Monthly Archives: June 2012

Daily Bread Food Bank Illustrations

The Hunger Report

A while back I had mentioned that I had been asked to do some illustrations for a not-for-profit that is near and dear to my heart, The Daily Bread Food Bank. Originally we talked about doing a series of small portraits for the cover of their annual Hunger Report of different demographics of people who use the food bank because the theme of the report is “The Face of Hunger” and the aim is to break the stereotypes on the sort of people who use the food bank.

Instead, they opted to go with a series of three larger images for the inside of the report that correspond with different quotes from real people who were surveyed from the report.

One talks about a mother with her kids and how happy and smiling the kids were even though they didn’t have enough food on the table.

Another spoke about doctors from other countries who had come to Canada and now were struggling to find work to put food on the table.

The last quote spoke about elderly people forced into early retirement without enough in pension to sustain themselves.

I had a lot of fun working on these illustrations and it was nice to get back to doing the sort of work I did in University on different projects like my children’s book “Things I’ll Miss When I’m Grown Up”. It’s a really versatile technique that allows for a lot of detail and expression and combines my love of traditional collage and digital work. I was also happy to do illustrations for a cause that I believe so strongly in. My boyfriend, Matt, and I had been volunteering at the Food Bank since December when I was asked to do this project and I loved being able to volunteer my time in this way as well.

I will post images of the finished Hunger Report once it’s done at the end of the summer but for now I would love to hear your comments and criticisms.


Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Illustration, Uncategorized

Food To Go

Preparing for a Trip

In my last post I mentioned that I will be leaving on Saturday for a 5 day vacation in beautiful British Columbia and that I will be continuing my cleanse (Day 11 today!!) while I am away, which can be tough. I was concerned about not having enough food, or feeling down about not being able to enjoy all the things that everyone else will be enjoying while on vacation (I’m sure there will be more than a few great bottles of wine I’ll miss out on, not to mention the morning coffees and delicious treats that are sure to surface…)

Right after I published this I found a great post on called “Have Food, Will Travel” all about tips and techniques for traveling while on a strict diet. This was exactly the motivation I needed to start preparing for my travels. In the post there were links to some amazing recipes from some of my favourite blogs and the best part was some were actually anti-candida!! Needless to say I went home, got together the ingredients and spent the rest of the night in the kitchen whipping up my very own snackies!!

Spicy Sunflower Nori Crackers

The first snack I made was off of the AMAZING food blog “Diets, Desserts and Dogs” which has all kinds of recipes from vegan, to gluten free, to  anti-candida. These Spicy Sunflower Nori Crackers happen to be all of the above! I didn’t have to substitute any ingredients, I just followed the instructions and everything went pretty smoothly.

The only piece of advice I have for those who are wanting to try out this recipes is to leave yourself enough time to bake these bad boys. Being so gung ho about spending all night in the kitchen and making 3 recipes in one night, I didn’t read the full instructions before sticking them in the oven and then realized that not only do you have to bake them for an hour at 200 degrees, you then have to take them out, cut them and put them BACK in the oven for another 2-3 HOURS!!! I put them in the oven at 10PM and then finished reading the instructions and my heart sank… they were done by about 1AM and then I crashed hard!

Another tip would be to either grease the baking sheet first or put down parchment paper underneath the nori because the seaweed stuck to the pan at the end and I lost a couple trying to pry them off!

Grain Free Granola Balls

The second recipe I made was Grain Free Granola Balls from the Daily Bites food blog and I can totally see these becoming a staple in my life. The recipe was super easy, I only had to substitute a couple of things, and they pretty much adhere to my anti-candida diet completely. Here is the recipe I used:

½ cup raw sunflower seeds

½ cup raw pumpkin seeds

½ cup blanched almond flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 cup raw walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup dried goji berries

3 tablespoons almond butter

8 drops stevia

3 tablespoon water

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

I literally just substituted goji berries for blueberries and raisins and instead of honey I used more almond butter and water to adhere it and added stevia for the sweetness. Check out the whole recipe for yourself here.

I’m going to store these two delightful snacks in my carry on in an air tight container along with cut up veggies and my homemade trail mix that contains almonds, soy nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and goji berries. I’m also going to pack some Bragg’s and sesame oil with me to use as a substitute for some of the other sauces that might be offered to me at restaurants. Once we land in BC I’m going to look up my closest grocery/health food store and stock up on some other foods that adhere to my diet. I’m of the mind set now that it’s possible to live my life day to day, stick to my diet, jump the hurdles that are thrown at me and feel great. My energy and motivation is way up and it hasn’t even been 2 weeks yet!!!!!

One last recipe I want to share with you is one from The Kitchn that I made for dinner last night (Yes, I literally spent 5 hours in the kitchen after a full day of work AND the gym) I was thinking I wanted to make something with lentils and originally I was thinking of using some tofu I had in the fridge. But then I found this recipe for Smashed Lentils with Egg and it changed everything! So much protein in one bowl, and the thought of the gooey yoke running all over my lentils made my mouth water. It turned out great, it curbed my hunger and now I have enough lentils for me and practically everyone I know!!!

1 Comment

Filed under Nutrition, Recipes, Uncategorized

Week One Meal Plan

One Week Down, Three to Go!!

I can’t believe a week has passed already and I have not updated you on the status of my cleanse! It’s because I’ve been so busy cleansing (grocery shopping, prepping, cooking, cleaning up) and putting together the illustrations for the food bank that I have not had a minute to update.

I put together a chart of my meals for the week to give you an overall idea of what I’ve been consuming on this crazy wheat free, gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, etc. etc. etc. free diet. It mainly consists of veggie and protein based meals, smoothies and salads.

I’m working on putting together the individual recipes with measurements and photos but in the meantime I thought I’d share with you some of the websites that I get my inspiration from. I find it helpful to look up healthy recipes and then substitute whatever ingredients I need to in order to make them Candida friendly (or unfriendly)

Oh She Glows

First off, I would love to share the recipe for Carrot Cake Smoothie I found on and enjoyed on Sunday night with my sister. Oh She Glows is a great vegan blog by Angela Liddon who shares her recipes, experiences and tips for healthy living each day. Instead of using a frozen banana for this recipe I used half an avocado, which gives the same creamy texture, and a few drops of stevia for the additional sweetness. It turned out really nicely, a lot like carrot cake batter, and I’m definitely going to be keeping it around for the coming weeks.


Another great place for inspiration is They have a section under Health that is just Healthy Recipes and they actually borrow a lot of Angela’s recipes from Oh She Glows for this section of their magazine. Right now they are at the end of their Superfood Month where each day they share a new recipe with a different superfood as the main ingredient. This is where I got the idea for cauliflower mashed “potatoes”, which was a great change from just your plain old steamed veggies. Check it out for great information on the health benefits of some of nature’s greatest “Superfoods”. I’m making the sweet potato, kale, walnut burgers from their Summer Guide tonight and omitting the meat for my vegetarian friend.

Whole Foods Market

My other go to website for recipes is because not only do they have an enormous amount of tasty, nutritious recipes, but they also have a feature on their site that allows you to do an “Advanced Recipe Search” and select any dietary restrictions you need to account for as well as a course, a main ingredient or a style of cuisine you’re looking for. If you create an account with them you can also add recipes to your “Recipe Box” to save for later and it gives you the option of printing out an easy to read Grocery List for your next shopping visit! Easy Peezy!! I made their Baked Coconut Lentils a while back and they were awesome (and filling) and I’ve stashed the recipe for Lamb Stew with Spring Vegetables away for next week.

My next challenge is coming for me at the end of the week as I embark on vacation with my boyfriend and his family to Vancouver. This is an unexpected trip for me and it comes on Day 13 of my cleanse, a crucial time where there’s no turning back. It’s going to be tough to adhere to all the restrictions of my diet but I’m going to do my very best to get through it, avoiding the temptations of vacation indulgences. I will update you when I’m back after 5 days as to how it went and any tips I can to give you on cleansing while traveling. Wish me luck!!

Leave a comment

Filed under Nutrition, Recipes, Uncategorized

Baby’s Fourth Website

A New Website for a New Start

Now that I’ve been out of school and on my own in the big bad world for an entire year I’ve gotten passed my initial laissez faire attitude to the “what am I going to do with my life” part of graduating. I took the first year of freedom to travel, move out, spend time with my friends, family, work on some personal projects and enjoy myself. Now I’m starting to think big picture like “How am I going to make a legitimate living?” “How am I going to save for retirement?” “What do I really want to do with my life?”

I’ve always wanted to be involved in something creative, and when I discovered Illustration in high school I felt that I had found my calling. I know that it’s not the most reasonable career choice (although my plan A was to be a rockstar and that didn’t work out) but I feel like after spending 5 years in school and earning my degree in Illustration it would be foolish of me to give up so easily.

So this brings me to the topic of this blog post, which is the (re-re-re)launch of my new website, which I’ve been working hard to complete over the past few weeks. The aim of this site is simplicity. I want the viewers to see my artwork in all its glory. There are many online outlets that allow for me to ramble and rant, this site is straight to the point, here’s my art…look at it!!!

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and criticisms on my site, my work and my crazy goal of becoming a professional illustrator. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments and in the mean time ENJOY!!

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Illustration, Uncategorized

Summer Bucket List

Summer in the City

Summer is upon us, and as a heat wave rolls into Toronto I’ve decided it’s time I better start my Summer Bucket List 2012. This is my first summer living in the city as an adult with my own place, so it has to be brilliant. It’s easy though, as time moves so quickly, to let summer pass by without doing a fraction of the things you might have talked about or wanted to plan. Hence the Summer Bucket List; a list of specific goals/tasks for the summer months to narrow down exactly what it is I want to do/accomplish on these hot steamy days.

Here is my list so far…

Summer Bucket List 2012

1.Go to the Toronto Library (and get a library card)
2.Go kayaking at Rockwood Conservation Area
3.Dress up and go for dinner in Yorkville
4.Go for a hike
5.Spend a day thrifting in Toronto
6.Update my illustration website
7.Assemble a collection of healthy recipes
8.Pick some sort of fruit or veg
9.Spend a day in Bloor West Village
10.Spend a day on the Danforth
11.Attend a festival of some sort
12.Host a BBQ
13.Go on a road trip
14.Picnic in Trinity Bellwoods

15.Go to the Beach….

This past weekend I had the privilege of starting my list early with a trip to Toronto Island, specifically Ward’s Island. What a day!! I had not been to the island since I was a kid and just remembered it as a bunch of carnival rides and fast food joints.

This time, however, I realized what an amazing way it is to get out of the city and enjoy sandy beaches, hot sun and cool water.  A bunch of friends and I took the ferry out there in the early afternoon, hauling a charcoal bbq and two huge coolers along side us, and spent literally the entire day basking in the sun.

It wasn’t even too busy and I can say we truly had an amazing time. So if hitting the beach is on your summer bucket list and you’re looking for a low cost, simple solution, pay the $7 return fare for the ferry, pack a lunch, and enjoy!! Get information on the ferry schedule, island rules and regulations and directions here.

Toronto is a city full of wonder and adventure waiting to be discovered. I’m only just scraping the surface having now lived here for just under 10 months. I will be continuing to post as I find new and exciting things to do in the city.

I would love to hear what’s on your summer bucket list. I’m looking for places, people, stores, parks, restaurants, events, festivals and anything else that is fun, exciting, new and adventurous. What are you up to on these beautiful summer days??

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Preparing for a Cleanse

My 30 Day Intestinal Cleanse is less than a week away and over the past couple of weeks I have been doing a number of things in preparation…

5 Days ’til Detox

I started by eliminating the big offenders from my diet; wheat, sugar and gluten. In place I have added much more plant based foods to get my body used to this diet. Rushing into a cleanse can leave your body in shock and most people will experience “die off” symptoms such as fatigue, headaches and bowel problems. Pretty much you’re going to feel worse before you feel better so the smoother you can transition into the cleanse the better.

I’ve started taking my vitamins regularly including Vitamin D, B12, Iron, EFA’s and Probiotics. I’ve stopped drinking coffee every morning and switched to green tea. Coffee is one of the hardest parts of this cleanse for me and to stop cold turkey would be nearly impossible. I’ve had 3 coffees this week and by next week I will have cut out caffeine completely.

I’ve also taken a trip to my local health food store and stocked up on good food. Here’s what I’ve added to my cupboards in preparation:

 Coconut Oil
There’s a ton of good stuff in coconut oil and the benefits of adding it into your diet include  stress relief, maintaining cholesterol levels, weight loss, increased immunity, proper digestion and metabolism as well as relief from kidney problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer. You may also see improvements in your hair, skin, teeth and bones. What’s not to love?! I add it into my smoothies or use it while I’m cooking.

Bragg’s Liquid Soy Seasoning
This little guy is a god send for cooking and seasoning. Because traditional soy sauce contains wheat, I stocked my cupboards with Bragg’s for my asian inspired meals (which are many). The only ingredient is soy so you know you’re safe from hidden offenders that are typical in a lot of sauces. It’s also perfect for packing along with you if you head out to a restaurant where they use soy sauce as an alternative for dipping or to offer to the chef to use to cook your meal. Most restaurants are happy to comply with food sensitivities so don’t feel weird!

 Spirulina Powder
Spirulina is a single celled algae full of minerals, vitamins and macronutrients including a huge supply of protein, perfect for morning smoothies or after workout shakes. It also contains Vitamins B1,  B2, B6, E and K as well as magnesium and iron. It is ALSO full of Essential Fatty Acids and enzymes that help to digest food not to mention it improves skin and hair, mental functioning and your immune system. Spirulina does all this while at the same time being actually helpful to the environment. How can you say no to this brilliant green stuff?!

Innovite Intestinal Cleanse
The only way to pass all the candida build up through your system is to do an intestinal cleanse. Even while you’re adhering to a strict diet you’ll want to flush out your system with a good anti-candida cleanse. I use the Innovite Yeast Buster Kit which includes Caproil (a proven candida killer made from coconut and safflower oil),  Bentonite (a clay that absorbs the toxins left behind by the Caproil) and Psyllium (which allows everything to pass through your system and gently scrubs the intestines) I take this every morning and follow it up with an excellent probiotic before bed.

Pau D’Arco Tea
Since during this cleanse I will be giving up all forms of caffeine, I had to turn to an alternative tea. While Rooibos is a viable alternative, I wanted to find something that not only I could have but that I SHOULD have! And that’s when I read up on Pau D’Arco, which is extracted from the inner bark of the Lapacho tree in Argentina. This tea is known to heal the immune system and act as a powerful antibiotic. Reports in the US have stated that when ingested Pau D’Arco has “cured terminal leukemia, arthritis, yeast and fungus infections, arrested pain, stopped athlete’s foot and cured the common cold” Learn more here.

So now that my cupboards are stocked with some powerful candida fighting substances I feel a great sense of relief and encouragement. I feel like I’m ready to go ahead and tackle this diet. Whenever my body gets a craving I’m just going to serve it up more of the healthiest nutrients I can find. Now all I have to do is start on my weekly meal plans which I have all weekend to do!

Leave a comment

Filed under Nutrition, Uncategorized

The Hunger Report

An Exciting Project for The Daily Bread Food Bank

In my first post I mentioned an upcoming project I’d be taking on with The Daily Bread Food Bank and I wanted to give a sneak peek into the project because it’s something I’m super excited about.

The project is for the Daily Bread’s Annual Hunger Report, which gives information and statistics on the food bank, the people who use it and the rate at which it is used. I started volunteering at the food bank last December and was overwhelmed at the scale of the operation. According to the 2011 report, over 1 million people visited the food bank in the GTA last year. Of that million over 900,000 were in Toronto. You can dowload the pdf version of last year’s Hunger Report here.

I wanted to get involved and help their initiative in any way I could so I offered up my illustrative talents for this years report and we have already begun the initial planning and preparation for the project.

The theme we’re calling “The Faces of Hunger” and it’s centralized around the idea of breaking the stereotypes of who uses the food bank. I’m going to be doing a series of portraits for the report as well as some larger scale illustrations and info graphics.  I think the addition of illustration for this year’s report will add interest and provoke thought around the number of people who are forced to turn to the food bank to survive.

If you’re looking to help or donate to The Daily Bread visit their website or email for current opportunities. The easiest way to help is by donating non-perishable foods to your local drop off spots or arrange a drive in your community. Summers are hard for the food bank because people tend to forget about them after Easter so anything helps!

I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this first piece and on the project as a whole. Stay tuned to my blog for updates on the project and other ways to contribute to your community.

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Illustration, Uncategorized

Spicy Shrimp and Avocado Salad

Beauty in a Bowl

Leading up to my 30 day cleanse I’ve been trying to put together an array of go to recipes that can be made easily and quickly and taste delicious. I wanted to share with you one I came up with the other day that just uses shrimp, quinoa and a load of fresh vegetables that give it a Mexican Style kick.

Whenever I make quinoa I always make more than I need so I can stick it in the fridge and eat it over the next few days and buying a bag of frozen shrimp is great because you can thaw them out in a couple of minutes and have tasty seafood loaded with iron and protein at your will. Use chicken or vegetable broth instead of water to cook the quinoa to give it an extra added flavour.

Ingredients (serves 2)
– 2 cup cooked quinoa
– 15 to 20 shrimp
– 1/2 cup chopped onion
– 1 jalapeno chopped finely
– 1 medium tomato diced
– 1 avocado sliced
– 1/2 cup red pepper diced
– the juice of 1 lime
– dash of red chili  flakes
– 2 leaves of basil chopped finely

How to Make:
Start by placing the quinoa in 2 bowls. Add chopped vegetables and shrimp. You can obviously use more or less of anything, depending on your preference. If you LOVE avocado, add more!! Top with chopped basil, lime juice and chili flakes and you have a beautiful, colourful meal full of protien, carbs and vitamins!

For those who are concerned with eating fresh jalapeno, give it a chance. They are actually not that spicy and add a huge flavour to meals. I use them all the time.

For my 30 day Candida cleanse I will not be eating any grains for at least the 2 weeks so I would replace the quinoa with arugula or spinach. Equally delicious!

Leave a comment

Filed under Recipes, Uncategorized

Candida 101

The Cleanse of All Cleanses

I mentioned in one of my last posts that I am about to embark on a
30 Day detox and now I am here to explain. This detox is not just any detox, it is a very specific cleanse designed to eliminate Candida. For those who don’t know what Candida, or Candidiasis is, let me briefly explain…

Everyone has an amount of candida in their body. It’s a fungus or yeast that lives in your intestines and is a natural part of your body flora. It is when this yeast becomes overgrown and spreads throughout the intestines that one begins to experience a multitude of symptoms including fatigue, headaches, bowel problems, infections, irritability, loss of concentration, the list goes on. This happens mainly due to diet, but can be affected by antibiotics, contraceptives and/or smoking. Learn more here.

Candidiasis is supposed to be able to be eliminated with a strict diet along with vitamins and supplements but the problem I have learned is this: even if you have killed off the bacteria and your symptoms disappear, the candida spores can plant themselves in your intestines and go into hibernation. Then, the minute your body is in the right state for them to reproduce, it comes back!!! Last summer I did the Innovite Yeast Buster Intestinal Cleanse and followed a strict diet for 2 months, eliminating everything from wheat, sugar, gluten, dairy, coffee, alcohol, even fruit from my diet. Then, 2 months into it, I went on a cruise in the Mediterranean, indulged in a few treats and BAM!! Instant symptoms!! Talk about a way to ruin your vacation after such a strict cleanse for so long!!

So this time I am here to do it right and I wanted to share my experience and advice through this blog because I know there are a lot of people out there suffering with Candida who don’t know how to deal with it. Now I am not a doctor or a nutrition expert but I have had a lot of experience with Candida. My first Candida cleanse took place when I was 12 years old. Since then I have been on multiple diets and detoxes, I have done liver cleanses, taken herbs, you name it, I’ve tried it. And over the years I feel like I’ve finally developed an understanding of what it is I need to do, and the knowledge and ability to be able to actually do it. It’s hard because a) the diet is so strict (I’ll post the entire “Yes” and “No” List for you to see at the end of this post) and b) there are not a lot of straight forward, easy to follow sites that can get a person through this whole process.

SOOOOO starting Monday, June 18th, 2012 I will be starting a full on Candida Cleanse to eliminate this evil overgrowth for good!! It’s going to be at least 30 days of a strict anti-candida diet consisting of mostly plant based foods and then I will slowly reincorporated certain foods back into my diet but stick to a gluten/wheat/sugar free existence for the long run. I know I have to make a permanent lifestyle change in order to keep the candida away for good. I will be posting recipes, tips, information on helpful products and herbs, updates on my daily challenges and experiences and answering any questions that anyone might have on this topic as best I can!!

If you’re interested in what exactly this diet consists of, what is ok to eat, what is not ok to eat, download the pdf version of The Food List here. This list, from, is the most extensive list that I have found and covers in depth what you can have and what you should avoid as well as other “in between foods” that, depending on the person, should be limited to one or two times a week.

I would love to hear about other people’s experiences with Candida and if anyone is up for taking the challenge alongside me, I will be posting ways in which I am preparing for the cleanse in my next post. This gives just a little over a week to prepare to kick butt with this 30 day cleanse. I’m actually so pumped!!! Stay tuned!


Filed under Nutrition, Uncategorized

Kitten Parade

An Unexpected Surprise

So approximately 10 weeks ago my sister’s cat, Stella, gave birth to 4 beautiful kittens. Yesterday saw the last of these kittens off to their new homes and now that I’m left with an overwhelming sense of joy, sadness and wonder all at the same time I wanted to share the story of Stella and her babes.

First off, Stella was a stray cat that we took in off the streets of our surrounding neighborhood. We were thinking of adopting a pet and when we found this beauty wondering around outside in the winter, we fed her, took her to the vet and pretty soon we had a wonderful new addition to 789 (which is my home, see the About me section for details)

The vet told us that Stella may or may not be spayed, that it was hard to tell because the scar can heal really well but to just watch for signs that she was in heat. But Stella, being an outdoor cat, continued to go outside and before we knew it, she was looking a little pudgy!! We watched as Stella’s body grew and grew, her nipples became large and pink and her appetite went through the roof!!

Around 60 days later, one Friday evening, I was sitting on the couch with Stell, aware she was due any minute, when I felt her first contraction. My roommate, Rachel, and I quickly put together a comfortable spot for her in our front closet and proceeded to witness the birth of our 4 little babies over the course of just under 5 hours. It was an emotional roller coaster ride that we will never forget.

Now it’s been 10 weeks of watching these little guys grow from helpless, blind and deaf to crazy nut balls who literally terrorized our apartment! We named them in order of appearance. They were all tabby except for one little grey one, who we called “Grey”

The Kittens

It has been a challenge but now all but one of these little guys has been sent off to their homes. One, Bean, has found a permanent home with her mother at 789!!

Bean aka One

Bean was first born. She is a sweet little thing, very curious, very playful but also very happy to fall asleep on your lap. She won me over with her big eyes and sweet little ways. Now I get the enormous privilege of watching this little girl grow up and having her be my very own cat!

Polly Plum aka Grey

Grey, now known as Polly, was the little devil of the group. Always jumping and running, one minute she is a blur of fur racing by you, the next she is climbing up your leg. She moved just upstairs from us to our neighbors place and we’re so happy we still get to see her and babysit her sometimes!

Oliver aka Three

We refer to Oliver as “Baby Three”. He was the runt of the litter and we had to be very patient with him as he transitioned to soft food and using the litter box. He is full of personality and what I call “piss and vinegar”!!! He just went to his new home yesterday with a lovely young lady who is also taking on the responsibility of having her first cat. Her and Three bonded immediately and we were happy to find him a loving mom who will baby him like the wee babe he is!!

Johnny aka Four

Four was the smarty pants of the group! He ate right away, as soon as we put the bowl down. He also peed in the litter box on day one…This guy is going to be opening doors in no time! Just the sweetest little face you ever did see, Four, now known as Johnny, was a surprise for a nine year old girl who had always wanted a cat. Now she has an amazing one and word has it that he slept in her bed on their very first night together 🙂

This has honestly been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I’m sad it’s over but obviously realize that having 5 cats would make me a crazy cat lady. Now we’re down to 2, Stella and Bean and we look forward to getting updates on how our other little guys are doing. I’ll keep you posted as I hear of their progress!

Leave a comment

Filed under Furry Friends, Uncategorized