An Update On Life – February 2017

Olivia Louise Taylor

To My Darling Reader,

Hi, How are you doing?  I hope that you are well.

As you are reading this, I will be on my way to Seattle. The first of many trips this year!

I feel like I have been so caught up in bringing you content for the blog, that I have forgotten to check in, see how you are and let you know what I am up to as well.

The theme for 2017 for Alex and myself definitely seems to be travel!

After waiting 18 months for my permanent residency for Canada, we finally got it in December. It was such a relief, knowing that I didn’t have to worry about if I could stay in Canada, but also because it meant that I could now leave if I wanted to as well.

Alex and I sat down in December and we started planning out trips, so I will share them with you too!

Trip 1: Going to Seattle at the end of February to see Tash Sultana.

This is Alex’s first trip out of Canada so I am so excited! Yes, we are only going to the states but it’s a nice little taster of crossing borders, getting different currency and experiencing a different culture. We also get to see Tash Sultana who is my favourite artist! If you haven’t heard of her, I have a video below of one of her songs.

On the way back to Tofino, we are picking up my brother and he is coming to stay with us for 3 weeks! It’s going to be a bit cramped, as my place is tiny! But I am so excited to show him Tofino and Vancouver Island, plus get some skiing in.

Trip 2: The UK and Europe.

In mid April, Alex and I are moving our stuff into storage in Nanaimo, then jumping on a plane to England! My Mum is english so we are going to see some of my family, then roughly plan to spend a month in the UK, checking out Ireland and Scotland. Then plan to spend a month in Europe, mainly Germany and Sweden. That is the rough plan because really, we have no plans! We will just see how we are doing when we are over there. We have friends that we have met in Tofino, so want to catch up with them and see another part of the world.

If you are in that part of the world or have some tips, send me a message! I would love some tips and suggestions or potential meet ups 🙂

 

Trip 3: Taking The Summer Off.

Alex and I get back into Canada at the end of June, and then have to go to a wedding in Canmore. That is our only engagement for the summer. Because we both worked so hard last summer, we felt like we missed it! We never went camping, hardly went swimming and it just wasn’t that fun. So this time, we are going to enjoy the long days, camp a lot and spend a lot of time swimming. We will set up a base with Alex’s parents, and tour around a bit as well.

 

Trip 4: Australia!

Once we are out of money, Alex and I are going to fly to Australia. We have enough points to get the flights for free (well…$90) so that will be our next stop. We will likely arrive in August, which is the middle of winter in Australia. I figured winter would be better for Alex, so that he can work up his tolerance for the heat.

Once in Australia, we are going to live with my Mum and work a lot after having so much time off!

We are really excited about the Australian part, because after 3 years of being together, Alex is finally going to meet my parents!!! He will also get to see where I grew up and understand a bit more about my culture. I also want him to get picked on for how he talks (because he picks on me all the time!)

We are going to get him the 1 year working visa, and then see how we like it after that. Alex might love Australia, I might crave to come back to Canada, we don’t know. But at least we will both have a healthy dose of each others’ countries.

 

One of the few nice photos of Alex and I, usually one of us is pulling a funny face…

 

So where does this leave olivialouisetaylor.com?

Well the show must still go on! I created this space to bring you information about healthy eating, easy recipes and also have this as a platform for nutritional consults. And I created it to be online so that I could reach you from wherever I was.

Admittedly, I am a little worried how well I am going to go when travelling around Europe. The behind the scenes of this website takes up a lot of my time and I am also really good at getting distracted… oh look it’s sunny outside…..

But I plan to still keep content coming to you, plus I will keeping active on my Facebook group “Ask the Nutritionist with Olivia Louise Taylor” and my Instagram as well.

 

So I end this letter to you, hoping that you are well and I shall have some new content for you next week.

Have a great weekend (because I am definitely going to!)

Olivia Louise Taylor

 

 

Spiced Cauliflower Fritters

Spiced Cauliflower Fritters

If you are thinking that these cauliflower fritters are going to be hard to make, think again! I swear, this recipe is super easy, cheap to make and will give you at least one serving of veggies. #winningatlife

I was doing a nutritional consult last week and we were doing some meal planning. One thing that really struck me was that a lot of the recipes were difficult. They either had a lot of needless steps, or they used way too many ingredients.

I am super lazy when it comes to cooking. I mean, I love cooking but only because it means that I can eat. And I LOVE eating! So when I look or make at a recipe, I want it to be a couple of things:

  1. Limited amount of ingredients. I live in a small isolated town, I don’t have that much choice in the ingredients that I can buy.
  2. Cheap to make. Living in a tourist town is expensive so if I can feed myself relatively cheaply, then I am happy.
  3. Makes enough for leftovers. I’m lazy, I want to make a recipe that gives me lunch as well.
  4. It’s nutritionally sound. If I eat crappy food, I’m going to feel crappy. If I’m making the effort to cook my own food, it’s going to be good for me.

Throughout my consult, I kept on coming back to my website to find simple recipes. This is because I was having such a hard time finding them on the world wide web. And this kind of annoyed me, because it really made me feel like healthy cooking wasn’t being portrayed as being as easy as it should be.

Healthy cooking can also be simple cooking. You don’t need fancy ingredients or equipment for a healthy meal. You just need a good recipe, some decent ingredients and a little bit of time to make it happen.

So this is my promise to you. I will always try and post my recipes and keep them simple. Sometimes they are going to have a couple of extra steps, but usually they are the kind that you slap together in 10 minutes.

My Spiced Cauliflower Fritters is one of those recipes. It was inspired by this recipe, but I eliminated the extra cooking time and stayed away from frying them because a) it takes too long, b) too much mess afterwards to clean up and c) too much oil, it’s expensive! In the yoghurt sauce, I use bottled lime juice in this recipe because limes are $1 each here. You don’t even have to make the yoghurt sauce, it’s just a really tasty addition to the meal.

 

I hope you find this recipe as simple and delicious as I did.

Have a great week and if you like this recipe, make sure to share it with your friends.

 

Simple Baked Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal

I have been hinting towards a baked oatmeal recipe for some time but I finally felt that I could share it after some testing. 

Making recipes can be a daunting thing.

When I first started this blog, I would just make something, guess the amounts for the ingredients that I used and post the recipe. Too bad if they weren’t right because I figured everyone was at the same level of cooking as me and they would figure out how to fix the recipe to suit them.

Fast forward a year and after doing consults and seeing my friends cook, I realize that this isn’t the case.

I have been cooking meals for my family since I was 14, that means that I have done a lot of trail and error in that time. I’ve made meals that were not edible at all!

And one time, I served a semi-rare pork roast because I was too stubborn to admit to my Dad that I was wrong and the roast needed to go back in the oven for 20 minutes. What a shit of a kid haha!

Now, I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on cooking. If the recipe doesn’t taste right, I know the little tricks to fix the flavours. I know how long to cook things without burning or overcooking them. I am also a bit more humble and will admit when I am wrong or the meal I made isn’t that great (it still happens from time to time.)

So here is my baked oatmeal recipe for you.

I have tested and tasted it at least 7 times. With different oats, different fruits and different cooking times. I love this recipe for breakfast because I make it, put it in the oven and then have a shower. By the time I’m dressed, the oatmeal is ready to eat and my house smells delicious.

You can also make this recipe in the microwave, which is MUCH faster and works if you are running out the door.

 

If you like this recipe, I love to hear from you in the comment section below.

And if you really love it, make sure to share it with your friends!

 

Have a great weekend,

 

Fending Off The Winter Blues – Guest Post

We are still well and truly in the thick of winter here in Canada and although I do prefer them to the Australian winters, sometimes they do get me down.

After getting really sick at the end of January, I have been craving long summer days, sleeping a lot and finding it harder to stay motivated for anything. All definite signs that I am experiencing some winter blues. Something that is perfectly normal for this time of the year. 

This article from Hélène Descoteaux is perfect for anyone who is feeling a little down at the moment, or knows someone who is being affected by the winter months. Hélène is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and the founder of Costal Roots Nutrition and Lifestyle. I am very excited for her guest post as she gives a beautiful explanation on why we experience the winter blues and what we can do to get ourselves feeling good again. Over to you Hélène….

Fending Off the Winter Blues

Fending Off The Winter Blues

I’ve always loved the seasonality of living in Canada, even though it is admittedly less pronounced out here on the coast of British Columbia.  The spring brings growth and expansion with all the flora and fauna following suit.  Summer is filled with memories of sun, surf, adventure, and never ending days.  With fall comes change, probably a relic of ‘back-to-school’ days, crisp leaves and a cool breeze.

Despite the unhurried pace and snow-capped stoke that winter evokes for some, many people living in the North can easily experience the winter blues.  Spoken about in medical terms as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), the lack of light and changes in our routine can have a very real impact on our mood and overall mental wellbeing.

In the Northern Hemisphere, we experience shorter days, colder weather, more cloud cover (especially if you’re here on the west coast), scarcer availability of fresh produce, and changes in our routine.  Some key biochemical processes needed to optimize our brain functioning and mental health are affected by these seasonal changes.  Fortunately, there are many ways we can protect our brains and elevate our moods with proper nutrition and lifestyle – I describe just a few of my favourites below.

Exercise & Sleep

Exposure to light and exercise play a key role in boosting serotonin, an important neurotransmitter for elevating mood and an overall sense of well-being.

Though it can be difficult to control our light exposure with the shortened days and overcast skies of winter, exercise and maintaining an adequate and regular sleep schedule have been shown to help improve serotonin levels.  Getting outside to snowboard, snowshoe, skate, ski, or build snowmen are fantastic ways to get some light exposure AND exercise this winter.

When your schedule (or weather) doesn’t allow, there are several other activities such as yoga, swimming and dance that can be done indoors that allow you to keep moving and grooving this winter.  Get your friends and family involved by making your social outings active and you’ll have the added benefits of their company and motivation.  If you work indoors during daylight hours, try enjoying your coffee break outside, or go for a short walk during lunch.

Eat more healthy fats

Omega-3 fatty acids have been well established to play an integral role in mental health.  In fact, almost 60% of our brains are made of fat.  So, by supplying our brain with adequate amounts of healthy fats, we are giving ourselves the building blocks to make sure all our ‘happy signals’ are getting to where they need to go.

Omega-3, unlike Vitamin D, cannot be produced by the body and must be obtained by dietary sources.  Some dietary sources of Omega-3’s include fatty fish (especially wild salmon and sardines), seeds (ground flax, chia, and hemp), and nuts (pecans and walnuts).  Try incorporating wild, sustainably caught fish in to your diet 3-4 times a week.  Easily add nuts and seeds to salads, stir frys, and baking, or try this recipe for homemade granola bars.

Vitamin D Supplementation

Vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin!  Aptly named because the majority of our Vitamin D comes from exposing our skin to sunlight.  In technical terms, Vitamin D is actually a hormone that we can amazingly produce ourselves with exposure to sunlight (or UVB rays to be exact).  Unfortunately, approximately 1/3 of Canadians have been found to have blood levels of Vitamin D below what is sufficient for optimal health with that number increasing in the winter months.

Vitamin D has been found to play an important role in maintaining bone health, the prevention of autoimmune disease, cardiovascular disease and cancers.  Further research is needed to determine the role of Vitamin D in Seasonal Affective Disorder and depression, however, both Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be important in serotonin synthesis.

We are not able to get adequate Vitamin D from food sources alone, however, some dietary sources of Vitamin D include, fatty fish (especially wild salmon, snapper, mackerel), dairy products, and egg yolks (organic if possible).  I highly recommend taking a Vitamin D supplement, especially in the winter months.  High quality Vitamin D3 in an oil carrier can be easily found at local health food stores and is most easily absorbed by the body.

Your personal health is a continuous, ever-changing journey of nourishing the physical, mental, and spiritual self.  Seasons remind us to tune in to and re-evaluate what our individual needs are throughout the year and throughout our lives – what nourishes you?

 

*This article is intended as advice to support overall health and not as a prescriptive cure for depression.  If you are suffering with depression it is important to seek individualized help from a health care professional.*

Hélène Descoteaux is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist

Hélène Descoteaux is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) with the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Geography. She is presently living on the Pacific Rim of Vancouver Island and following her passion of advocating for both human and environmental health.

 

Linked Sources and Further Reading:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2077351/

http://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Vitamins/Food-Sources-of-Vitamin-D.aspx

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-624-x/2013001/article/11727-eng.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15585788

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/011012p22.shtml

http://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Fat/Food-Sources-of-Omega-3-Fats.aspx

Creamy Pasta With Mushrooms and Broccoli

Creamy Pasta With Mushrooms and Broccoli

The other night, I really craved some comfort food.

I was tired, a little bit fed up with winter and I just wanted my food to hug me from the inside. The temptation to buy a jar of creamy pasta sauce was pretty high. But admittedly, I only need to look at the ingredients on one of those jars to convince myself to make my own sauce. Price wise, making my own sauce also helps a lot as I had nearly all the ingredients at home!

 

Making a creamy pasta sauce can be intimidating but it’s actually very easy.

All you need is milk, flour and butter. Done! I added stock to this recipe because it gives it a lovely rich flavour.

 

I hope this recipe makes you feel as good as I did.


Peanut Butter Jelly Time Smoothie

via GIPHY

 

Do you put peanut butter in your smoothies?

I never used to because I thought it sounded weird but I have been converted!

Every time I make this, I always sing the peanut butter jelly song. Makes me so happy and then I get a yummy drink too.

If you have been following me on instagram, you know that I have been quite sick.

Living in a small town means that if one person gets sick, EVERYONE in the town gets sick! And my day job is in a coffee shop so I see a lot of people come in and out of the shop so you think that I would get sick that way… but no! My darling Alex always picks up the sickness and then I get it after I’ve been looking after him. Plus side is that then he has to look after me.

The downside of being sick is that you really just don’t want to eat.

For me this time, I lost all sense of smell! Not sure if you know but 70-90% of your taste comes from the aromas that you can smell. So basically I couldn’t taste anything. Definitely made eating less enjoyable because my food looked SOOOOO good and tasted like nothing {insert sad face here}

 

Thankfully I am on the mend but this means that I need some nutrients and extra energy to keep me going. Enter the smoothie….

This one has raspberries which are high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Folate, Manganese and fibre.

Oats for B vitamins and some more fibre for keeping you regular and full.

Plain yoghurt for calcium, a protein punch and some gut loving bacteria.

Protein powder for added protein to maintain muscle mass, as well as being a complete protein source.

Peanut butter for protein, and some fat for satiety (feel satisfied).

And finally cinnamon because I like the flavour and it helps to maintain blood glucose levels.

 

If you are looking for a smoothie that tastes like dessert and is nutrient dense, this is the way to go!

Have a great week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please note that the feature image is not my own (I wish!) I got it from the website: Just So Tasty