Saturday, December 24, 2011

UnDiet...Week 52

Merry Christmas UnDieters!

This week, you have only one task: eat, drink and be happy. Get close to your loved ones; whatever food you choose to prepare as you celebrate, use the best quality ingredients possible and prepare foods with love. That way, you are guaranteed to nourish your soul (even if all not all the foods you eat this week nourish your body!)

Thank you so much for following along this year. At certain points, you might have certain points, I have strayed! When beginning this project, I never realized the dedication it would take to keep going all year long - what a good reminder that any commitment you make to yourself requires passion, perseverance and willpower to keep it going. The lovely thing about an UnDiet is that there is no true beginning or end point: should you feel the need to reinvest in your health in 2012, simply start back at week one! 

Health is a journey; no one (not even a dietitian) eats "perfectly" all the time or exercises religiously, gets enough sleep or manages stress all the time. The key is tipping the scale in your favour. Always strive to be healthier today, in any way that you can. That is key to true health. 

I hope you enjoy the remaining days of 2011. Be sure to keep tuning into EDBH in the New Year for plenty more delicious adventures.

All the best of the season,

PS - should you have any thoughts on what you would like to see on EDBH in 2012, let me know!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Be Happy...Healthy Holiday Gifts

For the last of my three healthy holiday gifts posts, I won't be sending you running to the mall to fight the frazzled, pushy, un-festive crowds. If you have people on your list that you haven't bought for yet - why not go another way?

With a full time job, a toddler,  a husband and a time consuming writing habit...I don't have a lot of free time. I am looking forward to some time off in just a few days and I think some of the best gifts you can give are time spent with friends and family doing something fun. So for this holiday gift instalment, here are my suggestions for the best healthy holiday gifts you can give: quality time.

1. Snowshoeing at Grouse Mountain - I have desperately wanted to try snowshoeing for the last 4 years and every year seems to pass without me hitting the alpine. Maybe this will be my year? Grouse Mountain offers nightly guided snow showing tours that end with a fondue feast. Okay, so heaping pots of cheese and chocolate aren't the pinnacle of health but the broth course is healthy and you did just complete an hour of snowshoeing... 

2. Wander through Van Dusen Festival of Lights - Bundle up, fill up a thermos with hot chocolate (spike it with Baileys...I won't tell) and take friends for a long evening's walk through the thousands of glittering lights at Van Dusen Gardens. Take girl's night out to a festive new level. Nightly until January 2nd. 

3. Sign up for a cooking class at The Dirty Apron and invite your friends over for a New Year's tapas party. A little gift for you...and some great fun with friends post Christmas, when everyone needs a lift!

4. Offer an evening of babysitting to friends who have children. If you have children, I needn't explain further. If you don't...marvel in how inexplicably thankful your friends will be when you send them out for a night on their own. Feel smug and thoughtful and help yourself to treats after the kids go down for the night.

5. Treat a friend to a yoga, Bar Method or any other fitness class, followed by a stop at your favourite cafe. My favourite spot is YYoga...where you can go for a class, get a sauna and have a cup of tea, all in one locale. Perfect way to get fit and reconnect all at once!

Here is to a healthy holiday,

Friday, December 16, 2011

UnDiet...Week 51

Hello UnDieters!

I hope you are all snug and toasty with your loved ones this morning, enjoying a warm cup of tea or coffee and saying to yourself, "TGIF!" Take a moment this morning to relax and get ready to UnDiet, holiday style.

For your festive mission this coming week, I would like you to eat one holiday superfood each day. Because, what are the holidays without a celebration of food? I have chosen 5 foods that are readily available, nutritious and absolutely delicious for you to enjoy. When you eat your daily superfood, think of all the nourishment that good food (and good spirits!) can offer. Appreciate. Savour. Nourish. Enjoy.

1. Citrus - a delightful seasonal (if not local) treat, enjoy satsumas, moros, clementines, Meyer lemons, ruby grapefruit and kumquats. Squeeze yourself a bit of upliftingly scented vitamin C. The scent of grapefruit might even help to curb appetite. Any help around the holidays is appreciated :)

2. Cranberries - a potent bacteria fighter the colour of holiday lights. Make a lightly sweetened compote with apples for dessert or a snack; drink unsweetened, not-from-concentrate juice with sparkling water or dice raw cranberries into salads, pilafs and casseroles for a tart hit of nutrition.

3. Nuts - enjoy a 1/4 cup of your favourite raw nuts. Go holiday style and crack them right from the shell or take it easy and buy shelled nuts to eat on oatmeal, with dried fruit or on their own. Healthy fats will moisturize from the inside out and provide plenty of micronutrients to keep you resilient during all the holiday festivities.

4. Turkey - not just for the big feast, enjoy easy-to-prepare turkey roast as a nutritious and delicious main, slice for sandwiches, wraps and scrambles before you are totally sick of leftovers.

5. Yams and sweet potatoes - without all the sugar and marshmallow (say it ain't so!), these super spuds are super nutritious. Use them in place of other grains or starches: baked, roasted, boiled or mashed, these colourful tubers are a rich source of vitamin A.

Enjoy the holidays,

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Be Happy...Healthy Holiday Gifts

I hope that you are all enjoying the holiday season, without stress or strife! I thought for this instalment of my healthy holiday gifts post, I would focus on my first love: food. These are the foods I like to give, receive and indulge in this holiday season. Enjoy!

Ah, the macaron...the delicate almond cookie, baked perfectly tender crisp. Thomas Haas is so far my favourite in the city. These make a perfect hostess gift or why not take a friend for coffee and a couple of macarons to celebrate the season? 

Chocolate I can take or leave...but caramel is forever. I love that Cocolico sauces are made from quality ingredients and they taste amazing. I tried this sauce for the first time on the luscious apple caramel tarts Cocolico brought to Feast of Fields. Try it. It will turn sliced fruit into the most heavenly dessert ever known. 

Now salt is something that I definitely love. Just a sprinkle of a good finishing salt sets a dish on fire and makes a healthful meal delight the palate as much as it nourishes the cells. During my 100 mile diet challenge this year, I discovered Vancouver Island Salt. Local. Salt. No more needs to be said :) Available at Marche St George.

Another of my vices, er, healthy indulgences is a nice glass of wine. I read about 40 Knots Pinot Noir and had to get my hands on it. Other Island vineyards I have experienced have left me a bit cold but this was a beautiful bottle to enjoy with someone special or to take to a dinner party. 

Hope your holiday season is glittering,

Friday, December 9, 2011

UnDiet...Week 50

Hello UnDieters! 

Just a few short weeks left in this glorious year; I hope that you are all enjoying the holidays in true UnDiet style! Eat mindfully, savour beautiful treats and leave plenty of room for the sort of nutrient dense food that will keep you charged up and partying late into the night all season long.

To help give you an added boost, this week's task is to swap a snack. Are you eating daily nuts? If not, this is the time to start. Raw nuts are full of healthy fats for gorgeous skin and clear arteries; protein to power you through your day and vitamins and minerals to strengthen your defences. So choose one of your daily snacks and replace it with 1/4 cup of your favourite raw nuts. For more protein and vitamin E, choose almonds. For omega 3s to nourish your mind, go for walnuts. For a bit of healthy indulgence, holiday style, try cashews or macadamia nuts. 

Replacing a more carbohydrate based snack for raw nuts will help keep your energy levels stable and carry you through to your next meal without getting too hungry. 

Party on!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Be Happy...Healthy Holiday Gifts

How is that holiday shopping coming? Just 18 more sleeps until Christmas...

I am very excited to say that in my Christmas-crazy family, we are paring down this year. We are limiting our usually over the top gift exchange to stocking stuffers. I love this because in reality, many of us don't really need anything and it can be so unnerving to continue to try and find something "special" for your loved ones. This way, we can buy cute trinkets that are useful and have lots of fun opening little surprises but the focus can be on family, not stuff. 

That said, a little bit of stuff - especially functional stuff - is always fun around this time of year so I thought that for this round of gift ideas I would highlight some of the things I am coveting this year. Given the amount of time I spend in the kitchen, I am always keen to get a new gadget.

All of the gifts featured are available at Cookworks (big plug because my mom works there and it is a local business - support the local!) and Cookworks has graciously offered all Eat Drink Be Happy readers a 15% off code for their online store. See below for details!

First on my list are the Le Creuset Cocottes (and a large Dutch oven, but these are easier to lift!). When my husband and I were in Paris, cocottes were all the rage - we even had dinner at a restaurant named Les Cocottes. This tiny little pots are perfect for single servings of custards, souffles or even as a cheeky way to serve soup. The fennel colour is my new favourite.
Les Creuset Cocottes Set
Next, I would really like some silicone muffin cups. If you have ever forfeited a lovely muffin because it has stuck to the need these. Nonstick and infinitely reusable!

Danesco Silicone Muffin Cup Liners
Okay. I never had much use for peelers. To be totally honest, out of laziness and a desire to eat as much fibre-containing peel as I can, I have never owned a peeler. Until I got one of these, I used to struggle to "peel" squash with a knife. This little inexpensive gadget changed my food prep life. Super sharp - you have been warned.
Swiss Mar Carbon Blade Peeler.

I want to be a master macaron chef. Not to sell...just to impress the pants off guests (and save myself 1.50 - 2.50 per cookie!). This set will help take the guesswork out of the process.
Mastrad Macaron Set

My husband is a big whisky drinker. I bought him his first set of Whisky Rocks a while back and they are a big hit. For those who like their scotch neat, these little natural stones get things chilled without diluting the good stuff. Perfect for the single malt connoisseur on your list.

Whisky Rocks

From today through December 23rd, enjoy a 15% off discount at with the promo code EAT15 . The discount applies to only regular priced merchandise and cannot be combined with any other offers.

Happy Holidays everyone!

PS. Thank you to Cookworks for offering such a generous discount to EDBH readers! As always, the idea for this post and the opinions contained in this post were unsolicited and completely my own - if I ever choose to start accepting sponsored posts, I will let my readers know.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Be Happy...Healthy Holiday Gifts

It's Christmastime, so that can only mean one thing...the 12 blog posts of Christmas!!!

I am a bit of a Christmas freak. I love the glitter and twinkle lights and holiday cheer. It almost makes me forget that the days are dark and damp and that we are far from the warmth of beach season. Now that it is December 1st, I am thinking all about Christmas goodies.  Just for fun, this month I am going to feature some of my favourite things that have come across my path in 2011 that would be perfect to give or receive this holiday season. 

Since my bookshelves are creaking under the weight of my bibliophilic tendencies, I can think of no better place to start than books. I have placed all of these books in my Amazon shop, just to make things easy for you this holiday season!

Spilling the Beans by Julie van Rosendaal and Sue Duncan

Any book that devotes itself to the humble bean is okay by me. By far and away, the main reason I hear cited for not including more beans in your diet is not knowing what to do with them. Well, now you know! 

Food Cures by Joy Bauer MS RD CDN with Carol Svec

This book, written by uber-dietitian Joy Bauer, is the nutrition geek's saving grace. Want to know what foods to eat for better skin? Check page 63. Need a grocery list to help you fight heart disease? See page 141. If you believe like I do that food is your medicine, this is the book for you.

Une Journee a El Bulli by Ferran Adria

I recently saw the El Bulli documentary at the Vancouver Film Fest and it reminded me that I have this in my book shelf. I devoured it in just a single day after receiving it a couple of Christmases ago. El Bulli closed its doors before I ever got a chance to dine there (sigh!) as the height of culinary creativity. This is hardcore foodie fare. It masquerades as a cookbook but if you are brave enough to get out the dry ice for the margarita, you've got one up on me.

Seasons by Donna Hay 

I am a huge Donna Hay fan...where can I sign up for her job? The ultimate food stylist turned cookbook author turned magazine editor, now food TV star, released this "best of" book which compiles recipes from her magazine. The pictures are gorgeous and many of the recipes are, as always, refreshingly simple.

Food Rules by Michael Pollan, illustrated by Maira Kalman

Michael Pollan, patron saint of conscious food consumerism, has deftly released a new illustrated version of his food rules book just in time for the season of consumerism. I couldn't resist. The perfect, entertaining read as you sit on the couch post turkey dinner.