Canadian Iced Tea Mocktail Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 8

It’s the Canada Day long weekend, and that means hot weather and cold drinks. Thankfully, there are alternatives to beer, wine coolers, and the other alcoholic beverages that seem to dominate during summer holidays. This Canadian Iced Tea mocktail is a perfect choice. Complete with black tea’s antioxidant power, lemon’s liver cleansing effects, and maple syrup’s satisfying sweetness, you’ve got a super summer sipper. What makes it Canadian? The maple syrup, of course! Happy Canada Day!

How does this mocktail fit into a healthy diet? Since it contains sugar in the form of maple syrup, and dehydrating black tea, it’s best to limit this to occasional enjoyment. Save it for long weekends and the odd patio evening. It shouldn’t be a part of a daily diet.

INGREDIENTS 3 litres of water 2 litres sparkling water, chilled 4-5 black tea bags of your choice 3/4 cup maple syrup 2 tsp pure vanilla extract 2 lemons, juiced 1 lemon, sliced for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a saucepan over high heat, bring 1 cup water and maple syrup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and let simmer for 5 minutes. Note: It doesn't need to reduce to the point of being an actual syrup. Remove saucepan from heat and set aside.
  2. Boil the remaining water in a large pot. Add tea bags to the pot. Let steep for 15 minutes, or longer for stronger tea.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat. Then scoop out the teabags. Add maple syrup-water combination, a splash of vanilla, and the juice of 2 lemons. Stir.
  4. Pour into a serving jug and add chilled sparkling water.
  5. Serve over ice with a lemon garnish.

Healthy Frittata Recipe

I made this delicious arugula frittata recipe for Mother's Day Brunch. It was tasty and filling. Making frittatas ahead of time to have ready for breakfast each morning is the perfect way to be ready for the day without the typical morning rush. They keep well in the fridge for at least 3 days. The rest of our delicious Mother's Day feast can be found here.


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin coconut oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 large potatoes, thinly sliced (preferably with a mandoline)
  • 3 handfuls fresh arugula
  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk (of your choice)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Methods

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, beat eggs and milk together. Set aside.
  3. Heat coconut oil and garlic in a skillet over medium heat until golden. Then remove and discard garlic, keeping coconut oil in the pan.
  4. Toss potatoes and onions in a large bowl along with salt and pepper. Then add to the skillet with coconut oil. Cook, turning often, until golden – about 10 minutes.
  5. Slowly add in arugula handful by handful until it has cooked down.
  6. Then add the egg and milk mixture stirring just enough to ensure everything is evenly combined. Then place the skillet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked on top. Cool and serve.

Perfect Raw Brownies

Yep! You heard me - brownies. Yum! But these raw brownies are healthy with brain-beneficial cacao, heart-healthy nuts and coconut oil, and poo-friendly dates. Believe me - they taste just as good as the real thing. I wouldn't lie about that as I am a brownie lover!

I have spent the past week trying out recipes to come up with the perfect, no-bake, chocolatey, gooey treat so I could share it with all of you.

And here it is - Enjoy!


Ingredients:

  • 12 Medjool dates, soaked (soak them by covering them in water for 10 minutes)
  • 3/4 cup almonds
  • 3/4 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 4 Tbsp raw cacoa powder (I really like this one from Organic Traditions)
  • 2 tsp melted coconut butter
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup (leave out if your diet is sugar-free)

Method:

  1. I like to start out by grinding the dates into a paste. They can be tricky to deal with so add them into the processor 2 at a time until a paste has formed. Now, use a spatula to scrape out the paste into a bowl and set it aside.
  2. Grind the hazelnuts and almonds on high until they have formed a nut flour.
  3. Add in the sea salt and cacao powder. You'll begin to notice the chocolately flavor now.
  4. Gradually add in coconut butter, almond butter and dates allowing the food processor time to catch up with the thick mixture. If you need to, use the pulse setting until well mixed.
  5. Use a spatula to scrape this mixture either into an 8"x8" square baking dish or roll the mixture into tablespoon-sized balls. Serve & enjoy. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.

NOTE: I recommend a really good food processor for this recipe!

Quinoa Dessert Recipe

I’m sure by now you all have heard of quinoa (keen-wa). It is that little grain/seed that everyone in the health world seems to fawn over. Quinoa does indeed deserve a lot of praise. It is a grain-like crop harvested for its seeds. Did you know you can even eat quinoa greens? You can, but they are very difficult to find commercially. For now let’s stick to learning more about quinoa seeds. In ancient Peruvian times it coined its funny name, which means “mother of all grains”. It provided a great deal of nutrition to these people and has now resurged amongst the healthy crowds of North America.

½ c of quinoa contains half of your recommended folate (B9), magnesium and phosphorus and a third of your thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), B6, iron, and zinc. Wow! That is impressive. Better yet, it also contains 14g of complete protein, meaning all of the essential amino acids are present. This is a rare find in plant form.

Best of all, quinoa is gluten-free. No wonder it is so popular.

Quinoa is best-prepared like rice or couscous. But one extremely important tip is to remove the saponin coating on the quinoa before using. To do this, strain quinoa under cool water for a few minutes until all of the bubbles disappear. Now you are ready for cooking. Do 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and let simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand until all of the water has absorbed. Now you are ready to use quinoa in whatever way you would like – as a breakfast food, in quinoa cakes, as a side dish, or as a main.

Scouring the internet will lead you to lots of quinoa recipes, but here is one of my favorites specially donated by Tosca Reno, author The Eat-Clean Diet.


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup / 240 ml quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 4 or 5 dates, chopped
  • 2 cups / 480 ml no-sugar-added grape juice
  • ½ cup / 120 ml raisins

Method:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a pot and cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until quinoa grains are cooked.
  2. Serve hot or cold.

Cha-Cha-Cha-Chia Seeds and Chia Seed Jam Recipe

Gone are the days of chia seeds being known only for their ability to create chia pets! This seed is an all-around super food with star nutrients being fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, magnesium, & iron. They also contain a host of powerful antioxidants, including caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, and quercetin. Chia’s fiber content really is something to marvel.

Chia seed has more fiber per 100 grams than barley, wheat, oats, corn, and rice.

The soluble fiber present in chia seeds creates a gel in the stomach when exposed to carbohydrates thereby slowing down the digestive process of carbohydrates and reducing the spike in blood sugar after a meal. Chia seeds are also very high in protein and antioxidants. This is especially beneficial for diabetics.

Chia seeds have become exceedingly popular amongst the healthy crowds over the years. It is an excellent appetite suppressant because of its high amounts of fiber and protein. Chia seed can sustain you for hours, which is why it was used by the ancient Aztecs to sustain warriors during battle. In fact, 1 Tbsp of chia seed would sustain Aztec warriors for 24 hours during battle! In this day and age when food variety is certainly not  a problem, it is still important to maintain a balanced diet. Chia can be incorporated into your nutritional plan as a topping on oatmeal, an addition to smoothies, and in baked goods. But my favorite use of chia is as a healthy a jam. Chia seed contains about 5% soluble fiber. It soaks up lots of water and appears as clear mucilage (that means gel). Imagine that beautiful gel coating and soothing your intestines. Glorious!

Here’s a quick recipe for Chia Jam:


Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds (black or white)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Stevia to taste

Method:

  1. In a medium bowl combine chia seeds, stevia, and water.
  2. Let chill for 30 minutes. During this time the chia will absorb all of the liquid and gel.
  3. Serve cold on toast or on its own.

The Big Deal with Vitamin D

It really is a big deal.

I remember having a conversation years ago with my close friend, and orthopaedic surgery resident, Susan, all about vitamin D. She was still in medical school at the time and was telling me all about the magic of vitamin D. I had yet to enter my naturopathic medical studies and was wowed by what she had to say. Now, years later, after studying for way too long it really is clear that vitamin D is a superhero. In fact, even with North America’s poor nutritional state it’s rare to find a vitamin deficiency like that of vitamin D in a developed country, especially for those of us living above the 49th parallel.

So what is the big deal with vitamin D. MS, breast cancer, depression, immunity, bone density – you name it and vitamin D likely has a hand in making it better. But with the advent of sunscreens in summer and the inevitable grey of winter blocking the sun’s rays, getting enough is hard stuff.

Vitamin D is created by the body. When sun shines on the skin 7-dehydrocholesterol is converted into pre-vitamin D3. After passing through the metabolic processes of the liver and the kidney we wind up with active 1, 25-dihydoxyvitamin D3. Confused yet? Check out this helpful picture from Medscape.

Us northerners need at least 10 minutes outside each day with sunscreen-free bare arms and legs to get the right amount. This is difficult even on a bright, summer day because of our on-the-go lives so the addition of healthy foods and a supplement can come in handy.

Vitamin D is a pillar of health and it's just what the doctor ordered! Talk with your naturopathic doctor about the right amount for you. 

How to Navigate the Grocery Store

Shopping for groceries isn’t my favourite thing to do, but I do love to cook and bake, which makes it a necessity. Navigating the aisles of your typical big-box, grocery store location doesn’t do it for me. I much prefer to peruse the stalls of a local farmers market. But when necessity calls I have no choice. This is when I have to call upon my trusted grocery navigation tools.

  1.  Make a list. Check out your cupboards and fridge before heading to the store so you know what you need. I keep a list on my fridge and on my phone.
  2. Start in produce. Fill your cart with the freshest local and in-season produce available at your grocery. Here you can learn about Ontario’s local options. Stick to the Clean 15, Dirty Dozen list to help you avoid harmful pesticides while also minding your costs. Sticking to the remainder of the perimeter of the grocery is a good rule of thumb, given that the freshest, least-processed foods are located here. 
  3. Venture in if you must. Should you need to gather oats, grains, oils, vinegars and seasonings do so quickly. Just don’t get tempted by the cereal, cracker, or junk aisle where the really evil ingredients reside.

And last but not least, always remember to pick up a few cans to drop off in the food-donation bins at the exit of the store.