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Monday, 27 May 2013

Top 5 Benefits from the 10 Day Juice Cleanse & Frickin' FruitLuck!

Hi Everyone! Today is day 4 of re-introducing foods back into my diet!
 I broke my fast on Friday with....
Surprise Surprise!

I have been eating mostly fruit so far. Yesterday I incorporated some fruit veggies like tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini. My sisters and I went to Chris Kendell's Frickin' FruitLuck in Saskatoon- sooo much fun! I loved meeting new fruity and furry friends and sharing mangos, watermelon, bananas, oranges and smiles. 
(No durian - I might have to bring one next time!) 


We went to the farmers market after and scored some of the most amazing mini-cucumbers, tomatoes, and chard. I think I ate a whole bag of cucumbers on the way home...and a bag of tomatoes! For supper I made zucchini noodles with a simple marinara - fat free. I haven't added fats back in yet. I'm going to add in greens today and make a green smoothie for lunch! 

                                                     Farmers Market in Saskatoon

I believe that re-introducing foods is the most important part of the juice cleanse. You have the chance here to learn so much about your body. I have been introducing in foods slowly to listen to how each one effects how I feel. I will listen to how I feel right after eating, then I check in again about two hours after and ask myself: 

*How is my body feeling now?
*What is my energy level at?
*How is my digestion?
*Do I notice any headaches/other aches or pains?
*What kind of mood am I in?

Doing this you can learn what foods irritate your digestive system and your mood. 

Here are the top 5 benefits I noticed on my juice cleanse:

  1. Clear skin - Oh my gosh, my skin is glowing - with not a blemish or pimple in sight!
  2. Amazing reduction in allergies - I cannot believe how clear my sinuses are. Especially in the morning. I even went to help a friend paint her new house and it didn't even bother me. I am usually so sensitive that being in a house with paint fumes would have knocked me out for a week! I even sat by a campfire Saturday night!
  3. No scalp irritation! - Those pesky flakes and itchy scalp disappeared on my cleanse! I was thinking it was due to overt fats and I am so curious to see if they return when I add nuts and seed back into my diet!
  4. Detoxing physically and emotionally - I was able to let go of some emotional baggage that I was carrying around. The cleanse forced me to slow down and relax. I had the chance to sit with my thoughts and emotions instead of distracting myself with keeping busy! I lost about a pound a day - I look and feel great about my body. And I feel stronger durning my workouts at the gym now! I could do way more reps at TRX on Saturday - Bonus!
  5. Enhanced senses - like mental clarity and a super sharp sense of smell! I could smell every single odour in a room - I still haven't decided if this is a good or bad thing yet! Haha! ...It's actually a great thing because with the enhanced sense of smell comes an enhanced sense of taste - fruits and vegetables have so much more flavor! It has helped huge so far with reducing my cravings for salt. 

A popular question that I was asked was, 'Where do you get your protein on a juice cleanse?'

Answer: The same place that I get them when I'm not juice fasting - from GREENS! 

Green juices in particular are rather rich in protein – 10 grams per serving (16-20 glass). To put it in perspective, 1 ounce of meat, fish or poultry, 1 egg, 1 cup milk each have 6-8 grams of protein.

Here’s a list of several raw sources of protein you can juice:

• Asparagus
• Beet Greens

• Broccoli 
• Cabbage
• Cauliflower
• Collard Greens
• Kale
• Mustard Greens
• Spinach
• Swiss Chard
• Sprouts 
• Tomatoes
• Turnip Greens

If you have any questions, please comment below! I would love to hear from you!

Until next time, 

Lots of love and fresh squeezed hugs, 

Naturally Ashley

Twitter: Naturally Ashley @bananaavenue

Monday, 20 May 2013

Four Dogs and One Long Weekend

I hope everyone had a great long weekend!  I did! Lots was happening, I did a newborn photoshoot Sunday morning, my girlfriend from high school got married on Saturday, I worked the Carrie Underwood concert Friday and went out dancing with my sisters afterwards. All of which took it's toll on me, especaily because I am juice cleansing right now. I do not recommend staying up late while juice fasting! Sunday I felt hungover even though I didn't drink anything but water and pure grapefruit juice.

I did a video on Saturday about how I was feeling after getting annoyed at the dogs.
(Click here to watch -->
I have three dogs and I was babysitting my sister Nikki's Pyrenees/Shepard Lucy. Look at how pretty she is!

This is Chase. He is 17! 

 Gabby Girl 

Sir Winston Crumb  

With four dogs, I bet you can imagine that if one started barking all of them did- not great for nap time! I felt bad for my neighbours. And I wound up getting pretty mad a frustrated with them, opening the screen door to yell. When I did I noticed that my intestines became instantly inflamed. And since I am juice cleansing (and feeling great intestinally so far) I immediately knew there was a connection between the emotions I was choosing and the way my body felt. I was agitated and inflamed and so were my guts. It actually makes perfect sense now that I think about it and I am grateful for the lesson here - The next time my digestive system feels irritated and inflamed, I will not only stop to think about what I have ate, I will stop and think about what I am thinking, how I am feeling and check in with my emotions. Are these thoughts serving me? Or are they taking away from my inner peace and happiness.  How could I look at this differently? I could be grateful for the protection and unconditional love from 4 awesome pooches.

Just be LOVE people! Love yourself, Love your body, Love each other. And pay attention to your thoughts. If you find yourself in a challenging situation, turn around and ask what is the lesson here? What is the universe trying to teach me to help propel me forward. I am definitely more in touch with how my emotions and thought effect my body because of this cleanse.

Today is day 7 of 10! It feels great to get through a whole week and know there's only three days left. I have been sticking to Orange Juice, Green Juice and Coconut water but yesterday decided to make a sweet-treat juice out of longan fruit! It was tedious peeling and deseeding them but it was sooo worth it to get this sweet and silky juice. I used a whole bag with 1/4 cup of water blended in the Vitamix and strained with a nut-milk bag.  

Longan Juice!

I will be posting a wrap-up video on or after day ten to share my full experience with you! 

Lots of love and fresh squeezed hugs, 

Naturally Ashley

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Friday, 17 May 2013

Coconut Water Benefits

If I could pick one thing to drink for the rest of my life it would be 
Coconut Water!

I love this naturally sweet and hydrating beverage! Coconut water is the juice found inside of a young coconut. The clear liquid is sweet, containing natural sugars, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, enzymes, amino acids, cytokine and phyto-hormones, and is low in calories and fat. 

There are many benefits to drinking coconut water:

  • Coconut water is high in electrolytes and minerals that hydrate the body naturally, unlike the processed sugar-filled, dye-filled sports drinks. Coconut water is very refreshing and replenishing after a workout. It contains a good amount of electrolyte potassium which makes it super-hydrating! 
  • Research shows coconut water to have anti-aging properties as well as anti-carcinogen, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. 
  • Coconut water is great for those suffering from digestive problems with anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties that help fight off intestinal parasites, worms, some viruses and GI tract infections.  

  • Along with helping with digestion, coconut water boosts your metabolism and energy! Who doesn't want more energy?
  • Coconut water is a great source of vitamins and minerals such as potassium, sodium, phosphorous, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, zinc, B-complex.
  • Great for your heart and cardiovascular system - coconut water has been shown to regulate blood pressure and help increase HDL the good cholesterol.

What type of coconut water do I drink? 

  • You can buy young thai coconuts from the grocery store for about 2.50 each. It's the most affordable when compared to the bottled versions. This is how I mainly drink it. It's fresh and raw and full of nutrients. The only downside is that they come all the way from Thailand and are dipped in a sulphur-based preservative to keep them fresh as well as a fungicide. (If this grosses you out, there's preservatives and fungicide on lots of non-organic produce, I remember the first time I read fungicide on the side of a case of grapes!)  I leave the plastic on when cracking one open to help with this issue. I have heard that the ones from mexico aren't as bad so if you can find them you're golden! When choosing your coconut keep in mind that the young coconuts contain the most water.  They can look like the white one below or be green! The brown coconuts have very little water in them and are mostly meat.

  • My second choice would be the bottled Harmless Harvest Raw Coconut Water. But it's not available where I live :(
  • The best tasting bottled coconut water I can find is Taste Nirvana. It's amazing. If you have tried coconut water before and not liked it, I suggest you try this brand before tossing the idea out the window completely. It's the tastiest coconut water in the world! They even call it happiness in a bottle. Make sure to buy the pulp-free one if you want to avoid the chunks of coconut meat. 

What type of coconut water is your favorite??

Thanks for reading, try a fresh coconut today!

Naturally Ashley

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Friday, 10 May 2013

Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing

Naturally Ashley's Gluten-free, Raw, Vegan Creamy Caesar Salad Dressing
Makes 1 1/2 cups
1 medium zucchini, peeled
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 of an avocado
1/2  teaspoons mustard powder
2 green onion tops
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper and dash of sea salt (optional)
Put all ingredients in a high-speed blender or a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour generously onto your salad or use as a dip. I like to use it as a sauce for my zucchini noodles too! It's so creamy and savoury. 
I made this for supper tonight and half way through eating it, I added some chopped apples and tomatoes, making it over-the-edge awesome!!! 
I just can't get enough summer salads, I'm so excited that the sun is finally here! I often hear people talking about how they get bored of salads but I find that there are thousands of ways to combine natures sweet fruits and veggies to come up with different tastes and flavours to suit any mood. I'll be sharing my salad combinations as the summer goes along! 
Thanks for reading, 
Keep it phresh, 
Naturally Ashley
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Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Fruit of the Week: Saskatoon Berry

Saskatoon's are coming!

I have a sweet spot for saskatoon berries, but not just because they are sweet. I have lovely memories of my grandpa taking me and my sisters saskatoon berry picking (and eating) when we were kids. We did a lot more eating than picking and at the end of the afternoon had 1/4 of an ice cream pail compared to grandpas full pail. He'd look at our purple-stained hands and corners of our mouths, shake his head and smirk, then load us back into the truck to take our pitiful pails back to the cabin where grandma would make saskatoon pie. It took all of my will power not to eat the 1/4 pail of berries on the way home! 

Saskatoon berry season starts the second week in June and I am already excited. I haven't went saskatoon berry picking in a long time and was delighted to find frozen saskatoon's at a the Co-op grocery store last week. 

Saskatoons are antioxidant rich fruit, high in fibre and a great source of essential vitamins and minerals - containing vitamins A, B6, C and E, calcium, iron, thiamine, folate, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, chloride and manganese. 

Saskatoons are also know as juneberries, shadberries and serviceberries. And were initially called misaskwatomin or misaskquahtoomina by the Cree Indians meaning "fruit of many branches."

Bonus fact: I just found this out today - Saskatoon berries are purple and look very similar in color and size to a blueberry, but surprisingly are more related to the apple family and considered a 'pome.' 

Saska-Blue Berry Smoothie

1 cup frozen saskatoon berries
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
2 bananas
3 leaves of kale
1 cup of coconut water (or the water from one young thai coconut)

Blend them all together for a sweet, nutrient-dense, and filling smoothie. A great way to start your day!

Lots of fruity love

Naturally Ashley

Monday, 6 May 2013

How To Get Healthy on a Gluten-Free Diet! Plus Savoury Wild Rice Recipe With Sweet Potato

Gluten-free living is becoming quite trendy - which is great! You can go to a restaurant and ask for their gluten-freindly menu and even find gluten free packaged foods at your regular grocery store. But be warned - Just because a product is labelled gluten-free, doesn't mean it's healthy or good for you. A lot of these products are highly processed, high in fat, preservatives, sugar and other ingredients you may not be able to pronounce.

If you've just been diagnosed with celiac disease or told that you have a gluten intolerance, it may feel like there is nothing you can eat anymore... NOTHING! You're living on salads and starving all the time, realizing afterwards that even the salad dressing you love the most has gluten in it!  So there you are, feeling like all you can eat is lettuce and cardboard... (is cardboard gluten-free?) ...and then you take a trip to the health food store and discover an abundance of gluten-free packaged foods. Now you can eat bread, bagels, muffins, cookies, pizza, all the things you loved before.

BUT your body is trying to tell you something with these auto-immune responses, allergic reactions and intolerances. It's telling you to STOP putting junk into your body. And for many people they need to clean out more than just gluten to heal their body, including dairy and processed foods. Processed foods are very hard to digest, even the gluten-free ones.

When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease I did pretty good at avoiding the processed gluten-free foods, but they eventually, one-by-one, creeped their way into my fridge and into my diet. I was a lazy university student and it seemed easier to grab a bagel or a muffin than to prepare a nutritious meal, and I didn't have to read labels because they had gluten free stamped on the front. YES! But I was soon addicted and gorging on these foods, eating more than I would have normally. I didn't even like breads and bagels until I couldn't have them anymore. It's funny how that affected my appetite and taste for them. I felt heavy and bloated from all the muffins, bagels, and bread that I was eating, ignoring this because I felt sorry for myself. - Little did I know back then, I could just eat fruit! It's quick and easy with little or no prep involved. How hard is it to grab and eat a few bananas for breakfast. Or pack a green smoothie for lunch?

Then I did something different, I started looking at the labels on the gluten free food and reading the other ingredients on labels, not just looking for the gluten-containing items. I wondered what BHT was and food color #4, and monosodium glutamate, which is MSG! I also found that the muffins, breads and bagels were full of fat, and more fatty than a regular gluten-containing muffin. If you put enough fat and sugar into a muffin, you COULD probably make it from cardboard and it would taste good! Sweet, fatty cardboard muffins....should I experiment with this??? Ha!

These processed foods are not only heavy on your waistline, but heavy on your wallet, usually costing more money than their gluten-containing counterparts. And you don't NEED these foods to be healthy or thrive on a gluten-free diet. 

In summary, I 100% believe in eating gluten-free and sticking to it, especially if you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. We can do this in a healthy way by eating a diet of mostly fruits and veggies, some nuts and seeds, rice, beans and homemade dressings, soups, and sauces. Whole foods for the win! Take my advice and skip the junk, or save it for special occasions. It never tastes as good as the original anyways.  It may take some time for adjustment, but you will feel amazing and your body will thank you for it.

What are you waiting for...go stock up on some fresh fruit and veggies. If it's not in your fridge, how can you eat it?!

Spice up your Rice Recipe! 
Try using coconut water and spices to kick up your wild rice. I like to add flavor, not salt, to my rice and you can skip the salty soy sauce with this recipe! It's way better for you than the msg filled, high salt, preservative laden Side Kicks! 

Savoury Wild Rice and Sweet Potato 


1 cup coconut water
1 1/4 cup water
1 sweet potato
1 cup Lundberg wild rice mixture
1 TBSP  basil
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander or fresh cilantro if you have it
Dash of sea salt - optional


  1. Wash, peel and chop up the sweet potato into small cubes.
  2. Bring the coconut milk and water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  
  3. Add rice, potatoes and spices. 
  4. Stir once and cover with a lid. 
  5. Turn temp down to mid-low and simmer for 45-50 minutes.  Take off burner and fluff with a fork. Recover and let stand 10 minutes. 

*If using a different brand of wild rice, be sure to follow the cooking time on the packaging instructions. 

Thanks for reading! Try adding coconut water to your rice recipes for extra flavor tonight!

Keep it fresh, 
Naturally Ashley

Friday, 3 May 2013

Zesty Cinqo de Mayo Recipes featured on Global Regina

I had such a great time today on Global Regina Morning News talking with Rustie Dean about healthy Mexican-inspired recipes for the upcoming Cinqo de Mayo! Rustie, Heather and Erin are so sweet and lovely. Thank you ladies for making me feel so welcomed and comfortable for the show.  Here are the four recipes I shared during the segment. All the recipes are gluten-free, dairy-free, plant-based, vegan and mostly made of raw fruits and veggies. Great for your Cinqo de Mayo Party or any night of the week! Anyone can make these simple healthy recipes.

Fresh Avocado Zucchini Guacamole
The first recipe is a fresh avocado and zucchini guacamole - By adding zucchini, we need less avocado and can cut the fat in half. The zucchini also adds to the creaminess, taking on the flavor of the avocado and spices. Avocados are a good fat, but indulging in too much puts extra strain on our digestive system and can leave us feeling heavy and tired. The tortilla chips were homemade from brown rice tortillas and coconut oil, with mexican spices. By making your own you chips can control the amount of salt, the type of oil, and other ingredients that go into them. Plus they are baked and not fried! They only take 15 minutes from prep to finish... and it stops you from opening and potentially eating the whole bag of chips! If you only make one tortilla, you only eat one tortilla!

Guacamole Ingredients

2 avocados
1 zucchini- peeled and chopped 
1 garlic clove
1 small lime, juiced
1 tsp cumin

1 tomato, diced
¼ red onion, diced
1/4 cup chopped Cilantro 

In a food processor or high speed blender, blend the avocado, zucchini, garlic, cumin and lime together until smooth. Stir in tomatoes, onion and garnish with cilantro. Serve with freshly made tortilla chips and enjoy!

Homemade Crispy Tortilla Chips

2-3 brown rice tortilla wraps
coconut oil
1 tsp basil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix spices together and set aside. Lay out your tortilla shell on a baking pan lined with parchment papaer. Spread coconut oil on in a thin layer to the tortilla using your hands or a pastry brush. Cut into 12 wedges and sprinkle your chili seasoning on top! Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Let cool and crunch away! You can play with the spices for different flavors, or squeeze some lime on them for added zing!

Zesty Taco Lettuce Wraps
I love these healthy Zesty Taco Lettuce Wraps. What do I love about the taco wraps... What don't I love!? They are made entirely of fresh fruits and veggies and so incredibly delicious. I make the taco seasoning from scratch and use chopped cremini mushrooms as the meat replacement. Top with your favorite taco toppings for a fresh, crunchy, zesty meal.

Taco Shells
Romaine lettuce leaves- washed and dried 

Taco 'Meat'
1 small container of cremini or white button mushrooms - chopped finely 

Taco Dressing
3 medjool dates, soaked in ½ cup water for ½-1 hour until soft
1 green onion chopped
1 garlic clove
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp bell pepper flakes
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp coriander

1 avocado, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
¼ red onion, chopped
1/2 lemon

Blend all of the ingredients together for the Taco Dressing, including the water from the dates, in a food processor or high speed blender until smooth. Pour over mushrooms and stir until mixed well. Let them marinate for an hour and then serve on fresh romaine lettuce boats, topped with fresh avocado, onion, tomatoes. Finish by squeezing some fresh lemon juice over top of your tacos and enjoy! You can add chopped cilantro, salsa, pico de gallo or guacamole. 

Spicy Black Bean Brownies Recipe
Anybody can make these easy Spicy Black Bean Brownies, inspired by spicy mexican hot chocolate! All you need to make this spicy chocolate treat is a brownie mix and a can of black beans. I'm serious! I used a gluten-free brownie mix from the health food store and a can of black beans. The only directions you follow on the brownie mix are the oven temperature settings and baking times. The can of black beans replaces the oil and eggs in the brownies, making them moist and chewy, high in fibre and low in fat. Adding in the cayenne pepper and cinnamon gives them a spicy, mexican kick that will intrigue your taste-buds.

1 can black beans
 (15.5 oz)
1 dry brownie mix (20 oz)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp cinnamon 

It doesn't get any easier than this. Blend UNDRAINED black beans in food processor or blender until smooth. Mix in with brownie mix, adding the cayenne pepper and cinnamon and stir until well blended.  If you like them really spicy you can add 1/4 tsp of more cayenne pepper. Pour into a greased 8x8 baking pan and follow the package directions for baking temperature and bake time. Let cool for 5 minutes, sprinkle cinnamon on top and gently rub it in. You won't believe how good these are!

I hope you get a chance to try these simple, healthy recipes this weekend. Throw a Cinqo de Mayo Party for your friends and family and wow them with your new recipes. They will be impressed!

Thanks again to the lovely ladies on the Global Regina Morning New Show. I can't wait to do this again!
Lots of Love and Fresh Squeezed Hugs!

Ashley Clark
Holistic Health Coach
Naturally Ashley Nutrition

Ashley Clark is a Health Coach, Artist, Photographer and the owner/operator of Naturally Ashley Nutrition. “I am bananas about holistic health and nutrition!" I want to help you create a happy, healthy lifestyle in way that is flexible, fun and lasting. Healthy living isn’t just about the food you eat  – Primary ‘Food’ is important too, like finding a career you love, relationships, and connecting to your spirituality. Love your Life, Love your Food, Love YOU! 
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