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Root vegetables are comfort foods from nature that we get to enjoy every fall, but they're also nutritional powerhouses. Here are the best nutrient-filled root veggies to add to your table, and the healthiest ways to cook them.
These jewel-toned bulbs are a marvellous source of antioxidants. Though you might think beets are too sweet to be good for you (certain varieties are used in sugar production), the root as a whole vegetable is super healthy. Beets' dark purple pigments support your body's natural detox process and may help fight cancer. The vegetables also contain the nutrient betaine, which is known to combat inflammation, a factor connected to many chronic illnesses. For the healthiest beet dish, keep the skins on and don't overcook them. Healthy pigments are lost through cooking, so the longer you steam or roast beets, the fewer phytonutrients you'll end up with.
Orange vegetables are known to be great for your heart, and carrots are no exception. A study found that carrot consumption was related to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. But that's not the carrot's only claim to fame. Its carotenoids, specifically beta-carotene and lutein, can help protect eyes to keep vision healthy later in life. Studies have also shown that carrots have promising effects on the prevention of colon cancer. While the orange variety have lots of benefits, switch it up once in a while to try red and purple carrots in order to benefit from different nutrients. When cooking carrots, try leaving the skin on, then steaming rather than boiling to avoid loss of nutrients.
These aren't your typical starchy root vegetables. Onions belong to the allium family, but they are roots too. Leeks and onions are potent with polyphenols. The vegetables are great for the heart, containing flavonoids that protect blood vessels and sulfur compounds that prevent clotting. They're also super anti-inflammatory, and packed with B vitamins like B6 and folate. Don't overpeel an onion. Some of the most concentrated nutrients occur in the outermost layers.
This knobby root might look intimidating, but it's worth it to get below the dirty, bumpy exterior. Celeriac, a member of the celery family, has a low caloric density, weighing in at just over 60 calories a cup. But there is no shortage of nutrients, including cancer-fighting antioxidants and bone-building vitamin K. Celeriac is a lower-calorie alternative to potatoes. Try mixing it half-and-half with your mashed potatoes—no one will ever know.
Sweet potatoes pack in a lot more nutrients than regular potatoes. They're brimming with vitamin A—more than the recommended daily value in half a cup. But that's not the only antioxidant you'll find in these. Sweet potatoes are also full of vitamin C and anthocyanins (particularly in purple sweet potatoes). They're also anti-inflammatory and, though they're sweet, they can actually help with blood sugar control. Skip the sugary toppings, but don't be afraid to add a little butter or oil when you bake or boil sweet potatoes. A small amount of fat will help you absorb all that vitamin A. And try using pureed cooked sweet potato in baking—such as muffins—the same way you would use pumpkin puree.
These peppery little vegetables are great for weight loss. With just 20 calories per cup, they add flavour and help fill you up without fattening you up! Full of vitamin C, fibre and potassium, as well as flavonoids called anthocyanins, they are great for your heart health. Radishes have long been used to help the body's natural detoxification process, aiding with the breakdown and removal of toxins (they also act as a diuretic, flushing out the kidneys). Enjoy radishes on salads, as crunchy crudités or roast them in the oven like potatoes.
Here's another vegetable that will let you feel like you're filling up on carbs without costing you too many calories. Turnip comes in at just over 30 calories a cup! Still, the root vegetable is surprisingly sweet, and you'll get plenty of vitamin C, fibre and potassium. Turnip contains phytonutrients called indoles, which may protect against colon cancer and even lung cancer, as well as glucosinolates, which may protect against prostate cancer. Turnip is typically roasted, but you can enjoy it many ways: thinly sliced turnip can be added to a slaw , it can go into soups or stews, or it can even be cubed and pickled.
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What to ask your doctor about Angelina's cancer surgery.
When Angelina Jolie writes about her personal health struggles in the New York Times, it makes a splash. In 2013, Jolie set off a media storm by writing about her double mastectomy and genetic predisposition for cancer, then wrote about a second surgery, this time to remove her ovaries and fallopian tubes, in 2015.
High drama, yes, but it’s hard not to admire her candour. Jolie writes that she is now in full menopause and using bio-identical estrogen patches and an IUD to replace the hormones she’s lost. That’s no small reveal for anyone, let alone an actress known for her vitality and sex appeal.
Jolie also added a note of caution, knowing that the "Jolie effect" is now a recognized factor in doctor-patient conversations and that her preventative surgeries are an extreme course of action.
"I did not do this solely because I carry the BRCA1 gene mutation, and I want other women to hear this. A positive BRCA test does not mean a leap to surgery," she writes.
On this point, Canadian doctors and cancer experts agree. High drama may be a good way to start a conversation but calm heads makes the soundest decisions.
A cancer doctor weighs in
Dr. Marcus Bernardini a surgical oncologist at Toronto’s Princess Margaret Cancer Centre at University Health Network told us there are a few things Canadian women should know in the wake of Jolie’s announcement:
1. There is actually no effective general screening for high-grade serious ovarian cancer and screening is not recommended.
2. Preventative surgery is recommended for high-risk women (those who carry the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation).
3. Jolie mentions a scenario in which only the fallopian tubes are removed (called a salpingectomy) for women who still hope to get pregnant. Dr. Bernardini calls this "an intriguing strategy," but for now the removal of the ovaries and fallopian tubes (a salpingo-oophorectomy) is the recommended course of action.
4. There are four questions Dr. Bernardini suggests discussing with your doctor if you have concerns raised by Angelina Jolie’s story:
- Am I at risk for ovarian cancer?
- Is there a history of ovarian cancer in my family?
- How does one find out if they are eligible for testing?
- I know there are different types of ovarian cancer, are all preventable in this way?
Family history is the starting point
Responding to the Jolie news this week, Gillian Bromfield, the director of Cancer Control Policy at the Canadian Cancer Society also pointed out that it’s important that people try to learn their family health history.
The group also has information for women with a known strong family history of breast and ovarian cancer, including information on genetic testing, and preventive strategies that may be available to them, she says.
"The decision to have a preventive surgery is a very personal one that a woman would make in consultation with her healthcare provider based on her medical history and her personal preferences," she says.
Here’s hoping Jolie’s candour leads to more information being shared – not more panic.
Read on for more information on menopause and genetic testing.
The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies Credits: James Tse Source: Canadian Living Magazine: September 2015
From ultra classic to new flavour combinations, we're sharing our very favourite chocolate chip cookie recipes.
Our best-in-class take on this classic treat has a buttery flavour, a chewy centre and a subtly crisp exterior. Oh, and you can tweak the recipe to make them crisp or soft, too.
Two buttery chocolate chip cookie doughs—one with an extra hit of chocolate—are baked together to make these scrumptious cookies.
Sneaking this wholesome ancient grain into a beloved oatmeal cookie is easier than you think. With just a hint of flavour and a light crunch, it blends in with the oatmeal and adds extra nutrition to a sweet snack. The cookies will turn out little softer and cakier than usual.
Canadian Living has published many chocolate chip recipes, but founding food editor Carol Ferguson's recipe, with a punchy hit of vanilla, is the standout.
Kids of all ages will love topping these chocolate chip–studded dark chocolate cookies with even more chocolate. It's a delicious, messy good time. Drizzle the chocolate using a resealable plastic bag with one corner snipped off, or just dip a fork in the chocolate and wiggle it over the cookies for a simple and fun alternative.
A chewy, buttery centre and crisp edge make this the ultimate oatmeal cookie. Quick-cooking rolled oats are the key to the well-loved, homey texture, so be sure to avoid instant oats, which will cause the cookies to spread too much.
The buttery-rich flavour of the macadamia nuts adds to the sweetness of these easy and classic drop cookies. The dough can be portioned and frozen to thaw and bake another day, making freshly baked cookies a possibility at any time.
These blueberry-studded cookies are a staff favourite at Canadian Living headquarters. Finely ground almonds replace some of the flour in the dough, adding extra nutty flavour.
These cookies may look intricate, but they couldn't be simpler to make. To create the green centres, place a log of the mint dough over top of the chocolate dough, and roll up. So easy!
Sweet chocolate chips and crunchy toffee bits give these buttery cookies a festive touch.
Rich dark chocolate and fragrant orange zest make these cookies ultra-sophisticated. Cardamom adds an aromatic note, but if you don't have any on hand, you can simply leave it out.
This straightforward recipe for the classic cookie has been in Canadian Living's recipe archive for decades. For a larger cookie, simply double the amount of dough per cookie and increase the baking time by a couple of minutes.
You will need to make this three times in order to have enough to make the fireplace. Bake and work with one sheet at a time, while it's still warm, cutting out the pieces for the fireplace. Once cooled, these cookie sheets are too brittle to cut smoothly.
From hearty casseroles, to tacos, meatloaves and pasta dishes, we share our favourite ground beef recipes.
Our quick mini lasagnas give you all the cheesy, hearty flavours of classic lasagna, without the time-consuming process of layering.
This tasty recipe is a quick fix when tacos just won't do. There is no rolling involved and each slice has a generous helping of thick enchilada sauce.
East meets West in these tasty little bites. We've doubled up on the spring roll wrappers, which provides extra crunch and prevents the filling from bursting out.
The beef and lentil combination gives the burgers a tender texture, and the jalapeno supplies a spicy kick.
A touch of horseradish adds zesty flair to classic meat loaf. Cooking the onion, celery and garlic before adding them to the mixture means the loaf is tender and evenly flavoured.
This kid-friendly dinner is made with ingredients most people keep on hand in the refrigerator and pantry.
This quick meal packs the addictive flavours of classic beef tacos onto crispy flatbread crusts. Go ahead and customize the recipe using any produce from your fridge.
Spinach adds extra nutrients to these juicy beef meatballs.
This tidy version of a sloppy joe is perfect for small hands. Serve the extra sauce on the side for dipping. Kids with bigger appetites will want to eat two!
Creamy mushroom sauce elevates meat loaf to new heights. A double dose of mushrooms – dried in the loaf and fresh in the sauce – is a dream for mushroom lovers.
Ginger, cumin and curry powder give this beef and rice dish some serioius flavour. This quick meal is perfect for weeknights, as it cooks in 30 minutes.
Layer after scrumptious layer of rich meat sauce, tender pasta and creamy cheese make this lasagna the best you'll ever have.
These bite-size meatballs are tossed in a retro sweet and sour sauce that everyone will love.
All you'll need to make this classic dish is some ground beef, a couple of onions and some pantry staples.
There's no need to choose between shepherd's pie and beef Stroganoff, thanks to this simple skillet dinner, which combines a creamy mushroom-and-beef filling with a smooth, buttery potato topping.
Fifteen minutes of prep time is all you need to make these flavourful muffin meat loaves.
Classic beef tacos are a real crowdpleaser and a family favourite. To feed more people, simply double or triple the recipe.