Tag Archives: recipes

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!

How to Throw a Halloween Hootenanny 101

20 Oct
Austin Powers needs his teeth back! Check out the apple and almond butter recipe here: http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/green-meanies-recipe.htm#

Austin Powers needs his teeth back! Check out the apple and almond butter recipe here: http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/green-meanies-recipe.htm#

Let it be said: I am from the generation that slayed vampires as opposed to falling in love with them and letting them sparkle (it must be noted that Buffy the Vampire Slayer did produce some enjoyable vampires in Angel and Spike). So there’s that. Now, let’s enjoy Halloween minus the guilt, shame, upset stomachs and sugar comas!

 

Here are 2014’s Tips for a Halloween Hootenanny to Remember…

1. Bring Nature In. Rather than decorating with candy corn, use acorns, apples, or leaves to add a homey vibe to your fall decor… or (un)lively things like mummies, zombies and spiders. Whatever…

2. Let it Glow! Swap the spider cupcakes and bloody cookie fingers in your gift bags for a G-rated Rave and hand out some glow sticks.

3. Work Your Thang. Build special memories with your kids and show them (and yourself) that play is fun and important for a healthy body. Start the night with a Mini-Monster’s Ball before your dinner. Play the Monster Mash and other fun Halloween tunes and dance your little vampire heart out. After dinner, join the kiddos and walk house-to-house with them while they trick-or-treat. Take turns thinking of different ways to get to the next house… maybe you do the Igor Foot Slide, the Boogie Man Boogie or the Headless Horseman Trot.

4. Bat Wings, Brains and Barf. Doesn’t that menu just scream “Eat Me!?” Plan a fun Halloween dinner that will actually excite the kids to sit down and eat a healthy meal before trick-or-treating. Think chicken “bat” wings, scrambled “brains,” carrot “fingers” with almond “fingernails” (stick the slivered almonds on the carrots with a little hummus), or guacamole vomit (bonus points for extra chunky and having it come out of a pumpkin or other figure) with vegetable dippers.

5. Savor Your Sweets with Enjoyment and Pleasure. It is Halloween, have your favorite candy or cookie or dark-chocolate dipped carameled apple and enjoy it in the company of your family or friends. The key is to not just devour it, but savor it. Eat it slowly, taking time to notice all of the flavors, colors, textures and feelings. Make it a game and see who can eat the slowest. The more we enjoy food, the less power it has over us and the better we realize that one actually is enough.

6. Spread the Love. Allow your kids to choose 10 pieces of their favorite bite-size candy (a month supply at two pieces per week). Allow them (and yourself) to have one or two pieces of candy that night. Place the remainder in the freezer, picking one night during the week when they may have two more pieces of candy. This will give all of you something to look forward to and know that you aren’t depriving yourself of your favorite sweet treat. After they choose their candy, bag the rest and donate it or throw it away. Many organizations and dentist offices will collect the candy (and some will pay you for it) and donate it to troops overseas. Go to http://www.halloweencandybuyback.com for a list of participating businesses.

Whatever you decide to do this Halloween, laugh often, be safe and enjoy the little moments in life.

Rise Up!

13 Apr

IMG_1902As a wellness writer, I feel like I should be giving you stellar recipe ideas for Passover and Easter. Alas, I am not. *sigh* Wipe those hungry tears away, because I am going to rock your world–personal progress? Yes please!–and I’m sharing this amazing Raw Brownie recipe with you from My New Roots. Soooo…. healthy Passover and Easter dessert recipe too? I got nothing but love for you, baby!

 

Before I rock your world, we need to climb into our Tardis and revisit the meaning of these holidays. (Total Squirrel Moment: time traveling tends to use phone booths a la Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Dr. Who. Interesting.) So here are my Religious Cliff Notes…

Christian: Easter is about the resurrection of Jesus.

Jewish: Passover is about the Israelites liberation from slavery.

 

See the theme? Regardless of what you believe, this time of year is about rising up. So, ya know that story you’ve been holding on to? That one about your mean ex which leads you to believe you are unloveable and that every relationship you do begin will end in lonely failure. Or that story about why you can’t be healthy, because your metabolism is slow and you just don’t have the time to exercise or cook. Or how about that story that begins with “I’m not [good enough, smart enough, wealthy enough…].” Think of what your story (or stories) is and write it down on a square of toilet paper (use a separate square for each story).

 

Now flush that crap down the toilet, because you are not your story! You are so much more. Rise up, take your power back and move forward!

 

What is one simple action you can do today to reclaim your power? Please share your comments below, because your simple action step may just be the inspiration someone else needs.

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.

Soak Your Nuts

17 Dec

IMG_1812Yep, I just said that. It’s true though… in geek speak, nuts contain phytates which can block or slow down nutrient absorption. Not cool. BUT, if we soak our nuts, then we are able to utilize all of their happy feel-good fats, fiber and protein–yay for soaking your nuts! It takes some planning and prep work, but the slow roasting in this recipe adds so much depth and flavor, it will be well worth the time!

Ingredients

2 cups raw cashews

2 cups raw almonds

2 cups raw pumpkin seeds

filtered water

sea salt

 

Directions

1. Place almonds and pumpkin seeds in a bowl, add 2 tsp of sea salt and cover with water. Place cashews in a separate bowl, add 1 tsp sea salt and cover with water.

2. Let the almonds and pumpkin seeds soak for at least 7 hours, while letting the cashews soak for only 6 hours and no longer.

3. When soaking time is finished, drain in a colander and spread the nuts out on baking trays making sure not to overlap. Lightly sprinkle sea salt and use a dehydrator or oven at 150° to bake for 14 hours.

4. Store in a sealed container.

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

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.

Pre-, Intra- and Post-Exercise Nutrition

2 Sep
Post-Workout Bliss: 1/4 lb grass fed beef, sauteed green beans and sweet potato hash.

Post-Workout Bliss: 1/4 lb grass fed beef, sauteed green beans and sweet potato hash.

I love my post-workout meal. I literally dream about it the night before, finalizing every last detail until it sounds a-ma-zing. That is not an exaggeration. In fact, I’m writing this blog in a post-workout meal induced haze of satisfaction and muscle fatigue. Bliss, baby…

… and I want to share it with you! Join me on my nutrition caravan for tips on how to properly ensure you have fuel in the tank, how to refuel for long trips and how to ensure your tank is properly fueled so you can continue on your journey of energy, strength and confidence. Cue the road trippin’ music.

1. Hydrate. Drinking water is always key to great performance and recovery. Your daily goal should be to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces of water daily plus more when you are sweating. For example, a 150 lb individual should drink a minimum of 75 oz of water spread throughout the day.

2. Pre-Workout: Start with Fuel in Your Tank. Whether you exercise at 5am or 5pm, you need to make sure you eat a little bit of protein and carbs 30-60 minutes before your workout. This can be as simple as a banana with almond butter or a protein shake. The most important thing is that you choose foods that digest easily, settle in your stomach and give you enough energy so you don’t bonk during your 45-60 minute workout. If you’ve ever felt weak, faint, nauseous, etc. during a workout and you don’t have the flu/illness, you better get your pre-party on and investigate what you are or aren’t eating.

3. Intra-Workout: Refuel for Duration. This truly applies to those endurance athletes who are exercising for 60+ minutes. Your body can only maintain certain intensities for so long before you are completely depleted. Again, opt for foods that settle well in your stomach, but give you quick energy. Fresh fruit and GU packets work well along with energy bars and peanut butter sandwiches for longer events. Refuel every 45-50 minutes.

4. Post-Workout: Refuel for Life. Immediately to 30 minutes following your workout, refuel with a healthy mix of protein, vegetables and starches. Choose a clean protein source of poultry, fish, eggs, beef/bison or protein powder (no antibiotic or hormone treated animals please), 1-2 cups of vegetables and a nutrient packed starch like yams, quinoa, rice, etc. The protein will help repair all tissues, the vegetables will add vitamins, minerals and fiber and the starch will help transport the protein while replenishing energy stores.

5. Use the Correct Fuel. You wouldn’t refuel your car with the wrong type of fuel would you? Your body is no different. Choose real food over processed foods like pastries and instant meals. Your body’s performance, energy and aesthetics are directly related to the quality of food you are feeding it. Be good to your bod.

This is a simplified guideline for exercise nutrition. If you are experiencing issues with recovery, injuries, dehydration, performance, etc. or want to learn more, please contact me for a specific nutrition plan tailored for your unique needs.

School Lunch Ideas for Healthy and Happy Kids

18 Aug

healthy lunchMost parents are aware that school lunches are lacking in the nutrition department. Hello mystery meat! So, how do you pack healthy lunches for your kids without them feeling “different” compared to what their friends are eating? First of all, let them pick out a cool lunch box (I still remember my Empire Strikes Back tin lunch box), a fun thermos or bottle to go with it for water, ice pack to keep it fresh, not funky and let them be a part of the lunch making process as much as possible. The gift of choice will give your child a sense of ownership, appreciation and pride–they will feel amazing! All of these ideas require no re-heating and are great for adults too. (Note: kids need more starches for their growing brain and body, so if you are an adult looking to lose fat, try using collard greens for your wraps or Julian’s Bakery bread and wraps.) 

Sandwiches or Wraps

Use Ezekiel sprouted bread and wraps or Julian’s Bakery coconut bread and wraps for gluten-free kids. You can even use cookie cutters for fun sandwich shapes.

1. BLT: nitrate-free bacon, tomatoes, lettuce (romaine, kale, arugula, spinach), guacamole.

2. Southwest: add taco seasoned chicken, turkey or grass-fed beef, tomatoes, bell peppers, lettuce (romaine, kale, arugula or spinach) avocado, black olives.

3. Italian: Applegate Farms nitrate-free frozen cooked chicken sage sausages (cooked and chopped), little mozzarella, fresh basil, sliced tomatoes, drizzle balsamic vinegar

5. Greek: chicken breast (shredded), kalamata or green olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, feta cheese, hummus

6. Nutty: almond, cashew or sunflower seed butter, sliced fresh fruit (banana, apple or strawberries)

7. Standard: Applegate Farms nitrate-free roast beef, provolone cheese, tomatoes and lettuce (romaine, kale, arugula or spinach).

8. Egg Delight: 2 soft-boiled eggs (sliced), hummus or guacamole, lettuce (romaine, kale, arugula or spinach)

Mini Pizza

Make this the night before or on the weekend and refrigerate (or freeze if needed). Again, let the kids have fun and pick out their own toppings.

1. Spread high quality pizza sauce (or make your own) on wrap.

2. Add meat: Applegate Farms nitrate-free pepperoni, ground turkey or grass-fed beef or shredded chicken.

3. Add additional toppings: olives, roasted or sautéed veggies, pineapple, cheese, etc.

4. Bake in oven on 325° until cheese is melted and wrap is crisp.

Skewers

Take skewers and add leftover roasted chicken or chopped steak, cheese, veggies and fruit. Again, cookie cutters are fun here too!

Sides

Their growing bodies need plenty of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Toss in some raw veggie sticks with guacamole or hummus dip, fresh fruit, greek salad, celery with nut butter or any other veggies they like.

Sweet Treat

Sometimes it is fun to throw in a little treat now and then, especially if they are wanting cookies or candy bars like their friends have in their lunches. Try making your own trail mix with nuts and dehydrated fruit, date and walnut brownies or 1/3 of a Larabar.

Recipes courtesy of Stephanie Bell

***While nitrate-free deli meat is easy when you’re in a pinch, still keep it in moderation and try not to feed it to your kiddos more than once per week.