How to make homemade nut milk

– Healthy Milk Alternatives –

by Leena Athparia, ND
Dairy products are increasingly becoming a source of concern with the current state of the dairy industry.  Many of us simply cannot digest milk or experience health concerns that range from digestive upset, cramps, eczema, mucous and more.
Recently there has been a surge of alternative nut-based “milks”, also known as ‘nut mylks’ to cater to the growing demand of dairy alternatives. These are made from sources such as almond, sunflower, soy, hemp, coconut and cashew.
However, store-bought nut milks may contain preservatives, sugar and other additives, so it’s best if you can make your own.  It’s not that difficult once you get practice, and it is cheaper. I personally like almond milk and am including a recipe here. Almonds are a great source of calcium & protein, have a sweet, pleasant taste and are easy to digest.

Make your own Almond Nut Milk:

 1. 1/2 cup almonds – soak overnight
2. Rinse & peel (if you’re really tight for time, you can skip peeling)
3. Blend in the blender with 2 cups of water – it can be cold water or hot water if you want warm milk (best in a glass blender)
4. For extra taste try adding a pinch of: 
    – Cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, or cocoa powder – and blend again.
5. Sweetener – maple syrup, honey, or dates if desired

For an Indian twist – try heating the almond nut milk with a pinch of saffron, and then add honey at the end for an evening drink. No need to strain unless you prefer a smooth texture.

(Best made fresh, but may be kept in the fridge for a few days)

Enjoy hot or cold, or use as a base for smoothies !


Spring Detox? Here are the top 5 herbs

by Yuri Murakami, naturopathic doctor

Doing a gentle detoxification (detox) is a helpful way to recover the body’s vitality, especially the people with chronic disease like sinus congestion, mild allergy, fatigue, over weight, and so on. It can also help to prevent further worsening of the condition.

There are many ways and school of thoughts to do detox, but the very basics are the same. First step is to avoid the toxins that go into the body by eating healthy food for example, and second is to support the body to eliminate toxins efficiently.

Many herbs can be used to help the body effectively removing toxins and here are Top 5 common herbs for the detox.

fern-1429164-m1. Dandelion
Both root and leaves of dandelion can be used for the purpose of detox. Root is an excellent supporter for the liver to heal, protects from the damage and also stimulates the bile flow to improve digestion and weight loss by removing toxins. Leaves can be eaten as salad or lightly steamed. It is high in potassium, and is a good diuretic to support the kidneys.

2. Schizandra
Schizandra berries are one of the multi tasking herbs that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for ages. this herb supports all the pathways (Phase 1 & 2) for the liver detox. It has been used to treat in severe liver issue by normalize liver enzymes and regenerating the liver. It can be also used to adapt to stress easily by increasing endurance. Schizandra is also high in vitamin C and E to fight the free raicals.

3. Milk thistle 
This herb is well known for benefiting the liver, but it also helps the spleen, kidneys and digestion. There are a number of studies have done on the milk thistle and its therapeutic use. The most amazing fact about this herb is its ability to protect the liver such from chemotherapy, free radicals, heavy metals to name a few. It also help to regenerate the liver, and able to increase glutathione level in the body by 35%! 

4. Turmeric
Turmeric is another powerful liver detox herb and also known as a anti-inflammatory herb used commonly in treating jaundice, rheumatoid arthritis, and IBD. It has been also getting attention on its anti-cancer effect. It is a bitter in taste which stimulate both digestion and the gallbladder function. There are number of both traditional and new recipes that you can enjoy turmeric more in your food!

5. Marigold Flower
This beautiful orange flower is like a sunshine in the early spring melting down the snow. The main action is de-congesting lymphatic system and liver by removing toxins and inflammation. It is also a healer for the heart, skin, uterus, and veins.

We have a special herbal tea blend, “Rainbow Detox” that includes some of the herbs above and supports a variety of organs  for safe toxin removal available at our naturopathic clinic in Danforth, Toronto for $10. Contact us for the purchasing detail: or 416-466-5773

Stress, Fatigue, or IBS? – these herbal teas can help!


923814_joyThis holiday season, we are happy to introduce our new medicinal herbal teas – Yuri’s Village Herbal Teas! Plants have been used as medicine since ancient times, and can bring gentle yet effective benefits. Herbal teas are a wonderful way to bringing balance & health this winter!

Yuri’s Village Herbal Teas are available in 9 different assortments geared towards common health concerns. These can also be used for general health & prevention. These are fresh loose-leaf teas, sourced from predominantly Canadian organic herbs. Naturally caffeine-free except for those containing Cocoa nibs (Winter chocolate). Learn more about our teas below:


This multicolored tea incorporates 8 different flowers, roots, leaves & fruits to detox. Supports liver & kidney detoxification, blood cleansing and stimulates lymphatic drainage. Can be used as a gentle daily detox tea that has a mild taste.


Calm your nerves & soothe your digestion with this herbal tea made with 4 of the top herbs for nervous system & digestive tract. Great for people with IBS, gas & bloating, and people that are eating on the go. Great tea for holiday overeating!


A beautiful calming & heart nourishing tea – made with hawthorn, holy basil, rose buds and more. Strengthens the heart & can lower blood pressure. Also has a gentle calming and cooling effect.


Fruity tea for kids – with chunks of mango & orange peel, this is a great replacement to sugary drinks and artificial juices. A great way to rehydrate kids who are active, and warm them in the winter. Rich in antioxidants, minerals & vitamins. Sweeten naturally if desired with stevia, maple syrup or honey.


A calming and uplifting tea to help wind down at the end of the day, or to relax the nerves on busy days. In larger amounts, can support sleep. Skullcap additionally supports tense muscles and lemon verbena adds a delicious lemon flavour.


Rich in antioxidants, this chocolately tea is reminiscent of an after dinner mint chocolate. A natural alternative to hot chocolate, with cacao skin & nibs and a hint of mint and orange. A great tea for after dinner.

7) DAILY IMMUNEherbal teas

Support the immune system and increase resilience to stress with astragalus and codonopsis in this formula. Elderberries fight cold & flu and provide antioxidants and Vitamin C along with Goji berry. Naturally sweet & delicious.


This tea is rich in minerals which supports bone health as well as hair & nail health, general fatigue or weakness. High in Vitamin C with Rosehips, Silica with Horsetail and tonic herbs such as Red clover and Alfalfa.


A tea for pregnancy & breastfeeding and overall women’s health. Contains mineral-rich herbs as well as herbs that support breastfeeding.

General Directions: For daily wellbeing, use approx 1-2 tsp or herbs steeped in boiling water for 15-20min. For long-term use for specific health concerns, it is best that you consult with your Doctor/Naturopath.

Healthy Shopping List on a Student Budget

I believe the true healthy eating is accomplished when it becomes the habit. To build the good habit, it is the best starting at early age. So I believe it is very important for children to be a part of meal preparation; not just healthy cooking, but also healthy shopping, and if possible, growing the food. This early ingraining of healthy habits really help to continue support the wellness even when they leave home — like university/collage time.

salad-dish-1366992-mFor students to eat healthy, they need to know how to cook, but also essentially what to buy in their budget! So here is a guide to help the students, but also can be for anyone, to have healthy food shopping according to own budgets!

This is also an honest, but helpful tips on “How to Eat Healthy” by York University Student on TED >> Click to watch the Video

General Guide:

  • Vegetables are your friends! It is low in cost and high in nutrients
  • Instead of buying frozen food or vegetables, freeze them by yourself (left over can be frozen in one portion, vegetables in season/ or on specials can be bought and steamed to freeze, berries can be freeze directly)
  • Check before heading to the cashier, do you have a colourful shopping basket? — Try to have at least 4 different colours in your shopping basket (green, yellow, red, and orange etc).
  • Whenever possible, chose organic, locally grown food in season especially for fruits, meat, and dairy. — Make a habit of  choose at least one item in organic etc.
  • Go to shopping when you are not hungry or with high cravings – This really helps not to choose fast, ready-made food, junk foods, or other unhealthy food
  • Read the ingredients: Buy the products with foods in ingredients. — “If you cannot pronounce the name of ingredients, then don’t buy them!”

Recommended Guide (underlined ones are especially budget friendly and high in nutrition):

Fresh Vegetables
Dark Green (Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, Romaine, Collards etc)

Green (Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Green Bell Peppers, Asparagus, Avocado, Cabbage, Celery, Green Beans etc)
Dark Orange/Yellow (Butternut & Acorn Squash, Zucchini, Carrots, Pumpkins, Sweet Potatoes)
Red (Tomatoes, Red Peppers, Beets,)
Starchy (Potatoes, Corn)

Fresh Whole Fruit (Apple, Orange, Pear, Banana, Grape, Pineapple, Mango, Papaya, Kiwi, Melon, Lemon etc)
Berries (Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries etc)

Whole Wheat Bread, Tortillas etc
Brown Rice
Whole Wheat Pasta, Couscous
Millet – millet is much cheaper than quinoa, and you can substitute millet for most of quinoa recipe!

Fresh or Frozen meat
Bones, Organ Meat (Liver, Kidney etc) – learn how to make the gourmet pâté, bone soup etc, these are actually quite exciting food items!
Fresh or Canned Fish
Dairy – Eggs are especially versatile and budget friendly protein
Dried or Canned Beans & Lentils – recommend to cook dried beans in a large quantity,  and freeze them.

Healthy Fats & Oils
Nut Butter without sugar
Nuts & Seeds (Cashews, Pistachios, Walnuts, Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds etc)
Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Butter – for cooling, for salad etc

Fresh or dried herbs (you can also grow your own!)
Apple Cider Vinegar – if you have this and oil, no need of salad dressings!
Condiments: try to make your own as much as you can also read the label

Refreshing Summer Smoothies & Juices

Summer is a great time to increase some raw food in your diet. You don’t have to go completely raw, but at least try to have one meal raw to start. Refreshing summer smoothies is a great start!

 Glass With JuiceJuice and Smoothies can be a refreshing raw breakfast or snacks to clench your thirst while nourishing your body with vitamins & minerals. Most of the commercially prepared one are, unfortunately, not recommended. The good news is, making juice and smoothies are simple and fun! You can prepare the fruits and vegetables for children and they can have fun with making own combination. Children can benefit homemade juice without added sugar to regain the taste buds, too.

Here are some recipes with focus on summer vegetables and fruits to inspire you this summer!

Recipes (2 servings)

All listed here are just ingredients. Use juicer to make juice and powerful blender to make smoothies.

1) Cooling Smoothie & Juice

  • Hydration Juice: 6 cups of watermelon (cubed, remove seeds), 1 English cucumber (cut in few pieces), and 1 fresh lime without peel
  • Hawaiian Sunshine: 1 cup pineapple (cubed), 1 cup mango (pealed, without pit), 1/2 cup coconut water, and 1 orange without peel

2) Weight Loss  Juice

  • Green Diuretic & Detox: 2 green apples (cored), 1 stalk celery, 1/2 cucumber, 1 cup ice, 1/2 lemon without peel, handful of parsley spinach, kale,  and lettuce
  • Pink Lemonade: 2 pink grapefruits, 1 cucumber, 1 cup coconut water, 1 lemon without skin

3) Protein Rich Smoothies

  • Banana Strawberry Almond Cream: 1 ripe banana, 1 cup strawberry, 1 cups unsweetened almond milk, 2 tbsp almond flour(powdered almond), 1 cup plain yogurt, and 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • Avocado, Mango & Green: 1 avocado (peeled and without pit), 2 mangoes (peeled and without pit), 1 cup spinach, 1/2 pain Greek yogurt, 1 lime without skin


Hypoallergenic: Rhubarb “Tomato” Sauce

Most of us know all of the vegetables are good for you, but not all of us know that some vegetables can have  a negative effect especially if you suffer from aches and pains. There is a specific vegetable group call nightshades (Solanaceae in Latin) that contains toxic substance, solanine.  You may have or have not heard […]

Soffritto – An Instant Aromatic Soup Stock

I learned Soffritto from a Japanese chef, who are trained in Italian Food (her blog, Chisa’s Pastry, in Japanese). Ever since she told me how to make soffritto, this has been my favourite thing to use for soups. Soffritto is a sauteed aromatic vegetables originated in Italian cuisine (and similar things exist in many European cuisine with different name). It can be used as a base of a variety of meal such like soup, stew, source, and casserol.

home-cooking-765656-mWhile she taught me the traditional style, I tend to add a few more aromatic vegetables to give extra taste and nutrients. So in this recipe, I will write the traditional recipe and also my extra vegetable version.

As I mentioned, I like using soffritto for the base of the soup instead of vegetable stock especially when I am making vegetarian or vegan soup. It gives gentle sweetness and delicate yet rich taste that you cannot achieve with regular vegetable stock. A great tip for soffritto is always make it in a large quantity, and freeze in smaller portion for using it later. When you have this in freezer, it makes your dish to be flavourful instantly!

If you have a food processor, then soffritto is so easy to make!

Ingredients for the Basic Soffritto (for 4 servings of Soup)

  • 2 medium Onion
  • 2 stalks Celery
  • 1 large Carrot
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Sea salt and pepper

Direction: chop all the vegetables finely or use food processor to make them into fine pieces (finer pieces are much easier to use for sauce). In a pan, place the olive oil and add all the vegetables, salt and pepper and gently saute in low medium heat. Cover the top to help the vegetables not to dry out, mix occasionally  and continue saute until all are soft, melting, golden colour. (note: Try not to brown the vegetables)

Extra Vegetable Soffritto (for 4 servings of Soup)

  • 1 medium Onion
  • 1 stalk of Celery
  • 1 medium Carrot
  • 2 cloves of Garlic
  • 2 leaves of Cabbage
  • a handful Parsley
  • 1/2 medium Parsnip
  • 3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Sea salt and pepper

Direction is same as above.

When you use soffritto, you can simply use this as a replacement of any “onion” in the ingredients (such like for soup, pasta sauce, risotto, chili, etc). Check my Rhubarb “Tomato” Sauce for one idea of using soffritto.

Gluten Free Breton Crêpe

My husband is from Brittany in France, where many of known foods and desserts are originated from.  Among them, crêpe is I believe the most well known one. In their region, crêpe is not just a breakfast/brunch food with a lot of sweet things on, but they use crêpe like a tortilla or roti, and just wrap anything (from seafood, pork sausages, to all kind of cheese!) and eat as a meal. They also use buckwheat flour as a main part of the crêpe batter which is a great option as a *gluten-free menu!

imageThere is something about crêpe that makes all of us feel happy and special. Even for children who are doing gluten-free menu, this is a good idea to feel not being limited in their diet option. Once I made crêpes for our daughter’s birthday party, although she was still too young to eat crêpe, all the guests enjoyed them! 

The key to make crêpe to be a healthy meal, choose the topping wisely! You can have things like fresh salad with smoked salmon, grilled vegetables with chicken, sautéed mushroom, spinach with cheese, nut butter with fresh fruits etc to make it complete and nutritious. 

*Note: Buckwheat can be processed in a same facility where they process gluten containing flour. To be completely gluten free, choose the one it has the label with gluten free certificate. Also please note that some people are sensitive to buckwheat itself.

Ingredients (4-6 crêpes):

  • 4 large eggs
  • 8 oz milk of your choice
  • 4 ounces buckwheat flour
  • 1 tbsp tapioca or arrowroot starch (or non- GM corn starch) — this is to bind the flour well and make crêpe much more easy to wrap without breaking
  • good pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter (you can also use coconut oil, ghee or olive oil) 


Beat the eggs well, add milk and whisk well. Add the buckwheat flour, tapioca starch and salt, whisk them together fully (since this is gluten-free, mixing well does not make the batter stickier!). Let it sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours or so. 

Cooking the crêpes:

Set a large cast-iron skillet over low heat and slowly bring it up to medium-high heat. Whisk the butter fully again to make the batter to mix all well. Put some of the butter in the hot skillet. When the oil has melted, swirl in some of the crêpe batter. Tilt the skillet back and forth until the batter covers the entire surface. When the edges are set and starting to curl up from the pan, about 30 seconds to 1 minute, run a metal spatula under all the edges of the crêpe. Flip the crêpe. Cook for 30 seconds then turn the crêpe out onto a cutting board or plate.


This crêpe batter recipe is modified version of recipe from Gluten-Free-Girl and Chef. She has a quite a nice writing about the ratio for crêpe batter. With this you can experiment with different type of flour (like mix of quinoa, amaranth, brown rice, coconut or almond) to make your own special crêpe! I have not tried raw buckwheat flour yet in this recipe, but sounds like a fun things to try next time!

Sweet Carrot Crunch Salad

by Leena Athparia, ND.

It can be challenging incorporating salads in the winter, when we feel like hot foods.  Nonetheless, vegetables are important to add into the diet and a portion of raw food can help provide enzymes, fibre and nutritients we need that sometimes get reduced by cooking. Root vegetable salads are a perfect addition to the meal especially during the colder months with carrots, pumpkin, beets.

In Ayurvedic medicine, all the different tastes are combined into a meal, including some sweet. When we incorporate a natural sweet into the meal, you won’t crave a sweet dessert afterwards. For people that crave sweets, this is perfect !

Always best to serve the salad at room temperature (not straight out of the fridge which is too cold). try taking the ingredients out of the fridge a few hours before you prepare the salad.For people who have colder constitutions, increase the ginger & pepper.  This will help warm you up since it reduces the cooling effect of raw food!

  • 1 large Carrot
  • 1 medium Apple
  • 1/2 cup Chopped pineapple (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Grated coconut (fresh is best – or dry organic)
  • 1/4 cup Dates
  • 1/4 cup Roasted peanuts (or almonds or sunflower seeds)
  • 1/4 cup Roasted or raw sesame seeds


  • 1 Orange
  • 1 Lemon (juice of)
  • 1-2 tbsp Honey (raw, unpasteurized)
  • 3 tbsp Olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper, coarsely ground, to taste
  • Grated ginger (optional)

Preparation Method:Salad:

  • Wash the carrot, peel, and finely chop it.
  • Wash the apple and chop it into small squares.
  • Chop the peanuts and dates into small pieces. Mix them with the chopped carrot, apple, and pineapple, together with some grated coconut, and roasted sesame seeds.


  • Juice the orange and lemon or lime.
  • In a small glass bowl, whisk together the orange and lemon/lime juices, honey, salt, and pepper.
  • Holding the measuring cup of olive oil about 30 cm above the bowl, pour the oil in a thin, steady stream, whisking constantly.

Pour the dressing on the salad ingredients, mix well, and serve.

Sandwich Ideas for Busy People

September has started! This fall, I hope you to try not to say “busy” as an excuse of healthy eating including your daily lunches! 

Here are some ideas of easy, tasty sandwiches with healthy ingredients. Sandwich is one of the easiest items that you can bring to office or school, and it can be prepared quickly in a morning! Especially these recipes below does not need to use oven; just cut, spread and put them together! It may be faster than waiting on the long line at the “fast food” restaurant at lunch time. You will surprise how much money you save on your lunch too! 

This recipe is for busy people who do not cook often. So we will utilize the premade condiments such as pesto and olive tapenade. To make it even healthier, have fun with making your own condiments on weekend, too!

Some tips for making the sandwich relatively fast yet healthy are:

  1. Use “heavy” bread like multi-grain, rye, or whole-wheat bread, and not fluffy one: get the one with a lot of nuts and seeds so the bread itself is packed with nutrients and fiber, yet low in glycemic index. Gluten free bread and wrap are also good alternatives. 
  2. Check the ingredients on your condiments well: try to get the freshly made condiments, and the one with as little synthetic ingredients as possible! Especially avoid on high fructose corn syrup, monosodim glutamate and food colourings.
  3. Use the left over dinner well: if you are cooking chicken, grilled vegetables, or guacamole for dinner, then cook a little extra! Many things can be changed into a nice sandwich!
  4. Do your shopping wisely & widely: on a weekend, you can do a fun trip to the farmer’s market, local bakery, and local deli to get fresh homemade products. Even if you buy a high end products, most likely you will save money by not buying lunch everyday!
  5. Bring additional veggie sticks: veggie sticks are easy to prepare and can add extra nutrients to your lunch. Bring them with your favourite hummus, nut butter, etc

I will introduce 5-day worth of sandwiches. The ingredients are listed in the order from the bottom to top.

Day 1: “Triple A” Sandwich (Avocado+Alfalfa+Anchovy fillet)

Ingredients: bread + pesto (spread on the bottom part of bread) + avocado (sliced) + tomato (sliced) + anchovy fillet (one is usually enough)+ alfalfa + bread

Day 2: Goat cheese, Beets, and Arugula Sandwich

Ingredients: bread (bread with walnuts would be a good choice with this sandwich) + goat cheese (chèvre type, spread on the bottom part of bread) + *pickled beets (sliced) + arugula + baby spinach + sprouts (sunflower, alfalfa etc) + olive tapenade (spread on the top part of bread) + bread

*note: roasted beets would be ideal, but if you don’t have the time to make one day before or on weekend, then use the pickled beets instead.

Day 3: Smoked Salmon Sandwich

Ingredients: bread (German rye bread would be a good choice with this sandwich)+ tzatziki (spread on the bottom part of bread) + cucumber (sliced) + avocado (sliced) + smoked salmon + sprouts + fresh dill + tzatziki (spread on the top part of bread) + bread

Day 4: Pâté and Avocado Sandwich

Ingredients: bread + pâté (spread on the bottom part of bread) + cucumber + avocado + alfalfa + fresh coriander + graded carrot + pâté (spread on the top part of bread) + bread

Day 5: Mediterranean Style Sandwich

Ingredients: bread + hummus (spread on the bottom part of bread) + **roasted peppers + sun-dried tomato + baby spinach + baba ghanoush (spread on the top part of bread) + bread

**note: roasted peppers can be bought in a jar, or you can use left over grilled vegetables!