Monday, January 28, 2013

Say 'Hello' to!

Wow...what a tidal wave the last few months have been! I have been working hard on getting my new business and website together and now it is ready to share with the world. However, there are only so many hours in the day and with all of the comings and goings, these pages have been sorely neglected. 

It takes a pretty strong force to rip me away from my beloved blog and now, I am sad to say, this will be my last post here. 

I am, however, thrilled to share my new website with you,

The lovely Chloe Perron at Spoken Design created it for me, and I even got myself a spanky new photo, courtesy of the amazing Melia Sorenson at Lucida Photography

My blog will continue on the new site, with plenty of great content (articles + recipes) up weekly starting February 1st. I hope you will join me there and for those of you new to this blog, here are the links to my most popular posts...enjoy!

My review of the Wheat Belly book is by far the most visited on my blog - talk about a hot button issue!

The post where I share the cake I made for my son's first birthday (from 365 Quinoa) is another good one!

My thoughts on the newest trend in Vancouver...good vegetarian restaurants.

If you are looking for a sane, measured approach to eating well - try my UnDiet!

Want to go more plant-based? Here is a simple way to get started.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

As the New Year approaches...

What's on your horizon?

I can't believe that we are just 24 hours from the close of 2012. What a year this has been. I have had incredible good fortune and opportunity come my way and learned the meaning of the term 'burnt out'. My life has not felt in balance much of this year. I have often joked that the only thing keeping me going was all the kale I eat (the beans and blueberries deserve honourable mention too!). My fitness level has, ahem, dropped off and my immune system seems to have escaped to sunnier climes... Which leads me to where I am now: preparing to venture into a totally new phase in my career and personal life. And today, I realized that many of you are probably meeting the day with the same introspective and forward-looking thoughts, especially where your health is concerned.

The diet starts January 1st, doesn't it? I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that I also enjoy setting healthy eating goals in the New Year but I no longer view it in the same absolute terms that many of us do in North America. I am not "going on a cleanse" or attempting to lose weight. I won't vow to give my diet a radical makeover that is out totally of sync with how I really live. The payoff? Come February 1st, I won't be cringing about my total inability to "stick with my resolutions".

As you are writing your own New Year's resolutions, take a moment to reflect on the intention behind those goals and how you can ensure that they are a source of joy and positivity and not just another rigid plan of attack on all you feel might be "lacking" in your life. I have been following Danielle Laporte for some time now and her last post on setting goals really resonated with me and I think you might enjoy it too. A great read pre-resolution.

Don't get me wrong - I love the fresh start that a New Year brings. I am simply trying to bring a more positive spin to my resolve. Here are the resolutions I plan to keep in 2013 (nothing like an audience to keep you accountable!):

1. Drink more green juice. (Greens are the nutritional mother load and my toddler refuses to eat them in the quantities I prefer. At least he will eat them!)
2. Complete my first half marathon (BMO Vancouver, May 5th). If I enjoy it, complete my second (SeaWheeze, August 10th).
3. Work 40 hours a week. That will be taking it easy.
4. Write my first nutrition book. Hmm...that's the biggie, I think.

If you are looking to improve your nutrition, I am a huge fan of incremental change. Why not choose 3 distinct and measurable goals and tackle them one at a time, adding a new goal with each passing month?Great, powerful food changes include:

1. Have a totally meat and dairy-less Monday.
2. Eat a daily green veggie.
3. Eat breakfast daily.
4. Pack your lunch to work.
5. Try one new vegetable a week.
6. Have one meal a day that doesn't include processed flour such as bread, pasta or muffins.
7. Snack on fruits and vegetables instead of 'snack foods'.

If the time has come for you to get a bit more serious about how you care for your health and know that weight loss is an important piece in that, check out this post on the psychology of eating and why we normally fail at that weight loss resolution so you can meet the challenge with clear vision and self-care. 

I wish you much success, health and happiness for the New Year. 
My new website,, will be launching soon and I can't wait to share all of my new adventures with you!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Desiree's Holiday Wish List

It's the gift giving time of year again and as much as I am loathe to collect more stuff, a thoughtfully given gift that someone will actually want and use can be something to treasure. So as all of the holiday gift round ups are flowing through my inbox, I have been creating a mental wish list that I thought would be fun to share with you. As always, almost all of it is foodie focused :) I am a girl with a one track mind! 

Just in case you are hitting the malls this weekend trying to finish up your shopping, these might provide you will some awesome ideas. And in case you prefer your shopping with a mug of cocoa on the couch, most of this stuff is available online. Perfect if best intentions to be productive this weekend turn south.

I love this nature-inspired flatware set from West Elm...all you need is plaid napkins and candlelight to transport you to the cabin. 

Not so talented with pastry? Leave the architectural labour to the experts and get this uniquely Vancouver treat: a Vancouver Special Gingerbread House from Beta5 Chocolates. And if you need a quick hostess gift, Beta5 chocolates are always welcome (got my first box last weekend!)

This was my first patio gardening year and I am already missing my hodgepodge of pots and greenery outdoors. Patch Planters are just the ticket. They are self watering and perfect for teaching little ones to grow indoors. In fact, if you buy a Patch, they will provide one to Growing Chefs - a great local org that teaches kids how to grow (and cook!) their own food.

Love to eat local? What about reading local? Instead of scrambling all over Vancouver trying to snag a copy, have Edible Vancouver delivered to your door instead with a yearly subscription.

And of course, there are plenty of excellent cookbooks to add to your collection. I am wishing for Jerusalem, The Sprouted Kitchen and Modern Flavours of Arabia

I am a foodie first, but I am also a bit of a beauty junkie at heart. I love these natural lipsticks by local company, Ilia Beauty and have been dying to try this totally organic skincare from Belmondo (also local!).

Food is always a welcome gift and instead of buying more fruitcake which most people don't eat, buck the trend and offer some To Die For Banana Bread. Hostess gifts, solved! Cocolico products, now available at Whole Foods, are delicious. I love the raspberry chocolate sauce. Also perfect for holiday giving, I have been coveting Noble maple syrup, available at Marche St George and The Old Faithful Shop.

Experiences can be even more enjoyable than stuff and I have yet to treat myself to a cooking class at The Dirty Apron so maybe Santa will slip a gift card into my stocking. Gift certificates to restaurants are always a welcome gift (especially if they come with a free night of baby-sitting!) I think I need to spend a little more time at Les Faux Bourgeois, The Parker, L'Abattoir and (let's aim big here...) Hawksworth.

Stockings can also be stuffed with one of my favourite local teas, Organic Creamy Earl Grey from Secret GardenVancouver Farmer's Market Bucks (cute wooden coins instead of gold chocolate ones!) and cute kitchen gadgets from Cookworks

If you are looking for the can't-live-without-it gift, I never imagined I would have loved my Nespresso machine as much as I do. It makes damn good coffee and all it takes is a press of the finger. This is NOT your average pod machine. Available at The Bay and Cookworks (and other places!).

Finally, to help people get healthy in the New Year...these would be on my wish list! I have been hesitating buying a slow juicer for quite some time but would love to be able to have fresh juice at my finger tips. And a Blend Tec would certainly amp up the horsepower in my kitchen. 

And remember, sometimes the best gift is simply time. So offer to cook a friend dinner at home, plan a cookie decorating party for neighbour kids, bring some home-baked treats over to a family member or just pick up the phone and call. 

All the brightest of the season to you,

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Beat the Holiday Weight Gain (Yes, You Can Still Have a Cookie!)

It has been a long, long time since I have spent some time with this blog...where have I been?

Well, folks, it has been a time of unbelievable change for me which will lead to a completely fresh start in the New Year. In just three weeks, I will give up my much-loved role as Nutrition Operations Manager at Choices Markets, a position I created and have had the utmost privilege to hold. I have been working on a shiny new website,, which is almost ready. When it's ready, I will move my blog to my new website so be sure to subscribe for lots of great tips and some special surprises too! 

In the New Year, I will embark on a new journey - both as an entrepreneur and as Education Specialist for the wonderful Bio-K+ Probiotics. I appeared on the Natural Health Show this past weekend talking about Inflammation and Probiotics on their behalf and you can listen to the show here. I will continue to do talks throughout North America, write, work with conscious natural food companies and I will be able to spend more time seeing private nutrition clients here in Vancouver. 

I hope you will continue on in this journey with me...I am deeply thankful for all of your support over the years! 

And lest you think that post title was a bait and switch, never fear! This past Sunday I was featured in The Province giving my tips for surviving the holidays without packing on the pounds. See the feature here

As a bonus, I want to share my top 10 healthy holiday foods with here goes!

1. Cranberries

Cranberries, minus the pound of sugar, are incredibly anti-oxidant rich and the pigments in cranberries help prevent certain types of bacteria from adhering to the mouth, stomach and urinary tract.

2. Satsumas/Mandarins

Citrus fruit are seasonal, if not local, and come with plenty of phenolic compounds and vitamin C to help strengthen your immune system and possibly help prevent stomach cancer.

3. Almonds

Nuts are delicious and nutritious - just try not to eat them roasted and salted! Keep raw nuts on hand for snack attacks and for a healthy holiday treat, lightly toast raw nuts and toss with either tamari or a blend of your favourite spices.

4. Figs

Figs are a holiday delicacy worth eating year round. Figs are rich in fibre and contain a host of minerals such as iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium.

5. Turkey

It's not the turkey that weighs you down, it's the gravy! Turkey is a lean protein source that helps to bust the carb fest we all take in December. Whenever you can, buy ethically raised (organic if possible) birds to ensure a better life for the animals that feed us. 

6. Chocolate

Dark chocolate, 80% cocoa or higher is a perfect after dinner sweet that satisfies without a lot of sugar. For the true anti-oxidant benefits of chocolate however, you need to buy raw cacao, which you can make into truffles and chocolates in no time flat.

7. Pomegranates

Fresh pomegranates are available around the holidays and they are the perfect snack for munching as you watch a holiday movie. They take plenty of time to eat and each seed is packed full of fibre and potent anti-oxidants.

8. Spices

Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger are all incredibly satisfying, anti-oxidant rich and lend a festive flavour to healthy foods. Use them to create a mulled wine or cider as a healthier alternative to heavier drinks like egg nog. Use them in homemade whole grain baking or scent the air by boiling cracked, whole spices and citrus slices on the stove.

9. Peppermint

Peppermint soothes the digestive tract and may even bring relief to IBS sufferers. You can find the pure, edible oil in gourmet shops to flavour homemade dark hot chocolate or even tea.

10. Sweet Potatoes and Yams

When roasted with a touch of maple syrup and olive oil, yams have a caramel-y sweetness that satisfies without going to the extent of making the traditional candied variety. Yams, with their skin, are a great source of fibre and vitamin A for healthy skin and immunity.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Vegetarian Dining Goes Upscale in Vancity

Image from 

I have been vegetarian a long time, more than 15 years. Yikes...I'm old. But that's not what this post is about... As I was saying, there are a lot of us vegetarians on the Wet Coast and yet, it is not until this year that restauranteurs have cottoned on to the idea that we might like to eat really good food. Raised on farmer's markets filled with quince, chioggia beets and fennel, at most dining establishments vegetarians are faced with nothing but pasta primavera.

In Vancouver, a vegetarian can get by a lot easier than in other cities but seriously, if I have to see one more uninspired pizza or veggie burger I am gonna lose it. I like The Naam as much as any other Vancouverite but I am not looking for gooey, homestyle food all the time. So imagine my excitement when I notice that the old Italian red sauce joint on Main St has been replaced with a stylish acorn.

The Acorn is unusual in that it treats us crazy vegetarian folk like actual foodies. When I visited a while back with my two foodie pals, we dined on unbelievable house made gnocchi, luscious haloumi and the most delicious kale caesar. The space is lovely and while not cheap, it won't break the bank either. Chef Brian Skinner comes by his new Nordic-looking plates honesty, he did a stint at Best-Restaurant-in-the-World, Noma. I loved it and will be sure to go back. 

However, one restaurant does not a movement make. How about three? Enter Heirloom on South Granville and The Parker in Gastown. Chef Georgia Morley at Heirloom was a personal chef to Mr Lululemon himself and at The Parker, Corner Suite Bistro alums Chef Jason Leizert and cocktail maestro Steve de la Cruz are getting together to make some hip, veggie music to my ears. I am heading to The Parker this weekend and will update this post with my thoughts.

What a concept, making unbelievable food that just so happens to be vegetarian? Here is one trend I hope becomes permanent.