Day One: Apple Cranberry Breakfast Crisp

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Today’s Guest Blogger is Emily Freistatter, author of this blog. She brings us a delicious breakfast recipe that can be transported and warmed up whenever your heart desires. Eating breakfast is such a vital part of your day – fueling you to take on whatever the day may bring. My mouth is watering already…

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Hi, I’m Emily and I’m a third year naturopathic student at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. Over the past 5 years I’ve eaten my way across the spectrum of foods & diets. It’s taught be a lot about meal prep, cooking, and optimal nutrition for health. My current philosophy is: listen to your body & nourish it with good quality, whole foods. Hope you enjoy the following post and check out my blog for more!

In the chaos of busy mornings it is easy for breakfast to get neglected. But, as I’m sure everyone has heard before, breakfast is a very important meal. When you wake up in the morning your body has been fasting all night. It needs a hearty & nutritious breakfast to refuel and perform optimally throughout the day. As well, eating a satisfying breakfast will prevent you from snacking or overeating later in the day.

As a student who likes to maximize her time spent sleeping I look for a breakfast that can be prepped and eaten in 15 minutes or less. But it has to be filling enough to keep me going for the day ahead. This recipe fits the bill.

It takes about an hour to make, but when prepped on Sunday can ensure you have an amazing breakfast all week long. And the simple ingredient list will provide you with fiber, protein, healthy fats & a good serving of fruit, all before 10am!

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Apple Cranberry Breakfast Crisp

Makes 6 servings

Inspired by this recipe (hyperlink to http://ohsheglows.com/2011/04/18/vegan-flourless-strawberry-apple-breakfast-crisp/)

Filling:

  • 4 medium-sized apples, chopped*
  • 1 ½ cups whole cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ¼ cup cane sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Topping:

  • 1 cup almonds, processed until chunky
  • ½ cup rolled oats (not quick cook)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F and grease a 1.4L casserole/glass dish with coconut oil.
  2. Mix all filling ingredients together in a large bowl. (Note: if using frozen cranberries you do NOT need to thaw them before cooking)
  3. Process almonds until chunky (pea-sized & smaller) in a food processor or magic bullet. Mix almonds with the rest of the topping ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Add ½ cup of the topping mixture into the bowl with the filling ingredients & mix together.
  4. Pour filling into the prepared dish. Sprinkle the rest of the topping over the apples.
  5. Cover dish with a lid or tinfoil poked with holes (topping will burn if not covered). Bake for 40min, or until apples are tender. Serve immediately or store for up to 1 week in the fridge.
  6. To Reheat: scoop the desired serving size into a microwave-safe bowl. Drizzle it with a little milk & microwave for 1-2min. Top with anything you like: almond butter, banana, coconut, maple syrup, etc.

* I didn’t peel my apples but you can if you would like. I used Cortland apples but I think any variety would work.

Comment below to let us know how you like the recipe! Don’t forget to check out the other delicious recipes Emily has posted over on her blog (click here) or connect with her on Facebook @ Emily Freistatter.

Day one was a success in my books – what do you think?

In love & health,

Kelsey

An afternoon pick-me-up that’s not coffee…

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I am a lover of all quick, healthy snacks. Especially when my days are 10-12 hours long and I know I’m going to need to fuel my body appropriately to get me to the finish line. That mid-afternoon coffee craving is real, and I’ve been battling for years, but I find I can keep my energy up with healthy, protein-packed snacks that satisfy my sweet tooth and give me a boost.

There are so many Pintrest (Are you following me on Pintrest yet? Click Here) recipes for protein energy balls but it took me 4 tries to make up my own version that works. So here it is – the BEST protein energy ball to pack in your purse for those mid-afternoon slumps.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup oats (gluten free option)

1/3 cup ground flax seed (better to purchase whole flax seed and grind yourself to ensure you are getting all the essential oils)

1/3 cup dried coconut

2 tbsp chia seeds

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I use a dairy-free version by Enjoy Life)

1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter (I like MaraNatha or Natur brands – any other brand I’ve tried they have come out too dry)

1/3 cup organic honey

1 tsp cinnamon

Stir all the ingredients together in a bowl. You might be thinking “this doesn’t look like enough moisture” – trust me, it is! Just keep stirring and packing down the ingredients. When it looks mixed, place the bowel in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the mixture to set. Afterwards, begin rolling 1 inch balls and place them in an air-tight container in the fridge. Last for 1-2 weeks! The rolling is a messy process, stick with it! No raw ingredients here so feel free to lick that PB-goodness afterwards. 😉

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Let me know what you think by commenting below!

In love & health,

Kelsey

clean up your sleep

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As this first semester of third year comes to an end I can feel the fatigue starting to set in. I’m waking up early, mentally straining my brain all day, and then staying up too late at night. This is only going to get worse as the snow starts to fall and I need to begin waking up earlier to begin my winter commute. Not to mention our strenuous exam schedule looming in the coming weeks.

I carried these bad sleep habits over form last year, even though I promised myself I would make changes to my sleep habits. Good sleep hygiene is so important for both quantity and quality of sleep. Not sure if you’re considered a “good sleeper”? Google “Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index” and fill out the questionnaire to get a more accurate reading on your current sleep habits. It’s a useful tool to not only diagnose insomnia, but to see where you are on the scale in general. It’s estimated that 1 in 7 Canadians over the age of 15 have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep and are diagnosed with insomnia [1]. Regardless of being labelled with the diagnosis, I would assume sleep difficulties are more common than 1 in 7.

An easy solution to get yourself on the right track is improving your sleep hygiene – clean sleep is good sleep! Here are some tips on sleep hygiene that I’m going to try implementing into my nightly routine.

1. Power down – so many of us are glued to our laptops/smartphones – give yourself an “electronic-free” period 30-60 minutes before bed to allow your brain to wind down.

2. Good blinds – We have spoken endlessly this summer about needing to update our blinds because way too much light is getting in. Your brain needs the dark to begin stimulating the release of melatonin, the natural substance we produce to promote sleep. With a bright room you will not get the adequate melatonin release needed to induce sleepiness. Block out those street lamps with a good quality blind and turn your alarm clocks around (these count!).

3. Exercise –  A late night exercise session can keep you awake on an endorphin high, but exercise in general promotes a healthier sleep cycle. Moderate exercise of 20-30 minutes of brisk walking 4-5 times per week is adequate – try and get that heart rate up to a point where you’re moving but can still carry on a conversation without feeling out of breath.

4. Reserve the bedroom for sex and sleep – Your bed is for two things and two things only. I find it way too easy to curl in in my duvet to study on cold winter days but we have to resist this urge! Associating your bed with negative thoughts of work or studying is only going to bring those emotions into focus when you’re trying to fall asleep at night.

5. Keep your room neat & tidy  – just like our moms used to say! De-clutter your room and keep them clean to remove any visual distractions.

6. Avoid stimulants before bed – this isn’t just coffee and tea but alcohol as well. “But alcohol makes me drowsy?” you say… This is true. Alcohol consumption promotes stages 1 and 2 of sleep, which is considered “light” sleep but it actually inhibits us from entering the REM cycle. REM sleep is vital as this is where we reset, ideas are committed to memory and it contributes to our creativity! Without ever entering this cycle we wake feeling groggy, grumpy, and like we in fact didn’t sleep at all.

Sleep is so important to our well-being and unfortunately many of us are walking around deprived, including myself. Setting yourself up for success at night time is key to breaking those bad sleep habits and entering a cycle where you feel refreshed and energized.

In love & health,

Kelsey

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[1] http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/051116/dq051116a-eng.htm

words that have shaped my spiritual journey

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When I came to CCNM I had no concept of spirit. It didn’t take long for the energetics of this building to light a fire inside of me to discover not only myself but my purpose in the Universe. I embarked on a journey that was more valuable than a degree to practice medicine, and though at times my life seemed clouded, my intuition has began to blossom.

I began connecting with myself through meditation. A practice I try to integrate into my routine as much as possible. You can read about my experiences with meditation on past blogs here and here. Yoga is another way I like to spend time connecting with myself. Breathing freely and exploring the way my body feels both physically and emotionally.

I’ve also always been an avid reader, and as much as my life and time is consumed by medical books, I always seek out additions to my library that will enrich my life on a more meaningful and personal level. Here are some pieces of work I have read that have kept me walking forward on my spiritual journey.

Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing by Caroline Myss

My first dive into an unknown pool as with Anatomy of the Spirit, recommended to me by my first intern at the RSNC. Caroline is a beautiful author who shares with you her experiences working as a medical intuitive. She uses energetic medicine to show the depth of the mind-body connection and how physical illness is a reflection of our internal spirits. She breaks down the 7 energy centers, or chakras, in basic terms that make this a great read for new comers to the chakras. I’ve read this book 3 times now and will continue to pick it up in times when I need inspiration or a refresher.

Eastern Body Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System As a Path to the Self by Anodea Judith

This work I pick up periodically and have never read cover-to-cover (not for lack of interest but limited time). It’s another reference book that I have used to gain a better awareness and understanding of the chakra system and how the energetic centers relate to our physical health. Connecting the Eastern and Western perspectives of health and medicine, this book is a must for any aspiring Naturopathic Doctor. We are the bridge between East and West in the medicine world.

OmTimes: http://omtimes.com/

An online magazine bringing awareness to conscious living. Introduced to me in first year by a good friend (who writes an amazing blog over at Free Spirited Living: here), I have continued to follow articles on OmTimes that enlighten me in all areas of spiritual health and practice. Covering anything from relationships and healthy living to astronomy and lunar moon cycles, OmTimes is a always a quick and insightful read.

Questions about my journey? Feel free to ask by commenting below or emailing me at kelseyanneduncan@gmail.com – I would love to connect with you.

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In love & health,

Kelsey

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You ate too much… now what?

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I can’t even count on all available digits how many times I complain about being full, bloated, or nauseous after meals. I probably can’t even count how many times I said it just last week! Something I’ve been battling with my whole life, and a current area of improvement I’m working on with my intern at the RSNC. Herbal medicine is my go-to after meals where I may have over-indulged slightly and in times of need, I turn to tea after dinner to soothe my aching tummy. Here are some of my favourite herbs for those after-dinner woe’s:

1. Peppermint – at restaurants they usually give mints after dinner, right? This isn’t just a kind gesture – peppermint is great to   soothe your gastrointestinal system and combat indigestion. It also promotes the flow of digestive juices and bile to help your body breakdown that big meal quicker.

2. Chamomile – another soothing herb for your gastrointestinal system to help battle indigestion. It also helps relieve that extra gas you might be experiencing, by soothing the intestinal walls and allowing elimination of that bloat.

3. Lemon balm – another carminative herb that offers relief from digestive upset and flatulence. As an added bonus – it tastes delicious too!

4. Fennel – similar to peppermint, fennel is great to soothe an upset stomach and help promote digestion.

All 4 herbs are delicious as a tea and can be found either loose leaf or bagged. If purchasing loose leaf tea, combine whichever combination of herbs you desire at equal parts and brew covered (important to lock in those essential oils!) for 10-15 minutes. If purchasing bagged tea, I like Traditional Medicines Eater’s Digest but feel free to try any tea’s you like!

It’s important to remember not to discount these symptoms as “common complaints” – they may be indicating something more serious is going on and it’s important to visit your doctor about recurring digestive upset.

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In love & health,

Kelsey

Snackers Unite!

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I find we can go to the grocery store and spends hundreds of dollars on dinners. That’s it. Just dinners. How does that happen? As a self-proclaimed queen of snacking I found it was a struggle throughout the day to keep myself full. A common complaint surrounding a whole-food natural diet is that there aren’t enough quick-and-easy snack foods besides raw veg and fruit. I’m here to debunk that theory. 10 minutes of prep and 30 minutes of cooking produces enough naturally-sweetened granola to feed a small army. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Preheat oven to 350 oC

4 cups oats

4 cups mixed nuts and seeds [I used an unsalted mixture of crushed pecans, walnuts, slivered almonds, and sunflower seeds]

1/2 cup natural peanut butter

1/2 cup organic honey

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup water

3 tbsp cinnamon

Pinch of Himalayan salt

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until well coated. Spread onto a baking sheet (optional parchment paper, I didn’t have any problems with the mixture sticking).

Bake on 350 oC for 30 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet and store in an air-tight container!

 

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I’ve been munching on this treat morning, noon and night. It made so much I’ve even been giving it away to friends! A wonderful protein-filled snack that’s easy to have on hand whenever a boost is needed. Enjoy!

 

Happy baking!

K

 

Health Tip Tuesday – 08/09/2014

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A bit of a blog hiatus there – but I am home from Mexico and I seem to have brought a wee virus with me. Can’t say I have ever been sick like this before, but today I am starting to feel a bit more myself and atleast 90% back to normal. Not the best time to be getting sick as I started my third year at CCNM last week! More about school later.. today is Tuesday and with it being back to school time the germs are going to start spreading and cold/flu season is just around the corner. Here are some of my fave cold/flu remedies and tips to boost the immune system this fall.

1. Cold-Pro by CanPrev – an immune formula I received for free in my CCNM welcome package and since has been a household staple for us. Containing astragalus, reishi mushroom, echinacea and gingseng (plus some vitamin C and zinc) it works by supporting your immune system and shortening the duration of upper respiratory tract illnesses. Taken when you start to feel those early symptoms and then throughout the duration of your cold. Other good options for immune support is Deep Immune by St. Francis – I haven’t personally tried this product but hear rave reviews from classmates. (Please note I have no affiliation with any supplement companies and am simply recommending brands that I have used before)

2. Homemade cold tea – Passed down to me by a classmate the last time my boyfriend caught a nasty cold is a nice warm cup of honey, cinnamon, lemon, and apple cider vinegar. If you are super adventurous add in some crushed garlic… sounds gross but eating raw garlic when you’re sick is probably one of the best things you can do for yourself. Its high antimicrobial properties will fight those bugs.  To make the tea add 2 tbsp honey, 1 tsp cinnamon, juice of half a lemon, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar to a cup of hot water and stir vigorously. Drink as many as you need a day (can’t overdose on this bad boy).

3. Oil of Oregano – immune system still not cooperating? Oil of oregano, although not a popular choice in this house (something about “pasta burps”), is a great way to fight off viral or bacterial infections. It’s a very strong flavour and I would recommend adding it into a little cup of water to make it more manageable.

4. Take time for yourself – When we push our bodies to the extreme with little rest, lots of work and increased stress levels we become more susceptible to infection. In my opinion, when we are go-go-go to the point of near collapse our bodies get sick in order to make us slow down. We don’t listen to the signals our bodies give when it’s time to take a break and therefore it forces us to lay down for a few days or take a day off to recoup. Getting sick isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it’s just a loud message from our bodies to take it easy. So remember this cold/flu season to make an effort to get enough sleep, relax at night and shut down from work/social media. Take some time to focus on you and meditate (something I can’t seem to tote enough). Listen to your body.

Some quick and easy tips for cold/flu season! I hope everyone stays healthy this fall.

In love & health,

K.

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