Spirulized Vegetable Salad

Today I am sharing a recipe for a spirulized vegetables salad. This salad is simple because it requires no cooking, and very little prep, as well as being quite adaptable to different vegetables that you may have on hand. It also keeps well in the fridge for a few days both dressed and undressed. It can be a full meal, with some added protein on top ( grilled shrimp, fish, chicken, chickpeas, lentils), or a great side for a summer BBQ.

This salad is made from “spirulized” vegetables, which means that I used one of these nifty little machines.

Spirulizers are great, and definitely a fun kitchen tool that adds to creativity in the kitchen. I especially love using spirulizers when cooking with kids, as it is always a hit!

If you are new to spirulized vegetables, simply read the instructions that come with your spirulizer, and test it using a vegetable first. You can also use a julienne peeler, instead :)

 

SPIRULIZED VEGETABLE SALAD 

Ingredients:

1 beet

1 carrot

1 zucchini

red onion

1 avocado, sliced

handful chopped cilantro

2 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp olive oil

2 limes, juice of

1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp almond butter ( or peanut butter) 

Directions:

  1. Spirulize carrot, beet, zucchini + add to bowl.
  2. Add sliced red onions, cilantro and top with avocado.
  3. Add dressing ingredients to salad + mix.

*disclaimer* I do not advocate to include spirulized vegetables or “zoodles” instead of actual noodles/grains/”carbs”. Regular noodles are healthy too, this is simply a fun way to add more colour into your diet!

I hope you enjoy this recipe! If you try it out, let me know!

xo

-SG

Top 10 Farmers’ Markets in Toronto

Farmers’ market season is officially upon us! I love going to the farmers’ market, and over the past few years it has become a ritual of mine. It is also one of my favourite ways to shop. I personally love farmers’ markets because it is a way to connect with, and support local farmers as well as an opportunity to enjoy food that is better for the environment, healthier and often tastier.

Compiled below are my Top 10 Favourite Farmers Markets in Toronto!

1) THE STOP FARMERS’ MARKET 

The Stop Farmers’ Market | Wychwood Barns

Organizers: The Stop Community Food Centre

Address/Intersection: Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie St. , Christie + St. Claire

Day + Time: Saturdays, 8:00am-1:00pm

2) EVERGREEN BRICKWORKS FARMERS’ MARKET

Evergreen Brickworks Farmers’ Market

Organizers: Evergreen

Address/Intersection: 550 Bayview Ave.

Day + Time: Saturdays, 8:00am-1:00pm

3) SORAUREN FARMERS’ MARKET 

Sorauren Farmers’ Market

Organizers: West End Food Coop

Address/Intersection: 50 Wabash Ave. , Dundas + Lansdowne

Day + Time: Mondays, 3:00pm-7:00pm

4) DUFFERIN GROVE FARMERS’ MARKET

Dufferin Grove Organic Farmers’ Market

Organizers: Independent Farmers

Address/Intersection: Dufferin Grove Park, 875 Dufferin St., Dufferin + Bloor (south)

Day + Time: Thursdays, 3:00pm-7:00pm

5) TRINITY BELLWOODS FARMERS’ MARKET 

Trinity Bellwoods Farmers’ Market 

Organizers: Initiative of Friends of Trinity Bellwoods Park

Address/Intersection: Trinity Bellwoods Park, Dundas + Shaw (north west end of park)

Day + Time: Tuesdays, 3:00pm-7:00pm

6) ST. LAWRENCE FARMERS’ MARKET

St. Lawrence Market, Farmers’ Market 

Address/Intersection: St. Lawrence Market North Building, 93 Front St E, Front St. + Jarvis

Day + Time: Saturdays, 5:00am-3:00pm

7) LESLIEVILLE FARMERS MARKET

Leslieville Farmers’ Market 

Organizers: Independent

Address/Intersection: Jonathan Ashbridge Park, Queen + Woodward

Day + Time: Sundays 9:00am-2:00pm

8) CABBAGE TOWN FARMERS MARKET

Cabbage Town Farmers’ Market 

Organizers: A Seed by Seed Project

Address/Intersection: Riverdale Park West, Sumach St. + Winchester

Day + Time: Tuesdays, 3:00pm-7:00pm

9) JUNCTION FARMERS’ MARKET

Junction Farmers’ Market

Organizers: Independent/Community organized

Address/Intersection: 2960 Dundas St. West, Keele + Dundas West

Day + Time: Saturdays, 9:00am-1:00pm

10) MY MARKET 

My Market | Three locations

Address/Intersection/Day/Time

Bloor + Borden, Wednesdays, 3-7,

East Lynn Park, Thursdays 3-7

Liberty Village, Sundays 9-2

I hope this list inspires you to try out a new farmers’ market this summer.

Any other farmers’ markets in Toronto that you love? Let me know!

-SG

The Importance of Natural Cosmetics

Flowers - Sarah Goldstein Nutrition

Today’s post is all about the importance of using natural cosmetics, whenever possible. Although this may be old news for some, I am continually surprised with how many do not know the importance of natural cosmetics. In this post, I will go through the top 12 chemicals found in conventional cosmetics, with a brief note on the potential dangers of each one. I then added resources for further personal research, and helpful tips for how you can make the switch to natural care products an easier process.

From the David Suzuki website: “U.S. researchers report that one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone distributors.”
Chemicals accumulate in the body and these chemicals can have detrimental effects to our health. It is of upmost concern for those with specific health conditions such as PCOS, hypothyroidism or skin conditions, and particularly important for pregnant women. We also must consider the fact that most people have been using products with these chemicals for the majority of their lives, allowing the chemicals to accumulate over time.

Below, I included a list of the ‘Dirty Dozen’- the top 12 toxic chemicals found in most conventional personal care products. To dig deeper into the research, and for a more comprehensive explanation, you can download this file from the David Suzuki website.

THE DIRTY DOZEN (taken from davidsuzuki.com)

1. BHA and BHT: Found in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives. Both are suspected endocrine ( hormone) distributors and possible carcinogens. Both are harmful to fish and wildlife.
2. Coal Tar Dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as ‘CI’ followed by a 5 digit number. These are potential carcinogens and contaminated with heavy metals, which can be toxic to the brain.

3. DEA- related ingredients: Also look for MEA and TEA. These are used in creamy and foaming products like moisturizers and shampoo, and are a potential carcinogen.

4. Dibutyl Phthalate: Used as a plasticizer in nail care products. Potential endocrine (hormone) disrupter and reproductive toxicant.

5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives: Also look for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methanamine and quaternium-15. Used in a variety of cosmetics and releases small amounts of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

6. Parabens: A potential endocrine disrupter for both male and females and used as a preservative in a variety of cosmetic products.

7. Parfum or Fragrance: Some fragrance can trigger allergies and asthma, and some are linked to cancer and neurotoxicity.

8. PEG compounds: Used in cream based products, can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which can cause cancer.

9. Petroleum: Used in hair products, lip balms, lip sticks and moisturizer for shine and as a moisture barrier. Petroleum can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which may cause cancer.

10. Siloxanes: Look for “-siloxane” or “-methicone”. Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten, it is a suspected endocrine distruptor and reproductive toxicant.

11. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/ Sodium Laureth Sulfate: Used as a foaming agent in shampoo, cleansers, bubble bath and toothpaste. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. Look for

12. Triclosan: Used in antibacterial products like toothpaste, cleansers and antiperspirants, this chemical is a suspected endocrine distrupter and can contribute to antibiotic resistance in bacteria.


NEXT STEPS: 

1. Check your products to see if they contain any of the dirty dozen. Check your body wash, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, moisturizer, face wash and anything else you use.

2. You can also visit EWG’s Skin Deep database to check your specific product, and see how it rates for toxicity and why.

3. Start switching your products! You can switch your products out one-by-one, to limit the cost.

4. Find natural cosmetics that you love! Below I included a list of some of my favourite brands, as well as a list of natural beauty blogs for you to check reviews and see the opinion of others.

MY FAVOURITE NATURAL BEAUTY BRANDS:

Green Beaver

Meow Meow Tweet

Leaves of Trees 

Wild Craft

Graydon

Carina

Province Apothecary

MY FAVOURITE NATURAL BEAUTY BLOGS:

Now, everyone’s skin is different and I often find that popular reviews are not necessarily consistent with my own experiences with a product, but it is a good start!
Green Product Junkie

Let’s Talk About Green

Living Pretty, Naturally

Organic Beauty Blogger

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

David Suzuki Foundation

Environmental Working Group

Adria Vasil

 

As always, e-mail me with any questions, or to tell me about your favourite natural beauty brands or blogs!
– SG

THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF HERBS WITH LAUREN FROM WOODEN SPOON HERBS

Today I have a very special guest answering some questions about herbal medicine and herbal remedies. For anyone who works with me, you know this is a special area of interest, and herbal remedies are something I strongly believe in using as part of holistic care. I recommend herbs to most of my clients, and it is great to see many herbs are backed by science and have evidence to support what traditional and holistic practitioners have been advocating for, for a long time.

Herbs have many uses and include but not limited to helping with stress, mood, immune, allergies, headaches, migraines, menstrual cramps, digestion, PMS, sleep, energy and skin health.

Lauren Hayes is the incredible woman, and herbalist, behind Wooden Spoon Herbs. Wooden Spoon Herbs is a boutique herbal medicine line based in northwest Georgia. This line is focused on bioregional ingredients and founded on the principal that plants gathered and processed by hand are more beautiful, flavorful and medicinally potent than any other. Lauren founded her company in 2014 and creates tinctures, salves, syrups, flower essences, bitters and luxury body care.

I found Lauren through Instagram and was immediately inspired and drawn to her philosophy and how connected she was to the land, and to her work. I started carrying Wooden Spoon Herbs at my clinic a few months ago, and everyone that has tried her products loves them and has found them so helpful! I am so happy to bring Wooden Spoon Herbs to Toronto, and that I have been able to connect with such an inspiring woman!

I asked Lauren some questions so that she can share her expertise in the area of herbal medicine. I hope you enjoy and learn more about this amazing field!

Q&A WITH LAUREN:

Firstly, what is Herbal Medicine?

Most often we think of herbal medicine as the use of plants to treat discomfort and maintain excellent health. I like to think of herbs as part of self care.

What do you do as a Herbalist? 

At this point in my herbal journey, I am focused on making high-quality herbal remedies to provide to the public through my company, Wooden Spoon Herbs. I harvest wild plants, work with small-scale herb farms, and source the best ingredients available for the most potent medicine. I work with only small-farm grown herbs, and try to stay true to what grows in my bioregion of the Southeast ( of America). I never want to feed into the fad herbs from far-off lands, when there is so much medicine surrounding me where where I live,. That is true for everyone, no matter where you are. Medicine and magic are all around.

In the future I hope to have time to work one-on-one with clients, and open up a small practice. I practice a tradition of herbalism spearheaded by Phyllis Light called Southern Folk Medicine, which is a kind of constitutional medicine much like Ayurveda or Traditional Chinese Medicine.

When did your love of herbal medicine begin?

My dive into the depths of herbal medicine began about five years ago, when I was 22. I was fermenting a lot, looking at backyard edibles to work with, when I started reading more and more that you could use these plants as medicines, too. I headed down the green path and never looked back. I still ferment and use natural dyes and love the utilitarianism of medicinal plants, but everything is tinted with shades of ” how is this plant affecting in my life” in all that I do.

What do you love about what you do?

I love being out in the woods. I love learning new things about new plants, especially ones that are right under my nose. I love seeing a plant really work for someone and I love when that blows both of our minds. I love befriending new plants. I love teaching people about the medicine chest below their feet, especially in weedy plants that they pull out of their garden beds.

Describe the process you take whens sourcing and making your products:

Sure! So I have a few lists that I have made for reference when I am sourcing/producing: one of the farms that I work with and what comes from each farm, and the other for what plants I have to work with from saids farms and from what grows wild around me. I also use a book Medicinal Plants of the Southern Appalachias by Patricia Howell, who is an amazing Herbalist.

Whatever new product I am making comes from half divine inspiration and half narrowing down what I have to work with. Formulation looks like breaking herbs down into their actions and seeing what is a good fit. I also tend to use safe and weedy herbs in my products, for sustainability purposes.

How can the use of herbs be used in a holistic healing regime?

Herbs are just part of a healthy lifestyle, that should include nutrient-dense foods, clean air and water, stress reduction, and exercise. Herbs can be a boost to all of these aspects and can totally help keep you on an even keel. For example, you can add mineral-rich nettle and dandelion root vinegars to your cooked greens to boost nutritional content, or use adaptogen herbs like ginseng and ashwaganda to improve energy and lessen stress. You can even use herbs for things like migraines and menstrual cramps.

Herbs

A DIY TINTURE RECIPE

A tincture is an alcohol extract of an herb. It is super easy to use, concentrated for maximum potency, and portable. One dropperful of tincture is equal to about three cups of an herbal tea. You can use 1:5 radio for dried herbs, or 1:2 ratio for fresh herbs, but below is a recipe for a “folk method” tincture, which is easiest to make and highly effective.

MAKING A TINCTURE THE FOLK METHOD WAY

Supplies needed: a pint mason jar, a sharp knife and cutting board, and some fresh herb- some good, easy and safe herbs to start with are sage, thyme, and dandelion. 

  1. Gather your herbs in the mid-morning after the dew has dried.
  2. Discard any parts that don’t look green and happy. Brown spots, spots too low to the ground.
  3. Chop the herbs finely and stuff into the mason jar.
  4. Cover with vodka and put a layer of parchment or wax paper between the tincture and the lid. Tighten the lid.
  5. Shake your tincture!
  6. Label your tincture with the herb, its Latin name, “folk method”, and where you harvested from, as well as any other information you want to include. I promise you have to label it or else you will completely forget what’s going on in there.
  7. Keep the tincture in a cool dark place and shake it daily for two weeks, then steep it for another two weeks.
  8. Strain and bottle in an amber glass bottle to best preserve.

Ta-da! Now you’ve made a tincture!

 

Thank you Lauren for taking the time to answer these questions, and for offering such a nice recipe. To learn more about Lauren and what she does visit www.woodenspoonherbs.com

Overnight Oats – 3 Ways

Apple Spice Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are a great breakfast option for busy mornings. A nutritious choice, they are also easy to prepare the night before and assemble quickly in the morning.

Oats are a great source of soluble fibre, which is helpful at balancing blood sugar levels and great for digestive health. Oats are also a good source b vitamins, which help to manage stress, calm the nervous system and increase energy levels. Topping overnight oats, or oatmeal, with a source of protein and healthy fat is also important for stabilizing blood sugar levels throughout the morning and to maintain a balanced energy. I love topping oatmeal with a combination of nuts and seeds, as you will see below :)

OVERNIGHT OATS – A HOW-TO:

Ingredients:

1 Part Oats

2 Parts Coconut Milk * Or any other plant based milk

For reference, a single serving is about 1/4 cup –  1/2 cup raw oats with 1/2-1 cup milk, depending on how hungry you are in the morning.

Directions:

  1. Add oats and milk in a container. Mix together. Place in the fridge.
  2. In the morning mix together. Add toppings of choice. See below for options!

Chocolate Peanut Butter 

Add 1 spoonful of peanut butter + 1 tsp cacao powder + 1 tsp hemp hearts + 1 tsp chia seeds, 1/2 sliced banana + maple syrup to taste.

Apple Spice

Add 1 handful walnuts + 1/4 sliced apple + 1 tsp cinnamon + 1 tsp chia seeds + maple syrup to taste.

Coconut Blueberry

Add handful coconut flakes + handful berries ( fresh or frozen) + 1 tsp hemp hearts + 1 tsp chia seeds + 1/4 tsp vanilla + maple syrup to taste.

Overnight Oats

TIP #1: You can prepare the overnight outs without the toppings a few nights in advance, so that you can have breakfast planned ahead for a good few days!

TIP #2: If you need more protein in the morning, you can add a scoop or 1/2 a scoop of protein powder to milk before you add it to the oats at night. My favourites are Garden of Life, Genuine Health and Sunwarrior plant-based protein powders.

I hope you enjoy these three combinations. Let me know if you try them, or if you have any other favourite combos!

xo SG

Health Food Store Round Up / Toronto

In today’s post I wanted to do a simple round up of health food stores in and around Toronto. This is something that my clients often find useful, especially if they are new to shopping at a health food store. I hope this is helpful and that you can find a store near you!

Noah’s Natural Foods
This family owned health food store is where I worked for many years. Locations in the Annex, Yonge and Bloor, Thornhill and King West. A great bulk section, vitamin section and natural body care section. Some locations carry more produce than others. I am bias, but the staff is also amazing :)

Evergreen
Located in my current residing neighbourhood St. Claire and Bathurst, this is another small family run health food store. No produce, but a good bulk section, vitamin section and pretty good prices!

Herbs and Nutrition
An annex health food store, with a great selection of stuff. The price is also right, and I love shopping here myself.

The Sweet Potato
This health food store in the Junction, contains a great range of grocery items, bulk items and has a good organic vegetable section.

4 life natural foods

The Big Carrot
This is definitely a Toronto institution and the closest health food store to my new office location ( for those that want to go shopping after an appointment with me!) :)

Moberly Natural Foods
Another great east end health food store.

4 Life Natural Foods
This is one of my favourite health food stores, located in Kensington Market. It is large and has great produce, as well as other healthy grocery items.

West End Food Co-op
Located in the west end, this is a nice and bright store with a good range of products.

Healthy organic food

Ambrosia
Located both in Thornhill and Vaughan, these are beautiful large stores with a large range of items including a good produce section.

Healthy Planet
There are many Healthy Planet locations around the GTA, and a good store for those not living or working in the heart of Toronto.

Top 5 Gift Ideas (for the nutrition nerd)

Today I am sharing some gift ideas for that person in your life who loves all things wellness + nutrition. I personally love gift guides and I also get asked for gift ideas by those looking to buy a present for someone who is interested in nutrition. So, I thought I would write a blog post outlining some of my faves!

Here are my top 5 gift ideas:

Nutrition Books

Is gut health their thing? What about general healthy living? Nutrition books are often a good choice. Here are some good ones (definitely more on the nerdy side)

How Not to Die by Michael Greger
The Gut Balance Revolution by Gerrard E Mullin
The Allergy Solution by Leo Galland
The Whole Heart Solution by Joel Kahn
Brain Maker BY Dr. David Perlmutter
A Mind of Your Own Dr. Kelly Brogan

Healthy Cookbooks

You don’t have to be a nutrition nerd to love healthy whole foods. You can find healthy cookbooks abundantly, which makes me very happy. Some great cookbooks include: 

My New Roots by Sarah Britton
Oh She Glows by Angela Liddon
Small Victories by Julia Turshen and Ina Garten
At Home in the Whole Food Kitchen by Amy Chaplin
26 Grains by Alex Hely-Hutchison
Everyday Super Food By Jamie Oliver 

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Organic Delivery Service

I think a vegetable delivery service or CSA is a really great present. I have bought these for meany health-focused friends and family members in the past. In Toronto you can choose from Fresh City Farms, Mama Earth Organics, Organic Live and local CSA’s.

Gift Certificates

A gift certificate for a healthy cooking class, health food store, healthy restaurant or a nutrition service, all make great gifts. Some options that I know of are Whole Foods, Noah’s Natural Foods, The Big Carrot, Doug Mcnish’s Public Kitchen and most healthy restaurants. You can also buy a certificate for my nutrition services here.

A Speciality Curated Basket

You can either make this yourself with artisanal health food products, or you can go through a basket delivery service. In Toronto, Jule’s Baskets offers carefully curated health-focused gift boxes, which are sure to please!

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I hope you enjoy this list of ideas for holiday gifts! Please let me know what you think, and let me know if you buy your loved ones any of these options!

-SG

Top 5 Nutrients for a Healthy Pregnancy

Today’s post will be discussing some very important nutrients for a healthy pregnancy. I hope you enjoy learning about these top 5 nutrients and the reason why they are all important to include throughout your pregnancy + beyond!

The Top 5 Nutrients for Pregnancy:

Folic Acid: Folic acid is critical for the development of a growing fetus as it is an essential nutrient for brain and spinal cord development. Specific to pregnancy, folic acid can help to prevent neural tube defects of the cord such as spina bifida. Neural tubes defects occur at a very early stage of development, which is why it is so important to have sufficient amounts of folic acid as early as possible. Foods high in folic acid are leafy greens (think: kale, swiss chard, collard greens, spinach, bok choy, asparagus, broccoli etc.), beans, legumes and whole grains. You can also opt for a supplement, under the advisement of a health care practitioner.
 

Iron: Iron is a crucial mineral found in the body and is necessary to make hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells that carry oxygen to other cells in the body. It is also an important part of myglobin, a protein that supplies oxygen to muscles. As well, iron is used to make enzymes in the body, and is an important part of the immune system. During pregnancy, a woman’s blood increases to almost 50 %, which naturally increases the amount of iron necessary (the more blood you have in the body, the more hemoglobin you need).  Sufficient iron is also associated with reducing preterm and low birth weight. Foods that are high in iron are red meat, seafood, beans, dark leafy green vegetables ( same as above) and dried apricots. Supplementing with iron may also be recommended.

Calcium: Calcium is another essential mineral for a healthy pregnancy, as it is important to help with the development of strong bones. A growing fetus will accumulate about 30 g of calcium during pregnancy, mostly in the third trimester.  A sufficient amount of calcium-rich foods are great to consume throughout the first and second trimester, while I usually recommend my clients try a supplement for the third trimester. Vitamin D and magnesium are both crucial for the absorption of calcium so they must be included, as well. Calcium rich foods include sesame seeds, dark leafy greens and plain yogurt. 

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Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Omega 3 fatty acids include two types, EPA and DHA. Both are important for pregnancy, but DHA has significant benefit to a growing fetus and pregnant women. Omega 3 fatty acids are critical for brain development, retina development and cognitive function. Sufficient amounts of omega 3 fatty acids can also reduce “baby brain” and improve memory and mental acuity throughout pregnancy. Lastly, they may also reduce the risk of postpartum depression. An omega 3 fatty acid supplement, high in DHA, is typically advised throughout pregnancy, the specific dosage depends on your dietary intake. Foods that are high in omega 3 fatty acids are oily fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring), flax seeds, chia seeds seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, flax oil and hemp oil.

Probiotics: Ensuring healthy gut bacteria is another important part of a healthy pregnancy. Healthy gut bacteria is linked to so many health concerns such as immune health, mental health and more. During pregnancy, probiotics can be helpful to boost the immune system, help with digestion, ensure proper absorption of nutrients through food and supplementation and can even reduce the risk of allergies in new born babies. Probiotic rich foods include plain yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi or any fermented vegetable, tempeh and miso. 

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As always, this advice is general and it is always advised to seek the help of a health care practitioner throughout your pregnancy.

If you are looking for a nutrition coach to guide you through your pregnancy, please do not hesitate to reach out. In my Baby & Me package we cover everything from the importance of frequent meals, nutrient dense food options, healthy snacks, morning sickness, blood sugar management, safe supplementation, breast feeding/healthy formulas feeding, easy meals for new moms and more! I take your specific health history into consideration and design a program for you, based on your specific needs and goals throughout this exciting time! 

I also created a mini recipe booklet for some extra yummy goodness! Check it out and let me know if you try any of the recipes! 

SG

Party Dips – Two Ways

Hello all!

Today I am sharing healthy dip recipes. I have two options; one is vegan and the other is bean-free and suitable for paleo and SCD diets. These dips are a great appetizer, and also a perfect snack to have on hand for the week. Both are full of fibre, healthy fats and protein. I hope you enjoy!

DIPS 3

Bean Dip

This dip is very simple and versatile. You can use whatever bean you have on hand, and add whatever spices you feel like.

Ingredients:

2 cups white beans ( or any bean of choice)
3 tbsp olive oil + more to drizzle on top
Juice of one lemon
1 clove garlic
Salt & pepper to taste
Spices: For this recipe I used Zaatar, turmeric, hot pepper

Directions:

Blend all ingredients together in blender or food processor.

 

DIPS 1

Beet Muhammara

This is a wonderful dip that contains the added health benefit of beets. This dip is perfect for those who follow the paleo or SCD diet.

Ingredients:

1.5 cups walnuts
1 large red beet, roasted
Juice of one lemon
1 clove garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili flakes
1 tsp curry powder *optional
1 tbsp raw honey
3 tbsp olive oil

Directions:

Blend all ingredients together in a blender or food processor.

Almond Butterfly Cafe/ Toronto

Today’s blog post is about the cute Almond Butterfly, an all natural and 100% gluten-free bake shop and cafe located in the heart of Harbord Village.

Almond Butterfly is located right around the corner of my office and it has became an easy favourite. I often grab lunch, a snack and coffee. Everything is so delicious and made with healthy, whole ingredients. 

The cafe is a great place to sit down with friends or enjoy a quick lunch. The space is small and cozy, but offers bar seating and a communal rustic table seating- a perfect combination of modern and rustic decor.

ALMOND BUTTERFLY 5

Almond Butterfly specializes in gluten-free goodies, however they offer a lot of dairy-free, vegan and paleo friendly options. They have a large selection of cupcakes, brownies, cookies, muffins, biscuits and date squares. They also have a great selection of savoury breakfast and lunch items including their amazing gluten-free bagel!  The products are made with unique flour blends, specially formulated for each product. You would not be able to tell that any of the products are gluten-free, which is what they strive to achieve according to co-owner Melody. I love any place that offers those on a seemingly restrictive diet to indulge and eat delicious food. Almond Butterfly has something for everyone, which makes healthy eating in Toronto so easy!

The cafe opened their Toronto doors in June 2014, after establishing a Montreal-based business in 2011. Melody originally operated Almond Butterfly out of her home kitchen in Montreal, offering products online, to the crossfit community and wholesale to cafe customers. After establishing a well-loved following, Melody joined forces with her partner David and moved her home-based operation from Montreal and expanded into the vibrant food market here in Toronto. Together, David brought his corporate background and Melody her background working in the food and beverage industry to open a food business that would allow both to excel at what they do best. So far, it is working!

ALMOND BUTTERFLY 2

Since opening, they have gained a loyal clientele and expanding community. Both Melody and David, with their staff, love to interact with their customers daily. 

When asking Melody her favourite part of owning and operating Almond Butterfly she answered that she loves the creativity of creating new products, having fun with the staff and absolutely loves chatting with regular customers. From a customer perspective, this passion infiltrates the shop and creates a warm, inviting space.

So, what is the first thing you should try? I personally love the veggie bagel, all cookies and cupcakes. Other customer favourites include the chocolate espresso cupcake, chocolate chunk cookies, breakfast cookies, paleo lava cake, GFT sandwhich, the breakfast sandwich and their Americano. As for staff favourites? They love the cheese biscuits, cupcakes and dairy-free pumpkin pie. All sound great to me!

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To stay updated on all happenings at Almond Butterfly and to see what is happening next (including lots of new delicious products) follow their Instagram and Facebook

If you have not already, Almond Butterfly is a place you must try next time you are Out&About in Toronto.

-SG

Special thanks to Melody for the interview and all photos are curtesy of Almond Butterfly.