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Savour or Sweet Treats for the Holidays?

Inspire Health Event Calendar December 14, 2012


It is interesting to look at whether your preference is for sweet or salty food items. When we crave particular items, we are receiving a message from deep within that our body needs something. Where we tend to go wrong is reaching for unhealthy items satiate that ‘message’.

As we have far too many food options at our fingertips, we tend to overindulge and crave ‘under-nourishing’ foods, for example, packaged foods.

My approach to this extremely common dilemma is to feed the craving, but with a whole food version of what you are craving -without nothing removed, added, refined and minimally or non-processed. When we eat foods high in salt or sugar, it is only a matter of time until our body wants to have more to try and satiate the craving again. This is the vicious cycle of addiction, be it potato chips, French fries or cookies.

Refined and processed foods do not satisfy us adequately or sustain our health long-term. In fact, they feed into deficiency in the body which makes us weaker and more susceptible to disease.

Allow me to provide a couple of holiday-friendly examples of whole food goodies which act as a a great replacement from those made with white sugar and white flour.

I love both oatmeal and shortbread and really enjoy combining the two creatively.


Ginger Pecan Oatmeal Shortbread

Prep and cooking time: 30 min
Serves: approx 4 dozen

1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
3/4 cup pecan halves
1 cup fine ground spelt flour
1/4 cup organic cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground ginger (use fresh ginger for a stronger flavor)
1/2 teaspoon fine unrefined salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks, 6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup unrefined sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large organic egg


  1. Grind the oatmeal and pecan pieces in a food processor until they resemble cornmeal. reasonably fine, but with some texture. Whisk the spelt flour, cornstarch, ginger, salt and baking soda together in a medium bowl. Whisk in the oat/nut mixture.
  2. In another medium bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer until smooth and light, about 1 minute. Gradually add the granulated and light brown sugar; continue beating until evenly combined, about 3 minutes more. Add the vanilla and the egg.
  3. Mix in the dry ingredients to make a textured dough. Line a 1 1/2-quart loaf pan or 3 mini loaf pans with plastic wrap and pack dough into the bottom half of the pan. Press to level off the dough. Lay a piece of plastic wrap on top and refrigerate until completely firm, (about 2 hours).
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  5. Remove dough from the pan and unwrap. If using a large pan, slice the dough in half lengthwise. Slice each log crosswise into 1/4-inch thick cookies. Place the cookies about a 1-inch apart on the prepared pans. Bake until golden brown, for15 to 18 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack to cool and crisp.
  6. Store cookies in a tightly sealed container for up to 1 week.


If chocolate is your desire, try this one


Peppermint Patties

Serving: 12 patties

½ cup coconut oil
¼ cup unpasteurized honey
½ teaspoon peppermint oil
½ to 1 cup dark chocolate chips


  1. In a small bowl, combine coconut oil, honey and peppermint oil, mixing with a spoon.
  2. Smash clumps of coconut oil against the side of a bowl until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Freeze mixture for a few minutes until it starts to harden, then remove from the freezer.
  4. Use a 1.5 teaspoon ice cream scoop to measure out little balls and place onto a parchment paperlined plate.
  5. Place plate in freezer to firm up mint balls; when firm, remove from freezer.
  6. Squish balls down into flat little patties on parchment paper.
  7. Melt chocolate over very low heat; allow to cool slightly.
  8. Dip patties into melted chocolate (use spoon to drop patty into melted chocolate, dip and remove).
  9. Place patties on parchment paper to harden (takes 10 minutes though on a summer day you may need to refreeze).

And for that savoury craving...


Lisa Marie’s Healthy Chips


1 bag of ‘Food For Life’ brown rice, sprouted grain or sprouted corn tortillas
Virgin Coconut oil
Unrefined salt to taste
Optional: garlic powder, dill, cumin seeds, seaweed flakes, pepper, nutritional yeast… for additional flavouring


  1. Spread dry tortillas out on a cookie sheet (avoid overlapping) and put into a toaster oven/regular oven. Heat at 300 degrees until they get hard (this should only take a few minutes).
  2. Spread a thin layer of virgin coconut oil over each tortilla, add salt and other topping and put back into oven until hard (a few more minutes).
  3. Remove from oven and cool until crisp.
  4. Break up into chip sized pieces and serve.
  5. *If they are a bit chewy you may have put too much oil on them and they’ll need to be heated for longer to regain crispness!
  6. This recipe can also be applied to root veggies. If you cut them very thinly (a special slicer would work best, but by hand works fine) and follow the directions above you’ll get a similar result and a lovely varied flavor. I’ve used beets, parsnips, carrots and even yams and sweet potatoes.