January Immunity Essentials
Post holiday blues got you feeling down and in the dumps? We know this can be a tough time of year with the short days, lack of sunlight, and the associated mid-winter lack of energy. Although Mother Nature is out of our control, there are a few things you can do to boost your mood and feel better throughout these long winter months. Did you know that what we put in our bodies has a huge effect on how we feel? Here are some ways to take control of your emotional well-being through dietary choices:
Four nutritional tips to support your mental health:
Ditch the sugar
Although sugar doesn’t necessarily cause depression or anxiety, it definitely appears to worsen symptoms. Ever wonder why we crave junk food when we’re feeling low? Sugar has similar effects on the brain that recreational drugs have, releasing feel good hormones like opioids and dopamine. Just like drugs, these feelings of euphoria are short lived and followed quickly by a crash resulting in feelings of depression and anxiety. Excessive sugar consumption is also harmful to our healthy gut bacteria. We are constantly learning more and more about the relationship between the gut and the brain and how interconnected the two are. Neurotransmitters like GABA and serotonin are made in the gut and are directly responsible for feelings of pleasure and well-being. Foods that contribute to healthy gut bacteria include kimchi, sauerkraut and kombucha.
Fill up on whole grains
The primary source of energy for the brain is glucose, which comes from carbohydrates. Complex (whole, unrefined and unprocessed) carbohydrates release glucose slowly, helping us feel full longer and providing a steady source of fuel for the brain and body which helps us to feel calm and balanced. Complex carbs are rich in fibre, contributing to good digestion and gut health. Eating whole grains has been proven to relax the body and improve sleep by helping the body produce melatonin. Healthy sources of complex carbohydrates include whole-wheat products, bulgur, oats, wild rice, barley, beans and soy.
Fat is your friend
Getting enough dietary fat is essential for mental health. That's because 60 percent of your brain is made up of a fat called DHA. This omega-3 fat is found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and algae, like spirulina. Omega-3s are critical for supporting brain function and mood, regulating metabolism, and preventing diabetes and inflammation. Fats literally make up our hormones which directly control our mood and well-being. Fats also play a crucial role in neurotransmitter heath. Neurotransmitters work as messengers, sending signals from body to brain and vice versa. Without healthy neurotransmitter function we can be eating all the healthy foods but the message may not be getting through to our brain.
Get your greens
Leafy greens such as spinach, arugula, mustard greens and broccoli are ideal sources of B vitamins including folic acid, niacin and thiamine. Deficiencies in folate as well as other B vitamins have been linked with higher rates of depression, fatigue,insomnia and addiction. Broccoli also contains selenium, a trace mineral that plays an important role in our immune system functioning and thyroid hormone metabolism. Some studies suggest that low levels of selenium contribute to depression, anxiety and fatigue.
January's Community Smoothie
Our Community Smoothie this month is in partnership with the Royal Mental Health Hospital. Every Community Smoothie sold throughout the month of January helps support the incredible care and research the Royal Mental Health Hospital provides. This smoothie was designed with ingredients to support your mental health resiliency.
To make this smoothie, you’ll blend:
• 8oz almond milk (or other non-dairy alternative)
• 1 handful spinach (½ - 1cup)
• 2 dates
• 1” piece of fresh ginger
• ½ cup frozen peaches
• 1 banana
Contributor: Shannon Gilchrist, RHN
PK’s Bloody Mary
Pure Kitchen is now selling cold-pressed celery juice! Celery juice has a long list of health benefits, but can also be used to satisfy your brunch needs. This twist on the classic Ceaser, uses locally produced Top Shelf Vodka combined with Pure Kitchen’s cold-pressed celery juice, house-made buffalo hot sauce, pickled shishito peppers, and a Divine dumpling. Make your own this winter, both our cold-pressed celery juice and buffalo hot sauce are available to grab-and-go bottles. Divine dumplings are available on the Pure Kitchen menu in quantities of three or six.
* Rim glass with parsley, cayenne, smoked paprika, chipotle, salt, pinch of basil, and pinch of curry powder *
Add to glass:
• 1½ oz Top Shelf Vodka
• 3 oz Cold Pressed Celery Juice
• ½ oz Buffalo Hot Sauce
• ½ oz Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
• Add Ice
• Top with Tomato Juice
• Pickled shishito peppers
• Divine dumpling
• Celery stick
Contributors: Greg Boyd (Cocktail) & Ellina Rabbat (Photography)
Chai Hot Toddy
This Chai Hot Toddy is the perfect cocktail to enjoy while mending a cold, or to simply warm your soul this winter. This drink combines Four Roses bourbon, and 3 ounces of strongly brewed chai tea from The Tea Store, located in downtown Ottawa.
• 3 oz Strongly Brewed Chai Tea
• 4 oz Hot Water
• ½ oz Lemon Juice
• Tsp. Honey (Vegan option; maple syrup)
• ¼ tsp. Chai Spice
Add to desired glass:
• 1½ oz Bourbon
• Steamed Chai Mix
• Ground Cinnamon
• Cinnamon Stick
Immune Boosting Broth
Shiitake mushrooms are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant rich. They also contain copper and a number of b vitamins.
Sea veggies are anti-inflammatory and anti-viral. They are rich in almost all the minerals found in human blood and are rich in iodine, B2 and vitamin C.
Miso paste is rich in antioxidants and a wide variety of phytonutrients, and as a fermented food it is super healthy for the gut.
• 5 L water
• 1 oz. kombu
• 4 oz dried shiitake mushrooms
• 250g white miso paste
• ⅓ cup tamari
Weigh kombu and shiitakes and place them in a large pot. Add water and bring water to a low simmer for 1 ½ hours.
Remove kombu and shiitakes.
Continue to simmer on medium-low for about a half hour. Remove from heat.
In a bowl, place miso and enough broth to dissolve the miso. Add this miso mix and and tamari to the broth and combine well.
Turn it up a notch by adding your favourite veggies, noodles and protein to the broth.
Contributor: Olivia Cruickshank
You can now ‘stalk’ up on cold-pressed and organic celery juice at all Pure Kitchen locations!
Why Celery juice? Celery juice is most effective when consumed first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. The benefits of celery juice are many! Benefits: minimizes bloating, promotes weight loss, clearer skin, improved energy levels, more balanced hormones, reduced cravings, helps to cleanse the liver, can help manage high blood pressure.
Helps to heal and soothe the digestive tract.
Celery contains nutrients in its fibers which promote optimal functioning of the digestive tract by acting as a natural laxative. This is essential for flushing toxins out of the body, supporting the liver and healthy weight loss.
Celery is naturally high in anti-inflammatory properties such as vitamin C, beta-carotene and manganese as well as a slew of phytonutrients. These compounds work to prevent inflammatory reactions in the digestive tract caused by junk food, alcohol and consuming foods one is intolerant to.
Celery contains pectins (a soluble starchy carbohydrate that some foods contain) that can provide the stomach with special benefits. Studies have shown celery extracts containing these pectins have been shown to improve the integrity of the stomach lining, decrease risk of stomach ulcer, and better control the levels of stomach secretions (stomach acid). This helps us to better digest the food we eat and absorb its nutrients.
The exceptionally high percentage of natural sodium in celery can really help you absorb and utilize the food you consume throughout the day. The enzymes in celery work to raise hydrochloric acid (stomach acid). Stomach acid is essential in breaking down food. When stomach acid is low the result can be bloating, indigestion as well as over-burdening the liver.
It is incredibly detoxifying!
Celery contains a particular compound called coumarins which promotes the activity of white blood cells and assists the vascular system. This helps the blood flow, reduces blood pressure and purifies the bloodstream
Because celery is extremely hydrating and alkaline it is very effective for balancing the body’s pH levels and neutralizing any acidity in the body (things that make the body more acidic are processed foods, sugar, alcohol, excessive meat consumption). This, in turn, helps protect healthy cells and balance essential mineral levels, lowering the risk of heart disease, protecting bone density, reducing inflammation, boosting the immune system, and helping to maintain a healthy weight
The high sodium and potassium content of celery make it a natural diuretic. This makes it ideal for flushing toxins out of the body while also enhancing weight loss.
Available in house or grab it to go!
8 ounces - $6
12 ounces - $8
16 ounces - $10
Buy four 16oz bottles for $32!
Contributor: Shannon Gilchrist, RHN
PS Preston is now OPEN!
We are thrilled to announce that our Preston doors are officially open! A slightly different concept from the first three restaurants. In addition to our standard al la carte menu, our Little Italy addition boasts a cafe style environment with an extended grab-and-go fridge and list of offerings! A great space for early morning meetings, to work on your projects or a post-skate snack after a day on the Canal We can’t wait for you to come check it out! You can view the Preston hours and location by clicking here.