How to Stay Energized in the Heat

 

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The lower mainland is in the midst of a heatwave, and some of you may really be feeling the heat. Seniors and those with compromised immune systems are particularly vulnerable to high temperatures, but even if you don’t fall in to either of those categories, you might be noticing your energy levels have dipped in recent days. Drinking water is the best and fastest way to stay hydrated, but sometimes you might need a little something extra to give you energy throughout the day.

You might have seen commercials for energy drinks that encourage you to replenish your electrolytes after sweating, but do you know what electrolytes are? I will be the first to admit that I had no idea. “Potassium, sodium, and chloride are the three most important electrolytes. Other biggies include magnesium, calcium, and phosphate. These micronutrients are all salts that form ions in water and are capable of conducting electricity, meaning they actually have an electric charge,” explains Brigid Titgemeier. If you’re drinking water regularly, eating balanced meals, and getting moderate amounts of exercise, you should be getting more than enough electrolytes in your diet to stay hydrated. If, however, you experience muscle spasms, headaches, or digestive upset, you might need to supplement your water with electroytes to bring your body back in to balance.

Commercial energy drinks are full of sugar. If you’re a high-performance athlete, they might help you, but if you’re like the majority of the population, you’ll likely be better off with a healthy alternative. If you’re experiencing headaches or digestive upset in the heat, try these natural electrolyte restoring drinks. *

Please note: if symptoms persist, pay a visit to your family doctor. 

COCONUT WATER

“Natural coconut water contains five key electrolytes: sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Coconut water is packed with potassium, more than found in one banana or 15 sport drinks,” says Sports Nutritionist, Kyle Levers. Just make sure to check your labels when purchasing coconut water in stores. You want to only read “coconut water” in the list of ingredients.

LEMON-LINE LABOUR-AID

Carley Mendes wrote this recipe for laboring mamas, but it would work just as well for someone who is electrolyte depleted. Click here for the recipe.

 

Cassandra Van Dyck

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A Pancake Recipe for Caregivers

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I must be careful that this post doesn’t turn in to an ode to pancakes, for my love of this breakfast dish runs deep. It conjures up images of slow Sunday mornings, of hot griddles and warm coffee, of swaying gently to music while cracking eggs and thinking about all the ways I could fill empty weekend days. They’ve always been a treat, and they might have been one of the first meals I learned to make. I remember standing on a chair in the kitchen and carefully dropping frozen blueberries in to the batter browning in a pan. My dad taught me to flip the pancakes only when the bubbles popped and did not refill.

The kind of pancakes I learned to make as a child were more of a dessert, if I’m really being honest with myself. But they don’t have to be. This recipe won’t make you want to lie around all day in your pyjamas; it will give you the energy needed to fulfil all of your caregiving duties! If you make a large batch of batter, you can store it in your fridge for a few days and make pancakes for a quick meal or an energising snack.

Buckwheat is high in protein and ranks low on the glycemic scale, which means it won’t cause the same blood sugar spikes you get with the run-of-the-mill pancake. It has even been shown to reduce high blood sugar and support heart and circulatory health! Swapping buckwheat for all-purpose flour will leave you with a denser, but still delicious, pancake. Substitute fresh fruit or nut butter for maple syrup, and you’ve got yourself a healthy breakfast!

Convinced? Try out the recipe below.

Buckwheat PancakeIngredients

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cups nut or dairy milk
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Butter, for the skillet

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Make the pancakes: in a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour(s), sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a liquid measuring cup, measure out the milk. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract.
  2. All at once, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. The batter should have some small to medium lumps.
  3. Preheat your skillet over medium-low heat and brush with 1 ½ teaspoons of butter. Give the batter a light swirl with a spoon in case the buckwheat is starting to separate from the liquid. Using a ¼-cup measure, scoop the batter onto the warm skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until small bubbles form on the surface of the pancakes (you’ll know it’s ready to flip when about 1 inch of the perimeter is matte instead of glossy), and flip. Cook on the opposite sides for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown.
  4. Transfer the cooked pancakes to a baking sheet and place in a preheated 200 degree Fahrenheit oven to keep warm. Repeat the process with the remaining batter, adding more butter when needed. Serve immediately.

 

 

 

The Ultimate Comfort Food : One-Pot Macaroni and Cheese

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Think comfort food: ice cream, French fries, mashed potatoes, food that makes you feel good. According to a recent article in ‘The Atlantic’s, ‘Why Comfort Food Comforts’ , ‘Adults, when under severe emotional stress, turn to what could be called ‘comfort food’- food associated with the security of childhood, like mother’s poached egg or famous chicken soup.’ (‘Palm Beach Post,’ 1966).

So here it is, a recipe for One-Pot Macaroni and Cheese:

Ingredients:

115 g pancetta diced (bacon is okay instead)

1 tsp. dry mustard

1 tsp. chili powder

3 cups chicken broth

2 cups milk

2 1/4 cups elbow macaroni

1/4 cups mascarponi cheese

2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

In a large pot or deep skillet over medium-high heat, brown the pancetta (or bacon). Add the spices and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the broth and milk. Bring to a boil and add the macaroni. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently for about 18 minutes or until the pasta is tender.

Remove from heat and stir in the cheeses. Season with salt and pepper (to your taste).

mac and cheese

Bon Appetit!

Calm pond

The Recipe for Trifle is here!

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Here is the long-awaited recipe for Nigella Lawson’s Ginger Passion fruit Trifle:

Ingredients:

400-500g Store-bought sponge cake (usually two loaves)

125 ml Green Ginger Wine (or any dessert wine, or for kid version 125 ml orange juice)

500 ml whipping cream

4 teaspoons icing sugar

8 passion fruit (sliced mango will also do)

Method:

Slice or break the sponge and arrange half of them in a shallow dish or cake stand with slight lip or upward curve at edge, then pour half of wine (or juice) over them. Mound up  the remaining half of sponge and pour the remaining wine on top.

Whip the cream with the icing sugar until it is firm but not stiff, you want soft peaks.

Scoop the insides of 2 passion fruit into the bowl of cream and fold in before mounding the cream floppily over the soused sponge.

Scoop out the remaining 6 passion fruit onto the white pile of cream so that it is doused and dribbling with the black seeds and fragrant golden pulp.

Serves 8-10.

Enjoy!

Calm Pond

 

 

Picture of Yummy Dessert

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Hi Readers,

 

How do you like my picture of a yummy dessert?

It’s called ‘trifle’ and it comes from Britain, and it’s traditional every holiday season.  Doesn’t it scream holidays to you?

I have a great recipe for ‘Ginger Passionfruit Trifle’ (yum!) from famous TV chef Nigella Lawson’s book ‘Nigella Express’ (2007).

I’d like to give you the full recipe, and I will, just not today. I promise I’ll post it on December 20th, just in time to do some last-minute food shopping (in fact, there are only 4 ingredients, so easy-peazy right?)

Stay tuned…

Calm Pond

PS A bit tired today, mother’s sick.

 

 

3 Ways to Sneak More Vegetables In to Your Diet

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I don’t know about you, but eating a well-rounded diet during this time of year is a struggle for me. The fresh fruits and vegetables available over the last two seasons are starting to dwindle and it feels like there are treats offered at every turn.

While there’s nothing wrong with indulging, it’s important to eat a balanced diet to ensure you’re supporting your energy levels and encouraging your body to get a good night’s rest. Eating enough vegetables is a great way to support your health.

The Canada Food Guide suggests the following:

  • Eat at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day.
  • Go for dark green vegetables such as broccoli, romaine lettuce, and spinach.
  • Go for orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and winter squash.
  • Choose vegetables and fruit prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or salt.
  • Enjoy vegetables steamed, baked or stir-fried instead of deep fried.
  • Have vegetables and fruit more often than juice.

Great advice, right? And we’ve probably heard it before! Incorporating those foods in to our days can be challenging. Here are three suggestions for getting your fill of vegetables.

Make a smoothie | One of the easiest ways to fill up on vegetables is to blend them in to a smoothie. Aim for low sugar smoothies if you can to support blood sugar levels. Try a base of steamed then frozen cauliflower, or avocado and coconut milk. Here are some recipe suggestions: Califlower Blueberry Smoothie and 4 Bananaless Smoothies

Make one meal a day a salad | Choose one meal a day and make an elaborate salad. Try grating carrots and beets, roasting yams and adding whatever greens you have on hand. If you often don’t feel full after eating a salad, add nuts and seeds, a boiled egg, or half an avocado.

Make soup | ‘Tis the season! Try this (my favourite!) recipe for vegetable-packed Emerald Soup.

 

Cassandra Van Dyck

 

 

3 Non-Traditional Energy Drinks

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When you’re tired and having trouble getting through your day, you might be tempted to reach for a big cup of coffee, or, if you’re really fading, an store-bought energy drink. You know the ones – they’re fizzy and taste sort of like pop, but have a medicinal undertone. These drinks are highly caffeinated and often contain loads of sugar and other ingredients that might not be the best for your health. They give you the boost of energy you’re looking for, but you could end up feeling worse in the long run. Energy drinks have been known to cause headaches, anxiety, and to disturb sleep.

With all that’s on a caregiver’s plate, it’s common for fatigue to creep in. So, what should you reach for when you’re feeling a dip in energy but still need to get some things done? Here are 3 suggestions.

WATER | Sometimes when you’re tired, you’re really just thirsty. Ask yourself how much water you’ve had today. Fill up and drink a glass or two, then reevaluate your energy levels. Not a fan of water? Add lemons, cucumber, or berries for a delicious infusion!

SMOOTHIE | If you’re feeling tired and craving a boost, your body could be telling you that you need some fuel. A smoothie packed with nutritious ingredients is a great way to get some nutrients and give your body some lasting energy. Avoid adding too much sugar if you want to prevent a crash. I love this recipe by Carley Mendes.

MATCHA | If you’re an avid coffee drinker but you’re not crazy about how you feel after drinking a late afternoon cup, consider matcha. Matcha still contains caffeine, but less than coffee. It can be heated and whisked in to water or milk and mixed with sweetener for a delicious take on a latte. Click here for a recipe.

What do you do when you’re tired and need some energy? We’d love to hear from you in our comments!

Cassandra Van Dyck

Foodie Friday – A Simple Fall Meal

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A friend introduced me to the simplicity and deliciousness of this meal years ago and I return to it every fall when the days start to cool. It is inexpensive, quick, nourishing and won’t create stacks of dishes. It easily makes extra so you can eat it for lunch for a few days after. Read on for the recipe and enjoy!

Autumn Bake

Ingredients

root vegetables such as potatoes, yams, squash (acorn and butternut are great choices), carrots, beets, garlic, and onions

quinoa

olive oil

salt & pepper

Process

Pre-heat oven to 375F. Chop vegetables in big pieces and place in a large casserole dish. Toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place in the oven and stir every 15 minutes or so for approximately 45 minutes, or until vegetables are soft and browned.

Make quinoa on stove top.

Combine quinoa and vegetables in a bowl. Eat as is or add avocado or a boiled egg.

 

Cassandra Van Dyck

 

Foodie Friday – 3 Quick Snack Ideas for Caregivers

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You probably know the feeling well. You’ve eaten breakfast, but it’s not quite time for lunch, or you’ve had your mid-day meal, but there’s still a few hours before dinner time. Maybe you’re busy, and you just can’t quite fit in the time to make a full, but you need to eat something to keep you going. You’re hungry, and you need to eat something quick! But what to eat? Read on for a few healthy, quick snack ideas for caregivers!

Nut Butter on Fruit

There are so many possibilities depending on what you have on hand! Here’s some of my favourites:

peanut butter on sliced banana

almond butter on apple slices with cinnamon

almond butter on figs

pumpkin seed butter on strawberries

Smoothie

We’ve shared some wonderful recommendations here, but I’ve got a secret smoothie hack to share with you today! If you’re like me, you may have made smoothies before and felt hungry 30 minutes after finishing it. If you struggle with this too, add fat! A teaspoon of coconut oil or butter, some nut butter, or half an avocado should do the trick.

Yam Toast

Slice yam thinly and pop it in the toaster! You might have to toast it a few times, depending on what sort of consistency you’d like to achieve. Top with avocado and salt and pepper if you’d like something savoury, or (you guessed it) nut butter, if you’d prefer a sweeter snack.

What snacks do you reach for when you’re hungry? We’d love to hear from you in our comments!

Cassandra Van Dyck

 

Foodie Friday – 3 Bars to Fuel Your Day

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When you’re a caregiver, you may spend a lot of time outside of your home. If you’re not working, you might be dashing around to different appointments, picking up prescriptions, grocery shopping, or running other errands. If you’re at home, it’s a lot easier to access food when you’re hungry. You can toast a piece of bread or heat up a bowl of soup. When you’re out, it can be more challenging. Fast food restaurants are convenient but offer few economical and healthy options.

Preparing some snacks to take with you on your journeys may require a bit more work when you’re home, but it will save you time and money in the long run. Eating nutritious snacks when you’re hungry will give you fuel and prevent energy crashes. 

Eating a bar is a great way to quickly get some nutrition when you’re out and about. Read on for three tasty recipes!

PUMPKIN OATMEAL ANYTIME SQUARES | These are wonderful if you have a sugar craving and you’d like to avoid your local pastry shop! Get the full recipe here.

DIY FRUIT, NUT AND FLOWER CHOCOLATE BARS | Chocolate? You read that correctly! Look for chocolate that’s low in sugar and add in lots of nuts and dried fruits and you’ll have yourself a beautiful afternoon snack! Click here for the details.

BREAKFAST BARS | Do you need to rush out the door in the morning? Take one (or two) of these with you to make sure you don’t skip the most important meal of the day!

 

Cassandra Van Dyck