I had the chance to chat with Kara and Scot from Channel 3 this week about some simple foods that will help get you out of that slump….simple snacks that will boost your energy, help you shed a few of those winter pounds, and boost up that immune system so you can enjoy as many of the beautiful days to come as you can! Watch the video below to learn more!
WFSB 3 Connecticut
Click Here for the Recipes!
As always, stay well, eat well and have a beautiful week!
Hey there gang, it’s Joe Stapleton here again with another post and recipe! I came across this one while digging through some old cookbooks, and after trying it just have to share it with you all! I’m always looking for new and interesting ways to make un-breaded chicken breasts more appetizing without going overboard on the calories, and this one certainly fit the bill. It’s essentially a lower carbohydrate version of chicken Kiev, with a prosciutto wrap replacing the breading. Even with the prosciutto wrap it still ends up being about half the calories, carbs, and fat of chicken Kiev, with more protein!. The real fun is on the inside though, where it just screams New England! It’s stuffed with a blend of shallot, cheddar cheese, and green apple, yum!
What little carbs are in this entrée come from the Granny Smith apple, so they’re the kind of carbs we like over here at Practical Nutrition. You know, the ones that come from fruits or vegetables, can be organically and locally sourced, and that come with a myriad of health benefits along for the ride! Believe it or not, that old adage popularized by Benjamin Franklin ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ isn’t all that far from the truth! Apples are high in fiber, which can increase your satiety, keeping you full longer. They are rich in vitamin C and flavonoids, both of which are powerful antioxidants that can lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Green apples have two extra benefits over their more commonly consumed red cousins: the first being their potassium content. Granny Smith apples have even more potassium than other apples, which can further reduce risk of heart disease and help to stabilize your heart rhythm! Lastly, while both red and green apples can help your teeth if you can’t brush after a meal, green apples are even better at this job! Both varieties stimulate saliva production from chewing their tough, fibrous skins, but the tart flavor of a green apple stimulates this even more, and saliva is our first line of defense against cavity causing bacteria in our mouths! Just remember to have a glass of water after an apple to wash away the sugar and acid leftover from your delicious treat!
Let’s get back to the real reason you’re reading though, the recipe! When we prepared this dish last weekend we made it with gratin dauphinoise (French scalloped potatoes) and grilled asparagus, paired with a nice Italian trebbiano and some hopeful wishes of melting snow and warmer weather. (Given the fact that it’s been beautiful all week and some actual honest-to-goodness grass is peeking out of the snow, it looks like someone out there answered our prayers, so you’re welcome!)
Oh, and for anyone using PN Rx for their macronutrient counts, one full stuffed chicken breast equals roughly 2 proteins, 2.5 fats, and only 0.5 carbohydrates. The full nutritional breakdown is in the recipe. Enjoy!
By now you all know I love all things coconut. Well, I recently found (and fell in love with!) “Dang” Coconut Chips. All I can say is …Dang! If you like coconut, you’ll do what I did and find a way to sneak these into every meal/snack of the day. Although coconut is high in fat, I’m okay with it! Eating enough healthy fat actually reduces your cravings for sugar and refined carbohydrates…both things we should try to avoid eating. Additionally, coconut is known for it’s immune boosting, skin enhancing, heart healthy, and mood boosting properties- so how can you say no?!
Dang Coconut Chips come in many flavors- Sea Salted Caramel (my favorite!), Lightly Salted, Greek Yogurt, and Dark Chocolate Coated (haven’t tried this one yet, but it might be neck to neck with Sea Salted Caramel…guess I’ll have to find out!)
As far as packaged snack food goes, it’s hard to find a healthy choice…but these certainly fit the bill! With a short ingredient list of words I can pronounce- only organic coconut, coconut sugar, and sea salt, you can’t really beat it. Throw these yummy delights on a salad, eat them plain as a snack, add to a trail mix, or put on top of a yogurt or smoothie as shown below. Check out Dang’s website for a free recipe book by clicking here (they have things like Coconut Pad Thai, Grain Free Cranberry Granola, and Coconut Roasted Brussel Sprouts!)…I can’t wait to try some of these myself! By the way, these are available at most large grocery stores so you should have no problem tracking them down.
As always, stay well, eat well and have a beautiful week!
Hey there everyone! My name is Joe Stapleton. I’ve been working with Practical Nutrition for a couple of weeks now and am exited to be able to contribute my first blog post! So to keep things official, I’ll start with a little about me: I’m a Master’s Student and RD to be (both to be completed in June, yippee!) with a B.S. in Nutritional Science. I’m also a NSCA certified personal trainer and love absolutely everything about health and wellness! My love of nutrition and fitness spawned from my own personal experiences in the Marine Corps, in which I learned through the rigors of military life (sometimes the hard way) just how important it is to keep our bodies functioning at an optimal level, because you never know just what life is going throw at you!
Enough about me though. Without further ado, here is some information that will hopefully help YOUR journey to optimal health and wellness…enjoy!
One of the diets generating a lot of buzz around both the scientific and the foodie communities lately is the Mediterranean diet. Don’t let the word diet fool you though, this is no fad. The Mediterranean diet sprang from the observation that mimicking the typical diet consumed in the Mediterranean area led to a reduction in incidence of heart disease and obesity, despite the macros of the diet being high in fat and accepting of moderate alcohol (red wine in particular). Essentially, the diet consists of eating mostly plant-based foods, with the majority of grains being whole. While high in fat, the fat comes mostly from oils and nuts. Fish and poultry are emphasized over red meat, and herbs and spices are used much more significantly to flavor dishes rather than salt. The ‘Mediterranean diet Pyramid’ is shown below to give a visual representation of the relative proportions.
The one thing about this diet that we would tweak here at Practical Nutrition though would be the significance of protein. As longtime readers/clients already know, over here at Practical Nutrition we like to skew our intake a little more in the direction of lean, organically sourced (if possible) protein. Increasing the proportion of lean protein in the diet has shown benefits for the athletic population (more efficient muscle recovery), the elderly (staving off sarcopenia and bone loss), and those looking to lose or maintain their weight (through extending the period of satiety before feeling hungry again). So we love the idea of the Mediterranean diet, and the data looks great regarding its effect on many chronic diseases, but don’t forget to keep up your intake of lean protein!
So to celebrate this fantastically simple way of looking our food, today we’re providing a recipe for a delicious chicken, green bean, corn, and farro salad with goat cheese. With the relative proportions of ingredients, the use of the ancient Tuscan grain farro, and the inclusion of goat cheese, this makes for a decidedly Mediterranean dish. Just a little aside on farro by the way: this grain reportedly was what kept the Roman Legion’s bellies full during their long marches whilst conquering southern Europe (Spartan Race fuel, anyone?), is quick to cook, and each serving provides both 7 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber, wow! It is wheat derived, but has decidedly less gluten than other wheat products, so those that are gluten conscious shouldn’t worry (for those readers that are gluten-free or Celiac, simply swap out the farro in the recipe for brown rice, still delicious!).
These dark chocolate covered rice cakes really hit the spot…I used Lily’s baking chips, which contain no sugar, are certified organic, and absolutely delicious! Here in CT you can get them at TFC Health Foods in Farmington for a great price. I also used Lundberg’s brown rice cakes, which also are certified organic, and a super “clean” grain that gives this treat a nice crunchy texture. We don’t do tons of grains here at PN, but when we do have them we like to make sure they’re gluten free, as unprocessed as possible, and consumed in a moderate portion.
When I have a treat I avoid eating something that will drain my energy or cause me to “crash” 15 minutes later- that’s why I love having unsweetened dark chocolate and treats with no refined, white sugar in them. Having a way to nip the sweet tooth in the bud is important…that’s why I’m planning on keeping a few of these chocolate covered rice cakes in baggies at my desk as a mid day pick me up, sure to help beat the winter blues!
Enjoy a sweet little indulgence…have an amazing week!
Ana and Amanda
Happy New Year from Practical Nutrition!
We wanted to take this opportunity to encourage each and every one of you to reflect upon the past year. No matter what type of year it’s been for you, try to joyously celebrate the highs and acknowledge the lows as well. Set some time apart to be honest with yourself thinking about what you are proud of and what you might have done differently.
“Optimal health” is comprised of much more than what you eat or how you move your body. It’s about the way you perceive your self worth and how you value yourself and others around you. Don’t be too hard on yourself as you do some reflecting, and think past the immediate resolutions you are busy making, and focus more on new, healthier mindsets you want to carry with you into the new year. We love this list of “20 Resolutions Everyone Should Make” from www.mindbodygreen.com:
Click here for a printable version of these great resolutions, and a list of “2014 Questions for Reflection” from www.morgandaycecli.com. These are fun to bring to a gathering or answer yourself as you reflect on the past year.
Also, it’s not too late to sign up long distance or in person for the “New Year, New You” detox program! Click here to learn more!
We look forward to being in touch with you all in 2015….we have so much to be excited about!
Have a happy and healthy New Year…
As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!
Ana and Amanda
PS- For any existing or new client, mention the code “healthy2015” on your next order or Practical Nutrition service anywhere from January 1st-january 15th and receive an extra 10% off your order or service!]]>
Are you looking for a healthy holiday treat to share with family and friends that isn’t packed with sugar? I recently made these AMAZING lemon cookies. I grew up eating the lemon squares made from the box that were absolutely delicious so I have always had a soft spot for lemon desserts. I decided to attempt a lemon cookie using almond flour, eggs, and lemon juice/zest and couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. I brought these cookies as a dessert on Christmas Eve and my entire family loved them. Not to mention they are super simple and easy to make. These will definitely be a holiday staple! Enjoy!
Honoring your bodies nutrient needs with whole foods and not depriving yourself what your body is looking for is key to succeeding in your overall wellness. Check out this delicious recipe for a quick, simple, and visually pleasing dessert option for yourself or your guests this holiday season.
Ana and Amanda
I have gotten a lot of requests for a Shepherd’s Pie recipe after I posted a picture of it last week so here it is! This recipe is definitely under the comfort foods category. It has tons of flavor and is a deep, warm dish. The best part is that because I used mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes it leaves you feeling light and satisfied.
Holiday Potluck at Talcott Family Chiropractic
Location: 230 Farmington Ave Farmington, CT 06032
Everyone is welcome!
I wanted to share a delicious and simple recipe that I have been making to have as meals or snacks. These egg muffins are great as an afternoon pick me up. They fill you up with protein and the healthy fat from the eggs leaves you feeling satisfied. Just pack them up in your lunch box and you will be all set!
Here is a link for the silicone muffins cups that I mentioned in the instructions. They are so worth buying. I use them all the time and nothing ever sticks. They are also great to make your own Reese’s with. Just melt dark chocolate and place in the bottom of the muffin cup. Then add 1/2 tbsp peanut butter or almond butter and pour a little more chocolate on top. Place in the freezer and if you used those silicone cups they pop right out.
Have a great weekend!
To learn more about hemp seeds, click here!
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, ushering in the holiday party season! We know how hard it can be during the holidays to stay on track with a healthy food and exercise plan. When the splurging on treats, big meals and drinking goes a little bit too far it’s all to easy to run into what we call the “holiday hangover.” It can creep up quickly, even after the first few festivities. You know, the “I’m waking up thinking about sugar” habit starts, the headaches, increased appetite, more frequent colds/sickness from a depressed immune system, and yes…the potential dreaded holiday weight gain.
But! We come bearing good news! Practical Nutrition chatted with Scot and Kara from Channel 3’s Better Connecticut to discuss some simple ways to avoid the hangover (and still enjoy the holidays!). Watch the video below to make this a happy and healthy holiday season!
WFSB 3 Connecticut
Click here to download the recipes and key points featured in the video!
Click here if you’re interested in joining us for a “Healthy for the Holidays” 10 day cleanse!
As always, stay well, eat well and have a beautiful week!
Ana and Amanda]]>
Big Island of Hawaii
Heal and Rejuvenate Your Mind and Body
On an All Inclusive 5 Night/6 Day
Dates: Saturday, February 28th-Thursday, March 5th 2015
Package Price: $1999* (50% deposit due on November 1st, 2014)
For More Information Contact Us At:
Phone: (203) 775-1819
* Flight booking assistance for cheap flight to Hilo, HI available upon request
Clean Getaway Retreat Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What does the All Inclusive Clean Getaway package price include?
A: This All Inclusive package price includes delicious, fresh and organic cuisine starting with dinner Saturday evening, February 28, 2015 until breakfast Thursday morning, March 5, 2015. It also includes comfortable bungalow accommodations with housekeeping, mindful cooking and nutrition classes throughout the retreat as well as other activities associated with the retreat such as Salt Water Therapy, Yoga classes, Guided Walks and Hikes, and Lava Viewing . The package price also includes transportation to and from Hilo International Airport on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 between 5 pm -10 pm and Thursday March 5, 2015 between 11 am-4 pm. Transportation during any other times is not included.
Q: Can I stay at the retreat center longer than the actual retreat?
A: Absolutely; we encourage this! Arriving earlier and/or staying later is an option. The retreat center costs $50 per night, not including food, transportation, or activities. We are happy to provide you with a travel consultation so you can make the most of your trip to the Hawaiian Islands.
Q: What kind of results can I expect from the Clean Getaway wellness retreat?
A: We encourage each guest to set personal goals before the retreat. Your results will be based on the goals you have, such as learning how to incorporate “cleaner” eating habits into your life, getting creative with your food routine, weight loss, full body detoxification, improving your energy levels and sleep habits, reestablishing your relationship with food, or simply a feeling of rejuvenation to get you through the rest of winter.
Q: Where is the retreat center located?
A: The retreat center is on the southeastern tip of the Big Island of Hawaii, located about 40 minutes from Hilo International airport. The center is on over 10 acres of land, set right off of a mango grove overlooking the Pacific Ocean amidst natural vegetation and plenty of “pick and eat” produce!
Q: When are the rest of the deposit’s due?
A: The first deposit of $1000 is due on November 1, 2014. We require the final deposit of $999 by December 1st. The sooner your purchase your flight the better the deal you will get!
Q: Who is leading the retreat?
A: Ana Zeller, RD, founder of Practical Nutrition, LLC and Julie Conner, RD, PhD, founder of Healthy Weighs Wellness Center have partnered together to create this amazing clean getaway. Julie has been in private nutrition practice for over 30 years and Ana founded her private practice after she had a life changing snowboarding accident six years ago that jump started her passion for health and wellness. They have combined their unique experiences, educational background, and zest for life to put together this restful and life changing wellness retreat.
Q: What will a typical day on the retreat look like?
A: We will encourage everyone to start out with some gentle activity such as yoga or an ocean walk before breakfast. Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served which will combine local foods with some more “mainland” options which will ensure the skills you learn will be sustainable for you to take home with you. Throughout the day guests will participate in various health and nutrition workshops such as mindful snacking, food preparation, smoothie making, restaurant dining, and Staying Healthy at the Workplace. We will also offer options of massage therapy, additional fitness options, and extra yoga classes for optimal refreshment. You will have plenty of time throughout the retreat to enjoy the Bali House mediation center for private yoga, meditation, prayer, journaling, quiet time, and lots of rest.
Q: Do you provide travel insurance in case I have to cancel my trip?
A: We recommend you purchase travel insurance through Allianz Insurance for approximately $114. This will ensure you receive a refund on the retreat fees and the cost of your flight. We will ask that guests who deny travel insurance through Allianz Insurance do sign a form that they denied the insurance when they register through the retreat.
Some Pictures from the Clean Getaway retreat center and surrounding areas:
** Center Picture on Top of Page By Tam Hunt and Aramis Photography]]>
I love pumpkin for many reasons:
This soup makes 10 cups! You can make the whole batch and freeze half or share with friends and family
Happy September! Fall is closing in on us quickly…along with the beautiful foliage and harvest foods comes a busier schedule. For most people, running kids around to sports, rushing through meals, and having less time to meal prep on the weekends means their food choices become less healthy. Fortunately, we came up with some easy, tasty, and healthy snacks for the fall. It’s important to make sure you snacks include protein (whey protein powder or eggs), fiber (fruits/vegetables), and healthy fat (avocado or coconut oil) to make sure your blood sugar is nice and steady. By eating a combination of the right nutrients every 3-4 hours, you’ll experience increased energy levels, less sugar cravings, and a better overall mood. Most importantly, you prevent “hanger” (anger brought on by hunger) and keep everyone around you happier as well!
Check out this quick video of some easy snack ideas and have a wonderful start to the new season! Click here for a copy of the recipes featured in the video.
Have a great week!
Ana and Amanda
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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!
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!
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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]]>
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!
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.
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:
Every once and a while I like to make some fresh baked gluten free bread to top with avocado and an over easy egg. I avoid eating more processed bread with gluten because of the inflammatory response that gluten creates in your body. Not to mention the fact that gluten is extremely addictive so I try to keep it out of my diet as much as possible. This gluten free bread recipe not only tastes delicious but is a great substitution for those times when you want bread. You can slice up the entire loaf then place in freezer safe bags to save for later. Try this recipe and you won’t want to eat heavily processed bread again!
Tea is a something I don’t drink enough of! It’s full of flavor, antioxidants, and offers the body a mellow but effective boost of energy that won’t leave your head on the desk a few hours later like coffee often times does. I have decided that this summer I’m determined to always have a batch of iced tea in the fridge to use as a base of my smoothies or to enjoy instead of coffee. While I can’t always find 100% organic tea, I do look for brands that use minimal pesticides, “natural”/artificial flavorings, and have integrity in the way their tea is grown and packaged. Here are some brands of tea that Practical Nutrition likes:
When it gets warmer out I love having different flavors of ice cubes to throw in my smoothies or glasses of water to keep me hydrated without the boredom of plain water all the time. Also, I find when I use a green tea ice cube in my smoothies, I get an extra burst of energy from the antioxidants and caffeine in the tea. Making these nutrient dense, tasty ice cubes is super easy and can incorporate a new panel of flavors into your every day beverages!
Here’s what you do to make the iced tea ice cubes:
1. Brew a strong batch of iced tea (I use 1 bag per 4 ounces, and then when it cools I add 4 more ounces of cold water per tea bag). While still hot, add your sweetener of choice (optional). I use 1 tsp. of honey per bag of tea. Other options for sweetness include stevia, maple syrup, or coconut sugar.
To ensure the best flavor of your tea, here’s a guide for how long to steep different kinds of tea:
2. Pour the iced tea into ice cube trays and enjoy in a variety of ways:
Enjoy the blessings of summer, take care of you, and have fun…
As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!
The PN Team]]>
Top 5 Health Benefits of Nutritional Yeast
1. Nutritional Yeast is packed with B vitamins including Folic Acid and B12. This is what gives it its yellow color. B12 is usually only found in animal products but nutritional yeast is a good source, which makes this a great addition to the diet for vegans and vegetarians.
2. Nutritional Yeast is high in 15 different minerals including Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Chromium, and Selenium. These minerals are important for our health and longevity. Nutritional yeast is an easy way to ensure you are getting enough of each. Just add a sprinkled to a salad or on your eggs in the morning.
3. Nutritional Yeast is naturally Gluten Free. It is grown on beet sugar or molasses then fermented and dried.
4. Nutrition Yeast is a complete, bioavailable source of protein since it contains all 18 amino acids. One serving typically contains 6-9g of protein, depending on the brand.
5. Nutrition Yeast is a good source of fiber. It contains about 3g in one serving and will contribute to keeping your gut healthy when eaten with a well balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and well-sourcced animal products.
Now that you know many of the health benefits of nutritional yeast and why you should incorporate it into your diet let’s talk about how you can do that.
5 Delicious Ways To Use Nutritional Yeast
1. Add it to baked vegetables.
1 head cauliflower
1T olive oil
1t black sesame seeds
1/4c nutritional yeast
1. Preheat your oven to 350.
2. Take all the ingredients and drop them in a mixing bowl.
3. Toss it with your hands until all is coated.
4. Spread on a baking sheet with foil and cook for about 20-25 minutes.
2. Use it as a substitute for cheese on salads, eggs, sauce dishes. Nutritional yeast has a cheesy but nutty flavor that tastes great on almost anything. I like to make gluten free toast, spread avocado on it then sprinkle some nutritional yeast and top with a fried egg with a side of veggies of course. This is a balanced and nutritious way to start your day!
3. Make nutritional yeast popcorn:
½ cup popcorn kernels
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
dash of pepper and cayenne
1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat, then add the popcorn kernels, stirring until completely coated in oil.
2. Cover the pot, and shake it every 30 seconds or so until the kernels start to pop.
3. Once the kernels are popped, transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with nutritional yeast and spices.
4. Add nutritional yeast to soups.
5. Make homemade kale chips with nutritional yeast for a nutritious and flavorful snack.
Try out this delicious recipe here!]]>
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!
As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!
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?
The combination of important minerals such as Magnesium and Iron, fiber, healthy fat, and antioxidants have countless health benefits:
Have we convinced you to try out some Raw Cacao yet?! Check out the recipe below and let us know what you think!
As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!
Ana and Amanda]]>
Similarities & Areas of the Paleo Diet That We Value:
What Sets Us Apart:
Ana and I had a great time discussing all of the areas we appreciate from the Paleo Diet and lifestyle and comparing them to our own. We both agreed that the Paleo approach can be a great place to start a new healthy lifestyle but that it is not always the best place to stay for everyone. It was great to be reminded of how different nutritional approaches can benefit people in a number of ways so we wanted to share this with all of you.
As always, stay well, eat well and have a beautiful day!
Amanda and Ana]]>
I love recreating some of my favorite foods into healthier versions that provide nutrition but still satisfy a craving. Sometimes even just one meal of processed food and refined carbohydrates can throw you off the wagon and cause a host of sugar cravings, mood swings, headaches, and complete loss of motivation and energy just to name a few. When you are craving something that isn’t going to provide your body with the nutrients it needs and even take away many nutrients during the process of digestion try to make a healthier version. This way you can still enjoy your food but you leave all the nasty side effects of cheat meals behind. I love philly steak and cheese sandwiches and sometimes I want bread but I know how it will make me feel. I picked up some gluten free buns from Trader Joe’s along with some organic shaved steak and raw cheese to make this delicious and satisfying meal. The gluten free buns are still a concentrated source of carbohydrates and more processed than fruits and vegetables so I try to make them a treat but overall this is a great substitution.
Before I made this recipe I had never actually cooked a whole chicken before. I always just got chicken breasts or thighs. It was fun making the entire chicken and it came out so moist! It was delicious as leftovers on salads and mixed into stir fries. Don’t let the fact that it is unfamiliar scare you. This recipe is very simple and was easy to prepare thanks to my slow cooker. Enjoy!
1. MSG or Monosodium Glutamate is a salt added to foods to enhance flavor. Many food manufacturers add MSG to cheap, low quality foods in order to bring out their best flavors and get people to eat and buy more of them. MSG can be hard to find in an ingredients list on a food label because there are many names for it to help keep it hidden. Some people have noticed that foods that list “natural flavors” on the ingredients list cause migraines but this one is tricky. Natural flavors can include MSG but it does not always. Food manufacturers use this phrase to keep their recipes a secret also. The most important part of this is to read your labels and avoid MSG as often as possible. It can take up to 3 days to trigger a migraine.
Look for these names on food labels:
Foods that contain MSG:
2. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye has been shown to cut off blood flow to parts of the brain, which can trigger migraines. Another research study conducted at the University of Columbia concluded that a migraine is a common neurological manifestation in celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and IBS. If you do have a sensitivity, allergy, or less than healthy digestive tract, gluten could be causing your migraines. Try cutting it out for 30 days then add it back in and see how it makes you feel and if it triggers a migraine.
Foods that contain gluten:
3. Nitrites and Nitrates which are preservatives found in any food that have been cured, smoked, pickled or canned. Nitrites and nitrates can be inflammatory to the brain for certain people and trigger migraines.
Foods that contain nitrites and nitrates:
4. Artificial Sweeteners such as NutraSweet or Equal also known as aspartame. Over 75% of food complaints to the FDA about food chemicals are about adverse reactions to aspartame. One of the major complaints about aspartame is migraines or headaches. Aspartame is literally a brain toxin found in over 6,000 food products. Anything that says “Sugar Free” on the front label should be a big red flag. Whenever you see any food that says sugar free, light, low carb, or any other health claim make sure you turn it over and read the nutrition label. Figure out what the food manufacturer is replacing normal ingredients with.
Foods that may contain aspartame:
5. Sulfites and Tyramines found in dried fruits and alcohol can also trigger migraines. Alcohol also dehydrates you and your brain. When your brain is dehydrated the tissues shrink and the lack of water decreases the transfer of minerals to the brain leading to problems in function, headaches, and migraines. Remember to stay hydrated by drinking half of your body weight in ounces each day. (Example: If you weigh 160lb then your water goal would be 80oz a day)
Foods/Beverages that contain sulfites and tyramines:
I opened a wonderful email from my older sister the other day with this recipe inside. She said that these wings were to die for and that I had to make them. She was right! This recipe is a great substitution for fried hot wings. It is the perfect amount of sweet from the honey and spicy from the chipotle peppers. I made this the other night and they were gone in a day and a half! They are amazing. These would be great to bring to a party or family gathering. Enjoy!
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!
Bison is a great source of nutrients, it has the basics: zinc, niacin, iron, vitamin B6 and selenium. A quick review of some important functions these nutrients have:
Selenium – helps prevent cellular damage from free radicals
Zinc– does a lot- helps immune system, hair and skin health and overall cell function
Niacin helps convert food into energy for the body – all at the cellular level
Iron– carries oxygen through the body
B6– tons of value of for physical and even mental health
Bison is also extremely tasty so I recommend giving this recipe a try! Enjoy!
I am obsessed with making new salmon recipes lately. I wrote about all of the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids not too long ago in this post. If you aren’t sure if you like fish I would definitely give the recipe below a try or this one here. They both have a nice blend of flavors that you can add to any meal. I baked some asparagus and sautéed a plantain in coconut oil to complete my meal. You can also add some salmon to a salad or eat it with a nice side of quinoa and brussel sprouts.
In this recipe I marinated the salmon in my Zesty Herb Dressing recipe I posted a while back. I make a bunch of this dressing at once and store it in old pasta sauce jars to have for recipes and to add to salads. It is very convenient having your own dressing already made and it only takes 5 minutes!
Give this recipe a try and let us know how you like it!
I began another 21 day purification journey this past Tuesday, which means tasty, new cleanse-friendly recipes! Most of our recipes on the blog are cleanse-friendly but it can be tricky to make a dessert that doesn’t have any offending ingredients and still tastes like a treat. I have seen a lot of chia seed pudding recipes online and decided to make a super simple version and see how it tastes. It came out really good! This recipe not only has just five ingredients but it also contains chia seeds, which have many health benefits.
Chia seeds come from a flowering plant in the mint family that’s native to Mexico and Guatemala. Chia seeds are most commonly known as a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber but have many other health benefits.
A one-ounce serving of chia seeds contains:
You can add chia seeds to any food since they don’t have any flavor. My favorite way to incorporate them into my diet is in smoothies. Add one tablespoon to your meal and you will be set!
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!
You can never get enough Omega-3 fatty acids and there is no more delicious way than to cook up some wild caught salmon! Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for our health but we cannot make them in our bodies so we have to get them from the foods we eat. Omega-3s are important for numerous normal bodily functions such as blood clotting and building new cell membranes in the brain. We can also see a lot of benefits from eating enough Omega-3 fatty acids such as softer hair, nails, and clearer skin. Getting enough Omega-3 fatty acids can also mean a more supported immune system and better overall health. Try out this recipe that only has five ingredients and is super simple but still very tasty.
Here is a list of good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids:
This recipe was inspired by my amazing acrobatics instructor, Melissa Basch who always pushes me past my limits. Thank you for being you and for sharing your delicious recipe!
I recently spent 2 weeks on the Big Island of Hawaii. Ever since I spent a summer house sitting for a couple of friends there 4 years ago, it has become a second home to me. My trips over there are now called my “Clean Getaways”. My time away there sends me back to the mainland recharged from the inside out. The connection I have there with the local people, high quality food, land, and of course the ocean can best be described as “life giving”. The place I retreat to on my Clean Getaways is a special town tucked away on the east coast of the island, outside the “city” of Hilo, called Pahoa. I wanted to share with you a few pictures from my trip, and talk about some of the ways I was inspired towards a deeper level of overall wellness. Also, I wanted to inspire and encourage you to take time daily to refresh your mind, body and spirit…whether it’s a healthy meal you prepare for yourself or your family, an evening routine of shutting down electronics at a certain time to have “you time”, or a simple stretching routine in the morning, find a way to have a daily vacation that keeps you feeling energized and healthy, and living the life you deserve. Also, keep in mind that Practical Nutrition does offer “Clean Getaway” retreats for individuals and small groups to the Big Island of Hawaii. If you feel you need a concentrated time away to reestablish your daily habits, and get yourself into a healthy routine to help you meet and maintain your health goals a Clean Getaway would be something for you to consider. Contact us through the “Contact Us” form on the site to learn more about being part of a 2014 Clean Getaway Retreat!
NOURISH YOUR BODY
Bananas, papayas, avocados, freshly harvested macadamia nuts, coconuts, organic kale, and fresh Ahi are just some of the foods we enjoyed daily! Eating food right off the land is the theme…every meal and snack was effortlessly balanced with complex carbs, healthy fat, and omega rich, lean protein. The combination of these foods left us feeling satisfied after we ate. The food is simple yet tasty, and offers our body life giving nutrients that fight inflammation, boost the immune system, promote muscle building, and speed up our metabolism. On the Clean Getaway Retreat, you learn what your bodies individual nutritional needs are, experience preparing these foods yourself, but also learn what foods you can eat when you return home to get the ongoing benefits of the Clean Getaway food plan!
RECHARGE YOUR SOUL
Most of these pictures were taken at Pohoiki Bay/Issac Hale Beach Park. This untouched, uncrowded spot has become a “soul home” for me for so many reasons. First off, the locals who surf and exercise here daily are some of the most fun, hilarious, and loving people to be around. Secondly, the water itself is heated by geothermal energy. This beach area is one of the closest to the volcano, and heat generated deep within the earth warms the groundwater creating the water that is pleasant to soak and surf in. The combination of its warmth and high salinity makes soaking in this water extremely therapeutic for reducing painful inflammation of the joints. You don’t have to be a surfer to enjoy this beach park or outdoor activities! There’s a footpath around the shoreline that leads to a natural hot spring that’s just perfect to relax the joints and muscles. Warm salt water therapy is a daily part of our Clean Getaways. The hot pools are 1/4 mile from where we stay is a crucial part of the rejuvenation process.
REST YOUR MIND
Being in touch with all of our 5 senses is a key part of achieving optimal wellness. The Big Island is the perfect place to reset your mind and body into a state of rest. The smells, sights, tastes, sounds, and feeling of nature in its untouched state brings on healing from the inside out. From the time you wake up to a beautiful sunrise over the ocean to the time you fall asleep to the sound of the Kokee frogs in your cabin, being on this Clean Getaway retreat had me feeling more alive and energized on many levels by day 1. Feeling “alive” is a balance of being energized from a place of rest. Learning how to take a step back and know what your body needs to feel its best is so important. This trip to the Big Island reminded me of the importance of being “present” in whatever situation I am in. Being present doesn’t mean ignoring the past or the future, but instead being mindful of how our current routine and habits may be affecting every area of our life. If our daily habits and routine aren’t reevaluated, they may become detrimental to our health. Being guided through a therapeutic time away from distractions is the best way to pick up a new set of health related habits which leads to reaching and maintaining our goals.
All in all, I hope this debrief from my trip encouraged you to enjoy the moment, be a conscious consumer of food, move your body, and rest when needed to feel your best. Let us know if you are interested in joining our Practical Nutrition Clean Getaway summer or winter 2014 to get you out of your rut and into a place of increased energy for life.
As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!
Ana and Amanda
Everyone should try out this healthy side dish that is full of vitamins, minerals, and complex carbs. I have had sweet potato and quinoa cakes in the past and loved them so I decided to make my own at home. I love the quinoa cakes at whole foods but they have Canola oil in them so I try to avoid them. Canola oil is inflammatory as are other vegetable oils. This recipe is a little different from the sweet flavored cakes. It has more of a Mexican flavor but I am going to make a sweet version too. These cakes would be a great addition to any meal!
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!
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.
#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
#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.
#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!
#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
Mix all ingredients in a glass.
Store bought dressings often contain inflammatory vegetable oils that can harm our bodies. It is very difficult to find dressings actually made with olive oil and that do not have offending ingredients. Many people will just use oil and vinegar but that can get boring. Making your own dressing is VERY easy! You just need olive oil, unfiltered apple cider vinegar, some herbs and a blender. Using a blender allows the mixture to emulsify and not separate.
Homemade dressings are also a great way to incorporate more unfiltered apple cider vinegar into your diet. To learn more about apple cider vinegar check out our blog post on it here.
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!
BETTER HEALTH FOR 2014: DETOX YOUR KITCHEN RECIPES
WHISK THE INGREDIENTS IN EACH OF THESE RECIPES TOGETHER FOR A HEALTHFUL DRESSING FOR SALADS OR AS A MARINADE FOR PROTEIN (FISH, CHICKEN, TURKEY, ETC). STORE IN A GLASS CONTAINER IN THE FRIDGE OR UP TO 3 WEEKS.
PRACTICAL NUTRITION APPROVED “DO IT YOURSELF” SALAD DRESSINGS
“CLEANSING” LEMON PARSLEY VINAIGRETTE
ROSEMARY GARLIC VINAIGRETTE
HONEY MUSTARD VINAIGRETTE
PRACTICAL NUTRITION APPROVED SWEET TREATS
PURCHASE A CONTAINER OF WHOLE PITTED DATES. DIP THEM INTO A SMALL AMOUNT OF REAL MAPLE SYRUP AND ROLL THEM INTO VARIOUS COMBINATIONS OF THE FOLLOWING NUTRITIOUS AND NATURALLY SWEET DIPS:
• UNSWEETENED, ORGANIC COCONUT FLAKES
• ALMOND BUTTER
• ORGANIC PEANUT BUTTER/”PB2 POWDER”
• UNSWEETENED COCOA POWDER MIXED WITH A PINCH OF STEVIA
• CHOPPED PECANS OR WALNUTS
Stuffed peppers are one of my favorite comfort foods. I grew up eating my Mom’s amazing stuffed peppers that to do this day, I still cannot replicate. This recipe is pretty close though! Not only is it delicious but it is also simple. Enjoy!
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) isn’t as “far out” as it sounds- it’s simply made by taking the juice of fresh apples and allowing the process of fermentation (by adding bacteria and yeast) to turn the sugar from the apple juice into alcohol. After a bit more fermentation time the alcohol is turned into an acidic, sour tasting vinegar full of beneficial health properties (letting nature take its course always has healthy results!) It’s something that is inexpensive, easy to find, and can make a huge difference in overall health (a somewhat rare combination of attributes!). Its unique flavor can add some variety to using the usual balsamic or red wine vinegar in a dish or salad dressing. Including about 2 TBLS of ACV per day can benefit your body in many ways:
There are many ways to use ACV- drink 1 TBLS in warm water with lemon and honey as a detoxifying way to start the day, or use on vegetables or salads for a nutrient dense condiment. I always buy mine raw and organic, I like the brand Eden Organics, but any high quality brand will do and last for a while! The dressing in the recipe below is one of my favorites, but definitely experiment with different herbs, 1 part olive oil, and 3 parts ACV for a delicious and health conscious dressing that will keep in the fridge for weeks!
Until next time, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!
Granola is a delicious, convenient, and healthy snack when you get the right kind/make your own and eat it in the right amounts. I often look at different brands of granola when I’m at the grocery store in the hopes of finding one without a ton of added sugar and canola oil. I found one I liked but it is pretty expensive and didn’t have enough fat for my liking. So of course, I made my own and now I’m sharing it with all of you This was my first batch and I plan on trying other flavors but WOW was it good! It does have maple syrup in it so if you are doing one of our purifications I would wait to make this until you are done. It makes a lot so it will last you a while too!
I like to eat with with some unsweetened almond milk like cereal!
I really love brussel sprouts. I know this is not the case for everyone but brussel sprouts are a great detox food. They are so good for your liver, which is one of the most important reasons we should include them in our diets on a regular basis. This recipe is simple and adds some flavor to the brussel sprouts so that even people that may not love them will enjoy them!
Check out how I bought my brussel sprouts!
I found them at stop and shop! There were a lot on there and they stayed fresh a lot longer because they weren’t picked yet. I definitely recommend buying brussel sprouts like this, especially if you are not going to cook them right away. You just rip them off and cook them. Easy!
Anyone who knows Amanda or me knows that we’re goal setters who are always up for a challenge…especially when it comes to trying something new that we know will benefit our health. Recently, I (Ana) started a new 20 minute “move my body” routine that leaves me feeling amazing even when I don’t have enough time for an “official” workout (you can email Amanda or me if you want to learn more about that routine- I’m hooked!). As we approach the new year and come out of what may have turned into a few “toxic” few weeks food wise, you can set similar goals for your food habits. Here are a few simple ideas to get you going. We suggest picking one a week, and building an arsenal of healthy food related tips and tricks that can make a huge impact on your overall health if maintained over a period of 3 months or more:
In our mind, overall wellness involves the optimal healthy of mind, body, and spirit. On a physiological level, the above combination of these 10 simple habits result in steadier blood sugar levels, a healthy body weight, reduction of overall systemic inflammation, a stronger immune system, and a more efficient detox system in your body. When thinking about making some health changes for the new year and doing some “damage control” from the holidays, think about all the positive things you CAN do not about the things you will have to give up. Positive thoughts lead to positive actions!
Keys to success always include:
Here’s to the health and happiness of you and the ones you love! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!
Ana and Amanda]]>
Sometimes food prep can be hard but it doesn’t have to be. This is just one example of recipes that I like to prep in bulk in the beginning of the week. It is easy but most importantly it tastes really good.
Here is a snap shot of a night of food prep. I also made hardboiled eggs and a huge batch of mashed sweet potatoes mixed with butter and cinnamon that are not pictured here. I will make 15-20 hardboiled eggs at the beginning of the week (to feed two extremely active people) to have as small meals and snacks. These save me a lot. Sometimes I find myself putting them on salads when I run out of chicken or red meat. I’m always very thankful I have them in the fridge.
Whenever I am making a giant salad I always make at least 2 on the side in tupperware to have salads already prepped and packaged that I can just grab. Making your food easily accessible like this makes your life a lot easier during busy mornings.
Do you have any food prep tips? Please share in the comments section
Its always good to remember that hemp is different from marijuana. Both hemp and marijuana come from the mother plant Cannabis Sativa. The main difference between the two is that hemp does not contain the active chemical “THC” which causes the effects of marijuana use. This is why consuming hemp seeds or any other hemp products will not affect any type of drug test.
The unique nutritional profile and diverse flavor potential hemp contains makes it something that I always have in my cabinet. The video below should help you understand a bit more about this super food and offer some practical tips on how to use it!
This past weekend PN attended the Misfit Toys Throwdown hosted by Yankee Crossfit and Crossfit Revelation in Enfield, CT. The throwdown was put together by these two gyms to collect toys for less fortunate children during the holidays. It is a great cause that raised a lot of money and was able to donate a lot of toys since there were 220 competitors and each of them brought a toy, along with a lot of spectators.
We set up an awesome booth with a lot of goodies for everyone. It was such a great day. We had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people about their goals and how nutrition would help them get there. I actually competed in the competition with my partner, Laura, and ended up finishing in fourth place. Yay!
Are you wondering what goodies we had at our booth???
Well, one of them was an herbal energy tonic! The tonic was made with Licorice and Cinnamon Quills. Why these two herbs? Licorice is great for your adrenal glands, which are the little glands that produce all of your stress hormones. It is also helps our bodies deal with environmental stressors and aids in lung function (helps us breathe better). It is a natural energy booster! We added in the Cinnamon Quills to improve flavor, but cinnamon is also beneficial for blood circulation, digestion, and blood sugar levels. The herbal energy shots were a real hit!
We also had a raffle where we raffled off a free introductory consult and we gave away some PN recipes. One of the recipes was for a Homemade Sports Drink that we made and were giving to the athletes and anyone that wanted to try it. It is a very simple recipe with 5 ingredients, one of which is just water. It replenishes important electrolytes like Sodium, Potassium Phosphorus and Chloride without the added sugar, chemicals, artificial colors, and processing that “over the counter” sports drinks contain (we won’t mention names but the two most popular ones start with G and P!) Everyone really liked it and I definitely drank a lot while I was competing all day. It was the perfect beverage! Here is the recipe!
The first thing most people do when diagnosed with high blood pressure is to start drug treatment. While this will lower your blood pressure into a healthy range, and that will make your doctor happy, this doesn’t get to the root of the problem… it just covers up the symptom. There’s a reason your body felt the need to increase your blood pressure, and it’s not because it wants to kill you; it’s because there’s an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.
There are two root causes of hypertension in most cases:
And that’s where we should target our treatment. I will get into the details of these and provide practical tips over the next couple of weeks. But today, I’d like to focus on what does NOT cause high blood pressure… sodium. This topic needs special attention, due to the excessive media attention sodium gets.
Salt is required for life.
First, you need to know that salt is a nutrient. Salt contains sodium and chloride, both of which are important for our health. Sodium is important for normal cellular metabolism and for maintaining proper fluid volume. It also plays a role in the nervous system, allowing us to move or react to our environment, among other things. Chloride is needed for stomach acid production, a necessary component of digestion and an important defense against food-borne pathogens. Salt is a nutrient that our bodies need, despite the image it gets these days.
Some of us are more sensitive to salt than others.
In reality, we all respond differently to reducing salt intake. Some experience an increase in blood pressure, others see a decrease, and still others see no change at all. Take this 1987 study, for example. Subjects had normal blood pressure to start, and their sodium intake was restricted to 1600 mg/day, a very low level. This graph shows that the change in blood pressure varied wildly depending on the person. Some people are “salt-sensitive”, while others are not. And it turns out, whether we get enough potassium has a big impact on our salt sensitivity. More on that next week.
Reducing salt too much can be harmful.
There was an article in the New York Times about this recently, click here to read it for yourself. The truth is that restricting sodium to the level that the Dietary Guidelines recommend, 2300 mg per day, can be dangerous. According to a researcher quoted in the article, “As sodium levels plunge, triglyceride levels increase, insulin resistance increases, and the activity of the sympathetic nervous system increases. Each of these can increase the risk of heart disease.” In other words, following the guidelines for sodium can increase your risk for heart disease and diabetes.
For every study showing a benefit for reducing salt intake, there’s a contrasting study showing the opposite.
What does it all mean?
When we have this much conflicting information on salt, it means we’re missing something. I’ll break it down for you.
Hopefully that clears things up on sodium!
Stay tuned for next week’s post, where we’ll get into treating the first cause of high blood pressure: potassium!]]>
Do you need a healthy dessert recipe to bring to a family member’s house for the Holidays or maybe just to have at your own? Here at PN we love healthy desserts that won’t leave you feeling guilty. That is why we came up with this simple and nutritious chocolate chip cookie recipe! Check it out!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
There is always so much to give thanks for! Thanksgiving offers nourishment on all levels- body, mind, heart, and spirit. I feel blessed on a daily basis to be surrounded by loving family, friends, clients, and coworkers. I hope this Thanksgiving brings you joy, rest, and of course tasty (and maybe even healthy!) food choices.
We wanted to be a part of ushering in the exciting holiday season by offering HALF OFF of our main nutrition services for yourself or as a great gift for loved ones in your life. The services in this offer are the programs we suggest to anyone looking for a fresh start to the new year, wanting to lose weight, reduce cholesterol/triglycerides, and/or lower blood glucose levels naturally. The services of this offer include the following:
21 Day Detox (click here for more information on this program): 21 days worth of whole food supplements, recipe book, shopping list, guide book, meal plan, and (3) one on one consults with a Practical Nutrition Dietitian
10 Day Detox: 10 days worth of whole food supplements, recipe book, shopping list, guide book, meal plan and (2) one on one consults with a Practical Nutrition Dietitian
1.5 Hour Introduction Consult: Includes nutrient analysis of current diet, individualized Practical Nutrition “prescription”, nutrition implications of biochemistry data (blood work), meal plan, recipe book, shopping list, and 10% off first supplement order
Gift Cards: These are an amazing deal as they can be used towards supplement purchases, follow up plan memberships, introduction consults, and any other services you currently use or are interested in through Practical Nutrition
This offer will be going until midnight on Monday December 2nd. Once 20 of each service has been sold the promotion will no longer be available. Once purchased, you may request a gift certificate for your item if you are using it as a gift. Simply request this in the note section of your purchase.
We wish you a happy Thanksgiving and joyful start to an exciting holiday season!
As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!
Ana and the rest of the Practical Nutrition Team!
Are you looking for a healthy way to start your Thanksgiving off? Try our homemade breakfast sausage recipe. These patties are great to cook in the beginning of the week and grab as a quick breakfast or snack on the go!
Take the carrot, for example… we all know carrots are good for us. You’ve probably heard that they’re high in beta carotene. Well, when researchers have taken beta carotene out of the carrot and given it to people in pill form, it turns out it doesn’t have the same health benefits. Is beta carotene useless? Or is it just useless outside the context of the food it comes from? Context matters.
As another example, there have been studies testing all sorts of vitamin supplements… if we can just figure out what it is that’s so nourishing in those fruits and vegetables, then we can put it in a pill and help everybody! More often than not though, they studies don’t pan out. Vitamins C and E are perfect examples of this. We know they’re important antioxidants, but when taken in a pill, they just don’t function in the same way. Again, it doesn’t mean eating more vitamin C in food has no benefit, just that there’s no benefit to taking it on its own.
Food is far more complex than we know… there are over 200 known nutrients in a carrot and probably even more that we don’t know about. We can’t even begin to identify all of the nutrients in a given fruit or vegetable, let alone understand what they do in our bodies. And what if they interact with each other? What if some nutrients are only useful with the help of others? How will we ever get to the bottom of all that?
Maybe some day we will, but it won’t be any time soon. We would be arrogant to think we truly understand food’s intimate relationship with our bodies. Sometimes, you just have to trust the ancient wisdom of real food… Eat food, not vitamins.]]>
But there’s a problem with that. A big one. Of course vegetables are full of nutrients, but eating them without fat renders their fat-soluble vitamins useless. Getting those important nutrients in is why we eat veggies in the first place, isn’t it!?
To quote one study… “Essentially no absorption of carotenoids was observed when salads with fat-free salad dressing were consumed. A substantially greater absorption of carotenoids was observed when salads were consumed with full-fat than with reduced-fat salad dressing.” Translation: no fat = no absorption. A little fat = a little absorption. A lot of fat = a lot of absorption. Doesn’t get any simpler than that. We need fat for carotenoid absorption, no two ways about it.
Maybe I should explain exactly what a “carotenoid” is… carotenoids are a family compounds found in plant foods, like spinach, kale, carrots, tomatoes, etc. This group includes some nutritional all-stars like beta-carotene, lycopene, and lutein, among others. They provide a wide variety of health benefits, ranging from having anti-cancer properties, to promoting eye health, to preventing plaque buildup in the coronary arteries. In addition they can be turned into vitamin A in the body, helping us meet our need for that important vitamin. You don’t want to miss this stuff! But if you’re not adding fat to your salads or your steamed veggies, you’re not getting it!
Of course, you need to use some discretion here… don’t go overboard and add a half a bottle of olive oil to your salad. And try to stick with good, healthy fats, like olive oil, butter, and coconut oil. Fat isn’t bad; you need it! Get out of the low-fat mentality. Take your brain out, shake it out, smother it in butter, and you’re ready to go! Add fat to your veggies and enjoy it… your body will thank you.]]>
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2003, about 55% of the average American’s waking time is spent being sedentary. As we’re learning more and more, sitting too much is terrible for your health. In fact, even if you get the recommended amount exercise, 30 minutes a day, you can completely undo those benefits by spending the rest of your day sedentary in a chair. It sounds like common sense that inactivity would be bad for us; if we’re not moving we’re burning fewer calories, so we’re more likely to gain weight. But it goes beyond that. Sitting continuously sets off a series of unwanted cellular mechanisms that immediately reduce your HDL and increase your triglycerides, two common risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Over the long term, we put ourselves at high risk for chronic disease, and that includes heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity, as well as postural problems.
The solution is simple on paper but not so simple in practice: move more. Most of us probably don’t realize how much we sit… every time we’re at the computer, when we’re in the car, when we’re on the subway, when we’re at the movies, when we’re watching TV, when we’re reading a book, when we’re eating… it’s a part of everyone’s life. There’s nothing wrong with relaxing and spending time in a chair; just don’t overdo it.
Of course there will be situations when we’ll be forced to sit all day. Many of us work jobs that require us to be seated at a desk most of the time. Luckily for us, there are a few solutions.
What’s the take home message in all of this? Just because you’re going to the gym for 30 minutes a day doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing your body good. You’ve still got 15.5 waking hours left in your day that can’t be ignored. Be conscious of how much you sit, and do what you can to stay on your feet. Staying active throughout the day is just as important for your long-term health as intentional exercise at the gym!]]>
Ahh canola oil. If you haven’t heard of canola oil, then you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade. In recent years, this oil has exploded onto the scene to become the most popular cooking oil out there, to some extent replacing soybean oil and corn oil. It’s higher in monounsaturated fat, and it contains omega-3’s, so we’re told it’s healthier. But is it really a healthy choice?
Let’s start with a little history, just for context. The modern canola plant is the result of years and years of hybridization and genetic modification. There’s evidence of using the canola plant (then called rapeseed) that dates back about 4,000 years to India. No word on what it was used for. But more recently, in the 13th century, it was used as fuel for oil lamps. It was also used during World War II as a lubricant on steam engines. Until the 1970s though, it was basically inedible; it contained a highly toxic fat called “erucic acid”. The canola of today has been bred to have a low erucic acid content, which has allowed it to become a real, edible oil. Kinda weird huh? Formerly used to fuel oil lamps and as a lubricant on steam engines… now America’s darling cooking oil.
What about nutritionally? What about those healthy monounsaturated fats and the omega-3’s?
Well, the monounsaturated fats are great, but that doesn’t automatically make canola oil healthy. Oreos contain healthy dark chocolate, but that doesn’t make Oreos healthy, does it? No. What else is there to canola oil? You’ve heard it’s high in omega-3’s, but that’s a little misleading. Not all omega-3’s are equal, and the type in canola oil isn’t the type associated with all those health benefits… you can only get those healthy fats from fish. So that health claim is overhyped. It’s also pretty high in inflammatory omega-6 fats, although admittedly not as high as other vegetable oils like soybean and corn oils. In terms of healthy fat content, it’s average at best.
In addition, much of the canola oil in the store is genetically modified; if it’s not labeled organic, there’s a good chance it’s GMO. The effects of genetically modified foods on health are completely untested and unknown; I don’t advocate being the guinea pig.
And, although the FDA has approved canola oil as a safe food, it still prohibits its use in infant formula. What’s the deal with that? If it’s so healthy, why keep it from our babies? There seems to be something fishy going on there…
What about how canola oil is made? What can we learn from that? Is it a natural process?? You tell me…
It’s treated with chemicals, soaked in chemicals, and bleached. Not so natural is it? Nothing that needs that type of processing in order to become edible should even be considered food!
All in all, this is why I don’t believe in canola oil. It’s nutritionally neutral, it’s genetically modified, it’s suspiciously prohibited from infant formula, and it’s highly, highly processed. Remember the saying, don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food? Well, she sure would have a hard time recognizing canola oil! Unless maybe she had a steam engine to lubricate]]>
Beets also contain phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are substances in food that help fight various diseases. Beets contain betalains, which have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. Overall beets are a nutrient packed food that everyone should try to consume on a regular basis. Now I know this information, but sometimes I am not always in the mood for beets. I tried to come up with a recipe that would convince beet haters that beets are delicious and give the beet lovers a new way to enjoy them! Check it out!
Here are two questions I ask myself before I have a snack:
1. What have I eaten so far today? This helps me determine what to choose- assess your day’s intake for protein (chicken, eggs, fish, etc. etc.), healthy carbs (fruits, vegetables, beans, complex grains- quinoa, etc), and beneficial fats (avocado, nuts, olive oil, coconut, etc.) for the day so far, and make choices based on what foods you might be missing.
2. Am I really hungry? Create a “mental” hunger scale in your mind to rule out eating because your bored, stressed, emotional, tired, etc. 1=real hunger (you haven’t eaten in 4-5 hours, you’re ready for a meal), 5= perfectly satisfied after a nice balanced meal, and 10=thanksgiving day stuffed. Snacks should be consumed when you are around a 3 on the hunger scale, and leave you at about a 4. If you’re unsure of your hunger, drink a big glass of water, get up and walk around for 10 minutes, and reassess the situation (dehydration can be mistaken for hunger). Never let yourself go below a 3 or above an 8 on the hunger scale (unless it’s actually Thanksgiving- that is your one exception!).
Here are some key things I look for/avoid when I choose my snacks for the day (who doesn’t love taking a munchie break?!):
– My snacks almost always contains a fruit or vegetable in one form or another (contains fiber- helps slow digestion and keep you feeling full; also offers the body some hydration)
– I avoid anything that comes in a package that is more than 5 ingredients (ie Seaweed Snax are in a package but they have 3 ingredients; almond butter is in a package but it contains: almond butter, and so on and so forth…)
– All I drink throughout the day is water, 2-3 cups of tea/coffee with limited additives, or the occasional cup of unsweetened almond milk. I avoid all artificially sweetened/low calorie/diet/light beverages
– I make sure my snacks I pack for the day are a combination of sweet (fruit), salty (seaweed snacks, unsalted nuts that I add a few shakes of sea salt myself to), crunchy (veggies), savory (hummus), and for me a nip of chocolate…yum!
It takes a bit of work but the benefits of being prepared with healthy snacks overwhelmingly outweigh the hassle it takes to pack them. Here are some of my favorites:
– Carrot/celery sticks dipped in almond butter, hummus, or sesame tahini (a sesame seed butter- so good!)
– Seaweed Snax with avocado slices and tuna if I need some protein
– 2 cups organic popcorn with 2 tsp olive oil and sea salt; in addition have some fresh sliced peppers and hummus
– Hard boiled egg mixed with 1/4 avocado on 10 rice crackers
– Simple Smoothie (made with whey protein, almond milk, stevia, coconut flakes, and 1 cup frozen blueberries- no blender needed, drink like a glass of milk with extra nutrition!)
– 1/2 cup canned organic pumpkin, 1 scoop protein powder, and dash of cinnamon
– Frozen (or fresh) grapes with 8-10 brazil nuts (super tasty, nutrient packed nut!)
– Greek yogurt with stevia, cinnamon, and fresh blueberries
– Hummus with cucumber slices
– Chai tea (brewed strong) blended with 1 scoop protein powder and 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk; 1/2 apple on side
– 1/2 grapefruit mixed with 1/4 of an avocado with dash of sea salt
– Add a bit more protein to any of these to help make it a more substantial meal
One more thing…a lot of people ask me if its okay to eat before bed. My answer is pretty simple and can be applied to almost anyone: if its 2-3 hours after you’ve had dinner and you feel hungry again…have a snack! Ask yourself the questions outlined above and follow the guidelines above for any time of day and you’ll be fine. Listening to our bodies is a lost art…separate your emotions, stress from the day, and habitual food routines from your bodies physical needs… begin to trust that your body will tell you when it needs to eat. The key is listening and responding to that enough times in a row to form a new habit
Get creative, be prepared, and you will feel amazing! Its not about a diet or restricting the foods you love…and it sure isn’t about being perfect all the time…its about being in the mindset that food is powerful and experiencing the fact that it can transform the way you think, feel, and respond to the world.
As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!
Let’s look at some digestive tracts then, shall we? Below are the digestive organs of a human, a cow, and a cat, in that order. Cows are herbivores, eating only plants, while cats are mostly carnivores, and they can derive all the nutrition they need from meat alone. Humans are omnivores, and they lie somewhere in between.
You can see here that a cow, designed to eat grass, has four stomachs (not to mention the spacious interior and giant cecum). If you’re counting, that’s three more than we humans have, and those extra stomachs serve to ferment fibrous plant material for digestion and absorption. Humans don’t have this ability, which is why if we ate grass, it would come out just the way it came in. Ever seen undigested food in your poop? It’s always a plant food right? That’s why.
What humans do have, however, is the ability to produce HCl, aka stomach acid, to break down protein from animal products. Cows and other herbivores can’t do this. Point: we’re not herbivores!
Carnivores like cats, as you can see above, have similar digestive systems to humans. While our physiologies are different, and cats thrive on an extremely high protein/low carbohydrate diet, you can see that we have all the same digestive machinery of an animal designed to eat meat.
Unlike cats, we humans rely on plant foods for needed carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Point: we’re not carnivores either!
Overall, humans take little pieces from herbivores and little pieces from carnivores. We’re unquestionably omnivores; our bodies run best when we feed it both plant and animal foods.
For more information, check out this article here entitled “Humans are Omnivores” (written by a vegetarian!), which goes into much more excruciating scientific detail.]]>
1 cup of butternut squash provides:
214% of the daily value for vitamin A
32.8% of the daily value for vitamin C
22.9% of the daily requirement for fiber
*It also provides 6-20% of the following nutrients: vitamin B6, Potassium, vitamin K, Folate, Tryptophan, Copper, Vitamin B2, Omega-3 Fats, and Magnesium!
*To put these numbers in perspective, on food labels, a food is considered a significant source of a nutrient if it has 5% or more.
Who knew butternut squash had so many great benefits?
Take this ad, found in the book “Food in the United States, 1820-1890”. It’s for a weight-gain product called “Fat-ten-u”.
There are plenty of other ads for this product online, you can find a few of them here. Fat-ten-u is advertised to “make the thin plump and rosy with honest fleshiness of form.” Yes, you’re reading this right. There are no typos, and it’s definitely not April Fool’s Day. Here’s a quote from another ad… “[a thin woman] must, in the confines of her bedroom, through shame, try to cover her poor thin figure from the gaze of her beloved spouse.” I couldn’t make this stuff up. Women in the 1890s wanted to gain weight! Plumpness was attractive! Crazy huh?
I say this not to make anyone question their weight loss efforts; I definitely don’t want to discourage you from shedding a few unwanted pounds. But there are two important points I want to hammer home.
1. Trends come and go. Right now, it’s cool to be skinny. One hundred years ago, it was cool to be plump. Things are always changing. Don’t get caught up in the current trends, and don’t assume that our temporary and ever-changing societal ideals have anything to do with how you should look.
2. Everyone is different. Many women, no matter how hard they try, will never ever look like paper-thin models; their bodies just weren’t built for it. Many other women will never look pleasingly plump. Everyone’s different. There is no universal ideal body. Know yours, love it, and be confident in it; it’s the only one you’ve got!
This tastes great thrown on top of a salad or heated up and eaten with some greens and sweet potatoes!
As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!
If you’re not careful salads can get boring really quick. Sadly, this causes you to miss out on their tastiness and health benefits…salads are undeniably one of the healthiest meal choices there are (assuming you make a “clean” salad, aka not a leaning tower of creamy dressing/cheese/bacon/croutons). What helps me not get sick of having a salad almost everyday for lunch is making sure I have “go to” seasonal ingredients for my salads. Try some of these this week to get your green lunch’s rolling again!
The more you satisfy your taste buds with different flavors and textures of whole, unprocessed foods, the less you will crave foods that are damaging to your body (processed sugar, refined carbohydrates, packaged foods, sugary drinks, etc).
I took myself out of my “salad rut” this saturday afternoon…the combination of the flavors, textures, and colors of the salad definitely did not let me down! The second I ate this salad my already elevated mood from this beautiful fall weekend was increased even more knowing the high quality fuel I was putting into my body. We enjoyed the salad with a side of sauteed almonds/scallions/sweet potatoes mixed into wild rice, and a glass of home brewed chai spice tea!
As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!
This past weekend a couple of the Practical Nutrition Associate Dietitians attended the Big Eastern States Exposition…aka Big E! I personally haven’t been to the big E since childhood, so getting into the spirit of the fair was lots of fun. The experience was full of childhood memories, excitement over the 100’s of vendors lining the streets, over crowded conditions (if you like to people watch this is the place to be!), but most of all…“FOOD!” (I have that in quotations because the nutrient depleted, over heated, battered, inorganic, synthetically derived, grossly portioned “food” offered at the fair goes against my every definition of food…but thats not the point of this post!) There were amazingly over 140 locations offering food and beverages ranging from from fried butter balls, to pulled pork parfaits, “Craz-E-Burgers” (bacon cheeseburger sandwiched between two glazed doughnuts), and types of meats and sweets in every shape, form, and flavor. I never thought I could see the word “fried” in front of so many foods- from oreos, cheesecake, kool aid, cream puffs, and jelly beans, to clams, vegetables, and kangaroo!
I went into the day only focusing on the positives…how could I not, its the BIg E! We all know the food choices at fairs are disastrous- and part of me wishes I could have handed out “day after nutrition recovery” cards to reverse some of the damage people were doing to their body all day long. But that’s not why I went. The neat thing about the Big E for me was the variety of “classes” of food available. The craziest food options were found scattered throughout the fair in between tents selling things that were fun to look at but otherwise completely useless. The interesting and real food options were found on the Avenue of the States. Each state in New England was designated their own building and featured food and beverage options traditional to their state- of course Vermont had Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and every possible grade of real maple syrup, New Hampshire featured fresh culinary herbs and homemade fudge, Connecticut had local J Foster ice cream and Rose’s Berry Farm, and Maine offered fresh lobster rolls, wild blueberry crisp, and what seemed to have the longest line of them all: Maine Baked Potatoes! These bad boys were the biggest baked potatoes I’d ever seen, loaded with every type of topping imaginable! When I went onto the Maine Potato Board’s website I was amazed at some of the ideas they have for baked potatoes- breakfast baked potatoes, Maine crab baked potato, and even a sloppy joe baked potato! No one thinks quite like a native of Maine!
After a few laps of strolling around the fair observing the most popular “foods” consumed, we had to try a few! The items of choice for the Practical Nutrition team were as follows: Vermont apple pie with vanilla ice cream, giant turkey leg, home cooked kettle corn, and yep, I’m admitting it…fried butter balls (had to do it!)!
A day at the fair was definitely a bonding and eye opening experience for the Practical Nutrition team. As fun as it was trying a few out of the box foods, we were excited to stop at a local health food store on the way home and pick up a bottle of Kombucha (a cleansing, fermented tea beverage!), some fresh vegetables, and lots of water. The night was finished off with a huge salad, loaded with protein and some more water to wash help regain hydration in our body after all of the offending treats.
Here are my three takeaways from our field trip to the Big E:
1. Make time to enjoy the simple joys in life…enjoy a ride at a fair… even in the rain…be a kid again!
2. Don’t let a fear of “bad food choices” get in the way of enjoying an event with family and friends- include detox foods (beets, greens, bright vegetables at most meals, lean protein, healthy fats, lots of water) on a daily basis so your body can handle the once a year you eat a fried butter ball
3. Have a plan after a splurge day to get you back on track with your nutrition maintenance plan. A solid “recovery nutrition plan” includes a meal heavy in greens, vegetables, and a protein the night after, lots of water, a cup of Yogi Detox tea, 2 Cleanse Smoothies the day after, 20-30 minutes of vigorous exercise, and being conscious of limiting refined sugars/grains, sugary drinks, alcohol, and excess caffeine 3 days after the splurge to make sure you don’t get caught in what I call a “sugar cycle”- which can dangerously turn a one afternoon splurge into a week long, unintentional spiral of eating fair food!
Keep in mind making healthy choices is something you have to do for yourself, and can’t be influenced by the choices of those around you. Make sure your decisions to splurge are your own. If you’re feeling a treat outside of your usual plan, go for it! If not, hold back even if those around you are indulging…slowing down and taking time before you enter a social situation to identify what’s best for you is the easiest way to succeed in staying on track with your health.
Stay disciplined and treat your body right with real food as much as you can. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Do what you have to do to get back on track when you get off…don’t make excuses. Enjoy life, family, and friends. Its a good life!
As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!
Don’t forget…its summer picnic season and there are lots of “tempting” options out there– bringing your own healthy snack to share ensures that YOU will have at least one healthy food to snack on! Plan to succeed
Happy 4th everyone- I’m so grateful for the country we live in! Have fun, get some sun, and enjoy doing something you love!
As always, stay well, eat well, and have a beautiful week!
Summer’s almost here!! I love the longer days and warmer air on my skin…and of course feeling good in my bathing suit when I head to the beach (who doesn’t want to feel good in their bathing suit?!) When I think of having a flat tummy and overall feeling of “lightness” in my body, I think of foods that promote a healthy digestion. If our digestive system is happy and working properly, we will have a flatter tummy, less bloating, more regular bowel movements, a stronger immune system, an easier time losing weight, improved mood and energy, and of course an increase in absorption of nutrients (to name just a few!) Here are some foods to avoid and foods to include more of if you want to work on that flat tummy this summer (enjoy the “Flat Tummy Strawberry Ice Cream” below to start your summer days out right!):
Foods For a Flat Tummy (eat more of these):
Foods Against a Flat Tummy (avoid altogether/eat less of these):
Spring Detox Salad – Serves 4
· 1 bunch kale (red or green)
· 1 whole beet; peeled and sliced into thin slivers
· 2 whole carrots; peeled and thinly grated
· Juice of ½ grapefruit
· ½ lemon’s juice
· 1″ cube of fresh ginger; finely diced
· Pinch of turmeric, sea salt, and black pepper
· Red, green, and yellow bell peppers; diced into cubes
· ¼ cup Brazil Nuts (optional)
· ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
· ¼ cup olive oil
Squeeze grapefruit’s juice into a medium sized bowl and whisk together with the ginger and turmeric. Combine with the carrots and beets and set aside to allow for marinating. In a another bowl, separate the kale from its spine and gently massage with lemon juice and 2 TBLS. of olive oil for about 5 minutes or until the leaves are notably more tender and smaller in size. Take the carrots and beets out of the grapefruit juice marinade and toss with kale. Add bell peppers. To make the dressing, add about ¼ cup olive oil to grapefruit marinade and whisk well; add a pinch of sea salt and pepper and continue to whisk until well combined (traditional vinegar to oil proportions are about 1 part oil:3 parts vinegar; adjust oil and salt/pepper additions to your liking). Pour dressing over the kale salad and gently combine until all ingredients are well coated. Toss in the Brazil nut slivers and pumpkin seeds, and serve immediately or keep refrigerated for later use. Enjoy as a healthy snack, side dish, or add some protein (chicken, salmon, hard boiled eggs, etc.) as a main entrée.
Spring Detox Spritzer – Serves 2
· 12 ounces plain seltzer
· 20 frozen blueberries
· 10 mandarin orange slices
· Lemon and/or lime pieces, cut small
· 2 lemon wedges
· 8-10 drops of Stevia “Sweet Drops” (natural sweetener)
Place fruit at bottom of a glass. Pour seltzer water over fruit mixture and squeeze lemon wedge into glass. Drop 4-5 Sweet Drops into the glass and stir gently. Garnish with lemon wedge and enjoy!
“Sugar Craving Solution” Smoothie (makes 2 servings):
1.5 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 handful baby spinach
2 cups frozen kale
1 cup frozen blueberries
2 heaping tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder
2 organic egg whites or 2 scoops of a high quality whey protein powder
1 scoop “Just Great Stuff” organic powdered peanut butter
1 TBLS. coconut oil
3-4 drops Stevia Sweet Drops
Water and Ice to achieve desired consistency
Put all the ingredients above into the blender in the order they are listed. Blend until well combined; enjoy the satiation of a well rounded, nutritionally complete smoothie that is guaranteed to keep you full and happy for hours!.]]>
Ana’s Practical Tips for Healthy Foods Your Kids Won’t Refuse.
1. Focus on including Nutrient Dense Food- this will keep them full without excessive cravings for sugar.
-Protein (3-4 servings per day)
-Fats (3-5 per day)
-Fruits (2-3 per day)
-Vegetables (3+ per day)
2. Instead of focusing on replacing their junk food, try to identify the taste experience they are looking for with a better option