Category: Health and Wellness (Page 1 of 5)

5 Tips on Healthy Living: Spring Cleaning

by Kami Pastis

Spring is a season of renewal and growth, not only for the Earth, but for the mind and body as well. The following are some tips that may help you kick-start the cleanse and find your natural balance.

1.     Mono meals. This means you stick to all one food for a snack or meal like a whole serving of strawberries rather than strawberries and pineapple and grapes and nuts and cheese. Mono meals are very easily digestible which frees up extra energy for other endeavors like a bike ride or flying a kite or repairing cellular damage. The bottom line is “Mono Meals” are just easier for your body to deal with and who doesn’t want an easy button?

2.     Proper Digestion. Allow your body to fully digest one meal before cramming down your next nosh. Waiting 3-4 hours usually does it between meals, but use your own body wisdom to tune into how your digestive process is moving along.

3.     Water!!! This is the old standby health tip. Yes, it’s that important; especially if you want to cleanse the body and help every system work more efficiently. To figure out the minimum amount you should be consuming daily, figure half your body weight (in lbs) and drink that many ounces (Example: A 150-lb person requires at least 75 ounces of water per day). If you are doing yard work or working out, that number increases exponentially.

4.     Breathe.  It’s not food in the culinary sense, but breath is just as essential as food and water for cleansing and renewing the body. The springtime air is sweet and fragrant; it’s easy to enjoy this tip. The lungs are your 2nd largest detox organ next only to your skin, so use them to release stagnant energy and old carbon dioxide. A great benefit to regularly utilizing slow, deep breathing is that the mind follows the breath.

5.     Seasonal Foods. (AZ style) Asparagus, strawberries, citrus, artichokes, arugula, celery root, broccoli & broccoli rabe, garlic, bok choy, clementines, etc. These are the foods locally available during spring. They are packed with nutrients, and it is always a good idea to eat with the seasons to help your body go with the flow of nature.

For more tips on Health & Wellness click here


About Kami

Kamara Pastis is a certified personal trainer, life style educator, group fitness instructor and licensed massage therapist in the Phoenix area. Clinical, therapeutic massage has been her mainstay for seven years where she has experienced the lasting therapeutic changes massage can make in cases with debilitating pain and disfunction. The traditional Thai and Yogi tradition of metta (literally “loving kindness”) is Kami’s healing philosophy. When not healing her patients, Kami is more than blissfully occupied with her husband and three kids.

To contact Kami and learn more about her services Click Here: or call (602) 622-1046. Tell her you saw her on

The Yogurt Bible: Baked Chicken and Mushroom Risotto

You could serve this easy chicken and creamy risotto as a luncheon dish or as a main-course dinner dish with a green salad or steamed vegetables. Don’t be tempted to omit the grated lemon zest because it really sets up the taste.

Baked Chicken and Mushroom Risotto

Serves 6

Preheat oven to 400°F

9 x13 baking dish, lightly oiled

  • 3 skinless boneless chicken breasts ~1 lb
  • 2 tbsp  olive oil                                                            
  • 1 tbsp  butter                                                               
  • leek, white and light green parts, sliced                      
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped mushrooms                         
  • 11⁄2 cups Arborio rice                                                  
  • 4 cups chicken broth                                                  
  • 1 tbsp  grated lemon zest                                           
  • 1⁄2 cup frozen peas                                                     
  • 1 cup plain yogurt                                                       
  • 1⁄2 cup crumbled goat’s cheese (Feta)                       

1.  Slice chicken breasts into 1⁄2-inch wide strips. In a skillet, heat oil and melt butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes or until lightly browned on all sides. Using tongs, transfer to a plate and set aside.

2.  Add leek and mushrooms to pan and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes or until leek has softened. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes or until transparent. Scrape vegetables, rice and browned bits from bottom of pan into prepared baking dish. Stir in broth and lemon zest. Cover and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

3.  Add browned chicken pieces and peas to rice mixture and stir well. Cover and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until rice is tender and chicken is no longer pink inside. Remove from oven and stir in yogurt and goat’s cheese.

Excerpted from The Yogurt Bible by Pat Crocker © 2010 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Click here to purchase this week’s cookbook: The Yogurt Bible by Pat Crocker

Questions? Contact:

Martine Quibell

Manager, Publicity

Robert Rose Inc.

120 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 800

Toronto, Ontario   M4P 1E2

Phone 416-322-6552 x 3133

Fax 416-322-6936

Also check out Yogurt, the Ancient Wonder Food by Katie Haarala

The Benefits of Beverages

by Katie Haarala, R.D.

I’m sure you’ve heard some of the food mantras for eating well such as, “eat your greens” “5 a day for better health” “make half your grains whole” and “you’re gonna SIT there until you finish your supper or you’re not getting any dessert, and I mean it, Kathryn!” Ok, perhaps that last one is more narrowly aimed, but let me tell you, threatening to take away my dessert rights was enough to make me eat sauerkraut (and my imagination closely relates the taste of sauerkraut to dirty gym socks.)

What if I told you that we could also derive health benefits from the beverages we consume? It’s true.  I am sorry to say the energy drinks, sodas, and frappuccino’s will not top the list; in fact, they are rock bottom, having the opposite effect. So, if the stifling sugar content of some of the most popular beverages can’t prompt you to make a switch, perhaps the health benefits of the following beverages will.

Tea- Believed to be the world’s most popular “super-food” beverage, it is a drink you’ll want to include often.  Tea is known to be high in the powerful antioxidants flavonoids. They are beneficial for your overall health and may help reduce your risk of certain cancers.  This popular beverage and it’s hailed nutrient content is also believed to help lower risk of heart disease and stroke with regular consumption. 

Red Wine– A glass in moderation has shown to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke as well as raise HDL (good) cholesterol.  It also contains the antioxidant resveratrol, an added bonus for your health.  Remember, the idea is moderation, approximately a 5 ounce serving for women and 10 ounce serving for men a day

Side Note: Do you have difficulty remembering which form of cholesterol is the “good” cholesterol and which is the “bad”? This trick used to help me in my studies: HDL (Healthy-good) LDL (lousy-bad).  There, now you’ll never forget!

Water- Does this seem like an obvious one? We are made of water; therefore, we must consume enough of it to remain healthy.  Appropriate hydration allows our organs to work efficiently as the brain is approximately 74% water, the muscles 75% and the blood 83%.  Leading to this important point: hydrate yourself properly.

Hot Cocoa– Perhaps this may be deceiving, and I would hate to mislead you.  Specifically, the benefit is stemming from the cocoa powder (not all the tasty sugar and rich milk), which is antioxidant-laden and has cardiovascular disease fighting properties. A homemade cup of dark chocolate cocoa is the way to go; purchase 70-100% coca powder to reap the maximum benefits. 

KTP’s Devilish Hot Cocoa


1 cup Almond Milk

1 tsp.  100% cocoa powder

1 red chile

1/8 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1/8 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper


  1. In medium saucepan, combine chocolate, milk and red chile. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. 
  2. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger and cayenne pepper.  Stir to incorporate.  Boil for 1 minute.  Remove chile from hot cocoa mixture and enjoy!
  3. Note: Understand this is not a super sweet hot chocolate, but one that is rich and sure to please.  With about 65 calories, and the ability to cure my sweet tooth, it is a go-to option when I am craving some chocolate! The natural sweetness of the almond milk satisfies; if need be, add an additional tsp . of sugar can be added.

Are you feeling like the soda is a less than exemplary option? It surely doesn’t provide any of the aforementioned benefits. Now that you’re more beverage savvy,  you’re on your way to making healthier drink selections! Which will you choose first?

To read more of Katie’s Health & Wellness Advice on Click Here!

About Katie

Kate Paige Haarala is a registered dietitian (R.D.) from Minnesota who has an undying passion for nutrition education and helping others incorporate healthy dishes into their daily menu.  She graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Food, Nutrition & Dietetics along with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Exercise Science. You can catch more of Katie on her blog by clicking here.




650 Best Food Processor Recipes: Southwestern Brisket

Juicy and full of flavor, when properly cooked brisket is tender and delicious and lends itself to a wide variety of sauces and seasonings. This version, which relies on New Mexico chiles for its rich, tangy taste, is mildly piquant and can be enjoyed by all family members. If you prefer a spicier version, add 1 to 2 finely chopped jalapeño peppers, along with the green bell peppers. We like to serve this over piping hot mashed potatoes.

Southwestern Brisket

Makes 8 Servings

Preheat the oven to 325°F


2                    dried mild New Mexico Chile peppers (See tips below)

2 cups            boiling water

1⁄2 cup           beef broth     

1⁄4 cup           red wine vinegar     

2                    onions, quartered   

6                    stalks celery, cut into 3-inch lengths

2                    green bell peppers, seeded and quartered

6                    cloves garlic 

1 tbsp             oil       

4 lbs               double beef brisket, trimmed         

1 tbsp             dry mustard  

1 tbsp             dried oregano          

1 tbsp             cracked black peppercorns           

2 tsp               ground cumin (see tips below) 

1 tsp               salt     

1⁄4 cup           all-purpose flour      

1 can(28 oz) diced tomatoes,drained

1⁄2 cup           packed brown sugar           

4                     bay leaves    

1⁄2 cup           finely chopped parsley      


1.         In a heatproof bowl, soak dried chile peppers in boiling water for 30 minutes, weighing down with a cup to ensure they remain submerged. Drain, discarding soaking liquid and stems. Transfer to work bowl fitted with metal blade. Add beef broth and vinegar (see Tips, left). Purée and set aside.

2.         In clean work bowl fitted with metal blade, pulse onions, celery, bell peppers and garlic until finely chopped, about 30 times, stopping and scraping down sides of the bowl once or twice. Transfer to a bowl. (See tips below)

3.         In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add brisket and brown well on both sides. Transfer to a platter and set aside.

4.         Reduce heat to medium. Add onion mixture to pan and cook, stirring, until vegetables are softened, about 7 minutes. Add mustard, oregano, peppercorns, cumin and salt and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

5.         Add tomatoes and reserved chile mixture and cook, stirring, until thickened. Stir in brown sugar and bay leaves. Return brisket to pan and bring to a boil. Cover and bake in preheated oven until meat is very tender, about 2 hours. Discard bay leaf. To serve, slice brisket thinly across the grain and place on a deep platter. Spoon sauce over top and garnish with parsley. (See tips below)



  • Be aware that dried New Mexico chiles come in both mild and hot versions. We tested this recipe using the mild variety. Hot ones would produce a very spicy result.
  • To save washing the work bowl and blade, complete Step 2 immediately after you have set the chiles aside to soak and transfer the mixture to a bowl. Then once the chiles are reconstituted, you can add them to the same work bowl along with the beef broth and vinegar.
  • For the best flavor, toast and grind cumin yourself. To toast cumin: Place seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Immediately transfer to a mortar or a spice grinder and grind.
  • You can cook the brisket the day before you intend to serve it. Cover and refrigerate in the sauce. When it is cold, spoon off the accumulated fat, which has congealed on top of the dish. Transfer meat to a cutting board, slice it very thinly and place in an ovenproof serving dish. Add remaining sauce. Cover and cook in 350°F (180°C) oven until hot and bubbling, about 30 minutes.

Excerpted from 650 Best Food Processor Recipes by George Geary and Judith Finlayson © 2010 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Click here to purchase this week’s cookbook: 650 Food Processor Recipes by George Geary and Judith Finlayson

Questions? Contact:

Martine Quibell

Manager, Publicity

Robert Rose Inc.

120 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 800

Toronto, Ontario   M4P 1E2

Phone 416-322-6552 x 3133

Fax 416-322-6936

The Complete Whole Grains Cookbook: Curried Sweet Potato and Millet Soup

This soup is a lovely combination of flavors and texture. It has a mild curry taste, enhanced with the addition of orange and a hint of sweetness from the maple syrup. The toasted walnuts add taste and an appealing bit of crunch, while the optional yogurt provides a creamy finish. Although this is a great cold weather soup, it’s light enough to be enjoyed any time of the year — perhaps even for dinner with the addition of salad and some whole-grain bread.


Curried Sweet Potato and Millet Soup

(Vegan Friendly)

Makes 6 servings


1 tbsp  vegetable oil    15 mL

2          onions, finely chopped            2

2          carrots, peeled and diced       2

2          stalks celery, diced     2

2          cloves garlic, minced  2

2 tsp    minced gingerroot       10 mL

2 tsp    curry powder   10 mL

1 tsp    freshly grated orange zest      5 mL

2 cups sweet potato purée (see Tips, left)     500 mL

6 cups Homemade Vegetable Stock (see recipe, page 75) 1.5 L

            or reduced-sodium chicken stock

3⁄4 cup            millet, toasted (see Tips, left)  175 mL

1 cup   freshly squeezed orange juice            250 mL

1⁄4 cup            pure maple syrup        50 mL

            Salt and freshly ground black pepper

            Toasted chopped walnuts or sliced almonds

            Plain yogurt, optional


1.         In a large saucepan or stockpot, heat oil over medium heat for

30 seconds. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring, until carrots have softened, about 7 minutes.

2.         Add garlic, ginger, curry powder and orange zest and cook, stirring,

for 1 minute. Add sweet potato and stock and stir well. Bring to a boil. Stir in millet. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until millet is tender and flavors have blended, about 30 minutes.

3.         Add orange juice and maple syrup and heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with toasted walnuts and a drizzle of yogurt, if using.



To get this quantity of puréed sweet potato, bake, peel and mash 2 medium sweet potatoes, each about 6 oz (175 g). You can also use a can (14 oz/398 mL) sweet potato purée.

While it’s not necessary to toast millet, toasting does bring out its pleasantly nutty flavor. To toast millet, heat in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it crackles

and releases its aroma, about 5 minutes.


Nutrients per serving

Calories           240

Protein 4.8 g

Carbohydrates            48.8 g

Fat (Total)       3.5 g

Saturated Fat  0.4 g

Monounsaturated Fat  1.6 g

Polyunsaturated Fat    1.2 g

Dietary Fiber   5.5 g

Sodium            46 mg

Cholesterol      0 mg


Excellent source of vitamin A and manganese.

Good source of vitamin C, thiamine, folate, magnesium and zinc.

Source of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol), riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, calcium, phosphorus, iron and copper.

Contains a high amount of dietary fiber.


Excerpted from The Complete Whole Grains Cookbook by Judith Finlayson

© 2008 Robert Rose Inc. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.


Stay tuned each week for a new cookbook and fabulous recipe courtesy of our friends at Robert Rose!

Click here to purchase this week’s cookbook: The Complete Whole Grains Cookbook by Judith Finlayson


Questions? Contact:

Martine Quibell

Manager, Publicity

Robert Rose Inc.

120 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 800

Toronto, Ontario   M4P 1E2

Phone 416-322-6552 x 3133

Fax 416-322-6936

Maintaining Healthy Habits During the Holidays

by Katie Haarala

Here they come, ready or not! Family, friends, fa-la-la-ing: What’s not to love? Oh yeah–those holiday pounds that come with all the FOOD! Food is EVERYWHERE during the holiday season; everyone is testing his or her inner-Rachael Ray, bringing treats to every social gathering. These treats send us into a sugar frenzy one moment, and then heading for the couch to enter potato-mode when that “high” wears off. 

On average, studies have shown that people gain about 1-5 lbs over the holidays +1 lb? Not so bad, you say? Well, one pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories, and if those calories aren’t expended beyond your daily caloric equilibriums by NEXT holiday season when you will probably gain ANOTHER pound (or five)–well, this trend could result in a weight gain ranging from 10-50 lbs. in the next 10 years.  Woops! Didn’t see that creep up!

Of course, holiday weight gain is not inevitable; it just takes a little strategizing, planning, and less pumpkin pie cheesecake (Darn you, mother, and your luscious dessert!)  Your main goal over the holiday season should be to maintain your weight.  You are given the “go-ahead” to enjoy the delectable deserts and dishes that are associated with the holidays.  Just do so in moderation. Moderation does not mean you can have a 3rd sugar cookie— No, I do NOT care if they are adorable snowmen with little confectionary carrot noses- put Frosty down!  Your waistline will thank you.  Ok, now that that’s settled – onward!

Here are just a few tips to allow you to enjoy the holiday season without having to let out your belt buckle:

**Try not to hangout by the food table.  You’ll find that Frosty’s alluring voice will be even stronger if he is within reach.

**Check out the entire selection of food before you start piling the goodies on.

**Find the items that you really want and choose those first. You may want the entire table of treats, but that doesn’t mean you can eat the entire table of treats. Stick with 1-2 that tickle your fancy the most.

**If you are the host or hostess, make sure to include healthy options for your guests such as vegetable and fruit trays with nutrient-dense dips like hummus.  It will add color and nutrition to plates full of calorie-dense appetizers.

**Do not try to “save up your calories” by skipping meals throughout the day. This will leave you famished and inevitably lead you to eat a few too many “Frosties.” Reminder: that carrot nose does NOT count for a vegetable.  Nice try,though.

**Sip water in between alcoholic holiday beverages or punches.  This will leave you hydrated and with less calories consumed by the end of the night.  It’s understood that a couple cocktails in, your “tough-as-nails-no-I-won’t-have-another-goodie” mindset will relax and turn into “hey-sure-why-not?-it’s-the-holiday-season! Cheers!”

**Stick to your healthy habits! Continue on with your exercise routine.  If you don’t have one, start. Seize the day, people! Continue with those fruits and vegetables I KNOW you are consuming every day.  Right? RIGHT!? Good.

**Turn those shopping sessions into an activity packed session, too! Burning the bank account AND calories at the same time! What could be better? Park in the farthest parking spot.  Turn the leisurely walk in between stores into a brisk, sweat-breaking venture that will make that piece of pumpkin pie eaten last night tremble.

**Understand that there will be a couple times throughout this splendid season where you will want to splurge a little.  That is FINE! As long as you don’t overdo it and plan accordingly the rest of the day. Make sure you get in a workout and have low-calorie, nutrient-packed fruits and veggies at the other meals of your day.

Mainly, just remember that you are in control and the holiday pounds are not inevitable. Be a smart planner and a smart eater; you can enjoy the holiday festivities without affecting your health or the scale!

Happy Holidays and Eat Intelligently, Friends!

To read more of Katie’s Health & Wellness Advice on intotheSoup.comClick Here

About Katie

Kathryn Paige Haarala is a registered dietitian (R.D.) from Minnesota who has an undying passion for nutrition education and helping others incorporate healthy dishes into their daily menu.  She graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Food, Nutrition & Dietetics along with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Exercise Science. You can catch more of Katie on her blog by clicking here.




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