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  • Cleansing Guide: How to Detox Safely this Spring

    Spring Detox 

    It’s finally spring; the weather is getting warmer, daffodils are starting to sprout, and trees are starting to bud. With the seasons changing, it’s the perfect time to detox the body and prep for warmer weather. During the winter months, our diets and exercise habits change; portion sizes increase, cravings for carbs intensify, and motivation for exercise decreases. During winter it’s natural to gain more weight, as we need that extra fat on our bodies to keep us warm. But now that the weather is changing, it’s time cleanse the body and shed that extra waste.

    When people think of detoxing and cleansing, they immediately assume they need to starve themselves with a vegetable juice fast, or a cayenne pepper and lemon juice flush. But this is not necessarily the case, and there are plenty of ways to gently and safely detox the body to prepare it for spring. The goal of cleansing is to open the detoxification organs to allow excess waste to be removed from the body. Detoxing the body can be as simple as eating more detox-friendly foods and eliminating inflammatory foods, in order to function as optimally as possible.


    What to Eliminate:
    For those who have never detoxed before, this list may seem quite daunting, but don’t be alarmed; the goal is to eliminate foods that cause inflammation in the body, rob the body of nutrients, or offer no real nutritional value.

    Foods to Eliminate: 

    • Refined, White Sugar
    • Artificial Sweeteners
    • Whole Wheat & White Flour (if you’re ready for it, eliminate gluten as well)
    • Alcohol
    • Dairy

    What Can You Eat While Detoxing? 

    Leafy Greens
    Leafy greens such as kale, collards, spinach and chard offer a lot of nutritional benefits. They are rich in chlorophyll, which helps increase oxygen flow throughout the body. These greens also have great insoluble fiber, which acts like a sponge to clean out the digestive system and release waste.

    How to use it: use it as salad leaves; take a handful and put it in a smoothie and mix with berries, sauté with garlic, or bake into chips.

    Lemons are one of the top cleansing foods. They stimulate digestive juices, ensuring digestion of foods, which allows the body to absorb the proper nutrients. Lemons also support the liver in the detoxification process. The liver is one of the main detoxification organs and everything you eat gets processed by the liver; so it’s important to support it well!

    How to use it: squeeze ¼ of a lemon into a glass of water, or mix with extra virgin olive oil to make a dressing.

    Beets have that great, rich, purple colour and that wonderful earthy taste. They are also detoxification powerhouses, and actually neutralize toxins in the body, allowing those toxins to be properly removed. The fiber in beets also cleanses the digestive tract and allows waste to be removed.

    How to use it: grate raw beets into salads and pilafs, slice into matchsticks, or cut into cubes and roast in the oven.

    Although it may look like a leafy green, this fresh herb is a potent detoxifier.  Parsley has diuretic qualities, perfect for cleansing the kidneys and removing toxins from the body. It also helps the body detoxify from heavy metals, which can accumulate from the environment, and certain foods we eat.

    How to use it: chop fresh parsley and sprinkle it into salads, quinoa dishes or pilafs, brew it into a tea, or blend it into a pesto.

    Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous family, and is an incredibly hardy vegetable. The antioxidants and sulfuric nutrients in cauliflower work to boost the liver’s detoxification phases, and it specifically works to activate detoxification enzymes.
    How to use it: cut it into florets and roast in the oven, or shave it finely with a knife and toss in salads.


    Detoxing the body is incredibly important, especially in the springtime. When the body is not being supported by the right cleansing nutrients, it can get overworked, overwhelmed and congested, increasing the risk of illness and disease. The detoxification process can be as challenging or gentle as you want it to be. The backbone of a good detox is consistency; remember to eat the detox foods list above on a regular basis, and ditch the foods that simply don’t support you.

    Happy Detoxing!

    tamara-green-living-kitchen Tamara Green is co-founder of The Living Kitchen, and a Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Cook. She combines her knowledge of nutrition and passion for cooking good food to work with clients to create lasting changes in their lives. 





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  • Live Well With Parkinson's Inc.

    chicken and quinoa 

    Research has shown that for those living with Parkinson's Disease, taking medications used to treat PD (such as l-dopa), in the absence of protein, can more effectively control symptoms of the disease.

    This means that simply by changing how you eat, symptoms can be reduced without increasing pill dosages. This is a major win for Parkinson's patients, as higher doses may increase the risk of side-effects.


    The following low-protein recipes were specifically created with a “protein redistribution diet” in mind. 

    1. Blueberry Pancakes 

    2. Vegetable Medley Stew 

    3. Pina Colada Cupcakes 

    4. Southwestern-Style Chicken and Quinoa 

    The first 3 recipes are low-protein selections that can be eaten at breakfast, lunch or as snacks and will allow l-dopa to maximally treat symptoms. Additionally, all the recipes are delicious, easy to make, and the simple ingredients can be obtained at any grocery store. 

    The 4th recipe, a high-protein dinner, ensures that you continue to eat a balanced diet with the same total daily requirement of protein.


    Live Well With Parkinson’s, Inc. in partnership with the Jeff and Diane Ross Movement Disorders Clinic at the Assistive Technology Clinic and Baycrest Health Sciences, works to integrate healthy lifestyle strategies, including diet and exercise, to optimize function and quality of life in people living with PD and other neurological illnesses. 




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  • Zucchini Bread with Pecans from The Hot Plate

     Zucchini Bread 

    Zucchini bread is the perfect high fibre treat because it can be enjoyed for breakfast, as a snack or light dessert. Bake up our recipe that can also be made in a gluten-free variety.

    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 55 minutes
    Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
    Serves: 12

    1 1/4 cups (300 mL) all-purpose flour
    1 cup (250 mL) whole-wheat flour
    2 tbsp (30 mL) ground flax
    1/2 cup (125 mL) brown sugar
    1 tbsp (15 mL) baking powder
    1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda
    1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
    1 cup (250 mL) finely shredded zucchini
    3/4 cup (175 mL) milk
    1/2 cup (125 mL) canola oil
    1 egg
    1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped pecans


    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 9 x 5-inch (2 L) loaf pan; set aside. Stir the all-purpose flour with the whole-wheat flour, ground flax, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
    2. Combine the zucchini, milk, oil and egg in a separate bowl. Stir the wet mixture into the dry mixture until just combined. Gently fold in the pecans. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
    3. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a tester comes out clean when inserted into the center. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool completely.

     Amanda RivaAmanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients.





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  • Fennel and Black Olive Stuffed Leg of Lamb from The Hot Plate

     lamb leg stuffed 

    Fennel and Black Olive Stuffed Leg of Lamb is the perfect dinner option for Easter dinner if you are serving a crowd. Get your butcher to butterfly a leg of lamb or buy a boneless, rolled leg of lamb from the supermarket. Cook up this meaty spring dish for your whole family for a successful Easter dinner.


    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

    Total Time: 1 hour

    Serves: 6 to 8



    4 lb (1.8 kg) boneless and butterflied leg of lamb

    3 tbsp (45 mL) olive oil, divided

    1 bulb fennel, cored and finely chopped (about 3 1/2 cups)

    1 small onion, finely chopped

    2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

    2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped

    1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped thyme

    1/4 cup (60 mL) white wine

    1/4 cup (60 mL) chicken stock

    1/3 cup (45 mL) black olives, chopped

    1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped dried figs (about 4 to 5 figs)

    1 cup (250 mL) breadcrumbs

    1 tsp (5 mL) each salt and freshly ground pepper

    1 tbsp (15 mL) chopped fennel fronds

    1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh parsley

    1 egg


    1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

    2. Heat 2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add fennel, onion, garlic, anchovy and chopped thyme, cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until softened. Add wine and cook for 2 minutes or until reduced by half. Add chicken stock, olives and fig. Cook for 5 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in bread crumbs. Season with 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper. Remove from heat; stir in fennel fronds and parsley. Let cool completely. Stir in egg. (Makes about 4 cups.)

    3. Lay the lamb flat and pat dry with paper towels. Season with 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each the salt and pepper. Pat stuffing evenly over meat. Roll up the lamb tightly and tie with the butcher’s twine.

    4. Rub outside of the lamb with the remaining olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast for 50 minutes or until internal temperature reaches for 145°F (63°C) for medium rare or cook until your preference of doneness. Tent with foil and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

    5. Remove string. Slice into thick slices and serve.



    Amanda Riva is the host of The Hot Plate, a free online cooking show dedicated to inspiring culinary confidence in new cooks. The Hot Plate also offers regular cooking tips and advice, how-tos, and information on seasonal ingredients. 






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  • DIY Natural Cleaning Products

    diy cleaning products 

    Don’t you just love that feeling when your home is clean, clutter is put away, trash is taken out, counters are wiped, and floors are swept, vacuumed and mopped? Having a clean home is not only good for your health but it also helps to declutter and relax the mind. And yet, after a good scrubbing and cleaning session, many people find themselves itching their eyes and skin, coughing uncontrollably and trying to soothe a headache. This is because most cleaning products out there are toxic and harmful.  

    So why not make your own cleaning products? DIY-ing your household cleaners is cheap, easy and much healthier for you, your children and your furry friends. You also probably have most of the ingredients tucked away in your house already.

    Ditching the Toxic Stuff 

    According to Canadian law, chemicals at one percent or higher must be listed or pictured on the label. Everyone has seen those corrosive, explosive and poisonous symbols on cleaning supplies. This alerts you to the short-term negative effects these cleaners can have but it doesn’t tell you the long term effects of breathing, ingesting and touching these chemicals over time. Some common toxic ingredients in cleaning supplies include 2-butoxyethanol, ammonia, coal tar dyes, phthalates, nonylphenol ethoxylates, quaternary ammonium compounds, sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate and the list goes on and on and on.  These chemicals are known to be carcinogenic, endocrine disruptors, skin and eye irritants and toxic to the reproductive system.

    DIY Natural Cleaners 

    Now that you have gotten a glimpse into the dangers of commercial cleaners, here is a breakdown of the natural cleaning ingredients you will need. 

    white vinegar - deodorizer, cleanser, cuts grease

    lemon - deodorizer, cleanser, cuts grease

    baking soda - abrasive, deodorizer

    castile soap - cleanser, antibacterial

    essential oils - cleansers, deodorizer, antibacterial, antifungal, disinfectants, provides nice aromas

    hydrogen peroxide - non-chlorinated bleach, disinfectant

    salt - abrasive, disinfectant

    olive oil - polishes wood

    fresh or dried herbs - provides nice aromas, antibacterial

    borax - disinfectant, cleanser

    All Purpose Cleaner 

    1 teaspoon castile soap or dish soap

    2 tablespoon white vinegar

    1-2 cups warm water

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    3-5 drops of essential oil of choice (tea tree, lavender, lemon)

    Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle and start cleaning away.

    Glass Cleaner* 

    3 teaspoons castile soap

    ½ teaspoon baking soda

    ¾ cup white vinegar

    5 drops essential oil (lemon oil or peppermint oil)

    Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle.

    Bathroom Cleaner 

    ¼ cup castile soap

    2 cups water

    8 drops lemon oil or tea tree oil

    Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle. 

    Floor Cleaner* 

    1 cup castile soap

    ¼ cup lemon juice

    10 drops tea tree oil

    6 cups warm water

    Mix everything together in a large jug.

    Wood Polisher 

    ½ cup olive oil

    ¼ cup white vinegar

    Mix together in a spray bottle.


    1 cup hydrogen peroxide

    3 tablespoons lemon juice

    15 cups water

    Mix ingredients together and store in a large plastic bottle

    Now that you see how easy it is to make your own cleaner, it’s time to ditch those toxic cleaners under the sink and start making your own cheap, easy, safe and effective cleaners.  Do you have any natural cleaners you love to make?  Let us know in the comments below. 

    *Recipes above found in Make Your Place by Raleigh Briggs 

     tamara-green-living-kitchen Tamara Green is co-founder of The Living Kitchen, and a Holistic Nutritionist and Natural Cook. She combines her knowledge of nutrition and passion for cooking good food to work with clients to create lasting changes in their lives. 



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