Wednesday, 26 April 2017

DIY Cleaning Part 2: In the kitchen

Spring cleaning is around the corner! And we are back with DIY cleaning part 2!

In part one I showed you how to make an all purpose orange vinegar and homemade fabric and upholstery spray.

Missed it? Click here to view Part 1 * Green Cleaning Part 1 *

In this series I talk about how to further reduce the chemicals in your home using the all purpose cleaner instead of buying store bought products for certain things. Vinegar is a great disinfectant, degreaser and odour neutralizer. So why not use it on one of the major appliances used in your house hold. The OVEN! A product that is bought and used is OVEN CLEANER.  Instead of buying it, just make your own.  Just use your orange vinegar and baking soda. Oven cleaner is full of chemicals and the fumes are awful! To see a list of how it affects our bodies, check out the affects of oven cleaner poisoning. I know ovens have a self cleaning setting but this way is more effective in cleaning and costs.

So first thing, remove your oven racks.

If the bottom of the oven is full of grease or has burnt crusty spots, you may want to turn your oven on for about 10 minutes at about 200 degrees. This will help loosen things up. This step is not necessary but if it's been a while since you've cleaned your oven, you may want to try this.
  • Turn oven off, and generously add baking soda to oven.
  • Then spray to your hearts desire the orange vinegar or you can even use regular vinegar.
  • Let sit for about 15-30 minutes (once again depending on how dirty it is - no judgement here!)
  • Then use either a cotton cloth or sponge and wipe away. There you have it! A nice clean oven with 2 simple ingredients.

This solution can also be used on your cooking range or if you have still have electric burners ( like I do) this works great to remove grease and any cooking spills.
I added a lot of baking soda since it has been a while since I cleaned my oven.

Keep wiping and rinsing your cloth, until all residue is completely cleaned

Next up is how to clean your cutting boards. 

How many people actually clean their cutting boards properly?? Cutting boards over time get grooves in them from use. But did you ever think that maybe food particles are still stuck inside them? Most people place their plastic boards in the dishwasher. If you do stop right now!  The heat from the dishwasher ends up warping the boards and really you don't want to overheat plastic. The heat will breakdown the plastic and release particles that are not good for our systems. I always like to scrub the boards vigorously after every use and I always let them air dry. One thing I can't stand is a still wet, smelly cutting board put back in the cupboard!! Believe me, it happens in my house, I'm not naming names, but it usually rhymes with schmom, or schusband.  sometimes you really need to just clean the crap out of it. So the best way to clean wood or plastic cutting boards is really easy.

What you will need:
  • Half a lemon
  • Salt
  • Vinegar
  • Hydrogen peroxide (optional)

Take the board (plastic or wood), pour salt over top and scrub with the half cut lemon. Lemon has great disinfectant properties and  the salt really helps to clean inside the grooves. Just doing this alone is good enough. But if you want to go the extra mile, spray the board down with vinegar and let it sit for about 5 to 10 minutes. Then rinse off with warm soapy water. You could also use hydrogen peroxide to rinse off instead of vinegar. But make sure you always rinse really well. The boards will come out nice and clean and fresh smelling.

The next product that you can go without and make your own is Wood polish. There are many products out there to polish your wood furniture and wood cutting boards. All of them are full of chemicals and fake smells. Plus for the cutting boards, its all mineral oil based. Who wants to eat that? So here is a simple 2 ingredient solution to add the lustre back into your furniture and wood cutting boards.

In a bowl mix the juice of half a lemon with olive oil. You can just eye ball it. Use a cotton cloth or paper towel and basically paint the mixture on the board or furniture. If your cutting board is anything like mine, it may need a couple coats. And that's it! Don't forget your wooden cooking utensils as well.

Other areas to use your all purpose cleaner is also in your dishwasher! Forget about buying a rinsing agent. Just use your all purpose cleaner or regular vinegar. Pour some into the receptacle and continue with your regular washing cycle. I always like to spray some all purpose cleaner on all the dishes before I start. Gives it a little more cleaning power. You will see that your dishes come out spotless.

There you have it, simple ways to clean with all natural ingredients. Saves money and your health! Try them out and let us know what you think!

For more information check out this article on toxic chemicals in our household.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Utilizing your Slow Cooker When Detoxing

 NOT what you expected from a detox, is it?

As most of you know from our previous Blog, we as a clinic and clientele are beginning our Spring Detox under the guidance of our naturopathic doctor Dr. Jessica. 

As Dr. Jessica mentioned some people can not only be a little overwhelmed with the aspect of a detox (have no fear: our entire staff has gone on this journey and took our husbands with us!) but also the unfortunate stereotype that "I'll only chew on lettuce and be hungry all the time". So NOT true and here's just one of many recipes that proves that.

We hear a lot of people say they'd love to try a detox but with busy schedules, families, errands, life etc... there's just no time to food prep or cook. Well, even the prep method of this recipe proves that wrong: you can use your slow cooker! Easy. Easy. Easy! The bonus is that you cook once and can get 2-3 meals saving even more time. 

I love my slow cooker and there's just something so satisfying and filling about a slow cooked, juicy meat dish that took no time to prepare and less time to eat. Try this recipe from the Whole30 Slow Cooking  website and it will completely change your mind about what a detox or eating healthy can be! Another great thing? Using your slow cooker with these 'summer flavours' is a great substitute on a hot, humid day when standing over the blazing BBQ is just not an option.

Slow Cooker Apple Cider Pulled Pork 


              Sweet Spice Rub                                              

                     1 Tbsp sea salt

                     1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

                     1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

                     1/2 tsp chili powder

                     1/2 tsp ground ginger

                     1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper


      One 4-5 pound boneless pork butt
      1 large sweet onion, peeled and    
      1 1/2 cups unsweetened apple      


Combine all of the spice rub ingredients in a small bowl. Sprinkle the rub evenly along the sides and top of the pork roast.

Add the onion slices to the bottom of a six quart slow cooker. 

Place the seasoned pork roast on top of the onions. Then add the apple cider. (If roast is too large, you may wish to cut it in half and place the halves side by side in the slow cooker.)

Cover and cook on high for approx. 7-8 hours or low for 8-10 hours, until the meat is tender enough to be easily shredded with a fork.

Turn off the slow cooker once the roast is done. Carefully transfer the pork to a large platter and allow it to rest for a few minutes.

Pour the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl. Place one cup of the liquid back in the slow cooker; discard the remaining liquid and onion.

Shred the pork using two forks. Then return to the slow cooker. Toss well with the reserved cooking liquid. Season to taste with additional sea salt and pepper if desired.

Serve the pork with your favourite Whole30-compliant coleslaw (like this one from The Healthy Foodie) and a side of sweet mashed potatoes.   

Helpful Hints I've Tried

When using any rub on a meat, it's important to rub a little aggressively to allow it to penetrate the meat itself. Any leftover rub can be sprinkled on the top to utilize all the flavouring.

My palate has never been a fan of salt, and others I have made this for have commented how it can taste 'salty', so I like to decrease the salt in the rub to 1/2 Tbsp. 

Pork can get very dry if in the slow cooker too long so I found that decreasing the cooking times to a standard 5-6 hours on high or 6-8 on low is more than fine. I did this batch on high for 6 hours with no issues. 

If you get an early start and the meal is done before dinner that's great: I found letting it sit on the 'warm' setting for approximately an hour really allows the juices to be reabsorbed. 

Digging In Detox-style

This meal can be enjoyed numerous ways from making a salad absolutely amazing, to Whole30 compliant 'sandwiches'. Ideas on just how you can make many styles of meals from this core recipe can be found here.

Let us know what you think and any tips of your own when you try this satisfying recipe.

Happy cooking!               

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Spring Detox

It's that time of year again...Detox Time! In just under 2 weeks, we will be kicking off another Detox Clinic Challenge. If you are a regular of The Coach House, you may have already participated in one of our challenges. If not, no time like the present to hop on board!

If the term detox brings on some mixed emotions, you are not alone. Even the idea of the benefit or purpose of a detox has it's critics. I mean, our bodies' job is to eliminate toxins. We do it all day, every day already. We are literally always detoxing. So, why would we need to do a 'detox' or 'cleanse.' To answer this, we will start with the basics.

How do we detox?

Maybe it's just me, but I am pretty much constantly in awe of the human body and how intricate it's systems are. We all have 5 (6 for females) routes of elimination/detox- Skin, Lungs, Kidneys, Bowels, Liver and for females, Uterus/Menses. These organs help us to clear waste and toxins and keep our bodies healthy. The Liver is the main powerhouse when it comes to detoxing/elimination. It handles a HUGE host of toxins and involves a two step (phase) process to change those toxins into waste that can be excreted from the body. Each phase has a list of nutrients that it requires to function properly. 

Once those toxins are converted into waste products they are then excreted either through the bowels (fat soluble) or the kidneys (water soluble).

What are toxins?

Now that we have an overview of how we eliminate toxins, let's go over what toxins are and how we are exposed. Some of these are universal and pretty obvious, such as

  • Air pollution
  • Chemicals
    • cleaning products
    • personal care products
    • scents
    • phthalates, parabens, xenoestrogens from plastics
Photo From First Descents
It's actually been determined that the average woman is exposed to 168 (!!!) different chemicals from cosmetics and personal care products Every. Day. Crazy! But it doesn't just end there, all plastics with leach xenoestrogens and even drinking water has been shown to contain trace amounts of birth control and other medications.

But it's not just these known toxins that your body has to deal with, it's also medications, alcohol, preservatives, food colourings, pesticides and even the food itself. If you have any food sensitivities, there is often a immune reaction that occurs which causes symptoms. Your body is responsible for clearing this added inflammation and the foods that you aren't processing so well. Sugar intake also stresses your liver. Excess glucose is processed by the liver. Fructose is processed by your liver- both of these will be either be converted into glycogen (sugar stores) or fat. When we lose weight, any fat soluble chemicals that are held in the fat cells are released and need to be processed and removed from our body by our liver as well.


Likely the impression you are getting is, "Whoa! Our bodies do a lot!" And it's true. But, we can get backed up. Our diets aren't perfect. We are under constant stress. We consume too much sugar. Most people have less than stellar digestion. All of this can impede how efficiently we are able to eliminate. And this is the reason I tend to recommend a detox twice a year. It's a way to give our bodies a boost of nutrients so it can do it's job efficiently and get caught up. It's a way to refocus on our health and what we are putting in our bodies. It's a way to get back on track. Because I think these are the goals of a good detox, I focus on nutritional detoxes and not on caloric restrictions, or juice fasts, or master cleanses and I even think these types of 'detoxes' or 'cleanses' can impede progress. Often by the end, people feel so depleted and restricted they go on a binge. Instead by focusing on real, healthy, clean foods without caloric restriction it sets you up to continue the changes. Let's be honest, nobody gorges on broccoli. Each time you do a nutritional detox, you find new recipes and ways of cooking so you slide back a little less.

In my opinion, a good detox focuses on
  • increasing nutrient dense foods like fruits and vegetables 
  • avoid processed fats but loading up on healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut oil, etc. 
  • increasing fibre to help with elimination and digestion- chia seeds, flaxseeds, veggies, etc.
  • stabilizing blood sugar by avoiding sugar and excess starch. 
The focus on sugar is something that I have become more and more convinced is imperative in this day and age. Sugar has innumerable health detriments to the body and in North America there is extreme over consumption. I wouldn't limit this to just sugar, but also to refined starches, which have become a main staple in the North American diet but, which have the same detrimental effects on blood sugar regulation, insulin and the body.

Supplements are another question that often comes up. Are they really necessary? The short answer is no, but there is benefit to adding proper supplements in. This is because certain supplements can help with the detox process. For example, Milk Thistle is highly antioxidant, hepato-protective (protects the liver) and may even regenerate liver cells. Amazing. Other herbs will support different routes of elimination, and adding nutrients that are highly antioxidant will add to the benefit of the nutritional detox. However, it's important to make sure the supplement is right for you and not just something grabbed off the shelf. Quality and dosing are extremely important when choosing a supplement.

Even if you aren't really to go for the full clinic challenge, you can make small changes that will improve your bodies' detox pathways and overall health. If you are interested in ramping up your diet and participating in our clinic challenge be sure to give us a call or book online!

Disclaimer: The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. This information shouldn’t take the place of seeing a Naturopathic Doctor or your primary care provider for individualized health recommendations.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

When You Must Have COOKIES!

We here at The Coach House like to practice what we preach. Whether it's our recipes, lifestyle choices, or decreasing chemicals in the home, we all take a natural, healthier approach. But come on let's face it: we're human too and sometimes you NEED a treat! And what better way to feel like you're indulging than with cookies?

As pictured above, I recently took in a batch of each of my favourite "better choice for me but feels like a treat" cookies to share with my patients. I'm happy to say that both received rave reviews- barely any were left to take home.

The best part? Both are Paleo diet friendly! Now a lot of people assume that making a better choice i.e. choosing a Paleo diet recipe will entail a lot more work, whether in prep time or in finding those 'new to me' ingredients (that will shortly become a staple in your pantry) but that couldn't be further from the truth. Find out more below as I list the recipes, little tweaks I have tried and where to find these ingredients. 

So fire up your oven and let's get baking!

Carrot Cake Caveman Cookies

This recipe is courtesy of  The Civilized Caveman. I liked this recipe as all the ingredients are very much staples in your fridge and pantry, therefore on hand and easy to whip up a batch when the mood strikes.

These cookies are very filling and tasty but keep in mind they are not a sweet cookie, that fun recipe is to follow :)

2 cups mini carrots
2 cups almonds
1 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp coconut oil
3 eggs


1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine all ingredients EXCEPT eggs in food processor, pulse it until all pieces are small but still a little chunky.
3. Combine that mixture with the eggs in a large mixing bowl and mix well.
4. Using your hands, form the mixture into 'patties' and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. The size of the 'patties' are up to you, or you can make them into bars.
5. Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes.

Little Tricks

1. To the average palate, these cookies can be a bit bland, especially when used to the store bought 'sugary' cookies. To add a punch of flavour, I like to add more nutmeg, not only to the recipe itself but also a little sprinkle on top while cookies are cooling. The next time I may add a pinch of ground cloves in keeping with the carrot cake theme.

2. I found it easier to pulse the carrots and almonds a little first, then add the rest of the ingredients to finish the mixing process.

3. These cookies actually taste better the next day! They can be a little dry when first cooked/right out of the oven but waiting until later in the day or next day allows the ingredients i.e. carrots to 'settle' and moisturize the cookies, of course when stored in an airtight container.

For the person who has a 'sweet tooth' and craves the sinful flavour of chocolate the next recipe will definitely be up your alley.

Perfect Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

The first time I was trying this recipe from Texanerin Baking, I thought "Vegan option, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy free? Great- these will taste horrible!" but OH.MY.GOODNESS! This recipe is absolutely amazing and I can't emphasize this enough: they actually taste yummy like chocolate chip cookies!


When looking at the ingredient list most people will be intimidated seeing items like paleo-friendly chocolate chips, almond flour, coconut palm sugar, coconut flour and more. The two thoughts right away are a) Where do I get these ingredients? and b) How much will this cost? 

The answer is simpler than you think: Bulk Barn! This store has all the items you need for a minor extra expense and is one of the 3 places to shop as recommended by our naturopathic doctor, Dr. Jessica (More on how easy and great shopping at Bulk Barn is, is forthcoming in a future Blog by Dr. Jessica). 

1 cup blanched almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons coconut oil OR room temperature unsalted butter 
3/4 cups coconut sugar OR brown sugar
6 tablespoons natural almond butter, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, room temperature (or 1 chia egg for vegan)
1 1/4 cups paleo-friendly semi sweet chocolate chips


1. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl using a hand mixer (or a stand mixer) beat together the fat and sugar at medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. If you use coconut oil it may not come together easily: use your hands to combine and then beat another 20 seconds.
3. Beat in almond butter and vanilla extract on medium until combined. Beat in egg on low until well incorporated. Stir in flour mixture until well combined. Stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips. If you used brown sugar skip to the next step. If you used coconut sugar, refrigerate for 1 hour until dough is firm.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
5. Roll the dough into balls and place on prepared cookie sheet. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chips on top and sides of the dough balls and press down dough slightly with palm of your hand.
6. Bake for approximately 14 minutes (if using coconut sugar) or 17 minutes (if using brown sugar), OR until the surface and centre of cookies no longer appears wet. They will be very soft but will continue to cook as they sit on cookie sheet.
7. Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

For Paleo: use coconut sugar, coconut oil and paleo-friendly chocolate chips.
For dairy free: use coconut oil and dairy-free chocolate chips.

Little Tricks

1. Make two batches of these at a time because they are SO good they will NOT last! There are no tricks, ingredients or instructions I would change at all- these cookies are that good.

And there you have it, two super tasty and varied recipes for when you need to indulge your taste buds and have a treat. Let us know if you tried these recipes and have any little tricks of your own- we'd love to hear from you!

Happy Baking!