Cacao Crunch Protein Bars

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A Healthy Alternative to Rice Crispy Squares!

These bars are reminiscent of chocolate rice crispy squares, minus the refined sugar! They are a snap to make and filled with good nutrition — protein, fibre, healthy omega-3 fats, magnesium- and iron-rich cacao. Kids (and adult kids) devour these in my house.

Can’t pack nut butters in school lunches? Try using sunflower seed butter instead (SunButter is a great, readily available brand.)

Prep time: 5 minutes/Setting time: 2 hours in the freezer/Keeps: about 1 week in a sealed container, ideally refrigerated.

Makes 12 - 15 servings.


1/2 cup nut or seed butter of choice

1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)

1/3 cup cacao powder

3 tbsp hemp seeds

3 tbsp ground flax seeds

3 tbsp chia seeds (optional)

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

3 3/4 cups rice crisp cereal (I like Nature’s Path)

Add all ingredients — except rice crisp cereal — to a mixing bowl and and mix well using a spoon or spatula. Once ingredients are well mixed, fold in rice crisp cereal until well coated. Transfer mixture into a parchment paper-lined pan and press down evenly and firmly. (I use another piece of parchment paper to press the mixture into the pan). Place pan in freezer for 2 or more hours to set. Cut into bars and enjoy. Store in the fridge — if they last that long! Boom Choco-laka!

Water, Please!


5 Reasons to Stay Hydrated During the Holiday Season

by Andrea McDonald, R.H.N.

  1. Boosts mood and energy levels

  2. Encourages weight loss and helps prevent bloating and puffiness

  3. Boosts athletic performance

  4. Healthier glow

  5. Helps prevent hangovers

The holiday season is upon us and indulgences are imminent. All the more reason to ensure water—our most important nutrient—becomes your holiday BFF as you navigate your way though the holiday festivities.

  • Water boosts mood and energy levels

Your noggin is highly influenced by hydration status. Even the slightest bit of dehydration can affect your mood, your concentration and working memory and can trigger headaches and fatigue. Keep ahead of it by starting each morning in December with a room temperature glass of water.

Better yet? Add the juice of half a squeezed lemon for a boost of immune-boosting Vitamin C and to kickstart the digestive system.

  • Water can help you lose weight and help prevent bloating and puffiness

Drinking more water increases satiety and boosts your metabolic rate. Try drinking 8-12 ounces of water half-an-hour before meals to reduce the risk of over-consuming at mealtimes or before hitting the canape tray.

Feeling boated and puffy? It may feel counter-intuitive, but staying well hydrated may help decrease water retention and flush toxins from the body.

  • Water boosts athletic performance 

Our bodies are comprised of 70-75 per cent water. Water plays an essential role in the optimal function of your body both during workouts and during rest and recovery. It’s the main component of our blood, carrying oxygen and nutrients to cells and removing waste products.

When fluids become depleted though sweat both your cells and blood decrease in water content and volume. Even being slightly dehydrated impedes athletic performance.

  • Water is the key to a healthy glow 

Looking for that fresh dewy look? Starting with a consistent hydration strategy makes the skin more supple and improves your complexion. Women should aim for 12 cups of water per day (2.4 litres), while men should aim for 16 cups per day (3.8 litres).

  • Water helps prevent hangovers

Ah yes, the mighty holiday hangover. Alcohol is a diuretic. It makes you lose more water than you take in, which leads to symptoms of dehydration, including excessive thirst, fatigue, headaches and dry-mouth. Try consuming one 8-oz glass of water between each alcohol drink consumed and have a really large glass of water before bed.

Not sure about drinking all this water? Herbal teas are a great hydrating option. And about 20 per cent of our water intake can come from hydrating raw foods. Good choices include cucumbers, cauliflower, spinach, bell peppers, which provide a healthy dose of antioxidants to boot.

Happy Hydrating!

CEO of real food living for weight loss, body composition, health concerns, sports performance and all things wellness, Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Andrea McDonald, is your rock.  Whether it is a customized meal plan, supplement recommendations, or lifestyle changes, this WowRide Tag Racing team member, Method spin instructor, and mom of two is completely over-the-top passionate about bringing balance, radiance and vitality to your life.

Power Muffin Recipe


Yes, there is such thing as a healthy muffin recipe!  I made these almond flour-based power muffins for my kids and they vanished quickly! No refined white flour and no refined white sugar. Just natural unrefined goodness. Gluten-free and dairy-free.

(Makes 12 medium-sized muffins.)


1 cup        almond flour

1 cup        rolled oats

1/2 tsp     cinnamon

1/4 tsp      sea salt

1/4 cup     hemp hearts

1/4 cup     unsweetened coconut chips

1/2 cup     raisins

3 tbsp      extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup    pure maple syrup

2             eggs

1/4 cup   unsweetened almond milk

2            carrots (grated)

2            bananas (mashed)

Preheat over to 375ºF

Combine flour, cinnamon, sea salt, oats, raisins, hemp hearts and coconut chips in one bowl, mixing well.

In a separate bowl, combine olive oil, maple syrup, eggs, almond milk, grated carrot and mashed bananas.

Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix well.

Scoop even amounts of mixture into lined muffin tin.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Let cool and enjoy!


Andrea's Anthem Smoothie Recipe

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Could this be love? 

Chocolate meeting mint will never fail you. Iron- and magnesium-rich, this nutrient-dense powerhouse also features fibre, potassium, and omega
3-essential fats and protein. An added energy boost from MCT oil will make you want to belt the lyrics to your favourite song. 

Health Benefits:
cacao powder and nibs:
one of the most anti-oxidant-rich foods on the planet, high in both magnesium and iron

MCT oil: 100% pure coconut oil a saturated fat that is touted for providing an immediate energy source.

1    banana, frozen

1 1/2    cups spinach, tightly packed 

2    tablespoons fresh mint leaves

1-2    Medjool dates, pitted

1 1/2    tablespoons cacao nibs 

2    tablespoons hemp hearts

1    tablespoon MCT or coconut oil

1 1/2    cups unsweetened almond or coconut milk

blend and serve.

custom-curated by @andreamcdonaldnutrition

AMN Overnight Oats

Seems like I've been making overnight oats in my sleep recently!  They've become a hit at my sports nutrition workshops and they fuelled my cycling club through a 3-day training camp in Osoyoos, B.C. last month.  Better yet, my kids love them and leave the house powered up for the morning. Overnight oats don't require cooking and can be prepped in 1-minute the night before. They are a great way to get healthy carbs with a touch of healthy plant-based protein in your system before pushing off for a busy day.  The hemp and chia seeds also deliver a nice little punch of Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids.  

They're easy to take with you on-the-go (as long as you have access to a refrigerator) AND they're a great post-exercise recovery snack!

Here's the recipe.

In a 500ml mason jar combine the following:

1/2 cup raw steel cut oats (I use Bob's Red Mill quick cooking steel cut oats)

1 tablespoon of chia seeds

1 tablespoon of hemp seeds

1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1-2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup

2/3 cup of unsweetened almond milk

Seal the lid tightly and give it a vigorous shake combining all ingredients. Put in your fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight and they are ready to eat. Add berries or sliced banana if you like. Keeps well in the fridge up to 4 days.

Andrea's Summer Fresh Kickstarter Smoothie

Summer Kickstarter Smoothie

Fresh and light, yet full-bodied, Andrea's Kickstarter is an alkalizing blend of goodness.  This gem is loaded with energizing electrolytes and just enough fat and protein to give you a boost without loading you down.  The addition of fresh ginger ups absorption and assimilation of key nutrients for a kick-ass workout.

1  banana, frozen

3/4  cup mango chunks, frozen

1 1/2  cups baby kale

1  tablespoon chia seeds 

1/2  avocado

1/3 inch piece of fresh ginger

1 1/2 cups of water or coconut water (for electrolytes)

Blend and serve.

The Emerald Green Post Workout Recovery Smoothie


The Emerald Green - an anti-inflammatory post-workout smoothie

An anti-inflammatory post-workout smoothie

makes 28 ounces 

3/4    cup unsweetened almond milk

4    cups loosely packed spinach

1    banana

1    tbsp almond butter

1    tsp ground cinnamon

1/2    tsp ground turmeric

1/4    tsp freshly ground black pepper

Blend all ingredients until smooth.


As a holistic nutritionist, spin instructor and endurance road cyclist, post-workout recovery is a central focus when I coach my clients on how to achieve their goals and feel their best — both on and off the bike.  

Eating protein and carbohydrates (in a ratio of 3:1 carbs to protein) within a half-hour of your workout has big benefits. This ritual will speed up physical recovery, aid in tissue and muscle repair, and top up muscle glycogen stores (the athlete’s fuel). 

You will be ready for your next workout.

As we all know, excercise is a good thing, but a diet rich in antioxidants is critical. When our physical activity level rises, we use extra oxygen. This causes cellular oxidation and increases the potential for free radical damage, systemic inflammation and premature cellular degeneration. We can combat free radicals with fresh fruits, vegetables, and spices rich in antioxidant compounds. 

Smoothie elixirs are one of the most efficient and convenient paths to incorporating post-workout recovery nourishment. Homemade smoothies made with simple, whole foods ingredients and common kitchen spices are liquid bliss for both the fitness newcomer and the elite athlete alike.  

In the damp, West Coast winter months, smoothies can feel chilling when blended with frozen fruit or ice. The Emerald Green packs a warming punch of recovery nutrients: spinach (chlorophyl and iron); banana (potassium and magnesium); almond butter (protein and healthy monounsaturated fat); and unsweetened almond milk (calcium).  

Cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant and aids in balancing blood sugar. Turmeric seems to be all the rage these days — for good reason. It contains bioactive compounds with powerful medicinal properties (the most potent being curcumin) which have huge anti-inflammatory effects, and it’s a very strong antioxidant. Turmeric mixed with black pepper increases your body’s ability to absorb and use this ancient medicinal spice to its full anti-inflammatory and antioxidant potential.  The Emerald Green is gently sweet and deliciously silky, with a very mild hint of sassy spice. Enjoy!

Date-based energy bite recipe - C2Sky Coconut Chlorophyll Magic

I was honoured to speak at Whistler's 2016 Cornucopia food and wine festival as part of their Nourish series I gave participants my punchy version of this energy ball recipe, C2Sky Coconut Chlorophyll Magic.  I felt it appropriate to share something "C2Sky" this week in celebration Whistler Blackcomb opening on Wednesday, November 23rd!  Fuel up and get ready to find some powder this season!