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Tips for Snacking

By Stephen G. John

Much has been said about snacking. Food experts attest to the benefits of taking food during snack time, which has become part and parcel of the daily eating pattern. Most people are familiar with taking snacks in between meals, while others prefer to have snacking during midnight. The problem with snacking, however, is that it has become a mindless and emotional habit eating for many. Satisfying food usually make up the menu for snacks, not merely to alleviate hunger pangs but to simply have something to munch on while taking a break from activities such as work or play.

Needless to say, health consciousness encompasses everything that eating is all about, including the type of snack food that you usually enjoy with family and friends. Ponder on some important points to make tasty, healthy snack ideas come to life.

Think nutritional value.

If you’ve been used to serving the crunchy, the salty or the sugary for snacks, it is high time to find out how the body – not just the taste buds – can benefit from these types of food. Do they contain any nutritional value? Everyone, especially kids, will need to be conscious about getting the right amount of nutrition in this era of tasty, zero-nutrient appetizers, dishes, desserts and refreshments.


Consider healthier substitutes.

People pay less attention to how snacking can affect the overall diet, and usually go for the typical bread, cookies, pastas, pies, pizzas, cakes, pastries, sandwiches, chocolates, popcorns chops, crackers, noodles or biscuits. Most serve these calorie-filled snacks because they taste good and take less preparation time. Aren’t fruits, nuts, salads, yogurts, real juices, low-sodium and sugar-free recipes just as equally tasty and easy to prepare?


Creativity counts!

Most people frown at the thought of having some boring fruit, veggie, wheat-based food or oatmeal for snacks. The quick remedy? Put in variety, experiment with pretty or fun plating, and recreate a recipe to make it your own. Give these items your own personal touch, and explore different ways to perk up your snack.


Bear in mind: portions matter in healthy snacking.

You may not give it much thought, but the moment you purchase that bag of fries to fry for snacks, you tend to go for the size XL packs because they are cheaper and provide value for money. While you weigh in how practical the savings are from these deals, it may also be reasonable for you to think about serving smart. Remember that your snack serving portions play a great role in keeping your healthy diet in check.

Paying attention to what your body needs – more than what it wants – is not easy. Such is the case with finding the perfect snack, with all the traditional choices that people have been used to.

Visit healthy snack ideas at for some answers.

Article Source:

Peanut butter coconut oatmeal cookies

7SYSTEMS DO MORE team member Louis Therien is a huge peanut butter freak and even more of a cookie freak!

These cookies are amazing and also healthy…….well, for cookies!


  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup ground coconut
  • 3 cups oats
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda



  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Beat together oil and peanut butter then beat in eggs, sugar and vanilla. Stir in coconut.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together oats, flour, powder and soda.
  4. Stir into peanut butter mixture but do not over mix.
  5. Drop onto a baking sheet in 1 1/2 tablespoons round.
  6. Gently press to flatten and bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.


WARNING: If you have a peanut allergy please don’t be an idiot and make these!


Scones with Strawberries and whip cream


What is more British than scones with strawberries and whipped cream? Well, nothing is really, especially if you are a regular Wimbledon Tennis fan.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients (serves 20):

  •     4 cups self-raising flour
  •    1 tablespoon caster sugar
  •    1 cup thickened cream
  •    1 cup milk
  •    2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  •    2 tablespoons icing sugar mixture, to serve
  •    Strawberry cream
  •    1/4 cup strawberry jam
  •    1 1/2 cups thickened cream, whipped
  •    150g strawberries, diced



  1. Make sure you have the ingredients!
  2. Preheat oven to 190°C. Line a flat baking tray with baking paper. Sift flour, sugar and a pinch of salt into a large bowl.
  3. Combine cream, milk and vanilla in a jug. Pour into dry ingredients. Stir with a flat-bladed knife to combine. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth.
  4. Pat dough out to a 2.5cm-thick round.Using a 5cm scone cutter, cut 12 scones from dough. Gently press remaining dough together and repeat. Place scones on prepared tray, allowing a little room for spreading. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven. Cover with a clean tea towel and stand scones on tray for 10 minutes.
  5. Make strawberry cream: Stir jam in a bowl until softened slightly. Add cream and half the strawberries. Gently fold through until just combined.
  6. Split scones in half. Top bases with a dollop of strawberry cream, remaining strawberries and scone tops. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Source:; Super Food Ideas- June 2006, Page 24. The recipe is by Julie Jansen

Lentil Licious

From Jasper Blake


  • Can of Annies Organic Lentils
  • Large onion
  • Coconut oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Saute a large onion with a table spoon of coconut oil; salt and pepper
  2. Rinse lentils and add them to pan
  3. Let warm and enjoy; serves 2

Rebar Salad

From Jasper Blake

Salad Ingredients:

  • Dark leefy greens
  • Shredded beats
  • Pea shoots
  • Shredded carrots
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Goat Fetta
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Garbonzo beans

Basil Vinagerrete dressing Ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 oz (45g) fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cracked pepper
  • 1 cup olive oil


  1. For the Salad: Wash the raw ingredients and then combine them in a bowl
  2. For the Dressing: Combine all ingredients except oil in a food processor and blend. Slowly add olive oil in a thin stream until thick. Season to taste and refrigerate up to 3 days. 
  3.  Serves 4

Simple Salmon

From Jasper Blake


  • Salmon fillet
  • Lemon
  • Season salt
  • Tinfoil


  1. Wrap a filet in tinfoil with a couple slices of lemon and some season salt
  2. Cook on the BBQ on medium heat for 20 minutes
  3. Check inside wrap occasionally to make sure juices have not dried up
  4. Fish is ready when strips flake away with gentle nudge by fork
  5. Serve with basmati rice or quinoa

Recipe: Quinoa Salad with Dried Apricots and Baby Spinach

Ayesha Rollinson has provided us with the recipe for this month! She is an Engineer, Professional Triathlete and  Performance Coach living and working in Toronto.   

Active prep time is 30 minutes, Total time is 45 minutes.
Ingredientsquinoa and apricots

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup Moroccan-spiced Lemon Dressing, divided
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 8 cups baby spinach or Swiss chard
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  1. Toast quinoa in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until it becomes aromatic and begins to crackle, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a fine sieve and rinse thoroughly.
  2. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until golden, about 1 minute. Add apricots and the quinoa; continue cooking, stirring often, until the quinoa has dried out and turned light golden, 3-4 minutes. Add water and salt; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med-low and simmer uncovered, until the quinoa is tender and the liquid id absorbed, 15-18 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, make Moroccan-Spiced Lemon Dressing. Transfer the quinoa to a medium bowl and toss with 2/3 cup of the dressing. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  4. Just before serving, add tomatoes and onion to the quinoa; toss to coat. Toss spinach with the remaining 1/3 cup dressing in a large bowl. Divide the spinach among 4 plates. Mound the quinoa salad on the spinach and sprinkle with almond.

For the Moroccan-Spiced Lemon Dressing:


  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, cinnamon and giner
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


  1. Whisk all ingredients in a bowl ,except the extra virgin olive oil, until all blended.
  2. Slowly whisk in ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil so the dressing becomes smooth and emulsified.
  3. Season with ¼ teaspoons salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Ali’s favorite chocolate Truffle brownies

This recipe is from the book 365 days of Quinoa. The brownies have the texture of a truffle and there is no flour involved!  Recommend serving it with Coconut milk ice cream. YUM!


  • 4oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  1. Preheat oven 350 F and grease a 9 inch pan
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter together on a low heat.
  3. Add sugar to the saucepan slowly, stirring constantly
  4. Once mixture is all blended, transfer to a bowl and add eggs and vanilla. Blend well
  5. Stir in flour and milk.
  6. Add nuts and bake for 20 to 22 minutes. Be careful not to overbake.


Lauren Groves’ Raspberry Coconut Cake


  • 1 3/4 cup finely shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 2/3 cup self-raising wholegrain flour
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries


  1. Preheat oven to 170 Celsius (for those back home, 350 degrees Fahrenheit).
  2. Mix together the shredded coconut and the coconut milk, and let rest for about 20 minutes while it forms a nice paste.
  3. Next, mix in the sugar, egg and vanilla. Add the flour slowly and mix until combined. Just before baking, fold in the raspberries.
  4. Spread into a greased or parchment lined loaf tin and bake for about 1 hour – 1 hour 10 minutes, until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  5. Let it rest in the baking pan for awhile before cooling on a wire rack.
  6. Slice and enjoy!


Seven Simple Rules To Help You Eat Well- by Jasper Blake

1. Relationship

Our relationship with food is not just physical.  Food is so important we engage in eating it on a daily basis.  Yet we have gradually distanced ourselves from the important relationship we should have with food.  Hunting, growing, preparing and actually sitting down and eating food is largely a thing of the past.  Now we go to the grocery store, buy what we need, most of the time whatever is going to make life easier is the top choice, and we rarely ever sit down for long, social meals.  We’ve lost the connection with food to the point that most children probably don’t understand that a piece of meat actually comes from a living, breathing animal.  Its not wonder fast food has become so prevalent.  Fast means we don’t really have to connect with what we are eating, we can simply order it and shovel it into our mouths.  As such we are rarely aware of what is actually going into our bodies.  Not so long ago everything we ate was made from scratch and prepared in house.  We had a much healthier relationship with food back then.  Cooking can be a source of great joy if you engage in it.  Following a recipe and preparing food for another person is a great way to reconnect with what you are eating and appreciate what is going into your mouth.

 2. Know your good foods and bad foods

Everyone is different and our relationship with certain types of food is also different.  What’s good for one person may not always be good for another person.  Food allergy testing has become quite common over the last decade as a way to identify foods that may not be suitable for your body.  Food allergies do not always result in massive anaphylactic responses like someone’s reaction to a bee sting or peanuts.  Some food allergies lie quietly beneath the surface and affect us in subtle be significant ways.  Ineffective digestion, low energy, moodiness and agitation are a few examples of how mild food allergens can affect us.  Identifying and removing foods that you are mildly affected by can dramatically improve your overall state of well-being.  Just ask anyone who has a gluten intolerance!

3. Avoid refined sugars

Refined sugars are everywhere; in fact it’s hard to avoid them these days.  They are found in most snack foods, most fast foods, most foods that are highly preserved, bread products and most drinks including the energy drinks we consume en masse during training and racing.  Refined sugars wreak havoc with your body chemistry especially if you consume great quantities in times of inactivity.  Avoiding refined sugars can dramatically improve your well-being.

4. Good fat vs. Bad fat

The discussion around fat has been had over and over again yet we still don’t seem to get it.  We still load our foods with copious amounts of unhealthy fats.  This is largely because fat in general make foods taste better.  Restaurant foods are often loaded with fat.  Fat holds flavor and fat is very satiating. 

To make it easy, there are a few types of fat that are essential to avoid.  Hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated and shortening are all harmful types of fat.  It will come as no surprise that most good fats can be found in real food sources like avocado, olives and of course fish.  Consuming enough good fat is as important as not consuming the bad fat.  Essential fatty acids are critical for the immune system, cardiovascular system and nervous system.

5. Read food labels

One of the most important things you can do nutritionally is to become more aware of the foods you are putting into your mouth.  Reading food labels is a big step in the right direction.  If you do not read food labels regularly you will be amazed at how much “stuff” goes into most processed foods.  Reading labels will broaden your knowledge of what is in your food and at least give you the choice of whether or not to eat it. 

6. Simple is always better

If there are ingredients on a food label that you don’t understand or cannot pronounce chances are it’s some type of preservative or filler.  Cookies, crackers, cereal, anything in boxes usually contains vast amounts of these ingredients.  Fillers are rarely if ever good.  They are usually things like bad fat, refined sugars and preservatives all designed to heighten flavor or make the food last longer than it’s supposed to.

7. “Unprocess”

Generally speaking the more processed a food becomes the less nutritional value it contains.  Take for example an apple.  An apple in its purest form is just that, an apple, hopefully vine ripe so it has had a chance to absorb all the nutrients it requires from the ground.  But when we process an apple down to apple sauce we lose part of the whole- often fiber is lost and sugar is added to enhance flagor and preserve the apple.  Go one step further and apple juice has lost all but the watery flavor part of the apple save for some vitamins.  Take it a step further still and something with apple flavoring has lost everything that resembles an apple except the flavor, this includes all the nutritional value of the apple.  A good rule of thumb is to eat foods that have one ingredient.  For example, the ingredients of an apple are apple. Stick to foods that exist in their entirety

Annamay’s Crepes


Strawberry and chocolate crepes

·   1 cup all-purpose flour

·   2 eggs

·   1/2 cup milk

·   1/2 cup water

·   1/4 teaspoon salt

·   2 tablespoons butter, melted

·   2 tbs of Vanilla


  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the eggs. Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the salt and butter; beat until smooth.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each crepe. Tilt the pan with a circular motion so that the batter coats the surface evenly.
  3.  Cook the crepe for about 2 minutes, until the bottom is light brown. Loosen with a spatula, turn and cook the other side. Serve hot 

Ollie Blakes’ Around the World Granola

This recipe comes from Jasper Blake’s brother Ollie (a gifted athlete himself with a 2:31 marathon pb and a 9:20 finish in his one and only IM) who regularly makes enormous batches of this stuff usually presenting it in large zip lock bags as a Christmas gift. Ollie was given the recipe by a good friend named Al who has sailed around the world and used this granola as a main source of food on those voyages, but it is based on a recipe found in the Tasahara Cookbook, which was one of the whole grain/vegetarian bibles of the 1970s.

This recipe makes about 50 cups of granola. Exact quantities and type of flake, nut or dried fruit doesn’t seem to matter too much, so long as you end up with the correct balance of wet/dry and sweet ingredients. A batch this size will last at least a couple of months and costs less than $100. If you are a smaller family it is easier to make half a batch. It can be frozen to be enjoyed later.

1) Mix together in a large bowl or big rubber maid storage totes (C=Cup):

8 C oat flakes (old-fashioned rather than “quick oats”)
5 C triticole
6 C rye flakes
6 C wheat flakes
6 C other flakes (wheat germ, kamut, soy, rice, etc)
6 C oat bran
4 C bran flakes
4 C pumpkin seeds
2 C walnuts or pecans
1 C cashews
2 C pine nuts
2 C almonds

2) Mix and add to the grains:

5 C brown sugar
2 C maple syrup
3 C oil

3) Spread out a layer of the raw granola in a cake pan and on a cookie sheet (we usually use large reusable alumina turkey pan) and bake at about 350 for about an hour, stirring every fifteen minutes. The average-sized oven will allow you to bake four 8 x 11 inch pans at a time.

Hint: While cookie sheets are fine we tend to use cake pans because less of the granola ends up on the floor!

4) When granola is cool add raisins, dried cranberries, chopped fruits like figs, dates, dried papaya or apricots and such. Ollie uses about 10 cups of fruits for this amount of granola.

5) Freeze extra granola to keep it fresh.

Customized Nutrition

Endurance sports require extreme attention to detail. Equipment, training, recovery and nutrition are all areas that demand constant fine-tuning. As endurance athletes competing in biking, running, triathlons, swimming, cross country skiing, paddling, rowing and adventure racing, the 7SYSTEMS team knows that proper nutrition is one of the keys in reaching your true athletic potential. Not only do you need the right vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants (or micro-nutrients), you also need the right carbohydrates, proteins, and fats (or macro-nutrients) as well as ensuring you are staying hydrated with the appropriate electrolyte load. As the general level of awareness of the role proper nutrition plays in sports performance has increased some companies have entered the market with innovative concepts. One of those innovative concepts is customizable nutrition.

Everyone is different. Endurance athletes have different bodies, different training programs and different race day needs. It makes sense that people will need different amounts of carbohydrates, proteins and electrolytes in their nutrition product. Sure you can vary the number of gels you take, add water to your Gatorade and carry salt tablets with you, and with some trial and error figure out how to make that work. But you don’t need to do that anymore. We have found a product that does that for you – INFINIT Nutrition.

INFINIT helps you take care of your personal training and racing macro-nutrient and hydration needs in a way that no other product can. INFINIT allows you to adjust total calories, flavour, protein, electrolytes, caffeine and amino acid levels, and even fine tune the blend of three different carbohydrates to match your chosen sport, distance and personal needs. INFINIT puts you in the unique position of being able to fuel yourself with exactly what is right for you and choose a flavour that you will be able to consume. We have been really impressed with how easy their system is to use – visit their website, do an initial questionnaire that asks specific details about you and your needs or go straight to the formula section and adjust the amounts of each item. They even offer phone support to help you figure out your optimal formula. You can make different formulas for training and racing and can even save your formulas for easy access on subsequent visits or to adjust as required. What a great idea.

Forget figuring out how many gels, bars and salt tablets you need. You can get it all in one drink in a formula that meets your specific needs to help avoid any gastric distress, cramping or bonking that might occur from using a generic product. AND it is all liquid, so if formulated at the right concentration it will be emptied freely from the stomach and then readily absorbed into the small intestine. We like products that are backed by science, and this one is.

For more information, visit

Processed meats pose real health risk: study

American Meat Institute objects to study’s results, arguing it was only one study and that it stands in contrast to others
Chicago — Reuters Published on Tuesday, May. 18, 2010

Eating bacon, sausage, hot dogs and other processed meats can raise the risk of heart disease and diabetes, U.S. researchers said on Monday in a study that identifies the real bad boys of the meat counter.

Eating unprocessed beef, pork or lamb appeared not to raise risks of heart attacks and diabetes, they said, suggesting that salt and chemical preservatives may be the real cause of these two health problems associated with eating meat.

The study, an analysis of other research called a meta-analysis, did not look at high blood pressure or cancer, which are also linked with high meat consumption. “To lower risk of heart attacks and diabetes, people should consider which types of meats they are eating,” said Renata Micha of the Harvard School of Public Health, whose study appears in the journal Circulation. “Processed meats such as bacon, salami, sausages, hot dogs and processed deli meats may be the most important to avoid,” Micha said in a statement.
Based on her findings, she said people who eat one serving per week or less of processed meats have less of a risk.

The American Meat Institute objected to the findings, saying it was only one study and that it stands in contrast to other studies and the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. “At best, this hypothesis merits further study. It is certainly no reason for dietary changes,” James Hodges, president of the American Meat Institute, said in a statement.

Most dietary guidelines recommend eating less meat. Individual studies looking at relationships between eating meat and cardiovascular diseases and diabetes have had mixed results.
But studies rarely look for differences in risk between processed and unprocessed red meats, Micha said.

She and colleagues did a systematic review of nearly 1,600 studies from around the world looking for evidence of a link between eating processed and unprocessed red meat and the risk of heart disease and diabetes. They defined processed meat as any meat preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or with the addition of chemical preservatives. Meats in this category included bacon, salami, sausages, hot dogs or processed deli or luncheon meats. Unprocessed red meat included beef, lamb or pork but not poultry.
They found that on average, each 50 grams daily serving of processed meat a day — one to two slices of deli meats or one hot dog — was associated with a 42 per cent higher risk of heart disease and a 19 per cent higher risk of developing diabetes.

They found no higher heart or diabetes risk in people who ate only unprocessed red meats.

The team adjusted for a number of factors, including how much meat people ate. They said lifestyle factors were similar between those who ate processed and unprocessed meats. “When we looked at average nutrients in unprocessed red and processed meats eaten in the United States, we found that they contained similar average amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol,” Micha said. “In contrast, processed meats contained, on average, four times more sodium and 50 percent more nitrate preservatives,” Micha added.

Last month, the Institute of Medicine urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to regulate the amount of salt added to foods to help Americans cut their high sodium intake. The FDA has not yet said whether it will regulate salt in foods, but it is looking at the issue

Jen’s Cosmic Cookies

2 1/4 cups quick oats
2 cups spelt flour
1 cup sunflower seed
3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
1/4 cup flax seed
1 cup granulated unbleached cane sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 1/4 teaspoons sea salt
1 3/4 cups dark chocolate chips or carob chips
1 1/4 cups raisins
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
3/4 cup canola oil
1 cup soymilk

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Line 2-3 baking trays with parchment paper.
  • Combine dry ingredients; from oats to raisins.
  • Combine wet ingredients: from water to soy milk.
  • Stir dry and wet together until just combined.
  • Portion cookie dough using 1/3 C measure and place on baking tray.
  • Gently flatten cookies.
  • Bake for 24 minutes or until lightly browned.

Campbell’s Favourite Soup

One of Adam Campbell’s favourite dinners gets made like this.

Lemongrass Soup with Halibut and Veggies

Halibut (or other white fish), cut into chunks (enough for 2-3 servings)
2 lemongrass pieces, “bruised” or gently sliced open
1/4 cup ginger, cut into matchstick pieces
1 cup broccoli, finely chopped
1 cup green cabbage, chopped
4 carrots, sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup tamari (or soy sauce)
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 can organic coconut milk
1 cup sliced mushrooms
6-8 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp miso paste
Rice or rice noodes (optional)

  • In a pot combine the water, lemongrass, lemon juice, ginger, carrots, celery and onion.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  • Add in coconut milk, broccoli, cabbage, tamari, mushrooms, salt and pepper and continue to cook for 5-10 minutes, adding more water if a thinner consistency is desired.
  • Add the cubed halibut and cook for another minute or two, just until the fish is white and flaky.
  • Pour the soup into bowls and whisk one teaspoon of miso paste into each bowl, if desired.
  • Top with a scoop of steaming rice and enjoy!


7SYSTEMS Endurance Sports Supplement contains 300mg of high quality Panax Ginseng in every daily pack (to buy our Ginseng pill separately would cost $20-$30 a month alone). Ginseng is one of our Critical System ingredients and plays an important role in 7SYSTEMS’ ability to keep you healthy so you can focus on your training and racing. Since this is one of the ingredients we get regular questions about we thought we would give you a quick overview of why it is included in the product.

Ginseng is arguably the best known herb on the market. There are two main varieties of Ginseng, Panax Ginseng, also called Asian or Korean Ginseng, and American Ginseng. Each type of Ginseng has a somewhat different biochemical make-up and therefore has different effects.


Panax Ginseng is native to China, Korea, and Russia and has been used as a herbal remedy in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. More recently Ginseng has been promoted as an ‘adaptogen’ which means it increases resistance to stress and builds energy and general vitality. As a result, Ginseng has been added to a variety of different products.

How It Works

The main active components of Panax Ginseng are ginsenosides, which have been shown to have a variety of beneficial effects, however, not as many as some products would lead you to believe. Hundreds of ‘scientific’ studies of varying quality have been published on Ginseng, resulting in alleged health benefits, including: stress reduction, improving memory and learning, preventing cancer, enhancing blood circulation, stimulating the immune system, improving vision and hearing, controlling blood sugar levels, controlling cholesterol, increasing physical stamina, regulating blood pressure, inhibiting blood clots, improving male infertility and erectile dysfunction and improving post-menopausal symptoms. The data in support of these claimed benefit is, in some cases, inconsistent and conflicting.


Although many products claim Ginseng will enhance physical performance, many of these claims have not been conclusively proven and in fact most of the clinical studies investigating the value of Ginseng in directly enhancing physical performance have shown no effect. However, results of clinical research studies do suggest that Panax Ginseng may improve psychological function, immune function, as well as other conditions such as diabetes. Reputable studies indicate that Panax Ginseng enhances phagocytosis (natural killer cell activity); improves mental performance; causes vasodilation; increases resistance to exogenous stress factors; enhances libido and copulatory performance and affects hypoglycemic activity. We have included Ginseng for its beneficial effect on immune function. There is conclusive evidence of these effects as shown in some of the studies we have highlighted below.

Scientific Examples of Ginseng’s Effect on Immune Function

One study examined people who had had at least two colds in the prior year, with participants taking a Ginseng extract or a placebo for a period of four months. The number of colds per person was lower in the Ginseng group than in the placebo group and the proportion of subjects with two or more colds during the four-month period and the total number of days cold symptoms were reported for all colds was significantly lower in the Ginseng group than in the placebo group.

Several other studies have shown that an extract of Ginseng reduces influenza cases in both elderly and healthy persons when compared to a placebo. The group who received Ginseng had a lower incidence of influenza and colds, higher antibody titers, and higher natural killer cell activity levels.

Another study showed enhanced chemotaxis, phagocytosis, increased total lymphocyte count, and increased numbers of T helper cells in those who received Ginseng daily for eight weeks. While a further study of persons with acute chronic bronchitis who were treated with antibiotics or antibiotics plus Ginseng, resulted in those in the Ginseng group achieving faster bacterial clearance.

In one of the largest studies done on Ginseng to date, the risk of cancer was shown to be lower in those who used Panax Ginseng than those that did not for persons older than 40 years.

Side Effects and Safety of Ginseng

Overall, Panax Ginseng appears to be well tolerated in general although a small percentage of people taking Ginseng may experience certain side effects such as nervousness, agitation, insomnia, headaches, high blood pressure, and heart palpitations. If you do experience any of these side effects we recommend you consult with you physician. Where you are experiencing trouble sleeping, we recommend you take 7SYSTEMS in the morning with your breakfast rather than at night.

We also caution the following persons from using Ginseng without first consulting a healthcare provider: (a) person taking over-the-counter or prescription drugs, (b) people with diabetes, (c) people with heart disease or (d) people taking medications for high blood pressure; and pregnant or nursing women and children should avoid Ginseng altogether.

In Conclusion

Ginseng has been used for thousands of years, and has been added to everything from soaps and lotions to foods and supplements. Although, it is now generally agreed that Ginseng is not the whole body tonic able to enlighten the mind, increase wisdom, slow down ageing and cure many conditions, it does have many proven benefits…and you should consider if it can help you.

Neely Morning Glory Muffins

JJ has these muffins as snacks pre or post workout. He usually freezes them individually so he can grab one to take in a workout bag. His kids love them too.

1) In a large bowl mix:

2 cups flour
1 ¼ white sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt

2) Stir in

½ cup grated carrot
½ cup raisons
½ cup nuts of your choice
½ cup coconut
1 cup diced apple

3) In a bowl blend:

3 eggs
1 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla

4) Stir in flour mixture until batter is just combined.
5) Spoon into muffin tins, filling to top.
6) Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.

Kyle’s Post Ride Pancakes

I love eating these after a long hard bike workout on a Saturday morning!  I add heaps of maple syrup and sometimes some whip cream if we have any kicking around.

Spelt Banana Pancakes*

2 tbsp.    flax seeds
2 bananas, ripe
1 1/2 cups     vanilla soy milk
1 tbsp.  vanilla
1 tbsp.  honey
1 1/2 tsp.   olive oil
1 1/2 cups  spelt flour
1 tbsp.  baking powder
1/4 tsp.  sea salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

  • Stir in all the ingredients in a mixing bowl
  • Using a spatula, pour the mixture on to a hot pan
  • Flip once the bottom pancake can easily come off the pan
  • Remove the pancake from pan once second side is golden brown
* Taken from Gluten-Free Diet – A Comprehensive Resource Guide by Shelley Case

Finn’s “Hat Trick” kids snacks

Apple butter hockey stick slices

  • Peel Granny smith apple
  • Cut into quarters
  • 1/2 teaspoon of almond butter on each slice
  • Goes down in a couple bites and kids love it


Finns Power Slapshot Smoothie

1/2 cup of frozen blueberries
1 whole banana
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of almond milk
2 tablespoons of protein powder (brown rice, hemp or soy)

  • To a blender add all the ingredients
  • Blend until smooth, slurp it back and play some hockey!

Banana Puck Poppers

1 piece of sprouted grain bread- toasted
1 tablespoon of almond (or other suitable nut butter)
1 banana

  • Spread almond butter on the toast, cut toast into 9 equal sized squares (two length wise cuts, two width wise cuts).
  • Add one slice of banana to each square (hockey puck shaped). Easy bite sized portions that taste great!

Martin’s BBQ Asparagus Wrap

AKA the Pig Tree

1/2 pound organic prosciutto, slicedpig-spears
1/2 (8 ounce) package Neufchatel cheese (softened) or bowl or grated Gruyere cheese
12 spears fresh asparagus, trimmed

  • Spread prosciutto slices out
  • Spread Neufchatel or grated Gruyere cheese on slices
  • Wrap slices around 2 or 3 asparagus spears
  • Place on a BBQ for 10 minutes, rotating once after 5 minutes
  • Serve as an appetizer or a side dish

Malcom Howard’s Favourite Recipe

Spicy Sesame Noodles

1 lb spaghetti (although Fresh Udon noodles are really good and are what we usually use)spicesesamenoodles
1 cup chunky peanut butter
1 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp hot pepper sauce
1/2 tsp salt
2 large green onions, sliced
1 medium cucumber, sliced

  • Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together peanut butter, orange juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, vegetable oil, cider vinegar, pepper sauce and salt until smooth.
  • Add cooked spaghetti and green onions; toss well. Serve hot or cover and refrigerate to serve cold.
  • Just before serving, toss with additional orange juice (if necessary) and garnish with cucumber slices.
  • We usually add a ton of chopped up peanuts to the final dish which make it really tasty.

Jasper’s Traditional Saudi Kabssah

1 medium onion, diced to small cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced to small cubes
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 whole chicken, cut in half
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon cumin
basmati rice

  • Put the onions in a medium size pot, drizzle on the olive oil and cook at medium high heat until the onions are yellowish and starting to brown. Then put the garlic, cook for a few seconds then put in the tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper and the spice mix; cook it until it becomes a thick red sauce and the tomatoes are almost melted.
  • Put in the chicken halves. Sauté it with the sauce for a few minutes, then poor in some hot water just a little bit over the chicken and bring it to a boil. Then lower the heat to medium low and let it cook for 40-50 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
  • While the chicken is cooking, wash the rice and soak it in cold water for 30 minutes.
  • Take the chicken out and put it in a roasting pan. Put in the oven and broil it until it’s golden.
  • Drain the rice from water and put it into the chicken broth. Make sure there isn’t a lot of water in the pot.
  • Cook it on medium high heat. Let it boil until it is almost dry, but not too dry. Make sure there is a little bit of broth left in the bottom of the pot.
  • Lower the heat to very low, cover well and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Now all you have to do is uncover, put the rice in a big serving plate, top with the chicken and serve with a yogurt salad or a green salad–enjoy a great Saudi meal.

Simple Snacks

Here are some quick, convenient, healthy ideas for daily snacks…not to mention, they taste amazing!

“Halvacado Bliss”avocados
Take one ripe avacado, cut it in half length-wise.
Remove the pit and pour in one tablespoon of your favorite dressing. Scoop it out with a spoon and Enjoy!

“Cottage Cheese Delight”
1/2 cup of cottage cheese in a bowl
1 teespoon of honey drizzled over top
handful of walnuts sprinkled on…delicious!

“Apple Butter Happy Time”
Cut one apple into quarters
Dip in almond butter

“Pickle Poppers”
Wrap half a dill pickle in organic roasted turkey breast slice, dip in mustard if you dare.
Pop it in your mouth and savor the flavor, yummy!

Judith Blake’s Booster Recipe

Mediterranean Lentil Salad

1 cup green lentils
4 cups water
2 bay leaves
½ tsp dried thyme
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
boiling water
½ cup diced celery
½ cup diced red or yellow bell pepper
½ cup minced red onion
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
salad greens
feta cheese
kalamata olives


1/3 cup olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp ground fennel (optional)
1 heaping tsp stone ground mustard
salt and ground black pepper to taste

  • In a medium saucepan, bring the lentils, water, bay leaves, thyme, and garlic to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 2o minutes, until tender, stirring occasionally.
  • While the lentils simmer, cover the sun-dried tomatoes with boiling water and set aside. Combine the celery, peppers, onions, and parsley in a large bowl. In a jar with a tight sealing lid, combine the dressing ingredients and shake until smooth. When the sun-dried tomatoes have softened, drain and mince them, and add to the vegetables.
  • Drain the lentils and discard the bay leaves. Remove the garlic, mash it, and mix it back into the lentils. Toss the lentils with the vegetables and dressing.
  • Serve warm or cold on a bed of salad greens, topped with feta cheese and olives and surrounded by tomato wedges and cucumber slices.

Simplify your food- Jasper

These days there seems to be as many types of food as there are theories about how to eat them.  Add to it the idea of nutrition for sport and optimum performance and it can really seem like a jumbled mess.    There are low carbohydrate, high carbohydrate, low fat, high fat, south beach, Atkins, fruit only, vegetarianism, veganism, carbohydrate loading, raw food and just about any diet you can think of.  So which one is the right one and how do you wade through all the garble?

It’s time to take a step back and simplify, simplify, simplify.  Here are seven simple rules that will help you make smart food choices.

1.    Eat food that has little or no processing:  For example, an apple, fresh off the tree is as good as it gets.  The integrity of the apple exists in it’s whole and all the positive nutritional qualities are in tact.  It’s only when we start processing the apple that we run into problems and loose nutritional value.  Applesauce with added sugar and pasteurizing for example is not as good for you as a whole real apple.
2.    Read Ingredients Lists:  Make a habit of reading what you are actually putting in your mouth.  A good rule of thumb is to eat foods that have ingredients you can understand.  In the food department, quality is more important than quantity.
3.    Shop around the outside of the grocery store:  The outside isles of most grocery stores are the only ones you really need to go to.  Fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, dairy and some bakery items such as sprouted grain breads are all you really need.  The middle isles are generally filled with, you guessed it, over-processed foods that contribute little if anything to your nutritional requirements.
4.    Avoid refined sugars:  Unfortunately, refined sugars are present in most packaged and processed foods.  We have become a nation that is addicted to refined sugars and it is slowly killing us.  Obesity rates are skyrocketing in North America and it is largely a result of the overconsumption of refined sugars.   Watch out for products that have sugar in the first few ingredients and avoid completely anything with high fructose corn syrup.
5.    Understand Fat:  Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) are a critical component to a great diet.  Often people do not get enough EFA’s because most processed foods do not contain what we call “good fat”.  Instead they are laced with “bad fat” like hydrogenated oils and shortening.  Avoid anything with the words “shortening”, “hydrogenated”, and “partially hydrogenated”.
6.    Don’t overcook your veggies- Overcooking vegetables can kill the natural enzymes that are present in them.  Try steaming them lightly as opposed to boiling them until they are soggy and droopy.
7.    Choose a good supplement:  If you are an active person a comprehensive supplement is a good idea.   It’s difficult to attain all of your nutritional requirements through common foods due to the nature of how we prepare, package, process and preserve food.  If you are extremely good about eating whole, non processed foods all the time then you likely don’t need a supplement but my guess is that most people simply do not have the time in today’s hectic lifestyle to get everything they need.  Add a healthy dose of endurance exercise like triathlon or marathon running and you start demanding more from micronutrients.  Any over the counter supplement likely won’t do it either.  There are plenty of products that are cheap but extremely low quality.  The best course of action is something like 7SYSTEMS that targets active lifestyles specifically and is extremely high quality.

It’s time to get back to the way we thought about food 100 years ago.  Most people had their own vegetable garden in the back yard and foods were not packaged and over-processed.  The less we mess with food, the better it generally is for us.

Kyle’s Favourite Recipe

Banana Berry Protein Smoothie

1 cup frozen berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, black berries)
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup almond milk
4 tbsp. hemp protein powder
2 tbsp. flax seed oil
2 tbsp. hemp seed oil

  • I enjoy one of these smoothies daily, either after swimming or following my last workout of the day.

Adam’s Favourite Recipe

Quick and Dirty Post-Run Hash Mash-Up

1 unpeeled sweet potato grated
1/2 chopped onion
1/2 red or yellow pepper diced
3 eggs
optional raw milk or goat’s milk cheese grated.
1 teaspoon coconut oil
sea salt and pepper to taste
1/2 an avocado sliced

  • Heat coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat
  • Add onions and sweet potato and fry for 6-8 minutes stirring often, until sweet potato is softened
  • Add peppers (and any other veggies that you might like-broccoli, zucchini, spinach etc.). Cook for 2 more minutes
  • Crack in the eggs (no need to scramble) and mix it all up
  • Cook for another minute or so, until the eggs are set. Add the cheese at this time too.
  • Season to taste with sea salt and pepper and have the avocado on the side

N.B.: You can add some wild game, or turkey sausages, or cubed tempeh for our veggie friends, for a hardier option.

Jennie’s Favourite Recipes

Eating whole foods that bring a balance of micro and macro nutrients is critical.  Here are 2 recipes that Simon Whitfield’s wife makes and rank among his favourite foods.

Red Lentil Dal

1 Cup red lentils
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and chopped
3 tbsp ghee
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 – 15 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
salt to taste
2 shallots, sliced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 bay leaves
1 tsp mustard seeds

  • Wash the lentils in several changes of water.  In a saucepan over medium-high heat, saute the onion, garlic, and chile in 2 tbsp of the ghee for 1 minute. 
  • Add the turmeric, lentils, and 3 cups of water. 
  • Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the lentils are soft, about 30min. 
  • Add the coconut milk and simmer for 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally.  Taste for salt and remove from the heat.
  • Heat the remaining ghee in a small skillet over high heat. 
  • Add the shallots, red chile. bay, and mustard.  Fry until the mustard seeds begin to turn grayish, about1 minute.  Stir this into the lentils and serve with hot rice.

Pork and Chipotle Tacos

2 pork tenderloin
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups chopped cilantro
3 tbsp chopped canned chipotle chilies

12 5-inch corn tortillas
2 15 ounce cans black beans, rinsed, drained

1 1/2 cups chopped green onions
2 avocados, diced
purchased tomatillo salsa (or tomato salsa is a fine substitute)
lime wedges

  • Preheat oven to 350F.  Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper and bake 20-30 min (depending on thickness), until no longer pink inside.  Allow to cool.  Shred pork.
  • Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onions; saute until tender, about 10min.  Add shredded pork, cilantro and chopped chipotle chilies with their sauce; stir until heated through.  Season with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat oven to 350F.  Wrap tortillas in foil, heat in oven for 10 minutes.  Stir beans in saucepan over medium-low until heated. Coarsely mash beans.
  • Arrange tortillas on work surface.  Spread mashed means over.  Top with pork. Sprinkle with green onions and avocados.  Serve with salsa and lime wedges.  Yum!