Breakfast tips, recipes ideas and reasons for not skipping it.

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Quick Energy Protein Smoothie -Take a minute for breakfast!

This is the early-morning High Energy Protein smoothie we serve our guests every day. It helps break our fast and kick start our metabolic process. We recommend mixing until really smooth to get the most out of the combined flavors.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup frozen fruit, such as berries, mangos, and/or strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon hemp oil
  • 3 tablespoons hemp protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds
  • 1 frozen banana 1 cup coconut or almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon powdered greens
  • 1 ½ tablespoons chia seeds pinch of cinnamon

METHOD

  • Blend all ingredients together until smooth.
  • Add water to thin as desired.

Serves 4 x 6 ounce cups

 


Interested in having this and many other delicious gourmet, spa-cuisine recipes prepared for you while you spend a week invigorating and restoring your health? Learn more about the Mountain Trek Program or email us with your questions: info@mountaintrek.com

Huevos Rancheros – A Fast & Delicious Recipe

Huevos Rancheros

These delicious Mexican ranch eggs can be accompanied by slices of avocado or a spoonful of guacamole and a dollop of rice for lasting energy. Serves 4.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/4 cup cheese
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 chipotle Tabasco sauce dash
  • 2 tbsp cilantro leaves – chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup cooked pinto beans
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 dash of salt
  • 4 oz diced canned tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp green chilies
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup onions
  • 2 oz tinned tomato sauce

PREPARATION

  1. Sauté half of the onions with the cooked beans, adding cumin, a dash of salt, and a dash of the chipotle sauce. When cooked through, mash and set aside, keeping warm.
  2. Sauté the remaining half of the onion in a small amount of water with the garlic, tomatoes and tomato sauce, chili powder, green chilies, and chipotle.
  3. Scramble or fry the eggs.
  4. Heat tortillas slightly (steaming or frying in a spritz of water).
  5. Place the tortilla on the plate and layer the bean mixture over the top. Next, layer the egg, and then place the sauce over the top.
  6. Sprinkle with grated cheese.
  7. Garnish with avocado slices and minced cilantro.

To download find more Mountain Trek recipes and to get the shopping list for this recipe, download our Health Guide in Your Pocket App now.

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Should You Eat Breakfast? Our Nutritionist Vs. The New York Times

Do you eat breakfast?

A recent New York Times article cited a study published this year by James Betts, an associate professor of nutrition and metabolism at the University of Bath in England, and stated there is "no difference in weight change…between people assigned to eat breakfast for six weeks and those assigned to skip it." 

The article went on to say, "Dr. Betts said that unlike randomized trials, observational studies of breakfast consumption could be misleading. They show, for example, that people who eat breakfast also follow other behaviors associated with good health. They tend to drink and smoke less, consume less sugar, eat more fiber and exercise more than those who skip a morning meal."

Jennifer Keirstead, Nutritionist at Mountain TrekThe premise of the article raised some flags for us here at Mountain Trek because one of the main beliefs of the Mountain Trek Way program is that eating breakfast within thirty minutes of waking helps kickstart your metabolism and gives your body the energy it requires throughout the day. So we sat down with Mountain Trek's nutritionist Jennifer Keirstead, went over the article and the report carefully and then discussed the factors the study was missing and whether breakfast is, in fact, good for you.

Thanks so much for speaking with us, Jennifer. You've had a chance to read the New York Times article. What was your first impression?

I was really surprised. I know there's a movement right now with "Bulletproof" coffee which encourages people to put two tablespoons of coconut oil or grass-fed butter in their coffee every morning and that's supposed to act as their breakfast and boost their metabolism. That concept, as well as the concept of skipping breakfast entirely goes against a lot of what we teach through the Mountain Trek Way. 

What would be your retort to this article?

From a common sense aspect if you start your day with a healthy meal it sets the stage for the rest of the day. I hear time and time again from our guests that when they skip breakfast and just end up picking at sugary things and jacking themselves up with caffeine and coffee it leads to over-eating later in the day when you're less likely to burn those calories off. 

So breakfast is important?

Absolutely, for those reasons I've already mentioned but also for metabolism. With the Mountain Trek Way program we encourage people to balance their hormones to support their metabolism and by eating breakfast they can boost their anabolic (their good, calorie-burning) metabolism by 15% because it helps keep cortisol levels down which is that stress hormone that leads to catabolic hormonal responses. By keeping that cortisol hormone down it's a way of communicating to the body that, "I'm going to feed you and look after you and you don't have to go into that famine response when you store and hold calories and you'll have sustained energy throughout the day." 

It sounds like the study cited by the Times needs to be put into better context? 

I read the New York Times often and some of my favourite writers and health experts write for them. I guess I just don't agree with the the idea of this particular story that not eating breakfast is going to benefit someone's weight and overall health long term. Also, the question needs to be asked, what are the people in the study consuming instead of breakfast? Just coffee? Caffeine has a dramatic effect for a third of the population by increasing their cortisol levels. For another third of the population it surpresses appetite, which people might think is great for dieting but really if you're supressing your appetite in the morning when you're metabolism is its highest you want calories coming in at the earlier part of the day because you're more likely to burn them off than eating a late lunch and a huge dinner before bedtime.  And finally, caffeine affects a third of the population and their ability of insulin to unlock glucose and stabilize sugar. So we believe there are different negative effects caffeine has on people and if that's all you're having for breakfast and you're not taking in whole foods then there'll be long-term impacts. 

So it sounds like this article and the report aren't telling the whole story. 

Yeah, it's taking a snapshot and showing a small portion of people who didn't gain weight when they skipped breakfast for six weeks. But what it's not showing is quality of life and energy levels after that time period. Your energy levels are going to drop when you skip meals and that's going to affect your thinking. You won't be as productive at work. You won't have the energy to do that brisk walk around the park at lunchtime.

What are your thoughts about breakfast. Feel free to leave your comments below or download our Habits 2 Health app.
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Cinnamon Granola Recipe

Recipe for Cinnamon Granola

This delicious, gluten-free Cinnamon Granola recipe is perfect for breakfast because it’s easy to make and can be stored for weeks. The ingredient list below is enough to make eight servings.

Ingredients:

2 ¼ cups rolled oats (certified gluten free)
¼ cup slivered almonds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
¼ tsp almond extract
½ tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp cinnamon

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325°F
  • Mix grains, nuts and seeds together on a large baking tray
  • Combine remaining ingredients together in a saucepan and heat briefly
  • Pour over nut/oat mixture and toss well to coat
  • Bake for 45 minutes until lightly toasted. Stir every 15 minutes to brown evenly
  • Cool before storing in airtight container
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A Full Day of Spa Cuisine Recipes

Spa-CuisineThere has been a lot of talk about "spa cuisine" in the past year and some people are questioning just exactly what the phrase means. Some assume it's vegetarian or flavourless or served in tiny qualities. Others wonder if it's new-age "superfood" or supplemental vitamins. In actual fact, spa cuisine can include meat, it's delicious and, at Mountain Trek, it's served in perfect portions at the right times during the day so your body doesn't crave non-essential foods. From a scientific perspective, spa cuisine utilizes the natural elements, nutrients and minerals in food to assist the body so that it can function at an optimal level of vitality. In layman's terms, it looks colourful and tastes delicious! You'll find little-to-no processed or refined ingredients in spa cuisine, and in many instances a lot of what you'll be consuming is locally grown or raised and seasonally appropriate. At Mountain Trek, you'll discover that every single one of our meals is well-balanced and amazingly tasty. In fact, we have an on-site nutritionist who ensures the ideal amount of protein, carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables are consumed throughout the day, and at specific times of day, while our chef is always discovering new and delicious ways to prepare the dishes. To learn more about meal composition and timings read our Healthy Eating Tips blog. But if you're looking for a daily sample of delicious spa cuisine, we've included three recipes below for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Bon Appétit!

Breakfast

Manna Bread Breakfast RecipeManna Bread Breakfast

Manna Bread is made with whole sprouted grain berries and pure water – a far cry from the heavily processed bread you find in most supermarkets. Manna bread can come in rye or multigrain or varieties and is available at your local health food store. Loaves tend to be smaller but that's because Manna Bread is more dense and filling. At Mountain Trek we'll typically serve men three half-inch slice in the morning while women receive two slices. Women's portion – serve with:

  • 2 slices smoked cheese (equaling ½ oz. or 14 grams)
  • 2 slices avocado
  • 3 slices tomato
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • Alfalfa sprouts

Men's portion – serve with:

  • 3 slices smoked cheese (equaling ¾ oz. or 21 grams)
  • 3 slices avocado
  • 3 slices tomato
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • Alfalfa sprouts

Lunch

Kootenay Mushroom Barley Lentil Soup

Kootenay Mushroom Barley Lentil Soup

This recipe tastes best when you use freshly picked mushrooms from the forest floor, like we do at Mountain Trek. Whatever mushrooms you use, though, this recipe (which serves 4) will be sure to delight and fulfill.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cup yellow onions, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp grapeseed oil
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 1 cup carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 cup spinach
  • 1/3 cup barley
  • 2 ½ tbsp red lentils
  • 2 ½ tbsp sherry
  • ¾ tsp fresh rosemary
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¾ tsp paprika
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 3 ½ cups veggie stock
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 2 ½ tbsp parsley
  • ½ tbsp Bragg’s or tamari sauce
  • 2 tbsp flax oil
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne

Directions:

  • Heat oil and butter in large soup pan.
  • Add onions, celery, carrots and sauté until translucent.
  • Add mushrooms, garlic and sauté until translucent.
  • Add barley, lentils and spices and sauté for 10 minutes.
  • Add stock and let cook over medium heat for approximately 30 minutes or until the barley is done. 
  • Add Bragg’s, sherry, flax oil and parsley.
  • At Mountain Trek our portions are typically two cups for men and 1.5 cups for women.

Dinner

The Kootenay Bowl

The Kootenay Bowl

This easy-to-make dish is as colourful as it is delicious. It serves four.

Tofu + Marinade:

  • 1 ½ blocks (600 grams) herbed tofu, cubed. (By freezing, thawing and then squeezing the excess water from the tofu its texture changes, allowing it to absorb the marinade.)
  • 2½ tbsp tamari
  • 2½ tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 2½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ – ½ tsp. rosemary powder
  • Blend above ingredients and marinate cubed tofu in it for at least 2 hours before cooking. 
  • Reserve some marinade for cooking tofu.

Dressing: 

  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2½ tbsp water
  • 2½ tbsp tamari sauce
  • 2½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp tahini Blend above ingredients and serve on the side.

The Bowl:

  • ½ cup quinoa cooked in 1 ¼ cup water
  • 4 cup mixed greens
  • ½ cup beets, grated
  • ½ cup carrots, grated
  • ½ cup red cabbage, shredded very fine
  • 4 large cherry tomatoes, halved 2 tbsp sunflower seeds, toasted 4 pinches alfalfa sprouts
  • Rinse quinoa well and cook until tender (about 12-15 minutes).
  • Sauté tofu in a small amount of the marinade until browned on all sides. 
  • Place greens on the bottom of each bowl, put quinoa on top of that, then add rows of carrots, beets and red cabbage.
  • Sprinkle with sunflower seeds; add tofu, sprouts and tomatoes.
  • At Mountain Trek we serve the following portions: women receive 7 cubes of tofu, 1/4 cup of cooked quinoa and 1 1/2 tbsp of dressing; men receive 9 cubes of tofu, 1/3 cup cooked quinoa and 2 tbsp of dressing.

To find more Mountain Trek recipes and to get the shopping list for these recipes, download our Habits 2 Health App now. 

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Why Potassium is so Important for your Body

fitness classes in gymA few weeks ago we published a blog called “Electrolytes: Myth-Busted” in response to a question posted on our Facebook page by a Mountain Trek alumni. The article garnered huge interest and prompted another alumni, James, to ask, “Please speak more on potassium.”

So herewith are the facts everyone should know about potassium and how this important mineral applies to your overall health.

What is potassium?

This mineral is one of the main electrolytes in your body (others include sodium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium). Electrolytes are electrically charged particles that our cells use to maintain voltage across our cell membranes and carry electrical impulses to other cells.

What does it do?

Potassium aids nerve conduction, muscle contraction and heart beat regulation. It also helps maintain normal blood pressure by blunting sodium’s effects and ensures proper fluid balance between your cells and body fluids.

Why is it important?

In addition to helping maintain a proper fluid balance in your body, potassium also performs the following functions:

  • Keeps the blood from clotting
  • Maintains the body’s pH balance
  • Carries nutrients to the cells
  • Protects the stomach lining from the damage that could be caused by stomach acids
  • Maintains healthy blood pressure
  • Promotes heart health
  • Preserves bone health

Raw almondsWhat are some sources of potassium?

Potassium is found in a wide variety of foods but bananas are the ones most famously associated with the mineral. Other sources include:

  • Citrus fruits and tomato juice
  • Melons
  • Leafy greens
  • Broccoli
  • Avocados
  • Almonds and peanuts
  • Raisins and prunes
  • Milk
  • Sweet potatoes and legumes like lima and kidney beans are also high in potassium.
  • Interestingly, sports drinks are typically a poor source of potassium.

Why should you be aware of your potassium levels?

When you sweat (whether from working out, sitting in a sauna or living in a climate with hot, humid temperatures) your perspiration releases potassium out of the body. These decreased levels can lead to adverse effects such as muscle cramping, weakness, fatigue, heart palpitations and constipation. The good news is that potassium is easy to replenish and most people do so by maintaining a diet that includes the above foods. For example, eating almonds after you work out or detoxify in a steam room will help replenish your stores.

When is potassium harmful?

Too little potassium is just as dangerous as too much. A short-term deficiency can cause elevated blood pressure and muscle cramps but on a chronic level (hypokalemia) it is associated with a risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes. If your kidneys are working normally, they’ll regulate the amount of potassium that your body needs but people with diabetes who have kidney disease, for example, need to be especially careful of their potassium intake, as levels can get too high in the body (hyperkalemia), which can, in turn, damage the heart.

What is the suggested intake of potassium?

The recommended intake for adults is 4,700 milligrams daily. People who eat a healthy diet will get enough potassium naturally. However, those who eat mostly processed foods can be short up to a total of 1,000 milligrams. (Some medications for blood pressure could also cause a potassium deficiency, so check with your doctor.)

Should you take potassium supplements?

Unless you have a chronic illness your body will regulate your potassium levels provided your diet consists of certain whole foods like fruit, vegetables and nuts. (See list above.) The only time supplements are recommended is if you require electrolytes due to exertion or excess sweating (Mountain Trek clients might take one daily electrolyte supplement, like Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator, due to their high amounts of perspiration) or if you suffer from certain chronic ailments like diabetic ketoacidosis, a metabolic condition more commonly seen in people with Type 1 diabetes.

Blood Glucose testerWhat is the relationship between potassium and diabetes?

Interestingly, some Type 1 diabetics may have too much potassium in their systems while many Type 2 diabetics have too little. Yet, because of certain medications, some Type 2 diabetics may not be able to excrete potassium in the way they should. If you have (or at risk of getting) diabetes, definitely have your doctor perform a potassium test to determine your levels and ensure that your medications or supplements are not negatively impacting your body’s potassium levels.

Toronto Cycling Club Recommends Mountain Trek

breakfastRecently Toronto journalist and road cycling aficionado Trish Synder attended Mountain Trek to write an article for Reader Digest‘s “Best Health” publication.

She was so taken with the program she decided to also do a blog post for her local biking club from the beaches area in Toronto that explained why even fit road cyclists should visit Mountain Trek. This is an excerpt from her piece, “I exercised for 34 hours over six days, which included 66 km and 6,000 vertical feet of hiking through the Selkirk and Purcell Mountains. One of the guides told us we were active for as many hours a day as Olympic athletes train. OK, not nearly at the same level, but this was intense, exhausting and totally invigorating—one of the most powerful experiences I’ve had.”

Trish goes on to explain how the highlights of her trip included the mountain scenery, spotting various wildlife such as moose, morning yoga classes, the massages and the “delicious” food, which included the breakfast creation shown here – so inspiring that Trish was compelled to photograph it. (“The creamy stuff was made by soaking cashews overnight and then creaming them in a Vitamix blender with a bit of orange juice. Beyond delicious,” she writes.)

To learn more about Trish’s stay at Mountain Trek, you can read her entire blog post here.

 

How to Lose Those Last Stubborn Pounds

Weight Loss Tips

Ok, you’ve made some lifestyle changes, drink more water, eat more salad, go for a walk a few times a week…so why does that last 20 lbs of weight hang on so stubbornly? It’s great you’ve made those changes, but there could be a few factors that thwart your health and weight loss goals:

  • you may have reached a new set point, so what you burn is perfectly balanced with what you consume
  • you may not be aware of how your food choices prevent you from breaking through your weight loss barrier
  • you might be fatigued from lack of sleep making it harder to exercise effectively
  • you might be stressed, and this can impair metabolism.

If you take a long view of your health, you can gradually make changes that stick. If you are pressed for time, with risks to your heart or impending diabetes, you might need to make changes quickly. Here are some ideas for addressing that last hurdle.

  1. Assess your habits. Condiments add extra fuel to a meal, and may have ingredients your body doesn’t need. Bottled sweet drinks including juice and soda add calories with less value than whole fruits or freshly pressed juices. Notice the many ways extra calories creep quietly into your day, then make clear choices.
  2. Get enough sleep. Being well-rested means you can exercise the next day; exercising means you’ll sleep well. If your body clock is properly adjusted, meals can also fall into a pattern which can prevent binging.
  3. Snack wisely. Keep veggies, nuts and fruits available to stave off hunger between meals. A small snack will keep fat cells calm, your metabolism burning properly and prevent your body from swinging between feast and famine modes. Make sure to have breakfast and eat a healthy lunch.
  4. Read ingredients carefully and assess your larder. Be picky! Anything that does not come from a farm or is not simply derived from a natural ingredient is worth researching. Go easy on saturated fats and avoid trans-fats completely. The more you know, the easier it will be to make healthy decisions.
  5. Find inner peace. Well, maybe that’s too much to ask, but find ways to unwind. High stress levels lead to fat storage, so figure out how to have fun and feel good. A mindfulness practice plus exercise can alleviate stress and help the body be resilient.
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Mountain Trek Reviewed on “Lisa Johnson Fitness”

lisajohnsonFitness expert Lisa Johnson visited Mountain Trek and summed up her experience in one word, “Wow.”

Lisa is a popular pilates and fitness icon in the United States and she’s been featured in The New York TimesGlamourFamily CircleThe Boston GlobeEntrepreneur, and on CBS News.

In her article Lisa comments on the fact the food is “delicious. Mouth-watering soups, savory dishes; I’m so glad they give you a cookbook of all their recipes so I can make a bunch at home.  The day we had Bliss Balls (these almond butter concoctions) I was in heaven.”

She goes on to list the benefits of her stay:

  • The scenery is spectacular
  • The level of sweat is spectacular
  • I surprised myself with my strength
  • I surprised myself by not being as healthy as I thought I was
  • I came away with a new mindset
  • I finally broke through a weight plateau
  • I lost five pounds of just fat! I gained 0.6 pounds of muscle
  • I can’t wait for the rest of my life!

Click here To read Lisa’s entire article entitled, “Mountain Trek: A Posh Bootcamp.