Elementor #1281

Healthy Shamrock Shake

‘Tis the season of all things GREEN! 

I’ll be honest, I’ve never had the OG Shamrock Shake from the (in)famous fast food place. Not that I don’t love mint and ice cream, but the vivid, fake green color (and of course the loads of sugar) just wasn’t for me!

To honour my Irish roots and celebrate my nephew Mason and his dog “Lucky”, who both have birthdays on March 17th, I thought I’d try to recreate a healthier version of this March treat.

Sweet "Lucky"

This shake comes together in a flash! I opted to make mine “Super Powered” by adding in some baby spinach. Spinach is a great choice, as its flavor won’t overpower the mint. Feel free to experiment with other leafy greens.

You could also add some protein in the form of an unsweetened protein powder or collagen peptides.

The ingredients...plus my optional add-in of baby spinach

Simply dump all the ingredients into your blender and mix until smooth and creamy! 

Dump and blend! Doesn't get any easier!

 

Once it’s all blended, taste and adjust for sweetness and “minty-ness”. Pour into serving glasses or bowls and garnish. With a full avocado and the coconut milk, this is very filling! The recipe says 2 servings, but I think you could stretch it to 3 or 4 easily!

I experimented with and without spinach. You can see the difference in color below.

Without spinach...garnished with grated dark chocolate
With spinach...garnished with raw cacao nibs

You’ll notice that I serve my smoothie with a SPOON.  Even with smoothies, it’s important to chew your food! When we chew, and move food around our mouths, our brains get important information about what type of nutrients are in the food we are eating. It is then able to trigger the release of the digestive juices and enzymes we need to properly digest and absorb the nutrients.

There are also enzymes in our saliva and, as we chew, we are allowing these enzymes to start to work on the food and lessens the work that needs to be done further down the digestive line.

Enjoy! Sláinte!

 

May your troubles be less and your blessings more and nothing but happiness come through your door.
Irish Blessing

Shamrock Shake

shannon.flood
A much healthier version of the St Paddy's Day favourite, this shake is free of refined sugar and loaded with healthy fats!
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Snack
Servings 2

Equipment

  • 1 High Speed Blender
  • Measuring Cup
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Knife

Ingredients
  

  • 1 avocado ripe
  • 1 cup coconut milk may sub with other dairy or non dairy milk alternative
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • ~20 leaves fresh mint adjust to taste
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tsp maple syrup adjust to taste
  • Dark Chocolate or Cacao Nibs for garnish
  • See Recipe Notes for optional add ins!!!

Instructions
 

  • Remove pit and peel from avocado.
  • Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.
  • Pour into serving glasses/bowls.
  • Garnish with grated/shaved dark chocolate or cocoa nibs and enjoy!

Notes

Optional Add-ins
  1. Make it a Super Powered Shamrock Shake by adding in 1 packed cup of baby spinach (it really ups the green quotient too!)
  2. Add in your favourite unsweetened protein powder or collagen peptides for an added Protein Kick!
  3. Swap out the maple syrup for 1/2 to 1  banana (frozen would work great here too!)
Keyword dairy free, gluten free, healthy fats, refined sugar free

How to Shop with Health in Mind

5 Tips for a Healthy Grocery Shop

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. The holiday season is winding up for most of us and I head back to the PNW tomorrow after a wonderful, soul rejuvenating, extended visit with family in the Motherland. 6 weeks away from my regular routine is a long time and I know the first thing I need to do (after an extended snuggle-fest with my fur baby), is to stock the fridge with food!! 

I mean…you just gotta snuggle this guy!

For many, the New Year is a time to reset and recommit to those healthy habits that may have fallen by the wayside during all the holiday fun. Gyms will be popular again, google searches for cleanses will go through the roof, but the best way to support a healthy lifestyle and get back on track is to make sure you have healthy food on hand!

I’m a weirdo. I enjoy grocery shopping, but I know for many it is a CHORE! You find it hard enough carving out time to shop, let alone figuring out what you should and shouldn’t be filling your cart with!

So here’s my TOP 5 TIPS for grocery shopping with your health in mind.

1.  Is it a WHOLE food?

Most of the food we eat should whole, single ingredient foods – foods that are unprocessed, unrefined, and still recognizable as something you would find in nature! Processing can damage or strip nutrients from the food; chemical additives, like colours, flavours or preservatives, and other ingredients, such as sugar and vegetable oils, contribute to the damaging effects of processed foods as well.

2. Think Variety

Don’t get stuck in a rut! We want to be eating a wide range of foods. Mix up the selection in your fruit and veggie selections. Be daring and try something new! In our Standard American Diets, approximately 60% of the calories come from soy, wheat and corn. That’s means we are leaving A LOT of good nutrition on the table by missing out on all the phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals in colourful fruits and vegetables. 

Try to “Eat The Rainbow”. Can you get at least one fruit or vegetable from each colour in the rainbow on your plate daily?

Eating a wide variety of plant foods is also great for supporting your microbiome (the beneficial bacteria in our guts that support overall health). The more varieties of plants consumed, the more robust and diverse the microbiome.

3. Think Seasonally

Eating with the seasons is one way to increase the diversity in your diet and allow us to consume a wide range of nutrients that changes often. Choosing seasonal produce can often mean getting more nutrient dense produce. It hasn’t been stored in a warehouse for months, slowing losing its nutrient potency. A quick google search can give you an idea of what is in season in your region, so you can add some seasonal goodies to your cart!

5 Tips for a Healthy Grocery Shop
There’s some YUMMY choices on this list!

4. Think Locally

Depending on where you live, this is easier said than done. If you live in a temperate climate with long growing seasons, you are going to have an easier time sourcing local food than someone who lives under 4 feet of snow for 6 months of the year!

Farmers Markets, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) memberships, your own garden are all great places to get fresh, local produce. Because it is freshly harvested, the nutrient density is going to be much higher than the same thing that was harvested, stored and transported many miles to reach your local grocery store.

Some extra bonuses of eating local are that you are supporting local farmers, eating what is in season on the farms and, because it hasn’t travelled long distances, it is better environmentally!

5. Think Quality

I know organic produce is expensive and, for the most part, looks exactly like its cheaper, conventional cousin.  So what’s the difference? 

Different countries have different regulations around the term “organic”. In the U.S., certified organic means annual audits are conducted to ensure the following standards are met: 

– No synthetic fertilizers or pesticides

– No antibiotics or hormones 

– No GMOs

In today’s world, we are exposed to a multitude of toxins on a daily basis. On top of just adding to our toxic load and stressing our detoxification system, many of these toxins are potential carcinogens and/or endocrine disruptors (meaning they affect our hormone balance). We don’t always have control over what we are exposed to, so it’s important to focus on areas where we CAN lessen our exposure. Eating organic is one way to do that. 

For more information about Organic Vs Conventional check out THIS post I wrote.

So how do you go about fitting organic into your budget? Do what you can with what you have.  I’d rather see someone chomping through a bunch of conventionally grown carrots than diving headfirst into a box of Oreos!  Follow the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Lists and choose your organic produce from those that may have the highest pesticide residue.  

5 Tips for a Healthy Grocery Shop

One last tip? Whenever possible, get to know your local farmers/producers!  Many smaller farms follow all the organic standards, but simply do not have the money to get “certified”.  Ask questions about their product. If they are proud of their processes, they will be happy to share!

Go Organic or Go Home? Not So Fast….

Would you be surprised to find out that your organic fruits and veggies are often grown using pesticides? 

Go Organic or Go Home? Maybe Not So Fast...

It’s true!🤯

🤔So that begs the question – if both organic and conventional produce have pesticides, does it really matter what I buy?

🤷‍♀️ Yes, but also no…sometimes.

While both forms of farming utilize pesticides, organic farmers will utilize other forms of pest protection (like insect traps or predator insects) prior to resorting to pesticides. Prevention is the focus and pesticides/herbicides are used as a last resort, when preventative strategies aren’t working. Most pesticides used in organic farming are “natural” meaning that they are extracted from a natural source, like plants or other living organisms. This means that, in general, pesticides used in organic farming are less toxic than their conventional (synthetic) counterparts.

☠️The less toxins we expose ourselves to the better! When you take in toxins, your body shifts into damage control mode and expends precious energy and nutrients trying to clear those toxins out.

🛒💰That being said, buying solely organic produce isn’t always possible (or affordable!). There are ways to find balance:

1️⃣Utilize the EWG Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen Lists

Go Organic or Go Home? Maybe Not So Fast...
* Some of the sweet corn, papaya and summer squash sold in the United States is produced from genetically modified seeds. Buy organic varieties of these crops if you want to avoid genetically modified produce.(Source: www.ewg.org)

These lists determine which produce is likely to be highest in pesticides (Dirty Dozen) and should be bought organic and which fruits and veggies are lower in pesticides (Clean Fifteen), making the choice between organic and conventional less important.

Head on over to the Environmental Working Groups website for a full list. https://www.ewg.org/foodnews/

2️⃣Buy Organic For The Foods You Eat Most Often

If you go through mountains of spinach and heaps of cucumbers in a week, spend your organic budget on these foods. For foods you eat less frequently,  conventional may be ok.

3️⃣Practice Food Safety

Wash those fruits and veg under running water, clean the edible peels of potatoes, carrots, apples etc. with a brush and scrub inedible peels to reduce pesticide residue that can enter food when cut. Discard outer leaves of foods like cabbage.

4️⃣Variety Is Key

Different crops require different pesticides, so eating a varied diet not only provides a wider array of nutrients, but minimizes the risk of overloading on a particular toxin.

5️⃣Get To Know Your Farmer

If you are lucky enough to have Farmers’ Markets near you, introduce yourself to the producers. Ask questions about their product and farming practices.

‼️Most importantly! Don’t stress over it! If you can afford organic – GREAT! If not, remember that what is most important is eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, regardless of their source.

The Environmental Working Group says: 

❝The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure. Eating conventionally grown produce is far better than skipping fruits and vegetables.❞

Do you buy only organic, solely conventional or a balance between the two? 

DAIRY FREE COFFEE ICE CREAM BARS

Dairy Free Coffee Ice Cream Bars

Summer may be winding down, but I wanted to give one last ode to the fastest season by sharing my super creamy, incredibly cooling and extra yummy dairy free ice cream with you! Since today just happens to be National Coffee Ice Cream Day, we’re brewing up a coffee version for you all!

I recently did an MRT food sensitivity test on myself and found out I had both a dairy AND a coconut sensitivity (and several others!). As I have Hashimoto’s, the dairy sensitivity wasn’t a huge surprise (it’s a common sensitivity and autoimmune trigger), but coconut…man, that was a bit of a bummer.

Since I knew I’d be removing these foods for at least 3-4 months, which coincided nicely with our hot summer weather, I wanted to find something I could have for an occasional “the heat is melting my face” treat. I scoured the ice cream aisles to no avail. Even the “cashew” ice cream had coconut milk in it or other ingredients I wasn’t too keen on.

Enter the humble cashew nut. I scoured the ice cream aisles to no avail. Even the “cashew” ice cream had coconut milk in it or other ingredients I wasn’t too keen on. So I had no choice but to go without, or make my own! You know what I chose!

Since I don’t have an ice cream maker, I went with what I did have…popsicle molds and I think they worked perfectly! If you are looking to get your own mold, I have a set similar to this one.

A quick note on the cashew milk. Most store bought brands are going to have extra ingredients, like gums and thickeners, in them. These ingredients can be hard on many people’s digestive systems. Now, you CAN make your own cashew milk. I considered this, but then I found a cashew milk concentrate online!! Just organic cashews, no extra stuff. Your simply blend 1 to 2 tablespoons of the concentrate with a cup of water and voila! Creamy, delicious cashew milk with no funny business. I’m not an affiliate, I just think it’s really cool! You can find it (and other clean nut milk options) HERE.

The recipe can’t be much easier. Add all the ingredients to your blender, blend until smooth, fill your popsicle molds and freeze! A couple of things though…you may want to wait and add the maple syrup and coffee after the first blending. This way you can add a bit, blend it up, taste it and add more depending on how sweet you want it and how strong you like your coffee!! I like a less sweet, stronger brew!

The second thing is that I fill the mold, cover it and freeze it for about 30-45 minutes. Then I remove it from the freezer and insert the popsicle sticks. This is supposed to keep them centred in place better (according to my mold instructions!). It’s not wrong to just throw the sticks in right away and forget about it – you just might end up with some wonky sticks. The treat will taste so good, though, no one will really care!

Get your summer vibes while you can and give these a try. If you aren’t a coffee person (I know you’re out there!), swap the coffee out for more cashew milk, maybe adding some cocoa powder to make fudgcicles…mmm lots of options. Play around!

Dairy Free Coffee Ice Cream

shannon.flood
A super easy and incredibly creamy sweet treat!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 0 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 10 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 ice cream bars

Equipment

  • Blender
  • Silicon Popsicle Mold
  • Measuring Cups and Measuring Spoons
  • Popsicle Sticks

Ingredients
  

  • 8 oz Smooth, Organic Cashew Butter
  • 1/2 cup Cashew Milk (or other dairy free milk)
  • 1/2 cup Coffee, cold strongly brewed, I use decaf!
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1-2 tbsp Coffee Grounds, coarse optional
  • 1 pinch Unrefined Sea Salt

Instructions
 

  • Add all ingredients, except maple syrup, to blender and blend until combined (approx 2 min)
  • Pour mixture into silicon popsicle mold, filling to approx. 3/4 full. Cover
  • Place mold in freezer for 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Remove mold from freezer and add popsicle sticks to the bars.
  • Return to freezer and freeze for 4 to 6 hours.
  • Storage: Keeps well in freezer for about 2 weeks before turning icy.

Notes

If you have an ice cream maker, make the base as described and follow the instructions for your model of ice cream maker.
For non-coffee lovers, replace the coffee with nut milk or other liquid flavouring. 
 
Keyword cashew, dairy free, ice cream

The RESTART® Program

The RESTART® Program - Start your journey to better health now!

It’s hard to believe summer is soon coming to an end. As much as I’ll hate to see the Pacific Northwest rain clouds replace the summer sunshine, I do love autumn. The colourful leaves, crisp air on morning walks, cozy sweaters and swapping out grilled foods for some comforting, slow cooked fare – all are great reasons to embrace the change of the season!

As the weather changes outside, it’s also a great time to check in with our internal environment and how we are feeling. Tuning into our bodies and the subtle messages they send us is something most of us need to work on. Our lifestyles and responsibilities keep us focused on, and prioritizing, pretty much everything but ourselves! We take our cars in for regular inspections (or, um, we should), so we should definitely be doing regular “mileage” inspections on the state of our well-being!

Check-in With Yourself

Take a few minutes during your day. Find someplace quiet and free of distractions. Drop out of your stressed, fight and flight state by taking several slow, deep belly breaths. Now – what are you noticing? Some questions you might ask yourself are:

How’s my energy level? Are you dragging yourself through the day, fuelled on caffeine and sugar? Do you need to snack to make it through to your next meal?

How am I sleeping? Are you getting 7-8 hours of quality sleep? Do you wake up during the night and can’t fall back asleep? Do you wake up tired or refreshed?

How’s my digestion? Symptoms like heartburn, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal pains, stools that float or are light coloured, or undigested food in the stool are all warning lights that require some attention.

Am I nourished? Feeding ourselves regularly doesn’t necessarily mean we are nourishing ourselves. Relying on packaged and processed foods, hitting the drive thru on the reg and consuming foods high in sugar might fill the belly, but they aren’t fuelling your body with the nutrients it needs to work optimally.

What other things are showing up that aren’t “normal”? – Headaches? Joint Pain? Anxiety? Skin rashes? We often get so used to these type of symptoms that they become our status quo. They may be common, but they aren’t NORMAL. Symptoms are your body’s warning lights and it’s way of telling you something isn’t right!!

Now that you’ve run through your checklist, what have you discovered?

It could be you realize summer ice creams have become a daily occurrence or you completely Hulk out on anyone in your vicinity when you miss your between meal snack. Maybe you can’t remember the last time you slept through the night or perhaps the drive-thru guy knows you by name. You might realize your bathroom has become your second home or, you can’t pinpoint exactly what is wrong, but you know you just don’t feel your best. If any of these things hit home, it may be time for a RESTART®.

What is RESTART®?

The RESTART® program is a 5 week, online, group program that combines loads of nutritional education and a 3 week sugar detox. When you add in the element of group support, it’s a powerful (and fun!) combination.

Who should RESTART®?

Whether you have been dabbling in healthy eating for awhile or don’t know your kale from your kohlrabi, RESTART® is for you! It’s the perfect combination of education and action that teaches you, not only how food affects us, but lets you experience how powerful real food can be. RESTART® is great for individuals, couples or families. You can join with a friend to have an accountability buddy or make pals in class or the free Facebook group.

Since the classes are conducted via Zoom, you can join from the comfort of home, no matter where in the world you are located!

Why RESTART®?

Maybe the question should be “Why NOT RESTART®”? Let’s face it, most of us need to do a better job of putting ourselves, and our health, first. Self-care isn’t selfish! To paraphrase a quote from Katie Reed, self care allows you to give the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you!

Everybody gets a little something different out of the RESTART® program. Below is a list of some of the benefits RESTART® participants have experienced.

Benefits of the RESTART® Program

Where and When is RESTART®?

I’m super excited to be offering THREE different class times this fall! All classes are conducted live on Zoom.

How can I register for RESTART®?

If you think you could use a RESTART®, you can register for class by clicking HERE.

If you have more questions about RESTART®, visit the RESTART® page on this website or send me a message HERE. I’d love to chat with you about it!

Oh! One last thing! If you don’t see a class time that fits your schedule, contact me. I’m happy schedule additional group classes (minimum of 4 participants) at a date and time that works for everyone!

What are you waiting for? Go on! Get (RE)STARTED!!