Learn more about Nutrition and it’s effect on living a healthy lifestyle. Nutrition is a factor in stress and weight gain.

Heavenly Orbs Recipe

Heavenly Orbs_16X9

The name says it all. Nut butter anchors the lightness of coconut, orange and apricot in this delicious snack. This Heavenly Orbs recipe is definitely one that belongs in our Hall of Fame. Makes 8 or 9 orbs.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • 1/8 cup hemp seed butter
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom
  • 1 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup coconut
  • orange juice to moisten
  • 1/8 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • zest of a small orange

Method 

  1. Chop nuts and apricots together finely in a food processor
  2. Add butters and remaining ingredients
  3. Form into balls and refigerate or freeze

To 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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6 Healthy Travel Snacks That Are Prepackaged

Healthy Snacks

Guests at Mountain Trek are pleasantly surprised by the deliciousness of the snacks we supply during the hours they spend hiking on the trails. Many expect mass-produced "energy" bars to help fuel their activities but that style of snack is usually full of corn syrup and highly processed ingredients. We recommend people take a small time out of their week to prepare healthy items they can snack on throughout the course of their days. We even wrote an article detailing the "Top 5 On The Go Snacks" that mentioned some of our proprietary recipes such as bliss balls

However, we've since heard from some guests, especially those who travel a lot, that it can be difficult to find the time to whip up some Loki Dip to go with those carrot sticks. So, we asked our nutrition expert Jennifer Keirstead to supply us with another list of snacks that people can enjoy when they're traveling and don't have access to their kitchen. This is Jenn's reply and suggestions for 6 healthy travel snacks

Eating right on the road, can be tricky. I always take a few things with me so I have a little backup. Here are some of my favorite ideas:

  1. EPIC bars – These are basically dehydrated meat in power bar form. They're made from grass-fed meats, high in protein, and taste like jerky!
  2. SuperFood Energy Bar They're made from plant-based, high-quality ingredients. No fillers!
  3. Justin's Almond Butter in squeeze packs make great traveling companions. Pack a piece of fruit, or two, and spread on some creamy, high-protein almond, for a perfectly balanced snack on the go.
  4. Trail Mix – Try to avoid the prepackaged ones as they contain a lot of sodium. Instead, buy seeds and nuts from the bulk section and make your own. I like to mix unsalted cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds, dried currants and goji berries.
  5. Prepackaged veggies – Items such as baby carrots or sugar snap peas are easy to find and delicious with a container of hummus.
  6. Starbucks "Protein Box" – If you're at the airport and grab one of these boxes and enjoy a hard boiled egg, fresh fruit, cheese, and multigrain Muesli bread.

Of course, being even just a little prepared with a snack in your purse, or suitcase can go a long way to help keep you on the right track nutritionally.

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Why You Need To Stop Calorie Counting Right Now

Calorie Counting

Recently Mountain Trek's nutrition expert Jennifer Keirstead was asked whether calorie counting is beneficial for those who are looking to lose weight and improve their fitness. Below is her response but before we jump into it, let's first define the subject at hand. 

What Is Calorie Counting?

Calorie counting is the act of adding together the caloric value of food(s) that one eats. The history of this practice dates back to 1900 when Wilbur Olin Atwater and his associates at the Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station determined the caloric values of a number of food components (i.e., the protein, fat, and carbohydrate isolated from various foods) by multiplying the heat of combustion of the food with correction factors that take into consideration incomplete digestion or oxidation of the food in the body. The conversion factors determined by Atwater and his associates remain in use today.

Why The Calorie Calculation Formula Is Skewed

Despite the fact Atwater built in various correction factors for caloric values, they do not account for:

  • variation of individual absorption
  • the influences of an individual's intestinal bacteria and that's affect on absorption (these change depending on history of travel, antibiotics and present diet)
  • variation in nutrient density of today’s foods compared to foods from those used in the Atwater research of 1900, which were less processed, more organic and more local
  • and they exclude many nutrients that were unknown in 1900 (the number of known nutrients to science in 1900 was fewer than 16 whereas now it's exponentially higher than that. 

Moreover, both meal timings and meal composition also have an impact on how calories are absorbed by the body.

Why A Calorie Isn't Just A Calorie

Now that we've looked at the history of calorie counting and why it can be considered inaccurate, here is Jennifer's further response to why calorie counting isn't worth it:

"Not all calories are created equal. Take the example of an ice cream cone versus an avocado: both are calorie-rich foods but the calories in the ice cream cone are considered "empty" because they don't offer the body any nutritional value. They simply spike our blood sugar and leave us feeling lower in energy after we eat them. However, the calories from real foods, like the avocado, offer the body nutrient-dense calories that are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Your body gains energy, antioxidants, and digestive support from the calories in real foods. But it's important to remember you can still overeat the good calories too. It's great to be mindful of how much we're eating, regardless of where the calories are coming from!"

It can be argued that Mountain Trek stresses specific (and different) caloric intake for women and men but this is a rough guideline and it's important to remember the entire nutrition tenant of the program includes many proven elements such as only eating real foods, abstaining from cortisol-raising foods such as sugar and caffeine and stressing the importance of meal timings and composition.

To fully appreciate the Mountain Trek nutrition program we suggest you book a stay with us. Contact Michelle or Mia by phone or email to learn more. Alternatively, book online now.

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The Detox Food Myth – Our Nutritionist Weighs In

Detox Food Myths

There has been a lot of talk lately about “detoxing foods” – super foods that cleanse everything from your liver to your spleen. In fact, take a walk through any health food store and you’ll notice a lot of products bearing the word “detox.”

Recently the well-respected Guardian newspaper in the UK did an exposé about a lot of these foods and claimed that detoxifying is a myth – that the word should only ever be applied to someone suffering from life-threatening drug addiction.

And yet, at Mountain Trek, we use the word “detoxify” often – in fact, it defines one of the five paths of the program, which also include nutrition, fitness, sleep and stress reduction. So what is the difference between the modern day media’s use of the word “detox” and the way it’s used at Mountain Trek?

To discover the answer, we spoke with Mountain Trek’s nutritionist Jennifer Keirstead about the differences between detoxifying foods and detoxifying your body.

Jennifer Keirstead, Nutritionist at Mountain Trek1. Thanks so much for speaking with us, Jennifer. Our first question is whether there’s such a thing as a food the detoxifies?

I think there are certainly foods that can help our bodies in the process of being healthy. I like the idea of eating to nourish ourselves. A diet full of colour, variety, more fresh and less packaged foods. These foods, when eaten regularly, help keep us healthy all year round.

2. We hear a lot about “detoxing teas” and “super foods” that clean out the body. Are there really examples of detoxing foods?

Fresh foods, with lots of colour, are abundant in nutrients, making them both nourishing and satisfying. Some of my personal favourites include: leafy greens, cilantro, parsley, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, apples, berries, garlic, and ginger. I like the idea of buying local and in season, to increase the freshness and nutrient density of my food.

3.Why do you think there a fad around foods that detoxify right now?

I think everyone loves trying something new. We get bored because we’re used to having so many options. This is another reason why eating seasonally makes sense, we can get the variety we really crave. Those fresh summer strawberries only have a small growing window, you truly enjoy and savor them when there not available everyday. Besides, our lives are busy! When we stop for a minute to reflect, chances are we all feel like we need to detoxify from some part of our jam-packed life. I think just the word “detoxification” itself can be comforting. It can make us feel like we’re being proactive in reducing the amount of lifestyle stress we often expose ourselves too.

4. What is a better way to detoxify your body?

I like to look at detoxification as a whole body and lifestyle process. If we could take into account all the different areas in which we may need to make adjustments. These include increasing physical activity, enjoying dry saunas, eating nourishing, whole foods on a regular basis, and addressing all that mental clutter through practices like meditation, yoga, or getting out into nature. All of this helps relieve toxic stress and a toxic lifestyle.

5. What are 5 examples of food to avoid because they are very toxic to your body?

I believe so much in moderation. Some of the things we might truly enjoy from time to time, may not always be the best for our body. Enjoying indulgent foods in balance helps supports realistic expectations, and can still be part of a healthy, yet sustainable, lifestyle. Excessive amounts of caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and processed foods can have a toxic effect on us both mentally and physically. Try and make these things an occasional part of life, and remember it’s what you do MOST of the time that matters.

What are your thoughts about detoxing foods? Feel free to leave your comments below.

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Will Bacon Kill You? Facts vs Fiction

Will bacon kill you?

Last week the World Health Organization released a report that classified bacon and other processed meats as “carcinogenic to humans…based on sufficient evidence in humans that consumption causes colorectal cancer.”

The media reacted instantly with articles that read, “Bacon: as bad as cigarettes” and “Hot dogs can kill.” Of course, a lot of the coverage was sensationalized and a few key facts were missed so we looked into the controversy a bit deeper and asked Mountain Trek Nutritionist Jenn Kierstead to give us her thoughts about it all and whether processed meats are indeed detrimental to our overall health and wellbeing.

What the W.H.O. Report Actually Said

To see the World Health Organization’s press release about the report regarding processed meat and red meat, click on this link: WHO-press-release. However, here are a few key items pulled from the document.

  • At this juncture the agency’s discussion of red meat is premature and inconclusive because it admits it’s based on “limited evidence” and the fact that “red meat has nutritional value.”
  • However, after reviewing the scientific literature of 22 experts from 10 countries the organization says it has “sufficient evidence” to classify processed meats as carcinogenic.
  • According to the experts, eating 50 grams of processed meat per day increases your risk of colorectal cancer by 18%
  • Examples of processed meat include hot dogs (frankfurters), bacon, ham, sausages, corned beef, and biltong or beef jerky as well as canned meat and meat-based preparations and sauces.

Not All Bacon Is the Same

Jennifer Keirstead, Nutritionist at Mountain TrekWhat’s interesting about the report is it doesn’t qualify what exactly “processed meats” are. To be clear, there are definitely examples of bacon, ham and sausages out there that do not fall into this category. Our nutritionist Jenn says eating bacon from a locally raised, pastured pig is a far-cry from the shrink-wrapped rasher at your nearby super-store. However, it’s safe to say that, in this case, the W.H.O. is referring to mass-produced meats.

“The key word in all of this is ‘processed,'” Jenn says. “Anything that goes through processing means it’s been tampered with; it’s altered and eventually becomes a non-food. In the case of processed meats, they go through a curing process that requires a lot of nitrites and other preservatives so that they can last and last on grocery store shelves.”

What Would Mountain Trek Do?

“It looks like processed meat is the next hot topic surrounding food,” Jenn says. “Every so often news agencies and the general public will jump on the latest superfood or fad diet and that dominates the discussion.”

“At Mountain Trek we tend to ignore the hype,” she continues. “We’ve always stuck with the same program around nutrition and its proven to work: eat local, healthy meals as often as you can and, occasionally if you have some bacon or a hot dog, it’s not going to be the end of the world.”

In other words, don’t eat bacon every breakfast or foot-longs every lunch. But indulging during a Sunday brunch or at the ballpark is OK.

Remember, though, the more colour on your plate the better. (And no, that doesn’t include ketchup and mustard). To learn more about the importance of meal timings and composition, check out our “Health Eating Tips” blog.

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Simple Strategies For Relieving Stress in the Kitchen

Simple Strategies For Relieving Stress in the Kitchen

If your kitchen has become a centre for stress, these 4 tips can help simplify your cooking style so you have more time to relax and enjoy healthy and delicious meals. (And if the thought of cooking a turkey dinner this Thanksgiving holiday is just too stressful, then why not join us at Rancho la Puerta in Baja, Mexico and have someone else do the cooking for you?!)

Remember, cooking should be a way to relieve stress rather than cause it. The act of preparing a meal can divert the mind from the day’s activities and bring into focus the food you are creating. And the smell and taste sensations that come from preparing a delicious dish are immensely satisfying.

Kitchen Tips: Plan Ahead

Tip 1. Draw It Up

In order to be prepared for the coming week, take a few minutes to plan your meals. Check your schedule (as well as your family’s) for any meal conflicts that might arise (such as evening sports games or late nights at work) and then work around it. By organizing in advance, it alleviates the stress of coming home and trying to figure out what’s for dinner.

Kitchen Tip: Write it down

Tip 2. Write It Down

Many people don’t realize this but you don’t need to spend a lot of time in your average super market because: a) you just have to stick to the outer aisles to get everything you need and b) when you write down a detailed shopping list, it prevents you from wandering into the middle aisles where you’ll find all the processed, unhealthy food. When you write down your list, group items by what aisle they’re in and you’ll save a lot of time, energy and stress.

Kitchen Tip: Prep your food ahead of time

Tip 3. Divvy It Up

If you’ve ever watched a cooking show on TV, you’ll notice that the professional chefs always divvy up their ingredients into separate bowls before beginning the preparation. This extra step ensures you’re not having to look for something at the last second while things are boiling over. It helps you stay in line and on time and definitely takes the stress out of mixing ingredients together.

Kitchen tip: Work Ahead

Tip 4. Work Ahead

Consider cooking extra food or even two meals at once, and reheating on a busier day. Some Mountain Trek favourites include Smoked Salmon and Halibut Chowder, Super Vitalizing Quinoa Salad and Greek Feta & Turkey Stew. Even fresh vegetables can be prepared ahead of time – simply blanch them (ie: parboil in water or steam) in order to remove at the start of the week and store them for use later when you can quickly rewarm or sautée them.

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Five Weight Loss Must-Haves for Every Kitchen

No doubt you have a fair few gadgets in your kitchen but there are really only a handful that are needed in order to ensure you stick to a healthy weigh-loss regimen. Here they are:

#1. Kitchen Scale

If you really want to get serious about weight loss then it’s important you understand portion size. Purchase an inexpensive food scale and weigh your food before you eat it. You’ll be surprised by how much you underestimate the amount you eat.

yellow-retro-kitchen-scale#2. Smaller Plates

Of course you can hold onto your larger plates for when you’re entertaining guests but for your regular, daily meals you should have a stack of plates handy that are no more than 10 inches (25 cm) in diameter. That way you’ll ensure your portion sizes aren’t too large.

selection-of-plate-sizes-and-bowls

#3. Good Measuring Cups and Spoons

Like the kitchen food scale, these items are essential for maintaining portion sizes. You can be more free-form with the spices, but when it comes to fats, proteins and carbohydrates, it’s best to measure.

pink measuring cups and silver measuring spoons

#4. Water Jug

Having a beautiful looking jug on your counter top that’s always filled with room-temperature water will encourage you to drink more of it.

Three-glass-water-jugs

#5. Pedometer

OK, technically this isn’t a kitchen gadget but if it resides in your kitchen where you spend a lot of your time, then you’ll be more inclined to use it. Pedometers come in all shapes and sizes and most are inexpensive. Keep one around your kettle or breakfast food area so that when you wake up in the morning it’s there to remind you to get in your 10,000 steps per day.

pedometer

Bonus: A Tablet

Like the pedometer, this one isn’t exactly a kitchen gadget either, but with a tablet (or laptop or smart phone) you’ll be able to access recipe sites and social media sites, such as Pinterest, that offer excellent, delicious and interesting dishes to try. And in the near future there will be a Mountain Trek app that you’ll be able to use as well. Stay tuned for more about that exciting development!

tablet-in-the-kitchen

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Cuisine Secrets – 10 Ways to Cook Healthier

We are regularly asked by those who visit Mountain Trek how it is that our food is so delicious and yet we avoid using such “staples” as refined carbohydrates, salt and sugar. The good news is it’s simple: we just don’t have any of those things in our kitchen.

Here are 10 more secrets to healthy cooking, compliments of the chefs at Mountain Trek.

#1. Use Smart Fats

Coconut-Oil-Healthy-Fats

There are two types of fat: unsaturated, such as olive oil, and saturated, such as butter. Choose the first more often and only eat the latter in smaller doses.

#2. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Fruit-and-Vegetables

Stick to whole (unprocessed) grains such as wild rice and quinoa, which have more fibre, zinc and other nutrients.

#3. Go Unrefined

Unrefined-Honey-and-whole-flax-seeds

If you take nothing else away from these secrets, remember this: eat more vegetables and fruits and less of almost everything else.

#4. It’s Not All About the Meat

Dried-beans---not-all-about-meat

Meat is a source of protein but most also contain saturated fat. Eat small portions and substitute often with beans and legumes such as peas.

 

#5. Lessen Intake of Fat-Filled Dairy Products

Less-Dairy-Almond-Milk

Fat-free dairy products are usually full of artificial sweeteners, which are worse than fat in our opinion. Better to lessen your intake of fat-filled dairy all together.

#6. Keep Portions Reasonable

Portion-Control

At Mountain Trek we’re big proponents of healthy meal composition as well as meal timings. Remember to keep portions small and simple and eat the majority of your daily food before 5:00 pm.

#7. Avoid Sweeteners

avoid-sweeteners-cup-of-plain-tea

Whether you’re using unrefined honey or white sugar, you’re adding calories to your meal and hardly any nutritional value.

#8. Reduce Sodium

Reduce-Sodium---Spilled-salt-shaker

The recommended intake of salt per day is about a teaspoon – which you will get naturally in your food. Throw away that salt shaker.

#9. Go For the Flavour

Spices---Flavour-your-food

There are many other delicious ways to flavour your dishes than just using salt and pepper. Fresh herbs, spices and citrus will add punch to your meals without making you feel you’re missing out.

#10. Be Mindful and Enjoy

Be-Mindful-and-Enjoy-your-food---wooden-fork-with-spring-greens

In our current culture it’s so easy to just grab the most convenient thing in the cupboard and run. (Or worse, eat out for every meal.) But by putting more time and effort into your cooking you’ll be happier, healthier and enjoy a lot more vitality.

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7 Crucial Healthy Eating Tips, 5 Easy Nutrition Tips & A Recipe

[wps_social_buttons] Tips for Staying Healthy

Does this sound a bit like your lifestyle:

Wake up groggy ➨ Coffee ➨ Commute to office ➨ Coffee ➨ Quick lunch at desk ➨ Chocolate/Coffee to spike low energy ➨ Commute home ➨ Huge dinner ➨ Watch TV ➨ Sleep ➨ Wake up groggy

Perhaps you’ve tried diets or removing certain food groups from your meals in order to lose weight and be energized throughout your day? Or maybe you’ve swung the other direction and are addicted to certain foods and can’t get through a day without them (like coffee for example)?

Well, let’s take a step back and look at not only the types of food you’re consuming, but how you’re eating them. Our modern-day culture stresses what kinds of food to eat (by the way, there’s a reason there are so many diets fads in the world – it’s because none of them work) but not a lot of sources are concentrating on how and when you eat food and its impact on your overall health. And now that we’re heading into the holiday season, especially Americans who are about to celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s more important than ever to stress some key healthy eating tips.

Meal Timings

Meal Timings

#1. If you take nothing else away from this article, remember one thing: eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up. Even if it’s just an Energy Smoothie. With the prevalence put on coffee these days, most of us wake up, have a cup of joe (or several), and, because caffeine is an appetite suppressant, we go the entire morning without eating. The problem with this scenario is your body reacts by thinking it’s being starved and builds up fat cells. Fall into a habit of this and quite quickly it becomes too hard to shed weight because the body is always worried about when the next meal will come. The simple solution to this is to eat some form of food within a half-hour of waking and three things will happen:

  • You’ll kick-start your metabolism for the day
  • You’ll be supporting your circadian rhythm and will have more energy
  • You’ll keep your liver from initiating the “famine” response

We know that a warm cup of coffee is very comforting, especially as the cold weather settles in, but consider trying alternatives like ginger tea, which helps cleanse the liver rather than tax it, or perhaps a barley-based coffee substitute like Bambu or Akava. At the very least, try lessening your coffee intake by just have one a morning after your first meal or smoothie.

#2. Eat two-thirds of your food in the first nine hours of the day. This is an issue that’s most especially prevalent in North America where we tend to consume coffee during the day and then have a huge meal right before we watch TV and fall asleep. The issue with this scenario is the body doesn’t have the ability to work off all those extra calories over the course of your sleeping period and so it tends to store it all as fat. By eating most of your food during the first half of your day you:

  • Allow your body to burn off those calories by walking and being active and
  • You reduce your evening blood sugar levels so insulin doesn’t store excess as fat

This may seem difficult to do at first because large dinners can seem so satisfying but just try it for a little while and we’re positive your energy levels will increase in the morning.

#3. Not only will you benefit from eating within the first nine of hours of your day, you’ll also feel better if you consume multiple food groups every three hours during the day. By snacking regularly you convince the body you’re not starving and it will be less likely to store fat. Let’s preface this, however, by saying that a snack does not include an entire bag of Doritos. All you need is a piece of fruit and a handful of seeds or nuts or any of our top 5 on-the-go-snacks to keep your energy up. And by eating throughout the day you will:

  • Keep your blood sugars steady and avoid spokes and insulin response from eating just a few large meals
  • Avoid the “famine” response and resulting fat storage from skipping meals
  • Avoid energy drops associated with low blood sugar that tends to have us craving coffee, chocolate or another caffeine source

Meal Composition

Meal Composition

As we mentioned above, not only is it important to watch what you eat, it’s also important to watch how much and when you’re eating it. At Mountain Trek we honour people’s choices when it comes to vegetarianism or veganism but we believe it’s crucial to combine multiple food groups at each meal and snack. So whether you get your protein from meat, beans, certain leafy greens kale or our delicious homemade protein bars (avoid store-bought ones as they’re full of calories, among other things) you should be eating it at every meal. Likewise complex carbohydrates (think slow-cooked oatmeal not white bread and most cereals, which contain refined sugar and starches) and vegetables and fruit. We should also stress that we prefer local, fresh, organic and unprocessed foods (stay away from the centre aisles at the grocery store), and as much variety of them as possible. And if you’re eating animal protein, choose organic, wild or free-range that are free of hormones and antibiotics. Here is how we break down our meals at Mountain Trek:

#1. At breakfast we recommend equal volumes of complex carbohydrates, protein, vegetables or fruit as well as a teaspoon of omega oil and small amount of dairy (or substitute if you’re allergic or have an intolerance). By combining these items you benefit by:

  • supporting a “glycemic load,” which contributes to a longer, slower release of blood sugars and avoid insulin spikes
  • getting important minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals, which do the body wonders especially first thing in the morning
  • the high fibre from complex carbohydrates provides chromium to help regulate blood sugars and it creates a sense of fullness, lowering appetite

#2. Lunch should be two-thirds vegetables and a third protein with a small dairy component or substitute.

#3. Dinner should be made up of the following: a half vegetables, a quarter complex carbohydrates and a quarter protein with a small dairy component or substitute. This is because:

  • Higher vegetable portions (salads, soups, steamed or sautéed) provide antioxidants, fibre and phytochemicals to support active, growth-centered metabolism
  • Fewer dinner calories reduces the chance of fat storage
  • It promotes a healthy appetite for breakfast

#4. At Mountain Trek we believe in feeding the body AND feeding the soul. Therefore, we don’t expect you to follow this eating program to the letter. If you can try to eat like the way we detail above five days of the week and allow yourself two days to consume what we call “soul foods” you’ll be happier, and that has a huge impact on your health as well!

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Afterglow Almond Butter Dressing Recipe

Afterglow Almond Butter Dressing Recipe

This is the most sought-after recipe at Mountain Trek and for good reason: it’s delicious and makes you want to eat salads!

Ingredients:

3⁄4 cup organic smooth almond butter
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos – (may use tamari if braggs is not available – start with 1⁄2 Tbs. if using tamari)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 crushed garlic clove (or 1⁄2 teaspoon minced)
1 teaspoon curry powder
3⁄4 c. water
1⁄4 tsp. veggie broth powder
1⁄4 teaspoon salt as needed to taste

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Purée until smooth. Chill. Use on cooked vegetables or as a salad dressing. Will keep refrigerated for one week.
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Five Easy Nutrition Tips

Aside from the seven suggestions above about when and how to eat, there are five easy-to-implement nutrition tips that will help increase your vitality and support your health. They are:

Drink your food; eat your water

#1. Drink Your Food; Eat Your Water

In other words, eat slower, chew more and swish your water around in your mouth before you swallow. Not only will this help initiate the breakdown of carbohydrates with saliva enzymes and ease digestion, you will allow time for the vagus nerve to communicate when you’re full, thereby avoiding over-eating.

Eat Out Less

#2. Eat Out Less

We all love restaurants but there’s a reason their food tastes so good: lots of butter, oil, sugar and salt. By visiting fewer restaurants you’ll avoid over-sized portions, lots of empty calories and fat. We’re not saying never go to restaurants, but perhaps limit it to once-a-week or special occasions.

Drink Less Alcohol

#3. Drink Less Alcohol

It’s especially important to avoid more alcohol as the cold weather and holidays approach. All alcohol has empty calories (even the ones marketed as being free of carbs) and when combined with excessive eating at Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s a one-two punch that will guarantee weight gain. We’re not saying don’t drink at all, just limit binge drinking and consider only drinking at meal times to help your liver process.

Minimize Artifical Sweeteners

#4. Minimize Artificial Sweeteners

This means limiting (or better yet, eliminating) sodas, energy drinks, candy and all the toxins associated with them. If you want a treat, consider having chocolate that contains 80% cocoa or better yet sweet fruit like dates. We can’t stress this enough because, ultimately, artificial sweeteners fall into the category of really bad foods given their poisonous qualities.

Explore the Sour Eight

#5. Explore Your Sensitivity to the “Sour Eight”

The Sour Eight are wheat, corn, dairy, soy, sugar, eggs, alcohol and peanuts and the majority of the population has some form of sensitivity to at least one of these. Sensitivities could range from full-blown allergies to mild discomfort but by taking time to remove one of these from your diet for a month, you could avoid constipation, bloating, excess mucus, fatigue, headaches, water retention and most shockingly of all, you could eliminate 5-15 pounds of water retention in your bowels! Try it: start with peanuts and see how you feel in terms of vitality after a month. You may not notice a difference in which case move on to eggs and then work towards the others, which you’ll find are a little more difficult to eliminate as they’re so omnipotent. But ultimately isn’t your health and vitality worth it?

 

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