Wednesday, November 26, 2014


I recently took part in a bloggers challenge for the product Molkosan Berry from A.Vogel.

Molkosanberry is a probiotic made from fermented whey with aronia and pomegranate added. It is a good source of calcium and potassium and it is a probiotic. Ongoing research is telling us again and again how great probiotics are. Research is linking healthy gut flora to better weights, better digestion, and better immunity. There appears to be a link between the unhealthy bacteria and increased allergies, autoimmune diseases, gluten sensitivity and even psychological and behavioural conditions.

I am blessed with great digestion. I feel well 99.9% of the time, and when things aren't great in my stomach, it's because of something obvious I did, like eating too much of the wrong foods. So I decided to approach the challenge differently. Being a dietitian, I thought I'd help out a client of mine and see how the product helped her. She is the perfect candidate for probiotics. She has been on several rounds of antibiotics in the past year, has ongoing digestive problems and struggles to loose weight. She also struggles with depression. For two weeks now she has been taking the Molkosan Berry.

Initially my client found she had increased stomach upset and discomfort. However, that seems to be subsiding now. In addition to adding the probiotic, we are adding foods that will feed her healthy bacteria and help it flourish. We are gradually increasing the fibre in her diet and adding other fermented foods, such as miso and sauerkraut. I want her to continue taking the product and I'll continue to report back.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Falling in love with Sandwiches

Even Dietitian's get caught up in trends. We aren't immune to what the media reports, what those around us are doing, and what the trends in nutrition are. Some are great. I eat kale several times a week and love it. Others maybe not so great, like worrying about eating bread even in the absence of celiac's disease. It seems I had forgotten about bread, just with what I hear around me and what I recommend to client's who are bread-phobic because of the trend and media.

I think it is important to diversify your grains and carbohydrate sources. If bread and wheat are your only sources, then it is time to branch out. Eat a sweet potato, or some rice, oatmeal or quinoa. But if you have no issue in digesting wheat, then nothing beats the simplicity and convenience of a sandwich.

Lunches for me are often in my vehicle. I know this is not ideal, but I sit at a table for my other meals. My car is my office, and during the travel time between appointments, it is wonderful to have a well made sandwich. Well planned, paired with veggie sticks, it is easy to pack a clean, easy to eat while driving, meal.

We found a bread maker for $10 at a garage sale. So between my sourdough baking and the new machine, we don't ever have to buy bread with suspect ingredients anymore. I'm packing different grains into the bread as well. Add some protein and veggies and you're good to go.

It is so satisfying, I find I'm much more full than I am following a salad, and this leads to less picking throughout the afternoon. My favourite combo: tofu salad, hummus, roasted red pepper and tomato. Try different spreads- kalamata olives and garlic whirred together in a food processor adds loads of flavor. Don't forget how great pickles are.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Back in the swing

School finally started and the last few weeks have been a blur of getting back into routine. My little one is slowly adjusting to kindergarten, although has had a hard time leaving me the last couple of days. Just in time for a long Thanksgiving weekend! The kids are staying with my parents while Greg and I head to Seattle. Hopefully the time apart doesn't make it harder on my kindie next week!

Fall is the most wonderful time for food. We have been enjoying squash and kale, lots of apples, and I just roasted up my first pumpkin of the season.

On these chilly fall mornings, baked oatmeal has been our go to breakfast. Today will start with baked pumpkin pie oatmeal. I like this one, which I double and bake in a 9-inch round cake pan.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


The last week has really been a whirlwind.

The half marathon was great. My "untrained" friend ended up being super fast after a summer of cycling. She ran a personal best beating her last half marathon time by 8 minutes! At 8 km I begged her to carry on without me! I was happy with my run. I had forgotten my watch, but even without the speed training was only 2 minutes slower than last year. If I'd had my watch, I may have been able to break two hours again, but the run was fun and I felt good the entire time, so I'm not disappointed at all.

With school still not starting here in BC, I decided to head to Edmonton to see my sister in her new home. The drive is 10 hours long, and unfortunately it had snowed in the mountains the day before I left, so the drive there was long and tiring. But we had a great time, and the drive back was beautiful!

Now there is talk that school is starting soon. It is really time for me to get organized! I like to have several lunch options in the freezer, and a few things for snack, especially when they first start and they are starved at 2:30.

Also time to start advertising. I'll be offering a fall special for new and returning clients, so watch for it.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Wine Country Half Marathon- what I'm eating the day before

Only two days to go until the Wine Country Half here in Kelowna! Training hasn't been totally on track, but I eat really well and I got all my long runs in, so I'll be okay. A friend of mine is now running it and is staying here the night before the event too, so my whole focus has changed to having a great run, in a great setting, with one of my best friends!

Recommendations for intake for an event lasting longer than 90 minutes (and it will definitely be that!) are to take in 7-14 grams of carbohydrate per kg of body weight in the 24 hours prior. On the lower end for less elite athletes, and higher for those who are really well trained. In order to eat all those carbs, it is recommended that protein and fat are eaten in slightly smaller amounts.

However, I find it is really hard to achieve the 7 grams per kg. So I just kind of concentrate on carbohydrates and eat what I can. Recommendations are also to eat less fibre, but when I do this I feel bloated and exhausted, and my body is so used to fibre it doesn't hurt me. So here's my plan:

Breakfast- (24 hours before)- baked oats with chia, pumpkin seeds, chocolate chips :) and peanut butter
Snack- peaches, because they are so good right now. Probably 2 of the small ones.
Lunch- Salad and an open faced hummus sandwich
Snack- a smoothie, if I'm hungry
Supper- Tofu alfredo pasta with zuchinni and 2 homemade chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies

Pre-event breakfast- super cereal- chia seeds, oats, pumpkin seeds, agave, chocolate chips, hemp seeds, soy milk. And maybe a peach. All at around 4:30 am.
And 20 minutes before- the Vega pre-workout energizer. Placebo effect or not, this stuff makes me feel very energized!

During any event longer than 75 minutes, it is recommended to take in 30-60 grams of carbohydrate. I'll have 2x30 gram gels during the half marathon- one at 45 minutes, one at 1.5 hours. And drink water with gels. There is also PowerAde or something on course if I feel my energy lagging, but I'm guessing I'll be fine.

I'll report back when the day is done!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Scientific Nutrition

During the race expo at the Vancouver Marathon back in May, I noticed a disturbing trend. The increase in nutritional products is no real surprise, but the claims being made seem to be changing.

Not knowing who I was, or whether I was running the marathon or not, I could tell the demo reps selling different products had been instructed to stroke my "athlete's" ego. Then, they would go on to explain how I needed their product. Because of how athletic I am...

Here was one conversation:

"It's greens powder. It is the equivalent of (however many) servings of vegetables. You should drink it first thing because as an athlete you are very acidic in the morning. So this will alkalize you."

Hmmm. The alkaline-acid diet hasn't got a lot of scientific research behind it. ( isn't to say that the so-called alkaline diet isn't good for you. It recommends a lot of leafy greens, which definitely seem to be good for you. And perhaps because your pH balancing systems don't need to work as hard to keep you in balance, there will be long term benefits. But at no point are you "acidic"- your blood pH is tightly regulated. So you don't die.

Another rep selling coconut water/juice blends described how coconut oils fat is used for energy, not as fat. Again, sort of... Coconut is about 60% medium chain triglycerides, which can be used as energy more quickly than other fats. If you aren't consuming too many calories. And that leaves another 40% as fat that isn't quickly used as energy.

But I find myself falling for it all too. We want to believe that we need a special diet, whether it is for exercise or to lose weight. It is tempting to believe that with the right combination of nutrients, in the exact right amounts, will help us accomplish whatever our dreams are. Unfortunately, nutrition is extremely complex. Nutrients interact with each other and within our bodies they react differently depending on many factors, including how active we've been, how much sleep we've had, how much we ate, etc. With so many factors, we may never know exactly what each person needs and when.

With all the claims out there, and websites and articles and "experts" telling you specific formulas for your unique situation, I think the industry will always be there. But if you want sound advice based on real science, there are places you can turn. Registered Dietitians are bound by a code of ethics and governed by a regulating body, so the information they give to you will be sound. The Centre for Science in the Public Interest, and their health letter ( Nutrition Action ) is another wonderful source of info. Another great article: (Nutrition Misinformation).

There are days I want to become someone who claims my product will save you. I'd make a lot more money and work a lot less. But then I sit down to whatever real food I've made for supper and I know I need to keep spreading the word. Real food is better, it tastes better and it satisfies more than just a need for calories and our need for the nutrients we think we understand. Real food energizes, it bonds families, it builds communities and it protects the environment. So I'll keep on choosing it and I hope you will too. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Summer and Training

Summer is so wonderful! And it has continued to be very busy! Holidays, work and training have made time fly! I have not done a great job of following my training plan for the Wine Country Half Marathon, although I have been able to get the long runs in. Sadly, most of my weekday runs are 5 km, any pace. The longer runs haven't hurt too much, so I still should be able to enjoy the day, even if I don't set any personal bests.

I'll have another chance to set a PR. Greg and I registered for the San Francisco marathon next summer! Our tenth wedding anniversary will be next year, so what a great way to celebrate. A full marathon and another great city to eat and walk our way through.  Training will begin late March, and most long runs will be done before the crazy heat of July. My goal at this point is to feel good during the entire 42 km, since I've never experienced that (3 marathons, more painful each time!)

Processing fruit and canning tomatoes has begun. Last year I was canning tomatoes until 11:00 pm for several nights leading up to the half marathon. This year, I'm getting 20 pounds at a time in an effort to stay off my feet September 5. And my younger son will be starting school, so there shouldn't be any kids painting bedrooms the day before.( remember? )

My boys are actually helpful this year, and they peeled 20 pounds of tomatoes!

We are still loving the Okanagan summer and I love having my boys home with me. I can't believe that we are so close to the beginning of school. (possibly, if the teacher's strike ends...) Watch for a post on lunch box prep, coming soon.  

Friday, August 8, 2014

BC Scones

It's been too long! Summer is flying by and I can't believe it is August! I will write a longer post soon, but thought I'd share a great recipe for these delicious scones. These are a great treat post long runand swim, best enjoyed on a deck with an iced coffee.

BC Scones (Is the BC for British Columbia, or Blueberry Cherry? Doesn't really matter, they celebrate all that is great about living here.

1 2/3 cups flour (whole grain or whole spelt)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1Tbsp baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch salt
1 1/3 cup rolled oats
2 heaping spoonfuls coconut oil or earth balance ( can add up to 1/2 cup to taste)
2/3 cup soy milk plus 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (or milk of choice)
1/2 cup cherries, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 425F.

Combine flour, sugar, soda, powder and salt in food processor.

Add 1 cup rolled oats and 2 heaping tablespoons coconut oil or Earth balance and pulse a few times until mealy looking. Add remaining 1/3 cup oats and pulse again.

Transfer to a bowl. Add milk and gently combine, then fold in rest of ingredients.

Divide into two balls, flatten each on a sprinkling of rolled oats, then cut each circle into 4. Bake for about 12-15 minutes.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Ahhh, Vacation

I just returned from 10 wonderful days on the ocean in Tofino with my three favourite boys. Our days were filled with daily runs, beach walks, good food and relaxing. My boys were perfectly happy to spend hours climbing in the driftwood and running on the beach. I'm happy to sit on a log with a good book, looking up at them from time to time and loving that they aren't using anything but their imaginations to create hours of fun.

The ocean always brings me such perspective. On the second day, I was running on the beach on a misty morning with the ocean waves crashing beside me. I couldn't hear anything but the pounding surf, and suddenly the greatest sense of peace washed over me. I had the thought that nothing I worry or stress about really matters. I stumbled on a quote yesterday, in my horoscope of all places, that drove my entire feeling home "You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything". John Maxwell. To me, that just gave such a feeling of calm and of being in the present moment, enjoying my boys.

Between the ocean air, the lush rainforest and the sound of the ocean, I have returned to Kelowna feeling rested and healthy. Sadly, the peaceful feeling is trying to leave. But I am trying to maintain balance and hang on to my perspective, being present in the moment so that I'm not half dietitian/half mother at any given moment.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Another product I love

I really don't like recommending products or supplements to my clients. It gives me an uncomfortable, unethical,  Dr.Ozzy feeling and I want no part of it. So that's why if I tell you about something, I promise it's only because I actually like it. I would also never claim something to be a miracle or magic bullet.

For years now, I've struggled to stay asleep all night. And I do everything I'm supposed to. I avoid caffeine, eat well, exercise, stretch before bed, keep a list of whatever may be playing on my mind and disrupting sleep. But still, when I wake in the middle of the night, I often stay awake for a long time.

Recently a friend recommended humic acid and fulvic acid.   If you search on Google, you see claims that it can heal just about everything. Here are a couple of links.

Our friend was so impressed with the benefits that he has created a company called Humivita and now sells the product. My husband and I were skeptical (as with all things like this), but we trust our friend and both decided to give it a try. Within a couple of weeks we began to notice subtle changes.

For starters, I had no cravings. This is very strange for me, as I've spent my whole life having cravings. Sometimes for healthy foods, sometimes for less healthy foods. That seemed like it, but a couple of months after that I started sleeping better. Even if I was woken by a kid in the night, I'd fall asleep quickly and sleep hard until morning. I still wasn't totally convinced, but I recently ran out of the product and thought I'd stop taking it to see if I noticed any changes. It's been about a month since I stopped taking it, and I'm waking up again at night and staying awake. I also realized I hadn't needed to use the bathroom at night, which I have for decades. And now that I'm off it, I have to use the bathroom again. To me it is worth the price for how well rested I was.

If you want to try for yourself, you can visit

Disclaimer, my husband now sells the product, but no pressure to buy from him. I'm not Dr.Oz.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas with #Herbamare

This is almost too simple to call a recipe, but I know from failed attempts that getting perfectly crunchy chickpeas can be difficult.

1 1/2 cups chickpeas (or one can)
1 Tbsp olive oil, drizzled over top
Herbamare- any flavor- to taste (1/2 tsp)

Pat chickpeas dry and place in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet, or in a 9x13 cake pan. Drizzle oil over top, shake on Herbamare. Toss to coat. Bake at 400F for about 30 minutes, tossing every 10 minutes or so. Remove from oven and taste, adding more Herbamare if needed.

I enjoyed them over a salad and my kiddos liked them in their pasta.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Training Begins

I'm officially into week two of training for the Wine Country Half Marathon here in Kelowna.  With my husband away this week, I took advantage of a cancellation this week to sneak in a 14km run. Sunday was my 12km, so not huge distances, but big for me considering the last few months have been all about 5km runs. And with only three days between the two big efforts, I'm happy that my legs felt strong.

The Girls on the Run group I was assistant coach for wound up yesterday. So amazing to watch these girls finish the 5km event we put on for them. Watching them accomplish their goal after 10 weeks together was such a joy! If you aren't familiar with the program, check out

We are going to be going on holiday, just the four of us, at the end of next week. I'm extremely excited to have some down time with my three favourite guys. We're staying in a cabin by the ocean, cooking our own meals, and walking and running as much as we can. I've left the 10 days we're gone blank on my training schedule, but without other options, I'll be running shorter, more often.

When we return, it's back to training. Speed work and hills will become part of my weeks. Summer will be upon us, so fruit, raw desserts and lots of beach time will be too!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

#Herbamare Bloggers Challenge

I'm taking part in a blogger challenge featuring Herbamare. If you aren't familiar with it, herbamare is sea salt infused with 12 different organic herbs and vegetables. It has great flavor and a little goes a long way. They also have a zesty option, which has horseradish in it, and a salt free version as well.

The question they would like answered? How do you like your #herbamare?

Well, answered quite easily. Any way. It's great on salads, popcorn, cucumber slices, in sauces, my kids like it on pasta...Where ever you would use salt, herbamare is great. You can use less because of it's great flavor and you can feel good that it has been processed without chemicals and that there are no additives, preservatives or MSG. It's also non-GMO and organic.

I think the real challenge would've been, How don't you like your Herbamare! This is too easy.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Most Delicious Kale Salad

Kale abounds at the market and in my garden. There is no shortage of praise for this leafy green, which is a great source of calcium, iron, folate, vitamin C, fibre to name just a few.  Kale is so delicious in so many ways, but this salad is a favourite!

1 large bunch of kale, tough stems removed

1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
2Tbsp miso paste
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup warm water

Whisk it all together, pour over kale and massage into leaves.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Some Updates

It's been a while since I wrote an update on things. So what's been up lately?

Spent a weekend in Vancouver for my husband to run the marathon. As usual, we walked a lot and ate well. If you're in Vancouver, the Naam is a must for breakfast, lunch, dinner or anything. They are open 24 hours!

Mudd, Sweat and Tears happened here May 10. I added it to my year when I was trying to come up with New Years goals. My neighbour and friend said I should join her family team. I kind of dropped the ball on the training, and my upper body was weak, but I managed the 6km, with the help of my team and other competitors. I really enjoyed the physical challenges! But mud for the sake of mud, cold temperatures and no recovery food afterwards made it something I likely won't do again.

However, I'm inspired and have incorporated upper body exercises into my next training plan, which starts next week for the Wine Country Half! I'm starting early, to go farther sooner, so when we take our family holiday to Tofino this summer, I can scale back. 

Last update, my husband and I decided to take five days and avoid added sugar. It's eye opening when you see where sugar is hiding, even for me! I'm managing fine except for my morning chocolate chips! Who would've thought that a couple tablespoons of dark chocolate a day would make my morning? I even had a caffeine withdrawal headache from that little bit. (Max 20 mg of caffeine vs 75-150 mg in a cup of regular coffee).

We are doing lots of big salads this week. Stir fry with the bok choi and pak choi we got from the Farmers market, and asparagus too. A great way to feel great and keep any sweet cravings at bay!

So that's that! 

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Packaged Bar I'm Loving

I recently came across Powerplant Whole Food Bars and I am loving them. These are raw whole food bars which contain sprouted seeds. You already know I love sprouts. The ingredient list is great, and the nutrient profile us too. I contacted the owner for some samples, for me and to share with clients. These great bars were created in Kelowna, so I'm also supporting a local business.

Although the grams of sugar are slightly higher than I look for in a bar, the fibre and protein content make up for it. Each bar also contains 25% of the Daily Value for iron, from natural sources. I love that these bars aren't fortified, there is no chalky texture or after taste.

Currently I'm sampling the coconut. There are two other flavours to choose from, Fruit and Veggie. All come in a chocolate covered option (70% organic,  Kosher, bittersweet chocolate), and Coconut and Fruit are also available "bare". (No chocolate, which at first seems crazy, but if you want a couple bars living in your purse or glove box, these are a great option, and they still taste great.)

The company also offers a Sprouted Seed Spread, in Chocolate or Coconut. Again, these are a great source of iron and a nut free alternative for school lunches. I love the spread on an apple or a scoop on my oatmeal. 

Frozen Veggie shots are also available, and are a great addition to smoothies. 

Check out their website: and use the promo code "kelly" for 10% off and free shipping.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Why I give out meal plans

As a dietitian, I was trained to give people the tools to plan their own diets rather than giving meal plans. Giving out meal plans isn't always the most effective way to go about helping people reach their nutrition goals, nor is it a good way to create permanent changes.

That being said, I see from food logs and 24 hour recalls that people no longer know how to eat. It is not surprising, with the media publishing headlines from studies without including background and with websites recommending low calorie diets as the norm. Information is everywhere and nobody knows how to interpret it.

The number one thing I see with my clients (women in particular), is that they aren't eating enough. Most of them start the day being "good" and consuming a very low calorie diet, followed by a large evening meal and insatiable hunger and cravings in the latter part of the day. With my meal plans, people are surprised by how much they are eating, without gaining weight, and by eating more frequently, they have fewer cravings, feel more satisfied, and are less bloated.

I often provide a meal plan, tweak it with the client a couple of times and then in future sessions, we work together on creating a meal plan of their own. As time goes on, I have them forward plans they've created themselves, and then they are free to go! They also have a couple of dietitian approved meal plans for the times that media reports, magazine cleanses and their own self doubt start to creep back in.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Taking the Food Guide Too Literally

A couple of months ago in Winnipeg, MB, a daycare charged a mother a fee because the lunch she packed didn't contain a grain. The lunch she had packed contained roast beef, carrots and mashed potatoes, homemade leftovers from the previous night. The daycare, spotting that there were no grains, supplemented the lunch with Ritz crackers and charged the mother for the supplement ($5 per child).

There is so much wrong with this! The food guide is one possible way to achieve your nutrient requirements. From speaking to groups locally, clients tell me the food guide is not very clear on what to eat. The serving sizes are confusing, and the options pictured don't really represent the choices in todays marketplace, nor do they represent the healthiest options in some cases.

The grain group is there because of our requirement for carbohydrates, fibre, certain B-vitamins; like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate and minerals such as iron, magnesium and selenium. These nutrients are also found in a meal made up of vegetables and protein foods (such as meat and beans.)

This misguided daycare provided Ritz Crackers which are low in fibre, high in sodium and only a source of some of those nutrients because of fortified flour. I'm also guessing the kids ate those Ritz crackers first and if they were still hungry they would go on to eat the potatoes and carrots and roast.

The family was refunded the charge after much discussion and public outcry, but it is these stories that really highlight to me that North Americans have lost their common sense when it comes to eating. Because of so much media attention to nutrition, reports of single studies or poorly conducted studies that produce headlines and mixed messages, we've lost the ability to look at a home cooked meal and believe it is healthy.

Resources put out by Health Canada, like nutrition facts labels and Canada's Food Guide, aren't useful without a professional teaching you how to read it. It is a case of too much information for consumers who can't understand the info. (Even the "common" terms carbohydrate or calorie can't be defined by most).

My advice? If you find you feel overwhelmed by all the info out there, talk to a Registered Dietitian who can help you sort through the info and get back to eating with common sense.

Sour Dough

As the rest of the world moves away from bread, I'm moving towards it. Proper bread baked in a traditional way.

I recently attended a workshop at Okanagan Grocery on the art of Sourdough. The bread at Okanagan Grocery is amazing, and if you are in Kelowna, I recommend going. They use organic flour and breads ferment around 6-7 hours before baking.

This longer ferment time has great implications for our health. One of the theories on the increase in gluten intolerance is the fast track methods most commercial bakeries use to quickly turn out a lot of bread. Traditional sour dough is made with a living starter, flour, water and salt. That's it. No unpronounceable ingredients, like sodium-lactylate 2. Good thing, because I don't have any of it in my pantry and I'm guessing you don't either.

Fermenting the dough helps to break down some of the difficult to digest proteins (like gluten), making the bread easier on our digestive health. In addition to being easier to digest, a study has found that white sourdough bread caused less of a spike in blood sugar than even whole wheat flour (not whole grain).

The bread is chewy, with a crispy crust, and beautiful air holes inside. The flavor is incredible. You'll know you're eating real bread, and good luck going back to commercial bread!

We came home with a baked loaf, and another to bake that evening, as well as our own starter. 

We also were treated to croissants baked properly, fresh from the oven and filled with callebaut chocolate, so this course was also a fun outing., which is great because my mum was visiting from Winnipeg and attended with me. (she's also the one who took this photo...she's an even worse food photographer than I am! Sorry Mum, I know you read my blog!)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Simply Cook and Enjoy! Nutrition Month 2014.

It is Nutrition Month in Canada and the USA. Dietitians of Canada has chosen the theme "Simply Cook and Enjoy!" 

I love this theme. One of the single best things you can do to improve your nutritional status is cook for yourself. You control the ingredients, the type of fat, how much salt, preservatives etc.

Cooking if you are a parent is also a great skill to pass on to your kids. I've said it before they may not end up professional dancers, soccer players, or Olympic swimmers, but they will need to eat. Give them those skills!

However, I hear all the time from clients that they don't have time to cook, or don't like to cook. I love cooking, I love eating what I've cooked and I love trying new recipes, but I realize not everyone wants life to be this food-centric. Dietitians of Canada has a few great handouts to help keep things simple

Convenience foods that are healthy? There are lots! Bagged salads or precut vegetables, canned beans, salmon and tuna (look for BPA free cans), frozen vegetables and fruit are great, and tofu or plain, pre-cooked plain frozen fish fillets or chicken breasts are all quick options. Just check your ingredient lists and make sure there's nothing added, like salt.

Look for jars of minced garlic. Keep a well stocked spice cabinet, and you can throw meals together pretty quickly. Lemon or lime squeezed over a meal, or balsamic vinegar, can really enhance the flavour too.

Plan ahead, use leftovers or freezer meals for busy nights, spend more time prepping when you can. A registered dietitian can help you get started with meal planning and cooking. And great news! All my services are offered online, or I can help you find someone local!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What I Ate Wednesday #2

What I ate Wednesday again! I've missed two in between, seems like the middle of the week sneaks up on me all the time. Thanks to for hosting!

As always with us, breakfast is a big deal. We're back on our "cold oats" kick. Usually we eat this in the summer, but the little boys and I have been missing it.
Snack, a delicious Pink Lady apple with this amazing chocolate coconut peanut butter I picked up in Seattle. It's a small company and I haven't found it in Canada. I also loved their honey pretzel peanut butter. Next trip south I'll pick up much more! In the meantime, I'll try my hand at making some.

I had a little extra time for lunch, so had a grilled "cheese" sandwhich on Silver Hills sprouted grain bread. For the dairy free cheese, I mix vital wheat gluten and nutritional yeast with garlic and onion powder and enough water to make a thick paste. I love it, my kids love it...not sure what the world would think! I've never written amounts down, but might have to try. I also had leftover kale salad and a pickle, of course.

Supper as usual, went too quickly! It's from the book "Isa Does It" by Isa Chandra Maskowitz. Kale lentil salad with butternut squash. It's so delicious, and this cookbook has recipes for exactly what I want to eat all the time!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A week's menu

Life is getting busy! My kids are getting older and more involved in activities. There's often a birthday party thrown into the mix. My business is getting a lot busier too. But I'm a dietitian, food is my passion and a priority! So I always take time to plan for the week ahead so we aren't left wondering what to eat.

I'm always out Monday nights, so the boys have dragon bowls or make sushi. I usually eat a bigger lunch Mondays and pack a snack I can squeeze in between clients.

The rest of the week is this:

Tuesday: Queso Blanco Bowl from "Isa Does It" by Isa Chandra Maskowitz. This looks great- quinoa, beans. a creamy cashew sauce, and crispy kale.

Wednesday: Panko crusted tempeh and mache (corn) salad. So happy it's back at our local food delivery! If you haven't tried this green, you must! It's so delicious and sweet and it's a cold weather green so usually the first and last to appear during greens season.

Thursday: Walnut Pecan Balls on Mache Salad (www.plantpowered

Friday: Leftovers and a HUGE bowl of popcorn with hemp seeds and nutritional yeast

Saturday: Bistro Beet Burgers (again, from Isa's book) and oven baked Curry Garlic Fries, and coleslaw.

We always have salad, cabbage or kale, so with leftovers from a meal and a great homemade dressing, it's easy to pull together lunch. And I get up at 6:00 everyday to make time for our  breakfast.


Friday, February 21, 2014

My favourite breakfast

We love breakfast. Weekends are usually some kind of pancake, maybe a waffle. Friday night, the question is always, "What kind of pancake tomorrow?" And Greg will toss out an amazing flavour combo, and I'll make it happen. Lemon, coconut, blueberry, or pumpkin seed and bran, or dark chocolate cherry...During the week, breakfast is usually some sort of grain bowl with different flavours. Like our apple pie millet, pumpkin pie baked oats, chocolate chip coconut baked oats. Some inspired by others, like, some our own invention. (Writing this already makes me excited for tomorrow morning!)

One of the week day favourites is cold oats. 

About five years ago, when I was pregnant with our second, my parents took us on a cruise. One of the best breakfast buffet features was an oatmeal bar with nuts, seeds, fresh and dried fruit and Bircher Muesli. My entire family loved it, and we'd load up a bowl with the Bircher, then pile on seeds, nuts, and fruit. We'd spend the rest of the morning wondering why we felt so awful. My brother called it seed belly, but researching Bircher Muesli on my return taught me it's made with cream and sugar.  Considering seeds never bother me and I eat them all the time, I'm guessing the richness of our "healthy" breakfast was the issue.

So, it inspired me to create what we lovingly call Cold Oats. We don't make it the night before like typical overnight oats, I just mix it up in the morning because we like the chewiness.

For 2 1/2 hearty servings (my 4-year old still doesn't eat much at breakfast)

1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup milk of choice
1/2 cup applesauce, apple juice, orange juice or puréed pumpkin
1tsp vanilla
1tsp agave or maple syrup or honey
Cinnamon to taste
Options, vary at will
2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
2 Tbsp raisins
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
1-2 Tbsp chia
2 Tbsp chopped pecans
Chocolate chips  to taste

Add more milk as desired, and serve!

I actually pull out a scoop before the options, because my four year old prefers it a little lighter. Just raisins, chocolate chips, and a tiny bit of hemp seed.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


I had the chance to attend a Kombucha making class mid January. For those who don't know, Kombucha is fermented tea. The class was just as I was recovering from our sick week, and likely a little healthy bacteria was exactly what I needed.

The class was put on by the lovely Raina Lutz, RHN, www.LutzNutrition.caShe opened the class by putting to rest the claims that Kombucha can cure everything, winning over RD Kelly (the other Kelly just wanted the tea and all its benefits, real or hoped). The great thing about Kombucha is that it is fermented, which means healthy probiotics proven to aid in digestion and enhance the immune system, among other things. More info on some of the research on kombucha can be found here and here. There is very little actual research on the tea.
After an hour of talking us through the process of brewing our own kombucha, Raina sent us home with our own SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast- it's the crazy looking thing in the picture of the jar of tea at the bottom of this post). I needed to get geared up, so promptly ordered a glass jug on Amazon, which arrived about 5 days later. Now it was time to get brewing!

My first batch was made with organic green tea and organic sugar. I let it ferment in a quiet closet for 9 days. At that point, the flavour was great, so I bottled it and left on the counter for 24 hours. I didn’t add any flavourings. It never fizzed up, but Raina was quick to reply to my emails and let me know that everything was probably ok. I added apple juice to one of the bottles and left it on the kitchen counter for another 24 hours, and put the rest in the fridge.

We are loving the tea- even my four year old ! It makes a great alternative to other sweetened drinks, and to their breakfast juice. I love that we’re getting a dose of healthy probiotics. My second batch, with black tea, is brewing right now, and I'm going to experiment with flavouring it this time. I also hope I can get the fizz this round.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Nut and seed clusters

I haven't posted a recipe in ages. Tonight, I was prepping for Monday morning, and I realized that one of the snacks I regularly make is a recipe! It's so quick and easy, I hadn't thought of sharing.

These clusters of nuts and seeds are a little sweet, a little salty, and there are lots of ways you can shake up the recipe. We've used them as a snack, or sprinkled on oatmeal.

2 cups any seeds or chopped nuts (I used hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds, pecans and almonds)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp honey or agave
Dash salt
Dash cinnamon 
Splash of vanilla
Splash of water

Heat a pan on the stove. Add nuts and toast a little. Remove from heat, add everything else. Return to heat for a couple of minutes. Then transfer to a plate to cool. As it cools, break it into chunks the size you like.

I've also made these with cocoa powder or ginger. You could also do all seeds so it can go to school. A proper serving would be about 1/4 cup, but good luck with that. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What I ate Wednesday

I decided to join in the fun for What I Ate Wednesday, inspired by

Our day here was extremely snowy, so after my breakfast of green tea and chocolate oats (an adaptation from I started the day shovelling.

We drove to school where I dropped my kids (older son to school, younger to our friends for the morning before preschool), then headed home. Because of all the snow, the car wouldn't go up the last hill, so I parked at the bottom and hiked up. 

I had a client scheduled for 10:00, so did some emailing and organizing before that. She ended up coming a half hour late because of the snow, and had to hike up the hill as well. I had nobody after, but was pretty hungry when she left.

Enjoyed a green smoothie, then tofu/cabbage/kale stir fry which looks bad, tasted great!

Then I headed out to the winter wonderland for an afternoon walk with my friend. Had a Starbucks decaf half sweet soy caramel macchiato on the stroll. 
Then I headed back to the school to get my older son. We had 40 minutes to kill before the younger son was getting dropped, so spent the time tobogganing at the school. Fortunately, the road was cleared on our way home, so I just had to shovel the driveway (which is an steep hill itself), before I could park the car.

We got inside and checked messages only to learn our weekly vegetable delivery also couldn't make it up the hill, so we had to pick it up at another location. Back in the car, now starving, we each had a little bag of Snappea crisps. I seemed to have one of my "reactions", but they were good and kept me from picking while I made supper. I also drank the rest of my green smoothie.

Um, too hungry for a picture before diving in. We had Chickpea Seitan patties, and Corn Salad (Mache) with a cashew dressing. The kids had carrots and mashed potatoes too.

The patties are from "The Great Vegan Bean Book". 

There's the leftover greens in my salad spinner.

Finished the day with oatmeal cookies.the recipe from the bag of oats. Old school with real sugar. I couldn't resist adding a scoop if hemp seeds...

That's it! I had planned a bike ride, but I'll be happy with a stretch before bed.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Valuing the time spent improving your health

No matter how busy things are, we always make time for good food and a workout. How? It seems almost impossible the way our society is. The number one complaint I hear from clients is that they are too busy to cook, or exercise.

Part of the problem is the value society places on being busy and stressed. It is more acceptable to work a 10 hour day then to leave after 8 to ensure you get a run in. People listen with approval when you describe your day of running to the school, to work, kids to lessons and back for an evening meeting. But there is a tone of luxury to somebody describing getting off at 5:00, taking a long run, then cooking supper and sitting as a family to enjoy it.

There are so many options for kids extra curricular activities as well, many people jump on board as many as possible, only to have the week become booked up and evenings becoming a juggling act for parents.

So what can we do? Number one, have a plan in place. Know what your meals are going to be for the week. Prepare ahead whatever you can, whenever you can. Look at your schedule for the week and decide where workouts fit in and where you will have time for an actual sit down meal.

Number two- Make food and exercise a priority. When committing to things outside of the usual work week, look at how it will affect your health. If your child wants to take dance lessons, and swimming and play hockey how will you fit in what you need to do for your meals and health? Choosing one, or choosing times that still allow you to fit in what you need can help. Maybe hockey for winter, swim and dance in the summer? Maybe there's a class that is right after school so that you can still be home at a decent hour?
If you're on a sub-committee at work that needs to meet after work hours- maybe the team can meet before work? Or after supper?

It is about priorities, and your health has to be a priority. We need to support those that do fit in daily exercise and healthy meals by showing respect for these choices and not saying, "You're so lucky to have time for that." It is a choice. And in the words of Edward Stanley in 1873 "Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness." (I'd like to add preparing healthy food to that, but in 1873 I think most people still made their own meals.)

Monday, January 20, 2014

Musings from Sick Week

My older son and I were sick this past week and I spent nearly three days between bed and the couch. It amazes me that when we need to, we're able to clear a week for illness. We never do it just for fun, or to enjoy kids that are growing up too quickly, or to catch up on sleep. But once I realized I couldn't get out of bed and rescheduled everything for the week, I was able to devote myself to getting well and getting my son well, and keeping the other two safe. And the world didn't fall apart without me!

With all that time to think, I had some interesting revelations. For one, my need to eat fresh, homemade food all the time meant I had no soup for my recovery. Everyone should have a couple cans of soup or some frozen soup stashed away for a rainy day.

The second revelation is that we are always able to make time for illness, but are less willing to set time aside for wellness. Most people complain they are too busy to cook, or too busy to work out. We should treat these two things like doctors appointments, or meetings. Making fitness and healthy food a part of everyday life, and planning other items around them, has the potential to save you a lot of sick time in the future. I have a whole post planned to help you with this, and I'll get that up soon.

In the midst of sick week, my older son turned seven! And my Mum surprised him with a visit. Luckily we were improving by the weekend and able to have a little fun.

I used reduced beet juice to colour the angry bird! I will use a little food colouring for his party, which luckily was planned for next weekend!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


I've already talked about my love of resolutions and I actually think self improvement is fun.

Last year I decided to switch all my face and body products to natural. It has been great, except we bought a bunch of shampoo on sale just before I swore off it and I still have a couple bottles to get through. But I use baking soda for my deodorant, the oil cleansing method for my skin, Jason, Power Smile is my toothpaste of choice. (My skin has never felt better, you should check it out-

This year, I had all my family members to send me their goals. They did, I celebrated. But have I sent them my resoultions? Nope, not yet. So I thought this post (before the shine of the new year fades) would be a good way for me to declare my intentions for 2014.

Career, family, wellness are the three areas I decided to set goals in.

Career: I'm going to advertise! I'm also going to try have set working hours/family hours so I'm not doing both (poorly) at once. It's not easy to draw the line when you're self employed, but as able I'm going to try. I'm also going to keep loving what I do. It's so amazing to spend my working hours talking about food and nutrition. I'm going to blog more regularly and make a few dietitian friends in Kelowna.

Family: Focus and be present with I'm with my kids. Ties into having set working hours, but I want to make eye contact when they're telling me something, not be checking messages.
I'm also lucky enough to have both of my grandmothers still. I'm going to send them a monthly letter, pictures, drawings the kids do. I'll pick up pretty stationary. Starting next month- they had two letters in December....

Wellness: I'm eating well, I love cooking, planning and finding new recipes to try. I'm going to keep trying new foods, new grains, new recipes.

I exercise regularly, but I need a goal on the horizon to increase my training. I'm going to run the Wine Country Half again, and I'd like to do a second half marathon as well. I would love to put together a team of clients and run a 10km with them or something too, stay tuned for more on that.

I don't sleep well, my mind ends up running through a hundred things as I try fall asleep. So I'm going to start by making a list of all the "to-do's" that pop into my head at bedtime, see if putting them on paper helps me sleep.

I'd also like to do more yoga, read at least one book a month, attend a conference, and give back to the community in some way...I'll post as it happens.

I think that's enough for now! I have a great feeling about 2014, and I wish you all a wonderful year! What are your goals for the upcoming year?

Resolve to drink more green smoothies?? Or work on those pecs?