An Ode to Food Freedom

Do you ever write down and keep track of your daily food intake?

Back a little while ago, I found a scrap piece of paper tucked away in a stack of old papers in my desk drawer that had my hand-writing scrawled on it.

It read:

- Orange juice, apple cup.

- Baby carrots (handful), 1 small apple, little bit of salad (teeny bit).

That’s it.

Clearly the list was incomplete, not to mention unbalanced.

I can only imagine that based on what was listed I must have been starving by the afternoon and binged out on everything in sight throwing the list (figuratively speaking of course) out the window, which is why nothing else was recorded.

I don’t know what year it came from but it’s clearly from another time. What I do know is that I haven’t purchased store-bought orange juice or apple cups (apple sauce?) in years. My guess is that I wrote it sometime in my early twenties, but I honestly don’t know for sure; it may have been earlier.

It was clearly at a time in my life when I was heavily restricting. At these times I would make lists tracking everything I ate in hopes it would help me control my food intake.

I never stayed on the overly restrictive side of the pendulum for too long though before it swung back full speed to the other side. Riding the perpetual diet roller coaster and trapped in my own self-imposed prison.

At any rate, it brought up old memories of a time in my life where restriction, deprivation and guilt around food was the norm. I remember at times it was like living in hell–or as I now refer to it–diet prison.

My relationship with food and my body has changed drastically since those days. It honestly feels like an eternity ago.

Today I feel a sense of freedom around food and ease in the way I eat.

I naturally gravitate towards wholesome foods that I also derive pleasure from, that nourish my body because I highly value my health and vitality and prefer feeling my best–strong, energized, light, clear-minded, and with a calm belly.

But, I’ll also happily enjoy an almond croissant or ice cream from time to time without any feelings of shame or guilt, and, without throwing in the “proverbial towel” for the entire day or weekend, only to start “fresh again on Monday”.

I also no longer have weird obsessions or hang-ups around food (that often go hand-in-hand with an overly restrictive diet), so it doesn’t have the same strange-hold over me that it once did.

It’s occurred to me for some time that many women are trapped in diet prisons of their own. Sometimes by no choice of their own; other times willingly, even if they’re not aware of it.

I’ve consulted with enough women over the years to know that many of them have hang-ups around their body and food. And it’s not only women struggling to lose weight or overcome food addiction, but also those struggling with health problems of their own that may require a restrictive diet in order for them to heal. Then there are others who feel enslaved by the very same diet that once made them feel great but now is not working so well, and they’re left feeling confused yet determined to make it work. Really there are tons of reasons why someone might be trapped in a diet prison.

So where am I headed with all this?

Food Freedom

This is what I wish for all the women in my life.

Young and old; near and far.

Daughters, sisters, nieces, aunts and mothers.

Each and every woman who comes to work with me; short or long-term, and regardless of end-goal.

Whether they want to lose weight, heal their digestion, or balance their hormones.

I want each and every woman to walk away with a new-found sense of freedom around food;

To know how to nourish her body without feelings of restriction or deprivation.

This is what I wish for all women.

Food Freedom.

This is my ode to each and every one of you.

How does that sound? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Much more to come.

All love,
Elaine

The 4 Foods for Better Digestion

4 foods for better digestionToday I want to give you some quick and easy tips for supporting your digestion starting at your very next meal using foods you already have in your kitchen.

Okay you might not have all of them, but I know you likely have at least a few – and if you don’t, well you can easily and inexpensively pick up most of them at your local grocer.

I know sometimes it can be tempting to just pop a Tums when you’re experiencing tummy troubles or indigestion, but consider that you might already have just the remedy you need, albeit a natural one, hanging out in your cupboard just waiting to be discovered.

As Hippocrates, the Greek physician known as “the father of medicine” said:

~ Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food ~

The 4 Foods for Better Digestion

1. Bitter Greens such as arugula, kale, Swiss Chard, and dandelion are great additions to a starter salad at the beginning of your meal. Their bitter quality will stimulate the production of your body’s digestive secretions (saliva, pancreatic enzymes, bile) and prime your body to digest your food better. Plus it never hurts to get more alkalizing greens into your diet. My favorite go-to leafy salad green is baby arugula – I love its fresh and peppery taste!

2. Spices such as ginger, fennel, anise, caraway, cloves, and cinnamon all have a carminative action in the body – meaning they can relieve indigestion and help with bloating and gas. Add a pinch of cardamom to your smoothie, grated ginger to your salad dressing, or freshly ground cloves, cinnamon and anise seeds to your homemade chai tea. The sky’s the limit when it comes to the many ways you can spice up your diet and support your digestion.

3. Herbs such as chamomile, lemon balm, and peppermint are great for making tummy calming herbal infusions. I always have a stash of dried herbs on hand for this very reason. One combination I particularly enjoy is 1 tsp of chamomile + 1 tsp of lemon balm infused in a cup of boiled water and left to steep covered for 10 minutes. Both of these herbs have carminative actions so they’re really great at relieving indigestion. They both stimulate digestion as well (especially chamomile with its bitter quality) so can also be drunk before meals as a pre-dinner aperitif.  Also, their light sedative effect makes them relaxing and restorative for the nervous system – especially great when you have digestive upsets as a result of being anxious or stressed.

4. Fermented Foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, kefir and yogurt are all naturally-rich in probiotics – the healthy bacteria that helps our digestion function properly and supports our immune health. The flora in our gut is easily disturbed by the use of medications, especially antibiotics, poor diet, alcohol, smoking, and stress. Including fermented foods in our diet on a daily basis can markedly improve our gut health. When buying yogurt always opt for full-fat and unsweetened – as low-fat and flavoured varieties are always higher in sugar.

Have a favorite food or dish that supports your digestion? Share with me in the comments below.

Here’s to a healthy and happy gut!

Elaine

Dinner in a snap! (Crustless Quiche)

crustless quiche This recipe is for those nights when you get home from work feeling ravenous and want something quick and easy for dinner.

This dish takes very little time to prepare and you can keep it as simple as you’d like using whatever ingredients you happen to have on hand. As long as you have some eggs in the fridge you’ll be good to go!

This recipe can be made ahead of time and then popped back into the oven to reheat. To be honest though, the time it takes to reheat isn’t much shorter than the time it takes to make it from fresh, especially when you also take into account the time it takes to preheat the oven.

You can also pour the mixture into muffin tins for single serving sized portions to have on hand for quick meals or snacks. I have a few clients who swear by this!

Recipe – Crustless Quiche (serves 2 or 3)

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • ¼ cup of cream or dairy alternative of choice
  • Coconut oil or butter for greasing dish
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Veggies of choice – I used sliced grape tomatoes, zucchini, and black olives.
  • Goat’s Cheese (optional)
  • Herbs (dried or fresh) of choice – I used basil

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Whisk together eggs and cream in a large mixing bowl along with sea salt.
  • Pour mixture into an oven safe 8” x  8” greased casserole dish
  • Place veggies of choice into mixture
  • Top with crumbled or shredded goat’s cheese (optional)
  • Top with fresh or dried herbs of choice
  • Bake in the oven for approx. 20 minutes or until eggs have hardened (test by sticking your knife into the eggs – it should be dry)

Pair it with some fresh salad mix and you have yourself a quick, easy and beautiful meal.

quiche with salad

Enjoy!

Elaine

3 Tips for Juicing Wisely

3 Tips for Juicing Wisely

As the weather warms up and is beginning to feel a bit more like spring, I find myself getting back into my daily juicing routine.

There’s nothing like a fresh infusion of easily assimilated vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to energize and nourish your body, while helping to protect it against premature aging and disease.

Incorporating juice into your diet is a great tool for giving your digestive system a much needed break so your cells can go to work detoxifying and repairing themselves.

To learn more about the wonderful health benefits of incorporating fresh vegetable juice into your routine, and grab some yummy juice recipes, make sure to read this post where I covered the topic extensively.

As I’ve become somewhat of a “veteran” juicer over the years, I realized that there are a few things about the way I juice that have become second nature to me, and might not be so obvious to people just starting out.

So today I want to share with you…

3 Tips for Juicing Wisely

1) Choose Organic

This is a time when you definitely want to opt for organics since you’re consuming the juice in concentrated amounts. Some of the most heavily sprayed, pesticide-laden produce are among the ones commonly juiced. For example, celery, cucumber, apples, and kale are on the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen list of most heavily sprayed produce. If you follow my Facebook Page, you may have seen that yesterday I shared their updated 2014 Guide for Pesticides in Produce including both the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen list. This is a handy guide to have in your back pocket when grocery shopping, especially if you’re on a budget, so you’ll definitely want to check it out if you haven’t already. If you’re going to use non-organic produce at least peel the skin off if possible – as in the case with cucumber and apples.

2) Juice Mainly Vegetables

While fruit can be a nice addition for added sweetness, especially as your palate adjusts to the taste of juiced greens, aim to make your juice predominately veggie-based with no more than 1/3 juice coming from fruit, or 3:1 veggies to fruit. Too much concentrated fruit sugar can cause blood sugar imbalances, not to mention it’s a major yeast-feeder. If you’re consuming mainly green juice with little-to-no fruit, you likely won’t have to worry about these issues. It’s when you’re juicing a lot of fruit and sweet vegetables like beets and carrots that problems can arise. Also remember that you can lower the glycemic index of any fruit or sweet veggie by cutting it with greens.

Most people can benefit from an all greens juice cut with lemon or just a little bit of apple. My average vegetable juice is usually a combination of celery, cucumber, leafy greens, ginger and lemon (as pictured above). I rarely juice fruit, except on occasion. If you already have blood sugar problems to begin with than this is the type of juice I recommend you stick with.

3) Drink it on an Empty Stomach

When you’re infusing your body with easily assimilated vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and enzymes, all of these healthful substances can go straight to work where they’re needed most repairing and detoxifying the cells of your body. That is until you impede the process by throwing food into the mix! Call me a juice snob but it always bewilders me when I see someone drinking their juice while eating a meal, because I know they’re not giving the juice a chance to work to its full healing potential. Not to mention that consuming large amounts of liquid with food is just a no-no in general.

Since juicing on an empty stomach is best, the ideal time for most people is in the morning before consuming solid food. Fresh vegetable juice is a great tool for breaking your overnight “fast” and extending your body’s cleansing capabilities, all while providing deep nourishment to the cells and tissues of the body. Once you consume your fresh juice try to wait at least 20 minutes before consuming anything else to reap the most benefit from your juice.

Don’t forget to check out this post to learn more about juicing, plus grab some delicious juice recipes!

Have a question about juicing? Ask me in the comments below!

All love,

Elaine

Don’t forget to schedule your complimentary, 20 minute “Health Discovery” phone session with me if you think you could use some extra guidance with your nutrition and healthy body goals.