Kaitlyn is another 3rd student at CCNM battling through this last academic year with me! She shares a delicious gluten-free recipe that uses spaghetti squash as an alternative to pasta noodles. I love this option when craving pasta as a healthy and nutritious substitute. This recipe is great for those nights where you need to use up some veggies left over in the fridge. Check out Kait’s blog here to find out more about her health journey!
Quick Spaghetti Squash Pasta (gluten-free, paleo)
I have this meal every week, simply due to its ease and health benefits!
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 1 can/jar of tomato sauce
- Any vegetables you have in the fridge (ex. peppers, mushroom, zucchini, onions)
- Crushed garlic
- Ground meat (I used turkey)
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- salt and blacker pepper to taste
Poke holes with a knife in the spaghetti squash. Place in a microwave safe dish with water covering the bottom of the dish. Microwave for 15-20 minutes. There is the option to bake the squash at 375 degrees celsius, this will take about an hour. For times sake, I have included this microwave option. Chop your vegetables and set aside. In a frying pan, cook ground meat in a small amount of water (or cooking oil such as avocado oil), until pieces are no longer pink. This takes about 10 minutes. At the same time, sauté vegetables and garlic in water or oil until tender. At this point, add jar of tomato sauce with herbs and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the meat and sauté for another few minutes. To prepare the squash, put on oven mitts, as it will be hot! With a sharp knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise. Let cool for 5 minutes. Scoop out seeds with a fork (this is a bit tricky and will probably require you to do it with the oven mitts on). You can dispose of these seeds or bake them for a snack later J. With the fork, scrape the squash “noodles” from the skin of the squash and scoop out into a bowl. The “noodles” should be slightly darker yellow and soft, if it still seems hard in some parts you made need to microwave it a bit longer. If this is the fist time using squash, don’t worry it takes a bit to get the hang of using it! Scoop squash “noodles” into dinner bowl with a scoop of meat and vegetable sauce. Voila – your gluten-free, low-carb, paleo pasta is served!
Soups are a great meal to have handy in the fridge during those busy weeks – especially now that winter has hit. Making your own homemade soup is SO easy and will be lower in sodium and preservative-free. Jodie, author of Free Spirited Health, shares a delicious soup with us for Day 4.
If you’re anything like me then you’re probably always chilly, long for the sun, and love sitting beside a warm fire. These qualities are the reason I always turn to hearty soups during the winter months. In Asian Medicine warming foods during cold seasons are thought to help our body’s function optimally. And, did you know that Sweet Potatoes are full of vitamins (especially A and C), they help regulate our digestive tracts, and can even help fight stress with their relaxing properties? Not to mention the health benefits of Kale: natural antioxidant (to help detox our bodies from toxins), anti-inflammatory, and a great source of iron and calcium.
- 1 tbsp (15ml) olive oil
- 1 cup chopped sweet-onion
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup chopped carrots (I’ve recently been switching this to squash)
- ½ tsp salt and pepper
- 4 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 6 cups of cubed sweet potatoes
- 4 cups chopped kale
- Heat oil in a large saucepan at medium to high heat
- Add onion, celery, carrot (squash if you prefer), salt and pepper
- Cook until tender (approx. 5 minutes)
- Add broth and bring to a boil
- Add sweet potatoes and bring to a simmer
- Cook until sweet potatoes are tender (approx. 10 minutes)
- Finally, add Kale and cook for 10 minutes (for best results, remove stems and massage in warm water before adding)
- Let cool slightly
- Depending on preferred texture: mash with a hand-held potato masher or transfer to a blender in small increments until smooth
- If desired, add water until preferred thickness
- Sprinkle on favourite spice (warmer spices are: cinnamon, crushed red pepper, cayenne, or ginger)
Makes approx. 6 servings and each serving contains:
- 190 cal
- 4g protein
- 3g fat
- 7g fibre
This soup is perfect for anyone who is always on-the-go and finds packing a lunch difficult. Make this on a Sunday and fill 6 Mason Jars for an easy, healthy, and delicious pre-made lunch during the long and busy weeks!
As a student of Naturopathic Medicine I am passionate about inspiring health in myself and in others – I believe that health extends further than our physical symptoms and treating the mind and soul are equally important. Please like my blog to see more about myself and to check out my other posts. www.freespiritedhealth.wordpress.com
Day 3 brings one of my personal favourite go-to meals that supplies our household with lunches for the rest of the week. A family favourite and simple to make! So glad Samina is sharing her adaptation with all of us. Samina shares lots of health and wellness tips over on her blog Naturally Cured – check it out!
Hi everyone! I’m a 3rd year naturopathic medical student at CCNM. I am super excited to share my Sheppard’s Pie recipe with everyone. When I first started undergoing care with naturopathic medicine, I was encouraged to establish a well-balanced diet. This is when I truly started my journey to leading a healthy lifestyle. I first started to adjust my diet so that I was getting lots of vegetables and fruits while eliminating refined sugars and processed foods.
Sheppard’s Pie was my favourite dinner growing up! So, I decided I would try to modify the recipe to include some sweet potatoes and some more vegetables. Sweet potatoes have become a big favourite of mine. Even though sweet potatoes are known to be a high calorie starch, they have a higher amylose to amylopectin ratio than white potatoes. Amylose raises blood glucose levels quite slowly, which is beneficial in blood sugar regulation. Sweet potatoes are considered an excellent source of beta-carotene. Additionally, they are known to be rich in dietary fiber.
My Sheppard’s Pie recipe brings me some serious nostalgia to my childhood days. The recipe will warm you up and satisfy your taste buds with the smooth texture of the sweet potatoes combined with the mouth-watering meat mixture! Best of all, there is enough so that you can have it for leftovers the next day.
Overall, I believe that by working on the foundations of health, which include a well-balanced diet, exercise and stress management, we can lead healthy lives. Come check out my blog to discover some other healthy recipes and learn about my journey towards living a healthy lifestyle.
Sheppard’s Pie Recipe
1 lb. ground beef, raw
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 cup onion, finely diced
3 stalks of celery, finely diced
1 clove of crushed garlic
½ cup of beef broth
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp barbecue sauce, (replaces Worcestershire sauce)
Salt & Pepper to taste
1-2 medium to large sweet potato, peeled & diced
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- On medium heat, sauté carrots, onions and celery with a tablespoon of olive oil until onions are translucent.
- Add the ground beef, crushed garlic clove, and include a generous amount of salt and pepper.
- Cook until the beef is brown and the vegetables are soft.
- Include the beef broth and barbecue sauce to the pan and cook on low for 10 minutes.
- Place mixture in a 6 x 8 inch ovenproof dish. (We used a glass dish)
- Cut the sweet potatoes into cubes and place in a pot of salted water. Turn to a boil and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until tender. *You should be able to put a fork through the potatoes.
- Drain and mash the sweet potato.
- Drop spoonfuls of the sweet potato over the beef mixture. Then spread it all over.
- Bake for 30 minutes at 400°F then broil on high for 5 minutes.
- Let it cool for a couple of minutes then, serve warm.
Recipe adapted from Ditch the Wheat
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.
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. 😉
Let me know what you think by commenting below!
In love & health,
Better late than never, right…
Yesterday I wrote my NPLEX exam (Naturopathic Physicians Licensing Exam) – something I had been studying and preparing for since June. We may have had the summer free of classes, but our summers were not “free” by any means. Cramming 2 years worth of pathology, physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, immunology & genetics into our brains was intense – and also hard to believe we learnt all that PLUS all of our naturopathic modalities as well. Regardless of the outcome it’s over and I get to spend the rest of August relaxing and enjoying some much-deserved ME time.
My tip this week is simple and goes hand-in-hand with last week. It still amazes me when I hear of people that don’t eat breakfast. That saying “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” has some weight behind it. You need to set your body up right to be the best possible version of yourself throughout the day. What a lot of people don’t consider is that the 8-9 hours you are asleep your body is technically “fasting” – and by prolonging this fasting till lunch your body basically goes into crisis mode. It starts screaming for fuel and you obey – by filling it with a larger portions of sugar-loaded food at lunch and any high cal snacks within reach. Skipping this important meal has been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance and obesity – so if your skipping breakfast to shed pounds then think again. So be more alert and present at work by fueling your body in the mornings.
Here’s my favourite go-to breakfast recipe. As a commuter, grab and go is EXTREMELY important – and why if I don’t plan ahead I end up in the Timmy’s drive-thru at 6am with a not-so healthy option. So make this breakfast quinoa ahead of time in Monday-Friday portions and take it with you on the run.
Breakfast Quinoa and Oats:
1. Put 1 cup of water and 1/3 cup quinoa in a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower down to simmer for 8 minutes.
2. I never actually measure out my oats at this point I just sprinkle in until I feel there is enough to soak up the last of the water. 1/3 of a cup will most likely work – play around with this each time you make it to get the consistency you want. I like more quinoa than oats, you might like more oats than quinoa.
3. Stir and allow the rest of the water to be absorbed (3-5 minutes). Take off the heat and let cool for 2 minutes.
This is the fun part – the base is so versatile! I tend to stick with 1 tbs MaraNatha peanut butter + cinnamon + hemp hearts and then I change the fruit up depending on whats in the house (my favourite is bananas, blueberries and strawberries).
Play with it and find what you like – add some organic honey, change the nut butter, mix up some fruits – it’s a great way to keep breakfast fun and exciting. Let me know if you try any good flavour combinations that I can add to my arsenal.
Enjoy your short week – and don’t forget to eat breakfast!
In Love & Health,