HOW-TO: MAKE YOUR OWN HEMP MILK

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Since before I began studying holistic nutrition, I had been keen on reducing my environmental footprint. Over time, regular ol’ household cleaners were swapped for vinegar-based concoctions, food was being stored in jars and reusable cling-wrap alternatives, cloth bags became the new plastic, and my consumption of packaged products was reduced overall. Since then, I’ve not only cut down on waste and saved some cash, I’ve also learned to get creative and make the best with what I’ve got. By the way… I recognize it may seem a tad contradictory to get all environmentalist on you, yet have a photo of a Ziploc bag front and centre. I’ve accepted that the process of reduction and elimination does not happen overnight and so I put to use one of the few already-used baggies I had kickin’ around.

It’s been years since I have been using packaged nut milk in lieu of cow’s milk and for a long while, it seemed to be working out just fine. But by now, you’ve probably heard of the – yet another – harmful additive, carrageenan, in packaged non-dairy milks like almond and coconut. Destructive to the digestive system, carrageenan is known to cause inflammation and gut irritation and is also being studied for its possible carcinogenic properties. And we’re ingesting this? Yeah, no thanks.

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So, as of recent, I’ve taken it upon myself to make my own milk. I have yet to try making the plethora of nut milks {mainly because my blender is on the fritz} but I’ve got hemp milk down to a science. And what’s best is that you don’t need to strain it, simply add it to a blender and voilà. Hemp milk has a creamy and pleasantly nutty flavour that I find goes with most anything from smoothies and breakfast cereal to tea and coffee. The benefits of hemp hearts are endless, though most significantly, they are high in easily digestible protein as well as Omegas 3 & 6. Want more? Read all about them, here.

This has been one of the more simplistic lifestyle changes I have made along my journey and yet another small step in the right direction. It feels good to know I am positively impacting my body as well as the environment. Which, if you think about it, are directly connected. We are all one, in the end.

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The Ingredients {Yield: 5 cups Total Time: 5 minutes}

  • 1 cup hemp hearts
  • 4-5 cups pure, filtered water

The Directions

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender

2. Blend on high for 2 minutes, or until smooth

3. To create desired thickness – from coffee creamer to skim – adjust the amount of water

*For flavour and sweetness, try adding: vanilla bean, dates, cacao, raw honey, warming spices {cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom} or your favourite fruit to the mix

FROM FARM TO TABLE

By now, I’m sure most of you know I’m an avid enthusiast for organically grown, locally sourced produce. I think it’s tremendously important to support local farmers and stand strong behind the non-GMO movement. Thanks to this nifty infographic, courtesy of Fix, it makes understanding the how and why behind Community Supported Agriculture {CSA} all the more palatable.

When you join a CSA, you sign up for regular deliveries of fresh fruits, vegetables, and in some cases meat and dairy from the participating farms. Depending on the schedule of the CSA, you’ll have the option for weekly, semi-weekly, or monthly deliveries. The contents of each delivery vary week-to-week and are wide in variety and consistent with the NAG {natural, alive, good quality} way of eating; bringing back nutrient-rich, farm-fresh food that changes with the seasons. Joining a CSA is truly a one-of-a-kind food experience that respects our bodies, our planet, and our shared tomorrow.

Speaking of CSAs, my friends over at Fresh City Farms are in the process of launching meal kits. A series of kits that include pre-portioned ingredients, instructions, as well as a recipe to make a weeknight meal. And yep, you guessed it, delivered straight to your door. Now, if that isn’t your ideal, I don’t know what is.


Source: Fix.com

PS. An insight into what my late-summer, northeastern delivery looked like…

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AUTUMN OVERNIGHT OATS

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Oh, autumn. What a whirlwind of a season it has been.

I recently published a blog post “How-To: Grow Your Own Sprouts” rather nonchalantly in hopes that no one would notice my lack of content over these last transitory months. The air now crisp, the trees a burnt orange, and the thermostat turned on high; fall is in full swing. During this time of change, it seems I’ve made some changes too. Change in the sense of letting go. More specifically, being detached from my thoughts. I often find myself feeling frustrated and negative when in a creative rut or when I choose to take time for myself instead of work. Learning to let go of these feelings and taking a step back has helped me to be comfortable with, simply, what is. Because at the end of the day, through it all, only we know what’s best for us. But how do we learn to acknowledge this? By being alone.

Back in September, I went on three-week journey to Europe. Solo. There were many circumstances in which I had to step out of my comfort zone and learn to be alone, and comfortably alone {not to get confused with being lonely}. Now, this most often comes naturally for me, being an only child… and I knowww there’s generally a negative connotation with that, but hear me out: selfishness is not always a bad thing. Imagine no set schedule and no compromising; do what you want, when you want. On my trip this meant starting the morning with a good book and leftover pizza in bed, late-afternoon naps in the sun with sea air twirling around me, meeting and spending time with some beautiful souls whom I never would have got the chance to meet had I not put myself on this particular path, and of course, relying on and following my intuition in each and every situation.

Our intuition directly correlates with our nutrition.

Turns out the more we tune-in, the more we will discover about ourselves. Knowing that each and every decision I made while on my trip was mine and mine only, made me realize that I experience the direct outcome of my actions at all times. Now being back at home, I understand how easy it is to fall back into “busy” but I truly believe that it is essential for us to make the time to really tune-in to how we feel. Our bodies are designed to send signals {fullness, fatigue, cold, stress, etc.} and we owe it to ourselves to just listen. Travelling alone really taught me how to listen to myself in each way; I became more clear and more able to understand what truly nourishes my mind, body, and soul.

And a bowl of hearty oats does just that. It’s wonderfully nourishing and equally as comforting. I recently learned that soaking oats overnight have quite a different texture than cooked oats; they’re still whole and deliciously chewy as opposed to the porridge-like texture that cooked oats have. I adore my new-found fall breaky but are there any nutritional benefits to eating soaked oats? But of course there are. A major benefit to soaking is that you’re allowing the oats to stay alive with all of their enzymes and eventually breaking down, which in turn allows them to be more easily digested. Not to mention whole, unprocessed oats are rich in fibre, iron, and protein.

As the great writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote, “life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” And what better way to start new than with a renewed sense of health.

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The Ingredients {Yield: 1-2 servings Prep Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 8hrs}

  • 1/2 cup whole rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup filtered water {with juice of 1 lemon wedge}
  • 1/2 cup hemp milk
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • pinch cardamom
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • pinch of salt

The Directions

1. Measure your oats and place in a large bowl and cover with water and lemon to soak overnight

2. The following morning, if you want your oats raw, add in remaining ingredients and enjoy right away

3. If you prefer your oats slightly warm, place all ingredients in a pot, add a touch of hemp milk {or almond/rice milk} and stir in other toppings. Cook for 5 minutes then serve

*Other toppings to consider include goji berries, pumpkin seeds, cacao nibs, and chia seeds

HOW-TO: GROW YOUR OWN SPROUTS

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Rich in B vitamins, fibre, and protein, these little guys are considered to be one of the most vitally alive and nourishing foods we can eat. All you really need is a jar! They’re perfect to boost a salad, top a sandwich, or garnish just about anything your heart desires. Who knew it would be so easy to get our daily dose of enzymes, vitamins, minerals?

You Will Need…

  • mason jar {or germinating jar}
  • 2-3 tbsp sprouting seeds or beans {I used: radish seeds}
  • cheese cloth
  • elastic

What To Do…

  1. Cut cheese cloth to fit slightly larger than the lid of the jar
  2. If you have a germinating jar, skip step 1
  3. Add in seeds/beans to the jar
  4. Fill jar with water 3-5 cm above seeds/beans, cover with cheese cloth and let soak overnight. Empty in the morning by letting water pour through cheese cloth/germinating jar lid
  5. Place jar in indirect sunlight and prop upside down {in a bowl} to make sure all the water is drained. Rinse seeds/beans every 8-12 hours
  6. In 2-4 days you should have sprouts!

AVOCADO LIME ICE POPS

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I succumbed to a food fad, you guys. I hopped on the popsicle/ice pop/just-about-anything-frozen-on-a-stick bandwagon, and with gusto. Why? Because, avocado, that’s why.

There are just so many things to love about this perfect fruit. First of all, it tastes amazing, we all know that! But did you know it’s a source of HDL cholesterol – the good kind – that lowers the bad kind, LDL cholesterol, making it a fantastic food to eat for those with hypoglycemia and diabetes. It’s also known to be high in antioxidants, essential fatty acids, potassium, vitamin B9 and folic acid. In this recipe, the lime cuts the creaminess of the avocado for a lighter, more citrus taste making it all the more refreshing, helping you beat the summertime heat. And by using a refined white sugar substitute like coconut palm sugar, you’re looking at a low-glycemic index alternative that is higher in vital phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals {meaning it still contains some nutrients, whereas white sugar has zilch}. Other sweeteners to try that are low on the glycemic index are sucanat, raw honey, agave, and maple syrup.

Call me crazy but I also added a handful of kale. Initially this was only to enhance the once green, booger-like colour of the mixture but this also upped the nutritional value. I know what you’re thinking… “but will I be able to taste it?” and my answer to this is, yes and no. For all of you kale connoisseurs out there, you likely will not be able to taste it as, if like me, you add it to almost every smoothie, side dish, and salad. For those who don’t use it as much, don’t fret, it is not overpowering in the slightest. I recently watched a TED talk from one of my favourite healthy food bloggers, Sarah Britton {you may know her as My New Roots}. She speaks on making one change in the kitchen, to change your entire life; and after watching, I couldn’t agree more. So go on, add a handful of greens to your already healthy recipe!

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“With every bite of food we take, we are voting for the way we will look, the way we will think, and of course, the way we will feel. Our food becomes us.”

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Summer is truly the best season to eat avocado. Of course, they’re not local to Canada however, it’s still possible to buy them organic. When it comes to the local vs. organic debate, I often say both is best, but this is not always possible. Last week, I had the pleasure of chatting with culinary nutritionist, Marni Wasserman, who explains “when you have to make the choice between local non-organic or organic from across the world, it may be in your best interest to choose local. When food travels long distances, it loses its enzymes, nutrients, and life force, so you’re left with an organic strawberry from South America that may have ripened on a truck, train, or plane. This means that unnatural gases and methods have been used to artificially stimulate the growth process.” With that said, we just need to do the best we can to make healthful choices when it comes to our food. In this case, the organic avocado from Mexico will do the trick.

Should you find yourself with some leftover avo lingering on the brink of their one-day-too-late state of edibility, what do you do? Make guacamole, of course! Be sure to check out Marni’s new book Plant-Based Diet for Dummies for the most summerlicious Sweet Pea Guacamole recipe. To.Die.For.

The Ingredients {Yield: 6 ice pops Total Time: 5 hours}

  • 2 small ripe avocados
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
  • pinch of salt

The Directions

1. Combine water and sugar in small saucepan and cook over med-high heat, stirring until mixture comes to a boil. Let cool to room temperature

2. While mixture cools, cut avocados in half, lengthwise. Remove pits and scoop flesh into a blender or food processor, along with cooled syrup and salt

3. Blend until smooth, scraping sides when needed. Add lime juice and blend until combined

4. Divide mixture among the molds. Snap on lid, and freeze until solid, about 5 hours. If using unconventional molds, freeze until pops begin to set {approx. half hour}, insert sticks, and freeze until solid

*Recipe adapted from Paletas: Authentic Recipes for Mexican Ice Pops, Shaved Iced & Aguas Frescas

DIY WINDOWSILL HERB GARDEN

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Over the years, my {very talented} friend Ned and I have recognized and bonded over our many similarities, from photography and foraging, to travel and hiking. However, our lives couldn’t be further from similar at the moment; with me living in the heart of the city and him in a small town surrounded by wilderness. With that in mind, we decided to collaborate, creating a DIY fit for foodies in the city and health seekers in small towns alike.

We both agree that nothing beats fresh herbs and garnishes, especially those grown right at home that can be picked on a whim. Though many are still under the impression that eating “healthy” tastes bland but this is simply not true. Not when you have contenders like basil, oregano, cumin, parsley, rosemary and lavender… to name a few. All unique in their own way, they truly make dishes come to life and are also full of nutrients and enzymes.

I have this dream where I will one day be able to tend to a full garden in the backyard but in the meantime, a windowsill herb garden in my city apartment will do just fine.

You Will Need…

  • worn wood block, as thin as possible
  • small spikes {ex. chopsticks}
  • chop saw, jigsaw, or handsaw to chop blocks
  • drill & bit the size of the small spike
  • dremel with light sanding wheel
  • hot glue gun
  • paint
  • french onion soup bowls
  • rocks and potting soil
  • seeds of your choice
  • a loving attitude

What To Do…

1. Gather all equipment and pieces

2. Chop the 1.5 cm blocks for labels

3. Using the dremel, sand the edges of the block, leaving a bit of age on the wood

4. Drill holes in bottom of the block

5. Use the hot glue gun to fill drill holes and stick spike into place

6. Paint herb name on the block

7. Put a handful of rocks at bottom of each planter {aka french onion soup bowls} to allow for water to sit in case of over watering

8. Topsoil too

9. Add seeds

10. Watch them grow!

PS. Be sure to check out more of Ned’s amazing work, here

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