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Archive for the ‘diet’ Category

Meal Plans to Help Make your Life Easier

Posted on: August 21st, 2017 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

Do you find it intimidating or overwhelming to prepare healthy foods for yourself or your family?  This is a common reasons why most people struggle with clean eating.  We all know the basics of eating better – lots of vegetables, added fruits, healthy proteins and clean carbohydrates work for many but it’s hard to actually do this on a consistent basis.

Diet meal with friends

Many people’s lives are full…full of many things and eating healthy foods generally falls off the priority list or is forgotten.  By the end of a busy day/week, it’s hard to make good decisions that are in alignment with how we wish to be eating.  Check out this article on Decision Fatigue by The Harvard Business Review.  Do you ever find yourself eating well and clean for the first part of your day but by the end are eating foods you wish you hadn’t?  We make dozens, some studies report hundreds of food-related decisions throughout our day and after deciding many things throughout the course of a day, we are tired and start making easier decisions which usually results in poorer choices for our health.  I know for myself, I have ideals of eating healthy foods but sometimes the inspiration falls short and I’m eating the same thing over and over or eating rice crackers and hummus at the end of a long day which although is an ok food, not a match for my constitution which does better on vegetables and a light protein.

So, we have begun a new program to help you eat clean and take away the work of deciding what to eat and when.  We are now developing Healthy Meal Plans to suit your specific dietary needs.  Weekly or Monthly recipe plans are put together for your specific needs.  Foods can be avoided specific to your needs and menus can be created specifically for your health goals (example: dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo, FODMAP, Anti-inflammatory, PCOS, Thyroid, Autoimmune, etc).

What’s included:

-a detailed shopping list is given for your plan

-a to-do list for the week of prepping food

-all the recipes

-micro and macronutrient breakdown

-caloric breakdown

And…we can make it for whatever serving size you want.  If you have a family of 5 we can ensure all recipes are specific for your 5 people or for one person. Prepping your week/month is incredibly easy as we do the work for you.

We started this program a month ago as many people were sharing their desire to eat well but that more support was needed to stay interested and consistent.  We hope this is the solution to help.  Pricing is located on our Meal Plan page and ask your Naturopathic Doctor: Dr. Cressman, N.D. or Dr. Reidl, N.D. if you have any other questions.

Attached is a sample 3-day eating plan to let you know what a plan would potentially look like.  sample-diet

This helps make eating delicious, healthy foods easier.


Healthy Eating for a Busy Time of Year

Posted on: November 11th, 2015 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

Fall and Winter are usually a very busy time of year with events, social functions and activities.  Many people I speak with have most of their weekends planned with outings leading up to the New Year.  Time is usually limited amongst the busyness and planning for healthy eating amongst it can be tricky.

On our website on the Resource page, I have a listing of some of my favourite websites for healthy recipes.  Many of the websites take into consideration any food sensitivities you may have and help make meal planning an easier experience.  One of the easiest websites to navigate is Leanne’s Healthful Pursuit where you can specify which meal you want, what eating style you’re eating (paleo, vegetarian, gluten-free, etc), how long you want the prep time to be and any key ingredients you would like to see in it (greens, legumes, chocolate, etc).

If you can get your meal planning organized for the week you’ll be eating healthy foods amongst a busy time of year and help keep energy and immunity high.  Hope these helps.

Oh She Glows – Award winning, Angela Liddon has hundreds of delicious vegan recipes and so much more.

Comfy Belly – Erica’s recipes are a combination of gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-fee, sugar-free and SCD….they are amazing.

Healthful Pursuit – Leanne gives you options to find recipes that are: gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, veggie, vegan or paleo.

Against All Grain – Danielle’s grain-free, SCD recipes.

Nourishing Meals – this site has endless fantastic recipes that are great for elimination diets, detoxes.

Joyous Health – Joy has great resources and recipes for a variety of dietary needs.

The Naked Label – this site helps us understand what we are eating through education but also gives great recipe ideas.

Sprouted Kitchen – Sara and Hugh’s whole foods made easy.

JUICING vs. BLENDING: The Juicy Facts on Which is Better for your Health

Posted on: March 20th, 2014 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

Written by: Dr. Melanie Reidl, ND

You’ve probably heard about the ongoing dual between the benefits of juicing versus blending your drinks.Both of these stellar kitchen habits have their benefits, but is one really better than the other? Will you feel better drinking a smoothie over a juice, or the other way around? It’s a confusing topic, so today I’d like to provide you with the facts so that you make the best choice for your health!

Blending is the act of pureeing whole foods (ex. bananas and hemp seeds) with liquids (ie. almond milk and water), thereby retaining all portions of the initial ingredients. Nothing is discarded, the fiber is left in the drink, and your finished product can be a thick or thin consistency.

Juicing, on the other hand, separates the fiber from the liquid in fruits and vegetables by processing them through a juicing machine. What’s left over (and usually discarded) is the pulp of your produce, and you’re left with a nutrient-rich, concentrated vegetable/fruit drink. So as you can see, both blending and juicing are delicious forms of liquid nutrition.

In order to create these nutrition powerhouse beverages, you’ll need to invest in a good blender or juicer. I’ve done some research on the pros and cons of each option to make your purchasing decision a bit easier.

Blenders come in all shapes, sizes, powers and prices. I can speak from experience that investing in a good blender that does the job right the first time is a GREAT decision. Blenders range from $99 basic Magic Bullets, to $500 Vitamix high powered blenders. Basically, the more you spend, the greater capabilities and power your blender will have. I HIGHLY recommend the top of the line Vitamix if you’re looking for a kitchen appliance upgrade. This highly powered machine can blend hard produce like apples and beets into a liquid juice, almonds into almond flour or almond butter, or act like a food processor for bean dips and homemade salad dressings. I promise you won’t regret buying a Vitamix!

Smoothies are the most common use for blenders, since they are a quick, nutrient-rich, and refreshing meal or snack at any time of the day. Your options for smoothie ingredients are virtually endless, and you can create a fully balanced meal in one drink. A smoothie is also easily digested in the body since it has already been broken down into smaller parts, and the nutrients are also readily absorbed. I recommend keeping your smoothies on the ‘green side’ by loading them up with veggies first, and then adding in some fruit for sweetness. This is a wonderfully simple way to ensure that you’re getting enough greens into your diet each day.

Juicing machines can run you anywhere from $50 to $500 dollars. A cheaper juicer will likely operate with centrifugal force and the teeth will shred the ingredients through a fine mesh filter. These juicers do not work well for leafy greens, and are best suited for hard or juicy produce such as cucumbers and apples. A centrifugal juicer operates with more power and tends to heat things up as they pass through, causing some destruction of natural enzymes in your foods. The alternative is a masticating juicer, which slowly crushes and squeezes more liquid out of your ingredients. This type of juicer is generally a bit more expensive, but it is capable of juicing your greens such as kale and wheatgrass. Because this type of juicer works at a slower speed and does not heat the produce, the enzymes stay intact and the juice will stay fresh for longer.

There’s no doubt that juicing is a wonderful means to consuming more fruits and vegetables in a day, especially if you can afford it. I generally recommend that you keep your juices at 70% vegetables and 30% fruits so as not to spike your blood sugar from all of the natural sugars. Pure fruit juices should be avoided as they can pack in enough carbs and sugars for an entire day. It is also important to choose organic produce if finances permit, otherwise you are drinking up a whole lot of conventional pesticide-laden food.

So now for the verdict; is juicing or blending a better choice as part of a healthy lifestyle?

The answer is both. Different habits seem to work better for different people, and a machine that collects dust is no good in any diet. The optimal choice comes down to which method you will be able to incorporate into your lifestyle, and which one you’ll enjoy drinking on a day to day basis. If your blender makes a mean kale, banana and avocado protein smoothie – get blending!  And if your juicer makes a potent immune elixir of ginger, pear and lemon – keep on pressing!

**Check out my Pinterest Recipes board for more information on how to make a super-healthy, detoxifying greens drink!

Image courtesy of : [gameanna] /

Healthy Holiday Treat!

Posted on: December 21st, 2013 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

IMG_0985The holiday season is a time where food is in abundance and the selections are not always nutritious.  Whether it’s dinners with friends/family, meals out or gifts of food…we are surrounded by delicious options that are hard to resist.

I love gummy candies which are ridiculously horrible for your teeth, your energy, mood, waistline, etc.  But none the less, they were a special treat when I was a kid and are still viewed as that today.  So…I found a recipe where I can enjoy the fun of chewing on jelly with the health benefits of fruit/veggies juice with NO sugar.

Leanne Vogel is a Holistic Nutritionist who made a recipe for gummy candy made with: fruit/veggie juice, lemon juice, stevia and gelatin.  They take about 5 minutes to make and the recipe works each and every time.  Different coloured juices can be used for different colours.  I made a 2nd batch with green smoothies and they worked beautifully.  If you enjoy more of a jello-jiggler texture, add 1 tsp less gelatin, if you want more gummy candy, add a little more gelatin.

It’s a great way of adding more nutritious content to desserts without people knowing.  I’ll be bringing these to gatherings this year for sure.

Gummy Candy Recipe from Leanne Vogel.


Diabetes Month…Let’s Review Sweeteners and Which one is best for you.

Posted on: November 28th, 2013 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

November is Diabetes Month and a good time to review the amount and types of sweeteners in our diet.  Which sweeteners are refined or unrefined?  Let’s review them to find the choice that works best for you and your diet.

Refined Sweeteners

Agave: a syrup extracted from the sap of a plant.  Although it has a low glycemic index, its fructose content makes it difficult for the body to break it down easily.

Demerara: evaporated from sugar cane and then boiled, dehydrated, centrifuged and filtered.  Beautiful to look at and use and although it looks more natural/healthier it has 99% sucrose content.

High Fructose Corn Syrup: made from corn starch which contains 45% glucose and 55% fructose and is rapidly absorbed in the body.  When too much is ingested, it enters the liver quickly and is converted to fats that become insulin resistant.

Brown Sugar: white cane sugar with added molasses.

White Granulated Sugar: sourced from sugar cane or beets.  99.9% sucrose with a very high glycemic index.  It is processed with phosphoric acid, formic acid, preservatives, bleaching agents to name a few.

Unrefined Sweeteners

Sucanat: (sugar-cane-natural) made from dehydrated sugarcane juice, containing 88% sucrose with a lower glycemic index.  The natural vitamins and minerals are retained, but it has a very strong molasses taste.

Coconut Sugar: derived from the sap of coconut palm tree blossoms.  It has a sucrose content of 85% with a very low glycemic index.  It can be substituted for cane sugar in a 1:1 ratio and will add a caramel flavour to your foods.

Molasses: this is made from a by-product of refining white sugar cane or beets.  It provides 50% sucrose with lots of iron, calcium, zinc, chromium and copper and has a very distinctive taste.

Maple Syrup: from the sap of sugar maple trees.  It provides 65% sucrose but gives 54 anti-oxidants and more vitamins/minerals than any other sweetener. And what’s better, is you can buy local, supporting neighbouring farmers.

Honey: bees make this from the nectar from flowers.  Like many of the other unrefined sweeteners, in its raw form it contains vitamins/minerals, but also phytonutrients and good bacteria.  Through processing and pasteurization, many of the beneficial qualities are removed.  Pure, raw, local honey gives this extra nutrition, but never give this to young children, especially those under 1 year of age whose digestive system cannot ingest these bacteria.

Stevia: an extract from the plant leaf.  It contains zero calories, so it does not affect blood sugar levels.  It is considered 100 times sweeter than sugar so it needs to be used sparingly.  One draw back is its bitter aftertaste.

So, hopefully that helps in choosing a sweetener that works best for you and your diet.


References: How Sweet it is…or, is it?! By Dr. Heidi Lescanec, ND.  Featured in Eco Parent.


Posted on: June 22nd, 2013 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

Posted by Dr. Melanie Reidl N.D.

foodYour mother told you to eat your veggies… well, she was right. When we look at the research on intake of vegetables and fruit, the results are clear: reduced risks of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease. Massive studies have found that individuals who eat 5+ servings of vegetables and fruit compared to only one serving daily have a 44% reduction in cancer risk and 38% reduction in stroke risk.

Let’s take this a step further to a plant-based dietary pattern. A healthy plant-based diet aims to maximize consumption of nutrient-dense, plant-based, whole foods and reduces or minimizes intake of processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and animal products. It encourages higher intakes of vegetables, fruit, beans, lentils, peas, nuts, and seeds. This style of eating is essentially a semi-vegetarian diet, since healthy, lean animal products may still be consumed in reduced amounts if desired.

Numerous studies have reported that completely vegetarian diets (that restrict all animal meat) reduce risks of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and mortality. However, comparable benefits have been found with plant-based (or semi-vegetarian) diets that also include low to moderate intakes of lean animal products. A major study of heart disease patients following a plant-based, Mediterranean-style diet that also included fish, healthy oils, and low amounts of lean meat, found that cardiac events and mortality from all causes were reduced by 73% and 70%, respectively, when compared to diet higher in animal meats and lower in plant-based foods.

The bottom line is this… you can still eat lean animal products and reap the benefits that a plant-based diet provides. The key is to consume primarily plant-based foods, and include healthy oils such as extra-virgin olive oil, wild-caught fish such as salmon, and if desired, healthy animal proteins such as organic eggs and free-range poultry in reduced amounts. To shift to a more plant-based diet, start by aiming for 7-10 servings of vegetables and fruit daily, and replace a daily serving of animal protein with a healthy plant-based protein meal, such as a quinoa (‘keen-oh-a’) salad!

References: Jansen, M.C., Bueno-de-Mesquita, H.B., Feskens, E.J., Streppel, M.T., Kok, F.J. & Kromhout, D. (2004). Quantity and variety of fruit and vegetable consumption and cancer risk. Nutr Cancer, 48(2), 142-8. Overvad, K., Stripp, C., Tjonneland, A., Husted, S.E. & Sorensen, H.T. (2003). Intake of fruit and vegetables and the risk of ischemic stroke in a cohort of Danish men and women. Am J Clin Nutr, 78(1), 57-64 Tuso, P.J., Ismail, M.H., Ha, B.P., Bartolotto, C. Nutritional Update for Physicians: Plant-Based Diets Perm J. 2013 Spring; 17(2): 61–66.

We are Literally What we Eat

Posted on: May 14th, 2012 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

This is another wonderful quote by Joshua Rosenthal, founder of Institute for Integrative Nutrition and author of Integrative Nutrition.  In this quote, Joshua reminds us that our most basic level, we are what we eat.  A wise reminder as we make food choices to eat foods that support and build up our bodies.

“The food we take into our mouth goes into our stomach, where it gets digested and eventually assimilates into the bloodstream. Our blood is what creates our cells, our tissues, our organs, our skin, our hair, our brains and even our thoughts and feelings. We are, at our most basic level, walking food.” ~ Joshua Rosenthal

The Best Christmas Drink Ever

Posted on: December 8th, 2011 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

I am always looking for healthy ways to enjoy some of your favourite foods.  I adore hot chocolate, especially throughout the holiday season when you want to curl up under a blanket and enjoy a thick, warm drink.  But unfortunately, for many of us, we don’t do that well with dairy products.

A nice alternative that has hit shelves this season is Vitasoy: Mint Chocolate Soy Beverage.  This company uses non-GMO, Pure Canadian and Organic Soy Beans. It is THE tastiest mint chocolate combination I have had and really helps those dairy-sensitive to lactose-intolerant individuals enjoy this holiday treat.

Check it out and let me know what you think…

Cut Up Vegetables

Posted on: February 13th, 2011 by Dr. Amanda Sue Cressman

I was visiting my parents yesterday and was reminded of the fantastic habit of having cut up vegetables in the house. Growing up, there were always cut up carrots, celery, radishes and peppers in the fridge. When one went grocery shopping, the vegetables were immediately cleaned and shredded and sliced to have available when a hunger craving presented itself.

Yesterday, promptly upon our arrival, the container of pre-cut vegetables was placed upon the table and we immediately started snacking, enjoy the colours and flavours. 10 minutes of work after grocery shopping can make a big difference to get more vegetables into the system.

What a great reminder for all of us.

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