Happy spring friends!

I am thrilled as always to be sharing this latest newsletter edition with all of you, including my new subscribers.  I basked in the warm sunshine while writing this – it was a simple pleasure indeed.  And while there is no doubt many of us routinely must deal with complicated situations and difficult decisions, I reflected on how some things really are simple and straightforward.  Like that fruits and vegetables are good for us!  So let’s eat them!  Keep reading below for conclusions drawn from a hot-off-the-press publication on this topic, as well as fun ways to further educate ourselves about all the benefits of eating more plants. I hope you are as inspired and motivated as I am.

Let’s Eat our Fruits and Veggies!

Authors of an article published in the February 2017 edition of the International Journal of Epidemiology sought to establish the amounts and types of fruits and vegetables that are most strongly associated with a reduced risk of disease and death.  In this meta-analysis of 95 studies, reductions in risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality were observed up to an intake of 800 grams/day of fruit and vegetables combined, whereas for total cancer no further reductions in risk were observed above 600 grams/day.  Positive associations were observed between intake of apples/pears, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables/salads and cruciferous vegetables and cardiovascular disease and mortality, and between green-yellow vegetables and cruciferous vegetables and total cancer risk.  Examples of cruciferous vegetables are broccoli, cauliflower and kale. The authors concluded that an estimated 5.6 and 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide in 2013 may be attributable to a fruit and vegetable intake below 500 and 800 grams/day, respectively, if the observed associations are causal.

Tips & Tricks for increasing our Fruit and Veggie Intake

So how do we get our daily fruit and veggie intake closer to that 600-800 gram range?  Or knock it out of the park?  Here are the approximate number of grams in a few items to give you an idea:
1 orange = 130           1 apple = 140
1 banana = 120          1 cup carrots = 130
1 cup raw kale = 70    1 cup broccoli = 180And…here are my top 10 tips for maximizing our intake:
1.  Eat the ones you like – there are plenty to choose from
2.  Plan ahead so you’ll always have your favourites on hand
3.  Include fresh, frozen and dried options for variety and versatility
4.  Prep fresh produce for the week ahead
5.  Find ways to maximize your enjoyment (e.g. hummus makes a great veggie dip)
6.  Have a daily smoothie (pineapple, banana and spinach with some water or non-dairy milk is delish)
7.  Incorporate fruit into your breakfast routine
8.  Use veggies to supersize dishes like pasta, rice, wraps, burgers, salads and pizzas
9.  Find a veggie soup or stir fry recipe you love and include it in your weekly line-up (it’s a great way to clean out the fridge)
10.  Incorporate produce into your baking (like zucchini bread and banana muffins)


Technically, it would be best if I try a restaurant before recommending it to everyone, but I just can’t wait to spread the word about Awai!  Number ten on Toronto Life’s 2017 top 20 new restaurants, it serves plant-based food with flavours rooted in produce found in Ontario’s fields and forests. It looks amazing and, admittedly, I am envious of my peeps living nearby in the Bloor West Village!

Food Choices

There’s a great new documentary called Food Choices on Netflix and iTunes about plant-based eating. It explores the impact our food choices have on our health, the health of our planet and on the lives of other living species. We like how it addresses the concerns many of us have about excluding animal products from our diet.

Mexican Chopped Salad with Maple-Lime Dressing

Here’s one easy and delicious way to load up on veggies!  And the black beans make it filling.  We’ve enjoyed it many times over for lunch and dinner.  We love the avocado and cilantro, but if you are not a fan of one or the other, simply omit.
Serves: 4 large salads

Ingredients for salad

  • 1-1/2 cups (or more) of chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and well drained
  • 1 cup tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup corn (I use frozen when not in season)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped

Ingredients for the maple-lime dressing

  • 1/4 fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup oil (I prefer sunflower)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp chopped jalapeno pepper (seeded for less heat)


Toss all salad ingredient in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix dressing ingredients. Pour dressing over mixture and toss again. Season with salt and pepper to taste.