Sunday, 28 July 2013

What's your Excuse??

People are full of excuses for everything in life. Whether it’s a work, school, or other various commitments, there always seem to have a different excuse for why they can’t accomplish something they set out to do. I’ve heard everything from ‘I don’t have time”, “that’s too much work”, “I can’t”, “I’m too tired/frustrated/PMS/insert word of choice” to the classic “I’m too hungover”.

When it comes to healthy living, there is no shortage of excuses here either. I’m here to tell you though that making excuses for your behaviour is a poor substitute for the real problem. Are you scared of failure? Are you worried all your hard work at the gym won’t pay off? Are you afraid of trying to be healthy all over again only to give up and quit after two weeks? Let me tell you, living life to your fullest is NOT easy, I’ll admit that, BUT I believe there is always a way!

Let’s look at my life for a minute. I BROKE MY ARM (stupid streetcar tracks) and I’m still at the gym on a regular basis. I can use the recumbent bike and also do core work on mats. I can walk around downtown instead of taking the bus in this beautiful summer weather. I can do squats and lunges and lower body workouts no problem. Sure I need to buy a new bell and helmet, but I will be right back on my bike when I get the A Okay from the doc. If I am still able to maintain my fitness goals, what’s stopping you?

The top excuse for not eating healthy, that ‘it’s too expensive’, is a flat out lie. All of this fresh produce, complements of Kai Wei grocery on Spadina Avenue, cost me $23 dollars. Yup, that’s it, all three cucumbers were $1 and I ‘splurged’ on a container of kimchi for $2.50. Don’t shop at the overly expensive, under-stocked Sobeys at Front street, get some exercise, walk the extra ten minutes and buy your groceries in Chinatown. You will do your wallet and your health some food.

It’s time to take CONTROL of your life, stop the excuses and start living for real!

p.s. if you wonder what the kimchi is for, I made homemade enoki mushroom and kimchi soup. Delicious.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

July SuperFood of the Month is.....

Happy Belated Canada Day!

To honour this great nation, I wanted the July Superfood of the Month to be something red, and couldn’t think of a better food than Strawberries.

Strawberries are delicious, nutritious and currently in season, making them a cheap and fun snack to buy. Now that I’ve officially moved to Toronto, I’ve taken full advantage of all the health-related benefits of big city living.  I can bike or walk to practically anywhere, tons of great, fresh ingredient restaurants to choose from (this will be mentioned in a future post!), cuisines and produce from all over the world, and most importantly, Chinatown groceries stores within ten minutes of my new place. These are the BEST places to buy your fresh groceries in the downtown core. Last week, I bought two pints of strawberries for $2 dollars, three avocadoes for $1 and three cucumbers also for $1, talk about saving money! Yes the groceries stores in Toronto’s Chinatown aren’t ‘attractive’, well-lit, or the cleanest and nicest smelling, but these typically cash only joints offer a huge variety of interesting produce at dirt cheap prices.

Back to strawberries. When it comes to fruit, any berry is the best bang for your buck. Berries are lower in sugar/fructose/carbs than most other fruits, low glycemic index  (great for diabetics), chocked full of antioxidants, low calorie and high fiber. A cup of strawberries has only 45 calories, by comparison a medium (read: not GMO gigantic) banana has around 105.
People always associate vitamin c with oranges, but strawberries are actually an excellent source of vitamin C, their antioxidants help protect you against cancer, certain diseases of the eye, inflammation, and their fiber to promote good digestion.

One of the things I like most about strawberries is their versatility. They add flavor to both sweet in savoury dishes, and can be used in appetizers, salads, mains, breakfast staples and lots of different desserts. I have attached some recipes that I highly recommend trying as a great way to incorporate this superfood into your diet.

This recipe below features classic ingredients for a strawberry spinach salad. I often avoid these salads at restaurants because the nuts are candied meaning they are coated in unhealthy oils and excess sugar. Toasting nuts brings out their flavor without any added calories.  I would also suggest adding some red or green onion, and you can always sub avocado for the cheese to make this salad paleo friendly.

This is one of my favorite food blogs. I haven’t made these muffins yet, but after my next trip to bulk barn to stock up on more cornmeal, I will definitely give this recipe a try.

Strawberry and Rhubarb is one of my favorite combinations, the PC blue menu strawberry rhubarb jam is delicious on almost anything. This dessert recipe is allergy friendly, easy to make, and you can always adjust the amount of sugar/honey you add to taste.

You can buy giant bags of frozen cherries at Costco. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, just Google how to make ice cream without an ice cream maker and there are some blog posts on this topic.

Got an abundance of strawberries? Dice, freeze on a cookie tray so they don’t stick and then keep in the freezer and add to smoothies throughout the summer.