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

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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 #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

Mind on Media #2: How We Became So S-M-R-T

The Articles:

1) Chew on This: Slicing Meat Helped Shape Modern Humans (article here from NPR)

2) Sorry Vegans, Here’s How Meat-Eating Made Us Human (article here from Time)

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The Rant:

First off, yes I am a meat eater, but if you’ve read my bio you’ll know I’m open to all diets, be it for health and/or moral reasons. These articles peaked my interest not so much to support one side or another but rather to look at the evolution of our species due to dietary changes.

We are meant to be plant eaters. We evolved that way. Our jaws and teeth were more prominent taking up a good size of the head. Larger muscles for chewing root plants (yams, potatos, etc) which pack more calories than the surface fruits and vegetables that were easier to consume.

So therefore our teeth were not for built for eating meat. However, once we learned to slice and cut meat into smaller more managable pieces (about 2.6 million years ago) we could consume way more protein without having to aquire the large sharp teeth and strong jaw for killing, tearing and ripping meat.

The time we spent chewing also decreased, freeing up more time for other endevours such as discovering even more new things. Our jaws over time began to decrease in size as we were eating far less tough root vegetables. Our brains then had increased room to grow and be come more complex. (Check out some info on the importance of chewing here)

Is it necessary now? No. But regardless of what your dietary preferences are…thanks must be given to our ancestors for discovering new aspects in food preperation and vastly increasing the speed of our evolution.

Now, have humans used this evolutionary gift to its full potential? Sadly no…OR perhaps we were never meant to evolve this fast at all. And here are the questions that came to my mind:

Would we as humans walked a different path?
Would our earth be in better condition?
Would our existance here then last longer?
Would we never have reached the point we’re at now?
Would it be better if we hadn’t?

Makes you think, doesn’t it?

But since we have these lovely developed craniums, there’s always some time to pick up a book or learn a new hobby 🙂

Your,
Natural Groove Gal
___________________________

Food for Thought – Cucumber

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Known for they’re light refreshing flavour (and versitility in salads), cucumbers also have a ton of nuritional benefits.

– high fibre content aids with digestion high fibre

– high water contect is great for hydration and digestion

– contains Lignans, a polyphenol that helps to prevent certain types of cancer such as ovarian, prostate, breast cancer

– contains Silica, a trace mineral that helps in rebuilding connective tissues, promoting healthy silky hair and skin and relief in joint pain

– contains potassium and magnesium help balance blood pressure

– Vitamin B1, B5 and B7 can have a calming effect on the mind, reducing stress and decreasing anxiety

If you have organic or homegrown cucumbers the skin can have benefits for the skin regarding puffiness or burns, simply rub the flesh side of the cucumber skin on the affected area to reduce irratation and inflammation as you would with aloe. And if eaten is packed with vitamin C.

Cucumber juice helps with an increase of a certain hormone that is used in the production of insulin by the pancreas. And when mixed with carrot juice it will decrease uric acid therefore relieving gout.

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Refreshing Lemon Cucumber Drink

10 Fresh Mint Leaves
4 oz. Cucumber Juice
Lemon Juice (from 1/2 lemon)
1 oz. Simple Syrup (I made a thyme infused batch)
Few dashes of Bitters
Splash of Soda (optional)

1. Muddle mint leaves at bottom of shaker
2. Add all other ingredients (except soda) and shake until just combined
3. Strain into your glass over ice (can top with soda – to your taste)
4. Garnish with slice of cucumber, mint leaf, and lemon zest

For a pre dinner drink, or a sunny afternoon on the patio, add some Gin 🙂

Enjoy!

Your,
Natural 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