Catherine's Corner

Freezer Apple Fudge

FreezerAppleFudge

Ingredients:

2 cups peeled diced organic apples

1/2 cup organic maple syrup

1 cup organic raw cashews

1/2 cup organic coconut oil

1/4 cup organic tahini

1/2 tsp organic cinnamon

1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract

1/4 tsp sea salt

Makes 64 pieces

Nutritional analysis per piece:

Protein:  1 g Fat:  3 g Carbohydrate: 3 g Calories:  40 Fibre: 0 g Sodium : 10 mg

 Directions:

  1. In a sauté pan cook apples with maple syrup over medium high heat until juices have reduced and apples are caramelized; about 5 minutes.
  2. Scrape apples into a high powered blender or food processor; blend with cashews, coconut oil, tahini, cinnamon, vanilla and salt until finely puréed.
  3. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with a piece of parchment paper long enough to run up two sides for easy removal. Using a rubber spatula scrape mixture into pan evenly, smoothing the surface. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon if desired.
  4. Freeze uncovered for three hours or until frozen.
  5. Slice fudge with a thin sharp knife into eight pieces, then again crosswise eight times to make 64 equal pieces. Keep frozen in an air-tight container layered with wax paper.
  6. Will keep frozen for up to one month.
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Get your Gut to the Gym

One of the most over-looked areas of improving digestion is the role exercise plays in enhancing gut health. Light exercise releases nerve signalling hormones, called neurotransmitters that stimulate the contraction of the muscles surrounding the intestines. This helps to keep food moving through the digestive tract and prevents constipation.

However, the timing of your exercise is important. Digestion requires a huge amount of blood flow, and exercising right after a big meal can re-direct blood from the digestive tract to the heart and muscles. This hits the pause button on digestion and can lead to heartburn and bloating. Rather, opt for a light walk after a meal to stimulate rhythmic digestive muscles and save the heavy lifting for later.

Keeping your digestive muscles in tip-top shape is crucial to digestive health. L-glutamine, an amino acid available as a supplement, has been shown to be an important player in supporting digestive health. This building block of protein can actually be used as fuel by intestinal muscle cells to stimulate healthy contraction. It’s also important for healing injured or damaged intestinal cells, and helps to maintain a strong intestinal barrier, reducing the risk of intestinal permeability.

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Enhance your inner eco-system

The digestive system requires a delicate balance of a diverse concoction of acids, bases, enzymes and microbes to function properly. So how do we support this “inner eco-system”?

It is crucial that fibre is a regular part of our diets. Most Canadians have insufficient fibre intakes. It is recommended that women consume 21-28 grams of fibre per day, and men should aim for 30-38 grams per day, depending on age. Fibre keeps you regular, lowers cholesterol and controls blood sugar levels. It is also essential for massaging the interior of our digestive tract and feeding good gut bacteria. Some fibre-rich foods include vegetables, fruit, whole grains, beans, legumes, and nuts and seeds. If you are having trouble meeting these requirements through your diet, like most Canadians, there are a number of fibre supplements available at your local health food store. However, the potential downside of all introducing a large amount of this fibre to your diet suddenly can lead to discomfort and gas.

There is some preliminary research that suggests consuming supplemental digestive enzymes can help to reduce flatulence in high-fibre diets. They can also help to reduce bloating when consuming a high-fat meal. Generally, supplemental digestive enzymes are mostly recommended for people to correct enzyme production deficiencies. Speak with your health care practitioner to see if supplemental enzymes would help your digestion.

The key players in our digestive health include the trillions of bacteria that set up shop in our large intestine known as probiotics. Feeding primarily on undigested fibres, starches and carbohydrates in our food, these gut bugs play an essential role in our overall health, including liberating or creating some essential nutrients, building natural barriers to keep toxins from being absorbed, and stimulating a strong immune system. New research is even shedding light on the impact these good gut bugs play in our mental health.

Adding a probiotic supplement to your regime can support a healthy balance of good bacteria. Research has shown that supplemental probiotics can help to reduce the risk of developing some allergies, resolving infectious diarrhea, and may even help to reduce the symptoms of lactose intolerance.

Fermented foods, including yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi or tempeh, are another great source of probiotics. The fermentation process can break down barriers to some of the nutrients in food. This helps us to access and absorb more of the healthful nutrients in our food, including phytonutrients, some amino acids, B-vitamins and some minerals like zinc and magnesium. Fermented foods are a growing trend in 2015, making them a readily available way of supporting digestive health.

Empower your digestive health with healthy, fibre-rich whole foods and fermented foods, and consider adding a supplemental digestive enzyme or probiotic to your health regime. Speak with your health care practitioner to find the right balance for your needs.

Digestive health is essential to our overall health. Being attentive to our digestive tract allows us to absorb the essential nutrients our bodies need to thrive. Simple steps can be taken to reduce your likelihood of common digestive issues like heartburn and bloating, and natural health products specific to digestive health can support your often overlooked inner ecosystem.

Here are CHFA’s top five tips for enhancing your digestive health:

  1. Consume plenty of fibre rich whole foods.
  2. Eat slowly and chew your food well.
  3. Add a probiotic supplement to your regime for microbial health.
  4. Exercise to stimulate healthy intestinal muscle contractions.
  5. Drink plenty of fluids – we make about 10 litres of digestive juices each day! Drinking fluids keeps our digestive tract lubricated and healthy.Visit a natural health retailer near you to find the products mentioned here, visit chfa.ca and use our “find-a-retailer” tool.
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Key Lime Kefir Pudding

Avocado and chia meal flour make healthy fibre rich alternatives to conventional starch and eggs in puddings. If chia meal flour is not available, simply blend chia seeds in a high powered blender or spice grinder to a flour texture. Find coconut chips in the healthy snack aisle of the health food store.

Key Lime Kefir Pudding

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Yields: 6 servings

3 (750ml) cups kefir

1 medium avocado, chopped (about 1 cup, 250ml)

1/4 cup (60ml) lime juice

1/4 cup (60ml) honey

1 tbsp (15ml) chia meal flour

1 tsp (5ml) lime zest

2 tbsp (30ml) coconut chips

2 tbsp (30ml) roasted almonds

Coconut whipped cream (optional)

Directions:

In a blender, combine kefir, avocado, lime juice, honey, chia flour and lime zest and blend to a smooth texture. Pour into 6 glasses or bowls and chill covered for 20 minutes to set. Crush or process coconut chips and almonds together to a coarse crumb. Top puddings with coconut whipped cream and coconut almond crumbs to serve.

Nutritional analysis per serving:

Calories: 192 kcal

Protein: 6 grams Fat: 10 grams Carbohydrate: 21 grams Fibre: 3 grams Sodium: 60 mg

 

 

 

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Kimchi and Zucchini Pad Thai

The sweet and sour tamarind sauce balances perfectly with spicy kimchi and smoked tofu. If you don’t have a spiralizer, run a peeler along length of zucchini to make large ribbons and slice into strands with a knife to resemble noodles. Alternatively, try using a julienne peeler available at kitchen stores.

Kimchi & Zucchini Pad Thai

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: N/A

Yields: 4 servings

Tamarind Sauce:

3 tbsp (45ml) almond butter

2 tbsp (30ml) tamarind paste

2 tbsp (30ml) maple syrup

2 tbsp (30ml) apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp (15ml) fish sauce

2 large zucchini, spiralized (about 4 cups, 1L)

1-1/2 (375ml) cups kimchi, chopped

1 cup (250ml) diced smoked tofu

1/4 cup (60ml) cilantro leaves

1/4 cup (60ml) bean sprouts

2 tbsp (30ml) crushed peanuts

2 lime wedges

Directions:

In a bowl, whisk together almond butter, tamarind paste, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and fish sauce. Toss with zucchini, kimchi and tofu. Divide between two plates and garnish with cilantro, bean sprouts, peanuts and lime wedges. Serve immediately.

Nutritional analysis per serving:

Calories:  206 kcal

Protein:  9 grams Fat:  10 grams Carbohydrate: 21.5 grams Fibre: 5 grams Sodium : 764.5  mg

 

 

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Common Digestive Problems and Solutions

Some of the most common digestive issues Canadians face include heartburn and intestinal discomfort due to bloating and gas. Although sometimes these symptoms can be associated with other conditions, they are most often a result of the type of food we have consumed.

Heartburn, also called gastric reflux, is a common gastro-intestinal symptom with a number of dietary triggers. These include coffee and other caffeinated beverages, alcohol, citrus fruits, tomato products, fatty foods and spicy foods. This burning sensation in the lower chest is the result of acid from the stomach entering the esophagus, causing irritation. Simple steps to avoid heartburn include identifying and removing trigger foods from your diet and not overeating.

When it comes to excess bloating due to intestinal gas, there are a number of potential sources. Over-eating and inadequate chewing of food can be common causes.

In fact, much of our intestinal gas that can cause discomfort is due to swallowing air with the food we eat.

Taking your time with meals and thoroughly chewing food can contribute to less swallowed air. In the lower gastro-intestinal tract, mainly the large intestine, gas can also be produced by the intestinal bacteria that are fermenting undigested fibre and starches in our food. Ensuring a healthy balance of bacteria is an important step towards proper digestion.To give these good bacteria a boost, consider introducing a probiotic supplement, gradually, to your daily routine. It can sometimes take a week or two for the healthy flora to become established.

Digestive health is essential to our overall health. Being attentive to our digestive tract allows us to absorb the essential nutrients our bodies need to thrive. Simple steps can be taken to reduce your likelihood of common digestive issues like heartburn and bloating, and natural health products specific to digestive health can support your often overlooked inner ecosystem.

Here are CHFA’s top five tips for enhancing your digestive health:

  1. Consume plenty of fibre rich whole foods.
  2. Eat slowly and chew your food well.
  3. Add a probiotic supplement to your regime for microbial health.
  4. Exercise to stimulate healthy intestinal muscle contractions.
  5. Drink plenty of fluids – we make about 10 litres of digestive juices each day! Drinking fluids keeps our digestive tract lubricated and healthy.To find more tips on how to maintain a happy and health gut, visit chfa.ca.
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Tempeh Satay Rolls

Like all fermented foods, tempeh contains live enzymes and probiotics so consuming it unheated keeps all the good digestive bacteria alive. Marinate tempeh up to a day ahead for maximum flavour.

 

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 30 minutes

Yields: 4 rolls

 

 


Coconut Satay Sauce:

1/4 cup (60ml) coconut milk

2 tbsp (30ml) soy sauce

1 tbsp (15ml) red curry paste

3 tbsp (45ml) coconut palm sugar or brown sugar

1 tbsp (15ml) lime juice

 

 

Tempeh Satay Rolls:

250g tempeh

4 sheets rice paper

2 cups (500ml) shredded kale

1 cup (250ml) julienned mixed peppers

1 cup (250ml) julienned asian pear

1 cup (250ml) pea or radish sprouts

1/2 cup (125ml) sprouted beans

1/2 cup (125ml) enoki mushrooms

 

 

Directions:

  1. In a large shallow bowl, whisk together coconut milk, soy sauce, red curry paste, palm sugar and lime juice. Slice tempeh into 16 equal pieces and gently toss with sauce. Let marinate for 15 minutes.
  2. Dip 1 sheet rice paper in hot water and lay on damp tea towel. Layer 1/4 portion each kale, peppers, pear, sprouts, beans, mushrooms, tempeh and some sauce across centre of rice paper. With wet fingers, roll up firmly leaving ends open. Slice into 3 pieces. Repeat steps for remaining 3 rolls.

Nutritional analysis per roll:

Calories: 286 kcal

Protein: 16 grams Fat: 10 grams Carbohydrate: 35 grams Fibre: 4 grams Sodium : 495 mg

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Deciphering Your Digestion

You are what you eat. It’s an age-old adage, but nowhere does this ring truer than when we focus on our digestive health. A healthy digestive system is integral to our overall health; it’s here that we incorporate our environment into our body through food.

The twists and turns of our roughly thirty feet of intestines miraculously manages to absorb the nutrients our bodies need to function and thrive, while keeping the bad stuff out. This is a big job and it is happening constantly inside our bodies. We can all take steps to enhance the vitality of our digestive tract.

Do you suffer from common digestive problems such as heartburn or bloating? Are you looking for tips to enhance your inner ecosystem? Are you aware of the powerful influence our gut health plays in our mental health?

Read on to de-mystify digestive health and discover simple tips, including whole foods, natural health products, and exercises you can incorporate into your daily routine to take your digestive health to the next level.

What is digestion?

Digestion is the physical and chemical process our body uses to break down food and absorb essential nutrients. It starts as soon as food enters your mouth, where chewing mixes enzymes in our saliva with food contents.

The stomach, with an acidic environment so harsh that its mucous lining is replaced every two weeks, continues the chemical breakdown of food before passing it into the small intestine; home to a turbulent soup of alkaline enzymes. It’s here, in this roughly twenty-three foot tube, that ninety-five percent of the nutrients in our food are absorbed; proteins, carbohydrates and fats, as well as vitamins, minerals and electrolytes.

The large intestine is then called into action, where a robust yet finicky group of approximately one hundred trillion bacteria ferment any remaining fibres and carbohydrates. This is also the key site for re-absorption of the ten litres of digestive juices we produce each day, until the remaining waste is ultimately eliminated. This entire turbulent process can take anywhere from one to four days.

With such a long and varied path, it is no surprise that sometimes things can be thrown out of balance, leading to common digestive problems including heartburn, bloating, gas or intestinal discomfort.

You can find some natural solutions to these common digestive ailments at www.chfa.ca/digestive-health/common-digestive-problems-and-solutions/.

Digestive health is essential to our overall health. Being attentive to our digestive tract allows us to absorb the essential nutrients our bodies need to thrive. Simple steps can be taken to reduce your likelihood of common digestive issues like heartburn and bloating, and natural health products specific to digestive health can support your often overlooked inner ecosystem.

Here are CHFA’s top five tips for enhancing your digestive health:

  1. Consume plenty of fibre rich whole foods.
  2. Eat slowly and chew your food well.
  3. Add a probiotic supplement to your regime for microbial health.
  4. Exercise to stimulate healthy intestinal muscle contractions.
  5. Drink plenty of fluids – we make about 10 litres of digestive juices each day! Drinking fluids keeps our digestive tract lubricated and healthy.

Find out more about the importance of digestive health and other natural health tips on chfa.ca

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SPRING AWAKENING

MAY 2014

Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right

The sun is out today and with it – heat and transformation. After the inward journey that winter enforces, the breath of spring comes like a relief and a hope. It is a time when all the cupboards are swept and we shed the layers that we needed to comfort ourselves through the darkest days. It is a time to germinate, to plant seeds, not only in our gardens but in the landscapes of our daily lives and our hopes and dreams. We take stock, and look anew, with fresh eyes and a kind of desperate necessity to reinvent and rebirth ourselves.

Greening our gardens, breaking unhealthy habits and reexamining our lives with new perspective is a process of openness and discernment. We need to evaluate all of our assets and understand our strengths while at the same time, creating support systems for the challenges that we face and the weaknesses in our constitutions.The garden analogy can be useful for all aspects of our lives: our bodies and their health, our homes and their health, our families, our relationships, our communities – we can grow the gardens we truly inhabit if we bring our full hearts and intelligence to the process.

Today is a day to begin the process, from small seeds comes great value, strength and sustainability.

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HEALTH vs DISEASE – A CHANGE OF PARADIGM

April, so the poem goes, is a cruel month, variable and wavering. The daffodil, the harbinger of spring is not only an April flower but a symbol of a commitment to fight cancer. Cancer is a scourge that sweeps away all of our illusions of safety and permanency; it is brutal and indiscriminate. Is it preventable? I am not quite sure that such a claim can be made. We enter this world with genetic predispositions to disease; we are exposed on a daily basis to toxins both in our environment and in the foods we eat; we are human, mortal and vulnerable. Genetics cannot be disputed but they can be modified, transmuted, and outcomes transformed by the choices we make daily.

It is time to change the paradigm. Our society currently operates within a disease model of health, a framework that is reactive. Shifting the focus to health and wellness is a proactive choice; it provides us with power and provides hope for renewal. We can choose to reduce the imprint of our genetics by creating as clean a lifestyle as is possible. We can educate and nurture the incredible health that resides in all of us. We can embrace the creative and brilliant applications that science and technology provide and marry them with an intention based in health promotion.

We have reached a turning point, and for all of the negative that resides in the world: the wars, hysteria and struggles that we humans have concocted, we have also given our energy to projects inspired by a love of humanity, creation and possibility. We create weapons of mass destruction and sign disarmament pacts. Balances and checks. The tide has turned and a new and inspiring generation that has grown up in a world burdened by excessive and thoughtless choices based in greed and personal gain, are now more concerned with community, sustainability and connection. The same holds true for healthcare.

Every day and in every way we choose. We are not perfect, we are human and humane. We can do the best we can and we can change and learn. And so we must. Eat well, move our bodies, reduce stress, choose to make our good choices felt with our wallets so that the impact will be noticed and companies with power will make better choices themselves. We begin everyday in our own homes, with our families, in our towns and communities. We choose to model wellness and find opportunities to support and create healthy bodies and relationships. With this commitment will come prevention at its best and most powerful. Through this commitment will come transformation. We will always be human and vulnerable, but knowledge is a sword and with it we will give ourselves the best possible chance of truly preventing disease. Shift the paradigm and choose health.

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