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Eat anything you want. Just cook it yourself.

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Eat Anything You Want Just Cook It YourselfHappy New Year! As holiday feasting has come to a close along with 2022, thoughts have likely turned toward New Year’s resolutions to be healthier and/or lose weight in 2023. The plethora of diets out there (Mediterranean, DASH, Paleo, Keto, Low FODMAP, Vegan, Low Carb-High Fat, Low Fat-High Carb, MIND, Weight Watchers and many more) can easily have you calorie counting, confused and stressing over micro-managing your macro-nutrients (“gee, how many grams of fat, protein and carbs should I eat?“).

So let’s cut straight to today’s pearl of dietary wisdom, expressed so eloquently by New York Times bestselling author Michael Pollan and captured succinctly in this 3-minute videoEat anything you want. Just cook it yourself. Seriously, people overcomplicate matters. I promise you that this single step of cooking your own food will advance you leaps and bounds toward a healthier you.

And I want to help. Members of The Nutritional Reset community receive delicious, nutritious and simple recipes throughout the year to inspire home cooking. So if you aren’t already a member, sign up here for free. And then, go ahead and eat anything you want. Just cook it yourself. Read on for more about why this is so important and for my special offer: invite your friends to join The Nutritional Reset Community and I will send each of you my Big Batches for Buddies recipe collection to inspire you in the kitchen.

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Ring in the New Year with Dry January

Classic Virgin SangriaThis may seem oxymoronic on what is traditionally a heavy drinking day but one of the best ways to ring in a happy and healthy new year is to stop drinking alcohol, or certainly to drink less.  Personally, I find it easier to not drink at all than to stop at one.  So, to use an apt holiday metaphor, I advocate quitting cold turkey* with Dry January.

We are most successful at making change where we can objectively measure improvement.  Declaring “I will drink less this year” will, in all likelihood, achieve nothing.  But if you give yourself an explicit goal and commit to tracking your alcohol consumption to see how you stack up, you will vastly improve your odds of success.  This is where Dry January comes in.

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The Anti-Viral Anti-Anxiety Menu

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Anti-Viral, Anti-Anxiety MenuI had originally planned to post a “Put a Spring in Your Step Menu” next weekend to celebrate the official advent of spring March 19.  But with the spread of coronavirus and the stock market in free fall, it just didn’t seem appropriate.  It is hard not to be anxious in times like these. So I looked back at the article I posted in my most recent Dishing It Up blog post, Feeling Anxious About the Coronavirus and the Flu? Eat This and, instead, created this Anti-Viral Anti-Anxiety Menu from these foods.

I challenged myself to include all the recommended foods in a single day’s menu.  And I’m happy to report that I succeeded.  Well, sort of…instead of cherry juice I used whole cherries.  I’m guessing you weren’t expecting dark chocolate and cherries making an appearance at breakfast or blueberries and yogurt as dessert!

I hope you enjoy the recipes.  Remember to always wash your hands thoroughly before preparing food and before eating.  And please feel free to share this menu with your family and friends (while keeping two metres away from them for the time being).  Stay healthy and don’t forget to breathe – ideally outside in the fresh air!  Exercise is a great stress-reducer and it’s fantastic for lung health.  Sign up here to receive the recipes and see you in April!

Anti-Viral, Anti-Anxiety Menu

Breakfast:  Cherry Chocolate Buckwheat Porridge (chocolate contains theobromine, an immune-boosting antioxidant, and it makes me happy)

Lunch:  Slow Cooker Chicken Soup (the Greek physician Galen recommended chicken soup as a cure for fever, among other things, in the second century AD – read on about its immune boosting properties below; I always add a few handfuls of dark leafy greens to soup)

Afternoon Tonic:  Warm Citrus, Maple & Ginger Tonic (the throat-soothing honey in this drink may help with a cough and has anti-viral properties, as does the ginger)

Dinner: Coconut Chickpea Curry (this contains three foods from the list, including broccoli for vitamin C, ginger, and red onions – see below)

Dessert: Blueberry Almond Frozen Yogurt (this is super simple to make and elicits happy thoughts of warmer weather to come)

Join The Nutritional Reset community here to receive this month’s menu today (as well as each month to come)!  And read on for some nutritional tidbits about a few foods featured in the recipes…

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Under Pressure Menu

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Under Pressure MenuIn my last post, Top 10 Reasons to Love Your Leftovers, I blogged about how leftovers are the BFF of any busy person wanting to eat healthily.  A pressure cooker (or slow cooker for that matter) is an indispensable tool for the busy cook.  Why?  Because:

  • it’s fantastic for cooking big batches,
  • the recipes that work best in it are usually suitable for freezing,
  • it requires very little supervision while working it’s magic,
  • and the “delay start” and “keep warm” functions give you a lot of flexibility around preparation and serving times.

So for the cook who is short on time and under pressure, here is my Under Pressure Menu, a day’s worth of delectable recipes made in a pressure cooker.  And you can easily adapt them for a slow cooker if you prefer.  All the dishes keep for up to four days in the fridge or you can freeze them for future use.

I hope these recipes spur those of you who have an Instant Pot languishing on your shelf to whip up a batch of yummy chocolate oatmeal, wild rice & mushroom soup or Thai chicken curry.  Feel free to share the recipes with your family and friends.  Better still, I encourage you to recruit two friends and each of you whip up one dish and then swap.  You’ll get three meals for the effort of one!  Sign up here to receive the recipes – it’s time to thrive under pressure!

Under Pressure Menu

Breakfast: Pressure Cooker Chocolate Steel Cut Oats (cacao is a natural mood booster and helps regulate appetite – what better way to start your day?) 

Lunch:  Pressure Cooker Wild Rice & Mushroom Soup (I serve this up with some baby spinach or kale stirred in just before serving – it’s a great way to amp up your intake of dark, leafy greens)

Dinner: Pressure Cooker Thai Chicken and Vegetables (this curry is vibrant with colourful veggies – if you like it spicy like I do, some organic Sriracha, like this one by Simply Natural, is a must)

Join The Nutritional Reset community here to receive this month’s menu today (as well as each month to come)!  And read on for some nutritional tidbits about a few foods featured in the recipes…

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A Duo of Dreamland Dinners

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail A Duo of Dreamland Dinners

So many people come to me looking to improve their sleep that I decided to devote the blog post coming later this month to the significance of slumber.  Just as there are foods and beverages that disrupt sleep (hello spicy and fatty food, caffeine and alcohol!), there are foods that promote a restful night.  To whet your appetite, I have dished up a duo of dreamland dinners (à deux) serving several foods that may help you drift off to sleep.  Sign up to receive the recipes.

I hope this leaves you hungry for my upcoming blog post, Don’t Snooze, You Lose, where I will discuss why quality sleep is so vital to our health and well-being.  I will also offer nutrition and lifestyle tips for a better night’s sleep.  In the meantime, enjoy the recipes (just not with wine or coffee if you want some satisfying shut-eye) and I invite you to share them with family and friends!

A Duo of Dreamland Dinners

Dinner 1

  • Slow Cooker Lamb & White Bean Stew (because this is made in a slow cooker, the recipe serves 4 – enough to serve up a second time).  Before serving, I like to chop up some chard or other leafy greens and stir them in to the stew just until they wilt.  This adds colour and amps up the magnesium content and magnesium is great for relaxation!
  • Warm Apples with Cinnamon

Dinner 2

  • Roasted Butternut Squash Harvest Bowl (vegan main course option)
  • Sunbutter Oat Cookies

Join The Nutritional Reset community here to receive this month’s menu today (as well as each month to come)!  And read on for some nutritional tidbits about a few featured foods from the recipes…

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Stomach acid: friend or foe?

I am willing to bet just about every one of you reading this has at least a passing familiarity with Tums, Rolaids or Maalox or been tickled pink by Pepto Bismol – some of you may even consider these antacids great friends.  After all, global antacid sales are well over $10 billion annually so that’s a lot of people buying them.  But I’m here to tell you, at the risk of Big Pharma taking a contract out on me, that the uncomfortable burning sensation you feel after a big meal is more often caused by low stomach acid than by too much and, by taking antacids regularly, you are likely making the situation worse.  read more