Tag Archives: food

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

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French Green Beans with Shallot Red Pepper Vinaigrette

24 Nov
IMG_1979

Served with seasoned grass-fed beef (minced shallot, oregano, thyme, basil, fennel seeds, bay leaf, sea salt) and kalamata black olives.

Side dishes do not need to be complicated, especially during the busy holiday months, but life is too short for them NOT to be delicious and healthy. Wishing you and your family a healthy and happy Thanksgiving!

 

Ingredients:

2 lb French green beans

1 Tbsp Bragg’s raw apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium shallot, finely minced

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

sea salt to taste

black pepper to taste

 

Directions:

1. Place clean green beans in a steamer basket (set in a large stock pot with boiling water) and steam for 8 minutes or until tender, but not mush. Remove and place in an ice bath or run cold water over them to stop the cooking process. Pat dry. Set in large bowl.

2. In a bowl (or dressing shaker), whisk the remaining ingredients. Pour desired amount on green beans, toss and serve.

3. Serve them as a side or mixed in as one dish (as shown in photo). Toasted walnuts, pecans or slivered almonds are also a nice option.

Mindful Eating for the Holidays: A Guide to Ditching Food Shame and Elastic Waistbands (Part 2)

17 Nov
IMG_1974

An eye-pleasing foundation to my Mexican Chicken Soup: celery, broccoli, carrots, red bell peppers and garlic. Pretty to look at, healthy for my body and tastes delicious!

You’ve just finished a fun dinner with friends and can’t possibly think about eating any more… that is, until you are presented with the dessert tray–a glorious presentation of apple crisp, pumpkin pie and brownie sundae topped with hot fudge sauce and candied walnuts. You order dessert, even though you are full, and  finish every last bite.

… And then it begins, “Why did I do that? I’m such a pig. I shouldn’t have done that. I feel horrible. I wasn’t even hungry, but it looked so good. Ugh, I’m disgusting.”

You’ve just experienced the strength of eye hunger, one of eight hungers we possess, compounded by your nagging inner critic (does that dude EVER take a break?). The typical American will gain 5-7 lbs over the holidays and eye hunger has a lot to do with that, so let’s explore why this little booger hampers our holiday bliss and what we can do to keep our eye hunger working for us and not against us.

First, let’s define it: Eye hunger is when you become hungry looking at food (via in person, on TV or in a magazine) or reading a recipe, even if you just ate. Many studies have proven that our eyes will override our mouth, stomach and body. For instance, subjects at a movie theater who were given stale popcorn ate it just because it was there and they could smell it. It didn’t even matter that it tasted awful.

So, over the holidays when you are surrounded by mounds of delicious turkey, mashed potatoes and caramel pecan pie slices, use these helpful tools to satisfy your eye hunger without eating double and feeling miserable.

1. Create beauty. Our eyes appreciate beauty, so use pretty plates, napkins and table decor.

2. Surround yourself in beauty. Get out in nature, savor your favorite piece of art, look at pictures of your beloved, listening to soothing music.

3. Cook and eat food of various colors, textures and shapes. Arrange it beautifully on plates and bowls. It takes just as much time, but with a little extra thought, it can make a huge difference in improving your food relationship (and health).

4. Use a small plate. Fill half of your plate with vegetables, a 1/4 with protein (meat or vegetarian based), an 1/8 with starch (potatoes and grains) and an 1/8 with healthy fats (you can also skip the starch if you have diabetes, Celiac disease, etc.). If it is a holiday or special occasion where dessert is served, consider sharing your dessert with one or two people. Or consider a healthier dessert such as dark chocolate dipped strawberries. Ummm… yes please!

Now it is your turn! The next time you buy groceries, practice purchasing vegetables of every color to ensure eye satiety (green, orange, red/purple and yellow/white). If you don’t eat a lot of vegetables, then do it with fruits and vegetables such as making a roasted vegetable salad with broccoli, carrots and cauliflower served with a protein and eating red grapes for dessert. Now that’s a feast to behold!

If you missed part 1 of this series, check it out here!

Q and A: Calories In Vs. Calories Out

9 Mar
My perfect portion plate.

My perfect portion plate.

“Is eating healthy truly as simple as calories in verses calories out?” No… and a smidgen yes. Sometimes as a health coach, I feel that I’m unintentionally giving a Glomar response to nutritional questions, a “we can neither confirm nor deny” answer. The simple truth is that nothing is black or white, and we tend to ask questions that lead to a response that will either 1) justify our old habits or 2) justify fad habits. However, I also think that these questions are incredibly valid. So, once per month we’re going to dive into the tasty, thick and sometimes heated guacamole waters of nutritional enigmas. Shall we?

 

Calories In Vs. Calories Out

The “smidgen yes” part is easy to answer. If we eat too much in relation to our body’s needs (size, metabolism, etc.) and our activity level, then of course we will gain weight. This line is different for everyone, but your body is a smarty-pants and will tell you whether you’ve eaten too much or too little (or if the ratio of protein to fat to carbohydrates isn’t right). Feel bloated, stuffed, sick or aren’t hungry for the next 5 hours? Too much. Feel hungry or light-headed 30 minutes after eating? Too little.

 

The reason why I like to emphasize visual portion sizes and mind-body awareness over counting calories is because I think counting calories (or measuring food) for life isn’t realistic and can make one neurotic (hmm… does my sudden switch to third person signify that I’m speaking from personal experience?), that listening to our body’s signals develops a much healthier relationship to food and that calories do not differentiate quality of food. Eating 100 calories of almonds compared to a 100-calorie snack pack of mini-chocolate chip cookies is like comparing Stevie Wonder to a beta fish trying to play the banjo. Sure, it’s great at first, but then you realize how freakishly genetically altered it is and that you have a massive headache because of how awful it sounds. Stevie Wonder on the other hand? Never awful, always makes you feel satisfied, energized and wanting the best quality of music… err, food. What are we talking about?

 

Since our nutritional needs are as unique as our body, it makes sense to use our body as a portion tool. A healthy plate of food, generally speaking, will contain your unique palm size portion of protein (whether vegetarian or meat options), 2 fist size portions of vegetables and a thumblength of fat (including the fat in your protein; this one is a bit trickier so to put it in perspective: ¼ to ½ avocado, 6-10 pecans on your roasted Brussels’ Sprouts or 2 tsp of olive oil based dressing on your salad).

 

Put It Into Action

1. Listen to your body and write notes on how you feel (bloated, still hungry, stuffed, etc.) after eating.

2. Start serving your portions in relation to your body (fist and handful). Let’s start with dinner. Include a source of protein, vegetables and fat.

 

3. Leave a comment and let me know how it’s going.

 

To develop more behaviors for the health you deserve, contact me at 402-819-8970 or stephsbell@yahoo.com.

Organic or Bust?

17 Feb
Farmer's Markets are great places to purchase organically grown produce inexpensively (or grow your own for the best produce available).

Farmer’s Markets are great places to purchase organically grown produce inexpensively (or grow your own for the best produce available).

Eating organically grown fresh vegetables and fruits is the bee’s knees, no question. But does your produce always have to be organic? Eating conventional broccoli always beats eating a brownie any day of the week. If eating organic produce doesn’t fit your budget or isn’t available to you, here is a handy-dandy list for what fruits and vegetables are the cleanest (least amount of pesticide residue) and which are the dirtiest (most contaminated produce) and worth the extra organic cost.

 

Clean:

asparagus

avocados

cabbage

cantaloupe

eggplant

grapefruit

kiwi

mangos

onions

papayas

pineapples

sweet peas

sweet potatoes

 

Dirty:

apples

celery

cherry tomatoes

cucumbers

grapes

hot peppers

nectarines

peaches

potatoes

spinach

strawberries

sweet bell peppers

kale/collard greens

summer squash (zucchini and yellow squash)

 

Information adapted from EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides.

Fresh Herbs Any Thyme

23 Sep
My very own green goddesses.

My very own green goddesses.

I love going out to my garden and picking fresh cilantro for guacamole or basil for homemade pizza sauce. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have fresh herbs all year long to dress up your favorite dish? Here are some tips for year round herbs that trump grocery store dried varieties any day of the week.

Indoor Garden. Many herbs like oregano, marjoram, chives, basil, cilantro, thyme, mint, rosemary and lavender do wonderful indoors if started from seed or a starter plant. Invest in good potting soil and a nice clay pot (plastic doesn’t work well). Keep these green beauties trimmed, well watered and cozy in bright direct light and warm temps above 60°. If you are looking at bringing the outdoors in, it is best to transplant your herbs in September before the first frost hits. Cilantro and basil do not work well as transplant herbs, but the others do just fine. Again, place them in clay pots with good potting soil and slowly acclimate them to lower light levels before moving them indoors for good.

Dry Out. My dad dried basil last winter and it worked beautifully! All you need is some string and brown paper bags. First, clean and pat dry the herbs keeping leaves on the stems. Once herbs are dry, tie the stems together, place them in a paper bag and hang them upside down to dry for 4-6 weeks. Pick the dried leaves off the stem and place them in a tightly sealed container. Do not crush the leaves until you are ready to use them in your recipe. Crushing them will release their aromatic oils which adds all of the flavor and aroma to your tasty dishes.

Freeze In Fat. Freezing your herbs in a fat such as olive oil helps preserve the lovely oils that add so much flavor to your wintry stews. For this method, you’ll want to pick the leaves off the stems, wash and dry them in a salad spinner or pat dry with a paper towel. Place the leaves in a food processor with olive oil (1/3 cup olive oil for every 2 cups of leaves). Process the herbs until they are finely chopped and place 1 cup of the herb-oil mixture into a 1-quart zip-top bag and lay the bag flat in the freezer so the mixture will freeze in a nice, even layer. Use within 6 months by cutting off as much of the herb oil you need for pestos, soups, stews, salad dressings, hummus and more.

Q and A: What should I eat while breastfeeding?

16 Jul

mom and babyThis is a great question for health conscious mammas wanting to provide the best nutrition for their growing baby (or babies). Here is the low down: you are the food supply for your baby so ensure you are not putting anything in your body that you would not want your baby to eat as well. This means sipping a lot of H2O and indulging in plenty of clean, nutrient-dense food.

WATER WORKS. Breast milk is 88% water, so even slight dehydration can disrupt milk production and lead to fatigue and dizziness. Drinking half of your bodyweight in ounces of water every day will keep you and your baby well hydrated and happy. Basically, when baby is tippin’ it back, so should you.

NUTRIENT NOSHING. Depending on your activity level, you will want to consume 300-500 extra calories (woo hoo!) from clean and nutrient dense food sources. This includes a variety of vegetables, fruit, lean protein and healthy starches such as sweet potatoes, whole grain rice and quinoa. Now there are some healthy foods that may cause a few problems for you and your baby such as “gassy” vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and Brussel’s Sprouts and spicy foods including jalapenos and garlic. Steaming or roasting the vegetables usually takes care of the gas, but spicy foods may have to be avoided if the baby is not tolerating them well. Also, remember all of the fish you couldn’t eat during pregnancy due to mercury exposure? Well, the same holds true during nursing, so ensure you aren’t eating more than two fish-fabulous meals per week.

STOP, COLLABORATE AND LISTEN. The best nutrition advice is the advice your body and your baby’s body is telling you through symptoms such as diarrhea, gas, constipation, running nose, asthma, dark circles under eyes, eczema, rash, fussiness, ear infections, etc. If you or your baby are experiencing these, keep track of what you are eating and try eliminating the food item for a few weeks. Then, slowly reintroduce it (one at a time if you eliminated a few) to see if the symptoms occur again. Some common food allergies or intolerances include citrus fruits (can irritate GI tract), peanuts, gluten, dairy, corn, shellfish, eggs and soy.

GET YOUR FLOW ON: Caution foods, beverages, supplements and medications that reduce breast milk  production and can affect the health of the baby include smoking, alcohol, caffeine (yes, that includes your daily coffee or chocolate fix), birth control pills, decongestants, antihistamines, sage, jasmine, tea, parsley and peppermint. Low calorie dieting can also deprive you and your baby from nutrients while reducing milk production.

If you are breastfeeding, always speak with your doctor before taking any supplements or medications.

For your personalized nutrition and fitness plan or to schedule a VIP Day, please contact me at 402-819-8970.