Tag Archives: Digestion

Categories Recipes, Snack

Vegan, gluten-free savoury crackers

Vegan, gluten-free savoury crackers

Author Shani - Lemon Tree Nutrition
I’m fascinated by chia seeds. These tiny little dot-size gems can absorb up to 10 times their weight in liquid! Once they become gelatinous, they can act as a thickener and an egg replacement in baking. In this simple & easy crackers recipe, chia seeds star alongside 2 more seeds which are all good sources of minerals such as calcium and zinc. They also provide protein and fibre as well as a good plant-based source of omega-3.
If you prefer non-savoury crackers, please read the notes at the bottom.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Baking 40 minutes


  • Medium bowl
  • Fork
  • Parchment paper
  • Large baking sheet


  • 1 cup chia seeds
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon pepper freshly ground


  • Heat your oven to 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C.
  • Prepare a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper, leaving about 1-inch edges of the parchment paper. Set aside.
  • In a bowl, place the chia seeds and pour in the 2 cups of water. Stir well with a fork and let sit for 10 minutes allowing the mixture to become gelatinous.
  • Add the pumpkin and sunflower seeds as well as the spices. Stir well.
  • Transfer the mixture to the baking sheet and smooth with a spatula ensuring the mixture is spread as evenly as possible, to allow consistent results.
  • Place the baking sheet at the centre of the oven and bake for about 40 minutes. The mixture should look dry and have a bit of golden colour on top. When tapping, it should feel hard to the touch and cracker-like feel.
  • When the cracker sheet is ready, remove it from the oven and transfer it to a cooling rack. Wait about 10 minutes or until you are able to hold the cracker sheet in your hands.
  • Break the crackers with your hands to the desired sizes and allow them to cool completely.
  • Place in an air-tight container and enjoy within up to a week with your favourite dip or spread.


These crackers can be made neutral-tasting or lightly sweetened instead of savoury.
For neutral, simply omit all spices. For sweetened, omit all spices and add 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon (optional).
Categories Recipes, Sip, Snack

Refreshing Pineapple-Mint Popsicles

Refreshing Pineapple-Mint Popsicles

Author Shani - Lemon Tree Nutrition
Popsicles can definitely be crowned as one of the summer’s best treats. They are sweet, refreshing and cooling. When I thought about a recipe to emphasize the cooling effect, I knew I had to incorporate some mint leaves. For a bright and zesty colour, I decided to combine it with pineapple. As both pineapple and mint can help with digestion, this popsicle is literally gut-friendly!
Total Time 10 minutes


  • Food processor or blender
  • Popsicles moulds


  • 1.5 cup pineapple chunks frozen or fresh
  • 1 ripe banana peeled
  • 8-10 fresh mint leaves stems removed
  • 1 cup water
  • A splash of maple syrup to taste


  • In a blender, place all ingredients and blend until smooth.
  • Carefully pour the blended liquid into the popsicle moulds and freeze for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  • When ready to enjoy, carefully remove the cover from the popsicle.
  • Enjoy on a hot summer day.
Categories Free Resources, Read

Smoothies – Why, what and how

You may have tried a smoothie in the past. Maybe smoothies are a big part of your food intake. You may have experienced the texture, the variety of flavours, colours and even gone further and bought a blender to prepare these at home. Whether you enjoy these frequently or once in a while – let’s chat about smoothies – Should we have smoothies? How often? Why? And what should they be made of to maximize their benefits?
A smoothie is a blended drink that normally contains a combination of fruits, vegetables, a preferred liquid (such as milk, water, etc.) and sometimes other ingredients.
To clarify, in this blog I will be referring to the smoothies that are made of wholesome products, as opposed to smoothies made of ice cream, or the ones containing high amounts of processed sugars or even alcohol.

Why - the reasons to have a smoothie

1. Convenience

You may have found yourself on a hot summer day wanting a cold slushy beverage while nurturing your body with some good nutrients, so you proceed to the next smoothie establishment and in minutes you have a cold, creamy, satisfying drink in your hand that you can take along with you on your walk, errands or while waiting for your child to finish their sports event.

2. Fibre

Fibre is a very important part of a healthy food intake. We need enough fibre daily for healthy bowel movement, nutrient absorption and to feel fuller and satisfied. While juicing has many great benefits, it removes the fibre content of the produce we are using. Smoothies keep the fibre intact and can help us reach our daily fibre intake goal.

3. Nutrition in a cup

Not everyone meets the minimum recommended number of fruits and veggies we should consume daily. Throw into your blender your favourite combo of fruits, veggies and greens, and you just got yourself closer to the daily quota.

4. Grab & go

Busy schedule? No time to sit down and have a proper meal? A smoothie to the rescue! A few pieces of frozen fruits, maybe a handful of greens, a scoop of protein powder and you basically have a meal in a cup.

5. A healthier alternative

Can you really compare a sweet & slushy, artificially coloured and full of chemicals drink from a fast food or convenience store to a homemade smoothie? And maybe there are times for the not-so-good-for-us option. However, depending on the ingredients, you can make your own smoothie that can satisfy any sweet tooth. Kids and adults alike can enjoy a cup full a slushy drink made entirely of fruits! Better? Absolutely.

6. Versatile

Chocolate? Vanilla? Fruity? Peanut butter? What is your favourite flavour? Smoothies can be made to fit our craving while nourishing and feeding our growling belly.

What - What makes a good, nourishing smoothie?

Smoothies are so versatile, we can make them taste however we want, or have them serve a different purpose each time. Need extra protein for the day? Add a scoop of protein powder to your smoothie. Didn’t have enough healthy fats today? Throw into your smoothie ½ an avocado, maybe a couple of walnuts or a teaspoon of coconut oil. No time for greens today? Toss a handful of spinach into your banana-pineapple mix and you’re good to go. The choices are endless.
While fruit smoothies are great, I personally see smoothies as an opportunity to give our body extra nutrients and maybe even add in some extra veggies to our daily intake.
We can easily make a smoothie extra nutritious by decreasing the number of fruits and replacing part of them with vegetables or leafy greens. The reason behind it is to allow our taste buds a break from overly sweet stimulation and to provide our body with extra nutrients from other ingredients than fruit.

How - should we incorporate more veggies into our smoothie?

There are a few ways to introduce more veggies and/or leafy greens into your smoothie:

1. Start small

There is no need to add 2 big handfuls of spinach to your smoothie and never have it again because it did not taste good. We should allow enough time for our taste buds to adjust to the new flavours. After all, we want to maintain a positive experience when drinking a smoothie. Start with a few leafy greens, ½ a cucumber or 1 stalk of celery and slowly increase the quantity when you feel ready.

2. Experiment

You may not be a fan of some veggies but when they are “hidden” in a smoothie, you may not know they are there. For example, you will not be able to tell the difference if you add 1-2 frozen florets of cauliflower to your smoothie.

3. An acquired taste

Sometimes you can do everything right and you still do not like the taste. Give it a couple more times and see if you can tolerate the new flavours as you have that smoothie again and again.

4. Think positive

by adding more veggies or leafy greens to your smoothies, you are adding tons of great benefits and nutrients too. Remember that as you sip.

Ready to experiment? Click here for some delicious and nutritious smoothies ideas.
Want to learn how to create your own smoothie from scratch? Click here for my blog ‘The 7 Pillars of a Healthy & Nourishing Smoothie’

Categories Free Resources, Read

The 7 Pillars of Smoothie Making

7 Pillars of Smoothie Making

Overwhelmed with what to put in your smoothie? I get it. With so many options, where do you begin? Get your copy to learn the basic pillars of smoothie making. Save time & hassle when you are looking for a healthy choice on the go.

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    Categories Free Resources, Read

    Foods For Stress Management

    What to Eat for Stress Management

    We all experience stress and sometimes turn to food to help us deal with it. There are certain foods that can help us manage stress better than others.
    Get your copy to learn about which foods can contribute, and which to avoid.

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      Categories Free Resources, Read

      Better Eating Habits in 6 Steps

      Yup, you read that right. A blog about how to do something that is natural, normal and the base of our existence – eating. Let me explain…

      I like to run. One day, on my quest to improve my running techniques, I was browsing some websites to get some insights from experienced runners and athletes. I was fortunate to run into an article (pun intended..) that was talking about the very basics of running. The article was quite interesting, but the very beginning of this article was where I had to pause a bit as I was having an Aha moment. It was talking about how we need to begin with learning how to walk properly before we learn how to run properly. It elaborated on posture, stride length, hip position, relaxed shoulders, movement of the arms etc., components that are important in running as well. It continued into saying that if you walk properly, it will most likely translate into running properly. What does that have to do with eating techniques? If you invest the time to look into your basic proper eating habits and the use of good methods, it could create the grounds for better digestion, portion control and nutrients absorption.

      Life can get hectic, a fact I am well aware of and experience daily. Like most moms to young children, I always felt rushed and couldn’t focus on my eating process as I had to pay attention to my kids, what they were doing or what they wanted. I learned to eat quickly, finding myself multitasking during a meal and already thinking about the next thing on our to-do list. While I’m extremely grateful for having my kids, I am well aware that motherhood sometimes doesn’t leave much time to focus on your own wills and wants. Now that the kids are older, and we, moms, can potentially pay more attention to our habits, maybe it’s a good opportunity to look into how we eat and see if there is a need for some improvement.

      What can we consider as good eating techniques?

      Here are some tips to help improve our basic eating methods. While realizing these are ideal and can be challenging to keep up with, we could hopefully strive to achieve some of these, practice them often and even turn them into habits.

      1. The eating environment

      The ideal environment would be a relaxed one, when possible. Sitting down to eat your meal can help your whole body focus on the process of digestion. Allocating enough time to enjoy the meal can contribute to a relaxed environment.
      In addition, feeling stressed may impact the digestion process therefore, taking a few deep breaths and trying to focus on positive thoughts can help calm down before starting a meal.

      2. Avoiding distractions

      Eating while doing other things may impact our digestion and healthy eating in more ways than we think. While reading a book, watching TV or scrolling social media on your phone are fun things to do, they should be separated from having a meal as much as possible. Not focusing on what we are eating may result in eating more than we need, affect digestion and take away the attention we should put on feeling full. 

      3. Chewing

      Other than providing our stomach with smaller food particles to digest and allowing enzymes to break down the food in our mouth, chewing thoroughly makes our meal extend over a bit longer period of time which may result in eating less. The brain releases hormones related to satiety 15-20 minutes after we begin eating. Therefore, if we eat fast, we may end up eating more than we need. Taking our time to chew our foods longer is definitely something we can benefit from.

      4. Mindfulness

      Having family and friends around the table is a blessing. Being able to share your food, or feed your loved ones is truly wonderful. Chatting with the people you care about, learning about their day or catching up is a very important part of our well being. During that time, when possible, try to dedicate a few seconds to focus on the food you are eating, the chewing process, taste & flavours spreading in your mouth, the aromas etc. As you are chewing your food, try to dedicate a few seconds to be mindful of the food you are eating. Eating mindfully takes time and practice but is a truly rewarding act.

      5. Lighting

      Having enough light to see the foods in front of you may start a healthy digestion process. Looking at the food, the colours, textures and layout is recommended. Take a few seconds to observe the food, smell it and appreciate it. This may help get the digestive juices going and allow our brain-gut connection to do its magic.

      6. Gratitude

      Having the ability to sit down for a meal is, sadly, not a given for everyone. Being grateful for having access to food, the ability to afford a meal and being able to eat it is good to acknowledge often. The famous Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman has shown in his research that being appreciative and thankful has a positive effect on our happiness which can have an effect on our health.