ginger molasses cookie smoothie

photo (2)After the birth of my daughter I was feeling all the feels; love, joy, excitement, a little nervous about keeping this tiny human alive… But from a physical perspective there’s only one word to describe how I was feeling: depleted. I experienced a long and complicated labour that ended with a Cesarean section. This meant that in addition to the new demands of breast feeding and caring for an infant I was also recovering from major abdominal surgery.

Once we were discharged from the hospital I knew that optimal nutrition was more important than ever before, particularly since I knew that sleep was going to be difficult to come by in the weeks ahead! While I was in hospital I was craving a ginger molasses cookie, so I set out to recreate the flavours of my favourite treat in a low sugar and high protein smoothie that would promote healing while being tasty enough to satisfy my craving. I made this creamy shake as soon as we got home, loading the blender with a few choice ingredients:

  • Protein: Our bodies need high quality sources of protein to build and repair tissue – this goes for after surgery or even an intense workout. I used my favourite protein powder to make sure I was getting 20g of good quality protein in this shake.
  • Molasses: Not only did this lend sweetness and a deep flavour to this shake, molasses is rich in minerals like iron, important for replenishing blood stores.
  • Tahini: Made from ground sesame seeds, tahini isn’t just for falafels. Like molasses, sesame seeds are a great source of iron, but also copper – another essential nutrient for tissue repair and maintaining blood volume.
  • Vitamin C: Collagen is found in the fibres of our body’s connective tissue and vitamin C is vital for its production. Studies show that supplementing with vitamin C after surgery can significantly accelerate wound healing.
  • Ginger: While a good chunk of ginger gave this shake the flavour I was craving, ginger contains anti-inflammatory compounds.

This shake isn’t just just for new mamas or someone recovering from surgery or illness – it’s a delicious treat loaded with nutrients that will make you feel good at any time.

Ginger Molasses Cookie Smoothie
Makes 1 large serving

1 banana
1 Tbsp tahini
1 Tbsp Blackstrap molasses
1 large handful spinach (about 1 cup)
1/2 inch chunk fresh ginger, or to taste
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground flax seeds
1 scoop protein powder
Vitamin C powder (optional)
1 cup almond milk
Handful ice

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.


My Favourite Podcasts

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I love podcasts. I’ve got a long list of must-listens that I download each week and I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting shows to add to my rotation. My favourites leave me feeling uplifted and inspired — in mind and spirit, as well as overall health and wellness. I wanted to share a few of my favourite podcasts with you here; two that will inspire your mind and three to improve your health!

HappierHappier with Gretchen Rubin
Given how much I loved The Happiness Project it’s no surprise that Gretchen Rubin’s new(ish) podcast is one of my current favourites. Each week she records the show with her sister Elizabeth Craft, sharing “practical, manageable advice about happiness and good habits.” This show is entertaining, candid and full of tips and tricks to make subtle changes to your life to make every day just a little bit better.

onepartpodcastOne Part Podcast
Last summer I was super stoked to learn that Jessica Murnane was launching a podcast of her own – not only do I love her blog, but her interview on The Lively Show was incredibly inspiring and really helped me to focus on changing my diet to improve my health. Well, she did not disappoint and now this podcast is what gets me out of bed on Thursday mornings! Each episode is like sharing an intimate conversation with some of the most inspiring and interesting people I’ve ever heard, with subjects touching on everything from mental health to motherhood, business to plant-based eating.

ultimatehealthlogoThe Ultimate Health Podcast 
This podcast comes with a little hometown pride as it’s produced by fellow Toronto-based health and wellness experts Marni Wasserman and Dr. Jesse Chappus. Each week Jesse and Marni sit down with interesting guests to chat every aspect of ultimate health from food to exercise, sleep to spirituality and everything in between. My favourite part of each episode is hearing about guests’ morning routines — like Jesse I love hearing about how successful people start their day!

nutritiondivalogoThe Nutrition Diva’s Quick & Dirty Tips for Eating Well and Feeling Fabulous
In contrast to The Ultimate Health Podcast, what I love about the Nutrition Diva’s podcast is the fact that it’s short and sweet, with a laser-focus on one specific topic or question from a listener. The show is described as sharing “simple, painless ways to upgrade your eating habits” which sounds great to me! I also appreciate that the Nutrition Diva includes lots of research in each of her podcasts. When it comes to this show I like to save a few episodes up to listen to all at once.

periodpartylogoThe Period Party 
Hormones and women’s health issues are one of my main areas of focus, likely in part because this is where so many of my own health challenges stemmed from. The Period Party podcast is an invaluable resource and I learned so much about rebalancing my own hormones after 13+ years on birth control and managing polycystic ovarian syndrome from this podcast. While there hasn’t been an episode published in awhile now there are tonnes of great episodes to listen to in the archives, perfect for binging!

What are your must-listen to podcasts? I’d love to hear your favourites as I am always looking to expand my podcast library!

iced mocha smoothie

iced mocha dandy blend smoothie

A quick Google search for “is coffee good for you” will bring back hundreds, if not thousands, of results summarizing studies extolling both the health benefits and risks of coffee consumption. Nutrition science can be confusing to say the least — recall that everything we eat both causes and prevents cancer — which is why I think it’s most important that we check in with own selves and health to determine whether or not something is “good” for us.

While I’ve fortunately never been the type of person that needed a cup of java to rev my engine in the morning, there have been periods in my life where I have fallen into the habit of picking up a daily coffee. But it’s never long before I start to feel the side-effects: heightened anxiety, trouble falling and staying asleep at night, and just a general feeling of being stimulated. I do love coffee but now I try to limit my  consumption to the weekends when I can really enjoy a cup of the good stuff from a local roaster.

Regardless of any antioxidant benefits it might provide, coffee is a stimulant which means that it has the capacity to wreak havoc on our nervous system, blood sugar regulation and production of hormones like cortisol (an integral part of our stress response) and insulin. You might want to check in and see how you’re feeling these days — do you need that coffee to get started in the morning? Having trouble sleeping at night? Experiencing energy fluctuations throughout the day? Then it might be time to reconsider that one- or three- or five-a-day coffee habit.

A great alternative to coffee is Dandy Blend — a roasted herbal powder made from chicory, dandelion and beets. It has the rich flavour of coffee but it’s caffeine free, packed with minerals and can help to support the liver. My favourite way to enjoy it is with raw cacao for a mocha flavour, either as a latte or when it’s hot like it’s been in Toronto lately, this smoothie.

iced mocha dandy blend smoothie


1 banana (preferably frozen)
3 Tbsp hemp seeds
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 heaping Tbsp Dandy Blend
1 Tbsp raw cacao
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp maple syrup
1 cup vanilla almond milk (or use plain + 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract)
Handful of ice

Method: Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.


Biting off more than you can chew?

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I have a confession to make. When I sat down to write the healthy habits I presented in my recent Optimize Your Digestion workshop I realized that I too had been slacking on a few of them – particularly the habit that topped the list: CHEWING!

While it seems obvious that we need to chew our food, the fact of the matter is many of us aren’t doing as much chewing as we should be. When life gets busy finding even just a few minutes to eat can feel like a triumph and the thought of taking a full hour break to relax, enjoy and savour our food seems like a luxury. But how you eat is just as important as what you are eating, especially when it comes to chewing.

Digestion begins in our mouths. When we take a bite of food we use our teeth to mechanically break it down into smaller parts. The saliva produced by our salivary glands acts as a solvent and enzymes are released to start breaking down carbohydrates. Swallowing large chunks of food means more work for our stomach, which will need to do more churning, and use more stomach acid and enzymes to digest before moving the food along to our small intestines. Not chewing our food completely could mean low stomach acid, depleted enzymes, developing allergies and nutrient malabsorption… just to name a few side effects.

The good news is we all learned how to chew when we were little, so it’s an easy habit to improve upon! The trick is bringing a little mindfulness to how much we are chewing each bite. Here are a few tips that you can employ the next time you eat that will help you chew and instantly improve your digestion!

Sit down to eat: Even if it’s just 10 minutes, taking dedicated time to eat meals and snacks free of distractions will allow you to pay attention to how you are eating. And no, sitting in the car doesn’t count!

Don’t bite off more than you can chew: Avoid shovelling food into your mouth; you don’t want to bite off so much your cheeks are puffed up like a chipmunk. If you feel like you have to push your food down with liquids, it’s a sure sign you’re taking in too much at one time and you need to chew that food more!

Put your fork down: Once the food is in your mouth, put that fork or spoon down!

Chew 40-50 times. That’s per bite, not meal! By the time you’re ready to swallow your food should be almost liquid.

If you didn’t get a chance to join me and Debra Black at our workshop, we’ll be running it again in Toronto this June! Sign up for my mailing list to make sure you don’t miss out on early bird registration.