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Next Level Wonderful Pistachios Crusted Salmon

Elaborate and sophisticated meals is not what I am known for at our house. I leave all the culinary heavy lifting to the Mister. Not quite sure why but the longer the list of ingredients I see in a recipe, the more intimidated I get. Probably because the more ingredients usually means more (preparation) time and more clean up at the end. Neither of which excite me. We made a pack at home to eat dinner together every night and in the kitchen not sitting on the couch in front the TV. I know it sounds a bit corny but I think it’s been integral to the success and strength of our relationship. With our work week hours being later than most, this sometimes becomes a challenge resulting to turning to quick fix dishes that can be on the table in 30 minutes or less.

Salmon is definitely a hit around here because it’s a super easy way to incorporate healthy Omega 3’s into our diets but let’s be real here, when you’re eating fish 1-2 times a week, you need to start getting a bit creative with your recipes. With salmon being so soft and fleshy I thought creating a pistachio crust using Wonderful Pistachios with a touch of honey and mustard would be a perfect juxtaposition of both taste and texture. Occurring to me while woofing down a handful of the brand’s addictive “Sweet & Salty” flavoured nuts. Sure there’s a few other nuts I could have chosen, so why Wonderful Pistachios? Besides tasting amazing, they are a source of vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous and fibre, adding extra nutritional value to this ridiculously delicious protein option. Making this is pretty much fool proof for those of you who also get intimidated with Julia Childs-like recipes (trust me!) and literally goes well with almost anything.

PISTACHIO CRUSTED SALMON


Prep Time: 5 minutes     Cook Tim:e 20 minutes     Total Time: 25 minutes     Servings: 2


INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 salmon fillets (approx. 6 oz each, skin on)
  • half cup of crushed unsalted Wonderful Pistachios
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1 tbsp course grain mustard (or Dijon)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp olive or canola oil

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Rinse salmon and pat dry with a paper towel. Arrange fillets on foil (or parchment paper) lined baking sheet, skin side down. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste
  3. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard and honey. Spoon mixture and spread evenly over top of each piece of fillet
  4. Coarsely chop pistachios in a food processor, coffee grinner or by hand and combine with Panko bread crumbs and oil. Spread pistachio mixture pressing lightly to adhere
  5. Bake until salmon is cooked through to your liking and nuts are golden for approximately 15-20 minutes. Let salmon rest for 5 minutes outside of the oven before serving. Pair with a side of your choice; salad, quuinoa or grilled veggies and enjoy!

This post is sponsored by Wonderful Pistachios®, but all thoughts and opinions are my own!

Snacking Just Got Fresher with Harvest Bakes

Guys, snacking just got a little easier and a whole lot healthier this month thanks to Country Harvest who has just launched the best thing since sliced bread (sorry, I couldn’t resist myself!) I have absolutely no shame in admitting that I am a serial snacker – big time! I eat small meals with several snacks throughout the day to keep me going but just like everyone else, having healthy snacks when I’m on-the-go all the time can be a bit of a challenge.  And let’s be honest, we ALL have good intentions when it comes to our food choices however we are all prone to fall off due to the options, or lack thereof, around us when we are not at home.

Over the past few weeks we (ok, mainly me) have been eating our way through Harvest Bakes snacks prior to it’s arrival in stores to see what all the hype was about. So what exactly are Harvest Bakes snacks? I know for thing thing, they are insanely delicious but to pigeon hole them into just one thing would be unfair. Yes, they are shaped in the form of a square like bread slices but they couldn’t be farther from. A flat bread if you will but will the density and texture of a baked good that is packed full of whole grains, protein, fibre and iron. And covering all the bases and making sure all palette preferences are accounted for, there are three delicious varieties to appease all; Wild Blueberry with Flax Seeds and Rolled Oats, Apple & Cinnamon with Raisons – my current favourite and Super Seedy & Quinoa with Sunflower, Flax, Pumpkin and Chia Seeds…I know that’s quite a mouthful isn’t it? All tasty. Super healthy and the perfect snack to pack, toast or spread your go-to topping on. I have yet to try toasting them, much preferring to smear natural peanut butter over top with sliced bananas sometimes even sprinkling with a dash of chopped pistachios – YUM right?!

Photos by Jilly Botting

Harvest Bakes are now available in the bakery aisle in your local grocery store. To learn more and to discover more nutritional information head to CountryHarvest.com

Train Hard, Snack Smart with Wonderful Pistachios

The two most important factors that play a role in your overall fitness are 1) how you train/workout and 2) how you eat and snack. Everyday I see an alarming amount of people on social media posting their workouts and sharing their runs but no real progress. Most often than not, the reason behind this is poor diet or them not doing the amount of training they claim to be doing on social media. For me, it’s always been simple. I like to stick to functional workouts based on basic training fundamentals, keep my body guessing by frequently mixing up my works and ALWAYS snack smart. And I love the idea of athlete inspired workouts. Why? Because I know they are effective and how could it not be cool to train like some of the best athletes in the world?

For the next year, I’m teaming up with the Wonderful Pistachios brand and will be sharing different ways for you to enjoy them on-to-the go and how they can be incorporated into your favourite dishes at home. Both nutrient dense and delicious, pistachios have long been my nut of choice, mainly because of their monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, fibre, protein and antioxidant content. I know for some there is a concern regarding the calorie count with pistachios but the good news is, researchers say sticking to in-shell pistachios can significantly slow down consumption because the empty shells offer a visual cue of how much you’ve eaten. Actually, preliminary behavioural studies have proven that in-shell snackers ate 41% fewer calories than those who snacked on shelled nuts, which is commonly known as the “Pistachio Principle“.

Thanks to the Wonderful Pistachios team, an exclusive group of us were lucky enough to participate in an intimate workout based on Toronto Maple Leaf’s Left Winger, James van Riemsdyk’s off-ice training at SWAT Health – a high performance training studio for elite and professional athletes. The workout, led by SWAT Founder and former football player Kyle Ardill, was no joke. We kicked it off with some dynamic movements and stretches to get are bodies warm and loosened up, followed by speed and agility work. All elite athletes train hard during their season, which are reflected in their physiques, however hockey players are notorious for the strength of their lower bodies. Specifically, quads and glutes. That means, we were getting ourselves into a 40 minute session focusing on the targeted muscles that allow hockey players to be quick and strong on the ice like; skater lunges, weighted side and reverse lunges, one legged dead lifts, a series of glute activations with resistance bands and a killer core workout circuit. If that wasn’t enough, Kyle had me end the session with some sled work (with him on it of course!) with the weight totalling over 300 lbs.

What many people often forget, what you eat post workout can be just as important as the workout itself. Usually we find it difficult enough to squeeze in a workout throughout the day, let alone take time to prepare a meal post workout, but nobody can ever be too busy for a smoothie. They are quick to prep, tasty AF and when you pack them with the right ingredients, they can actually be rather filling, helping you stay full until your next meal. On hand that morning was Registered Dietician and Abbey’s Kitchen founder Abbey Sharp, who helped create our post workout treat, a Pistachio & Tahini Protein Smoothie that you can easily make at home by using the following:

  • 1/3 cup Wonderful Pistachios, unsalted and shelled
  • 1 cup 2% Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 4 ripe figs, stems removed and quartered
  • 2 dates, pitted and diced
  • 2 tsp, tahini
  • 1 cup 1% milk (or you can substitute for Almond milk if you’re lactose intolerant or prefer the taste

Photography by Charlie Lindsay @DonCharleone

OPTIONAL GARNISH:

  • 1/3 cup Wonderful Pistachios, unsalted and shelled
  • 1 cup 2% Plain Greet Yogurt
  • 4 ripe figs, stems removed and quartered

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a blender, pulse the pistachios until they reach a ground up consistency. Add in the yogurt, figs, dates, tahini and milk. Puree until smooth. To serve, pour into two glasses. Top with sliced fig, crushed pistachios and pomegranate arils.

Stay tuned fin 2017 for more of my snack and meal ideas with Wonderful Pistachios #GetSnackin

Quinoa Salad with Pickles and Kale

Hey guys, Kristen Vander Hoeven here from the SoSasha.com team bringing you another quick and easy bowl recipe that you can quickly make at home this week. Quinoa, quinoa, quinoa…everyone’s obsessed with quinoa. It’s basically the perfect blank canvas for an infinity amount of recipes. You can turn it into anything you like and trick your mind and belly into thinking your eating a big delicious bowl of bad carbs. I’ve adjusted this recipe to compliment my salmon but as time passes I will add and modify different recipes on how I prepare this golden grain.

Quinoa Salad with Kale and Pickles

I added dill pickles this time to compliment the fish as well as bring that sour element to cut the flavour of the buttery salmon. I love added fermented food to almost anything I’m eating. It aids in digestion which helps to eliminate bloating. You can try different fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, etc.

Quinoa Salad with Kale and Pickles

QUINOA SALAD WITH PICKLES & KALE

PREP: 25 min

COOKING: 30 min

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 vegetable bouillon cube (if you have home made stock use that instead)
  • 6-8 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 3 large dill pickle spears diced
  • 1 cup of kale loosely chopped
  • 1 green onion

DRESSING:

  • 6 tablespoons EVOO
  • 3 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of maple syrup
  • salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Quinoa Salad with Kale and Pickles

Add all of your ingredients and dressing to your quinoa. You can serve warm, cold, whatever you wish. NOTE: For the perfect fluffy quinoa, start by rinsing your quinoa in a mesh strainer. This helps take off a weird coating that the grain has which can lead to it being a bit bitter and unfluffy. Once rinsed, placed quinoa into a sauce pan with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Toasting your quinoa before cooking brings out a nutty delicious flavour. After it’s all toasty and fragrant, add your water or cooking stock. Bring to a oil then turn your heat down and simmer with lid on for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat but leave on the lid and let sit for another 10 minutes. Remove lid, fluff with a fork.

Quinoa Salad with Kale and PicklesPhotography by Jilly Botting

For more recipe inspiration and healthy meal ideas, follow me on Instagram using the handle @KristenVanderHoeven, xoxo

Kristen’s Summer Grilled Corn & Strawberry Radish Salad

Hey guys, Kristen Vander Hoeven here…it’s been a while but I am back in the kitchen with Sasha and excited to share some of my favourite summer recipes that you can easily duplicate at home. During a recent afternoon hanging out we both discovered that during the warmer months we prefer “low maintenance meals” – grilled veggies and salads paired with protein or fish. But sometimes we can get into a salad rut, prepping the same version of the classic side, which eventually just gets boring. I’ve created a delicious Grilled Corn & Strawberry Radish Salad that has been a hit with my cottage guests and followers over on my website SpooningNForking.comNot too surprising because who doesn’t love summer corn and fresh strawberries?

Grilled Corn and Strawberry Radish Salad

PREP: 20 MIN
COOKING: 5 MIN

INGREDIENTS DIRECTIONS
3 cobs of corn
1 cup of sliced strawberries
4 radishes sliced (I used a mandolin)
1 handful of basil roughly chopped
2 tbsp of diced chives

DRESSING
3 tbsp of sherry vinegar
6 tbsp of Evoo
1/2 tbsp on maple syrup
1tsp of salt
1/2 tsp of ground pepper


Turn on your grill to medium heat.  Remove your corn from the husk and place on grill rotating every 3-5 min.  You want to char your corn but not kill it!! See note below if you do not have a grill.

  1. While your corn is cooking (and you are keeping and eye on it) slice your strawberries, radish a prepare your herbs.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl combine all of your dressing ingredients.
  3. Once your corn is cooked, let cool slightly until you can handle it comfortably.  Stand your corn on your cutting board, then with a sharp knife, slice down along the cob.  Not going to lie…this is messy AF…but worth it…so don’t use canned corn!!!!!
  4. Combine all your ingredients into your salad bowl, add dressing and toss.
  5. Try not to eat all at once 😉

NOTE: If you do not have a grill of some sort, you can do this in a large skillet on high heat or directly on top of a gas burner.

Grilled Corn & Strawberry Radish Salad

Grilled Corn & Strawberry Radish Salad

Grilled Corn & Strawberry Radish Salad

Not All Protein Bars Are Created Equal. Here’s Why…

No matter what kind of workout I’m doing, I give 100% in the gym. It’s funny, when people see me exercising and in my zone, they always ask me, “What are you training for?”. I usually giggle before responding, “Life. I’m just trying to be better than the person I was yesterday!” If you can imagine the look at people’s faces when they hear that. Ok, I know…I’m a bit of an overachiever with a competitive streak, but this is just how I’ve always been.
Genuine Health fermented Greek yogurt proteins+

When you train hard, your body needs quick replenishment to help rebuild muscle tears, restore glycogen levels and stabilize your blood sugar. Recently, I’ve been carrying a protein bar or two in my gym bag for after my workouts and I’ve become obsessed with Genuine Health’s fermented Greek yogurt protein+ bars. In the past I have stuck with protein powders post sweat sesh and runs because let’s be honest, protein bars usually taste like Astronaut food or sawdust. Furthermore, I had made the conscious decision to refrain from promoting one until I found a bar I truly loved. So yes, these fermented Greek yogurt protein+ bars are great for post workout and when consumed before exercising, supplies me with steady energy to make it through one of Larry’s intense sessions alive at Track Fitness , (home of cult-fave Circuit 60 and ClimbMax classes) but the best part – they taste effing AMAZING!

What else makes these bars so special? The fermentation process promotes overall gut health; something extremely important to me considering my health condition, amplifies the nutritional value of minerals, vitamins and amino acids and helps support the immune system. And if that’s not enough, fermented Greek yogurt has it’s own amazing nutritional benefits giving these tasty bars 15g of protein from grass fed California dairy conveniently on-the-go.

Fermented Greek yogurt proteins+ comes in Cherry Almond Vanilla and Cinnamon Pecan flavours while also in protein powder format. For more information on these products and the rest of the brand’s amazing product portfolio, head to GenuineHealth.com or follow @GenuineHealth on Instagram and Twitter. #LoveYourGut #LoveHowYouFeel

Delicious Genuine Health Recipes Your Gut Will Thank You For

Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins+

We’ve been talking a lot about the benefits of fermented supplements amongst the team here at So Sasha and have become a bit obsessed on it’s health benefits. Earlier this week Sasha schooled us on the importance of gut health and how to diagnose a very common, undiagnosed condition called “Leaky Gut Syndrome”. In case you happened to miss the post you can check it out here. I may not suffer from a leaky gut but god knows I want to prevent one and it turns out that Genuine Health’s fermented vegan proteins+ products improve the intestinal (mucosa) lining , which we rely on for optimal immune function and allows for an efficient flow of nutrients to tissues and organs. It also has been proven to help in the aid of digestion which is also critical – did you know that 20 million Canadians suffer from digestive issues each year? To make matters worse, we often eat foods with partially removed anti-nutrients making us deprived of foods intended nutritional potential and sometimes suffer from unwanted side effects like bloating and gas. Only fermentation can make nutrients readily available for proper absorption by the body.

So after getting the low down on all of this, I have come to the realization that I must integrate fermented vegan proteins+ into my diet right away and so should you. Incorporating it regularly can be pretty easy, especially if you’re into smoothies and smoothie bowls, but I took a stab at creating a pretty delicious recipe for the ultimate guilt-free cinnamon buns. The latter is because I watched the movie “Daddy’s Home” this past weekend and the breakfast scene had some in it so they’ve been on my mind. Instead of going to the closet mall to drown myself in a Cinnabon I decided best to make my own so I’ve created some including Genuine Health’s fermented vegan proteins+ powder. These won’t taste like the ones you get at the mall…but they do taste amazing and you’ll not crash and feel like shit after eating. These have been taste tested by my guy who “prefers the real stuff” and he really only has amazing things to say about them.

Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins+

Fermented Vegan Proteins+ Vanilla Cinnamon Buns Prep time: 20 min Cooking: 27 min

 Ingredients:

 ROLLS

  • 1 3/4 cups finely ground blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 scoop of fermented vegan proteins+ vanilla powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil or ghee, softened (I used coconut oil..the hard white stuff at room temp)
  • 1 Tbsp. raw honey, softened
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature (Room temp is important!!!)
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

FILLING

  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut oil or ghee
  • 2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or paste
  • 1/2 cup crushed pecans (optional)

GLAZE

TOPPING

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins+

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a medium sized bowl bowl, whisk together the coconut oilraw honey, vanilla and eggs.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the almond and coconut flourand sea salt.  I sifted all my ingredients through a fine mesh strainer to get rid of all lumps but you can also do this with a fork, breaking up any chunks.
  4. Add the egg mixture to the almond flour mixture and knead the dough until it is smooth. If the dough is too wet, add 1 tsp. coconut flour at a time until desired consistency is reached. Place the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  5. While the dough is cooling, mix the coconut oil and raw honey for the filling together in small bowl and set aside.
  6. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper, sprinkling a little almond flour on each side of the dough before rolling. You want to form a large rectangle (see pictures below).
  7. Drizzle the filling evenly over the dough, using the back of the spoon to spread it all around. Sprinkle the cinnamon on top and then the pecans (optional).
  8. Roll the dough, starting at one of the shorter ends, until it forms a log. You want to work carefully and slowly in order to get the dough to roll correctly. Once the whole log is rolled, roll it gently until it is smooth on all sides. Wrap in clear wrap and place in freezer for 10-15 min.
  9. Slice the roll into 2 inch thick sections using a large chef knife. You should have about 9 rolls. Lay each piece (flat side down) on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  10. Bake 20-27 min or until the tops are lightly browned. Keep your eye on them – better they be underdone than overdone.
  11. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes. Mix the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl while the rolls are cooling.
  12. Drizzle with the glaze and add toppings (optional) right before serving.

Cinnamon buns not your jam? Not to worry, I got you covered with a smoothie bowl recipe which are all the rage right now. And for good reason, they are almost to beautiful to eat in some cases. Sometimes our bodies crave something more than a shake. There are actual studies that prove the act of eating solid foods can leave you feeling more full and satisfied. So a smoothie bowl is absolutely the perfect replacement when you have the time. You can basically make it as beautiful or ugly as you want…Its going to taste the exact same….but for the creative purpose of this post I put my best foot forward 🙂

I love adding fermented vegan proteins+ because it gives that extra boost of flavour and sweetness leaving my body feeling satisfied without any bloating or discomfort. For anyone who hates the taste of protein powders, Ive been feeding this to my bf for a week and he hasn’t even noticed…lol…its that good.

Raspberry Swirl ’N’ice Cream Bowl Prep time: 5 mins

Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins+

  • 1 scoop of fermented vegan  proteins+ powder
  • 1 cup Almond Milk
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1 tbsp Cashew butter
  • 1 cup Frozen Raspberries
  • 2 Dates
  • 1 Frozen Bananas

Directions:

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth consistency. Top with whatever ingredients you have in your fridge and serve.

Genuine Health Fermented Vegans Proteins+

Our friends at Genuine Health are giving you an opportunity to win 1 in 8 fermented vegan proteins+ prize packs valued at $200 each. Click here for contest information and to register online. Contest is open to Canadian residents over the age of 18 until 11:59pm on April 30th, 2016. Check out Genuine Health’s “The Daily Digest” to discover more details on the benefits of fermented vegan proteins+ supplements. #LoveYourGut #LoveHowYouFeel #NoBloat 

Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins+Photography by Jillian Botting 

Get more recipe inspiration from our talented and beautiful culinary expert by following Kristen Vander Hoeven on Instagram.

Gut Health. Why it’s Important and the Focal Point to Overall Health

Fermented Vegan Proteins+

Did you know our health is ultimately determined by the state of our gut? I’ve touched on this before here on the blog but I can’t reiterate it enough how important it is and here’s why. For the better part of the last decade I’ve dealt with a rare kidney disease and chronic pain issues…and it’s still a constant battle daily. After being on pharmaceutical drugs for some many years I started to experience a laundry list of side effects, but what I found odd was that I started to develop new allergies and sensitivities to foods that never bothered me before. Immediate reactions to any foods that contained gluten, sugars, processed white flour, wheat, vinegar, dairy and nuts. So I had to say goodbye to desserts, carbs, chocolate of all kinds, peanut butter, and all the other great tasting foods I loved to eat (welp). Cue the tears. Traditional doctor’s zoned in to only the gluten issue which isn’t surprising and I took more than one celiac test, but I knew deep down there was another culprit for this drastic change. After several months of obsessive reading and research, I discovered that my symptoms were textbook Leaky Gut Syndrome. Ok, pick your mouth up from off the floor now. The thought of a having a leaky gut sounds odd and terrible, I know and truth being told, it really is . Especially when you have no idea what’s happening to you.

There are several factors that play a role in diminishing our gut health: poor dietary choices, stress, over-use of antibiotics or other drugs and sanitizing cleaners are all part of our culture that reduces good gut flora. When your gut is leaky, things like toxins, microbes, undigested food particles and more can essentially escape your intestines and travel throughout your body via your blood stream. When this happens, your immune system marks these as foreign invaders to the system and attacks them back. How? The response to these invaders can appear in the forms of any of these very unpleasant symptoms:

  1. Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, diarrhea or Irritable Bowel Syndrom (IBS)
  2. Seasonal allergies or asthma
  3. Hormonal imbalances like PMS
  4. Diagnosis of an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriasis or celiac disease – all of which I was tested for
  5. Diagnosis of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
  6. Mood and mind issues such as acne, rosacea or eczema
  7. Diagnosis of candida overgrowth resulting in yeast infections
  8. Food allergies or intolerances

Fermented Vegan Proteins+Photo by Jillian Botting at the Four Seasons Toronto

I suffered from all the above with the exception of an autoimmune disease and asthma. Funny enough, most of my treating physicians did not put the pieces of the puzzle together and I had to take my health into my own hands. I realized something that most traditional practitioners never really address. If you promote health, disease cannot exist. Our gut lining is essentially a second skin that helps ward off viruses and infections. Once that wall is damaged, we are left vulnerable and susceptible to many types of illnesses. I had to take drastic measures to help my gut lining return to it’s intended state. This was a long and torturous process. I still encounter issues every now and then so I have been spending some time learning about fermented supplements and discovered that Genuine Health has just introduced a fermented vegan proteins+ into their product line-up. I recently started using the vanilla protein powder in my smoothies and the proteins+ bars to help me increase my protein intake and improve the lining of my gut.

Don’t let the term fermented intimidate you. Trust me, when I first started doing research, I didn’t understand why the process is so important. Simply put, fermentation amplifies the nutrition of the food we eat by increasing it’s nutrient profile and bioavailability of essential nutrients like magnesium, zinc and B vitamins. According to the Genuine Health team, studies have shown that the process basically magnifies the benefits of plants and herbal blends and in some cases produces unique photo nutrients, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components that didn’t exist before fermentation.

Genuine Health Fermented Vegan Proteins+

Whether yore trying to restore a leaky gut like me or maintain a healthy one, this specially formulated powder is designed to not only promote gut health but also aids in digestion and allows for more nutrient absorption. The best part, it’s plant protein based making it great for vegans and doesn’t cause any bloating. I have asked our foodie expert Kristen Vander Hoeven, whose culinary skills never cease to surprise me, to help create some tasty ways to enjoy fermented vegan proteins+ at home, so stay tuned for some unexpectedly delicious recipes that will not only strengthen your gut health but will also amplify your nutrition. In the meantime, to learn more about fermented vegan proteins+ powder and bars, check out Genuine Health’s “The Daily DigestYou can find Genuine Health products at most health food, grocery, and supplement stores across Canada. Click here to find a retailer near you.

Tech Talk: Food Accountability with Apple Watch & Lark App

Food Accountability with Lark

Ok, so here’s the ugly truth people. Exercise alone won’t give you the body you want. Sure you’ll feel better. Have more energy. Sleep better and even move better. I know it’s not what you want to hear and you were probably hoping I would say, “I workout everyday so I can eat what I want!” Could you imagine if that were true?  I would eat chocolate cake for breakfast every single day. But unfortunately that’s not how it works kids. You simply can’t out train a bad diet.

Food Accountability with Lark

Food Accountability with Lark

Since the beginning of the year, you’ve probably noticed I’ve been religiously wearing an Apple Watch strapped to my wrist; to run, at the gym, out and about, to sleep (for those of you who follow me on snapchat) and even with evening wear to events.  This has all been in an effort to find out whether wearable technology can really enhance my life like brands claim it can. This results so far may surprise you. I will be sharing some of my findings over the coming weeks but after reading several tweets on my timeline about food accountability, I felt compelled to jump the gun and share this little secret. I confess…I have an issue with food. I love everything that’s bad for me. Carbs, sugar, anything with gluten and the occasional cocktails – all of which cause me issues due to my health condition. It’s super easy to sneak in a cupcake (or 2) when nobody’s around. It’s almost as if it doesn’t count because only you knew it happened. Well, when I deviate from my prescribed and highly suggested foods, I feel the affects physically. Having to record everything that goes into my mouth holds me accountable. I recently discovered this genius tool while researching apps for my Apple Watch called Lark. I have used the app for six out of the last eight weeks and noticed a considerable difference in what I consumed when I was not recording my meals and snacks through it.

Eating healthy would be much easier if we had a personalized nutritionist telling us what we should eat, what we shouldn’t and suggest healthier choices to our favourite foods, wouldn’t it? Well, imagine if your best friend was a certified nutritionist and she checked in on you several times during the day to give you feedback on what you’ve eaten, your activity level and workouts. That’s Lark in a nutshell.

Food Accountability with Lark

Compatible for both Apple Watch and iPhone devices, Lark uses a mix of artificial intelligence and human experts to help people stay in line with their goals, get fit and lose weight. The app helps you track all the elements that goes into a healthy lifestyle and also has a texting interface that stimulates communicating one-on-one with a personal health coach. Personally, I often get sidetracked with my hectic schedules and in the past it wasn’t uncommon for me to accidentally skip a meal or not get enough water intake but frequent texts from Miss Lark forces me to be more mindful. It was ranked in Apple’s Top 10 apps in 2015 and it’s clear why. Here’s how it works:

The lesson is quite simple, recording your meals and activity makes you accountable and forces you to make better choices during the day when it comes creating healthy habits. Instead of falling victim to shitty takeout during a busy workday, I instead noshed on this amazing Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl created by our resident foodie expert Kristen Vander Hoeven with SOTO Sake; a premium, gluten free Japanese sake and my meal feel into the “green” category otherwise known as the “healthy” zone. Meals that are borderline fall in the “orange” or safe category, followed by the “red” category which probably needs no explanation. In case you missed this ridiculously healthy recipe on the bloggie, you can find it here. And not to worry, Kristen promises prepping a meal with raw fish at home isn’t as scary as you think.
Ahi Tuna Poke Quinoa Bowl
Stay tuned for more on how my Apple Watch is helping me keep a well balanced lifestyle. In the meantime, you can learn more about Lark and download this amazing app for free here.

Guilt Free Meal Ideas: Ahi Tuna Quinoa Poke Bowls with SOTO Sake

Ahi Tuna Poke Quinoa Bowl

Shoyu like Tuna, you say?

Our crew here at SoSasha.com is always looking for guilt-free indulges when it comes to our food. Just because we want to eat clean and healthy doesn’t mean we should have to feel like we’re sacrificing anything, know what I mean? Enter my Ahi Tuna Poke Shoyu Bowl served with SOTO Sake. Shoyu (pronounced SHOW-YOU) is just another name for soy sauce and let’s be honest, a good use of word for a pun! Last year my boyfriend and I were lucky enough to travel to Hawaii.  If you’ve never been before, it should definitely be on your destination bucket list. The country is beautiful, the people are warm in nature and the food does not disappoint.  It wasn’t until our trip that I discovered that Hawaii has a huge Japanese influence, which largely impacts its cuisine.  This is likely where and when my obsession for Poke bowls started. By the way, “Poke” is pronounced POH-KAY and all it really means is to cut or chunks of raw fish…sorry for the pronunciation lesson guys!
Ahi Tuna Poke Quinoa Bowl
adapted from IAmFoodBlog
 
I decided after digging through millions of Tuna Poke recipes on pinterest, that I would just doctor my own.  One that would be manageable, keeping in mind the ingredients I have access to. Side note: I get that using raw fish at home can be completely intimidating. For the longest time I thought it was sketchy and you needed some special kind of fish.  This is not entirely the case.  All you need to find is a fish monger with great reviews and no funky smells.  Reviews and blogs can be really helpful when sourcing out these types of shops.  When you go to buy your tuna, just make sure you ask for sushi grade.  This means that by wholesale standards you are getting the highest quality of fish available. Check out this link for more info and guides on how to shop for sushi grade. My Tuna Poke bowl is a little off the traditional path, but none the less delicious and healthy.
What you’ll need…
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated garlic
  • 1 lb. fresh ahi (sashimi grade) tuna, cut into bite-size cubes
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup finely diced onion
  • smoked sea salt, to taste
  • toasted sesame seeds, to taste
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced
  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • radishes
  • cabbage (next time I will be adding Kimchi instead)
  • cucumbers
  • sprouts
  • crispy shallots
Directions
  • In a small bowl combine soy sauces, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic. 
  • In a separate small bowl, gently toss together the tuna, green onions, and diced onion. Add the soy sauce mixture to the ahi and toss until evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Remove Poke from fridge and taste to see if you need too adjust any seasoning (soy sauce, sesame oil, and smoked sea salt). 4. Scoop quinoa into bowls and add your toppings of choice.  Add a generous amount of poke to the bowls and sprinkle on sesame seeds. 

Ahi Tuna Poke Quinoa Bowl

Ok, so what are we doing to wash down this bowl of deliciousness? SOTO Sake. We are kinda crushing hard these days on SOTO for various reasons. I am passionate about quality ingredients, so I love it for it’s dry finish and mild taste. It’s a super premium sake, using only the very best ingredients – finely polished rice and fresh mountain water. If you were to ask Sasha why she loves it, I have no doubt that besides the taste, she would mention the fact that it’s gluten free and has no preservatives or additives.  The best part, each bottle comes with this chic, decorative square piece of denim over the cork, as a nod to the Japanese craftsmanship of their beloved denim. SOTO Sake is currently available in both New York and Miami but will be made available in additional markets soon. For a full list of establishments and retailers carrying the brand click here.
Ahi Tuna Poke Quinoa Bowl
Photography by Nathalia Allen www.amillionminds.ca
For more recipe ideas and inspiration (we all need some from time to time), follow me on Instagram @KristenVanderHoeven. Mahalo!
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