I’m still loving on bliss balls as a healthy, nutrient dense snack. Packed with healthy fats from nuts and seeds as well as some extra protein, they give you plenty of nutrition with just a touch of natural sweetness!
This matcha recipe is a spin-off of my Lemon Coconut Bliss Balls.
Why I love matcha:
full of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties
may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol
may help prevent cancer and protect against heart disease
helps support the liver and its detoxification processes
boosts brain function
gentler hit of caffeine than coffee without the energy crash afterwards
If you are particularly sensitive to caffeine, just be aware that the matcha in these bliss balls is a source of caffeine, even though the amount is relatively small considering the serving size. However, if this is you, then think about only consuming these as a morning snack, and/or being sure to decrease your consumption of other sources of caffeine accordingly.
Matcha Bliss Balls
80g (2.8oz) cashews
60g (2oz) almonds
50g (1.8pz) pitted medjool dates (around 3 dates)
50g (1.8oz) shredded coconut (plus extra for rolling)
20g (0.8oz) pumpkin seeds
1 scoop (roughly ¼ cup / 60mL) protein powder
2 tbsp (30mL) coconut oil, melted
2 tsp (10mL) matcha powder
1 tsp (5mL) vanilla extract
In a food processor or blender combine all ingredients until a well blended and smooth dough is formed.
Pour extra shredded coconut into a shallow bowl or plate. Roll dough into balls, roughly golf ball size (or to your preference). Roll the balls in the shredded coconut to coat.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set. Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze for up to 2-3 months.
Makes 8-12 balls, depending on size
Despite its long cook time, this red cabbage recipe is pretty quick and simple to prep and absolutely delicious as a side with almost any meal!
As a bonus, this recipe does freeze well, and since it makes quite a lot I would definitely recommend dividing off some portions to freeze and enjoy later on!
Why I love red cabbage:
concentrated source of polyphenols which are antioxidants and anti-inflammatory
excellent source of vitamins B6, C & K
very good source of vitamins B1 & B9 (folate) and minerals manganese, copper, & potassium
good source of vitamins B2, B3, B5 and minerals choline, phosphorus, calcium, selenium, magnesium, & iron
good source of fibre
Spiced Red Cabbage with Apples
1 head red cabbage, chopped
3 apples, cored, peeled, & diced
3 tbsp (45mL) white wine vinegar
2 tbsp (30mL) maple syrup or honey
1 tbsp (15mL) butter or ghee (or coconut oil if dairy-free)
½ tsp (2mL) cloves
½ tsp (2mL) cinnamon
¼ tsp (1mL) nutmeg
¼ tsp (1mL) sea salt
¼ tsp (1mL) pepper
Pre-heat oven to 150C / 300F.
In a large mixing bowl, toss the chopped red cabbage with salt & pepper. In a small bowl, combine the cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
In a large, oven safe casserole dish, spread half of the red cabbage mixture. Layer on top half of the diced apples and sprinkle half the spice mixture and 1 tbsp of maple syrup.
Repeat with a second layer with the remaining cabbage, followed by the apples, spices and remaining 1 tbsp of maple syrup. Pour over white wine vinegar. Dot top of dish with butter.
Bake covered in oven for 2 hours, stirring mixture every 30-40 minutes.
Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Also freezes well. Re-heat on a low temperature until warm.
Overnight oats are one of my new favourite go-to breakfasts. They are fast and simple to prepare the night before, then you can either just grab and go in the morning, or take a few minutes to add some delicious toppings!
Below is my basic recipe which I add to depending on my mood. You could add in some cacao for a chocolate version or play with the toppings for your own personal creation!
Here I’ve gone for a “PB&J” style bowl with my homemade chia seed jam, almond butter (and almonds), along with a banana, some coconut flakes, and a dusting of bee pollen.
½ cup (125mL) non-dairy milk (I like almond or coconut)
⅓ cup (80mL) oats
¼ cup (60mL) yogurt (I use a full-fat Greek yogurt but would also be great with coconut yogurt!)
1 tbsp (15mL) chia seeds
½ tsp (5mL) vanilla extract
pinch of salt
In a medium sized bowl, or directly in your sealable storage container, mix together all ingredients.
Refrigerate overnight in a tightly sealed container (could be kept up to 2-3 days in the fridge).
Mix with your desired toppings and enjoy!
Collagen – you might have heard about it over the last year as it blows up on social media, but what exactly is it, and should you be supplementing with it?
What is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body and is the second most abundant substance overall after water! So it is pretty darn important. Collagen is found in our connective tissue, which means in our bones, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, skin, hair, and nails. It’s the protein that gives the structure to all of these tissues. In addition to providing structure to the body, collagen also helps maintaining healthy blood vessels and healing wounds. Most people seek out collagen for either bone and joint health or for beauty purposes (skin/hair/nails) or both!
Like all proteins, collagen is made up of various amino acids, which in this case are namely glycine, lysine, and proline. These amino acids need to be converted into a special form by enzymes to create collagen, a process that requires vitamin C. Therefore sufficient vitamin C is extremely important for the formation and maintenance of healthy collagen. Other minerals such as zinc, copper, manganese, and sulphur are also cofactors for collagen production and maintenance.
Factors affecting our collagen levels
- general aging – our collagen breaks down over time
- high sugar intake levels
- excessive sun exposure
- smoking / second-hand smoke
- autoimmune disorders
- repeated physical stress on a part of the body
Collagen and Beauty
Collagen is often used in the beauty world to claim anti-aging properties. However, the collagen particles are generally too large for the skin to absorb topically, so the positive benefits tend to be more attributable to the moisturizing properties of the product. That being said, collagen is important in maintaining skin strength and elasticity, it just needs to come from external sources.
Sources of collagen
The best source of collagen itself is through consuming something like bone broth which is made from cooking animal bones, including the cartilage, for a long period of time so that it breaks down and turn the broth gelatinous. The yolks from chicken eggs also contain collagen.
Other ways to boost your collagen is through consuming foods rich in the cofactors needed by your body to produce healthy collagen. For example:
- citrus or berries for vitamin C
- salmon or pumpkin seeds for zinc
- leafy greens for chlorophyll which is shown to increase the precursor to collagen
There are also some collagen supplements on the market, generally as a powder than can be mixed in with cold or warm liquids. Take care if you are using collagen as a protein powder in smoothies or shakes as it is not a complete protein; it could still be beneficial to add in some high quality whey powder along with it.
Do I need to supplement with collagen?
Are you a generally healthy person following a healthy diet? Then no, you don’t need to supplement with collagen. And the best way to ensure healthy collagen levels in your body is to consume collagen containing foods, or foods with the needed cofactors, rather than relying on a supplement.
That being said, it could be helpful to supplement with collagen during recovery from injuries or surgery. In addition, I have found personally that using a collagen powder supplement helped my skin and nails improve, especially after periods of prolonged stress. But the most documented benefit of collagen supplementation is an improvement in bone and joint health through a reduction in pain and inflammation.
If you’re wanting to try out collagen powders, you can literally add them into any hot or cold liquid and it is virtually tasteless. It’s as easy as stirring a spoonful into your cup of tea or coffee!
But if you want something a bit more inspirational, try out my strawberry collagen chia seed pudding below that gives you not only the collagen but also some of it’s cofactors!
Strawberry Collagen Chia Seed Pudding
- ½ cup (125mL) chia seeds
- ½ cup (125mL) fresh or frozen strawberries
- 1 ½ cup (375mL) coconut milk
- ¼ cup (60mL) collagen powder
- 2 tbsp (30mL) shredded coconut
In a blender, combine all ingredients except the chia seeds and blend until smooth. Pour into a mason jar or other air-tight container of at least 2 cups / 500mL. Add in the chia seeds and stir well or shake to combine. Let sit for a couple minutes before stirring/shaking again. Put in fridge and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes but ideally overnight.
Enjoy the pudding as is, or top with your desired toppings! I went for some more strawberries, greek yogurt, and some pumpkin seeds (for that zinc!).