Monthly Archives: April 2014

Salmon with a Pea and Mint Puree

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lucky for me, the man I live with (aka my boyfriend, aka chris, aka a total dreamboat) loves to cook as much as I do. we made this salmon a little while ago when friends of ours came over for dinner, and broke the cardinal rule to never try something you’ve never done before for company. well screw that rule, because it was awesome – so awesome we had to do it again so I could write about it.

this meal is really healthy. you can see that one of two ways… the way I usually think – BORING! how I am now seeing all of this – SCRUMTRULESCENT!

 

Salmon:

-salmon fillets (the fresher, the better)

-olive oil

-a little butter

-thyme sprigs

-sage leaves

 

Pea/Mint Puree:

-peas

-fresh mint leaves

-olive oil

-lemon

-garlic

-s&p

 

boil your peas. they can either be fresh or frozen, doesn’t really matter, they just need to be soft enough to puree. once they’re done, strain them… otherwise it will be pea and mint soup.

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depending on how much peas you’ve made, you may need to adjust measurements of the other ingredients. to be honest with you, I don’t measure a lot, so you’ll have to bear with me… maybe 3 cups of peas? maybe the juice of a lemon and a half? maybe 2 sprigs of mint leaves?

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maybe 3/4 of a clove of grated garlic? maybe 2 circles of pouring olive oil? maybe as much salt and pepper as you can see in this picture? maybe add more later when you taste it? you’ll probably need more salt.

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puree with an immersion blender. word to the wise, put a towel over it while you blend if it’s a shallow pot/bowl/hat. this will happen if you don’t – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IoQtYDyeMWE

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in a SUPER hot pan (that can go in the oven… no plastic handle) drizzle in some olive oil, and a little bit of butter with thyme and sage. Yes, yes. Butter isn’t awesome for you, but it’s a little concession for the sake of deliciousness.

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you want this to be so hot it’s scary. salt and pepper, then put the fish in skin down to get it delicious and crispy. maybe wear long sleeves. spoon the juices over the top of the fish while you sear the skin, for optimal moisture.

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this should only take a few minutes, then pop it in the oven at 375 for about 12ish minutes (or until it’s all opaque)

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to serve, spread out the puree, lay salmon on top, skin up, and you can garnish with the sage or thyme.

QUINOA BONUS!

-quinoa

-currants

-goat cheese

-pine nuts

make your quinoa. just follow the package. substituting water for chicken broth is tasty, or maybe just half and half, or just water!

I like to cool my quinoa down before I use it usually; especially when using a cheese like goat cheese. fridge or freezer, depending on how long you have.

roasting nuts it tough. well, no. you just have to WATCH THEM. med – med/high heat and toss often.

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then mix in your currants and goat cheese!

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super easy, and it was super delish.

let’s see a pic of the whole thing again. ok.

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Happy eating!

 

Kylie

Reader Question: SQUATS!

We recently received a question from a reader/awesome chick. We thought we’d share it here because, it’s a great question, and something that a lot of people are curious about – since squats and boo-tays are all the rage right now.

 

Hi ladies this page rocks! I don’t really know how technology works or blogging but I have recently decided to give a fuck about my bod and feel like I’m trying to educate myself and doing it wrong. I was wondering if you know anything on the topic of doing squats and how they really affect one’s overall workout? I’ve been trying to figure out why. I feel like everyone is telling me to do them when no one seems to be leaving me with a clear answer. I would to love read a something that doesn’t feel markety when it comes to health trends. Thanks for listening.”

 

We are so happy you like our page, and trust us with your hips and glutes.
Squatting is an amazing exercise!!! It not only builds muscle, but improves overall balance and core stability as well. As you build muscle, the amount of fat you burn goes into overdrive. This is a beautiful thing – and since our glutes are the largest muscle group in our body, it’s very important to give it some special attention. You will reap all the benefits, trust us.
With some solid effort, you will soon be able to jump higher, walk faster, dance longer… Just about everything you do on a regular basis will become easier. So, yes. Do squats.
It is a great way to build strength and improve overall fitness. Plus, your a$$ will look amazing in just about anything. It tightens everything up, and works wonders for getting rid of cellulite.
Make sure you are doing them properly to ensure they are as effective as possible.
Just a few things to keep in mind:
1. Legs about shoulder width apart
2. Chest up, back straight
3. Keep your core tight (think of drawing your ribcage into your belly, it sounds weird but just try it)
4. Do your best to achieve your best ‘ass to grass’ – go as low as possible without compromising your form
5. Keep your knees over your toes, and BREATHE

 

Here is an extreme depiction for you… I mean, not even the same person, but you get the idea.

 

 

butts
Try to work these into a regular program – just squatting isn’t enough.
If you are feeling really brave you should do BURPEES. Even start with 10 every morning and night. They suck, and you will hate them – but they work! They incorporate squats, jumping, push-ups, and cardio. Also, you can do them anywhere – NO EXCUSES. When life knocks you down, do a burpee!

 

Keep ’em coming guys!

 

AKA

What’s THE DEAL with food?!

A few years ago, if you told me I should be eating organic and local food, I would have said “haha, yeah, because I’m rich and pretentious”. I was wrong. Oh, so wrong.

Though it is definitely daunting when thinking about this stuff, I’m here to help! It always seems easiest to just run out to a big chain grocery store and grab a beautiful looking tomato or apple from the massive pile. You always know they’re going to be there, no matter what time of year… wait… even when they shouldn’t be growing? Yes. Even then. Weeeiiiirrrrrd.

It’s easy to see why factory and industrial farming operates the way it does… money! Who doesn’t love money?! AMIRITE?!  The trouble is that a lot of this is seriously affecting the things we are ingesting.

I’m not going to go on a huge detailed scientific rant, as I can tend to do, I’m just going to give you the general facts.

For veggies, it all starts with the soil. To save money, the soil sucks. This makes the veg more susceptible to pests and fungus. To remedy this, they spray all the food with pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and all sorts of crap. Crap that you’re eating. Veggies are now not growing with the same nutrients that they used to either. They’re concerned with uniformity, genetic modification, and long shelf lives. Food is picked before it’s ripe, then ripens along the thousands of miles that it travels to the store from wherever it’s grown. This is why non-organic, non-local produce is cheaper – it comes from government funded factory farms which get a higher yield, which has a longer shelf life, so they can charge less.

Meat is much worse. I’m a meat eater, and I don’t think I could do the vegetarian thing (though, to each their own). I am, however, a big advocate of humanely treated animals. Grass fed cows contain TONS more vitamins than grain fed cows (A, C, K, and the belly-fat busting Conjugated Linoleic Acid, or CLA for short). And free range eggs and chicken are from healthier happier birds. The better they eat, the better you eat. They’re not shoved into an arena with thousands of other chickens, made to live in their own feces and breathe it in until they’re sick, then pumped full of antibiotics to counteract their conditions. They’re not given zero room to walk around, then fed grains and hormones so they get giant and can’t even walk, their legs break, and they SIT THERE AND DIE!!! But I digress.

Chickens are seen inside cages on a truck near a poultry market in Dengzhou

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real-free-range

 

Take your pick.

 

Now don’t get me wrong, even non-organic, non-local foods are WAAAYYYY better for you than fast food and tons of other things we eat. All I’m saying is to be aware of where your food comes from. Take your vitamins to make up for the ones that were lost along the way. When you don’t get the proper nutrients, your body still thinks it’s hungry and will force you to keep eating… maybe even cookies. OHMYGODIWANTACOOKIE!!!

 

Now the $64,000 question… where’s the best place to get the good stuff?!

Farmers’ Markets are the best place – there are tons of markets in the city, and it’s really hard to beet the prices… see what I did there? Here’s a list of some of the great places to get local and organic foods in Toronto:

 

Fiesta FarmsThis little gem is tops. A family run grocery store on Christie St. (between Bloor and Dupont), this place has tons of organic and local food to choose from. They’ve got a great butcher section and carry Rowe Farms… which brings us to….

 

Rowe FarmsA farm with 3 retail stores in the city! Crazy! There’s one in the annex, one in Roncesvalles, and one in Leslieville – they’ve really covered their bases. You can get veggies and meat here, and also delicious pre-made soups and salads, all made with their products. If you like bacon, this is where you should be getting it. Oh man.

 

St. Lawrence Market I mean, this place just has everything. Just go. But check their hours. Every time I want to go, it’s closed. On Saturdays there is a special farmers’ market!

 

The Stop’s Green Barn at Wychwood BarnsFarmers’ Markets! You can get stuff from all sorts of local farmers and it’s a fun little outing too. Located up at Christie and St Clair Ave., it’s easily accessible by TTC, so no excuses! While you’re there, check out Footstep Organics!

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Other markets to check out:

Sorauren Farmers’ Market

Trinity Bellwoods Farmers’ Market

Dufferin Grove Farmers’ Market

Nathan Phillips Square Farmers’ Market

Evergreen Brick Works Farmers’ Market

Leslieville Farmers’ Market

 

 

Let’s not forget about growing your own!

Last year we started our first garden, and it was awesome. We were super lucky with our soil, because we either did or didn’t have chickens living in our backyard before that… (the freshest, most delicious eggs you’ve ever had!). That time of year is coming up quick, and we recently bought a new home with a HUGE garden area. So excited. If you can, I definitely recommend growing plants of your own. I will keep you posted on my planting!

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Happy, healthy eating!

 

 

Kylie

The skinny on B12

They say you don’t really know what you’ve got until it’s gone… and in this case, no truer words have been spoken.

What is B12? Well, if you ask Wikipedia (and they are always right) it will tell you  – Vitamin B12, also called cobalamin, is a water-soluble vitamin with a key role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system, and for the formation of blood.

Sounds important…

 

I think I was 14 when I decided I didn’t want to hurt cows anymore, or pigs, or spiders – come to think of it, Charlotte’s Web must be responsible for this. Anyway, I felt I had a moral responsibility, and wanted to save allllll the animals (Except for chickens and turkeys apparently, but that would eventually come a few years later). I was never really interested in dairy. The thought of eating eggs completely freaked me out, and I am probably a very rare breed of human being who genuinely finds cheese and milk repulsive. It seemed like a no brainer – I should become a vegan! It will be so easy. So I did.

What they don’t tell you – it is not hard to become a vegan. I mean, vegans can eat FRENCH FRIES!!! It is, however, not easy to maintain a vegan lifestyle properly. Properly meaning, supplementing for all the vitamins and minerals of which you’re not getting sufficient amounts through a plant based diet. Vegetables were once a (mediocre) source of B12 because it was found naturally in the bacteria that pesticides have now made non-existent. We live in a world of supply and demand, which has a HUGE affect on quality.

As a vegan I gained a whopping 80lbs! Yes, 8-0. Sounds outrageous, and it was. I was not only fat, but also tired, depressed, unmotivated, insecure, anxious – you name it. I will spare you the horrific details of how I got to this place and how I crawled out of it – that is a whole other story.

After numerous blood test and doctors’ appointments, I was diagnosed as Vitamin B12 deficient. I had never really even heard of this vitamin, and considering the symptoms I had were starting to mimic those of MS I was shocked that they didn’t think of this sooner. I started getting B12 shots monthly, and after the first one I felt like new person – Or the way I feel when I buy a new pair of shoes – ALIIIIIIIIVE!!!

 

B12 Deficiency Symptoms – just to name a few:

Strange sensations, numbness, or tingling in the hands, legs, or feet

Difficulty walking (staggering, balance problems)

Anemia

Anxiety

A swollen, inflamed tongue

Yellowed skin (jaundice)

Difficulty thinking and reasoning (cognitive difficulties), or memory loss

Paranoia or hallucinations

Weakness

Fatigue

…And they only get worse.

 

Some great benefits of B12 include:

Increases energy levels. (It makes you less lazy, yes you.)

Helps maintain healthy regulation of the nervous system, reducing depression, stress, and brain shrinkage – I know a lot of people who could benefit from this last part

Helps maintain a healthy digestive system

Protects against heart disease by curbing and improving unhealthy cholesterol levels, protecting against stroke, and high blood pressure

It is amazing for healthy skin, hair, and nails

Helps protect against the C word in many ways – including breast, colon, lung, and prostate cancer

 

Vitamin B12 is found in most animal derived foods, including fish and shellfish, meat (especially liver – yuck), poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products.

I would highly suggest taking a B12 supplement, even if you eat an adequate amount of these foods  (This is especially important if you are a vegetarian/vegan, smoke, are pregnant, elderly, suffer from anemia or celiac disease).  B12 also aids in maintaining a healthy metabolism – which is awesome.

Lucky for you, you can find this little miracle just about anywhere.

 

Ash xo

Tilapia Lettuce Wraps

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I love food. A lot. I love enjoying it, and when I struggle with eating clean and healthy, it’s because I get bored and sad with what I’m eating. My mission is to find tasty ways to put healthy food together. Sometimes there has to be a small concession in the meal to get me to eat everything else, and that’s still better than anything else I would have chosen. I put cheese in a lot of salad, and I may sometimes bread my fish in panko.

This recipe could be done with non-breaded tilapia, but I’m the kind of girl who people wouldn’t believe has this blog, so this is pretty good for me. Tasty too – I almost forgot I was eating protein and vegetables wrapped in another vegetable.

stuffs:

-tilapia

-panko bread crumbs (optional)

-romaine lettuce (would also work with iceberg)

-avocado

-red cabbage

-vegetable oil (for frying)*

*if you’d like to get super healthy, you could skip the breading and bake the fish

pico de gallo:

-tomato

-onion

-cilantro

-garlic

-yellow pepper (I threw this in for fun – you totally don’t have to. but you totally could)

-lime juice

-olive oil

-salt&pepper

sauce:

-mint

-plain greek yogurt

-olive oil

-lime juice

start with the pico de gallo, the longer the flavours sit together, the more excellent it gets.

dice up everything you’ve got (couple of tomatoes, an onion or half of one, couple of garlic cloves, medium bunch of cilantro, splash of oil, a lime…  look I don’t want to tell you how to live your life – make it how you like it).

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next, your lime and mint sauce. remember about the excellence of flavours hanging out?

I don’t really want to give you measurements – the best way is to just try it. everyone likes things a little different, so just add a good bit of everything, and start tasting and adjusting.

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now, on to the fish!

tilapia is a pretty firm fish, so breading it wasn’t too much trouble. some fish will be more difficult, but anything will work if you don’t love tilapia. you can also cook it any way you’d like if you skip the breading – bake, steam, whatevs.

general breading – coat in flour, egg wash, bread crumbs (I skip the flour most of the time because I’m lazy. breading doesn’t stick quite as well, but that’s probably for the best). you can add a little salt and pepper to the panko if you’d like, because it’s generally unseasoned.

fry up until golden, drain on paper towel, and slice it up (after it’s cooled some).

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sort out your lettuce (wash it… ), cut up your cabbage and avocado, and you’re ready to go!

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The healthier you eat, the healthier you want to eat. My mistake is that once I get off the rails, the train doesn’t stop. If I give in and eat pizza, then I think, “well I already had pizza, might as well have these mint girl guide cookies (YUM)”. Then it’s “well I already had pizza and cookies. Maybe today’s a cheat day! …Even though I was supposed to start healthy eating today”. STOP IT! One bad thing won’t kill you, but if you let it slide down the biggest effing mountain you’ve ever laid your sweet eyes upon, then it’s an issue. A tiny treat won’t be a treat if that’s your whole diet.

TO TREATS! I mean, TO MAKING HEALTHY FOOD TASTE LIKE TREATS!

-Kylie-

p.s. this recipe can also be found on my other blog Ky’s Kitchen. If you’re only about healthy eating, this one may not be for you. There are a lot of the first kind of treats I was talking about… sandwiched between healthy things. Mmmm, sandwiches.

Vitamins, and supplements, and proteins, OH MY!

Deciding to live a healthier lifestyle, and actually committing to it can be extremely difficult and overwhelming – especially in the first few months.

Unfortunately, there’s no secret to success, you really just need to want it…bad… like really, really bad. You have to make hard decisions like, do you (a) get wasted with your friends, drunk dial your ex boyfriend 47 times, and then wake up looking and feeling like a hot mess? OR, (b) eat a healthy meal, go to the gym (this is where the cute boys are by the way), and look smoking hot? TOUGH CHOICE.

Although I love drunk dialing my ex, option B is probably the way to go. So, where do you start? Do your research! Drastic changes in your diet or levels of activity can be extremely hard on your body. If you’re really going to do this, I suggest meeting with a certified nutritionist to make sure that you’re not causing your body more harm than good.  A lot of people tend to forget about vitamins, supplements, and proteins that are vital to a healthy lifestyle. The problem is THERE ARE SO MANY OPTIONS and walking into a health food store can sometime make your brain explode. So, I wanted to share some of my favourite things! By this I mean stuff that I now can’t live without and that have become a part of my every day attempt at a healthy lifestyle. I’m no pro but I have tried quite a few things on my long journey. So here’s a list of my personal must-haves:

 

  1. Progressive MultiVitamin for Active Women (there’s also one for men).

Don’t be thrown off by the “for Active Women” part – this multivitamin isn’t specific to those that are training. If you work out a couple of times a week, work long hours, or just have a generally busy lifestyle, you can still take them.  Multivitamins have a ton of benefits – they reduce stress, keep you alert and energized throughout the day, protect your heart, improve your immune system, and help you maintain clear, healthy skin.

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  1. Naka Vital Greens

Greens can be brutal to take. If you add the powdered greens to a shake, not only do they ruin the taste, they also make you feel like you’re eating chalk. Mixing the greens with water = chalk. Adding the greens to juice = chalk! Mixing the greens with your oatmeal = CHALK! You get the point. The powdered greens taste gross and turn things into chalk. So, I found a liquid format that lets me take the greens in a way I’m very familiar with… a shot! The Naka Vital Greens are super easy to take – a shot in the morning (it has a nice minty taste) is all you need…It’s no lemon drop but it provides the full daily dose of veggies your body needs.

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  1. New Chapter Wholemega Whole Fish Oil

This one was a simple choice. Fish oil in a liquid format? No thank you, barf, bye. Fish oil in a capsule? Yes, please. Is it normal for me to love Omega-3? Well I do, I want to marry it.  My favourite is that it improves fat burning, who doesn’t want that? It also reduces the signs of aging and makes your hair soft and shiny. So, I think that’s all I need to say. Oh yeah, and something about boosting brain power, memory, and improving bone health.. blah, blah, blah.

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  1. Digestive Enzymes

Can I marry digestive enzymes too? Is that bigamy? Whatever. I do what I want.  Digestive enzymes are a life saver, no matter what’s on your plate.  Any typical diet can drain our enzyme supply – but you need them to help breakdown foods so that your insides can properly extract and distribute nutrients. Without these the food you eat would just slowly rot inside of you… gross.  I find they also help with bloating, and no one wants to look 3 months pregnant when they’re not. Let me put it this way – take the enzymes with your meals and after about 5 days you’ll be able to schedule your bathroom visits… for the same time every day. Yay! For once being “regular” is good.

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  1. Dymatize Nutrition ISO 100 – Gourmet Chocolate

I choo-choo-choose you, chocolate. I’ve tried dozens of protein powders, and this one is by far the best tasting one. So that, and that reason alone is why it’s on my must-have list. If you are looking for something more natural or that has less calories (they are all very close by the way) then this may not be for you. But boy oh boy does it taste good – and when you’re on a strict meal plan taking this protein feels like cheating… sweet, sweet cheating.

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All of these gems should be able to be found at your local health and nutrition store. If not… Google.

 

xoxo

Alyssa

 

Is this thing on?

Welcome to the launch post!

 

We’ve all been there –

“guys! it’s April! Time to start getting into shape for summer!”

“The gym’s too crowded/far/full of d-bags”

“Ok, but for real, healthy eating starting Monday”

“Vodka Soda please! *whispers* I heard it has the lowest calorie count”

“A dlux slice, chzzy bret, ‘n’ exter dipping sauce pliss.” -post 8 vodka sodas-

“ok THIS Monday for sure”

 

Those are possibly direct quotes. We all have our ups and downs of healthy eating and exercise, and we want to share ours with you – in hopes of inspiration, solidarity, and putting a smile on your face… starting Monday.

 

AKA