Hands up who wants to up their health game this year? Before you jump to conclusions and think this will be just another blog post about new year resolutions I want to let you in on a little secret: it’s not. This is about rethinking lifestyle choices on an ongoing basis by making incremental changes- such as giving your body a boost with a shot of plant-based protein in a tasty smoothie instead of reaching for that bag of chips, that bag of candy (hello leftover Christmas candy!), or whatever your naughty snack of choice is.
One thing we notice in our house is a general lack of energy (in the adults that is, the kids- yeesh can we bottle some of theirs?!). Some days are good, but many are clouded with that not enough sleep/ not enough coffee/ can’t wake up fogginess. I’ve enjoyed Botanica’s products for about a year now (see this post and this post) and we have recently been trying out some of their vanilla Perfect Protein Elevated Protein Powder in smoothies. We opted to try the Adrenal Support blend protein powder in a batch of smoothies as a family and everyone loved them. What I love about this plant-based protein powder is that it’s made with whole-food ingredients (quinoa, vanilla, coconut, brown rice) alongside superfoods recognized to improve/ balance adrenal function (more on those later).
Other reasons I love this plant-based protein powder:
I sometimes find that protein powders can be overpowering when you mix them into drinks- smoothies, shakes, etc- but that wasn’t the case with this one. It only made a slight difference to the flavour and texture, definitely not like others I’ve tried where the taste of the protein powder takes over and you’re left with a thick chalky consistency that isn’t very enjoyable. This powder isn’t lumpy or grainy, making it a subtle (and enjoyable) addition to smoothies.
Give your health a boost by rethinking your lifestyle choices.
Botanica has a few protein powders to choose from, but I wanted to try the Adrenal Support blend because both Will and I are working to restore adrenal function in our bodies. So many of us seem to lack energy and/ or suffer from chronic fatigue and blame it on not enough sleep or not enough coffee (who is else is guilty there??), but these symptoms could also be indicative of other underlying imbalances in our body, such as adrenal fatigue. Lifestyle choices such as diet can have a large impact on how our bodies function and the quality of what we put in our mouths plays an important role.
Smoothies are a simple and convenient way to pack in nutrients!
I like smoothies as a quick and healthy snack or breakfast option and admittedly don’t make them often enough. When I saw how much the kids loved the smoothies we made with Botanica’s protein powder it reminded me how great of an option they really are. Even though at this time of year I’m definitely craving warm comfort food, I know I have to make more of an effort in the colder months, because the effort pays off. See below for the recipe we made + find out more about the adrenal-boosting ingredients in this plant-based protein powder.
Frozen Fruit Protein Smoothie
1 scoop of Botanica’s Elevated Protein Powder
2 cups of your favourite frozen fruits/ berries
1 banana (fresh or frozen
1 cup milk or non-dairy beverage of choice
1/2- 1 cup of water (add as needed to reach desired thickness/ consistency)
Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse to help break up frozen fruit/ berries. Blend until a smooth consistency has been reached (Tip: pour into popsicle molds for healthy popsicles!)
About Perfect Protein
Botanica Perfect Protein is a fermented and sprouted complete plant protein blend packed with naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, healthy fats and fibre. All in light vanilla taste so it’s easy to digest and absorb. Crafted in small batches with just a few simple organic, fair trade ingredients. So good there’s no added sweeteners, not even stevia. Great to add to a smoothie or mixed into milk/ non-dairy beverage.
What are your tricks to get ready for back to school? This is our first year of school- hello kindergarten!- and I’ve been trying to think of ways to make getting into our new routine as smooth as possible. At the top of the list: meal planning. My goal is to plan for the week ahead on a Sunday and prep meals/ snacks the night before, to take some of the pressure off in the morning.
Over the Summer I tried to make a habit of meal planning on Sundays and testing out recipes (thanks Pinterest!). I have been inconsistent with this in the past, but what I like about meal planning is that it helps get the week ahead organized. Added bonuses: everyone can make requests, we can mix in favourites with new recipes to try, and it reduces our grocery bill and food waste. While I’m feeling more settled with meal planning, I’ve called in back up just in case there are some bumps in the road as we settle into the new school routine: a few meals a week from Fresh Prep (see some of the ones we’re trying below).
We have enjoyed Fresh Prep before and love their variety, quality ingredients, and how quick and simple the meals are. With just a few clicks you can organize some (or all!) of your meals for the week and have them delivered right to your door. If you want to get meal time organized for back to school and everything that comes with this time of year- after-school activities, practices, appointments, etc- Fresh Prep may be your friend this Fall.
Thanks to Fresh Prep, I’ve got some of the meals for the month already figured out and I’m giving away a $75 shopping credit to help make September and back to school a little smoother for another family!
The meals take 15- 30 minutes to cook, and ingredients come prepped for use, along with easy-to-follow instructions. For busy evenings when you need a little help with dinner, Fresh Prep is a great option. See below to enter!
How do you make the weekly routine a little easier? With school starting up this week, planning meals ahead can go a long way and for those really busy days, meal delivery services are a great way to make sure everyone is eating healthy even while on the go. Over the Summer I had the chance to try Fresh Prep, a meal delivery service here in the Metro Vancouver area that delivers everything you need for healthy meals right to your door; all you have to do is sign up and select the plan and meals your family wants. I’m sharing about one of the meals we tried from Fresh Prep plus giving OHP readers the chance to enjoy a week’s worth of meals for free! (see discount code at end of post).
If you’re looking for some options to take a little bit of the pressure off with busy schedules, a meal delivery service is a great option and much more affordable than you may think (meals start at just $10- click here to learn more). When you factor in the time it takes to go grocery shopping, prep and cook everything, and the expense of the ingredients, meal delivery services are a much more budget conscious option than you might think. They’re also a great way to try eating a little bit healthier when you’re feeling pressed for time. Sometimes it’s hard to fit everything into a day and preparing fresh healthy meals can get sidetracked and substituted with more convenient/ less healthy options.
I’ve been trying to get back into a meal planning routine but this was my first time trying a meal delivery service. What first got my attention when I checked out the Fresh Prep website is the attention to quality ingredients and offering full- flavoured, healthy options. We took this as a chance to try some meals we haven’t made at home before and Fresh Prep offers a great variety of meals to choose from.
We opted for the Indonesian Gado Gado with Peanut Dressing and Hot Bombay Chicken Salad with Roasted Cauliflower and Mint Yogurt Sauce. When the meals were delivered we were impressed by how simple Fresh Prep makes everything, from how the ingredients were pre- measured to the straight- forward recipes. Added bonus: all of the ingredients are organic/ non- GMO, meaning you’re not just simplifying meals, you’re making them with the best ingredients possible. It couldn’t have been easier to create a healthy meal in under half an hour, and everyone loved it (how often does that happen?!). Even if you’re only looking for a few meals a week rather than a full week’s worth, a meal delivery service like Fresh Prep can help take the pressure off.
Here’s how the Indonesian Gado Gado turned out- yummmmmmm!
How it works:
Go to the Fresh Prep website and select the meal plan you’d like (choose from 2- person meals and family plans for 4 people) and how many recipes you’d like delivered each week (choose from 2, 3, or 4). You can also add info if you have dietary requests such as vegan or vegetarian meals and if you’d like to skip a week.
Select the recipes you would like delivered and place your order.
Everything comes delivered in cooler bags in ensure freshness, so all you have to do is pop the ingredients into your fridge when they arrive. When it’s time to cook, simply follow the instructions on the recipe card provided and enjoy a delicious and healthy meal in 30 minutes or less.
Want to try Fresh Prep with your family? Use code OurHappyPlace to enjoy your first week of meals for free! Code valid until September 31, 2017.
Food is a universal language we all speak, something that unifies us. It’s something to be enjoyed, and also the fuel we provide our bodies. If you’d followed the blog for a while, you’ll know that our family loves food, albeit with a few bumps in the road- we’re still gluten free, but other restrictions have since been removed from Ari’s diet- and I’ve sought out options as healthy staples in our diets. We enjoy as many home- cooked and healthy, whole- food based meals as we can, but still indulge in comfort food, etc when we get a craving or are short on time (everything in moderation, no?).
Before kids and since, I love a good recipe. There’s something I find soothing and therapeutic about preparing a meal (note: when the kids are cooperating); it’s a simple pleasure I find a lot of joy in. And while I turn to online sources for much of my inspiration when trying out a new meal idea, I still love turning the pages of a cookbook. There’s something about the tactile nature of running my fingers down the pages and marking recipes to try with sticky notes that I love. So when I had the chance to review the new cookbook by Love Child Organics founder Leah Garrad- Cole, I looked forward to the opportunity.
“Welcome to It All Begins With Food, a book dedicated to clean, whole- food recipes for your entire family”.
Leah and I share the same outlook towards food, with a focus on the quality and integrity of ingredients, especially when it comes to feeding our kids. There is a lot to be said about the source of our food today (how was it grown, where did it come from, etc) and while this isn’t always black and white, Leah offers up a valuable resource in her new cookbook for everyone from new parents to passionate home cooks alike. I discovered her line of quality baby food, Love Child Organics, soon after Ari was born and have had the pleasure of being a brand ambassador with the company and watching it grow over the past few years. The introduction of It All Begins With Food was something I was looking forward to, and now am happy to be sharing my thoughts on the book here with readers. This cookbook will grow with your family, and even if your kids are past the baby and toddler years, it is full of information and recipes you will appreciate and enjoy.
This is a beautiful cookbook, filled with photos and tables of information that compliment Leah’s recipes. But it isn’t all eye candy, and second only to the recipes themselves, the information Leah has gathered in this cookbook make it a great reference to have on hand. What does it really mean to be organic? What’s a GMO? What foods should I avoid introducing to my baby? Are just a few of the questions Leah addresses in It All Begins With Food, along with a section I love, make it yourself, make it better, which features suggestions on how to make pantry staples at home to avoid unnecessary ingredients such as sugar, salt and preservatives.
“There is an overabundance of of information out there, and it can make the task of feeding your family really confusing and overwhelming. We all want our children to eat well, but it’s hard to know where to start, and with our busy lives, it’s really difficult to find the time to make it happen.”
Alongside the recipes, Leah has included information to help guide readers through food topics that we face today, including:
organic foods (one of Leah’s favourite topics)
The Dirty Dozen & The Clean Fifteen- foods grown with the most pesticide residue and least, respectively
GMOs- what are they and how to avoid them
alternative names for sugar used in ingredients lists
clean kitchen/ pantry shopping list + tools and equipment
meal planning tips + planner
getting your kids involved in cooking + food prep
information, tips, and serving suggestions for introducing first foods to baby
While this cookbook is a wealth of information for starting out your little one on solids (see For Baby, below), Leah has covered healthy suggestions for the whole family from start to finish: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, smoothies, creating your own pantry staples (I’m looking forward to diving into this chapter more in the coming months), and recipes for entertaining. I tend to avoid recipes that contain ingredients that are hard to find or seem too complicated; most of the time I have the kids with me when shopping and cooking, so I’ve subscribed to the adage simpler is better on several levels when it comes to the food we eat.
And that also applies to the nature of the ingredients themselves: Leah uses common, clean/ healthy, simple- to- find- ingredients in her recipes, with prep and cooking time around an hour total for many of the recipes (many less than that). This is a cookbook with crowd- pleasing recipes, but doesn’t forget about the person creating the meal. You don’t have to have kids to appreciate her method, but it’s definitely a cookbook created by a parent with parents in mind: healthy food that doesn’t take hours to prep and cook. Thank you Leah!
“With an unwavering focus on replacing ingredients that have little nutritional value with ones that are nutritionally dense, It All Begins With Food ensures that every bite counts while making the end result is pleasurable and the ingredients are easy to find.”
Chapters in the book:
purees & mashes
smoothies: the vitamin vehicle
superhero breakfasts to keep them going (and going!)
family- friendly dinners
healthier snacks & treats
make it yourself make it better
For parents looking for information, tips, and recipes for feeding their baby, this book is a wealth of knowledge and I wish it had been around when Ari was a baby. As a Mom, Leah speaks from her own experiences, as well as from the wealth of information and knowledge she has amassed since starting an organic food company; I love this combination of experience and knowledge and I feel this approach will appeal to many parents beginning the food journey with their children. Here are just a few of the highlights for me that I appreciated Leah including:
Canadian & US official infant feeding recommendations
suggestions on when to start introducing solids + signs to look for that your baby may be ready
what foods to start with
food allergies + reactions (also the difference between a true allergy and an intolerance/ food sensitivity)
Whether you’re passionate about healthy cooking, want to incorporate more whole- foods recipes into your weekly meal plan, or starting out a little one on solids, It All begins With Food includes ideas for all members of the family, and will be a welcome addition to any cookbook library.
To learn more about Love Child Organics, visit them online:
A little random fact about the younger of my two little blondies: at 19 months, Liam still isn’t walking unassisted. It’s just in the past few weeks that he’s started taking his first steps by himself and the laughter and smiles we get are pricless as he gets more and more confident. And as much as I’ll be glad when he’s walking- this boy takes his sweet time!- I know I’m in for it big time when he’s running around. He’s already getting into mischeif Ari never did and I can only imagine what he’s going to think up; this mama won’t be sitting still!
With him learning to walk, having good footwear for him has been a focus. I wanted some shoes with hard soles for the cold and wet weather ahead, but also some with softer soles that would help his feet adjust to walking, helping him grip the floor/ ground. Shoes with leather or suede soles are perfect for this and when I had the chance to try out a cute pair from Aston Baby, the timing couldn’t have been better.
These shoes are made with a leather upper and suede sole with a velcro closure to keep little ones from pulling their shoes off (and of course Liam loves to do this!). Made for babies 0- 18 month old in mind, they were designed with 3mm semi- soft suede for the sole to protect little toes and make them slip- resistant (another importnat thing to consider when looking for shoes for little ones taking their first steps). As with the other products Aston Baby carries, these shoes combine classic and modern style and are built to last. I picked out the navy pair for Liam (these are available in 4 colours) since I thought they would be perfect for his Fall and Winter outfits, and so far they’ve survived my little guy putting them to the test. Scroll to the end of this post for product details.
– leather upper with semi- soft 3mm suede sole
– faux- buckle velcro closure
– classic t- bar design
– available in 4 colours: navy, mustard, red, and white
If you’re looking for a pair of baby shoes to help your little one take their first steps, or the perfect baby shower gift, visit the Aston Baby website to see all four colours these shoes are available in and make sure to check out their other items including baby gifts & gift bundles.
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