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From Toronto, New Year’s traditions from around the world

As we approach 2018, it’s time to think about all the positive things we have managed to accomplish in 2017 and how our lives will be different in the new year. Luck and prosperity are just a few of the things many people from around the world hope for. In keeping with this, many people have a few customs and traditions to help make the transition easier, and hopefully bring luck along the way. Here are some New Years customs and traditions from some countries around the world.

Brazil: jump seven waves 

NYE in Brazil is well celebrated and can feature spectacular firework displays all along the famous beaches in Rio. Many people find themselves hanging out by the beach and not just to watch the fireworks. Wave jumping is another tradition. If you jump over each wave while making your wish, this will increase your luck and bring you joy for the new year. If you want to increase your chances in love, make sure the first person you greet in the new year is someone special.

Turkey: wear red underwear

Wearing red underwear is common in many countries on NYE, especially those in Latin America. Many people head to the malls to buy themselves some red undergarments for their NYE celebrations. Wearing red panties guarantee passion and love for the new year ahead for many women. It is also common to wear yellow underwear to bring happiness and money. Perhaps aim for a red panty with yellow polka dots?

Spain- lucky grapes

There is a tradition, as well as a superstition, in Spain where people eat 12 grapes at midnight. These grapes are known as the lucky grapes and can be traced back to a custom in 1895 by grape growers. If you eat 12 grapes at midnight, each grape will represent the 12 months of the new year and the 12 wishes you are permitted. These 12 grapes must be consumed in the first 12 minutes of the new year. If you get a sour grape amongst the bunch this could mean a sour month in the year ahead. It is also common to find this tradition in the Philippines and other Spanish countries and communities.

Denmark- break plates

If you live in Denmark and you have a broken dish, don’t throw it out. Instead, smash the remains on NYE. This tradition is odd, yet serves as a sign for friendship in that country. After midnight, it’s not uncommon to find a pile of broken dishes on your doorstep, as this is a sign that someone values your friendship. Smash plates and other wares against your friend’s door as a sign of lasting friendship and love — just make sure it’s not glass.

Jamaica- clean your house

Similar to many other Caribbean islands, Jamaicans have a tradition of cleaning out their homes for Christmas and for the New Year. You clean out all the negativity and leave room for positive space in your life. People find the time to buy new decorative items for their homes and even repaint their houses. Many people around the world also take a broom on NYE and (literally) sweep all the negativity held throughout the year.

Japan- ring 108 bells

This may not be a personal requirement for the New Year in Japan, but many temples ring the bell 108 times at the stroke of midnight. Ringing the bell 108 times represents 108 worldly temptations a person must overcome in the Buddhist belief.

Italy- Pucker up

particularly in Venice, there is a custom of mass kissing that takes place at the stoke of midnight. As fireworks  light up the sky over St Marks Square, couples are encouraged to start smooching!  Many couples make this a romantic event. It’s not odd to kiss at midnight, as this is common in many cultures around the world, including here in Canada and in the united States. kissing someone at the stroke of midnight is meant to set the tone you wish to establish for the future with that person. It is about maintaining the bond. If you’re single and don’t have anyone to kiss, I say to kiss all your problems from 2017 goodbye.

Happy 2018!

Raw Vegan Mock Tuna Salad from Love Wild Live Free

Eating a fresh and raw salad in the summertime is one of the healthiest and easiest ways to stay cool from the gut-wrenching heat. One of my favourites is a refreshing raw vegan mock tuna salad.

Love Wild Live Free, a vegan food and lifestyle blog by Avra Epstein, offers a yummy raw mock tuna salad recipe that uses affordable, fresh ingredients to make a light (but filling) meal that will leave you vying for more. This raw recipe uses organic ingredients and also includes kosher dill relish with live probiotics, an easy way to get additional bacteria that keep the gut healthy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raw sunflower seeds
  • 5 tablespoons RawFoodz French Onion Dip
  • 2 celery stocks, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 2 tbsp Kosher dill relish (with live probiotics)
  • 2 tsp Dulse Flakes, or Nori Flakes
  • 1 tbsp finely minced onion (red or sweet white)
  • Pink Himalayan Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • (use organic ingredients)

Directions

  1. Rinse sunflower seeds and place in to a medium size bowl. Fill with filtered water, leaving a few inches of space above. Cover with a clean towel, secured with an elastic band. Allow to soak 6-8 hours.
  2. After the soaking time is up, rise sunflower seeds again. Add to food processor and pulse to chop into an even consistency, scraping down with a spatula as necessary. You do not want to over process otherwise you will end up with a creamy consistency. Instead, you’re going for a crumbled consistency that resembles flaked tuna.
  3. In a large mixing bowl add chopped sunflower seeds and the remaining ingredients. Stir to combine.
  4. Serve chilled and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Enjoy this delicious salad and experience the rejuvenating feeling of eating raw and healthy foods.

RECIPE: warm Spring salad

Spring is on its way (supposedly) and nothing says it’s time to spend time in the outdoors like a bowl of fresh greens. Unfortunately, the rainy weather is keeping everyone from eating cold foods and during these weird rain/snow storms, sometimes it’s necessary to have a delicious warm meal instead of a chill-inducing salad. Luckily, there is a solution: warm salads! This mouth-watering mealtime option brings together fresh vegetables and fruits with a heart-warming grain option. It is the perfect thing to eat as the seasons change. Feel free to play around with this recipe and add your own preferences.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup diced strawberries (optional)
  • 3/4 cup fresh peas
  • 1 bunch of spinach
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt & lots of pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cook the quinoa (1/2:1 ratio with boiling water) and allow to cool slightly while prepping the rest of the salad.
  2. Combine strawberries, peas, spinach, and parsley in a bowl and toss.
  3. Mix olive oil, garlic cloves, lemon juice, maple syrup, sea salt and pepper in a separate bowl to make the dressing. Taste and spice until satisfied.
  4. Add to the plant mix to the warm quinoa and add dressing.
  5. Enjoy while warm!

A warm salad will make you feel cozy while at the same time completely refreshed. It is easy to make and will fulfill your nutrient requirements, especially with a protein packed quinoa. Enjoy while the weather is rainy and cold!

Pairs wonderfully with a light beer or glass of white wine!

Investment in greenhouses is an environmental win for Ontario

Eating local produce is not only much more delicious, but a healthier alternative for the environment as well.

Earlier this week, Ontario launched the Greenhouse Competitiveness and Innovation Initiative to fund $19 million into greenhouses to promote local and high quality produce in the province. The initiative will allow for the use of new and sustainable technologies and will encourage investments in greenhouse agriculture.

Ontario is the leader of greenhouses, currently contributing to over half of Canada’s greenhouse produce. The province is growing by 150 acres per year and continued investment in this form of agriculture has positive financial benefits for the future. Greenhouses are especially beneficial for sensitive crops that are susceptible to erratic weather patterns and a harsh climate — like the weather Ontario was subjected to this year. Continued investment in greenhouses allows Ontario to expand its local produce capacity and provide people with fresh, homegrown food.

Greenhouses are a sustainable and ‘green’ initiative because they allow carbon to be captured in a concentrated area with high density of green growth being grown inside of a structure. Greenhouses also open the doors for other innovative technologies such as solar-powered electricity and using recyclable materials to build (with the poly-tunnel as an example). Transporting produce locally also lowers carbon emissions because it doesn’t have to travel as far.

Overall, Ontario’s investment in greenhouses will benefit the green economy, provide more green jobs and the province will continue to be a national leader in promoting an environmentally-friendly agenda. By focusing heavily on innovation in the green sector, perhaps Canada stands a chance at actually meeting carbon targets in the future.

The ultimate healer: Tumeric and Ginger Anti-inflammatory Tonic

With the fluctuating weather lately, everyone seems to be getting sick. Instead of popping a ton of Advil and chugging cough syrup, why not try a juice? This anti-inflammatory tonic should help you heal in a natural and organic way using fresh ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 2tsp fresh turmeric
  • 4 carrots
  • 1cm fresh ginger
  • 1 orange
  • ½ lemon
  • 3 stalks celery

Directions:

Simply add all ingredients into a food processor with 1/2 cup water and blend until smooth. Enjoy in sips as the drink will be very concentrated, but will clear your system immediately.

Drinking homemade juices with the soothing spices of turmeric and ginger will strengthen your immune system and flush out nasty toxins from your immune system without using immune-suppressants such as cough syrup. Vitamin C found in oranges and lemons will also help heal a cold in no time. Enjoy this fresh juice and hopefully you are better for spring  just around the corner!