Festive Mint Green Smoothie

Mint Green Smoothie


Who doesn't love a good festive celebration? And how about a celebration that actually helps you feel healthier and not hungover the day after? With just these few ingredients, you're sure to love this mint green smoothie!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • 4 dates (take the pit out)
  • 1/2 cup mint
  • 1 & 1/2 cup spinach
  • 2 cups vanilla (unsweetened) hemp milk
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds (or other favorite nut/seed or pro powder)

Directions:

  1. Dump all ingredients into high-speed blender and blend together!
  2. Enjoy! 

Strategies for Dealing with Sugar Cravings

One of the most important things to remember is that when our bodies are having cravings, there is always a wise message in that craving (and no, it doesn’t necessarily mean to eat that chocolate!). Read below for some clues to what your body might be saying to you through these cravings.


1. Problem: Irregular or missed meals or under-eating.

Skipping meals or eating on an unpredictable schedule catapults your body into a state of starvation, depriving your brain and body of fuel. This sets you up to crave starchy or sugary foods for energy.

Solution: eat at regular intervals throughout the day.

Plan to eat a nourishing meal or mini-meal every 4 to 5 hours until 7 or 8 pm. Most people find this stabilizes their energy and prevents impulse and binge-eating. Eating before you run out of energy can prevent sugar cravings.
 

2.  Problem: Lack of sufficient protein and fat. 

If your diet is carbohydrate heavy, particularly if you rely on refined carbohydrates, you may experience cravings for sweet foods. Your body requires a balance of nutrients. Protein and fat slow the release of carbohydrates into your blood stream, stabilizing your energy. Protein-rich foods also pack important nutrients and healthy fats and oils improve nutrient absorption, boost immunity, and increase satiety at meals. 
 

Solution: Eat mixed meals.

Meals containing a mix of complex carbohydrates, protein, and fat work best to stabilize energy and avert sugar cravings. Here’s why: Carbohydrates digest quickly, providing fuel immediately after the meal. As the supply of carbohydrate drops off, protein becomes available. When that drops off, fat provides the long term energy. Including a small portion of lean protein, such as fish, skinless poultry, lean, wild or grass-fed meat, or one or two eggs, and some friendly fat (nuts, seeds, olive, coconut or flax oil, butter, or avocado) at each meal (or at least twice a day) will retard the return of hunger and can help stave off sweets cravings.

3. Problem: Excessive salt intake. 

Restaurants, bars, fast food eateries, and processed food companies liberally season with salt to stimulate your palate, pique your interest in processed foods, and motivate you to eat more. Chips, crackers, cheese, cured meats, commercial dips, condiments, and canned soups can make your salt intake and desire for sweets soar. Surprisingly many commercial cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, frozen desserts, and candies also host a hefty dose of salt.
 

Solution: Slash your salt intake in half.

Halving your salt intake may help normalize your appetite, making it easier to tell when you’re hungry and when you’ve had enough of any particular food. Read labels, even in natural food stores and make lower-sodium selections. Add half as much salt to recipes. Replace high-sodium supermarket broth with lower sodium broth from a natural food store; better yet, make salt-free chicken and vegetables stocks and broths at home.  At the table, replace the salt shaker with lemon-pepper, or sea vegetable sprinkles. Try dulse, nori. Keep sprinkles, sold with and without spices in shaker bottles. Also try gomashio (sesame-salt), an Asian condiment made from toasted sesame seeds ground with unrefined sea salt in a 16:1 or 24:1 ratio. Look for these in natural food stores or consult a macrobiotic cookbook for recipes.
 


4. Problem: Consumption of refined carbohydrates or habitual use of sugar.

Refined foods don’t satisfy your body because they lack the nutrients and filling fiber found in whole foods. It’s easy to over consume cookies and confections, but who binges on bananas, baked sweet potatoes, or roasted onions? 

Solution: Replace highly refined foods with nourishing & sweet whole foods

Incorporate at least one sweet vegetable––long-cooked, caramelized onions, carrots, parsnips, beets, long cooked sweet potatoes, winter squashes––or cooked, or dried fruit into each meal and snack. Satisfy your sweet-tooth at meal-time and you won’t have to hunt for dessert after or between meals.

5. Problem: Trying to soothe emotional pains with sweets. 

No amount of dessert will satisfy your emotional needs or take away your troubles. Reaching for cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, ice cream, candies and other high-sugar foods when you feel fearful, angry, lonely, bored, depressed or stressed will usually give you more grief: bodily aches, pains, indigestion, excess body fat, and health problems that can make you feel even worse..

SolutionFind healthy ways to satisfy your needs.

Explore non-food ways to release pent up energy and create balance in your life. Unwind with a yoga audio or video, a walk, a nap, a sauna, a swim, or a relaxation tape. Treat yourself to an herbal bath, therapeutic massage, or weekly session with a life coach. Oust anger by running, riding your bicycle, taking a martial arts or other vigorous exercise class. Dance the blues away. Take up thai chi, chi gong, collage making, painting, journaling, drawing, or meditating.

6.  Problem: Physical depletion. 

Adrenal exhaustion can contribute to cravings for stimulants, such as salt, sugar, alcohol, coffee, or drugs. Does the food or drink your crave contain caffeine? Does it drug you, numb you, take you away from the truth, or keep you going when you’d otherwise collapse from exhaustion?

SolutionDiscover what your body really needs.

Sometimes you need physical movement! Daily aerobic exercise will increase circulation and strengthen will power. Try to get 20-30 minutes of pleasurable exercise at least 5x/week.  Do you need more relaxation or rest? You may benefit from extra sleep, a day or weekend off, gentle exercise, meditation, relaxation tapes, massage, psychotherapy, or acupuncture and herbs. Search for the root cause then commit to your own healing.

 7. Problem: Ritual triggers

There are certain times, places and celebrations that we’re used to celebrating with cake, ice cream or cookies. Birthdays, holidays and treats at work can act as powerful “triggers” for us to start craving sweets because we know they will be served there.

Solution: Prepare ahead of time

Bring some sweet food with you and enlist your friends/family members for support! You can even offer to bring your own food to share with others. Start a new tradition of nourishing yourself and your loved ones with healthy foods.

 

 

Spaghetti Squash "Pasta"

spaghetti squash 4.jpg

Spaghetti squash is an often overlooked alternative to pasta! Great for diabetics who are looking to decrease their carbohydrates and for anyone looking to eat gluten free. This tasty dish is also high in fiber and low in calories (just 40 calories for a CUP of spaghetti squash).

Here's how to make you spaghetti squash a delicious pasta!

Step 1: Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. And for the most difficult step - to cut the squash open length-wise, you've got to use some muscles!  After breaking open, clean out the seeds and guts (you can also set aside seeds for baking later).

Step 2. Flip squash (cut side down) in about 1/2 inch of water in a baking pan.  Put in oven to bake for about 45 minutes.

Step 3. Take out of oven and pull apart with fork to check if finished cooking.  When finished, the "spaghetti" strands will pull apart easily when fork combs through. 

Step 4. When finished cooking, top with your favorite spaghetti toppings - tomato sauce, meat sauce, sauteed veggies, salt, pepper, etc - and ENJOY! 

Cauliflower "Pizza" Crust

Not only is this crust gluten free, but also grain and yeast free and delicious!! Super easy to make, and low in carbohydrates. 

 
Ingredients:

·         2.5 cups ground cauliflower florets (about 1 small head)

·         1 cup almond flour

·         3 eggs

·         4 cloves garlic, minced

·         2 teaspoons onion powder

·         2 teaspoons dried oregano

·         Toppings: may include: Daiya (vegan cheese), sausage (or chicken sausage), sauteed spinach/onions, tomato sauce or any of your favorite pizza toppings!)

 

Directions:

1.       Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. 

2.       Chop cauliflower and throw in food processor until consistency is not pureed, but still chopped. Put chopped cauliflower in cheesecloth (or you can use paper towels) to drain water from cauliflower. 

3.       Whisk 3 eggs together and mix the rest of the crust ingredients together and form into a ball.  It shouldn't be too wet at this point but If it’s too sticky to handle add more almond flour. Gently knead it a few times, adding some almond flour on top if necessary to help it come together. (note – this will NOT resemble regular pizza dough – it won’t be as easy or pliable to work with – that’s okay).

4.       Press “dough” ball down onto a pizza stone or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Gently mold into a circle, dusting a bit more flour if it makes it easier for you to work with. I was able to lift mine up and flip it over a few times to get it to spread (if yours sticks and you can’t lift it off the pan, it’s still ok). Try to spread it to be a little less than 1/4 inch thick.


5.       Crust needs to be baked for 25-30 minutes total, and then top with your favorite toppings and sauces! If you’re making a pizza with cheese or tomato sauce, bake crust for approx. 15 minutes, then top with sauce and other toppings and bake for 10-15 minutes more. (oven times may vary depending on your oven or consistency of your “dough”). ENJOY!

 

Bone Broth

Did you know...? Bone broth is one of the most mineral rich source of nourishment for humankind throughout the ages! It is a traditional remedy across cultures for the sick and weak. A classic folk treatment for colds and flu, it has also been used historically for ailments that affect connective tissues such as the GI tract, joints, skin, lungs, muscle, bones and blood. Bone broth is a valuable food and valuable medicine!

It contains nutrients from both the bone and cartilage of the animal, including:

·         Protein

·         Minerals: magnesium, sodium, calcium, sulfur, potassium, phosphorus

·         Amino acids: proline, lysine, glycine

·         And several other nutrients great for joints and connective tissue (including intestines): keratin sulfate, hyaluronic acid, hydroxyproline, hydroxylysine and chondroitin sulfate

Ingredients:

Bones - from poultry, fish, beef or lamb (can be cooked bones, raw bones, a whole carcass, or just parts)
Water - cold water, enough to just cover the bones OR 2 cups water per 1 lb bones
Vinegar (apple cider, red or white wine, rice or balsamic vinegar) - a splash, or 2 tbsp per quart water

 

Directions:

Combine bones, water and vinegar in a pot or crockpot. Bring to a simmer, remove any scum that has risen to the top, reduce heat and simmer (anywhere from 6-48 hours for chicken, 12-72 hours for beef).

If using a crockpot, you can put it on a "low" setting and just walk away for 12-24 hours.

Strain broth through a colander or sieve, lined with cheesecloth for a clearer broth. Discard the bones.

If you wish to remove the fat for use in gravy, use a gravy separator while broth is warm, or skim the fat off the top once refrigerated. Broth may be frozen for months or kept in the refrigerator for about 5 days.

Bone broth can also be used for: the base of soups, cooking liquid (instead of water, add to rice, beans or other grains), gravy, or tea.

Reference for bone broth: Soaring Crane Natural Health.

Chia Seed Pudding

 

Chia seeds are a wonderfully nutrient dense food - with 0 net carbohydrates (1 tbsp provides 6 grams of fiber, however!), omega 3 fatty acids, and a complete protein! 

They also contain an abundance of minerals to keep your bones strong. 6 times more calcium than milk, 64% more potassium than a banana, 32% of your daily magnesium (more than broccoli), 6 times more iron than spinach, and more niacin than corn, rice & soy!

And just for an added benefit, chia seeds have powerful antioxidants. Antioxidants are incredibly important in cancer prevent! Chia seeds have double the amount antioxidants found in blueberries.

While there are an infinite amount of possibilities of ways to enjoy chia seeds, this is one of my favorite!

Ingredients:

·         4 TBSP chia seeds

·         3/4 cup coconut milk

·         1 tsp vanilla extract

·         1/2 banana, chopped

·         1/4 cup cocao nibs

·         1 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Soak coconut seeds in coconut milk for 15-30 minutes - making sure to stir a few times. The chia seeds will begin to form a sort of "gel" that makes a perfect pudding!

Add vanilla extract and banana and top with cocao nibs and cinnamon. 

Enjoy for breakfast, lunch a great snack any time of the day!

Other variations: Include apples, berries, dried fruits, almonds, walnuts, nutmeg, etc.

Coconut Almond Bread

This amazing bread is perfect for anyone looking to reduce their amount of grains and carbs. I have been working with many people who are looking to balance their gut microflora and avoiding grains is an extremely important part of this process. This bread is also great for diabetics, with less than 1 net gram of carbohydrates (4 g carb, 3.8 of which are fiber). Each slice has 5.5 grams protein and 12 grams fat (from coconut and almond, so healthy fat)! So here is the final product, after many attempts in the kitchen!

In the picture, it is topped with Earth Balance soy-free "butter" (vegan and gluten free).

Ingredients

Dry ingredients:

·         1 cup coconut flour

·         1 cup almond flour

·         2 tbsp chia seeds

·         1 packet stevia (1 tsp)

·         2 tsp baking powder

·         dash of salt

Wet ingredients:

·         3/4 cup coconut milk (make sure it's unsweetened and from the box, not can)

·         5 tbsp coconut oil (in liquid form, so melt if not already liquid)

·         5 eggs

 

Directions:

Thoroughly mix dry ingredients together with a fork.  Add wet ingredients and mix until dough forms.

Transfer into loaf pan (either 8" or 9") and bake at 350 F for about 50 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. 

Allow to cool for about 20 minutes before cutting (it will crumble if still warm).

Top with almond butter or dairy free "butter" for a dairy free treat!