Fresh Fruit Salad

Nothing says summer like fresh fruit. I like to serve fruit salad at brunch as a side dish or for dessert after a big dinner. Sometimes I add a scoop of fruit salad on top of coconut yogurt or chia pudding to serve to my kids for breakfast. They love it!

The best thing about fruit salad is that you can totally mix up the fruits and it’ll still be delicious every single time. I often substitute pear for apple and swap peaches for strawberries or nectarines. Grapes add a nice crunch to fruit salad too. I usually pick whatver is in season or on sale! Pumpkin seeds provide an amazing source of zinc and many other minerals because these seeds grow underground, within the mineral-rich soil.

My only rule with making fruit salad is that you have to use a variety of colours to not only make it look more beautiful but also to provide the body with a wider range of phytonutrients. More colours = more health benefits to the body. Eat the rainbow, my friends!

Leave a comment below if you tried this Fresh Fruit Salad. I’d love to hear what you think of it and any variations you tried!

Fresh Fruit Salad

Prep Time10 mins
Course: Breakfast
Keyword: Breakfast, Side Dish
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 pear, chopped
  • 2 peaches, chopped
  • 2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 pinch lime zest rub the skin from the lime on a cheese grater to get a pinch of zest
  • shredded coconut top with desired amount of shredded coconut

Instructions

  • Wash the fresh fruit. Cut the peaches and pears into small cubes.
  • Add the chopped peaches and pears to a mixing bowl with the blueberries.
  • Add the pumpkin seeds, maple syrup, lime juice and pinch of lime zest.
  • Gently mix the fruit salad to evening coat it with the dressing.
  • Sprinkle shredded coconut on top and enjoy!

6 Ways to Improve Digestion

The digestive system is one of the most complex systems in the body. There are numerous factors that contribute to a healthy, regular digestive system. Some of the most common digestive disturbances people experience are bloating, irregular or infrequent bowel movements, heart burn, indigestion, loose stool, cramping and more. Addressing the root cause of your digestive imbalance and healing your gut is essential in order to achieve optimal health. Here are a few ways you can slowly change your habits to improve your overall digestive health. 

1. Drink water away from meals. Drinking too much water during a meal can actually dilute your digestive juices which can interrupt or slow down the process of digestion. It would be better to drink a glass of water slightly before a meal instead. If necessary, take small sips of water while eating, instead of chugging a whole glass. Staying well hydrated throughout the day is essential for optimal digestion.  

2. Take a Probiotic daily. A multi-strain (human-sourced) probiotic supplement is incredibly beneficial to the digestive system to strengthen gut flora and intestinal health. A probiotic will also contribute to a stronger immune system. Try to incorporate probiotic foods into your diet daily, such as kimchi, miso, kefir, tempeh, yogurt, sauerkraut, and kombucha. Speak with your Nutritionist or Naturopathic Doctor to find out which probiotic supplement is best for you.

3. Eat slowly. Eating quickly is the fastest way to bloat and potentially overeat. When we eat too quickly, our stomach doesn’t have time to signal the brain that we’re satiated, which often leads to over consuming food. Chew each bite very well before taking another one. The more we chew our food, the easier it is for our body to digest that food and absorb nutrients from it.

4. Walk after eating. Going for a walk 10-15 minutes after eating is a great way to encourage optimal digestion and can help to regulate blood sugar levels.

5. Stimulate your digestive system. First thing in the morning, drink a glass of water with 1 tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar and/or juice from half a lemon, on an empty stomach. Work your way up to this dose. You can begin with 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and slowly increase the amount, according to your personal tolerance. 

6. Avoid eating when stressed or distracted. This is a big one that I think many of us are guilty of. When the body is under stress, it produces stress hormones that focus on managing that stress, not on digesting food properly. If you’re feeling very stressed or upset, spend a few minutes taking deep breaths before your meal to calm down, ground yourself, and to prepare your mind and body to eat. Many people eat while they are watching TV, driving or walking around. When we do this, we aren’t paying attention to what we are eating, how much we eating and how quickly we are eating. All of these things effect the way our body processes food. Aim to sit down in a calm environment, with minimal distractions, while engaging all five of your senses.  


You are NOT your Diet

You are NOT your Diet

I’m sure you’ve heard people say,

“I am Vegan.”

“I am Vegetarian.”

“I am Paleo.”

But…are you really? Or is it just your dietary lifestyle? Because I am Andrea.

The purpose of a specific diet is to guide you to make healthier choices, and achieve or maintain specific health goals. Diets are not meant to dictate your being, and they are certainly not meant to become or take over your identity.

I eat a mostly plant-based style diet. For me, this means that I mainly consume fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts, legumes, and eggs. I also eat chicken, meat and/or fish a few times a week. If there is a week where I want to eat more animal products, or a week where I want to eat no animal products at all – I do it! No questions asked.

I will feed my body what I want to, when I want to, based on what I feel I need at that given time. I have learned to listen to my body and tune into the signs and signals it gives me regarding my eating habits. When I start to feel sluggish, it is often a sign that I’ve been consuming too many carbohydrates and not enough protein. Once I recognize the imbalance, I make a shift in my diet. My energy levels eventually follow suit. Of course, it is not always this black and white when it comes to finding the source of the imbalance. If you take note of how your body reacts after you eat different food, you will learn how to find the foods that work best for you. I recommend keeping a food journal with notes on how you feel daily. It is quite empowering to have that control over yourself! I believe that getting in touch with your body and eating intuitively is much more important than staying inside of the rigid walls that diets create.

I commend you if you wish to follow a Ketogenic, Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo, Fruitarian etc., diet – all the power to you! Each diet has pros and cons and I want you to know that what I’m saying isn’t about favouring one specific diet over another. I’m also not saying that diets in general are bad for you. This is about people’s relationships with diets. 

Eating is not a one-size fits all approach, because every human is different. It worries me how people attach their identity so strongly to the food they choose to eat or not eat, by saying things like, “I am ____.” I think it can make people feel really trapped and scared when they want to step outside of said diet – causing a sense of shame and implications of unnecessary limitations when it comes to nourishing their body. They become worried about what others will think if they do, and they feel like they are betraying themselves.

Do not give the label of the diet that much power! It’s important to remember that every person’s body operates a little bit differently and a uniform approach isn’t realistic. You can still follow a Paleo style diet, and decide to eat legumes sometimes. If the people you know who follow a Paleo diet exile you from their community because you broke a rule, then I don’t think that was your tribe or safe place to begin with! Try to focus on what is best for you and your body, and not the social status that comes from following a specific, popular diet.

Going against the principles of a diet you follow will not make you weak or immoral. It makes you strong, intelligent and adaptable for recognizing that you are a human who is constantly evolving inside of a body that has ever-changing needs. It is admirable when a person can recognize that a specific diet is not allowing their body to thrive and makes adjustments in order to see positive changes.

“You are what you eat” has a lot of truth to it. The way your body operates absolutely reflects what kind of food you consume and the lifestyle you lead. But, your own personal identity as a human being, and the physiological response your body has to food are two very different things.

I’ve heard vegetarians say things like, “I haven’t eaten meat in years and now all of a sudden I’m craving it, but I can’t eat it!” Why? Why can’t you eat it? You are the only person in control of what you eat and when you eat it. No one else.

If your body is intuitively telling you that it wants chicken or fruit – listen to it! (Unless, of course, you have a serious allergy or medical condition preventing you from doing so). Maybe you’re heading towards a nutrient deficiency and your body is sending you some bold, red flags to help you out of it. That being said, eating intuitively has its boundaries too. If you feel like your body is having intense cravings for unhealthy food like candy, chips or chocolate, I would examine the situation further and figure out which imbalance in your body is causing these cravings. Perhaps your mind or body is craving sugar because of a candida overgrowth in your digestive tract. Maybe you’re craving chocolate because your magnesium levels are low. Craving salty chips could be due to a sodium/potassium imbalance. A diet is meant to guide you, not restrict you from what your body needs.

I’ve been eating meat my whole life and when I got pregnant with my first child, I could not touch chicken or fish for the first trimester. Instead of forcing myself to eat it because my typical routine was to eat chicken or fish a few times a week, I just didn’t do it. My body was saying “no,” so I listened. I didn’t call myself a vegetarian for those few months. I also didn’t worry about what someone would think if they knew I wasn’t eating meat at that time. I just did my own thing, without any labels, and began eating meat again in the second trimester.

So, what are you willing to give up in the name of your diet?