Thursday, July 31, 2014

Farmers Market!

If any of you out there live in Toronto, and you like farmers markets, you need to check out the farmers market that happens on Thursday mornings at Mel Lastman Square!

The details: 
North York Farmers Market - Mel Lastman Square
Thursdays 8am - 2pm
 June through to October
5100 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON, M2N 5V7
Phone: 905-562-4372

They have some great produce there! Most of it, if not all, is local too! Today I picked up some mini heirloom tomatoes and carrots - both from Ontario. That's pretty sweet! :)
Here's some deliciousness for your eyes: 

One of the vendors - really friendly people at every vendor spot!

Millions of peaches, peaches for - well, not free... But there's a whole lot of them right now!

Early Golden Plums - I picked up some last week, wishing I had some this week though!

Tomatoes, for as far as the eyes can see! <3 Couldn't help but edit this image to make it artsy, even though they're beautiful without the editing!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dirty Thirty Figgy Smoothie



Today is July 24th.
Do you know what that means? It’s my birthday! But not just ANY birthday, it’s a milestone…
I wish I knew the original source of this meme, it's hilarious!However, I Google'd it and found this link about some reddit user who may have created it!

The DIRTY THIRTY!
I’ll be honest, birthdays don’t usually make much of an impact on my mind, but there’s nothing like turning over to a new decade to make your mind go in circles about anything and everything you’ve done in your life up until this point.
For this post, I’ll skip the whole “looking back at the last decade, and my thoughts on life” entry – and just give you all a smoothie recipe that I enjoyed for the start of my first day as a 30 year old. (That sounds REALLY weird to me…)

Figgy Pudding Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 6 fresh figs
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 6 small pitted dates (or 2 large pitted dates)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Just enough water to cover all ingredients in the blender (I was going to use coconut water, but I completely forgot to!)

Method: 

  • Blend all, and enjoy! :) It’s always that simple.



 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Green Apple Pie Smoothie

This one's a goodie! I like to juice my greens and celery, but sometimes I just really want a thick and creamy green smoothie. I love blending in things like celery and kale, because I like having those little chewy bits as I'm drinking. Weird, I know... With those super-powered blenders, you'll get a much smoother liquid consistency, but I prefer to use a bullet blender to keep some of the pieces for texture.
The ingredients were a toss-together this morning when I was in a rush, but I'm extremely happy with the end result! It's not too sweet, it's on the decadent side, and has some amazing stuff in it.

Green Apple Pie Smoothie

Ingredients:
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • 4 small pitted dates (or 1 regular sized date, pitted)
  • 3 leaves of kale (the smaller leaves near the center of the plant are the least bitter - these are best for use in smoothies!)
  • 2 stalks of celery, bottoms and tops trimmed off
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • Enough water to cover all ingredients (I made this smoothie in two batches, as the bullet blender could only hold half of the ingredients at a time)
Method:
  • Blend all, and enjoy! :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Food for Thought

I'm starting to really get into this Fitness Nutrition book, and it's presenting a heavy focus on digestion, which I like... 



Random Fact:
Did you know that your liver weighs approximately 3-4 lbs? It’s your largest gland. Think: a football.

Also – your pancreas is pretty important too – its main function includes secreting juices that contain digestive enzymes.

It also helps produce:

  • Insulin (regulates how fats and carbohydrates are metabolized in the body, helps muscles and fat tissue take in glucose from your blood. It also slows down the release of glucagon), and
  • Glucagon (is released when blood glucose is too low – think “glucaGONE – so we’ll give you more glucose!” heehee… It does this by helping the liver turn glycogen into glucose)

Both of which are important for keeping your blood glucose levels in check. It’s a balanced system when working functionally, and each one is present to make sure the other one doesn’t go crazy on your system.

In short: Insulin is the glucose-downer, and glucagon is the glucose-upper.

Food for thought:

There was a study in Sweden to learn what helps with pancreatitis. Vegetables appeared to help in preventing the development of pancreatitis due to the high levels of antioxidants. Unfortunately, fruit doesn’t quite help as (it’s believed that) the fructose content is too high to be of benefit.
Interesting article that gives more info about the study, and worth a read:
 

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Bethany Townsend and Crohn's Disease - The Bikini Colostomy Bag Picture

I'm sure you all know about the articles and pictures about: The Bethany Townsend Bikini Picture - Tanning with a Colostomy Bag

It's been everywhere, and the exposure that this has gained makes me very happy in more ways than I can express. 

Bethany, I don't know you, but from the bottom of my heart and with tears in my eyes: Thank You for putting that image out there. I respect you, and wish you the best. 

Crohn's Disease is a very serious condition, mostly caused by diet and stress - although there are other causes (genetics, various "bugs" that you catch that trigger it, etc.), and it impacts the bowels in a way that makes it near impossible to gather nutrients from food that are vital to the body.

My mum's life was ended due to Crohn's 15 years ago. It's so important to me now, because a scary statistic: People who have a first degree relative who have suffered from Crohn's have a 1 in 10 chance of developing it themselves. This is why I eat healthy now, and why I try my best to look after my digestive health. The knowledge of this disease wasn't great over a decade ago, and there were really two options:
  1. Get part of your bowel removed and wear a bag for the rest of your life, or 
  2. Suffer and pray that you go into remission and that when the flare-ups happen you don't die.
Unfortunately, there was such a big stigma with using a colostomy bag that many people who suffered from this refused to go through with that type of operation. My mum was one of them, and would suffer from regular flare ups, with the last one being her demise. 

The biggest issue was that there wasn't enough attention given to this disease. Not enough research, not enough public knowledge, and not enough hope for people suffering from it. 


Another big issue is that 15 years ago, a doctor was telling my mum to drink "Ensure", a meal replacement, during the times where her flare ups made it impossible for her to eat without spending hours in the washroom. Over these times, she lost so much weight that she was unrecognizable to everyone who knew her. Ensure contains dairy and chemicals, that's all. And each time she drank this "doctor recommended" meal replacement, she got worse. He told her to eat yogurt, which also caused more problems. But he insisted that it would help "protect" her stomach and intestines. Also - he would prescribe a new anti-biotic seemingly monthly, and would encourage her to NOT quit smoking as the stress on her body from nicotine withdrawals could trigger stress-related flare ups of the disease. He wouldn't look after her digestive health or suggest a pro-biotic to counteract the anti-biotic, and he wouldn't suggest a dietician for her to see so that she could get a handle on the disease. When I look back now, it seems as though the only thing he was interested in was pumping her full of pills. (I can't even remember the several different medications and pain-killers she was taking.)

Now, at least they know that dairy causes mucous to build up in the intestines and stomach, and is BAD for people who suffer from Crohn's Disease. It creates inflammation, and blocks even the slight amounts of nutrients that the bowel can still absorb from being absorbed.

My wish is that research of this disease continues so that the thousands of people who suffer from it don't go through the same fate as my mum. I'm not a fan of posting bikini pictures to get attention for a cause, but if this helps inspire others who suffer from the disease, and gains exposure for the disease so people take it more seriously and become more educated about it, then I am happy.