Best oil for cooking: Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is very unique as it contains a unique composition of fatty acids with about 90% being saturated. As a result, this makes coconut oil highly resistant to oxidation at high heats and perfect for cooking. Additional benefits include: high in lauric acid making it a killer of bacteria and viruses; it improves blood lipids and the fatty acids in coconut oil can increase energy expenditure, improve satiety and help you lose weight.
Find out why coconut oil is my best beauty obsession here.
Best Snack: Fruit and nut trail mix
Those omega 3 fatty acids that come from nuts are the perfect brain food. Pair these high protein nuggets with plant-based carbohydrates from dried fruits like as goji berries and you have the perfect snack. I have the perfect (and easiest) trail mix recipe for you here.
Best pre/post workout meal: Smoothies
If you plan and stock your pantries and fridge right, you can provide your body with energy for an intense work out or nourishment for a post workout. I’ve put together a list of my favourite smoothies that all provide a compliment of vitamins/minerals, carbohydrates and protein. Take your pick:
Best Money Saver: Bulk freeze
In the summer months, when fruits and vegetables are plentiful, take advantage of buying in bulk and freezing. This is the most cost efficient tip you’ll ever fine. Here are a few other items I take advantage of buying in bulk and freezing in the winter months in large volumes:
Lemons: so plentiful in the winter. I juice the lemons and freeze into ice cube trays. If I am looking to add some zip to my tea or water, I add a cube or two.
Pomegranates: always on sale leading up to Christmas. I take about 20-30 minutes to deseed and freeze on a sheet pan. Frozen pomegranate seeds are the best snack or the perfect garnish for a cocktail (alcoholic or non) and they hold their shape!
Cranberries: also always on sale leading up to Christmas. Wash, dry and freeze on a sheet pan. Awesome for a thick frothy smoothie!
Coconut milk: you can now buy coconut milk in large tetra packs or if you are like me, living close to the US border allows me to buy in bulk which is much cost efficient. I pour it into ice cube trays and store in ziplock bags which makes them convenient for a stir-fry or coconut milk based smoothies.
Purées: I will roast pumpkin or other squashes in the oven, purée it and freeze them in ice cube trays. Pumpkin, in particular, makes an awesome smoothie ingredient and is full of vitamin A!
Best Time Saver: Food Prep
I preach about building a lifestyle around your health and wellness goals. One of those concepts involves the importance of a weekly meal prep day (mine is Sunday afternoons). I especially appreciate Hol:Fit‘s 30/30/30 concept around big pot meals:
30% for dinner / 30% leftovers / 30% freeze for a later meal
Now, with this concept, there really is no reason why you can’t eat healthfully!
Best Workout in a Pinch: Get On-line
One of the biggest growing trends for 2014 is the on-line concept of fitness. With today’s demands, our time becomes more and more limited so the idea of being able to jump into a 40 minute vinyasa yoga sequence in the comforts of your own home or perhaps a hotel room is very appealing. Here are my top programs including both free or use for purchase:
Best Non-Dairy Milk: Hemp or Sunflower Seed
Who wants to be bothered with straining almond pulp through a sieve or nut bag? That’s where hemp and/or sunflower seeds come in. Both hemp and sunflower are seeds and therefore suitable for those that are allergic to nuts or have a hard time digesting nuts. Both are also high in protein and rich in minerals but what I love the best is that they are both fairly neutral in flavour and make a very rich milk for smoothies. Here is my recipe for my seasonal winter milk, starring sunflower seeds but you can omit the seasonings if you want a neutral flavour.
Hemp Milk Recipe
1 cup hemp seeds
4-5 cups of filtered water (less water produces a creamier consistency)
Blend in a high powered blender for 2 minutes
Add any sweeteners or flavours of your choice (optional)
Best Way to hydrate: Water with frozen fruit
My husband’s biggest health and lifestyle recommendation to anyone that asks him is: water. So simple but so important for many reasons included lubrication for the body, aids in removing and eliminating toxins from the body and hydration for the skin. Having irregular bowel movements: increase your water intake and watch magic happen! With that said, if you have a hard time staying hydrated, add a little squeeze of citrus such as lemon, lime, grapefruit or orange OR drop a handful of frozen berries. The extra added benefit includes additional vitamins and antioxidants too!
Best Fibre switch: Brown Rice
Please stop with the white rice. I know, it comes out nice and fluffy and it is has the BEST consistency. But, white rice is striped of all nutritional value. Brown rice is rich in proteins, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and potassium. And, for those trying to lose weight or trying to manage diabetes, brown rice can prove a healthful staple given its low glycemic rating which helps reduce insulin spikes.
Best Way to add more greens: Soups and Smoothies
Anything that can blended or thrown into a pot, are the best ways to incorporate more vegetables in your life. Spinach or romaine lettuces are virtually tasteless in a smoothie (I’ve been sneaking it in my husband’s smoothies for a very long time now, undetected). Soup options are endless and cauliflower is my #1 favourite choice for the winter months. Here are two recipes you can start incorporating now:
Best Way to De-stress: Unplug
Having trouble sleeping? Studies show that unplugging all electronics 1-2 hours before bed, will drastically improve sleeping patterns and the quality of sleep. Stressed? This can also be greatly reduced when you can unplug your work cell phone during the weekends or stop checking your emails over your holiday period. We’re even over doing social media and have become compulsive about checking Facebook posts and tweet, tweet, tweeting! Shut it down following the same concepts as above.