Tag Archives: nutrition

Permission Happiness: Granted

27 Apr
Jane Austin and homemade chili? I don't mind if I do!

Jane Austen and homemade chili? I don’t mind if I do!

I’ve been noticing in my own life that it’s really hard to do something kind for myself without justifying it, or to allow myself to feel moments of happiness and joy without feeling guilty or shameful about it. Maybe you can relate.

It’s sad and fascinating and frustrating all at the same time. Why can’t I spend an hour–candles lit and hot tea ready to drink–reading a good book without justifying “I’m not being lazy, it’s for work?” And why am I waiting for the hands of judgment to punish me for enjoying chocolate truffles and snuggles with my man?

Logical Me wants to know why I do it and how can I fix it. Emotional Me wants to fully indulge myself, then mentally punish myself for weeks to come.

…And then there is this small, steady voice. It is barely audible, but when I breathe–just breathe–I can hear it. It’s stronger than I think. It reminds me that when I give myself permission to be kind to myself, to discover what makes me happy, to engage in simple moments of pleasure, that I in turn give my mother, my niece, my friends, all men and women, permission to do the same.

Accepting and loving ourselves gives others permission and strength to do the same.

I call that voice Loving Me.

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.

The Cleanest Sloppiest Joe

19 Jan

IMG_1996I love eating comfort foods when temperatures begin to dip. This Sloppy Joe recipe is one of my favorites during the winter months. It includes immune supporting garlic and oregano, plus this dish is quick, easy, and free from MSG-laden canned whatchamacallits.

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lb grass-fed ground beef, bison, or turkey

2 garlic clove, smashed and minced

1 small red onion, diced

1 bell pepper, diced

2 1/2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp cayenne

2 Tbsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground cloves

8 oz tomato paste

15 oz diced fire roasted tomatoes

Optional: Bubbies pickles

 

Directions:

1. In a large skillet or dutch oven, brown meat and saute onion, bell pepper and garlic until soft and onions are translucent. Drain grease.

2. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 10-15 minutes

3. Serve topped with Bubbies pickles and roasted or sautéed vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, asparagus or bell peppers.

Serves 4-6

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

12 Jan

ghost-crab_w725_h476Have you ever heard of the Crab Theory? It’s pretty interesting. Here it goes: if you place one crab in a pot, it will easily crawl out, but if you put multiple crabs in a pot, they will pull anyone down who tries to escape to ensure they all meet the same fate.

There are many theories on the why: jealousy, resentment, equal the playing field, feel better about themselves… kinda sounds like human nature, huh? Have you ever attempted to make a positive change, like cutting down on cookie consumption, only to have your spouse restock the cookie stash (after you asked him/her not to) or your best friend telling you you’re “no fun” since you don’t want to go to the coffee shop that sells your favorite cookies? Yep, that sucks and makes doing something good for yourself feel like a drag.

Social support is critical when making positive change. So until your new change has become a habit, try spending a bit more time with people who build you up and a little less time with those that tear you down. While you build your new power posse (the friends and family that will go on a walk with you and enjoy eating healthier foods), try communicating the importance of why you are changing to your other friends and family and how much you’d appreciate their support. You can even assure them that while you want to be healthier for your grandkids, you will not guilt or pressure them to do the same. Who knows, if they don’t feel judged or feel scared that you’ll leave them behind, they may even warm up to ditching those cookies too.

Thrive During Change: The 5-Step Anti-New Year’s Resolution Plan

29 Dec
Set your sails and avoid the rocks along the way.

Set your sails and avoid the rocks along the way.

I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions. It isn’t because I don’t believe in growth and bettering one’s self–I’m totally down with that. It’s because the “New Year’s Resolution” thought process that we’ve known sets us up for failure. Too lofty (“I know I haven’t exercised in 15 years, but I’m going to start going to the gym…”), too much (“… every single day at 5am…”), too dependent on societal cues  (“…because losing weight will help me get that date!”). So let’s thrive in 2015 and look a little differently at how we can start our positive lifestyle changes on a path of success!

1. How Do You Want to Feel? Danielle LaPorte writes in her phenomenal book, The Desire Map, that we spend a great deal of our time seeking goals or things to make us feel a certain way. For example, do you think having the perfect body will help you ditch your toxic partner and find a better job? It won’t because the perfect body doesn’t exist (without Photoshop)… but doing things that make you feel happy, sexy and courageous will help you realize your inner awesomeness, build confidence and you will become aware that you DESERVE (yes, you darling!) to be in a healthy relationship and a job you enjoy.

Action Step 1: Ask yourself, “How do I want to feel?” and make a list of words that resonate with you. Then, write down simple things (aka wearing my favorite perfume makes me feel sexy) you can do on a daily basis to feel that way.

2. Expect Challenges. Going through the transition of change can be painful. Anyone remember puberty? I know my awkwardness shined brightly throughout all those middle school pictures. Todd Herman, sports psychology coach, has the answer to stick to your changes. He says that the reason why we start off like a rock star during our New Year’s resolutions is because our brain temporarily floods our body with feel-good neurotransmitters to tell us good job and that it loves the fact we are treating our body awesome with exercise and healthy foods.

After about a week, we feel the resistance, the un-motivation. This is because our neurotransmitter levels went back to normal (and good thing, otherwise we’d literally go crazy). We think we’re just lazy and that it’s too hard to change; however, our cells are having a party transforming into healthier cells for us! They just need a little bit more time to reshape themselves (longer than our neurotransmitter support can give us).

Action Step 2: Celebrate when you feel resistance because it means you are making positive changes and your body is LOVING it! Push through the awkward puberty of change by: 1) breathing, 2) reminding yourself why what you are doing is important, 3) say it out loud, “I’m changing.” and 4) read the next step…

3. Make Small Corrections. So you missed a workout. It’s cool. Our life isn’t a typewriter. We don’t have to throw it all away just because we made a mistake. We are on a journey and can course correct, making small adjustments so we don’t hit that huge rock in our path again.

Action Step 3: What do you need to make this change successful? Is it packing your workout bag at night and having it in the car? Is it keeping almonds in portioned bags at work for emergency snacks? Whatever it is, do it. And if it doesn’t work, change it.

4. Start Small. You’ve decided you want to be healthier and exercising more is how you want to get there–hooray! Rather than going from zero to seven days per week of gym time, start slowly and build your confidence that this new positive change is easy peasy.

Action Step 4: Choose a number that sounds too easy. Maybe it is exercising one day per week for 30 minutes or focusing on swapping out one non-healthy snack with 25 almonds. Whatever it is, practice it. If it doesn’t work, re-read Step 3 and change it.

5. Think Outside the Box. Anyone who wishes to better themselves is a stellar human being in my book. So, as stellar human beings go, make the transition as enjoyable as possible. If you want to move your body, dislike running and love dancing, then for the love of guacamole dance–don’t run–to your mp3 player and “Shake It Off.”

Action Step 5: Okay, you know how you want to feel and what will help you get there. Now, make a list of the most enjoyable things you can do to achieve it. So, if you want to feel energetic and exercising is how you want to feel that way, but you dislike gyms, then make a list of everything you can do that you like outside of a gym (bodyweight exercises at home, yoga dvd, hike, dance, etc.). Choose your favorite, start small and rock out!

Chicken Vegetable Marinara with Spaghetti Squash

22 Dec
Serve the sauce blended, partially blended or chunky (like mine) for a healthy and fresh dinner.

Serve the sauce blended, partially blended or chunky (like mine) for a healthy and fresh dinner.

I’ll be honest, this dish does include some time in the kitchen (60-80 minutes) for prepping and cooking, but your health and taste buds will be justly rewarded! It is also a great dish for hiding vegetables from picky eaters and boosting everyone’s’ health. Either blend part or all of the vegetables with an immersion blender to make a thick spaghetti sauce or leave the vegetables whole. No matter what you choose, you’ll create a nutritious, preservative-free homemade spaghetti sauce.

 

Ingredients:

2 lbs chicken breast

1 spaghetti squash

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 acorn squash, peeled and chopped

2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets

6 carrots, chopped

2 red bell peppers, chopped

6 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced

1 24 oz jar of tomato sauce, low sodium

3 Tbsp dried oregano

3 Tbsp dried basil

1 bay leaf

1/2-3/4 tsp sea salt

20 turns black pepper

 

Directions:

1. In a dutch oven or glass baking dish, add a 1/4 cup of water and chicken breasts with a pinch of sea salt. Cover with the lid (or foil) and slow roast on 325° for 45-60 minutes. Let the chicken rest for 20 minutes before cutting it into chunks. Set aside.

2. While chicken is roasting, chop the spaghetti squash in half, remove the seeds and place cut side up on a baking sheet with a little olive oil. Bake for 45 minutes or until finished. Allow to cool before using a fork to remove the spaghetti squash from the skin.

3. While chicken and spaghetti squash are cooking, chop the vegetables (acorn squash, broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, garlic). When the chicken is finished baking, remove it from the dutch oven, pour out the water and add the olive oil. Then add the vegetables and garlic and saute for 15 minutes. (If you do not have a dutch oven, a large stock pot will work too).

4. Next add the tomato sauce, herbs and chicken and simmer for 15 minutes. If you want to blend the sauce, simmer first without the chicken, then blend it and add the chicken at the end.

5. Serve chicken marinara over the spaghetti squash and enjoy!

Options: additional vegetables (onion, zucchini, eggplant) or top with chopped green onions, olives and/or goat cheese–just have fun with it!

Serves 4-5