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Six Foods to Change Your Life, With Mouth-Watering Recipes

It's one thing to tell people what to do about their health and lifestyle. It's another for an author to apply his advice to himself, lose 40 pounds, say goodbye to depression, and reverse his pre-diabetic diagnosis. Here are six of Adam Hart's top foods from his new book, The Power of Food.

the power of food

It's one thing to tell people what to do about their health and lifestyle. It's another for an author to apply his advice to himself, lose 40 pounds, say goodbye to depression, and reverse his pre-diabetic diagnosis. Here are six of Adam Hart's top foods from his new book, The Power of Food, along with three recipes that illustrate how to incorporate them into a delicious diet: Pistachio Mango Salsa, Hummus Five Ways, and Warm Quinoa With Beets and Swiss Chard. With the bounty of fresh food we can access in the summer, there's no better time to try them out ...


1. Pistachios
Pistachios are a great source of protein, fibre, and essential fatty acids (EFAs). Studies have found that EFAs help hair quality and strength so if you’re planning on spending lots of time reading at the beach or cottage this summer, be sure to pack a handful or two of pistachios to help keep your hair looking healthy and strong.

2. Chia Seeds
If you’ve suddenly got the jingle from the Chia Pet commercial stuck in your head than you’re on the right track. It turns out the little seeds inside those oddly shaped planters are actually really good for you! Chia seeds are full of magnesium, calcium, iron, and omega-3 essential fatty acids. Sprinkle 2 tbsp into your morning smoothie for an extra dose of energy in the morning.

3. Quinoa
Quinoa may seem like a new food fad but its nutrient-dense profile and quick cooking time mean it is here to stay! Quinoa is an excellent source of fibre, complex carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorous, iron, and vitamins B and E. I often take cooked or sprouted quinoa on summer roadtrips and add it to my meals throughout the day for an added punch of nutrition!

4. Chickpeas
Chickpeas (or garbanzo beans) are packed with complex carbohydrates, protein, fibre, iron and B vitamins. Be sure to rinse canned chickpeas under running water before eating to remove much of the added salt and oils. If you’ve got a summer picnic coming up, be sure to whip up some home made hummus for a dip that is both healthy and tasty.

5. Avocado
What’s not to love about avocados? They’re excellent sources of B vitamins, fibre, and vitamin C and their rich fatty flavour makes them great filling snacks! If you’ve got a weekend camping trip coming up, be sure to grab a few of these at your local grocery store on your way out of town. They’ll make great healthy dish-less snacks.

6. Kale
I like to call kale the “Queen of Green.” Kale is a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition. Each curly leaf holds fibre, iron, calcium, protein and vitamins C, K, and A. Kale makes a great substitute for iceberg lettuce in most salads and can be turned into kale chips with an oven or dehydrator. Bring kale chips instead of potato chips to your next BBQ—they won’t disappoint!



Pistachio Mango Salsa (from The Power of Food, by Adam Hart)

Makes 4 cups (1 L)

1 mango, peeled, pitted and diced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup (125 mL) cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup (125 mL) pistachios, chopped
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
1/2 tsp (2 mL) Himalayan crystal salt

Place all the ingredients into a medium bowl and gently mix together. Be careful not to mash up the avocado too much. That’s it—your salsa is ready to serve.

Power Food Tip

Try adding any number of seeds or nuts to the mix to create salsas for every occasion.


Hummus Five Ways (from Spilling the Beans, by Julie Van Rosendaal and Sue Duncan)

Makes about 2½ cups


All the measurements here are approximate—add more or less of any ingredient to suit your taste. If you don’t have tahini, use peanut butter. If you love the sesame flavour of tahini, boost it with a drizzle of sesame oil—whether or not you’re using tahini. Flavour your hummus with anything you think would work well: try whizzing in curry powder or paste, roasted vegetables or garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, a chipotle chile, fresh jalapeño pepper, or a spoonful of horseradish.


2 cups (500 mL) rinsed and drained canned chickpeas (19 oz/540 mL can)
1 large garlic clove, peeled
¼ cup (60 mL) thick plain yogurt (optional)
Juice of 1 lemon (2 to 3 Tbsp/30 to 45 mL, or to taste)
2 Tbsp (30 mL) tahini (sesame seed paste)
½ to 1 tsp (2.5 to 5 mL) ground cumin (optional)
¼ tsp (1 mL) salt, or to taste
2 to 4 Tbsp (30 to 60 mL) olive oil

Put everything but the olive oil into the bowl of a food processor and purée, pouring the olive oil in through the feed tube as it blends, until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning (salt, lemon juice, cumin) as needed. If it’s too thick, add more olive oil, yogurt, or water. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 days before serving.


Lemony Parsley Hummus: Add a handful of chopped fresh parsley (leave the stems out) and some extra lemon juice, or grate some of the zest and add it, too.

Roasted Beet Hummus: Wrap 2 medium beets in tin foil and roast at 425ºf for an hour, or until tender. Cool, peel, and slice into chunks; add to the hummus mixture as you purée it.

Green Pea or Edamame Hummus: Add a cup of thawed frozen green peas or steamed edamame or broad beans.

Olive & Feta Hummus: Add a small handful of pitted olives and a small chunk of feta, crumbled; pulse them in at the end so that they stay slightly chunky.


Warm Quinoa with Beets and Swiss Chard (from The Vegetarian's Complete Quinoa Cookbook, ed. by Mairlyn Smith)

This gorgeous dish is wonderful for an everyday side and will add a huge splash of colour and flavour to a buffet table.

3 medium beets (about 12 oz/375 g), scrubbed well and trimmed
1 cup (250 mL) quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) vegetable broth
1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard, washed, stems removed and finely chopped
1 cup (250 mL) crumbled goat cheese


2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp (30 mL) balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp (15 mL) red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp (15 mL) Dijon or grainy mustard
1/4 cup (60 mL) toasted pine nuts for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Wrap the beets loosely in foil. Roast for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the beets are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife.

the vegetarian's complete quinoa cookbook

Once the beets are cooked, place the quinoa in a large saucepan, add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-­low and cook covered for 15 to 20 minutes. The quinoa is done when the grains are translucent and all the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork, remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 to 10 minutes. When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel and dice. Set aside.

For the Dressing:

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, balsamic and red wine vinegars and the Dijon mustard. In a large frying pan over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the garlic and Swiss chard and sauté for 2 to 4 minutes, just until the Swiss chard wilts. Remove from heat and add to the large bowl with the dressing. Toss to coat. Add the cooked quinoa and beets, tossing mixture gently to coat all the ingredients.

To serve: Sprinkle the crumbled goat cheese on top, garnish with pine nuts (if using) and serve immediately.

Makes 8 cups (2 L) • One serving = 1 cup (250 mL)

Nutrition per serving: 200 calories, 9 mg cholesterol, 3 g fibre, 4 g saturated fat, 20 g carbohydrates, 7 g protein, 11 g total fat, 255 mg sodium, 3 g sugars, Excellent source of magnesium.


About Adam Hart: After suffering for too long from depression, weight gain, and eventually a pre-diabetic condition, in 2001, Adam moved to British Columbia, Canada, to pursue a passion for mountaineering and quickly discovered an ability to heal himself through being in nature and eating healthier foods. After two years training to become a mountain guide Adam realized he had a passion for sharing his food discoveries and founded the Power of Food in 2003, a health and wellness company.

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