Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

What’s the best cure for a turkey, potato, and stuffing hangover? Some light, but hearty pumpkin pancakes. Made with whole wheat flour and simple clean ingredients, these pancakes are a nutritious way to enjoy the flavours of the season. Loaded with vitamin A, fiber, and beta-carotene pumpkin has more to offer than just the canvas for a face that lights up the night.

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Ingredients

1 cup of flour
2 tsps of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1/2 tsp of ginger
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp of salt
1 egg
1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
3/4 cup of milk
1 tsp of vanilla
Maple syrup and pecans to top

 

 

 

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Directions

  1.  In a mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  2. In a seperate bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla, pumpkin, and milk.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
  4. Stir mixture to combine. Do not over mix.
  5. In a pan over low-medium heat, fry up pancakes and serve with maple syrup and top with toasted pecans!
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#TalkAboutItTuesday: Thinking About Suicide

If you, or someone you know, is in need of immediate help PLEASE call 911 or your local crisis hotline.  

Kids Help Phone (a crisis line for youth under 20) 1-800-668-6868

National Suicide Prevention Hotline (US & Canada) 1-800-273-8255

Ontario Mental Health Helpline 1-866-531-2600

Trans Lifeline (a crisis line for transgender youth and adults) 877-330-6366

First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line: 1-855-242-3310

I was 16 when I first had thoughts of killing myself. They were fleeting, but always lurking, nestled in the back of my mind. They would wait patiently for a moment of vulnerability, and come crawling out of the shadows ready to prey on a moment of weakness. No amount of wishful thinking could make them go away. I was convinced no one would miss me. I was convinced it was the best option. I was convinced it was in my life plan. Growing up, suffering from depression, I never saw myself growing old. I never saw myself with a family, a partner, or a future. The idea of turning 25 was inconceivable to me. The idea of a happy, fulfilled life was unfathomable.

I dropped out of school at 17 due to severe depression, crippling anxiety, and an eating disorder that consumed my life. During this time, I spent most of the day cooped up in the house. I was fearful. Fearful of the outside world. Fearful of my inadequacies. Fearful of the future. I was left alone to stew in my thoughts. The negative thoughts grew stronger and crueler. I hated myself. I couldn’t stand the thought of existing anymore. I began to voice my thoughts out loud which caught the attention of my father. Beginning to write things down, a post-it note of his I once found said this,

“I don’t want live anymore.”
“What’s the point?”
“I want to kill myself.”
“It’s not worth it if I feel this way.”

I was taken to the hospital.

At the time, these thoughts were rational to me. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with feeling the way I did. I had accepted that this was what my life was supposed to be like. I had accepted that I was never destined for greater things. Not wanting to spend my days restricted to the white walls of a hospital, I lied through my teeth to the crisis worker they assigned to me. If I wanted to die, it was going to be on my own terms.

One night, during my first year of university, I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t live like this. My grades were terrible. I had been the victim of assault. I felt that I deserved nothing. Feeling that I couldn’t continue any longer, I sat on the bathroom floor, a cocktail of pills in my hands. Grasping what looked like a small pharmacy, I became fascinated with the power I held in my hand. It amazed me how something so small could be so powerful. How something so ignored could be so significant. Was it really bad to be so small, to feel so small?

I don’t really know what stopped me, and I don’t think I’ll ever know. Perhaps it was that I felt I couldn’t do this to my family, or that I didn’t even deserve the escape suicide would have allowed. Maybe it was that I didn’t want to become another statistic, or end up as a story in the paper. Whatever the reason(s) may be, I’m so very grateful that I flushed death down the toilet that day.

In Canada, it is estimated that approximately 210 people attempt suicide every day. Of those attempts, 11 people will be successful. That’s 4, 015 people every year. 4, 015 people too many. In 2009, it is estimated that up to 100, 000 years of life were lost to suicide. That’s years of life that lost out on birthdays, graduations, marriages, promotions, children, and much deserved happiness. Suicide does not discriminate. Age, gender, sexual orientation, economic class, race or ethnicity doesn’t ensure immunity. Over 90% of suicide victims suffer from at least one mental health disorder. However, depression accounts for 60% of that population. Rather than one single determining factor, suicide is often motivated by many. Declining health, marital stress, sexual assault, abuse, major loss, and mental health can all be contributing factors of suicide.

What are some symptoms?

In one’s self:

  • Feelings of hopelessness or despair

  • Thoughts of, or committing, acts of self-harm

  • Self-loathing

  • Anxiety

  • Mood swings

  • Preoccupation with death or dying

In others:

  • Talking about harming themselves

  • Saying goodbye

  • Withdrawing from friends and family

  • Mood swings

  • Increase in risky behaviour

What can you do to help?

  • Talk about it. Stigma is the biggest hurdle mental health advocacy faces. Take the shame, uncomfortably, awkwardness of a conversation, and open up!

  • Equip yourself with the skills to help others. Learning how to talk to someone you suspect may be suicidal could help you to save a life.

  • Never blame yourself. No matter how hard you may try, prevention, unfortunately, is not always possible.

For access to a list of distress and crisis centers, plus more information please visit The Canadian Association of Suicide Prevention

Healthy Apple Pie Pancakes

ApplePancakes2017_7Crisp air, the crunch of leaves beneath your feet, the smell of cinnamon filling the room, autumn floods your body with wonderful sensory experiences. While some may see it as the unfortunate approaching of winter, others embrace the changes of the season and the unique experiences it has to offer. Fall is one of my favourite seasons, primarily due to the food offerings available. Living in Ontario, we are gifted with bountiful harvests of delicious, local crops. From corn to squash, pumpkins to apples, there is so much readily available. One of the best ways to embrace any season is to utilize the crops that are at their peak. So bake a pumpkin pie, simmer some squash soup, or stew up some apple sauce, and savour the flavours of the season.

Ingredients

1/2 a cup of whole wheat flour
1/2 cup of oat flour (or ground oats)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp of baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 tsps of vanilla
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1 free range egg
1/4 cup of milk
1 diced cooking apple (granny smith, honeycrisp, mcintosh) + more to top
Maple syrup, honey, or apple butter

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Directions

  1.  In a mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  2. In a seperate bowl, whisk together the egg, vanilla, greek yogurt, and milk.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Add in the diced apple.
  4. Stir mixture to combine. Do not over mix.
  5. In a pan over low-medium heat, fry up pancakes and serve with warm apple butter, maple syrup or honey!

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Breakfast Bites: Smoothie Bowl

Feel good food doesn’t just have to taste good, it can also look pretty good too! I’m a firm believer that starting your day off on a happy, positive note, sets the tone for an enjoyable day ahead, The beauty of a smoothie bowl is not only the finished product, but all of the good, healthy ingredients you can incorporate. With so many options, a smoothie bowl can be a quick, nutritious way, to start your day off on the right foot. Get some ingredient ideas below!

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Greek or dairy free yogurt
Frozen or fresh fruit
Nuts and seeds
Hemp hearts
Chia seeds
Cinnamon
Edible flowers and mint
Chocolate chips
Granola

Breakfast Bites: Mango-Coconut Smoothie

The last thing many of us want to do first thing in the morning is prepare a complex, time consuming meal. Most of us just want to grab our coffee and go, but we shouldn’t skip on the opportunity to load up on nutritious, fueling food that will help us get going in the morning. Breakfast bites is here to solve that problem! With simple, quick recipes that will help you start your day off on the right foot, you won’t have any more excuses for skipping a meal.

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Ingredients
1 ½ cups of frozen mango
½ a banana
½ – 1 cup of coconut water
2 tbsp of coconut cream
Coconut chips (optional)

Directions

  1. In a blender combine all the ingredients aside from the coconut chips.
  2. Blend until desire consistency is reached.
  3. Top with coconut chips and enjoy the start of your day!

Saturday Morning Banana “Bread” Pancakes

Image may contain: foodGluten. Free. Two words I’m sure everyone has see pop up over the past couple of years.  Is it healthier? Should you be doing? Is it all a sham? No matter what you believe, for some people gluten is a huge problem.  Celiac disease, a condition affecting 1 in every 133 Canadians, is an autoimmune disorder in which the wheat protein gluten prompts the body to attack the villi in the small intestine. (Canadian Celiac Association, 2017) This leads to the poor absorption of essential vitamins and minerals.  Continued ingestion of gluten products may result in severe illness, and even death, in those suffering from the disorder.  So, what does that mean for you? Well, unless you have been diagnosed by a doctor as having celiac, gluten is completely safe for you to eat.  Some people argue that it is unnatural for humans to ingest wheat products, and they suggest that we would be healthier if we avoided foods containing gluten.  I think personally think that that’s a load of bull.  Out of all things humans do that s “unnatural”, I think eating a slice of bread falls pretty low on the list.  That being said, I think it’s important to make gluten free options available for those who truly need them.  Furthermore, if you feel better leaving gluten off your plate even if you have not been diagnosed, continue to do what makes you feel best.  After all, food should make you happy. I love experimenting with food, so trying to make tasty meals with ingredient restrictions is a challenge I am up for.  All diets can be delicious if you take the time to get creative!  This recipe uses simple, clean ingredients that are readily available.  With no added sugar, this naturally sweetened breakfast will be sure to fill you up without weighing you down.  Feel free to get creative with the toppings, experimenting with whatever you had on hand.

Ingredients

 1 large ripe banana

1 egg
1 tsp of vanilla
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 a cup of gluten free oat flour

1/2 tsp of baking powder
Coconut oil for the pan


Directions

  1. In a bowl mash the bananas with the vanilla. Add in 1 egg.
  2. Add in the oat flour and cinnamon.
  3. Stir to combine, but make sure not to over mix.In a pan over medium heat melt the coconut oil and add batter.
  4. Top with anything you like! I’m a fan of natural peanut butter, hemp hearts and bee pollen.
  1. Celiac Disease Foundation. (2017). What is Celiac Diseas?. Retrieved from https://celiac.org/celiac-disease/understanding-celiac-disease-2/what-is-celiac-disease/

A Letter to My Body

IMG_20170728_185448_482So often are we quick to say things about our bodies that we would never say to one other. So fast to put ourselves down for what we see as our short comings, and attempt to refute any positivity others place upon us. Ask yourself, would you say to someone you love the things you say to yourself? No longer shall we treat our selves as verbal punching bags. No longer shall we assault ourselves with uncalled for negativity.  No longer shall it cripple us, or inhibit dreams and goals. Take a moment to reflect on the wondrous things we have, can, and do accomplish in the bodies we are in. We all deserve to feel comfortable being who and what we are.  After years of neglect I’ve decided it’s time to rebuild the broken relationship with my body.  I’ve decided it’s time to start healing. For a moment I’ve set myself apart from the skin I’m in, and come to realize what a truly remarkable thing it is, and what a truly wonderful thing it is to be alive.

Dearest you,

As I write this, I have spent 25 years, 142 days, and 14 hours with you. Throughout our time together you never let me fall; you never let me fail. When I was at my weakest you stood strong.  Never faltering to the blows I threw your way. You are resilient. For the past 25 years, I’ve had the ability to love, laugh, cry and dream because of you, yet, I despised you. You make me who I am.  I can never apologize enough for what I have put you through. So, here is a love letter, and an explanation, for you. For everything you do for me, and everything you’ve done. For all of your faults, failures and short comings, and for all of your strengths, beauties and achievements. I’m proud of you.

I used to hate to have to look at you. I’d cringe whenever I caught your reflection out of the corner of my eye.  You repulsed me.  The way your stomach bulged, the way your thighs jiggled, and the way your skin crinkled and dimpled. You disgusted me. The stretch marks that litter your thighs, stomach and chest made me sick. Whatever I could pinch or grab, I wanted to cut away. You were never going to be good enough for me; you were worthless. I wanted nothing to do with you, and I would have done anything to rid you from my life. I denied you the very things you needed.  I denied you health, the basic necessities of life. I hurt you. There were times when I wanted to end your time here on this earth. I hated you for reasons no one ever should, for being who you are. It was never fair to you. It was never deserved.  I punished you, because I never thought you were good enough. I watched you suffer as I abused you. Watched you crumple, become worn and tired. You did nothing but give, and I took from you all that I could. I’m sorry. Those words don’t seem enough, I know, but let us start there. Let us begin to build a bond that will never again be broken. Let us grow stronger together.

I now see that your legs are strong.  They’ve carried you miles and miles, and they will carry you for many more. You move like there is nothing holding you back.  Your stomach keeps you tall, it holds you up. Provides you with the energy to do the things you love. Your skin has scars, beautiful, beautiful scars. They are your story; they make you who you are.  As you grow you become a book that has been read and little worn, bound to have a few tears and wrinkles, but what a beautiful story it is. A story where you are the hero. You will not be confined to a genre.  You are a comedy, a romance, a mystery and an adventure; you are an epic.

Your body was your passport into this world, and with it you will go on the journey of a lifetime. You will not suffer from a destiny of regret.  You will not end up at the end of your life wondering what could have been if you had lost a little more weight, or looked a different way. Your life will be one worth living.  It will be a life well lived.

I owe so much to you. Thanks to you I can feel, not only with my hands, but also my heart.  Thanks to you I can embrace the ones I love, kiss those I hold dear, and hold the hand of a friend. I can feel warmth, both inside and out. You’ve given me the ability to love, possibly the greatest gift of all, even though there were times I didn’t love you. You are selfless.  You provide me with life, and encourage me to continue living when it was the last thing I wanted. Thanks to you I get to see beautiful, vibrant sunsets, and smell the lilacs in the first rain of spring. Thanks to you I can listen to the birds in the quite of sunrise, and bury my hands in the cool, damp earth.  I am able to wade in the waters, feel the cool pebbles beneath my feet. I am able to smell the friendly smoke of a campfire, feel the heat, and hear the crackles. I am able to dance, albeit not well, and enjoy every silly moment of it. Thanks to you I am able to live.

I now see how people look at you.  I see how they embrace your presence. I see how proud your friends and family are of you, and I see how the man who loves you smiles when you look at him. You see that you are loved. I too now love you, and I thank you for all that you have done for me. Thank you for giving me the strength to get through it all. You are beautiful, inside and out. You are me, and I am you. Thank you.

      Love always,
Claire