Ten Tips to help you avoid overeating.

  1. Ask yourself are you sure you are hungry?

Check in with your body and ask yourself how hungry am I or am I perhaps just thirsty?

We live in a time where we are chronically dehydrated. Water after all is the elixir of life. Sometimes a big glass of water is all you need to stave off the feeling of hunger and get you to your next meal.

Our bodies have natural cycles, so stop and take a listen. If you don’t feel like eating then don’t. Mind yourself tho. You need healthy food as it is the fuel that keeps you going. If you feel light headed or dizzy, this could be a sign of your bloodsugar dropping and you need to get yourself to eat. If you are feeling satisfied then drink some water or clear tea instead of going for that fat and sugar laden treat.  Your body will be thankful.

  1. Portion control.

Cup your hands together,that’s your portion size. This is approximately the size of your stomach. Be sure to only eat this amount in one sitting. If you want more when you are done, then by all means have more. It typically takes 15 minutes after eating to realize that we are full. So take a deep breath relax and ask yourself if you are still hungry.

  1. Before you eat, connect.

Take a breath, relax into yourself, be thankful and grateful that you have a wonderful meal to eat.

  1. Look at your food

Do this as you are connecting. Think of the time it took to grow, the farmers who have grown it Connect with your food. Appreciate where it comes from and the good it is going to do for your mind, body and spirit.

  1. Take time to enjoy what you are eating.

Being in tune about your choices will keep you from making poor food choices.

But by no means punish yourself by not eating what you truly crave when you crave it. So eat the fudge or the potato chips, just not all the time or often. Keep them as a treat.

  1. Eat in a pleasant setting.

Don’t rush the nourishing experience. Go ahead and live in the moment when you take the time to eat. Acknowledge that you are taking the time to nourish yourself. Go outside if you can, find a place with a view. Just take that time for yourself, you deserve it.

  1. Chew Chew Chew.

Not only does this aid in digestion, your body will also have the  time it needs to tell your brain that you are full.

  1. What flavors you are tasting?

Take the time to discern each flavor. Can you taste a little rosemary? Is it bitter? Sweet? Just what kind of food are you allowing into your mouth? Feel the texture. Feel blessed that you have such wonderful food to nourish you.

Try and figure out  the ingredients such as spices and herbs that were used. Could you introduce that flavor into other dishes? What other flavors would compliment what you are eating?

  1. Put your utensil down between bites.

This allows your body to keep up. Giving a rest in between bites helps digestion and absorbtion and you guessed it.. Helps with letting you know when you are actually full.

  1. Take a healthy snack.

It is always easy to reach for the fast, cheap and easy selections, so keep something healthy on hand for these cases. Dried fruit, nuts or veg are always good go to.

Eat healthy stay vibrant!

Why should you shop at your local Farmer’s Market?

Farmers-MarketLet us count the ways!

I love getting up Saturday mornings because that is the one day a week I can go to the farmer’s markets in town! I get to mingle with other like minded folks, while enjoying healthy and fresh fruits and veg and other homemade items.

Not only can you take the whole family but you can meet some of the local artisans and farmers in your area and get a first hand look at where your food is coming from.

Great tasting Produce

Not only is locally grown food close by, cutting down on carbon emissions, it is also picked fresh and not trucked halfway across the planet, giving you a better tasting fruit and veg. Better tasting veg equals better tasting food!

Nutrition

Produced that is shipped from far away is almost always harvested prior to being fully ripe.

Research suggests that food picked at peak ripeness is higher in vitamins and other healthy nutrients. Tomatoes will actually be higher in Vitamin C if they are allowed to ripen on the vine. That is why when selecting tomatoes I always pick the ones on the vine, that way the tomatoes are still getting the nutrients they need even tho they have been picked. Local farmers don’t need to pick their produce too far in advance, allowing the plants to fully ripen the way nature intended.

Economy

When you shop at a farmers market you are supporting your local economy. You are putting a child through dance lessons or hockey. You are contributing to the people in your community. When you choose your local community you are voting the best way I know how… with your dollars.

Carbon Emissions

Are you concerned with carbon offsetting? With produce so close to home we are choosing to use less fossil fuels, pesticides and fertilizers that are used at commercial scale farms. So you know you are not contributing to the demise of our mother.

Seasonal Treats

You know you are always getting the freshest most readily available produce for you and your family. When you live in places that get snow for winter you will find veg that is okay with the cold season or veg that cellars well. Veg like spinach, potatoes, carrots and turnips. Sometimes this means that you will be getting some weird stuff you have never heard of before, like celerac or parsnips but there is no time like the present to learn how to make something with these funky foods! Most vendors will have recipes or suggestions of how they might prepare these foods.

Shopping at a farmers market is awesome. You get to meet people that you will get to know and the freshest veg possible!  The only thing more awesome than shopping at the farmers market is growing it yourself!

Feeling Stressed out?

Feeling stressed out? Fact is most of us are. We live in such a fast paced society some of us don’t even realize it, it has just become a way of life.

If youfreshrolls have done any research on the matter then you already know that exercise and meditation are two things you can do to start combating stress today. However what about your food choices? Is what you put into your body contributing to your stress levels? The answer very well could be yes.

Don’t feed the stress!

When our bodies get stressed our cortisol and adrenaline go up and our fight or flight response is ready for action. Except there is no real danger so our bodies are not using the energy to fight or flee so it stores it for later use. Here comes the muffin top.

Do you take comfort in food when you are stressed? What is it you are eating? Convenience, pre packaged, processed foods?  Well while these foods are fast and convenient when you don’t feel like making anything they are not good for your health, your stress and are contributing to your muffin top.

Thinking one more cup of coffee might help get you through the day? Try sipping green juices or chamomile tea instead of sugary pop, juice or coffee. Although the initial pick me up is tempting you will inevitably crash leaving yourself feeling more stressed and agitated.

Craving something sweet? Skip the cookies and try a couple of dates and handful of nuts or an ounce of dark chocolate. Cookies may be tempting but they come at the cost of raising your insulin resistance and weight gain.

Skip the convenience of pre packed processed foods. While it is tempting to just grab something quick at the store, take a moment and think about all the extra sodium and sugar that these foods are typically laden with. Sugar and processed foods are actually contributing to the release of these stress hormones. Instead eat low sugar fruits, plenty of veg and high quality proteins like salmon and fresh rolls. These foods will feed your calm and not your stress or your muffin top.

As much as you may crave them they will just be contributing to the release of more stress hormones.

Remember when stress hormones go up, your mood goes down.

 

 

Succession planting

succesion plantingSuccession planting is an important part of gardening if you want to utilize your space to get as much food as possible. You can avoid situations where the whole crop comes in at once and you will have an ongoing supply of veg throughout the season. It is nice to have a steady supply ready for harvest over a long period and this reduces the risk of crop failure by having another crop ready to  come in.

Here is a sample of some crops that I have successfully succession planted:

  • Cucumbers -every three weeks. I like this so i can have fresh cucumbers and have lots to make into pickles
  • Kale – every three weeks. Kale is prolific. As long as you are trimming it, it will continue to grow. It is nice however to have some fresh baby kale throughout the season.
  • Beets– every two weeks. Mmm beets and beet greens!
  • Green beans– every ten days.
  • Melons – every three weeks
  • Sweet corn- every ten days. There is nothing like fresh organic corn in the summer time!
  • Radish– every week.
  • Spinach – every week. When I have a surplus of spinach I like to blanch and freeze it for the winter months.
  • Carrots, Cabbage, Cauliflower and Broccoli – twice a season. This way you can have a summer crop and some in the fall to store for winter.
  • Basil – every two weeks. A nice way to store extra herbs are in ice cube trays with olive oil… Freeze and re thaw when needed.
  • Tomatoes and peppers can be planted a couple of times as well if you have the space.

Replacing crops that have finished producing with a new crop in the same place is another way to succession plant. Just be sure that you are planting something that works well for the time of year you are planting. For example, plant peas in the spring then cucumber in the summer and Kale in the fall. This way you will get a wider variety of veg in the same amount of space and your vibrant garden will never be empty throughout the growing season. By varying the types of veg that you grow in each succession you will be preventing the depletion of some nutrients. Crop rotation is important so that you are nourishing the soil which will in turn give you higher yields. Also make sure to feed your soil in between planting to keep production high. I like to add a bit of compost to my soil in between and or sometimes watering it with some compost tea.

I use my google calendar to keep track of when I need to plant my next crop… any calendar or journal will work as well for you to keep track of yours. I like to keep a journal of where i am planting what as well, so that I can utilize succession planting from year to year to ensure good crop rotation.

 

Plan to be healthy

healthyyouWe make new year’s resolutions, we commit to losing weight or getting healthier, but then it all seems to fall by the wayside and we are back into our comfortable settings, eating convenience foods or food like substances as I call them. Getting healthy can be daunting. But anything worth doing is worth doing right. You don’t have to do it in a day either. It is all about one step at a time, making small changes every day or every week so it becomes a habit to be healthy.

  • Get busy in your kitchen – Cooking doesn’t have to take long and can be a wonderful experience if you are doing it with loved ones. We all have to eat right? Teaching children how to cook will help them make healthy habits.  There are lots of healthy meals that can be prepared and ready in as little as 30 min. Find some great recipes on our recipe page.
  • Organize your pantry – Get in there and toss the junk! Go thru everything. Can you read what’s on the label? If you can’t it is not healthy for you. Stock your pantry with staples, whole grains, beans, nuts and lentils. If you can see the junk food it can stimulate cravings so get rid of it or at the very least hide it somewhere out of site until you are ready to treat yourself.
  • Use smaller plates– plate sizes are increasing. When you are filling your plate check it’s size, if you put less on your plate you will eat less. Also if you fill your plate and then sit down instead of having food within reach it will give you pause before you eat again resulting in knowing if you are full, therefore reducing your intake.
  • What’s in your fridge- Fill your fridge with healthy food. Fill your crispers with lots of colourful veg! If you find that you are not using all of the veg in a week, then it is time to make soup or blanch and freeze your extras so that you always have some veg on hand. If you have meal items on hand you are less likely to eat out or find something “convenient”
  • Along the outside- The next time you need to grocery shop i would hope you wouldn’t go the traditional grocery store, but if that is where you find yourself go only to the outside perimeter of the store. This is where the organic and less likely to kill you food is. haha
  • Chew slowly- pacing how fast you eat helps your body to register when you are full. So go ahead a savour your food instead of gobbling it down. this will aid in better digestion and mindful eating.
  • Turn off the TV- mindlessly eating in front of the tv or any screen is going to lead to poor food consumption and choices. Making food together can be bonding and eating together can lead to conversation!
  • Increase your vegetable intake- vegetables are the best way to protect your heart and body against obesity. You can add them to omelets, baked goods, pasta and of course smoothies! You can even substitute pasta for spaghetti squash or zucchini ribbons. Find some fabulous recipes here.
  • Keep temptation to a minimum- the closer you are to the crap the more likely you are to eat it. Keep it hidden or better yet don’t bring it into your home.
  • Eat healthy fats– Switch out your unhealthy fats for healthy ones. It is easy to swap your butter for coconut oil or avocado. We need fats in our diet to help absorb our fat soluble vitamins.
  • Bye bye sugar– You know by now that white refined anything is bad for you… white refined sugar will kill you. Cut it out! Stick to natural sugars found in fruits and veg.
  • Cayenne pepper- if you are not eating this, you should be. Not only does this boost your metabolism but can cut sweet, fatty and salty food cravings. Sprinkle it everywhere.

It is okay to treat yourself once in awhile, but if you want to start your healthy lifestyle then find a way to do each of these things everyday. Like I said, you don’t have to do it all in one day but plan to be healthy and one step at a time you will suddenly find a more vibrant you!

 

Get out of the Grocery store

farmers-market-local-produce-520What is with the grocery stores these days? It is the place we all go to shop for food, but I find that there is little actual food in these stores. Have you stopped to read the labels on some of the products in there? It’s frightening! For me my rule of thumb is, if I can’t read it, it isn’t food and I am not going to be eating it or feeding it to my family.

With all the marketing and clever disguises the food companies assault us with it is no wonder disease is on the rise. We are no longer eating food we are eating food like substances.

So what are our options?  Some people say that eating local and organic is expensive or that they don’t have time to make meals. Have you calculated the cost of being sick lately? A little prep time once a week goes a long way in terms of eating healthy and getting healthy meals out to your family in a timely manner.

Here are some other options for frugal and healthy shoppers, that want to vote with their dollars and get away from the grocery store nightmare.

  • Join a food co-op or CSA (community supported agriculture) -this is a great option a real tangible way to vote with your dollars.  You can signup and receive weekly fresh produce from the people in your community. With co ops, they will require a membership or volunteer time in lieu of payment. Definitely a great alternative to the traditional grocery store.
  • Grow food in your space plant in containers of all kinds, vertical gardening is a wonderful way to utilize space, find a sunny window sill to grow kitchen herbs or turn your backyard into an urban farm!  Not only is gardening cheaper than therapy but you get tomatoes and you know exactly where your food is coming from and what went into it.
  • In season produce– cheaper and nutritionally superior, this is the way to go for healthy and frugal shoppers alike and when it’s local you are helping your community. If you buy too much you can always blanch, freeze, dehydrate or can your extras for the winter months.
  • Buy local– change your shopping habits and buy from your local farmers. You get to know where your food is coming from and get to know and support the people in your community. Find a local farmer here http://croptouring.com/
  • Buy your staples in bulk– buying in bulk quantities reduces the prices to lower or equal to the prepackaged items found in a traditional grocery store.
  • Forage– this is one of my personal favorites as there is so much food/medicine out there that we overlook every day. Lots of greens, berries, fruits and something for every ailment. After all our mother earth is here to sustain us. Don’t forget tho if you are taking from her it is a good idea to give back. I like composting as my giveback to the earth.

With making these few changes we are voting with our dollars and saying no to harmful pesticides, chemicals, gmo’s and artificial processed ingredients. Say no to the traditional way of shopping and get involved with your community at the same time.

 

Vertical Gardening

garden-in-wall Vertical gardening is a wonderful way to make use of your space when growing veg.

If you have raised garden beds like I do for instance, you can utilize some vertical space by adding a short wall the the north side of your garden and growing some of your veg upwards on the south side. Peas, squash, beans can all be trained upwards along the wall or you can add pockets to the wall and grow some micro greens.

You of course can also grow other plants in your vertical garden as well and create absolutely beautiful works of art! I have seen some beautiful wall pieces that incorporate herbs, others with beautiful succulents. I am of course all about the food!

If you are planning on growing food vertically you will need to find a location that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight and you will need to be mindful of watering regularly as with any garden.

You can start your vertical gardens in containers or a raised bed or even directly into the ground. Using trellises and hanging containers you can add addition veg.

Utilizing your vertical space has many benefits including:

  • saving space, you can grow and harvest your veg in space that otherwise would be lost.
  • Easier harvest, veg is easier to reach when it’s ready to pick.
  • Air Circulation, around the plants provides ideal conditions for them to grow
  • Veg is off the ground, this prevents mold and soil borne disease as well as crawling insects.

Starting with your food supply is a great way to help you live more sustainably. Grow food in whatever space you have, whether it is a back yard,  or a patio with containers or vertical gardens or even a community plot is a great place to start! Starting a garden is a rewarding experience and you will be on your way to a more vibrant you!

 

Chicken feet for Strong bones, teeth and hair!

chicken feetI was out having some wine the other day with a friend of mine when he started talking about chicken feet soup.

At first I was like Eeeew! He continued chatting about how to make it and what health benefits these magic feet held.

They are full of collagen! Collagen is beneficial for maintaining healthy skin, helps absorb calcium and proteins, increases the production of red blood cells, make bone structure stronger and even help you lose weight by increasing the body’s metabolism of fat!

We have all seen those chemical creams that say they have collagen in them. They boost about improving the appearance of fine lines.  Well if you know anything about food as medicine than you know that collagen will work better from the inside out. This means we should be eating it if we want to reap the benefits of stronger bones, teeth and hair!

I will be heading to the farmers market this weekend to get me some chicken feet so I can make nourishing broth for a healthier more vibrant me!

I got the following recipe from Simplyrecipes.com. Try it out and let me know what you think!

How to Make Stock from Chicken Feet

Make delicious soup with stock from chicken feet. The rich gelatin of the feet create a rich and nutritious stock.

  • Yield: Makes approximately 2 quarts

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds of chicken feet
  • 2 large carrots, cut in half
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 celery ribs, cut in half
  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 peppercorns

METHOD

1 Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Put the chicken feet into a large stock pot and cover with boiling water. Boil for 5 minutes. Use a large metal spoon to skim and discard the scum that rises to the surface.

2 Drain the chicken feet completely. Rinse with cold water so that the feet are cool enough to handle. Using a sharp knife, chop off the tips of the claws and discard. They should cut easily if you cut them through the joint. If any rough patches of claw pad remain, cut them away with a paring knife.

3 Place chicken feet in a clean large stockpot. Fill with cold water to cover the feet by an inch. Add carrots, onions, celery, thyme, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Bring to a simmer, immediately reduce the temperature to low. Partially cover, leave about a half inch crack or so, and keep the stock cooking at a bare simmer, for 4 hours. Occasionally skim any foam that may come to the surface.

4 Uncover, increase the heat slightly to maintain a low simmer with the pot now uncovered. Continue to cook for an hour or two. At this point you are reducing the stock so that it is easier to store. Strain the stock through several layers of cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer (ideally both) into a pot. Pour into quart-sized jars. Let cool for an hour or so before storing in the refrigerator.

When your stock has cooled, it should firm up nicely into a gel.

Do you have internal parasites?

The answer is most likely yes. Parasites and worms can enter our systems and sometimes even make us sick. So what natural products can we use to ensure we are vibrant from the inside out?

I have checked out a few, listed below. Some of these can even be grown in your backyard!

garlic2Garlic – a powerhouse of beneficial nutrients. Garlic has been used for years to flavour our food but also as a medicine. Garlic is a wonderful addition to any garden and very easy to grow and keep throughout the winter months.

blackwalnutfruit100_2556Black Walnut– a must have in your medicine cabinet, especially if you have pets. I have a big black walnut tree in the backyard and I make tincture every year. In the spring the dogs, cats and humans all get a 21 day dose of black walnut tincture to ensure we aren’t carrying or giving each other worms.

Cloves– one of the only known sources to kill parasite and worm eggs on the planet. Adding cloves to your black walnut tincture adds a clovesdouble punch to get rid of internal parasites. Now if you live in Canada like I do, you won’t be able to grow cloves in your backyard as this plant grows best in tropical conditions, like those regions surrounding the Indian Ocean. The clove tree is native to the Molucca Islands of Indonesia.

wormwoodWormwood– is a part of the daisy family. Other common names for wormwood include mugwort, artemisia, and sagebrush.

Wormwood is the key ingredient in the famous European beverage Absinthe, and while yes you can grow this in your backyard it is considered a weed to most and can easily be foraged if you know what you are looking for.You can usually smell the plant before you see it and it can cause skin irritation if you are handling it. Wormwood is a perennial plant and it flowers every year. It grows between 30 to 90 cm tall and has small, yellowish flower heads.

It has powerful effects on both mind and body, wormwood has been valued as a medicinal plant since at least 1600 B.C. It has been used throughout history as an antiseptic,  stimulant, tonic, and as a remedy for fevers and menstrual pains.  It has been used to exterminate tapeworm infestations while leaving the human host unharmed.

This herb has been found to cause nerve depression, dermatitis, convulsions, infertility and renal failure if used habitually. You will need to take caution when using this herb.

3 Natural Antibiotics that you can grow in your Vibrant garden!

I don’t know about you but I find it is scary knowing that there are antibiotic resistant super bugs out there. Today i am going to look at what kind of natural antibiotics we can use to help us when we are sick. After all, as Hippocrates said,  “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

GarlicGarlic

Even though garlic is such small vegetable, it packs a huge punch when it comes to antibiotic properties. Garlic also transforms meals into a aromatic, bold and healthy experiences. I have even eaten garlic in ice cream… and it was delicious!

Garlic is a “bulb,” it is a couple of inches in height and diameter and has numerous small separate cloves. You can plant garlic cloves in the fall and cover with straw and it will come up in the spring, it will spiral around and produce beautiful scapes that garlic-scapescan be eaten just like the garlic itself.

When garlic is crushed, chewed or chopped it allows the sulfur containing compounds to mix and create a new compound called allicin. Allicin is very valuable in terms of health benefits. It has been associated with having antibacterial and anticancer properties, along with cardiovascular benefits.

Crushing the garlic and allowing it to sit for 5 – 10 minutes will allow the compounds to interact and create the valuable allicin.

You can purchase dried, powdered and fresh garlic in markets throughout the year, however, fresh is best! And if you are growing it yourself, bundling it and hanging it in a cool spot, it will keep for the year until your new crop sprouts up in the spring!

Echinacea_Prairie_SplendorEchinacea

This is a popular wildflower and garden plant, the purple coneflower as it is also known as, is also a popular herbal products. It has been used to prevent and treat the colds,  influenza and infections. Echinacea is one of the most researched of immunostimulants.

It was also one of the most popular herbs used by Native American Indians. They used Echinacea for coughs, colds, sore throats, infections, inflammations, tonsillitis and toothaches just to name a few.

Some people can experience an allergic reaction to echinacea if they are already allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds or any other members of the daisy family.   

You can also grow this in your vibrant garden and harvest it to make teas, tinctures and compresses.

 

Oregano_02Oregano and the oil of oregano

Oregano… not just a spice for tomato sauce and pizza. This versatile herb has long been used as a medicine as well.

It has been used for respiratory disorders like coughs, asthma and bronchitis. It has also been used to treat gastrointestinal disorders like heartburn and bloating. Other uses include treating menstrual cramps, urinary tract infections and headaches.

Amazing right? Well that is not all!

Oil of oregano is a staple in my medicine cabinet. It is known to be taken orally for parasites, allergies, sinus pain colds and flu. Just a few drops under your tongue is usually enough to do the trick.

The oil can also be used topically to relieve the itch of insect and spider bites as well as to relieve athlete’s’ foot, canker sores and dandruff.  I like to mix it in carrier oil for massages to relieve muscle pain.

All of this and you can grow it in your own backyard! In the fall you can trim it, bundle it and let it dry, then store it in a glass container to have on hand throughout the winter season!

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