Life by Mich turns ONE!

MY FIRST CONTEST GIVEAWAY!

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One year ago, I started this real food blog to chronicle my health and wellness journey. Since then, I decided to go back to school to become a Nutritional Therapy Consultant (NTC). NTCs do NOT diagnose or treat disease, rather we make nutritional recommendations for balancing the body and promoting optimal wellness. Inspired by my personal journey to healing, I discovered a passion for real food and the desire to help others live their healthiest life.

To celebrate, I am giving away ONE 30-Day Nutritional Makeover and Reset.

*OPEN TO GTA RESIDENTS ONLY*

Contest closes Monday April 20, 2015 at 11:59PM EST. 

What is included?

1. Assessment and evaluation of your current diet and lifestyle, your health concerns and your health goals.
2. In-person kitchen purge and grocery shopping trip
3. Personal recommendations, daily support and follow-up
HOW TO ENTER:

1. Follow me on Instagram and Twitter: @lifebymich

2. “Like” my Facebook page: Life by Mich (Facebook.com/LifebyMich)

3. Send a quick e-mail to lifebymich@gmail.com with:

– Your Name

– Location

– Why you would like a Nutritional Makeover and Reset

lifebymichturnsone

GOOD LUCK! 🙂 

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Pork and Broccoli Stir Fry

Quick meals are my fave, especially during the work week. I put this meal together on a whim. I’ll need to do a huge update soon, but in the mean time, more recipes!

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Pork and Broccoli Stirfry

Yields: 4 servings | Prep time: 10 minutes | Cook time 15-20 minutes

Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1 lb of boneless pork loin chops (about 3 chops), thinly sliced
  • 2 crowns of broccoli, chopped (could use more if you like)
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup of coconut aminos (could substitute with chicken/beef/vegetable broth, and add more sesame oil/fish sauce for flavor)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • red chilli flakes, for heat (optional)
  • sesame seeds, for topping
Instructions
  1. In a wok, melt coconut oil over medium-high heat
  2. Saute garlic and ginger for 30 seconds, or until fragrant
  3. Add onions and sauté for another 30 seconds
  4. Add pork loin slices and cook, until no longer pink (5-7 minutes)
  5. Add broccoli, sesame oil, fish sauce, coconut aminos, salt and pepper, and red chilli flakes to the wok and mix to combine
  6. Cook for 10 minutes
  7. Top with sesame seeds or more chili flakes
  8. Enjoy

Note: You can use whatever protein you like!

Mushroom Chicken Burgers

Yesterday, felt like -40 degrees celsius in Toronto. Ridiculous! Sigh… anyway, dreaming of warmer weather has me making summer-type foods. Here is a simple recipe for chicken burger patties. Enjoy! 🙂

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Mushroom Chicken Burgers

Yields: 6 patties | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Total Cook Time 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of cremini mushrooms, diced
  • 2 tbsp grass fed butter, divided
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 tsp garlic salt or garlic powder
  • 2 tsp parsley flakes
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. In a cast iron pan or skillet melt 1 tbsp butter on medium heat and add cremini mushrooms. Cook mushrooms, until liquid is gone (10-12 minutes), then set aside
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine cooked mushrooms with ground chicken and season with garlic salt, parsley flakes and salt and pepper
  3. Form ground chicken mixture into patties (I used a 3 inch biscuit cutter)
  4. On medium heat, melt the remaining butter in a cast iron pan and cook the patties well (5-7 minutes each side) – I flipped them a few times to avoid any burning
  5. Serve them up with whatever you like and enjoy!

Shameless Plug

On March 3rd, in honour of International Women’s Day, I will be sharing my real food story alongside an incredible panel of women. Last call for tickets is tomorrow, I believe – see flyer and details below! Hope to see some of you there!

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Event Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1767357453490133/

WHAT: 
HERStory: An inspiring panel & conversation about trials, triumph & transformation. Presented by How She Hustles women’s network

WHEN: 
Tuesday, March 3, 5:00 – 9:00 pm

WHERE: 
YWCA Elm Centre, 87 Elm St, Toronto ON

WHO:
Opening Remarks by Paulette Senior, CEO, YWCA Canada
Emily Mills, Founder & SHEeo, How She Hustles
Panel moderator: Nneka Elliott, Reporter/Anchor, CP24
Michelle Lochan, Business Advisor/Owner, Marketstart
Michelle Engson, Registered Nurse & Nutritional Therapy Enthusiast
Karen Jewels, Artist & CEO, Upright Music Republic
Sasha Dymond, Casting Director, Dymond Concept Entertainment

TICKETS:
$30 Advance online purchase – http://herstory.brownpapertickets.com

DESCRIPTION:
In honour of International Women’s Day, How She Hustles presents an inspiring panel and candid conversation with women who will share their stories of trials, triumph and transformation. Hear the personal and professional journeys of women who have transformed their health, families and small businesses – while motivating other women to better their lives too. Hear real talk from real women on everything from turning side hustles into a successful start-ups, how to turn obstacles into opportunities, and how to find balance between our personal lives and professional aspirations. Come get practical tips and the motivation you need to find success on your own terms.

Don’t miss this unique event, important discussion and the chance to network with some of Toronto’s most diverse and dynamic women. Seating is limited so get your tickets today. You can also join the conversation online tag @[null:#howshehustles] to share YOUR inspiring story of transformation or triumph.

Note: This event is by women and exclusively for women.

Garlic Bay Scallops and Bacon Zoodles

My weeknights are pretty packed with school and extra curricular activities like hourglass and bikram yoga, so I’m all about quick and simple meals made in one pot! Coming home from work with no food prepared usually goes a little something like this:

1. Look in the fridge

2. Ask myself, “What can I make with the ingredients I already have?”

3. Make it.

Most of my best meals come from being spontaneous. I have to remind myself to write down or remember exactly what I use and how I make it, so that I can share it with you all! 🙂

This meal is so flavorful and will definitely be one of my go-to meals! I remember coming home at 4:55pm this night and my meal was made by 5:15pm. Try it for yourself!

Also, I have officially completed 2 weeks of the 21-day sugar detox! 🙂

Garlic Bay Scallops and Bacon Zoodles

Garlic Bay Scallops and Bacon Zoodles

Yields: 4 servings | Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 pieces of bacon, cooked to your liking and chopped in to bits
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 1 lb bay scallops
  • 3 medium zucchini, spiralized
  • 1 tsp parsley, chopped (optional)
  • 1 lemon (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Spiralize zucchini and set aside
  2. In a skillet or cast iron pan, fry bacon until crispy and set aside
  3. In the same pan (bacon fat included), saute garlic for 30 seconds
  4. Add cremini mushrooms and scallops and saute for 4-5 minutes
  5. Add spiralled zucchini and combine well
  6. Simmer for 10-12 minutes
  7. Remove from heat and top with chopped bacon and parsley
  8. Squeeze some lemon on it and EAT it up!

Baked Grapefruit with Cinnamon Coconut Whip

No Sugar Update: During the holidays (or should I say all of December), I indulged in some non-paleo goods. The result? My face broke out. My forehead, chin, cheeks! It wasn’t nice at all. After my yoga class today, another practitioner complimented my skin and asked what my skin care routine is. My answer: Bikram Yoga, Water and Paleo. I am just 11 days into my 100 day real food challenge and 7 days into the 21 day sugar detox and my skin has cleared up again and it feels great. This is my post-bikram face: Un-caked. Un-edited. Raw. No moisturizers, just lip balm. One of many reasons why I follow a Paleo lifestyle. Real food heals!

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The no-sugar has been challenging but I have noticed some small, yet positive changes. Short term pain, long term gain! My taste buds are definitely changing and I had a couple of headaches early on in the week, but everything feels stable now. I have been trying to get creative with my food on this detox. Made these little lovely baked grapefruit with cinnamon coconut whip. Delightful.

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Baked Grapefruit with Cinnamon Coconut Whip

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 12 minutes | Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 grapefruit
  • Optional: toppings (crushed nuts, unsweetened shredded coconut, roasted cacao nibs)
  • Cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cut grapefruit in half and place on parchment paper lined baking sheet
  3. Sprinkle grapefruit with cinnamon
  4. Top with toppings (optional)
  5. Bake for 12 minutes
  6. Top or smother with coconut whipped cream

Cinnamon Coconut Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Instructions:

  1. Place coconut milk in fridge and leave over night
  2. Place a steel mixing bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes
  3. Remove coconut milk from fridge, and scoop the coconut cream only (save liquid for smoothies) and place in the frozen bowl
  4. Add cinnamon and whip together!

ENJOY! 🙂

Bacon and Zucchini Egg Muffins

Strapped for time? These Egg Muffins are a quick and easy option to make sure you break the fast each day. I’m taking on the 21 day sugar detox starting January 5th, so I am easing myself into the challenge.  You can fill them up with whatever you like. Enjoy!

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Bacon and Zucchini Egg Muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 15 minutes | Yields: 12 egg muffins

Ingredients:

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 tsp parsley flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Filling:

  • 4 pieces of bacon
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • handful of spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 a medium onion, diced

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Prepare your muffin tray by greasing it with coconut oil (unless you are using silicone baking cups, then you don’t need to grease)
  3. Pan fry your bacon until crispy and set aside
  4. In the same pan, add onions and saute for 30 seconds
  5. Add zucchini and sauté for 3-5 minutes, then take the pan off the heat
  6. Dice bacon and chop spinach and combine with zucchini and onion, set aside
  7. In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, almond milk, parsley flakes, salt and pepper
  8. Spoon filling (1 generous tablespoon full) into muffin trays
  9. Fill with egg mixture
  10. Bake for 12 minutes
  11. Breakfast for the week!

Food as Medicine

It’s the eve before Christmas, and I’m sure we are all busy preparing for the big day. With so much going on during this time of the year – travel, school, preparing for Christmas, work, fitness and just living – the added stress of the season can wreak havoc on your adrenals and immune system.  We may all feel a little run down. ‘Tis the season for… lingering germs! This is a just friendly reminder from the Nurse in me that hand washing IS effective.

With all that said and done, I started feeling crummy early last week and came down with a minor cold. The life span of a common cold is 7-10 days and I recovered in 4 days. For the first time in years, I recovered completely without taking any medication.

Coupled with the information I have learned in school and some common practices, I decided to tackle my cold by supporting and treating my immune system with natural remedies that is based on nutrition. Instead of attacking the bug, why not provide your immune system with proper nutrients? For a strong immune system, I think these “remedies” should be practiced daily and not just when you fall ill.

Here is a list of remedies that worked for me last week:

  1. Rest – Making sleep a priority is vital. When you are sick, your body is telling you something – slow down. Always listen to your body.
  2. Hydrate – Drink enough water to avoid dehydration. Water moistens oxygen for easier breathing, regulates body temperature, removes wastes, flushes toxins and empowers the body’s natural healing process. Drink up!
  3. Probiotics – 60-80% of your immune system is found in your gut. Adding some probiotics can help balance, nurture and heal your gut. Some examples of probiotics: kombucha, fermented food (sauerkraut, kimchi), water kefir. I drank sauerkraut juice!
  4. Zinc – The most important mineral for immune system function – found in animal products like red meat, liver and eggs. I ate scrambled eggs cooked in grass fed butter during my short illness.
  5. Vitamin A – Works well with zinc and is essential for your immune system to function – found in animal products like eggs, seafood and organ meats (liver) and if that doesn’t work, you can take fish oil.
  6. Bone Broth – good minerals and gelatin which helps it with fighting germs and gut healing (recipe below)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Thanks for a memorable year! 🙂

Michelle

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Bone Broth

(not my recipe – I cannot remember where this is from!)

Ingredients:

  • 4 quarts of water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 large onions, unpeeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, scrubbed and coarsely chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, lightly smashed
  • 2-4 lbs of meat or poultry bones

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a large slow cooker set on high
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce the setting to low for 12-24 hours – the longer it cooks, the better it tastes!
  3. Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer or coffee filter into a large bowl, and discard the waste

CocoFlax Banana Cookies

It’s August already!? Where has the time gone… I apologize for the lack of posts lately, but I have been focused on frivolously documenting my cycles. If you can recall, I talked about ditching the pill a few posts back. It has been two months since coming off the pill and I have been on one heck of an emotional roller coaster (a complete understatement)!

So far, my cycles have returned to a “normal” 28- to 29-day cycle, which has completely surprised me considering I was on the pill for over a decade. I wholeheartedly attribute this to eating clean. 100%

Although my cycles have returned to a somewhat normal state and my diet has been pretty clean, I have still experienced and continue to experience many, many mood swings (my boyfriend can attest to this) and physical changes to my body. My hormones are trying to balance itself out and until my hormones are in a happy equilibrium, I will keep reminding myself to “trust the process.”

I’m learning more and more about my body and how it should function naturally, which is amazing in itself. There are times that I am completely frustrated with this process, but I know that coming off the pill has been one of the best decisions I could make for my body.

I have been incorporating foods and supplements (like flax, chia seeds, chlorella, chasteberry, evening primrose oil, castor oil packs, etc.) into my daily routine to help with my road to hormonal recovery — thanks to the guidance and support of my trainer, Liz.

Here is a quick recipe for a yummy treat which includes flax. Paleo-friendly. Vegan-friendly. Even 21 day sugar detox friendly, if you use green-tipped bananas! Give these a try and let me know how they go! 🙂

Coco-Flax Banana Cookies

Soft and Chewy CocoFlax Banana Cookies

Yields: 12 cookies

Ingredients
– 2 bananas (use green-tipped if doing a 21 day sugar detox)
– 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened shredded coconut
– 2 tbsp ground flax (optional)

You can also mix in nuts, chocolate chips, etc.

Instructions
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Using a hand blender/blender/food processor blend banana and shredded coconut
3. If using mix-ins, add them now, but use a spatula and gently mix
4. Using a tablespoon, roll cookie mixture into a ball, then flatten into a disc
5. Bake for 20 minutes on a parchment lined baking tray
6. Enjoy! 🙂

If anyone is curious to know what is in my green smoothie today, I blended:
– 1/2 cup of frozen strawberries
– 1/2 an avocado
– generous handful of spinach
– 3/4 cup of coconut milk
– 1 tsp chlorella
– 1 tbsp of ground flax

Shrimp Scampi Zoodles

It is nearing the end of the week and my fridge is pretty much empty at this point. I used up left over ingredients to make this meal. Another one pot wonder and 20 minute meal that uses 6 ingredients + spices. My best meals are usually the ones that use left-over ingredients because it allows me to be creative!

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Shrimp Scampi Zoodles (One Pot Wonder)

Yields: 2-3 servings | Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

– 2 tbsp grass fed butter
– 4 cloves of garlic, minced
– 1 cup (or more) of cremini mushrooms, sliced
– 1 lb shrimp
– juice of 1 lime
– 2 medium zucchini, spiralized/julienned
– salt & pepper to taste
– optional: red pepper flakes (if you like heat)

Instructions
1. Heat cast iron skillet/pot over medium-high heat
2. Add butter to skillet and allow to melt
3. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds (or until it begins to become fragrant, do not over-saute, burnt garlic is a no no!)
4. Add cremini mushrooms and cook for another 30 seconds
5. Add shrimp and lime juice, and flavour with salt/pepper and red pepper flakes
6. Toss zucchini noodles in the shrimp mixture
7. Mix well and simmer for 15 minutes
8. Enjoy! 🙂

I posted a similar recipe here: Spaghetti Squash Scampi

Convenience Food

When life gets busy, I become dependent on convenience foods. Convenience foods are meals that are quick and require little preparation.

Here are two recipes that I have discovered this week that I absolutely love. They are effortless, quick and delicious: Chocolate Banana Pudding and a recipe share for Avocado Sweet Potato Toast. Enjoy!

 

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Chocolate Banana Pudding

Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients:
1 can of coconut milk
1 large banana
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
Toppings (optional): fruit, nuts, cacao nibs, etc.

Instructions:
1. Place can of coconut milk in the refrigerator and let sit overnight
2. Once coconut milk is chilled,  open can and drain liquid into another container (save liquid to use for a smoothie)
3. Scoop coconut cream into a medium sized bowl
4. Add banana, vanilla extract and cocoa powder
5. Use a hand mixer and blend until smooth
6. Top with toppings of choice
7. Best served when chilled,  but you can eat it right away!

 

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Avocado Sweet Potato Toast
(recipe from @thewhetappetite on Instagram)

Yield: 4 pieces of toast

Ingredients:
2 sweet potatoes
– 1 ripe avocado
– 1/2 lime
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– Sea salt
– Black pepper
– Toppings of choice

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
2. Thinly slice sweet potatoes lengthwise and brush each side with olive oil
3. Place sweet potato slices on a nonstick pan and roast on middle rack for 35-40 minutes, flipping halfway through
4. Remove sweet potato slices from oven and allow to cool 5-10 minutes

5. Halve avocado, remove pit, mash the avocado with a fork
6. Add a dash of salt and pepper and a squeeze of lime to taste
7. Spread the avocado mash on the sweet potato with a fork
4. Add toppings of choice

In my photo, I use: smoked salmon, salsa and a soft boiled egg.

#lifebymich

🙂