Friday, May 22, 2015

4 Reasons to Ditch Diary for Good!

Almost 5 years ago I was a mess!

I had severe acne that would not go away with any type of topical treatment.

My stomach was a disaster - if I wasn't bloated or in pain, I was running to the bathroom. I honestly was nervous to go out anywhere or eat anything.

This had been slowly getting worse so I turned to a naturopath for a food sensitivity test and the results were unanimous! I had a severe allergy to dairy - more specifically - casein, which is the main protein in dairy. From that day forward I completely cut out dairy from my diet and was a amazed at the results. I honestly wished I had done it years before.

Since then I have done a lot of research on dairy and its effects on the body and it all shows that cutting dairy out of your diet (whether you are allergic or not) is a healthy choice. Here are 4 really good reasons to ditch dairy for good:
  1. Cancer Prevention - Dr. Colin Campbell of the China Study quotes, "casein is one of the most significant cancer promoters ever discovered". Casein is the main protein in milk and high intake of dairy has been linked to increases in prostate, ovarian and breast cancer. 
  2. Strong Bones - Plant based calcium is better for you. Period. Calcium from sources such as kale, bok choy, beans, almonds and broccoli is better absorbed by the body than animal based calcium.  Kale actually has more calcium per calorie than milk! Dairy is very acidic. Calcium is actually taken from our bones to neutralize the acid levels in the body when dairy is consumed thus making weaker (not stronger, as advertised) bones.  Try a delicious plant based calcium dinner? -  The Picky Diet Kale Lentil Salad & Roasted Cauliflower Recipe
  3. Clear Skin - this one hit home with me the most. Cutting out dairy will improve your skin, especially if you are suffering from acne. All dairy products (organic or not) contain hormones which disrupt your body's natural hormone levels causing stress and inflammation. 
  4. Happy Tummy - digesting dairy is difficult for everyone. Although you may not have physical symptoms that you can see, your body's attempt to digest it is most likely keeping your energy low, making you tired, upsetting your tummy in the form of bad breath, indigestion, headache, bloating, gas or worse…it puts unnecessary stress on your internal organs. Give your tummy a break and skip dairy  - there is no doubt in my mind you will feel better. 
Sending you sunshine, happiness and "dairy free" love, 

Love this healthy content? Want vegan recipes delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for the weekly Picky Diet Newsletter

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

5 Reasons to Eat an Avocado Today

That beautiful green avocado is one versatile and yummy powerhouse of health!

I didn't grow up in an avocado household so I've only just embraced them in the last couple years - at first it was a bit tricky to think about ways to use them but now I can't imagine a day without them…lol - ok maybe one day but definitely not TWO!

Why should YOU eat more avocado?
  1. They are full of healthy fat  - the good stuff that boosts your HDL (good) cholesterol - which helps lower bad cholesterol! The good fats in avocado also prevent diabetes. (Do we really need 4 more reasons past this???)
  2. Protein - avocados contain all 18 essential amino acids making them a complete and clean protein. Unlike animal protein, this plant based protein is easier for your body to digest and absorb. 
  3. Fibre - 1 cup of sliced avocado has 40% of your recommended daily fibre - keeping your digestive system happy and aiding in your body's natural detoxification process - also preventing against colon cancer. The fibre and protein keep you full - perfect to keep the munchies away.
  4. Folate - dietary folate intake (from food, not supplements) had been shown to protect against cancer - especially cervical and breast cancers. 1/2 an avocado provides about 20% of your recommended daily folate intake.  Guacamole anyone?
  5. They have Vitamin K - less popular than calcium and vitamin D in the healthy bones department, Vitamin K improves calcium absorption in the body, keeping bones healthy and preventing osteoporosis. 1/2 an avocado has 25% of your recommended daily vitamin K intake. 
Now that you are ready to fight all the bad diseases with your new fav superhero food - the avocado - you might ask, how do I get more in my diet? Easy…
  • spread it on toast with some salt and pepper or sprinkle some hemp seeds on for delicious Avocado Toast - works as breakfast or lunch or a perfect snack!
  • make some of my favourite Flavio's Guacamole (click for recipe)
  • slice it up on top of vegan chili
  • mash it up and use it as a spread on sandwiches or wraps
  • slice it up on top of your salad 
  • add 1/2 of one to your smoothie to make it nice and creamy
  • cut one in half, leave the skin on, take the pit out and drizzle a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkle sea salt and fresh ground pepper and eat it with a spoon! Yum!
Sending you sunshine, happiness and avocado love, 

Love this healthy content? Want vegan recipes delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for the weekly Picky Diet Newsletter

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Protein Up Your Hummus!

I love hummus.
Definitely my fav go to snack food.
Obviously it is a source of vegan protein - since it is made from Garbanzo beans, however I find that a plate of veggies and hummus doesn't leave me as full as I would like.  So lately I've decided to spark it up to get more protein, as well as other awesome nutrients. This is a really easy way to get more of the protein and nutrients you need while enjoying one of your favourite foods. I've been adding one or two tablespoons (depending on how much you are having) of one of the following super foods to my hummus and stirring them in:
  • Flax - adding ground flax means your hummus now has extra protein, omega's for your heart and brain, and fibre keeping you full and your digestive system happy
  • Pumpkin Seeds - sprinkling pumpkin seeds on your hummus gives it extra iron and zinc in addition to protein. The iron is good for healthy red blood cells and the zinc works wonders for your skin - plus it makes for a nice crunch
  • Hemp Seeds - these are my favourite addition - you don't even notice them and you are getting more protein, iron and magnesium - super healthy. (I like to use Manitoba Harvest Organic Hemp Hearts
  • Toasted Quinoa - this adds an awesome crunch and a ton of protein and essential amino acids providing you with energy to get through your day. Not sure how to toast quinoa? Just rinse 1/2 a cup well, put a medium size saucepan or frying pan on medium heat on the stove, add in half of the quinoa and move it around with a wire whisk until all the moisture has disappeared and the quinoa has become crunchy (about 5 minutes - and be careful not to burn them), repeat with the second half. No oil needed. Store in an airtight container for up to three days in the fridge. These are also a great on a salad for extra protein. 

Sending you sunshine, happiness and extra vegan protein, 

Love this healthy content? Want more plus vegan recipes delivered to your inbox? Sign up here for the weekly Picky Diet Newsletter.