Easy, Delicious and Nutritious Pesto Recipe

Summer produce is the best! By now, we all know that you can never get too many dark, leafy greens into your diet, and the summer gives us so many easy options and ideas. The farmers markets are overflowing with kale, spinach, swiss chard, so there is no excuse to go a day without them.

Tips To Increase Your Greens Intake

Some of my favourite tips to entice the people in my practice to get more greens in are:

  • Chop and prep your greens after you get them. You’ll find it easier to add them to a salad, stir fry throw them into a smoothie or add them to a sandwich if they are ready to go
  • Use big leaf greens as a wrap instead of bread with your next ‘sandwich’.
  • Make Pesto! It’s so easy, and with no extra preservatives, colours or artificial flavours, it’s better for you too!

My Go-To Pesto Recipe

  • 2 cup kale, spinach or swiss chard
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup oregano or basil
  • 1/4cup walnuts, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3-1/2 cup cold pressed olive oil (We used Tuscan Herb from the Collingwood Olive Oil Company)
  • 1/4 salt

Place all ingredients in food processor and chop on low setting. Once finely chopped, add in 1/3 cup olive oil while the processor is running. Transfer to glass jar and store in refrigerator or freezer. Notice unlike traditional pesto recipes, this one does not contain any parmesan cheese. It can be added, but is not necessary, making this version a great option for vegans.

You’ll notice the recipe guidelines are a little vague, that’s because it’s a versatile recipe and one you can modify depending on what is available seasonally at your market or in your own garden! Pesto can also be very smooth or slightly chunky, depending on how you are going to use it and your own preferences.

Used on pasta, sandwiches, or as a condiment in countless ways, pesto is a wonderful way to add a savoury dose of more greens into your diet! It also freezes well and will give you a little bit of summertime freshness in the fall or winter months.

Smoothies: Nutritious and Delicious!

When made with wholesome ingredients, smoothies boost your body with nutrients while also offering hydration.

Smoothies are a great way to start your day, or to simply add more nutrition throughout it – especially if you are always on the go.

Kids love smoothies too! Freeze them in popsicle molds for a cool treat that is full of many more nutrients than commercially made versions.

As with any recipe, there is always room for individual creativity. Proportions can easily be modified to suit your taste and texture preferences. For all these combinations, start with adding 1 cup of liquid (water is best but diluted juices work too). If you like your smoothies thick, add less fluid, for a more liquid consistency add more.

Adding protein powders or other supplements can offer additional benefits, but remember, supplements supplement – they don’t replace! Choosing only the goodness in these fruits and vegetables is a great place to start.

These are some of the favourite smoothie combinations from within the practice and within my own home. Give them a try and share your favorites too!

Kickstart

  • 1 Banana + 1 Avocado + 5 Strawberries + 1 Carrot + Pineapple Juice
  • Morning Sunrise
  • 1 Banana + ½ Mango + orange juice
  • Strawberry-Banana-Romaine
  • 1 cup strawberries + 2 large romaine leaves + 2 bananas

Pear – Mint – Kale

  • Sprig of fresh mint
  • 1 pear
  • 2-3 kale leaves

Parsley Citrus

  • handful of fresh parsley
  • 1 orange
  • 1 banana

Red Devil

  • 2 cups watermelon
  • 1/2 cup raspberries

Chocolate Monkey

  • 1 banana
  • 1 tsp of cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp of honey

*this one works best with almond, coconut or rice milk

Natural Summer Hacks: Bug Bites, Burns and Bruises

It is officially SUMMER, and I couldn’t be happier. I love the sunshine, relaxed schedule, outdoor living and so many sports and hobbies. But with the fun and sun, comes the inevitable pesky parts of the season. With a little planning ahead you can set yourself up for success while taking the natural approach.

Sun Safety

Natural sunlight is essential for good health, time in the sun is a question of balance. Daily moderate exposure enables the body to produce vitamin D and make melanin (our body’s natural sunscreen). However, overexposure causes damage to the skin, accelerates aging, suppresses the immune system, and can lead to cancers. Children are much more sensitive than adults so taking some precautions is wise. Use hats, and cover the skin with clothing when possible. Seek out the shade and balance time out in the sun with breaks indoors. This also helps prevent heat exhaustion and dehydration. If you are choosing to use sunscreen, be mindful of the toxic chemicals in many sunscreens that can be worse for the body than sun exposure! Check out this resource for a list you can shop with.

Bites and Stings

Stings from a bee or wasp are not usually dangerous unless you suffer from an allergy, but they should always be treated immediately nonetheless. Apply a paste of baking soda and water to a bee sting to relieve pain; make a compress from a pad of cotton soaked in lemon juice and apply to a wasp sting.

*Multiple stings, or stings to the eyes, ears or mouth should be treated in the hospital.*

Mosquitos

Avoid bug repellents that contain DEET which is effective for repelling insects but also extremely hazardous to your health. Instead, prevent insect bites by diluting a few drops (or combination of) any of the following essential oils: eucalyptus, citronella, peppermint, rosemary, clove, citronella or lemongrass in half a mug of water, gently apply to exposed areas avoiding the eyes and mouth. Experiment and find a scent that you like, place in a spray bottle and keep on hand for easy access when enjoying the outdoors. Cider vinegar can be used the same way and the smell evaporates as soon as it dries.

Cuts & Bruises

So common in childhood, but also with active grown-ups, or random accidents! If there is extensive bleeding, or any other unusual symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath, or a head of injury, take your child to the hospital for emergency treatment. Carefully clean the area and than apply a clean cloth soaked in witch hazel or a cold compress and some TLC! Arnica cream is also useful for soreness.

First Aid Remedies

Check out this post to find out what I keep in our summer adventure first aid kit!

Don’t Rush It! Why Babies Need to Crawl Before They Walk

So often parents, grandparents, are so excited to see the young ones start taking their first steps, but as a Chiropractor concerned with healthy motor development, I have a simple reminder…let’s not rush this process!

There is a reason for every developmental stage in the human body – the body is not dumb, and there are no mistakes! The body has an amazing innate intelligence that governs and directs all functions in the body, this belief is at the core of chiropractic.

There is a very sequential order to the development of infant motor patterns. There is a reason infants don’t come out and start walking, and why they need to sit before they crawl or stand. We need to respect this process, and not force it. If development not progressing the way it naturally should be, we then need to look for the potential causes, find them, and restore balance so development can continue.

A healthy adult spine has 4 curves, but only two are present at birth: the thoracic (mid back) and sacral (tailbone – which at birth is not actually yet 1 bone but 4 separate pieces until it matures). Curves in the spine are essential because they help us stay flexible and balanced, and help absorb stress through gravity and daily activity. Curves in the spine develop as an adaptation to gravity – and this is a crucial step in how muscles develop the strength necessary for stability. An infant develops the curve in their neck when they begin to lift and support their head, and the curve in their low back when they sit. This happens during the first 6 months. Once infants can sit independently they have gained substantial strength in their torso, and their next step is to start to pull themselves up and develop strength in their hips and legs….this is the natural order, the way the body was designed to mature.

Placing infants in an upright position before they have reached this milestone can lead to instability within the spine and hip joints, and it’s the main reason the majority of Pediatric Chiropractors do not recommend infants be placed in jolly jumpers prior to this developmental stage, if at all. The premature stress they place on the hip joint can lead to problems in the spine and nervous system later in life – many of which we see in our practices and need to correct!

Children grow up far too quickly as it is – be patient with their development, don’t compare them to other children, and let their body do what it does naturally on its own, in its own time.

Episode 30: Homeschooling Your Children During Covid-19? Consider These Tips

Struggling with schooling your children while they are at home? I took the opportunity to sit down with a local mom of 4 who’s been homeschooling for the past 10 years and we had a great discussion.

She sheds her insights on what she’s learned over the years and shares her mindset tips about:

  • Getting clear on your values as a family and letting that be the starting point
  • Getting children involved in what they want to learn
  • Creating a daily rhythm that suits your family life
  • Sharing resources with others in your community
  • Taking care of yourself as a parent!

Enjoy!

Hungry for more? Check out the rest of the Adjust Your Life Podcast episodes!
If you’re more of a reader than a listener, you may prefer checking out some blog posts!
If you love conversation, reach out here, I’d love to hear from you!

Episode 28: How Can We Support Our Families During Times of Stress?

I’m joined by Psychologist Maddi Rundle in this conversation, and I loved it! We discussed why it’s important for us to take care of our emotional response as parents, how to communicate difficult situations with children of all ages, and why ‘feeling our feelings’ is essential to moving forward.

If there is ever a time to understand these ideas, it’s now.

P.S. It’s longer than the usual 10 minutes because it was so good!

 

Episode 22: 5 Ways You Can Have a HAPPY & HEALTHY Holiday Season!

There are lots of opportunities during the holiday season for indulgent foods, extra alcohol, social engagements and festive fun! However this season can also be physically and emotionally draining if you don’t keep a few important health habits in mind. You can indulge, celebrate and feel good during the holiday season and head into the new year ready to rock! These 5 tips will give you a good start.
 

Hungry for more? Check out the rest of the Rock Your Health Podcast episodes!
If you’re more of a reader than a listener, you may prefer checking out some blog posts!
If you love conversation, reach out here, I’d love to hear from you!

Episode 19: Listen to Your Body

Your body is always talking to you; constantly sending you messages about how it’s performing or how it’s feeling. A lot of people relate symptoms to sickness but more often than not, once you deepen your ability to tune into your body’s messages, it will tell you about hidden sources of inflammation that have not yet begun to show up as symptoms. Your health is about so much more than how you feel, and on today’s episode, we go over how to team up with your body for better health.

For more on the benefits of listening to the body, check out this blog post.

Hungry for more? Check out the rest of the Rock Your Health Podcast episodes!
If you’re more of a reader than a listener, you may prefer checking out some blog posts!
If you love conversation, reach out here, I’d love to hear from you!

Ice Or Heat? What’s Best?

The best answer to this common question is “It depends on your injury”.  

Inflammation is part of the body’s natural healing response and is actually a positive reaction. With any injury, tissues are damaged, and your body adapts by sending more blood to the injury site. With this increased blood supply, inflammatory cells such as leukocytes and macrophages get to work releasing proteins which clean up and heal the injured site. The area is tender and sore, (which is a reminder for you to be gentle using it!) but your body is effectively trying to repair the damaged area. Keep in mind though, inflammation and pain is your body’s way of telling you to stop and take action. The purpose of inflammation needs to be respected because essentially it is a protective response from the body to prevent you from doing further damage to yourself.

When you apply ice to an injury, the blood vessels constrict, temporarily limiting the blood flow to the injured site. The cold temperature inhibits the pain response, so although ice can often provided some pain relief, it can also delay healing.

When you apply heat to an area, the blood flow increases which can help deliver more oxygen and nutrients to a more chronic problem and support healing. However, for this reason, too much heat can also contribute to further inflammation. Applying heat can help with muscle aches, pains and general stiffness but should never be applied to a new injury or an area that is painful or swollen

So what should you do?

Again, it depends on the injury. If you have a new injury such as a strain or sprain, and you feel you need some pain relief, applying an ice pack is a good option to provide temporary relief (certainly what I recommend more than taking a muscle relaxant or ibuprofen) and it will help the healing process.

Keep these tips in mind:

  • Choose a chemical ice pack, bag of frozen vegetables, ziploc bag with ice cubes in it, and protect your skin by placing clothing or towel between you and the pack
  • 10min on/10min off cycles throughout the day (NOT consistently, your body needs breaks to effectively use the therapeutic benefits. When you apply ice to the injured area you will either feel relief or mild discomfort due to the cold. Often the sensations you feel with icing is pain-tingling-numbness. Once the ice is removed at the 10 minute mark, the area should be numb. The body will then react to re-warm the area with gentle blood flow to supply the tissues with oxygen and nutrients. This reaction will not occur if the ice is left on too long.
  • Ideally ice should be applied as soon as possible after injury, and in cycles for the first 72 hours of acute trauma.

Remember, the body knows best! As far as healing goes it’s best to let inflammation run its course.   This will take time, perhaps even longer than you would like, but ultimately you will be rewarded with improved and more complete recovery.

Chiropractic & Concussion Management

As a chiropractor and parent I’m happy we now have more information about diagnosing, treating, and most importantly preventing concussions.  I’ve witnessed the effects of it when my oldest son suffered a mild concussion while playing hockey. During his evaluation with our family physician after his hit, when we discussed protocol for managing his recovery, the first thing our physician said was “I hope you’re planning to adjust him”. With both my son’s parents being Chiropractors, you can bet we were!

Why is spinal care important when there is a concussion?

If you watch any footage from sporting injuries, with any hit to the head there is often a twisting of the neck that also occurs. It’s impossible for the head to move any direction without any movement of the neck, try it! All the rotation and side to side bending we have in our necks comes from the upper spinal joints.

With any concussion the impact to head is what is of major concern, and rightly so! Your brain is the most important organ in your body, always responding to the needs of your body and coordinating many functions simultaneously.   However, the importance of assessing the vertebrae in the upper neck cannot be forgotten, and many experts like Dr. Ted Carrick (who I’ve been fortunate to do some training with) agree that including appropriate spinal care is a key to recovery.

After a hit to the head, many internal systems can be challenged, and in many cases the vestibular system (balance and coordination) can be affected. When your body’s position sense is disrupted, the brain will adapt by trying to keep things level, and in doing so there will be subtle shifts in the position of the neck and head as a biomechanical  consequence, which creates added strain on surrounding joints and all the associated muscles.

The body is a self regulating organism, and if the sense of position balance is disrupted, the nervous system will compensate for something being innately wrong by changing the head posture so that it feels like things are still level. This changes the alignment of the vertebrae in the neck and causes reduced movement of the spinal joints, which can then create secondary problems such as neck stiffness and pain. I see this all the time in people in my practice, whether they’ve had a concussion or a minor impact, or sometimes even just because of chronic postures, faulty ergonomics, sleeping positions, and high levels of stress.

If someone you care about suffers a concussion, consider adding chiropractic care to their recovery protocol. Addressing the movement of the spinal joints will reduce the effects of the brain injury on the surrounding tissues and muscles, minimize their symptoms, and promote full recovery. 

Need help? Get in touch!

Disclaimer: Chiropractic care supports overall health and healing, but is not a cure or treatment for brain injury or trauma.