Meet-Marie-Tower,-RHN

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 16 - 18 Muffins

These muffins are a HUGE hit in my house! My kids love them, I love them, and they are also high in protein and safe for school! Plus they are chocolate, so you can't go wrong with chocolate 😉

I slightly under bake ours so that they are incredibly soft and moist. 

Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of grated zucchini, squeezed of excess liquid (you can also substitute carrot for half of this)
  • 1 cup pumpkin seed butter (could also use sunflower seed butter, both are school safe)
  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder 
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put coconut oil or olive oil in cups to stop sticking.

  1. Add all ingredients except for the grated zucchini and chocolate chips to a blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy. This took a few times in my Vitamix. I stopped it and stirred it in between, but it was fairly easy to do.
  2. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips (I did this in a separate bowl, but you could probably do it in the blender itself if you want).
  3. Bake for 15 minutes (they may need another 3-4 minutes if not cooked fully) until fluffy (but when you press down, the bounce back). 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 12-15 Muffins

With September here now, it brings with it pumpkin everything! I am a big pumpkin fan, and these muffins do not disappoint! They are easy to make, and my kids keep asking for more.

Give them a try for yourself!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (or 1 cup spelt flour + 1 cup whole wheat)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup packed coconut sugar (or light brown sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (look for BPA-free canned pumpkin)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup cultured milk (such as kefir, buttermilk, or non-dairy alternative) I used plain kefir

TOPPINGS

Dark chocolate chips (just 1-3 on each will do!)

Pecans

Pumpkin seeds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Whisk together the flour through nutmeg in a medium bowl.
  3. In another, larger bowl, mix together the coconut sugar, maple syrup, oil, and eggs. Whisk well to combine. Add the pumpkin and vanilla and whisk.
  4. Add half of the flour mixture to the sugar-pumpkin batter. Whisk until combined and then add the cultured milk and the rest of the flour. Mix until just combined.
  5. Using a spoon or a small scooper, scoop the batter into the muffin pan. Add a chocolate chip, pecan, or a few pumpkin seeds to the tops of each muffin, pressing them in slightly with your fingers.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  7. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

Courses Snack

Amazing Sour Dough by Marie Tower at MarieTower.com

Have you been encouraged to stop eating carbohydrates? Do you think it will help you lose weight or worse, have you been convinced that carbohydrates, especially grains are bad for you? It is a shame that such misinformation circulates and so many people are confused about this important food group but it just shows that we need to apply some common sense before we remove foods groups form our diet.

My client, Anne (I’ve changed her name) came to me with severe hormonal chaos. She had extreme PMS, mood swings, digestive problems, among other symptoms that were affecting her day to day life. When we sat down together and looked at what she was eating, Anne told me that she had eliminated all carbs. When I asked her why she had decided to do that, she said she had heard it would help her lose weight – which she had initially. Unfortunately after losing about 10lbs her body seemed to be saying ‘nope, not losing anymore!’, and all of her other symptoms had continued to get worse as well. Once I explained that having some good quality carbs in your diet is essential for happy hormones, as well as important to make sure your liver was functioning optimally (another very important factor for balanced hormones), Anne decided to add some carbs back in – just a little – and this also included sourdough bread.

Six-weeks later Anne came back and had seen dramatic improvements in her symptoms, as well she had broken her plateau and lost another 8lbs. 🙂

 

But what if you have a digestion issue with grains, does that means for sure, you should avoid them? No. Before you remove anything, try sourdough. What is sourdough? A traditional method of fermenting grains to make bread. It has many benefits and is much more digestible.

Fermenting grains creates prebiotic substances from the starches in the flour to aid gut health so sourdough is a great food for feeding the good bacteria. This is sourdough made with white flour as that is what they do the research with. The fermentation process also makes nutrients more available, as it does with all fermented foods. However, the process of sourdough also adds B-vitamins that were not there before the fermentation occurred.

This makes sense since sourdough is a combination of good bacteria and yeast, 100 times more good bacteria than yeast as it happens, but wild yeast strains are definitely present since this is what makes the bread rise to give it an amazing, light-texture. And yeast is a great source of b-vitamins.

The acid nature, the “sour” of sourdough, aids in pre-digestion of the protein molecules in the grain especially the gliadin in gluten, as protease enzymes prefer an acid ph for optimal function. As a matter of fact, researchers are studying sourdough for consumption by celiacs.

The gluten must completely degraded in order for a celiac to tolerate it, and this would make it quite sour tasting. Some experiments involved using fully-degraded sourdough mixed with fresh gluten-free grains added after fermentation to lessen the sour taste and these breads were also suitable for celiacs.

But probably the most amazing research comes from the University of Guelph. Researchers took four samples of bread: regular white flour bread, whole wheat bread, whole wheat with barley bread and white flour sourdough bread. The participants in this study were all between the ages of 50 to 60 and were all overweight. They were fed the breads at breakfast and then again at lunch.

After both meals, blood sugar and insulin levels were measured. The sourdough provided the lowest level of blood sugar and insulin, and surprisingly, continued to keep the blood and insulin levels low for the following meal where no bread was consumed. The whole wheat, on the other hand, provided the highest level of blood sugar after a meal, even higher than the regular white flour bread.

If you want to try sourdough, look for bakers in your area who are making traditional sourdough bread. This is a delicious adventure for you take.  A quick google search of “sourdough” and the name of the city or town where you live could make it easier to find someone local.

And if you cannot find a source in your area, you can order it online and have it shipped to you.

When you do find a source, cut yourself a slice, drizzle it with some virgin olive oil or cultured butter. Enjoy!

 

References

Sourdough and cereal fermentation in a nutritional perspective, Kaisa Poutanen a,b,*, Laura Flander a, Kati Katina a, Food Microbiology 26 (2009) 693–699

Structural changes of gliadins during sourdough fermentation Gokcen Komen, Ayse Handan Baysal, Sebnem Harsa, Izmir Institute of Technology, Izmir, Turkey

http://www.uoguelph.ca/news/2008/07/sourdough_bread.html

Glycosidases and B group vitamins produced by six yeast strains from the digestive tract of Phoracantha semipunctata larvae and their role in the insect development, C. Chararas et al, Mycopathologia 1983, Volume 83, Issue 1, pp 9-15

Sourdough Bread Made from Wheat and Nontoxic Flours and Started with Selected Lactobacilli Is Tolerated in Celiac Sprue Patients, Raffaella Di Cagno1,†, et al, Appl. Environ. Microbiol. February 2004   vol. 70  no. 2  1088-1096

 

Carrot Cake Chia Pudding

Carrot Cake Chia Pudding

Yield 2 servings

Chia pudding is a great way to enjoy these wonderful seeds. Packed with protein, calcium, antioxidants, fibre & good fats these chia seeds are perfect for your hormones! The pudding has a texture almost like tapioca pudding, so give it a try!

Ingredients

  • 1 Carrot (medium, grated)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup or coconut sugar (to taste)
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes

Instructions

  1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the shredded carrot, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and maple syrup. Add the almond milk, then whisk in the chia seeds. Let sit for 5 minutes, then stir again to redistribute the chia seeds. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
  2. Divide into bowls or mason jars and garnish with shredded coconut and chopped walnuts. Enjoy!

Notes

 

  • Storage: Keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 days.
  • Extra creamy: replace half of the almond milk with full-fat coconut milk.

 

Detoxes are very popular right now. Most involve drinking a series of drinks or juices and while you may temporarily feel better, it is very important to understand that you may not have accomplished as much as you think you have.

Ann (name has been changed) came to me after doing 3 different ‘detoxes’ in a few short months. She felt awful. She had daily headaches, her stomach was bloated regularly, moods were all over the place, and she was frustrated that she was gaining weight instead of losing it like she was hoping to. Unfortunately the detoxing had not worked for Ann, and only created more problems for her hormones, her metabolism, and her stress levels. I helped her work on her digestion first, then put her on my Hormone Reboot program. 3 weeks later she felt so much better! Her headaches had stopped, tummy was happier and moods a lot more even. She had even lost a few pounds as an added bonus!

It is important to understand what the goal of detoxing is supposed to be. The idea is that by severely reducing your food intake and existing on raw juices, the energy that is not being used for digestion, can be used to remove toxins a person may have been storing in their fat cells.

The nutrients in the juices may also support the detoxification processes of the liver. Many of these juices really ARE good for you, but possibly not as the only thing you consume.

The small flaw in this scenario is that juice does not contain fiber, which is essential for toxins that have been prepared, by the liver, to actually leave the body. No fiber = toxins do not leave. They stick around creating more problems than ever.

Good gut health is also essential for successful detoxification. Before anyone undertakes a liver cleanse of any kind, they should be sure their gut is in a state to handle the toxins that will be coming its way, on their way out of the body.

If you don’t have enough good gut bacteria, the toxins that were on their way out can detach and go back into your body. They will just head back to the liver but this puts even more pressure on the liver, which is already overworked, creating more problems for your health & your hormones.

In a perfect world, your liver would remove all toxins and any excess hormones immediately. If you feed your liver correctly, it will have all the nutrients and energy to do the work daily. This is great news!

The following are some key liver foods you should try to eat frequently to keep your liver & hormones happy:

  • Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage or kale
  • Calcium d’glurcurate foods such as apples and grapefruit
  • bitter foods like dandelion or collard greens
  • sulfur-rich foods such as garlic and onions
  • High antioxidant foods like berries, carrots, tomatoes, asparagus and other fruits and vegetables
  • Jerusalem artichokes are extremely good for the liver
  • Milk thistle tea is also very beneficial

    Another easy way to help you detox is to do what is known as daily detox. This requires that you do not eat anything for 14 hours between your last meal in the evening and your first one in the morning. Again, liver foods are needed to be consumed daily in order to support the detox function during the night.

    A safe ‘detox’ option is my 10 Day Hormone Reboot.  It is designed with a combination of great liver foods as well as foods that support and boost your hormones.  This is a great way to do a ‘detox’. You won’t starve. You won’t drink only juices. You will eat delicious foods that are helping your body reboot after the long Winter we just had so you can get ready for the summer months!

    Detox reactions may occur but they should not be too severe unless you are really toxic, in which case I have all the tools you need in this program to help with those detox symptoms.

    Gve it a try – by supporting your liver with this Reboot, you will feel better and it gives you foods that are good for all hormones so it will be a great start to re-balancing your system!

Do you ever think that you just don’t have enough time to take care of everyone & everything you need to – Let alone time to do anything for yourself?

I understand that 100%.

Being a Mom of 6 + 2, a wife, a business-owner, taking care of our home, making sure we have groceries & healthy food, going to parent/teacher nights – well you understand, because you live it too. There are always SO many things that need our time & attention.

BUT

Something I’ve learned (the hard way!) is that if you don’t take care of yourself, it won’t be long before you are completely exhausted – mentally, physically, emotionally drained. Your body will crash (usually bringing many frustrating symptoms along with it, just for extra fun).

Don’t let this happen to you. Make the choice now to start taking care of YOU. Even if it is small, simple ways – just start!

Why?

Because you deserve to. Because your family deserves to have a happy, energetic & fully engaged Mom, and because if you aren’t ok, there’s just now way that you will be able to take care of anyone or anything else. 

Now, here are 40 simple self-care ideas that you can start doing today. Even 1. You’ve got this.

  1. Start a Gratitude Journal. Studies have shown that by writing down & focusing on gratitude before bed, stress levels are lower and people have a greater sense of calm at night.
  2. Take Deep breaths. Breathe deep into your belly. Most of us don’t get those deep, health & hormone-boosting breaths during the day.
  3. Enjoy the silence. Sit somewhere alone for a few minutes – bonus if you are outside breathing fresh air at the same time.
  4. Try essential oils. Peppermint can help beat food cravings & citrus is great for boosting moods.
  5. Laugh! Read a comic book or find a funny cartoon online.
  6. Take a quick nap. 10 – 20 minute cat-naps can really help boost your energy.
  7. Listen to your favourite music. Dance too if you want to!
  8. Play! Goof around a bit for a few minutes. I love playing with my daughter and her doll house. It brings me back to when I was her age. 
  9. Take a hot bath at the end of the day.
  10. Try a guided meditation. There are lots on YouTube.
  11. Go to bed earlier. Sleep is essential for happy hormones.
  12. Read for pleasure. Not for work.
  13. Walk in the grass in your bare feet.
  14. Stretch your body or do yoga.
  15. Say No! Say no to extra obligations, chores or anything that feels like it is ‘too much’ right now.
  16. Watch a good movie. 
  17. Pick some flowers or buy a beautiful bouquet just for yourself.
  18. Call a good friend. 
  19. Make your favourite cup of tea & relax. Drink it while it’s hot – not cold like most of us Mamas do. Wrap yourself in a cozy blanket too.
  20. Drink a green smoothie.
  21. Detox your social media. Take out any negative people or groups with negative messages.
  22. Look up inspiring quotes online instead of scrolling through Facebook.
  23. Ask for help. Big or small, just ask.
  24. Try 1 healthy new recipe.
  25. Re-read your favourite childhood picture & chapter books.
  26. Go cloud-watching. Lay on your back & watch the clouds go by.
  27. Hydrate. Did you drink enough water today?
  28. Go outside in the sunshine. Soak in some vitamin D for a few minutes.
  29. Journaling. Write down anything you are feeling.
  30. Write down 5 things that make your life beautiful.
  31. Mart art. Scribble with crayons, pain a rock – anything! Just create something.
  32. Look at photos of people or places you love.
  33. Scream, pound pillows, tear up paper – release some stress.
  34. Get an adult colouring book & colour.
  35. Put your hands in some dirt. Garden, plant flowers, whatever you want.
  36. Get up early & watch the sunrise. 
  37. Sit outside & watch the sunset.
  38. Do something spontaneous. Walk or drive a new way to work. Just do something different.
  39. Sleep in on a Sunday.
  40. Read a travel magazine. Let your mind take you on a mini-vacation.

 

Self care isn’t a one-time deal. Remember to keep practicing and make this a habit!

selfcare

 

If you have ever watched the Bill Murray/Richard Dreyfuss comedy ‘What About Bob’ – you may remember right at the beginning Dreyfus (a therapist in the movie) gives Murray some great advice. He tells him to take “Baby Steps”. “Do one little thing, then do another little thing…. Keep going until you get where you want to go.”

Yes! I completely believe in baby steps too, and see BIG results from my clients who put this into action. 

Big change is a lot of work. Big change takes a lot of planning, sacrifice, & time. That’s why people often avoid making big changes or why they put it off until ‘Monday’ or ‘Next Week’ (Although that usually never comes). Big change also usually means big overwhelm, and big stress for most of us.

How many times have you thought how nice it would be to finally make changes to feel better, lose weight, eat healthier, work out etc. then you jump in with 2 feet, only to give up a few days later? Or maybe the thought of it alone completely overwhelms you? I know I’ve been there many times!

Baby steps is a completely different approach. You decide where you eventually want to be, then you break it down into mine steps, or mini changes – and start by taking just ONE STEP.

  • Drink 8 glasses of water each day
  • Reduce or give up coffee
  • Do yoga 3x/week
  • Go to bed earlier
  • Eat more veggies

Whatever you choose, focus your efforts on this ONE STEP. Once you are done, move on to the next step.

Don’t spend a lot of time focusing on your end goal, or how long it will take to get there. Just focus on where you are now and what steps you are taking to get you where you want to go.

Baby steps can change your life! It changed mine, and continues to do so every week. You deserve to feel good again, so let’s take that first little baby step together ok?

I am going to make it fun for you too!

In my Facebook group, we are going to be working on a new Healthy Hormone Habit each week. One habit each week. That’s it. I will be giving you extra tips, recipes, tools – whatever might help as you take this step.

AND – For anyone who shares what they are doing on Instagram using the hashtag #happyhormonehabit  – you will be entered into a giveaway I will do at the end of each month for a FREE 45-minute HORMONE CONSULTATION with me!

Come and join us in our Facebook Group if you aren’t already there and find out all of the details!

IMG_0564

Slow Cooker Burrito Soup

Slow Cooker Burrito Soup

Prep

Cook

Inactive

Total

Yield 6 servings

When it’s cold outside, warm, comforting soup always hits the spot. This soup never disappoints and is a hit with the kids, as well as me because it is delicious AND easy! Throw everything in the slow cooker in the morning, and it’s ready for supper. Perfect!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups black beans (cooked, drained & rinsed
  • 3 cups diced tomatoes
  • 1 sweet onion (diced)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/2 green bell pepper (diced)
  • 2 jalapeno peppers (de-seeded and diced)
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup brown rice (uncooked)
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups kale leaves (chopped)
  • 1 avocado (peeled and diced)
  • 1/4 cup organic salsa

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients except kale, avocado and salsa to slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for at least 4 hours. Cook up to 8 hours, depending on how thick you like your soup.
  2. About 10 minutes before serving, remove the lid and set kale leaves on top. Cover with lid and let sit for 10 minutes.
  3. After 10 minutes, stir to mix in kale evenly throughout. Ladle into bowls and top with a spoonful of organic salsa and avocado. Enjoy!

Courses Soup

Strawberry Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 6 Servings

I love meals that last more than 1 day – as a busy Mom, who doesn’t, right?

I made this delicious Strawberry Rhubarb Baked Oatmeal and we had it for breakfast most of the week, and everyone liked it!

Strawberry Rhubarb is probably one of my most favorite fruit combinations, plus it reminds me of my Mom who loved everything rhubarb, so I’d consider this comfort food even.  🙂

All I did each morning was scoop, heat, & throw some plain yogurt on top, and that’s it!

Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Strawberries (sliced)
  • 1 cup Rhubarb (diced)
  • 3 tbsps Maple Syrup (divided)
  • 3/4 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 1/2 cups Oats
  • 2 tsps Cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup Pecans (chopped)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 375. Place strawberries, rhubarb and half your maple syrupin a mixing bowl. Toss well and spread across the bottom of a lightly greasedsquare baking pan (I use 8 x 8).

1.In another mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, egg and remaining maplesyrup. Stir in the oats and cinnamon. Stir until well mixed.

2.Pour the oat mixture evenly across the strawberry and rhubarb in the pan.Sprinkle chopped pecans across the top and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.Enjoy while it’s hot!

Courses Breakfast

Our Favorite Coconut Granola!

Our Favourite Coconut Granola

Prep

Cook

Total

Yield 12 Servings

This is our favorite granola around here.  We make it almost every week, and every time we do our house smells delicious!  If you are looking for a yummy breakfast or quick snack, this one is a great choice. Full of good fats, protein & fiber – this is a win/win for your hormones.(If you can remember to have just 1 portion at a time of course)!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (I left these out because none of us are big dried fruit fans here)
  • 1/4 cup flax meal
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 T chia seeds2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350.Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.Mix wet in another.Add wet to dry and mix until combined. I did this by hand.Spread mixture onto a lined baking sheet.Bake for 15 minutes, then shake the granola on the tray and bake for another 10-15 minutes.Store in an airtight container for 7-10 days. You can refrigerate it for longer.

Notes

Remember that 1 serving of granola = 1/2 cup 🙂

Courses Breakfast

 

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (Flourless)

PrintChocolate Zucchini MuffinsPrep 15 minsCook 15 minsTotal 30 minsYield 16 - 18 Muffins These muffins are a HUGE hit in my house! My kids love them, I love them, and they are also high in protein and safe for school! Plus they are chocolate, so you can't go wrong with chocolate ;) I slightly under [...]

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

PrintPumpkin Chocolate Chip MuffinsPrep 15 minsCook 12 minsTotal 27 minsYield 12-15 Muffins With September here now, it brings with it pumpkin everything! I am a big pumpkin fan, and these muffins do not disappoint! They are easy to make, and my kids keep asking for more. Give them a try for yourself! Ingredients2 cups whole [...]

Amazing Sourdough

Have you been encouraged to stop eating carbohydrates? Do you think it will help you lose weight or worse, have you been convinced that carbohydrates, especially grains are bad for you? It is a shame that such misinformation circulates and so many people are confused about this important food group but it just shows that [...]

Carrot Cake Chia Pudding

PrintCarrot Cake Chia PuddingAuthor Marie TowerYield 2 servings Chia pudding is a great way to enjoy these wonderful seeds. Packed with protein, calcium, antioxidants, fibre & good fats these chia seeds are perfect for your hormones! The pudding has a texture almost like tapioca pudding, so give it a try! Ingredients1 Carrot (medium, grated)1/2 tsp [...]

Should You Do A Detox?

Detoxes are very popular right now. Most involve drinking a series of drinks or juices and while you may temporarily feel better, it is very important to understand that you may not have accomplished as much as you think you have. Ann (name has been changed) came to me after doing 3 different 'detoxes' in [...]