Last weekend I had the amazing opportunity to go to the University of Guelph’s Anatomy Lab where my sister is a student. In preparing for this segment it couldn’t have come at a better time. 
I was able to hold a healthy and diseased human heart in my hands and examine it inside and out. This experience was invaluable.  I am forever promoting healthy food, but to actually see, and feel what a diseased heart looks like was an overwhelming reminder to treat our body with respect everyday.  The foods we choose everyday can  affect the quality and quantity of our life.
Our heart has a huge responsibility to keep the body flowing. 
Providing it with the best foods to support this process is so crucial for heart-disease prevention.

If you missed my segment & 7 Day Heart Healthy Menu on 
The Marilyn Denis Show, click here:
Learn More About Heart-Healthy Foods



A Recipe for a Healthy Heart Includes:

  • Increase intake of heart healthy fats omega 3’s (flax seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, cold water fish) & Monounsaturated fats (almonds, coconut, pine nuts, sesame and sunflower seeds, avocados, olive oil)
  • Reduce amount of saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, and total fat in the diet by reducing consumption of animal proteins (bacon, burgers, poutine,) and eating more vegetarian proteins (beans, lentils, tempeh, tofu)
Vegetables & Fruits
  • Increase to at least 5 servings of a rich colored variety per day, specifically bright orange, green, dark purple and yellow (sweet potatoes, dandelion greens, blueberries, beets, oranges) The antioxidants in the bright colored foods are important in protecting against heart disease.  Many of these are Liver-Friendly, which is important in the process of cholesterol metabolism.


  • Increase intake of dietary fiber (soybeans, apples, eggplant, oat bran, oatmeal) has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and protect against arthrosclerosis
  • Increase whole grains (buckwheat soba noodles, quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, spelt, kamut)
  • Reduce Refined carbohydrates (white bread, white pasta, over-processed whole wheat)
Reduce or Eliminate
  • Refined sugar (muffins, pastries, cakes, candy, pop)
  • Limit your sodium intake: 1tsp of salt = 2,300 mg of sodium (That’s more than recommended for daily consumption). Try adding fresh herbs or lemon juice instead of salt to your food
  • Moderate alcohol consumption can be helpful to the heart due to its ability to help prevent clot formation. However over 3 drinks per day has been show to create more of damage the heart and lead to high blood pressure, alcoholic cardiomyopathy, (enlarged and weakened heart), congestive heart failure
  • Caffeine moderate consumption from antioxidant green tea can be heart promoting, however studies have shown over 4 cups a day can increase risk of heart attack
Additional Points
  • Peppers, especially chilies are shown to help prevent clot formation
  • 1 to 2 servings of dark chocolate 70% or higher has been shown in numerous studies to cause a dramatic drop in risk of heart disease
  • An appreciative heart is great medicine for heart disease prevention. Many studies have found that the risk of developing heart disease is significantly increased for people who often experience negative emotions such as irritation, anger or frustration. These emotions create a chain reaction in the body — stress hormone levels increase, blood vessels constrict, blood pressure rises, and the immune system is weakened. If we consistently experience these emotions, it can put a strain on the heart.  Studies have actually seen a different beat in the heart of those with loving, happy emotions compared to those with constant negative emotions.
  • Try bringing back the joy in life by doing an activity that makes you excited.  Placing our attention on something in the present moment that brings with it a joyful feeling can strengthen the heart.
My favorite Products for Heart Health
  • Mary’s Gone Crackers  – Whole Grain Crackers
  • NOW Superseeds (chia, flax, hemp combo)
  • Ruth’s Foods Chia Goodness breakfast cereal
  • Ruth’s Foods Hemp & Flax Bars
  • Vega Vibrancy Bar (Dark Chocolate or Green Synergy)
  • Garden of Eatin’ – Baked Flax Chips
  • Air Blown Popcorn

I would like to thank NOW Foods for giving every audience member $100 worth of heart-healthy foods! 
What a great gift to give! 

Former SLHS student shares her career successes

by Julie Druker

Photo: SLHS graduate and new Nutrition Expert on The Marilyn Denis Show Miranda Malisani with Marilyn Denis. Courtesy of Miranda Malisani
Miranda Malisani (Tallon), who graduated from Sharbot Lake High School in 2000, recently landed a job as one of 15 experts on the popular national CTV daytime television show, The Marilyn Denis Show.
On Jan. 20, Miranda shared some of the steps that led to her career success with students at her old high school. In a Skype interview from her home in Toronto with grade 10 students in Mr. McCullough’s Civics/Careers Class, Miranda first outlined her education.
After graduating from SLHS she studied broadcast journalism at Ryerson University and graduated from the program in 2004. She then landed a job as a production assistant working for the Gemini Awards and after that managed the office at the Toronto Naturopathic Clinic where she also co-wrote a health column for 24 Hours, a free daily newspaper owned by the Toronto Sun.
Her love of the subjects of nutrition and health eventually led her back to school and she studied at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and at the Edison Institute for Nutrition. In order to pay off her earlier school debt she worked while studying as an events planner. After marriage and the birth of her son, who is now 2 years old, she took maternity leave and set up her own business called Live Light Nutrition ( which she still operates today.
It was around this time that she became aware that Marilyn Denis was looking for a number of lifestyle experts to do segments on her new show. On a whim Miranda sent in an application with a photo. She later found out that 3500 people had applied for the job in person. She received a call back and though she was not initially chosen as one of the 15 experts, the show directors asked to her pitch six ideas. They liked her and what she pitched, and that led to her doing five segments for Marilyn’s first season, after which she landed a job as the nutrition expert on the show.
Miranda definitely has come a long way from her first summer jobs. As student at SLHS she worked as part of the maintenance crew at Sharbot Lake Provincial Park, scooped ice cream, and cleaned cottages in Plevna. It is no wonder that Miranda had lots of great advice to share with the grade 10 students. “I told them that every step that they take in life will help them to find their way, whether it helps them to become a better a team player or encourages them to think more creatively,” Miranda said when interviewed by phone. “I also told them that they’ll know when they are doing something that they truly love because it doesn’t feel like work at all.”
She continued, “I have been extremely lucky. I had two loves, one for broadcasting and the other for health and nutrition and how I have been able to do both. I have the firm belief that when you are doing something that is true to yourself it brings with it a passion and an authenticity that others recognize. It is this amazing positive energy that comes as a result, which is what can make you truly successful.”
Some other pieces of advice for the students were: “Don’t let your peers dictate your choices and the courses you may chose to take. Do things that you yourself feel strongly about and remember to try new things but to also follow your heart.” Not just good advice for students but for everyone. For more information about Miranda’s business visit where you can also see clips of her segments on the Marilyn Denis Show.
Click below link
Miranda Featured in Her Hometown Newspaper
For all the Super Bowl spectators this weekend, munching away on your super spread of food here’s a dip you may want to try.
I was inspired by the good people at NOW Foods with their amazing product Superseeds to create a 
Super Bowl Superseed Spinach Dip
The average store-bought container of spinach dip has a ton of saturated and trans fats, preservatives, artificial colors, flavors and sodium. I also find that many recipes call for frozen spinach, onion soup mixes (MSG) and heavy dairy products.
Impress your guests with this fresh, easy and healthy recipe:
1. In a Food Processor add: 
-1 1/3 cups raw cashews
-1/4 cup nutritional yeast (get at a bulk store)
-1 tbsp brown rice syrup or raw honey
-1/2 cup purified water
-2 Tbsp organic greek yogurt (omit if want to make Vegan)
-1/4 tsp salt
2. Blend until creamy and sticky
3. In a pan saute: 
-2 tbsp Cold Pressed Olive Oil
-1 large white onion
-2 cloves of minced garlic
-1 tsp fennel seeds
-1 tsp dried basil
-5 cups of fresh spinach
-1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
*add pinch of cayenne pepper if you want some heat
4. Saute until spinach is covered with mixture and slightly wilted 


5. Add to food processor and blend until creamy
6. Serve with vegetable crudite, brown rice crackers, baked flax chips or any healthy crunch alternative. ENJOY!

Gas and bloating is often to blame for changed plans, clothes that feel too tight and your poor dog being blamed for that stench in the house. Due to poor dietary habits and stagnant digestion many expel gas at least 14 times a day. That can add up to almost 4 pints of air daily. Here are my 10 Tips to reduce gas and bloating.

  1. Avoid Drinking With Your Meal. No pop, coffee, tea, milk, juice, etc. If you need to drink try a 1/2 of glass room temp water. Liquids can destroy enzymes that are needed to digest your food.  The result is slower digestion and increased gas.
  2. Avoid Poor Food Combining. Try to keep starches and proteins separate and fruit in isolation. This will also maximize digestion and allow your body to break down food more efficiently.
  3. Chew Your Food. You’ve heard it before, but it’s a crucial element in reducing gas and bloating. Digestion does start in the mouth and is responsible for triggering the rest of the digestive process.
  4. Try 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar with Mother in 1/2 glass of water 20 mins before your meal or 30 mins after. The apple cider vinegar maintains the stomach’s pH balance so that food is effectively broken down during the digestion process. Please note that apple cider vinegar can interfere with drugs like insulin and diuretics(
  5. Ginger is a Digestive Aid. Add some to your cooking or make a fresh ginger tea by boiling some peeled ginger in water.
  6. Parsley is an Excellent Herb for Reducing Gas. Add this to your cooking or add it to a fresh juice combination. Parsley should be avoided during pregnancy.
  7. Cut out Dairy & Wheat. If gas is consistently a problem for you it could be an indication of a food sensitivity or allergy. Dairy and Wheat are the most common offenders. Avoid these foods or any others that you feel you may be sensitive to.
  8. Replenish your Healthy Bacteria. Consider adding some probiotics to your diet. Kefir, Miso, Real Sauerkraut are food sources of probiotics. You can also take it in a supplemental form. Consuming more beneficial bacteria will not only help aid in the elimination of gas, but also keep your colon in optimal working order.
  9. Oregano Oil is one of my Fav Natural Remedies to Have in the House. Among its many uses, it has been shown to be helpful in reducing gas and bloating.     1 to 2 drops in 1/2 glass of water can help to calm down an unsettled stomach.
  10. Take a Chill Pill! Emotions play a huge role in creating gas and bloating. When we are stressed and anxious we often swallow more air. Excessive emotional stress can also increase hydrochloric acid causing gas to build up in the intestines. If you find that this is the culprit for your gas have a Gratitude Sandwich daily. Start your day with a thought of gratitude and end your day with another thought. This will help to hold the days stressors in perspective and will reduce stress on your digestive system.

Disclaimer: Please note that this information is provided as a guideline only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own intuition, nutritionist, physician or trained professional.

 Long hours in a vehicle, assembly line factories or secluded work sites can make it difficult to make healthy foods choices. Shift workers often have to work both day and night shifts which can throw off natural body rhythms.
  If you find that your job stands in your way of being healthy here are some suggestions to boost your nutrition daily.
Home Base 
Before you leave for work make it a point to have your most nutritious meal of the day.  Include protein, essential fats and a good quality carbohydrate. This fuel will kick-start your energy and also give you the emotional satisfaction that you are beginning your day in a healthy way.
Food prep is very important. Reliance on fast food is not going to work for long-term health. Get into the habit of prepping the day before will never leave you guessing what you will eat for lunch or dinner.

Bring snack foods that pack the biggest nutrient punch. Nuts, seeds, nut & seed butters, vegetables, avocado, salads, fruit, lean whole grain crackers, rice cakes, good quality protein shakes. Think of food in terms of fuel.  Take advantage of your breaks and fuel up your body.

Working out of your vehicle makes it extra challenging to eat healthy on a daily basis. Make use of a portable cooler. There are many styles these days, some that plug into your car others that even look like a large handbag. Some ideas to keep in your cooler are veggies and hummus, yogurt with hemp seeds, salad with lean protein and hard boiled eggs. Don’t be afraid to pull out that thermos that is sitting in the back of your cupboard. Homemade soups and stews are a great option and will stay warm for hours. If we rely on the diners “special of the day” we lose control of maintaining the healthy balance that our body needs.

Take a few minutes to source out the best food options in your work area. Some fast food chains will sauté their ingredients in water (The Teriyaki Experience); some grocery stores offer a salad bar or hot table with healthy options (Longos, Loblaws). Opt for green leafy vegetables, lean protein and fresh fruit. Avoid salads that are drenched in mayo, unhealthy oils and fried foods. Ask for the ingredient list if you are unsure. Understanding what you are putting in your body is fundamental in being in control of your health.
 Breaks are Sporadic
Health Care Workers, Emergency Response Workers (Police Firefighters, Paramedics) are often not able to eat or drink for hours at a time. It is even more crucial for individuals in these professions to ensure that when they have the opportunity to eat they are reaching for good quality fuel. Often these workers get caught in the negative eating cycle: Worker is hungry but cannot eat —> feels fatigue—> grabs a coffee because it provides a quick burst of energy and suppresses appetite —> worker realizes that she/he hasn’t eaten for over 6 hours and is now starving and grabs the quickest thing in sight —>fast food (burger and fries) —->packaged food (chips, cookies, high-sugar granola bar) —> FULL & BLOATED. This cycle causes weight gain, mood disturbances, fatigue, a taxed immune system and further health problems. Not to mention less productivity at work.

Living Light doesn’t mean dessert deprivation!

I have great memories of making the traditional Rice Crispy Squares when I was a kid and licking the gooey remnants of the sticky marshmallow bowl….and then having a sugar stomach ache an hour later!
So, I’ve taken the traditional ingredients (white rice krispies, marshmallows, butter and vanilla) and have swapped them for more health promoting ingredients.
We are keeping the feel-good memories, but subtracting the sour stomach.
Here’s the super simple recipe:
In a medium Dutch oven over low heat melt honey, brown rice syrup, sunflower seed butter in large bowl.
Add in brown rice crispies and stir until even. If you are a chocoholic add in some dark chocolate chips too. Add to a baking pan (coat with some grapeseed oil to prevent sticking)
Cool for 20 mins before eating.
Makes 1.5 dozen 1- inch squares

70% Dark Choc Chips

3 Cups Brown Crispy Rice

1_2 Cup Unpasteurized Honey – not safe for babies

1_2 Cup Brown Rice Syrup

1_2 Cup Sunflower Seed Butter or Almond Butter

Get your zzzzzz’s with these foods
Miranda on The Marilyn Denis Show – January 25, 2012
Check out these sleep Q&A’s
Sleep Panel Q&A – Miranda on The Marilyn Denis Show – January 25th, 2012
Here’s some extra info on the Do’s & Don’ts of Eating for a Better Night’s Sleep
·      Choose foods at dinner that are easier to digest and higher in Tryptophan, Melatonin, Calcium, Magnesium & B Vitamins: Beans, lentils, whole-grains (quinoa, millet, brown rice, wild rice) raw & cooked veggies (leafy greens) lean proteins (chicken, turkey, tofu, eggs, shrimp, halibut, tuna)
·        Eat 4 hours before you go to bed. Your stomach should not be too full, but not too empty. Digestion slows down while asleep, and a full stomach may interrupt sleep.
·         Choose lower glycemic foods (gradual rise of blood sugar) brown rice, sweet potatoes, beans, and fruits and vegetables. Lower then 55 on the rating scale.
·         Eat a small unrefined complex carbohydrate with protein post-dinner snack 1 hour before bed to help increase production of sleep inducing brain chemicals and to fortify the body’s nighttime energy reserve.
·      Eat a heavy meal late at night.
·      Eat hard-to-digest proteins, (beef, pork) eat these earlier in the day
·      Go to bed on an empty stomach, as a completely empty stomach may wake you up with a grumbling belly.
·      Drink coffee, tea, and cola with your dinner. The caffeine will be sure to keep you up. Don’t drink a caffeinated drink past 4 p.m.
·      Eat sugary snacks and foods with food coloring or other artificial flavors. They can give nightmares and can cause interrupted sleep.
·      Eat any food that doesn’t sit well with you personally. If you eat something and it often gives you a physical or emotional reaction, avoid it or it may disrupt sleep.
·      Eat spicy foods late at night
·      Eat gas producing foods, keep you and your partner awake
**Eating every 3-4 hours throughout the day will help to keep you feeling balanced and you won’t gorge at dinner. Choosing easy-to-digest foods will help you to ease your body into rest mode to encourage detoxification and repair**
Safe Snacks
·      Banana – contains Tryptophan & Magnesium, potassium: all helpful for activating the calming and sleep-inducing brain chemical serotonin.
·      Almonds/Almond milk –supplies tryptophan, magnesium and protein that can help maintain a stable blood sugar level while sleeping.
·      Whole Grain Hot or Cold Cereal
     Hot: Oatmeal, Brown Rice Cereal (Bob’s Red Mill)
     Cold: Millet Puffs, Whole O’s
         With unsweetened almond milk or rice milk or plain yogurt
–       Contains B vitamins, calcium & tryptophan to ease the body into    
relaxing and encourage sleep.
·      Ancient Grain Crackers (Mary’s Crackers) add some goat cheese, or hummus to dip – Complex carbohydrate-rich foods increase the availability of tryptophan in the bloodstream, increasing the sleep-inducing effects
·      Edamame Beans, soy milk, soy nuts, – helpful in fighting hot flashes at night due to the estrogen-like compounds if that’s keeping you up
·      Hard Boiled Egg  –a quick, rich protein snack helpful in keeping your blood sugar stable throughout the night. (don’t forget to have it with a small complex carb..spelt crackers)
·      Brown Rice Cake with Pumpkin Seed Butter  – high amount of tryptophan in pumpkin seeds, great complex carb for increase of tryptophan
·      Nuts/Seeds  –  Sachi Inchi seeds have 8 times the amount of tryptophan then turkey.  Chia seeds have good levels too. Omega 3 fats are helpful for reducing stress and relaxing the nervous system.
·      Sour Cherries, fresh, dried or pure juice are one of few food sources of melatonin, which has been found to promote better sleep and lessen the effects of jet lag. Since melatonin is found in small quantities in the body, a slight increase can produce great results. There is 13.5 nanograms (ng) (one billionth of a gram) of melatonin per 1 gram of cherries, which is higher than the amount normally found in the blood.


·      Grapes  – Nebbiolo grapes have the highest amounts of melatonin – found in Barolo wines.
·      Lemon Balm Tea (my fav!) – helpful in calming and reducing anxiety. This herb is used for nervous agitation, sleeping problems, functional gastrointestinal complaints.



Healthy Lunch Box Ideas for Everyone.




Miranda Making Jax Snacks – Healthy Smoothie

Check us out in the Town Crier Leaside-Rosedale
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