By Shenandoah Heggie (Contributor) – Email

Good health can be a difficult pursuit, especially in recent times, when a vast majority of the food available to us is heavily doused with pesticides and often comes pre-cooked or packaged for convenience. It doesn’t help that healthier options are usually overpriced, or seem to surpass the budget of the average working person or student. In my own experience, I have taken to replacing a few integral staples such as flour, rice, milk, sugar, and salt with more beneficial options. Though some of these options come at a higher price, they can make a significant impact on your health. My personal interests in experimenting with new foods have driven me to try using spelt flour, brown or wild rice, almond or coconut milk, coconut palm sugar (which, due to its low-glycemic index, seems to be a safer alternative for individuals with blood sugar issues), and pink Himalayan salt. These are ingredients that I now substitute in most of the recipes that I find, slightly altering them to fit my own lifestyle.

If you are just starting to experiment with healthier ingredients, you may want to begin with an easier transition such as choosing whole-wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour, or pure cane sugar rather than refined white sugar. I also try to find local suppliers, who are interested in providing the community with wholesome and natural foods. A good place to start exploring local suppliers is by taking the Circle Farm Tour, which is available in the Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Agassiz, Langley, and Maple Ridge areas.

If you aren’t too hung up on buying your food from local farmers, you can experiment with recipes from various cultures across the world, which often call for exotic vegetables, fruits, and spices. You might try looking at recipes from Morocco, Ethiopia, Japan, Vietnam, India, or any other place that strikes your interest. I began by learning how to make simple dishes like red Thai curry, salmon onigiri, Vietnamese salad rolls, and injera with wat (a common Ethiopian dish with a savoury crepe-like bread topped with stewed meat and vegetables). Another interesting way to get into these new recipes might be to organize a cultural dinner with some friends, learn how to make the dish together, and then enjoy it together.

Furthermore, you could even look into vegan, vegetarian, raw, pescetarian, or paleo recipes for new and interesting dishes to incorporate into your diet. I feel that some of the best ways to motivate yourself to eat healthier are to have fun making the food, to really enjoy what you have made, and to take an interest in experimenting with new types of food and different cooking techniques.

At times, it is easy to believe that healthy eating isn’t worth the trouble, but the results can be surprising. When you take steps to change your lifestyle, you start to notice big differences, such as having more energy for a longer span of time, being able to focus better, losing the desire for junk food, and feeling happier. A healthy diet can help to improve both your physical and mental abilities, and it may even benefit you in your studies.

Blended Kale Salad


Food processor or blender

Sharp knife


A handful of stripped kale (any type)

1 – 2 avocados, peeled and pitted

. – 1 lime, squeezed

1 – 2 cloves garlic, chopped

Pink Himalayan salt, to taste

. – 1 zucchini

2 – 4 tbsp. olive oil


Pour half of the olive oil into the food processor. Add garlic and blend. Add kale (off the stem) and blend.

Chop the peeled avocado into chunks and place only a bit in the processor at a time. If you need to, take the blended avocado out and put it in a bowl so the rest will fit. You can add it all together afterward.

Add lime juice, salt, and a few chunks of zucchini, and blend. Add the mixture to a suitable bowl and stir together. It may be slightly chunky, but as long as it is relatively blended, that is okay.

You can either eat this by itself, or you can spiralize the remainder of the zucchini and serve it as a raw sauce over the zucchini “pasta.”