My favourite way to welcome spring is to lighten up my eating habits. As the weather gets warmer, as more local vegetables become available and as I spend more time outside, I crave lighter, colder, more refreshing meals. Instead of the soups, stews and grains that warmed me in the winter, opt for more green leafy vegetables, salads, smoothies, raw soups and juices. This not only results in simpler meals to prepare but I also feel lighter, more rejuvenated and more energized!
Here are 5 key ways to lighten up your meals this spring:
- Start adding more salads to your diet. Whether for lunch or dinner, grab a big bowl and fill it up with fresh local greens. Salads help eliminate toxins, increase energy and provide a balance to your body. Learn how to naturally balance your body at Acid/Alkaline Balance on June 20th.
- Drink your dinner. This isn’t ideal all the time. But some nights when I get home and don’t feel like making a meal or eating a heavy dinner, I just pull out my blender and make a yummy blended cold soup (see the deliciously refreshing recipe below).
- Change the ratios on your plate. This is the easiest way to lighten up while sparing your body extra calories. For example, instead of taking an extra serving of grain, add more veggies, either steamed or fresh. Learn how to give your body a spring cleanse with Marni’s best-selling eBook Cleansing with Superfoods.
- Use vegetables in place of grains. In the spring, it’s fun finding veggie alternatives to whole grains. For example, grind up cauliflower instead of rice or use kelp and Zucchini noodles for basic dishes or pasta recipes. Top this up with our fave Green Goddess Salad Dressing – we will be making this recipe and more Green recipes at Green Goddess on June 10th!
- Make juice. This is the easiest way to start lightening up in the spring. Making a tall glass of vegetable juice is an easy way to load up on nutrients instead of calories. You can learn how to make Super Alkaline Juices at Raw Essentials on June 3rd.
With the days lengthening, reach for foods like green vegetables that will hydrate and refresh you. To start, try this refreshing
Green Avocado Cucumber Soup.
What’s in it:
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
2 large ripe avocados
½ cup spinach or kale
2 green onions, roughly chopped
2 apples (crisp and tart apples like granny smith)
2-1/2 cups coconut milk or coconut water
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Parsley for garnish
Optional additions: garlic, ginger, cayenne, dill
How it’s made:
- In a blender, process all ingredients until smooth. Chill until ready to serve and garnish with fresh herbs.
This article was originally written for Chatelaine.
Although we haven’t been getting the harsh, cold weather as we’re usually used to in Toronto, the weather outside can still give you the chills. Enter: Sweet Apple Cider! Apple cider is one of the few drinks that make you want to curl up on your couch in front of a fire. And while sweet apple cider is delicious and nourishing on its own, apple cider can come in another form that’s both tasty and healthy: Apple Cider Vinegar!
Apple cider vinegar and sweet apple cider are two liquids that your body can truly benefit from. There are many brands out there, but my particular favorite is Filsinger’s, a local Canadian brand, that produces incredibly pure and fresh apple products.
Keep reading – you can enter the contest to win a big basket of apple cider products from Filsinger’s!
Apple Cider Vinegar
Filsinger’s apple cider vinegar is fresh, pure, unpasteurized, and unfiltered – this means nothing’s been added or altered in the process of making it, and their certified organic apples are pressed and aged without preservatives or additives.
Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries to help with a variety of ailments due to its powerful cleansing qualities as it’s also a naturally occurring antibiotic and antiseptic. You can use it as a home remedy for skin, wounds, burns, acne, sunburns, insect bites, or as a weight loss ingredient. Although I don’t like to promote “weight loss”, apple cider can speed up your metabolism, making your body more efficient at burning energy. A good tip is to place 1 tbsp. in a glass of water and drink first thing in the morning or throughout the day.
You can also use it to clean your house (although it may be more costly) but apple cider vinegar makes a great disinfectant, deodorizer and over all household cleaner.
Lastly, you can eat it! Apple cider vinegar is an amazing addition to salad dressings, stir fry’s, and can be used to add acid (or make vegan buttermilk) in recipes such as cookies, pancakes and muffins. (If you are not local to Ontario, just be sure to look for products with similar standards such as Bragg’s, Eden, and Spectrum).
Sweet Apple Cider
Filsinger’s sweet apple cider is made the old fashioned way from whole apples. They blend several varieties of apples such as McIntosh, Cortland, Spy, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, and Ida Red. According to Filsinger’s, using a variety of apples enhances the flavour. Just like all of their products, they don’t use any preservatives or additives in the preparation of the final product.
How to Enjoy Sweet Apple Cider
Warmed up with a cinnamon stick any time of day! Warm it up in a pot, sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg and a large cinnamon stick. Get into your comfiest clothing and curl up on the couch in front of fire, and just let the apple cider sink in.
Sweet Apple Cider Dressing
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Filsinger’s apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp Filsinger’s sweet apple cider
1 tbsp local honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger powder
Place all the ingredients in a blender or small processor and blend until well combined and creamy. Tastes delicious on spinach or arugula with fresh sliced apples, walnuts and hemp seeds!
If you have never used or tried Apple Cider Vinegar, now is your chance!! Tell me why, what, and how you would like to use it and you just may win your very gift basket full of Filsinger’s goodies! The basket (which is large in size) contains Sweet Apple Cider, Apple Sauce, Apple Cider Vinegar, and Pear Sauce)
Just post a comment below!
At the end of the week, I’ll choose the best answer to be rewarded with the gift basket. Good luck Torontonians!
Note: (Winner must be able to pick it up in Toronto)
So I did it again. Took a wonderful week away in Collingwood to host an amazing retreat!
Get a Glimpse of what went on during the week:
The theme was raw, cleansing and superfoods. But the goal of the retreat was not to convert people, but rather to inspire them to make small changes. Whether it was through adding more superfoods, living foods, raw foods into their life or to get more active on a regular basis or just to take time to nurture their well- being, all were accomplished in these five incredible days.
I had 15 participants and I had all kinds of people attend, from a mother and a son to a married couple, to friends, to single individuals just wanted to take a week away for themselves. My oldest retreat participant was 78 and the youngest was 16. So this just goes to show that anyone, at any point in there life can take positives steps towards their health.
Everyone also came with their own areas of expertise. This is the best part, that I actually get to learn from my participants, there were reiki practitioners, spiritual psychotherapists a line of work called heart math and so much more. People became friends and really got a chance to connect with other that were like minded.
The week was organized with education, eating, relaxing, activity and rejuvenating in mind. We kick-started the week with an incredible hike up blue mountain.
This was followed by an informative talk on Cleansing with Superfoods where everyone got a copy of my brand new Health E Book Cleansing with Superfoods
(get your own copy HERE)
Garden of Life – the only plant based supplement I would ever recommend – was kind enough to donate samples of their Raw Vitamin Code Supplements to my participants (B12 and Vitamin C). So everyone got to take home veggie capsules to test out along with the book The Raw Truth , filled with recipes and tips!
Here is why I only recommend these supplements…if any!
The next day we visited an Organic Farm, The New Farm which was an amazing experience for all. We got to see interns in action working on the farm. Planting, harvesting and just how they make their organic farm work.
Other activities of the week included relaxing a Hatha based Yoga class and a trip the Le Scandinave Spa – a traditional turkish style spa with hot and cold pools, steam room and sauna room. This was a perfect way to aid the body to detoxify and also helps to strengthen the immune system. Everyone just felt amazing after this experience!
We concluded the retreat with a final hike on the last day. This was great because everyone got to see just how much energy and strength they had gained over 4 days on healthy foods. We reached the top in no time and everyone attributed this to the amazing food that was consumed during the week!
Have a look!
Watch some of the Superfood Cooking Demos I did during the week:
Feeling inspired to come on one of my retreats? Well the good news is that I will be hosting one in Costa Rica in March! So book early to get your spot!
Please check back soon as I will be sharing with you the amazing results that my participants experienced during and after the retreat!
Grab a spot on my Raw Urban One Day Detox Retreat!
Adding more raw foods into to your diet is a great way to boost your health. This means making sure the bulk of what you eat focuses on fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouts. With these foods as the foundation of your diet you will have more energy, lose weight and feel great. Raw foods are loaded with enzymes, vitamin and nutrients.
I am not suggesting you become a 100 percent raw foodie or adhere to strict guidelines, but rather simply incorporate more fresh foods into your diet. Even if half your meals each day consist of raw food, you are on the right track.
Five easy ways to add more raw to your diet:
1. Have at least a serving or more of fresh fruit every day: This can include an apple, pear, orange, berries or a fresh fruit smoothie.
2. Have multiple servings of fresh vegetables every day: Cut up carrots, celery, peppers, make a large dark leafy green salad or a fresh pressed green juice.
3. Enjoy a handful (or two) of raw organic nuts and seeds. Put them into a trail mix with raisins, goji berries, apricots – and you can even add some pure raw dark chocolate (cacao) into the mix.
4. Grab a bag of fresh sunflower or pea sprouts from your local health food store or farmers market, these make a great addition to salads, sandwiches, soups, stirfrys and smoothies. Or order them directly from Giddy YoYo and have them delivered to your door!
5. Get creative and try to prepare a few new raw recipes each week (check out different books, websites or videos on how to prepare things like smoothies, raw nori rolls, cookies and nut based spreads).
For an informative and inspirational day on living well with raw concepts grab a spot for my Raw Urban One Day Detox Retreat!
Try this recipe – this is a delicious spread to enjoy with raw bread, flatbread, and crackers or served with crunchy raw veggies, kelp noodles or shredded zucchini
Almond basil pesto
2 tbsp torn fresh basil
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 cup whole almonds, soaked overnight or for eight hours
½ cup pine nuts
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 garlic clove
¼ cup olive oil (or more) for a creamier consistency
1. Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until smooth
2. Place in a small bowl and refrigerate
3. Serve with cucumber slices, zucchini noodles, carrots, whole grain or raw crackers or brown rice pasta/kelp noodles or steamed vegetables
You can get more delicious knowledge by checking out Marni’s Cleansing with Superfoods e-book, available here: http://www.marniwasserman.com/ebooks/
I’ve done cleanses before. We’ve all seen them advertised in the front of health food stores, with intensities ranging from 3 to 30 days. I’ve experimented triphala and cascara sagrada, and sometimes fancy myself some cleansing tea. But this Health Force cleanse was something else! Reading the description, I thought “Three days, that’s nothing, I can do that. Twelve pills per serving? Piece of cake”
There was no cake. This was probably the hardest three day-cleanse I’ve ever tried.
Marni and I got really excited to start it too, we were going to do a raw diet along with it and get ourselves prepped for spring. My first day I barely had an appetite. I don’t know if it was the supplements or all the water I was drinking, but I hardly touched the raw meals I’d made. Later that night I felt so sick. It might have been the uncooked onions in raw soup I made, but I was asleep by 9 simply because I didn’t want to move. I ended up having a cooked meal for dinner to try to settle my stomach.
Day two I woke up with an awful headache. I had a mini breakdown about nothing before I even got to work. I ate mainly raw that day, and felt a bit better that night.
That last day I was determined to go out with a bang. I started my day with a juice, which normally keeps be going till lunch. Midway through the morning, I felt very light headed. I tried eating something solid to settle things, but it only turned my stomach. My skin was pretty oily too. I ate mainly raw this day too, with one cooked meal.
So, my review? The positives:
- Definitely felt it working! Between the emotional and the physical releases, I really did feel like it was doing it’s job. It was a very high quality product.
- It forced me to drink a lot more water than I usually do. I drink quite a bit as is, but with such a small appetite it was the only thing I wanted.
- The checklist included is really handy, it can be difficult to remember when to take which supplements.
The negatives (I don’t even know if I can call them negatives, because I know it was all part of the cleanse):
- Lots of capsules. They fill you up so much you don’t want to eat that much and you don’t want to take them by the end of the day (however I’d much rather take the supplements in capsule form rather than loose)
- The emotional side effects. I didn’t expect them! I know it’s totally normally to experience them, but it doesn’t make it any more pleasant. Whatever this cleanse released was clearly necessary.
- The physical side effects. I expected these side effects more, the headaches and the somewhat urgent bathroom trips. They weren’t pleasant but they were tolerable.
If you are new to cleansing, I wouldn’t recommend doing a 3-day intensive cleanse, I’d say do a 30-day gentle cleanse (also available from Health Force). The products were fantastic quality. My next cleanse will definitely be a Health Force cleanse!
You can get more delicious knowledge by checking out Marni’s Cleansing with Superfoods e-book, available here: http://www.marniwasserman.com/ebooks/
There is a magical little place perched in on the lake in Bancroft, Ontario and it is known as Grail Springs. I was lucky enough to first find out about it from a good friend of mine who went there for spa weekend with her mom. After hearing all the details about what this place had to offer, I knew I had to try it out for myself. I immediately booked Ryan and myself a room for Labour Day weekend last September, and it was everything I had imagined and more!
Since I had such an incredible time the first time. My friend who had told me about it, Jaime, and I went back in November on my birthday to see David Wolfe and just take a night away from the city! This was one of the best birthdays ever… (if you know what I mean)! I was so well taken care of up there. Madeleine Merentette, the founder and face of Grail Springs made me feel so welcome and special on my birthday. She is an incredible powerhouse of energy and passion. She has put her entire heart and soul into her haven at Grail Springs. She brings together the mind, body and spirit all wrapped up into one gorgeous and healing venue.
It’s not only that the property and setting of Grail Springs is amazing, so is everything that they offer. Grail is somewhere that you would escape to for a weekend, week or month away. Whether you want time for yourself, with a partner or a friend. Grail is a platform to heal, rejuvenate, relax, detox, meditate, do yoga and achieve a higher sense of well being. We are so lucky to have a place like this so close to Toronto. The accommodations are cozy, each week there is a different host or expert guiding guests through something fun, intriguing and enlightening, and the food is absolutely incredible. For someone like me who has to travel with a second suitcase or bag full of my own food, I don’t have to do this at Grail Springs. As it accommodates me as a vegetarian (as this is Madeleine’s philosophy) – being sensitive to wheat, dairy and sugar. Grail Springs has got it all. Here is just a sample of what the menu was on my birthday…if that’s not to die for, I don’t know what is!
With all that being said, there is no doubt I was made to host my very own retreat at Grail Springs. We just both have way to much in common! So on May 2nd I will be there for 4 days taking individuals through a journey in food. I will be there to talk, share and demonstrate all things plant based. Showing people how to make the transition to a more delicious lifestyle eating only the best foods nature has to offer. For more detail on my retreat and to book your spot please click here
HAVE YOU BOOKED YOUR SPOT YET? Early Bird rate go up on April 1st!
Treat yourself this summer to a little YOU time. You deserve it! Come away with me for 5 unforgettable days to recharge your body and your mind!
The emphasis of this 5-DAY retreat is to revitalize, detoxify and rebuild YOUR health through organic, whole living foods and delicious knowledge.
The retreat will take place the week of June 26th – 30th at an amazing, cozy venue in Collingwood, Ontario.
Check out HOUSE OF VERONA for more details on the venue or look at some pictures here.
During this all inclusive week you will get to enjoy:
Delicious Organic Living Food Meals –4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners, desserts, snacks, loose leaf tea and fresh spring water
Interactive Living Foods Classes with Marni – learn to create simple and healthy plant based meals with living foods.
(with a specific emphasis on detoxing, enzymes, sprouting, juicing, blending, superfoods, and incorporating greens into every meal)
Movie viewing of the Films – Raw for 30 Days, Food Matters, Crazy Sexy Cancer and Fresh followed up with a dynamic workshop on raw foods, health and vitality.
Dynamic Workshops and Information Sessions with Marni- How to Rebuild Health and Immunity through Whole Foods and Super Foods. It is never too late to start bringing the best foods nature has to offer into your diet!
This could be you!
Photography by Tara Noelle
I have had the honour and pleasure of teaching a group of fine, fabulous, healthy, energetic ladies a series of cooking classes. Most of them are former nutrition students, who never had the benefit of taking any practical cooking courses as part of their holistic nutrition program. So they requested an private 8-week private cooking series, custom make just for them. The classes started in the fall and the last one is schedule for the end of march- I am sad to say good-bye.
It was last year in Februray when I was fortunate enough to meet a few of them at a priave class that I held on behalf of the Holistic Cooking Academy, then I was lucky again to have them + more their friends join my Spring Detox Retreat in Collingwood. This incredible weekend together set the foundation for some amazing bonds and a platform to express our common interests.
Then come fall we started their very own private cooking series. They were keen, interested and intrigued to learn more about healtha nd nutrition. Most of them, being nutritionist are already well immersed in the world of holistic health and cooking, but just wanted to take their knowledge a little bit further…and that is where I came in!
We set out with several classes at one of the ladies, Susan Schroeter’s Lean on Me nutrition studio in Oakville. She has an incredible private kitchen cooking space that was very accommodating to our classes. Not to mention it is steps away from Organic Garage – so if I was ever in need of an extra lemon, or more quinoa, there it was! Then the last few classes have been held in my home, as we started to cover more complex and involved winter warming recipes that required more than one oven and a few gas burners.
I has been so amazing to work with a great group of ladies that live and breath health just as much as me, they have all taught me so much. They are all experts in the field of nutrition with their own focus and are extremely passionate and dedicated to a holistic, natural and a healthy way of life. It is so much fun to be able to teach and connect with others that are like-minded and have a similar path in life!
Here’s a glance of what our 8 – week itinerary looked like:
Week 5: Heart Health Recipes and Balanced Blood Sugar – baked cinnamon apples etc…
Week 6: Indian Flavours and Healing Spices – Cozy Chai Latte etc…
Week 7: Winter Warming Comfort Foods – Mac n Cheeze etc…
Week 8: Breakfasts and brunch foods: Granola etc…
Here are some pictures of the ladies in action, unfortunately not all of them were at this particular class Warming Comforting Veggie Meals – but we have 5 of 7!
Lovable Laurie chopping squash.
Thorough Susan..pulsing those beans!
Careful Anne, making those onions perfect!
Beautiful Sam, delicately adding water.
Joyous Jessica, peeling yams.
Thank you ladies, you have made my life and my knowledge that much richer – and I will miss our fun cooking sessions together!
***JOIN MY URBAN 1Day DETOX RETREAT THIS SUMMER ***
If you aren’t juicing already…you are truly missing out on the powerhouse of nutrients one glass of fresh vegetable juice has to offer. I am not talking about getting some pre-made concoction at the grocery store that claims that it is all natural – I am talking about making your own organic, whole vegetable juice in the comfort of your own kitchen!
Juicing is key to vitality and an overall sense of well being. It is even a great part of a good cleansing regime. Juices are a great addition to any diet. Even if it is just as simple as apple juice…I am encouraging you to make them!
You can go as basic as you would like with juicers, they range in price from $150 – $500. So pick and choose what works for your lifestyle and your budget. But remember, the more expensive juicers give you more juice and more nutrients and enzymes. (This is due to the way the juice is extracted from the vegetables.)
Check out online resources and other places in your area that may sell juicers and ask around to other people you may know – which juicer they use and if they like it!
If you are not ready for a juicer yet…
At the very least start your day by making a cup of lemon juice! You don’t even need a juicer for that! Squeeze a half of a lemon into some warm or cool water and drink on an empty stomach.
Another excellent way to cleanse your body (and flush your kidneys) and get your metabolism going for the day.
If you have a blender or a vita-mix you can make all kinds of concoctions and pour your juice through a sieve and capture all the pulp – or you can make a vegetable smoothie with the pulp (see the Simply Smooth posting below!)
But if you do get a juicer and you want a recipe to crack in your new toy…here it is!
Revitalizing (Salad) Juice
I call this a salad juice because instead of making a salad for lunch you can juice it! But don’t do this all the time as you don’t get any of the beneficial fibre from the vegetables. This is a great recipe for days when you don’t really feel like eating or when you are cleansing!
Handful of Sunflower sprouts
2 small (really small) Beets
1 or 2 apples (Granny smith work nice)
2 stalks of Celery
1 inch piece of Ginger
handful of Collard green or kale
small handful of Romaine lettuce
Place everything into you juicer according to instructions….best to do one vegetable at a time and finish off with lemons because it cleans the juicer at the end!