Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Cinnamomum Zeylanicum

Cinnamon is certainly not uncommon to most. In fact, it is widely used as a spice in a variety of different cultures...delicious in Middle Eastern savory dishes, Mexican chocolate, decadent North American sweets....

Pharmacologically speaking, Cinnamon has many actions and it is one of the few spices that can be consumed directly. 

Cinnamon is what is considered 'warming'. Perfect for these cold winter days! 

It has been often used to treat gastrointestinal disturbances and is high in anti-oxidant activity. 

Cinnamon also has anti-microbial properties and therefore has been used in the prevention of colds. Perhaps that's why cinnamon 'hearts' are so popular in February? (in addition to their festive shape)...just a thought!

Cinnamon has also been used in the treatment of Type II Diabetes and Insulin resistance. ... so never mind the comment regarding the candy hearts! 

Sprinkle a little on your morning breakfast to help with those afternoon crashes.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Re-thinking Seaweed...

Dulce, Kombu, Hijiki... there are so many different varieties of seaweed it can be difficult to differentiate between them! There is one common element, however, and that is how healthy they are for you!

Here's a quick and dirty list giving you the in's, out's and how to's of a few different types of seaweed:

Dulce: eat it straight from the package! tasty sea flavour (most obviously). packed with a slew of vitamins and minerals including iron, magnesium and beta-carotene to name a few.

Nori: sold as flat sheets. rich in iron, iodine and an excellent source of vitamin C. used in making sushi. maki roll anyone?

Kombu: sold as dried flat rectangular pieces. used to make the stock for miso soup. exceptionally rich in iodine. very often used in the treatment of thyroid conditions. excellent source of iron, magnesium and folate.

Hijiki: sold as dried, thin, coarse strips. slight bitter taste. excellent source of lignans (anti-cancer) soak the hijiki in water, soy sauce, ginger and a bit of sesame oil overnight to restore its juiciness. Then just put a pinch on your favourite rice bowl. tada! dinner!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Oils: Healthy choices!

Oils, Oils, Oils... 

They sure have a hard time being popular! Fattening, greasy, artery clogging....
The truth of the matter is, incorporating oils - the right oils - into your diet can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, can prevent cancer and even help assist in the assimilation of other nutrients in the body.
Although organic varieties don't add nutrition, per se, they do cut down on toxic chemicals and pesticides.
Here are a few of the top players:

Walnut Oil: 
Delicately roasted flavour to the oil but slightly more costly. Because it has a relatively short shelf life, keep it refrigerated to avoid it going rancid.
Walnuts contain omega 3's, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin E. 
Serve it cold or barely warmed.

Olive Oil: 
Yum! Extracted from the olive tree's fruit. Slight grassy flavour. Opt for virgin and extra virgin varieties which are mechanically extracted without chemicals or heat.
High in monounsaturated fats and antioxidant rich plant compounds. Lowers LDL cholesterol.
This oil works best in no-heat cooking. Remember, with any oil, if it smokes, the heat is too high!

Canola Oil:
Neutral taste and fairly heat tolerant.
High in unsaturated fat, canola oil also contains a fairly low saturated fat content.
This oil works best to cook with as well as in baking. 

Flaxseed Oil:
Rich, nutty tasting oil extracted from the flax plant.
Store in refrigerator to preserve flavour. 
Like walnut oil, flaxseed oil is a great source of ALA (Great for vegans or anyone who doesn't eat enough fish)
Flaxseed oil doesn't hold up to heat. Use it in pesto dishes or as a salad dressing!

Grape Seed Oil:
A byproduct of winemaking. Clean flavour. 
Grape-seed oil is high in Vitamin E and flavonoids, antioxidants that may help reduce the risk of stroke and coronary artery disease.
Look for organic varieties as some manufacturers often use harsh chemicals to extract it. 
It's ideal for sauteing because of its resistance to high heat.

Remember - since most oils are sensitive to heat and light - either refrigerate or store them in a cool dark place. 

Enjoy eating! 
In good health, 
Stacey Welton, ND

Surviving January's 'Deep Freeze'

With January's icy cold temperatures and seemingly endless dark days, it's hard get motivated to get up and go! 
Here are a few tips to help you get through the season - and begin the Spring healthier and more rejuvenated!

Tip #1: Hydrotherapy
A short spritz of cold... okay... cool, water at the end of your shower will help your body regulate its temperature and keep your internal warmth up during those cold mornings.

Tip #2: Eat a healthy, balanced diet
This means breakfast, lunch and dinner. Keep in mind healthy portion sizes. This means a palm sized portion of protein, 1/4 of your plate filled with whole grains, and the remaining half of your plate filled with vegetables. 

Tip #3: Get your rest
In the Winter especially, we need to make sure we get healthy rejuvenating sleep. 8 hours is key to maintaining health and energy.

Tip #4: Spoil yourself a little
Feeling down? Treat yourself to a massage or trip to the spa. Keep your spirits up and be sure to incorporate things you enjoy doing at least on a weekly basis.

Winter doesn't last forever, so try get out and enjoy it. You need 15 minutes a day of direct exposure to sun in order for your body to produce and absorb Vitamin D. Go for a long walk in the park or head to the ski hills and try to make the most of Winter! 

In good health, 
Stacey Welton, ND