Creamy Pumpkin Soup (Gluten/Dairy/Soy Free)

Pumpkin+Everything_37ae67_4093080

It’s that time of year! EVERYTHING is pumpkin flavored and packed with sugar, which is sad because pumpkin is delicious. That is why I have been recreating my favorite fall pumpkin recipes and this soup is one of them.

I love pumpkin for many reasons:

  • Packed with fiber and complex carbs but not too many so it helps fill you up without spiking your blood sugar
  • Contains Vitamin A and antioxidants in its beautiful orange color as well as B Vitamins
  • It can be savory OR sweet! This is my favorite thing about pumpkin. You can bake it in the oven with butter, salt and pepper or blend it in a soup with coconut milk and cinnamon. It can cure any craving!

This soup makes 10 cups! You can make the whole batch and freeze half or share with friends and family :)

Enjoy,

Amanda

 

Creamy Pumpkin Soup (Gluten/Dairy/Soy Free)
 
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Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • 3lb Cubed Sugar Pumpkin
  • 1 Yellow Onion, Chopped
  • 6 Garlic Cloves, Chopped
  • 4 Organic Carrots, Chopped
  • 1 Organic Apple, Chopped
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1½ Tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 4 cups Organic Chicken Broth
  • 2 tbsp Organic Maple Syrup
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Ground Ginger
  • 1 tsp Ground Allspice
  • ½ tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Thyme
  • 1 tsp Sage
  • 1 can Light Coconut Milk (I like Trader Joe's brand)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pumpkin on tray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle 2 tbsp olive oil on it. Chop up onion, garlic, carrots, and apple and place around pumpkin. Bake for 45-60 minutes.
  2. Once the veggies are cooked, heat up a large pot over medium-high heat. Add in coconut oil and all spices. Stir 1 minute.
  3. Add in chicken broth, maple syrup and vegetables. Mix and bring to a boil then reduce to low.
  4. In batches, pour the soup mixture into a blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Pour smooth soup mixture back into the large sauce pan on low. Add in the can of coconut milk and mix until all incorporated.
  6. Your soup is now ready!
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cup Calories: 131 Fat: 6 Carbohydrates: 21 Protein: 2

Orange Fudge Bites (No-Bake/Sugar Free/Gluten Free/Dairy Free)

Need a healthy dessert to bring to a holiday party? These Orange Fudge Bites will be a hit! My Mom is famous for her “Modeen Fudge Brownies” that include a lot of sugar and cream cheese. She makes them for all holiday and birthday parties and they certainly are delicious. I wanted to come up with a healthier type of fudge recipe that didn’t have a ton of ingredients. This recipe is simple and only requires a blender so there is very little clean up. It also contains cacao powder, coconut oil and coconut butter, as well as whey protein, which are all nutritionally beneficial. I used xylitol as a sweetener in this recipe. It is very comparable to sugar. It has about the same sweetness but very few calories or carbs. Xylitol is naturally occurring in the fiber of many fruit and vegetables such as berries, oats, and mushrooms. Xylitol has been shown to help stop the production of tooth-decaying acid. This means bacteria cannot create acid in your mouth throughout the day and cause cavities. Another sugar substitution for this recipe would be stevia, which is another natural sweetener. Remember, these are a healthy alternative to a regular dessert but they are still a treat and should be enjoyed in moderation. Enjoy!

 

Fudge

 

Orange Fudge Bites (No-Bake/Sugar Free/Gluten Free/Dairy Free)
 
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Ingredients
  • 2 scoop Grassfed Whey Protein (Vanilla or Chocolate)
  • 4 Tbsp Cacao Powder
  • 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Butter
  • 1-2 Tbsp Xylitol
  • Juice of 1 Medium Orange
  • Sea Salt (sprinkle on top)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until you get a thick, pudding-like consistency.
  2. Grab an empty ice tray and spoon the fudge batter into the tray filling each cube to the top.
  3. Place in freezer for 2 hours or overnight.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 squares Calories: 132 Fat: 10g Carbohydrates: 6g Sugar: 1g Protein: 6g

Peach Zucchini Bread (Gluten/Dairy/Soy/Nut/Sugar Free)

Hi Everyone!

I have been fortunate enough to get a number of giant zucchinis from a friend’s garden, which has lead to a lot of zucchini recipes. I previously made a delicious zoodles and meatballs recipe here.  This time I decided to make a light zucchini bread and added peaches since I had some I needed to use. It came out fantastic! I hope that anyone that has an abundance of zucchini is getting some use out of these recipes for healthy ways to use it all. I love zucchini bread but it often contains a lot of sugar. Even if it is a healthier option such as raw honey or pure maple syrup, it still all breaks down to sugar and can lead to cravings later on. If you are struggling with sugar cravings or find yourself wanting carbohydrate heavy foods often try taking sugar completely out of your diet. In this recipe I used Stevia, which is actually an herb often called sweet leaf. I only had to use 1 tsp for the entire recipe. You can eat a serving and then be satisfied rather than wanting to eat the whole loaf! I also made mini muffins out of this too, you just cut the cook time in half. Enjoy!

Be well,

Amanda

zucchini bread

Peach Zucchini Bread (Gluten/Dairy/Soy/Nut/Sugar Free)
 
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Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups zucchini, grated
  • 2 peaches, chopped
  • 1 small banana, mashed
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp stevia, powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
  • 4 pasture-raised eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine eggs, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and fruit and mix well. Add in dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Make sure the coconut flour mixes in and break up all those little chunks that form.
  3. Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil or use a non stick silicone pan. Clean up is super easy and the bread never sticks.
  4. Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 35-45 minutes. I made a small loaf and some mini muffins out of mine. Bake muffins for 15-20 minutes.
Notes
⅛th of loaf PN Rx: 1 fat, ½ carb

Baked White Wine Sea Bass

seabass

 

I often find myself making the same types of meals all of the time because it is easy, but it’s fun to switch it up every couple of weeks. I bought Wild Caught Sea Bass at BJ’s a few weeks ago and finally decided to cook it. I had never eaten sea bass before so I wasn’t exactly sure how to prepare it but I looked around online and combined a few different recipes. I think it came out really good and was a nice way to change things up. The sea bass can be replaced with any white fish you want. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new foods! I paired mine with some wild rice and brussel sprouts.Enjoy this simple and easy recipe!

 

Baked White Wine Sea Bass
 
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Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 10-12oz Wild Caught Sea Bass
  • ⅓ cup White Wine
  • 1 Garlic Clove, crushed and chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice of a lemon
  • Fresh Cilantro
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Place fish in glass baking dish. Cover with white wine, garlic, salt and pepper. OPTIONAL: Let marinate in fridge for 25 minutes.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and bake for another 2-3 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fillet.
  4. When fish is done cooking cover with fresh cilantro.
Notes
PN Rx:
3oz serving= 1 protein

Part II: Day After Damage Control and Bonus Salmon Salad Recipe

IMG_6477

 

A couple weeks ago I talked about how to healthfully incorporate splurge meals into your diet. The post includes 5 tips on how to minimize damage from splurge meals so check it out if you have not already. Today I want to talk about tips for the day after a splurge meal or weekend that got out of control. It’s never a good feeling waking up and feeling like you over did it. Luckily, you get to wake up to a new day where you have the opportunity to make good choices for your body that will help feel better. The major part of feeling better is getting all of those toxins out of your body. We do this by including specific foods and beverages that support detoxification. I have also included a delicious salmon salad recipe that would be perfect for a day after detox! Enjoy!

 

5 Day After Detox Principles

 

lemonwater

1. Start your day with 1 cup warm water (not boiling) with the juice of half of a lemon squeezed in. Optional: add 1 tbsp of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar with 1 tsp raw honey for a more intense detoxification. Lemon acts as a blood purifier and cleansing agent by balancing out the pH in your body. Lemons may seem acidic but they actually alkalize the acidic, toxic environment in the body. This is also a great concoction to help with acid reflux, nausea, bloating, and indigestion. You can also add lemon to your water throughout the day.

 

eggs

2. Focus on a high protein breakfast. Many of us have stress in our daily lives and often wake up feeling exhausted. One great way to help replenish and balance your stress hormones is to make sure you are including protein in your breakfast. You want to balance your meal out with healthy fats as well so help fight those sugar cravings you will most likely be dealing with. A perfect example of a day after detox breakfast includes:

Day After Detox Breakfast

2-4 eggs

1 cup sautéed kale

1/2 an avocado

Include a glass of coconut water with this to help replenish electrolytes and you will feel great!

 

3. Include leafy and cruciferous greens such as kale, brussel sprouts, asparagus, swiss chard, spinach, and broccoli to help provide your liver with the proper nutrients it needs to detoxify. You can try including this delicious salmon salad Ana and I made at the beginning of the summer.

Maple Pepper Salmon Salad
 
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 8oz Salmon
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2 cups kale
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 orange or yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 avocado
  • Olive Oil
  • Maple Pepper Marinade:
  • 2 tbsp Bragg's Liquid Aminos
  • 2 tbsp Maple syrup
  • ½ tsp black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover salmon in marinade and place on baking sheet with foil. Bake for 10 minutes or until cooked through.
  2. While the salmon is baking, chop up your vegetables.
  3. Put the kale in a large bowl and add 1 tsp of olive oil at a time. Massage the olive oil into the kale with your hands until all kale is covered. Add more olive oil as needed. This makes the kale softer.
  4. Mix all veggies together and separate on two plates. Cut avocado in cubes and divide on two plates.
  5. Once salmon is done top salad with 4oz salmon each.

 

beets

4. Eat beets and beet greens. Not only do beets contain antioxidants such as betaine and betalains but they also contain fiber, iron, betacyanin, folate, and betanin. The pectin fiber in beets helps flush out toxins from the liver instead of being reabsorbed into the body. Beet greens also contain all of the beneficial nutrients in leafy greens so don’t add them to a stir fry instead of tossing them in the garbage. Try out this delicious beet recipe we post a while back.

 

water

5. Drink at a minimum half your body weight in ounces of water. If you are active and sweating more often add 25oz of water. In order to help flush out toxins and support detoxification naturally in the body we have to be hydrated. The best way to do this is to constantly sip on water throughout the day.

 

Zucchini Spaghetti and Meatballs

Does anyone have zucchini or summer squash overflowing in their garden? This recipe is a great way to use a lot of it! To julienne the squash or zucchini use a julienne peeler. I also included a really basic sauce recipe because I did not have any tomato sauce but I did have tomato paste so I made my own. It actually came out amazing! It had a lot of flavor and was really easy. I definitely recommend making it if you have a few minutes while the meatballs are cooking.  I had this for lunch for about 3 days and did not get sick of it. It is absolutely delicious, enjoy!

 

meatball

 

Zucchini Spaghetti and Meatballs
 
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Recipe type: Dinner
Ingredients
  • Meatballs:
  • 2lb grassfed ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅓ cup brown rice flour (or any gluten free flour)
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Zucchini:
  • 3 zucchini's, julienned
  • sea salt
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • Easy Sauce:
  • 2 6oz cans organic tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. First add all of your sauce ingredients to a small sauce pan and heat. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer.
  2. Add all spices, flour, and the egg in a large bowl and mix. Once all ingredients are mixed add in your ground beef and mix with your hands until all spices are worked in.
  3. Form into meatballs and place inside crock pot. You can also bake this in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes each side.
  4. If cooking in a crock pot, cover meatballs in ⅔ of the sauce. Save the rest of the sauce to add at meal times. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  5. Julienne your zucchini/squash and place in a colander and sprinkle with sea salt. Let sit for 10-20 minutes. This is when a lot of the water comes out of the veggies. This allows them to stay more firm like noodles when you top them with the meatballs.
  6. Put zucchini/squash in large container with peppers and store in fridge. Top with meatballs and 2-3 tbsp sauce when serving.

Part I: To Splurge Or Not To Splurge?

 

Cheat-meal-the-rock

There are a lot of mixed emotions out there when it comes to cheat meals. At PN, we like to call them “splurge meals” because you aren’t cheating on anything, you are just indulging in a way you normally wouldn’t. It’s a splurge and should not be something that you feel guilty about. We feel that splurge meals can be included in a healthy lifestyle once a week or once every other week depending on what your goals and circumstances are. Here are some practical guidelines for including splurge meals in a healthy way with minimum damage. Stay tuned for a Part II: Day After Detox blog post that gives you tips for the day after a splurge.

 

5 Practical Tips for Splurge Meals

1. Make it a splurge meal not a splurge day. One of the biggest mistakes I find people making when it comes to including a splurge is having an entire cheat day instead of a cheat meal. A lot of damage can be done in an entire day but you can mitigate a lot of that damage if you try to keep your splurge to one meal. This limits the exposure to sugar and toxins that your body is getting, which reduces the amount of inflammation that will occur after a splurge.

2. Eat a well balanced meal of protein, complex carbohydrates, and fat 2-3 hours before your splurge meal. This will allow you to go into your splurge meal feeling balanced without overwhelming cravings. You also will not be absolutely starving leading you to over eat unhealthy foods. Eating a meal of protein and complex carbohydrates, such as chicken with leafy greens and sweet potatoes, has also been shown to improve your carbohydrate tolerance in your meals later in the day. This means the carbohydrates in your splurge meal won’t increase your blood sugar as much as they would if you did not eat that meal a few hours before.

3. Balance your protein, carbs, and fat a little. Even though you are about to splurge there is no reason to send yourself on a sugar roller coaster that will leave you craving for days. If you are splurging with a sweet treat at some fat from coconut, organic cream, or nuts to the mix. This will help you feel satisfied sooner and avoid you going back for more. If you are having some fried food or a meal heavy on the carbs be sure to include a protein source (chicken, beef, fish, pork, eggs, dairy). This will also help you feel satisfied and balanced to avoid completely overdoing the less healthy foods.

4. If you’re an athlete, try not to have your splurge meal the night before a big day of training. Your body will be inflamed and recovering from the splurge meal. If you are not used to eating whatever foods you included in your splurge meal this could affect your workout. If you are looking to get a lot out of a specific day of training avoid this. If you just want to get in a good workout after eating a big meal then go ahead. Just remember your body may not respond the way you are used to and you probably won’t feel as great.

5. Enjoy it! At PN we feel it is important to have a balance. Indulging in a meal that you would not normally eat is nothing to feel guilty about. Take care of your body, enjoy your meal, drink lots of water and then remember that tomorrow is a new day. It is not the end of the world if you go overboard on a splurge meal. Your body will adjust. We just try to get people to realize why they are going overboard. Is it cravings? Are these caused by a chemical imbalance from your diet? Is it more emotional? Are you present and conscious when you are eating your meal or are you distracted? There are a number of factors that contribute to overeating. We work with our clients to address these. Our emphasis is on being present and listening to your body even when it is easier to just keep eating. Slow down and ask yourself some of these questions and see if it helps.

 

We hope you have found these 5 tips for splurge meals helpful. Look out for Part II: Day After Detox Tips!

Amanda and Ana

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork

 

 

pork

 

Summer is in full swing, which means lots of BBQs, family parties, friendly get togethers and the 4th of July! All of these events have many things in common, but the one that stands out the most to me is food. It can be very easy to let your healthy eating habits dwindle during the warmer summer months but if you make small conscious decisions on a daily basis you can avoid excessive damage to your body and continue working toward long term health. One way you can continue your healthy eating habits through the summer is to find healthy condiments or make your own. Ana and I recently talked about healthy condiments on Better Connecticut.

Pulled Pork is a very popular summer food and one of my favorites! BBQ sauce is one of the primary ingredients in pulled pork and often has sugar and high fructose corn syrup as the main ingredients, which is not something you want to include regularly in your diet. Bone Suckin BBQ sauce is a great brand that does not contain any inflammatory ingredients. They use honey to sweeten the sauce and that’s all! You can find it at Stop and Shop, Big Y, Whole Foods and most other health food stores. Not to mention it also tastes amazing. Try it out in this simple BBQ Pull Pork recipe and let us know how you like it!

Enjoy!

Amanda

 

Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Pork
 
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Recipe type: Lunch/Dinner
Ingredients
  • 3-4lb Pork Shoulder
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • ½-1 jar Bone Suckin BBQ Sauce (depends on amount of pork)
  • ⅓ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ½ tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tbsp Raw Honey
  • *Add 1 tsp Cayenne pepper for a spicier pulled pork
Instructions
  1. Place pork shoulder in crock pot.
  2. Mix all other ingredients together in a medium size bowl. Pour on top of pork shoulder.
  3. Cook on low for 8 hours. Add more BBQ sauce to taste.

 

 

 

Decadent Chocolate Protein Pudding (High Fiber/Protein)

pudding

 

It can be hard to find a healthy dessert that leaves you feeling satisfied without spiking your blood sugar and sending you on an emotional roller coaster. I often find myself avoiding desserts all together because of how much they affect my mood, appetite, recovery from workouts, and sleep. I was thrilled when I discovered psyllium husk fiber. You can add it to a recipe to thicken the mixture. It makes the mixture gel and comes out like real pudding. It also adds a high quality fiber that helps keep you full and slows how quickly your body digests sugar. You can find the psyllium husk fiber at any health food store.

Most importantly, when eating desserts whether they are healthy or not, it is essential to listen to your body. Pay attention and enjoy the food you are eating and also notice if you are full or not. If so then put the fork/spoon down. You can always save it for another day. This will help keep your body in a balance and avoid overeating and cravings.

Enjoy!

Amanda

 

 

Decadent Chocolate Protein Pudding (High Fiber/Protein)
 
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Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 1-2
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • 1 scoop Whey Protein
  • 1 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • ½ Tbsp Psyllium Husk Fiber
  • ½ tsp Stevia
Instructions
  1. Heat a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add all ingredients and mix until combined.
  2. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer and begin to gel. Remove pan from heat and put mixture in a glass bowl. Place in fridge for 30min to an hour.
  3. Top with fruit, almond butter, cacao nibs and/or unsweetened coconut flakes.

PN News Segment on Better Connecticut: Healthy Summer Condiments

Hello everyone!

It’s finally summer and the weather is beautiful! This means a lot of fun weekends spent outdoors and a lot of cookouts! If you have been eating the Practical Nutrition way throughout the year, focusing on eating foods in their most natural form in a balanced state throughout the day, then you may feel that common summer condiments cannot be included in your daily diet. This is true for many of the common brands found at the grocery store that contain inflammatory ingredients such as vegetable oil and high fructose corn syrup, however, you can look out for good ingredients and even make your own at home with 5 ingredients or less! Ana and I discussed healthy summer condiments on Better Connecticut. Watch the 5 minute segment to learn more about what ingredients to avoid and healthy alternatives you can make yourself at home. And don’t forget to scroll down for 3 marinade/dressing recipes with 3-5 ingredients each!

WFSB 3 Connecticut

 

Take Away Points Video:

  • When reading a nutrition label for condiments, dressings, and marinades avoid the following: vegetable oil, canola oil, soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar/cane sugar, artificial colors/flavors/additives. These ingredients all contribute to inflammation, sugar cravings, weight gain, headaches, and fatigue.
  • When trying to find a healthy option for condiments/dressings/marinades look for the following beneficial ingredients: olive oil, walnut oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, organic honey, pure maple syrup, stevia, lemon juice, balsamic/apple cider vinegar, and herbs.

 

Maple Pepper Marinade
 
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Recipe type: Marinade
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup Bragg's Liquid Aminos
  • ¼ cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp Cracked Black Pepper
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Add your favorite protein: chicken, fish, or beef. This recipe has been tested on all types of chicken, fish and beef and everything tastes great! Get creative and add more ingredients if you want or keep it simple and use this easy marinade to flavor your meals all summer long!

 
Homemade Creamy Ranch Dressing
 
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Recipe type: Dressing
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1½ Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tbsp Chopped Garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Dill
  • 1 Tbsp Apple Cider or White Vinegar
  • Sea salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend for 30 seconds.
  2. Store in glass air tight container in the fridge for up to 1 week .

 
Homemade Balsamic Dressing
 
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Ingredients
  • ½ cup Olive Oil
  • ½ cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Italian Seasonings
  • sea salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend for 30-60 seconds until mixture has emulsified.
  2. Store in a glass, air tight container on the counter or in fridge for up to 2 weeks.