It's cabinetry installation day at my #foodstudio - my heart is pounding http://t.co/TiXQLYT0df
With the help of Marni and the Fully Nourished Lifestyle Program, Kristy LaPointe is hoping to make 2013 her healthiest year yet, and she is excited to be sharing the journey! She is an actress, comedian and writer based out of Toronto.
In honor of heart-health month, Kristy is sharing with us the legume that holds a very special place in her heart and her favourite ways to prepare it.
Chickpeas For A Healthy, Romantic Heart
Chickpeas (or Garbanzo beans, as my father often insists on calling them) are versatile, healthy, and so delicious. A lot of people are familiar with Hummus, but these magical little beans can be used for so much more. Plain chickpeas are amazing in salads. They can be mushed up into a kind of tuna spread alternative for sandwiches. Falafel. Soups. Salads. The possibilities are endless. One of my favorite things to do with chickpeas is roast them in the oven or fry them in a pan with a small amount of seasoning. These roasted chickpeas make a great snack on their own, or in a salad.
This week I made a nice, fresh salad with a mound of wasabi roasted chickpeas on top, and it was so satisfying! See the recipe below. I’ve also been experimenting with different varieties of hummus, from roasted garlic to lemon to red pepper.
Wasabi Chickpea Salad
This month as I continue on my FNL journey, my biggest struggle has been with moderation. I tend to adopt an “all or nothing” attitude when it comes to health. This is great when it’s in full swing, and I’m consuming 4 bowls of Kale and going to yoga every day.
The trouble is, without balance, it’s very hard to sustain a healthy lifestyle. I get burnt out on plain oatmeal for breakfast, and then instead of spicing it up, I want to have a bagel and a cinnamon roll. A lot of my cravings have to do with carbs and sweets, so I’ve been trying to add healthier versions to my meals. The best sweet replacement I’ve come up with this month is frozen bananas. At the beginning of the week I sliced up a bunch of bananas, and separated them into small, freezable containers. Now whenever my sweet tooth strikes, I can go to the freezer and find a delicious, frozen treat. I still have chocolate and baked goods occasionally, but this has definitely helped me cut down.
Because this month is heart health month – we want to share with you a great new resource that we just discovered that can help you learn about heart health and many other aspects of nutrition. Thrive Forward is a free online program, developed by Brendan Brazier the formulator of Vega. The program helps you transform your health and performance for life, through plant-based nutrition. Brendan guides your journey to optimal health through customized topics that are most relevant to you. Each lesson is enhanced with useful tools that reinforce what you’ve learned.
There are many topics to choose from. Since it is heart health month, we wanted to share a great module with you – “Fabulous Fibre”. This video lesson discusses the importance of fibre-rich foods including legumes, greens, nuts and seeds.
You also learn about the difference between soluble and insoluble fibre, how much fibre we need, and the best sources to get fibre. And a bonus is that you’re given a delicious baked apples with figs recipe which is a great fiber-rich snack.
Brendan shares 3 important tips that are worth noting:
- Fiber is almost solely the domain of clean, plant-based foods.
- It is best to get a mix of soluble and insoluble fiber daily
- If you’re getting your fiber from a diet of fiber-rich, plant-based foods, you don’t need to increase your consumption of water as digestion will take care of itself naturally.
We are giving away a Thrive Forward Starter Kit to get you going on your unique path to whole wellness. The Thrive Forward Starter Kit includes an array of Vega samples (SaviSeed, Vibrancy Bars, Vega Maca Chocolate, Vega One, Energizing Smoothie), information about signing up for Thrive Forward, and recipe card.
To enter the contest, you can register for Thrive Forward at http://thriveforward.com and then tweet one of your favourite modules to @NourishedFully & @VegaTeam and use the hashtag #ThriveFWD. The contest ends on February 14th and the winner will be announced then!
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to treat your heart with the utmost love and care it deserves. There’s one easy fix to this and it includes incorporating legumes into your diet. Legumes are one of the most heart-healthy plant-based foods and are packed with nutrients that are essential to your heart-health and every day functioning.
Being very high in protein and one of the best sources of soluble fiber, legumes are a staple in cuisines from all over the world. Legumes are a staple source of protein with moderate caloric intake, making them ideal for any diet.
Here are a few key reasons why we love beans and why they are our favourite heart-healthy ingredient especially during the cold winter months:
- Controls your weight: Beans are high in soluble and insoluble fibre, which slows digestion and makes you feel full longer.
- Great source of fibre & protein: Combining iron-rich beans with good sources of vitamin C increases the body’s ability to absorb the iron.
- High in protein: Legumes are one of the best sources of protein. They are low in cholesterol and have almost no fat.
- Incredibly versatile: Beans are easy to cook and can be used in everything from Indian curry, bean dip, salad, veggie burgers, soup, falafel and hummus, chilis, and many varieties of salads and stews. While some legumes benefit from soaking before cooking, this step is not necessary for lentils and dried peas. It is important to prepare dried beans, as opposed to canned beans, as they are sodium-free. You can use a one-inch piece of Kombu to reduce the gas. But if you’re in a pinch, you can opt for canned beans the occasional time. EDEN brand is all organic, natural and BPA-free.
- Colorful and flavourful varieties: You will never get bored of them because there are so many different types of legumes that you can eat including kidney, black, navy, lentil, chickpea (garbanzo), adzuki, and mung. They vary in color and size, which makes for a creative presentation of your meals.
- Great for digestion and elimination of toxins: Eating beans helps move things along in the digestive tract. The fibre in beans passes through the gastrointestinal tract relatively intact, and speeds up the passage of food and waste through your gut.
Join us this month at a legume-focused cooking class and help cupid look out for your heart by incorporating more beans in your diet!
Black Bean Salad with Fresh Mint
What’s in it?
1 cup black beans, soaked* or use Eden canned organic beans
3 cups filtered water (no water needed of canned beans are used)
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
½-1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ extra virgin olive oil
3 red radishes, small dice
3 scallions, minced
¼ cup parsley, minced
¼ cup fresh mint, minced
How it’s made:
- Drain soaked beans and rinse well with water. Drain again.
- Combine beans and water and bring to a boil over high heat. (Alternatively, you can use canned beans but only by EDEN organics)
- Lower heat and cook for 1-1/2 hours. Drain beans
- Whisk together the next five wet dressing ingredients and pour over warm beans.
- When beans have cooled, toss together with vegetables.
I got a last minute phone call yesterday to come in to be interviewed by CTV News on an article about heart health that was published in the Huffington Post. Basically the article found that those who are on a vegetarian, plant based diet have less risk of heart disease. Which of course is not new information to me. However if it is to you, then keep reading! So giving my opinion and answers on such a subject was effortless. This was especially timely since our February theme of the month is all around heart health, beans and love! Stay tuned for lots of fun posts to come.
Unfortunately, I didn’t plan ahead to PVR or record the segment and nor do they have a link or live stream of the show. So basically I will recycle here for you the questions that were asked along with my answers. Hopefully this will give you more insight as to why quinoa, lentils and kidney beans can help you to live long, and live strong!
Question 1: Why are vegetarian less likely to have heart problems than meat – eaters?
Marni: The vegetarian diet is rich in fiber, lower in fat and loaded with vitamins and minerals. The fats typically consumed on a plant based diet are a lot better for the body and don’t pose the same health risks that meat does. (FYI- This includes fat from avocado, olive oil, flax and chia) The vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegggies offer the body a wide array of nutrients that you just can’t get from a meat based diet. Having a fiber rich diet, also means that you are lowering your cholesterol, improving digestion and moving things through the body and this helps to prevent buildup in the arteries and blood.
Question 2: If people reduce the amount of meat they eat would that help lower their risk of heart disease? Or do they have to cut out meat completely for it to make any difference?
Marni: As a starting point, people in general need to eat less meat overall. We are a meat obsessed society with a burger place on every corner. So taking the first steps to lower the number of times a week meat is consumed is the first step. However ultimately the goal is to move towards a more plant based diet. If someone is in a critical condition and at risk for heart disease, then it would be a really good idea to go on a strict plant based diet, as they will have an even greater chance at reversing their condition.
Question 3: Are there certain meats that are worse for people’s hearts than others?
Marni: Yes. Processed, packaged and deli meats are the worst offenders. Then comes the fatty meats & red meats. Opting to choose more lean organic and wild proteins is a much better option for heart health.
Question 4: Are there other ways people can lower their blood pressure and cholesterol without giving up meat?
Marni: Yes, in addition to consuming less meat all around, it is important for people to focus on ADDING in green leafy vegetables, grains, beans and legumes, nuts, seeds, fruits – they are all fiber rich and give the body a healthy nutritional boost while lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. In addition making exercise a regular part of your lifestyle can also dramatically make a difference.
Then she snuck in a little question about where do you get your protein without meat. So in addition to this great info I gave on CBC radio show, I mentioned the best and top sources of plant based protein:
Beans & Legumes
Nuts and Seeds
Sprouted Tofu and Tempeh
Hemp and Plant protein powders
Question 5: What are some other health benefits for vegetarians and what have I noticed being a vegetarian.
Marni: In addition to having more energy, being at an optimal weight – people can look forward to sleeping better, and having better digestion. Also a plant based diet is colourful, fun and full of texture, variety and flavour. You can get more creative with meals at home and enjoy new and exciting tastes. You also end up spending less money over time because vegetarian meals make big batches which you can have for several days.
It’s always fun sharing my knowledge to the masses. Hopefully you caught it live, at the very least you are up to date now!
The sweet smell of granola baking in the oven is enough to make anyone feel happy and hot! Even better – knowing the ingredients in your granola are wholesome, rich, and pure. My favourite kind of granola is nothing short of one that is homemade. Of course, being the month of February, love is in the air. That being said, something sweet and chocolaty with a hint of red is definitely in store! With the range of goodness offered by Mum’s Originals Superfoods, there’s more than enough goodies to choose from to make this steamy batch of granola.
With the heart in mind this month (and not only for health) I made sure each ingredient was picked with total love and care!
Oats – Oats are rich in fiber and are excellent for reducing cholesterol and provide long lasting energy (a perfect way to start the day with your Valentine)
Coconut Sugar – Low glycemic, slow burning and just perfectly sweet. You can’t get much better than this!
Goji Berries – Tender, juicy, red and filled with antioxidants, fiber and protein. The perfect boost!
Cacao (aka chocolate) – Need I say more? Magnesium, calcium and the best source of energy, ahem, and a natural aphrodisiac.
Coconut Oil - Rich, creamy, and sweet, it makes everything taste delicious. It can be used anywhere on your body too! (Hint, hint)
Banana Powder – Did you know that bananas are full of B vitamins? It helps keep those sex hormones alive!
Hemp Seeds – Shaped like hearts, these little guys loaded with heart healthy omega 3′s and fiber
Sea Salt – We all need a little salt in our diet. It makes the sweet sweeter!
Cinnamon – Sweet, delectable, and spicy cinnamon is great for balancing blood sugar and just makes everything taste good. And it adds a little kick when you need it.
Sweet Loving Granola!
What’s in it?
1 cup quick oats
2 tbsp oat flour
1 tbsp banana
2 tbsp coconut sugar
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp roasted hemp seeds
1 tbsp coconut cacao clusters
2 tbsp goji berries
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
How it’s made!
1. Preheat oven to 300 F.
2. Combine the oats, oat flour, banana, coconut sugar, coconut oil in a bowl and combine until the coconut oil is melted in.
3. Bake in oven for 15 minutes, stirring once part way through. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
4. Place baked oats in a large bowl and combine with hemp seeds, cacao clusters, goji berries, cinnamon and sea salt.
This Goji Granola, filled with natural boosters and energy-infused ingredients, is a flawless way to begin your Valentine’s Day to keep you and your sweetie invigorated and juiced up into the evening. Try it as a surprise Breakfast-in-Bed, and hopefully what follows next is as hot as the granola!
You can get more delicious knowledge by checking out Marni’s Weekday Meal Planning e-book, available here: http://www.marniwasserman.com/ebooks/