In the Kitchen with Joyous Health + Giveaway!!

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Today I’m so thrilled to be featuring my dear friend Joy McCarthy here on the blog!

If you’re not already acquainted with Joy McCarthy, she’s the Joy behind the popular blog Joyous Health and one smart and sassy holistic nutritionist with a ton of credit to her name. She also just happened to write a fabulous book that came out earlier this year called Joyous Health: Eat and Live Well Without Dieting. In this beautiful book you’ll find simple and practical tips to creating a healthy lifestyle, along with lots of delicious recipes that will soon become fast favorites.

You’ll also have the opportunity to win one of two copies here today!

Now just to give you a little background about how I know this lovely lady…

I first met Joy when we were both students at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition here in Toronto, where we became friends. Since then I’ve had the great opportunity and pleasure of following along with her journey and watching her inspire the world one health tip and recipe at a time, as well as growing her successful business Joyous Health Inc. I even had the special privilege of standing up beside her as her maid of honor this past September when she married the love of her life. Really I couldn’t be more proud and inspired by my beautiful friend, and all that she has accomplished in both her business and life.

This past Friday night Joy had me over to her place for dinner so I could put some of the recipes from her book to the test. And who are we kidding? It was a chance for us girls to hang out and have fun in the kitchen, and do what we love to do best – eat delicious food!

me + joy

I have to say, what I liked most about the dishes we whipped up (besides how great they tasted), was just how simple they were to prepare. Because if there’s one thing I know about making healthy eating a priority, it’s that simplicity is key.

On the Dinner Menu

We made Baked Lemon Pepper Salmon with “Cream” Sauce with a side of Walker’s Spicy Brussels Sprouts, (both featured in her book). We also roasted up some cauliflower for an added kick of cruciferous veggies!

You’ll need to check out her book to get these delicious recipes but I’ll tell you that the “cream” sauce comes from tahini (sesame seed paste), and that it takes regular baked salmon to a whole new level of taste and flavour. Also, if you’re already a fan of Brussels sprouts (which I am), then you’ll love Walker’s spicy rendition. In case you’re wondering who this Walker fellow is, he’s Joy’s hubby!

SalmonDinner (2)

For dessert we had the Chili and Cinnamon Chocolate Bark, and Joy was kind enough to let me share the full recipe here with you straight from her book.

If you’re a chocolate lover, make this as soon as possible!

chocolatebark(Photo Credit: Nicholas Collister)

Chili and Cinnamon Chocolate Bark

1/3 cup (75 mL) coconut oil

¾ cup (175 mL) raw cacao powder

¼ cup (60 mL) real maple syrup (add more if you like it sweeter)

1 tbsp (15 mL) cinnamon

1 tsp (5 mL) cayenne pepper

¼ cup (60 mL) raw cashews, coarsely chopped


In a small saucepan over low heat, melt coconut oil. Slowly stir in cacao and real maple syrup. When fully combined, stir in cinnamon and cayenne. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour chocolate mixture onto the paper and sprinkle with cashews. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Break into pieces. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week or freeze for a couple of months.

(Recipe Credit: Joyous Health Book)

A few side notes…

If you don’t have cashews on-hand you can pretty much use any chopped nut. We swapped the cashews for hazelnuts, and it still turned out great and tasted ah-mazing! Also, the bark was good to go after only about an hour of being in the freezer – just in time for dessert!

Now if you’d like to get your hands on a copy of this book you can do so here if you’re in Canada, or if you’re in the United States you can pre-order it here, before it comes out May 6th of this year.

Perhaps though you’ll be lucky enough to win one of the two copies that I’ll be giving away right here, c/o of her publisher Penguin Canada.

Official Contest Rules

(Contest is now closed)

Contest is open to residents of North America only.

To enter, leave a comment below sharing 1 or 2 of your favorite health tips or practices!

Contest closes Tuesday April 1st, 2014 at noon (EST).

2 winners will be chosen at random and announced back here later that same day.

I look forward to reading your responses!

If you haven’t already, come join me on my Facebook page where I post more health tips and inspiration, along with updates!

And the winners are…

winner 1

winner 2

Congratulations!! Please contact info(at) with your mailing details to claim your prize.

Thank you to everyone who participated and shared their favorite health tips with me!

Sign-up for updates!

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As a BONUS, I'll send you a copy of my Hip, Healthy & Holistic Makeover Guide to get you started.

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58 thoughts on “In the Kitchen with Joyous Health + Giveaway!!

  1. 2 important health tips & practices:
    – I believe in eating everything in moderation and not depriving myself of any particular foods / food groups – which can lead to unhealthy cravings and binging.
    – I try and eat dinner before 7 pm, and then immediately floss / brush my teeth, which deters me from eating again!

  2. My favourite tips for healthy eating are always having a glass of water first thing every morning and making sure I include piles of fresh vegetables at every meal (for me and my kids). As Elaine advises, I always make sure to have my glass of water before I drink my morning coffee. And my family loves crunchy fresh veggies!

  3. The one thing that I started doing that impacted my overall well being (including improved digestion and better bowel movement) is to drink lemon water 1st thing in the morning! The 2nd good thing I did was to incorporate chia seeds and hemp seeds to my diet either in smoothies or on salads! Just love these easy things you can do to feel better!

  4. Drinking enough water has been the best health tip I’ve incorporated in my life. I used to drink at most 8 ounces of water a day and now I drink 24 ounces as soon as I wake up and another 48+ throughout the day. My skin is healthy, digestive system is better, and I’ve kicked my caffeine addiction.

  5. 1: Mindfulness! Helps me in what I eat and drink, how I breathe and de-stress, as well as how I engage with others .
    2: listen! I listen to my body and it tells me what food it craves (“more salad, please!”), what to avoid, when to slow it down, and when to get in a pool.

  6. One of the best things that I have incorporated into my life and has made a huge impact on my stress and anxiety levels is a morning stretch and breathing session. Getting up an extra 15 minutes earlier seems hard at first but it very quickly became something I look forward too. Some deep breathing and various yoga stretches are a great way to start your day, increase energy levels and reduce stress.

  7. Over a year ago, I got really sick and my skin reacted from a viral/bacterial issue I was fighting. I decided to finally go and see a naturapath in my area and the changes made have been simple but profound.

    Since they noticed my digestion and elimination process were wonky and irrregular, they suggested I start taking a high end probiotic such as HMF intensive capsules. Within a week, I noticed that the inflammation in my skin was lessening. They also suggested that I start drinking water with lemon to help detox my liver and increase the digestive juices in my gut. Just two simple steps helped me to become more regular. After that, I decided that my health is my wealth and that I really need to start owning my life and my health. I bought a high end blender and started making green juice and having been drinking it at least 6x a week. I have made more of an emphasis on eating whole fresh foods. Although I indulgence from time to time, I am so much more aware of what I putting into my body. During my health journey I discovered Meghan Telpner’s book Undiet and also Joy Mcarthy’s blog and have taken some good advice from both. I now really appreciate that the foods we choose can either heal us or slowly destroy us. Thank you to all nutritionist out there who continue to learn and grow and teach their communities that eating healthy is one of the best medicines known to man. It is true, your health is your wealth!

  8. My two health tips –
    1) Start each day with a glass of lemon water (1/2 lemon squeezed into a glass of room temperature water).
    2) Exercise daily – brisk walks and yoga are my faves.

  9. Drinking water first thing I wake up! And throughout the day between eating :) I’ve found consistently drinking water reduces your craving for unhealthy beverages like soda or sugary fruit drinks, and it just helps you feel more clean and awake!

  10. I’ve been drinking a glass of water with lemon ever since reading about its health benefits. Definitely feel it starts my day on the right note, feeling refreshed and ready to go!

  11. My primary health tip has really become a way of life at this point, and that is “less is more.” Less impossible-to-even-pronounce ingredients, less packaging, less plastic, less additives, less “frankenfood,” less worry about the number on the scale. Now, onto my favorite part: the more. More whole foods. More herbs and spices. More water. More happiness. More stretching. More breaths. More sleep. More tuning in to my own body to tell me what it needs, and tuning out of the arbitrary things pop culture mandates.

    The second? Drink lots of water (fresh lemon and herbs optional). It’s as simple as that!

    I’m 27. In my college days I did nothing but eat protein bars, sugary fat-free yogurts, Iceberg salads with processed dressings. I was thin, sure, but my skin was a wreck. My hormones were out of whack. And, most importantly, i just wasn’t happy. When I let go of that mindset and focused more of feeding my body wholesome, delicious foods (and enjoying them!) without worrying about the caloric repercussions, I became a healthy, happy, whole person. Joy’s recipes have become my go-to (her raw carrot cake balls were a treat that even the boyfriend enjoyed this past weekend). It would be amazing to have the recipes in her book rather than splashing batters and sauces on my laptop in the kitchen! :)

  12. My two health tips are to drink lemon water as soon as I wake up, and to listen to music at least once a day. The music is more for emotional health as it always cheers me up when I hear a good song :)

  13. I recently started drinking half of my weight in oz of water and it’s made a huge difference in so many ways! getting enough water is so simple and so necessary. looking forward to checking out this beautiful book!

  14. Mmmm I definitely wanna make that Chocolate bark sometime soon! One health practice that has positively impacted my life has been taking up Yoga. I am a very anxious person doing a weekly Yoga practice is helping me cope better and live more in the present. It also helps with flexibility! Another thing I have been doing is drinking more green tea instead of coffee. It tastes great and it way easier on my nerves than coffee :)

  15. The following health tips have positively impacted my life:
    1. Chew your food! I know this sounds silly, but when I started to be more mindful of my chewing I noticed how often I quickly scarf down food – even when I don’t think I’m doing it. Being more mindful of my chewing has a) helped me slow down, and b) improved my digestion.
    2. Drink more water! I used to think it was some big conspiracy when celebrities and people around me with glowing skin attributed their good health and brilliant faces to drinking more water, that was until I upped my consumption. I like to carry around a large glass water bottle and I aim to refill it it 2 – 3 times during the day.

  16. 1. Lemon + Honey in warm water first thing in the morning to start my digestive system and to clear out toxins in my body!

    2. Cooking with coconut oil!

  17. The biggest health change I have made is having a green juice or smoothie each morning. I often put the ingredients in my vitamix the night before, pull out the blender in the morning and voila instant goodness!!

  18. Hi Joy! I would say the 2 best changes that I have made in my life along the road to becoming healthier would be 1) I have been drinking lots of water and 2) I have removed all artificial sweeteners from my house, even though I am diabetic and I cannot use stevia or anything like that. I use honey instead for my coffee or baking. You are a major influence in my life, Joy. Thank you so much.

  19. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease over 3 years ago now. It took a while for me to accept this.. but in the past few months I have completely changed my diet and added supplements into my daily life. I was told that eating fruits and vegetables is one of the worst things to do when you have crohn’s disease… That is so far from the truth. One of the most important supplements for me is taking probiotics. This has changed things for me drastically and balanced things out in my gut. Reading your tips and recipes has also motivated me to eat healthier and watch what I put into my body. It’s all about learning how to listen to your body.. I am anxious to go and buy your book but getting a chance to win it would make me beyond happy. I really hope that I have the chance to win!

  20. That dinner (+dessert) looks delicious! Two health tips that have positively impacted my life are #1: a green smoothie to start the day! It keeps my energy up and gets a few serving of veggies out of the way. #2: more for mental health but is fabulous – using my 5 Min Journal app on my iPad every morning + night. It keeps the positive thoughts flowing!

  21. OIL, OIL, OIL! I have started oil cleansing my face at night (massaging oil on my face to remove any makeup or build up from the day) using a blend of castor oil and sunflower oil and my face is just glowing. My skin is soft, hydrated, and the fine blackheads and impurities are gone. I’ve also started oil pulling every morning before brushing my teeth (swishing oil around in my mouth and through my teeth for 20 minutes) and that has eliminated the sensitivity from my teeth completely, which was quite painful before. I alternate between using coconut oil and sunflower oil, both organic of course :)

  22. I really enjoy your website as well as the Joyous Health website, so thank you for all of the health tips!
    Drinking Lemon water in the morning to wake up your liver! And improve your digestive system is the greatest health tip I’ve ever been given.

  23. Two of the healthy things I do that have positively impacted my life are:

    1. I drink a glass of water w/ fresh squeezed lemon each morning
    2. I include lean protein, healthy fat and fiber with each meal

    And because I couldn’t stop at just 2 things, here’s a third – relates to #2, actually:

    3. I eat 3 healthy meals each day – breakfast, lunch AND dinner. AND, every day, I enjoy a healthy mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack.

    I love to cook, and the majority of my meals are meals I make myself from whole foods. When I purchase packaged or ready-made food, I review the ingredients to ensure that I am making the best possible choice in in these types of foods.

    These things – practiced religiously since February 4 of 2013 – have dramatically changed my life for the better!

  24. Everything you made looks amazing!

    My #1 health “tip” or the thing that has made the biggest difference in my health is my daily yoga practice. It has done incredible things for my mind and body. That, along with prioritizing sleep, has made all the difference for me.

  25. The cream sauce looks fabulous. I’m assuming it’s non-dairy? I can’t wait to check out the book, thanks for sharing Elaine

  26. I would have to say drink more water, and reduce your sugar intake by reading labels and focusing on natural sweeteners! I have a major sweet tooth (omg!) but have successfully left refined sugars behind and now use only natural, unrefined sweeteners and mostly stick to just bananas or applesauce as a sweetener, and I feel so much better!

  27. Hello, I live the receipts. For me I try setting an alarm every 30 mins to drink water so I’m getting enough throughout the day… Umm another one… Oh line your plate with spinach, it’s a great way to get some plant protein in and it doesn’t change the flavour of your foods :) Thanks for having the giveaway

  28. One of my favorite health tips is adding my water from steamed vegetables (filled with minerals and nutrition) to smoothies, soups or to cook grains in! Second one would have to be have fun cooking in the kitchen, it doesnt have to be daunting or a chore!

  29. My favourite health tip is lemon water! I enjoy a glass as soon as I get out of bed each morning and periodically throughout the day. It makes me feel energized and has improved my skin.

  30. Best advise – write down everything you eat
    It helps to keep you be accountable for your food choices

  31. It’s not earth shattering, but honestly, if I don’t get my zzzz’s and drink plenty of water every day, I am way less productive and cranky. More water and less coffee!

  32. Oh I love the look of.this book and yes I want the salmin with lemon pepper cream for dinner. Tahini! My health tip. I because it steams without any need for oil and saves hydro (bonus) I wish you both much success :)

  33. Fave tip: Making your own almond milk as I didn’t know you could do this. I can’t wait to try it!

  34. Thanks for sharing the recipe! I can’t wait to check this book out! I drink my lemon water everyday and I’m actually amazed with such a small thing making such a big difference. That one glass of water sets the standard for the day.

    After spending a year working night shift and switching my body back to day time, I take a walk first thing in the morning. Just 10 minutes, but it sure has helped reset my clock. That bit of daylight and the quiet. So peaceful.

  35. One big thing for me has been really learning to listen to my body and become in tune with myself so I am aware of how foods, etc are affecting me. I have found when helping friends and colleagues get healthy the best tip that has worked is finding quick healthy recipes so people realize it is not so hard to eat healthy.

  36. My two health tips are:
    1. I practice Hara Hachi Bu taken from the Japanese saying eat until you are 80% full.
    2. I like to keep my cortisol levels down so I practice yoga on a weekly basis.

  37. My way of staying healthy without getting bored is getting a variety in what I eat. This way I can always try new dishes and flavours while getting a variety of nutrients.

  38. My favourite health practices are:
    1) Adding something warming to my meals including salads to help keep digestion optimal since from a chinese medicine perspective, cold foods are damaging to the spleen (TCM digestive organ) and decrease its inability to function well.
    2) Adding an avocado to my smoothie – the healthy fat, potassium and other vitamin and minerals make it so thick, creamy and help lower my anxiety!

  39. My best health practices for overall health and wellbeing would definitely be to drink at least 2L of water and to practice intuitive eating.

  40. Water first thing is essential – taking this one step further, I enjoy having it with lemon and apple cider vinegar and a tiny bit of stevia with warm water.

    Daily movement is also key for so many wondrous benefits but I always tell people that they have to enjoy it. I love moving my body with interval workouts, rebounding, barre workouts, walking and more!

  41. What helps me:
    1. At each grocery shop I like to buy a new (to me) fruit or vegetable that I’ve not tried. It’s fun to learn new recipes and inspires me to eat well without getting bored of it.
    2. Exercising as soon as I get home. I know if I wait, it’s not happening. ;)

  42. #1 – Move in the morning. Exercise does wonders to start my day off right – feeling energized and ready to take on anything!
    #2 – Never eat while standing. I found always making sure I am seated to eat, naturally makes me more mindful of what I’m putting in my body and I take more time to make sure it’s organic, nourishing & delicious!

  43. Grow your own food. Not only is wonderful to be able to know for sure where your food came from and that it’s organic and non-GMO, but food fresh from your own garden tastes so much better than anything you can buy in the grocery store. This also makes eating healthy easy!

    At first, I started growing food in containers on my balcony, but then I started to get involved in community and urban gardening. So good for the body and soul! I find gardening very relaxing, almost as good as yoga!

  44. Lemon water in the morning and walking, I walk everywhere it keeps me fit, I get fresh air and it’s the best way for me to fit exercise into my life!

  45. Health tip #1 – use avacado as a spread on your sandwiches instead of mayo. Lots of delicious, fresh, good fat.

    Health tip #2 – make yoghurt parfaits from scratch using mason jars. pack your berries and granola and pop them in the fridge, so you have something healthy for breakfast on the go.

  46. 1. Starting the morning with warm water, lemon and cayenne. Gets the system going.
    2. Adding spinach to smoothies to ensure I get enough greens everyday. Great trick for young kids or people who don’t love veggies too.

  47. My #1 health tip is removing toxicity, mainly my thoughts and how I connect with others. I’ve already done great changes in my diet and products I use however when I started to reframe my thoughts and really receive another as they are, my energy and vibrancy increased dramatically.

    My #2 health tip is stretching for 10 minutes upon waking and while I stretch envisioning my day ahead in a positive way.

    I loved reading other comments health tips. What a wonderful community. Thank You!

  48. Joy came to speak about nutrition at one of our running group talk nights, and it was life-changing. The two take-aways from that talk (almost three years ago now!) was 1). Start the day with a glass of room-temperature water and lemon juice, to flush the toxins; 2). Making your salad dressing instead of relying on pre-made dressings full of sugar, salt and weird chemicals. I make my own dressing with tahini, apple-cider vinegar, miso paste, umbeoshi paste, lots of fresh cracked pepper (and use water to thin it out, if necessary), and it’s absolutely delicious!

  49. One of my favourite health practices is to build exercise into my day – not always as a separate thing that I set aside a big block of time for, but sometimes simple little things like getting off the bus a couple of stops away from where I want to go if I’m running a bit early.

  50. I make sure to eat plenty of veggies and some fruits during the day.. and I also try to take the stairs as much as possible at work (4 stories)

  51. I’d say 1) Drink lots of water 2) Take Vitamins 3) Exercise and 4) Cut back on salt
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  52. I think the best and simplest tip for better health is CHEW your food until it’s a paste (about 30-40 chews..yes I have counted) and the second tip would be drink lemon water EVERYDAY, better if it’s in the morning upon rising. Sometimes I get lazy doing this, but honestly the benefits are wondrous! I also went to Joy’s talk last week at the Big Carrot in Toronto and she echoed these same two tips! You both are brilliant ladies, love your work as it is truly making a difference in my life and others.

  53. Congratulations Shawna and Stephanie!!

    Elaine and Joy – Thank You for the opportunity!!

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