Quinoa Broccoli Chicken Stir Fry

chicken-and-broccoli-stir-fry.jpg

A fast, healthy and yummy mid-week meal that everyone in the family can enjoy.……This stir fry requires few ingredients and even less effort!

You can always substitute the chicken for another protein like beef, shrimp, or tofu — so versatile. Your family will be begging for seconds! This recipe calls for serving over quinoa, but you could use brown or jasmine rice, of course!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Chicken Breast or Thigh (bone on)

  • 1 cup Quinoa

  • 1 1/2 cup Water

  • 2 tbsps Tamari

  • 1 tbsp Raw Honey

  • 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

  • 4 cups Broccoli (cut into florets)

  • 1 tbsp Coconut Oil

  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper (diced)

  • ½ Sweet Onion (chopped)

  • 1 tbsp Ginger (grated)

  • 3 Cloves Garlic (minced)

  • 1/2 cup Cashews (or more)

  • 3 Stalks Green Onion (chopped)

  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper (to taste)

  • Fresh Basil for serving

  • lime wedges for serving

Preheat oven to 350ºF . Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Thighs may need 110 more minutes. Once done, remove from oven and dice into pieces or strips.

Meanwhile, add quinoa and water to a medium sized pot. Heat on high until it reaches a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce to a simmer for 12 to 15 minutes. Once all liquid is absorbed, remove the cooked quinoa from heat, fluff with a fork and set aside.

Combine the tamari, honey and vinegar in a bowl and stir until mixed. Set aside.

Steam broccoli until bright green (5 minutes).

Heat oil in the skillet. Add the yellow pepper and onion and cook while stirring occasionally for 1 minute. Add the ginger, and garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the broccoli, chicken and tamari mixture. Stir until heated through or until tamari mixture is absorbed.

Serve stir fry over a layer of quinoa and garnish with cashews and green onion. Season with more sea salt and pepper to taste. Serve with torn basil leaves and lime wedges. Enjoy!

 

 

Apple Pie Pancakes

shutterstock_310851125.jpg

Healthy apple pancakes made with all gluten free ingredients. They taste decadent, but are low in sugar and packed with fiber

Ingredients

3 Eggs
3/4 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
3 tbsp Maple Syrup (divided)
¾ Lemon (juiced and divided)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Coconut Flour
1/2 cup Arrowroot Powder
1 1/2 tsps Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp Coconut Oil
1 Apple (cored and diced)
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
2 tbsps Almond Flour

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, almond milk, 1/3 of the maple syrup, 1/3 of the lemon juice and vanilla until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the coconut flour and arrowroot flour. Add to the wet mixture about 1/4 cup at a time, whisking thoroughly.

Mix in baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Grease a large skillet with olive oil and place over medium heat. Once hot, pour pancakes in the skillet, about 3-inches wide.

Once small holes begin to appear in the surface of the pancake, sprinkle a few apple chunks onto it and flip over. Cook each side approximately 3-4 minutes. Repeat until batter is finished.

Heat coconut oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add remaining apple chunks, cinnamon, the remaining 2/3 of the lemon juice and the remaining 2/3 of the maple syrup. Stir until combined.

Add almond flour and turn down to low-medium heat. Let simmer and stir occasionally for 3 to 5 minutes or until apple chunks are soft.

Top apple pancakes with chunky apple cinnamon sauce and enjoy!

Print Friendly and PDF

Autumn Carrot Soup

jade-aucamp-OMcrCX6wDpU-unsplash.jpg

This silky smooth, super versatile vegetarian soup is perfect for a dinner party starter, everyday fall dinner or warming lunch!

Autumn Carrot Soup

  • 2 tbsps EVOO or butter

  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion (chopped)

  • 1 1/2 tsp Curry Powder

  • 1 Cup Carrots (peeled and chopped)

  • 1 Cup Sweet Potatoes (peeled and chopped)

  • 4 Cups Chicken Broth (or veg broth)

  • 1/2 tsp Salt

  • 1 Apple ( I like Honeycrisp or Fuji, peeled and chopped)

  • 1 tbsp Honey

  • 1/8 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper (to taste)

  • For Garnish: Toasted Pumpkin Seeds and red chili flakes

1. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Do not brown.

2. Add the curry powder and cook a minute more.

3. Add the carrots, sweet potatoes, chicken broth and salt and bring to a boil.

4. Cover and simmer over low heat until vegetables are very tender, about 25 minutes. Stir in the apples and honey. Using a stick blender, puree the soup until smooth and creamy. (Or let cool slightly, and blend in a blender)

5. Season to taste with salt, pepper and more honey if necessary.

6. Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds and red chili flakes if desired

(Note: As the soup sits, it will thicken up so you may need to add a bit of water to thin it out.)

Print Friendly and PDF

What Your Hair, Skin & Nails Say About Your Health

joelvalve-bMdGjY9h8jo-unsplash.jpg

Hair, Skin, & Nails – What They Say About Your Health

Your physical appearance can tell you a lot about your internal health.

Most natural health practitioners include a physical examination since the condition of your hair, skin, and nails can be indicators of underlying health issues, like nutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, and the health of your digestive system.

The growth and maintenance of healthy hair, skin, and nails is dependent on your intake, and absorption of a variety of nutrients, including plenty of vitamins and minerals.

You should regularly check out the appearance and condition of your hair, skin, and nails for clues as to what foods, and therefore what nutrients your diet may be lacking.

Physical signs that you may be lacking something in your diet

FINGERNAILS & TOENAILS

Healthy nails are clear, smooth, and flexible. Like hair, healthy nails should be in a continuous cycle of re-growth.

The following color or texture changes in your nails are common signs of nutrient deficiencies:

WHITE SPOTS – If you notice white spots on your nails, you may not be getting enough zinc in your diet.

Good sources of zinc include:

●      pumpkin seeds

●      dark chocolate

●      Seafood

●      red meat

●      leafy green vegetables

HORIZONTAL RIDGES along your nails may indicate either a zinc or iron deficiency.

Good sources of iron include:

●      Red meat

●      Beans & legumes

●      Leafy green vegetables

●      Dried fruit

To enhance your body’s absorption of iron, pair iron-rich foods with a good source of vitamin C, like citrus fruits, strawberries, or bell peppers.

SKIN

Did you know that the health of your skin is closely tied to the health of your gut and liver function?

These two rather essential organs (your skin & liver) are processing and detoxifying everything – including foods, drinks, supplements, and medicines - pretty much everything you take in from the outside world.

Inflammatory skin conditions, like acne, eczema, and skin rashes are common symptoms of leaky gut syndrome – when the walls of the small intestine become thin and too permeable or “leaky”.

Breakouts and rashes can also be symptoms of a sluggish liver. Your liver’s primary responsibility is detoxification. So a poor diet, medication, and excessive alcohol intake can result in a slow, congested liver that is less efficient at doing its job.

Inflammatory skin conditions can also result from food intolerance and/or allergies. Many people have intolerances to gluten and dairy products. Additionally, excessive intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates can also disrupt normal gut function that often results in skin irritations.

Dry or flaky skin can signal a lack of healthy Omega-3 fats in the diet.

Avoiding foods you are intolerant to, adding in more Omega-3-rich foods, and supplementing with probiotics, plus a high quality fish oil may benefit your skin.

HAIR

Healthy hair is soft, elastic, and should also be in a continuous cycle of re-growth. Hair should NOT easily break or fall out.

While no one wants to deal with premature hair loss, that’s exactly what can happen if your diet is lacking certain nutrients and/or you have an undetected health issue.

If you are noticing you’re shedding a few hairs each day though -- RELAX! That’s totally normal as hair follicles move through their growth cycle.

However, excessive shedding that results in noticeable hair thinning and/or changes in hair texture, like dryness or brittleness, can result from:

→ Thyroid hormone imbalance, resulting in hypo or hyperthyroidism

-       Have blood levels checked regularly

 → Not enough protein – the main building block of new hair growth

-       Include a good source of protein, such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, beans, or nuts, with each meal to meet your daily requirements

→ Not enough omega-3’s – healthy fats help keep hair and scalp conditioned with the production of natural oils

-       Consider taking a fish oil supplement and frequently include good sources of Omega-3’s, like walnuts, chia seeds, and fatty fish, in your diet

→ Lacking vitamins & minerals

-       Iron

-       Zinc

-       B vitamins

 

A DIY Trail Mix is an easy way to combine essential nutrients that help promote healthy hair, skin, and nails. Raw nuts and seeds are good sources of Omega-3 fats, as well as key minerals like zinc.

Natural sweet-makers like dark chocolate and raisins are good sources of iron and punch up the flavor & fun of your mix too. Be creative, incorporate more whole and snackable foods into your diet and get to mixing - for your hair, skin & nails’ sake!

RECIPE:

Healthy Skin, Hair & Nails Trail Mix

Ingredients

1 cup raw walnuts

1 cup raw almonds

½ cup raisins

¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

¼ cup dark chocolate chips

To prepare 

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, then transfer to airtight container and store at room temperature or in refrigerator.

A serving size is ¼ cup trail mix.

REFERENCES:

Healthline: 9 Tricks for Healthier, Fuller-Looking Hair

CanPrev Blog: What Do My Fingernails Have To Do With My Health?

Study: Frontiers in Microbiology, 2018 - The Gut Microbiome as a Major Regulator of the Gut-Skin Axis

Tuscan White Bean Soup

IMG_3038.jpg

This Tuscan white bean soup recipe is outstanding for a few different reasons: it is flavorful, creamy, delicious and so comforting. Even your kids will eat this delightful vegan soup!

Tuscan White Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup carrots, diced

  • 1 cup onion, diced

  • 1 cup celery, diced

  • Olive oil

  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary 

  • 2 large cloves garlic

  • 2 15.5 oz cans cannellini beans drained

  • Parmesan rind* (optional, leave out for vegan soup)

  • 2 cups loosely packed kale

  • 5 cups vegetable broth

  • Salt 

  • Pepper

Instructions:

Heat a large sauce pan on medium heat and add enough Olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.

When oil is hot add diced onion, celery and carrots. Reduce heat slightly and cook until fragrant, then add rosemary. When rosemary begins to darken slightly add garlic and turn heat down as to not over sauté garlic.

Add vegetable broth and bring heat back up to medium/medium high. Add 1 can of cannellini beans. If using Parmesan rind, add now. Allow soup to heat up (about 10 minutes). Pour 2 ladles of soup into a blender with remaining can of beans. Blend until smooth and then add the blended mixture back into the soup. This will make the soup nice and creamy!

Remove parmesan rind and add kale. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When kale is cooked through, the soup is ready to serve! Serve with a nice piece of crusty bread.

Enjoy!

Print Friendly and PDF

HIIT: What is it?

element5-digital-7QYd1VxLRbM-unsplash.jpg

And is it really the best fat burning workout?

If you follow the fitness industry, you’ve probably heard of the benefits of HIIT (or High Intensity Interval Training).

The short, yet powerful workouts are touted as the best way to improve your overall conditioning, burn fat, and even balance hormones! (but that’s another article!)

So, what is HIIT anyway?

HIIT workouts involve working at an intense effort level for a short period of time followed by short recovery periods.

Tabata workouts are one great example of a HIIT style workout.

A Tabata session involves 20 seconds of intense all-out effort, followed by 10 seconds of recovery. This is repeated 8 times through for a workout total of 4 minutes only and is said to promote fat loss and increase aerobic power - all in a very short period of time.

Seems a little too good to be true...

But, is HIIT really all it’s cracked up to be? And does it actually burn fat or is that just a myth?

When it comes to the research, the answer is YES!

One study compared MICT (Moderate Intensity Continuous Training) vs. HIIT and the effects that it had on visceral abdominal fat. The study found that both types of training reduced overall body fat; however HIIT did this in half the time. Half the time!! [1]

Another study from the International Journal of Obesity compared 2 groups of exercisers to determine the benefits of HIIT for women. [2

The women were divided into two groups: the first group did 40 minutes of steady state aerobic exercise for 15 weeks. The second group did 8 second sprints followed by 12 seconds of recovery for 20 minutes.

The results of the HIIT study?

HIIT participants lost up to 7.3lbs and the steady state exercisers gained up to 2.7lbs. HIIT participants also saw significant reduction in overall body fat as well as subcutaneous abdominal fat - the is the fat just beneath your skin.

Other key benefits of HIIT

●      Reduces fasting insulin levels and decreases risk for Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease

●      It significantly improves your cardiovascular fitness. The International Journal of Obesity Study also found that HIIT participants improved their VO2 max (aerobic power) by up to 23% [2]

●      It balances your hormones! Research shows that high intensity exercise boosts Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which is a powerful anti-aging hormone that helps us maintain lean muscle mass (think revved up metabolism!) AND bone density, which reduces risk of osteoporosis. [3]

●      It’s easy to fit into a busy lifestyle since it doesn’t take a lot of time.

●      They’re portable. You can get an effective HIIT workout using minimal or no equipment whatsoever which makes it great for staying in shape while you’re on the road.

How often should you do HIIT workouts to achieve these results?

HIIT workouts do have a lot of benefits, and it has been documented that they only need to be done 2-3 times a week.

But, because they require such a high level of effort, they can put more strain on your joints, thus increasing your risk of injury if done too frequently.

This 15-minute bodyweight HIIT workout “recipe” is a great way to burn fat and stay fit when you’re tight for time and space.

The Workout “Recipe”:

1)    Jump Squats (beginners can do a regular bodyweight squat without the jump)

2)    Push-ups (beginners can start from their knees)

3)    Jumping Jacks

4)    Burpees

How to perform

Beginners: Do 30 seconds of each exercise followed by 30 seconds of rest. If needed, modify the jump squat to a basic body weight squat (no jump). Pushups can also be modified by performing from knees rather than toes.

Once you’ve completed all 4 exercises, rest for 1-2 minutes.  Repeat for 2-3 sets total.

Intermediate:  Do 40 seconds of each exercise followed by 20 seconds of rest. Once you’ve completed all 4 exercises, rest for 1 minute to 90 seconds. Then repeat for 3 sets total.

Advanced: Do 50 seconds of each exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. Once you’ve completed all 4 exercises, rest for 1 minute and repeat for 3 sets total.

REFERENCES

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5237463/

[2] https://www.nature.com/articles/0803781

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12797841

The Best Ever Red Lentil Dahl

shutterstock_543086185.jpg

This Red Lentil Dahl is one of the most popular recipes from my 10 Day Reset Detox.

It also happens to be a powerhouse of nutritional goodness, thanks to the wonderful little lentil that’s at the heart of every dahl recipe.

With about 30% of their calories from protein, lentils have the third-highest level of protein, by weight, of any legume or nut, after soybeans and hemp. Lentils also have tons of fiber, folate, and minerals. When mixed with grains (such as rice), lentils become a complete protein dish, which means that the dish has all nine of the essential amino acids. 

I served this dish at a dinner party last night (my guests are vegetarian), along with Indian basmati rice, a green salad, roasted cauliflower, and Naan and It was a crowd pleaser!

The Best Ever Red Lentil Dahl

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger

  • 2-3 large carrots, peeled and finely diced

  • 2 teaspoons curry powder (or more to taste, based on preference)

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1 1/2 cups dried red lentils, rinsed and picked through

  • 1 can coconut milk (full fat)

  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt + fresh cracked pepper

  • 1 handful baby spinach (chopped)

  • Cilantro and green onion for garnish (optional)

Heat a large pot over medium heat and add in oil. Add in chopped onion, and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine. Sauté over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions have softened.

Stir in the garlic, ginger and carrots, and continue sautéing for 3-4 more minutes.

Add in the curry powder, cumin, and turmeric. Stir well. Cook for a minute, until fragrant.

Stir in entire can of coconut milk, red lentils, broth, and salt. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, covered with the lid ajar, for roughly 15-20 minutes, or until the lentils and carrots are tender. Stir occasionally to prevent the lentils from sticking to the bottom. Add a touch more broth if you prefer a thinner consistency.

Once lentils are cooked, turn off the heat and stir in the spinach. Combine it into the dahl well as the heat will help to wilt it.

Serve over basmati rice or quinoa and garnish with cilantro and green onions.

This dahl will keep for up to a week in the fridge or 4-5 weeks frozen and enjoyed throughout the winter.

Print Friendly and PDF

Chocolate Banana Bread Muffins

shutterstock_1062210266.jpg

These banana muffins are a yummy, healthy snack or they make a great grab-and -go breakfast on busy mornings. These delicious treats are dairy-free, gluten-free, naturally sweetened, and full of yummy banana flavor.

INGREDIENTS

Wet ingredients:
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (or any neutrally flavored oil)
¼ cup maple syrup
3 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium bananas)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Dry ingredients:
¾ teaspoon sea salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
3 cups almond flour
½ cup cacao powder or unsweetened coco powder
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
1/2 cup mini dark chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. (Makes about 36 mini muffins or 12 regular sized muffins)

Combine the wet ingredients in a food processor until well mixed, about 30 seconds. (You can also mix and by hand.)

Now, combine the dry ingredients, minus the chocolate chips, in a mixing bowl.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and pulse 3-4 times (or stir) to create the batter. Don’t over mix the batter.

Unplug the food processor, remove the blade, then gently fold in the chocolate chips.

Add 1 tablespoon of the batter to each mini muffin cup or use 3 tablespoons if using regular size muffin cups.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the muffins are cooked through. Use a toothpick through the middle of a muffin at 15 minutes to test for “doneness”. The toothpick should come out clean.

Let the muffins cool completely to allow them to set.

Print Friendly and PDF

What The Heck Is A Leaky Gut

joanna-kosinska-m741tj4Cz7M-unsplash.jpg

How in The Heck Can My Gut Be Leaking?!


There’s A LOT of talk in the health world about gut health these days. You’ve probably even heard that the key to reversing a whole host of health issues, ranging from skin issues to serious autoimmune conditions, starts with healing your so-called leaky gut.

Afterall, Hippocrates is famously credited with stating that “all disease begins in the gut”.

Several factors are thought to disrupt the normal intestinal environment and contribute to a leaking gut.


But what the heck is a “leaky gut” – and how do I know if mine is leaking?


This refers to damage and/or thinning of the lining of the small intestine (aka, your gut). Your small intestine acts as the barrier between the outside world and the rest of your body – a pretty important job!

The small intestine is also where partially digested food from the stomach (and anything else you take in from the outside world, like medications and supplements) is further broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream, where it is then carried for use throughout the rest of the body.

If your intestinal wall is damaged, thinned, or has gaps in it – known as impaired intestinal permeability, the breakdown and absorption of the food you eat is also impaired.

Partially digested compounds, bacteria, and chemicals that shouldn’t be absorbed can quite literally “leak” across the intestinal membrane and into your bloodstream.

The immune system then kicks into action, reacting to these foreign substances that have crossed the intestine as dangerous intruders.


It is believed that this immune response (from leaky gut) may be the underlying cause of other diseases, like:

● Systemic inflammation
● Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
● Food allergies and intolerances
● Nutrient deficiencies
● Celiac disease
● Diabetes
● Autoimmune disorders
● Mood disorders
● Skin conditions like eczema

Several factors are thought to disrupt the normal intestinal environment and contribute to a leaking gut.
Contributors to leaky gut include:


● Excessive intake of calories, unhealthy fats, refined grains, sugars, and alcohol, which promote inflammation and digestive trouble.
● The use of antibiotics and NSAIDs (i.e. ibuprofen). These can disrupt the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut and cause damage to the lining of the gastrointestinal system, respectively, if used frequently.
● Disturbances in the gut microbiome. Overgrowth of bad bacteria in the small intestine in relation to the good, healthy bacteria (your gut flora) that help digest your food.
● Chronic stress, which can also cause inflammation throughout the body, including your gut.

Most healthcare professionals don’t recognize leaky gut as an official diagnosis, and there isn’t a standard test to determine if you are suffering from it.

Whether the claims about leaky gut are scientifically proven or not, we do know that gut health is something to consider when it comes to your overall health.

If you’re experiencing digestive woes, like bloating and irregularity, it’s possible your gut health and digestion may be impaired and that your gut is, in fact, in need of healing.


Good habits to support a healthy intestinal environment and properly functioning gut include:


● Eat whole, minimally processed foods with a focus on fiber-rich plant foods.
● Include fermented foods, like raw sauerkraut or kimchi, naturally cultured yogurt & kefir (unsweetened), or kombucha, which contain good-for-your-gut bacteria.
● Sip bone broth or take a collagen supplement. Collagen is thought to help rebuild and restore the gut lining.
● Take an omega-3 supplement or include 2-3 servings of fatty fish each week to help combat inflammation.
● Take a daily probiotic supplement to support your gut microbiome.
● Find natural alternatives to pain relief, like essential oils or meditation, instead of relying on over-the-counter NSAID’s which are known to damage the lining of the gut and cause digestive issues.

________________________________________

REFERENCES

Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 2009: Intestinal Barrier Function: Molecular Regulation and Disease Pathogenesis

BMC Gastroenterology 2014: Intestinal Permeability - A New Target For Disease Prevention & Therapy

Is Leaky Gut Syndrome a Real Condition? (An Unbiased Look)

RECIPE
Gut Soothing Banana Berry Smoothie

Ingredients

- 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
- ½ cup kefir (or plain, unsweetened whole milk, naturally cultured yogurt)
- 1 banana
- 1 cup berries, any kind
- 1 Tbsp chia seeds or ground flax
- 1 scoop collagen powder

Preparation

1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until desired consistency reached.
2. Blend in a few ice cubes if you prefer a cold, frosty smoothie OR use frozen fruit.

Oven Roasted Sesame Salmon and Broccoli

Untitled%2Bdesign.jpg
Print Friendly and PDF

Looking to incorporate more fish into your diet? Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids which lower inflammation and are amazing for brain health, heart health… overall health!

Oven Roasted Sesame Salmon and Broccoli


Serves 4

4 salmon fillets
4 cups broccoli florets
1 large onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
sea salt and black pepper to taste
½ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 garlic clove
½ inch piece of fresh ginger
1 small carrot, chopped
2 teaspoons sesame oil
2 scallions, chopped
2 teaspoons tamari
1 tablespoon honey
4 cups cooked pasta (any shape) or brown rice

PREHEAT OVEN. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

ROAST SALMON, BROCCOLI, AND ONION. Massage salmon, broccoli florets, and onion with olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper. Lay mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 20 minutes until the edges are golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

BLEND DRESSING. Add sunflower seeds, apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger, carrot, sesame oil, scallions, tamari, and honey to a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth. Add water, if needed to thin out the dressing to your liking.

ASSEMBLE MEAL. Place cooked pasta or brown rice into a large serving bowl. Pour the blended dressing over the top and mix well. Serve topped with roasted salmon, broccoli, and onion.

Israeli Salad

I adore this simple salad.  It is crisp and flavorful and easy to make.  In the summer, I serve it with grilled fish or chicken. In colder weather, I use it as a healthy side to lighten up heavy meals.  This fresh, light, and colorful salad is sure to become a favorite for your family.

Ingredients

  • 1 container cherry tomatoes, cut in half or chopped tomatoes of your choice

  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped

  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced (optional)

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • Sea Salt to taste

Optional Additions

  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

  • avocado

  • yellow or orange bell pepper, finely chopped

  • shredded purple cabbage

  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

  • taboulleh

Stir together tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze lemon juice over salad and stir. Drizzle oil over salad and stir.

Why I love this:   Each ingredient in the salad has unique health benefits. Fresh cucumbers are full of water, and a good source of fiber.  Tomatoes provide Vitamin C, A, and cancer fighting lycopene.  Parsley is a great source of Vitamin K.  It also contains Vitamins C and A, Folate, and anti-oxidants. Lemon juice is full of Vitamin C, antioxidants, and potassium.  Olive oil provides a nice dose of healthy fat!

Want to lose weight, get healthy, and transform your life?  Sign up for my newsletter and get weekly tips, tricks, and support from me!

Magnesium 101

shutterstock_632260091.jpg

Magnesium 101: What You Really Need to Know

Magnesium is one of those nutrients we don’t hear about too much, despite the fact that it’s one of the most important minerals for our bodies.

Magnesium is a powerful mineral responsible for over 300 different functions of the body. In fact, every organ in the body needs magnesium. It helps keep your blood pressure normal, your bones strong, your immune system in check, and your heart rhythm steady. It’s kind of a big deal, and a magnesium deficiency can wreak havoc on your body.


So what role does magnesium play?
AND….Do you need to be consuming magnesium or taking supplements?
Let’s find out…


● Magnesium helps lower our stress levels. In fact, magnesium is often referred to as the “relaxation mineral.” Serotonin, which is a natural mood stabilizer found mostly in our digestive system, requires magnesium for its production. Therefore, it is recommended that we take magnesium to help manage our stress, anxiety, and mood disorders. In turn, a magnesium deficiency can affect our stress level and emotional state.
● Magnesium is used in hospitals and given to patients intravenously who are having heart palpitations – the magnesium helps slow down their heart rate.
● Magnesium is necessary for numerous chemical reactions in our body, including making DNA.
● Magnesium helps maintain our brain function by relaying signals between our body and our brain. It prevents overstimulation of nerve cells, which could result in brain damage.
● Magnesium helps regulate muscle contractions – it opposite to calcium to help our muscles relax. Magnesium is commonly recommended for treating muscle cramps.
● Magnesium has also been linked to helping reduce the risk of many diseases, including arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes. Several studies have shown that migraine headaches are associated with low levels of magnesium.


Despite magnesium being abundant in our body, many people don’t get enough of it.
Some studies say that up to 68% of adults don’t get enough magnesium in accordance with the recommended daily intake (RDI).


So how much magnesium should we be consuming on a daily basis to keep our body functioning as it should?


Adult men should consume 420 mg/day, while adult women should consume 320 mg/day.


There could be consequences from consuming too much magnesium or not enough magnesium:
● Too much magnesium can cause various symptoms, including diarrhea.

● A magnesium deficiency (called hypomagnesemia) could lead to various health conditions, including muscle twitches and cramps, osteoporosis, fatigue, high blood pressure, asthma, heart disease, and diabetes.

Common symptoms of magnesium deficiency are:

Muscle spasms and cramps
Migraines and headaches
Anxiety & depression
High blood pressure
Hormone problems
Sleep issues
Low energy
Bone loss

Now that we know the importance of magnesium, where do we find magnesium?

Research shows that supplementation with an effective, absorbable magnesium can bring freedom from symptoms of deficiency and improve conditions linked to low magnesium levels.


And here’s good news! There are plenty of magnesium-rich natural food sources.


● Pumpkin seeds (check out the recipe below for making Creamy Pumpkin Seed Butter)
● Raw almonds and cashews (raw nuts are better than roasted nuts – roasted nuts lose magnesium during the roasting process)
● Dark chocolate
● Black beans, peas, and soybeans
● Green leafy vegetables (spinach)
● Whole grains (oat bran)
● Herbs (coriander, chives, dill, sage)

Magnesium can also be absorbed through the skin, so consider using a magnesium oil or lotion that contains magnesium. Or, take an epsom salt bath which is rich in magnesium.


However, the easiest (and yummiest) way of getting in your daily magnesium - is to include plenty of food sources high in this multi-tasking mineral, such as this Creamy Pumpkin Seed Butter!
________________________________________
RECIPE:
Creamy Pumpkin Seed Butter
Ingredients:
2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
1-2 tsp. oil (grapeseed or olive)
Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spread the pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet.
3. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden.
4. Cool for 15-20 minutes.
5. Put the pumpkin seeds in a food processor.
6. Run the food processor for approximately 4-5 minutes, until the pumpkin seeds begin to have the texture of butter. If necessary, stop the food processor and scrape the sides.
7. Continue running the food processor for another 2-5 minutes until the pumpkin seeds have the texture of butter. Add some of the oil, as needed, until the desired consistency is obtained.

REFERENCES:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-does-magnesium-do

http://www.magnesium.ca/

Creamy Zucchini Soup

0939F4DA-A069-4AA9-A63A-2D869E14E622.jpg
Print Friendly and PDF

Who says it is too hot to eat a soup in summer? This delicious and creamy Zucchini soup can be served hot or cold, and comes together in about 15 minutes!

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 medium zucchini, sliced thinly
4 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh dill, plus more for serving
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
Lemon juice, from 1 lemon (for serving)

Instructions:

Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil over medium-low heat in a large pot. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft and translucent. Do not brown.

Add the zucchini, chicken broth, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender.

Meanwhile, toast the walnuts on the stove top over medium heat in a non-stick skillet for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Be careful not to burn.

Add the dill and walnuts to the soup. Purée the soup in a blender. (Be careful when blending hot liquids....Blend in small batches to avoid overfilling the blender)

Add the lemon juice, then taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Ladle the soup into bowls, drizzle with more olive oil, sprinkle with dill, and serve.









Baked Salmon with Lemon And Dill

68367439_2911235718903468_2062873573952847872_n.jpg

Salmon is a delicious, rich source of protein and omega-3s, and this is a simple and elegant way to get it on the table quickly! Serve with lots of veggies on the side, of course.

Ingredients:

  • One 1 1/2-pound salmon fillet, or two 12-ounce fillets, preferably wild-caught

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper

  • 1 lemon, cut into slices 3 to 4 sprigs of fresh dill, plus more for serving

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon blanc (you can substitute: fish stock, chicken stock, or water)

Directions:

Heat oven to 350
Lightly oil and season the salmon with salt and pepper.

Arrange lemon slices and fresh herbs on the bottom of a baking dish land then place the salmon, skin-side down, onto the bed of lemon and herbs.

Pour wine (or stock) into the baking dish, and cover with aluminum foil. Bake the salmon for 20-30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.

Note: The best way to prevent overcooking is to check the temperature of the salmon with an internal thermometer. You want the thickest part of the salmon to read 125 degrees F. Take the salmon out of the oven and loosely cover with foil for 5 minutes (the fish will continue to cook during this time).

Serve with fresh lemon and dill.



Lessons From The World's Longest Lived

eddy-klaus-BHNxfaeNCTI-unsplash.jpg

Think living a long and healthy life well into your nineties or even one hundred years old is only for those lucky few who hit the genetic lottery? Think again.

Lifestyle factors, i.e. the things you do everyday over the long-term – can add up to increase the number of quality years in your lifespan.

Look no further than the people of Blue Zones for proof of how powerful everyday habits are when it comes to staying healthy for the long haul.

The Blue Zones are regions around the world where people have very low rates of chronic disease and live longer compared to other populations.

They are located in regions of Greece, Sardinia, Costa Rica, Japan, and California, where a large number of Seventh Day Adventists reside.

Because these communities are home to the greatest number of people who live healthfully into their nineties and even hundreds, researchers have studied them to determine just how they age so healthfully.

Do you have to live in an actual Blue Zone to guarantee longevity? Nope! You can adopt some of the well-studied lifestyle traits of these folks to promote health and longevity right where you are.

Here’s the top 10 life “hacks” of the world’s longest living people, and a blue zone recipe below:

Eat a Plant-rich Diet

Blue Zone residents eat a mostly plant-based diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and whole grains. Animal foods aren’t avoided – they eat smaller portions of meat a handful of times per month.

You don’t have to become a strict vegetarian or vegan, but it’s important to eat a variety of plant foods daily - they contain fiber, vitamins, minerals, and powerful antioxidants that help decrease inflammation and protect you from chronic disease, like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

A simple rule of thumb is to fill half your plate with vegetables at every meal. Yep, every meal!

Include Healthy Fats

Eat heart healthy unsaturated and omega-3 fats in the form of olive oil, nuts, and fish.

Getting enough omega-3’s helps decrease disease-causing inflammation and keeps your heart and brain healthy.

Eating enough fat also keeps you feeling fuller longer, which can help prevent overeating that leads to weight gain - bonus!

Stop Eating Before You Feel 100% Full

Avoid the clean plate club. Eating slowly chewing your food thoroughly gives your brain and stomach time to register that it’s had enough to eat.

Blue Zone communities avoid overeating and eating beyond feelings of fullness, which again, can help prevent weight gain.

Drink Red Wine

Enjoying a glass of red wine a day increases your antioxidant intake, which is thought to decrease inflammation and help prevent heart disease.

Of course, moderation is key. Six ounces of wine is considered a glass and drinking more than that can be associated with negative health effects.

Move Your Body Throughout the Day

Have you heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking”? As in, it’s not good for your health to sit for extended periods of time.

Lack of physical activity and prolonged sitting is linked to weight gain, obesity, and increased mortality. Be sure to look for opportunities to add movement into your regular routines.

You might try:

● Stretching while you watch tv

● Take an after dinner evening walk

● Park farther away from your destination

● Choose stairs over elevators

● Take standing and stretching breaks at work

● Use a stand-up workstation, and fidget while you work (or dance!)

The world’s longest living people live active lives that include daily physical activities, like gardening, walking, and manual tasks.

Know Your Purpose

People in Blue Zones tend to have a strong sense of their life purpose, known as ‘ikigai’ in Okinawa or ‘plan de vida’ in Nicoya, which loosely translates to ‘why I wake up in the morning.’

"Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy." – Dan Buettner

Shed the Stress

Stress is a major cause of disease and unhappiness in the world today. It leads to chronic inflammation, associated with every major age-related disease. Stress is a part of daily life and even people living in the Blue Zones experience stress, but it’s how they manage it that makes all the difference. The world’s longest-lived people have routine and rituals for shedding stress.

Put Your Family First

In the Blue Zones, families are kept close. This includes the aged parents and family members, who remain in the home with other family members, or live nearby. They commit to a life partner and invest lots of time and loving energy into their children.

Find Your Tribe

We all know the benefits of finding your tribe. But even more so, being with a tribe that promotes life-affirming, healthful behaviors is even more vital. Other life-affirming habits of Blue Zones people include a lack of time urgency, daily social interactions, a strong cultural community and spiritual or religious connection.

BLUE ZONE RECIPE

Mediterranean Bean Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 15-oz cans of beans, drained and rinsed (use black beans, cannellini beans, kidney beans or chickpeas/garbanzo beans)

  • 1 english cucumber, chopped with skin on

  • 1 bell pepper, diced

  • 1 small red onion, diced

  • 1 cup cherry tomato, halved

  • 1 cup kalamata olives, roughly chopped

  • ¼ cup virgin olive oil

  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar

  • 2 whole cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1 tsp dried oregano or 2 tsp fresh herb

  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

1. Combine beans, cucumber, pepper, onion, tomatoes, and olives in a large bowl.

2. In a small bowl or sealed jar with a lid, whisk or shake together olive oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, and salt and pepper.

3. Toss salad with dressing and enjoy at room temperature or refrigerate unused portions.

REFERENCES

Power 9: Reverse Engineering Longevity

Why People in “Blue Zones” Live Longer Than the Rest of the World

13 Habits Linked to a Long Life (Backed by Science)

 

Easy Chia Pudding

shutterstock_562510153.jpg

This 3-ingredient, SUPER EASY chia pudding is creamy, satisfying and loaded with protein, fiber and omega-3s.

Ingredients

  • 3–4 Tablespoons chia seeds

  • 1 cup milk (I like unsweetened coconut, almond or cashew milk)

  • 1/2 Tablespoon maple syrup

  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

  • Toppings of choice: fresh berries or other fruit, granola, nut butter, etc

Instructions

In a bowl or mason jar, stir together chia seeds, milk, maple syrup and vanilla, if using. If you’re using a mason jar, you can put the lid on and shake the mixture to combine everything.

Once the chia pudding mixture is well combined, let it sit for 5 minutes, give it another stir/shake to break up any clumps of chia seeds, cover and put the mixture in the fridge to “set” for 1-2 hours or overnight. The chia pudding should be nice and thick, not liquid. If it’s not thick enough, just add more chia seeds (about 1 Tablespoon), stir and refrigerate for another 30 minutes.

When ready to serve top the pudding with berries and enjoy.

.

Salt and Pepper Broccoli

53553170_2638722999488076_4447384990866472960_n.jpg
Print Friendly and PDF

This delicious roasted broccoli is an easy go-to recipe and takes little to no time to make. The broccoli is fiber filled and nutrient dense then seasoned with ume plum vinegar, a staple in Japanese culture for its salty flavor.

Ingredients

2+1/2 cups broccoli florets

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons ume plum vinegar

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Directions

1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Toss the chopped broccoli florets and seasonings together in a large mixing bowl, ensuring the broccoli is well coated.

3. Place a piece of parchment paper over a baking sheet and evenly spread out the broccoli pieces.

4. Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes, check half way through to toss.

5. They are finished when they are a little bit crispy on the edges and able to easily pierce a fork through the stem.

Spinach Asparagus Soup with Lemon and Parmesan

shutterstock_729876853.jpg
Print Friendly and PDF

Spinach Asparagus Soup with Lemon and Parmesan

This asparagus soup tastes luxurious, yet no cream — just veggies, broth and a hint of Parmesan puréed to silky perfection.

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus bottom ends trimmed

  • 1 large handful spinach leaves

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 medium yellow onions, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

  • Salt and Freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one lemon

  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano

  • Handful fresh herbs, such as thyme, dill or basil (optional, for garnish)

Instructions

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes. Do not brown; reduce the heat if necessary.

Chop the asparagus into 1/2-inch pieces.

Add the chopped asparagus to the pot, along with the chicken broth, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, then cover and turn the heat down to low. Simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are very tender. Add the spinach and simmer for 10 additional minutes

Purée the soup with an immersion blender until completely smooth. Bring the soup back to a simmer and stir in the lemon juice and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. To thicken the soup, allow it to simmer, uncovered, until the desired consistency is reached.

Ladle the soup into bowls top with a sprinkle Parmigiano-Reggiano, fresh herbs (if using), and freshly ground black pepper.

Forest Berry Salad

Image%2B7-14-19%2Bat%2B12.59%2BPM.jpg
Print Friendly and PDF

FOREST BERRY SALAD

6 cups of organic girl protein greens (or greens of choice)
2 cups mixed fresh organic berries: raspberries, blueberries and quartered strawberries
1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese
handful torn basil leaves
1 cup chopped walnuts
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp honey
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

Instructions:
Measure out greens into a large bowl.
Make the dressing: in a medium bowl whisk the vinegar and honey together, then slowly drizzle the olive oil into the bowl while continuously whisking. Whisk until dressing is emulsified. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Drizzle dressing over the greens, season with a little salt and pepper and toss. Place half of the greens in two separate bowls or plates. Layer 1/2 berries, 1/2 crumbled goat cheese, 1/2 chopped walnuts and 1/2 torn basil on each plate of greens then add the remaining half of the greens and layer remaining half of ingredients on top. Drizzle a little more dressing on top if desired.
Serves 2. Add cooked chicken to the salad to make it a full meal.
Enjoy!

Fitness Fuel: What To Eat Before, During & After Your Workout

morgan-sarkissian-tFaJOKVC2J0-unsplash.jpg

Fitness Fuel: What to Eat Before, During & After Your Workout

You’ve just finished your workout and you know you need to eat something. But what?

Workout nutrition may seem rather complicated but it doesn’t have to be. 

Here’s the latest on how to fuel your body before, during and after your workout so you can improve your performance, maximize recovery - and feel better!

Fuel the machine

Skipping your pre- workout fuel is the equivalent of hitting the road with an empty gas tank. You may get off to a good start, but you’ll likely be running on fumes in no time.

When you feed your body with the right nutrients before your workout, you’ll be able to lift more, run longer & faster, and speed up your gains. Plus you’ll feel so much better doing it!

So, what should you be eating Pre-workout?

Since our body’s preferred energy source is carbohydrates, your pre-workout fuel should be higher in carbohydrates and lower in protein and fat.

Protein and fat are harder for our body to digest, and this uses up extra energy that we could be putting toward our workout.

Aim to eat about an hour before your workout to give your body time to digest and absorb the nutrients.

Here are a few Pre-Workout options that work well for pre-strength or pre-cardio workouts:

●      Wholegrain rice cake with 1 Tbsp nut butter

●      Small apple and a handful of raw nuts (or nut butter)

●      ½ cup of plain oatmeal with berries

Sports Drinks or Water?

Just plain water will do the trick during your workout. Experts recommend drinking between 3-8 oz of water every 15 minutes during your sweat session.

Also, you can hold off on the sports drinks unless you’re exercising for 90 minutes or longer, or are exercising in extreme heat.

Sports drinks help to replace carbohydrates and electrolytes but are not necessary for the average gym goer.

Why not skip the sugary, neon-blue commercial sports drink all together and just whip up your own for longer, sweatier workouts?

Just grab a ½ cup pure orange juice, top with filtered water and add a pinch of sea salt or pink salt. You’ve got a DIY electrolyte replacement drink for a fraction of the cost and infinitely healthier ;-)

What to Eat after a Cardio Session

It is still recommended that you eat your post-cardio snack 30-60 minutes after finishing up.

However, you’ll be using more carbohydrate stores during a sweaty cardio workout (think running or spinning) than you would during your lifting session.

This is why you’ll need to eat a snack or meal that is 3:1 or 4:1 carb to protein ratio - similar to your pre-workout ratio.

Try one of these snacks after your next cardio workout to replenish your carbohydrate stores (glycogen) used and to help you recover faster:

●      Sprouted grain toast and nut butter

●      Whole grain crackers & 2 Tbsp hummus or bean dip

●      Small banana or apple slices and a handful of raw nuts or seeds

What to Eat After Strength Training or Lifting Weights

Once you finish that last rep, pat yourself on the back and then fuel up on the protein!  

Aim to eat within 30-60 minutes post workout to help your body recovery and to build those muscles you’ve been working so hard for. This meal should be approximately a 2:1 ratio of protein to carbohydrates.

Here are a few examples of a balanced “post-lifting” meal:

●      Grilled chicken breast or sliced deli turkey with vegetables

●      1-2 hard boiled eggs, small salad

You’ll also love this delicious smoothie - packed with protein, fiber and the anti-inflammatory benefits of tart cherries!

RECIPE

Very Cherry Recovery Smoothie

1 cup of non-dairy milk of choice

1 scoop vanilla protein powder of choice (unsweetened, less processed)

1 handful of fresh or frozen tart cherries (frozen will have a thicker consistency)

1-2 tbsp of chia seeds or hemp hearts

1 handful of greens (spinach or baby kale work well here)

2-3 ice cubes (more if you’ve used fresh cherries)

Blend, enjoy and watch those muscles grow!

REFERENCES

LiveStrong: Post Workout Carb-Protein Ratio

The Washington Post: The Best Way To Eat Before & After Exercise

CBC.ca: Sports Drinks Unnecessary, Counterproductive For Most People