Beet Strawberry Muffins

Have you ever combined beets and strawberries in the same recipe? This might surprise you, but they are meant to be together – a match made in joyous heaven!   Beet Strawberry Muffins Why? The strawberries soften the strong “earthiness” of the beets and lend a lovely natural sweetness to this recipe. Surprisingly, the strong taste of the beets does not overshadow the strawberries. This recipe made me giddy with excitement to share with you because the muffins are SO GOOD. Beet Strawberry Muffins As you can see in the photos, the batter was so vibrant and rich thanks to all those phytonutrients (more on that in a bit). These muffins were a food stylists dream to shoot because the gorgeous colour looked great with any set of dishes. Walker and I had so much fun shooting them, as evidenced by the ridiculous amount of shots we got (we could only post a few here)!! Beet Strawberry Muffins As for the taste, I knew they were be going incredible when I dipped my finger in the batter to taste test it and I was like “wowza.”  When I pulled them out of the oven, my test-tasting-buds were correct. They were AMAZING – moist, flavourful and the beet/strawberry combo was perfection.  Beet Strawberry Muffins You’ll be happy to know these muffins are gluten-free and digestion-friendly because I used Genuine Health’s Fermented Greek Yogurt Proteins+. You can learn more about this protein by checking out this cool infographic. As for the benefit of fermented foods, you’ll already know them all if you’ve read my previous posts and watched this video, but here’s a little reminder. Beet Strawberry Muffins

  • Fermented foods help feed the good bacteria in your gut. These little guys help produce certain vitamins and keep bad bacteria in check.
  • Fermented foods are easier to digest and help prevent bloating.
  • When fermented foods boost the levels of good bacteria in your gut, they also boost your immune system.

(And yes, those are chocolate chips in the photo above. I made half the batch with chocolate chips and the other half without. I know I mentioned beets and strawberries are a wonderful flavour combo, but add chocolate and it’s next level good.) Check out the highlights on beets and strawberries below after the recipe card!

Beet Strawberry Muffins
2016-05-30 19:45:58

  1. 1/2 cup coconut flour
  2. ¼ cup Genuine Health fermented greek proteins+ (vanilla flavour)*
  3. 2 tsp baking powder
  4. 2/3 cup roasted beet puree**
  5. 1/2 cup strawberries, finely chopped
  6. 1/3 cup maple syrup
  7. 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  8. 5 eggs, whisked
  9. 3/4 cup almond or coconut milk milk
  10. Optional: 1/4 cup Mini Chocolate Chips
  1. Combine the dry ingredients together in a large bowl: flour, protein and baking powder. In a separate bowl, combine all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl: beet puree, strawberries, maple syrup, coconut oil, eggs, almond milk.
  2. Combine wet and dry ingredients into a large bowl. Fold in chocolate chips if using.
  3. Place batter into muffin tin cups.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until a fork inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean.
  5. Makes 15 muffins. Or 12 if you make them larger.
  1. *If you don’t have this brand of protein powder, you can substitute another brand of protein powder. Just keep in mind this protein is sweetened naturally with monk fruit and stevia so you’ll want to be sure the batter is sweet enough if you make a substitution. Alternatively, you can substitute 1/4 cup brown rice flour. I haven’t tried the recipe with brown rice flour, but it should work.
  2. **To make the pureed beets, cut 2 medium organic beets into chunks and roast for 45 minutes at 350F in a dish with a lid or until fork tender. Once cooled, puree in a food processor until smooth (see photo below).
Joyous Health

Nutritional Highlights of Beets

Beet Strawberry Muffins

  • Beets contain anti-inflammatory phytonutrient betalains that support phase 2 liver detoxification.
  • They are high in detoxifying fibre.
  • Beets are a great source of folate, which is important for cell growth and metabolism.

You can use the whole beet if it’s organic, but if you’re using conventionally grown beets, make sure you peel them first to get rid of extra pesticide residues.

Nutritional Highlights of Strawberries

  • At 91% water, strawberries have the highest water content of all the berries, and are therefore the most hydrating.
  • Strawberries have the most antioxidant vitamin C of all “berries” (even thought strawberries aren’t technically berries, they’re drupes).
  • Strawberries are also a great source of folate.

Remember that strawberries are right at the top of the EWG’s 2016 Dirty Dozen list, so you’ll want to make extra sure to buy organic if at all possible! You can enjoy these as part of a healthy breakfast with this Sunshine Juice or as a mid-afternoon powersnack. 

I hope you love them as much as Walker and I do. 

Have a joyous rest of your week!


Joy McCarthy

Joy McCarthy is the vibrant Holistic Nutritionist behind Joyous Health. Author of JOYOUS HEALTH: Eat & Live Well without Dieting, professional speaker, nutrition expert on Global’s Morning Show, Faculty Member at Institute of Holistic Nutrition and co-creator of Eat Well Feel Well. Read more…

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The Conundrum of Healthy Hair Colour

I have done a lot of colouring my hair over the years. During high school and university, it was my beauty treatment of choice when I was feeling bored with my look (which, as often happens in your teens and early 20s, was about every three minutes).

Over the course of about a decade, my naturally dark brown hair ran the gamut from fire-engine red (I watched Run Lola Run at least once a week), to a shade of purple Prince would’ve been proud of to Morticia Addams blue-black (that one was a mistake that resulted in a $300 trip to the salon for a colour correction). Drugstore box colour was my weapon of choice, but I wasn’t afraid to experiment, and lemon juice, henna and Kool-Aid all ended up in my hair at some point.


All of this was before I developed an interest in natural beauty, or much interest in my health (teenagers are indestructible, don’t you know?), so I didn’t really think much about the ingredients. All I knew about ammonia and formaldehyde was that it was the stuff the grade 12 biology lab smelled like due to storing all those dissection specimens.

Hair dye formulas, both salon and drugstore varieties, have gotten a lot better since Jean Harlow’s trademark platinum blonde may have contributed to her early death, but modern blonde bombshell Lady Gaga has still Instagrammed that bleaching her hair is so painful she takes anti-inflammatories for it. If just getting it done is painful, who knows what the long-term effects might be?


Even if you don’t bleach your hair before colouring it, many salon and drug store hair dyes contain less-than-healthy chemicals like Quaternium-15 (which can release carcinogenic formaldehyde), potentially endocrine-disrupting alkylphenol ethoxylates and skin irritating phenylenediamine. These aren’t necessarily things you want near sensitive and thin scalp skin. Many hair colour brands will add a few plant extracts and add “natural” or “organic” to the name. Keep in mind that, unlike food, “organic” is not a regulated term. Anyone can put the term on a box of hair dye without the need to prove the safety of its contents.

There are, however, more natural options options out there if you’re looking to make a change or get rid of grey. (Although, personally, I’d be on board with letting things go grey naturally because you’d be so on trend right now and save so much money!)

Home Options

If you’re a DIY dyer, you’ve got an option that goes all the way back to antiquity. Henna has been used to colour hair since ancient Egyptian times, and is still widely available today. Straight henna gives a bright red hue, but henna can also be mixed with other ingredients – such as chamomile, lemon and indigo – to provide a range of shades from blonde to dark brown.

Personal anecdote: henna pastes, especially if you make your own, can be a bit unpredictable, so newbies may want to start with a commercial henna formula. Henna pastes can also be very messy. My husband has told me that if I want to try using henna again, I’m going to have to stay in the bathtub the entire time until I’m ready to rinse. For months after my henna experiment, we were finding chunks of dried henna paste in little nooks and crannies in the bathroom.


If you really feel like getting experimental, you can look to your kitchen cabinet. Drugstore box colours are often named after food (I myself can remember dying my hair Espresso, Chocolate Cherry and French Toast), so why not go straight to the source?

Like henna, these at-home options work best as tints to enrich a natural colour, so if you’re looking to change your colour entirely, you’re best off checking out salon options. You’ll also want to keep in mind that results can be even more unpredictable than henna when experimenting with food-based dyes, so you might want to start slow.

  • Brunettes: To make brown shades richer and darker, you can try coffee or black tea. Just add one cup of strongly brewed coffee or heavily steeped (3-5 bags) tea to two cups of leave-in conditioner. For an intense dark brown, you can try crushing walnut shells, boiling them for half an hour. Allow the mixture to cool, then strain the shell remnants out before applying to hair and leaving the mixture on for at least an hour.
  • Redheads: If you’re not feeling in the mood for henna, you can try brightening up with beet juice (for strawberry blondes, deeper reds and auburns, depending on your natural colour) or carrot juice for a more orangey red. Just add a cup of juice to your hair and let set for at least an hour.
  • Blondes: Try brightening up naturally blonde hair with chamomile tea using the same instructions as for brunettes with black tea. You can also try using lemon juice to get sun-kissed highlights. Brush the lemon juice in and let it sit for several hours. If you spend some time in the sun, the results will be even more noticeable.

Salon Options

If you want to make a dramatic change to your hair colour, or cover a lot of grey, it’s tough to do with food-based dyes, so a trip to the salon is probably in order. Check with stylists and salons in your area and find out what kinds of hair colouring products they offer. While there will be chemicals involved in order to get the dramatic, lasting results we expect from salon colour, Brands like LaBiosthetique, Hnectar, and Radico Color Me Organic are offering options that are free (or almost free) of the most dangerous chemicals. These types of colours tend to come in the more natural blondes, reds and browns, so the latest unicorn hair trend won’t necessarily be on the menu.

Another way to make salon colour healthier is to ditch all-over colour in favour of balayage-style highlights, since this style of hair colour concentrates the colour on the ends and less likely to come into contact with your scalp.


Full disclosure: while writing this article, I’m rocking a full head of purple ombre highlights that are of a colour definitely not seen in nature … unless you’re a tulip. (See the colour of the subheadings in this article for reference.) The key is to be informed and know your options as a consumer. But sometimes, you’ve just got to do you! ;)

Share your haircolour stories – the good, the bad, and the retrospectively embarrassing – with me in the comments below!

Kate McDonald Walker

Kate is our resident self-professed research nerd. Kate is a Toronto-based student of holistic nutrition, yoga teacher, and health and wellness writer. She is a passionate advocate of integrative approaches to wellness and believes in making the journey to lasting health and wellness as straightforward, sustainable and enjoyable an experience as possible.

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Guest Post: The Underrated, Free Self-Care Practice that Changed My Life

I used to crave presence and mindfulness but my monkey mind prevented me from ever feeling present. I always seemed to have a million loud thoughts, ideas, and insecurities clouding my mind.

That all changed one day when I found myself in a bookstore, buying a journal, without a clue about “why.” I started writing out all the gunk clouding my mind and preventing me from being present in my life. When I got it out of my head and onto to the page I felt lighter.

I was so jazzed by this new practice that I wanted everyone I knew to try it. People were intrigued but had major resistance to it. Their excuses ranged from “I don’t have time for that” to “I’m not a writer, therefore I can’t.” But when I heard their resistance, I realized I had felt the same ways about writing before I started journaling; I felt like I couldn’t, I didn’t believe it was for me, I hated it.

Journaling is different. It’s not like writing an essay for class; this type of writing is innate to us. It’s simply writing as you would speak. If you can write a text, send an email or have a conversation, then you can journal.

Journaling is simply a way to have a conversation with yourself by taking all the different voices in your mind and organizing them on paper. For instance, there’s the secretary of finance, the inner child, the inner parent, and many more. Journaling allows you to take charge as the CEO, meeting with all aspects of yourself, and deciding which one(s) you want to listen to.


Journaling allowed me to get to know myself and cultivate self-awareness through vulnerability by letting out any thoughts or feelings that felt too intimate to share with another person. I was able to sort through them in my journal so they weren’t stuck floating around in up in my head.

If you’re convinced that journaling could be cool to try, here are some tips for getting started:

1. Just Start

Like with anything else you learn best by doing and the more you do it the easier it will become. You don’t even need to like it at first but just like going to the gym and working muscles you may not like it at first or see any results but if you keep going anyways you will start enjoying it and see the fruits of your labor, but you’ll never know unless you start.


2. It’s impossible to do it wrong

Journaling is for you. It is your practice. No one has to see it and it doesn’t have to be done any single way. There are many ways to get your thoughts out of your mind and onto the page. Maybe you use an exercise like one from my book. Maybe you simply write ten things you’re grateful for or ten things you’re excited about. You could stop there or maybe you have more to say and end up expanding on those things until next thing you know you’ve written pages. Not trying is literally the only way to fail at this.

3. Ask yourself good questions

When you ask yourself intelligent questions you’ll be amazed at the intelligent answers your intuition or higher self will give you. The questions you ask don’t need to be super profound; simply ask questions that have some depth, rather than just yes or no questions.

Questions that cut to the deeper meaning of situations and make you think are the best journaling prompts. What are you wondering about? What are you struggling with most? How are you feeling? Where could you use some support in your life and why?

Think of questions a therapist might ask or a good friend who is talking through a difficult situation with you. An authentic journaling session can feel like free therapy or like getting off the phone with a best friend after a long deep conversation because journaling is essentially a long deep conversation with yourself. You can be the most non-judgemental friend you’ll ever have – the one who knows you better than anyone else – and journaling is the mechanism to have that dialogue. The practice helps you to befriend yourself by helping you get to know the thoughts in your mind. Once you get to know them, you can question if they’re true or not, and from there whether or not you want to change your negative thoughts to something more positive.

4. Don’t edit

We’re taught in English classes to analyze our words, sentence structure,  punctuation, spelling, and grammar. However, none of that matters here. The best part of journaling is that you can throw all of your grammar and language skills out the window and freely write how your speak and think, rather than how you’d write if someone were reading your words. It’s liberating, but can also feel scary and odd at first. If you’re used to constantly editing your sentences as you write them, even when you’re writing an email or text message, you’ll need to learn to stop filtering yourself and just allow the words to flow. You can always go back later and edit if you want, but when you’re letting the thoughts out, they will get stuck and pile up in your mind if you try to edit them as they’re coming out. Don’t stop the flow, simply let it out: raw, real, true and messy.

5. Be honest

If you’re not being fully honest with yourself on the page, journaling is a waste of your time. If you’re writing for someone else or “in case someone sees,” it’s not journaling. For journaling to be beneficial you absolutely must be honest with yourself. Write down those thoughts you have been thinking on repeat, those fears you’d never want anyone to know, and those dreams you’re too scared to admit for fear that then you’ll actually be responsible and accountable for making them happen. Honesty and radical authenticity with yourself is how you make the best use of your time with your journal. You allow your journal to be your confidante with whom you can share your darkest secrets without judgment or having to explain anything. What stops us from feeling free and fully ourselves is what we are hiding: poor judgment calls we’ve made, things we’re embarrassed about, goals of ours that seem too unrealistic to claim. We bury our dark secrets and get preoccupied managing them to ensure we don’t appear less than perfect—or get caught in the lie of trying to appear perfect. But when we let it out (even if it’s just to ourselves in our journals), we can breathe.

By being vulnerable and acknowledging what we’re ashamed of, we let go of any guilt we’re holding on to. As Brené Brown teaches, shame cannot survive being shared, and admitting our shame to ourselves is the first step.


6. Just keep going

When you’re doing things that are new and uncomfortable, it’s inevitable that – at least to some extent – you’ll feel like you’re pretending; at least I always do. When I started teaching yoga, I felt like I wasn’t actually a yoga teacher but just pretending to be one, mimicking my own teachers. But as Kurt Vonnegut says in Mother Night, “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” Basically, he’s saying that it works to “fake it till you make it.” You will feel like a fraud, but so does everyone else.

The process of journaling, an honest  expression of your feelings on paper, might be brand-new for you. If that’s the case, going this deep might cause some strong reactions, like

  • wanting to stop or quit;
  • feeling like you’re a fraud or feeling super awkward;
  • thinking you’re wasting your time and like you could be doing something more productive with your time and energy; and
  • turning off your new, heightened awareness and zoning out in familiar, comfortable habits, like watching TV, reading magazines, browsing online – anything to avoid that new feeling.  

Don’t let these stop you. Everyone feels as though they’re pretending when they start a new routine. When you haven’t done something before, or you haven’t done it consistently, it’s not ingrained yet. This new way of expressing your feelings fully, as a writer, is uncomfortable. You might feel like a ball of emotion when you begin this process because perhaps you rarely (if ever) allow yourself to feel your uncomfortable emotions. And feeling uncomfortable is when most people quit.

So when you reach this point, you must ask yourself: Do I want to have a deep life? Do I want to feel the richness of mad love and the sadness of heartbreak? Do I want to feel the full spectrum of emotions . . .  or do I want to numb out? Journaling is a practice that puts a mirror right up to your face. It shows you what’s going on at a deeper level when you allow yourself to examine your feelings as they authentically flow out of you.

When you feel like you’re playing pretend as a writer but you like what you’re pretending – that’s when you need to keep going. That’s when, with time, the routine becomes ingrained, and before you know it . . . you will no longer be pretending.

Do you have a journaling practice, or want to start one? Share your stories with me in the comments below!

Katie Dalebout

Through her writing, videos, workshops, and podcasts, millennial blogger, speaker, and podcast host Katie Dalebout curates inspired wisdom that guides people develop a positive image of their bodies by embracing their creativity and personality outside of their physicality. She’s a contributor to Refinery29, Mind Body Green, and her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, Glamour, Yahoo Health, and The Daily Mail. Her first book, Let It Out: A Journey Through Journaling is being published with Hay House in April 2016. Sign up to get her free Quick Start Guide to Wellness Wonderland and keep in touch with on her website or follow her on her Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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Mindful Eating: How Changing Your Mind Can Change Your Gut

Mindfulness is about more than just meditation! The standard image most people have when then think of mindfulness is of someone sitting placidly on the floor with their eyes closed and their mind empty. If you meditate, that’s great! It’s got tons of benefits[link]. It’s also not what most mindfulness practices look like.

You can bring mindfulness to any activity, from exercising to browsing social media, to my favourite, the practice of mindful eating!


Today, we are used to eating on-the-go, or at least doing other tasks or activities while we’re eating, whether it’s working at our desks, watching TV, browsing the internet, reading or driving. Eating is supposed to be a fully immersive sensory experience, but our brains are too often focused on other things, and we’re not able to be fully aware of the act of eating. If you’ve ever sat at your desk, working away on a project while munching on a bowl of your favourite snacks, and reached in to find you’ve emptied the bowl without realizing it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. We’ve become a culture of mindless eaters!

Your brain is the CEO of your body. So shouldn’t it be fully aware of as vital an activity as eating? It’s also your most important sense organ. While your eyes, ears, mouth, nose and skin may do the seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and touching, they need your brain’s cooperation in order for you to properly register these experiences. Like I said earlier, eating is supposed to be a fully immersive sensory experience, i.e., one that uses all your senses. It’s not just about how the food tastes. How the food looks, sounds, smells and feels is going to affect what you think about it. So how can you tell whether you like a food or not until you allow yourself to fully experience it?


But mindful eating does more than make those first few bites of food taste better. It can also help curb overeating (remember those disappearing snacks when you eat in front of the TV or while working?) and may even help you cultivate a healthier gut ecology by helping reduce stress and digestive inflammation. Your gut contains its very own neural network, called the enteric nervous system and often nicknamed your “second brain,” so it’s easy to see that what helps soothe your mind can also help soothe your gut!


So how do you reconnect with your food and relearn how to eat mindfully? Here’s how to get started!

  • Prepare your own food. Mindful eating actually starts before the eating does. Be as involved in the food preparation process as possible. Know where your food comes from and, whenever possible, cook it yourself.
  • Know what type of hungry you are. Are you physically hungry with that warm feeling in your stomach, or are you emotionally hungry (e.g., turning to food as a distraction from boredom or unpleasant feelings). Get to know your hunger cues and try to eat only when you’re truly physically hungry and find other ways to soothe yourself when you’re emotionally hungry.
  • Ditch the distractions. Make time to eat in a distraction-free environment and avoid rushing the process. Try not to work through your lunch and turn off electronic devices.
  • Enjoy the food before you eat it. Take time to notice the appearance, smell and texture of the food even before you put it in your mouth.
  • Use all five of your senses. As you place the food in your mouth, take the time to notice how the food looks, smells, feels, tastes and sounds as you bring it to you and take your first bites.
  • Don’t judge. Notice how you feel about the food without any judgement. Food isn’t “good” or “bad.” It’s “crunchy” or “creamy.” It’s “sweet” or it’s “pungent.”
  • Chew. You need time for your brain to register all the food’s characteristics, so chew your food until it’s almost a paste. Notice how the characteristics of the food change as you chew.
  • Think about what your food does for you. Take the time to think about the nutrients in the food you eat and all of the incredible things they can do for your body. E.g., how fiber helps keep your digestive system moving and how healthy fats can help soften your skin.


What’s your favourite aspect that you notice when you take the time to eat your favourite food mindfully? Share it with me in the comments below!

xo joy

Joy McCarthy

Joy McCarthy is the vibrant Holistic Nutritionist behind Joyous Health. Author of JOYOUS HEALTH: Eat & Live Well without Dieting, professional speaker, nutrition expert on Global’s Morning Show, Faculty Member at Institute of Holistic Nutrition and co-creator of Eat Well Feel Well. Read more…

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Mindfulness for People Who Don’t Like to Meditate

Mindfulness is really having a moment right now. Everyone from pop stars to tech CEOs to Joyous Health bloggers are talking about how good for you the practice is, and mindfulness has gone from thing your weird hippie friend keeps talking about to billion-dollar industry.

And it’s a good thing, too! There are lots of studies that confirm the health benefits of meditation for a wide range of concerns and conditions.

But here’s the thing: everyone seems happy to talk about how good meditation is for you, but you never hear anyone talking about how easy it is, or how fun it is. (Okay, except for maybe your weird hippie friend. We all have one of those in our lives.) And that’s because meditation isn’t really supposed to be fun or easy. That’s kind of the whole point: challenging yourself to do nothing but sit and focus of a period of time.

But this challenge is exactly what scares a lot of people away from the idea of a mindfulness practice. Sitting still and focusing on a single thing is the exact opposite of the multitasking, constantly on-the-go ethos we tend to prize today, so many people don’t even know where to start.

But there are plenty of ways to dip your toe in the mindfulness waters. Here are a few of my favourites:

Meditation: There’s an App for That


Having some sort of guide can be incredibly helpful if you’re looking to start a meditation practice. Before you go and invest lots of time and money in retreats and classes, try turning your smartphone from distraction to mindfulness tool by downloading a meditation app. I really love Headspace because it teaches you different techniques, and has so much content you could have a different guided session every day for well over a year, so it’s like having your own personal meditation teacher on demand! Buddhify and Insight Timer are also solid bets.


journalwriting Racing thoughts getting in the way of a mindfulness practice? Try getting all of those thoughts out of your head and onto the page! Journalling has been used in the mental health community for ages because of its therapeutic benefits, and it’s a great component of any mindfulness practice. I’m not going to say too much more about it here, because we’ve got and article all about journalling from expert Katie Dalebout coming up on the blog next week, so stay tuned for that!

Get Moving


Ever hear about athletes (whether amateurs, professionals, or weekend warriors) talk about getting into “the zone?” That’s a meditative state they’re talking about! But don’t wait to stumble upon this state by accident. You can bring mindfulness to your workout by using your breath as an anchor to keep you focused, and being aware of what’s going on in your body.

Mindfulness and exercise work synergistically together. Mindfulness helps keep you focused, which can lead to better athletic performance and lower risk of injury, while exercise is a fantastic way to lower stress levels, which can make mindfulness practices feel more natural and less forced.

And no, it doesn’t have to just be yoga. You can bring mindfulness to any physical activity, from running, to weightlifting to martial arts. Focus on bringing mindfulness to a form of fitness you already love, rather than searching for a type of of activity that you think fits the image of “mindfulness.”

What does your mindfulness practice look like? What techniques would you like to try? Let me know in the comments below!

Kate McDonald Walker

Kate is our resident self-professed research nerd. Kate is a Toronto-based student of holistic nutrition, yoga teacher, and health and wellness writer. She is a passionate advocate of integrative approaches to wellness and believes in making the journey to lasting health and wellness as straightforward, sustainable and enjoyable an experience as possible.

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The Benefits of Fat and Healthy Sources

Want beautiful skin and hair? Balanced hormones? Reduced inflammation? No more sugar cravings? Make sure you always include this essential macronutrient at every meal and snack – my favourite one in fact – FAT. 

I’ve created a video for you all about fat!

Fat has many roles and benefits in the body, as I’ve mentioned in my video,
such as

  • Skin: Good fat moisturizes the skin from the inside out. In fact, fatty acid deficiency manifest as dry skin. Having the right type of fat in abundance also keeps inflammatory skin problems, such as eczema, rosacea and acne, in check. For more tips on dealing with dry skin naturally, check out this post.
  • Hair: Makes your hair shiny. Fatty oils are secreted from the sebaceous glands in your scalp, which make your hair shine and prevent a flaky scalp.
  • Balanced hormones: Aid in the regulation of sex hormones. For more hormone-balancing solutions, I’ve got a five-part series on hormonal balance that you can find here.
  • Lowered inflammation: Turns off inflammatory chemical responses. Learn more foods to reduce inflammation. 
  • Nutrient absorption: Aids in the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients, including vitamins A, D, E and K.
  • Cushions organs: Fat provides insulation, cushioning and support to your organs. 

Every single cell in your entire body is made of a layer of fat.

It’s not the caloric value of fats that matter; it’s the types of fats you’re eating that really count. Examples of good fats are healthy oils like olive, pumpkin and coconut, as well as avocados, nuts and seeds.

Best Sources of Good Fat-03896-2

Watch my video below and then check out my healthy and joyous recipes to ensure you get enough healthy fats every day. 


Here are some of of the tastiest joyous recipes that incorporate my fave sources of healthy fats!


Avocado – A featured ingredient in my Key Lime Avocado Tart

Key Lime Avocado Tart


Extra Virgin Olive Oil – A featured ingredient in my Lemon Basil Pesto



Coconut Oil – An ingredient in Cherry Coconut Macaroons



Fish – Try this delicious Saffron Herb Halibut in the recipe video below. 


Nut and Seeds – Try my Vanilla Chai Hemp Truffles

Vanilla Chai Hemp Truffles

Joy McCarthy

Joy McCarthy is the vibrant Holistic Nutritionist behind Joyous Health. Author of JOYOUS HEALTH: Eat & Live Well without Dieting, professional speaker, nutrition expert on Global’s Morning Show, Faculty Member at Institute of Holistic Nutrition and co-creator of Eat Well Feel Well. Read more…


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Roasted Lemon Asparagus with Pecans

Spring has sprung, and so has the asparagus!

Asparagus is a member of the lily family and one of the first veggies to pop up in the spring. It’s asparagus season right now here in Ontario, so I’m eating tons of this veggie right now, because not only is it super tasty, but it’s got tons of health benefits:

  • a great source of folate, which is important for red blood cell production and helps prevent neural tube defects in the early stages of pregnancy
  • an excellent source of antioxidant vitamin C, but keep in mind that this nutrient is very heat sensitive, so don’t overcook!
  • very good source of plant-based, blood-building iron
  • tons of fiber to keep your digestive system moving joyously
  • a good source of calcium, which is especially important if you’re avoiding dairy

Most asparagus is green, but you can also find white and purple. White asparagus is more tender, but lacks the nutritious chlorophyll that makes standard asparagus green. Purple asparagus is smaller, but has an extra super-nutritious antioxidant: anthocyanins (the same nutrient that makes dark berries an antioxidiant powerhouse).

There are lots of healthy ways to cook asparagus; you can blanch it, steam it or stir-fry it, but one of my favourite ways is to oven roast it, which helps retain lots of those health-boosting nutrients.

I’m so excited about asparagus season that I’m going to share my asparagus recipe from my book Joyous Health: Eat and Live Well Without Dieting up here on the blog because I want everyone to have it!

You may be surprised to see grapeseed oil rather than olive oil in this recipe. I love extra virgin olive oil for lots of things, but the phytonutrients in this oil are really delicate, and if exposed to too much heat, they can smoke and oxidize. Grapeseed oil is far better at standing up to the heat of roasting, so save the EVOO for salads and use grapeseed oil when you want to turn up the heat!

Roasted Lemon Asparagus with Pecans
2016-05-02 11:14:23

  1. 1 lb (450 g) asparagus (preferably thick spears)
  2. 2 Tbsp (30 mL) balsamic vinegar or juice of one lemon
  3. 1 to 2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
  4. 2 pinches of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  5. 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
  2. Snap tough ends off asparagus and discard. Place asparagus in a large baking dish or baking sheet.
  3. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar or lemon juice and grapeseed oil and roll asparagus around to coat well.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Roast for 18-20 minutes or until fork-tender. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with pecans.
Joyous Health


What seasonally spring foods are you excited to start seeing at the farmer’s market? Let me know in the comments below!

Joy McCarthy

Joy McCarthy is the vibrant Holistic Nutritionist behind Joyous Health. Author of JOYOUS HEALTH: Eat & Live Well without Dieting, professional speaker, nutrition expert on Global’s Morning Show, Faculty Member at Institute of Holistic Nutrition and co-creator of Eat Well Feel Well. Read more…


The post Roasted Lemon Asparagus with Pecans appeared first on Joyous Health.

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Stress-Eating Secrets

Stress-eating, or emotional eating, is often a very secretive experience. Nobody wants to admit they eat three chocolate bars in a row, followed by a half-pint of ice cream on occasion. Or regularly.

And so it is often done alone, with nobody around and nobody watching. There is space to just let go and go for it. Unsupervised, unwatched and unleashed, it offers moments of escape from our minds and from ourselves.

We seek relief from our schedules, our unloved bodies or our unsatisfying lives. Built-up tension, anxiety, frustration and general discomfort needs an outlet. Stat. So binging becomes the drug that instantly, yet momentarily, soothes. We become completely distracted by losing ourselves in the experience of gorging, attempting to fill the emptiness inside of us. But the answers we seek and the happiness we long for will never be found in food. We know that, but it still keeps happening.

Because this is such an unwanted and secretive pattern for most of us, we feel alone in our struggle. The guilt that shows up during or immediately afterward, the pain in our gut, the grossness of our perceived body image and the disgust of what we just did sends us deeper into the spiral of shame and frustration.

Emotional eating is a coping mechanism that is often unconsciously developed as a way to handle stress. When we feel a form of stress (uncertainty, discomfort, emptiness, insecurity) we crave comfort (sweets, treats, fullness). Although everyone’s experience of emotional eating is unique, most often food is something that is turned to in attempt to deal with the stresses of life.

The action of stress-eating is a symptom of a deeper issue. Just like a sore back can be a symptom of poor posture, stress-eating is a symptom telling us that something is off in our lives. It is a sign that we are out of alignment with ourselves and it is calling for our attention to address that imbalance.

Perhaps we have been making other people more important than ourselves. Or we push aside our own feelings and ignore our inner voice. Or we live a life that is not actually in line with our values and what we believe in. Our jobs may deplete us and we have forgotten to take the time to nourish our bodies and our souls, or we have simply forgotten how to. We have lost the knowing of who we are and what we need to feel fulfillment in our lives.


The journey back toward ease around food and our bodies begins when we start to truly nurture and listen to ourselves. When we stop classifying food as good, bad, right or wrong, or when we start to recognize and care about what our bodies need to thrive. As we begin to develop new coping mechanisms, we feel more confident and fulfilled in life. This helps us – over time – to move further and further away from stress-eating patterns.

For many, stress-eating patterns develop over – and are with us for – a long time. The journey toward unraveling and being free from these patterns can take months, days or years – with many ups and downs along the way. It can be helpful to find support – such as a best friend or family member – who will support and love you along the way without judging your experience. You may also want to look for a mental health or natural healthcare practitioner you align with; they just might offer the exact support and guidance you need to let go of those patterns.

Below are some ways to begin nourishing your body, self and soul to start the healing process.

Feed Your Self

Because emotional eating is a way to find relief and comfort in our lives, it is important to make more fulfilling choices for ourselves. Observe where your life might be out of balance. Where do you give too much of yourself? How often do you do the hobbies you love? What are your hobbies? What do you do for fun? What did you love to do as a kid but don’t do anymore? Do your friends support you and your goals?

Our bodies and souls need mental and emotional nourishment as well as food. The more we feed ourselves mentally and emotionally, the less we will lean on food to fulfill us.

Notice Your Thoughts

What are you saying to yourself over and over? What are you thinking about your body? Or other people’s bodies? Our minds have so much power over us. When we keep feeding negative thoughts, we begin to really believe them, even when they might not be real or true. Try writing down some of the negative thoughts you have. Write as many of them out as you can. (But don’t stop here, it’s important that if you start this exercise to do the second part as well, otherwise you will just be left with all your negative thoughts.) The second part of the exercise is to write “who would I be without this thought?” for every negative thought you just wrote down. Carry on with this train of thought by writing down the answers to “what is available to me if this thought isn’t true?” and “who would I be without this pattern?” Write down anything that comes to your mind.

Listen to Your Body

Through the struggle with food, many of us have lost touch with our own bodies. We have let our minds take over by calculating calories, judging fat content, assessing portions. We have to listen to our bodies and understand its language so that we can actually nourish ourselves. For example, if we have a sudden craving for chips, we might try to fight or will it away. However, if we open up to the craving as a sign from our bodies, we might realize that the craving for chips always comes on when we are actually really tired. So by noticing what feeling the craving is trying to soothe, instead of fighting the it or labelling it as “bad,” you might find alternative, non-food, solutions and feel nourished by those instead.

Say No

Have you adapted your life to suit everyone but yourself? Do you say “yes” to things you are craving to say “no” to? Do you actually like quiet nights at home but are spending most evenings out? Saying no to things that aren’t serving you is an important piece of the puzzle. Your body craves your presence, so when you get pulled to places and in ways you don’t care for, your body feels the imbalance and it will want your attention ASAP. For some, emotional eating happens when we have let too much time pass without making space for ourselves and our needs.

What are your strategies for dealing with feeling overwhelmed? Let me know in the comments below!

Susanne Mueller

Susanne’s own journey with anxiety has inspired her to work with women with similar struggles. She uses her understanding of yoga, holistic nutrition and intuition to guide women back to the wisdom in their own bodies. She is most passionate about working with those who struggle with disordered eating and body image – helping them find a place of calm and confidence within themselves and their lives.

The post Stress-Eating Secrets appeared first on Joyous Health.

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Almond Rosemary Flatbread and Sweet Potato Hummus + Giveaway!

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you probably already know I love Mediterranean food. Whether I’m choosing a restaurant or choosing what I’m going to cook for dinner, recipes inspired by Italian, Provençal, Greek, Turkish and North African culinary traditions usually make it to the top of my list.

I’m not only a fan of these dietary traditions because they’re so tasty, but also because studies have shown that Mediterranean diets have many health benefits, including reduced rates of heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

One of my favourite parts of a Mediterranean-style meal is the bread, dips and spreads you usually start with. I love bread almost as much as Oprah does. Unfortunately, a love of bread can be tricky to navigate if you’re trying to avoid gluten.



While I still sometimes eat gluten (unlike people with celiac disease or severe intolerances, who have to avoid it entirely), I’ve found that cutting back on my gluten intake has definitely helped me experience fewer of these less-than-joyous symptoms.

Being a nutritionista who counts herself rather handy in the kitchen, I thought I’d tackle the problem head on by creating a gluten-free flatbread that would be right at home at any tapas. I’m so pleased with how it turned out, but even the tastiest flatbread recipe is a little ho-hum without a great spread to go with it. Since I was on a roll, I went ahead and created a sweet potato hummus that pairs perfectly with this flatbread. I love the rich orange colour the sweet potato gives this recipe. It’s so much prettier than your average hummus! It’s also higher in antioxidant carotenoids and fibre!

Check out the video below and be sure to scroll to the bottom to enter an awesome giveaway for a Panasonic Steam Convection Oven. (Worth $1400 big ones!)

Almond Rosemary Flatbread
2016-05-09 17:05:56

  1. 1 cup white cheddar or hard goat shredded/grated
  2. 1 cup almond flour (or ground almonds)
  3. 1⁄2 cup buckwheat flour
  4. 3 tbsp ground flaxseed
  5. 2 tsp garlic powder
  6. 2 tsp dried rosemary
  7. 1 tsp sea salt
  8. 2 eggs
  9. 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  10. 1⁄2 cup water
  1. Preheat convection oven setting to 180 degrees Celsius
  2. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, buckwheat flour, ground flaxseed, garlic powder, dried rosemary and sea salt. In a separate small bowl, combine eggs, oil and water.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and then fold in grated cheese. The batter will be thick and sticky.
  4. Optional: Combine all ingredients into a food processor and blend until creamy smooth.
  5. Grease pan with oil or cover with parchment paper. Spread batter onto pan.
  6. Bake on the convection oven setting for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Let cool, then cut into squares and spread sweet potato hummus on each square.
Joyous Health


Sweet Potato Hummus
2016-05-09 17:12:01

  1. 2 cups of chopped sweet potatoes, skin on
  2. 1 garlic clove
  3. 2 tbsp lemon juice
  4. 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  5. 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  6. 2 heaping spoonfuls tahini paste
  1. Preheat oven to steam setting 1. Spread sweet potato on glass pan and steam sweet potato for 20 minutes.
  2. Remove sweet potato from oven and let cool. Once cooled, add sweet potatoes to a blender or food processor and blend with remaining ingredients until smooth and creamy.
Joyous Health


A big thanks to the folks at Panasonic Canada for letting me use their test kitchen and all their cool kitchen gadgets. It’s always fun to get to play with new toys! :) If you want to give the Panasonic convection oven I use in the video, just enter my giveaway!

Panasonic Steam Convection Oven

What kitchen gadget can you not live without?
Let me know in the comments below!


Joy McCarthy

Joy McCarthy is the vibrant Holistic Nutritionist behind Joyous Health. Author of JOYOUS HEALTH: Eat & Live Well without Dieting, professional speaker, nutrition expert on Global’s Morning Show, Faculty Member at Institute of Holistic Nutrition and co-creator of Eat Well Feel Well. Read more…

This post was created in partnership with Panasonic, however all opinions are always my own.
Read more about partnership ethos here.

The post Almond Rosemary Flatbread and Sweet Potato Hummus + Giveaway! appeared first on Joyous Health.

from Joyous Health

Superfoods for Super Beauty

Every day, you’ll see tons of ads for creams, makeup and other beauty potions that talk about how they’ve added the latest, trendiest superfood to their list of ingredients. The natural beauty trend is big right now, and that’s something I’m fully on board with!

However, there’s a cheaper, easier, and even more beneficial way to jump on the beauty superfood bandwagon; eat your superfoods instead of slathering them on your skin!

The produce section is always going to be a way cheaper place to shop for beauty products than the cosmetics counter.

And when you eat beauty superfoods, you’re nourishing every single cell in your body, not just the top layers of skin cells, so you’ll glow from the inside out!

Here are some of my favourite beauty superfoods:



Sure, we all loved our cinnamon-flavoured lip balms back in junior high, but it’s cinnamon’s blood-sugar balancing benefits that make it a real beautifier. When your blood sugar is properly balanced, your body is better able to keep its hormone levels on an even keel, and as anyone who’s ever experienced teenage or stress-related acne breakouts (and who hasn’t?) can attest, balanced hormones are a boon if you’re after clear, healthy, glowing skin.

Try sprinkling cinnamon over your next nut milk latte, adding it to your favourite smoothie, or try making my Cinnamon Almond Butter recipe!



It’s yellow colour turns everything it touches a very distinctive shade of yellow, but that’s okay. Turmeric’s a beauty food, not a beauty product, so keep it off your skin and in your belly! Turmeric contains really powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that can be just as effective as hydrocortisone. So adding turmeric to your diet is way more beneficial in soothing dull, puffy or inflamed skin than any topical cream will be!

Turmeric gives many curry recipes their characteristic yellow colour. It’s also another great smoothie additive, or you can try making my turmeric popcorn recipe.



Walnuts have been held to be a brain health food since Roman times because once their shelled, they kind of look like, well, little brains. It turns out walnuts are good for brain health, but it’s because they’re high in omega-3 essential fatty acids. These same omega-3s are also a great beauty nutrient, too. They’re great at fighting inflammation and are the kind of healthy fat that will support the production of the natural oils that keep your skin feeling soft and smooth.

Grab a handful of walnuts as an on-the-go snack, mix them into your favourite granola recipe, or try making my Mochaccino Extra Energy Smoothie.



We’ve all seen those scenes in movies with the rich socialite sitting at the spa with the cucumber slices on her eyes. She’s doing that for a good reason! Cucumbers are almost entirely water, so if you eat them, you’re hydrating your skin from the inside out, which is a way more efficient way to go about it! The parts that aren’t water are rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients. Antioxidants help fight the free radical damage, and as we’ve seen with the foods above, you can never have too many anti-inflammatories!

Hydrating cucumbers are a perfect ingredient for any fresh juice recipe, they’re right at home in chilled soup recipes, or you can make my Strawberry Cucumber Salad with Toasted Almonds.



I’ve talked at length about my love of lemon and water as a joyous health (and beauty) habit, but it’s time for limes to get some love! Just like lemons, limes are an excellent source of vitamin C, one of your body’s most used antioxidants. Antioxidants help fight the free radical damage that can happen when you’re exposed to toxins in your environment. Over time, this damage can contribute to visible skin damage and aging, so antioxidants are crucial for healthy skin.

Use limes instead of lemons for a twist on the usual lemon and water morning ritual. They’re also a great way to add a tangy twist to any juice recipe, or try this Key Lime Avocado Tart recipe.

Want to learn more? Join me May 28th for a FREE webinar where I talk about even more superfoods for super beauty (and some lifestyle habits, too)! Get your spot here.


xo joy

Joy McCarthy

Joy McCarthy is the vibrant Holistic Nutritionist behind Joyous Health. Author of JOYOUS HEALTH: Eat & Live Well without Dieting, professional speaker, nutrition expert on Global’s Morning Show, Faculty Member at Institute of Holistic Nutrition and co-creator of Eat Well Feel Well. Read more…

The post Superfoods for Super Beauty appeared first on Joyous Health.

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