by Dr. Michelle Hagel ND

It is a pleasure to share my new love…homemade coconut yogurt! I have had an intolerance to dairy since I was a child, but still consumed it up until a few years ago when symptoms got worse with dairy consumption. I find dairy intolerances and allergies in many patients, so I love to be able to provide alternatives. Coconut yogurt is a wonderful alternative to regular yogurt if you are experiencing negative reactions to dairy or even lactose intolerance. Store bought coconut yogurt can be expensive and have added sugar and flavours. So I have been wanting to try to make my own but the task seemed quite daunting until I borrowed an Instapot. I was sceptical about how ‘amazing’ this pot really could be, but wow did it exceed all expectations.

My favourite thing about yogurt is it contains healthy bacteria or probiotics. I am a huge fan of healthy gut bacteria, probiotics, and fermented foods. When we are able to get the healthy bacteria we need from the foods we eat rather than supplementing, GREAT! Fermenting foods improve the absorbability of nutrients in the yogurt because they are partially broken down by the bacteria.However, when we are consuming flavoured yogurt the additional sugar can counteract the benefits of the healthy bacteria. If you are dairy intolerant I also don’t recommend getting your healthy gut bacteria from traditional dairy yogurt. Try the coconut yogurt, it won’t disappoint. It tastes just like plain yogurt with a hint of coconut, but it isn’t a strong coconut flavour. It is also a great source of healthy fats, to keep you full and satisfied.

Coconut yogurt in a Instapot– This was so easy I can’t believe it.

2 cans coconut cream
1tbsp gelatin (grass fed preferable)
1 package of yogurt culture (can get at health food store)

1. Bring the coconut cream to a boil, there is a boil function in yogurt settings.
2. Let it cool to 100 degrees F (ensure not warmer as it can kill off the good bacteria)
3. Mix in yogurt culture (I have used probiotic capsules and just broken the capsule apart and poured in. My understanding is that this isn’t the best method as some of the bacteria may not survive so it won’t be as high in probiotics as if you were to use a yogurt culture, the taste was identical)
4. Set Instapot to yogurt and leave for about 8 hours
5. After the 8 hours, add 1tbsp gelatin and mix well. Refrigerate overnight (about 8 hours)
6. Enjoy, can add toppings to it if desired

POWER PACKED MUFFINS (Gluten Free, Vegan option)

POWER PACKED MUFFINS (Gluten Free, Vegan option)

Makes 24 mini muffins
Preheat oven to 400F

Dry Ingredients
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of sea salt

Wet Ingredients
3/4 cup mashed cooked sweet potato * see note below
1 serving of chia paste or 1 egg **see note below
3/4 cup dairy free milk
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
1 1/2 tbsp honey

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
2. Whisk together all the dry ingredients
3. Whisk together all the wet ingredients
4. Add wet ingredients to dry, mix just until blended. Spoon into paper lined muffin tins.
5. Bake approx. 20-25 min for mini muffins (just until toothpick inserted comes out mostly dry). Allow to cool 10 min and put on cooling rick.

*Use 1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes. Wash and pierce skin with fork. Place in preheated oven (400F) for 45 to 60min, until soft in centre (test with knife). Cool and easily peel skin off with your fingers.
**Chia paste – 1 tbsp of chia seeds, ground (ie in coffee grinder), mix with 1/4 cup of room temperature or warm water, 2 tsp arrowroot powder (optional) and let sit for 10 min.

Healthy Diet NW Calgary

Recipe inspired from:
Ricardo. (2016). Sweet Potato Breakfast Muffins | Ricardo. Retrieved November 22, 2016, from

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Christmas Holiday Recipes

Christmas Holiday Recipes

I have done Christmas baking with my family for as long as I can remember. From biscotti’s to Christmas pudding we always manage to have a blast and make a giant mess. As I began to become more aware of the impact food (specifically sugar) had on my health, our Christmas baking tradition became less appealing.

I continued to participate but did not consume our ‘unhealthy’ creations. Then I realized I didn’t want my family to be consuming all the sugar filled treats. So, I decided to change some of the recipes for healthier alternatives.

I have never been a fan of restriction, if something has to be removed I generally only take it out for a set period of time. Where I have found success both with patient’s and myself is finding healthier alternatives. So I encourage everyone to try to do the same this holiday season and all year long.

health tips NW Calgary

Healthy Eating NW Calgary

Pomegranate Chocolate Bark
• 200 grams Dark Organic Chocolate (at least 70% cacao)
• 1 cup Pomegranate Seeds
• 1/2 cup Pistachios (shelled and chopped)
• 1/4 cup Unsweetened Coconut Flakes

1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Prepare the pomegranate seeds, pistachios and coconut flakes in bowls.

2.Use a double boiler to melt the chocolate, by breaking the dark chocolate into pieces. Stir continuously just until melted. Remove from stove top immediately once melted

3.Pour the melted chocolate onto the baking sheet. Use a spatula to smooth the chocolate into an even layer, about 1/4 inch thick. Quickly sprinkle the pomegranate seeds evenly over top, followed by the pistachios and finally the coconut. Transfer to the fridge or freezer and let chill for 20 to 30 minutes, or until firm.

4.Once the chocolate is firm, break or cut it into pieces. Enjoy!

Healthy gut Eggnog
• 1 cup of kefir
• 2 bananas (the riper the better)
• 1tbsp coconut oil
• 1 egg yolk
• 1 tsp maple syrup (I will also use a pinch of stevia)
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
Place ingredients in a blender until smooth and garnish with nutmeg.

Mashed Cauliflower
• 1 head Cauliflower (large, sliced into florets)
• 2 Garlic (cloves, minced)
• 2 tbsp Butter
• 1 tbsp Thyme
• Sea Salt & Black Pepper (to taste)

1. Steam cauliflower florets for 10-15 minutes, or until very soft.

2.Transfer steamed cauliflower to a food processor or blender along with the remaining ingredients and enjoy!

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