the fridge.

 

Contributor: Jaclyn Irwin

Instagram: @holistic.foodie 

Website: http://holisticfoodie.com

 

 

3.                       Pumpkin Spice Energy Balls 

 

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Ingredients:

  • 10 dates
  • 1/2 cup organic puree
  • 1 tbsp organic maple syrup
  • 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 3 scoops Arbonne vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 pecans

 

Directions:

  1. Blend all the ingredients together in food processor
  2. roll into balls
  3. Refrigerate for 1 hour

 

Contributor: Steff Sullivan, RN, BScN, DM 

Instagram: @fitnursepreneur 

Website:  to order Arbonne protein powder check out http://www.arbonne.com/pws/stephanieannsullivan/tabs/home.aspx 

 

 

4.                       Creamy Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

 

PumpkinPieSmoothie

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Almond Milk
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 scoop of plant based vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp. hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Optional: handful of spinach

 

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy!

 

Contributor: Amanda Bottiglia, RHN

Instagram: @amandabotnutrition

Website: https://www.amandabottiglia.com/

 

 

5.                                Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

 

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This recipe is very similar to the one above by Amanda, with minor variations.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cashew milk
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2  cup fresh pumpkin (boil then blend to puree)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup  dates
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 scoop vanilla plant based protein powder

 

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy!

 

Contributor: Jessy

Instagram: @scrubs2sweats

Facebook: Scrubs2sweats

 

 

6.                        Paleo Pumpkin Coffee Cake  

 

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Ingredients:

Crumb topping :
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

 

Coffee cake:

  • 1 cup pure pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Directions:
 
  1. Preheat oven to 325° F
  2. Line a square baking dish with parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the crumb topping. Mix until all dry ingredients are moistened. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the melted coconut oil, maple syrup, coconut sugar, and pumpkin. Mix well.
  5. Add the eggs and mix until blended well.
  6. Then add the almond flour, coconut flour, cinnamon, pumpkin spice, baking soda, and salt.
  7. Mix until completely blended.
  8. Pour into prepared pan and sprinkle the top with the crumb topping.
  9. Bake for 50-55 minutes.

 

Contributor: Diana 

Instagram: @dianashealthyliving 

Website: http://dianashealthyliving.com

 

7.                 Chocolate Coated Pumpkin Pie Truffled 

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp each of ginger, cloves, all spice
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

 

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, pulse the first 5 ingredients until well combined. Then roll into balls and freeze.
  2. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil together.
  3. Dip each ball into the chocolate sauce and lift out using a fork. Place on a lined cookie sheet.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. Enjoy!

 

Contributor: Jessica Urack 

Instagram: @healthyhabits.byjess 

Website: http://www.healthyhabitsbyjess.com

 

 

8.                 Pumpkin “cream” filled Muffins

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup blended zucchini
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence

 

Cream filling:

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300F
  2. Mix wet ingredients together
  3. Mix dry ingredients together
  4. Mix wet and dry together to form a batter free of clumps
  5. mix together ingredients for filling
  6. Pour batter into muffin pan (coated with coconut oil) half way, then layer with the filling before topping off with another layer of batter
  7. Bake for 20-25 mins
  8. Cool for 5-10 minutes before serving

 

Contributor: Jessy

Instagram: @scrubs2sweats

Facebook: Scrubs2sweats

 

xo

Jessy

 

 

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Anti-Inflammatory Diet

 

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An anti-inflammatory diet is one of the most common diets recommended for inflammation reduction by a number of fitness and health care professionals. These can include injury recovery from a sports related activity, chronic disease management such as autoimmune, for overall better gut health and in some cases even cancer.

 

While many health care practitioners and naturopaths advocate for  an anti-inflammatory diet, a literature review of scientifically published research shows minimal studies that definitively supports evidence of  a correlation between diet and inflammation 1 . Many will argue that nutrition studies are hard to prove as there can be a number of other factors influencing outcomes.  There are few studies such as Giugliano et al, that supports the role of diet with a reduction in inflammation 2  . The conclusion for majority of studies, however, tends to be an observational one where an anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce, versus eliminate, inflammation. It should be noted that the Mediterranean diet is often cited in the literature and is very similar to the Anti-inflammatory diet as it consists of a high intake in fruits, vegetables, plant proteins, whole grains, low fat dairy and olive oil 3 .  Regardless of the diet name, more funding and resources needs to be allocated to understanding the role of diet with respect to diseases (especially autoimmune which is on the rise and not well understood).

 

Personally I incorporate a strict anti-inflammatory diet for a few weeks when I am recovering from a sports related injury, suffering from stomach issues or in recent times autoimmune symptoms.

 

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Dr. Gary Kaplan, founder of the Kaplan Centre for Integrative Medicine provides a fantastic summary on the Mind Body Green website of anti-infammatory issues and foods that can be used to help reduce inflammation. The link to this article can be found in the reference section 4  but throughout this article I will share some of his suggestions as well as useful information from other articles.

 

What is Inflammation?  

Your immune system becomes activated when it detects a foreign invasion such as a microbe or pollen. As such this can trigger a process called inflammation. Your body is designed to help protect itself from these invaders. But when inflammation persists when it is not threatened by a foreign invader can become problematic especially when the body produces excessive inflammation. This is often the case with diseases like arthritis, cancer, diabetes, to name a few, that have been linked with chronic inflammation.

According to Dr. Frank Hu, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, experimental studies have shown that some foods may have anti-inflammatory effects 5  .

 

Anti-inflammatory foods  4,5

  • Tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts such as walnuts and almonds
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Fatty fish such salmon and tuna
  • Fruits such as strawberries, cherries, blueberries, oranges, apples

 

Foods to Avoid   4,5

  • Saturated fats such as margarine and butter
  • Refined sugar such as those found in candy, sweetened beverages etc
  • Refined carbohydrates such as those found in pasta, pastries etc
  • Gluten
  • Dairy and casein
  • Fried foods
  • Processed meats such as hot dogs and sausages
  • Artificial ingredients such as MSG, aspartame
  • Alcohol

 

Other triggers of inflammation 4

  • stress
  • smoking

 

Other holistic remedies for inflammation 4

  • Meditation
  • Vitamin D
  • Green Tea
  • Tumeric and Cucumin
  • Chilli Pepper

 

Dr. Kaplan’s 11 Rules  4

  1. Consume 25g of fiber daily
  2. 9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily
  3. 4 servings of alliums (e.g. garlic, onion)  and crucifers (broccoli, cabbage) weekly
  4. Limit saturated fat to 10% daily intake
  5. Consume Omega 3 fatty acids such as cold water fish (salmon), flax meal, walnuts
  6. Eat fish 3x a week
  7. Use oils that contain healthy fats e.g. Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Coconut Oil
  8. Eat Healthy snacks twice a day e.g. Plain Greek Yogurt, Carrot sticks and nuts
  9. Avoid processed foods and refined sugars
  10. Cut out trans fats (eg magarine and those present in pastries and cookies)
  11. Sweeten meals with phytonutrient rich foods (eg apricots, berries) and spices (cinnamon, tumeric, ginger)

 

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References

  1. Marcason W.  What is an anti inflammatory diet? J Am Diet Assoc 2010: 1780.
  2. Giugliano et al. The effects of diet on inflammation. Emphasis on the metabolic syndrome. J Am Coll Cardiol 2006; 48 (4) :677-85.
  3. Schwingshackl L. Mediterranean dietary pattern, inflammation and endothelial function: A systematic review and meta-analysis of intervention trials. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc 2014; 24: 929-39
  4. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-22607/11-food-rules-for-the-ultimate-anti-inflammatory-diet.html
  5. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation

 

Chia Pudding Recipe

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Move over smoothie bowls and baked oatmeal. Hello chia pudding.

These nutritious and easy to make puddings offer a healthy alternative for breakfast on the go and afternoon snack.

Chia base 

What you need:

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup of coconut or almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp honey

Mix all the above ingredients together and soak overnight in the fridge. If you would like them more immediately, allow for at least an hour soaking in the fridge.

 

  1. Peanut Butter Raspberry (Jar on left)

Mixture 1 (light coloured):

  • 1 tablespoon PB2 (peanut butter powder) (use peanut butter as an alternative)
  • 1/4 scoop coconut oil powder  (use coconut oil as an alternative)
  • almond milk as needed

Mix all the above ingredients together but slowly add the almond milk, using only enough for make a creamy texture.

Mixture 2 (dark coloured):

  • 1 tablespoon of PB2
  • 1 tablespoon cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • almond milk as needed

Mix all the above ingredients together but slowly add the almond milk, using only enough for make a creamy texture.

In a jar, add in layers the chia seed mix,  mixture 1, mixture 2  and raspberries. Keep layering until you reach the top of the mason jar.

 

2. Pineapple Blueberry Yogurt (jar on right) 

  • 1 cup of plain greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop of pineapple coconut greens from Progressive (see link below)
  • 1/4 scoop Vega vanilla protein powder (or any other plant based brand)

Mix the above ingredients together. In a jar, add in layers of the chia seed, the above yogurt mix and fresh blueberries. Keep layering until you reach the top of the mason jar.

 

https://www.progressivenutritional.com/products/vegegreens/

 

Enjoy!!

xo