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These Gluten Free Almond Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cookies with Dairy Free Chocolate Ganache are perfect for your Passover seder or any time of year!

Passover is a-coming and for my Jewish brothers and sisters that means 8 days of constipation. Lol Okay, and it means a lot of great things too, like celebrating the Israelites liberation from Egyptian slavery! It also means a SUPER amazing massive meal (aka. the seder) – if you’re lucky you get two nights of that eating in a row!

Okay back to that constipation. I’m kinda joking, but also, kinda not. During the 8 days of Passover, we refrain from eating any risen grains, legumes or peanuts (hence the backing up issue) and also don’t mix dairy and meat products. Eggs are considered neutral (pareve) so they’re cool to mingle with anyone else on the plate. So if you get tasked with making dessert, it can be a little tough. No grains means you’re definitely going gluten free, but also since we tend to eat a meat based dinner, dairy is off the table too. Eggs again are fair game.  So for this Passover, I decided to make these beautiful Gluten Free Almond Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cookies sandwiched with a Dairy Free Chocolate Ganache. They’re absolutely divine for Passover, but honestly, a beautiful dessert any day of the week.

How to Make Gluten Free Almond Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cookies

Making meringue requires very few ingredients, but a bit of time and patience. It takes about 40 minutes for these babies to bake off, but when they’re done, they’re an absolute dream. I personally like my meringues with little shaved almonds inside which give them an addictive crunch to balance out the marshmallowy interior.

These Gluten Free Almond Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cookies are flavoured up with a little maraschino cherry juice but you can totally skip this if you want to let the vanilla aroma shine.

Cherries + almonds are BFF’s with chocolate so I HAD to turn these into meringue sandwiches with a decadent chocolate ganache. Okay, so truthfully, I would say everyone is BFFs with chocolate, you really can’t go wrong no matter what you add to these meringue cookies. I make a simple dairy free chocolate ganache by melting down some dark chocolate and beating it up with rich coconut cream. It’s hard to not just eat that stuff out of the bowl.

These Gluten Free Almond Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cookies are easy to make ahead and can be stored in an air-tight container until you’re ready to indulge. They will definitely be a huge hit at any Passover seder, but will for sure become a recipe you’ll bust out any time of year. Make ahead dessert = the BEST for entertaining.

Now, tell me what are some of your go-to Passover friendly desserts? Have you tried making these Gluten Free Almond Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cookies? Leave me a comment below with your thoughts!

Gluten Free Almond Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cookies

These Gluten Free Almond Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cookies with Dairy Free Chocolate Ganache are perfect for your Passover seder or any time of year!

  • 4 room temperature large egg whites
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 2 tsp maraschino cherry juice
  • 1 tsp artificial vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sliced raw almonds
  • 300 g dairy free dark chocolate (chopped)
  • 1  cup coconut cream
  1. Reduce the oven temperature to 250°F.
  2. Line two baking sheets with a silpat or a greased piece of parchment paper. Using a standmixer,  beat the egg whites, salt and lemon juice at low speed until foamy.
  3. Increase the speed to medium, and add the sugar one tablespoon at a time until glossy and firm peaks form. This can take about 8 minutes. Beat in the cherry juice and vanilla. Gently fold in the almonds.
  4. Drop in two-tablespoon balls (about 2 inches apart) on the baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes, just until very lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to fully cool and harden.
  5. Meanwhile, place the chocolate in a glass bowl set over a saucepot with an inch-high of simmering water. Allow to melt fully, then transfer all but about 1/4 cup of the chocolate to the stand mixer. Allow the chocolate to cool slightly to room temperature, then add in the coconut cream. Beat until very smooth and creamy, like cake frosting. Transfer to a piping bag.
  6. To assemble drizzle the tops of the cookies with the residual melted dark chocolate. Pipe a generous dollop of the ganache onto one of the cookies and add the other as a sandwich. These cookies can be stored in an air-tight container at room temperature for two days.

The post Gluten Free Almond Cherry Chocolate Meringue Cookies with Dairy Free Chocolate Ganache for Passover appeared first on Abbey's Kitchen.

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DISCLAIMER: This post was developed in sponsored partnership with McCain, however, as always, all opinions are genuine.

I discuss the top potato myths like do potatoes make you fat and look at the research on why potatoes can be good for your health. 

Let’s call it like it is- we love to dichotomize foods as good and bad. Kale, good. Candy, bad. Quinoa, good. Pizza, bad. While good foods and bad foods tend to come in go, potatoes have been in the dog house since the big Atkin’s craze of the 1990s. Regardless of the anti-carb movement though, the average Canadians eat 71 kg of potatoes a year, so clearly we like our spuds. But is there any need to fear potatoes (or carbs in general, for that matter)? Should Canadians be digging in without guilt or cutting back? I take a look at the research to debunk the top potato myths and look at the biggest misconceptions about potatoes.

POTATO MYTHS and Low Carb Diet Debunked | Dietitians Eat French Fries | Feat. Diet Debbie - YouTube

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Potato Myth 1:  Potatoes make you gain weight and spike your blood sugar because they’re full of carbs!

I’ve talked about this before (many, many times)- carbs are not the enemy. In fact, our brain solely functions on carbs and we need a minimum amount of it to keep our thinking sharp. Carbs don’t make us fat, and cutting out carbs doesn’t make us skinny. Research suggests that low carb diets are no more successful than high carb diets in weight loss. (In fact, studies suggests that no diets are successful in the long term but that’s a whole other blog post in itself.) Back to the point, one determined that there was not convincing enough evidence to suggest an association between intake of potatoes and risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

As for the blood sugar response, yes, potatoes are higher on the glycemic index (GI) which means they do raise your blood sugar levels and insulin levels. Since insulin promotes fat synthesis, in theory, yes, foods that are high GI (like potatoes) should make you gain weight and foods that are low GI should make you lose it. But again, studies haven’t been able to find a difference in weight management with higher vs lower GI diets. In the real world, we don’t (usually) just eat a plate of mashed potatoes all on its own. By sticking to a moderate portion (about 1 cup) and pairing it with protein like chicken or steak, and fibre (like veggies), we can slow down the blood sugar response and have a more balanced beautiful plate.

Potato Myth 2: If you peel potatoes, you lose all of the nutrients!

Don’t be dramatic. Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium (yes, more than a banana), B6 and carbohydrates. They pack about 110 calories in a small (5.3 oz) potato, which to me, is pretty good no matter how you slice it. The only thing you’re losing out on by peeling those potatoes is the fibre, and not by much (down from 2 g to 1 g). In other words, it’s not a make or break scenario if you can’t stand eating the peel. So if you’re family is craving potatoes in a pinch, the peeled and frozen McCain Superfries are still a good pick.

Potato Myth #3: Sweet potatoes are “good” but white potatoes are “bad”

Ah yes, here we go with the good food vs bad food dogma. Here’s the scoop- both sweet potatoes and regular white potatoes have their redeeming qualities, so you can (and should) switch it up to get a more balanced nutrient profile. Let’s take a look at how they compare per 100 g serving:


Sweet Potato 90 calories  vs White Potato 92 calories (aka. the same damn thing)


Sweet Potato 3 g  vs White Potato 2.1 g

Vitamin A

Sweet Potato 384%  vs White Potato 0%


Sweet Potato 5%  vs White Potato 3.5%

Vitamin C

Sweet Potato 33%  vs White Potato 16%


Sweet Potato 6%  vs White Potato 5%


Sweet Potato 4%  vs White Potato 6%

So, in conclusion, they aren’t that different. Yes, sweet potatoes have a lot more vitamin A, and white potatoes have a bit more iron, but at the end of the day, they are far too similar to occupy opposite ends of the “good food/ bad food” spectrum.

Potato Myth #4: Frozen potatoes are heavily processed and made with lots of crazy additives, preservatives and weird ingredients you can’t even pronounce!

Cool your jets. I know we love to think that everything “processed” made in a lab, but if you take a closer look at the ingredient panel of your frozen potatoes, you may be surprised. Take a look at McCain’s Superfries (something I know I personally was raised on) for example. The ingredients are pretty short and sweet if you ask me – just potatoes, canola oil, sea salt, sodium phosphate (to retain natural colour), and colour. McCain’s process is very simple – just wash, peel, cut, cook and freeze. What you see is what you get – it’s all coming from the nutritious potato. As a dietitian, I’m all for encouraging families to take whatever short cuts or steps they need to help them serve balanced meals. And if making a quick convenient side dish to serve with a simple main is the catalyst to a family meal, I am 100% for it.

Potato Myth #5: Frozen Fries are LOADED with Trans Fats, Saturated Fats and Sodium that Cause Heart Disease

While I love myself a good fresh baked potato, or a buttery bowl of mash, I certainly have no qualms about taking a short cut from the store and enjoying some frozen potatoes in moderation – especially with regards to heart health. We know that foods high in trans fat and salt are linked with heart disease, and while the research is still a bit controversial when it comes to saturated fat, the guidelines still suggest we enjoy it in moderation. Either way, McCain’s Superfries, for instance, are all trans fat free (a fat known to be linked to cardiovascular disease), and low in saturated fat (just 0.3 grams per serving). They’re also surprisingly low in sodium, with just 4% of your daily recommended amount in one serving. I also know that McCain is working hard to reduce sodium and fat wherever it can without compromising quality and taste. Also, as previously mentioned, potatoes are also rich in potassium which actually works in opposition of sodium to promote a healthier heart.

Ultimately, I’m not telling anyone to go and eat fried foods all day, I’m just trying to take the taboo away from people enjoying food and emphasizing that all foods have nutritionally redeeming qualities and can be enjoyed in moderation. And potatoes, for one, are definitely not the “bad” food they’ve been made out to be.

Now tell me, what are your thoughts on potatoes? Were you raised on frozen potatoes? What’s your favourite way to eat potatoes? Leave me a comment below with your thoughts!

Disclaimer: This post was developed in paid partnership with McCain, however, all opinions are genuine.

The post Do Potatoes Make You Fat? | This and Other Potato Myths Debunked appeared first on Abbey's Kitchen.

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DISCLAIMER: This post was developed in sponsored partnership with Findus Fish, however, as always, all opinions are genuine.

I share my how to make the fastest easiest fish dish you’ll ever eat thanks to the exciting launch of Findus fish in Canada! 

If you’re like most Canadians, you’re probably not getting your 1 to 2 servings of fish each week. Okay so I bet a lot of you are reading this thinking “hey, I’m not actually getting any fish at all! “ Hey, I don’t judge! One of the big reasons I find people struggle is that they’re honestly afraid of overcooking or ruining a beautiful filet. I hear you, fish can be a delicate little beast! The good news is that one of the beloved European frozen fish company, Findus fish, has finally made its way across the pond to Canada and it’s making getting that nutritious fish fuel easier than ever!

How to Make the Fastest Easiest Fish Dish You’ll Ever Eat

Okay so here’s the instructions on how to make these Steam Delicious fish. Um… just put a pack into the microwave, set the timer for 4 minutes and press start. That. Is. It. Honestly, I could stop the blog post now so you can run out to grab a box, but I want to tell you why this product is currently saving my sanity.

If you’re not familiar with this trusted European brand, Findus fish is completely MSC certified, and has earned the global recognition of the “Gold Standard” in 100% seafood sustainability. That means you know you’re not only doing your body something really good getting by getting your fish fix, but you’re also doing the environment a favour, too!

This has been a HUGE saviour for me here in my final trimester when I’m practically asleep by 6 PM and have no interest in standing LITERALLY barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen trying to put together a healthy meal.

One perfect filet of fish + some quickly sautéed veg + batch cooked quinoa = a healthy meal on the table in under 10 minutes. That’s a mom win right there.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be over at Sobey’s (one place they’re sold here in Ontario) stocking up for when baby arrives in a few weeks.

I’m super pumped to now have found this tasty find, and would love to know what your go-to quick meal solutions are as I prepare for D-Day (aka. delivery day).

How do YOU make the fastest easiest fish dish for your family?

Have you tried these new Findus fish filets?

Would you be more of a Lemon Parsley or Chive and Herb fan?

Leave me a comment below with your thoughts!

Disclaimer: This post was developed in paid partnership with Findus fish, however, all opinions are genuine.

The post How to Make the Fastest Easiest Fish Dish You’ll Ever Eat appeared first on Abbey's Kitchen.

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This avocado chickpea salad sandwich is loaded with a ton of colour, crunch and nutrition! It’s the perfect vegan chicken salad swap!

Chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad or whatever other mayo-laden salad you could dream up were staples growing up. I was always a bit skeptical of them all because the texture weirded me out, but as an adult, I can’t help but totally love them all. But let’s be honest- we’re not all spring chickens anymore. I can’t always justify all of the fat, calories and salt packed into your typical chicken salad sandwich.

SO I set out to make a better for you vegan chicken salad swap – the avocado chickpea salad sandwich. Seriously, if you say chickpea salad sandwich fast enough, no one will even know the difference. Your waistline, however, will.

Dig Into This Avocado Chickpea Salad Sandwich

This avocado chickpea salad sandwich is so simple to pull off and really comes together with whatever veg you’ve got in your fridge. I mix together mashed ripe avocado with canned chickpeas, lemon and a little hot chili. It’s kind of like a lazy guacamole. This vegan chicken salad swap is awesome all on its own, but let’s not stop there.

Then, I load this avocado chickpea salad sandwich right up. Sliced ripe heirloom tomato, microgreens, shredded cooked beets and shredded carrots. Seriously- could you imagine a more beautiful sandwich?

Now, if you’re in the mood for chicken salad, will this do the trick? Probably not. It’s really not the same, just a take on the concept. But I kind of like the supple texture of the chickpeas with the creamy mildly sweet flavor of the avocado. It’s lighter, brighter and holy hell, it’s good with all the fixins’.

What would you put on your avocado chickpea salad sandwich? Leave me a comment below with your favourite sandwich toppers!

Avocado Chickpea Salad Sandwich

This avocado chickpea salad sandwich is loaded with a ton of colour, crunch and nutrition! It’s the perfect vegan chicken salad swap!

  • 1 can no salt added chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 1 ½ tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp hot chili pepper (finely minced)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 slices whole grain sprouted bread
  • 1 large heirloom tomato (sliced)
  • ½ cup sweet microgreens
  • ½ cup shredded carrot
  • ½ cup cooked and shredded beet
  1. In a bowl, mash the avocado until fairly smooth, add in the lemon juice, hot chili pepper, and chickpeas. Season with salt and pepper.

  2. To assemble the sandwich, layer the slices of tomatoes on one slice of bread, add the microgreens, the beets, the chickpea salad and the carrots. Slice into the bad boy and enjoy!

The post Avocado Chickpea Salad Sandwich | Vegan Chicken Salad Swap appeared first on Abbey's Kitchen.

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These Mini Eggs Gluten Free Protein Pancakes will become a hit for Easter brunch and every day after that!
 Guys, let’s talk about EVERYONE’S official guilty pleasure- Cadbury mini eggs. NO, this post is not sponsored, and YES, I wish it was so that I could have a stockpile of mini eggs in my pantry right now. Seriously, I decided to make this recipe just so that I would have a legit excuse to expense a family sized bag of these bad boys. And while I have no qualms about popping these back by the handful a la carte, I figured they would be even more appreciated in these wickedly delicious Mini Eggs Gluten Free Protein Pancakes. Delicious for a healthy Easter brunch option, but honestly, delicious any day of the year when you can find those eggs!!
How to Make Mini Eggs Gluten Free Protein Pancakes
So as you guys know, I’m kinda obsessed with better for you protein pancakes.  I’ve made ones for St. Paddy’s Day and Valentine’s Day and so much more. I HAD to whip out my base recipe for Easter too!
These Mini Eggs Gluten Free Protein Pancakes essentially start with a combination of oats, cottage cheese and egg whites. I guess this is what fitness models and people like that would call “clean eats”. I call it a great base for Mini Eggs!!
 Next, I figure, we need some stacking support, so I made a delicious chocolate cashew mousse sweetened   naturally with dates.
Obviously, then we top the whole thing off with more mini eggs, berries and maple and OMG, get your face right in there.
Mini Eggs Gluten Free Protein Pancakes- WHERE HAVE YOU BEAN ALL MY LIFE?! Excuse me while I stock up on these mini eggs at the drug store so that I can whip up a batch for the hubs and I in the middle of November. Seriously, there is no need to reserve all the best things in life for one month.
Now, lovelies, let me know- what are your thoughts on mini eggs in general? What are your thoughts on these bad ass Mini Eggs Gluten Free Protein Pancakes?! Leave me a comment below!!

Mini Eggs Gluten Free Protein Pancakes

These Mini Eggs Gluten Free Protein Pancakes will become a hit for Easter brunch and every day after that!

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free oats
  • 1 1/2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2/3 cup mini eggs (crushed)
Chocolate Mousse:
  • 2 cups cashews (soaked in water overnight)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup dates (soaked in hot water)
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
To serve:
  • Mini eggs
  • Fresh berries
  • Maple syrup (if desired)
  1. In a blender or food processor, puree the oats, cottage cheese and vanilla. Mix in the egg whites, salt, and baking powder. Fold in the crushed mini eggs.
  2. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, spray with a spritz of vegetable oil and add 1/4 cup of batter at a time.
  3. Meanwhile, add the cashews (drained), almond milk, vanilla, dates and cocoa powder to a high power blender. Puree until very smooth.
  4. Layer the pancakes with the cashew cream, mini eggs, and berries, and serve with maple syrup, if desired.

The post Mini Egg Gluten Free Protein Pancakes | Healthy Easter Brunch Recipes appeared first on Abbey's Kitchen.

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These vegan St. Patrick’s day recipes are great to share at a party this weekend or to celebrate with your family at home! 

Hey, I’m a good Irish girl and LOVE to indulge in green beer, but considering this year I’ve got a serious bun baking in the oven, I’ll be indulging in other ways. The reality is that St. Patrick’s day has so much more to offer than a bad hangover.  On St. Paddy’s day there are two major themes for food: green foods and traditional Irish foods.

To help you celebrate in style, I’ve collected 29 vegan St. Patrick’s day recipes that include breakfast, lunch, dinner, appetizers and dessert! There are some are variations on traditional Irish foods, and some pack a wicked green colour thanks to ingredients like spinach, matcha, peas and avocado. Whether you’re hosting a party, bringing food to a potluck, or even just celebrating at home with the fam, it’s fun to get in the spirit and try some of these festive vegan St. Patrick’s Day recipes! And yes, I know that not everyone is vegan, but with so many people now going plant based, it’s good to have these options on the table.

Best Vegan St. Patrick’s Day Recipes Breakfast Magically Delicious Matcha Overnight Oats – Abbey’s Kitchen

Vegan Gluten Free Matcha Rainbow Pancakes – Abbey’s Kitchen

High Protein Avocado Toast – Abbey’s Kitchen

Tropical Zinger Green SmoothieJustine Celina 

Shamrock Pancakes – Fragrant Vanilla Cake 

Gluten Free Healthy Green SmoothieCathy’s Gluten Free 

Creamy Coconut Spirulina Superfood Smoothie – Cotter Crunch

Superfood Green Smoothie BowlDesilicious RD 

Lunch Pea, Mint and Coconut Soup – Abbey’s Kitchen

Avocado Chickpea Salad Sandwich – Abbey’s Kitchen

Vegan Collard Green Wraps – Abbey’s Kitchen

Vegan Paleo Green Butternut Squash SoupSweet Lizzy 

Colcannon Soup – V Nutrition 

Dinner Vegan Rainbow ColcannonEat Real Live Well

Irish Stew – It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken 

Vegan and Gluten Free Shepherd’s PieFannetastic Food

Appetizers Avocado Fries with Green Goddess Dip – Abbey’s Kitchen

Vegan Pesto Olive Flatbread – Abbey’s Kitchen

Cilantro Jalapeno Edamame HummusCrumb Top Baking

Asparagus Spinach SoupGirl Heart Food

SIDES Vegan Pesto Pasta Salad – Abbey’s Kitchen

Baked Zucchini Fritters – It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken 

Irish Potato Cakes with Avocado Basil Ranch – Vegan Richa 

Kiwi Cucumber Salad with Walnuts and Fresh MintFlavour & Savour 

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We have all been there. We have all been subject to a bit of a binge eating episode, and let’s be honest – it wasn’t on celery. We had leftover cake in the fridge. We had a box of cookies in the cupboard. We brought home a few pints of Ben & Jerry’s (because they were on sale).

Sometimes binge eating happens when we’re happy. Sometimes it happens when we’re sad. But whenever it happens, it doesn’t feel so good the next day. I recently wrote a post about my top tips for stopping a snack attack binge in front of the TV (you can read it here) and my tips for specifically avoiding Halloween candy binges, and now I’m back with some of my top tips for nursing the sugar hangover.

Binge Eating – How & Why

In my experience, binge eating episodes usually don’t happen just because food tastes good. They happen because food tastes really good when we’re otherwise deprived of food. In other word, they happen because we diet. Our bodies and minds don’t like to feel deprived, so we fight against that with all our might. It’s part of a vicious diet cycle where we diet, we feel deprived, we binge when our willpower dies, we regret the binge because it doesn’t physically feel great, and then we feel super guilty about it. Through the power of the guilt trip, the cycle repeats itself. It’s really tough to get out.

What Happens When You OD on Sweets

When you eat a lot of sugar, you get a surge of the feel-good hormone dopamine, which tells you to have more. As the sugar hits your bloodstream, the pancreas then releases the hormone insulin to help manage the blood sugar levels. Insulin is like an UBER car and blood sugar (aka. energy) are like the passengers. The insulin UBER car takes the sugar to the different parts of your body that needs some energy like your different muscles. This is why it’s important to have carbs before you work-out!

Assuming everything is working properly in the body (i.e. the person doesn’t have diabetes), the insulin UBER drops off most of the sugar in your liver which converts the glucose sugar to a storage form called glycogen to use at a later time. But once the glycogen stores are maxed out, and you aren’t immediately using the sugar in some sort of incredible post-meal sprint, the insulin UBER drops off the rest of the energy in fat cells. Yes, folks, this is actually what is happening when you’re binge eating pie and cake.

The arrival of glucose passengers in the fat cells activates a hormone called leptin which is your satiety hormone. It sends a little message to your brain that tells you you’ve had enough to eat and also tells your pancreas that it can stop sending out insulin UBERs because hey, you don’t need to eat anymore, right? Well, when we’re binge eating sweets, we often eat beyond those signals.

Unfortunately, the we elevate our fat cells (called triglycerides) in the blood, the harder it is for leptin to send signals to your brain. Think of it like a traffic jam on the DVP. You’re not going anywhere. This is called leptin resistance. With leptin resistance, you stop being able to hear those signals that it’s time to stop eating, making it even easier to engage in binge eating behaviours.

Even if it’s just a one off, the feeling is not fun. Sugar gets digested so quickly that very soon after, your dopamine high plummets, and your blood sugar follows. If you have ever binged on candy before bed and woke up in starving shakes, you’ve experienced the not-so-sexy sugar hangover.

How to “Detox” After Binge Eating Sweets

The good news is, there are easy ways to stop and reverse the damage before it becomes a chronic health problem. Here are some of my top tips.

Don’t Diet

The most important thing to do after a binge eating session is to NOT let yourself go into diet deprival mode. Don’t punish yourself for a bad binge eating episode by starving yourself the next day or going on a stupid juice cleanse. Depriving yourself of food you enjoy will only push you back into binge eating behaviours.

Don’t Weigh Yourself

If you do, and you see a bit of a jump, keep in mind that you would have to have eaten an extra 3500 calories or so more than you normally consume to gain even just one pound. Any extra weight you may see is likely just bloating and water weight. So save yourself the panic attack and just throw that scale away.

Eat When You’re Hungry

After binge eating, it’s really important to nourish your body to help restabilize that blood sugar, and get you back on track towards a healthy relationship with food. When you feel hungry, feed yourself a normal size meal or snack with foods you actually enjoy. In other words, don’t buy one of those bogus green juices that no one in their right mind likes.

Reach for Protein and Fibre

Protein and fibre are digested much slower that simple carbs so they will help stabilize your blood sugar and keep you satiated longer. I love eggs with avocado and a piece of whole grain toast, or Greek yogurt with almond butter mixed in. One of my favourite yummy recipes is for Avocado Cottage Cheese Toast.

Get Moving

You already have a lot of carbs circulating in your system, so use that energy in doing some light exercise. You don’t want to push yourself too hard when you’re maybe already feeling a bit nauseous, or force yourself into activity as a way to “undo the damage” you feel you have done. Just move your body in a pleasurable, comfortable way. Exercise is key to stabilizing blood sugar levels, speed digestion and boost your confidence.

Drink Water, Not Coffee

You may also notice that your pee is super yellow and cloudy after binge eating the night before. Take a clue from your body- you’re clearly super dehydrated and need some H2O. You may be tempted to lure yourself out of your sugar coma with a strong cup of Joe, but this definitely won’t help your digestion or dehydration woes after binge eating. They key is upping the water (or tea) to help speed digestion, reduce bloating from all those carbs, and prevent sugar-induced constipation.  We all know that’s never so fun.

Choose Probiotic Rich Foods

Research suggests that a high sugar diet can alter our healthy microflora (or gut bacteria environment) and we have only just begun to understand how important that gut bacteria is. After a binge eating episode, I suggest trying to replenish your healthy gut bacteria by eating probiotic rich fermented foods like keffir, sauerkraut, pickles and yogurt. I’ve got a whole post on probiotics and fermented food here!

Toss the Sweets

If you’re worried about being tempted to fall into another binge eating episode, it may just be best to get rid of the culprit. I know it can be hard to throw food away, so consider giving it to loved ones or co-workers to help get it out of your house.

See, you’ve got this. So what, you had one super sweet end to a night- think of how many other meals you have in your life to balance that out! The key is to brush it off, get back on track, and remember that tomorrow is another delicious day.

Do you have any great tips for helping you “detox” after binge eating sugar? Leave me a comment below with some of your discoveries and stories!

The post Binge Eating Rx: Sugar Binge Detox 101 appeared first on Abbey's Kitchen.

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We look into how to improve baby’s microbiome during pregnancy and why pooping ourselves during labour may not be so bad.

Gut health is a hot topic in the nutrition world lately, largely because all of the research is pointing to its significant impact on our overall health. From the things we eat, to our genetics, to even the way we are born, there are serious implications for our gut. For the sake of this article, we are going to discuss the latter and find out how to improve baby’s microbiome during the pregnancy.

Let’s start with a brief biology lecture.

What is the microbiome?

The human microbiome is essentially a community of microorganisms that live in and on your body. These communities of microorganisms are responsible for our metabolism, immunity, and hormones, even our development of allergies and the risk for metabolic diseases. There are four microbiomes—oral, placental, gut (the main one), and vaginal microbiota—each of which have specific environments to support the performance of different microorganisms. All of these microbiomes are shaped by environmental conditions, such as pH (especially in the vaginal microbiota), levels of oxygen, availability of nutrients (our diet), as well as the humidity and temperature.

When it comes to baby, the initial development and maturation of the newborn’s microbiome is largely determined through the maternal-offspring exchanges. It’s not to say that you only “get what your mama gave ya” because you can alter your microbiome in adulthood, but there’s a lot we can do to set up baby on the right path.

What’s the Impact of Baby’s Microbiome on their Future Health?

So, what’s so important about ensuring our babies have a healthy gut? Well, our gut bacteria seem to play a role in our immunity, metabolism, and hormones. The maturation of our immune system is really dependent on the bacterial community developed, making the first month of life for babies a critical time for building their immune system and defence mechanisms. Research suggests that having a low diversity bacterial environment in year one is with higher risk of inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, diabetes, and atopic diseases, such as atopic dermatitis and allergy.

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Specifically, in regards to its link to diabetes and obesity, current studies suggest there’s an association between the microbiota’s role in energy production, low-grade inflammation, and the regulation of fatty acid tissue composition. Specifically, the gut’s production of short chain fatty acids (SCFA), namely acetate, propionate, and butyrate, from the breakdown of dietary fiber, protein, and peptides is associated benefits for body weight, glucose balance, and insulin sensitivity. Not to mention, having an abundance of the good bacteria Bifidobacterium spp. is linked to an anti-inflammatory effect, countering the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines that is observed in obesity and type 2 diabetes. Bottom line: the risk of babies developing metabolic diseases in the future can be decreased by developing and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome starting before conception and continuing onwards through adulthood.

The Impact of Mom’s Health on Her Microbiome

          The overall health of the mother and her diet will have an impact on the development of her offspring. Having a low or high BMI are known to influence the composition of maternal microbiome, as well as being linked to risk of preterm birth and gestational hypertension. The good news is that research suggests that starting a healthy diet and activity regime can improve the gut microbiome, regardless of body size or shape.

Lifestyle behaviours, such as smoking, substance use, hygiene practices (poor oral hygiene), frequent douching, frequent intercourse with multiple partners, have all been found to alter the composition of maternal vaginal microbiome by increasing the risk of pathogenic bacterial infection and inflammation.

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In addition to lifestyle and health behaviours, the gut microbiome can be influenced by mom’s diet. The Western diet—high in simple carbohydrates, fats, and animal proteins—is consistently linked with a gut microbiome imbalance and a decrease in Bifidobacteria and Bacteroidetes. There is evidence available that enjoying insoluble complex carbohydrates (aka. fibre rich foods), veggies, and protein in your diet can favour the growth of good Bacteroides, Clostridium, and Bifidobacterium. Another study concluded that consuming fermented foods, such as miso and Japanese natto beans, which are a good source of probiotics, can help promote the growth of the good bacteria. It’s even been suggested that consuming probiotic-rich foods during pregnancy may help reduce the risk of preterm birth and gestational diabetes.

In contrast, having a high sugar diet may alter the because sugar interferes with the adhesion of microbes in the intestinal surface, which is required for them to colonize in the gut. Likewise, fat suppresses the growth of these beneficial organisms. One animal study found that a high fat diet significantly reduced the amount of Bacteroides and Bifidobacterium while increasing inflammatory cytokines.

How to Improve Baby’s Microbiome Vaginal Birth or Caesarean ON BABY’S MICROBIOME

So, if I were to survey 100 pregnant women about their labour and delivery fears, I can promise you that MOST women will say they’re TERRIFIED that they’ll poop their pants. Guess what- most women do! And I’m happy to tell all of you momma to be’s that THIS MAY BE A GOOD THING in some ways!!!  Research suggests that delivering vaginally is the ideal scenario for promoting a healthy microbiome because the infant gets exposed to the vaginal and yes- fecal (aka. POOP) microbiota. In other words, that poop your baby is coming into contact with may add to bacterial colonization for baby upon birth. FEARS BE GONE, MOMMAS!!

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The resulting environment allows for anaerobes such as Bacteroides and Bifidobacterium to thrive—both of which are important for immune functioning. Infants delivered by caesarean (C-section) miss out on that bacterial colonization of the above-mentioned anaerobes and don’t get exposed to vaginal (or likely fecal) microbes. These infants only acquire microbes found on the maternal skin while vaginal birth provides newborns with microbes similar to the mother’s vaginal microbiome. It’s therefore not surprising that babies born by C-section tend to have higher rates of asthma, allergies and other atopic sensitivities, likely as a result of a compromised immune system.

Okay, so here comes another mom fear. What if you desperately want a vaginal birth (either to help baby’s microbiome and/or for whatever other reason) and suddenly things don’t work out. This is where some families opt for something called “vaginal seeding”. found that vaginal swabbing, or “vaginal seeding”, may partially restore the microbiota of C-section babies to be similar to vaginal birth babies, but it’s important to note that more studies are needed to support the benefits, as well as the risks and potential harm. Available the potential risks of transferring infections and vaginal pathogens. As a safer alternative to vaginal seeding, you may want to try to focus on some of the other methods of improving baby’s microbiome that we outline below.

Breastfeeding and BABY’S Microbiome

Believe it or not, maternal breast milk also has its own diverse microbiome, making it a predominant source for establishing a healthy microbiome in newborns in addition to being an optimal, nutritional source. Breast-fed infants have been found to have Bifidobacteria in abundance, which is vital for promoting immunological and inflammatory responses, and preventing the growth of pathogenic organisms. The cool thing about shaping the baby’s microbiome with breast milk is the co-evolution aspect of the mother and her infant. It’s sort of like two puzzle pieces—the microorganisms that the infant acquired from birth enables its ability to utilize the nutrients found exclusively in breast milk, enhancing its nutrition and promoting the development of a stable and relatively uniform gut microbiome. Where did the microbial population in breast milk come from? Some suggest that it travelled from mom’s gut to the mammary glands due to hormonal changes during and following gestation. Isn’t the body so damn smart?!

            While I am a big advocate for “FED is best”, research does suggest that formula, even if given in small amounts during breastfeeding, can disrupt the colonization of the neonatal intestinal microbiota, thereby reducing the benefits that you would otherwise get from exclusively breastfeeding. In other words, formula fed infants tend to have a higher amounts of Enterococci and Clostridia dominating the gut microbiota instead of the beneficial Bifidobacteria. The good news for mommas who can’t or chose not to breastfeed is that we now have infant formulas that contain probiotics to help support the neonatal gut microbiome of formula fed babes.

Solid Foods and Baby’s Microbiome

Okay so we can’t very well breastfeed forever (please don’t be that mom!) so what happens when we wean? Research suggests that the type and timing of introducing solid foods can also affect baby’s microbiome composition. Early introduction of complimentary foods can disrupt the formation of gut microbiota, but when introduced at the right time, solid foods play a significant role in shaping and maturing the microbiota composition to include species that are found in adults. This maturation initiates the infant’s vitamin and carbohydrate utilization, as well as vitamin biosynthesis.

It’s recommended that parents introduce meats and iron-fortified cereals as one of the first complementary foods from 6 months onwards after breastfeeding to help reduce the risk of anemia. However, you’ll want to make sure not to overdo the iron, as an excessive amount of iron in the intestinal tract as it may initiate inflammation. Only two human have found the association of iron supplementation and gut microbiota composition alteration.

As baby gets older, you’ll definitely want to focus on including both prebiotics and probiotics in baby’s diet. Prebiotics are the fuel for your baby’s healthy bacteria, and are most commonly found in fibre-rich foods like veggies, beans and whole grains. Probiotics are the bacteria themselves and are found naturally in fermented foods. Kefir and yogurt are great options that are child friendly, just make sure to look for options without added sugar.

Over-Sanitizing and Baby’s Microbiome

Now let’s talk about dirt. I’m admittedly a huge fan of the so-called “hygiene hypothesis”, or the idea that our obsession with cleanliness is one of the causes of the rise in food allergies and other immune disorders. I know it’s hard not to want everything to be spick and span with your babe, but research suggests that easing up on the cleanliness factor may help. One study actually found that parents who just sucked on their baby’s pacifier to clean it off (rather than sterilizing it) had babies with less eczema at 1 ½ years of age.

Having access to household pets is another way to improve baby’s microbiome. One study found that pet ownership increased the abundance of Rhuminococcus and Oscillospira bacteria, both of which have been associated with lower risk of childhood allergies and obesity. Likewise, research has found that farm living can also help improve family’s immune response.

So moms, put down the hand sanitizer and let the little one get outside to get dirty!

Antibiotics and the Baby’s Microbiome

It’s often a common criticism of modern medicine that antibiotics can be overprescribed and overused. Now, sometimes they’re absolutely imperative and in fact, can save lives, but they do have some consequences for our baby’s microbiome. Unfortunately, site specific, and can cause an overall reduction in microbial diversity, both of the bad and the good bacteria. The use of antibiotics before, during, and after pregnancy has therefore been found to significantly reduce bacterial diversity which, in turn, disrupts the development of the baby’s microbiome. One that early and repetitive antibiotic exposure to the baby alters the microbiota composition by decreasing the number of good Bifidobacteria and Bacteroides, which are bacteria associated with reducing the risk of obesity.

Bottom Line on How to Improve Baby’s Microbiome

The good news is that regardless of your birthing circumstances, there are a lot of little ways you can help improve baby’s microbiome. Here’s some easy takeaways on our recommendations:

  • If possible, consider a vaginal birth first.
  • If possible, consider breastfeeding for the first year. If using formula, look for ones that are fortified with probiotics.
  • Complementary foods are recommended to be introduced at 6 months, specifically iron-rich foods to prevent iron-deficiency, and fibre rich foods to feed our bacteria.
  • Minimize unnecessary use of antibiotics as it may disrupt bacterial diversity.
  • Mommas-to-be..
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These vegan gluten free Baked Avocado Fries with Green Goddess Protein Dip is a vegan, gluten free appetizer perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!

Avocados are officially the world’s most loved fruit. Yes, even more popular than raspberries and way trendier than bananas. I’m personally obsessed with avocados and will always look for new ways to throw them into my life. These Vegan Gluten Free Baked Avocado Fries with Green Goddess Protein Dip are officially my new favourite way. They’re super green and perfect for a St. Patrick’s Day party as a vegan, gluten free appetizer that’s WAY better for you than the usual pub fare.

Why Avocados? Really, that’s a legitimate question?

Well, for one, avocados are green like the Irish!

For two, they’re packed with healthy monounsaturated fats and vitamins.

And most importantly, they’re magically delicious. Avocado is inherently super buttery, creamy and soft, so battering it up in a high fibre, gluten free crispy crunchy crust is a recipe for the best of all worlds. Smooth meet crunchy. Happy meet Abbey. See, we’re all good friends.

AVOCADO FRIES with Green Goddess Dip | Vegan Gluten Free ST. PATRICK'S DAY Recipes | Joyous Health - YouTube

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How to Make Vegan Gluten Free Baked Avocado Fries Super Crispy!

Yes, I know, this recipe is kind of genius and it starts with a flax egg as a vegan binding replacement for eggs. I’m not vegan, and I do love eggs, but a flax egg is a great way to add protein, fibre and healthy fats to your dish and it’s completely plant-based. I then use Chex cereal, pulsed into crumbs to make a gluten free panko alternative. I actually love Chex for eating, so this totally made sense.

How to Make Green Goddess Protein Dip for St. Patrick’s Day

Then, we need something to dip and it wouldn’t be St. Patrick’s Day without this wicked green goddess protein dip. I whip together high protein soft tofu with lots of fresh herbs, lemon and garlic to yield a tangy, herbaceous accompaniment to my crispy baked avocado fries.

This combo is a perfect healthy, vegan, gluten free appetizer for your St. Patrick’s Day parties that isn’t deep fried and swimming in oil.

Now, I want to know, what are you planning to make for St. Patrick’s Day?

Have you fried these Vegan Gluten Free Baked Avocado Fries with Green Goddess Protein Dip?

Are you a total avocado fan like me?

How to you like to eat your avocado?

Leave me a comment below with your thoughts!

Vegan Gluten Free Baked Avocado Fries with Green Goddess Protein Dip

These vegan Gluten free Baked Avocado Fries with Green Goddess Protein Dip is a vegan, gluten free appetizer perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!

Avocado Fries
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp oats (pulsed into a powder in the food processor, gluten free if needed)
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • ¼ tsp table salt
  • ¼ tsp cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seed
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp water
  • 3 cups Chex cereal or similar crispy rice cereal
  • 2 firm avocados (cut into 8 slices each)
  • Pinch fleur de sel
Green Goddess Protein Dip
  • 175 grams soft tofu
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp chives (minced)
  • ¼ cup basil leaves
  • 1 cup parsley leaves
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  1. Preheat an oven to 450 F and line a sheet pan with a nonstick cooking mat or parchment paper.
  2. Prepare three bowls. Mix the oat flour, cumin, chili, salt and pepper in one bowl and set aside.
  3. In the next bowl, mix the flax and water and set in the fridge to thicken for 15 minutes to make a “flax egg”.
  4. Add the chex cereal to the food processor and pulse into panko-like crumbs, then transfer to the third bowl.
  5. Dip the avocados into the oat mixture, then the flax egg, then the Chex cereal mixture. Place on the baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until lightly golden brown, turning once half way through. Sprinkle with a pinch of fleur de sel.
  6. Meanwhile, place the tofu, garlic, lemon juice, chives, basil, parsley, Dijon, and maple syrup in the food processor and puree until very smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste and set aside.
  7. Serve the avocado fries with the dip and enjoy.

The post Vegan Gluten Free Baked Avocado Fries with Green Goddess Protein Dip | Healthy St. Patrick’s Day Appetizer appeared first on Abbey's Kitchen.

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These Gluten Free Vegan Matcha Rainbow Protein Pancakes are the ultimate hangover cure for your St. Patrick’s Day brunch!

I don’t know about your town, but here in Toronto, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations start EARLY – like people are lining up outside the pub by 10 AM. Since this year I’m not imbibing, I have a little extra time to get a good hearty breakfast in and this year is all about these gluten free vegan matcha rainbow pancakes.

How to Make Gluten Free Vegan Matcha Rainbow Protein Pancakes

I’m a pancake queen. I’ve made it my mission to create one delicious pancake recipe for every major holiday (like my recent Red Velvet Valentine’s Day pancakes) and this one has quickly become one of our FAVES. I mean, everything with rainbow sprinkles is the BOMB DOT COM, and if you can find a way to make some amazing pancakes Vegan and Gluten Free AND packed with some hearty fibre, I am one happy dietitian.

These Gluten Free Vegan Matcha Rainbow Protein Pancakes are super easy to pull off. It starts with a Flax egg, which is literally just ground flax and almond milk. Easy peasy. Next comes some ground up gluten free oat flour, and some vegan protein powder so that you can feel extra confident about loading up on rainbow sprinkles. I also like to sweeten my pancakes naturally with super ripe bananas to leave some extra wiggle room for maple syrup on top

These Gluten Free Vegan Matcha Rainbow Protein Pancakes are an obvious choice for green beer pre-drinking fuel, but also for helping you cure that St. Patrick’s Day hangover – a MUCH better option compared to a greasy night out.

Now tell me, what are some of your favourite St. Patrick’s Day breakfast or brunch recipes?

Have you tried these Gluten Free Vegan Matcha Rainbow Protein Pancakes?

Leave me a comment below with your thoughts!

Gluten Free Vegan Matcha Rainbow Protein Pancakes

These Gluten Free Vegan Matcha Rainbow Protein Pancakes are the ultimate hangover cure for your St. Patrick’s Day brunch!

Flax eggs:
  • 2  tbsp  flax
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • Pancakes:
  • 2   cups   gluten free oats pureed into a flour
  • 1   tsp   cinnamon
  • 1/4   cup  vegan vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tsp   baking powder
  • Pinch   salt
  • 1   tsp   pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2  cup   plain coconut or almond yogurt
  • 1/2  cup  unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 prepared flax eggs
  • 1  medium ripe banana mashed
  • 3   tbsp   maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp matcha powder (or to taste)
  • Coconut oil for cooking
  • Rainbow sprinkles
  • Plain coconut or almond yogurt
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Maple syrup (if desired)
  1. To a small bowl, mix together the flax and almond milk and set in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
  2. To a large bowl, mix together the oat flour, cinnamon, protein powder, baking soda and salt. Add the vanilla, yogurt, almond milk, banana, flax eggs, maple and oil. Add the matcha powder to your desired taste and colour.
  3. Preheat large nonstick skillet with the coconut oil over medium heat. Add about 1/4 cup batter and cook until golden brown on both sides.
  4. Layer with yogurt, berries, sprinkles and maple syrup, if desired. Enjoy!

The post Gluten Free Vegan Matcha Rainbow Protein Pancakes for St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast appeared first on Abbey's Kitchen.

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