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Sunday, 31 March 2013

Raw Vegan Red Pepper Chili Cheese Dip

This is the most delicious dip recipe! It's gluten-free, dairy-free, raw, vegan, and the healthiest, yummiest dip ever! Take this to supper tonight and wow your friends and family! They wont believe it's not full of fat and real cheese when they taste it! 

Red Pepper Chili Cheese Dip


1/2 of a red pepper (de-seeded and sliced)
1/4 c of raw tahini
4-5 sun-dried tomatoes (soaked 1/2hour-1hour till soft) 
1/4 c fresh squeezed lemon juice
2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp chili powder

Blend all ingredients in Vitamix blender or food processor until smooth. I blend until it's slightly heated for a warm dip. You can make it in a food processor as well and warm it in a mini slow cooker. 

Serve as a dip with the red pepper or zucchini 'chips' or as an appi and place a dollop on top of the red pepper squares and garnish with either green onion, cilantro or chili pepper. Makes a great appetizer or snack. May also be used as a dip for other veggies or bean chips, and it tastes great slightly heated and poured on top of steamed broccoli or cauliflower!

This dip is always a hit! Everyone loves the chili cheese flavor! Give it a try and enjoy! 

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Stuck in a Funk?? Get out of it instantly by doing one simple thing.

Have you ever been stuck in a funk? Trapped in a 'bad' day, in a cyclone of negativity, where there seems like there's no way out and nothing you do is going to make it better, make you smile and you feel stuck, so you might as well stay there and wallow- Well that is you choosing to stay there. There is a way out. Once you realize that you chose to be in the current situation that you are in, you then have the power to choose to get out of it. Our thoughts shape our experiences, so if you are thinking - 'She's out to get me,' 'He's always picking on me, or 'I'm having a bad day' - then she will be out to get you, and he will pick on you, and you will have a bad day. It's your choice.  Those negative thoughts and negative energies generate negative experiences. And the same goes for positive thoughts. By thinking happy positive thoughts you generate positive life experience. You might hit every light on your way to the grocery store, find a great parking spot, and get the last bunch of bananas on the shelf! Just tell yourself that these things are going to happen for you. You literally create your day and life experiences through your thoughts. Now, knowing this, you can change your thoughts from negative to positive to get out of your funk.
It's best to start your day off with a positive thought and affirm  "I am going to have a great day!" But if you find yourself wanting to get out of a funk at two pm you can simply say something like, 'I leave my negative thoughts surrounding today's events behind me, they do not serve me and I wish to let them go. The rest of my day is going to be bright and sunny and my heart will be filled with love for myself and others.' 
You can also shake it out, or dance it out! Body movement helps boost your mood in ways that eating a pint of ice cream won't - unless it's banana ice cream! Then you can eat as much as you like! Banana ice cream makes me happy! Indulging in greasy, fatty comfort foods only comforts you in the moment. It's not a lasting solution. I wanted to eat onion rings so bad today, I could smell them at work and it's harder to control your cravings when you are in a negative mood (another reason to choose happy thoughts!) I fought off cravings for junk all day today and every healthy meal I ate made me stronger. Had I have caved and indulged in foods that make me feel sick, I would have not only felt sick and weighed down, but extremely guilty as well. And that's never good. Guilt only leads to more negative thoughts and experiences. I am happy I chose to just eat a salad with lots of onions on it today, and I mean LOTS, to satisfy my cravings for those darn onion rings - it made it easier to move towards the choice of thinking happy thoughts.
Thank you to Paula, Lisa, Charmaine and Richard for reminding me of these things and helping me get out of my funk today. Once I realized that I was choosing to be there, I was able to choose to get out. You can do this too. My challenge for you is to wake up tomorrow and tell your self what kind of day you want to have! It's really that simple.
Watch how your day shifts when you change your thoughts. If negative thoughts pop into your head, simply acknowledge them and let them go, continuing to focus on the positive. 
Wake up everyday and know that it's going to be great, especially you set your mind to it.
Naturally Ashley

Sunday, 24 March 2013

This is my BEST Squat! -Video

I was asked to demo a proper squat at work this afternoon so I jumped up and showed the ladies my best squat! I thought I'd share it with you all as today is day 5 of my 100 squats a day challenge. What do you think? Am I doing it well?

 I'm doing 100 squats a day for 100 days inspired by 100 Squats a Day on Facebook (link below). I'm loving all the people that are messaging and approaching me to tell me that they did their 100 squats! Keep it up! I did 100 squats in 3:54 time today. That's six seconds longer than yesterday so I will be working even harder to beat my time tomorrow! Don't let yourself get discouraged if you don't beat your time every day. Be happy that you accomplished them no matter what the clock says! 

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Friday, 22 March 2013

Chocola-Cherry Banana Pudding

~Welcome to my blog Naturally Ashley. I just finished banana Island where I ate nothing but bananas for seven days! You might think I'm bananas... but I feel great! I am also still eating lots of bananas!
 I was craving chocolate covered cherries this afternoon and came up with this recipe for Chocola-Cherry Banana Pudding to satisfy my sweet tooth. I am still reintroducing foods and trying to keep it simple, that's why this recipe is so great - it's only three ingredients! Super easy and it takes just a minute or two to whip up. 

Doesn't it look great...?

I cannot describe how yummy this was! Such a lovely afternoon treat. Sure to be a hit with your kids and you don't have to worry because it's insanely healthy. 

Here's my three secret ingredients: 

~Banana, dried cherries and carob powder!~

Ok, not so secret, I'm sure you guessed them all from the title. Maybe not the carob powder though...I use it in place of cocoa or cacao when I make my chocolately recipes. When I started using carob in place of cocoa or cacao, I mixed it half and half, but love the taste of it by itself now. I actually prefer the earthy flavor of the carob over cacao, and you don't end up shocking your adrenals with all that caffeine! I learned this lesson the hard way on Valentine's Day: I treated myself to some raw chocolate truffles made with cacao and boy was jacked! - I was up until four in the morning buzzing and incredibly restless. Not my idea of a treat! 
So I happily stick to carob powder - and you can buy it at your local health food store. 

Here's the super easy, super yummy pudding recipe:

Chocola-Cherry Banana Pudding

In a blender or food processor or blender, pulse or blend together 

~2 Ripe Brown Spotted Bananas
~Half of a package of Dried Sour Cherries 50grams (or approximately two packed tablespoons) 
~2 tbsp Carob Powder (or cocoa/cacao if you don't have any carob yet....Get some!) 

Blend until smooth and creamy! Serve with sliced bananas and/or fresh cherries in the summer if you have them. Serves two lovely people. 

Enjoy Enjoy Enjoy!!!! 

Lots of love and bananas, 

Naturally Ashley

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Models have greasy hair, and they get paid to look like this! No Shampoo Challenge: Week Two

It continues! The second week of no Shampoo or Conditioner- called poo-free in the internet world. I didn't wash my hair for five days in between and it was getting pretty greasy! But no worries, I just wore a scarf around my head to work yesterday.

I washed my hair again this morning with the baking soda and apple cider vinegar rinse. I mixed two teaspoons of baking soda in with some water and 'lathered' it into my hair. I rinsed with the apple cider vinegar- 3tbsp mixed half and half with water.  I think I will use more baking soda next time as my hair is still a little greasy, or I will just go without anything from now on and see how it goes. Honestly, I thought it would be worse than it is! And I understand it takes time for my chemistry to change and get used to my new poo-free ways. On the upside, I'm not dealing with any annoying static, and I have an excuse to wear all of my pretty scarfs! Plus my sister was just saying the other day how all the models seem to have greasy looking hair, so I guess I'm actually in style! 

NO Shampoo Challenge: Week 2

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Lots of love and bananas,
Naturally Ashley

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Benefits I Experienced on Banana Island and Your Top 8 Questions Answered

I just had a mango! Loved it! So happy to have them back in my life! Just wanted to share with you all the benefits that I noticed over the past week!

Here are some of the BENEFITS I experienced on Banana Island:

  • Better mood, I'm naturally happy but Banana Island kicked it up a notch. I was blissed-out the entire time! 
  • I felt more motivated, to get things accomplished and to exercise - one of my struggles!
  • Great recovery time, not only from exercise, but from getting my wisdom tooth pulled. I'm a wimp at the dentist but I healed so fast! I still can't believe it! 
  • Better digestion. 
  • I noticed that I peed a LOT! That was my body releasing toxins, which is why it's so important to drink lots of water and stay hydrated! 
  • Lots of energy throughout the day, but tired by 10:00 and ready for bed. (I had really good sleeps too!)
  • Clear and vivid dreams. I felt like I was actually talking with my grandpa!
  • Some people lose weight, but I stayed the same. Maybe a pound or two but nothing major.
  • I feel more connected to my spirit and my body, more aware and loving towards it. 
  • Less attachment to food. Not worried about over-eating and a heightened awareness of what it means to be truly full. (the bananas would start to loose their flavor and I would know that I was satiated. How many times does this happen with a 'regular' meal, but we keep eating anyways? Listen to your body!)
  • Convenient and Easy to prepare meals. No Dishes!  
  • More time to focus on things that I enjoy doing.

I will do this again, but maybe a melon island next time for a good kidney flush! I love watermelon and honey dew, but I will wait until they are in season - being more nutritious, tasty and affordable! And now to answer the most common questions that I was asked while on the island.

Your Top 8 Questions Answered:

"Why brown spotted bananas? I like my bananas a little green."
-All of my banana recipes are made from RIPE brown spotted bananas. This is very important as the brown spots signify that the bananas are ripe - meaning the carbs have turned to sugar, making them easily digestible. Unripe bananas can cause cramping, bloating and constipation. It's best to eat all of our fruit ripe! You get used to it, I used to eat my bananas a little green too! Start by throwing ripe ones in a smoothie. 

"Are you making banana bread with all those bananas?"
- Nope, I'm going to eat them all! Probably today. I get asked this often at the grocery store and you wouldn't believe the looks I get! 

Aren't Bananas high in carbs? Wont eating that many make you fat?
-No, it won't! Carbs are your friend. We need them to be healthy and happy! As long as they aren't the processed, refined white flour/sugar carbs found in cakes, cookies and muffins, etc. Look at the fat content in these items - and rethink what might actually be making you fat from them. They are usually made with butter, oils, milk or other fatty agents. Plain brown rice and the carbs found in fruit will not make you fat. 

Isn't that too much sugar?
-Not when you are eating low fat. The sugar is easily absorbed and utilized as energy when there is little or no fat clogging up the bloodstream. Bananas contain very little fat (3% of their calories) so you are safe on the Island from sugar rushes and crashes.  I had a very steady even energy throughout the day.

Aren't you are going to overdose on Potassium?
-You would have to eat around 300 bananas all at once to OD on potassium.

30 Bananas a Day link to info about potassium overdose: 

What about protein?
-Did you know that 4% of a bananas calories come from protein? I actually make sure that I don't eat too much protein to prevent an overly acidic body chemistry. This can lead to calcium being leached from your bone and teeth, inflammation and chronic disease. I love having a healthy alkaline body! 

Don't you feel really full? I could never eat that many bananas!
-How do you know this? Have you ever tried? I feel completely satisfied on Banana Island without feeling stuffed. If I tried to eat 25 unripe bananas in one day, I would feel pretty bloated and gross. But when the bananas are brown spotted and ripe, they are easily digested in the body and leave you feeling light and full of energy! 

Aren't you sick of them already?
-Nope! More in love with Bananas than ever!

Thank you to everyone that has been following my Banana Island Adventure on Facebook, Youtube and here on my blog! Please feel free to leave comments and questions that you have that I may not have answered above. 

Lots of love and ripe bananas, 
Naturally Ashley 

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Last Day on the Island - Reintroducing other fruits and veggies.

It doesn't really feel like the first day of spring...more like the last day of's hoping! Let's all think warm and loving thoughts to get this snow melted so the lovely spring flowers can pop up :)

Spring is all about cleansing, and I am happy to start it off with a cleaner body. Banana Island, you've been great, thank you for nourishing my body while simultaneously cleansing all the winter junk out of my system. I'm really hoping this will help with my salt cravings! 

Now comes the hard part - slowly introducing food back into my body without going crazy and eating everything! I'm going to add things back in one at a time and try to do as many mono meals as possible. I really want to pay attention and listen to how my body reacts to each new food I add. 

When reintroducing foods it's important to begin with foods that are easiest on the digestive system starting with:

1. Other fruits eaten in mono meals
2. Greens like baby spinach, baby romaine, baby kale
3. More Greens!
4. Veggies
5. Grains
6. Nuts and Seeds
7. Animal products (if consuming)

I've already been incorporating greens into my smoothies today. Baby spinach and baby romaine. 

Tomorrow I will have an orange juice for breakfast and a banana and baby kale smoothie for lunch. I find that blended greens work best for the first couple of days. I'm looking forward to eating my big salads again for supper! And zucchini noodles - I've missed them too!  ***Insert reminder to go slow here!

However, the best part about it being the last day on Banana Island isn't about the food, it's about setting a goal and accomplishing it. To know that I have the will power and dedication to follow through on a my health goals and this makes me feel like I can accomplish anything. I bought myself a little prezsie today for completing my challenge:

A real Banana necklace! Isn't it beautiful?! My local health food store, Alternate Roots just brought these into the store and I was at work for a mere hour before I asked Carrie to open the glass case so I could try this necklace on! And needless to say I didn't take it off. I might even sleep with it on tonight!

Here's a look at how my last day on Banana Island went: (I will be posting the next couple of days to share how I've been reintroducing foods into my diet) 

Day 7

Baby Spinach and Banana Smoothie for Breakfast - 6 Bananas

Baby Spinach and Banana Smoothie for Lunch - 6 Bananas plus 2 Monkey Style

Baby Romaine and Banana Smoothie for Supper - 6 Bananas plus 4 Monkey Style

3 Litres of water

Half hour jumping on the rebounder followed by 100 squats!

7.5 hours of sleep last night

Banana tally: 24 Bananas! 

Banana Island Total for 7 days: 190 Bananas (Over 200 if you count the baby ones!)
 It was a great experience and I will do it again! So grateful for my clean digestive tract and healthy body. Thank you Banana Island, It's been a slice. 

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

8 Banana Recipe Meals (Only Bananas!)

One of the reasons I choose Bananas for my mono island is because they are so versatile. I can make a few different meals to satisfy me while eating only bananas for a week. It wouldn't be as much fun if I were only eating them monkey style the entire time. All of my banana recipes are made from RIPE brown spotted bananas. This is very important as the brown spots signify that the bananas are ripe - meaning the carbs have turned to sugar, making them easily digestible. Unripe bananas can cause cramping, bloating and constipation. It's best to eat all of our fruit ripe!  

Here's the 8 different ways I eat bananas:


Banana milk is so easy, it only takes a minute. Just pulse blend 1 cup of filtered water and one banana in the blender until smooth and milk-like!

Here's a video I did today on how to make banana milk:
Banana Milk - YouTube Video


Slice em up and eat them with your hands or a fork!


I slice up bananas and pour the banana milk on over to create a dish similar to cereal.

Here's a video I made today about banana cereal:
Banana Cereal


This is my second favorite way to eat my bananas! I find it really enhances the flavor and I love how smooth they are out of the Vitamix! I blend 6-8 bananas and 1/2 cup of water until smooth. You can add one or two frozen bananas if you like them cold, but I like mine room temperature.


Banana pudding is made the same as a banana smoothie but without any water. Just bananas in the blender or food processor. It's handy to have the tamper on the Vitamix for this one and like how it warms it up just a little!


Mashed bananas. It's pretty self explanatory. I slice them up on a plate and mash them with a fork !


The easiest way to eat a banana? - straight out of the peel! It's not the most fun, but it's extremely convenient to run out the door with ten bananas in your purse for lunch.

And last but not least:


This is my favorite way to eat bananas! 

Slice bananas 1/4-inch thick. Make sure they are ripe with lots of brown spots!!

Freeze in a single layer on a cookie tray lined with parchment paper — or in one layer in a resealable freezer bag, laid flat — until solid, at least 6 hours. (I usually freeze them overnight)

Transfer to food processor OR Vitamix/high powered blender.

When you process the bananas, they’ll first go sort of granular, then you’ll start to notice it going a bit creamy near the edges. Once this happens, scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue to blend, scrape, blend, scrape, etc. until the whole thing is a smooth, silky, creamy, moussey dream. This whole process should take 3 to 4 minutes in the food processor and 1- 2 minutes in the Vitamix. 

don’t suggest doing this in a blender unless you have a Vitamix or a Blentec high powered blender. The blade isn’t big enough to properly chop the bananas. That being said: My sister makes hers in her Magic Bullet adding some unfrozen banana of almond milk to get things moving along. 

Variations: You can switch up the flavour by adding another frozen fruit, just as long as at least half of the mixture is banana. Some great mixtures I have done are: 
Banana Strawberry
Banana Blueberry
Banana Mango
Banana Lime
Banana Pineapple 
Banana Chocolate (carob/cacao) and mint

Here's a look at my second last day:


25ish bananas - I didnt keep track!

3 Litres of water

30 minutes of rebounding, followed by yoga and 5minute ab workout

20 minute walk outside to pick up my car from the dentist! 

10 hours of sleep last night! 

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Monday, 18 March 2013

Day 5: A Bit of A Dream

I savoured a hand of red raspberry bananas this morning! For the rest of today I will be eating nothing but pureed banana smoothies and ice cream, Why? I got my first wisdom tooth pulled! It went a lot smoother than I thought and I am happy that it's over. I'm also happy to be on Banana Island while my tooth hole is healing, as it will speed my recovery time up. It takes a lot of energy for our bodies to digest food, up to 70%!. When the body doesn't have to use 70% of it's energy digesting food, it can spend it's time healing! And I love banana smoothies so win win! I couldn't imagine a better time to be on Banana Island. My body loves me right now <3

I also took the time to meditate this morning to get myself to a calm and centred place. Because I fear the dentist! Even just a cleaning. But I know if I can change my thoughts surrounding the event, I can change the outcome for the better. This is was I told myself:

"Today is going to go very well.  
I will stay calm.
I have a talented and capable dentist.
  I am going to heal quickly and feel little pain during this process."

It worked!

It's amazing what changing our thoughts can do. If you wake up every morning telling yourself that today is going to be a bad day, then it will be. But if you get up in the morning and smile, stretch, be thankful for the sun and tell yourself what a wonderful day you are going to have, I promise it will be much better! I just got my wisdom tooth out and I'm still smiling! 

**Might also be the adavant I was told to take before coming in for the appointment. It was my first time taking it and I wasn't sure what to expect. I had to weigh the pros and cons of putting medication into my body vs. the stress that I put on myself. Stress can be very damaging to your mind and body. I decided to take the adavant. I'm feeling really slow and not as sharp as normal.  I can still feel it in my system now.  I've only fell off my chair once while writing this blog post, so that's pretty good!

 Here's a look at Day 5:

I put a little bit more effort into my workout this morning because I knew I wasn't going to feel like doing much afterwards. I've just had a nice bath, some banana pudding, and after I'm done writing this post I will be curling up with a good book :)

Day 5

6 Red Bananas + 2 Cavendish Bannaas

45 minutes on the trampoline plus my yoga stretching routine.

Two litres of water (will drink a half before bed!)

Mini Banana Ice Cream: 10 mini bananas and 3 cavendish frozen and blended

Mashed bananas 6 cavendish bananas 

Total banana tally: approximately 22

8 hours sleep

***mashed bananas

Peel and slice 6 bananas onto a plate or a bowl and mash with a fork.
I know...difficult.
You'd be surprised how different it tastes from pureed or sliced bananas. 


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Sunday, 17 March 2013

Kiss Me. I'm Bananas!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

So I decided to dress up the pups for a quick photo shoot for St Patty's Day this morning. I kept them sitting pretty with their favorite treat- you guessed it....bananas! Gabby even eats the peels! She will jump up on the counter to grab them when I'm not looking. Also, in honor of St Patty's Day I made myself a green smoothie to take to grandmas...but not just any green smoothie - normally I use spinach, kale, romaine...but today I went a little bananas and added dried raw seaweed! Everyone in the car thought it was crazy but it actually tasted pretty good.  Or maybe I just wanted something other than bananas!?  I have read that others doing Banana Island sometimes incorporate greens. The last time I was on the island, I did 10 days only bananas and 4 days bananas and greens. My body must have been craving it because I was salivating at the thought of eating my seaweed banana creation by the time we got to Swift Current. The roads weren't that good but we made it safely to my Grandmas...isn't she beautiful?

We spent the afternoon visiting with family and going through old family photos. I could seriously create an entire awkward family photo album! 
Dad brought fresh fish that he caught the day before, Nikki brought her vegan cabbage rolls and I brought a suitcase of bananas! 

 I told you they were awkward!

I am officially half way done my banana island challenge! Woo hoo! It's flying by fast. I thought today would be easier than yesterday but it wasn't. My cravings are much harder to sit with when Nikki's cooking is in the house and she makes the best Vegan Cabbage Rolls. Tomorrow should be easy as I probably wont feel like eating anything after getting my wisdom tooth pulled! It's my first one so wish me luck! I hope some carries over from today! 

Day 4

30 bananas! and 5 baby bananas

Two and a half litres of water

No exercise - stuck in a car all day...must workout double tomorrow! 

8 hours of sleep

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Saturday, 16 March 2013

Banana Heaven!!!

How cool is this! I've never had two, let alone FOUR different types of Bananas in my kitchen! Regular Cavendish bananas in the top left, Burro bananas on the top right, cute little baby's on the bottom left and the new red bananas in the bottom right! I'm in banana heaven!!! 

I found the Burros and the Babies at the Asian food market in Regina yesterday and the Red ones I picked up from Alternate Root Organics, my local health food store, this morning. Kyle was sweet enough to share one of his ripe ones with me! I tried the burros for the first time as well, which was almost too much excitement in one day for this girl! 

All this banana excitement makes it easier to get through the day without being tempted. I did a workshop demo-ing vegan recipes with my sister Nikki (from Food&Fabric Blog) this afternoon and it wasn't easy! Her vegan chili is so amazing and it was difficult not to indulge in the mango chutney lettuce boats- a recipe I picked up from Easy to be Raw's Megan Elizabeth  last summer at the Woodstock Fruit Festival in New York. 

Every time I have a craving I just grab another banana! And we did make banana ice cream at the workshop so I got to participate in the indulgence of one recipe! Day three is always the hardest. I'm definitely looking forward to tomorrow. I will be travelling to Swift Current to see my grandma. I wonder what she's going to say about me bringing 20 bananas into her house. I can hear her voice already - "WHAAAT? Just BANANAS? That's just crazy!"   

Here's a little info about bananas and the new ones I tried today:

These are the regular bananas that you see in the grocery store. They originated in South East Asia and are now grown in Africa and Latin America. They are the most popular type of banana, averaging 8 inches long and 6-8 on a hand. 

I was so excited to try these! They originate in Costa Rica and are very popular in South America and Australia. They are sweeter than a cavendish and have a hint of raspberry flavor. I found them to be really creamy. I can't wait until mine ripen to try them in a smoothie! 

I found the burro bananas reminded me of a small plantain, especially in looks because they are a little bit boxy. I really enjoyed the taste. It wasn't as sweet as a regular banana and had a hint of almond flavor. Some say they have a hint of lemon flavor. The texture was different too, a little more creamy. Two thumbs up from Naturally Ashley!! 

Snack sized and oh so cute, these little guys have a really thin peel when you cut them open. They taste sweet and would be fun to pack in your kids lunch boxes for a healthy and fun snack. Baby Bananas are about 3" long and there can be as many as 20 bananas on a hand! 

I'm combining day two and three in today's post:

I'm still feeling great and so full of energy. 
Noticing better digestion and some strong cravings for cooked food. 
Tomorrow will mark the middle of my Banana Island Adventure, it's going by so fast! 

Yesterday - Day 2:

27 Bananas 
 (I ate them monkey style all day and made banana ice cream for supper)

1/2 hour of shovelling snow- Great workout!

Two and a half litres of water

7 hours of sleep

Today - Day 3

28 Bananas
(I ate them monkey style all day and made banana ice cream for supper)

1/2 hour jumping on the rebounder plus my yoga routine and stretching 

Two and a half litres of water

7 hours of sleep