Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cookin’ Greens “Athlete’s Mix”

by Ilona Napravnik, CNP

Further to my last blog entry on this product line, I have tried one more combo package and would like to share my enthusiasm.  The Athlete’s Mix came out in September and is another stellar combination from the company.   It is a combination of collards, spinach, kale, sweet red peppers and white beans. 

For those who love greens but are not inclined to eat them in isolation, this is a great alternative.  When I made it, I spiced it up with some onions, garlic, balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  It makes a delicious side dish or stir-fry. 

The nutritionist in me appreciates all the nutrient goodness and the food lover in me appreciates the yum factor. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cooking Greens

By Ilona Napravnik

Recently, I hit upon a new and super convenient health food.  And as everyone on this blog is interested in all things nutritious I thought I’d let all the Hotties know.

The company make is Cooking Greens and is found in the frozen section of the grocery or health food store.  I bought it at Metro but it’s available in many stores, the website provides specific locations.

I tried the Spinach, Kale and Designer’s Mix (spinach, collard, rapini, yellow beans and onion).  The vegetables are frozen within six hours of being picked (retaining their nutritional content) and as the package states, it is 12 minutes from freezer to the table.  The Designer’s Mix is excellent in a pan with garlic, oil and lemon juice.  It is a very quick, easy side dish for those who are health conscious.

And the spinach and kale are excellent as additions to other dishes or mixed with other vegetables.  The products are frozen and not appropriate for salads but great in cooking, they add a splash of green to my rice dishes or pasta.  And this is a great addition for those who live by their mother’s words and eat their veggies.  They will keep for weeks in the freezer and alleviate the need for buying lots of vegetables and having them all perish in your fridge in a couple of days. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Love my Kidneys!

by: Ilona Napravnik C.N.P
The main role of the kidney organs is to filter the blood and to send waste to the urinary system for removal from the body.  In our modern society where we are bombarded with toxins in our environment and food supply, the kidneys’ are overloaded in an effort to maintain a balanced internal environment.  A dialysis machine provides the artificial filtration of our blood to maintain it free of urine, as this condition is deadly.  The modern rise in the need for dialysis reflects the burden on our kidneys.

The number of dialysis patients is twelve times higher in diabetic population than in the population in general.  (; October 26,2004).  This statistics indicates that the increase in renal failure is primarily due to a diet high in processed foods and sugars.  The same toxins found in modern foods cause both diabetes and kidney failure.   The first thing we should be aware of in renal health is to minimize the dependence on modern diets, ie. fast food & convenience foods, and to return to consuming more whole foods in their natural forms. 

There are many naturally occurring foods that will support the health of your kidneys but a few simple rules should be kept in mind.

The best and easiest cure is prevention.  To maintain your kidneys, avoid foods that are heavy in protein and drink plenty of water.  Protein is hard on the kidneys as the kidneys have to dilate blood vessels to allow the protein through and protein contains very little water.  Protein, made up of amino acids, is the building block for our muscles and is necessary for growth but dependence on fatty meats is far too common.  To avoid taxing the kidneys, the sources of protein chosen should be lean meats or vegetable, protein needs are approximately 1g/kg of weight but individual needs will vary depending on level of activity and age, for a definite answer please consult a nutritionist for a thorough evaluation.  And drinking pure, filtered water is a must.  A quick calculation on water needs is to consume half of your weight (in pounds) in ounces everyday, ie. a 120 pound individual should consume 60 ounces of water per day.  Individual quantity needs will vary based on environmental temperatures, activity of the person or whether pregnancy or breastfeeding is an issue.  An excellent online calculator can be found on 

In addition to minimizing protein and maximizing water, is the accumulation of vitamins and minerals in the diet.  The best sources of both are brightly coloured fruits and vegetable.  Allopathic medicine believes in the avoidance of sodium in the diet but complete avoidance is an error, as sodium is necessary in many bodily functions and total avoidance will create a host of serious health issues.  Our daily need of this mineral is very small and the proliferation of sodium in our food supply is quite large and steps should be taken to minimize the harmful effects of sodium on the kidneys, but not to entirely remove it.

Specific foods which are helpful in kidney ailments are foods which will incorporate water and nutrients, particularly antioxidants to remove any existing toxins in the kidneys.  Good food choices will be watermelons, cranberries, blueberries and grapes.  Nutritional powerhouses for renal health are red bell peppers.  These foods also have the added benefit of being high in fiber.  Fiber and water are needed to flush the toxins and free radicals from our bodies and maintaining the health of our kidneys, as well as all of our organs. 

Cleansing the kidneys can be accomplished by lemons, garlic and onions.  These foods contain anti-microbial and anti-septic properties and have the ability to flush the kidneys.  Of particular benefit will be warm lemon water every morning.  This will not only flush out the kidneys but is also effective in bile production for improved digestion and it will clean the colon.  Spices can also be used in this same function, ginger and tumeric are both beneficial for cleansing the kidneys and tumeric is also an anti-inflammatory agent and is useful in reducing inflammation if it exists.

All of the above will maintain renal health and should become an integral part of your day to maintain a dialysis free future. 

**this article is not intended to replace medical advice and for renal ailments, please seek the advice of a medical practitioner**

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Kidney Cleanse Tea

by: Ilona Napravnik C.N.P 

Get good quality dried herbs of the following:

50mg Ginger Root – stimulates digestion, for nausea, diarrhea, indigestion, flatulence & dysentery
50mg Marshmallow Root – sooths irritations, inflammation of skin, throat, eyes, lungs & urinary tract
50mg Hydrangea – mild diuretic, prevents & expels kidney stones (dissolves over 6-8 week period)
50mg Gravel Root – induce sweating / breaks fever, value remedy for kidneys
25mg Uva Ursi – kidney & bladder infections, has diuretic & antiseptic properties

* Mix dry herbs together, store in tight lid glass container, keep in dry dark place

The Kidney Cleanse Tea
* 1/3 cup of mix herbs, add to large enamel stock pot, let soak 2-8 hours
* bring to boil, steep for 20 minutes
* add 1 fresh bunch of parsley (washed & chopped) (parsley is an excellent diuretic)
* cook for 10 more minutes
* turn off & let cool down
* store in containers & freeze

**Hulda Clark’s Kidney Cleanse Program**

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Importance of Probiotics

by Maria E. Roldan, RNCP, ROHP, NNCP

When I mention the word probiotics to clients and friends they usually say: “oh yes, I take yogurt every day”. Really? Are you sure that’s enough or, do you know why you need probiotics in the first place?

Probiotic supplements contain “friendly” bacteria that most of us want present in our digestive tract in large amounts. Why? Let’s see: There are a total of 100,000 billion bacteria living together in our digestive system (that is ten times the number of in our body). As you can imagine, yes, we want to make sure that there is a balance between “good” and “bad” bacteria!

Here are some of the ways in which probiotic bacteria help us[i]:

  • Prevent overgrowth of disease-causing microbes such as candida, E. coli, Helicobacter pylori, and salmonella
  • Improve nutrient absorption
  • Manufacture B-complex vitamins
  • Stimulate and balance the immune system
  • Help prevent vaginal and urinary tract infections
  • Prevent and treat side effects of antibiotic therapy
  • Help acidify the intestinal tract. Low pH provides a hostile environment for pathogens and yeast
  • Help digestion of lactose and dairy products
  • They are the primary bacteria in infants, which helps them grow and develop their immune system
  • Help regulate bowel movements
  • Help reduce the toxic load of the liver
  • Inhibit growth of bacteria that produce nitrates in the bowel. Nitrates are bowel toxic and can cause cancer

I hope by now you are convinced that probiotics should be part of your daily diet and supplementation plan.

The main sources of dietary probiotics are cultured or fermented foods such as yogurt and kefir (make sure they contain “live” or “active bacteria”), sauerkraut, and miso.

If the above foods are in your daily diet that’s great. However, I do recommend that you still consider taking a good probiotic supplement containing at least strains of bifidobacterium bifidum and lactobacillus acidophilus. There are some great brands out there in the market, and the doses go anywhere from 1 billion to 130 billion. It all depends in what your health needs are at the time. Your health practitioner can help you make that decision. In my case, I have a very sensitive digestive system and my maintenance dose of probiotics is 16 billion a day.

Do you still have questions about probiotics? Feel free to email me and I’ll do my best to help.

[i] Lipski, Elizabeth. “Digestive Wellness”. Mc Graw Hill. 2004. Third Edition. P41-42.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spring Quinoa and Navy Bean Salad

By, Hayley Shwaizer, CNP
Spring clean your body with this lovely light and easy to prepare complete meal. Whether you’re taking a break from meat or even if you are a vegan/vegetarian, this is a great dish to freshen up your palate. It is high in fibre, packed with nutritious raw veggies and a great source of complete vegetable-based protein.


1.5 cups          dry quinoa, rinsed
2 cup               navy beans, drained from tin (or soak overnight 1 cup dried beans, rince and bring to a boil, then simmer until tender, approx. 45 mins.)
1                      English cucumber, diced
2                      celery stalks, chopped
1                      red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2                      tomatoes, diced
2                      cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
1 cup               fresh parsley or 2 tbsp dried parsley
1/3 cup            fresh flax oil (from an opaque bottle protected from oxidation) 
                        or extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup              tamari (gluten free) or soy sauce
Juice of 1/2     freshly squeezed lemon
2 tbsp              balsamic vinegar
1 tsp                hot mustard

In a medium saucepan bring 4 cups of water to a boil, add the rinsed quinoa and reduce heat to low simmering for about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, set aside to let it cool. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients and add the quinoa once cooled. Keep uneaten portions covered in a dark container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Serves 6.
Let me know how you like it. Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Bon Appétit,

Friday, April 15, 2011

Digestive Kichadi

By: Ilona Napravnik

This is a great dish for digestion and can be used solely as a cleanse for a couple of weeks in cases of chronic digestive ailments.

½ cup               brown basmati rice
¼ cup               whole mung beans
1 ½ tsp             cumin seeds
2 tbsp               ghee (clarified butter)
3                       bay leaves
1 ½ tsp             coriander seeds
½ tsp                tumeric
1 tsp                 dry oregano
1 tsp                 Celtic sea salt or Himalayan rock salt
2” piece            Kombu
1-2 tsp              fresh ginger root, grated
3 cups              water
3 cups              fresh vegetables, such as carrots, zucchini, celery, kale, 
                         collard greens, chard, cabbage, or summer squash

  1. Pick through the beans, soak overnight or for 24 hours with one changewater for better digestibility.  You may even consider sprouting them for one day.
  1. Rinse the soaked beans together with the rice in a colander until rinse water is clear.
  2. Grind the cumin and coriander in a coffee grinder or with mortar and pestle.
  3. Warm ghee in a medium saucepan and add the freshly ground cumin and coriander seeds, bay leaf and oregano.  Sauté lightly until aromatic but not burnt.  Stir in turmeric, ginger, rice and mung.  Add water and kombu.
  4. Simmer covered over low heat until beans and rice are soft, about 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, wash and dice vegetables.
  6. Add salt to the dish together with the vegetables before all the water has been absorbed by the beans and rice.  Do not stir and cook undisturbed until completely tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
  7. Stir thoroughly and serve warm.

Holistic Food Preparation Notes; Institute of Holistic Nutrition; 2010; p, 65.