Health & Food


Wild Rose Detoxers are always searching out good salad dressing recipes.  Because the food options are limited in key areas for dressings (like vinegar and dairy), it can be tough to come up with tasty options.

I put together an Avocado Dressing recipe that’s creamy and delicious, you can find it in Volume 2 of my cookbook.  You can also look for classic caesar dressing recipes (oil, egg, little fishies) because those ingredients are on the detox food list (skip the parmesan cheese).  I also ran across a Lemon Dressing that is simple and tasty.

In Gwyneth’s recent Goop issue, she interviews Jamie Oliver and he goes through some Jam Jar Dressings (as in “I make them in jam jars so i can see what’s going on”.  I love that).  Here it is:

Jamie Oliver’s Lemon Dressing 

Put 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil into a jam jar with a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon. Put the lid on the jar and shake well.

I’ve been thinking a lot about detoxing lately because heck, it’s January and it’s a good time to turn things around health-wise.  I’ve been thinking about detoxing a lot lately anyways, and all the different options we have available to us for improving our health.  It’s key to find the way that works best for you.  Here are a few options to incorporate a cleanse into your life:

A Real Detox – obviously you can just bite the bullet and do a real detox.  My favourite is the Wild Rose Herbal D-Tox, i do it once or twice a year and it rocks.  It’s a 12 day commitment and comes with a food guide so you can get your body in a more alkaline state so the herbs can really do their work.  Here’s a recent article I saw on the PH thing, it’s supposed to help your body fight disease.  The real reason the food guide is great is because it’s all non-processed super healthy foods that retrain your taste buds and help you remember how great brown rice and veggies taste.  It can be tough to figure out good food choices, if you need help with that, check out my cookbooks. Bottomline is, it takes commitment (and cooking time) but you’ll feel like a million bucks and lose a few pounds too.

Detox by Week – But you don’t have to do a real detox, there are other options too.  One thing i like to do all is treat my Monday, Tuesday, and heck sometimes even Wednesday as a detox.  I’ll enjoy myself on the weekends and use Sunday to make a couple days worth of healthy soup, like Green Soup or Chick Pea Tomato Stew for work lunches.  And early in the week i find i have more energy for dinner-making, so I’ll set up the rice cooker to make brown rice before work and put some salmon in the oven when i get home.  I’ll get my workouts in so that I feel like i’m on the healthy track.  And then when the week wears me down and I take food shortcuts and have my Saturday glass of wine, it’s ok because i know i’ll be back at it on Monday again.

Detox by Day – Another thing I’ve been playing with is detox-eating for the first half of the day.  I read the Warrior Diet and it got me on to trying this one.  This isn’t for everyone but it’s been working for me.  Basically you undereat during the day and then overeat later in the day.  So in the first part of the day you enjoy fruits and veggies (salads, juices) and light protein (eggs, yogurt, protein powder) and save your carbs and animal proteins for dinner.  This was tough for the first two weeks when i was ready to start eating my stapler by 9:00 a.m. but now i’m into it.  It’s made me much more aware of what my body needs and when, i feel like my cravings have reduced and i prefer to eat more at night when i’m enjoying dinner with my family.  Check out the reviews for the Warrior Diet or get the book if you’re interested.

Phase 1 Detox for January – Here’s another option that I’ve done enjoyed in the past.  I live in the North so I prefer to save my Wild Rose Detoxing for spring when it’s warmer out, there are more fruits and veggies in season, and there’s more light so I can get outside and exercise.  I’m just not in the mood in January when it feels too chilly to sit down to a cold green salad.  But there’s plenty of things I can do to prepare for a good detox.  And if you get your body ready, you notice much fewer side effects.  I’ve written a blog post on eating detox healthy all the time.  Basically it’s a good time to try to stuff as many fruits and veggies as you can into your meals to ease out all the other things you were enjoying over the holidays.  This is a great time to try hearty salads like

Salmon Rice Salad or

Greek Chick Pea salad.  Make

Corn Chowder for the family and don’t tell them how healthy it is. Or try a new option for breakfast like steel cut oats in the slow cooker – nothing sticks to your ribs like those babies.  I also find just soaking steel cut oats overnight helps reduce cooking time.

Same with exercise – it may be too dark and cold to be keen about training for a marathon, but this is the time of year I say *any* exercise is good exercise.  I’ll go for a long or hilly walk on the weekend, hit a hot yoga class to mix it up and try to do something every day or two.  If nothing comes to mind – I’ll hit the floor and do situps and pushups til it hurts.  Or see how many squats I can do in a minute. The key is *anything*.  The idea is to at least keep your exercise levels up enough that when you do get keen in the spring, you’re not going to be all sore and out of breath because you’re starting from scratch.  After 8 weeks of Phase 1 Detoxing, you’ll be ready to decide if you’re up for a real detox or heavier training.

So many options to be healthy – have a healthy and happy New Year!

 

I have always been jealous of people who don’t battle their weight. Whether they eat lightly because they just don’t care about food, or whether they can eat what they want without gaining an ounce, I’ve been jealous.  But I’m starting to feel different at about it.

A lot of it is ageing.  It seems that when you hit 40 you can’t hide from your bad habits anymore. Everybody looks pretty good when they’re 20 right?  For some people they hit mid-age and start to gain weight for the first time in their life and have no idea what to do about it.  For me?  I’ve never not had to be conscious of my weight.

Having been at it this long I have a pretty good sense of what works and what doesn’t for me.  I would hate to have to start that long learning curve at this stage of my life.

Here’s what Haruki Murakami says in his running book.

….having the kind of body that easily puts on weight was perhaps a blessing in disguise. In other words if I don’t want to gain weight I have to work out hard every day, watch what I eat and cut down on indulgences. Life can be tough, but as long as you don’t stint on the effort, your metabolism will greatly improve with these habits, and you’ll end up much healthier, not to mention stronger.

I was talking to a woman the other day who was interested in doing yoga. She’s a naturally thin person. And she said, ” you know just because I’m thin doesn’t mean I feel good”.

And I get that now when I never used to.  If I had never struggled with my weight I might never know that working out and doing yoga makes you feel really good.  I might never have been motivated to do it long enough to find that out.

Also, because I’ve detoxed – motivated to drop a few pounds – I never would have discovered that bread gives me brain fog.  The first time I detoxed I looked around on day 2  and went, wow is this what life really looks like?  The fog was gone for the first time in my life and I wouldn’t have experienced it if I wasn’t trying to lose five pounds.

If I’d never messed around with my diet I wouldn’t know which foods make me feel energized and alive and which foods make me feel heavy and sleepy.  I would have just been stuck in a rut of the food routines I’ve had since I was a kid.

And a funny thing has happened.  On both the food and exercise front, my motivation was originally to lose weight and it’s not any more.  My motivation now is to feel good.  Don’t get me wrong, the weight maintenance is a nice benefit. Fitting into my clothes feels good too.

But feeling energized and strong and sharp and healthy are the reasons I do my best to exercise and eat well for my body.  And I’ve found that now I feel even more motivated to avoid the foods that my body doesn’t do well with, even more than i used to.  There are more days now when feeling good feels better than hitting the bread basket or the cookie bin. It feels crazy to say, but I’m grateful that I’ve had to manage my weight.

I did the detox again and noticed some packaging and food guide changes in the kit.  I like them!

The food guide is more clear and concise – easier to understand for someone who is in a Day 2 detoxing haze.  I like how they put millet, quinoa, buckwheat and brown rice all in the 80% category.  Even though i mostly rely on brown rice (a habit) it’s nice to have the other options too.

I like how they clarified that unsweetened almond milk is an 80% food.  The previous “soy milk in moderation” in the small print never felt clear to me (is that one cup or one teaspoon per day?).  And i appreciate the “all oils except peanut” as i’ve become pretty addicted to coconut oil :-)

As i was detoxing, i came across a couple of tricks to keep it easy for myself and want to share them.

  • Make brown rice every other day and take the guesswork out of the process.  I soak mine overnight or during the day in my rice cooker to reduce cooking times.  And don’t forget that when you’re really crunched for time, there are parboiled versions of brown rice, like Uncle Ben’s etc.  They cook up in 20 minutes so you can even do a batch before heading to work.
  • Buy as many veggies as can fit in your grocery cart or shopping bag at the market.  Buy the things that might normally be only “sometimes” veggies.  I bought things like avocados, fresh herbs, raddiccio, radishes – anything to make my salads extra interesting.  Wash everything when you get home so things are ready to be pulled out and chopped.
  • I normally have a real issue with snacks, i’m really hungry between meals and have to find detox-friendly snacks that stay well within the 80% allocation foods, worry-free, so the detox can do its work.  So this time I did up two salad lunches.  One was a nice big green salad with all the salad fixin’s i love with a handful of almonds or a half can of salmon.  I saved space for a small container of dressing (a dribble of oil, squirt of lemon juice, a drizzle of fruit juice, herbs, salt and pepper).  The other salad was a rice or grains-based salad.  Using leftovers from the night before I’d add the chunkier veggies that hadn’t gone in the salad – carrots, celery, broccoli, a sprinkle of herbs & pepper, a handful of chick peas.  I found that by eating two salads (around 11:00 and 2:00), i could make it through a workday without hounding for snacks.
  • The other trick i figured out is that when you make a salad, make 2 or 3.  If you’re making one up for dinner, make two in carry containers for work too.  Or on Sunday evening, make up a couple so you’re good to go on Monday a.m.. Why not, once you’ve pulled all the stuff out of the fridge it doesn’t take that long.  And that way you have something waiting for you when you look in the fridge bleary-eyed in the a.m. wondering what on earth you’ll eat all day.

I’m always trying to find ways to get more brown rice into me during the Wild Rose Herbal Detox so that i don’t have to stress about staying within the 80/20% restrictions.  Breakfast is tough.  Before the detox i’d been playing around with having grains for breakfast and found that you can sprinkle cinnamon on pretty much anything and make it taste breakfasty.  At least to me.

Here’s a really quick way to make a breakfast out of last night’s leftover brown rice.  That’s one of my rules of detoxing.  Make brown rice (or quinoa or millet) every day or 2 and make lots so you have it in the fridge all the time.

This rice pudding is obviously not as creamy as real rice pudding, but i find it makes for a hearty breakfast that holds me over until lunch.

Quick and Easy Brown Rice Pudding

Put 1 cup of leftover brown rice in a bowl and add a good shake of cinnamon, a shake of cardamom and any other spices you like (like pumpkin pie spice, cloves, nutmeg, you get the idea).  Add any where from 1 tsp to 1 TB of coconut oil (I really like the stuff, so i go with a TB).  Microwave for 1 minute and then stir it well to combine the spices and melt the oil.  Add a drizzle of almond milk and microwave for another 30 seconds.

I’m working on a more involved version that will hopefully be creamier – stay tuned!

I was at the farmers market the other day and picked up a bag of big honkin’ beets.  I was so proud because a health foodarian friend of mine tells me that beets are ridiculously good for us.  They’re a good veggie to eat in the spring because they give our livers a kick start and that’s useful after a winter of eating heavy foods.

But I got home and wasn’t sure what to do with them.  Then I remembered looking through some of the 101 Healthy Soups on Cooking Light.  I looked through them again and sure enough there was a beet soup recipe lurking.  Beet soup seemed like the perfect thing.  It’s a good detox food because the soup is hearty and on a chilly spring day it nicer to eat than a ice cold salad.

Making a borsht soup would have been nice but i didn’t have the time.  This one recipe looked so darn easy that i thought i’d give it a shot.  The recipe provides proportions, but I actually used my whole bag of beets (5 or 6) and added more broth and water.  I also  modified it to make it detox friendly:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 4 cups detox friendly chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a bay leaf, and/or a good shake of thyme and dill
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 medium beets, peeled and chopped

Preparation

  1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add broth and the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes or until beets are tender.
  2. Let it cool a bit.
  3. Fill your blender nearly to the top with soup and process until smooth. Pour it back into the pot and use a slotted spoon to remove more chunks, putting them in the blender.  Keep blending until the soup is pureed.
  4. Warm soup over low heat for 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat and eat ‘er up.

 


 

 

I had oatmeal for dinner. Wait. Before you go back to Angry birds, let me tell you the story. I’ve had a stressful time lately and have not been making the best food choices.

So I’ve been feeling a little “juicy” as my buddy calls it, and then that makes me feel yucky and I get down on myself because i’m tired and stressed out. And then i make more poor choices. So Sunday I was tired of making choices that make me feel lousy. I made the conscious decision to really take care of myself this week.

I’ve finally realized that what tastes good doesn’t necessarily make my body and mind feel good. It took me a while. And that there are foods that make both my body and mind feel good.

It’s funny because we’re always looking outside ourselves for the ideal diet for food plan.  When really the best source of info is right under our noses.  Our own bodies tell us after each meal whether it was a good experience or not.

After a meal, do we feel like we just consumed a large animal?  All bloated and sluggish and tired?  Or do we feel energized and alive, like we’ve just eaten the *very thing* that our body really needed?

Before I figured this out I used food like a big stick.  If it was time to tighten things up (literally and figuratively) my point of view was that i’ve been having way too much fun and so now it’s time for the stockade.  Now i will beat up on myself and eat nothing but bread and water (figuratively speaking).

But thankfully i’ve become a bit less judgemental in my life and i can say, meh, it’s a couple pounds, it’s not about my value as a person.  And i know how to lose them because it sure isn’t the first time i’ve decided to “tighten up”.

Since tuning into how food makes me feel, i notice that I really like the foods that make me feel good.  Or I’ve figured out which foods taste good to me and are good for me.  It’s key.

So yeah i had oatmeal for dinner because I knew it wouldn’t bother me when i taught yoga an hour later.  I also made it with cinnamon (helps balance your blood sugar), coconut oil (healthy fats) and whole milk (just damn yummy) so that it tasted good and i felt good about eating it too.

I took it a step further and made two lunches of salmon salad with avocado because salmon and healthy fats are supposed to help your mood (i can’t remember where i read it, but who cares, i love both of them).

I made myself a reiki and a massage appointment.  I’m also making sure i get my exercise – not bootcamp sweatfests necessarily, walks and yoga, heck any exercise, vastly improves my mental health too.  So I’m going with the energy I have to figure out what exercise is best.

I’m spending this week focusing on being kind to myself. I’m done with going through challenging times with a stiff upper lip.  I’m tired of just driving on through.  I want to be my own *biggest* support.  Figuratively speaking.

When it’s tough to manage the food requirements on a detox, sometimes you feel like you have to live like a monk – in silence, at home eating tiny bowls of plain brown rice.  But it just ain’t true.   One of the things that you can do quite enjoyably while detoxing is make Sunday dinner.  Of course it doesn’t have to wait til Sunday, Saturday is good too.  It just means making a pile of good food so that you have leftovers or invite some friends over so that your lifestyle feels less monkish.

Roast chicken with double-baked potatoes is the perfect kind of menu for this.  It’s hearty food that you wouldn’t make on a weeknight and the baked potatoes make it feel a little special.  Double baked potatoes are the perfect thing to do on a weekend day when you’re puttering around.  They need time, you want to start early, but they’re not a lot of work.

The other cool thing about a dinner like this is that it helps you save a bit of money.  Detoxing can feel expensive but you get a lot of meals from a roast chicken.  After you’re finished de-meating it, throw the chicken bones in the freezer until you have time to cook them up to make a stock.  Divide the stock up and use some for adding flavour to rice and stir fries.  Or make a veggie soup.  Add some brown rice to your veggie soup and it’s a stick-to-your-ribs detox lunch.

Baking potatoes are easy on the budget too.  They aren’t expensive and you can make a bunch of them, freeze or refridgerate them and then bake them when you’re ready to eat.  Or even microwave one for a quick detox lunch.

I’m not providing a recipe for roast chicken because you can find a million of them online and i don’t have a particular favourite.  But here’s how to do the:

Double Baked Potatoes

Start early in the day so that you can let the potatoes cool before you scoop out the guts, it’s not worth burning yourself.  You’ll need 4 evenly sized baking potatoes.  Turn the oven on to 400 and scrub the potatoes.  I love potato skins, it’s where all the vitamins are, so scrub ‘em good because you’re inviting me over too right?  Prick them each a couple times with a fork and then put them in the oven.  Don’t worry if the oven isn’t up to 400, the potatoes can use the extra time.  Set your timer for 60 minutes.

At the 60 minute mark, prick them again with the fork.  The skin will be firm, but the potato inside should be soft.  If not, give them another 10 and check again.

Once the potatoes are done, set them on the stove and let them cool.  When you’re ready for the next phase, cut each potato in half and scoop the guts out with a spoon into a good sized bowl.  Try not to destroy the skins.  Put all the skins on a large pie plate or plate.

Mash the potato guts and add 1 TB of butter and a bit of chicken stock at a time until you get a nice mashed potato consistency.  I put in about 1/4 cup of stock.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Sprinkled in some dill if you like it.

If you like a simple smooth mashed potato, you can stop here and fill the potato skins.  If you like “stuff”, consider adding a chopped green onion.  Also a handful of parsley is good.  You could also put in some lightly steamed tiny broccoli bits to add color.  Be creative.  If you have a lot of guts, the potatoes will be nicely mounded and that’s ok, they’ll just need a bit more time to warm.

If you know your guests will have *no* interest in eating like you are, sprinkle a little cheddar on their potatoes, you know, the stuff that’s getting hard in the back of your refridgerator because you’re detoxing.

Cover the potato plate with plastic until your chicken is 15 or 20  minutes from finishing and put them in the oven.   If the potatoes start getting browned they’re done, but as long as they’re warmed through you’re good (i stick a finger in one to see what the inside temp is and then memorize which potato it is to ensure it ends up on my plate).  If your chicken needs to sit for a bit, you can put the potatoes back into the warmed oven.

Make another veg or salad for this meal and your friends will so impressed.  You may  get another detox convert to join you next time.  Happy detoxing.

Wow Happy New Year.  And what a time of imbibing and noshing I’ve had!  Although I’m not a big resolution person (I seem to attempt improvements all the time) I do have some plans for bettering my eating, getting my exercise and rest.

I know for many, the new year involves starting a detox and good on you!  Sometimes when I start a detox I am totally keen and can’t wait to kickstart it. When I feel that way I make this soup.  It’s super good for you and also tastes really good.  There’s something about green and white veggies that pack a double whammy of cleansing with high octane nutrients.

This recipe is from my second detox cookbook and when I was recipe testing I gave it to some friends for lunch (who weren’t detoxing) and it was so good they asked for seconds.  It’s also really flexible, I swap in spinach, peas and broccoli for the green, if that’s what I have in the house.  I also add a handful of leftover brown rice to my bowl when I want a more substantial meal.

Green Soup
1 tbsp olive oil
3 leeks
1 leaf of kale
1 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic
2 slices of fresh ginger
½ cup chopped parsley
chicken or veggie stock*

Chop the leeks and sauté them in olive oil.  Add coarsely chopped kale, celery, garlic, ginger and parsley.  Add enough stock to just cover the contents and simmer for 30 minutes.  Allow the soup to cool a little and then puree it.

*always check the ingredients to make sure it doesn’t include ingredients like msg and yeast that should be avoided during the detox.  I find organic brands are the most reliable.

 

I came clean with my yoga class the other day.  I confessed.  Even though I preach the good word about listening to one’s body and taking care of oneself, I hadn’t been.

I have had a sore shoulder for a year and finally went to a health practitioner about it.  How’s that for taking care of myself?

It was my baby carrying side and when my baby was a year and a bouncy 20 pounds we celebrated my other son’s birthday by going on Theodore Tugboat.  It was a great trip around the harbour and i learned a lot about Halifax but I also carried Leo on that side for the whole time.  By the end of the day i thought my arm was going to fall off and did my shoulder ever hurt.

And it really hasn’t stopped hurting.  Sometimes its more cranky than others and then I’d baby it for a while, but it was always low level sore.

I called an osteopath once and when his office didn’t return my call in 4 days i got cheesed off and didn’t make an appointment when they finally called (i must have been more cranky than my shoulder was that day).

Finally, the other morning in the shower, i pulled myself up by my imaginary bootstraps and thought, Fox, for gods sake, get someone to look at your shoulder.

My chiropractor does that bioflex laser thing and I’ve been going for a few sessions and it’s fixing up quite nicely.  She also gave me exercises to do and so after confessing to my yoga class i asked them to do my exercises with me.

My BFF and i have been talking about this ache ‘n pain thing.  She has a sore heel that’s getting in the way of her running, which makes her unhappy because she can’t run and running makes her happy.  And we talked about how our aches and pains make us so darn cranky, when really, that’s life right?

There’s nowhere that says our bodies will be healthy and painfree for the time we meander this earth.  In fact its the opposite, we will, guaranteed, spend time sick, injured and in pain.  That’s just reality.

And i think that’s where i got to with my shoulder, i would feel the pinch and i would feel all unhappy about it and wish it were different but then not actually do anything about it.

I finally just got over myself.  Deal with it and just move on.

Our bodies can be such good teachers.  And our window for experiencing the world.  Scott Bea, a psychologist says that all fun comes through the physical, “No one ever says, ‘I had a fun time thinking last night.'”

It reminds me of something i read from Pema Chodron’s book, “The Wisdom of No Escape”

It is helpful to realize tht being here, sitting in meditation, doing simple everyday things like working, walking outisde, talking with people, eating, using the toilet, is actually all that we need to be fully awake, fully alive, fully human.  It’s also helpful to realize that this body that we have, this very body that’s sitting here right now in this room, this very body that perhaps aches, and this mind that we have at this very moment, are exactly what we need to be fully human, fully awake, and fully alive.  Furthermore, the emotions that we have right now, the negativity and the positivity, are what we actually need. It is just as if we looked around to find out what would be the greatest wealth that we could possibly possess in order to lead a decent, good, completely fulfilling, energetic, inspired life, and found it all right here.

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