Hacks to Keep You Hydrated

If you were to ask me what the one thing is that you could start doing today to improve your overall health, it would be to drink more water. No magic pill, potion or 3 day juice cleanse can support your overall health and well-being quite like some good old fashioned high-quality H2O. You’ve been told a thousand times to drink more water, but I’m telling you again because, well frankly, we kind of suck at. It’s estimated that 75% of Americans are functioning in a state of chronic dehydration (not to be confused with the more serious cases of acute dehydration). This can leave us performing at less than optimal levels and suffering from some of the most common concerns I hear in my practice: fatigue, headaches, constipation, brain fog, dry skin and an overall lack of pep in your step. While these symptoms can be linked to a number of factors, starting off by increasing your water intake is a great first step to rule out the need for more intense interventions.

While some people may argue that they simply aren’t thirsty (typically the ones that hate the taste of water), my belief is that we are misinterpreting our body’s signal of thirst for more rewarding and stimulating activities like eating, sleeping or grabbing an extra cup of java (learn more about that in this video from Meghan). Adequate hydration is important for every single cell and metabolic process in your body, so if you’re looking to boost metabolism, improve brain function and be an overall superstar, I suggest you start by filling your cup.

Here are 3 super simple hacks to keep you hydrated.

1) Bottle Up

Invest in a water bottle that you actually like drinking out of and keep it close by. Seems super ridiculously simple, but that’s because it is. Nothing is worse than trying to stay hydrated with a leaky, smelly water bottle that has a funky combination of old coffee, tea stains & smoothie remnants. Here’s a few things to consider before buying:

Is the spout optimal for drinking (do you prefer a straw, pop top or screw top?)

– Is the opening wide enough to fit ice, fruit or lemons? (if that’s your thing)

– Is it lightweight and easy to pack into your bag?

– Is it easy to clean?

*Here are a few of my favourite brands: Kleen Kantine, LifeFactory, S’well or even a mason jar with one of these handy dandy lids

2) Wrap it up

Once you’ve invested in an awesome water bottle, go ahead and wrap 8 elastic bands around the bottom (more or less depending on the size of your bottle- aim for at least 2 L per day). For every bottle you drink, roll one of those elastic bands up to the top with the end goal of getting them all up by the end of the day. Fun, right?

3) Jazz it up

If you don’t like water simply because it just doesn’t taste good (although it tastes like nothing), jazz it up by adding some fruit. It adds a punch of flavour (without sugary additives) and you’ll get a pop of antioxidants to boot. Here are a few of my favourite fruity flavours:

 

Fruit Water Infusions

I’d love to hear how you stay hydrated? Leave a comment below with your favourite fruity water infusions, water bottle or tricks you use to get your daily dose of H2O.

In health & hydration, 

Heather, CNP, RNCP

Heather_Allen.RNCP

Lab TestsLab testing has long been the domain of our doctors. They decide what boxes to check, they review the results and they decide whether action needs to be taken. While I too value the importance of having objective measures of your health, there are two critical manners in which I view and use your lab testing differently than most MDs.

1. I want you to understand what I am ordering, why I am ordering it and what the results really mean. Your blood work is about you.

2. I am using lab testing to help understand the functionality, not just the pathology (the problem) of and in your body.

The traditional use of lab testing has been about determining whether there is something wrong with you, and, if so, the magnitude of the problem. Little or no emphasis has ever been placed on understanding how well your system is performing. This slight change in perception is one of the most fundamental differentiators when we are considering how naturopathic medicine approaches your health in a preventative context. Preventative analysis is not about telling you that you are getting close to the ‘cut off’ for a particular disease, preventative analysis is about looking at new or different values that illustrate whether you are at risk in the first place.

Whether you have your blood work completed with me or with your doctor, here are the top 3 tests I see frequently overlooked and underutilized.

1. Thyroid panel – most physicians will run your TSH, but very few will additionally look for the active thyroid hormones, T3 and T4. A proper thyroid evaluation should also include a marker for thyroid antibodies. An elevation of thyroid antibodies often goes unnoticed until someone has developed full-blown thyroid disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Often an autoimmune reaction can be detected and managed before significant damage has been done. A full thyroid panel will include TSH, T3, T4 and TPO (thyroid antibodies).

2. Vitamin D – This test, unfortunately, is no longer covered by most provincial health plans. It is valuable because it not only provides an accurate evaluation of vitamin D levels, but can also suggest the depletion of other fat soluble nutrients such as vitamin A, coQ10 or vitamin E. As an aside, testing two forms of vitamin D (1,25-hydroxy and 25-hydroxy) can be helpful for detecting stealth infections such as Lyme disease.

3. hs-CRP – High (h) sensitive (s) C Reactive (R) Protein (P) is a marker for inflammation, with a particular sensitivity for the cardiovascular system. Despite it’s relatively low cost, this is one test I see routinely rejected by most medical doctors when we ask for blood work to be completed. Inflammation is implicated in most chronic conditions and this sensitive marker is very effective for flagging and monitoring changes with respect to inflammation in the body. In particular, hs-CRP should be run alongside cholesterol to provide context to chronically elevated scores. Emerging evidence suggests that hs-CRP is 3-times more accurate in interpreting potential cardiovascular ‘events’ than elevated cholesterol.

More concerning than the omission of the tests listed above, are the number of new patients who have reported that it has been ‘years’ since they last had blood work completed. In the spirit of prevention, there is no time like the present, to look at how we could and should be supporting your system for maximum performance.

 

Dr.MegsSignature

 

Warren Buffet Diet

Don’t listen to Warren Buffet. Well, maybe consider his wealth management strategies, but please, for the love of your long-term health, ignore anything this man has to say about your diet. On Monday, the 85-year old Chairman of Berkshire-Hathaway, a principle investor in Coca-Cola, shared that his happiness from drinking soda outweighs his enjoyment from consuming fruits and vegetables. “I elect to get my 2600 or 2700 calories per day from foods that makes me feel good” said the renowned tycoon at his company’s annual meeting. Buffet’s comments were echoed by his 92 year-old vice chairman, Charles Munger. Munger suggested that people are making a “ghastly error” in avoiding cola as a significant and helpful source of hydration. God help us. Munger went on to say, ‘people have to drink eight or more glasses of water per day, and adding flavor to some of those drinks is a benefit.’ No Charles Munger, that is not in fact correct. Refined sugar, colouring and artificial flavouring agents have been implicated in the perpetuation of chronic disease such as diabetes and cancer. Nice try though.

At 85, Buffet’s genetic jackpot is akin to a trust fund recipient frivolously spending through their inheritance. They may look like they are worth a Billion bucks, but it doesn’t mean they earned it. Buffet’s recent comments are not the first time he has acknowledged his love of junk food. In response to a Forbes article in 2015, blogger Molly Fitzpatrick tried her hand at what she coined, Buffet’s 6-year-old diet. While her account was amusing, her own physiological limitations were clearly noted. A similar experiment was documented in Eric Schlosser’s New York Times bestseller, Fast Food Nation. (Spoiler alert, the average person simply cannot eat like Warren Buffet). 

My practices focus on entrepreneurs and go-getters. They come to see me because they universally understand that their ability to perform, to achieve and to lead, is proportional to the quality of their health. The unfair advantage of these people is not a genetic predisposition; it is a deliberate and consistent investment in their health, their body and their life. Recently, a friend, and owner of a high-end clothing store in Toronto, was telling me about the spending practices of her clients. She was perplexed by my surprise that a significant proportion of her cliental divide their purchases among various credit cards and bank accounts. In some cases she noted that they return a few days later to ‘complete their outfit’ once their credit card cycle had renewed. Surprise was an understatement, I was shocked, but I shouldn’t have been. Routinely I see new clients who have been managing their lifestyle choices through medication. Metformin for diabetes, Uloric for gout and statins to control their high cholesterol. They don’t consider themselves unhealthy; in fact many of these patients come in because they are looking to optimize their energy or libido. There is a blissful ignorance about the connection between how they want to feel and the choices they are making. They are expecting superhuman performance, while holding onto their Kryptonite.

At the end of the day, we all control what we eat and how we live. If the consequences of this mindset were really that insular, I couldn’t care less about Buffet’s preponderance for a Coca-Cola cleanse. The reality however, is that just as irresponsible investment structures can lead to systemic economic collapse, lifestyle choices, temporarily spared through pharmacological support, are simply delaying the inevitable bankruptcy of our entire healthcare infrastructure.

I respect Buffet’s intelligence, strategic vision and financial acumen, but I implore him to end his diatribe related to diet and soda. Perhaps if his net worth were more closely aligned the preventative health, we would hear him espousing a different dietary discourse.

“There is nothing wrong with a ‘know nothing’ investor who realizes it. The problem is when you are a ‘know nothing’ investor but you think you know something.” Warren Buffet

You may choose to follow Buffet’s investment and nutritional advice, but in an attempt to manage your expectations, I think it goes without saying, that his results on both fronts are not typical.

Dr.MegsSignature

 

Spring cleaning bad habits

For the majority of us, our New Year’s resolutions are a distant memory. Approximately 92% of people who make resolutions fail with their intention to kick a nasty habit, eat better or exercise by the time spring comes around.  So if you’re one of the 8% who have succeeded, way to go!!!! And for the rest of you, I’m here to help. 

Our habits have a major impact on our lives and we often associate them as being negative, but with a little extra effort and consistency, you can make your habits work for you. When we repeatedly perform a specific task, a neurological pathway is formed in our brain. This allows us to easily navigate situations without having to think creatively about a solution. It’s like riding a bike. It’s hard in the beginning but eventually with enough practice it becomes second nature. 

So in order to help you make your habits work for you we’ve got some spring cleaning to do first. Out with the old, in with the new!  Here are 3 tips to help you conquer any bad habits that are holding you back from being your most awesome self.

1) Get To Know Your Habit

The first step is acknowledging that it exists. The next step is getting to know it and it’s deepest darkest secrets. Find out what triggers it and the ways it negatively effects you. Understanding your relationship with your habit will help to empower you in conquering it. For example: Let’s say that every time you find yourself super stressed out you find comfort in polishing off a bag of chips (you’re not alone, it happens). A habit that only leaves you feeling guilty with a bad case of gut rot. Acknowledging this trigger and becoming aware of the consequences will help you make a better decision next time you find yourself in that situation.

2) Slow & Steady Wins the Race

Don’t try and overhaul your entire life at once. Focus on one habit at a time. Keeping it simple leads to small victories that create a momentum that will grow into big results! If you set the goal too big, your lazy brain will rebel in order to save energy (it really hates change, even if it’s the best thing for it). Creating changes so small that they seem trivial helps avoid a rebellious brain. To your brain, it’s all about perception. Classic example: If you want to start going to bed earlier because your 2 am bedtime leaves you with a sloth-like energy in the morning, start with setting your bedtime 15 minutes earlier to start off and increase by an additional 15 minutes each week until you’re hitting the sack at your ideal bedtime. If you are a 2:00am Netflix grinder and your ideal bedtime is 10:00pm, your brain isn’t going to be too keen on a 4 hours transition right off the bat. Ease into it.

3) Create Accountability

Once you’ve chosen the simple habit that you want to ditch, you have to commit to changing it. Some people are great at holding themselves accountable, but if you’re not one of them, don’t fret. Here’s a few creative ways to create accountability: 

– Share your goals with friends, family or co-workers. Perhaps they will want to join in, but even just talking about your goals can sometimes make them more “real”.

– Join a community or facebook group.

– Recruit an accountability buddy who wants to rock this with you. You can keep each other on track.

– Reward yourself. Pay yourself each time you achieve your goal or avoid falling into your bad habit. The money will add up, the pounds will fall off and you’ll have saved enough cash to take a trip to a sunny beach to show off your hot new body!

– Invest in yourself by seeking out a professional to keep you on track and support you along the way.

– Write yourself a contract. Outline the details of your goals, how you plan on achieving them and set dates. Get a loved-one to witness and sign it with you.

Spring is a perfect time to clean out what we no longer have use for, in our lives and our homes. Making simple changes can have huge impacts on our lives. 

” We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit” – Aristotle

In health & good habits, 

Heather

 

 

Gorgeous young Women preparing dinner in a kitchen concept cooki

You’re busy. I get it. You might even be too busy to read this, so I’ll get straight to the point. Being unhealthy is one of the fastest ways to derail your productivity which can spell disaster if combined with a jam-packed schedule. So to help you out, I’ve created these 5 meal planning hacks to help you stay healthy with a busy schedule.

1. Cook One, Eat Three

My “Cook one, Eat 3″ rule is all about working smarter, not harder. It involves cooking dinner, eating some of the leftovers for lunch the next day and then freezing the rest for quick meals later on in the week (or the following week). Start cooking as if your family is twice the size it is to ensure you’ve got leftovers to fuel you on those long, crazy days when time gets tight. Planning ahead is a game changer. If your schedule is going to get crazy mid-week but you have a little window of time on sunday night, make a double batch of your sunday dinner and keep those leftovers handy. In short, you need to befriend batch cooking.

2. Lunch thy leftovers

As part of the “Cook One, Eat 3″ rule, get into the routine of packing up your lunch as you plate up your dinner. This creates no-brainer lunches that are ready to rock when you jet out the door in the morning. Not a fan of leftovers? Make it a whole new dish by adding a new ingredient to jazz it up! Tossing in a little goat cheese, pesto, olives or fresh herbs will put some life back into even the lamest leftovers.

3. Arm Yourself with 5 Go-To Recipes

Sometimes half the battle is simply knowing what to make. Remove the guesswork by having 5 recipes on hand that you can whip up in under 20 minutes. Bookmark them in your favourite cookbook, write down the classic dishes you know by heart, make a note in your phone, write them out in a list and post it on your fridge or make a pinterest board. Whichever way you choose to do it, keep it simple and easy to reference. I’m talking super simple meals like my go-to eggs and greens, grilled fish with a side of sauteed kale, brain boosting salad nicoise or sliced avocado on toast and a side of vegetables with hummus.

4. Banish Barriers

If the thought of having to wash, chop, measure and cook leaves you dialling for delivery, get that stuff out of the way before hand. Pencil these tasks into your weekly grocery run to ensure that these barriers are eliminated well before you turn into a hangry monster after a long day. Pre-wash and chop your fruits & veggies, combine any spice mixtures needed for your 5 go-to recipes and portion out your proteins ahead of time. This will help put dinner on your table faster than it would take that pizza to get to your door. 

5. Dial Delivery

If cooking your own meals simply isn’t realistic or you’re just not that into it, be real about it. Accept the fact that taking on these tasks just isn’t going to happen. That’s absolutely fine! Don’t feel guilty about it and then continue to make unhealthy food choices while telling yourself that ‘next week’ you’ll do a better job. My motto: if you dread it, outsource it. But let’s be clear, I’m not telling you to order up a triple cheese pizza. There are lots of options for having fresh & nutritious foods delivered right to your door. If you truly can’t do it on your own, consider ordering wholesome pre-made meals or getting your groceries delivered (it’s cheaper and easier than you think). Some companies even offer recipe cards with all the ingredients included, for those of you who still want to throw on your chef hat from time to time.

Here are a few of my favourite places that are dishing up the healthiest (and tastiest) eats in Toronto:

Pre-made meals: Kupfert & Kim, The Goods, Impact Kitchen, Fresh & The Green Zebra Kitchen.

Grocery Delivery: Fresh City Farms, Momma Earth Organics & The Healthy Butcher

Planning is your best defence against meal-time stress. Sometimes life throws you a curveball and your schedule gets the best of you, but a little bit of pre-planning can make all the difference when it comes to keeping your health goals on track. 

In health & happy meal planning, 

Heather

Foolproof Smoothie Guide

My name is Heather Allen. I am a Holistic Nutritionist and a terrible smoothie maker. I always feel like a big time failure when I confess that to people. It just seems like such a crucial skills to have as a Nutritionist. But it turns out I just wasn’t born to blend (or so I thought). After years of admiring my fellow nutritionists sipping away on their blended masterpieces, I made it my mission to make peace with my blender. Because if there is one motto I live by, it’s that sometimes you just have to try a little bit harder.

So after much trial and error (mugs of mud or gritty glasses of goop) I have crafted the perfect formula for making your smoothies awesome! So if you’ve banished smoothies from your routine because of their less than perfect texture, flavour or colour, it’s time to dust off your blender and try again. 

Fool Proof Smoothie Formula:

Liquid + Fruit + Greens + Protein + Fat = Awesome

Liquid: 1-2 Cups

Water, coconut water, dairy-free milks (almond, hemp, rice, coconut etc.) or chilled tea.

Why? Because you need a liquid- obviously
*Pop in a few ice cubes if you want it thicker.

Fruit (fresh or frozen) ½-1 Cup

Raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, all the berries, banana, mango, orange, kiwi, pineapple, pear, peaches, grapes etc…

Why? Fruit is a great source of vitamins, carbohydrates and antioxidant goodness. Bonus: the natural sweetness is going to make it super tasty.

*Want it creamy? Toss in mango, banana or avocado.

Greens (1-2 Cups)

Kale, spinach, romaine lettuce, mixed greens.

Why? Greens provide you with a variety of vitamins, fibre to regulate digestion and alkalizing minerals for optimal health.

Protein (1 serving or 1-2 Tbsp)

Protein powder (plant-based or grass-fed whey), pumpkin, hemp or chia seeds, almonds or almond butter, sesame seeds or tahini paste.

Why? Protein helps to balance blood sugar, keep you fuller longer and provides you with some other awesome benefits that you can read about here.

Fats (1-2 tbsp)

Avocado, coconut oil, ghee, flax or hemp oil, hemp seeds or walnuts.

Why? Fats are awesome for brain health, reducing inflammation and keeping you full. Not to mention they make things taste awesome!

*Bonus Superfoods (1 tsp – 1 Tbsp)

Goji berries, maca, spirulina, chlorella, bee pollen, cacao powder etc.

Why? These foods pack a serious nutritional punch! So if you’ve conquered the basics and you’re ready to take your smoothie to the next level, toss in one of these guys. Bee pollen is one of my favourites!

Now everyone has different tastes so it could take a few tries to find something that tickles your fancy. But if you follow these guidelines, I have no doubt you’re going to be sipping awesome smoothies in no time! Not sure where to start? I’ve got you covered. Here’s one of my go-to recipes to get your smoothie party started:

Creamy Raspberry Chiller
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Ingredients
  1. 2/3 Cup of Frozen Raspberries
  2. ½ Banana
  3. 2 handfuls of spinach (or other greens)
  4. 1 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  5. 1 Tbsp Hemp Seeds
  6. 1 Scoop of Protein Powder
  7. 2+ ice cubes (to desired consistency)
Instructions
  1. Toss everything in the blender, give it a whirl and enjoy!
Meghan Walker, ND http://www.meghanwalker.com/
 

I am back. After a much needed mini mat-leave, I am back in the office and ready for action. Life is busy and we are taking it day by day. If there is one thing I have learned since starting back, it is that this one thing can make the difference between making it or breaking it. Here is my secret to staying healthy, balancing work and staying present for my family (or at least trying to).

Momentum.Screenshot

Check out my secret sauce here.

Health & hustle,

Dr.MegsSignature

 

 

5 Roles of Protein

We often associate protein with beefy muscle-men who spend their days in the gym pumping iron, but protein is an essential component to our overall health for a variety of reasons. It is the 2nd most abundant molecule in the body (second only to water) and makes up for approximately 20% of our body weight as a primary component of hair, skin, nails, eyes, muscles and internal organs. But since you’re a smart gluten-free cookie and you probably already knew that, I wanted to share with you 5 things you may not know about protein.

Immunity
Your body uses the amino acids that make up proteins to create antibodies. And antibodies kick ass. Literally. These Y shaped proteins attach themselves to invaders (bacteria, viruses, etc…) and either destroys them itself or sends a message for back-up to get the job done and protect you from getting sick. So if you are constantly a sniffling Sally, you may want to boost you protein intake.

Baby Making
If you are expecting: A) congrats & B) eat some protein. The amino acids from protein are the building blocks of human tissue. So if you’re creating a human, you need the raw materials. Welcome to your role of contractor, Momma!

Hormonal Balance
Proteins are used in the formation of certain hormones. Think of your physical body as an orchestra where hormones are the conductors. These conductors influence our physical, mental and emotional well-being by controlling how our cells function the same way a conductor instructs musicians. Lack of protein in ones diet can lead to hormonal imbalances causing our beautiful symphony to turn into a disorganized, ear bleeding mess. Things like appetite, metabolism, stress, sleep and even our ability to be happy is regulated by hormones so do yourself a favour and feed your conductors.

Happiness
Eating in general makes me pretty happy, but protein has a serious biological effect on your mood. Serotonin and dopamine, the hormones that regulate your mood, are made from the amino acids found in protein. Without these essential building blocks, you may find yourself feeling like a bit of a Debbie downer. And that’s cool. We all have our days but maybe try boosting your protein intake a wee bit if it becomes a routine.

Weight Loss
Studies have found that protein has the ability to support weight loss in a few different ways. It has been shown to increase the release of a gut hormone called Peptide YY. This hormone makes you feel fuller, longer therefore reducing caloric intake and also helps to reduce adiposity (fancy word for body fat). Studies have also shown that a high protein meal helps to suppress levels of Grehlin (the hunger hormone) longer than a high carbohydrate meal.

So basically:
High levels of Grehlin = Hungry bear

Low levels Grehlin = No hungry Bear

But keep in mind that you don’t need to chow down on Fred Flinstone sized T-bone steaks to have a diet rich in protein. Focus on high quality foods from a variety of sources such as nuts, seeds, veggies, beans, rice, quinoa, lentils, meats, tempeh and of course one of my favourites, eggs. And as always, keep it balanced!

Here’s my favourite protein packed recipe for my Garden Party Crustless Quiche. It’s versatile for a quick and easy breakfast, lunch or dinner when time is tight.

In health & happy eats,
Heather

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With approximately 120,000 new cases diagnosed in Canada every year, Irritable Bowel Syndrome has become the most common diagnosis handed out by Gastroenterologists. But just as the condition is becoming more and more common, so are the misconceptions about this elusive condition.

Here are the 4 Most Common Misconceptions about IBS.

Misconception #1: IBS defines a specific condition

By definition, IBS is a chronic functional disorder of the colon that is of unknown etiology. It is often associated with abnormal intestinal motility and increased sensitivity to visceral pain that is characterized by symptoms of bloating, passage of mucous in stools, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation or both. Because the etiology is unknown, a diagnosis of IBS is a diagnosis of the symptoms, not the cause. Being diagnosed with ISB should be viewed as a starting point as it requires further investigation into the root cause of the symptoms in order to determine the proper course of treatment.

Misconception #2: There is one specific cause of IBS

There are many and often multiple issues that contribute to the symptoms of IBS. Some examples include SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), food sensitivities, infections, medications and visceral hypersensitivity. These factors can disrupt the gastrointestinal tract and cause very similar symptoms. Because of these overlapping symptoms, pinpointing the root cause can be difficult and often requires multiple tests and the support of a qualified health practitioner.

Misconception #3: There’s a test for that

Just as there is no single cause, there is no single test for IBS. Because there are no physical signs to definitively diagnose IBS, diagnosis typically occurs through the process of elimination and a checklist of symptoms. With IBS, the bowels appear normal but do not function normally, leaving biopsies and imagery tests, such as colonoscopies or ultrasounds, useful only in ruling out conditions with visual distinctions such as Celiac disease, polyps or tumors. Each patient’s IBS is as unique as his or her fingerprints, requiring a very personalized approach to testing based on symptoms and triggers.

Misconception #4: There’s a diet for that

This common misconception is actually partially true. There is a diet for those suffering from IBS but there is not a single diet for everyone. Foods commonly known to trigger IBS symptoms include dairy, gluten, legumes and foods high in fermentable carbohydrates called FODMAPs. Much promise has been shown in those who have eliminated these common triggers, but what works for one person, may not work for others. Each individual must cater to their unique situation and determine which foods work best for them through elimination and provocation or food sensitivity testing.

It can all seem pretty frustrating but there is good news. Working with a qualified health practitioner who will take the time to evaluate your unique health history, can help you determine the root cause of YOUR IBS and create a customized treatment plan to help you get your life back. In recent years, nutritional research has grown leaps and bounds to support those suffering from IBS and help them not only in managing their symptoms but also in healing their digestive system.

If you’d like to learn more about this and the nutritional strategies I use to support clients suffering from IBS, join me on Tuesday March 1 @ 8:00pm EST for a free webinar.

 

Roasted Rosemary Holidays Veggies

The Holidays: They bring us together with family and friends, allow us to take a break from our regular 9 to 5’s to sit back, relax and dream about all the amazing things we are going to accomplish in the coming new year. But if there is one thing that the holidays don’t typically bring, it’s colour. I’m not talking about the reds, greens and golds we decorate our homes and Christmas trees with. I’m talking about the colours that are often missing from our holiday dinner plates. It’s something I like to call “The Holiday Hues of Beige”.

Take a minute and envision a typical holiday dinner. Turkey (beige), mashed potatoes (white/beige), gravy (brown/beige), stuffing (golden beige), buns (beige/white) and so on. Now sometimes there is a vegetable dish, but it’s typically something underwhelming that people put on their plate, simply to be polite. And then they poke at it and push it to the side before heading for a second helping of those homemade dinner buns. Now as much as I like holiday traditions, this is one we can all do without. 

This recipe for Rosemary Roasted Holiday Veggies brings a punch of colour and phytonutrients to your nap-inducing plate of beige. In this recipe, I give you permission to get creative and add your favourite veggies. Let loose and toss in your favourite root veggies, brussels sprouts, carrots, fennel or parsnips. Get colourful and get creative. However, I will say beets are a must in this dish. They are one of my favourite veggies. I juice them, shred them on salads, add them to soups and use them as a natural food dye to make pretty red/pink hummus, dips, smoothies and even desserts like my Coconut Amaretto Love Bites.

I’m not asking you to ditch all the beige, I’m simply suggesting you try to balance out that visually and nutritionally bland plate by loading up on some colourful veggies. After all, the holiday season only comes around once a year. Enjoy it.

In health & love, 

Heather Allen, CNP, RNCP

Heather_Allen.RNCP

 

 

 

Roasted Rosemary Holiday Vegetables
Serves 6
Add a punch of colour and phytonutrients to your holiday's dinner plate with this super simple and crowd-pleasing side dish.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3 Cups Cubed Beets
  2. 3 Cups of Cubed Carrots (or your favourite holiday veggies- Brussels sprouts, Fennel, Parsnip etc...)
  3. 3 Tbsp Coconut oil
  4. 1 Tsp of Dried rosemary
  5. 2-3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
  6. 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  7. 1/2 tsp Cracked Pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place coconut oil in small heat-safe bowl and place on top of stove to melt from the heat of the preheating oven.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, add beets and carrots.
  5. Once the coconut oil has melted, pour over beet and carrots.
  6. Add garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper and toss until coated.
  7. Spread evenly over parchment lined baking sheet and place in oven.
  8. Roast for approximately 45 minutes, stirring once half-way through.
Notes
  1. *Cooking times may vary, once you see a nice crisp on the corners and the beets are easily pierced with a fork, you're ready to eat!
Meghan Walker, ND http://www.meghanwalker.com/