Archive | February, 2015

Hold the Shame, Pass the Sweet Potato Fries

23 Feb
The day I decided to nourish and accept myself. It was a good day.

The day I decided to nourish and accept myself. It was a good day.

I don’t think we ever plan on ordering a side of shame with our sweet potato fries. I know I didn’t, but it happened. There I was, standing by the sweet potatoes in the grocery aisle, having a full-on guilt-trip about whether I should buy them or not.

I picked up the sweet potato. “No, it’s a starch.” I put the sweet potato back. “I don’t want to make my stomach issues any worse.”

“But my body needs carbohydrates.” I picked up the sweet potato again. Anxiety swept through my body. “I shouldn’t.” I put the sweet potato back. “I’ll just buy a butternut squash instead.”

Have you ever experienced the constant chatter of “shoulds” and “should nots” running through your mind about food? It’s exhausting, and believe me, you aren’t alone.

In 2008 my stress levels were at an all-time high, which turned into my health’s all-time low. I was diagnosed with low hormones, stage III adrenal fatigue, gluten intolerance and a parasite. Yippee. Part of my health restoration included cleaning up my nutrition, so I did. I felt physically fantastic and I was quickly healing… but emotionally, I began to get anxious around food.

Throughout this time, I continued my studies with nutrition and the psychology behind it to better help my clients. It was through this journey that I finally saw the disconnect between the valuable health coaching I was giving my clients, and the fact that I wasn’t listening to any of it in my own life.

I realized that I was using food to “fix” everything I thought was wrong with my life and me. This awareness lead me to read Marianne Williamson’s book “A Course in Weight Loss,” where I was introduced to the concept of mindful eating. A concept that stated I could truly enjoy food without judgment AND use it to nourish my body. Umm, yes please! It was the Cat’s Meow and I had to learn more, so I did. And I practiced. A lot. And I realized that food is not only a great source of enjoyment, but also an opportunity to nourish our body and respect our inner wisdom.

Thankfully, I also realized that food isn’t the only source of pleasure in our lives. Our heart is hungry for a lot of things: companionship, laughter, gratification, acceptance. Maybe that sweet craving isn’t for our favorite sweet treat, but maybe it’s for more sweetness in our life. More smiles. More bubble baths. And I’m pretty sure more hugs, which I have plenty to share… along with my sweet potato fries.

 

If you are holding yourself back from fully living life until you lose weight or have the perfect body, or you struggle with food anxiety, fatigue, cravings and digestive upset, please join me for Truly Nourished. This eight-week journey will help you move through negative self-talk, build a supportive environment, teach you to listen to your body and awaken your natural ability to support your health and well-being. Classes begin soon. Please contact me at stephsbell@yahoo.com for more information and to register.

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Pizza Love: No Grains Allowed

16 Feb
Pizza Bliss. Excuse the lightening... we made it at night.

Pizza Bliss. Please excuse the poor lighting… we made it at night.

I’m not much of a Valentine’s Day person, but I will use ANY opportunity to celebrate with a heart-shaped pizza, plantain chip nachos and roasted vegetables. My boyfriend and I used Elana Amsterdam’s Pizza Crust recipe with a few additions/ substitutions (as noted below), my simple homemade pizza sauce and all sorts of tasty morsels piled high! For all of the dairy-free people, feel free to skip the cheese or use cashew cheese instead. I hope you ♥ this pizza as much as Josh and I did! Cheesy pun intended.

 

Ingredients:

Elana Amsterdam’s Pizza Crust

1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp Italian seasoning (this is an addition… I used basil, oregano, garlic and thyme)

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 egg

1 Tbsp olive oil (Elana’s recipe calls for grapeseed oil)

 

Homemade Pizza Sauce

1 garlic clove, smashed and minced

8 oz can tomato sauce, no sodium

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried parsley

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp fennel seed (some people do not like the taste of fennel seed, so feel free to leave this out)

 

Tasty Toppings

Nitrate-free Canadian Bacon, chunked

1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced

feta goat cheese to taste

 

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350°. Mix all pizza crust ingredients together to make pizza dough. Place between two sheets of parchment paper and roll out until 1/4 inch thickness. Remove top parchment paper and place pizza dough on sheet pan with parchment paper between the dough and pan to prevent sticking. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

2. While dough is baking, make pizza sauce. Saute garlic in a skillet until golden and fragrant. Add in remaining ingredients and simmer on medium-low, stirring occasionally.

3. Chunk the Canadian bacon to desired size. Using a mandolin slicer, slice the red onion, bell pepper and jalapeno. Smash and mince garlic. Saute garlic and vegetables until desired softness is reached, about 8-10 minutes.

4. Remove the pizza crust when ready and layer with pizza sauce, Canadian bacon, sautéed vegetables and feta cheese. Place back in oven for an additional 10-20 minutes or until cheese begins to golden.

Serves 4

Meal Planning Made Simple: Healthy and Delicious Dinners for the Week

8 Feb
Yum! I love prep day!

Yum! I love prep day!

More often than not, I’m daydreaming about my next snack or meal. The thought of fresh guacamole on my taco salad makes me giddy with joy (insert lots of smiles and hip shaken’). The thought of someone NOT looking forward to their next meal or making a fast food choice instead, makes me tear a tad. So, in honor of all of you full-time busy bees, here’s a 1-week meal plan. If you put forth a little planning and set aside some time on Saturday or Sunday, you can still make fresh, healthy and delicious meals in 30 minutes or less. Cheers!

Saturday or Sunday Plan & Prep Day:

1. Plan meals for the week, make grocery list, buy groceries.

2. Clean and chop bell peppers, broccoli, carrots and cauliflower. Clean and dry salad greens. Roast broccoli and half of carrots.

3. Shred rotisserie chicken; brown 1.5 lbs of beef and simmer with one jar salsa and chopped garlic.

4. Thaw frozen raw shrimp Wednesday night.

 

Mexican Monday: Taco Salad

Warm taco meat in the skillet or toaster oven. While heating, fill salad bowl with 2 cups greens, tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, black olives and sliced avocado or guacamole. Top with taco meat and more salsa if needed.

 

Curry Tuesday: Curry Chicken with Cauliflower

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, simmer rotisserie chicken, cauliflower, sweet potato (best to chop this fresh), bell peppers, tomato paste and sauce, curry spices of choice. Let simmer for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables and potato are done. If you want a creamier sauce, mix in a little coconut milk or plain greek yogurt.

 

Breakfast for Dinner Wednesday: Scrambled Eggs and Pancakes

Scramble eggs (2-3 per person). Make pancakes using 1 banana, 2 eggs, 2 Tbsp almond butter and cinnamon to taste. Mix and cook on 300° griddle like a regular pancake (this makes 2 servings). Serve with a little almond or cashew butter on the pancake (the banana already adds a yummy sweetness). Also serve with roasted broccoli and carrots–Heavens, I would never forget vegetables!

 

Stir Fry Thursday: Shrimp, Snow Pea, Asparagus and Cashew Stir Fry

Clean asparagus, cherry tomatoes and snow peas. Chop asparagus. Place in wok with coconut oil, coconut aminos and seasoning of choice (garlic, ginger, orange zest, etc.). Stir fry vegetables and add in thawed raw shrimp. Cook on high heat until done (about 10-15 minutes). Top with cashews.

 

Fish Friday: Salmon with Roasted Vegetables

Broil or steam Salmon in butter or olive oil; season with lemon, salt and pepper. Serve with roasted broccoli and carrots; top with sliced almonds.