Food + Health
In the spirit of starting the new year off on the right foot, I have been making a serious effort to to get back to my clean eating habits. This week, I share a recipe for a Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding that meets my clean eating requirements. Not only is this delicious treat gluten, dairy and sugar free, it is packed full of vitamins, due to the nutrient dense chia seeds. On top of providing a hefty dose of fiber, protein, calcium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus, these tiny little seeds also contain a substantially high amount of brain healthy omega 3 fatty acids. The coconut milk in this recipe adds a boost to your immune system, due to the presence of anti-microbial lauric acid and the anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties of the capric acid found in coconut milk. I like to have this as a mid- morning or mid-afternoon snack because it gives me a serious boost of energy. The energy comes from all of the amazing vitamins and nutrients present this simple dish. It is also cleanse, candida and elimination diet friendly. How awesome is that?
As a busy health coach, who also works as a hair stylist and is taking my yoga teacher training, I am often asked what I eat on those days where I am just too busy to cook. Even on my busiest days, I try to resist the temptation of eating out. I know that it’s just not worth getting a quick meal in if it is going to cause me to have a stomach ache or to feel lethargic. Same thing goes for those days where I am craving comfort food, but don’t want to pay the price. I have found that it is impossible to know what, exactly, is in my food if I don’t make it myself. The biggest problem when it comes to craving comfort foods is finding a pizza recipe or restaurant that meets all of my elimination and candida diet requirements. After living with these food restrictions on and off for years, I have come up with a candida and elimination friendly, tasty, quick and comforting, gluten, dairy, sugar, yeast, vinegar and mushroom free pizza. Now I know, this probably sounds too good to be true, and to be honest, if you don’t have to adhere to these restrictions, I doubt you’ll be impressed with the end result, but for those of us that have had to live pizza free for some time, this might just seem like magic! If you are not dairy free, use real cheese instead of the Daiya vegan cheese. You can also alter the recipe to include any veggies you like, and if you omit the chicken, this is recipe can be vegan as well! The other great thing about this recipe is that it only takes about 15 minutes to make. Having this in my healthy eating tool kit really does save me on those nights that I don’t get home until late, need to eat, but just don’t have the time or energy to cook. This is also a great example of something you could eat for lunch or dinner while on the elimination diet that my new e-book called The Path describes. The Path is a road map to learning exactly what your food allergies or food sensitivities are, how they affect your mood and health, and how to finally take control of your energy and well-being for the long term. Click on this link to learn more about The Path and how it can help you find true health and vitality.
Warming Tomato Dal
This dish does exactly what it’s name implies. It is simple, satisfying and warming. Perfect for a cold winte’s night. One of the things I love about this dal is that it is so easy to make. I used my slow cooker to prepare it. It took all of 5 minutes to put together, and when I got home from work last night, I had a delicious home cooked, healthy, vegan and gluten free dinner ready and waiting. The trick to making this dal creamy is to soak the lentils over night. Another time saving tip is to make your winter spice blend ahead of time. I got this recipe out of the book The Everyday Ayurveda Cookbook, written by Kate O’Donnell. Kate is an Ashtanga yoga teacher at Down Under Yoga, the studio that I am taking my yoga teacher training at. She is also somewhat of an expert on the ancient sister science to yoga, called ayurveda. Ayurveda teaches that we are all comprised of varying degrees of energy fields, or doshas. The three Dosas are: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. The doshas are biological energies found throughout the human body and mind. They govern all physical and mental processes and provide every living being with an individual blueprint for health and fulfillment. Ayurveda also states that we should eat specifically for the season and our doshas. This recipe does this perfectly. Try it out. I promise, you will love it!
When in Rome.........
Here I am in Rome visiting my husband's family. My way of eating is very strange to them. They drown all vegetables in olive oil while cooking them within an inch of their lives, put cheese on everything and eat tons of carbs (like I needed to mention that last part).
When I first met my husband and I would offer to cook at Christamstime but they would never let me. I am sure they thought "what does this skinny American girl know about cooking?". Since I have been coming here for 7 years now and cooking my own food they have tried a few things. Turns out they actually enjoy my food "senza olio" but still think eating raw vegetables and eggs for breakfast is "strano".
This morning I made my usual Protein Pancakes but added chocolate vegan protein to appeal to the Italians.
Here is the recipe for 6:
12 egg whites
2 cups of oats
2 scoops of chocolate protein
1/2 cup of almond milk
Mix it all up in the blender and cook in a non-stick pan.
Each pancake has: protein 11 gms, carbohydrates 25 gms and fat 3 gms.
If you are in my Shape Up program this would be perfect for breakfast with a side of 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt. It is 1 fruit, 1 starchy carb and 1 lean protein.
For more about Meredith's Shape Up program, you can check her out her website!
With so many oils lining the shelves of the grocery store, from Olive OIl to Coconut Oil, how do you know which to choose?
First you should probably know that oils have different characteristics that make each one good for some cooking techniques and not so much for others. Choosing the right oil can add more flavor to a dish and also help you control cooking time.
One of the most important elements in an oil is its "smoking point". This is the temperature at which the oil starts to break down, smoke and the flavor even changes. This is also the point that the chemical make up changes and what started as a healhty fat can be turned into something thats not good for you at all. For these reasons it is important to know which oils to choose for the cooking method you are using.
How many times do you start a diet, get to the 4th day of eating salads and want to die of boredom?? This is what I like to refer to as the Salad Slump! It doesn't have to be this way. There are so many ways you can get creative with your meals so that you don't feel like a rabbit!
Here are items I keep on hand to keep it fresh:
I buy a variety of different greens: arugula, spinach, romaine, kale or baby greens
I mix it up with colorful veggies: tomatoes, peppers, corn, peas, carrots, zucchini, red onion, celery
For morning salads I add some fruit: blueberries, grapes, strawberries, apples, watermelon, oranges or grapefruit or dried fruit
I never forget the Healthy Fat: olives, seeds, nuts, avocado, oils or cheeses
I keep yummy flavored vinegars or condiments in the house to make dressings: strawberry balsamic, coconut vinegar, rice vinegar, dijon mustard
Spice it up with fresh herbs and spices: mint, cilantro, rosemary, oregano and thyme
NOW don't think that salads have to be just lettuce. Try my Cajun Shrimp Salad with Corn Salsa recipe.
Ever pick up a box of cookies at the store and read "All Natural" and think: "oh, this is a healthy cookie"?
You are not alone! There are several phrases that food manufacturers use to market their products but the Food and Drug Administration has not created strict definitions for these phrases.