What’s your craving trying to tell you?

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Cravings can happen throughout the day. Some wake up craving sweets or salty foods. Then the rest of the day unfolds with a roller coaster of binge eating with what you fancy.

Do your cravings mean something though? Or is all down to willpower?

Here are a few key interactions that are good to know:

  • Chocolate cravings could have something to do with a deficiency of magnesium – raw cacao/nibs/beans or powder are excellent sources of magnesium as are whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, greens, fruit.
  • Salty cravings for chips or salted nuts could be telling you that your little stress glands–the adrenals are fatigued and crying out for help. Seeing a nutritionist or naturopath to get you on some balancing supplements like B complex and in particular B5 is a good start. More sleep, yoga, and mediation are also on the prescription for adrenal fatigue. Less of the intense workouts as that’s also seen as a stress in overworked adrenals.
  • Need that coffee every morning? Most of the population do. You could do with more sulphur cruciferous vegetables like kale, cabbage, broccoli and also cranberries, horseradish, asparagus, carob powder, garlic and onion.
  • Craving that burger or steak? That could be a lack of iron. Have your blood checked and see if symptoms of iron deficiency match how you are feeling.
  • Hungry in the evening? That’s because you didn’t eat enough during the day. Typical of those who skip breakfast or have a carb rich start to their day. Incorporate protein from eggs, cottage cheese, or low glycemic index foods like steel cut oats or quinoa flakes or something like chia seed pudding.
  • PMS cravings? The need for more food, and of course chocolate, can be because her body is preparing for pregnancy whether she is planning it or not. Hormones become more out of balance and mineral needs increase. Eat more fruits and vegetables throughout the month and less of the sugary sweet stuff and see what impact that has.

Cravings can sometimes be from a lack of willpower or emotional triggers, but with the above, it shows there’s more to it in some cases.

What are you craving right now?

Cashew Milk – A New Ingredient for My Smoothie

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Milk and I don’t get along. Haven’t for years. I’ve tried all animal milks; cow, goat and sheep, raw and pasteurized, and I get instantly mucus-y and my belly becomes distended and uncomfortable within a few hours. By the end of the day I wish I could put a pin in my belly button to let all the air or release the gremlin that seems to have inhabited my intestines. It’s not pretty and I end up feeling crappy.

I’ve tried, and made, just about every milk out there–even filmed a video with Jack LaLane years ago of how to make soy milk in his fancy juicer—I now stick with Almond and Coconut Milk as my go-to. I shouldn’t say I’ve tried them all actually, that would be a lie. A friend who is a Naturopath warned me off of Hemp Milk so I haven’t tried that yet. Took her word for it that there are better tastes out there.

A couple of weeks ago, I learned there’s a new kid on the block and have been asked to try it out to see what I think. It’s Cashew Milk. Silk® Original Creamy Cashew beverage is the first of its kind to hit shelves. I’m always game to try out a new product, so I said yes.

Enjoy Silk's New Cashew Milk by Sprout Right Smoothie Recipe - Image 1

 

I’ve gone through phases of eating and making recipes from some of my raw food recipe books and cashews are the main ingredient in many salad dressings, raw ‘cheese’ and more. Cashews are so versatile as well as high in calcium and vitamin D and make everything that much more creamy.

Back to this new milk. I use alternative milks in all my recipes. Quiche, soup, smoothies, pancakes and any other baking that asks for milk. I thought I’d try out the Silk® Original Creamy Cashew milk in my morning smoothie as it’s a daily staple and my kids are my guinea pigs with most new things.

The product is rich and creamy and in a smoothie it adds a bit of sweetness, without an overpowering taste. I don’t always use milk in my smoothie, my other option is coconut water, but this didn’t have an overpowering flavour and was a welcome change and addition.

Enjoy Silk's New Cashew Milk by Sprout Right with Smoothie Recipe - Image 2

 

Here’s my recipe. Try this, or create your own! 

About a cup of Silk® Original Creamy Cashew

1 cup frozen cherries, raspberries, blueberries and a bit of mango

handful spinach and sunflower seed sprouts

1 tbsp chia seeds

1 scoop Complete Protein powder

1 tbsp flax oil

Blend everything and serve straight away.

Will you add this great new milk to your shopping list? Find out more about it.

 

Visit drinksilk.ca for recipe ideas.

 

This post was generously sponsored by Silk® but the opinions and images are my own. For more information, please visit www.drinksilk.ca

5 Food Gifts to Bring to a New Mom

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5 Food Gifts to Bring to a New Mom on SproutRight.comWhen I first visit a friend or relative who has just had a baby, I usually have a gift for the new baby, something for a sibling (they need some loving and recognition as big bro or sis), and I always take food.

Sharing food is an investment in this baby’s future. Sounds a bit heavy for a pot of stew or soup, but it really helps out any new mom, even if she says she can do it all and doesn’t need anything. Not having to worry for one meal is like a week’s vacation in the early days.

Taking along a food that will help build her up after the marathon of labour, is loving, comforting and most importantly nutritious.

Freezer meals, snacks and soups make perfect fast food. Here are some ideas.

5 Food Gifts to Bring to a New Mom

 

- Breakfast or sinless desert like apple crumble (recipe below)

- Mix up a homemade trail mix with almonds, cashews, walnuts, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, raisins, dried mulberries and goji berries. All nuts and seeds give brain boosting essential fats, give much needed protein and fibre. The dried fruit gives energy, iron and antioxidants.  Cleverly place it next to the chair she feeds in so she always has a snack when stuck for at least 10 minutes.

- Muffins to quickly grab and go with – like our Sneaky Little Muffins.

- Granola bars that aren’t laden with yeast-feeding sugar. If she or baby had antibiotics throughout the birth or just after, avoiding sugar is a bonus as some babies can develop yeast. This recipe doesn’t contain sugar so it’s perfect for her right now.

- Hearty soup made with lentils or beans for fibre, dark meat poultry for iron and protein, and homemade chicken stock that helps boost breast milk production and boost her immune system to keep everyone healthy. Add in veggies like carrots, onion, garlic, celery, leeks, sweet potato or squash and some greens for extra bone building nutrients.

If she shares with you that her baby is colicy or gassy, leave dairy and sugar out of whatever you choose to take. It could make the problem worse. The recipes here all are sugar free, so you’ll have a winner no matter what you choose.

Apple Crumble

 

This is a recipe based on my mom’s apple crumble. I’ve made it healthier while keeping it scrumptious.

3 cups sliced fruit: apples, peaches, pears, or a combo 750 mL

1 cup blueberries or other berries 250 mL

¼ cup 100% fruit juice 50 mL

1 tsp cinnamon 5 mL

Crumble Topping:

1½ cups rolled oats 375 mL

¼ cup maple syrup (or agave) 50 mL

¼ cup sunflower seeds, chopped 50 mL

¼ cup walnuts, chopped 50 mL

¼ cup unsalted butter 50 mL

1 tsp cinnamon 5 mL

1. In a bowl, toss the sliced fruit, blueberries, fruit juice, and cinnamon.

2. In another bowl, mix the oats, syrup, sunflower seeds, walnuts, butter, and cinnamon. Rub between your fingers to create a soft, coarse crumble.

3. Spoon the fruit mixture and its liquid into a pie plate. Top with the crumble mixture and bake in a 350ºF (180ºC) oven for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the fruit is fork tender and the filling is bubbling and thickened (can also be frozen before cooked). The top should be golden brown. Cool slightly on a wire rack before serving warm or at room temperature. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Nutritional Information

Rich in vitamin C, fibre, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, trace minerals, and complex carbohydrates.

 

Did anyone ever bring you a post-baby meal? What was your favourite?

Sneaky Little Muffins

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Sneaky Little Muffins Recipe - Sprout Right

These muffins make tasty snacks. I like to make and freeze a batch to defrost for an accompaniment to lunch or a snack on car rides.

2 overripe bananas

2 eggs

1 cup grated carrots (250 mL)

½ cup agave syrup (125 mL)

½ cup rice milk (125 mL)

6 tbsp melted butter (90 mL)

¼ cup grated zucchini (50 mL)

1/3 cup ground chia (Salba) (75 mL)

1¾ cup brown rice flour (425 mL)

¼ cup tapioca starch (50 mL)

2 tsp baking powder (10 mL)

1 tsp baking soda (5 mL)

1 tsp cinnamon (5 mL)

1. Beat the bananas in a mixer. Beat in eggs. Add carrots, agave syrup, rice milk, butter, zucchini, and chia; mix well and let sit for 5 minutes.

2. In another bowl, stir together rice flour, tapioca, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.

3. Spoon into 36 greased or paper-lined mini muffin cups and bake in 325ºF (160ºC) oven for about 25 minutes or until muffins are golden and lightly spring back when touched. Makes about 36 mini muffins.

Nutritional Information:

A healthy gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free snack containing beta carotene, potassium, fibre, protein, and trace minerals.

Nutrition Advice for a Good Sleep

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Nutrition Advice for a Good Sleep on SproutRight.comThere is a real synergy with good sleep and a healthy diet.  Having balanced blood sugar, the right nutrients available from food, and avoiding stimulants all help when trying to get a good night’s sleep.

There is a rhythm to daily energy and mood patterns that are run by your blood sugar balance.  Adults commonly feel tired, lethargic, low concentration, dizzy and maybe even get headaches when a meal is skipped or when they to get by on carbohydrate-based meals.

Here are a few tips for better nutrition habits that will lead to a more restful night.

Eat Regularly

Your day can look like; breakfast 8:00 am, snack 10:30 am, lunch at 1:00 pm, snack 3:30 pm and then dinner at 6:00 pm.  If your eating pattern doesn’t look like this, then think of how your energy level is all day long.  Crashing in the afternoon? Want to crawl under your desk for a quick nap after lunch?  Change a few things around and follow this time line and see how you feel.

Was that a bagel for lunch?  The carbohydrate value of a bagel is equal to four slices of bread.  It’s a heavy load giving you a boost of energy to be followed by a slump.  Try half a bagel with tuna, salmon or other protein rich topping.

High on nutrients, low on refinement.  It’s the brown versus white scenario.  The less a food is processed, the more it retains its nutrients.  Although breakfast cereals have added vitamins and minerals (they’ve been added after processing strips them out), it’s mandatory that they’re added, and aren’t naturally occurring as in steel cut oats made into oatmeal.

When eating nutrient packed, unrefined foods, your body benefits from vitamins, minerals, co-factors, proteins, carbohydrates, and everything else it needs to function.  A diet deficient in whole grains (rice, whole wheat, oats), fruits and vegetables, eggs, meat and fish will leave gaps in our daily needs.

Supplement before sleep

Calcium and magnesium, for instance, are calming minerals and very important for good quality sleep.  Taking supplements at bedtime sometimes helps your overall sleep pattern as deficiencies may upset sleep causing waking during the night or a difficulty falling asleep.

Don’t drink caffeine after lunch

Have you experienced the negative effects of caffeine?  Drinking a coffee late in the day or after dinner can keep you up for hours as you wait for that kick to wear off.  Make the switch to herb tea or an antioxidant rich green tea.  Although green tea naturally has caffeine, it’s a lower amount to coffee.

Cut out the late night snacks and drinks

Studies show eating at night slows down your detoxification overnight and leaves you feeling less rested when the alarm goes off. Cut off for your last bite at 8:00 pm.

Start to improve sleep patterns by improving your diet.  They go hand in hand.  Think of the benefits… feel great all day long, as well as get a good night’s sleep.  Sounds heavenly doesn’t it!

You might also like to read:

5 Breakfasts to Keep You Going Until Lunch

Finish 2014 Strong with these Health Tips

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10 Ways to Make Your Salad More Nutritious

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10 Ways to Make Your Salad More Nutritious by Sprout RightSalad greens piled high on your plate is always a welcome dish. A mix of iceberg lettuce with cucumber and tomato can be revolutionized so that your salad becomes a super healthy meal or accompaniment. Try adding some tasty and healthy extras like:

  1. First, start with a variety of greens. Choose from spinach, peppery arugula (also known as rocket), endive, mustardy watercress, chicory, and radicchio and super healthy greens of kale, chard and beet greens. Herbs of basil, cilantro, parsley or dill also can be torn and thrown in the mix.
  2. A handful of nuts add some crunch, minerals and essential fats. Try almonds—whole or bashed, walnuts, pecans, brazil or pine nuts.
  3. A staple to any veggie dish or salad are seeds. Toasted or plain, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame, are the high in essential fats too.  Try poppy seeds for a nice change too.
  4. For a sweetened bite, dried fruit adds minerals including iron.  Choose from raisins, dried apricots, cranberries (look out for ones that are coated in sugar though) blueberries or cherries.
  5. Summertime is all about berries and soft fruits.  Fresh from the market or your back yard, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries or blackberries are all a powerhouse in antioxidants and vitamin C.  Other lovely additions of pear, apricot, plum, watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew.
  6. A salad needn’t have leaves in it.  Fresh vegetables can make up the bulk of any salad, mixed with rice, quinoa or noodles.  Create a rainbow on your plate of red, yellow, orange or green peppers, green beans, peas, avocado, asparagus, red or spring onions, tomato, broccoli, mushrooms, cucumber, corn, cauliflower or carrots with or with out green salad leaves.
  7. Make your own croutons from whole grain Mary’s Sticks and Twigs crackers.  Packed full of seeds and taste, they add a nice crunch to the mix.
  8. A sprinkling of your favourite cheese can make a salad.  Try blue, Stilton, feta, grilled halloumi, herb crusted goats cheese, fresh buffalo mozzarella or bocconcini.
  9. Protein to round off and balance your meal of chicken, fish, quinoa, beans, hardboiled egg or cheese above.
  10. And to top it all off, a lovely light dressing that compliments your creation.  Here’s one that’s fast and easy to make, and stores well.

Simple Salad Dressing

3/4 cup (175 mL) olive oil

1/3 cup (75 mL) lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp (30 mL) agave syrup or honey

Salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients in a jar, shake well before using.

This article originally appeared on iVillage.


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Homemade Granola Bars are a Healthy Snack

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Homemade Granola Bars on SproutRight.comIt’s a scenario we’ve all been in before – its 3pm after a Saturday of sports and activities, long car rides and errands. The kids start out getting a little whiny, but by the time you pull into the driveway they are full out angry … or “hangery” that is! It’s a situation you can avoid by packing a healthy snack full of protein and nutrients that will satisfy hunger, which will quell the whining, and give your kids a boost of energy to make it through until dinner.

Our Go Faster Granola Bars is a favourite recipe amongst Sprout Right families. These homemade granola bars pack protein, fibre and just a bit of sweet to satisfy mid-afternoon munchies. They are easy to tote around in your purse – try stuffing a few bars into a re-usable sandwich bag for after sports when kids need quick fuel to keep their blood sugar stable, and to repair muscle tissue.

Here is the basic recipe for our Homemade Granola Bars, but feel free to make them your own. Mix up the add-ins for a recipe that is unique to your family. And because they are homemade, you can be sure they don’t have added sugar, preservatives, unhealthy fat and excess sodium (all which can be found in your store-bought granola bar varieties).

Homemade Granola Bars by Sprout Right: Go Faster Granola Bar Recipe

1 cup Nature’s Path Millet Rice Flakes cereal

1 cup whole rolled oats

3/4 cup dried fruit (raisins, chopped dates, apricots)

1/4 cup sunflower, pumpkin, or sesame seeds

1/4 cup chopped almonds

1/2 cup brown rice syrup

2 tbsp coconut butter or unsalted butter

1/4 cup almond butter

1. Mix cereal flakes, rolled oats, dried fruit, seeds, and almonds in a bowl.

2. Gently heat brown rice syrup, coconut butter, and almond butter in a large saucepan until melted and smooth. Add dry ingredients to saucepan and quickly stir well to coat. Press into an 8-inch (2L) square pan.

3. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and cut into squares. Store at room temperature.

Makes about 16 bars,

Vary the different types of dried fruit and seeds you choose to use. The possibilities are endless! Enjoy.

Here are more healthy snack ideas.

Be Careful when Buying Supplements at Big Box Stores

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Warning About Big Box Supplements on SproutRight.comWow have you heard about this? The New York Times revealed recently that the New York State Attorney General’s office has sent Cease and Desist letters to retailers of big box supplements; this call to action demands that top retailer brands remove the cited supplement products from their shelves. This after a study of some big brand supplements revealed that the herbs the label claimed were in there, weren’t actually in there. And that fillers and other undisclosed ingredients were found instead.

This is a very unnerving finding, but not altogether surprising. Big box stores, which is where these were found, sell cheap supplements that carry the price they do for a reason. In the US (where this happened) there is an honour system in place, where the brands are trusted that what’s on the label is actually in there, until proven otherwise. In Canada it’s completely different. We are very strict when it comes to our supplements, herbs and homeopathics. So  the answer is not to avoid supplements altogether, but to be a conscious consumer when it comes to the brands you choose to buy.

I chatted with Jerry Agar about this finding on NewsTalk 1010 recently. You can listen to my segment here (I come on at 50:45). I talk about what an NPN number is and why you should look out for it when buying supplements in Canada.

For Sprout Right clients, I have done all the research and have had training on all that we recommend, so you don’t have to. I recommend quality supplements from companies who have invested in the research that validates their product – the ingredients that go into it and the way in which it benefits the body. Yes, you pay more for these supplements but you are assured that you really are getting a healthy and safe product, that will give you the benefits that validate your whole reason for taking them. Here is a case of “getting what you pay for,” as sad as that is.

I also strongly recommend that you book a consultation with me before choosing to purchase a supplement (sometimes all we need is 15 minutes together). I know it is easy to order online through the Sprout Right shop, or to grab a Genestra product from your favourite health food store. But a personal one-on-one consultation allows us to evaluate whether the product is right for you or another member of your family, and it allows us to go through appropriate dosage requirements. There is no one size fits all prescription and I have spent many years working with the manufacturers of these products to learn all that I can about their safe use.

This is a topic close to my heart and this post is one that I hope has opened your eyes to the potential harm drugstore or generic supplements can do, plus the way in which you can be tricked into buying a supplement that is “made of houseplants.” Do your research, be an informed consumer, and of course, always come and chat with me when you need some advice. I am happy to do the legwork of making sure only the best product is available to my clients.

 

photo credit: Nutritional supplements via photopin (license)

Truffle Salt Popcorn Recipe

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Healthy Truffle Salt Recipe on SproutRight.comMaking healthy changes towards better eating doesn’t mean you have to eat bland food! Take a look at Lianne’s favourite popcorn recipe, which is not only a healthy treat but also tastes fantastic.

1/3 cup popping corn

3 tbsp coconut oil

truffle salt to taste

In a medium to large saucepan, melt the coconut oil until it’s hot and bubbles around one test kernel. Pour in the remaining, cover with a lid and let pop until you hear 2 – 3 seconds in between pops. Pour into a large bowl and sprinkle with truffle salt while it’s still hot. Add more melted coconut oil as you would butter, if you like!

Learn more about salt – we’ve got a post on it here.

photo credit: Day 52- Poppin’ Corn! via photopin (license)

Do Sugary Drinks Cause Early Puberty in Girls?

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Soft Drinks Can Cause Early Puberty in Girls - Healthy Pop Alternatives by SproutRightNew research is out suggesting just that: girls who drink more than 1.5 sugary drinks a day got their first menstrual period earlier than girls who consumed less. TWEET THIS!

Scientists have been looking for reasons why girls today are starting their menstrual cycle earlier than girls in the past. It is important, because the early on-set of menses can bring with it some health concerns; girls who matured earlier have an increased risk of breast cancer later in life. This study that looks at the effect of fizzy drinks is an important piece in uncovering the largely unknown reason why girls in developing countries are maturing at a younger age. The reasons why the effects are seen are unknown, though researchers think it has to do with the high sugar content in fizzy drinks.

But it shouldn’t come as a big surprise to us, as awful and scary as these results are. We never recommend that any child (ok, anyone for that matter!) consume pop. Recently, Lianne spoke about issues of diet pop on Talk1010 Radio, and why you should avoid artificial sweeteners. Well here’s new reason to steer clear of pop completely (there are so many reasons, don’t get us started).

We believe that people reach for pop out of habit, and like all habits, you can modify your routine to reach for something healthier instead. Your taste buds slowly follow suit, and cravings subside. Prevent kids from picking up the habit: offer nutritious alternatives starting at a young age. Focus their diet on real foods that are unprocessed and nutrient-rich. For you or your little one, grab one of these healthier options instead.

Click to Tweet: Healthy Alternatives to Pop on SproutRight.com

Flavoured Water 

Water doesn’t have to be boring! I love flavouring my water with whole fruits, vegetables and spices. Some good variations:

  • Cucumber, Mint and Lemon;

  • Lemon and Lime;

  • Cucumber and Strawberry;

  • Raspberry.

Or try your own! The sky’s the limit, really.

Club Soda with Orange Juice

To replicate the fizz of pop,  try club soda with a splash of orange juice (fresh pressed is the best!)

Kombucha Tea

And our favourite alternative is probiotic-rich kombucha tea, that boosts gut health, tastes great and gives you the satisfying fizz of pop. Click here for our recipe, or buy a bottle at your fave health food store.

And on a serious note, if you are worried about your daughter’s consumption of sugary drinks, let’s sit down and talk about how to talk with her about healthy food choices.

Book a one-on-one consultation.

You might also like to read: Childhood Obesity: What We Need to do to Make a Change

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