You read the title and you feel unsure about this recipe because the combination of chickpeas, chocolate and chia seeds could not honestly taste good.. This recipe is tasty, incredibly simple to prepare and is full of some great nutritional powerhouse ingredients. Did you know that chia seeds are a better source of antioxidants than blueberries?

To prepare these muffins you simply throw all ingredients into your food processor or blender and pour directly into a muffin tin to bake! Make these chocolate muffins for a not-so-guilty pleasure this weekend.

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Stable blood sugar levels are important for everyone, not just people with diabetes. When our blood sugar levels are stable, we have stable energy, stable moods and our hunger remains under control. We’ve all had that feeling before, we have a sugary treat and feel a burst of energy but then before we know it we are feeling tired, hungry or irritable (sometimes all three at once – yikes!) What if I told you that you could prevent (or at least mitigate) these feelings just by combining your foods appropriately?

Glycemic Index

This term may be new to many of you – the glycemic index refers to the measure of how foods affect your blood sugar and insulin levels. Foods with a high glycemic index will affect your blood sugar and insulin levels more than foods with a low glycemic index.

When we are looking at the glycemic index of different foods, we see that foods are rated on a scale of 0-100. Pure glucose is given a glycemic index of 100 and all other foods are rated in relation to pure glucose. Since foods made up of only fat and/or protein don’t affect blood sugar levels (because only carbohydrate-containing foods affect our blood sugar) they would automatically receive a rating of 0.

High Glycemic Index Rating: 70+

Moderate Glycemic Index Rating: 56-69

Low Glycemic Index Rating: 55 or less

Glycemic Index Rating of Common Foods

Let’s begin by discussing which foods have the biggest impact on our blood sugar levels. Foods that likely comes to mind are candies, cookies, and chocolates. These foods absolutely have an impact on our blood sugar and insulin levels but other foods that also our impact blood sugar and insulin levels include fruits, vegetables (some more than others), grain products and dairy products. We don’t often think of foods other than indulgent sweet foods as having a significant impact on our blood sugar levels but remember, natural sugar, added sugar and starch breakdown the same way in the body once they are consumed.

Let’s look at some of the numbers:

Grapes - 59

Carrots - 35

Potatoes - 82

Yam - 52 

Green peas - 51

Fruit Roll-Ups - 99

You can see a more comprehensive list here.

Glycemic Load

In order to understand the glycemic load we need to have a good understanding of the glycemic index. So now that we’ve discussed the glycemic index and how different foods affect our blood sugar levels, let’s dive a little deeper and talk about the glycemic load.

The glycemic load is calculated by dividing the glycemic index rating by 100 and multiplying this number by the number of grams of available carbohydrate in the food (the amount of available carbohydrate is found by taking the total number of carbohydrates minus the number of grams of fibre). In simpler terms, glycemic load takes into account how much of a food we will actually consume. Let’s use watermelon for example; the glycemic index of watermelon is 72, which is high. However, the glycemic load of watermelon is only 7, which is low. Why is this? Well, if we eat the whole watermelon (approximately 5 cups), yes our blood sugar and insulin levels are going to be impacted significantly, but if we eat a cup of cut up watermelon (an appropriate serving size) it is not going to have a huge impact on our blood sugar and insulin levels. Make sense?

High Glycemic Load Rating: 20+

Moderate Glycemic Load Rating: 11-19

Low Glycemic Load Rating: 10 or less

Now let’s discuss the components of food that can fight the blood sugar spike caused by simple carbohydrates (sugars) – protein, fat and fibre.

An easy comparison to make would be to compare fruit juice versus a piece of whole fruit. The glycemic index and glycemic load of orange juice versus a whole orange is 50 and 40 respectively. The major difference between fruit juice and a piece of whole fruit is the amount of fibre each contains. One cup of 100% real orange juice contains 0 grams of fibre, whereas a whole orange contains an average of 3 grams.

So what does this tell us? Fibre reduces the glycemic index and glycemic load of a food.

Let’s use yogurt as our second example. The glycemic index and glycemic load of regular plain yogurt is 14 and the glycemic index and glycemic load of plain Greek yogurt is 5. The major difference between these two types of yogurt is the amount of protein they contain.

From this example we can see that protein reduces the glycemic index and glycemic load of a food.

For our last example we will use a slightly different comparison – fruit juice versus a chocolate bar. I use this example because I have heard from many diabetic clients over the past few years that often times they will keep a chocolate bar on hand to help bring their blood sugar up if they are having a low. When I suggest against using a chocolate bar I get the same question, “but one chocolate bar contains ___ grams of sugar, shouldn’t this help bring my blood sugar up quickly?” If we are trying to bring our blood sugar up as quickly as possible (which is only really necessary for diabetics experiencing a low blood sugar level and for athletes manipulating their blood sugar prior to or during an event) we want to have as little fat in the food/meal as possible because fat, like fibre and protein, also slows down the release of sugar into our bloodstream.

In summary, protein, fat and fibre all slow down the release of sugar from food into our bloodstream and therefore reduce the insulin response that these foods cause the body to have.

How can we reduce the impact of food on our blood sugar levels?

This is easy and once you start implementing these rules you will notice a huge difference in your energy, mood and hunger levels throughout the day.

At a meal, be sure to have a food that fits into each of these three categories: protein, fat and complex carbohydrate and at a snack have a food that contains fat OR protein WITH a food containing complex carbohydrates.

At a meal this combination of protein, carbohydrate and fat could be:

meat (protein)

vegetables (carbohydrate)

butter/olive oil/coconut oil on the vegetables (fat).

At a snack this could look many different ways:

Challenge this week: look at your meals and snacks to determine whether or not you are optimizing your blood sugar levels with your food choices. Use some of the snack options above and see how you feel at the end of the day. The goal is to make a small tweak with your meal and snack options to maximize your energy, improve your sleep and stabilize your mood.

Do you have some balanced snacks that you love that I didn't list above? Comment below and share!


Yours in Health,


This lazy-man's frittata is made for people who leave little to no time in the morning for breakfast. You can add any vegetables and spices you'd like, however to keep it as easy as possible I stuck to nothing you had to chop 🙂 

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This recipe is literally some of the greatest flavours thrown together to make an amazing dish! I recommend serving with roasted yams and brussels sprouts for a gourmet looking meal that is so quick and easy to put together (tip: make extra maple drizzle for the vegetables - you're welcome 🙂 ).

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One of my favourite cookbooks has got to be Juli Bauer's Paleo Cookbook. Her recipes are absolutely delicious and do not contain obscure ingredients that are difficult to find. I've made a couple of tweaks to this recipes (we aren't a huge fan of overly spicy dishes) but otherwise I made the recipe as is. Throw all of these ingredients into your slow cooker overnight and the next morning you will have lunches ready for the entire week! 

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Nothing says comfort food quite like a shepherd's pie. This recipe was a huge hit in our house and it was so simple to make. I suggest preparing this on the weekend to have lunches ready for the whole week. This shepherd's pie freezes great - so double batch it and you can relax next weekend.

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Ready for a challenge? Your goal for this week is to sort through those sauces, dressings and syrups in your fridge and the cereal, cracker, and cookie boxes in your pantry. The aim is to look for the key ingredients below and then toss any products that contain them.


I don’t typically like to use fear mongering to provoke nutrition-related change with my clients. However, I feel particularly passionate about the issue of food quality, meaning I like to focus on the quality of the ingredients that are in the food we consume.


So let’s start with my top 4 food “ingredients” you should avoid for a healthy 2016:


  1. Glucose-Fructose (high fructose corn syrup)

Most of you are probably looking at this right now and thinking “oh yeah, I’ve seen this one before – but isn’t it just sugar?” High fructose corn syrup is one of the first ingredients I look for on the ingredient list when I am making a judgment on a food product.

Using a very basic explanation, high fructose corn syrup is exactly what it sounds like – corn syrup that has higher amounts of fructose than glucose. If we are looking at regular table sugar, it is made up of equal parts glucose and fructose whereas the most commonly used high fructose corn syrup is 55% fructose and 45% glucose. Our bodies use glucose for energy and fructose goes to our liver to be processed and stored for use at a later time. The only issue is that, for most of us, we don’t dig to deeply into those stores because food is always available.


So what does this mean? It means that the fructose can accumulate and build a fatty layer over our liver, making it difficult for our liver to do its job. A good way to know if you have fatty liver is to get blood work done regularly to see whether or not your liver enzymes are elevated. If you already have elevated liver enzymes there is good news, with a change in diet and lifestyle you can regulate these numbers!


Why do we use high fructose corn syrup then, if it is worse than sugar? We use it because it is cheaper than real cane sugar. High fructose corn syrup became popular in the late 1970’s when the price of corn was lower than the price of real sugar due to government subsidies. High fructose corn syrup comes from a corn crop that is genetically modified (we will talk more about this hot topic in a later post) which allows us to produce more of the crop and the price decreases as a result.


Take home: The best product would have no high fructose corn syrup or processed sugar in it at all. However, if you have to choose between high fructose corn syrup and cane sugar – I would suggest going with the cane sugar.


  1. Artificial colours


Artificial colours are used to enhance the appearance of a food and to create consistency between products when there is naturally some variation between foods. There are two different types of artificial colours that are added to food products. These two colours are referred to as lakes and dyes. The major difference between lakes and dyes is that lakes are not soluble in water and dyes are water-soluble. We often find these artificial colours in candies, crackers, cereals and even pharmaceutical drugs.


Below is a list of the most commonly used artificial food colours:


Blue #1

Blue #2

Citrus Red #2

Green #3

Red #3

Red #40

Yellow #5

Yellow #6


Although the FDA says that these artificial colours are safe, there is a significant amount of research that suggests that these artificial colours can increase rates for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in children. Obviously we cannot do a randomized double blind placebo controlled study (the gold standard for scientific studies) on children fed food dyes and compare them to ones that are not because this is extremely unethical. So how are we ever going to know for sure if a causation relationship between food dyes and ADHD exist?


Did you know that “Kraft Dinner” in Canada and the United States differed for a long time between the “Kraft Dinner” sold in European countries? We used artificial food colouring in ours to give it that signature bright yellow colour and they used beta carotene and turmeric (natural colour additives) in Europe.


Take home: Artificial food colours are unnatural and we can easily avoid them by reading the ingredient list and choosing different products - why put ourselves and our children at risk.



  1. Low-fat and fat-free products


Finally we are getting away from the low-fat diet craze. Have you ever compared the sugar content of a fat-free yogurt versus a full-fat yogurt? When we take away that satiating and flavourful fat we must replace it with sugar in order to keep it palatable. As we’ve discussed above, sugar is definitely not something we want to increase our intake of willingly. Plus, consuming a diet with adequate amounts of fat means that we are more likely to get beneficial amounts of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) every day.


The only thing to watch for here is the quality of the fat – look for products that have fat coming from butter, olive oil, coconut oil, milk fat, red plam oil (not palm kernel oil), bacon fat, or avocado oil and not from canola oil, vegetable oil or soybean oil (we will discuss this in a later post).


Take home: When deciding between low-fat, fat-free or full-fat products ask yourself two questions: First, when companies took the fat out of this product, did they increase the sugar or add artificial sweeteners? And second, what is the type of fat used in this product? If the type of fat comes from one of the fat sources I’ve outlined above – go full fat all of the way!


  1. Artificial sweeteners


There are so many different artificial sweeteners on the market today. Some of the most common ones you’re likely to see in food products are sucralose (Splenda), asulfame-potassium and aspartame. This is another example of a situation where we don’t have randomized double blind placebo controlled studies to prove that artificial sweeteners cause cancer or neurological diseases due to the unethical nature of a study like this. I can cite many rodent studies here that found that feeding mice large amounts of artificial sweetener caused brain, prostate, bladder and other types of cancer, but I think you get the point – there are conflicting studies out there and none of which use the gold standard method for scientific research.


The only artificial sweetener that I recommend as a sugar substitute is stevia, which is prepared from a stevia leaf that is soaked in alcohol to extract the sweetness. No, this does not include that uniform white powder labeled “stevia” at the grocery store. These products are overly processed and often contain more than just stevia if you look at the ingredient list. I like this stevia - the ingredients are simply water, stevia leaf and alcohol. If you’ve seen other brands that are even better – I would love to hear from you!


Take home: Artificial sweeteners are exactly that, artificial. And if we can move away from artificial “foods” and consume a diet based on all real food, it is going to be beneficial to our health. If you want to use stevia sparingly, just make sure you take a look at the ingredient list before you purchase – or even better – make your own.


I hope this helps you to better evaluate food products on your own. Take a look through your pantry and fridge and kick-start 2016 with healthier food choices.


Yours in health,


The last shopping weekend before the holidays has officially arrived. If you’re looking for some last minute Christmas gifts for the health nut in your family, choose something on this list within your budget and I assure you, your gift will not disappoint! *I am not paid by any of these companies – I simply love these products!


Spiralizer (Retail $40 CAD)

This little kitchen gadget is so incredibly handy. I use mine mostly just for zucchini but you can “spiralize” a variety of different vegetables, including yams, carrots, beets, and cucumber. You simply attach the veggie onto the machine, turn the crank and voila – low carb “pasta” in the blink of an eye! You can then sauté the “noodles” in some coconut oil, toss with the sauce of your choosing and dinner is ready! Find the spiralizer on Amazon here (you can also get it at Bed Bath and Beyond or similar stores - little tip, get Amazon Prime for 2-day shipping. You’re welcome.


Fitbit (Retail $100-$120)

The Fitbit has been on the market for a while now but it is still as popular as ever. You can get many different models – I am a fan of the Fitbit One because you don’t have to wear it on your wrist and instead you can attach it to your belt loop or bra strap. The Fitbit tracks steps, calories burned and stairs climbed as well as your sleep. It syncs with your computer or smartphone so you can track your fitness as you go throughout the day. You can get the Fitbit at most sporting good stores or electronic stores. Check it out on Amazon here.


BellaBeat (Retail $130 CAD)

The BellaBeat leaf is a feminine fitness tracker disguised as a piece of jewelry. The BellaBeat tracks your sleep, activity, analyzes your breathing to reduce stress and also logs your period – what more could you want? These are available at Best Buy – you can see the link here.


Tower Garden (Retail $617 – financing options available)

This gift is perfect for anyone who loves fresh produce and gardening but is limited to the deck of an apartment building. You can grow up to 20 plants in one tower (28 if you buy the extension) and have fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs available all on one “plant”. You can check the Tower Garden out here


Vitamix (Retail $500-$750 - financing options available)

The day I bought my Vitamix I must admit, I cried tears of uncertainty. However, to this day my husband and I both admit that it was one of the best purchases we’ve made. We use this high-powered blender everyday to make delicious smoothies, prepare waffle mix, and make homemade treats. This blender will blend nuts into smooth nut butter and will produce smoothies with a texture and consistency of juice – even when you add leafy greens, chia seeds, or whatever you fancy. You can pick this up at The Bay (here) or if you want to finance it, you can order it off of the Shopping Channel.


PaleOMG cookbook by Juli Bauer (Retail $25)

This cookbook contains absolutely delicious recipes that the person on your list is sure to love. Juli Bauer created recipes that are so easy and don’t contain obscure ingredients that you have to go to a specialty food store to get. You can order Juli’s cookbook off Amazon here.


Cast iron skillet (Retail $30-$50)

This is a staple in any foodie’s kitchen – it has no Teflon coating and can transition easily from the stove to the oven. You can pick one of these up at any kitchen supply store or order it here.


Diffuser (Retail $60-$120)

I have one of these diffusers in my bedroom and in my office. They are a healthier alternative to traditional candles and the oils you diffuse smell absolutely heavenly. The best thing about the Saje diffusers is the lifetime warranty. If you don’t absolutely love it – take it back, no questions asked. I suggest the peppermint twist, spa spirit, or house warming oil. You can check out the diffuser and oils here.


Hope this helps give you some great ideas for gifts that make you and your loved ones healthier this holiday season. 


Yours in health,


These burgers are great for any meal of the day - pair them with eggs and fresh fruit for breakfast or serve as a traditional burger for lunch or supper. These burgers have lots of flavour and are so simple to prepare.

The first batch I made with just ground chicken and there didn't seem to be enough fat so they turned out quite dry. Next time I did half ground chicken and half ground pork and it was the perfect combination! 

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Hippocrates said, “all disease begins in the gut” over 2,000 years ago and boy, was he right. We detoxify our bodies naturally through sweat, urinating and eliminating waste. If one of these detoxification systems is not working properly then we end up reabsorbing substances that our body wanted to get rid of. Therefore, it’s critical that we are sweating and emptying our bowels regularly (1-3 times per day is great). Some people may feel squirmy just reading this post but I promise you this is one of the most important things you can focus on if you’re looking to optimize your health. The first time I meet my clients I always ask about their digestion and bathroom habits. Typically I get a somewhat flustered answer but overtime it becomes a big focus in our sessions.

So let's get to the meat and potatoes. If you're struggling with some sluggish bowels, here's what I would suggest.

My top 5 tips for getting regularity in the bathroom:


  1. Increase water intake. This one is very common and most people know that when they aren’t drinking enough water it is very likely to impact the regularity of their bowel movements.


  1. Move more. Getting in regular exercise is a great strategy for increasing frequency of bowel movements. It doesn't matter when, where or how you do it - just get it done.


  1. Support good gut bacteria. This is one that people often miss. In order for our bodies to properly breakdown and absorb nutrients from our food, we need a robust population of good gut bacteria in our large intestine. The population of our good gut bacteria is impacted by many things including: antibiotics, eating conventionally raised meats that are given antibiotics regularly, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory use (think: Tylenol, Advil, Aleve, etc.), and bouts of diarrhea, just to name a few. If the population of our good gut bacteria is not strong, waste will simply sit in our large intestine longer than we would like. During this pause in the digestion process, our body reabsorbs more water and other compounds that it had initially wanted to get rid of.


Therefore, we need to support the growth of a variety of good bacteria in our gut, which we can do in several ways. One of my favourite ways to increase my good gut bacteria is by adding fermented foods to my diet. Some of my favourite fermented foods include: kombucha (fermented tea – my favourite is the grape flavour by Synergy - available at most health food store), fermented coconut water (my favourite is the mango coconut flavour by Kevita), kefir (I recommend getting the unflavoured kefir in as high of a fat content as you can find – 2% is the highest at my grocery store), and raw sauerkraut. Raw sauerkraut is not the same as the sauerkraut you find in the aisle at the grocery store. Sauerkraut that is not refrigerated is fermented using vinegar, which kills all of the beneficial bacteria. Raw sauerkraut is fermented using salt only (I will post my recipe for making your own sauerkraut very soon, so stay tuned). However, if you don’t feel like making your own sauerkraut, you can buy raw sauerkraut in the refrigerated section at your local health food store. Just make sure you keep it refrigerated and don’t heat it or freeze it – of course, that will kill the bacteria.


So what “dosage” of these foods do I recommend?

Kombucha and fermented coconut water – drink half of a bottle twice per week. Keep it refrigerated in between uses.


Kefir – start with ½ cup each day. Pair ½ cup of kefir with ½ cup of berries for a snack rich in both probiotics (good bacteria) and prebiotics (food for the bacteria).


Sauerkraut – start with 1 tablespoon per day with a meal. You can put sauerkraut on meat, salad, and vegetables or just eat it straight off of the spoon.


These are the dosages I find are most beneficial for my clients. Once regularity is established, I suggest a maintenance dose of fermented foods once per week. Please note: start with ONE of these fermented foods and see how your digestive tract responds. This is definitely one of those instances where "if a little is good, a lot is better" does NOT apply. For the sake of your gut, ease into it.   


  1. Fibre intake. This is an obvious one. The more soluble and insoluble fibre we have in our diet typically makes it more likely that we are going to have regular bowel movements. The suggested intake of fibre is 21-38 grams per day but many of us are not getting remotely close to that amount! Check out the list of food sources of fibre below and do a quick calculation to  see how close you’re getting the recommended amount. Soluble fibre acts in the body exactly how it sounds – it is soluble in water so it attracts water to your stools and makes them easier to pass. Insoluble fibre also acts in the body exactly how it sounds - it is not soluble so it adds bulk to the stool, which can help food pass more quickly through the gastrointestinal tract.


Food    Serving Size Fibre (g)
Vegetables and Fruit
Avocado 1/2 fruit 2.1
Brussels sprouts, cooked 125 mL (½ cup) 2
Figs, dried 60 mL (¼ cup) 1.9
Orange 1 medium 1.8
Sweet Potato, cooked, skinless 125 mL (½ cup) 1.8
Asparagus, cooked 125 mL (½ cup) 1.7
Turnip, cooked 125 mL (½ cup) 1.7
Broccoli, cooked 125 mL (½ cup) 1.2-1.5
Pear, with skin 1 medium 1.1-1.5
Apricots, raw, with skin 3 1.4
Nectarine, raw with skin 1 medium 1.4
Collard greens, cooked 125 mL (½ cup) 1.3
Eggplant 125 mL (½ cup) 1.3
Peach, with skin 1 medium 1.0-1.3
Peas, green, cooked 125 mL (½ cup) 0.8-1.3
Carrots, cooked 125 mL (½ cup) 1.1-1.2
Mango ½ fruit 0.7-1.1
Grapefruit ½ fruit 0.7-1.1
Prunes, dried 3 1.1
Plum, with skin 2 fruits 1.1
Apricots, dried 60 mL (¼ cup) 1.1
Potato, white, with skin 1 small 1.1
Apple, red, with skin 1 medium 0.9-1.0
Beans, green cooked 125 mL (½ cup) 1.0
Okra, cooked 125 mL (½ cup) 1.0
Beets, skinless 125 mL (½ cup) 0.8
Banana 1 medium 0.7
Grain Products
Quinoa, uncooked 100 grams 7
Oatmeal, cooked 175 g (3/4 cup) 1.4
Brown rice, cooked 125 mL (½ cup) 0.5
Milk and Alternatives This food group contains very little of this nutrient.
Meat and Alternatives
Black beans, cooked 175 mL (¾ cup) 5.4
Lima Beans 175 mL (¾ cup) 5.3
Kidney beans, cooked 175 mL (3/4 cup) 2.6-3.0
Flax seeds 60 mL (1/4 cup) 2.5
Chickpeas, cooked 175 mL (¾ cup) 2.1
Flax seed, whole 15 ml (1 Tbsp) 0.6-1.2
Hazelnuts, whole 60 mL (1/4 cup) 1.1
Sunflower seeds, dry roasted 60 mL (1/4 cup) 1.0
Flax seed, milled/ground 15 ml (1 Tbsp) 0.4-0.9
Lentils, cooked 175 mL (¾ cup) 0.8
Psyllium Husks, ground 15 ml (1 Tbsp) 3.5


  1. Magnesium supplementation. Over 60% of North Americans have low magnesium levels, however this does not come up when we get regular blood work done because the best way to test for magnesium is a 24-hour urine analysis. You can read more about my post on magnesium here . If we’ve exhausted all the methods above and my clients are still experiencing some issues with constipation, I will typically suggest 400 mg of magnesium citrate in the evening. This will not only help regulate bowel movements but it will also help sleep – Bonus!

Remember, detoxing the body regularly is important in improving your overall health. Give these tips a try - I'd love to know what you think!


Yours in health,




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The contents of this website are for informational purposes only. It is not intended to offer personal medical advice, diagnose health problems or for treatment purposes. It is not a substitute for medical advice provided by a licensed and qualified health professional.
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