Recipes

Vegan Crunchwrap Supreme Recipe

Okay so this isn’t my healthiest recipe, but it is healthier than Taco Bell’s version! I always encourage my clients to reward themselves for staying on track and being consistent with their health- and this is the perfect way. This recipe is 100% plant based and gives you that cheesy goodness that we all crave 🤤.

It’s important to realize that it is completely okay to eat junk food sometimes! If you always ate health foods such as lentils, beans and fruits, you would become very bored with your diet and eventually not want to follow it anymore. So my advice? Eat the foods that you crave- in moderation!

The great thing about this recipe is that it actually is healthier than a Crunchwrap from Taco Bell. I used soy in place of beef, and plant based cheese instead of cheese made from cows milk. Using your own veggies at home tastes a lot better than eating toppings that have been prepared for a fast food restaurant, too!

So without further ado, here is my fresh plant based version of a Crunchwrap Supreme! 🌮

Ingredients:

For the Base

  • 1 white onion
  • 4 mushrooms
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Half of a green pepper
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 cup of plant based beef (I used Gardein)
  • 4 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 3 teaspoons of liquid smoke
  • Taco Seasoning

For the Toppings:

  • 1/3 head of lettuce
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 2 avocados
  • Vegan sour cream (optional)
  • About half a cup of plant-based cheddar
  • 4 soft tortillas
  • 3 taco shells broken or tortilla chips for the crunchy layer

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Serving size: Makes 4 crunchwraps

Directions:

  1. Start by preparing the base: chop onions, garlic, mushrooms, green peppers and grate the carrot.
  2. Place base in a saucepan over medium heat with soy sauce and liquid smoke. Let cook for 2 minutes and add in the plant based beef.
  3. Mix in a bit of water with taco seasoning and let cook for 5 more minutes, remove from heat.
  4. Now it’s time to prepare the toppings! Chop the lettuce, slice the tomatoes and mash avocados and place on either a plate or bowl to make it easier to prepare your crunchwrap.
  5. Prepare a lightly oiled pan on medium heat so that it will seal nicely as soon as it’s ready.
  6. Take a soft tortilla and layer your ingredients in the centre (make sure you leave enough room to fold the edges over) I started with avocado, then added the plant based beef, cheddar, soft tortilla chips, tomatoes and lettuce. But you can customize yours however you like 😎
  7. I watched this video to learn how to properly fold a crunchwrap and although it’s very random to watch Taco Bell training videos… I highly suggest it for this purpose haha.
  8. Transfer your masterpiece to the heated pan, folded edge side down. It should make a nice sizzle. Reduce heat to medium-low to allow all of the ingredients inside to properly melt and cook.
  9. Flip after about 3 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Cook the other side for about the same amount of time and remove from heat.
  10. Cut in half and voila! You have a delicious, healthy version of the Crunchwrap Supreme made by you👩‍🍳👨‍🍳✨

Quick Tips:

  • Watch the video that I linked above to learn how to properly fold the edges over, it will save you a lot of time!
  • My Crunchwrap honestly looked far from perfect after folding it, but once I put it in the pan on medium heat, the edges sealed nicely and it ended up turning out better than I thought! So don’t be discouraged if it looks like an absolute mess at first- the cooking process is what really brings it together.
  • Thank you for reading my recipe! Check out my Recipes page for more plant-based goodness 🥰
Recipes

Black Bean Burgers

One of my favourite plant based meals to eat is black bean burgers!! Just one cup of black beans will set you up with 41 grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of fiber, 15 grams of protein, and various other nutrients that all aid in healthy digestion and keep you feeling full for longer!

Cooking with dried black beans is also very cost efficient, with one cup only costing about $0.30 you can’t really go wrong!

The key is to use an Instant Pot if you have a bit of time to spare. Instant Pots are amazing because they can cook dried beans under 40 minutes without having to soak them overnight. They also retain nutrients and are one of the best methods for cooking dried beans, lentils and raw veggies into fresh delicious meals!

But if you don’t have an Instant pot or are short on time, you can use one can of black beans instead.

Ingredients:

For the bean burgers:

  • 1 cup of dried black beans
  • 3 mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of liquid smoke flavouring

Toppings:

  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • Romaine lettuce (I used 3 pieces)
  • Half a cucumber, sliced
  • 1 avocado, mashed
  • Ketchup
  • Vegan Mayo
  • Burger buns

Preparation time: 45 minutes using dried beans or 20 minutes using canned beans

Serving size: Makes 4 burgers

Directions:

  1. Start by measuring one cup of dried black beans and placing them in your Instant Pot. Select Pressure Cook and set the timer to 35 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, start preparing your veggies and toppings. Chop the mushrooms, white onion and garlic. Grate the carrot and slice the cucumbers and tomatoes. Set aside.
  3. When the Instant Pot has a few minutes left, heat up a saucepan on medium heat with a bit of oil.
  4. Add in the mushrooms, onion, garlic and half of the grated carrot. Let simmer with the soy sauce and smoke flavouring for about 5 minutes.
  5. Drain the black beans and add directly into the saucepan. Mix until all of the ingredients are combined within the pan. Cook for a few more minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.
  7. Start forming 4 nicely sized patties with your hands and place them on a baking sheet. No need to oil the pan!
  8. Bake for 8 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and now it’s time to assemble your masterpiece! Add your favourite toppings and enjoy!
  10. You can store the other patties in a container in your fridge and re-bake them again! They will stay fresh for about 1-2 days.

Quick Tips:

  • If you have never cooked with liquid smoke flavouring before- you should totally start! I order mine from Amazon or buy it at Food Basics. It’s a great addition to any food and adds that delicious smoky flavouring 😛
  • You can also add cheese to the bean burger mix and bake it in! It tastes delicious and is a great substitute to a regular cheese burger ⚡️
  • Thank you for reading my recipe! Be sure to check out my Instagram page for more healthy lifestyle and nutrition tips 💪🏼
nutrition

Proteins: Why You Should Choose Plant-Based Sources

When you search the word “protein” on Google, what’s the first thing that comes up on images? Meat and eggs. I can understand why most people only think of animal products when it comes to proteins, but today I am here to change that and prove that there are so many amazing plant based sources of protein that contain all of the amino acids that we need!

This blog will get into what proteins are, the differences between plant and animal sources, the daily recommended amount and 5 high plant based sources of protein⚡️

What are proteins?

First things first, what exactly are proteins and why do we need them? Proteins are one of three macronutrients that the body requires to properly function. The other two are fats and carbohydrates. Proteins play an important role in various bodily processes such as fluid balance, blood clotting, immune system responses and hormone regulation. They are crucial building blocks in our bodies and are also responsible for muscle mass.

Proteins consists of large chains of amino acids- there are 20 of them in total. The human body is capable of synthesizing (or creating) 11 of them and the remaining 9 are known as “essential amino acids” that must come from our diet.

A common argument against consuming plant based proteins is that they are incomplete and must be paired together in order to create complete proteins. Complete proteins are foods that contain all of the 9 essential amino acids. They are typically associated with animal products, however many plant based foods are complete proteins as well such as quinoa, buckwheat, hemp and soy. In addition, it’s important to note that all 9 essential amino acids can be found in plant based foods, in varying amounts.

Meaning that if you follow a whole food plant based diet, you will have nothing to worry about as you will be consuming a wide variety of plants which all contain varying amounts of essential amino acids!

Animal Proteins vs Plant Proteins

Okay so now that we talked a bit about what proteins are and why they’re important, let’s get into why plant based sources are healthier than animal sources.

Plant based sources of protein tend to be lower in calories and fat than animal sources, and higher in fiber and essential nutrients. Therefore, by transitioning to plant based sources of protein, you will increase your nutrient profile and reduce your daily caloric intake.

Take a peanut butter sandwich and 3 eggs for example. Both are popular breakfast foods and you would be very surprised to find out that they contain about the same amount of protein but very different nutrient profiles. A peanut butter sandwich is packed with whole grains, healthy carbs and nutrients whereas eggs contain unnecessary cholesterol, sodium and animal fat.

Plant based sources also keep you feeling full for longer as they are higher in fiber which promotes healthy weight loss and digestion. In addition, when you consume animal products, your body undergoes oxidative stress which depletes the body of beneficial nutrients to neutralize cell damage.

How much protein should I consume?

With any nutrient, it’s possible to consume too much or too little. With protein, it’s no different. However, unlike other nutrients, proteins have a very interesting threshold that one must stay within in order to obtain just the right amount for their body weight and fitness desirability.

It’s very rare to become protein deficient in our society. Essentially all of our foods contain protein, it’s just a matter of choice between plant based sources vs animal sources. The tricky part is getting too much protein. So many body builders, gym fanatics and fitness coaches advocate for eating more protein to get more muscle mass. But getting more protein than the daily recommended amount hasn’t necessarily been proven to build more muscle mass.

According to the US Department of Agriculture, the amount of protein that each person should consume is based on their age, sex and level of physical activity.

The general guidelines for a healthy amount of protein ranges from 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight (2.2 lbs) to 2 grams for more active individuals.

Consuming more protein per kg of body weight has been linked to weight gain, constipation, and increased risk of cancer and heart disease. But this is mainly because most individuals associate protein with animal products, meaning that someone who is trying to obtain more protein will most likely do so through consuming animal products.

But as mentioned earlier, if you swap plant proteins in place of animal proteins, you will increase your nutrient profile and boost your metabolism at the same time.

5 Healthy & High Sources of Plant Based Protein

Here are 5 amazing sources of plant based proteins that are both healthy and delicious! Beans and lentils are great additions to add to any diet as they contain a healthy amount of protein, carbs and fiber. These nutrients and macronutrients are great for weight loss, better digestion and a faster metabolism!

  • Peanuts: Just one cup of peanuts contains about 25 grams of protein. But if snacking on them isn’t your thing- two tablespoons of peanut butter contains 8 grams of protein. Match that with 2 pieces of whole grain toast (4g protein each) and you already have a breakfast containing 16 grams of healthy plant based protein! 😋
  • Black Beans: Black beans are delicious and a great addition to any meal! Just one cup contains 15 grams of protein and lots of fiber which is great for weight loss.
  • Chickpeas: Chickpeas are one of the best plant based sources of protein with 39 grams per cup. Check out my chickpea tuna recipe for a creative way to incorporate them into your diet⚡️
  • Lentils: Lentils are so tasty and perfect for when it’s chilly out. My favourite thing to do is pressure cook one cup of dry lentils with soy sauce, onions, mushrooms and garlic. Just one cup of these bad boys contain 18 grams of protein.
  • Tempeh: Tempeh is the perfect substitute for bacon. If you’ve never tried it before- you definitely should! It can be found in the vegetarian/vegan section of most grocery stores. Just one block typically contains 19 grams of protein.

Conclusion

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog on proteins- I really hope that you learned something that will benefit your health! The main reason why I wrote this blog is to change the way that people think of protein! Animal sources are not the only sources of protein out there.

There are so many amazing plant based sources that contain all of the amino acids that we need! It’s just a matter of consciously making those swaps 🙂


Sources:

Macho-González, A., Garcimartín, A., López-Oliva, M., Bastida, S., Benedí, J., Ros, G., Sánchez-Muniz, F. (2020, July 20). Can Meat and Meat-Products Induce Oxidative Stress? Retrieved January 10, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7402184/

Hernandez-Alonso, P., Salas-Salvado, J., & Ruiz-Canela, M. (2015, April 07). High dietary protein intake is associated with an increased body weight and total death risk. Retrieved January 10, 2021, from https://www.clinicalnutritionjournal.com/article/S0261-5614(15)00091-6/fulltext

Uncategorized

Jump into 2021 with The 14 day Natural Glow Detox⚡️

This year has been extremely difficult and unpredictable to say the least. With gyms and most health food stores being closed, it’s hard to stay on top of your health and have motivation.

So I decided to create a 100% all natural detox that will help you lose 5-10 pounds at home just by making healthier food choices! This detox will help you get back on track, lose weight and eliminate toxins from your body all at the same time. When I created the Natural Glow Detox, my main goal was to provide achievable ways to lose weight through healthy eating and to educate my clients on what foods are good vs bad.

I also wanted to make it affordable and accessible for everyone which is why I am offering it at just $15 CAD!

For less than the amount of money you would spend on coffee a day, you can put it towards your health! My detox program contains everything you need to become healthier, lose weight and jump into the new year with a new mindset.

If you are interested in joining my detox program, please email me NaturalGlowellness@gmail.com or message me on Instagram to receive the full detox package! 🙂

I am so excited to work with you and help you get that natural glow this 2021✨

I also just wanted to take a moment to quickly thank each and every one of my current clients! Through working with you, I have been able to learn, grow and build on my knowledge. I could not be more thankful for everything I have gained through working with such amazing individuals ❤️


Healthy Living

Why the Modelling Industry Just Wasn’t for Me

Okay so a few weeks ago, I posted a blog on my life and some of the struggles that I went through to become who I am today. I didn’t get the chance to talk about modelling and my personal experiences in the industry. From doing photoshoots to working big events, it was honestly fun for a bit but over time I learned that it wasn’t for me. An industry that is solely based on your looks and not your skills or personality pushes unhealthy habits on young women and I eventually learned that the hard way.

I feel like so many people are fed this illusion through social media and advertisements that models live a perfect life where they always feel confident and everyone adores them. But the reality is that there is a lot that goes on behind closed doors which is why I decided to write this blog.

Let me start by saying this- I’ve stopped doing professional photoshoots and attending castings and I’ve never felt more confident! The modelling industry made me feel like I had to always care about the way I looked and I am so happy that I finally feel free to be myself.

The Harsh Reality

I started modelling when I was about 19 and my first photoshoot was for the Toronto Sun Newspaper. I didn’t take it too seriously at first, but as my following began to grow and as I started to get more opportunities, I naturally put more time into it.

If you scroll all the way back on my instagram feed to my first posts before modelling, I would post things I was interested in like crystals, nature and healthy food. But as I started working with more people, I stopped posting the things I liked because I felt like I needed to fit in. I started uploading photos of me in my bikini and selfies because those are the photos that got the highest engagement amongst photographers and brands. I was also copying what I saw a lot of other models doing.

I completely lost my sense of individuality. I was smart, enrolled in Pre Health Sciences and had a passion for natural health but I didn’t feel like that was valuable. I put all of my self worth in my appearance and started to disregard the things that made me unique. And the interesting thing is that you still see this playing out on a lot of models feeds.

The reality is that the industry is extremely competitive and puts a lot of pressure on young girls. You have to basically fit yourself into a box and follow today’s beauty standards to attend castings. If you’re too short, too tall, overweight or underweight- you won’t get called back and they’ll make it apparent why.

I remember being told so many times that I was too short because I’m only 5’2 and look too young multiple times. It eventually got to me and became an insecurity which is something I don’t even care about now.

The sad thing is that after attending multiple castings and not getting called back, you can only really attribute it to your looks since that’s all the industry cares about. This is exactly why there is such a high prevalence of eating disorders in the modelling industry. Approximately 40% of models have eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder.

What we are doing to young girls in exchange for photos is extremely detrimental to their health and our societies beauty standards. Women are literally starving themselves and getting cosmetic surgery to sustain an industry by men, for men.

We are trusting an industry that is run by men to tell us what women should look like.

I personally think that the whole industry is flawed. Sure, there are plenty of good agencies and photographers, but that’s not the problem. The problem is the image the industry is selling to young girls. We should be teaching young girls to strive for more than just looking good in a photo.

I never thought of the fact that younger girls may be looking up to me until recently and that’s what made me really want to change.

Because it would have only taken one model or influencer to open up about these things to make me feel okay with being myself at 19.

I’m so happy that throughout my modelling experience, I was in school. But many young girls don’t pursue schooling and just get right into modelling just because of what they’ve seen on Instagram or on billboards.

But don’t let that fool you, so much more happens than the public sees.


nutrition

5 Benefits of Going Plant-Based

Plant based diets have been a hot and trending topic for a few years now. Many people argue that it’s harder to obtain nutrients however current scientific research suggests otherwise. Diets low in animal products and high in plant based foods have been proven to be healthier and provide so many benefits! These benefits range from improving overall health to directly reducing pollution associated with animal agriculture. 

I have personally been plant based for 5 years now and have not looked back! I love the benefits that come with eating plants and I also love how much more energized I feel.

So, in order to motivate you with your health transition, I will be providing 5 reasons why a plant based diet is amazing for you and our planet. Remember, the goal isn’t to become vegan, it’s to become more plant based and conscious of where our food comes from 🙂 

1. You will reduce inflammation in your body

If you consume animal products such as meat and cheese, there is strong evidence that you probably have high levels of inflammation. Inflammation is beneficial when it’s against bacteria or foreign pathogens. However, the common Western diet causes chronic inflammation which alters the way that we feel and promotes disease in the long run. Inflammation can manifest as many things in the body such as pain, fatigue, swelling and redness. This is why diets that are high in animal products are typically linked to acne and rosacea. 

In contrast, a plant based diet is full of nutritious ingredients that contain helpful molecules like phytonutrients, antioxidants and fiber which reduce the effects of inflammation. 

Thus, when you enjoy a plant based diet, you are also able to enjoy the anti-inflammatory properties that come with it! 

2. You will lower your cholesterol levels

Cholesterol is crucial for us to survive and is necessary in a healthy diet. However, our bodies can produce more than enough for us to live and thrive. Therefore, we do not need to directly consume cholesterol in order to have it in our bodies. Unfortunately cholesterol is found in virtually all animal products making the population vulnerable to conditions associated with high levels of cholesterol in the blood. High levels of cholesterol promote heart disease, high blood pressure, and various other health conditions.

In contrast, a plant-based diet has no cholesterol (yep you read that right, NO cholesterol!) and very little saturated fats. Many studies have also shown that people who make the change to a plant based diet have reduced their blood cholesterol by more than 30%, decreasing their risk of certain conditions and diseases.

3. You will decrease your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes

Unfortunately, more and more people around the world are developing Type 2 Diabetes because of their diet. Type 2 diabetes used to be only associated with adults and was commonly referred to as Adult-Onset diabetes. However, in recent years more children are being diagnosed as Type 2 Diabetic due to improper diet and lack of exercise. Various studies have shown that animal products like red and processed meats can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Thus, you will radically reduce your chances of acquiring type 2 diabetes if you leave animal proteins behind. 

Whole plant-based diets are recommended as a powerful tool for preventing, managing, and reversing type 2 diabetes. 

4. You will reduce the amount of toxins and oxidative stress in your body

Many animal products need to be treated with chemicals in order to extend their shelf life and freshness. Two common chemicals known to have side effects used by the industry are sulfates and sodium-nitrate. Sulfates are commonly added to food items to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi, preserve color, and freshness. However, sulfates can produce asthma like symptoms according to the United States Food and Drug Administration. 

Sodium nitrate is commonly used as an additive in hotdogs, bacon, deli-meat, and jerky. This chemical is a bit more dangerous because it is associated with risk of heart disease. Many animal products are coated with chemicals that are only used to benefit the manufactures whereas a whole grain vegan diet will remove the vast majority of the chemicals associated with animal products. 

5. It’s the best thing you can do for the planet

Alright so if you’re like me, you care about the planet and the precious wildlife that inhabits it. Animal Agriculture is the leading cause of pollution, deforestation, habitat loss and ocean dead zones. It’s also responsible for the unnecessary slaughter of 3 billion animals each day. To put that into perspective, our human population would be extinct within days if we were killed at that rate- that’s crazy!

In the Amazon rainforest alone, cattle ranching surprisingly accounts for 80% of deforestation rates. Animal Agriculture is not sustainable because in addition to the land needed to actually raise the livestock, an extensive amount of land is used to grow animal feed. Water use is crucial because the animal needs it to survive, and it’s also needed to grow food for the animal. It’s estimated that you will need more than 2,000 gallons of fresh water in order to produce only one pound of beef in the United States. This means that one pound of beef has an equal amount of water that a human would need to drink in 3,785 days (10.3 years)!

By making the conscious change to a plant-based diet, you can reduce the demand for animal agriculture and directly help our environment. And by becoming plant-based, you will also save an average of 100 animal lives yearly, which feels pretty cool when you think about it! 😎

Here are some quick tips that helped me go plant based:

  • Documentaries are full of great and credible information! Check out the documentaries The Game Changers, What The Health, Cowspiracy and Forks Over Knives on Netflix.
  • Become more conscious of what you’re eating. Thinking of the process your food has to go through really helps you make better food choices.
  • Try doing your own research and have fun with it! I strongly encourage having a healthy relationship with food ⚡️

⚡️If you would like help in making healthier food choices, feel free to check out my one-on-one virtual health coaching service!⚡️


Sources

American College of Cardiology President: Why Cholesterol Still Matters. (2019, January 13). Retrieved from https://www.forksoverknives.com/wellness/why-cholesterol-still-matters/

A Vegan Diet for Diabetes Control. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.pcrm.org/news/health-nutrition/vegan-diet-diabetes-control

Barbaresko, J., Koch, M., Schulze, M. B., & Nöthlings, U. (2013). Dietary pattern analysis and biomarkers of low-grade inflammation: A systematic literature review. Nutrition Reviews,71(8), 511-527. doi:10.1111/nure.12035

Katherine Zeratsky, R. (2020, April 18). The unhealthy preservative hiding in processed meats. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/sodium-nitrate/faq-20057848

Ferdowsian, H. R., & Barnard, N. D. (2009). Effects of Plant-Based Diets on Plasma Lipids. The American Journal of Cardiology,104(7), 947-956. doi:10.1016/j.amjcard.2009.05.032

Lowering Cholesterol With a Plant-Based Diet. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.pcrm.org/good-nutrition/nutrition-information/lowering-cholesterol-with-a-plant-based-diet

McWilliams, J. (2014, December 15). We’re Eating Ourselves to a Warmer Planet. Retrieved from https://psmag.com/environment/gluttony-global-warming-eating-warmer-planet-96495

Pan, A., Sun, Q., Bernstein, A. M., Manson, J. E., Willett, W. C., & Hu, F. B. (2013). Changes in Red Meat Consumption and Subsequent Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. JAMA Internal Medicine,173(14), 1328. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.6633

Perkins, S. (2018, December 17). Are Sulfates in Food the Same as Nitrates? Retrieved from https://healthyeating.sfgate.com/sulfates-food-same-nitrates-3150.html

Sutliffe, J. T., Wilson, L. D., Heer, H. D., Foster, R. L., & Carnot, M. J. (2015). C-reactive protein response to a vegan lifestyle intervention. Complementary Therapies in Medicine,23(1), 32-37. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2014.11.001

Sodium Nitrite: Indications, Side Effects, Warnings. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.drugs.com/cdi/sodium-nitrite.html

Type 2 diabetes. (2020, August 26). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-2-diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20351193 

What You Need to Know About Sulphites. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Food-technology/What-you-need-to-know-about-sulphites.aspx

7 Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Meat. (2019, July 02). Retrieved from https://www.forksoverknives.com/wellness/7-things-that-happen-when-you-stop-eating-meat/

Recipes

Delicious Breakfast Smoothie Recipes

I love drinking a smoothie every morning! Smoothies contain high amounts of phytoestrogens, antioxidants and many vital nutrients. Adding a smoothie to your daily routine is also a great way to increase your energy levels and promote weight loss! Smoothies contain dietary fiber, which is a type of carbohydrate that is naturally found in fruits and veggies.

Research suggests that foods high in fiber are good for your metabolism, regulate digestion and keeps you feeling full for longer!

Here are three different smoothie recipes that taste great and promote optimal health:

1. Purple Antioxidant Smoothie

  • 2 cups of soy milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup of mixed berries
  • 3 dates

2. Green Nutrient Boost Smoothie

  • 2 cups coconut water
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup of frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 avocado
  • Fresh kale

3. Yellow Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

  • 2 cups of soy milk
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup of frozen mango
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

Quick Tips:

  • Buying frozen fruit is a lot cheaper than buying fresh fruit! Next time you go to the grocery store, grab a bag of frozen mixed berries, pineapple and mangos to keep in your freezer.
  • Always have fresh bananas on hand! I always leave 1 bunch by my window to ripen. If they get too ripe, you can always freeze them!
  • I also love adding dates to my smoothies to add sweetness. Make sure that they are pitted!
  • And lastly, have fun with it! Combining different fruits, veggies and plant based milks to come up with the perfect recipe is so much fun!
Healthy Living

My Life Story: Becoming the best version of myself

Hey guys! I have been having so much fun creating content, researching nutrition and writing blogs on various health topics that I’m interested in. But I thought now would be a great time to tell you about my life and my story. This is my first time really opening up about certain things in my life on social media and I hope that I can inspire someone who may be going through something similar. Because honestly, if I overcame depression in some of the darkest points of my life, I know that you can too!

The interesting thing is when you go on someone’s social media profile, it’s easy to assume their life is perfect because social media only shows the happy (and edited) moments of peoples lives. Most people don’t openly talk about their struggles or what they’ve had to go through to get to where they are today. But I want to change that, about myself at least. I am going to share my experiences and what led me to become who I am today. Because the tough times that I went through really helped me learn, grow and have hope that everything does in fact happen for a reason.

Unhealthy family relationships and grieving…

When I was 15, my father passed away very suddenly. It was extremely scary because he did not have any health complications, and it all happened in the span of one morning. My mom, my sisters and I were all devastated and in a state of shock for months. During that time, my sisters and I had to plan my dads funeral which to this day was the hardest thing that I have ever done. We didn’t have time to grieve, or be upset, we only had time to try and plan things the way that my dad would have liked.

My dad owned his own construction company and worked so hard. He woke up every single weekday at 5:00 AM to do jobs and sometimes wouldn’t be home until 10 at night. He made sure to provide my mom, my sisters and I with everything we could have ever imagined. Money was never a problem, and I strive to work as hard as he did. I am going to make him so proud.

I can honestly say that in that time, I lost a part of myself that I know I will never get back. Even looking back as a 24 year old now, I really wonder how I did it at 15. I was only in grade 10, and within a few weeks I started failing more and more classes. I barely made any friends in high school because I was so depressed. So many people spread rumours about me while I was away and I had teachers commenting on my situation while I was in class.

Luckily, I had my boyfriend and he was a nice distraction from everything going on in my life. My boyfriend and I met one year before my dad passed away, and he was really there for me throughout the whole funeral process. He made sure to always provide me with comfort and support, and to this day I love that he helped me through such a tough time. We were both only 15 when this happened, and he took it upon himself to make sure I was okay.

In terms of getting support from my mom and my two older sisters, I felt almost embarrassed to talk to them about how I felt. My father passing away really affected them and they refused to get any sort of help. They spiraled down a really bad path and became very toxic towards me. I had my mom tell me that my dad never loved me and that I didn’t even know him, which really hurt me. At the time, I let them emotionally abuse me because I knew they were acting out of a place of hurt. I’m also the youngest in my family, and speaking up was definitely not an option.

About a year after my dad passed away, my mom and sisters ended up kicking me out of my house. I was blamed for their depression and anxiety and I was told that they would be better off without me. I was sent out in the middle of the night while it was pouring rain, and my boyfriend ended up meeting me at a McDonald’s. It really was a life defining night. I ended up at my best friends house, and stayed there for a few weeks. I still tried my best to go to school everyday but had no motivation to really do anything. I missed my dad, and I missed the way that my family used to be.

After about a month of living at my friends house, I ended up having to go back home. When I went home, I asked my family if they wanted to do counselling with me, but was told that my relationship with them wasn’t worth it. Me going back home gave my mom and sisters every bit of power that they wanted over me. I didn’t have privacy and was put down on a daily basis.

Losing Everything

Shortly after, we ended up losing our house and our car because we were failing to make payments on things that my dad got us. We moved into this small, old house in a lower class neighbourhood and things really did get progressively worse.

The emotional abuse was starting to turn into physical abuse. All of my birthdays started getting ignored and I was treated as if I wasn’t apart of my family anymore. A lot of it was because my mom and sisters assumed that I had my boyfriend, and I didn’t need them which is just ridiculous. Of course I needed them, and I tried my absolute hardest to include them in my life.

I continued living each day, but never felt genuinely happy. I was depressed, anxious and constantly on the verge of crying. I felt so lost and like nothing I did was ever good enough. If I did something wrong, I would have my mom and sisters behind me to harshly judge me and then give me the silent treatment for weeks. It took a huge emotional toll on me and I always felt left out. This sense of “not belonging” followed me every day and I felt so uncomfortable in social situations because of it. I started to judge myself the same way that they were judging me, and really started to dislike who I was as a person. I assumed the things they were saying about me were right.

Maybe me being interested in things like diet and nutrition was pointless. And maybe social media was a waste of my time. And what if everyone does think I’m stupid? I began emotionally abusing myself more than anything.

Getting kicked out

Like I said, things were getting worse and worse. My older sister had physically attacked me on multiple occasions and my stuff was getting stolen while I was at school. I accepted everything because I didn’t know that many people and felt trapped more than anything.

It wasn’t until the day that my mom decided to physically attack me that I decided it was time to go.

After getting in another dumb argument, I had my mom grab me by my arms and try to throw me out of my house in front of my sisters. I was so embarrassed and still remember my mom trying to provoke me to fight her back. It was really shocking because I watched her go from a loving mom, to someone who was overcome with depression and hate for me. It hurt. I locked myself in my room and had my two sisters banging on my door threatening that they would call the police on me if I didn’t leave.

I was only 20, I had no idea how to move out or really how to do anything. It was also my final week of exams at George Brown College and if I failed, I could lose everything. I was so scared but I knew that it was time.

Moving on from my family

I moved into my boyfriends house because I had no other choice at the time. It was so difficult for both of us because it was still exam week, and we could not afford to fail any classes. Luckily, our hard work paid off and we ended up passing everything, but it was not easy. I was literally crying every night, I even tried going back “home” a few times to try and apologize, only to be turned away. I brought my mom pink roses, because that was her favourite colour but none of my efforts were noticed.

At that age, I was only apologizing because I was deeply depressed, I had just lost my dad to a sudden death and I could not emotionally deal with losing my family as well. It’s crazy to think that my older sisters actually looked me in the eyes and turned me away now that I think of it. I would personally never treat any family of mine in such away, but to each their own.

After about three months, my boyfriends parents ended up helping me get a nice studio apartment. We rented a moving truck and drove to my old house to pick everything up. I wasn’t surprised to find all of my belongings on my old street including my mattress on the pavement with my sheets still on it with my clothes and shoes scattered everywhere. All of my old neighbours watched as I grabbed my things and I knew that they were told a different version of the story, but I had to just move on. Now wasn’t the time to worry about what people thought of me, I had to just move on.

I got into my new place and I honestly loved it. I finally had a safe space, privacy and somewhere that I could call my own. My boyfriend and I decorated it nicely with what we had, but we honestly had no money. We owed his family money for the apartment, and I also had to pay some stuff off from when I lived at home.

Luckily, I am First Nations which means that I can receive a three year sponsorship for any program I choose. I chose the Traditional Chinese Medicine program because I always loved natural health and nutrition, and I was also greatly inspired by my dad. I knew that I would be able to make a difference in the world and also help people get back on track in terms of health.

The sponsorship is really what allowed me to study what I loved. At that time, there was no way that I could afford a college education. It really motivated me and helped me gain the knowledge that I currently have.

I started the Traditional Chinese Medicine program in 2016 and at the time I had no family, no friends and no idea of what I wanted my future to be. I travelled to campus every single day which was a 2 hour commute, and tried my hardest to stay on top of things. But I was depressed, anxious and confused. I was falling apart inside and worrying about my grades didn’t make it any better.

What I gained from my experience…

Looking back now, I am shocked by what my own family put me through in my teen years and early adulthood, but I am so thankful that I didn’t give up!

I graduated from my program this year and I even started my own business to inspire people. It definitely was a long and emotionally difficult journey, but it was so worth it.

Honestly, it sounds cliche but the best lessons in life are free: the tough times, the heartbreaks, losing everything, feeling broken. Because in those times it’s then that you have to pick yourself back up. You realize that it’s you and only you. And although that thought may seem scary, it’s actually quite liberating!

I no longer care nearly as much about what people think of me because no one will ever be able to hurt me the way my family did, and from that I now have strength.

I started meditating, becoming more spiritual and reflecting inwards. If I felt anxious, upset or depressed, I started finding the root for my emotions. Of course, the majority of them stemmed from my past but knowing this allowed me to properly confront them and heal. Knowing my weaknesses, allowed me to also know my strengths.

I started liking who I was again. I know that I am smart, I know that I am heard and I know that the way that my family treated me was because they were hurt. I don’t have to let any of those times define me, because they don’t. If anything they make me stronger.

We all hold so much power inside of us. And I know that the school system or good times in life will never teach us or define us the way that the bad times can. I have learned that when you go through something difficult, you should take a step back and ask yourself what the situation is teaching you instead of letting it emotionally affect you.

Don’t become the emotion, observe it.

Every single thing we go through is teaching us something whether we see it or not.

We have to go through certain events to become the people that we are today. These events are what shapes us and makes us more empathetic, less judgemental and more understanding.

If you erase the pain and difficulty of your past, you also erase all of the knowledge that you gained from it. My life events shaped me into who I am today.

I have found what it’s like to be happy and most importantly I have found myself. I would never let anyone treat me the way that I was treated before, and I would never treat others the way that I was treated!

Takeaway

It’s been about 5 years and my family has still not reached out to me after kicking me out of their lives. For a while, I spent every day hoping that one of them would contact me. But I have moved on. I no longer need people like that in my life and I am better off without them. I’ve met so many amazing people since then who actually respect me as a person.



Thank you so much for taking the time to read about my life story and my personal experiences. It took me quite some time to write this blog because it has a lot of emotion in it, but I really hope it inspired you in some way!

Healthy Living

Natural Glow Wellness is now offering Personalized Services!

Alright guys! The day is finally here- I am officially launching my services!

After 5+ years of studying Pre Health Sciences, Nutrition & Traditional Chinese Medicine, I have decided to launch my personalized services to help you live your best life! I am super excited about this because I will finally be able to do what I love while helping others feel and look great.

Sara Mastrangelo, Owner of Natural Glow Wellness

Here’s a quick breakdown of what my services will include.

If you are interested in working together, please click here! I am offering a discount on my services for a limited time 🙂

Become Healthier with Sara!

One-on-one Health Coaching Sessions 

How would you feel if I told you that you can achieve your personal health goals through a healthy diet? It’s true! The food we eat plays a huge role in our moods and in our physical appearance. Through my health coaching sessions, I work with clients to narrow in on the foods they eat, and teach them how to make better choices at the grocery store.

You like eating pizza? That’s okay! My health coaching sessions aren’t going to force you to diet or stop eating the foods you love- we are just going to go over healthier choices and how to distinguish good quality ingredients from harmful preservatives.

I love studying nutrition and over the years I have learned how to master making regular unhealthy foods into delicious healthy versions. Food is meant to make you look good and feel amazing. Not make you have unnecessary cravings gain weight and feel bloated afterwards! Let’s get healthy and restore our relationship with food.


nutrition

Carbohydrates: Everything you need to know

Carbohydrates also known as sugars are very important macronutrients. However, they are usually given a bad reputation because of their association with weight gain and diabetes. But the reality is that not all carbohydrates are bad for you, many of them are actually very important for your health because they fuel your brain and body with vital energy!

Knowing how to choose the proper carbohydrates for your diet is so important. Not all carbohydrates are made out of the same components, so not all of them will have the same effect on your body. Choosing the proper foods that provide your body with the right carbohydrates will benefit you in so many ways!

So, without further ado let’s dig into the benefits, the properties, the different types of carbs and how to differentiate the good from the bad!

What exactly are carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates or Carbs are small molecules that are mainly made out of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen atoms. Fiber, starch and sugar are all classified as carbs. They are broken down by our digestive system into smaller molecules such as glucose in order to provide us with the fuel that we need for our daily routines.

All sugars are considered carbohydrates, but the term “sugar” is only commonly used to describe small carbohydrates that have one or two sugar units. Carbohydrates are commonly broken down into three different categories depending on the number of sugar units:

  • The simple carbohydrates like glucose and fructose only consist of one sugar unit, and are commonly known as monosaccharides. 
  • A carbohydrate like sucrose, or lactose contains two sugar units and is classified as a disaccharide.
  • Other more complex carbohydrates like starch and glycogen are part of the polysaccharide and oligosaccharide groups.

Why do we need carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are important because they help fuel our body and organ systems with energy. When you eat a meal that contains carbohydrates, your body will use chemicals to break down the carbs into smaller pieces. From there, the sugars that your body has broken down will enter your bloodstream. As soon as the sugars enter the blood, your pancreas will release a hormone call insulin. Insulin is responsible for transporting sugars from your blood into your cells, where simple carbohydrates can be used as a great source of energy for your body and brain. Our central nervous system, cardiac muscles and kidneys all need carbohydrates to properly function!

This process is usually straight forward, however, unhealthy carbs can affect the rate that this process occurs. 

Simple sugars vs processed sugars

Diets high in simple sugars and processed sugars are strongly linked with coronary heart disease, diabetes and fatty liver. Simple carbohydrates unlike complex carbs are absorbed very fast, causing a quick and immediate burst of energy that we all are too familiar with! That’s because the rush that you feel after you eat something very sweet is caused by the high amount of added simple sugars, which are in the form of refined sugars and processed syrups. Refined sugars provide no nutritional value, they lack vitamins, minerals and fiber. These sneaky sugars are one of the reasons why carbohydrates are shunned and considered bad!

However, not all simple sugars are refined sugars, so not all sugars should be thought as bad.  

So, as I previously mentioned, simple sugars in the form of refined sugars are terrible because they are only added calories and should be a huge no no in your diet.

But not all simple sugars are actually bad for your health. Many simple sugars are very nutritious and are found in healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. These types of sugars are considered as naturally occurring carbohydrates, which are completely different than the bad ones! Unlike the processed simple sugars, natural carbs are full of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are great fuel for your brain and digestive system!

 Well, the same goes for complex carbohydrates!

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates unlike simple carbohydrates are absorbed by your digestive system slowly, and provide a lower but steadier release of energy. However, complex carbohydrates can also be divided into two groups, refined and unrefined.

The complex carbohydrates that are considered refined, have no nutritional value. They have been stripped from all of their nutrients, similarly to the refined sugars that I previously mentioned. Refined carbohydrates such as white flour, pasta, pizza dough, and many processed breakfast cereals can have unhealthy effects on your blood sugar levels. This is because when you eat high amounts of complex carbs, your body quickly absorbs the sugars and releases insulin. Insulin is used to remove the excess amount of sugars from your blood, however the quick release of insulin can have negative effects like increased appetite, causing you to crave more food and ultimately making you gain weight. Research has also shown that refined grains can drastically affect your mood and energy levels. And if that is not enough, they also contribute to the build-up of fat, diabetes and heart disease.

Thus, understanding which complex carbohydrates are the best for you and your body is crucial for a healthy diet.

Carbs that are actually good for you

Don’t let all of the bad stuff that I mentioned about refined simple sugars and refined complex carbohydrates make you feel like you need to avoid carbohydrates! Carbohydrates are necessary for our health and the key is to avoid refined carbs.

Healthy complex carbohydrates are not rare, they are easy to find, so let me help you! 🙂

Here are some healthy sources of carbohydrates that have amazing nutrient profiles:

  • Chickpeas are a great source of protein and complex carbohydrates. One cup of these lil guys will set you up with 10 grams of fiber, which is one third of the recommended daily fiber intake. Chickpeas also provide your body with a healthy source of calcium and phosphate, two elements crucial for bone development. Click here to check out my chickpea tuna recipe which is a great source of healthy carbs!
  • Old-fashioned oats are also a great way to increase your daily source of healthy natural complex carbohydrates. Half a cup of oats will provide you with 27 grams of carbohydrates, 10 grams of proteins and various other minerals and vitamins. 
  • Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite sources of complex carbohydrates because they not only have 26 grams of healthy carbs, they also provide beta carotene which is an amazing antioxidant that takes care of you and your skin!! 
  • Black beans are super healthy for you. They will provide you with an incredible amount of nutrients that will help you feel full for longer compared to other foods. One cup of black beans will set you up with 41 grams of carbohydrates, 15 grams of fiber, 15 grams of protein, and various other nutrients that are crucial for your health and wellbeing. 
  • Quinoa is a perfect way to enjoy all of the benefits associated with whole grain foods for people who are intolerant to gluten. Yes, you read that right, quinoa is a seed not a grain. So, none of the problems associated with gluten will affect you if you stay on a quinoa vibe 😎
  • Lentils unlike quinoa and whole wheat bread are very cheap. They are a great source of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates. Lentils are also very low in fat, making them a great choice for a filling and healthy meal! 

Conclusion

I really hope that you learned something new about this very interesting macronutrient! Carbs are not bad for us at all, and it’s crucial to realize that there are good carbs (naturally occurring) and bad carbs (refined, processed).

In any case, read the ingredients of each food you consume and try your best to avoid anything that’s processed. Your mind and body will thank you 🙂