Helpful Herbs for Cold and Flu

Hello Hardy Canadians! Winter is NOT the time to back off on the vegetable intake. Keeping your body and immune system strong is the best way to avoid those nasty colds and flu bugs that are goiOreganong around. Home-made stews and soups loaded with vegetables is the way to go on these chilly days. Be sure to toss in a handful of fresh herbs for the last few minutes of cooking as many such as Oregano, Basil, Thyme, Sage and Rosemary have medicinal properties that aid in reducing symptoms associated with colds and flu. Oregano has the highest antioxidant value and is loaded with antiseptic compounds. Most of these herbs are useful as hot teas or used externally for pain and inflammation.


Peanut butter Banana Smoothie

Get the kids on board with smoothies for breakfast or as a snack.
Blend until smooth
1 cup vanilla or plain yogurt (with live bacterial culture)
1 cup pure apple juice
1 banana
1 heaping tsp Natural peanut butter (sugar free)
1 heaping tbsp ground flax
4 chopped dates

Banana Mango Smoothie

Ease into your morning with sweet mango flavor and a little
Zing of ginger, known to aid digestion and reduce inflammation.

Pour into a blender
1 cup Astro Original plain yogurtBananMango
1 cup 100% pineapple juice
1 Ataulfo mango, peeled
1 banana
½ cup ice water
1 heaping tbsp ground flax seed
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 tsp olive oil, or Omega 3 fish oil
Blend until smooth and enjoy!

Oatmeal Raisin Muffins (GF, Nut free)


Whip up a quick and easy snack – gluten and nut free to boot!

Melt 1/4 cup butter (or coconut to be dairy free)
Beat together with 2 eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
Mix in 1 cup certified GF oats
1/2 cup oats ground to flour (coffee grinder works great!)
1/4 cup oat bran
1 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
½ cup brown or cane sugar
3 tsp GF baking powder, 1/2 tsp sea salt, 1 & ½ tsp cinnamon
¾ cup washed raisins or chopped dates.
Stir well, add water as needed to dough consistency.
Spoon into greased muffin tin. Bake 400 degree oven for
20-25 minutes or until toothpick test comes clean.

Banana Date Energy Balls (GF)

date balls

Just two or three with their natural sugars, carbohydrates, fiber and a little fat will help you recover after some healthy activity.
Simmer 1 cup of Dates in a small amount of water until soft. Mash well.
Stir in 1 cup of Oatmeal, 1 tbsp Coconut oil, add a little more water, cook for 1 minute.
(Use certified gluten free oats)
Remove from heat and cool.
Mash 1 ripe banana and add
1 heaping tsp cocoa
2 heaping tbsp tapioca starch
1 tsp cinnamon, large pinch of ground cloves then stir into date mixture.
Roll 1 inch balls in organic unsweetened shredded coconut.


Fight the Cold/ Flu Bug with Echinacea

Echinacea (eh-kin-a-shia)

Bee and coneflower1
Species of this herb are native to North America and were traditionally used as remedies by the Great Plains Indian tribes. Also known by other names, American Cone Flower, Black Sampson, Black Susans, Brauneria Angustifolia, Brauneria Pallida, Comb Flower, Coneflower, Echinacea Augustifolia, Echinacea Pallida, and Echinacea Purpurea.
The leaves, flower and root of Echinacea are used widely to fight infections, especially the common cold and other upper respiratory infections. Those who use this herb to treat symptoms have the right idea. Research to date shows that echinacea probably modestly reduces the duration and severity of cold symptoms by stimulating the immune system. As it is an immune booster, recommendations suggest only using it short term, 2 – 4 days. Caution should be used for those with auto-immune disease.
Echinacea seems to activate chemicals in the body that decrease inflammation, which might reduce cold and flu symptoms. It also may contain some chemicals that can attack yeast and other kinds of fungi directly.
Commercially available products come in tablet form, juice, and tea.
There are concerns about the quality of some echinacea products on the market. Echinacea products are frequently mislabeled, and some may not even contain the herb, despite label claims. Don’t be fooled by the term “standardized.” It doesn’t necessarily indicate accurate labeling.

Quinoa Eggnog Pancakes

A nutritious whole grain serving made easy with this hearty breakfast.checker board 4inch copy

Melt 2 tbsp butter or coconut oil in a bowl, then add
¼ cup Quinoa flour
¼ cup organic corn meal
½ cup white rice flour
2 tsp gluten free baking powder
1 heaping tbsp cane sugar
¼ tsp sea salt
Stir in ¾ cup eggnog, + 1 egg
Beat together, adding a little extra milk to make
pourable batter consistency.
Heat tbsp of olive oil on medium/low in a frypan or griddle
Flip when batter forms bubbles. Makes about 7, 5 inch pancakes
Serve with blueberries and yogurt, or drizzle with maple syrup.

Blueberry Eggnog Smoothie

FruitNog smoothie
Full of nutrients this smoothie is more filling than the standard
juice and water. Add a little cinnamon and nutmeg for extra flavor!
In a blender pour
1 cup eggnog
¾ cup probiotic plain, or vanilla yogurt
1 cup frozen wild blueberries
1 apple, sliced
½ cup apple cider
1 heaping tbsp ground flax seed
Cinnamon to taste
Blend until smooth,
pour into glass and sprinkle with nutmeg.


Pineapple Kale Smoothie

Kale smoothie

Max on the benefits of these greens with the added heart-healthy
fats and anti-inflammatory properties of pineapple.

1 cup pure orange juice
1 cup ice water
2 small leaves washed/ chopped kale
5 spears fresh cut pineapple (include shavings of core)
1 – 2 tbsp olive oil
3 chopped dates
1 heaping tbsp ground flax seed
1 scoop hemp powder
Put all ingredients in high speed blender, use ice/chop
cycle first then pulse for 15 – 20 seconds.

Seasonal Eating

summer vegSaturday, October 4th
The ongoing theme of my presentations at the North Gower Farmers Market has been the promotion of fresh, locally available foods, and the nutritional value of those foods.
The recipes I have demonstrated are not only nutritious but easy to make. It does not have to cost a lot, nor take a lot of time to prepare dishes that support good health.
Seasonal eating refers to consuming fresh fruit and vegetables at the time when they are naturally available. The advantages are many:
– Generally cost less when they are abundant, volumes ripen around the same time eg asparagus, or berries. Cost increases when they must be stored, or shipped from greater distances.
– Fresh seasonal foods taste better and are more nutritious as they are picked at peak ripeness, this means the full potential of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals are available. If these foods undergo any processing, such as canning or dehydration, much of these nutrients are lost in the process. Freezing is somewhat less detrimental, but any application of heat, such as parboiling, initiates some of this loss. Even refrigeration can diminish flavor (phytonutritents)
– Many whole foods contain natural enzymes that aid in the digestion of that food, these also can be degraded with processing.
– Looking at this from an environmental aspect fresh local foods require less energy compared to those that are stored, refridgerated, shipped and/or processed.

Shop at local Farmers Markets – the biggest advantage is you can get to know the producer and his farming practices, and know that you are supporting local families, business and economy.

Growing some of your own foods also has its benefits, when you know exactly what is in the soil and on the produce – hopefully nothing chemical, man-made or otherwise harmful!

Just remember – “our health is our most valuable resource”, so many negative things can happen if you don’t have good health. As a Nutritionist, I encourage you to explore genuine cooking – by this I mean from scratch, with wholesome, fresh foods. It can be simple recipes that are fun to prepare and tantalize the taste buds. The benefits are subtle, but in the long term can provide you and your family with a long and vital life.

In the words of Jennifer Raymond (The Best of Jenny’s Kitchen) “ There is real pleasure and deep satisfaction in the proper handling and careful preparation of fresh, beautiful foods from the earth.”

Some examples of cool season spring/early summer
asparagus, peas, lettuce, spring onion, radish, rhubarb, spinach, strawberries.
Artichoke, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, leek, carrot
onion, potato, squash, turnip, cauliflower, parsnip, apples, pear
Warm season
Beans, corn, cucumber, eggplant, melons, okra, peppers, zucchini, sweet potato, tomato, swiss chard, berries, peaches, cherries, plums

Another aspect of seasonal eating is what we prefer as the seasons change, particularly in Canada where there are distinct differences.
• Hot humid days encourage us to consume foods that are higher in moisture, fresh fruits and softer vegetables all high in vitamin content.
• ‘cooling’ herbs such as mint, lemon balm, lemon grass, citrus and melons
• With the colder weather we need ‘warming’ foods, herbal teas and dishes made with those fall seasonals, root vegetables and dark leafy greens that can be lightly steamed. Warming spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, curry and turmeric also foot the bill and are a great source of antioxidants. A leafy salad at this time just does not satisfy.