Reduce Inflammation With These Key Foods

Reduce Inflammation With These Key Foods

 

Inflammation. It’s not just for health headlines.

It’s a fact.

Scientists are measuring levels of inflammation in our bodies and finding that it can be pretty bad for our health; this is especially true when it’s chronic (i.e. lasts a long time).

Inflammation has been linked to obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes, just to name a few.

But, instead of writing all about what it is, how it’s measured, and where it comes from; why don’t I focus on some foods packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants that are proven to help reduce it

Here are my top anti-inflammatory food recommendations

Anti-inflammatory Food #1: Berries, Grapes, and Cherries

Why save the best for last? Perhaps the most amazingly delicious anti-inflammatory foods are a sweet favourite of yours?Berries, grapes, and cherries are packed with fiber, and antioxidant vitamins (e.g. vitamin C) and minerals (e.g. manganese).

Oh, and did I forget to mention their phytochemicals (phyto=plant)? Yes, many antioxidants such as “anthocyanins” and “resveratrol”  are found in these small and delicious fruits.

In fact, berries, grapes, and cherries may be the best dietary sources of these amazingly healthy compounds.

Anti-inflammatory Food #2: Broccoli and Peppers

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that contains the antioxidant “sulforaphane.” This anti-inflammatory compound is associated with reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.

Bell peppers, on the other hand, are one of the best sources of the antioxidants vitamin C and quercetin.

Just make sure to choose red peppers over the other colours.  Peppers that are any other colour are not fully ripe and won’t have the same anti-inflammatory effect.

I pack these two super-healthy vegetables together in this week’s recipe (see below).

Anti-inflammatory Food #3: Healthy Fats (avocado, olive oil, fatty fish)

Fat can be terribly inflammatory (hello: “trans” fats), neutral (hello: saturated fats), or anti-inflammatory (hello: “omega-3s), this is why choosing the right fats is so important for your health.

The best anti-inflammatory fats are the unsaturated ones, including omega-3s. These are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

Opt for fresh avocados, extra virgin olive oil, small fish (e.g. sardines and mackerel), and wild fish (e.g. salmon). Oh and don’t forget the omega-3 seeds like chia, hemp, and flax.

Anti-inflammatory Food #4: Green Tea

Green tea contains the anti-inflammatory compound called “epigallocatechin-3-gallate”, otherwise known as EGCG.

EGCG is linked to reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, and Alzheimer’s.

Drinking steeped green tea is great, but have you tried matcha green tea? It’s thought to contain even higher levels of antioxidants than regular green tea.

Anti-inflammatory Food #5 – Turmeric

Would a list of anti-inflammatory foods be complete without the amazing spice turmeric?

Turmeric contains the antioxidant curcumin 

This compound has been shown to reduce the pain of arthritis, as well as have anti-cancer and anti-diabetes properties.

I’ve added it to the broccoli and pepper recipe below for a 1-2-3 punch, to kick that inflammation.

Anti-inflammatory Food #6: Dark Chocolate

Ok, ok. This *may* be slightly more decadent than my #1 pick of berries, grapes, and cherries.

Dark chocolate, with at least 70% cocoa is packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants (namely “flavonols”). These reduce the risk of heart disease by keeping your arteries healthy. They’ve even been shown to prevent “neuro-inflammation” (inflammation of the brain and nerves). Reducing neuro-inflammation may help with long-term memory, and reduce the risk of dementia and stroke.

Make sure you avoid the sugary “candy bars.” You already know those aren’t going to be anti-inflammatory!

Conclusion

There are just so many amazingly delicious and nutritious anti-inflammatory foods you can choose. They range from colourful berries, vegetables, and spices, to healthy fats, and even cocoa.

You have so many reasons to add anti-inflammatory foods to your diet to get your daily dose of “anti-inflammation.”

Recipe (Broccoli, Pepper, Turmeric): Anti-inflammatory QuinoaServes 2

  • ¾ cup dry quinoa (pre-rinsed)

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil1 medium onion, diced1 bell pepper, chopped

  • 1 dash salt½ tbsp turmeric1 dash black pepper

  • 2 cups broccoli, chopped

    In a saucepan place 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add the quinoa and simmer until the water is absorbed (about 10-15 minutes).

 

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About Leanne Weaver

About Leanne Weaver

Holistic Nutritionist & Founder of Radiant Botanics

Leanne is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Iridologist, Reiki Level 2 practitioner and wellness speaker and writer.  She has spent 20 years in the corporate world as an engineer and project manager while pursuing her true passion—holistic wellness. What started as an interest in green smoothies and wellness turned into a dedicated, life-changing journey.

She is a First Class Honours graduate of the Toronto Institute of Holistic Nutrition and founder of Radiant Botanics,  a line of chakra-based spiritual skincare that combines natural ingredients with intentional affirmations.

She desires to help people feel radically, radiantly healthier and happier. 

Leanne resides in Mississauga, Ontario with her dog Bailey. They enjoy hiking on the weekends, kayaking, stand up paddling, and remaining present.

Creating a Mindset for Health

Creating a Mindset for Health

So much of health is all about habits and actions, but where do these all stem from? What if we don’t have to make as many changes as we think we do?

What if there was one powerful thing that makes a lot of difference?

That thing is mindset.

Mindset is sometimes called “the story we tell ourselves.” It’s our attitude toward things in our life. And we have control over our mindset.

And research is showing that it may be far more powerful than we thought.

Very interesting health mindset study

Here’s a quick story about a fascinating study.

Researchers at Stanford University looked at a bunch of people’s health and wellness lifestyle habits, as well as health markers.

What they found was that the people who thought they were a lot less active had a higher risk of death than the general public. And, they also had up to 71% higher risk of death than people who thought they were more active. Even if they actually weren’t less active!

How is this even possible that people who simply thought they were less active had higher risks, even if it wasn’t true?

There are a couple of ideas why.

One is that maybe if we feel like we’re less active, it may make us feel more stressed. And stress isn’t good for our mental or physical health.

Second, there may be a bit of a mind-body connection where the body embodies what the mind visualizes.

Researchers don’t know why, but what matters is that there is a good mindset. So, let me give you a couple of strategies to boost your mindset for health.

Health mindset strategy 1 – Aim for good enough.

Almost no one eats perfectly seven days a week. It’s inevitable that obsessing over the quality and quantity of everything we eat or drink isn’t necessarily a great mindset to have.

It can bring on binging, shame, and guilt – none of these are great ways to get healthy. We want to get healthier by making better choices and building better habits. And these are usually best done incrementally – one step at a time.

So, instead of having a black and white approach where everything is good or bad, why not try aiming for good enough to empower ourselves to make better choices, instead of perfect choices.

Health mindset strategy 2 – Stop making tradeoffs

When you try to earn a gluttonous weekend by eating clean during the week, you’re making a tradeoff. You’re telling yourself that, as long as you’re good most of the week, you can go wild on the weekend.

And that’s not awesome because the mindset is jumping from one extreme to the other. You’re controlling what you do all week, and possibly thinking about how to indulge over the weekend. Just live as though you’re trying to do well every single day. Like you care about your health and wellness. You’re doing your best, and that’s good enough.

Conclusion

Mindset for health can be a powerful tool for better physical health. There’s a proven mind-body connection that research can measure.

Thinking positively, and dropping the black/white and good/bad labels, can help you reach your health goals.

How is your mindset for health? Which of these tips resonate with you the most? How are you going to implement them in your life? Let me know in the comments below.

Recipe (Morning mindset refresher): Chia Lemon Water

Serves 1

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • ½ lemon, sliced
  • water

Instructions

Add the chia seeds & lemon to your favourite water bottle. Fill to top with water.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Shake before drinking.

References:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/mind-over-matter-how-fit-you-think-you-are-versus-actual-fitness-2017081412282

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/making-health-decisions-mindsets-numbers-and-stories-201112123946

https://www.precisionnutrition.com/weekend-overeating

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About Leanne Weaver

About Leanne Weaver

Holistic Nutritionist & Founder of Radiant Botanics

Leanne is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Iridologist, Reiki Level 2 practitioner and wellness speaker and writer.  She has spent 20 years in the corporate world as an engineer and project manager while pursuing her true passion—holistic wellness. What started as an interest in green smoothies and wellness turned into a dedicated, life-changing journey.

She is a First Class Honours graduate of the Toronto Institute of Holistic Nutrition and founder of Radiant Botanics,  a line of chakra-based spiritual skincare that combines natural ingredients with intentional affirmations.

She desires to help people feel radically, radiantly healthier and happier. 

Leanne resides in Mississauga, Ontario with her dog Bailey. They enjoy hiking on the weekends, kayaking, stand up paddling, and remaining present.

Common Weight Loss Myths Busted

Common Weight Loss Myths Busted

 

Weight loss advice is so common (and contentious) now. There are competing opinions everywhere.

I say, forget about “who’s right” and let’s focus on “what’s right.” Because what gets results is what I’m focusing on in this post.

I respect you too much to make empty promises and try to sell you on something that doesn’t work.

There are too many weight loss myths out there. I’m going totackle the top ones I come across in my practice.

Myth: Calories cause weight gain, and fewer calories are the path to weight loss

Calories are important for weight loss. If you eat and absorb a ton more than you use, then your body’s wisdom will store some for later. Calories matter.

But, they are not the “be-all and end-all” of weight loss; they’re important, but they’re the symptom, not the cause. Let’s think about the reasons people eat more calories. Let’s focus on the causes.

People eat too many calories, not because they’re hungry, but because they feel sad, lonely, or bored. Or maybe because they’re tired or stressed. Or maybe even because they’re happy and celebrating.  And all these feelings interact with our gastrointestinal, nervous and hormonal systems; all of which influence our calorie intake.

Myth: “Eat less move more” is goodadvice

Well, then we’re all in tip-top shape, right? Because people have been doling out this advice (myth) for years.

The premise of this is basedon the above myth that calories in minus calories out equals your weight. So, eat fewer calories, and burn off more calories (because human physiology is a simple math equation, right?).

Even if people can happily and sustainably follow this advice (which they can’t!); it completely negates other factors that contribute to weight problems. Things like the causes of overeating we mentioned above. Not to mention our genetics, health conditions we’re dealing with or our exposure to compounds that are “obesogenic.”

Myth: A calorie is a calorie

Can we please put this one to bed already?

Science has confirmed several caloric components of food differ from others. For example, the “thermic effect of food” (TEF) is that some nutrients require calories to be metabolized. They can slightly increase your metabolism, just by eating them.

For example, when you metabolize protein you burn more calories than when you metabolize carbohydrates. Proteins and carbohydrates both have 4 calories/gram; but, the TEF of protein = 15–30%; and the TEF for carbohydrates = 5–10%.

Here’s another example of a calorie not being a calorie. Different fats are metabolizeddifferently. Medium chain triglycerides (fats) (MCTs) have the same 9 calories/gram that other fats do; but, they’re metabolized by the liver before getting into the bloodstream and therefore aren’t utilized or stored the same way as other fats.

#acalorieisnotacalorie

Myth: Buy this supplement/tea/food/magic potion to lose weight

There is no magic pill for weight loss. No supplement, tea, food, or other potion will do the trick.

There are products that make these claims, and they’re full of garbage (or shall I say “marketing gold?”). The only thing you will lose is your money (and possibly your hope). So, please don’t believe this myth. There is a reason most people who lose weight can’t keep it off. The real magic is in adopting a sustainable holistic and healthy approach to living your life. What you need is a long-term lifestyle makeover, not a product.

Conclusion

Weight loss is hard! There are too many people out there trying to make it sound like they have the simple solution (or the latest and greatest!).

Don’t fall for the myths that say:

  • Calories cause weight gain, and fewer calories are the path to weight loss.
  • “Eat less move more” is good
  • A calorie is a calorie.
  • Buy this supplement/tea/food/magic potion to lose weight.

Now check out my magical “weight loss salad” recipe below (just kidding!)

Recipe (Myth-free salad, filling and nutritious): Kale Cucumber Salad (Serves 2)

Salad Ingredients

  • 4 cups kale, divided
  • 1 cup cooked beans of your choice (white beans, chickpeas, etc.)
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, divided
  • 1 cucumber, sliced and divided

Cucumber Dill Dressing Ingredients

  • ½ cup tahini
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp dill
  • ½ cup cucumber, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • ½ tsp maple syrup
  • 2 dashes salt
  • 2 dashes black pepper
  • ¼ tsp garlic, minced

Instructions

  • Divide salad ingredients into two bowls.
  • Add all dressing ingredients into a food processor or blender and blend until creamy. You may need to add water to thin. Add itslowly, a tbspat a time until desired thickness is reached.
  • Add dressing to salads and gently toss.
  • Serve & enjoy!

Tip: Extra dressing can be storedin the fridge for a few days

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/top-12-biggest-myths-about-weight-loss/

https://authoritynutrition.com/metabolism-boosting-foods/

https://authoritynutrition.com/5-chemicals-that-are-making-you-fat/

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About Leanne Weaver

About Leanne Weaver

Holistic Nutritionist & Founder of Radiant Botanics

Leanne is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Iridologist, Reiki Level 2 practitioner and wellness speaker and writer.  She has spent 20 years in the corporate world as an engineer and project manager while pursuing her true passion—holistic wellness. What started as an interest in green smoothies and wellness turned into a dedicated, life-changing journey.

She is a First Class Honours graduate of the Toronto Institute of Holistic Nutrition and founder of Radiant Botanics,  a line of chakra-based spiritual skincare that combines natural ingredients with intentional affirmations.

She desires to help people feel radically, radiantly healthier and happier. 

Leanne resides in Mississauga, Ontario with her dog Bailey. They enjoy hiking on the weekends, kayaking, stand up paddling, and remaining present.

Why Is My Metabolism Slow?

Why Is My Metabolism Slow?

 

You may feel tired, cold or that you’ve gained weight.  Maybe your digestion seems a bit more “sluggish”.

You may be convinced that your metabolism is slow.

Why does this happen?  Why do metabolic rates slow down?

 

What can slow my metabolism?

 

Metabolism includes all of the biochemical reactions in your body that use nutrients and oxygen to create energy.  And there are lots of factors that affect how quickly (or slowly) it works, i.e. your “metabolic rate” (which is measured in calories).

But don’t worry – we know that metabolic rate is much more complicated than the old adage “calories in calories out”!  In fact it’s so complicated I’m only going to list a few of the common things that can slow it down.

Examples of common reasons why metabolic rates can slow down:

  • low thyroid hormone
  • your history of dieting
  • your size and body composition
  • your activity level
  • lack of sleep

We’ll briefly touch on each one below and I promise to give you better advice than just to “eat less and exercise more”.

 

Low thyroid hormones

Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism. When it produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down.  The thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) tell the cells in your body when to use more energy and become more metabolically active.   Ideally it should work to keep your metabolism just right.  But there are several things that can affect it and throw it off course.  Things like autoimmune diseases and mineral deficiencies (e.g. iodine or selenium) for example. 

Tip: Talk with your doctor about having your thyroid hormones tested.

 

Your history of dieting

 

When people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down. This is because the body senses that food may be scarce and adapts by trying to continue with all the necessary life functions and do it all with less food.

While dieting can lead to a reduction in amount of fat it unfortunately can also lead to a reduction in the amount of muscle you have. As you know more muscle means faster resting metabolic rate.

Tip: Make sure you’re eating enough food to fuel your body without overdoing it.

 

Your size and body composition

 

In general, larger people have faster metabolic rates.  This is because it takes more energy to fuel a larger body than a smaller one.

However, you already know that gaining weight is rarely the best strategy for increasing your metabolism.

Muscles that actively move and do work need energy.  Even muscles at rest burn more calories than fat. This means that the amount of energy your body uses depends partly on the amount of lean muscle mass you have.

Tip: Do some weight training to help increase your muscle mass.

Which leads us to…

Your activity level

 

Aerobic exercise temporarily increases your metabolic rate. Your muscles are burning fuel to move and do “work” and you can tell because you’re also getting hotter.

Even little things can add up.  Walking a bit farther than you usually do, using a standing desk instead of sitting all day, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can all contribute to more activity in your day.

Tip:  Incorporate movement into your day.  Also, exercise regularly.

 

Lack of sleep

 

There is plenty of research that shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate.  The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

 

Tip: Try to create a routine that allows at least 7 hours of sleep every night. 

 

Recipe (Selenium-rich): Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding (Serves 4)

 

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Brazil nuts
  • 2 cups water
  • nut bag or several layers of cheesecloth (optional)
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cacao powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

 

Directions

  • Blend Brazil nuts in water in a high-speed blender until you get smooth, creamy milk. OPTIONAL:  Strain it with a nut bag or several layers of cheesecloth.
  • Add Brazil nut milk and other ingredients into a bowl and whisk until combined.  Let sit several minutes (or overnight) until desired thickness is reached.

 

Serve & Enjoy!

 

Tip:  Makes a simple delicious breakfast or dessert topped with berries.

 

 

 

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/metabolic-damage

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/thyroid-and-testing

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-energy-balance

https://authoritynutrition.com/6-mistakes-that-slow-metabolism/

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-ways-to-boost-metabolism/

http://summertomato.com/non-exercise-activity-thermogenesis-neat

 

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About Leanne Weaver

About Leanne Weaver

Holistic Nutritionist & Founder of Radiant Botanics

Leanne is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Iridologist, Reiki Level 2 practitioner and wellness speaker and writer.  She has spent 20 years in the corporate world as an engineer and project manager while pursuing her true passion—holistic wellness. What started as an interest in green smoothies and wellness turned into a dedicated, life-changing journey.

She is a First Class Honours graduate of the Toronto Institute of Holistic Nutrition and founder of Radiant Botanics,  a line of chakra-based spiritual skincare that combines natural ingredients with intentional affirmations.

She desires to help people feel radically, radiantly healthier and happier. 

Leanne resides in Mississauga, Ontario with her dog Bailey. They enjoy hiking on the weekends, kayaking, stand up paddling, and remaining present.

What Is Metabolism?

What Is Metabolism?

 

What is Metabolism?

This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days.

You know that if yours is too slow you might gain weight.  But what exactly does this all mean?

Well technically “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body. It’s how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.

Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive.  And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible.

Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:

  • Allow activities you can control (e.g. physical activity etc.).
  • Allow activities you can’t control (e.g. heart beat, wound healing, processing of nutrients & toxins, etc.).
  • Allow storage of excess energy for later.

So when you put all of these processes together into your metabolism you can imagine that these processes can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right.

Which brings us to the “metabolic rate”. 

Metabolic Rate

This is how fast your metabolism works and is measured in calories (yup, those calories!).

The calories you eat can go to one of three places:

  • Work (i.e. exercise and other activity).
  • Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions).
  • Storage (i.e. extra leftover “unburned” calories stored as fat).

As you can imagine the more calories you burn as work or creating heat the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store for later.

There are a couple of different ways to measure metabolic rate.  One is the “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) which is how much energy your body uses when you’re not being physically active.

The other is the “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE) which measures both the resting metabolic rate as well as the energy used for “work” (e.g. exercise) throughout a 24-hour period.

What affects your metabolic rate?

In a nutshell: a lot!

The first thing you may think of is your thyroid.  This gland at the front of your throat releases hormones to tell your body to “speed up” your metabolism.  Of course, the more thyroid hormone there is the faster things will work and the more calories you’ll burn.

But that’s not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate.

How big you are counts too! 

Larger people have higher metabolic rates; but your body composition is crucial! 

As you can imagine muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does.  So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be.  Even when you’re not working out.

This is exactly why weight training is often recommended as a part of a weight loss program.  Because you want muscles to be burning those calories for you. 

The thing is, when people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down which you don’t want to happen.  So you definitely want to offset that with more muscle mass.

Aerobic exercise also temporarily increases your metabolic rate.  Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they’re doing “work”.

The type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate!

Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and metabolize your food.  This is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF).

You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body metabolizes foods differently. 

Fats, for example increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by 15-30%.  By trading some of your fat or carbs for lean protein you can slightly increase your metabolic rate.

Another bonus of protein is that your muscles need it to grow.  By working them out and feeding them what they need they will help you to lose weight and keep it off.

And don’t forget the mind-body connection.  There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism and how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate.

Recipe (Lean Protein): Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • dash salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive old

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Layer ½ of the lemon slices on the bottom of a baking dish.  Sprinkle with ½ of the herbs and ½ of the sliced garlic.
  2. Place the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle salt & pepper.  Place remaining lemon, herbs and garlic on top of the chicken.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Cover with a lid or foil.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through.  If you want the chicken to be a bit more “roasty” then remove the lid/foil and broil for another few minutes (watching carefully not to burn it).
  4. Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can add a leftover sliced chicken breast to your salad for lunch the next day!

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-energy-balance

https://authoritynutrition.com/10-ways-to-boost-metabolism/

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About Leanne Weaver

About Leanne Weaver

Holistic Nutritionist & Founder of Radiant Botanics

Leanne is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Iridologist, Reiki Level 2 practitioner and wellness speaker and writer.  She has spent 20 years in the corporate world as an engineer and project manager while pursuing her true passion—holistic wellness. What started as an interest in green smoothies and wellness turned into a dedicated, life-changing journey.

She is a First Class Honours graduate of the Toronto Institute of Holistic Nutrition and founder of Radiant Botanics,  a line of chakra-based spiritual skincare that combines natural ingredients with intentional affirmations.

She desires to help people feel radically, radiantly healthier and happier. 

Leanne resides in Mississauga, Ontario with her dog Bailey. They enjoy hiking on the weekends, kayaking, stand up paddling, and remaining present.

Best Kale Chips Ever!

Best Kale Chips Ever!

 

Have you tried kale chips yet?  If not, what have you ben waiting for?  I am proud to say that my spicy kale chips have won over even the most hardcore kale skeptics based on their taste.

I dare you to serve these at your next gathering without converting a few friends into kale chip lovers :).

Since kale chips have been becoming more popular, they’re popping up in stores all over the place.  While I was doing research for this post, I took a look at some of those fancy kale chips sold at health food stores.  They have all kinds of flavours that sound just like potato chip flavours – salt and vinegar, ranch, nacho cheese, honey mustard, barbecue…  I’d never tried store bought kale chips before, and the thought of salt and vinegar kale chips sounded pretty cool (I love sea salt and malt vinegar chips ….).

I was going to experiment with some potato chip sounding flavours.  So a tried a sample of the salt and vinegar kale chips, and I was really disappointed.

They didn’t taste like salt and vinegar chips, and they didn’t taste anything like kale, or my simple and delicious homemade kale chips.
So I scrapped the idea of experimenting with fancy kale chip flavours and decided to share with you my tried and true spicy kale chip recipe!

Whether you’ve tried and enjoy store bought kale chips or not, I encourage you to try making your own for three reasons.

1. It’s so much less expensive!

Store bought kale chips can cost $7.00 for about 100g, and you can get almost twice the amount if you make your own with one bunch of fresh organic kale at a cost of only $3.

2. Better quality ingredients

I’m not trying to bash all store bought kale chips, and they certainly can be more healthy than regular potato chips, but here’s a comparison of store bought kale chips that were on promotion at Whole Foods vs. homemade kale chips.  I was really surprised that the store bought ones contained sugar and milk!  Check it out for yourself.
Store boughtkale, cashew nuts, sunflower seeds, dehydrated cane syrup, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, seasoning (vinegar powder, rice flour, sea salt, lactose (milk), malic acid, citric acid, potato syrup solids, sugar) himalayan pink salt
Homemadeorganic kale, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt/himalayan pink salt, cayenne pepper
Which ones sound better to you?

3. They taste way better!

Don’t just take my word for it.  Try making a batch yourself and let me know in the comments below what you think.

Spicy Kale Chip Ingredients and Benefits

Kale

We all know by now that kale is a health superstar, but here’s some interesting facts that you may not have known.

  • Contains more iron per calorie than beef
  • Contains more calcium per calorie than milk
  • A great source of Vitamin K which promotes bone health
  • Is anti-inflammatory with a good source of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Excellent source of Vitamin C for immune system support

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

A monounsaturated fat that’s been associated with the healthy Mediterranean diet and has loads of health promoting benefits.

  • Decreased risk of heart disease
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Promotes healthy digestion
  • Improved brain function.

Himalayan Pink Salt

You can substitute sea salt, which I normally use, but I decided to try pink himalayan salt which is is super awesome!  Not even on the same category as table salt, which is highly processed, stripped of all it’s nutrients and includes additives like aluminum (scary!).
Pink himalayan salt is found in the Himalayan mountains, protected from pollutants that are even found in our seas, and contain all the same 84 trace elements that are found in the human body.  Here’s just a few of the benefits.

  • Promotes healthy sleep patterns
  • Increases hydration
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Increases circulation
  • Detoxifies the body of heavy metals
  • Supports a healthy libido

Cayenne Pepper

Besides giving your kale chips a nice spicy kick, cayenne pepper is also a powerful medicinal herb with some amazing health benefits.

  • A well know digestive aid that can help improve metabolism and relieve intestinal gas
  • Promotes heart health by helping to normalize blood pressure levels
  • Can help ease upset stomachs, sore throats and coughs

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of organic kale
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Himalayan pink salt or sea salt – sprinkling to suit your tastes
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper – or adjust to taste

Directions

  • Tear kale from stems and tear into small pieces
  • Wash and spin dry
  • Add dry kale to a large mixing bowl
  • Add olive oil and massage through the kale with bare hands.  Take your time and really mix it in good until all the kale is covered.
  • Sprinkle the himalayan pink salt and cayenne pepper, and mix it with your hands
  • Place kale on a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer
  • Bake in the oven at 200 degrees F for about 2 hours

Important Tips

  • At first you may think you need more olive oil, but don’t add more!  Trust me as I’ve made that mistake before and ended up with soggy kale chips.  Not good!  Once you massage it in well, you’ll see that it’s enough.
  • You may see recipes that call for cooking at higher temperatures for shorter periods of time, but the lower the temperature, the more the precious nutrients are maintained.  Plus, it’s easier not to overcook and end up with burnt kale chips.  Not good either!

I know you will love these spicy kale chips.  And as always, please experiment with other spices for flavouring, and share in the comments below what you come up with and how it turned out!

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About Leanne Weaver

About Leanne Weaver

Holistic Nutritionist & Founder of Radiant Botanics

Leanne is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, Iridologist, Reiki Level 2 practitioner and wellness speaker and writer.  She has spent 20 years in the corporate world as an engineer and project manager while pursuing her true passion—holistic wellness. What started as an interest in green smoothies and wellness turned into a dedicated, life-changing journey.

She is a First Class Honours graduate of the Toronto Institute of Holistic Nutrition and founder of Radiant Botanics,  a line of chakra-based spiritual skincare that combines natural ingredients with intentional affirmations.

She desires to help people feel radically, radiantly healthier and happier. 

Leanne resides in Mississauga, Ontario with her dog Bailey. They enjoy hiking on the weekends, kayaking, stand up paddling, and remaining present.

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When these 5 days are over, you'll wonder how you ever lived another way!

 

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