One of the best things about Toronto is the food scene. I love checking out new places and trying new trends. The healthy food scene is great, and there are many great options for grabbing healthy lunch. Today, I am focusing on the Financial District in Toronto , and all of the healthy lunch spots with some of my favourite dishes!
Top 5 Healthy Lunch Spots in the Financial District, Toronto
Kupfert and Kim
Kupfert and Kim is wheatless, meatless and totally delicious. From colourful smoothie bowls, to blissful salads, this place has it all. What makes Kupfert and Kim different, is that they really work hard to make sure that all of the produce they use are fresh and follow the Dirty Dozen, Clean Fifteen chart. All of their meals are filled with good fats, protein, complex carbs, fibre and load of nutrients- meaning it will keep you feeling satiated and ready to take on the rest of the day. Plus, you can get kombucha on tap! Who doesn’t love that? If you check out this place, I highly recommend the Oaxaca bowl!
Crave Healthy Habits
If you haven’t been to Crave Healthy Habits yet, I strongly recommend you make this your next lunch stop. At Crave Healthy Habits, you can choose from culturally cool or steamed lunch boxed, which are both just as nutrient dense. This is the perfect spot for those super busy days at work. Place your order ahead of time, so you can pick it up and head straight to the office to enjoy a flavourful meal.
Flock Rotisserie + Greens
Why Flock Rotisserie + Greens? The salads here will even impress those who would never grab a salad as their main meal. With each bite, you can taste the quality and work that has been put into making this personal meal. This place is perfect for a quick grab and go, or lunch break with the coworkers. Naturally raised rotisserie, greens, nourishing soups and sweets- you can get it all in one modern stop. You can also customize your salads to be anything you crave.
Then there Hopscotch, another must for a weekly lunch spot. Hopscotch is a healthy restaurant that cares more about the way we eat. All produce is source locally and in season when possible. Hopscotch also cares deeply for the environment, making sure that all of their packaging is 100% recyclable or totally compostable. If you’re stopping by at this trendy spot, make sure to try out their Sweet Potato Zen. It’s pretty impossible not to love.
Freshii is another one of my favourite places to eat in the financial district. I love how you can customize your meals to whatever you want: Burrito, lettuce wrap, salad, smoothie, soup- to name a few. They’re protein is all grass fed and local when possible. What’s most impressive is how little energy they use to run the place and how everything that your meal comes in is completely biodegradable. Call in and order your meal in advance, and it’ll be just as fresh as you would expect when you pick it up.
*photos from Kupfert and Kim Facebook page + Freshii Facebook page
Let us know if you get the chance to try any of these places out!
What are your favourite healthy lunch spots in the financial district? Comment below and let us know!
Here is another post from my friend Kelly Boaz. Her latest post all about Emotional Eating was a great success and we received wonderful feedback. I wanted her to write more about this topic, so here she is for another post writing about why all food is good food!
All Food Is Good Food
When I was first recovering from anorexia, I would only eat food that I cooked. I wasn’t counting calories anymore, but I needed control over every ingredient I ate. It got to the point where I actually took my own food in Tupperware containers to Christmas dinner. While everyone else ate turkey and stuffing, I ate quinoa salad and chickpeas. Sure, I was eating enough, but I certainly wasn’t free. I had just traded anorexia for orthorexia – a preoccupation with healthy eating.
I know, I know – that doesn’t sound too bad. Doesn’t everyone want to eat healthier? But when healthy eating becomes an obsession, it can actually have the opposite effect.
Tell me if any of this sounds familiar:
“Oh, I’m so bad. I shouldn’t have had that second helping of mashed potatoes.”
“I’m having a cheat day today. Back to the diet tomorrow!”
“I’ve been so good all week. I think I’ve earned this piece of pie!”
These phrases all seem harmless enough. I mean, they’re commonplace enough. We hear them at work, at school, on the bus, and from the people we love. But when we talk like this, we’re turning food into something it was never meant to be – a religion.
When we use phrases like “clean eating”, we are creating moral connotations around food. If these foods over here are clean and pure and good and right, then those foods over there are dirty and tainted and bad and wrong. Then, by extension, we feel dirty and wrong when we eat those foods.
To avoid feeling that way, we start to build rules and ideologies around food, and segregate ourselves. Without even realizing it, we’re shaming those around us who don’t practice our new food religion, and shaming ourselves when we “fall off the wagon”. The stress caused by that shame is worse for us than any “unclean” food we could have eaten.
And then what happens? When we fall off the wagon, we fall HARD. Because we’ve been depriving ourselves of the (quite frankly DELICIOUS) “bad” foods for so long, we don’t just eat one cookie, we eat the whole box. Or, we eat far more of the “healthy” substitute than we would have eaten if we’d just had the damn cookie we wanted in the first place. We start to believe that we just can’t trust ourselves around food, because we’ve never learned to live in balance.
Look, there is nothing wrong with wanting to eat foods that make our bodies feel good. In fact, it’s an imperative for our survival. The problem comes when we sacrifice our mental health in the name of physical health. We can never be truly healthy if our mental health is suffering.
If you find yourself struggling to break the rules you’ve created around food, you may have developed an eating disorder without realizing it. Challenge yourself to grab a cookie at a local bakery where you DON’T know all the ingredients. And, as always, if you’re struggling, reach out for help. You don’t have to be a slave to your food rules forever.
Some food is good for our physical health, and some food is good for our mental health. All food is good food.
We hope everyone enjoyed the first edition of Monthly Nourish! Did anyone try any new recipes?
This month we are highlighting three new foods and providing you with loads of new recipe inspiration!
MONTHLY NOURISH | NOVEMBER
This leafy cruciferous vegetable is high in vitamins K, C, A and minerals like manganese and copper. This leafy green has extremely high antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits. There is an abundance of carotenoids and flavonoids found in kale, making it also anti-cancer as it strongly supports the detoxification system. Kale is also great for our cardiovascular system and skin health.
Kale is best enjoyed when it is washed, and massaged thoroughly for a few minutes. Add some apple cider vinegar and oil to the kale, and use it as a base for salads, or add it into your morning smoothie!
This deep red root vegetable should be an item to every grocery list! Beets are very high in the phytonutrient, betalains, which aids in providing the body with a deep detoxification process. For this reason, beets are great for lowering inflammation and decreases free radicals in the body. Beets are high in vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, fibre, iron and especially folate. Beets can help to lower cholesterol, improve eye health, and decrease the growth of tumors in the digestive and reproductive systems.
You can add beets to your salads, soups, or even your smoothies! Steaming beets for under 15 minutes is also a good way to soften them up and still obtain nutrient quality. Add a little bit of honey for a sweet treat!
Fresh ginger is absolutely filled with amazing health benefits, making it a reputable super food. It is known for its highly anti-inflammatory properties, which can aid in the recovery of: nausea, gastrointestinal disturbances, osteoarthritis, poor circulation and so much more. A little bit each day goes a long way for this amazing herb.
If possible, fresh ginger is always better than the spice as it contain more nutrients and provides a greater benefit. Fresh ginger is available all year round, and you will only need the smallest amount to receive an abundant of health benefits. Grate a little bit of the ginger into warm water and add some lemon for a great tea.
We hope you enjoy our November Monthly Nourish and are inspired to include these foods regularly + try some new recipes! Let us know how you are including these three foods this month with the hashtag #monthlynourish.
– Jass + Sarah
Now that the weather’s getting cooler, we want to make sure we are nourishing our digestive system and immune system with “warming” foods, meaning foods that heat us up from the inside, instead of cool us down. If you aren’t ready to let go of your refreshing morning smoothie, you can add warming spices to help balance it out, and keep you on that smoothie kick!
Here are a few of my favourite ways to add more warmth into a smoothie!
Cinnamon is a great spice to use in your morning smoothie as it helps to balance blood glucose levels. This warming spice also has antioxidant properties, which help to increase immunity. Add half of a teaspoon to your smoothie, and you will be sure to love how complementing it tastes.
Another great fall friendly spice is ginger. This spice is great for things like supporting digestion all the way to boosting the metabolism. Ginger also brings heat to the body, so it is recommended in the wintry months to keep you from feeling cold. By adding just half a teaspoon of ginger to your smoothies, you can also increase the absorption of each nutrient already in the mix.
I’m sure by now, most of us have heard of turmeric lattes, and how delicious they taste. But, did you know that turmeric is also a super food? The amount of beneficial properties that turmeric has to offer is absolutely incredible. It is especially anti-inflammatory and a great antioxidant for boosting the immune system, making it a fall must-have.
If you haven’t tried making a smoothie with these ingredients, I high recommend it! You will fall for the perfect amount of warmth these spices provide.
Here’s a delicious autumn recipes if you’re thinking of giving all three a try:
Warming Autumn Smoothie
1 handful of spinach
1 tbps hemp hearts
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tbsp honey (optional)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp fresh ginger
1 cup water
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
- Add all ingredients into a high-speed blender and mix until desired consistency is achieved.
Feel free to add in any other ingredients like frozen fruit, nut butters, ground flax, etc.
Here is our compilation of 5 events happening in Toronto; a big health show, kombucha workshops, yoga + more!
- Whole Life Expo
Friday, November 3rd- Sunday, November 5th
2. Kombucha Making 101 Workshop with Rachel Molenda
Monday, November 6th
3. Exploring Your Ten Bodies Through Kundalini Yoga
Friday, November 10th
4. Soap for Your Skin Type + Soap Making Workshop
Saturday, November 11th + Sunday, November 12th
5. YTU Workshops
Saturday, November 18th
We hope you go Out&About to some healthy events in Toronto this month!
Just like diet and exercise, sleep plays a huge role in our health and it should never be overlooked. The health benefits of sleep are many; enhanced cognitive performance, improved energy, lower stress levels, rejuvenated skin, better immune functioning and balanced hormones.
When the body is not getting enough rest, less melatonin is being produced. Melatonin is produced at night, and is a crucial hormone for our overall health. A decrease in melatonin leads to a spike in cortisol ( a stress hormone). We do not want our cortisol spiking at night, as this leads to a less restful sleep. Elevated cortisol overtime leads to an increase in blood sugar levels, which then demands more insulin, creating a vicious cycle often leading to carbohydrate and sugar cravings during the day. Elevated cortisol levels over time also means feeling more stressed, higher rate of inflammation in the body and can contribute to lower cognitive function and performance.
Poor sleep also activates ghrelin production, a hormone that sends a signal to your brain that it is time to eat, and this naturally lowers the efficacy of leptin, the hormone that tells your brain you are full. As a result your hunger/fullness signals can be out of whack. Again, this can lead to sugar and carbohydrate cravings. Sugar cravings are not bad in and of themselves, however can lead to further blood sugar spikes, which can contribute to elevated cortisol.
Sleep increases our white blood cell count ( fighter cells) and studies show that just one night of less than 5 hours of sleep decreases the amount of natural killer cells ( important immune cells) in the body by 70%. We also know that we need sleep for the natural rejuvenation of our cells to help with healing, and with skin regeneration.
If you have a hard time falling asleep, there are a few simple things that you can do to relax your body and prepare for a more peaceful sleep:
TOP 5 LIFESTYLE TIPS FOR BETTER SLEEP
Essential oils are an easy, yet powerful way to get a restful sleep. As soon as the nose is triggered by a scent, it travels to many parts of the brain, which have the control over our emotions and memory. The limbic system and amygdala control the nervous system, which is where we can experience this calming effect from the essential oil. Lavender is a great oil to add to the collection, if you are looking for something to help relax you before bed. The scent is well known for its calming effects on the body. By adding just a drop or two to your pillow, you can find yourself slowly feeling more at peace before you fall asleep. We like Divide Essence, Saje, Vitruvi and Living Libations.
You may have never thought about this affecting your sleep, but what you wear to bed can also have an impact on how well you rest. When choosing the right pair of pajamas, look for something that is going to be comfortable: loose, little detail, and a fabric that is right for you. Sleeping bare is also shown to increase restfulness, and it can actually provide health benefits. When the body gets overheated, it decreases the amount of melatonin produced, so sleeping bare, or in light clothing will help to increase melatonin production.
There’s a reason why eye masks exist! Sleeping in a pitch-black room, using blackout curtains or sleeping with an eye mask shows great benefits to overall sleep quality. The darker the room, the more melatonin we can produce.
Limiting Blue Light + Electronics
The light that we are exposed to through electronics, also known as blue light, has been shown to cause a disruption to our circadian rhythm. Blue light lowers our natural production of melatonin and increases cortisol and ghrelin. These two hormones keep us awake and as we already learned, keep us hungry. In a light-free scenario, the opposite effect would happen. Putting your phone away at least one hour before bed, and making sure you are sleeping in the dark will help to improve your sleep.
Routine + Sleep Schedule
Along with going to sleep in a dark room, a bed-time routine also shows to have a greater impact on a deeper sleep. One-hour prior to sleep, turn off your electronics and put aside the work. Use this hour as a way to de-stress, and get ready for a good nights rest. Some ideas may be to drink a cup of tea, put essential oils on your bed, practice a breathing technique, or meditate. We are also big fans of apps like Headspace, Sleep Breath and The Five Minute Journal. A bedtime routine can be a struggle, and I know that this is something we both try to work on.
Our hormones love routine, and establishing a consistent sleep schedule, that is going to bed and waking up at the same time, is beneficial for maximum melatonin production.
We hope you enjoy our tips for a healthier sleep!
Comment below your healthiest sleep habits, and ways that you relax before bed!
I am so excited to start a new series on my blog- Monthly Nourish. Each month I am going to highlight three new foods to try or to incorporate more consciously into your day-to-day. I will discuss the nutritional benefits of each food, while sharing accompanying recipes.
This series stems from the idea that including healthy food into your diet does not have to be daunting, or completely overwhelming. Health is not all-or-nothing, and it is definitely not a destination. You can slowly try new things and experiment with recipes to naturally and gradually change your habits.
I feel this is a lighter and more approachable way to enhance wellbeing, and I hope you enjoy this series!
So, each month check Monthly Nourish and join me in incorporating new foods and trying out some new delicious recipes along the way!
MONTHLY NOURISH | OCTOBER
1. Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds have numerous health benefits that range from stabilizing blood sugar levels, decreasing menopausal symptoms, increasing cardiovascular health and improving sleep. These little seeds are a great source of omega 3, as well as magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese, phosphorus, tryptophan and more.Add raw, unshelled pumpkin seeds into your smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, or simply enjoy them on their own.
Recipe: Try this nourishing porridge from The Glow Within.
This potent antioxidant and anti inflammatory fruit is perfect for the new month ahead! Cranberries have been shown to lower the risk of urinary tract infections, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancers. This deliciously tart fruit is high in vitamin C, manganese and fibre, making it ideal for improving immunity, digestion and liver function.
The cranberries season start on Labour Day and only up until the end of October, so get these fresh while you can! Add them to yogurt, a fruit salad, make cranberry sauce or eat them raw.
Recipe: Try this recipe for Skillet Cranberry Roasted Chicken from Half Baked Harvest.
Maybe it wasn’t your favourite vegetable growing up, but this cruciferous green doesn’t get its healthy reputation from just anywhere. Broccoli is a great source of non-dairy calcium, vitamin K, vitamin C and so much more. It is known for it’s possible improvements for bone health, skin health and immunity. Broccoli is also a great green for detoxification, and especially for the liver.
Add this vegetable to your meals in its raw form or have it as a snack with some fresh hummus. You can steam or roast broccoli, while also add it to stir-fry, curry, pasta or as a side to a chicken dinner.
Recipe: Try this creamy broccoli soup from Dishing Up The Dirt.
Today’s recipe is a seasonally inspired, pre- workout, energizing smoothie. This smoothie contains beets, which not only is a seasonally fall food, but quite a nutritious vegetable that can be beneficial to enjoy before a workout!
The Health Benefit of Beets
Beets are notably high in nitrates, which naturally convert to nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide widens blood vessels and affects how efficiently our cells use oxygen. This can be helpful to improve blood flow and oxygen flow, specifically to our muscles, which may improve endurance and performance. Beets are also high in betaine, which is an amino acid that may be helpful a lowering C reactive protein (a marker for inflammation in the body), and may specifically help to improve sports performance. Including beets in your diet can be very helpful, and enjoying them in your smoothie may give you an extra bit of zest during your next run or workout!
Energizing Beet Smoothie
1 small beet
1/2 cup berries of choice
1 cup plant milk, almond milk or coconut milk + more to taste
2 tbsp hemp hearts
- Add all ingredients together in a blender. Blend and enjoy!
I hope you enjy this smoothie recipe! It is a bit earthy tasting, but when blending it with enough milk I find it to be very enjoyable. Let me know if you try it out, and if you notice a difference in your workouts!
As part of this Out&About section, I want to include monthly health-focused or health- promoting events in and around Toronto!
Here are some selected events for this upcoming month!
1. Free Meditation Class
766 College Street ( College + Shaw)
Monday, October 2, 7-8p
Monday, October 16, 7-8p
Monday, Oct 23 , 7-8p
Monday, Oct 30, 7-8p
2. Compassion Circle 2.0
Weekly group meditation and discussion through CAMH Spiritual Care Services. Safe + non-judgemental space.
Monday, October 2, 7-9p
Monday, October 16, 7-9p
Monday, Oct 23 , 7-9p
Monday, Oct 30, 7-9p
More Information or contact Sumeet Saini Sumeetsaini07@gmail.com
3. Backyard Forging and Wild Cocktails
A surprising number of garden plants can feed both body and soul. Ellen Zachos will stir up your interest in harvesting and preparing common garden plants and teach you how to wow your friends with dirty daylily martinis, rose hip soup and many other delicious treats.
Thursday, Oct 12, 5:30-9p
Cost: $15 for public + $5 cocktails
4. Bump to Baby Show
An all-natural baby show for the whole family!
Saturday, Oct 21, 9:30a-3:30p
Cost: $5 in advance or $10 at door
5. Food For Action, Charity Dinner
Charity dinner for Action Against Hunger.
George Brown Culinary School, 300 Adelaide
Wednesday, Oct 25, 6-9p
Cost: Starts at $49.99
I hope you make it out some healthy events this October, and maybe I will see you there!
If you have a healthy event you would like to share, e-mail me and I can add it to the list!
Today I have a special guest post by fellow Toronto Nutritionist and friend, Kelly Boaz. Kelly specializes in eating disorders and is a wealth of knowledge. I love reading her blog and learning from her, especially when it comes to eating disorders and food freedom. Kelly, take it away!
Nearly every article I come across on emotional eating is titled something like “X Ways to Stop Emotional Eating FOR GOOD!” I mean, why wouldn’t it be? Emotional eating is a problem, isn’t it? That’s what I was always taught. I’m gonna guess you were taught much the same thing. But what if emotional eating isn’t a problem? What if it’s actually a tool we can use to our benefit? If you’re giving me side eye right now, stay with me. Let’s take it back to the beginning.
Where Emotional Eating Comes From
For every one of us, emotional eating begins at birth. Think about it: you’re born, you cry, and somebody sticks a boob or a bottle in your mouth. We’re immediately taught that expression of emotion gets our needs met, whether that be a diaper change, cuddles, or food.
As we grow up, we’re indoctrinated into a society where food is a part of everything we do. It’s a treat we get when we’re good, it’s the centre of all our holiday celebrations, it brings family together and, yes, it comforts us when we’re sad.
It’s not til we’re older that we begin to question this. As we become aware of how food can affect our bodies, we begin to fear it. It’s no coincidence that the mantra of dieters is, “FOOD IS JUST FUEL”. This (completely incorrect) statement immediately cuts us off – from social events, from family, and from our own needs. It goes against our very nature – to seek connection, to be a part of “the tribe”. And, not surprisingly, that isolation creates some pretty strong emotions in us – emotions we were taught from birth to soothe with food.
Where Does That Leave Us?
So now we’re adults, desperately seeking control over our eating habits. We restrict all day, following a joyless meal plan, which makes us feel isolated and uninspired. Then, we spot something flashy in the cupboard – a brightly coloured package containing a food we’ve loved since childhood. The first bite takes us back to a time where we felt loved, safe, included, everything we’ve been denying ourselves. We learn to associate that food with all those emotions.
But then, we start to shame ourselves. (Yes shame, not guilt – guilt is for when you’ve done something wrong. Murder is something to feel guilty for, not food.) How could we have done that? We ate FOR PLEASURE!! How could we be so gluttonous? We vow to go back to chicken breasts and broccoli tomorrow, and the cycle repeats.
Only now, whenever we’re sad, or lonely, or feeling unloved, we reach for the bright and shiny food. Oh no. We’ve become the dreaded EMOTIONAL EATER!
And That’s Not A Bad Thing
Food was meant to be enjoyed. We associate it with all those wonderful feelings, and that’s not bad. The problem occurs when food is our ONLY source of joy. It’s the same with anything: if alcohol, or drugs, or sex, or food becomes our only way to comfort ourselves, then we have a problem. But, it’s a problem that can be fixed. The solution lies in getting comfortable with our emotional eating.
If we can learn to recognize the difference between physical and emotional hunger, we’ve got a powerful tool in our hands. For example:
You get home from a long day at work. Rather than start cooking dinner, you grab a bright, shiny bag of cookies. As you take that first bite, you feel the stress melt away. You pause: you’re feeling stressed, a little lonely, and very tired. You finish your cookie and you put the bag away. Your stress will only multiply if you have to cook tonight, so you order in a proper meal. You’re lonely because you’ve been buried in work, with no time for friends. You pick up the phone and chat with a friend, then tuck in for an early night in bed.
Now, not all emotions that come up will be so clearly identifiable and fixable, but the template remains the same: recognize the trigger, EAT THE DAMNED COOKIE (just not ALL the cookies), identify the emotions, and find ways to deal with them that don’t involve food.
Embracing emotional eating is an important step to healing our relationship with food. I know – it’s counterintuitive to everything we’ve been taught, but it’s true. So go out, actually enjoy your food, and rejoin your tribe. Your emotional AND your physical self will thank you.
After winning her 17-year battle with anorexia, Kelly Boaz turned her life’s focus to helping others do the same. Kelly is a Toronto-based Holistic Nutritionist (CNP), specializing in eating disorder recovery and food freedom. She is also a writer and speaker (TEDx, TDSB), raising eating disorder awareness, and helping people heal their relationship with food and their bodies. You can find out more about Kelly, or get in touch via her website, kellyboaz.com.