Honest to Goodness Morning Power Protein Smoothie [Vegan, Sugar Free]

Drink to your health – right in the morning! 

One of the best things to have right after a well rested sleep is a delicious, healthy green smoothie loaded with nutrients. They give you a boost in energy, supply a radiant amount of nutrients, help improve skin conditions, reduce sugary cravings, assist in effortless weight loss and provide you with the daily dose of vegetables and fruits your body needs. While green smoothies and juices are all the hype these days, there are ways to get the most out of your daily dose of uplifting nourishment.

Steadily start your engine by swapping your dead, sugary, unhealthy breakfast with a pre-chewed living greens smoothie after your tall glass of lemon water or morning green tea. This way, your body reaps the benefits of the bio-available nutrients it has offer while preserving your delicate digestive fire.

The other day, I learned a fantastic habit to get the most out of my daily smoothies. Chew them! Digestion starts in your mouth, so by activating salivary enzymes by “chewing” your smoothie, you are basically letting your digestive organs know that food is on its way. Saliva is secreted when you chew your food, so by chewing your smoothie, you’re helping an important part of the digestive process by lubricating the sugars that essentially helps them break down easier in your stomach. Let’s face it – bloating can suck! So try chewing your smoothie instead of gulping it down in one sitting.

I’ve made this recipe almost everyday this week! It’s easy, quick and absolutely tasty. As you probably know from my previous posts, I keep on a low sugar, low glycemic diet in which I consume much more vegetables than I do fruit. The first tip to making a nutrient dense smoothie (or juice) is by keeping the greens-fruit ratio roughly 4:1. Leafy greens provide a substantial dose of calcium, iron, disease fighting phytochemicals and phytonutrients. You don’t necessarily want a sugar laden smoothie as it defeats the overall purpose. Frozen cucumbers is a great way to add some wholesome sweetness to your smoothie without having to use sugary fruits like bananas or mangoes.

A second important tip is making sure you get an adequate amount of protein combined with healthy fats. This is very important especially when you’re having your smoothie for breakfast or as a meal replacement. Raw almond butter and hemp seeds stow healthy fats including immunity and brain boosting Omega-3 fatty acids. Along with the vegan protein powder (whether it’s pea protein or brown rice protein), this smoothie is packed with the essential protein your body needs for daily fuel, growth support and maintenance.

Get the right energy you need by starting your day off with a smoothie bang!

An Ode To Smoothies – Recipes like this:

Banana-Free Smoothie 

Raw Alkaline Detox Blend 

Super Warrior Smoothie

Healthy Detox Model Blend

Easy Everyday Green Blend

Model-Friendly Milkshake

Drink Your Greens

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Ironic isn’t it? I don’t drink alcohol but I love using my tall Carlsberg glass for my smoothies! Who needs alcohol anyway when you can have a succulent and beneficial drink instead? 

What you’ll need:

Half a large local cucumber (frozen, cut into slices)

3-5 packed cups of organic baby spinach (or leafy greens of your choice!)

1 1/2 cups of unsweetened almond milk (or 1 cup of almond milk +1/2 cup of filtered water if you don’t want it too creamy)

1 tsp of organic raw almond butter (I love Dastony’s sprouted almond butter for this!)

1/2 a scoop of vanilla vegan protein powder

2 tbsp of raw hemp protein (Natera’s Natural Hemp Protein works great)

1 tsp of grounded flax or chia seeds

Optional: sometimes I like my morning smoothie a little bit tangy sweet, so I add half a cup of FROZEN sliced raspberries!

Blend the cucumbers, baby spinach and almond milk first for 1 minute. Add in protein ingredients and flax/chia.

Blend some more. Keep a bit of the smoothie chunky so you retain some of the needed fiber which you can then “chew” during consumption.

Chew, drink and feel powerful!

ABC Breakfast Bake [Grain Free + Vegan]

A is for apples. B is for buckwheat. C is for chia AND cinnamon. Good enough for me!

Friends, let’s have the alphabet for breakfast.

Forget the high simple carb, sugary muffins you have the morning at Starbucks. It’s crap and you deserve better. 🙂 Something like this delicious and simple baked breakfast cake is very much all you. It’s similar to a thick moist muffin cake you can enjoy with your favourite fixins’  like melted almond butter, homemade jam, almonds, more fruit or coconut butter. So. Many. Possibilities. 

Having this in the morning means having a high fiber, protein and iron rich, healthy fats filled blowout. Also low in sugar (free of refined sugars) and naturally sweetened with delicious green Apple bits, Cinnamon and some xylitol/stevia.

I’m obsessed with baking (more so eating) chia seeds and buckwheat especially for the past couple of days. Both have become a staple part of my pantry and diet and for many of my everyday dishes, they’ve been great flour and grain replacements. Not only do they do the body really good, they are also very versatile. Healthy puddings, cereals, cakes, pancakes, smoothies…you name it. So when I found out Nature’s Earthly Choice created a line of convenient and nature-approved goodies like Chia Goodness, I was left in a moment of bliss. They kindly provided me with healthy products that not only were quality fresh but combined two of the beloved main ingredients for my breakfast bake: chia seeds and Buckwheat.

Score! Healthy, real ingredients and provides satisfying energy to fuel the beginnings of promising days.  

And for an extra nudge of protein and nutrient density, all of the Chia Goodness products contain hulled hemp seeds too. Therefore, when you’re pressed for time in the morning and can’t make this ABC breakfast bake (no excuse not to make it on a Sunday!), you can jumble a few tablespoons of the Goodness mix with unsweetened vanilla almond/coconut milk (perhaps some fruit?) for a speedy and nourishing breakfast bowl. Either way, you’ll certainly be taken care of in the mornings. 😉

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I know my bake is a little naked but I wanted to show you how delectable it looked on its own. If you don’t want a heavy breakfast, you can definitely have it by itself and hustle it to go like you would a muffin.

 

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Step aside muffin. 

What you’ll need:

3 tbsp of Nature’s Earthly Choice Chia Goodness Original mix

1/2 cup of organic buckwheat flour (grind buckwheat groats in blender)

1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk

1/2 tbsp of organic cinnamon

1/4 tsp of baking soda

1 tsp of vanilla bean extract (non alcohol)

1 flax egg (1 tbsp of ground flax + 3 tbsp of warm water – let sit for 5 minutes to create flax gel)

Small green gala apple, diced

1/2 tbsp of organic coconut oil (can omit)

 

1 tbsp of xylitol or stevia (adjust to sweet tooth)

Optional: 1 tbsp of raw cacao or carob powder

Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine all of the dry ingredients together. Whisk in wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix well. Lightly grease a small ramekin or other safe baking dish with some coconut oil. Pour batter into baking dish and bake for 20-23 minutes until fully cooked but still moist. Let cool. Flip onto a small bowl, top and devour!

 

 

Hearty Chia Seed Pudding

Happy weekend everyone! 🙂

It’s a beautiful day in Toronto. The sun is shining, the sky is deliciously clear and the wave of summer vibes is here to stay! One of the best things about summer is feeling good about waking up in the mornings. Warm and sunny mornings allow you to start your day right, wouldn’t you agree?

And what’s the best thing you can do for yourself in the morning? Eating a healthy and scrumptious breakfast. It’s easy to grab a bowl of sugary cereal or oatmeal with some full fat milk but in my opinion, there are optimal and more nutritional meals you can have instead. If you want to start your summer day off right, you should eat right. Plain and simple. So after I have my glass of water and warm lemon water to wake my insides up from a good night’s rest, I opt for a chia seed pudding with hearty add-ons.

The recipe I’m about to share with you is vegan and free of yucky ingredients that we definitely don’t want in our breakfast. It’s also low in sugar, wheat and gluten free, high in anti-oxidants, rich in protein,  contains healthy fats and filling!

As you probably know, chia seeds are considered to be one of the many amazing super foods that Mother Nature has to offer to us. Despite their size, chia seeds are among the most nutritious foods on the planet. They are loaded with fiber, protein and omega 3 fatty acids. It’s easy to use and consume – sprinkle them in salads, bake with them, add them to smoothies and juices and my favourite way: puddin-nize ’em! (I made that word up btw!)

Here are some fast food facts about chia seeds and why they should be a staple part of your everyday diet…

  • Provides a massive amount of nutrients with very few calories! Excellent for someone trying to lose or maintain their weight. It’s unique way of gelling with liquid helps to keep you full for hours. It’s also an excellent low carb food as most of the grams is fiber!
  • Ideal food to help balance blood sugar. It’s great combination of soluble and insoluble fiber combine to slow down your body’s conversion of starches into sugars. Eating chia with a meal or as a meal will help you turn your food into a constant, ready energy and fuel your body rather than giving you the ups and down cravings that weigh you down.
  • Chia is the richest plant source of Omega 3 fatty acids. By weight and gram per gram, chia has more omega than salmon!
  • Rich in anti oxidants (more than blueberries) and contains good quality protein!

So whether you want to lower your cholesterol or blood sugars, properly lose weight or have more nutritional foods in your everyday diet, chia seeds will help you do all of that. Did I mention they’re also gluten/wheat free and vegan? 😉

If you don’t like the taste of gelatinized chia seed (chia seeds with liquid), you can sneak them in your smoothies or juices for added nutrients. But seriously, you should try making a chia seed pudding! It’s perfect for a filling breakfast, mid day snack or even dessert!

Don’t underestimate tiny things!

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Here’s my yummy basic go-to recipe which can be easily customized to your liking:

1 1/4 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (homemade if you have!)

1/4 cup of organic chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon of organic vanilla extract, flavouring or bean pod (alcohol free please!)

1 teaspoon of xylitol or some stevia (optional)

Add all of the ingredients in a glass jar or bowl. Give it a quick stir. If using a jar, cover with a lid and shake like crazy to mix it all up. If using a bowl, let sit in the fridge and stir occasionally. Refrigerate until it becomes very thick and pudding like. You can do this for a few hours or overnight. For me, 20 minutes does the trick; plus my stomach is impatient.

Top with super essentials: tons of organic blueberries (I like them frozen!), raspberries, raw almonds and half a teaspoon of organic cinnamon. If I want to satisfy my sweet tooth, adding unsweetened coconut flakes, carob/cacao powder or chips and coconut milk does the trick! Enjoy! x

Soft Hearty Coconut Cookies For Breakfast Please! [Vegan + Grain Free]

TGIF means cookies for breakfast! Who says you can’t start your day off with some healthy breakfast cookies once in awhile?

These cookies are certified SOFT and thick and you guessed it – free of all bad things we don’t want in our food! I figured out a way to use coconut flour without the use of eggs and these cookies held their own! Coconut flour can be tricky to bake with if you’re trying to veganize it but somehow, this recipe worked! It’s a perfect base recipe for a grain free, gluten free, sugar free vegan cookie which you can add some of your favourite fixins like vegan unsweetened carob chips (homemade is the best way!), cacao nibs, berries, unsweetened coconut shreds, cardamom, nut butters or whatever your little healthy heart desires…

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I made this batch today and didn’t even have time to use my DSLR to take a pretty photo of it. It’s an iPhone quality photo but the taste is still the same! Check out my recipe below:

2/3 cup of organic coconut flour (Cuisine Soleil is my favourite!)

Binder: Half 1/3 of almond meal and the other 1/3 half of tapoica or arrowroot starch = so 1/6 of each ingredient equaling 1/3 cup

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 cup of xylitol (or coconut sugar or stevia – adjust to sweet tooth)

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract (non alcohol)

2 flax eggs/gels (3 tbsp of ground flax with 6 tbsp of water – let sit for a few minutes)

1 teaspoon of cinnamon and/or cardamom

3-4 tbsps of water or unsweetened almond milk

5 tbsps of organic cold pressed coconut oil (liquid)

1 tbsp of coconut butter (or any type of softened vegan butter)

Optional: your fixins!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well.

Add in your fixins like unsweetened vegan carob chips or cacao nibs, etc. Next add in your flax eggs, coconut butter and coconut oil. Mix well. Then end off with the water or unsweetened almond milk. Till you get your batter to start holding together! You want it to be on the thick side.

Scoop onto cookie sheet or parchment paper. Press cookies down! Coconut flour doesn’t really expand so make sure to do this. Do not flatten them though since you want them to be thick and soft.

Bake for 14-16 minutes. Cool before removing from the cookie sheet. Then enjoy with some pure almond butter or organic unsweetened jelly to make it an ultimate breakfast treat! x

 

Grain Free Vegan Zucchini Pancakes

#WHATHEALTHYMODELSEAT 

I don’t know how many times I’ve posted a pancake recipe but this one is one a keeper! It also gives me a reason to use my fluffy organic allergen free flours from Cuisine Soleil. It’s grain free, gluten/wheat free, sugar free, preservative free, vegan AND wait for it….there’s vegetables in it! It makes me a very happy vegan when I incorporate greens in my breakfast and adding them to pancakes just makes sense. Made with organic chickpea flour, it makes for a high fiber and protein rich breakfast that will be sure to satisfy any tummy on a Sunday morning. This is what I call a healthy balanced breakfast!

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No need for honey, syrup or other sugary no good toppings; I top mine with my most favourite jam by Xyla. Their Mountain Berry is a mixture of naturally sweetened berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.) Since most jams contain a whack load of added sugars and preservatives, this one is a perfect healthy alternative because it’s completely sugar free and only sweetened with xylitol. The texture and flavour oozes of delicious fruit that sometimes I can’t help but eat it straight of the jar. That good. 

Alright already…go have some breakfast!

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What you’ll need:

1 1/2 cups chickpea flour (Cuisine Soleil has a great quality organic chickpea flour)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup of fresh grated zucchini

3 tbsp ground flax meal + 9 tbsp warm water (makes a vegan egg)

1 1/2 cups almond milk + 1 tablespoon of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar (this makes a vegan buttermilk!)

Organic cold pressed coconut oil for cooking

Combine 3 tablespoons of flax meal in a small bowl with 9 tablespoons of warm water and mix well. Set aside for 5 minutes. To make the vegan buttermilk, combine the almond milk and apple cider vinegar and set aside for a minute or so. Combine the flour, cinnamon, zucchini and baking soda together in a mixing bowl. Then add the flax egg and vegan buttermilk to the mixture. Whisk the batter but not too much. Clumps are okay sometimes. 🙂

Preheat a non-stick pan on medium heat. Add a little coconut oil and spread around the pan. Add about a 1/4 cup of batter to the pan. Cook for a few minutes on one side, flip and cook a couple more minutes on the other side. When it starts to bubble, that’s how you know it’s ready to be flipped! Remove from pan, keep warm on a plate, and top with fresh fruit and jam!

Makes about 6 generous size pancakes.

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