Archive | November, 2013

Grub Hub

25 Nov

Do you have guests in town for the holidays? Want to take them to a restaurant that satisfies all their cravings, yet have healthy selections? No worries my friend. I threw together this little guide to help you fret less during your feast. Cheers!

Even a burger can be healthy if you swap fries for a salad and skip the bun.

Even a burger can be healthy if you swap fries for a salad and skip the bun.

For the Italian Stallion. If your guest is craving cozy warm Italian comfort food or flatbread pizza, try…  Nicola’s. No-fret feast: order pollo y verduras (chicken and vegetables)

For the Fancy Pants Foodie. If your guest simply loves fine dining and creative and delicious cuisine with seasonal produce, try…

  1. V. Mertz. No-fret feast: order pan-seared diver scallops, all natural chicken breast or vegetable garden
  2. Grey Plume. No-fret feast: order squash soup, wild caught Columbia river salmon, Plum Creek Farm’s chicken or vegetarian ragout

For the Casual Conversationalist. If your guest enjoys sharing tasty food and excellent conversation, try… French Bulldog. No-fret feast: split the charcuterie plate, bulldog salad and roasted vegetables

For the Luncheon Lover. If your guest wants to grab a quick lunch between events, try…

  1. Kitchen Table. No-fret feast: order your call salad combo with soup or peanut butter apple or kale salad
  2. Greengo Coffee-Deli. No-fret feast: menu changes constantly, but you can’t go wrong with their soups and salads.

For the Indecisive Individuals. If Aunt Edna can’t make up her mind, but cousin Liam is craving steak and potatoes, these delicious and varied menus are sure to please everyone.

  1. Twisted Cork Bistro. No-fret feast: order twisted salad, tomato-red pepper soup, sockeye & greens, fisherman’s stew, seattle cioppino or Honolulu Cobb
  2. Stokes Bar and Grill. No-fret feast: order wood grilled chicken (swap the rice for extra veggies), good for you salad (no bread, please) or black bean soup
  3. Lot 2. No-fret feast: order kale salad as a side with the falafel or beef stew
  4. Mark’s Bistro. No-fret feast: order salmon salad
  5. Dario’s Brasserie. No-fret feast: order venison sausage or mussels a la provencal (swap the fries for salad)
  6. M’s Pub. No-fret feast: order lamb salad or any of the burgers off of the gluten free menu with a side salad

I haven’t eaten at every restaurant in Omaha–but I want to!–so tell me what you think. What is your favorite restaurant to take your guests?

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Sweet Relief

18 Nov
Uber Happy Mountain yoga in Utah

Happy Mountain Yoga in Utah

Do you daydream about traveling to a secluded cabin with a good book, fireplace and bowl of chili? Or playing frisbee on the beach with your family after you’ve buried your smartphone in the sand? How blissful would it be to take one moment to just LIVE in the moment? What if you had the best my-mouth-hurts-from-laughing-I’m-gonna-pee-my-pants 5-minute ticklefest? I partook in that with my niece and nephew this weekend and it was pure Happy Therapy. And it also got me thinking… what did I enjoy as a kid when I didn’t carry all of my self-worth in how many hours I worked and how “busy” I was?

I cross-stitched, read, danced everywhere, played outside, colored, built pillow forts and laughed. What did you do?

I propose a pinky-swear. A pinky-swear to invest at least 30 minutes per week stepping into “rejuvenation time” and embracing it for what it truly is–not a selfish act, but a self-care act. You cannot be fully present, healthy and loving towards others if you are not fully present, healthy and loving towards yourself. Ahhh… I hear the choir singing.

Here are some activities that have soul and heart healing benefits, proven to reduce stress, improve heart health, increase neurological pathways and are down-right awesome.

  • Flowing Movement: yoga, dancing
  • Touch: massage therapy, hugging, tickling, playing an instrument
  • Arts and Crafts: knitting, painting, drawing, jewelry-making, cross-stitching
  • Nature: walking, hiking, gardening
  • Reflection: reading, meditation
  • Breathwork: deep breathing, singing, laughing

Okay, Action Jackson, let’s take a deep breath right here, right now. Yes, you might be “shoulding” all over yourself at the THOUGHT of putting your work down and taking time for yourself because you’re just too busy, but humor me for one minute. Ready? Read this paragraph first and then close your eyes and continue with the activity. Sitting comfortably, pay attention to the beating of your heart, the tension in your muscles and the thoughts racing through your mind. Inhale through your nose for two seconds and then exhale out your mouth for two seconds. Continue to breathe, extending each inhalation and exhalation by one second until you reach five seconds. Feel your heart beat slow down and your muscles relax. Acknowledge any thoughts that come into your mind and allow them to leave. No judgements or self-criticism; just sweet, beautiful, releasing breaths.

~Steph

Thanksgiving: Enhanced

11 Nov
(photo courtesy of www.health.com)

(photo courtesy of http://www.health.com)

All good things in life need a little tune-up from time to time. Whether it is your car, upgrading software or buying new underwear, tune-ups  help things run more smoothly, look nice (who doesn’t like a new pair of tighty whities?) and save you time and money in the long run. The same is true for your body. When you make subtle little tweaks such as choosing nutrient-dense foods, your body will feel energetic, function efficiently and look foxy. So why not start adding simple twists to traditional Thanksgiving recipes that deliver taste and energy? Let’s just say Thanksgiving got a whole lot coco-nuttier.

 

Stuffing

Everyone uses different herbs in their stuffing, so stick to your base recipe and make these healthy swaps.

  1. Sauté veggies (plenty of celery, carrots and onions) in coconut oil or ghee. Olive oil can’t take the high heat and margarine and vegetable oils contain trans fat.
  2. Use Julian’s Bakery coconut bread for the bread cubes. This keeps stuffing low glycemic and high fiber.
  3. Use organic low sodium free range chicken broth to keep salt intake down.

 

Gravy

  1. Keep it low glycemic by swapping out all-purpose flour with coconut flour.
  2. If you want to up the flavor, use chopped onions a la Elana’s Pantry to thicken the gravy without flour.

 

Mashed Potatoes

I love making mashed fauxtatoes with cauliflower—and so does my body. It is a great way to up your vegetable game while keeping your blood sugar levels (aka good energy) balanced.

  1. Replace all (or half if you are afraid the texture won’t be the same) of the potatoes with steamed cauliflower, parsnips and/or turnips. (Note: 1 head of cauliflower makes about 4 cups of mashed fauxtatoes).
  2. Use ghee, unsweetened almond milk, sea salt and roasted garlic for a flavor kick.

 

Candied Yams/ Sweet Potato Latkes

I’ll be honest; I am not a fan of candied yams, but if Thanksgiving isn’t the same without them, then here are my thoughts below. However, I also wanted to add an alternative recipe that is yummy and fits anyone who is celebrating Thanksgiving and Hanukkah since they share the same wonderful day this year. Hence the Sweet Potato Latkes recipe below.

For the Candied Yams

  1. Use real sweet potatoes or yams or unsweetened canned version.
  2. Replace brown sugar with a lower glycemic coconut palm sugar.
  3. Skip the marshmallows and top with toasted hazelnuts and/or pecans.

For the Sweet Potato Latkes

    1. Mix 2 large grated sweet potatoes, 2 eggs, 1 small minced onion,  sea salt and pepper to taste and any other spice you like (cinnamon, garlic, cumin, etc.) in a large mixing bowl.
    2. Melt coconut oil on skillet or griddle, form “cakes” with latke mix and cook for 5 minutes on each side. Makes 10-12 latkes.

 

Pumpkin Pie

Ahhh—one of my favorite pies! The ultimate upgrade is to forget the pie crust (we all know the filling is the best part!) and serve in individual ramekins. Not only is it delicious and looks fancy, but it is also instant portion control on deserts.

  1. Replace sugar with coconut palm sugar for a lower glycemic option.
  2. Use real roasted pumpkin or unsweetened canned pumpkin.
  3. Unsweetened almond milk is also a great switch if your recipe calls for milk.
  4. Top it with toasted pecans.

 

Round out your meal with turkey (the “not deep fried” variety of course), roasted Brussels sprouts and sautéed green beans with shallots.

 

It can be scary to stray from tradition, but it can also be a healthy and rewarding act of gratitude for your family to start a new tradition. Nothing says good lovin’ like caring about what you feed your family and friends. Plus, they won’t even notice the difference. Yeah, I’m sneaky like that…

 

Happy Thanksgiving! I am so grateful to be surrounded by amazing and inspiring individuals (that’s you!) and a career that I love. Thank you for your support!

 

GratitudiFULL: How To Dish A Big Ole’ Plate of Gratefulness this Thanksgiving

4 Nov
A perfect, healthful Thanksgiving dessert

A perfect, healthful Thanksgiving dessert (photo courtesy of Cooking Light)

Elastic-band wearers unite! It’s time to trade in the drawstrings for some fancy pants on this day of thanks. There are plenty of ways you can enjoy all of your favorites at Thanksgiving and still show your body (and everyone you love) gratitude.

1. Show Your Gratitude. Shout it out loud or jot it in a journal–just state all of the amazing things and people in your life that make you grateful each and every day. You might even get your whole family or your friends involved and state what you are thankful for at dinner every night. Respecting your body through exercise and healthy whole food is one of the best ways to show yourself AND your loved ones gratitude.

2. Save Yourself (not your calories)! The typical Thanksgiving meal is 2,000 calories—an entire day’s worth of calories! Most people decide they will starve themselves and “save” their calories for that one meal. The minute we start fasting, our metabolism slows down because it thinks a famine has hit. You are much better off eating breakfast, snacking every 3-4 hours and being mindful at the actual Thanksgiving meal. Start the day with an egg and veggie scramble and snack on fresh vegetables and almonds.

3. Dish Up Mindfulness. When stacking your plate with all that goodness, ask yourself, “Would I be hungry enough to eat this again in 3 hours?” If the answer is no, put some food back. If the answer is yes–hooray! You could also grab a normal-sized dinner plate and fill it like so…

  • Turkey: 1/3 of plate. Go easy on the gravy train.
  • Vegetables: 1/3-1/2 of your plate. Opt for veggies not covered in cheese or sauces.
  • Favorites: 1/4 to 1/3 of your plate can be reserved for stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, etc.

Want seconds? Remember dessert is still on the horizon… and Thanksgiving leftovers are oh-so-tasty!

4. Divide and Conquer. Our bodies can only utilize so many calories at once, which means the rest go to fat storage. Spread out all of this good lovin’ by taking a walk or playing yard games between your meal and dessert, waiting at least another hour before eating again. If weather doesn’t permit, engage the whole family in some Wii fitness, Twister, a dance contest or help scrub the dishes.

5. Double Trouble. If you have two (or more) Thanksgiving dinners to attend, alternate your favorites. (This is especially true if you are celebrating Hanukkah which lands on the same day as Thanksgiving this year.) In other words, enjoy Grandma Sally’s stuffing since she makes the best, but skip it at Aunt Edna’s where the pumpkin pie is divine.

6. Re-Invent the Menu. Replace sugar with stevia, coconut palm sugar or honey. Make crustless pumpkin pie in individual ramekins. Add in steamed cauliflower into the mashed potatoes. Keep vegetables sauce and cheese-free. Be creative and have fun!

7. Hydrate. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you are partaking in adult beverages or eating salty foods. Water also stimulates digestion and the release of toxins, so set a goal to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day—not just on holidays.

8. Get Physical (Olivia Newton-John style). Exercise helps reduce stress and increase energy. Squeeze activity into your day (and every day) as often as possible—rise early to lift weights, clean dishes between meals and suggest a family walk or activity before and after the feast (see #4).

Wishing you a lovely Thanksgiving that warms your tummy and soul!

~Steph