Last week the whole family went out to the lake for a long swim. The water has been beautiful and smooth, and it was so much fun to spend the day training, playing, and soaking up the sunshine. When we got back to the house around 3 p.m., we were starving. We had plans for dinner, so we needed something delicious and healthy that would get us through the afternoon without ruining appetites. This recipe was the perfect fix! There are just 4 ingredients, and it's simple, fast, and energy packed without being high calorie. Plus, it's so tasty! We have a variety of palates in our family, and everyone was satisfied by these flavor-packed little rolls.
I love this brand of horseradish. It's fresh ground, free of preservatives and gluten. I also find that this one has the perfect amount of spice/flavor for my family. So, if you're looking for a recommendation, try this brand! But otherwise, whatever you can find in the fridge will do just fine.
These were such a hit, we'll definitely be making them again! They're a little bit like vegetarian sushi, and they're a whole lot of delicious. Do you have your own healthy snack recipes? Let me know some of your time honored favorites - from one kitchen to another!
Each new Spring I take a moment to remind myself to focus on growth. As the natural world begins to change and flourish, I ask myself, what am I doing to make sure I'm growing, as a person? There are a lot of elements that go into this: volunteering more, being kind and positive, tackling new challenges, and setting aside time to be creative...And then there's food. Food plays a huge role in how we feel day to day, how much energy we have to achieve our goals, and how capable we feel of giving back to the people around us. So this season, with growth in mind, I've put together a list of 5 foods I want to eat more of this Spring, because growth starts with the smallest choices, just as a flower begins with a seed!
Think getting your greens is hard? Maybe it's just time to rethink your moves!
Here's the real deal: Greens go with everything.
Also the CDC says only 27 percent of you are getting your greens and I care about you, okay? Eat ALL the spinach!
The Green Smoothie
It’s quick, it’s fuss-free and totally easy to prep ahead of time if that's your thing. Simply add your greens, a little fruit, some kefir, and whatever else you love to put in your smoothie into a container or reusable ziplock bag and freeze. Add to your blender with a little extra liquid when it’s smoothie time! If you're throwing together your smoothie in real time, just toss greens into whatever you would have made. It's so easy, you might just forget they're in there.
Juicing is one of the quickest ways to nourish your body with easy to absorb nutrients. Plus it’s portable! If you don’t have time to make a green juice, you could buy one from a juice bar.
Steamed or Sauteed Greens
Many leafy greens contain fat-soluble vitamins, so to best absorb these, we need to eat our greens with a little fat! Lightly sauteeing your greens or steaming them for a few minutes and serving them with avocado will help to make sure you’re getting the most out of your greens! Plus, it's an incredibly easy way to cook your crew's seasonal favorites. Check out one of my favorite recipes here! RECIPE
A super simple way to get more greens into your diet is to enjoy a salad. But to prevent boredom from eating the same salads day in, day out, switch things up! Why not try this Chopped Salad Recipe that I just can't get enough of? RECIPE
Want an easy way to make tacos, burritos, or rice paper rolls? Use leafy greens instead! Collard greens, silverbeet, cos lettuce, swiss chard and even cabbage all make great cups or wraps and help boost your nutrient intake of these alkalizing foods! Looking for dinner inspiration? I'll confess, sometimes I tweak this family favorite and replace the daikon radishes with some fluffy greens. RECIPE
You've probably heard of Matcha by now, and if you haven't, welcome to the in-crowd - It's hip, it's trendy! Matcha is the powdered green tea that's taken the world by storm, and for good reason. When I'm in need of an afternoon pick-me-up, it's not coffee I turn to. Don't get me wrong, I love a good cup of coffee - alway will! - but here are the 4 reasons Matcha just might be better than your average cup of joe.
3. Matcha boosts memory and concentration: Matcha powder contains the amino acid L-Theanine, which has been shown to increase the production of dopamine and serotonin. These two chemicals serve to enhance mood, improve memory, and promote better concentration – something I'm always in search of during my workday!
4. Matcha has more antioxidants: Matcha is ridiculously full of catechins, flavonoids, and polyphenols, especially the mighty epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which has been linked to so many health benefits and has therapeutic applications to the treatment of so many disorders, including cancer.
I think one of the best parts of this green wonder is how easy it is to find! Maybe you haven't tried Matcha yet, but your opportunity is just around the corner! Seriously, you can order this drink at any Starbucks, or you can find the powder at almost any natural foods retailer or Walmart. If you decide to order your first drink, just be sure to watch out for all the heavy add-ins. This tea is so good it doesn't need cream or tons of added sugar.
There's still time over the next few weeks to make a visit to your local Farmer's Market. I've been kicking off the fall season with a bounty of fresh vegetables! Last week I returned home with my little re-usable tote bag stocked with baby bok choy, green beans, and red and white radishes.
I had an incredible time turning these fall veggie staples into a delicious dinner for me and my family. Of course, step one was laying these beauties out on the cutting board...
Step two was diving into the actual prep. As a kid, I used to spend time in the kitchen with my mom, helping her prepare dinner for my dad and my six siblings. We grew green beans in our garden each year, and they were a staple of many of my mother's dishes. I have a lot of memories of snapping beans while she handled the more major tasks. So, while we have a slightly smaller crowd to cook for, I asked my youngest son to help me out by snapping the ends off of the green beans and slicing up a few of the radishes. Making our dinners a family affair makes the prep go quicker and turns a necessary activity into a chance for us to spend time together. Plus, the kids get to learn valuable skills along the way!
Deciding what to cook was a cinch, because I knew I wanted to incorporate all the veggies we'd picked up, and to have a little protein and fresh fruit in there to boot!
After we had everything chopped and ready to go, we got to work. For me, fall is the season of skillet cooking! I started off by taking my baby bok choy and placing them in a hot skillet sprayed with sesame seed oil. The sesame seed oil gives veggies a rich, nutty flavor, without adding a lot of sodium or extra calories. I quickly pan seared my bok choy, and then placed them, along with the green beans I'd just finished steaming, together on a baking sheet. I put the oven at 375 degrees and roasted both vegetables until they were crispy and tender.
The final piece of the puzzle was my fresh fruit! To add some extra sweetness and tang to this dish, I grabbed a bag of frozen mango.
Frozen mango is like a cook's secret weapon. It's delicious on any dish, and catapults your meal to the next level. To complete this dish, I pan cooked the mango, sautéing the frozen cubes with a little bit of balsamic vinegar. This trick brings out the flavor of the mango, and creates a delicious sauce that you can drizzle over the rest of the meal for an added zing.
When this step was done, I put everything together in a bowl with some baked chicken. It was easy, fun, and absolutely delicious. Because my family is crazy for radishes, we sliced those up and munched on them raw with our meal. But, if you're a little less eccentric, those can be cooked right alongside everything else.
The whole cooking process, from tote-bag to dinner table, took about half an hour.
I hope you'll all take advantage of this seasonal chance to spice up your cooking, and add a whole bunch of fresh, locally grown vegetables. Nothing beats cooking healthy with the people you care about. Happy Fall!
Staying Hydrated. What's at Stake:
Your hydration affects almost every aspect of your body's functions. Comprising a whopping 60 percent of your body weight, water helps transport oxygen, fat and glucose to your working muscles, regulates your body temperature, digests food and eliminates toxins. Besides water, certain fruits and vegetables also fulfill your fluid requirements, in addition to providing healthful nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein. Studies have proven that people who are consistently well-hydrated throughout their life live longer - YEARS longer - than their less water savvy counterparts.
Watermelon contains about 92 percent water per volume. Researchers have found that eating a serving of watermelon after a workout may help you hydrate twice as effectively as a glass of water. This is because the water-rich fruit also packs natural sugars, amino acids, mineral salts and vitamins that are lost in exercise.
Grapefruit boasts a remarkable 91 percent water per volume, making it about as effective as watermelon in the rehydration department. A serving of this fruit has been shown to hydrate you more effectively than water or sports drinks, replenishing your body without all the artificial colors and flavors commonly found in sports drinks.
Peaches hit the scale with about 88 percent water per volume, and they have the added benefit of being exceedingly portable. It's not hard to throw a peach in with your lunch and much on it at the office. Just be sure to bring a napkin! Peaches pack many of the same benefits as watermelon and grapefruit. Their high water content makes them low in calories but high in terms of the "feeling of fullness" that they provide. Even better, peaches are chock full of vitamin C and nutrients that promote healthy skin and reduce anxiety. In fact, peaches are often known as "the fruit of calmness."
TIPS: Looking for a few more water-packed options? Check out strawberries and cantaloupe!
Cucumbers hold an impressive 96 percent water per volume. If you're really looking to bump up your hydration, consider putting this vegetable together with a high-water content fruit. Cucumbers and watermelon make the ultimate hydration power couple.
Celery is the often touted veggie when it comes to minimal calories, but it might be more appropriately known as the rehydrator. Celery is composed of roughly 95 percent water, filling you up without weighing you down. A serving of celery (bonus: you can pretty much eat as much as you want here) can get your body's water systems moving again. Not a fan of celery? You can swap this veggie out for zucchini instead. Both have equal water contents, and their own unique health benefits.
Radishes also bring an impressive 95 percent water per volume to the table. On top of that, these veggies boost the immune system, support the health of connective tissue, blood vessels, and teeth, and protect against cancer. If you're worried about the spiciness of radishes, fear not. All you need to do is place these beauties on the grill, roast them in the oven, or add them to a soup. Cooking radishes brings out the texture and the nuttiness of the vegetable. Check out our recipe from this week here!
TIPS: Still not seeing something that wows? Go for lettuce, green and red cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, peppers, spinach, or broccoli. All of these veggies are high in water and filled with good-for-you nutrients.
Beets are a unique source of phytonutrients. This super root packs antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and detoxification support. Unlike many veggies, you can actually see all the good stuff. Beets get their gorgeous color from betalain, which can only be found in a few other foods, like the stems of chard or rhubarb. The concentration of betalains in the peel and flesh of beets make this veggie the best way to snag those health benefits!
Step 1: Prep These Ugly Bettys!
Beets may not look enticing at first, but with a quick scrub and a bit of slicing, they're ready to liven up any plate.
Step 2: Add Beets to Your Favorite Meal or Salad
Try this fun recipe to get you started!
Blueberries and cherries are the latest fruits to come into season this month. Together these two create an energy boosting, anti inflammatory, heart healthy super pack! Cherries are blueberries help fight health problems like Arthritis, cancer cells, insomnia and headaches. They're great for fueling your toughest workouts and for helping your recover afterwards. Here are all the reasons this fruity power duo should be topping your grocery list this July!
Grocery shopping can be a costly and time consuming task. Buying seasonally is a great way to save both time and money. Know what's in season and you'll have a plan for your shopping. What's more? Stores tend to stock up on these items in bulk, since they're plentiful, which means that they'll be cheaper for you. Check out the list below to plan your trip through the produce section this month.
Ever have days where it feels like you're fighting an uphill battle - when even your most simple jobs feel like herculean tasks? Most people experience periods of low energy in their daily lives, and often, it's a result of their lifestyle. The good news is, there's a quick way to jump start your energy system and turn those bad days around.
Magnesium, in foods like whole grains and leafy greens, often gets top billing as a magic energizing mineral, but potassium is the secret superstar. Potassium reduces sodium intake and lowers blood pressure, which lessens stress and improves energy levels. What's more? Most people fall far short of the recommended amount of potassium intake. In fact, the American Medical Board reported that only about 2 percent of Americans consume the recommended 4,500-milligram per day. In general, multivitamins contain only up to 99 milligrams of the mineral, so you should include plenty of potassium-rich foods in your diet.
Some of the best sources: a medium-size baked potato with the skin (926 mg), a cup of cooked spinach (840 mg), a half cup of dried prunes (637 mg), a banana (422 mg) or a six-ounce cup of tomato juice (417 mg).
When you're feeling the afternoon crash coming on, grab your potassium-rich snack and gear up for a productive evening, because you're going to have all the energy you need.
Our modern word Diet has a history, with origins coming from the Greek diaita . Diaita was a noun that meant a way of living, and also had a more specific meaning, signifying a way of living which could include a food diet as well as other other daily habits. Most of our daily food choices ultimately depend on preference, marketing and trends. Someone may decide to follow a trend and go fat free, carb free, hi protein, rustic or something else. Restaurant commercials and food products tempt us everywhere. When you combine our fast food culture, a trendy diet, and then limit it further with personal preferences, it’s fairly easy to come up nutritionally short, under satisfied, and overweight.
What does your diet say about you? What is your Diaita; your way of living? Does it include too many fast foods, packaged foods, or high sodium meals that dominate your taste buds into food ignorance? Have you bullied your taste buds into submission? Our taste buds are capable of subtlety unless you bully them with salty, fatty or highly processed foods and add-ons. By giving our taste buds simple, clean foods, we can re-awaken our taste buds and our good health.
My food philosophy is built around whole foods that are seasonally and readily available combined with essential food groups. Learn the basics, and then add flair and flavor! I assist my clients in learning simple recipes that use natural ingredients and to proportion their serving size for each meal and snack. Expanding the number of foods and flavors in your go to selections can bring even more flair and nutrition to your plate. You have to learn to play the diet game for good healthy living. Once you learn the game, you can keep your skills up by practicing.
Some of my favorite ways to “practice” are to experiment with color themes of food, try something new or mysterious to me, and try foods and spices from other cultures. When at the local market, I look for fruits and vegetables that are bold in color, flavor and even name. An earlier post of mine was a recipe that used Daikon radishes as a sushi wrapper, and it was AMAZING! Finding new, unconventional ways to eat healthy can be such fun, and can really help expand your diet. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Trying new things, although sometimes weird or scary, can really open your eyes into a whole new world of foods, flavors, and cultures. Get some friends or family in on the game too!
Go with whatever smells or looks good to you, and start playing in the kitchen!
Expanding your diet is a great way to keep you moving forward in your health journey. The more you expand your healthy variety, the less likely you are to expand your waistline.
As the last few days of April come to an end, I am starting to plan for summer! In the next month or so, school will be out, folks will start vacationing, and I will finally be ready to enjoy the sunshine! There’s just something about the approach of summer that makes me feel extra bright and happy.
One of the best ways to embrace the upcoming change in seasons is to embrace the new foods and styles that will come with it! Summertime is filled with tons of colorful fruits and vegetables. There are endless possibilities when it comes to summer snacks, salads, and even healthy desserts! I am a huge fan of fresh stuff! Luckily, with farmers markets being at almost every corner, we can find awesome foods that were literally just picked. I really want to encourage you to give each meal some color in the next few weeks. Don’t be afraid to experiment with things you’ve never had before. The more color you bring to your meal, the better!
Another way to embrace the upcoming season is to brighten up your workout clothing. I always feel more confident if I’m wearing a little bit of color when I exercise. There’s just something about bright colors that really makes me push myself towards success. Have fun with your workout gear and match the happy weather! Be bold, and pick something that pushes your color limit and you might just push your workout limits too!
Coloring up your health can have so many great effects. In the end, it’s all about finding ways to motivate yourself to keep working towards a healthier lifestyle. Whether it’s through new recipes or updating your wardrobe, the key thing to take away is that motivation can come in many different forms. As May is upon us, I encourage everyone to find ways that will motivate them to stay healthy during the weeks ahead!
April is the month for “going green”. It’s not hard to get this feeling when everything around us is finally coming back to life! Our awareness of our amazing planet soars, inspiring us to pay attention, and make a difference. The idea of going green can incorporate many things. Greening up our lives can mean as much to our health as it does to reducing our carbon footprint. For example, if you choose to ride your bike somewhere instead of driving, you save gas of course, but you also got your metabolism boosted. If you choose less processed and more local foods, you reduce the environmental impact of production, and the health bonus is that you will likely be eating much more nutrient dense food with less calories. What if you do your work-out outdoors, instead of in the gym or house? Maybe that means you don’t have to have the AC as cold, and you use less electricity – side bonus: a fresh view from your “workout area” and some new challenges. From reducing processed foods to exercising outside instead of in the gym, there are tons of ways to make your lifestyle just a little more GREEN! Good for you, and good for the planet – now that’s a winner!
Farmer’s Markets are finally starting to open up for the summer! What better way to start going green than by buying locally grown foods? Our Famer’s Market here in Northwest Arkansas are a HUGE deal, not to mention you can make a whole day out of it. Walking along the square, enjoying the sights and smells of foods and flowers, listening to local bands play on the sidewalks… there really is something for everyone. If you have not had a chance to stop by the Farmer’s Market, I highly encourage you to do so. Try something new, it’s a great experience and can really open your eyes to a whole new world of fresh living. If crowded markets aren’t your thing, I recommend just spending time outside. With the weather being warm, it’s a great time to start getting in fun bike rides, hikes, and jogs! I always feel so much better when I exercise outdoors. Feel the wind on your face and embrace the change in scenery!
As you work towards a healthy lifestyle, I ask that you keep the idea of “going green” in the front of your mind. Earth Day is approaching, so as your community takes a step to reduce their carbon footprint, make sure you take a step in reducing yours and reap the benefits all the way around that waistline! The difference that living green makes is one we can all embrace!