Category Archives: Health | Wellness

Have You Tried Dragon Fruit?

Dragon Fruit
Dragon Fruit is a beautiful type of cactus also referred to as Pitaya. Its origin is unknown, but believed to be from Mexico and cultivated around the world.  It is more commonly found in Thailand and Vietnam.  The color can be a vibrant red or yellow with layers of leaves.

A dragon fruit is ready to eat when you press on the outside flesh and it gives slightly.  Any softer than this and it will be too ripe.  After washing the fruit, simply cut in half.  The flesh is easy to scoop out and contains black edible seeds, similar to kiwi (the skin is very bitter and inedible).

Dragon Fruit

The taste is very mild and refreshing, slightly crunchy but not as tart as kiwis.  While dragon fruits are rich in antioxidants and vitamins, they are also high in fructose and should be enjoyed in moderation.

The shell of the fruit is so pretty you can even use it to serve ice cream, yogurt or sherbet or sorbets. The fruit itself is best eaten cold.

Dragon Fruit


Cherry Tomatoes Fresh From the Garden

Cherry Tomatoes Fresh From the Garden
How lucky am I to get baskets full of cherry tomatoes from my mother-in-law’s garden every year!

Cherry tomatoes come in so many varieties and colors, and can range from tiny and round, to oblong, and as large as golf balls!

Not only are they high in antioxidants, they help lower cholesterol. And, they’re absolutely delicious – little bursts of fresh tomato flavor.

Check back soon for some scrumptious cherry tomato recipes!

Coconut Palm Sugar – Product Review

Coconut Palm Sugar
I heard about coconut palm sugar a while back but it wasn’t until I saw the product on Dr. Oz that I took an interest.

Being a dessert lover, of course I’m concerned about the amount of sugar my family consumes, so I was really excited to try coconut palm sugar. This sugar is also known as coconut sugar and is produced from the sap of flower buds from a coconut palm. It’s been around for thousands of years but we seem to be hearing about it more often, perhaps as we take a vested interest in our health and the foods we consume.

Coconut palm sugar is more commonly available as a granule, much like turbinado sugar, only darker in color.   Here are some benefits of coconut palm sugar:

  • Is considered safe for diabetics (please see disclaimer below)
  • Can help stabilize glucose levels
  • Rates low on the glycemic index
  • Very high in mineral content

The taste is similar to brown sugar with caramel overtones.  It can be used in place of regular sugar at a 1:1 ratio, and in my testing, it did very well except when caramelizing crème brulee, where white sugar would already be the best choice.

Coconut Palm Sugar

There are a lot of brands on the market so the choices can be overwhelming. What I like about this one from Xylitol Canada is that it is certified organic and available at a great price, even better when purchased in bulk.

It was not a difficult transition for us and we barely tasted any difference in our morning tea and coffee.  We used the exact same amount that we normally did with regular sugar or turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw).  The only problem we encountered was when we ran out and went back to regular white sugar.  It tasted soooo sweet!!!  We immediately purchased more coconut palm sugar; this time in bulk!

Coconut Palm Sugar from Xylitol Canada

You can also purchase products from their location (call ahead of time):

Xylitol Canada
41 Lesmill Road
Toronto, ON, M3B 2T3
Telephone: (1) 416-288-1019
Toll Free: (1) 866-995-9952

Keep in mind that coconut palm sugar is still a sugar, and should be used sparingly.

This review is based solely on my usage of the above product. It is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should always consult with your physician or other health care professional before starting any supplementation or use of products that may conflict with your medications, or if you have any health concerns.

Product is courtesy of Xylitol Canada. This is not a paid advertisement.

Xylitol Gum and Mints – Aspartame Free – Product Review

Xylitol Peppermint Gum


Just like I’m addicted to desserts, the same goes for gum. I have packets of them everywhere, and buy them in bulk!

I started to worry about the amount of aspartame my family consumes and my naturopathic doctor, who I rely on for all our health matters suggested a gum made with xylitol.

Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar substitute found in many fruits and vegetables. It’s formulated into a white crystalline granule that is low-calorie, low-carb, and safe for diabetics. It also has fewer calories than other sweeteners.

After reading up on xylitol, we tried several brands of gum. Our favorite one is from Xylitol Canada; it’s made with 100% xylitol from North American grown hardwood trees, is non-GMO and contains no artificial sweeteners.

While I feel much better about cutting aspartame out of our diet, I’d like to point out that all gums made with xylitol will not be as super sweet or juicy as regular gum. It took a while for us to get used to this, especially H, but the health benefits far outweigh the consumption of aspartame.

The gums are available in cinnamon, fruit punch, spearmint and peppermint. Our favorite flavour is peppermint!


Xylitol Mints These cute mints come in environmentally friendly and reusable metal tins.

They are made from the same quality xylitol and one little mint will last a long time. They are available in a lot of unique flavors such as cocoa mint, fruit punch, lemon lime, licorice, peppermint and wintermint!

Xylitol Mints

For more information on these products, visit Xylitol Canada.  Here is a store listing.

This review is based solely on my usage of the above products. It is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should always consult with your physician or other health care professional before starting any supplementation or use of products that may conflict with your medications, or if you have any health concerns.

Products are courtesy of Xylitol Canada. This is not a paid advertisement.

Baked Oatmeal with Maple, Brown Sugar and Toasted Nuts

Baked Oatmeal with Maple, Brown Sugar and Toasted Nuts

I came across a new way to make oatmeal, and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to the stove-top method. It’s so easy and I really like the texture and taste, which is much like baked rice or bread pudding, only healthier.

While it takes about 50 minutes in total, including prep, you can still enjoy this delicious breakfast on weekdays.  It heats up very well in the microwave, and you can go about doing other things, as you don’t have to watch it!

The first time I made this, I found it quite sweet – 2 tbsp of brown sugar and maple syrup was excessive, and milk already contains sugar – 12 grams in 1 cup! The second batch, I used 1 tbsp each and it wasn’t enough. The 3rd time’s the charm … 1 ½ tbsp of both was just right. You can experiment to see what you like, in case you have a sweet tooth!

For added flavor, I’ve tried almonds, walnuts and pecans, as well as raisins and dried cranberries. Switch it up whichever way you like – this recipe is quite foolproof!

If you add milk to serve alongside the baked oatmeal, heat it in the microwave first. You don’t want to add cold milk to this hot and creamy goodness (H’s own kitchen note).

Baked Oatmeal with Maple, Brown Sugar and Toasted Nuts

Baked Oatmeal with Maple, Brown Sugar and Toasted Nuts

Serves 4-6
Adapted from


  • 1 ½ cups large-flaked oats
  • ¼ – ½ cup toasted nuts (your choice)
  • 1 ½ tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tbsp pure maple syrup
  • Ground cinnamon (I used ¼ tsp Saigon cinnamon or ½ tsp Ceylon cinnamon)
  • Pinch salt
  • 3 cups milk (your choice)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Grease an 8” square glass baking dish
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, mix oats, nuts, brown sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt. Add milk and stir to combine
  4. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes, until oats have absorbed the milk
  5. Serve with fresh berries, toasted nuts and hot milk

Crofter’s Organic Premium Spreads – Product Review

Crofter’s Organic Premium Spreads

Crofter’s Organic Premium Spreads

I’m so excited to share our absolute favorite spreads with you! Crofter’s Organic Spreads are not your average jellies, jams or preserves. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires a product called “jelly” to contain at least 65% water-soluble solids (sugar), and must be made with concentrates or fruit juices. “Preserves” and “jams” must contain at least 55% sugar and 45% fruit. Crofter’s Fruit Spreads have only 44% sugar, so they are named spreads!

For the past eight years, we’ve been enjoying Crofter’s Organic Spreads and refused to buy any other brand. It took us a while to adjust our taste buds; after all, we were used to consuming sugary jams and jellies that didn’t have any true fruit flavor. Even the less sweet or “all fruit” jams can’t compare to Crofter’s!

Crofter’s Spreads are Non-GMO Project Certified, and certified organic.  We’re extremely concerned with pesticides! Their products are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free, and the pectin is made from apples (not chemically modified). Crofter’s packaging is glass with BPA-free metal caps! Amazing!!!

The “Premium Spreads” are made with fair-trade cane sugar and have 30% less sugar than regular jams. The taste is truly delicious! We’re so hooked on the products that we’re very disappointed when we dine out and see other “jams” served. Once you try Crofter’s Organic Spreads, you’ll see what I mean, and you will “love” the pure, clean, fresh fruit flavor with a lot less sugar!

We crave them so much that we often give them as hostess gifts or part of gift bags for the holidays!

The Premium Spreads come in apricot, blackberry, blood orange, concord grape, four fruit (strawberries, raspberries, red currants and morello cherries), mango, morello cherry, pomegranate, raspberry, strawberry, wild blueberry and biodynamic blueberry. That’s a lot of flavors!!! My favorites are blackberry, raspberry, strawberry and wild blueberry. H loves strawberry!

Are you craving Crofter’s Organic Spreads???  You can read more about Crofter’s Organic products here.

Products are courtesy of Crofter’s Organic. This is not a paid advertisement.

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