Spring is Here! Time for some Fresh Homemade Dressings

Spring is upon us and I have quite a few recipes lined up for the new season! Very excited! This will be the first of the fresh, healthy and delicious foods I will be sharing over the next few weeks 🙂

But first here’s a few little reminders for the mind and soul…break out of that hibernation mode and enjoy what spring has to offer!

🌳 Take a walk
🌞 Soak in that sunshine
🍃 Enjoy the fresh air
And wake up those senses!⚘

It’s that time of year to rejuvenate. Salads and Lunch Bowls are a great way to clean out the system. *The combination of oils and acids are essential to aid digestion of all the raw veggies in your salads!!* So to help you out I’ve got some fresh dressings to incorporate into your meals 🙂 Never buy store bought again!

Fresh Dressings

1. Avocado Dream

• 2 Avocados, chopped
• 1 cup Cashews, pre-soaked
• 1 Lime, juiced
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1 cup Water, (or more depending on desired thickness)

*Try my Shrimp Fajitas recipe with this*

2. Berry Blast

• 1 cup Berries (I used strawberries and blueberries)
• 1/4 cup White Balsamic Vinegar
• 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
• Fresh Cracked Pepper

3. Creamy Sesame 

• 1/2 cup Plain Yogurt (Vanilla works too, gives it a little sweetness)
• 1/2 cup Mayo
         *or use 1 cup of either*
• 1/4 cup Soy Sauce
• 1/4 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
• 1 tsp Sesame Oil
• Furikake (a Japanese rice seasoning with sesame seeds and seaweed) *optional
• Hot Sauce (I used Sriracha) *optional

*Try my Chicken Lettuce Wraps recipe with this*

4. Basic Delight

• 1/4 cup Honey
• 1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
• 1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
• 1/2 cup Olive Oil
• Salt and Pepper to taste 

For each one, put all the ingredients together and blend!

Hope you enjoy these 🙂 What are your favourite dressing recipes?

Your,
Natural Groove Gal

Goddess Bowl #1

Buddah bowl…Power bowl…Awesome bowl…

Whatever you want to call it, it’s a bowl with so many possibilities- flavour and nutrition wise!

Here’s an example of a bowl we made the other day…

Ingredients:

• Carrots, shredded
• Homemade Kimchi
• Avocado
• Salsa
• Mixed Greens
• Green Onions
• Salmon with crispy skin!!
• Olive Oil and a squeeze of Lime
• Salt and Pepper

So this specific bowl is:

*Nut and Seed free

*Gluten free

*Dairy free

*If you’re missing that “crunch” factor you can add your favourite whole grain crackers or corn chips work too!*

Here’s a list of what I enjoy putting into my goddess bowls:

Grains
• Rice
• Quinoa
• Cous Cous
• Soba Noodles
• Buckwheat Noodles
• Barley

Protein
• Beans/Lentils
• Legumes
• Chicken
• Seafood
• Tofu
• Egg
And if you’re not worried about being nut or dairy free…
• Cheese
• Nuts/Seeds

Vegetables
• Tomato
• Cucumber
• Carrots
• Broccoli
• Green Beans
• Peppers
• Brussel Sprouts
• Zucchini
• Corn
• Kale
• Spinach
• Seaweed
• Leafy Greens
• Cabbage/Coleslaw
• Kimchi
• Red Onion
• Avocado
• Raisins or other dried fruit

Sauces
• Hummus
• Nut Butters
• Salsa
• Guacamole
• Dressings and Dips

Herbs/Spices
• Ginger
• Lemons/Limes
• Chives/Green Onions
• Sriracha (or your favourite hot sauce)
• Olive oil or Coconut oil

So there you go! What do you like to put into your bowls?

Your,
Natural Groove Gal

Matcha Goodness

My new favourite “iced coffee”

Yes there caffeine in matcha. 

**When adding matcha to a latte or smoothie (or anything)….be sure to keep it to no more than 1 tsp per 16oz. or it may be too much**

I added 2-3 tsp one time (I absolutely love the flavour) and man I was flying! Concentration out the door. So watch out with this stuff – a little goes a long way!

Ingredients:

1/2 tsp Matcha powder
1 cup Dark chocolate almond milk
1/2 cup Coconut milk
1 cup Ice

Add to blender and blend away 🙂

Benefits:

• loads of antioxidants, and I mean loads, which results in detoxifying the body aiding with cancer/disease prevention, weight loss, gut health and cardiovascular strength

• energy booster with calm concentration (*again DO NOT go over board with it)

• and fibre!

I’ve also started adding matcha to my morning fruit smoothies. A perfect booster that keeps me going at work!

What are your favourite matcha creations??

Your,

Natural Groove Gal 

Morning Step #3: Protein 

The final step in my breakfast routine is protein. 

After a detoxing elixir and nutritious smoothie, the digestive system is awake and cleansed, a great time to consume protein for the body to digest and eventually provide energy into the day. 

**Make sure to wait at least 20 minutes after your smoothie (or fruit) before you eat protein. A lot of gases can be produced in the stomach while digesting fruits (especially whole vs. blended) – you will notice a lot more burping when you start off with fruit – So you don’t want to consume more foods immediately or else you’ll run into some serious indigestion!! **

Here are a couple of options I look forward to putting in my belly…

1) Hard-boiled Eggs with Cheese and a little Tobasco, and half an Avocado

Benefits:

Eggs – protein, vitamin B12 and Dan

Avocado – fibre, foliate, vitamin E, iron, zinc and all 18 essential amino acids to produce proteins which is readily absorbed because of the fibre content 🙂

Both are a great source of essential fatty acids such as omega 3s and 6s.

2) Granola with Vanilla Yogurt, Nut Butter and a sprinkle of Hemp Hearts

Benefits:

Yogurt – calcium, vitamin B12, potassium and magnesium 

Granola – fibre, numerous vitamins and minerals 

Nut Butter – fibre and omega 3s and 6s

Hemp Hearts – fibre, omega 3s and 6s, iron and calcium

Try to stay away from meat options. They are harder on your digestive system and you’re looking for efficiency in the mornings!  Save those for a later meal.

Either of these should have you feeling full all the way until the lunch hour and prevent those snacking temptations on unhealthy/convenient foods!

If I’m in a huge hurry, a big spoonful of nut butter usually does the trick!

So there it is. The end of my morning routine/breakfast. Please feel free to share your morning breakfast choices or an alternative protein option 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Your, 
Natural Groove Gal 

Morning Step #1 & 2: Elixirs and Smoothies

The first step in my morning breakfast routine is an elixir. It wakes up and cleanses the stomach preparing the digestive system for foods and extracting the nutrients efficiently. Here’s a few options I use for my early morning elixir…

1) Juice from 1 lemon
Bitters (such as Angostura), several dashes, and I mean several
Mint (I use Peppermint tea)
Water

2) Juice from 1 lemon
Tumeric powder
Cinnamon
Cayenne, dash
Water

3) Juice from 1 lemon
Ginger, freah and grated
Honey (just enough to sweeten a bit)
Water

So the pic on the left is the lemon juice, bitters and mint tea (steeped strong) adding up to about 8oz. The water I add to it results in the whole drink equaling about 20 oz. A good start to consuming enough water each day (see Water post). Mix it up and find other goodies to add!

All shook up and ready to go!

The second step in my morning breakfast routine is my smoothie. There are so many variations; check out my post on smoothies here. My new thing is frozen fruit….the price is comparable and it’s so convenient.

One thing I’ve started adding to my smoothies is matcha (check out the benefits here). A great energy booster and antioxidant. 

And the third step is protein….stay tuned for this post!

Your,
Natural Groove Gal 

Water – Drink it up!

If it’s one thing anyone can do for their health it’s 

drink 

more 

water. 

You’ve heard this many times before. This is not news (or at least it shouldn’t be!)

One of my beliefs for change is baby steps. It won’t come easy and you have to stick to it….so start off easy! Drinking more water daily is one of the easiest changes you can make.

Here are some facts on water (These are my guidelines for water consumption, but get active and do your own research!):

– You need about 12 glasses of water a day. One glass is 8oz

– However, you consume about 4 cups of water through digesting your food. You now need 8 glasses of water (sound familiar?)

– Pop actually dehydrates the body which means your body steals water already in your body in order to digest the sugar (called “hyperosomotic load”)

– Coffee and caffinated teas are diuretics 

– Water in the morning and water before every meal (about 1 hour before)

– Never drink during or right after meals, it dilutes the bile and acids used for digestion (this goes for ALL drinks, but a few sips here and there won’t hurt, just don’t chug anything!)

– Drink water at room temperature or hotter. Cold or ice cold adds stress to your system and becomes less beneficial

– If you are thristy, drink more!

Benefits

Improves:

– circulation (therefore decreasing cramping and headaches)
– skin condition
– digestion
– hair health
– release of toxins
– weight loss
– alertness (decreasing fatigue)

Mix it up!

Great ingredients to mix with your water in the morning: 
– lemon juice
– ginger
– tumeric
– cayenne
– honey
– bitters
– cinnamon

How can you tell if you’re dehydrated?

Urine – it should be almost clear; a very very light yellow – if it’s darker than that or even begins reaching a dark yellow orange colour you seriously need some water STAT. 

Skin – dry skin is huge indicator – it also means you are lacking essentials fats – omega 3s for example

That’s it for today. Drink lots and prosper!

Your,
Natrual Groove Gal

Fibre, Gut Bacteria and Cholesterol

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The Recipe: granola bars
The Talk: fibre, gut bacteria, and cholesterol

Fibre is defined as a carbohydrate that humnas are unable to properly digest. There are two main types:

1) Insoluble – helps with constipation (good at absorbing water) and increasing digestive process (stimulating muscle movement)

2) Soluble – provide support for blood sugar levels, cardiovascular health and aids in the feeling of “fullness”
a) Viscous – a gel forming fibre that regulates the relase of food from the stomach and therefore keeping our blood system from absorbing too much sugar
b) Non viscous – has the same abilities but not as productive as viscous

Fermentable Fibres (which can be both soluble and insoluble) contribute the most in the large intestine in regards to cholesterol and gut bacteria.

Cholesterol – viscous soluble fibre is able to bind to excess cholesterol which then is eliminated by the body. They can also supress cholesterol synthesis in the liver therefore reducing LDL cholesterol in the blood system.

Gut Bacteria – the “good” bacteria in our gut is able to break down the fibre with very specialized enzymes and thus use this fermentation to grow and flourish – which is good news for us because “good” bacteria keeps balance in our colon maintaining a healthy environment for digestion to occur, and keeps “bad” bacteria at bay decreasing digestive stress (which would lead to many conditions and diseases).

So to sum up, soluble fibre is more benficial but you do need ALL types of fibre in the system so try and get a variety of fibre from different foods. Here is a list of high fibre foods:

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Thanks to World’s Healthiest Foods for the exensive list. Please check out the full chart here.

Variety is key here! Pick foods from each category below focusing more on the right side of the spectrum:

Grains – Seeds – Nuts – Legumes – Vegetables – Fruits

Here is a recipe for homemade granola bars – fibre and protein packed!

Ingredients:
3 cups of a mixture of nuts, seeds and dried fruits (I used walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, ground flaxseed, dried cranberries, dried coconut)
1/2 cup honey
2 Tbsp of butter
1 Tbsp of coconut oil

Directions:
1) Throw dry ingredients into a mixing bowl
2) place honey, butter and coconut oil in a saucepan and heat up until just combined. Remove from heat and let cool for 2-3 minutes
3) Pour wet mixture into dry ingredient bowl and mix until all combined
4) Empty bowl into a parchment lined 9×9 baking pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight

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Enjoy!

Remember, there are TONS of conditions and diseases that result from a unhealthy gut – so take care of yours well!! You deserve it 🙂

Your,
Natural Groove Gal