Alkaline Recipes

The recipes this month tie into my upcoming workshop on acidity and alkalinity. As the name of this workshop suggests, it’s all about balance: in the rhythm of our days, the relationships we nurture, and the food on our plate. We in North America tend towards an ‘acidic’ lifestyle, with our go-go-go lives, heavy meat consumption, and processed foods. These choices tend to promote an environment that fosters many of the chronic diseases on the rise in our culture today. What we eat can play a huge role in equalizing these factors. When we make alkaline choices, not only do you stack the deck in your favour, but you really do feel great. So read on for recipes that are guaranteed to be mouth-watering – and may just help to bring you the balance you seek.

*Note: the general rule of thumb should be two parts alkaline to one part acidic, not the complete removal of acidic foods. In general, meat and dairy are acidic, and vegetables and fruits are alkaline. Sign up for the workshop this Saturday, June 7, to learn much more on this fascinating topic. 

Seared Scallops with White Beans and Spinacha8b7ca1991c17b8126dd6d441d9cf680

Super easy, super delicious, ready in 30 minutes! For those who prefer fish, any white fish of your choice also works well with this recipe.


  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cans cannellini beans (14 oz each), rinsed and drained
  • 4-6 cups baby spinach
  • 1 lb large sea scallops
  • 2 strips of bacon or pancetta
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh basil as garnish


  1. Heat a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook the bacon or pancetta until it has begun to crisp. Add the onion and garlic; sauté until the onion is soft and translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the white beans and spinach and simmer until the beans are hot and the spinach is wilted. Keep warm.
  2. Heat a large cast-iron skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Blot the scallops dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Add the butter and the scallops to the pan and sear the scallops for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until deeply caramelized.
  3. Before serving, add the lemon juice to the beans. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the beans among 4 warm bowls or plates and top with scallops.
  4. Garnish with fresh basil.

Adapted from Men’s Health.com

Spicy Sicilian Stew

Adding fresh herbs and spices is another great way to boost the alkaline quotient of any meal. Plus it just plain old tastes better!


  • 1 red onion
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • 800 g chopped plum tomatoes 
  • ½ butternut squash, peeled and grated
  • 500 ml fish or vegetable stock
  • 200 g salmon fillet
  • 300 g halibut fillet
  • 12 raw peeled shrimp (optional)
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 large handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped


  1. Finely chop the onion, celery, fennel, garlic and chilli. Heat the oil in a large pan, and add the chopped ingredients. Sauté until tender, about ten minutes.
  2. Add the wine, tomatoes, squash and fish stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper as needed, and gently break up the tomatoes.
  3. Roughly chop the salmon and halibut and add to the pan. Add the prawns, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until just cooked.
  4. Serve drizzled with olive oil, lemon juice, and sprinkled with chopped parsley. A nice country bread is a great accompaniment to mop up the juices.

Adapted from Jamie Oliver.com

Chicken Fajita Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette


  • 2 organic chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 head romaine lettuce
  • 1 pint yellow or red cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 yellow or green zucchini, sliced lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of one lime
  • handful of fresh chopped cilantro, plus some for garnish
  • 2 teaspoons honey or maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon honey mustard
  • 2 bulbs fresh garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Wash and roughly chop the romaine lettuce and place in a large salad bowl. Top with chopped tomatoes/ avocado and thinly sliced red onion. Set aside in a cool place.
  2. In a pan, heat the olive oil, salt and pepper, and sauté the chicken until lightly browned. Add the zucchini, and cook until the zucchini is slightly tender. Keep warm.
  3. In the meantime, combine the ingredients of your vinaigrette and place in a food processor or blender. If whisking by hand, finely dice the cilantro.
  4. Serve the chicken and zucchini on top of the salad, with fresh cilantro as a garnish. This salad is delicious with homemade pita chips on the side.

Warm Asparagus-Arugula Salad with Shiitake Mushrooms and Grilled Salmon



  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups roughly chopped shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 sweet red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh dill, minced
  • 3 cups arugula
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese



  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar reduction or balsamic glaze
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Set the salmon fillets in a baking dish and sprinkle with fresh lemon, dill, and salt/ pepper. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  2. Snap off ends of asparagus; cut stalks in half. In a large steamer, cover and cook asparagus until tender-crisp, about 3 minutes. Drain and set aside, covered.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together vinaigrette ingredients; set aside.
  4. In a large nonstick pan, heat oil over medium-high heat; stir-fry mushrooms, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper; stir-fry until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add dressing, asparagus and 2 tbsp of the dill; cook, stirring, until heated through, 2 minutes.
  5. In large bowl, toss arugula with asparagus mixture; divide among plates. Top with crumbled goat cheese and salmon fillet; sprinkle with remaining dill.

Adapted from Canadian Living.com

Bon Appétit!

Heather Martin, N.D.




Sports Nutrition

How best to fuel an athlete has become one of the most hyped – and profitable – sectors of the health industry. Supplements, powders, and protein bars abound, and their promises usually sound like the tag line to an action movie: “hyper-burn”, “super pump max”, “fit power”. The fact is that sports nutrition is like any other kind of nutrition…. Common sense has often been hijacked by the slick marketing campaigns of the companies who would like nothing more than to see you pick their product off the shelf, the realities of nutrition be damned.

Of course, there are good companies who have done their research and put out quality products (recommendations below). But let’s keep in mind, these are products, not food. It always starts with food.

Foods that Power Performance9dccaf7fbc8e7bab5f31fb86bbe5d090

  1. Eat a big breakfast. This is the foundation of your day, so make it count. Whole grain bread, eggs, nut butters, granola, superfood smoothies…. Here’s some inspiration for well-rounded breakfasts.
  2. Have snacks throughout the day. Running on empty is a sure way to stall metabolism in adults and kids alike. Try to eat every 3-4 hours. Healthy snacks can be as simple as an apple or a handful of almonds, to more energizing solutions.
  3. Hydrate throughout the day. Water with squeezed lemon is ideal for its health-boosting qualities. Other great sports-related hydrators are coconut water or maple water – save these for during or immediately following sports to replenish lost electrolytes.
  4. Eat nutrient-dense foods. Elite athletes know that foods full of vitamins, minerals, fibre, and protein are great choices. These deliver a lot more bang for your buck than junk food, which offers a quick fix and then an energy crash.
  5. Eat carbohydrates the night before. “Carbo-loading” is a time honoured tradition that gives your body a quick source of energy the next day. Just make sure you’re using whole grains; pastas such as rice, kamut and quinoa are great options. And if you’re using this strategy, also make sure to pair your big pasta dinner with vigorous exercise early the following day!

Common Pitfalls

High Protein Diets.

This is one of the biggest fallacies in sports nutrition. True, protein builds muscle. But cutting carbs out of the equation is a dangerous long-term strategy for health, let alone athletic performance. Carbs equal energy, and when they aren’t available, your body has to draw on protein instead. This means:

  1. drawing on muscle,
  2. your body has to work twice as hard to make the conversion, and
  3. the process is highly acidifying – meaning your bones and your overall health ultimately pay the price.

Stick with a rounded diet in the range of 50% complex carbs (vegetables, fruits, grains), 25% protein, and 25% good fats for overall health.

b8860e8ae54263d8f40d9cfb8c6453e6Added Sugars.

Our society’s over-consumption of sugar is emerging as the health crisis of our time. Often, it’s the hidden sugars masquerading as healthy foods that add countless teaspoons of the sweet stuff to our daily intake. It’s estimated the average Canadian adult consumes 26 teaspoons a day. Children and teens are much higher, with male teens topping out the list at a whopping average of 138 lbs. of sugar a year! Here are some examples of where that comes from (consider that 4g = approximately one teaspoon):

  • Clif Bar – 21 g
  • Nutri-Grain Bar – 12 g
  • Vitamin Water – 25 g
  • Craisins – 27 g
  • Honey Nut Cheerios – 12 g
  • Power Bar – 23 g
  • Yoplait Strawberry Yogourt – 27 g
  • Gatorade – 35 g

Sugar is packaged into scores of “sports” related foods because it offers a quick energy fix – and let’s face it, we’re wired to love the taste of sweets. At the numbers in which it’s being consumed, it also offers countless long-term and well-documented health consequences. Keep your added sugars to a minimum for optimal performance and optimal health; if it’s in the first three ingredient of a product you’ve taken off the shelf, think twice – or at the very least, consider it dessert! Check out these three great resources for more info:

- Fed Up. A brand new documentary about the sugar crisis.

- Death by Sugar. A recent article from Macleans magazine, full of shocking stats on where all that sugar comes from.

- Simple Tips to Manage Sugar Cravings. Great article with sound suggestions on how to turn it all around.

The Superfood Smoothie Solution7bc6a53b86e1fccbda93bc74a6765e8c

One of the easiest ways to build your own superfood and control the ingredients is to opt for a smoothie. Here are some of the ingredients that get the green light for both nutritional content and sports performance. Add them to the fruit or leafy green of your choice.

  • Coconut water, Maple water (electrolytes)
  • Unsweetened Almond or Hemp Milk (protein, Omega 3s)
  • Chia Seeds (protein, fibre)
  • Hemp Seeds (protein, Omega 3s)
  • Unsweetened Nut Butters (protein, Omega 3s)
  • Plain Yogourt or Kefir (protein, probiotics)
  • Pumpkin Seed Protein‘ by Omega Nutrition (protein, Omega 3s, zinc)
  • Vega’, ‘Warrior Blend‘ (whole food replacements specific to athletes, for those 14 years and up)

Find more great superfood solutions here. Incorporate these nutritional heavyweights into your diet for energy, mental clarity, and success both on and off the field!

e506f95d3a8c0f7e2ffb181bf0a02500Bon Appétit,

Heather Martin, N.D.





Balance is the Key to Life

I’m very excited to announce a joint workshop between myself and the lovely folks at Shri Yoga Montreal on Saturday, June 7, from 2 – 4:30. We’ll be discussing the topic of balance – how to achieve it, how to hold on to it, and the tremendous benefits of finding that perfect mix of work, play, solitude, friendship, and fun.

2 p.m. – Asana practice with Mona Keddy on finding balance in our yoga practice

3:30 p.m. – Discussion with Heather on balancing alkalinity and acidity in our body

Fresh juices from Living Juices will be served, along with some of Heather’s favourite alkaline snacks. The cost of the workshop is $55. Registration can be made through Shri Yoga.

Hope to see you there!

Heather Martin, N.D.


Living Foods

Living foods may conjure up images of something dark and fuzzy lurking at the back of your fridge – a tub of yogurt that’s seen better days, or leftovers that are decidedly sketchy (have you ever wondered why that processed spread never goes bad??…. hmmmm). What may surprise you is that living foods are all the rage these days. We’re seeing a movement back to food that will eventually, in a normal time frame, rot. In an age where everything is pre-packaged and convenient, it’s a healthy reminder that whole foods are what human beings were meant to eat. It’s food that’s fresh, full of vitality, and well – life.

Out With the Old

The last twenty to thirty years have seen the rise of anti-bacterial, sterile food preparation. Bacteria was dangerous and to be avoided at all costs. This trend dovetailed with the rise of extensive food processing, and the result is a current foodscape that’s pretty darn anemic. Take a look at your daily diet: how much of what you eat is brimming with life? Your dairy is pasteurized (it’s the law), your pasta has gone through a dozen steps from field to packaged state, and your fruits and veggies have likely been sprayed with multiple insecticides – then covered in a preservative wax. Even popular “healthy” food supplements have been extracted, dried, and ground to a fine powder. Not surprisingly, food intolerances and digestive disorders have skyrocketed. If what we eat is sometimes devoid of nutritional value, it is also, in a word, dead.

Let’s Hear it for Bacteriashutterstock_108010532

Fermented foods have been around for millennia, and were a time-honoured method for boosting immunity. Foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, pickles, and kombucha were preserved with bacteria in an age without refrigeration, and it just so happens this process brought out the best in the bioavailability of the nutrients. What modern scientists have discovered is that some strains of bacteria, far from being harmful, are in fact essential to our health. The digestive tract represents a whopping 80% of our immune system. These powerful bugs help us extract and digest the nutrients in our food, fight harmful bacteria, and heal our digestive organs from the ravages of poor eating & lifestyle habits.

Mainstream food producers are starting to catch on to the science, as we see ads trumpeting probiotics in more and more products. If you want to take baby steps into the land of fermented foods, try plain kefir or bottled kombucha, available at many grocery and most health food stores. Pinehedge Farms Kefir and RISE Kombucha are two of my personal favourites.

This article from the well + GOOD also offers a great list of delicious fermented options to bring healthy bacteria back into your diet.


UnknownAnother popular version of getting a huge dose of freshness and vitality is by juicing. Juicing differs from smoothies in that it extracts the essence of fruits and vegetables into a powerful cocktail of enzymes, vitamins and minerals. Simply speaking, you’re extracting maximum “life” out of your produce, and since there isn’t any fibre involved, absorption occurs very quickly. Juicing represents an energy boost like no other, and is a fantastic way to undertake a detox or heal the digestive tract. Living Juices of Montreal details this process – check them out for more info.

This spring, give your health a boost and try eating more living foods. Go with your gut (literally!!) – shop your organic grocery for food that’s bursting with life, bacteria, and enzymes. Food that will put a spring in your step, and keep YOU living much longer!


Heather Martin, N.D.






Great Links for Spring

Despite what you hear on the news, there’s tons of great stuff going on in and around Montreal. A cultural and lifestyle renaissance is afoot in the city, and these links highlight some of our best and brightest businesses. They range from foodie buffs, to fresh juice delivery, to purveyors of cool lifestyle accessories (hello bicycle wine rack!). What they have in common is a grassroots approach to business that gives back to our community – and in the process enriches our city.

Bilboquet Ice Cream

Ice Cream season is just around the corner (around these parts, anything north of zero degrees qualifies as ice cream season). Made with fresh, local ingredients in small batches, this is the best ice cream I’ve EVER had. The seasonal “tire a l’érable”, or maple taffy, available only in the spring, is enough to make you swoon.

Buckwheat Bedding

This line of organic products is handmade in Quebec, and includes the simply dreamy buckwheat pillow, filled only with – what else! – buckwheat hulls. These are definitely on my wish list!!

Bicycle Wine Rack

The coolest product this side of Canada is made right here in Montreal. Better yet, the quality hand tooled leatherwork is offered in a range of funky designs, including the USB bracelet, the bicycle frisbee rack, oh-so-awesome belts, and the yoga strap.

Clef des Champs

Herbalists extraordinaire, Clef des Champs are located north of Montreal in Val David, QC. In addition to being master purveyors of quality, organic medicinal herbs, they also produce an amazing array of herbal teas (often one and the same). Their gardens and a brand new teahouse are open to the public in the summer months.

Juice Girls

Living Juices, or ‘Jus a Vie’, is the brainchild of two sisters from Montreal, one of whom was tackling debilitating health issues. She set out on a raw juice cleanse and never looked back. The traveling juice bar was born, serving up fresh pressed juices from scratch. The juice girls cater special events, deliver to your door, and will even tailor a juice plan to your specific health goals.

The Green Panther

Known for their hearty portions and delicious fare, this vegan hotspot is where those in-the-know go for an uber-healthy meal. And if you so happen to live in the downtown area, lucky you – the Green Panther delivers by bicycle :)

d’Origina Spices

Ever wondered why you’ve never heard of Canadian spices? d’Origina aims to change that with their line of exclusively boreal-based seasonings. If that seems a little intimidating, consider that it’s the next logical step in the ‘eat local’ movement. The company offers a flavour converting wheel to get you started, along with heaps of recipe suggestions.

Velo Burrito

Yet another great foodie option is this spunky St.Henri based burrito delivery service. Vegetarian and vegan burritos are delivered in all weather by bike (loving this trend!). Specials rotate weekly, with such inventive options as Cabane a Sucre, Satay, and Pizza Burritos.

Little Life Box

I love the whimsy of this mail-order company. Once a month you receive a gift box, full of a surprise assortment of health products, from supplements to food to cosmetics. You can order just one box, or buy a subscription for a monthly surprise at your doorstep.

Santé and Happy Spring,









Heather Martin, N.D.