Category Archives: Real Food Nutrition

Why cookie-cutter meal plans don’t work (and how to make your own)

Meal-PlanWritten by my brilliant dear friend, Laura Curiale.

You’re on the internet: Facebooking , Instagramming, looking up recipes and meal ideas.

You have a busy life and you want to be healthy.

Then you see it.

A beautiful, blue, clickable link promising you balanced daily meals and shopping lists to match.

This is amazing! You think… and so you pay the $9.99 for one week, the $17.99 for two, or maybe even the $40 for the month.

Sound familiar?

Well, join me in the “I wish I had bought that dress instead of this meal plan” club, sistah!

Week 1 goes off without a hitch.

The shopping is easy, the meals are ok, I’m thinking – I’ve totally got this!

Week 2 is OK.

Similar meals to the first week.

I know I’m definitely grabbing a takeout pizza because let’s face it, for me, a week without one of my favourite foods is not a good week.

Now I arrive at week 3 and I’m dying of boredom.

Who wrote this meal plan? Why do they not like flavours? Why am I listening to someone who doesn’t know me or my likes or my lifestyle?

There’s only so many days in a row I can eat boneless, skinless chicken with steamed veggies and brown rice.

And just like that, I hop off the bandwagon and am back at square one.

It took a few rounds of this before I came to the conclusion that these cookie-cutter meal plans aren’t for me.

And it’s not because I’m bad at following directions (I even have the Kindergarten report cards to prove it).

It’s that eating became a chore.

And that’s not right because I love food! 

I was a disciple of Mr. Quaker Oats oatmeal for the majority of my life. What could be better? Individually-wrapped flavour-packed oats that were ready in the blink of an eye (or a boil of water). But this too got boring, and thinking of eating chemical flavours every day kind of got to me.

Here’s how I made a meal plan that sticks.

I started to really think about what gets me going about food and how I can incorporate my favourites into my lifestyle.

What’s an oatmeal-lover have to do to get her morning oat craving?

Having recently been introduced to overnight oats, I went back to the internet and found oh, about a gazillion different variations.

The best part? You can make these suckers the night before! Sunday night overnight oat-making means I have breakfast ready and waiting for me for the next 4 days at least.

Simple, healthy, fast, and cheap and way healthier than chemical-filled Quaker Oats.

Now you may not be as oats-crazy as this girl, but the point I’m trying to make is…

You can make amazing, delicious and healthy meals that suit your tastes and your lifestyle by planning properly.

Not sure where to start?

That’s where Make Love in the Kitchen comes in.

This 6 week online program walks you through the steps of creating a plan so that you always know what to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

You plan your outfits, your vacation time and your Friday nights- isn’t it time you make a plan in the kitchen that will stick?

Click here to get started.

awesome-program-for-meal-planning

so true, i never stick to a meal plan someone else has made. love the idea of creating my own

amazing-program-that-gets-you-organized-and-keeps-you-accountable-to-strategize-and-plan-your-meals

Easy Herbs to Grow In Your Backyard (+ simple uses for each)

A few of my favourite things: the smell of pine, Bernese Mountain Dogs, tea dates and my herb garden.

Fortunately, ’tis the season for backyard growing and I want to share with you the must have herbs that I grow in my backyard (and a few recipes that I use for each one):

1. Mint

Mint Ice Cube Picture from http://justimagine-ddoc.com

Mint Ice Cube Picture from http://justimagine-ddoc.com

2. Basil

Blueberry Basil Smoothie picture from http://www.mynewroots.org

Blueberry Basil Smoothie picture from http://www.mynewroots.org

3. Lemon-Thyme

Lemon Thyme

Lemon Thyme Picture from http://www.thekitchn.com

I randomly came across this herb last year at a garden centre.

  • The best for adding to water.
  • Also great to give a kick to veggies, fish & chicken

4. Chives

Chives picture from https://www.flickr.com/photos/grongar/4830422541/

Chives picture from https://www.flickr.com/photos/grongar/4830422541/

I literally add chives to everything… Breakfast, lunch and dinner, there’s always room for chives…

  • Eggs
  • Salads
  • Veggies
  • Chicken
  • Beef

5. Rosemary

Rosemary Picture from http://pixabay.com/en/rosemary-spice-kraeuer-food-eat-74365/

Rosemary Picture from http://pixabay.com/en/rosemary-spice-kraeuer-food-eat-74365/

(thanks for the reminder, Jennifer!)

  • The best on sweet potatoes
  • Roasted veggies
  • Chicken
  • Eggs (it’s true!)

What are your favourite easy herbs to grow?

Let me know in the comments below (bonus points if you include your favourite way to use it!)

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30 Affirmations for Health & Wellness

30 Affirmations for health and wellbeing

“The food you eat is as important as the thoughts you think” – Louise Hay

What are the thoughts going through your head?

If you constantly tell yourself, “I’m fat. I hate my thighs. I can’t stand cooking dinner”… you’re never going to feel good about yourself or what you’re doing.

Enter Affirmations.

Affirmations are sentences aimed to affect the conscious and the subconscious mind. [1]

What do they do?

  • They motivate.
  • They keep the mind focused on the goal.
  • They influence the subconscious mind and activate its powers.
  • They change the way you think and behave
  • Positive statements make you feel positive, energetic and active, and therefore, put you in a better position to transform your inner and external worlds.

That being said, it’s not about thinking fake thoughts just to be positive.

Rather, affirmations need to be believable in order for them to work. There is no point in thinking about affirmations that you can’t truly grasp or conceive of.

So if it’s hard for you to believe that, “I feel strong and healthy in my body” you can reframe it to, “I am frustrated by my eating habits, but I am learning to treat my body with respect. I am learning to do better”.

They need to be honest phrases that capture where you’re at, what you’re learning to change and what you want to become.

The Following affirmations are a mix of some of my own + taken from the book Loving Yourself to Great Health: Thoughts & Food- The Ultimate Diet by Louise Hay, Khadro & Dane. A must read for anyone wanting to see true change in their health and wellness.

Loving Yourself to Great Health

Preparing Meals

  • Planning healthy meals is a joy.
  • Hello, kitchen, you are my nourishment center. I appreciate you!
  • I have everything I need to help me prepare delicious, nutritious meals.
  • I am so grateful to be choosing food that supports my best health.
  • I can easily make a nutritious, delicious meal.
  • I love spending time in the kitchen!
  • I am worth the time and money I invest in my health.
  • I am so fortunate that I can choose healthy foods for my family.
  • My family loves to eat healthy food.
  • The kids love to try new foods.
  • I am learning new things that heal my body one step at a time.
  • I am willing to take this time to nurture myself.

Eating Meals

  • I am so grateful for this wonderful food
  • I am well nourished in preparation for the day ahead of me
  • My body heals and strengthens with every bite I take.
  • My family gathers together with great joy and love.
  • I bless this food and my body with love.
  • I listen for when I am satisfied and full.
  • This food is healing me.
  • My taste buds are changing every day- I no longer crave foods that don’t nourish me.
  • I am willing to slow down and take this time to nourish myself (21)

General Health

  • I radiate confidence, beauty & grace
  • Every cell in my body vibrates good health
  • I love & respect my body
  • I choose health & wellness over restrictive diets & unpleasant workouts
  • I feel great when I take care of myself
  • I openly give and receive love
  • Every day I am become stronger and healthier
  • All that I need is within me
  • Every day is a new day filled with joy & health

Take Action Now

Grab 5 post it notes and write down 5 of these affirmations that resonate with you (or come up with your own).

Place them in random places around your house (on mirrors, in your sock drawer,  your wallet, your utensil drawer, etc…) and get in the habit of saying them to yourself on a daily basis (either out loud or in your head).

Post It Notes For Affirmatinos

Photo from: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/sites/default/files/post-it-notes.jpg

[1] From: http://www.successconsciousness.com/affirmations.htm

What is Kombucha?

KombuchaPicture  beautiful sunny day. You’ve just been out running some errands and when you get home, you want something delicious & sparkling to sip on.

Meet your knew favourite drink that will give you all this (plus super awesome health benefits): Kombucha.

Kombucha is fermented cold tea.

It is slightly carbonated (a great replacement for people who love the fizziness of pop) and like all fermented food, is a great source of natural probiotics.

Why You Should Drink Kombucha

Kombucha Tea has existed for ~2000 years. Why? Because traditional societies know the value in consuming fermented foods!

So although there are no scientific papers that test the health benefits of Kombucha (Big Pharma doesn’t want you to benefit from something you can make in your kitchen for pennies…) it’s worth a shot to see if you see any improvements in your life in the following areas:

  • Helps DigestionHigh levels of probiotics (natural immune boosters) & enzymes (makes food easier to digest)
  • Immune Boosting
    A major part of your immune system depends on the health of your gut. Again, the natural probiotics in Kombucha contribute to a healthy gut, therefore giving your immune system support.
  • Gentle Detox
    The anti-oxidants in Kombucha can gently flush your liver for a gentle daily detox
  • Joint Care
    Kombucha has lots of glucosamines, which increases your synovial fluid (found in between joints to reduce friction between your bones)

If You’ve Never Had Kombucha Before…

If you’ve never had kombucha before, I’d highly recommend buying it before you make it on your own.

There are a multitude of flavours (ginger, mango, fruit punch, super greens (which is actually kind of gross so I don’t recommend it, but all the other ones are divine. Promise).

Warning: you will be paying a pretty fee to buy Kombucha (~$4-$5 per bottle) but 1) you are worth it 2) if you truly enjoy it you can start making it yourself!

This is my go-to brand.

You can find Kombucha at Health Food Stores, some grocery stores and if you’re lucky and live in NYC I’ve even seen it at convenience stores!

How to Make Kombucha

Once you’ve decided that Kombucha will be a part of your regular routine, you will probably want to switch to making it yourself.

It can literally be done for pennies!

It may seem a little overwhelming, but as Nike has taught us so well, Just Do It.

Friends Chelsea & Scott checking out  my homemade brew

Friends Chelsea & Zach checking out my homemade brew (the floaty thing is the SCOBY)

To make your own Kombucha you will need the following ingredients:

  • Glass Jar
  • Filtered Water
  • Black Tea
  • Sugar (don’t freak. This sugar gets totally “eaten” by the SCOBY…)
  • SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast)- ask around your community to see if you can get one from someone. Check out your local Weston Price Chapter to see if they can hook you up with one. Alternately, you can buy online.

This link will tell you everything you need to know on how to make your own Kombucha:

Homemade Kombucha 101

I know that Kombucha may seem super intimidating, but it’s just one of those things- once you try it, you’ll realize it’s no big deal!

So enjoy and have fun. That’s what it’s all about.

Healthy Slow Cooker Meals for the Entire Week

What would your life be like if you walked into your kitchen at around 6pm and dinner is already cooked?

And it’s not because you forked out the big bucks and hired a personal chef (although that would be lovely)…

Instead, it’s your trusty slow cooker that has filled your house with delicious smells all day long and allows you to kick your feet up for the evening.

As you can imagine, I love slow cookers.

They are amazing for giving you an evening “off” in the kitchen and for making a bunch of leftovers.

Click here to see  the slow cooker I use.

I’ve compiled a list of some of my go-to healthy slow cooker meals that I know will help you with making fast & delicious dinner (not to mention amazing leftovers).

Choose one and commit to making it this week. Let me know in the comments which one you plan to make!

 

1. Pulled Pork

Food-Savvy-Slow-Cooker-Pulled-Pork

Photo from 100 Days of Real Food

Click here for the recipe.

2. Chicken Tiki Masala

Photo from Popular Paleo

Photo from Popular Paleo

Click here for the recipe.

3. Minestrone Soup

Photo from Our Paleo Life

Photo from Our Paleo Life

Click here for the recipe.

4. Chicken Bacon Chowder

Photo from Peace, Love & Low Carb

Photo from Peace, Love & Low Carb

Click here for the recipe.

5. Mexican Quinoa

Photo from Chelsea's Messy Apron

Photo from Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Click here for the recipe.

6. Cabbage Rolls

Photo from Stupid Easy Paleo

Photo from Stupid Easy Paleo

Tastes better than it sounds. Promise.

Click here for the recipe.

7. Balsamic Braised Short Ribs

Photo

Photo form Joyful Healthy Eats

Click here for the recipe.

Remember- choose one and commit to making it this week. Let me know in the comments which one you plan to make!

Bon Appétit.