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.

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.

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.

Savoury Rhubarb – Bruschetta

Rhubarb is a versatile vegetable! You can make a full course meal with rhubarb. This time of the season it is nice to enjoy rhubarb in raw. The key for using rhubarb in raw is chopping really fine, so the tartness will not over power the taste of other food.  Since tomato is not in season yet, this Bruschetta would be perfect appetizer for early summer garden party with local ingredients.

Also check my past recipe,  Ontario Lamb with Red Wine & Rhubarb Reduction, for main course!

Ingredients (for 4 servings)


  • 4-5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 12 slices fresh baguette


  • 2-3 stalks of fresh rhubarb, finely chopped
  • 1 small shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt & black pepper
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-5 tbsp chevre (soft goat cheese)
  • sprouts for garnish


– Preheat oven for 375F for toast. Mix 4-5 tbsp of olive oil and garlic for toast and set aside.

– Mix the rhubarb and shallot with the sea salt and black pepper. Let sit for 10 minutes, this helps the taste of rhubarb and shallot milder. Add fresh parsley & olive oil and mix all well.  Let stand for at least 10 minutes for all the taste to be marinated well.

– Brush each slice of baguette with olive oil&garlic mix and bake in oven until the toasts are crisp.

– To serve, spread chevre on each toast, the top with the rhubarb mixture and add garnish with sprouts on top.

Raw Dessert: Cacao Berry Pie with Almond Cream

My friend offered her special raw dessert with a lot of fresh fruits at the evening of Spring Equinox. It was so refreshing just like the spring air, and I was inspired to make one too! Raw dessert with fresh fruits is almost like a smoothie, so it is a great snack, or can be a breakfast! This recipe is a combined with nutty almond cream and fresh berries. It is also a gluten-free (want to know more about gluten? Come to the workshop on Wed.Apr.17th! Information below) dessert!

Cacao Berry Pie with Almond Cream
note: pre-saok all nuts 6-8 hours

1) Crust Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 2 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
Crust Directions

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until they bind well together to reach your desirable crunchiness. Press flat into a 9? cake pan and place in the fridge to set.

2) Almond Cream Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 -2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons chopped almonds

Almond Cream Directions

Combine all but the chopped almonds, into a food processor until all are creamy & smooth. Fold in the chopped almonds. Spread a thick, even layer of the cream on the crust layer above. Chill in the freezer for a few hours, or until the cream is firm enough to spread the next layer on top.

3) Cacao Berry Topping Ingredients
  • 100g Blueberries & Blackberries (or berry of your choice!)
  • 2 tablespoons of cacao powder
  • 2 Ripe Mangoes
  • Blueberries & Blackberries for garnish
Cacao Berry Topping Directions

Combine blueberries, blackberries, cacao powder and mango into a food processor until smooth. Pour over on almond cream layer above. Garnish with fresh blueberries and blackberries. Refrigerate until set and serve.

Almond Cream Recipe came from “We Like It Raw” site: click here

Oatmeal for Your Heart

Getting close to St.Valentin’s day, so I want to share a simple breakfast recipe to nourish and support your heart!

The main ingredients are oatmeal which contains soluble fiber, beta glucan, to reduce the LDL cholesterol as well as a good source for magnesium, blue berry & goji berry are high in antioxidants, flax seeds and chia seeds are great source of omega-3 fat and fiber, almonds are great source of vitamin E, fiber, also help lowering cholesterol as well.

To enhance the nutrition of oatmeal by making it easy to digest and absorbed by your body, it is best to soak the oatmeal before cooking. So if you are preparing oatmeal for a breakfast, just soak them a night before…yes it is an extra step, but it is not a hard one!

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup mix of almonds, walnuts, or any of your favorite
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp Goji berry
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup nut milk of your choice
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp bee pollen
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blue berries (or mix berries)
  • maple syrup, optional for taste
  1. Soak oats, seeds and nuts in enough water to cover  for overnight, before cooking, drain oats mix and rinse them well.
  2. In a medium pot over medium heat, add soaked oats and nuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, applesauce, nut milk, salt, and cinnamon. Mix all well and heat for about 8 min while stirring well until desired thickness.
  3. Turn off the heat and add bee pollen and blue berries, put the lid on and wait for a min.
  4. Serve with additional nut milk, yogurt, an/or maple syrup for your taste!