12 Steps to Better Health, Part 2

Last time, I promised I would talk about fats and sugars in this article, but I also promised you some simple, delicious recipes, then forgot to add them, so let’s start with those.

Roasted Broccoli with Sesame Seeds

At the end of a long day, this simple dish takes about a minute to prepare. Top with creamy Cashew “Ranch” dressing and sprinkle with sesame seeds for added protein and a great crunch.

Prep Time: 60 Seconds Cook Time: 25 Minutes Servings of Vegetables: 8

  • Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Toss 2lbs broccoli florets in 2 - 3 TBSPs melted coconut oil.
  • Bake for 15 Minutes, turn them over and cook for another ten minutes.
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Creamy Cashew “Ranch” dressing

This dressing is a staple in our house. Simple to make from whole raw cashews and fresh herbs, it’s a delicious alternative to store bought dressings that are often full of salt, sugar and preservatives.

This recipe uses parsley, but you can substitute any herb you like. Mint goes very well with spicy dishes, chopped rosemary or thyme with chicken, so have fun experimenting.

Prep Time: 5 Minutes Makes 3 – 4 Cups

1 Cup Raw, unsalted Cashews
¼ Cup Almond or Coconut Milk
1 Clove of Garlic, cut into quarters
3 TBSPs Chives or 1 TSP Onion Powder
3 – 4 Sprigs Fresh Parsley
3 TSPs Lemon Juice or White Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste

  • Place cashews in water and soak overnight or for 6 hours to plump up.
  • Drain, rinse and place in a blender with just enough water to cover the cashews.
  • Blend for 1 – 2 minutes until smooth. If it’s too thick to blend well, add a little water.

Add the rest of the ingredients and blend again until smooth and creamy.

Store in an airtight jar in the refrigerator for up to 10 days, though ours rarely lasts that long!

You can buy whole, raw, unsalted cashews at Blue Lupine Health Goods on W. Line Street and at Manor Market in the bulk foods section.

Basic Cauliflower Rice

Cauliflower Rice takes a little longer to prepare, a whole 15 minutes, but that’s on a very slow day and it is well worth the time I promise. If you’re able to leave some for the next day, it will taste even better!

1 Head Cauliflower
2 – 3 TSPS Coconut Oil
½ Cup Finely Diced Onion
1 Clove Garlic, chopped
½ Cup Water or Stock

Prep Time: 15 Minutes Cook Time: 15 Minutes Serves: 4

  • Place the cauliflower florets in a food processor fitted with a grating attachment and process until grated into "rice grains." Alternatively, grate the cauliflower with a cheese grater.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes.
  • Add the riced cauliflower and continue cooking for 5 to 7 minutes until the onions are translucent.
  • Add the water or stock, then cover and steam for 5 minutes until the cauliflower is cooked and the water is absorbed.

You can add all kinds of things to this basic recipe. How about peppers, mushrooms, spinach or a cup of frozen peas for additional protein and fiber? Add some shrimp or chopped chicken, perhaps a chili or two to spice it up and a handful of your favorite chopped herbs.

The last recipe I promised you was Cinnamon Sunflower Seeds that are great as a quick snack and a great alternative to popcorn on movie nights. Packed with protein, vitamin E, copper, B1, manganese, selenium and a host of other vitamins, minerals and heart healthy fats, just one ¼ Cup serving of these will also provide you with 3 grams of fiber.

Cinnamon Sunflower Seeds

1 TBSP Coconut Oil, melted
1 TBSP Maple Syrup
1 TSP Ground Cinnamon
1/8 TSP Salt
3 Cups Raw Sunflower Seeds

Mix all the ingredients together and spread the coated seeds over a baking sheet. Toast at 350 degrees for 6 minutes. Turn the seeds over and roast for another 6 minutes.

Next time, we’ll talk about sugar and how we can follow the new government recommendations to cut our consumption in half. It’s much easier than you think with the total nutrition recipes I have to share with you. Don’t forget to send me your questions and have fun with these easy recipes!

In health,


12 Steps To Better Health

There is such an overwhelming amount of contradictory information about the latest research, diets and food fads, it’s no wonder most people throw their hands up in despair trying to figure out how to become healthier. Then there’s the challenge of how to fit sustainable diet and lifestyle changes into an already busy life.

Over the next few months, I’m going to show you the 12 Keys to Health and how taking a few simple steps every few weeks can transform your health. Rather than talk about diets, calories, and all the things you shouldn’t eat, we’re going to discuss energy, fuel and healthy substitutions for the less healthy foods you love. Along the way, I’ll share easy, delicious, nutritious recipes and simple tips and techniques so you can make lasting changes that have dramatic effects on your health.

So let’s get started!

Key #1 - Eat Less Processed Foods

Processed foods are calorie laden, nutrient compromised foods filled with preservatives so they can be stored for months, perhaps years on end.  High salt, sugar and fat contents make up for much of the flavour that is lost when nutrients are removed during processing.

Apart from convenience, most of what we love in processed food comes from combinations of the above-mentioned fats, sugar and salt. So what whole foods could you possibly eat that would come anywhere close to that mouth-watering combination?

Nature made whole foods that honestly take less time to prepare than throwing a TV dinner in the microwave or going to the nearest drive thru would take. What I love about whole foods is they are perfect packages of nutrition, complete with all your body needs to make the most of the wonderful nutrients they contain.

Though it may sound ridiculous that broccoli really is the answer to what’s for dinner, you can make all kinds of additions to the basic recipe below to transform this nutrient dense beauty into a dinner that you may just crave! Try topping it with shredded chicken or beans for some added protein, or some slices of avocado and a handful of cherry tomatoes for a simple warm salad that’s perfect for this time of year.

A whole cauliflower, turned into “rice” with a blender is the basis for a whole range of dishes from a simple grain-free rice substitute to delicious stir-fry’s only limited by your imagination. Serve it as a side dish, add half a cup to your scrambled eggs in the morning or sprinkle some on a green salad for a delicious topping.

Roasted Cinnamon Sunflower Seeds provide a perfect balance of protein and healthy fat with a kiss of maple syrup to satisfy your sugar cravings. The recipe below is for three cups that you can eat as snacks or as a topping for salads for an extra crunch. Pack some in a quarter pint mason or similar jar to take to work or on road trips. These also make a wonderful alternative to popcorn on movie nights!

Dipping a peeled banana in a bowl of cinnamon seeds provides a super quick breakfast full of nutrition to get your day off to a great start and makes a delicious snack.

Over the next few weeks, add these recipes into your diet in place of less healthy foods and see what a difference they make.

Next time, we’ll talk about healthy fats and what you can use in place of sugar to satisfy your sweet tooth without sacrificing your health. If you’re feeling adventurous, you’ll find more recipes on my website and if you have any questions, feel free to send me an email. I’d love to hear from you!

In health,