Happy New Year! New Start, New Challenges

Photo credit: Body By Simone
Photo credit: Body By Simone

Happy New Year everyone! I’m very excited to get back to blogging in 2015. The holidays whizzed by, I spent a few days with my parents, family and friends in Kincardine, followed by a big move to my very own apartment January 1st! I’ve been slowly unpacking my massive piles of “stuff”, as well purging many unnecessary things I forgot I even owned (now dubbed “garbage mountain” in my hallway).

As I was unpacking late last week I was reflecting on a few things I’m hoping to blog about this year. I’m always up for a challenge, therefore I am planning to take on a few of them this year:

1) Alcohol-free month (January): Say whaaaa? I know, I know. Honestly though I’ve been meaning to try this for a while and I figured January is a great month to start. I’m busy with the new apartment, I’m not flooded by holiday parties and I’m still high off the New Year’s Resolution buzz. I will be blogging about it throughout the month to keep you updated and to keep me on the straight-and-narrow! Day 5 and not a drop so far 🙂

2) OW/ODSP Food challenge: What is it truly like to eat on a budget? Is it possible to eat healthy? As a Registered Dietitian working with clients on a limited budget, I really think it is important for me to understand the challenges they face in the community. The majority of my clients receive social assistance through OW (Ontario Works) or ODSP (Ontario Disability). After paying for housing in Toronto and bills, very little is left for food. I’m going to try and get a sense of how much (on average) a person on OW or ODSP allots per week for food (single person only, as parents and families receive additional funding) and try to live within the food budget for 1 week.

3) October Unprocessed: I loved this challenge so much last year, I can’t wait to do it again!

 

In addition to my challenges, I’m hoping to add and improve my blog in a few ways:

1) Guest speaker or interviews: I would love to interview some local talent around Toronto as it relates to food and health. For example, I’m hoping to interview the West End Food Co-op, who is a great supporter of the Parkdale community and their food at the Sorauren Farmer’s Market is amazing!

2) New recipes: Now that I’ve got a cute little kitchen all to myself, I can’t wait to do some new recipes in it. As always my crockpot will get some heavy rotation, however fish/seafood is an area I don’t have a lot of experience with. I’m hoping to try scallops, mussels, shrimp and salmon! If you want a dinner invite, just ask 🙂

3) Food photography. I’ve mentioned this several times on my blog that I am NOT a good photographer. I also only have an outdated iphone and a little point-and-shoot camera in my arsenal. So after I experiment with some new recipes, I of course want to take beautiful photos! Any family/friends who are interested in helping out with this, please let me know.

Thank you to all my readers for sticking with me for the first year of the blog! I’m looking forward to an exciting, happy and healthy 2015. xo Kelly

Happy Thanksgiving Canucks!

Thanksgiving

Yes it’s that time of the year. Us Canadians will get together, stuff our faces with turkey, walk around and check out some foliage, pop a few extra strength TUMS and go to bed. I couldn’t think of anything better 🙂 As a Dietitian, many people expect that I will tell them “oh no, you can’t eat this, you should eat that, avoid this!” Nope, not my plan. Holidays are not the time to think about weight management or to deny yourself the foods that you love. To me, Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family and friends. It’s about giving thanks to all the parts of your life that make you happy and truly grateful (can you tell I’ve become a total zen Yogi? Namaste!). For example:

  • I am thankful that I live in a country where I have access to healthy, delicious food and clean drinking water
  • I am thankful that I have a job I enjoy. My job also generates the money I use for my passions and hobbies (cooking, traveling, snowboarding, yoga etc)
  • I am thankful that I have my health, and that those I love have their health too
  • I am thankful for my support systems (friends, family, boyfriend) that love me unconditionally

Alright, it wouldn’t be very Dietitian-y of me to finish this post without some nutrition tips. Sorry y’all!  I thought I could highlight one of my favourite holiday foods: Cranberries!

To me there is nothing better than dousing my plate (and I mean on top of EVERYTHING) with cranberry sauce. And why not? Cranberries are nutrition superstars. They have loads of vitamin C and are high in potent phytochemicals called proanthcyanidins (say that sentence three times fast!), which help reduce the risk of developing urinary tract infections. Cranberries are also locally produced in Ontario and are in season from September-December.

Now cranberries are naturally quite tart. Meaning to make a traditional cranberry sauce, you usually add a boatload of sugar to off-set the tartness. I don’t mind a bit of tart, but have you ever eaten a fresh cranberry? Wooo! You could use an artificial sugar like Sucralose in your sauce, but I personally don’t like artificial sweeteners so I would rather go au naturel. After a bit of searching I found a recipe for a healthy cranberry sauce that I am going to make this weekend. I’ve adapted it to include a few of my favourite fall spices, so feel free to experiment! Original recipe c/o The Naked Label

Cranberry Sauce: 3 cups fresh cranberries. 1 cup water. 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (NOT table syrup, try medium grade for a more robust flavour). 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice. 1/2 tsp grated orange zest (optional). 2-3 whole cloves (optional). 1 cinnamon stick (optional)

Directions:

1. Add water and cranberries to a pot and bring to a boil. Then turn down the temperature and simmer for approximately 10 minutes (the cranberries will start to pop).

2. Add in the maple syrup, orange juice, orange zest, cloves and cinnamon stick (if using). Stir to combine, smashing the cranberries up with a wooden spoon. Continue to simmer for 1-2 minutes to thicken slightly.

3. Let cool. Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves (if using). Serve and enjoy!

I will be taking the long weekend off to visit family and friends, but I will be back again posting next week. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! xo