4 Breakfast Myths – Debunked! | Beauty Detox

How many times have you heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and you absolutely shouldn’t skip it? Maybe you even purposefully started eating breakfast because of this conventional wisdom, even though you don’t have much of an appetite upon waking.

Well, Kimberly Snyder’s Beauty Detox philosophy advocates the opposite. Instead, she is a proponent of eating light to heavy throughout the day, meaning breakfast should be the lightest meal of the day and dinner the heaviest. Her argument is that eating light to heavy helps to continue the night-time detoxification process through the morning hours, aids digestion and thereby provides more energy for other health and beautifying functions.

I’m a big fan and tend to start my day with a smoothie, have a big salad for lunch, and then usually save my biggest meal of the day for dinner, which is when I’m always hungriest anyway (oh, until like an hour after dinner when I’m ready for my next snack).

Now, as an epidemiologist and health researcher, I wanted to do my own research into this topic. How important is breakfast, really?

Celery Basil Soup & Homemade Vegan Sour Cream - Vitamix Recipe http://www.homeatsix.com

The whole idea that breakfast is the most important meal of the day is linked to some studies that found that people who eat breakfast were more likely to be healthier and less likely to be overweight than those people who skip it.

Well, hearing a claim like that, I can come up with at least a couple reasons why that isn’t evidence for a causal link. Since we’ve been hearing about how important breakfast is for years, maybe healthy people are eating breakfast because they care about health, and so maybe those people who are eating breakfast are also doing lots of other healthy things.

Breakfast skippers are more likely to be overweight, you say? Well, what the heck else are they eating? Maybe they’re skipping breakfast because they had a huge, late night meal. Could that be why they’re fat? (Seems so). Or maybe they’re already fat and hoping that skipping breakfast will help them lose weight (But it won’t)!

pecan banana bread with almond icing

So is breakfast the most important meal of the day? Maybe not so much!

Myth #1: Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism!

A recent randomized controlled trial tested both of these claims and found that eating breakfast didn’t affect metabolism very much at all. You know what wakes up your metabolism? Waking up! Unfortunately, it turns out eating breakfast doesn’t speed up your metabolism.

Myth #2: If you don’t eat breakfast, you’ll eat more later on!

Eating breakfast doesn’t help people eat less throughout the day. In fact, people who ate breakfast ended up eating 3700 calories more per week. If 3500 calories = 1 pound, that’s a big deal! Skipping breakfast can actually help normalize ghrelin levels (that’s your hunger horomone), which helps regulate eating and fat storage.

Chia Seed Parfait - homeatsix.com

Myth #3: Breakfast keeps your blood sugar in check!

Intermittent fasting seems to actually lead to reduced serum glucose and insulin levels, so by delaying your first meal of the day you could actually improve your blood sugar control.

Myth #4: Breakfast helps you think!

This myth stems from those studies showing that kids who eat breakfast perform better academically than those who don’t. Well, that really all just comes down to the fact that kids who get breakfast at home also get a whole lot of other things associated with higher socio-economic status. It’s not the breakfast that’s doing it! Correlation versus causation, guys. Is breakfast super important in ensuring you have a productive day at work? Probably not.

mango peach smoothi

Now, the scientific evidence shows lots of arguments for and against breakfast, but basically it comes down to this: breakfast isn’t the most important thing ever, but if you want to eat it, there’s nothing really wrong with that either! A nice nutritious breakfast is great because it contributes to your overall intake of healthy things. But don’t go reaching for that croissant or jelly donut just because you think you need to have breakfast!

And if you’re not a big fan of breakfast, just get those nutrients in later or better yet, start your day with a nutrient-packed smoothie like the Green Glowing Smoothie or try a fun fruit smoothie like my Peach Mango Smoothie. And y’know what I say, sometimes just go for that big stack of pancakes!

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Nicoise Salad with Almond “Tuna”

tuna nicoise salad

This fall, my boyfriend and I will be travelling to Nice to visit my dad, who lives there. My boyfriend has never been to France, and I haven’t visited for a few years now. Although I still haven’t gotten around to actually booking our flights, we’re super excited about this trip, and have been talking about it constantly.

It served as inspiration for this take on the classic Niçoise salad that we enjoyed this weekend. This salad is typically made with tuna, hardboiled eggs, olives and anchovies as well as vegetables including tomatoes, green beans, and potatoes.

vegan nicoise salad

Although I eat tuna, I thought it would be fun to try out the mock tuna salad I’d remembered seeing on OhSheGlows.com. By leaving out the eggs and anchovies, you have a totally vegan take on the Niçoise salad that is still packed full of protein. The ‘tuna’, sweet potatoes and hard-boiled egg (if you choose), make for a very substantial salad that is perfect as a main course. With so much going on in this salad, a simple vinaigrette allows all those beautiful flavours to come through.

raw soaked almondsraw almond tunavegan tuna

After soaking the almonds for a few hours, making this ‘tuna’ salad took no longer than your usual version using canned tuna. It would be amazing in a wrap or sandwich if you’re avoiding fish. Who knew you could make a passable mock tuna salad with almonds?!

nicoise salad egg and faux tuna

“Tuna” Nicoise Salad | Vegan option

(Yield: 4-6 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup green beans
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 6 cups mixed greens
  • 2 roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • ¼ red onion, sliced
  • ½ cup green and black olives, pitted
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced (optional)

Directions: Cook peeled and chopped sweet potatoes in boiling water until tender. If desired, after cooking, sautee sweet potatoes in 1 tbs olive oil until starting to brown, to add a nice flavour and slight crispness. Steam green beans until beginning to soften, but still crisp. Mix up with remaining ingredients, serve over a bed of greens and top with almond ‘tuna’ and light dressing.

Almond ‘Tuna’

(based on Easy Flaked Almond ‘Tuna’ Salad from OhSheGlows.com)

  • 1 cup almonds, soaked for at least 2 hours
  • ¼ cup celery, minced
  • 1 green onion, minced
  • 2 tbs vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tbs Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:  Soak almonds in water for a minimum of 2 hours. Drain and rinse. Add to food processor and pulse until resembling flaked canned tuna. Mix with mayo, mustard, celery and onion and season to taste.

Dressing

  • ¼ cup EVOO
  • 3 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tbs water
  • 1 tbs minced green onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper, to taste

nicoise salad

 

For other salad recipes, click HERE.

 

Potato and Leek Soup Recipe

It’s Friday! And, for me, the end of the week usually means that I have little else in the fridge but leftovers, wilted vegetables and browning fruits. I hate to waste food, so when my lettuce is unfit for salads, my potatoes have sprouted and my pears nearly liquify upon touch, I know it’s time to pull out the Vitamix and make some soups and smoothies. Lots of blending later, I have a freezer full of green smoothies and a belly full of soup.

potato leek soup

I know it isn’t really the season for soups, but it’s definitely the season for leeks, and I had a huge one that I’d gotten in this week’s organic produce box. I knew I had a few potatoes from my potato salad still left in the dark depths of the cupboard, so Potato & Leek Soup it was. A couple softening carrots and a bruised tomato later and I had a huge batch of this vibrant and flavourful soup.

Potato & Leek Soup

Ingredients:

  • 3 potatoes, chopped
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1″ ginger root
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 3 cups vegetable broth

Directions: Bring broth to a boil and cook potatoes, carrots, and tomatoes until tender. Over medium heat, sautee leek and garlic in olive oil until lightly browned. Add everything to Vitamix (but retain about a cup of chopped potatoes, leeks, tomatoes and carrots, which we’ll add back in for texture) and blend until smooth. Add more water if necessary. Season to taste and enjoy!

potato leek soup

I’ve stocked the freezer with the leftover soup as well as a week’s worth of smoothies. I always make my smoothies in batches because while I love to have one each day, there’s no way I’m hauling out the blender and prepping all my fruits and veg on a daily basis. If you’re freezing smoothies in mason jars, make sure to only fill to the shoulder (that spot where the jar begins to curve). Otherwise you’ll end up with a freezer full of broken glass!

In making these smoothies, I used:

  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 3 peaches
  • 1 mango
  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • 3 bananas
  • 1 bunch celery
  • 3 pears
  • huge chunk of ginger

green glowing smoothie

And now I’ll leave you with a picture of our beautiful cat, Josie, enjoying her big new cat tree. Have a wonderful and relaxing weekend! xo

cat-tree

Banana Bread with Almond Icing | Vegan and Gluten-Free

I walked 85,212 steps last week! I’ve been wearing a pedometer as part of a challenge that we’re doing at work. My company launched a new health promotion initiative, and kicked it off with a 6 week team challenge (we’re Team Christopher Walkin’ — I had nothing to do with that name, btw).

Now we all try to get in more steps wherever we can, even if that just means taking the long way back from the washroom. It’ll be fun to see how my numbers look as I try to find more small ways to step it up. (Hopefully I don’t get too crazy with it though… like this hilarious article David Sedaris wrote in The New Yorker about ‘living the fitbit life‘!)

As a health-centered agency, I think it’s great that my company is jumping on board with this. (Read about 6 other things I do for a healthy day at work)

Does your workplace have any health promotion programs?

Anyway, after all the walking, I deserve a treat right? And with a freezer full of over ripe bananas, banana bread was an obvious choice. I wanted to try scrapping the eggs and butter that I usually use, and this recipe didn’t turn out half bad. I’m still in search of the perfect egg and dairy-free banana bread, but I definitely don’t mind taste-testing my way through! Please share your recipes if you have a good one!

vegan banana bread - two ways

I had a whole lot of frozen bananas, so I doubled the recipe and made a pecan loaf with almond icing as well as a chocolate loaf. I only went with almond because I ran out of the vanilla I normally use in my icing, but it really adds such a nice unique flavour when combined with the banana loaf.The banana flavour comes through wonderfully, but I think all that coconut oil resulted in a denser bread than I usually prefer. Still delicious, but not quite just right. The up side is that just a single slice is really filling, so it’s perfect for slicing up, freezing, and turning to when sweet cravings strike.

pecan banana bread with almond icing

Banana Bread (adapted from HERE)

Ingredients:

  • 4 over ripe bananas
  • 1.5 cups gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • For the chocolate loaf: 2 tbs raw cacao and 1/4 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (optional)
  • For the pecan loaf: 1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
Almond Icing
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbs almond milk or water
  • 1 tbs almond extract
Directions: Pre-heat oven to 350F. In a large bowl, mash bananas with oil and vanilla until no chunks remain. In a separate bowl, sift dry ingredients together and mix until combined. Add to banana mixture and gently fold* until well combined. Add optional mix-ins and bake in a greased loaf pan at 350F for 35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool fully before icing, if desired. Enjoy!
* My banana bread turned out tasty but a bit denser than I usually prefer. This was probably the result of subbing in that coconut oil and over-mixing since I was too lazy to do it by hand. Next time, to achieve the cake-like lightness I like, I’ll reduce the oil and mix a little more gently. But if you like a dense loaf, then go with the recipe as is. It’s banana deliciousness either way.
vegan banana bread with almond icing

Quinoa Lettuce Tacos Recipe | Beauty Detox

quinoa lettuce wraps

It was awesome to see that Kimberly Snyder featured my Mango and Peach Smoothie Recipe for last week’s Beauty Detox Challenge!

This week’s Beauty Detox Recipe Challenge was lettuce wraps! This was great timing since we’d just received our first organic produce box, now conveniently sold at a garden centre just across the road.

Along with fresh peaches, an enormous leek (which will being going into leek and potato soup tonight!), blueberries, tomatoes, cucumber and bananas, we got a beautiful head of crisp Romaine lettuce.

homemade taco seasoningsauteed veg

I decided to make my version for dinner last night, so I wanted to make sure that it was going to be substantial and filling.
I’ve made lettuce wraps before, in the form of lettuce tacos, but I always used chicken or beef.

To make this vegan version, I flavoured my quinoa using the same homemade taco seasoning that I use for my meat tacos. No need for those over-priced and chemically-laden store-bought taco seasoning packets!

lettuce tacos with quinoa

I lightly sauteed some zucchini, red pepper and onion, which I added to the quinoa filling. This upped the nutritional value and added colour, and I served these Quinoa Lettuce Tacos with salsa and homemade vegan sour cream.

This meal took no time at all to get on the table, since I was able to mix up the taco seasoning and chop and sautee the veggies while the quinoa was cooking. Quick preparation, crisp lettuce and fresh salsa made these tacos a perfect easy meal for a busy summer evening.

quinoa lettuce wraps

Quinoa Lettuce Tacos

(Yield: 4 servings)

Ingredients:

Directions: Bring quinoa and water to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Meanwhile, mix up taco seasoning and chop vegetables. Saute veggies in coconut oil over medium heat. Once cooked, add quinoa and taco seasoning to vegetables and stir until well combined. Serve in well washed and dried Romaine leaves, top with salsa and vegan sour cream, and enjoy!

quinoa lettuce tacos

Make sure to check out my previous Beauty Detox Recipe Challenge entries and try Kimberly Snyder’s Raw Dijon Hempseed Lettuce Wraps!

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DIY rope planter

DIY rope planter

After spending the last few weekends out of town, we spent some time this weekend knocking some items of the to-do list. While most of our time was spent cleaning out closets and organizing bins, we also took time to do some fun projects like sprucing up our balcony/fire escape and building a big cat tree for Josie.

I also made this rope planter that has a bit of a nautical vibe. I saw a vase like this in a store window while we were in Boston and thought it was cute, but definitely overpriced and so easy to make. Although I’m always finding myself saying “oh, I could make that”, once in a while, I actually do it. And some of the time it even ends up looking how it was meant to!

rope planternautical-inspired rope planter

Supplies:

  • vase or other canister
  • rope (I used approx. 8 feet)
  • white spray paint
  • white duct tape
  • hot glue gun

Directions: Tightly wrap the vase to determine the exact length of rope you’ll need. Cut and use duct tape to secure ends to prevent fraying. Spray paint rope and allow to dry. I only did one coat because I liked how the natural rope poked through, but go with additional coats for solid coverage. Wrap vase, gluing as you go.

diy rope vase project

Weekend in Boston

Last weekend, we headed to Boston just to visit the city and get away. We took advantage of a Porter seat sale a few months back and booked the flights for a random weekend. It turned out to be the weekend after we got back from our vacation in Kelowna so we didn’t even need to get out of holiday mode. Boston is such a beautiful, vibrant city and we had a great time.

photo of boston at nightphoto of boston harbourchillin in bostonboston harbour at sundown on a boat

Mango and Peach Smoothie Recipe | Beauty Detox

I rarely make all-fruit smoothies since my smoothies are usually an opportunity to pack in lots of nutritious veggies, but I’ll admit that a cold smoothie full of beautiful fresh fruit is a great way to cool down on a hot summer day.

This week’s Beauty Detox Recipe Challenge was to come up with a variation of Kimberly Snyder’s Summer Beauty Smoothie.

I decided to follow Kim’s lead and used a couple of fresh peaches. Ontario peaches are just beginning to come to market so I couldn’t resist picking up a basket. I see some grilled peaches served over banana ice cream in my near future!

mango peach smoothi

I wanted this summer smoothie to have a bright, cheery appearance so I grabbed all the fruits I could find that were yellow.

The peaches, Alphonso mango, banana and lemon come together to create this vibrant smoothie that is sweet and just a little bit tart. Don’t you find that mangoes add a wonderful creaminess to smoothies?

The ginger gives it a slightly spicy edge that provides a nice contrast to the sweetness of the mangoes and peaches. You won’t be able to taste the turmeric under all that fruit but you will reap it’s amazing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. I dump a ton of turmeric into my green breakfast smoothies for the health benefits, and I’ve grown to like its deep, peppery taste.

Like I said, I don’t often drink all-fruit smoothies, so I blended the leftovers with my Green Glowing Smoothie ingredients and put a few jars in the fridge and freezer for the week. But this smoothie is ideal for breakfast or as a refreshing afternoon treat. It’s also perfect for freezing into popsicles!

Mango and Peach Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 2 peaches, pitted
  • 1 Alphonso mango, peeled and pitted
  • 1 banana, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 lemon, peel and pith removed
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1″ ginger root
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 cup ice cubes

Directions: Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Don’t forget to check out my previous Beauty Detox Recipe Challenges and make sure to try Kim’s Summer Beauty Smoothie!

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smoothie recipe peaches and mango

Catnip gelato recipe. Yes, catnip!

Catnip gelato recipe | Banana Vitamix Ice Cream

That’s right. Catnip gelato. Seriously. And it’s amazing! Yep, this is the same catnip that our cats go bonkers for. Did you know catnip is an herb in the mint family? So this is basically mint-chocolate chip ice cream, really. Not that crazy, is it? Some people drink catnip tea, since although catnip is like crack for cats, it actually has a calming and soothing effect in humans.

Catnip gelato recipe | Banana Vitamix Ice CreamCatnip Plant

Catnip, like other mint plants, grow like crazy, so I had more than enough to dry for Josie’s cat toys as well as this culinary experiment. For a tasty, and original cold treat, try this Catnip Gelato, which I made with the basic banana ice cream recipe, some honey for sweetness and cacao nibs.

Catnip Gelato

(Yield: 2 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas, chopped and frozen
  • 1 cup fresh catnip
  • 2 tbs cacao nibs
  • 2 tbs raw honey (or maple syrup or liquid stevia)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

Directions: In a food processor or Vitamix, combine catnip, honey and almond milk until a smooth paste. Add frozen bananas and mix until soft serve consistency. Stir in cocoa nibs. Enjoy immediately or freeze for a scoopable gelato.

Catnip gelato recipe | Banana Vitamix Ice Cream

Of course I had to give Josie a little taste. Although she loves herself some catnip, she wasn’t so sure about this gelato.

Josie eating catnip ice creamJosie unsure of catnip gelato

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