Choco Cake Bites [Low Sugar/Vegan/Grain Free]

Happy weekend, y’all!

It’s been awhile since I wrote my last post – apologies for being MIA. Summer is one hell of a chaotic (the good kind of course) ride. And somehow along the way, you lose concept of time because of the summer memories you’re busy creating.

To make it up to you, here’s one of my favourite cake recipes. You know how I do: low sugar, gluten/wheat free, vegan and crap-free.

It’s also a chocolate cake.

That’s how sorry I am.

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Cause chocolate makes everything better, amiright?

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What you’ll need:

1 cup of buckwheat flour

6-7 tbsp of organic raw cacao

1/2 tsp of sea salt

1/2 tsp of baking soda

3/4 cup of organic coconut sugar or granulated xylitol + 3 packets of stevia (adjust to sweet tooth!)

1/4 cup of plain unsweetened coconut yogurt

3/4 cup of unsweetened almond/coconut milk (or filtered water)

1/4 cup of raw almond butter (or Sunbutter if you want it nut-free)

2 tsp of alcohol free vanilla extract

2 tbsp of organic coconut oil + 1 tsp of organic coconut oil for pan greasing

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8″ square pan with 1 tsp of organic coconut oil. Set it aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and use a fork to get rid of any clumps. In a second bowl, bring in nut butter, yogurt, milk, coconut oil and vanilla. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and mix. Do not over mix! Transfer into pan and distribute evenly.

Bake for 22-26 minutes. Remove and let it sit to cool.

For the coconut yogurt icing, you’ll need:

1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut yogurt (or non dairy option – I love using Yoso Coconut Yogurt)

1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract

1-2 pinches of uncut stevia (or 1/4 of organic coconut sugar)

3 tbsp of coconut cream (not oil!)

1 tsp of organic raw cacao

Combine everything in a frosting bowl until completely smooth. Taste and adjust sweetness. Spread icing on the cooled cake, cut into desired square slices and top with sugar free chocolate chips (or carob chips). Nom nom away!

 

Feed Your Skin Naturally!

Good skin is always in!

I want to share a few natural beauty tips with you today. I’m often asked what I use to maintain my “healthy, glowy skin”and as flattering as it is, I actually don’t have a a line of high end beauty products that I use on a daily basis. My routine is quite simple and guileless. As you already know from a few of my recipes and posts, I like to keep things as natural as possible.

I always count chemicals and I am a thorough label reader – that’s including products I use on my skin too!

The first step to great skin is by what you put at the end of your fork. I consume A TON of greens, stay away from meat and dairy products, wheat/gluten containing foods and don’t drink or smoke! You’ve already heard the importance of drinking lots of H20 but having more than 6 glasses of water a day really does make a difference. Keep it clean and drink up, buttercup!

Nutrition plays a critical role in the health of our skin. Acne, breakouts, psoriasis, dry skin, dull skin and wrinkles are all affected by your diet and lifestyle so by eating the right kind of foods, you can help by reduce or even eliminate these stubborn skin conditions. These are the main minerals and nutrients your body needs to naturally help you achieve healthy skin from the inside out:

Silicon: cucumbers, bell peppers, greens, flax seeds, lentils, BioSil capsules

Sulfur: garlic, greens like kale, broccoli

Omega 3 Fatty Acids: flax seeds, walnuts, chia seeds

Biotin: raw almonds, raw almond butter, swiss chard, raspberries, sweet potatoes

Zinc: nuts, pumpkin seeds, spinach. chickpeas, raw cacao

Antioxidants: blueberries (organic and wild), pure green tea, baobab powder, more greens!

I always incorporate these specific foods into my everyday diet whether I toss them all into a delicious salad, add them to smoothies or eat them raw as nutritious snacks. These essential foods have definitely been beneficial in improving and maintaining the health of my skin and they’re all nature approved too!

When it comes to a living healthy and natural lifestyle, what you put in your body is just as momentous as what your put on your body. Many people are still unaware of how great an impact the beauty cosmetic lines they use on a daily basis can have on their skin – and health! Our skin readily absorbs chemicals and other harmful substances deeper into our body through our skin layers and then ultimately into our bloodstream. The absorption rates on our scalp, underarms and face are 7-10 times higher than a lot of other body parts. And when we are constantly putting products on our skin that contain parabens, alcohol, petroleum, parfum/fragrance and other harsh chemicals, we are also consuming them and allowing them to get inside our bodies. The skin is the largest organ of the body and since it’s porous, you better believe that it absorbs whatever you choose to put on it.

It’s important to pay careful attention to the ingredients in our skin care products. Unfortunately, the majority of of the mainstream products on our shelves today contain a cocktail of harmful chemicals, carcinogens, allergens, synthetic additives and irritants that contribute to our wellness and what we see every morning in the mirror.

How can we achieve healthy, glowing skin naturally? Just like the food we eat, we should always read the labels, understand what we’re putting on our skin and consider a gentler, natural alternative that’s favorable for us and the planet. Minimalism is always the best option. So choose organic products and natural skin products with simple ingredients whenever possible. Or even use whole ingredients and make your own DIY safer products at home.

Here are my everyday skin/face essentials suitable for ALL SKIN types:

Organic virgin cold pressed coconut oil – Probably the only plant based moisturizer you’ll only ever really need! Don’t be afraid of applying oil on your face. It’s dehydrated and most likely dried out from the harsh alcohols and chemicals that a lot of skin care products consist of. Anti bacterial, anti fungal, anti septic and excellent for balancing the natural oils our skin produces. Plus, who doesn’t love the smell of coconuts?! 😉

Baking soda – An affordable and easy way to balance the skin’s pH levels and a great exfoliator too!

Raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar –  Great for healing acne, stubborn pimples and light scars. Works great as a natural, plant based toner.

S.W. Basics of Brooklyn – I’m absolutely obsessed with this line! It is probably the only company I’ve come across that uses pure, whole elements that’s sustainable, organic, cruelty-free and skin friendly. While many companies claim to be “all natural” or plaster ridiculous amount of labels to fool you into thinking their products are safe, chances are, if you turn to read the labels, you’ll find a plethora of not so hidden, not so natural ingredients. You can count on S.W. Basics to be 100% pure and only using the finest ingredients that’s actually good for you. They even think about our planet! Aren’t they so sweet? Their products are all fair trade and the ingredients are locally sourced from small, family farms. S.W. Basics also has exceptional branding (I’m a sucker for good branding and packages!) and their story is beautifully simple: Fewer ingredients means less chance for irritation, higher potency and a smaller, overall ecological impact. For them, less isn’t just more, it’s everything. And I agree! This is a line of products your skin will thank you for.

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All of their products have less than 5 ingredients. And they’re all ingredients you can pronounce and probably have in your kitchen cupboard. Luscious stuff like coconut oil, shea butter, ACV, olive oil, vegetable glycerin and cocoa butter. You also won’t need to do a back label read since all of the ingredients are conveniently listed right on the front of each product. So simple and no second guessing. They’ve made it so easy for us how can you not love them?

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Go ahead – put your best skin forward!

KEWAZA Energy Balls – AMAZE-BALL GIVEAWAY!

Like most people living the city, I always find myself on a life marathon – whether I’m headed to work, attending castings, on set for photo shoots, prepping and organizing meal plans, etc. But one thing is for sure: I always make time to eat. This is so important especially if you’re constantly on the run which means your body is working twice as hard to fuel you.

Sometimes it can be challenging to “fuel up” – especially nutritiously – in between chaos when you’re pressed for time or simply don’t have the energy to prep meals and snacks everyday. And then the worst comes after you’ve reached your hungry hippo stage….you dive into a unhealthy bag of chips or smother your face in nutrient deprived granola bars. Our western society has made it extremely easy and accessible to eat junky foods. But I’m here to tell you that there are tasty, wholesome, healthier options that properly fuel the body.

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#WHATHEALTHYMODELSEAT

KEWAZA energy balls is one of them. It’s a yummy pocket ball that just bursts of clean nutrients and natural flavours. It contains the optimum balance of high quality carbs, fats and deliciousness all needed for the ideal snack to energize and revitalize. (I love a good rhyme!) It’s convenient, ready to devour and not complicated. It also keeps you very satisfied in between meals. My friends had a few bites of each flavour and praised how good they were. They felt like it was more of a treat than something nutritious! Apparently it’s delectable enough to confuse you that it’s healthier!

I generally make my own portable snacks so that I can control the ingredients and portions to fit into my everyday lifestyle. With my gluten free, wheat free, preservative free, sugar free, vegan, plant based motto, it can get a little tiring making my own energy balls or protein bars. And washing the food processor can be very tedious at times! However, I have a huge respect for health conscious companies, especially ones that are local, that provide reliable quality products in order to promote and encourage healthier, wholesome lives. Toronto based company, Kewaza, aims to do that everyday with their endearing slogan of Move Mountains. So whether you’re running some errands, finishing yoga class or moving some mountains, these energy balls will give you the sustenance you need to do all that and more.

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Here’s the nutritional profile on these balls of energy:

Non GMO, organic, gluten/wheat free, preservative free, dairy free, soy free and wholesome. Ta-da!

Uncomplicated ingredients include organic dates, goji berries, walnuts, coconut oil, flax seeds, peanut butter, cacao powder and maca powder just to name a few. You can find the full list of ingredients in each ball on their colourful website.

I am going to have an honest moment with you. Because of my low glycemic, sugar free vegan diet, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy these like the next guy. Their peanut butter protein balls would be great if I ate peanut butter! 🙁 My fingers are crossed for an almond butter base flavor. However, for the purpose of this review, I did have a small bite of it and I confirm that it is indeed scrumptious. And with the use of super foods such as maca powder and hemp in the balls, it’s something you won’t feel guilty about eating.

Want to try it for yourself? You should! Enter our giveaway below for a chance to win a FREE set of balls – KEWAZA style!

Stay healthy, my friends. x

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Summer is finally here in Toronto!  

tumblr_n65ilbrTwc1sn5lb0o1_1280We had an abundant amount of sunshine today and that called for one thing: an abundance of healthy food for lunch. My go-to ingredients are pretty basic: organic quinoa, steamed kale, baby spinach and some sort of seeds or nuts.  They’re nutritious, delicious and always leaves my insides satisfied. I always have these goods stocked in my kitchen, so when I’m not in the mood to make a meal creative or if I’m just pressed for time, I can always count on a super clean warm quinoa green salad to feed my soul. I’m always so grateful to see the beautiful colours in my food when I make this. You can say it’s pretty hearty. 

The dish I made today is simple. Nothing fancy and pretty much anyone can make it. I’ve posted similar quinoa dishes before so I thought I’d make this one a tiny bit more interestingespecially since I’m celebrating the new season. So to add life to my basic quinoa bowl, I paired it with a tasty effortless dressing that pretty much goes with anything. It’s easy to blend up with very simple ingredients, yet elevates the rather fundamental quality of the meal into something more appeasing. Plus, who doesn’t love to drench their food with yummy sauce?

Like I prefer most of my meals, this one is about 50% – 70% raw. The raw portion adds full enzymes to the dish that aids with digestion and gives dish a appetizing crunch. The only thing cooked here is the organic quinoa and the massaged kale is lightly steamed.

Light, flavourful, earthy and colorful – perfect for a summer lunch!

Toss all of these ingredients in a bowl or plate:

Half a cup of cooked organic white quinoa (pre washed and soaked)

1 cup of steamed chopped kale

2 cups of raw baby spinach

1/2 cup of diced raw red bell peppers

1/4 cup of fresh cilantro (get the real thing because it makes a difference with the taste!)

For the dressing:

Half a cup of raw shelled sunflower or pumpkin seeds (preferably soaked for 8 hours or overnight)

1.5 cloves of garlic

Knob of fresh ginger

1.5 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp of unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar or coconut nectar vinegar

2 teaspoons of lemon juice (squeezed)

1/2 cup of filtered water

Cracked black pepper and cayenne pepper to taste

Optional: a pinch of stevia if you want it to be a little sweet

In a food processor or high power blender, combine all of the ingredients and pulse on high for a minute or so. Depending how “thick” you want it, slowly add the water and adjust to your desire. Season to taste. And enjoy with your awesome summer salad dish!

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