Grain Free Breakfast Cereal!

Protein is the best fuel you can put into your body first thing in the morning! Without enough protein in the morning, most people find they have a harder time “getting going”, crave more sugar and carbs, and have a harder time focusing throughout the day. Sometimes I’m in the mood for a hot breakfast cereal in the morning, so I came up with this high protein hot breakfast cereal that leaves me full of high quality protein and fiber, keeping me full for hours! Other sources of protein in the morning could include:

  • Scrambled or hardboiled eggs (I make them in advance each week for an easy breakfast or snack!)
  • Smoothie with  whey protein powder (click here for one of my favorite smoothie recipes!)
  • Oatmeal mixed with whey protein powder
  • Plain Greek Yogurt with raw honey and/or fresh fruit
  • Kefir, a cultured, creamy yogurt like product with amazing probiotic contents
  • Organic cottage cheese with fresh berries
Grain Free Breakfast Cereal!
 
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Author:
Serves: 1-2
Ingredients
  • ½ ripe banana
  • 2 TBLS coconut flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 scoops (apx. 15 grams) whey protein powder (optional if you are looking to boost protein)
  • ⅛ tsp baking powder
  • ⅛ tsp baking soda
  • pinch ea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 packet organic stevia (optional if you like more sweetness)
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • Fresh/frozen berries and cinnamon for topping
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in blender until just barely combined. Do not over blend- the consistency of the batter should be thick but not dry (add more almond milk if too dry, and more almond milk if too thick). Heat up a pan with 2 tsp. coconut oil. Pour batter into pan and scramble like eggs for about 3-4 minutes, or until batter appears well cooked throughout. Transfer unto bowl and top with fresh or frozen berries, coconut flakes, cinnamon, or any other of your favorite oatmeal/breakfast cereal topping! Enjoy!
  2. PN RX: 2 fats, 2 proteins, 1 fruit per serving

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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Author:
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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Author:
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.

 

Springtime Super Food (and yummy spring rolls!)

Happy Spring everyone!

For those of you reading this from the East coast, I hope you all have gotten a few moments of solar therapy this past week after a long winter! Seeing the sun shine makes me want to be more active, and it also gets me craving fresher, creative new foods. That’s why I decided to demonstrate how to make Superfood Spring Rolls on Better CT yesterday.

The foods I chose as this year’s “Spring Super Foods” offer your body a broad spectrum of health benefits. To name a few, they are full of nutrients that boost your immune system, help to ward off seasonal allergies, detoxify your body after a long winter, and help slim the waist line to help you get ready for summer! Watch the video below to learn how to incorporate these superfoods into your everyday life by making a simple and tasty Superfood Spring Roll!

  • Citrus: Grapefruits, lemons, or oranges any time of day! Enjoy lemon in your water, grapefruit as a side to your breakfast, or a juice orange for a dessert on a warm day. 
  • Quinoa: Use for cold or hot side dishes, on a salad, or in a Spring Roll!
  • Dandelion Greens: Throw these peppery greens into a salad, in a soup, or in a lunch wrap for an added zing to your meal!
  • Raw Local Honey/Local Bee Pollen: Put in tea, yogurt, smoothies, or enjoy a spoonful raw!
  • Walnut Oil: Use for cold foods only (not for cooking); enjoy its nutty flavor in a dressing or on top of a favorite grain dish such as brown rice or quinoa
  • Asparagus: Grilled, sautéed in a stir-fry, or put in a Spring Roll, asparagus are a hearty spring vegetable full of nutrition that will keep you feeling full for hours!

 

Springtime Superfood Spring Rolls
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • The Rolls:
  • 6 large rice wrappers (found in international section at grocery store)
  • ½ Cup (cooked) quinoa (any variety)
  • 6 grilled asparagus (grilled or roasted with olive oil, sea salt, and pepper)
  • 1 handful of dandelion greens, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 handful of mixed, Asian, or other type of greens (for "base" of spring roll)
  • 1 large carrot, chopped into small pieces
  • 10-12 fresh mint leaves
  • 4 TBLS fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 2 TBLS walnut oil
  • 4 TSP local honey
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of red chili flakes
  • Grilled chicken or shrimp (optional addition for extra protein)
  • Sweet Chili Sauce
  • ¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 TBLS Braggs liquid aminos or Tamari (gluten free soy sauce)
  • 2 TBLS water
  • 2 TBLS honey
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Juice of ½ orange
Instructions
  1. The Rolls:
  2. Combine the quinoa, carrots, and dandelion greens into a small bowl. In a separate bowl combine the walnut oil, orange juice, chili flakes, sea salt, and honey into a dressing. Whisk briefly and pour over the quinoa salad, tossing gently. Take a spring roll and gently submerge in a shallow bowl of water for 8-10 seconds. Place on a non-stick surface (parchment paper or cutting board) and line with a thin layer of mixed greens, 1 asparagus, and a thin line of the quinoa salad. Gently fold the top half in, followed by the sides, and gently roll until mixture is tight within the spring roll. Cut in half and serve with the sweet chili sauce as a side dip.
  3. Sweet Chili Sauce:
  4. Combine all ingredients into a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Serve as a dipping sauce for spring rolls, or use as a marinade for grilled chicken or shrimp.
Notes
PN RX (may vary depending on ingredients)
For 3 rolls (with ingredients indicated in recipe above): 2 free veggies, 1 carb, 1 fat

 

As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!

Ana

Raw Cacao Cookie Dough Smoothie!

Sometimes I like to have dessert for breakfast! I came up with the Cookie Dough Smoothie the morning after I made “PN Raw Chocolate Chip Cookies” (recipe coming soon!). I woke up wanting to have one of the cookies I made for breakfast. Although they taste good and have very clean ingredients, they don’t have enough protein to be considered a healthy breakfast. So, I decided to make the ingredients into a smoothie to satisfy my craving and give my body the protein it needed to start my day right.

This smoothie contains one of my favorite ingredients: raw cacao nibs (found in the health food section of most grocery stores). Cacao can be found in a powder or solid form, and is an amazing food for your body. Raw cacao is chocolate in its original, minimally processed state. If you’re used to sweetened chocolate, like most of us are, it will be a bitter at first, once you are accustomed to its unique flavor profile, just a small handful seems to do the trick in satisfying a chocolate craving. What’s in the raw cacao bean that we love so much?

 

raw cacaoScreen shot 2014-05-16 at 7.10.41 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The combination of important minerals such as Magnesium and Iron, fiber, healthy fat, and antioxidants have countless health benefits:

  • By providing minerals that most people are deficient in, raw cacao may help decrease sugar/carbohydrate cravings
  • Raw cacao promotes a healthy digestive system with all the fiber it adds to the diet
  • Contains “theombromine”, a protein that stimulates the central nervous system, which relaxes smooth muscles and gives the body a gentle boost of energy and feeling of “bliss” we often get from eating chocolate (without the added sugar and ingredients from processed chocolate!)
  • Improves overall mood and may help fight depression due to its ability increase the bioavailability of Serotonin to the brain

Have we convinced you to try out some Raw Cacao yet?! Check out the recipe below and let us know what you think!

Raw Cacao Cookie Dough Smoothie!
 
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Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 packet "stevia in the raw" or other natural sweetener (honey or maple syrup)
  • 2 TBLS (15 grams worth) unflavored whey protein (we use Standard Process)
  • 2 TBLS raw cacao nibs
  • 2 TSP vanilla extract
  • 2 TBLS coconut flour
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2-3 ice cubes (more if you like it icier)
  • ¼ cup water, or more to desired consistency
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in blender. Blend until the smoothie has reached your desired consistency. Enjoy!
  2. Note: I usually add spinach and/or another leafy green to my smoothies. Since this is more of a "dessert" smoothies, I decided to leave it out. When I don't get greens in at breakfast, I make sure to be extra conscious of getting them in later in the day!
Notes
PN RX:
1 Protein, 1 Fat, ½ Carb

As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!

Ana and Amanda :)

Avocado Dream Salad

avocado salad

My younger sister, Amy, recently got back from Hawaii and brought this delicious recipe with her! The Avocado Dream Salad is similar to a tuna or chicken salad. Chop up a bunch of vegetables into little cubes then use the mashed avocado to mix in like a mayonnaise. You can even add some chopped up grilled chicken or fish in there to complete the meal. This also tastes great with some goat cheese or nuts crumbled on top. It is the perfect, refreshing recipe for the warm weather coming our way. Enjoy!

 

 

Avocado Dream Salad
 
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Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 avocado, scooped out and mashed
  • 2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped up into small pieces
  • 1 red pepper, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
Instructions
  1. Chop up all of your vegetables into small pieces and put in a large bowl.
  2. Squeeze the juice of one lemon on top and add 1 tbsp of olive oil and the crushed garlic.
  3. With clean hands, pour avocado on top and mix into the vegetables with your hands. Keep mixing until you get everything covered with the avocado, olive oil, and lemon juice.
  4. You can top with some nuts and/or goat cheese.

Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Bites

photo-5

 

Bacon can be a controversial topic when it comes to the nutrition community. I personally feel that bacon has gotten a very bad name and is unrightfully associated with many health problems like heart disease. The true culprits are refined sugar, processed food, trans fats, and lack of activity. That being said, bacon is still more processed than if you purchased fresh, grassfed steaks or pastured pork chops. For this reason, I think it should be eaten in moderation (2-4 slices),  no more than 2-3 times a week. Another controversy around bacon is the discussion of how harmful nitrites and nitrates are for our bodies. Many people do not know this but we get more nitrites from vegetables than cured meats like bacon. Chris Kresser, an integrative medicine doctor, has a great article on nitrates and nitrites on his website here:  http://chriskresser.com/the-nitrate-and-nitrite-myth-another-reason-not-to-fear-bacon.

One fun fact from his article:

“It may shock you to learn that one serving of arugula, two servings of butter lettuce, and four servings of celery or beets all have more nitrite than 467 hot dogs.”

Most bacon that says “nitrate free” does in fact contain nitrates, however, they are from celery root or beets and usually have even more nitrates and nitrites than regularly cured bacon. This is why whenever you are buying bacon the main concern should be to get organic, pastured bacon rather than only worrying about whether or not it has nitrates and nitrites because all types will.

Overall, I think bacon has a place in a healthy diet, like most foods, when not eaten in excess. These are a really great appetizer to have at a party or family get together and are very low maintenance  to make. Enjoy!

Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potato Bites
 
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Recipe type: Appetizer
Ingredients
  • 4 large sweet potatoes, cut into cubes
  • 1lb bacon, cut strips in half
  • tooth picks to keep bacon in place
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. While oven is preheating, cut sweet potatoes into small cubes about 1.5-2 inches. Cut bacon strips in half and wrap each sweet potato cube with half a bacon strip. Use tooth picks to keep bacon in place.
  3. Cover baking sheet with foil and place bacon wrapped sweet potatoes on there spread out evenly.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes or until sweet potatoes soft and bacon cooked to your liking.
  5. Be careful of tooth picks when eating this delicious treat!

Horseradish Almond Crusted Chicken

Chicken

This recipe was inspired by a mustard crusted chicken my Mom used to make when I was growing up. I think it had breadcrumbs and a bunch of other seasonings including ground mustard. I really wanted to replicate an even healthier, gluten-free version. This recipe is very simple and easy so even if you are new to cooking you will be able to handle it. It tasted good cold on a salad too! Enjoy!

 

Horseradish Almond Crusted Chicken
 
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Recipe type: Lunch/Dinner
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2lb Organic Chicken Breast Tenderloins
  • ½ cup Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour
  • 4-5 Tbsp Horseradish (I like plain old Stop and Shop Brand)
  • 1.5 Tbsp Organic Butter/Coconut Oil
  • .5 Tbsp Garlic Powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Melt the organic butter or coconut oil (on stove top or microwave).
  2. Place your chicken in a large, glass baking dish and cover with butter/coconut oil.
  3. Now sprinkle the ½ cup of almond flour and garlic powder over each piece of chicken. Spread horseradish over each piece as well.
  4. I sprinkled everything on top then mixed it all together when I put the horseradish on top so everything is combined. You can do this with your fingers to make it easier.
  5. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until center is no longer pink.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 4oz Fat: 6g Carbohydrates: 2g Protein: 28g

Hawaiian Cinnamon Breakfast Bowl!

I just got back from an amazing trip visiting some friends and family on the Big Island of  Hawaii. Eating fresh, local foods and learning about tropical region medicinal foods and herbs were the two main themes. 99% of my food was from a local source or grower. Consistently eating plants grown without the use of chemicals and consuming protein from animals fed their proper diet immediately brings an abundance of  life and energy to your body.  Whether it was coconut oil from local coco’s, a star fruit I picked from the back of my cabin, or an avocado from a friend’s backyard, I was always snacking on a high fiber, life giving treat! One thing I did a lot of over there in between exploring some delicious new foods was surf! I needed a quick, high protein snack for before I jumped in the water so I could maximize my time in the waves (after all, I wanted to get in as much water time as possible after the 15 hour journey from winter in Connecticut!). Breakfast bowls are big in Hawaii, and I’ve actually posted a recipe involving a blueberry smoothie as a base of a breakfast bowl as a post surf meal in the past. But since I didn’t always want to use the blender on this trip, I adapted this simple yet tasty version of a breakfast bowl that all of us can  enjoy back here on the mainland but still bring back the flavors and aloha from the island!

Screen shot 2014-02-13 at 11.12.16 PM

A beautiful rainbow on a flat day over a favorite surf spot- Pohoiki’s 2nd Bay, Big Island, Hawaii

Hawaiian Cinnamon Breakfast Bowl!
 
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Enjoy this high protein, energizing treat as a snack, breakfast, or frozen as a sweet treat at night!
Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 Cup 2% Plain Greek Yogurt (I like Fage brand)
  • ½ Cup Frozen Mango Chunks OR ½ Cup Fresh Organic Papaya
  • 3-4 Sliced Strawberries
  • ¼ Avocado Diced
  • Pinch of Alfalfa Sprouts (get those greens in as much as you can!)
  • 1 Tsp. Cinnamon
  • Pinch Sea Salt
  • 1 Tsp. Local Honey (optional)
  • 2 Scoops Whey Protein (optional- 15 grams protein)
  • 1 TBLS Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
Instructions
  1. Put yogurt in bowl (mix in protein powder if you are using it), and top with sliced fruit, sprouts and avocado. Sprinkle with cinnamon, sea salt, and coconut flakes. Drizzle with honey and enjoy while thinking about a place or person you love!
Notes
** "Dry mix" of cinnamon, coconut flakes, and sea salt can be mixed in advance to save time
*** PN RX: 1 protein (2 if using protein powder), 1 fruit, 1 fat

PN Remedies For Dealing With And Preventing Gout

What is Gout? Gout is a type of arthritis that is characterized by painful, stiff, and inflamed joints. It is often the big toe that is targeted but it can happen in the knees, ankles and other toes as well. The swelling and pain are a result of excess uric acid that forms crystals in your joints. This is what it looks like:

gout toe

Gout is 4x more likely to occur in men than women. You are also at increased risk if you are between the ages of 30 and 50 and are overweight. You can lower your risk of gout by 85 percent simply by reducing your intake of sugar. Gout is often associated with high intake of red meat and fat but the real risk is sugar intake. Especially high fructose corn syrup. Fructose is known to keep the body from getting rid of uric acid (the build up that causes Gout). Since fruit has a balance of glucose and fructose and doesn’t have nearly as much fructose as a processed food that is made with high fructose corn syrup, it does not act the same way as high fructose corn syrup.

My partner in life and crime, Ian, has somewhat frequent flare-ups of Gout in the toes of his right foot. He is a big guy, 6’3″ 250lb, and has been extremely active all of his life. His size and stress on his body has a lot to do with his Gout flare-ups but we knew that nutrition could help. This has led to a lot of research on Gout and experimentation with different nutritional remedies. He has been able to keep his Gout under control using these tips so check them out!

*At the end I have included a Gout Power Drink to drink on a daily basis to help prevent gout as well as fight painful symptoms.

7 Practical Gout Remedies

#1: Drink Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar- treats gout and arthritis. The acidity in the vinegar helps relieve acute pain. Add honey to boost the body’s anti-inflammatory response. Add some raw honey to help further fight inflammation.

vinegar

#2: Add baking soda to a beverage: can help lower the amount of uric acid, giving you relief from the pain

-Mix ½ tsp of baking soda in a glass up to 4 times a day

baking-soda-2

#3: Include lemon juice daily: helps alkalize the body and neutralize the excess uric acid in the blood stream. What does this mean? Many of the foods we eat cause our bodies to be in an acidic state, such as sugar, high protein foods, grains and bread products, and booze. Lemon juice, which seems acidic, actually helps our bodies become more alkaline (less acidic and more neutral). This is what makes it great for everyone, but especially those with Gout, to drink on a daily basis.

 health-benefits-of-lemon

#4: Eat 15-20 cherries a day. Cherries, whether sweet or sour, are also helpful in treating gout due to their antioxidant properties. Cherries also contain anthocyanins, which can reduce inflammation and help with gout flare-ups.

-Strawberries are also a good choice!

 Heap of a dark-red sweet-cherry

#5: Elevate the joint whenever possible. This reduces blood flow to the area, which is good. When blood flows more quickly to the area, more white blood cells accumulate at the joints and cause further inflammation.

 

#6: Limit alcohol, sugar sweetened beverages, and ELIMINATE high fructose corn syrup.

-Alcohol slows the breakdown and excretion of uric acid so it hangs around in your joints longer and can actually cause a flare-up to come on.

-Elevated blood sugar causes inflammation in the body and can weaken the immune system.

 

#7: Avoid soy products. Studies have shown that after individuals’ drank soy milk, their uric acid levels were increased by 10% more than if they drank regular milk or ate high protein foods.

 

 

 

 

Gout Power Drink
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Beverage
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 8oz Glass of Water
  • 1 Tbsp Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Raw Honey
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a glass.
  2. Drink 2-3 times a day to help prevent and treat Gout symptoms.

 

Lemon Garlic and Herb Crockpot Chicken

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Here is another low maintenance and delicious meal! I had chicken breasts in the freezer and lemons in the fridge so I decided to make lemon chicken. I did not want to put a lot of energy into baking it or sautéing anything so I just threw it in the crock pot. It came out moist and full of flavor. I was very pleasantly surprised. I will definitely be making this again! I enjoyed it on a salad with some black beans and avocado. Enjoy!

 

Lemon Garlic and Herb Crockpot Chicken
 
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Ingredients
  • 6 Organic Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Lemon, thinly slices
  • 4 Cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½c water
  • Mrs. Dash Original Blend
  • Oregano
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
Instructions
  1. Place half of lemons and all of the garlic on the bottom of the crock pot.
  2. Place chicken breasts on top of the lemon and garlic. Cover in oregano and seasoning then turn over and add salt and pepper.
  3. Add ½c of water to protect crock pot.
  4. Heat on low for 7 hours.
Notes
4oz of chicken breasts= 1 Protein