Home » Blog

Summer on a Stick for Six

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Summer on a Stick for SixIt’s summertime and the livin’ (and cookin’) is easy!  Flavourful salads paired with grilled meats or fish are staples of my summer meals and perfect for entertaining (which I think I have forgotten how to do, it’s been so long).  Now that the pandemic is under better control and life is starting to return to some semblance of normalcy, you might be itching to have a few friends over.  So this Middle Eastern-inspired kabob menu serves six and can easily be scaled up or down.

For anyone who might be disappointed (given the title) that my menu doesn’t include a popsicle recipe, you may wish to try these Honey, Lime & Mint Popsicles.  Tasting like “a mojito on a stick, minus the booze”, they would be a sublime finale (pun intended)!  As always, I hope you enjoy these recipes and share them (and the food) with your family and friends!

To receive the recipes for Summer on a Stick for Six, sign up here.

Summer on a Stick for Six

Appetizer: Spiced Halloumi Kabobs (I may be developing a halloumi habit but the za’atar makes these extra special – read on for more about this Middle Eastern spice blend)

Main: Mango Chickpea Salad with Grilled Chicken Kabobs (this is a wonderful combo of fresh flavours, textures and temperatures; make extra lemon tahini dressing to use on salads and slaws all summer long)

Dessert: Fruit Kabobs (these are wonderful as is but you can fancy them up by drizzling with some dark chocolate or serving with a yogurt and honey dip; use any fruit you wish but I love fresh summer berries right now – read on below for why)

Join The Nutritional Reset community here to receive this month’s recipe collection today (as well as each month to come)!  

read more

Dishing It Up for July 2021

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Dishing It Up

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this month’s issue of Dishing It Up…

  • Unlocking the ‘gut microbiome’ – and its massive significance to our health
  • 17 Healthy No-Prep Recipes for the Days When You Just Can’t
  • Rethinking Your Post-COVID Relationship With Booze
  • Toss your expired sunscreen and opt for physical over chemical products, B.C. doctor says
  • 5-Minute Breathing Exercises Can Lower BP, Heart Attack Risk

read more

Make Calories Count Menu

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Make Calories Count MenuIn my last blog post, Rather Than Count Calories, Make Calories Count, I discussed how calories are not all created equal in their effects on your body.  Your body survives and thrives off the nutrients provided by your food.  That’s why it is so important to get as much nutrient bang for your calorie buck as you can – so your meals will optimize your health and energy.

In the same post, I linked to the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) to show how many popular foods stack up in terms of micronutrient density per calorie.  It is no surprise that the majority of the highest ranking foods are vegetables and fruits.  And dark leafy greens reign supreme.

But please don’t bog yourself down with all the numbers.  A simple way to ensure you get a full complement of micronutrients in your diet is to “eat the rainbow”, including dark leafy greens, daily.  Challenge yourself to consume as many colourful foods as you can each day.  My Make Calories Count Menu covers off red, orange, yellow, green, purple, brown and white.  Add some blueberries with breakfast and you are golden!  I hope you enjoy this technicolour menu and share it with your family and friends!

To receive the recipes in my Make Calories Count Menu, sign up here.

Make Calories Count Menu

Breakfast: Asian Veggie Omelet  (see below for the benefits of bok choy for breakfast)

Lunch: Mango, Edamame & Cabbage Salad with Peanut Sauce (full of flavour, colour and crunch, this salad is high in protein and fibre and keeps 3-4 days in the fridge)

Dinner: Kale Greek Salad with Steak (perfect on a sultry summer evening, the steak and red peppers can be grilled on the BBQ or roasted in the oven; use pre-washed, organic baby kale to save time if you wish)

Join The Nutritional Reset community here to receive this month’s recipe collection today (as well as each month to come)!  

read more

Rather Than Count Calories, Make Calories Count

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Don't Count Calories, Make Calories CountYou might not expect to hear this from a nutritionist, but I ask my clients not to count calories.  Why is that, you might wonder.  After all, isn’t consuming fewer calories than you expend the magic formula for weight loss?   Well, it isn’t quite that simple.  For one, it is very difficult to accurately measure the calories we consume and expend. But what’s more important is that counting calories puts the focus in the wrong place.  Because it isn’t so much the amount of calories in a food but what your body does with the food that counts.  And, in that respect, foods of equal calories are not necessarily equal.

Just as no two people are the same.  Two people eating exactly the same food will extract different caloric value from it.  This is due to the complex interaction between the food (and how it’s prepared or processed), the intricacies of our own body’s digestive system and processes and the composition of our gut microbes.  Even identical twins may metabolize the same foods somewhat differently, as their gut microbes may differ.  If all this intrigues you, you might enjoy reading this article.  So, rather than count calories, I’d rather focus on making calories count.

read more

Spring Into Summer Menu

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Spring Into Summer MenuI recently saw this posted on Instagram…
Whoever is making cheese commercials can save their money.  We’re buying cheese and we’re never going to stop buying cheese.

I had to laugh as, for a cheese lover like me, truer words were never spoken.  And one cheese I adore is halloumi, especially once the weather warms up.  There is something about crispy-gooey-salty pan-seared or grilled halloumi that speaks to me of summer.  Maybe because it hails from warm and sunny Cyprus.  So if you try only one thing from my menu, try the Halloumi & Quinoa Fattoush Salad (and read on for more about halloumi and a few other serving suggestions).

While it isn’t summer just yet, it has certainly felt like summer in Toronto this week.  And the May long weekend tends to be the opening act for the season.  So this menu celebrates the spring bounty of asparagus, cucumbers, mint and strawberries but has a decidedly summery, Mediterranean vibe.  Enjoy the recipes and your long weekend!

To receive the recipes in my Spring Into Summer Menu, sign up here.

Spring Into Summer Menu

Main Course: One Pan Lemon Shrimp & Asparagus (this can be done on the grill too, though I recommend a grill tray/basket and cooking off-heat to avoid flareups; keep an eye on the time as it may cook more quickly if you grill it and/or or use shrimp that has already been shelled)

Side Dish: Halloumi & Quinoa Fattoush Salad (this is great with the Lemon Shrimp & Asparagus but also makes a fabulous lunch on its own, especially if you add a little extra halloumi!)

Dessert: Strawberry Banana Ice Cream (this shows just how easy it is to make fruity-licious ice cream without any of the refined sugars and unappetizing thickeners, preservatives and food colouring so often found in store-bought ice cream)

Join The Nutritional Reset community here to receive this month’s recipe collection today (as well as each month to come)!  

read more

Dishing It Up for May – The Spring Has Sprung Edition

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Dishing It Up The Spring Has Sprung Edition

It feels like spring has finally sprung here in Toronto.  Temperatures are trending up, the sun is shining and blossoms and blooms adorn our trees and gardens with brilliant colour.  Above all, there’s a freshness and optimism in the air.

Likewise, I feel I’m finally emerging from hibernation too.  My energy is improving along with the weather and I’m super grateful to be out running after an injury-induced hiatus.  Also, I’ve had no added sugar or alcohol in my diet for nearly three weeks now, which has helped tremendously.  As has the wonderful company I’ve had in this over the past week with the folks in my I’m Sweet Enough 7-Day No Sugar Added Challenge.  Their camaraderie and humour has made climbing back up my sugary, slippery slope way more fun.

So I dedicate this edition of Dishing It Up to new friends, new beginnings and spring!

The Spring Has Sprung Edition

  • Bitter Tastes of Spring – Refreshing Greens from Dandelion to Radicchio
  • Early Risers: 6 Recipes With Spring Ingredients
  • Spring cleaning?  See Fewer People. Take Fewer Showers.
  • Make Your Mornings Magical
  • 7 Ways to Reinvigorate Your Spring Routine Using Traditional Chinese Medicine

read more

I’m Sweet Enough Menu

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail I'm Sweet Enough MenuI’ve been on a kick-sugar kick lately.  But you’ll know that, of course, from my two previous blog posts:

In fact, the recipes in this menu are from my I’m Sweet Enough 7-Day No Sugar Added Challenge (if you wish to join in, please sign up here before Friday April 30th).

By “no sugar”, I actually mean “no added sugar”.  Sugar that naturally occurs within whole foods is perfectly healthy.  And it often comes along with other healthy nutrients as well as fibre.  Berries are an excellent example.  They are brimming with health promoting phytonutrients, as well as fibre which slows their digestion and release of sugar into the blood.  But when we start mucking about by processing these foods and stripping out the fibre (in the case of fruit juice, in this example), we get into trouble.

read more

Join me for my I’m Sweet Enough 7-Day No Sugar Added Challenge

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Sliding Down a Sugary Slippery SlopeIf you read last week’s blog post, Sliding Down a Sugary, Slippery Slope, you’ll know that this is exactly what I have just done. Perhaps you have too. And you will also know why it is so important for your health to climb right back up.  To entice you to join me, I’ve created the I’m Sweet Enough 7-Day No Sugar Added Challenge.

I’m mounting my own expedition to do so by cutting out all added sugar for several weeks. But I’m looking for some company for the first week, which will be the most challenging.

read more

Sliding Down a Sugary, Slippery Slope

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Sliding Down a Sugary Slippery SlopeAre you sliding down a sugary, slippery slope?  You know the one I mean.  The one that begins innocently enough in the fall with a slice (or two) of Thanksgiving pecan or pumpkin pie and then a wee bit of Hallowe’en candy a few weeks later.  You gain momentum with heaping helpings of holiday treats followed by boxes of Valentine’s chocolate.  Before you know it, you’re gathering and gobbling the Easter bunny’s chocolate eggs (not to mention, if you love them as much as I do, hot cross buns).  Suddenly, you find yourself awash in sugar.  You have more of a sweet tooth than you used to and sugary treats have become a daily ritual, not just a holiday indulgence.

Does this sound familiar?  If so, you’ve just slid down a sugary, slippery slope.  I know I have.  Read on for more about how easy it is to do this and why you really, really want to climb back up.

And I hope you’ll join me for my I’m Sweet Enough 7-day No Sugar Added Challenge (more on this at the end of this post).

read more

Dishing It Up for March 2021 – The Afternoon Tea Edition

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Dishing it Up The Afternoon Tea Edition

I happen to be enjoying my afternoon cup of tea as I write this, which inspired me to create an Afternoon Tea Edition of Dishing It Up this month.  My afternoon tea ritual involves:

  • tea (obviously and always),
  • a treat (on occasion, though I seem to be finding more occasions as the pandemic wears on)
  • and usually some food porn (either in print or on video) to spark kitchen creativity.

Rarely, it evolves into an afternoon nap.  So, with my ritual as my guide, please sip, savour (and hopefully don’t snooze through) this Afternoon Tea Edition of Dishing It Up.

The Afternoon Tea Edition

  • Science Reveals Why Tea Is Good for Your Heart
  • Bake like it’s 1869 with Grainstorm
  • ‘Buttergate’ goes viral
  • Cook, Eat, Repeat
  • The science of siestas

read more