Tag Archives: healthy-eating

Top 5 Alternatives to Traditional Pizza Crust

Everyone loves pizza. I mean, how could you not? If your love for pizza is strong but are looking for an alternative to regular dough, there are many ways to have your pizza and eat it too. Here are a few of options sure to satisfy your craving while staying health conscious or avoiding an allergy.

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1. French Bread Pizzas

2. Twice-Baked Pizza Potatoes

3. Pita Pizza Rounds

4. Gluten-Free Thin Crust Pizza Dough

5. Portobello Pizzas

 

 

5 Natural Sweeteners to Replace White Sugar

If you are like most people, your summer is a time for indulging in ice cream, fruit tarts, cakes, cookies and lots and lots of sugary desserts — full of white sugar. Although white sugar is delicious and makes everything much, much sweeter, it has been touted as a “poison” by some and has been compared to alcohol, cigarettes and crack in terms of an addictive substance. Before we get into better sugar alternatives, here are some reasons why we should limit our white sugar intake.

– It has no nutritional value. Beyond being very sweet, white sugar is known as an empty calorie, it does not contain any nutrients beyond being a carbohydrate. Since it is so refined, containing no nutrients, it actually robs the body of stored vitamins and minerals.
– It suppresses the immune system. Only 1 teaspoon of white sugar can suppress white blood cell function for up to 5 hours! The white blood cells are the body’s main defenders against foreign invaders.
– It interferes with Vitamin C. Vitamin C is needed in the body to boost immunity, build healthy skin and prevent cancer. Sugar interferes with Vitamin C’s function by compromising its transport throughout the body.
– It feeds candida, yeast, parasites and unwanted bacteria. This causes poor digestion, decreased immune function, gas, bloating, constipation and toxins.
– It makes you fat. There has been a ton of research over the years that fat is not always the culprit making you fat, rather, it is sugar. Excess sugar gets stored as fat in the body.
– It spikes blood sugar. Refined, white sugar raises blood sugar really high leading to intense crashes affecting energy levels and hormones.

Now that you know why white sugar needs to go, let’s move on to what sweeteners you can replace it with!

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1. Coconut Sugar
This has become popular in the last few years. Coconut sugar is made from the sap of the flower of the coconut palm tree. Water is evaporated from the sap to make coconut sugar, which looks very similarly to brown sugar. Coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index, meaning it will not raise blood sugar the way white sugar does. It contains nutrients such as zinc, iron, B vitamins and inulin, a fibre that feeds probiotics. Coconut sugar is sweet and can be used 1:1 ratio with white sugar.

2. Honey
Honey looks like liquid gold, it has natural antimicrobial, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. The healthfulness of honey depends on the quality and if it is raw or not. Processing honey removes many of the phytonutrients that are still present in raw honey. Raw honey contains enzymes, minerals and vitamins, already making it more nutritious than white sugar. However, honey is very sweet and will raise blood sugar significantly so it’s best to use in minimal amounts.

3. Maple syrup
Maple syrup is Canada’s homegrown sweetener. It is made from the liquid sap and then boiled until the water is evaporated and it becomes a sticky, thick syrup. Maple syrup is rich in manganese and zinc, which are antioxidants that prevent cell damage. Maple syrup is high on the glycemic index, meaning it spikes blood sugar, however, it is more healthful than refined, white sugar.

4. Molasses
Molasses is actually the liquid byproduct of refining sugar. It’s a thick, viscous sweetener that pairs well with ginger. Molasses contains iron, copper, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, selenium and vitamin B6 – so it is quite rich in minerals.

5. Stevia (green)
Stevia is the best alternative to white sugar, however, many people are put off by the taste. It is very, very, very sweet so you only need to use small amounts. Unrefined stevia is calorie free and will not raise blood sugar at all! You can actually grow stevia in your backyard, which will make it hyper-local. If you are purchasing stevia you want to opt for the green powder or crushed stevia leaves. White stevia is processed, so I would recommend avoiding that one.

You don’t have to give up eating sweets in an effort to avoid white sugar. As with most things in life, the key is moderation. Even though these sweeteners are healthier than white sugar, some will still raise blood sugar levels very high. If you are committed to doing a real sugar detox, you will want to avoid all sweeteners, even wholesome ones and stick to natural sweets like green apples and berries.

tamara-green-living-kitchen Tamara Green is co-founder of The Living Kitchen, and a Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Cook. She combines her knowledge of nutrition and passion for cooking good food to work with clients to create lasting changes in their lives.

Top 10 Organic Fruits & Vegetables You Need to be Eating

We all know we need to be eating organic but there are several reasons we don’t. One of the main ones being cost and that for some it’s inaccessible. Choosing organic means we’re selecting items that are free of pesticides and harmful chemicals that have been linked to cancer and hormonal disruption. While many of us may not be able to eat organic all the time, the Environmental Working Group put out a list that highlights the different types of produce that with the highest pesticide concentrations. This allows us, as shoppers, to make selective and informed decisions to go organic when we need to. With the promise of fresh fruits and vegetables as the weather warms up, we thought we should have another look at the list of these top 10 organic fruits and veggies that we all need to be eating. Have you made the organic switch?

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1. Apples
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away…well, maybe not if it’s a conventional apple. Apples are number one on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list, meaning they’re the most heavily sprayed with pesticides. According to the analysis, 99 percent of apple samples, after washing, tested positive for at least one pesticide residue. The pesticides sprayed on apples, such as Syngenta‘s Paraquat have been associated with developing Parkinson’s disease and is banned in the EU. Other pesticides such as Chlorpyrifos can damage the nervous system. Organic apples won’t break the bank so it’s definitely a good idea to make the switch to organic as soon as you can.

2. Strawberries
Strawberries are a beloved fruit and since they’re so delicate and soft, they’re often prone to fungi attack. For this reason, farmers usually spray fungicide on them. Forty-five other pesticide residues are also found on strawberries and some have been researched to be carcinogenic, hormone disruptive, neurotoxic and toxic to honey bees. Strawberries are one of summertime’s most refreshing fruit and organic strawberries can also be quite pricey. If you can’t find fresh organic strawberries, look for cheaper organic frozen ones.

3. Celery
Many people think that celery doesn’t do much in the nutrition department but it does pack quite a fibrous punch, and it’s a phytonutrient superstar. Celery made its way onto the Dirty Dozen list because it contains 64 pesticide residues, 27 of them being hormone disruptors. Choosing organic celery is definitely a good idea and can be found relatively inexpensive.

4. Cherry Tomatoes
These bite-size tomatoes are excellent sources of lycopene, which is known to protect against osteoporosis and prostate cancer. Cherry tomatoes are another item found on the Dirty Dozen list for having 69 different pesticide residues. The majority of these pesticides are suspected to be hormone disruptors, neurotoxins and toxic to reproductive health. According to the Environmental Working Group, a single cherry tomato contains 13 different pesticides on it.

5. Cucumbers
Cucumbers are one of the most widely eaten fruits (yes, fruits!). According to the USDA Pesticide Data Program, cucumbers contain 86 different pesticides. Many of these pesticides are known carcinogens and many of them are also incredibly harmful to the environment. Conventional cucumbers are also covered by a synthetic wax to protect the fruit during shipping. The wax is made up of chemical contaminants so if you’re opting for non-organic cucumbers, remember to remove the skin. To avoid the pesticide residues and the synthetic waxes completely, go organic.

6. White Potatoes
White potatoes are a staple in many North American households – many of us grew up eating the classic meat and potatoes dinner. White potatoes are often demonized for being incredibly starchy and lacking much nutrition. They do, however, contain quite a bit of fibre. These tubers have also made their way onto the Dirty Dozen list; this is because they contain 35 pesticide residues many of them suspected for being hormone disruptors. According to the Environmental Working Group, the average potato contained more pesticides by weight than any other produce item. These are not to be mistaken with sweet potatoes, which are actually on the “Clean Fifteen” list. This list is comprised of fifteen fruits and vegetables with the lowest concentrations of pesticides.

7. Spinach
Spinach is a versatile leafy green that is one of the healthiest vegetables containing vitamin A, vitamin K and iron. However, it’s also highly sprayed. It lands at number seven on the Dirty Dozen list, meaning it doesn’t contain as many pesticides as produce higher up on the list, but it still has harmful pesticide residues. Spinach contains 54 pesticide residues and many of them are neurotoxic and toxic to honeybees. The pesticide permethrin, used on spinach, is an insect repellent and is found to be carcinogenic, hormone disruptive and toxic to honey bees.

8. Imported Snap Peas
Imported snap peas have made their way onto the Dirty Dozen list. Snap peas are a good source of vitamin C and fibre, both helping to support the immune system. Snap peas contain 78 pesticide residues, making it one of the highest on this list. Most of these are suspected endocrine disruptors, which control hormones within the body. Hormones are like messengers that send out important functional messages all around the body. If hormones are disrupted by synthetic chemicals like pesticides, that means that messages will not be sent and received properly leading to irregular body functions. Similar to cherry tomatoes, a single snap pea contains about 13 different pesticides.

9. Grapes
Grapes can be sweet, tart, soft or crunchy, but mostly they’re just delicious. Unfortunately, they are quite high on the Dirty Dozen list. Most fruit is heavily sprayed with pesticides since its quite sweet, making it harder to protect from insects and fungi. Grapes contain 56 different pesticide residues. The main pesticide used has harmful environmental affects. It’s a powerful insecticide that kills honey bees and other important pollinators.

10. Kale
Everyone’s beloved leafy vegetable has found a place on the Dirty Dozen list. Kale is nature’s superfood – it’s high in fibre, it protects against cancer, arthritis, heart disease and diabetes, yet it’s one of the most heavily sprayed crops. According to the Environmental Working Group, kale has been found to be contaminated with insecticides that are toxic to the human nervous system. Kale contains about 55 pesticide residues. Organic kale is not hard to find and is only about $1-$1.50 more than conventional kale, so it’s absolutely worth making the switch.

tamara-green-living-kitchen Tamara Green is co-founder of The Living Kitchen, and a Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Cook. She combines her knowledge of nutrition and passion for cooking good food to work with clients to create lasting changes in their lives.

Healthy Breakfast Bake with Spaghetti Squash

This recipe for Breakfast Spaghetti Squash doesn’t have to be exact; it’s all about adding ingredients to your liking! I encourage you to switch some ingredients too. Perhaps you want to swap the ham for bacon? Add a different kind of cheese? Go for it. It’s your breakfast!

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Healthy Breakfast Bake with Spaghetti Squash

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Total Time: 45 mins
Serves: 1

Ingredients:
½ spaghetti squash
salt and pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 to 2 handfuls chopped spinach
1 handful diced mushroom
2 slices of ham (chopped)
1 to 2 thin slices of red onion (chopped in half)
1 handful of cheddar cheese (shredded)
1 handful of green onions (chopped)
2 eggs

Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400F.
    2. Slice squash in half and clean out seeds.
    3. Sprinkle squash with salt and pepper to taste.
    4. Spread tomato sauce in squash.
    5. Place spinach, followed by mushrooms, ham, red onion and cheese, followed by another sprinkle of salt and pepper.
    6. Once oven is preheated, bake squash for 15 to 20 minutes.
    7. After 15 to 20 minutes crack two eggs into the spaghetti squash and continue to bake until egg reaches your desired doneness (about 15 to 20 minutes).
    8. Finish with salt and pepper and serve.

100x100_BS Carlene and Bob Deutscher are the dynamic sibling duo behind BS’ in the Kitchen. While Carlene leans towards the sweeter side of things, baking up delicious desserts, you can count on Bob to cook up something savoury! Aside from blogging on BS’ in the Kitchen, Carlene works in marketing & communications, and sidelines as a lifestyle & wedding photographer, while Bob operates his own media company, with a focus on food photography, and videography!

Carlene and Bob Deutscher are part of the Lifestyle Blog Network family.

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Super Easy, No-Fail Healthy Bread Recipe

Bread is one of the most beloved food staples. There is nothing like slicing into fresh bread in the morning and smearing it with a hearty layer of almond butter, jam or butter.

The problem with a lot of commercial breads that line grocery store shelves is that they are loaded in preservatives and refined flours. These breads might appear healthy, proclaiming to protect against heart disease and high cholesterol; however, they are riddled with unwanted ingredients.

Pick up your average bread in the grocery store and find words like monoglycerides, calcium propionate, diglycerides and sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate. While all of these ingredients have their specific purpose to leaven, emulsify and liquefy, many of these ingredients can actually wreak havoc in the body. This does not even take into account the commercial breads made with refined flours that have removed any semblance of fiber or micronutrients.

The answer to finding the most delicious, healthful bread is to make your own. This recipe is with spelt, tolerated by those with wheat sensitivities and it is higher in protein, fibre and contains nutrients that’s easier to absorb in the digestive system.

Bread making can be quite challenging and laborious but this recipe is to do. Get ready because your kitchen is about to become the best bakery in town.

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Sprouted Spelt Artisan Bread

Ingredients:
3 cups of sprouted spelt flour
1 teaspoon of rapid rise yeast
2 teaspoons of sea salt
1 ½ cups of luke warm water
¼ cup of oats for dusting

Directions:

  1. Sift the flour, yeast and sea salt into a large bowl.
  2. Add the water and mix until shaggy dough forms, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and let it sit for 12-18 hours overnight.
  3. When the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 450 °F. When the oven has reached the desired temperature put a dutch oven into the oven for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, place the dough on a floured surface and form into a ball. You do not need to knead the dough, so even though it may be tempting, refrain from doing it! Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest until it’s ready to go into the oven.
  5. When the oven has been preheated for 30 minutes, take the dutch oven out, sprinkle the bottom of it with a small handful of oats (this prevents the bottom of the dough from immediately sticking and burning).
  6. Place the dough in the dutch oven, put it back in the oven and bake for 30 minutes covered and then a final 15 minutes uncovered.
  7. Take it out, let it cool for 10 minutes.

Get Creative

Add different combinations of ingredients for a gourmet loaf that will be a great addition to any entertaining table.

  • Olives and rosemary
  • Thyme and grapes
  • Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and craisins
  • Millet, quinoa and oats
  • Sundried tomato and garlic
  • Asiago and basil

Notes: Visit your local health food stores to find sprouted spelt flour.

tamara-green-living-kitchen Tamara Green is co-founder of The Living Kitchen, and a Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Cook. She combines her knowledge of nutrition and passion for cooking good food to work with clients to create lasting changes in their lives.

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