How to pick the right Juicer?

Last week I spoke about health benefits of juicing fresh organic fruits and veggies.  This week I would like to talk about selecting the right juicer.  There are so many out there!  First of all let’s note that there are centrifugal juicers, triturating juicers, masticating juicers, wheatgrass juicers, and citrus juicers.

 

Centrifugal juicers are owned by probably 9 out of 10 “pro-juice” people.  They extract juice by grating fruits and veggies into small pieces and uses sieve to get the juice out.  There are several disadvantages of the centrifugal juicer: juice should be consumed within 15 minutes of being juiced (due to oxidation), it is not that great with green leafy veggies, and it creates foam, which some people actually get tummy aches from.  It does spin at high speed, therefore creating heat, and furthermore cancelling the whole purpose of it: juices supposed to be cold and not heated up to keep it’s nutritional value (which is why the whole Raw Food movement exists). However, it does have it’s own advantages: it is a cheaper solution, it does it’s job really fast and you can clean it really fast and be done, and generally more convenient to use due to it’s design.

 

Triturating juicers they work similarly to the masticating juicers, however the motor runs slower, therefore keeping more nutrients.  They are known to be the best available on the market.  Disadvantages: they are the most expensive ones.  You will require to work harder to get your juice, as you would have to push  harder when you juice things like carrots or broccoli.  Advantages: They are the best available and most importantly you get to keep your nutrients to the fullest!

 

Masticating juicers grinds, crashes and “chews” fruits and veggies.  Disadvantages: due to it’s design, you will have to spend more time preparing fruits and veggies to juice, since unlike centrifugal juicers, it has smaller “mouths”.  They cost more and they take more time to clean.  Advantages: they extract juice better than centrifugal (your palp – the leftover from fruits and veggies, the fiber – will be drier), it does a better job with juicing green leafy veggies.  Furthermore they are more versatile: you can make baby food, butter nuts (which is pretty good for raw food diet movement crowd!), make sauces, pasta, ice-cream, etc

 

Wheatgrass juicers and citrus juicers are not something you’d go for if you want to juice every single fruit and vegetable.  Citrus juicers are only for oranges, and it’s a bit on the old school side of things.  They are the cheapest, however, that all you can do: citrus juice.  You would be wasting a lot of the juice, as you would not be able to juice as much as a mechanical juicer can.  Wheatgrass juicers are used to get wheatgrass juice.  The only reason they exist is to juice wheatgrass, if you wish to.  Masticating juicers are not doing a good job at juicing wheatgrass, which is why they exist.  And wheatgrass juice is something that is worth adding to your diet, as it provides amazing health benefits.

 

I, personally, have a centrifugal juicer.  When I initially bought I wanted to make sure I will stick with it and I will actually continue juicing.  I have done that before: where I would go for some kind of idea and not stick with it and waste money on equipment.  Now I do know I will probably never quit juicing and I think it provides one of the most amazing health benefits.  In fact I am planning to start my first 3 day juice fast next Friday! Would you like to join?  I am going away on a vacation tomorrow… well since it’s almost 1 am… it’s actually today, and I won’t be back till next Thursday, so I will be going on a fast for 3 straight days, otherwise I’ll never do it ;) I’ll report on that too :)

Chia Seeds

This week’s superfood is Chia.  I’ll be honest I haven’t tried those until this year, when I started detoxing in January, since they are known to be an excellent addition to your diet to help with detoxing I thought: “why not?!”.   Chia Seeds been called an “ancient superfood” since it was used way back in the Mayan and Aztec days.  They were used to increase endurance back then.  It can be added to your diet in so many quick and easy ways: you can add it to your salads or to your oatmeal or to your smoothies.  Bake with it (cookes) or make pancakes with it.

Nowadays they are used in a few ways:

  • Weight Loss: chia seed expand 12 times its size.  Not only it helps lower feeling of hunger, but they also provide us with energy!  When they expand (in water) they create a coat of gel, which is essentially water with zero calories.  Since it expands 12 times its size you can easily use it as a meal replacement.  It also provides us with fiber, which is so needed given SAD (Standard American Diet) doesn’t provide us with enough fiber.
  • Detoxify: That gel coating that I’m talking about above absorbs toxins in our bodies and gets rid of it through the digestion system.
  • Omega-3 Oil: To increase your Omega-3 Oil intake introduce Chia Seeds to your diet.  By weight, it has three times more Omega-3 Oil than seafood (salmon in particular).
  • Protein: Chia seeds is one of the best plant-based sources of protein.
  • Anti-oxidant: Anti-oxidants help prevent free-radical damage in our bodies.  Essentially it helps to slow down anti-aging process.
  • Bake: replace butter with chia seeds to increase fiber intake and reduce unhealthy fats intake
  • Blood Sugar Regulator: that gel coat that I brought up above helps to maintain blood sugar by slowing down conversion of carbs into sugar.

Juicing or Smothie-ing?

Juicing and smoothies is something that is becoming more and more popular nowadays.  As people are becoming more health-conscious, they tend to research, watch documentaries, like I used to watch, and educate themselves.  And no wonder: juicing and smoothing are great for your health, they taste fantastic and adding that to your regular diet gives you a sense of accomplishment and maybe it could be that first little step that you need to make on your own health journey.

 

So… Juicing or Smoothies?  First of all I think if you are not doing either of those – you pick one and go for it!  You would not regret it, I guarantee it (assuming you will do it properly: by changing to a healthy diet, going organic, etc).   I personally prefer juicing, and I will explain below why.

 

Imagine blending a huge bucket of veggies and then drinking it.  It pretty hard.  Imagine doing so a couple of times per day.  It’s pretty safe to assume you will hate smoothies in a couple of days if you continue doing that.  At which point you will quit and tell everybody that you tried this health thing and it didn’t work.  Now imagine juicing the same amount of veggies and fruits.  Guess what?  You get the same amount of nutrients in a form of juice that you just drink in one cup vs three cups of smoothies.  It’s that easy.  But it doesn’t end here.  The way your body gets rid of toxins (detoxing) is it’s going through a little process: you eat, you digest, and then you get rid of toxins.  If you constantly eat (which is what we do during the day) and digest you never get to detoxifying yourself, except for when you go to sleep, which is why a lot of people need to go to the washroom in the morning.  Smoothies make it easier: it’s easier to digest something that has been blended, so your body gets to detoxifying much quicker.  When you drink smoothies you still digest, however.  Now, when you juice and drink that juice (and remember juice has a lot more nutrients than smoothies) – there’s absolutely nothing to digest, so you start detoxing right away.  Which is why all these juice ten/five day detoxes are so popular.  A lot of people experience an urge to go to the bathroom within 10-15 mins of drinking a couple of cups of juice, especially at the beginning of the detoxing process.  Now do that for 10 days and let’s talk after.

 

Why detoxing is so important?  Well, lets compare a diet now vs 50 or 100 years ago.  Think about it.  Throughout our day we get exposed to so many chemicals: we sleep in a bedding that was washed in a washer with detergent, fabric softener, bleach and probably something to make it smell even better, we take a 10-15 minute shower and we want to smell good, so we use all these shower gels, shampoos, conditioners, shaving gels, deodorants, toothpastes.  After that we spray our hair with detangling spray, and then we spray some more if we want to straighten our hair, we wash our face with a face wash and put some moisturizer one… and then we cover it up with make up, perfumes.  Our clothing is probably washed in chemicals so it smells nice and is clean, our car has plastic inside and when we get in on a hot sunny day we breath it in, we drive around the city with tons of other cars, we eat food that is processed…. read the labels of foods that claim to be healthy.  Look at how much sugar they add.  Or you have those couple of glasses of wine (and of course lets bring up that French study that concluded that wine is so-so good for you! :) ), or that little cigarette .. Nothing is going to happen from one cigarette .. Yeah…  I can continue for another couple of paragraphs going over all the chemicals we get exposed throughout our every day life.  Now, I’m not saying to leave everything and run to the woods and hunt, what I’m saying is to minimize as much as you can the chemical and pesticides intake.  It is that important!

 

Changing the diet would be a number one thing.  But you can change your diet all you want, however, whatever it is that’s in your body – it’s already there.  It’s not going anywhere unless you actually get rid of it by detoxing.  Did you know, that our body stores all these toxins in joints or fat to protect itself? Well, if you decide to lose weight and your body doesn’t easily get rid of that fat, guess what?  It is trying to protect itself from having those toxins go somewhere else.  You see human body and the nature is smarter than us and we need to start working with it and not against it.  So while changing to a healthy diet is a great thing, detoxing in a healthy natural way (not by some pills/powders or teas that they sell!) should be one of the first things you’d do on your health journey.  So go ahead, buy that juicer, buy organic fruits and veggies and start juicing already.

 

Come back next week and I will speak about juicing a proper juicer, and properly combining fruits and veggies for juicing purposes and other health related topics :) Happy Juicing!

Top 10 things to do with children while in Oahu, Hawaii

USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor

USS Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor

The islands of Hawaii have been one of the favourite vacation spots in the world for many years.  I always wondered why until I got to visit it the first time in 2011.  It consists of 8 major islands and due to its location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean you get a perfect weather nearly all year round and an exposure to a huge variety of unique plants and creatures, which are 95% endemic.  In addition to that there is so much history with numerous museums and palaces.  You get a huge selection of activities for young childless crowd as well as folks with small children and retirees.  All of the above makes it truly an amazing vacation destination for any ages or even a perfect family reunion location.

Although I’ve been there on my own, without children, as well as with children, I’ve done the following activities both times and they are fun whether you have children or not.  So here they are… 10 top things to do on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

Waikiki beach and the Kalakaua Avenue

I do admit it is an overused suggestion.  However, I believe it is a must see because you get to be a tourist in a place full of tourists.  Kalakaua Avenue is like the Strip in Las Vegas.  It has tons of stores, restaurants and is full of people.  You also get to visit the International Market.  I spend hours there both times I went to Hawaii.  You can get so much different stuff, such as jewelry, shirts, ukuleles, frames, wallets, etc that you don’t need (haha! :) ) but yet your trip won’t be complete without.   I highly recommend getting a cheesecake at the Cheesecake factory (I tried 5 different types, but my favourite is the raspberry lemon cheesecake… yum!) and going to the coffee shop at the Royal Hawaiian Centre and ordering an “island latte”.  I will always remember that as one of the highlights of my last trip.  We sat outside the coffee shop (which is on the second floor of the mall) and had our cheesecakes while listening to a local artist sing downstairs.   Cost: free, unless you buy something.

Duke Kahanamoku Statue at the Waikiki Beach

Duke Kahanamoku Statue at the Waikiki Beach

View of the Waikiki Beach at night and the Diamond Head (and stars!), one of my personal favourite photos from my last trip.

View of the Waikiki Beach at night and the Diamond Head (and stars!), one of my personal favourite photos from my last trip.

Kalakaua Avenue at nighttime

Kalakaua Avenue at nighttime

Waimea Arboretum & Botanical Garden

It is a fun and educational activity to do with small children as well as for adults.  You get to see plants, trees and bushes that you don’t get to see anywhere else in the world.  At the end of the trail you end up at a waterfall, which, depending on the rainfall, can get really big.  Even though the water is cold, you can swim in the waterfall.  Also once a month (or rather once every 28 days), you can come after dark for a “moonlight walk” when the moon is full and once you get to the end of the trail you can see the moon hitting the waterfall in the dark, while it’s completely dark around.  Truly breathtaking.   Definitely visit the gift shop and try to plan your visit when they have a local farm market.  You get to try foods you would not see anywhere else.   I personally just love local farm markets anywhere I travel.  Cost: entrance is not free to the botanical garden, but you can get one of the tourist magazines at the entrance and get a discount.  Last time we got a great lady working at the botanical garden and she saved us some money by pointing out the coupon in the magazine.

Waimea Falls at the Waimea Botanical Garden during the day

Waimea Falls at the Waimea Botanical Garden during the day

Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor is definitely a must see while in Oahu.  We all know the devastating story of the early hours of that Sunday, December 7, 1941.  It’s a great opportunity to learn more about what happened, visit the memorial and a great educational activity for the whole family.  While waiting to be departed to the Arizona Memorial (a free 5 minute boat ride) you get to watch a documentary, which includes the actual footage of the attack.  Entrance to the Pearl Harbor, museum and the Arizona memorial is completely free.  I would highly recommend going to the submarine (access to the submarine is not free).  You can easily make it a whole day activity for the family and my children especially loved it.  Right by the submarine entrance they have a huge nice food court where you can buy some food and enjoy a covered area to just relax and listen to some local music or have a quick meal (sorry, no healthy choices there!).  A tip: while they do say on their website that bags and food is not allowed, the first time I brought my camera bag without any issues.  Well, the second time I had to go back to the car to drop it off, and I’m not a fan of that, since the highest chance of any crime happening in Hawaii – is locals stealing stuff from tourist’s cars.  Apparently they can spot one right away. Cost: while the entrance, museums, movie, boat ride and visit to Arizona is free, visit to the sub or to the USS Missouri it is not free.  My children had a blast at the submarine.  So did I.  Totally worth it!  I do admit I’m a little geeky, so I am sure if I ever go back to Oahu I will go back there again and this time I’ll explore USS Missouri or maybe spend the whole day there.

At the USS Arizona Memorial

At the USS Arizona Memorial

Dole Plantation  

If you haven’t noticed yet, but I’m totally into educational stuff.  Whether it is for the kids or for myself.  I love learning new things, history and getting exposure to something that I wouldn’t normally get exposed to.  Dole plantation was certainly an educational experience, but also fun and just give me a feeling like I was back to being a kid!  At the Dole Plantation they have a huge gift shop where you can buy a huge variety of things.  I personally got addicted to the local coconut pancake syrup “Hawaii” (they serve it at most restaurants that serve pancakes) and I bought 4 of them at the plantation.  Good thing I’m currently on a diet and they will last me a while, since they weren’t that cheap – $8.00 per small bottle.  But if you love coconut flavoured pancake syrup – trust me you will go crazy over that one just like I did (I couldn’t find it anywhere, so as soon as I saw it at a gift shop I bought all I could carry :) ).  Also inside the gift shop they have a pineapple cutting presentation on how to properly select the best pineapple and how to properly cut it.  They offer tons of local products, like candy, candles, frames and such.  Also they have a pretty good food court.  Their Chicken Tariyaki was delish!  Freshly BBQ corn is just a great addition to a yummy lunch.  Their pineapple ice-cream is to die for.  Typing this just made me hungry!  :)  Also at the same plantation: the world’s largest maze.  That’s right! It’s huge!  If that wasn’t enough they have a garden where you can view how different plans grow, and finally a Pineapple Express, which is a cute little train that takes you around plantation on a recorded tour.  You get to see how various plants grow, as well as enjoy the views and the local music.  Cost: Pineapple Express (adults $8.50 & kids $6.50), Maze (adults $6.00 & kids $4.00), and Plantation Garden Tour adults $5.00 & kids $4.25).  Totally worth every penny.  If in doubt always think of a sunken cost: what did it take you to get there?! Probably a lot of money once you add up flights, hotels/vacation rentals, car rentals, and food and entertainment.  Enjoy the vacation to the fullest and memories are priceless anyways.

One of the views you get to see while on the Pineapple Express at the Dole Plantation

One of the views you get to see while on the Pineapple Express at the Dole Plantation

Kualoa Ranch

If you are a fan of something educational, but yet extremely fun – this place is perfect.   Be prepared to spend the whole day there and another hour in the huge gift shop that they have.  Since we were on a vacation and were late risers we arrived too late to make it a full day experience.  But half-day with lunch was just fine! It was $99.00 per adult and $59.00 per child admission and you get to choose two tours that you can take there.  We did a “Movie Sites & Ranch Tour” and “Jungle Expedition Tour”.  Both lasting an hour.  The views we got to see is something that is hard to explain.  Just wow.  Also our tour guides were amazing guys and went out of their way to make it extra special by taking us into a quick hike up the mountain to where one of the scenes from the TV show “Lost” was shot and it was just breathtaking:

View from the hiking trail at the Kualoa Ranch

View from the hiking trail at the Kualoa Ranch

What do you think?  We also got to taste a guava that has zero shelf life and cannot be sold for that reason.  It’s completely wild but you can just try it there.  I can go on and on about the views and the tour, but yet still cannot say enough about this place.  Childless couples can enjoy a horse tour.  That seemed like fun!

Kualoa Ranch

Kualoa Ranch

The North Shore

North Shore has its own unique feel and atmosphere.  Although it’s a little “poor” in a sense that not a lot of tourists make it there, so you get to experience more “authentic” Hawaiian experience, but the feel there is just great.  There are tons of free activities:  snorkeling at Shark’s Cove, watching surfers on a world famous surfing “Pipeline”, or enjoying a sunset on a Sunset Beach.

Banzai Pipeline Beach

Banzai Pipeline Beach

The Valley of the Temples

Some people might not like this place, especially if they are very religious, but it was one of the highlights of my last trip as well.  The day we arrived there it was raining a bit and since its right by the mountains we had this cloud over us…. It was truly magical.  The cemetery is just beautiful and inside the temple you get this wow feeling.  I’m not sure… maybe in my past life I was of that religion, but I totally had that yoga feeling where you feel like you are at the right place, you can relax and just fly away and meditate.  I just wish I was there by myself so I could have enjoyed a couple of quiet hours of just meditating and taking it all in.  It’s quite magical.  That’s all I can say, looking at my picture, what do you think?

Valley of the Temples Memorial Park

Valley of the Temples Memorial Park

Hiking

This island is perfect for hikers as well.  I mean you can hike every day while you are there and still not hike all of the good spots.  I personally recommend the Diamond Head, take a look at the view from there, isn’t it just breathtaking?!

Amazing view from the top of the Diamond Head

Amazing view from the top of the Diamond Head

But if totally touristy stuff is not your thing, why don’t you explore Manoa Falls, or hike Hau’ula Loop Trail (bring mosquito repellent! I learned it a hard way!), or Koko Head or at the end of Farrington Hwy or Olomana Three Peaks Trail (personal favourite of President Obama, who actually was born and grew up on the island of Oahu).  The list goes on and on.  Don’t forget to stop along countless viewing points while driving around.  On my last vacation over Christmas 2012 I actually got to see Obama in one of the viewing points along the Pali Hwy.  Did I say he also stayed in the same area as we did and his security was just 3 houses down from where we stayed?!

Explore the restaurants and historic sites

I eat out and I love eating out.  I love trying new things to eat.  What can I say, read one of my previous posts of loving food here J So now that I got my point across, I’m moving on to my next point. Eat out.  Check out the Tripadvisor first and go for it.  But sometimes you just can’t check some things out there.  I absolutely enjoyed eating raw Poke while on the island.  I done that every day I was there and didn’t get food poisoning or anything like that.  It was amazing! Poke is a type of tuna and although I always prefer salmon sashimi – Poke and the marinade locals use is just so yummy you can’t stop eating it!   Buy meals at local food buses which are mostly located on a north shore.  Like this one:

Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck at the North Shore. Also at the same “stop” a few small places selling fresh fruit and other local stuff.

Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck at the North Shore. Also at the same “stop” a few small places selling fresh fruit and other local stuff.

Their garlic shrimp combo was just delish!  Contact me or ask in the comment section below if you’d like particular restaurant names in different areas of Oahu, and I’ll gladly help you with most of the areas.

As for the historic sites… check out Iolani Palace, Bishop Museum, Emma’s Summer Palace, and others!

King Kamehameha Statue

King Kamehameha Statue

Lanikai Beach

And last but not least (and trust me I can go on and on, but I have to eventually stop talking about Oahu!) – Oahu Top Beaches.  Yet again I think almost every single one of them is special and you can have the greatest time.  For me the best beach in Oahu is Lanikai Beach.  I came along that beach on my first vacation and fell in love with it the first moment I saw it: white sand fine like a powder (which is weird as it is attached to Kailua beach which has yellow sand that was not as fine), waves are strong, but yet just perfect, it’s never busy there and it is also rated top 10 beaches of the world. I liked it so much, so I found a vacation rental just a couple of blocks away from the Lanikai beach for my second trip to Oahu.  Cannot get better than that! Check this out:

Lanikai Beach, Kailua at Oahu Island, Hawaii

Lanikai Beach, Kailua at Oahu Island, Hawaii

As I mentioned I can go on and on about this wonderful place.  Feel free to ask me for any suggestions or travel tips!  I will be writing a few of those articles as I have travelled a few places in the past couple of years and going to California at the end of May (and of course will write an article about that experience as well!).   What is your favourite vacation destination and where would you like to go next and why?

Juicing 101

Juicing 101: two simple recipies to start juicing right now!

Juicing 101

We live in an amazing world where Internet is available to almost all of us.  Thanks to that, we have access to a wealth of health-related  information.  It is so exciting and encouraging, that so many people are adjusting their diets and acquiring new healthy habits, such as juicing.  However, most wonder where to start.  An idea of juicing is a great idea, but you have to spend hours researching before you get a somewhat a good plan what to juice and how to juice, especially if you haven’t heard of it before.  One can easily get confused, or worst of all, give up the idea all together, thinking it is too much work.

This is where health blogs are so important.  They have helped me tremendously since the beginning of own health journey.  I cannot thank enough all those YouTubers and bloggers that shared their knowledge and experience, not expecting anything in return.  This is what bloggers do, and it’s rather inspiring.  This is why I will share a few things, that I have learned about juicing in the past year, right here, in this blog.  I am truly passionate about health and nutrition and I want to give back.  In fact I am so passionate that I registered for a Holistic Nutritionist program.  Maybe one day you… yes you… drop by this blog and find something useful and change a couple of things here and there, and it will become your first stepping stone to a great health.  We all have to start somewhere.  I could not be happier if it did happen to you!

In a world full of processed, modified and “healthy” foods, we get lost in ingredients and foods that claim to be “healthy” and all other things in between.  This is where juicing is so amazing, so simple, and so good for you!  Juicing is pure on its own and as long as you have good quality produce to juice… you can’t overdose with it, you can’t have too much juice and, in fact, the more – the better.

I’ll finish of today’s blog post with a couple of simple recipes of an orange and green juices pictured above.  They are one of the most basic recipes you can have.  We all have these fruits and veggies in our fridge.  What is also great about those juices, is that I usually make them on a Saturday, before going grocery shopping.  Why?  Because that’s usually what I have left over in my fridge by the end of the week and I like to clean out my fridge and wash it before I do my weekly grocery shopping.  Yes, I’m also a clean freak!  You can substitute most items…  Don’t be afraid to experiment with what you have.  No zucchini?  Try a cucumber! Or a green pepper.  Or even broccoli!  No apples? Juice a pineapple!  One word of advise: melons can be tricky and cause tummy aches, if mixed with other fruits.

Green Juice: spinach, celery, zucchini, lettuce, green apple (or any apple would do!)

Orange Juice: oranges, apples and carrots.

Chicken Veggie Kabob WP

4th of July BBQ: Part Two – Mean Green Chicken Veggie Kabob

Chicken Veggie Kabob WP

Like I mentioned in my previous post even though animal protein should be avoided, I also understand that a health journey needs to start somewhere.  Most people can’t go raw or vegan overnight.  Some people choose to slowly cut down on things or maybe they just want to continue eating the way they do, but in a healthier way.  I promise to provide recipes for both groups of people on my blog.

What really is concerning to me is the amount of people that have asked me about the weight loss or other what I call “cosmetic” effects of my own high raw part-time (for now!) vegan journey.  I strongly believe in not cutting calories or counting calories/points, I believe in moderation, not depravation.  Just eating healthy to start, then continue with your own research and taking it further and exercising. That’s all.  Weight will come off.  Skin will clear up.  You will forget what colds or flu are. You will be energized and will require less sleep (trust me, I’m one of those people that would “sleep in” on the weekends… easily for 12-13 hours! now I rarely sleep more than 8 hours!).

The second BBQ recipe that I made for my friends was this Mean Green Chicken Veggie Kabob (the first one is here).  The reason why I called it Mean Green is because of the smoothie that I make, that helps one repair their damaged DNA (because of years of eating unhealthy, GMO, full of pesticides foods), that consists of Green Veggies only.  I used this idea and incorporated it into the marinade this time.  It was the first time I used my brand new blender Blendtec to make a marinade and I’m in love with the blender!

DSC_0267

I find that most people BBQ meat and veggies separately.  I used veggies because that’s how I grew up having kabobs.  Back in my childhood it was in fact quite different: we marinated mostly with lemon and onion, we used metal skewers, meat pieces were larger, and we used veggies in between each piece to help to keep meat moist while it was cooking directly on fire (not like here, on BBQ grill).  So this time I used organic zucchini and cherry tomatoes, because they were perfect for this size wise.  But you can use eggplants or peppers (green or red or yellow or orange), or even pineapples.  Bottom line do what feels right.

DSC_0270

Like I mentioned above I used my Mean Green smoothie recipe for the marinade: I blended yellow pepper, spinach, basil, cilantro, parsley, cumin, garlic, white onion and a bit of ginger.  I did not marinade it for long. Maybe 15-20 mins, but everybody loved it!  Kids especially. I used the marinade as it was BBQ’ing to get some extra flavour in and it worked wonders.

Shrimp Kabob WP

4th of July BBQ: Part One – Shrimp and Lime Kabob

This past weekend we celebrated Canada Day (July 1).  Both big holidays for Canada and the US happen to fall just 3 days apart from each other.  So in time for July 4th BBQ day I decided to post two recipes of two different types of kabobs that I made for my friends this past weekend.   We are lucky to have an awesome group of friends and we try to get together whenever we can for years now.  I only had a couple of hours notice before they came over, but I managed to pull this and another recipe together very quickly and I got a ton of compliments. Yeey me!  We had a great time till 2am, talking about life, sipping wine (or beer) and having typical summery treats on my outside patio.  Hope my neighbours don’t hate me.

This are my Shrimp and Lime Kabobs and they were gone within 10 minutes.  Both adults and kids really liked them:

Shrimp Kabob WP

Although ideally, as I’m now learning while I’m taking my Holistic Nutritionist designation courses, animal protein consumption should be either completely eliminated or significantly cut down, it is important to remember that most people won’t be successful at drastically changing their diet cold turkey.  You have to learn how to walk, before you can fly.  So this is an awesome, yummy and healthy recipe to prepare shrimp kabobs without adding any artificial flavours or store-bought dressings, while you are in transition.

DSC_0264

A couple of things to remember: always buy wild (not farmed) shrimp, as it ensures that shrimp is not Genetically Modified.  To the marinade I added some light sesame seed oil, garlic, ground cumin, a bit of curry, cilantro and lemon.  I absolutely love the Spanish “summer soup” made out of tomato, cilantro, lemon and shrimp (a simple quick version) and been eating it for the past 12 years!  So why not BBQ it?! I added curry and cumin because I was inspired by my visit to an Indian restaurant the night before.  Oh do I ever love Indian food.  So full of flavour!  I am on a mission to learn how to make a few of my fav things and change it up to make it a healthier option!

Shrimp Lime Kabob

Serves 8
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 5 minutes
Total time 20 minutes
Allergy Fish, Shellfish
Dietary Gluten Free
Meal type Appetizer
Occasion Barbecue, Casual Party
Easy, quick, healthy and delicious BBQ shrimp lime kabob recipe.

Ingredients

  • 20 Medium Shrimp
  • 20 Small Shrimp
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seed oil
  • 1/5 cup cilantro (finely chopped)
  • 6-9 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry
  • 10 Small lime (mostly used for cabobs, some are squeezed into the marinade)
  • 8-10 bamboo skewers

Directions

Step 1
Combine shrimp, sesame seed, garlic, cumin, curry and cilantro. Let it marinade for 10-15 minutes.
Step 2
Heat your BBQ to low-medium heat
Step 3
Thread the shrimp and lime on the skewers
Step 4
BBQ on low heat for about 2 minutes on each side or as desired
Salad Cover

Easy Healthy Choice: Yummy Salad

Canada Day Salad 2

If you are following my Instagram (Katekiss), you probably know that I love salads.  I eat salads every day, most days two big salads per day.  I used to be very conservative in regards what I make my salads out of.  But a couple of years ago I started mixing things up a bit, like adding fruits, that I previously thought were not a good addition to a salad or it felt weird.  Since I’m eating so much raw food, and particularly salads, I have to mix things up to keep it interesting ;) New flavours, new tastes, new combinations.

So this week I would like to share my latest favourite salad (and please keep in mind my “latest favourite salad” constantly change :) ).  I absolutely always try to buy organics, which is a separate subject I will bring up a lot in this blog! But when I can’t I will buy a non-organic item if I really want it.  The only thing you should always be aware of is GM produce, also something I will talk about a lot.  Salad pictured was made with the following items: baby greens, cukes, tomatoes, mushrooms, pears, raspberries and blackberries.  It was so delish and so easy to make!  Why on earth would you want to eat anything else?! I, also, normally add olives, almonds and cranberries to my salad.  I usually make it with sesame seed oil or sunflower seed oil (more about that at a later time, particularly it’s health benefits).

Fresh salads are one of the most easiest, quickest, healthiest and versatile meals you can make.  I know how difficult it can get: you have kids (or even if you don’t!), after-school activities, homework, dinners, friends, family, hobbies, hell… work (do I need to remind that you have to get ready to go to work and commute, on top of those 8 hours that you will spend there 5 days per week)… I, also, have homework now too, since I went back to school… and this time I’m working on a career change and decided to pursue my passion.  Speaking of… I have tried the whole health blogging with my first website WomenYak, however, I quickly realized that serious quality health and recipes blogging should involve some medical background or an extensive experience leading that type of lifestyle.  Also it should be done responsibly, not something you researched and tried on yourself alone.  Common sense tells me that without a proper background you cannot responsibly talk about this kind of stuff.  Everybody is different and something that worked on your doesn’t mean it will work on everybody else.  So, as a first stepping stone I decided to acquire a Registered Holistic Nutritionist designation part-time.  It will take time and money, but I am so passionate about it, I cannot see myself doing anything else anymore.  So going back to subject: my salads really save me when it comes down to eating healthy and not having time or energy at the end of the crazy day to pack my lunch for the next day.  The solution is simple: I just take items (fresh fruits and veggies) out of the fridge every morning and take it all to work.  It only takes about 2 minutes to pack it up, and 5 minutes to make a huge healthy salad.  It is also incredibly filling and enjoyable!  So enjoy and come back for more health related articles and recipes.

 

 

 

Superfood-Cinnamon

SuperFood of the Week: Cinnamon

Superfood-Cinnamon

Growing up I don’t remember ever trying cinnamon.  It is yet another spice that I didn’t try till I moved to Canada.  And I hated it.  Unfortunately, the only reason why I hated it, is because I have tried it only on cinnamon buns, that were too sweet.  I thought that’s all cinnamon has to offer.

As I’m going through my process of learning about various healthy foods, I have learned and introduced cinnamon, yet again, to my diet.  This time I’m totally in love with it.  It became a part of my daily routine now, and I usually consume it with my second breakfast at work (I usually make oats, organic bananas, organic apples and cinnamon) or on the weekends when I make dark chocolate cinnamon gluten-free pancakes.  I will share the recipe later on this week :) Now on to health benefits associated with cinnamon.

Cinnamon is rich in calcium, iron, dietary fiber and manganese.  This combination helps to remove bile, and helps in preventing colon cancer and the formation of stomach ulcers.  Historically it has been used as a diarrhea and indigestion cure.  It also lowers blood sugar and studies suggest it is especially beneficial to people with type 2 diabetes.  Its anti-inflammatory properties is an extra benefit, as a lot of people eat SAD (Standard American Diet) diet, which is extremely unhealthy, therefore causing inflammation of internal organs.  Some studies suggest that it helps with fighting yeast infections and other studies suggest that smelling cinnamon enhances  memory and attention.  A study completed in Copenhagen University suggests that people with arthritis have experienced significant  pain-relieve after one week of taking a teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of honey (mixed with water, first thing in the morning).  Finally, as an extra benefit, it aids in weight loss by having a regulatory effect on blood sugar levels and increasing insulin levels in bodies, therefore increasing metabolism of glucose.

 

***Warning – high doses of cinnamon may be toxic.

Carrots

SuperFood of the Week: Carrots

Carrots

Welcome back! This week I would like to talk about carrots.  It was a difficult pick, as I have so much info to share but yet so little time.

Carrots has always been one of my favourites.  Growing up in the middle of nowhere, in Siberia, there are a few things that one would grow during summer, so that they could enjoy it during winter and carrots were one of those things.  I’m very picky when it comes down to veggies, although I love veggies – I’m very picky as to how they are served: some veggies I prefer raw, while others cooked.  Although, most of my veggies I prefer raw, it just happens that carrots I love eating raw or cooked!  I think it all comes down to how you are raised and like I mentioned before I am a strong believer that a lot of those habits come from your childhood, including things like how food is  served or how it is cooked and such.

First of all, I think that most people love carrots.  I haven’t met anyone that wouldn’t eat carrots (yet :) ). But do we know why carrots are good for you?  I’ve been eating them for years, but never really thought why?  I mean, it is given that fresh organic fruits and veggies are the best, but do we know what do carrots do that we should continue eating carrots?  Second of all, one would wonder why do I ask all these questions above, while carrots are just so great!  Who cares?  I mean they are naturally sweat, crunchy and delicious.  However, given the existence of this weekly segment on Superfoods, let’s take a look at carrots’ health benefits.

  • It’s full of beta-carotene that is converted into Vitamin A in the liver.  Beta-carotene is one of the powerful anti-oxidant, which protects body from oxygen-free radical injury.  It also helps fight off various cancers, like oral cancer, cervix and uterus cancers and stomach cancers.
  • Vitamin A – is in charge of variety of functions in our body: vision, immune system, reproduction system (sperm production), skin health, etc It also helps to flash toxins out of our bodies.  It also has high amounts of Vitamin K and Vitamin C and potassium.
  • It is rich in dietary fiber, half of which is soluble fiber that helps lower cholesterol levels.
  • Research shows carrots consumption lowers risk of stroke and heart decease
  • It has anti-aging and dental benefits

I won’t have a quick recipe today since it is one of the most popular snack foods.  Some things shouldn’t be cooked or mixed in a salad and are great as they are :) What can I say?! I love carrots for my daily snacks!  However, you can easily add it to your salads, dinners, snacks and it’s one of my favourite veggies to juice.   I usually juice it with apples and green leafy veggies (like kale, or spinach).

Get Healthy. Live Fully. Love Wholly.

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