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Chia Porridge Jar

Chia Porridge Jar
Serves 1
A great, quick meal that you can take to work or eat after a morning workout. Prepare the night before, then voila - ready to go when you are.
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
  1. 1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
  2. 1/4 cup chia seeds
  3. 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 1 teaspoon raw honey (or stevia to taste)
  6. 1 tablespoon almonds, chopped
  7. 1/3 cup fresh blueberries, pomegranate seeds, or chopped fresh fruit of choice
  1. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients. Spoon into a 2-cup mason jar.
  2. Cover the jar with the lid and refrigerate overnight.
  3. In the morning, your breakfast is ready to go. Don't forget your spoon!
  4. Stir before eating.
Recipes for Life by Rita Thomas and Chef Erin Holm https://www.recipesforlife.ca/

Animal-Free Diet

There are many types of animal-free diets:

  • Vegetarians do not eat any meat, poultry, seafood, or animal flesh.
  • Lacto vegetarians eat dairy products, and no eggs, meat, poultry, or fish.
  • Ovo vegetarians eat eggs and no dairy products.
  • Ovo lacto vegetarians eat eggs, dairy products, honey, and no meat, poultry, or fish.
  • Vegans exclude all animal products including dairy, eggs, and honey.
  • Raw vegans eat only fresh and uncooked fruits, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. Vegetables can be cooked to a maximum of 118º F.
  • Pescatarians are semi-vegetarian and eat fish and seafood, sometimes eggs and dairy, and no meat or poultry.
  • Flexitarians are vegetarians who occasionally eat fish, poultry, and meat.

Why Consider a Plant-Based Diet?

There are numerous benefits of eating a well-balanced, plant-based diet. Plant foods provide phytochemicals, plant sterols, antioxidants, fiber, and healthful fats. The most potentially damaging foods are processed foods and animal products. The American Dietetic Association confirms that vegetarians are generally healthier and have a lower risk of a number of chronic diseases including heart disease, some types of cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, and adult-onset diabetes. Non starchy vegetables and fruits are more vitamin-and-mineral dense than any other foods. When you eat them, they make you feel energized and fresh. They are also the densest source of fiber, rich in vitamin C and beta carotene. All that fiber also keeps your colon clean, creating a happy gut, and you don’t feel sluggish. There are generally more antioxidants and phytochemicals in a vegetarian diet, and it is low in saturated fat. This means less weight gain. A plant-based diet also does not support animal cruelty and takes a more positive approach to the environment. Beef production uses 100 times more water than growing vegetables. It takes about 2,500 gallons of water to produce a pound of meat. Animal protein also contributes to 50 percent more greenhouse gases than planes, trains, cars, and ships combined.

What You Might Be Missing on a Plant-Based Diet

If you are vegetarian, there are some nutrients that you might be missing if you are not paying attention. This is not something you want to mess with. To have a properly balanced vegetarian diet, you need a good combination of all of the food groups and vitamins and minerals. Take extra care to make sure you do not become deficient in the following:

  • Vitamin B12: If you don’t eat animal products, your body will lack vitamin B12, which is naturally found in animals and not in plants. This is easily fixed by supplementing with B12 capsules, drops or getting a regular dose of B12 injections every week or two.
  • Vitamin D: Almost everyone needs to supplement with vitamin D. Even if you are out in the sun, it takes anywhere from twenty-four to forty-eight hours for the vitamin D to metabolize in your body. This means no showering after your sun exposure! The amount of vitamin D you require should be determined by your health care provider.
  • Fatty acids: These can be obtained through algae, and nuts.
  • Omega 3: Almost everyone needs to supplement with omega 3 essential fatty acids. Cabbage and spinach are good vegetarian sources, and purslane is a leafy green that contains more omega 3 than any other leafy green
  • Iron: There’s plenty of iron in plants; the trick is to make it absorbable.
  • Calcium is well absorbed and abundant in a good variety of vegetables, so there’s no need to worry about calcium shortages. In fact, although the calcium content is lower in many of these vegetables than in milk, the absorption is significantly better. The best sources are bok choy, broccoli, and kale. Other good sources are almonds, dried figs, mustard greens, okra, tahini, tempeh, and turnip greens.
  • Protein: Not getting enough protein is another issue that comes up for vegetarians. How much protein you require is debatable; however, it is estimated by some that the daily protein requirement for adults is 0.8 grams (0.28 ounces per kilogram of body weight). Here’s a great chart to guide you.
  • Fiber is plant roughage from vegetables, fruits, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds. It is important because it cleans out your digestive system and supports optimal colon health and intestinal bacterial balance. There are numerous studies that show high-fiber diets prevent colon cancer. The opposite is true of low-fiber diets, and there’s absolutely no fiber in meat.
  • Fat: Animal products contain a lot of fat. Fish is a bit lower in fat, and most vegetables, grains, and beans, as you would imagine, contain almost no fat. Dairy products are at an all-time high with butter at 100%.

Are Vegetarians Healthier than Meat Eaters?

Most nutritionists agree that a balanced vegetarian diet is healthier than a non-vegetarian diet. If you’re not convinced, watch the documentary Food, Inc. As well, medical research and studies show that vegetarians have a 30% lower risk of heart-related diseases. However, the question of whether vegetarians are healthier than meat eaters depends on the vegetarian diet being well balanced. Dr. Connealy finds that one of the common problems she sees in her vegetarian patients is that they are not eating a well-balanced diet and have a higher percentage of body fat-to-lean tissue ratio. They replace meat with lots of refined grains like white flour, rice, pasta, and potatoes, and eat very little fresh fruit and vegetables. This, of course, causes all kinds of health issues. If you choose to be a vegetarian, you have to learn about a balanced diet, and you must eat lots of fresh vegetables and sprouted legumes. You can’t simply eliminate animal protein and eat whatever you want. You need to educate yourself and focus on a balanced diet.

Does It Have to Be All or Nothing?

Graham Hill, founder of www.TreeHugger.com feels that giving up meat is way too extreme for him. He saves his meat consumption to weekends, which is a really good start. Every little bit helps. I have many friends who are integrative doctors and are very well informed on nutrition, and none of them are vegetarians. They don’t eat a lot of animal products, yet they do eat some. Their portions consist of small, four-ounce servings, which they eat three or four times per week.

Dr. Andrew Weil cautions against purely plant-based diets, especially for children, and points out the nutrients you might be missing. One has to be very careful to ensure the right balance of the right foods. If you are feeding vegetarian teens, keep in mind that their growing bodies require more energy, and vitamins and minerals, at this age than at any other time in their lives. It’s important that they have protein included in all meals and snacks, and that their blood be monitored for proper supplementation. In fact, all vegetarians should have their blood tested regularly.

Incorporating more vegetarian meals into your diet can be a realistic goal. If done properly, you’ll definitely feel better for it. If you are going to eat meat, consume small portions. Most of all, please stop supporting inhumane factory farms and buy meat products from happy, grass-fed animals on ethical farms.

For more information on plant based diets, and how to stay balanced, pick up your copy of the Recipes for Life Boxed Set.

Access your complementary recipe here.

Health Coach Rita Thomas and Chef Erin Holm hope to inspire families, friends and communities to live happier, healthier and more delicious lives.
Sign up for their weekly health and recipe blog to start your journey to good health and exploding taste buds.


Fasting has been around in many different cultures for centuries. Fasting is a form of clearing out your system. If you’ve ever fasted, I am sure you realize that it is an emotional and physical challenge; yet it is a challenge worth persevering through.

In fact, Dr. Brian Clements, of the Hippocrates Health Institute, is a big advocate of fasting and feels that fasting one day per week can extend your life. The premise is that harmful toxins are stored in your fat, and when you go without food for an extended period of time, your body uses fat as an energy source. When the fat breaks down, toxins are released. Some other benefits of fasting include giving your digestive system a much needed rest, allowing your body to detox and cleanse, promoting mental clarity, increasing energy levels, clearing up your skin, helping with weight loss, improving your immune system, and increasing white blood cell count.


Juice fasts became very popular among celebrities a few years ago, and this encouraged many others to climb onto the bandwagon. So many people are now into juice fasting. This is fantastic because fasting is so incredibly healthy. Denise Mari, founder of Organic Avenue in New York, was one of the first instigators of the mainstream market juice craze. She worked together with her partner Doug Evans, to build a hugely successful company, which delivers organic juices right to you, and that’s your food intake for the day. This service is now available in many large cities across North America, through a large variety of companies.

Types of Fasting

  • Long term fasting: abstinence from food or calorie intake for a period over seventy-two hours.
  • Short term fasting: abstinence from food or calorie intake for a period of seventy-two hours or less.
  • Intermittent fasting: occasionally taking a break from eating.
  • Intermittent feeding: taking the  occasional break from fasting to eat during a predetermined window.

Fasting is so beneficial that numerous diet plans have been developed around the concept. Here are some of the most popular:

The Fast Diet

The Fast Diet: The Secret of Intermittent Fasting by Dr. Michael Mosley is very popular in Britain. It encourages intermittent fasting. You eat the way you normally do for five days and fast for two days, consuming about 600 calories for men and 500 for women on the fasting days. Although you might experience some hunger pangs, Dr. Mosley says these pangs eventually pass, and you’ll find that fasting actually sharpens your mental capacity and your senses. You might think two days of fasting could lead to overeating on the no fasting days, yet this was not Dr. Mosley’s experience. Neither did he experience muscle loss. He found the first few fasts the most difficult, yet over time, the diet became easier. After two months, he lost about twenty pounds and says his overall health greatly improved.

Dr. Mosley feels that fasting can lead to weight loss and long term health and wellbeing benefits, including a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. It gives your pancreas a rest, which boosts the effectiveness of the insulin it produces in response to elevated blood glucose. Increased insulin sensitivity will reduce your risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cognitive decline. The diet also resulted in an overall enhancement of mood and sense of wellbeing, perhaps as a consequence of the brain producing increased levels of neurotropic factor. This diet approach forces you to think about what you eat and when you eat. There is no daily calorie control or deprivation regime like most diet plans. You won’t starve on any given day, and you will still enjoy the foods you love most of the time. Once you lose the weight, sticking to the basic program keeps your weight off because it’s not really a diet. It’s a sustainable strategy for a long, healthy life.

Alternate Day Fasting

A slightly different approach to fasting is Alternate-Day Fasting (ADF), popularized by Dr. James Johnson. Having struggled with weight issues throughout much of his adult life and witnessing his patients’ weight loss challenges, he came up with the Johnson UpDayDownDay Diet, which he describes in his book The Alternate-Day Diet. On this diet, you fast every second day. On fasting days, men are limited to 600 calories and women to 500 calories. These calories must be consumed in one meal, normally lunch.

Intermittent Fasting (IF)

One widely accepted approach to intermittent fasting is going without food for a 12-18 hour stretch. This can be as simple as skipping breakfast. It’s been drilled into our heads forever that we should never miss breakfast; however, this is not necessarily the case.

Brad Pilon, author of Eat Stop Eat, has a master’s degree in human biology and nutritional science and is considered a guru of intermittent fasting. His extensive research indicated that one of the keys to longevity is to skip eating. In his book, he recommends two twenty-four-hour fasts a week. “Fat loss starts happening at about 12 to 13 hours and plateaus around 18 hours,” he says. What works for a lot of people is to have an early dinner, no bedtime snack, skip breakfast and enjoy a late lunch. This is a relatively easy way to accomplish an effective fast because you are sleeping through a large portion of it. If you can’t handle doing this twice a week, you’ll still obtain benefits by doing it once per week or even once a month! Human growth hormone goes up, insulin level goes down, cortisol level is stabilized, adrenals become healthy, metabolism is increased, hormones that burn body fat are boosted, and you lose body fat, hunger cravings subside, triglyceride levels drop, and the body adjusts from burning carbohydrates to burning fats.

Extended Fasting

Gabriel Cousens is a holistic physician, homeopath, psychiatrist, family therapist, Ayurvedic practitioner, Chinese herbalist, spiritual master, and founder of Tree of Life Center US. He fasts 2-4 times per year for 7-10 days at a time. Cousens believes that:

“Fasting is perhaps the simplest and most remarkable self-healing approach related to our food intake for re-balancing and clearing the body and mind and elevating the spirit. I call it the elixir of fasting. It is one of the greatest health benefits.”

If you decide to do a long-term fast, you want to avoid muscle loss, which can happen if  you don’t know what you’re doing. First and foremost, it is dependent on the kind of fast you are doing: a water fast, a total fast, or a juice fast. How much fat you have stored in your body and whether you exercise are also factors. Your body has three sources of energy: carbohydrates, which is the preferred fuel for quick energy; fat, which is its next source of energy; and protein. However, the body’s utilization of the three sources of energy is not always in this order. If you exercise during a long-term fast, this can cause muscle loss if you are not properly nurturing your body. Your body’s metabolism will shift to a fat-burning mode called ketosis as a result of fasting or depriving your body of carbohydrates. Both the Atkins and the Paleo diets focus on protein for fuel rather than carbohydrates, which helps your body burn fat for fuel and you don’t feel that hungry. They also maintain muscle mass. The body can convert some of the protein you eat into glucose; however, the body is not able to convert fat into glucose. The key component to this kind of diet is to have the correct amount of  carbohydrates and protein. You have to know what you are doing because this is based on a very specific formula.

As a general rule intermittent fasting is best for physical health, and long-term fasts are best for emotional, psychological, and spiritual health.

Is Fasting for You?

It may be difficult to believe so many benefits could result from simple fasting, however, the advantages have been extensively researched. Through experimentation, you will find the right approach for you.

For more on Alternate Day Fasting, Extended Fasting, Intermittent Fasting, and Fasting While Exercising, pick up your copy of the Recipes for Life Boxed Set.

Access your complementary FASTING recipe here.

Health Coach Rita Thomas and Chef Erin Holm hope to inspire families, friends and communities to live happier, healthier and more delicious lives.
Sign up for their weekly health and recipe blog to start your journey to good health.

Recipes for Life is dedicated to help nourish and educate vulnerable youth and support the building of healthy, vibrant communities.

Our philosophy is to share our ferocious passion for all things good and to empower people to find their own way of healthy living.