Kitchen Set Up – The New Pantry Essentials

Every kitchen needs to be well-stocked to be able to handle a variety of last minute cooking decisions, and in particular everyone’s evolving nutrition needs. The problem is most people do not take the time to set this up – and end up spending a lot more than they need and then having things that simply go to waste.

While less is more – less but better quality is really what you want to aim for when setting up some good pantry basics. Space and your (or your family’s) personal tastes/diet will dictate how much and what you keep on hand.

A top 5 complaint of the average working parent is that grocery shopping is a waste of time and something done multiple times during the week.

Setting up your pantry well can go a long way to avoid this. Once you have everything set up – set aside an hour or so on a weekend or quiet week day night – put some jazz on – and make a list to keep yourself up-to-date or ready for new meals to come.

My favourite pantry in the world has to be Nigella Lawson’s, but nutritionally speaking, it is more like an adult decadence shop. I love how excited she gets every time she goes to get something. We should all feel the same way.

Without further ado, here are the New Pantry Essentials…Continue reading

Alcohol Consumption

Let’s face it. One of the greatest things about Google is that you can get the answer you want if you search hard enough. And, there is growing support that many individuals can seek online guidance to also find or hear others supporting their actions and/or decisions.

Sadly, this is very much the case for nutrition and health.

I decided to write this blog after having a very disturbing discussion with a patient about going gluten-free and how liberated she felt in eating everything and anything gluten-free – and out of the blue upping her alcohol intake.

Remember the old saying, “If it is too good to be true, it probably isn’t…”

I am dedicating this blog to educating everyone on some lesser known facts about alcohol, not only from the perspective as a holistic practitioner, but a well-educated and experienced sommelier who knows what they are talking about. I advise and continue to work with the global wine industry as it evolves, grows, and continues to strive towards better environmental practices and higher standards in its products.

Alcohol plays a role in life-like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. As a society, we try to find ways to make it fit in as a healthy part of our life-style, as a necessary evil, etc. There are thousands of studies in and not in favour of its use – from increasing lifespan to shortening it, but there really is no gold standard to speak of. Furthermore, if you believe, as we do at The Second Act, we are bio-individual; you cannot even take studies to heart where it concerns your own well-being.

So then what?

Know thy self. Know your family history. Educate yourself.

Should everyone have a glass of wine with dinner, 7 nights a week? Of course you know the answer is no. Can some people do this successfully and be healthy? Yes.

Do drinkers live healthier and happier lives than non-drinkers? Some do; some do not.

What exactly then should a person do?Continue reading

Thanksgiving Dinner: Herbed Waffle Stuffing – Gluten and Nut-free Version

We get a lot of emails about holiday go-to sides for special dietary needs… This year the big question is: What do I give those gluten-free family members with turkey? We have you covered. If you do not need a gluten-free version it is equally good with a nice multi-grain waffle as well.

Stuffing, especially those dried boxed ones – can have a lot of sodium,chemical additives, and calories that you can invest in a nice piece of organic pumpkin pie.

This recipe can be done last minute – just ensure the waffles are on hand in the freezer!

Ingredients to serve 4-6+ people

• 2 boxes (12 waffles) Van’s GF frozen waffles, toasted and cut into 1/2″ cubes
• 2 medium white onions finely chopped
• 3 celery ribs, thinly sliced crosswise
• ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary
• ½ teaspoon fresh thyme
• ¼ teaspoon organic dried oregano
• 1/4 teaspoon organic dried sweet basil
• 1/3 cup organic dried cranberries (optional)
• ½ teaspoon organic maple syrup (optional)
• 1/2 cup unsalted organic butter
• 1-1/2 cups organic low-sodium chicken stock
• Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Tools: Large mixing bowl, toaster, cutting board and sharp knife, medium to large baking dish.


• Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toast the frozen waffles on a medium to high toaster setting until very crispy but not burnt (do a test to get the perfect temperature).
• Let them cool and cut into 1/2 “ cubes and put into a clean bowl.
• Saute onions, celery and herbs in butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. If you are using cranberries add them now to soften and release their natural flavours along with the maple syrup – your kitchen will smell amazing!
• Toss together bread cubes, vegetables, cranberries, maple syrup, and stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the stuffing to a large baking dish. Bake, uncovered for 20 minutes or until heated through.