Upcoming Health Food Show in Montreal and Quebec City

Hi Everyone,

my ultimate favorite trade show is coming up in March: Expo Manger Sante et Vivre Vert.  I go to this show every year, it is fantastic, you can find new health items, get coupons, do tastings, get samples, buy the actual products at a largely discounted price, etc.  This is for food items, cosmetics and cleaning products. Much of the food you can find there is organic! Every year I find something new and awesome.

I invite you to read my previous blogs where I discuss some of my favorite items found at the show in the past years.

Show details:

http://expomangersante.com/en/

Taking place in Montreal from March 11-13 at the Palais des Congres.

Taking place in Quebec city in March 19-20 at the Centre des Congres.

Regular price is 13$.

Bring your shopping bags and cash!

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Transitioning to Healthy Meat

Many of you have started to eat healthier or want to but don’t know how to take the next step with meat.

I strongly believe that what you eat is what you are…and now the science of epigenetics is actually proving this; what you eat can affect your genes by turning them on/off.

There are many things in your environment that you may not be able to control; inhaling lead in traffic, being bombarded by radiation at your work place, eating nanoparticles in some of your food, but there is much that you CAN control, like most of what you eat.

One aspect of your health that can malfunction with improper nutrition is your immune system. Think of it like a house of cards, each health factor is a card like GMOs, trans fats, vaccines, air pollutants, radiation, etc. If you pull one or two cards the house may not fall down, but eventually as you continue pulling cards, it will crumble. This is what can happen to your immune system and then you start seeing chronic reactions.

Going organic is important as you will largely reduce many bad things in your food like pesticides and GMOs and increase the nutrition level of the foods.

Meat is a difficult one however as it can be quite expensive to get organic. Let’s review some of the important factors in going organic in terms of meat:

  • Reduce your intake of GMOs and pesticides (the conventional cow or chicken is not GMO but the grain and corn fed to them is and it is also sprayed with pesticides)
  • Eliminate growth hormones given to livestock (this can affect YOUR hormonal health)
  • Largely reduce your exposure to antibiotics
  • Improve your Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio (because the organic cow will eat grass like it’s supposed to)
  • Improve on other nutrients (as grass is the ideal meal for the cow or chicken)
  • Get fresher meat (if you also buy local)
  • Also improve on nutrients because the cow is not raised in in-humane conditions which make it sick all the time
  • Further improve on nutrients because the cow is not killed in-humanely, which leaves the meat tender without stress hormones
  • Contribute to the global warming cause in a positive way (a cow that eats grain releases way more methane gas into the atmosphere because this is not what it’s supposed to eat, so it’s ‘gassy’ and the methane gas largely contributes to global warming)
  • Be more at peace with yourself that you are eating livestock that is raised in HUMANE conditions (have you seen one of those videos on how they treat livestock animals??!!)

That said, you can find organic meat that is not going to break the bank, some options:

  • Reduce your intake of meat is an option as eating so much meat may not be great for you, some people also prefer to go vegetarian.
  • Check out your local Costo, in Montreal, you can now purchase organic whole chicken and organic ground beef for decent prices. They also have organic salmon but in this case it is a bit expensive and I believe that wild salmon is healthier at this point in time.
  • If you have a big freezer, you can find a local organic farm (you can find a farm that raises their cattle in an organic fashion and that may not be certified organic, this is a good option if you can’t afford certified organic) and you can purchase a quarter, half or a whole cow from them. This is what I do. The butcher will prepare all the cuts that you need and vacuum seal them in individual packages and you can store them in your freezer. Best meat I ever tasted. I found one farmer in Hawkesbury Ontario where the price of all the cuts are the price that you would get if you bought regular ground meat in a supermarket…so even my filet mignon is the price of ground beef! However this was a lucky find, normally it’s a little more than that but still a great comparable price. I think this is the cheapest way to buy organic meat. Now I’m also looking into wild meat options.
  • Eat vegetarian when you eat out or when you travel.

My bull came in a few weeks ago, here is the first dish I made with it, my yummy Czech recipe for Dill sauce and potatoes.

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Good luck to everyone and if you find any other good options don’t be shy to comment.

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EMR Danger and Smart Meters

Hello Everyone!

I’d like to create more awareness in regards to EMR: Electromagnetic Radiation and if you feel this is an important issue, invite you to join a march to protest Smart Meters, which is taking place in Montreal on June 14th.

EMR, this radiation has become more and more present with the advent of wireless technology and is all around us.  However, it is dangerous and linked to adverse effects in the body, including cancer.  Some people become overly sensitive to this type of radiation and as soon as they are immersed in it get issues like headaches, poor concentration, sleep disorders, heart palpitations, etc. These are the immediate effects for hyper-sensitive people. However whether you are sensitive or not, this radiation is damaging you on a more serious level. It is the invisible threat.

My father has this hyper-sensitivity and it is difficult for him to go anywhere. But others feel it much worse – just last week, we met a lady that was so sensitive to this she hinted at taking her own life because she hasn’t slept in days and didn’t know what to do anymore. My parents, seeing how desperate she was, offered for her to sleep at their house for the night since they have no radiation inside their house. Otherwise, her plan was to drive a couple of hours to go see her sister in Magog to escape the radiation – Magog doesn’t have smart meters that operate on wireless technology but on fiber-optics and smart meters increase the radiation around us significantly if using wireless technology.  She accepted my parents’ offer and slept until noon the next day and was so grateful. This story brings tears to my eyes and shows the seriousness of this matter.

The March taking place on June 14th is to protest wireless Smart Meters that will increase this type of radiation around us greatly. Other safe technologies are available like fiber-optics, Hydro just doesn’t want to incur the extra cost.  Please join us: https://www.facebook.com/events/399947996814066/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular.

To read and understand more about EMR, please read my blog: http://yourfoodlife.com/blog/the-electromagnetic-radio-frequency-revolution/.

Hope to see you there!

Ilona

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Monsanto March May 2014

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Yesterday on May 24th, 2014, a world-wide march took place to protest against the actions of Monsanto and demand labeling of GMOs (genetically modified organisms). I participated in Montreal where around a thousand people joined and marched for this protest.

It was another huge success!  Each month or two, a different country is added to the list of countries that have imposed GMO labeling or banned GMOs altogether. The most recent ones are China, France and Russia, who has instituted a complete ban of GMO production and import. Also, Russia is starting a large-scale research into the bad effects of GMOs and potentially will be declaring the production of GMOs a criminal activity (although this has not happened yet).

Read about it here: http://www.globalresearch.ca/geopolitics-of-organic-food-russia-china-and-france-ban-gmos/5380228

Monsanto is one of the first manufacturers of pesticides (Round up) which have been found to be carcinogenic: http://www.sott.net/article/217501-Study-Shows-Monsanto-Roundup-Herbicide-Link-to-Birth-Defects.

This strong pesticide was not only killing bugs, but the actual produce, so Monsanto ingeniously increased its profits, by genetically modifying crops so that the crops would resist the pesticides, but the bugs would die.  Does it sound like you want to eat this ‘super crop’?  This is the truth – they did not wish to feed the world by increasing crop yield out of the goodness of their heart.  Many underdeveloped countries which they were to feed with this process actually banned the import of GMO crops (as well as many developed countries of course) and it has been shown that the yield was not really increased much anyway.

The government has not allowed proper testing of GMO products prior to acceptance into the industry, so we don’t know the effects.  This is why you will hear people say that we are treated as ‘lab rats’….the experiment is on us.  We do know that there have been a couple of outbreaks of allergies where genes from known allergens were used in other type of crops without people’s knowledge, so people allergic to this specific allergen (one case was with the Brazil nut), did not know they were consuming it and had a reaction (some of them a lethal one).  There is also belief that GMO products are linked to the huge increase in allergies in children, as well cancer and other health issues.  Studies need to be performed however to really know the effects.

And if not that, then at least GMO labeling should be mandatory to give people the choice to consume GMO products. Why does the US government keep rejecting this request?

Monsanto is also ensuring monopoly and spreading GMO throughout our food supply by imposing GMO seeds to farmers and basically bankrupting smaller farms that refuse to abide.  Also, the largest spread crops that are GMO are corn and soy; corn is used to make high-fructose corn syrup which is thought to be linked to health issues and corn and soy products are used in many many packaged products, it is now very hard to avoid them.

The march yesterday was part of a global movement that saw rallies in more than 400 cities and 52 countries around the world.

Media stories are coming out now to cover different cities, here is Toronto’s coverage: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/anti-gmo-protesters-rally-against-monsanto-1.2653350

If you are passionate about this issue, I urge you to join the next march and buy organic!

For more information about the march: http://www.march-against-monsanto.com/

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March Against Monsanto (GMO) – May 24th

For those interested, visit the link.

This is a legal, peaceful march taking place in almost every city, world-wide, protesting genetically modified foods and the acts of Monsanto.

To find your march: http://www.march-against-monsanto.com/p/blog-page_5.html

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Fun Finds at the Montreal 2014 Health Show

The ‘Expo Manger Sante’ is my favorite trade show as I can explore new interesting items that help me meet my goal of improving my health. Whether it is to taste new organic products, pickup coupons or the actual products on sale, learn new delicious recipes, learn about new services offered or how I can make certain things at home, I can easily spend several hours browsing through the stands.

The ‘Expo Manger Sante’ is a health food (much of it organic) and beauty/cleaning products tradeshow. This year, it was held last month at the Palais des Congres again in downtown Montreal.

Check it out here: www.expomangersante.com

I decided that each year I will post some of my favorite new finds at this show. What is great is that whatever stage I’m at in terms of improving my health, this show helps me along to the next stage, so the finds that I typically pick each year also reflect where I’m at in my journey. I am very thankful for this show because I’m also a very picky eater and sometimes by tasting a product at the show I am surprised by how delicious it is and the fact that I would’ve never bought this product at a store otherwise.

Another great thing is that my husband, who is at a completely different stage than me, will also pick up new things and this just promotes our collective family health.

You can check out my last year’s blog which lists the items that I found interesting last year, these were also present at this year’s show.

Here are my favorite picks this year:

–          New Vegan Restaurants: several new ones opened their doors recently in downtown Montreal, why don’t you check them out: Invitation V (vegan bistro – www.invitastionv.com), Resto Vego McGill (www.restovego.ca ), Aux Vivres (resto vegan and juice bar – auxvivres.com). And besides restaurants check out this authentic Japanese store that provides natural, organic and macrobiotic food: www.koyofoods.com.

–          Organic Matress!: Currently I’m shopping for a new mattress so I thought why not go organic, I did a lot of research on this topic already (will reserve that for another blog), and narrowed it down to 2 companies: My Essentia (the only organic mattress containing memory foam) and Literie Provinciale (using latex, no memory foam, but much cheaper). Both have showrooms in Montreal!

–          Service to Set up and Help Maintain Your Own Organic Garden: this one blew my mind a little bit: you can book a consultation with this company who will come to your house and give you an estimate on planning and building your garden, planting heirloom seedlings, and even periodically coming to weed and feed your garden and harvest your vegetables! I find this is amazing for those that have a yard and don’t have time to do their own gardening. The company is called Urban Seedling: www.urbanseedling.com.

–          Free Vegetarian Cooking Course: Go to aimschq.com and sign up for their free vegetarian cooking course that is coming up in May.

–          The Hippocrates Health Institute: this is a sort of the resort that offers a “life transformation program” by following the Hippocrates philosophers mantra “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. They say they provide guidance to transition you to a healthier lifestyle. They do this by encouraging pure enzyme rich, organic vegan cuisine, a positive mental and emotional attitude and the appropriate physical activity essential to optimizing one’s health. Many cancer patients and people with other health problems have gone to this Institute. To check it out go to www.HippocratesInstitute.org.

–          Pasta: there are so many varieties of pasta nowadays made without wheat. Each year I pick up new kinds made with quinoa or another type of grain and flavored with herbs, vegetables, even nuts like turmeric, beats, spinach, hazelnut etc. They are so delicious that I cannot get enough of them. Some of my favorite brands are: Primeal Pasta and Go-go Quinoa.

–          Emulsified Vitamin D: emulsification is a process of creating smaller molecules so that the product is better absorbed. I believe that here in Montreal the majority of people are largely deficient in vitamin D, which is actually important in many chemical processes in your body and affects so much more than just your bones and teeth. For example I believe that vitamin D deficiency is linked to autoimmune diseases. During spring, winter and fall, I supplement daily. The brand I picked up to try is Omega Alpha, I got at 2 for one deal and it tastes good!

–          Omega 3 Supplements: I also believe that we have a huge imbalance between Omega 3 and Omega 6 in our bodies which results in promoting unwanted inflammation, I supplement daily. My favorite brand is Nordic Naturals which uses fish oil from only very small fish (= minimal amount of mercury).

–          Organic White Miso: miso is one product that I thought that I would never ever buy. I had bought the black miso paste one time, didn’t know what to do with it, tried to make something that ended up tasting horrible and decided that I will never buy it again that it’s not for me. Here I am at the show tasting some dip that was prepared to be eaten with raw vegetables and finding it absolutely delicious. Bought the container of white miso and scored the recipe for this delicious dip. What is also really great is that at this point I’m trying to eat more fermented products because I want to increase my intake of probiotics. Because probiotics are so finicky, I don’t really believe that supplementation through pills is good enough because I feel like a very tiny percentage of the probiotics will actually survive and do good in my stomach. Somewhere I read that the gut is like your second brain and maintaining good bacterial culture is crucial. I don’t supplement probiotics every day, only if I know that my stomach is vulnerable (i.e. if taking antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs).

–          Tempeh: tempeh is a soy-based fermented product. I don’t believe that regularly eating soy is healthy however occasionally, it’s fine for me. The fact that tempeh is a fermented product adds bonus points. Again another product that I would typically never buy but at the show there was a chef that had just opened his new organic restaurant and was making stir-fry tempeh. As you can guess it tasted delicious (I find it more palatable than tofu). I bought some and he even gave me vegetarian tzatziki for free, which incredibly enough, tasted just like the real thing.

–          Cleaning Products: I like the brand Biovert, which has expanded its line of products since last year and added a few items including a laundry stain remover. However since last year, my favorite brand for cleaning products has become: The Honest Company. Although this brand is not found at the show, I must mention it here as it is absolutely amazing. It was created by Jessica Alba, it has none of the bad ingredients and all of the good ones – it can be purchased online.

–          Organic Alcohol: this is becoming more and more common, we picked up an aperitif cider from Saragnert.com.

–          Spices and Tea: I found a cool place with really interesting products: Les Jardins de la Mer.  They have a variety of mixed spices and salts that contain algae. Algae are really healthy however I’m trying to stay away from any products purchased from the Pacific Ocean due to the Fukushima radiation poisoning. However this company harvests their algae from around New Brunswick. They also have some really interesting teas, which I’ve never seen before. The one I bought contained dried Labrador tea, nettle, yarrow and fir tree leaves, it tasted and smelled amazing!

–          Mosquito Repellent: I’m trying to find one that actually works and doesn’t stink to be honest with you. I’m trying out this new brand I found at the show called Bohemia.

Overall an amazing show, that’s for sure!!!

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Red Zinger Juice

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Juice sometimes get a bad rap for having the fiber removed. In fact, it is only the insoluble fiber that is removed. Juice is still filled with lots of soluble fiber which is good for the intestinal tract. (1) It will also help you reach the target of 25-30g of fiber we are supposed to have in a day.
I love the juice below because it has an element of sweetness with a perfectly contrasting spice flavor coming from the ginger. Be generous with the ginger if you like spicy foods.

– 4 small beets and beet greens
– small cucumber
– 6 medium carrots
– 1 apple
– 2 inch piece of ginger (or more)

Cut your veggies and put through your juicer. Bottoms up!

References

(1) Calbom, Cherie, and John Calbom. Juicing, Fasting, and Detoxing for Life. New York: Hachette Book Groups, 2008. Print.

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Arugula with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Balasmic vinaigrette is a dressing favorite as it is thick & sweet. It has few ingredients, easy to make, so it is not something you should buy! In fact you should never buy salad dressing, make one for the week and store it in a mason jar or salad dressing container. You can get one from Amazon or your local kitchen supply store.

Here are some balsamic vinegar facts and tips for your next purchase:

  • Balsamic vinegar is made with the Trebbiano grape, boiled and aged in a variety of wooden barrels. Imitations made be made from different vinegar and do not require aging.
  • Balsamic vinegar is made in Italy’s Modena and Reggio Emilia regions and governed by the DOC (Denominazione di origine controllata)
  • Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena is the highest quality balsamic vinegar and is aged a minimum of 12 years, but can be very expensive.
  • Commercial grade balsamic vinegar is more affordable, but coloring, sugar, caramel and other additives may be present. Choose a product with no additives in the ingredient list, especially no sugar. The ingredients should read something like grape wine, grape must.
  • Condimento grade balsamic is a mix of the traditional and the commercial grade. This will be a combination of the grape and red wine vinegar. This is probably a good compromise to use for salad dressing, as the expensive stuff is so good you may not want to mix it. You can always reduce the cheaper stuff to make a good sauce and get the consistency of the more expensive types.

Ingredients of the dressing:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (depending on how sweet/sour you want it)
  • salt and pepper to taste (1/2 tsp is about right)
  • shallots or garlic, finely minced (optional)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, except the olive oil. Stream the oil in slowly while you whisk the dressing. It is important to see the vinegar and the oil coming together to form a thick brown mixture (emulsification of the oil). This would also work in a blender, if your arm is feeling a little lazy ;-).

I love to combine balsamic vinaigrette with a peppery green like arugula. It provides a really nice balance and contrast in flavors. Bon appetit!

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Homemade Bitchin’ Sauce

This is almost like a condiment to me: regularly available in my fridge and used to make my foods more flavorful. It is also an incredibly healthy sauce as it is vegan, sugar free and contains only healthy fats. You can use it for dips, in wraps/sandwiches, as a pasta base or my favorite, the gratitude bowl. Best part is that you can whip up a batch in 5 minutes :-)

My inspiration is a sauce I found at Whole Foods, but I felt compelled to make my own without oil as the first ingredient!

  • 1/3 cup raw almond butter (if you have a vitamix, you can also use raw almonds)
  • 1/3 cup filtered water
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • juice of a lemon
  • 1 small clove garlic (raw or roasted)
  • 1 tbsp tamari (use soy sauce as a substitute, but the wheat free version ‘tamari’ is healthier & tastier)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • dash cayenne
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (optional)

Now simply throw all the ingredients in a blender and run! Note you can make it thicker or thinner depending on the amount of water you add. Try playing around with the ingredients; add different spices or amounts, make a spicy version etc.You can find a Vine Video of me making this recipe here. Bon appetit!

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Gratitude Bowl

Gratitude Bowl

Inspired by many vegan & vegetarian restaurants here in SoCal, one of my new go-to dishes is the gratitude bowl. It is named as such because every time I make it, the ingredients are different; dependent on what I happen to have in my kitchen. I’m always grateful to have enough ingredients at my disposal to make up the layers of this yummy dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup mini brown lentils
  • 1/3 cup sliced red onions
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 5 leaves laciano kale, stems removed & chopped
  • Bitchin’ Sauce (see my recipe here, or you can also buy ready-made bitchin’ sauce)
  • 1 persian cucumber, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped,
  • a handful of finely diced red or green onions
  • a handful of cranberries or goji berries
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh herbs (my favorite to use is mint)
  • sliced almonds (optional for garnish)

Cook your quinoa and lentils according to package directions. In the meantime, lightly saute the veggies (red onion, garlic and kale) and finely dice the bowl’s toppings. When all is ready, use a big bowl and start your layering. Add the quinoa first, then lentils, sauteed veggies, drizzle bitchin’ sauce (See pic below). Then finally the toppings including cucumber, pepper, onions, berries and herbs.

As mentioned, I’ve made this recipe countless types with various ingredients. You can find my Gratitude Bowl Vines (6 second videos) here:

Bon appetit!

 

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