healthyinhalifax

My Daily Detox Habits

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Happy New Year!! Well, the first few days of 2017 have been pretty beautiful here in Nova Scotia with the sun shining and good vibes flowing! I hope everyone had a wondering holiday and looking forward to the year to come.

As I am sure I am not alone, I did do a little indulging over the holidays. I can never turn down my Mom’s christmas cookies and champagne with my family. However, I did not have any food guilt about these choices as I made sure to do some daily detox rituals while on vacation, then amped them up after the holidays were over, especially on January 1st. These detox habits are part of my daily routine, are not time consuming and make me feel my best! I wanted to share the mains ones with you to start you off on the right foot for 2017! I will be doing a talk downtown on February 1st, at the Four Points Sheraton, on my daily detox habits so be sure to look for more information about that coming soon.  

My Daily Detox Habits:

  1. Drink Lots of Water - Every morning I drink a full glass of water as soon as I wake up, followed by a mug of warm water with lemon before breakfast. Water is vital to every cell in our body. We are even made of 60% water. Without it we can feel dehydrated, dry, fatigued and possibly leave us with a headache or other aches and pains. Water helps to turn on our digestive juices in the morning, especially with added lemon or apple cider vinegar, cleanse us of stagnant toxins accumulated over the day and ultimately wake up our skin and body. I probably drink about 3 litres in a day, but don’t necessary keep track. There are apps now to help remind you to drink water, including growing a garden for yourself if you are drinking enough :)

  2. Eat something green - It is now just habit to eat something green everyday. I usually have lots of fresh leafy greens in my fridge or already prepped to eat in a mixed salad or stew. On New Years Day I amped it up and had a tropical green smoothie as well as a delicious kale salad with beets and carrots. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, arugula, swiss chard and cruciferous veggies, such as cabbage, brussel sprouts and broccoli, are full of detoxing enzymes and nutrients to support your liver and kidney. Broccoli sprouts are a super food when it comes to liver health and are so easy to grow yourself.

  3. Exercise - I try to do some kind of exercise everyday to get my blood moving and me sweating. Both of these bodily functions are vital to detoxification. It could be a 20 minute walk, an at home workout, or a hot yoga class - my favourite! You can start small, but I promise you will feel the benefits very quickly. Try out apps such as Nike+ Training, MapMyRun or YogaStudio for at home workouts or programs with YogaWithAdriene, Evolve Fitness or Shanti Hot Yoga. 

  4. Breathing - Breathing is another innate detoxification function of our lungs and something I am mindful of everyday. Meditating every morning with my Calm app gets me in the groove to continue to take deep breaths throughout the day. I recommend setting out at least 5 minutes 2x/day to focus on your breath and be thankful for this detoxification process of your lungs!

  5. Dry skin brushing - Before I jump in the shower I use by handy dry skin brush to stimulate lymphatic flow, a system that helps rid the body of toxins and waste, and slough off dead skin. Brushing towards the heart in a circular motion is key as this is the direction of lymph flow. It takes me an extra two minutes while waiting for the shower to warm up. You can find dry skin brushes at most health stores or online. 

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Bonus Habit!

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  • Sauna’s - I just recently heard of Sauna Nova Scotia, which is a mobile wood fired sauna set up on Windsor St at the moment for your detox pleasure. I will be trying it out on Wednesday and likely making it a new habit. I will keep you posted via Social Media. 

 

There you have it, my daily detox rituals, which are easy, make me feel my best and can do the same for you!

Looking for more tips on how to feel your best in 2017? I offer free 15 minute consults for new patients to discover how Naturopathic Medicine and I can best help you (check out your Naturopathic Visit to see all the conditions I address in my practice). Also be sure to check out my Detox Talk on February 1st downtown (more info to come).

In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen 

ps. Some popular posts in the past that might peak your interest - 3 Natural Ways to Improve Digestion, Anxiety - 6 Ways to Conquer Your Mind

Food Friday: Crispy Coconut Chicken Fingers

Most of the time I do a lot of batch cooking on the weekends, as I am at work late or have activities to get to, leaving me little time to cook a nice dinner during the week. However, having quick easy meals for weeknight dinners that taste delicious and are healthy, really come in handy! Lucky for me (and you!) I came across this wonderful family friendly meal from my favourite nutritionist from Nourishing Meals.  The ingredients may seem a little unusual if you aren't used to gluten free cooking, but they are easy to find and come in handy for future baking. You can find arrowroot powder and coconut flour in the health food section at grocery stores or Bulk Barn. I had everything on hand and the whole meal only took me 15 minutes to prepare (and about 5 minutes to devour!). This dish obviously has a coconut flavour to it, which adds a little sweetness to the dish. I served mine with homemade honey dijon mustard, some sweet potato, and cabbage and brussels sprouts salad with a lemon-tahini dressing. Yum! I would advise eating these all at once, as the crispness is no longer there with leftovers, unless you sautéed again. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound organic chicken breast, pounded
  • coconut oil, for cooking 

Bowl #1:

  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp Herbamare, or sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram (or extra thyme or other spice of choice)
  • 1/2 cup water

Bowl #2:

  • 1/2-3/4 cup finely shredded coconut
  • herbamare (or sea salt) and finely ground pepper)

Directions:

Pound the chicken breasts with the smooth end of a meat pounder to tenderize them. Then slice into strips. Whisk together everything for bowl #1 in a shallow, wide bowl. Place the shredding coconut into another bowl with a pinch of sea salt and pepper, and stir. 

Place half of the chicken strips into bowl #1 and coat well. Then toss each into the shredding coconut. Place onto a plate then repeat with remaining chicken strips. 

Heat a cast iron skillet for approximately 5 minutes on medium heat (wonderful tool to have in your kitchen - I ordered mine off Amazon but you can even find them at yard sales.). Add a couple tbsp of coconut oil to the skillet. Place some of the chicken strips into the skillet and cook for a few minutes on each side. Be sure not to overcrowd the chicken to ensure they cook properly and crisp up. Place cooled chicken strips onto a paper towel lined plate. Repeat with remaining uncooked chicken, adding more coconut oil in between batches. Serve immediately with a dip of your choice and enjoy! 

Let me know what you think. 

In health & happiness, 

Dr. Karen

 

Food Friday: Socca Pizzas a Plenty

My delicious variations 

My delicious variations 

As you can tell I am always trying new recipes, whether it is a soup, main meal or sweet treat. I have been meaning to make socca pizzas for awhile now, after seeing a few recipes in some of my favourite cookbooks, and just hadn't gotten around to buying the right ingredients. I am happy to report that these are super easy and super delicious! Bonus - they are gluten free and can be dairy free (my pizzas always are...yes I know that somewhat defeats the purpose of a pizza!). 

Socca, or farinata, is a naturally gluten-free chickpea flatbread originally from Provence. There are many variations all over Europe and it is traditionally cooked in a wood oven. A cast iron skillet works just as well. The simple batter could be mixed with herbs such as rosemary, or with a little spice such as cumin. It can be served hot and broken or sliced into pieces for an appetizer, or topped with delicious toppings for a pizza type dish. I have done both.  Here are my choices of toppings but feel free to mix it up as you like or add a little feta or gorgonzola cheese. 

Socca Pizzas:

Socca Flatbread:

  • 2 1/4 cups chickpea/garbanzo bean flour (I've used Bob's Red Mill Garbanza and fava bean flour)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch of salt 
  • optional - rosemary or other fresh herbs or cumin 

Directions: Mix all ingredients together in a large mason jar or bowl. Let sit for at least a half hour, up to several hours. This allows it to ferment slightly giving it more of a nutty flavour.  To make pizzas, heat a cast iron skillet on medium high heat and add 2 tbsp of olive oil. Pour 1/2 cup of batter into skillet in a round pancake shape. Let cook for a few minutes until the top has set and sides begin to crisp. Flip and cook for a minute or so more. You want it a little crispy and browned. Continue until you have made enough pizza crusts. 

If making a large flatbread, heat the oven to 450°F and pre-heat the cast iron skillet. Coat the bottom of the skillet with 1 tbsp olive oil. Pour 1 cup into the pan, enough to touch the edges of pan for a 10-12 inch pan. Bake the socca for 8-10 minutes, until it is cooked through, then run it under the broiler to blister and brown the top (approximately 3 minutes). Cut into wedges and serve hot. (Alternatively, broil 6 inches away for 3-5 minutes until it blisters and browns.)

Pizza topping #1:

  • 1/2 white onion, sliced
  • large handful mushrooms, sliced (wipe with damp cloth or paper towel instead of washing them)
  • 1 tsp thyme or rosemary 
  • a few cherry tomatoes, halved 
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine, vegetable broth or sherry
  • optional - 1 anchovy diced, for a little salty flavour; or cheese

Directions: Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil then saute onions until translucent. The longer you saute them on a lower heat the more caramelized they get. Add mushrooms and herbs. Then add a little sea salt and black pepper. Finish off with a little of the liquid (white wine, broth etc) to deglaze the pan. Top onto socca. Then add cherry tomatoes to the pan and heat in a little oil until they blister slightly. Top on pizza. Add any additional toppings you like. Enjoy!

Pizza topping #2:

  • Homemade pesto (mine was approximately 2 large handfuls of basil, 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, 1-2 garlic cloves, olive oil as needed, 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, salt and pepper - processed in my food processor)
  • 1/2 zucchini, sliced into moon shapes
  • shredded chicken 

Directions: Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil then the zucchini. Toss in oil and saute for a few minutes until soft and slightly browned. Season with salt and pepper. Spread pesto over socca, add zucchini and shredded chicken. Enjoy!

*Tip: If adding any cheese variety, you can place socca pizza back in oven until cheese has melted. 

Let me know in the comments below if you try any other toppings! Next up, crispy socca tacos :)

In health & happiness, 

Dr. Karen

 

(Photo credit: www.relishingit.com)