Here are my “Six Super Simple Ways to Eat Better”
The holidays are over and the new year is among us — a special and exciting time where we make ambitious plans for our next twelve months and dream of the possibilities. The most popular resolution is improving health, and we usually are quite ready after the holidays. As tasty as the holiday tidings are, they leave us feeling a little less on track with our goals than we’d like.
Those new healthy resolutions don’t have to be complicated, and they don’t have to end before February even arrives. In my opinion, the key to looking and feeling your best is to keep it uncomplicated and simply focus on clean eating. For those of you that have followed me for awhile know that I do not like to complicate things. The more complicated the less I am interested. In case you’ve heard the term “clean eating” but haven’t quite understood what it means — clean eating ( in my humble opinion ) is all about consuming healthy, whole foods and cutting out the processed junk. This word is really all the buzz and I have seen some wild explanations on what it means and some of them make me quiver in my boots. Whether you’re ready to jumpstart your clean eating now or you’re wondering what it takes to get started, I have got super-simple steps for a no-fail progression into clean eating that I hope you enjoy. They have worked for me as well as many of my clients.
- Focus on your inner motivation
Whether you’re determined to race in the Boston Marathon next year, or you have seen first-hand the damages done by not eating well through relatives or friends that have suffered as a result of their eating habits. Whatever it is that is motivating you to eat clean, bring it into your direct focus so you will be more successful in sticking to your clean eating plan.
- Reevaluate what you’re currently eating
Before you begin your clean eating journey, it helps to journal about what you’re eating before beginning. This way, you can truly see what it is you’re eating and look for patterns. After the stressful end of your work week, you might notice you’re more prone to ordering pizza and by writing your food intake down you can take steps to head that off at the pass rather than fall into the same pitfall time and time again. In addition, anytime I have a new client start with me I always ask them to clean out their pantry. Ditch the temptations. “Most” of us are not that desperate that we would head to the grocery store to get that chocolate cake. If it is not in site chances are it won’t make it to your mouth 🙂
- Set realistic, measurable and specific goals
When people make changes to things in their lives such as a change to their eating habits, they can set themselves up for significant failures if they don’t take it step by step. That means that if you want to be successful in the long-term, you should tackle one or two new things every 1-2 weeks, so you have a better chance of sticking to it. Don’t just say you’ll stop eating desserts forever. Instead, set a goal of only eating one small dessert per week, and go from there to decrease it further. It’s realistic, measurable and very specific.
- Clean out your pantry
In addition to just ditching the icky food in your pantry take some time to look at the labels. Sadly, most American pantries are filled with processed foods. A good rule of thumb is to cut out anything that contains more than five ingredients on the label. If you have a lot of unopened items, donate them to a shelter. Check those expiration dates while you are there. I am not sure how it happens but every year I find expired food in my dang pantry.
- Refocus your grocery shopping strategy
We’re creatures of habit, every one of us. When we go to the supermarket, we usually follow the same path every time. Shake things up and head straight for the produce section. You really should be avoiding almost all of the middle aisles of your supermarket anyway because that’s where those processed food pitfalls lurk! Those marketers are very clever, those outer aisles are filled with processed crud. Try and challenge yourself to really limit anything in a can or a box. It is kinda fun I promise. Somethings are necessary to be in a cartoon or box, just watch those ingredients. Nothing more than 5 ok?
- Master meal prep
One of the easiest ways to dive right into clean eating is to prep your meals. You’ll find tons of healthy meal prep plans online that even give you shopping lists to use. If time is a factor, look for crockpot recipes that require you to dump in the whole foods in the morning and come home to a hot, delicious, clean and healthy meal every night! If you are interested in jump starting your new year off with some good clean grain free food then consider joining my Grain Free Detox Program. Also, make sure you sign up for one of my freebie eBooks on my site so you can be put on my mailing list. I am doing a FREE crockpot challenge at the end of January 🙂
As you can tell, it only takes small changes over time to create a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. I’m here to cheer you on every step of the way, Contact me and let me know how you are feeling, and what you’d like to accomplish as your first step. I’d love to hear your plans. AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Grain Free Molasses Spice Cookies
These are going to blow your mind. These grain free cookies are not your typical grain free kinda thing. Baking without grains is not an easy task, I can not tell you how many flops I have had over the years. This one however is a home run in my opinion and is a perfect treat for the holidays. The fresh grated ginger steals the show. Do not cheat and use powdered ginger, the real stuff is a must. I hope you enjoy them. As always just reach out to me if you have any questions at all. PS I have a fabulous grain free 14 day program coming up soon. Message me if you want to be put on the list.
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses- Trader Joes has a great one
6 pitted dates
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp fresh grated ginger- usually about 2 inches of fresh ginger
1 tsp clove spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup of cassava root flour
Preheat the oven to 350F.
In a mixing bowl, combine the almond butter, applesauce, and molasses. In a small blender, (I use the twister jar from Blendtec) blend your pitted dates, and the lemon juice till it creates a paste like look and texture. Now add this paste to your almond butter mix and stir well. Next add in your spices, vanilla, fresh grated ginger, baking soda, and salt and mix till well blended.
Add the coconut flour, cassava root flour and potato starch. Mix to form a thick dough. The batter will be a little sticky but do not worry it is ok.
Lastly place your cookies on a parchment lined paper cookie sheet. Parchment paper is your friend when you love to bake. 🙂 I like to use a medium ice scream scooper when making cookies. When you use a scooper you can be assured you will get even baking on each cookie. I like to make these cookies big so I used a large scoop and got 6 good size cookies out of it. You could use a smaller scoop and get more if you like. I usually give the cookies a little pat down with a spatula on the top of the cookie before I place them in the oven.
Sprinkle the cookies with a little more cinnamon just to top them off.
Bake for approximately 12 minutes at 350F or until the tops are crackly and the bottom edges just starting to darken. The cookies will be very moist. It is best if you can let them cool a bit before you dig in.
*As always I find a recipe I like and then try my best to adapt it to my culinary delights and dietary desires. The original recipe for this was created by Feasting on Fruit.
This cookie recipe is freaking easy, good for you and super yummy. My neighbors go wild for these beauties. I love taking a recipe I find that looks delish and finding a way to make it better for you. Full disclosure they do not all come out good. Thankfully those neighbors that love these cookies are also super honest with me and tell me when I flop as well. One of my favorite things to do is replace sugar with dates. Please keep in mind the quality of the date DOES matter. I have tried the ones from Costco, EWE. I have tried the one from Trader Joe’s eweier. The only dates I ever use are the ones from my CSA Garden of Eden Organics. These dates are the bomb diggity. I put them in my freezer as soon as I get them home, if I did not I would eat them out of the container and they would be gone in a flash. When I need some for a recipe all I do is take them from the freezer, remove the pit and then make a date paste out it. You can make the date paste in a blender but I like to use my blendtec twister jar instead. You are basically just blending the dates till they are smooth but this great blender jar makes is so easy. All of the ingredients just come together so beautifully. The peanut butter adds just enough richness and the cacao gives you a punch of nutrition. You can use cocoa if you don’t have any cacao.
Grain Free Cookies
1 cup of natural peanut butter- no added sugar
6 pitted dates. Don’t these look amazing?
1/4 cup of cacao
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 cups of dark chocolate
Here is where I emphasize the easy. Ready? Assuming you already made your date paste all you do now is throw all of this in your food mixer and then plop them on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and cook at 350 degrees for about 8-9 minutes depending on your oven.
Did I tell you it was easy or what? If you make these please leave a comment below. I would love to get your feedback.
It seems like every time I turn around there is someone sending me a sample of the “new” super food that I must tell my clients about because it is the answer to everything they claim. Here is the deal, I think a lot of the super foods out there are great but it makes me a tad uncomfortable when they call them super foods. I think I feel this way because once it is labeled a super food it seems everyone goes bonkers and runs to the store and overloads on them and thinks it is the one cure to everything. What is a super food anyway? I have nothing against the word super foods but I struggle with the way they claim it is the answer to everything. My personal opinion is our body needs a combination of these good for you foods. You know me, it is all about the balance. Before I put anything in my body I try and do some research and always go in moderation to see how my body is going to react to it. Well I did just that with the latest super food that was sent to me. Slow and steady and I am in love with this one so far. Super food? I wont go that far, full of health benefits 100% YES. Will I be adding it to all my meals and double the dose because of this research and how I feel? I think not, balance people, the more is better rule does not always apply and rarely is needed.
So what is this wonderful item that I recently tested and loved? Mushroom powder from OM ( they are local in my hometown too ) but I guess you knew this from the post title 🙂 I tried mushroom powder about a year ago because I had heard a lot of noise about it but OMG it was a horrid experience. The taste was oh so bitter and I had to choke it down. I put it in my smoothie and in my opinion the taste ruined my smoothie. I have never choked something down just because it was suppose to be good for you. ( I can still remember when I tried to take a shot of apple cider vinegar- OMG GAG ) As soon as I received this package I called the company immediately and wanted to know if I was going to gag again because I was just not into that. What I learned is that mushroom powder is processed differently with different companies. Each of them claim their way is better however I am going to stick with OM because the way they did it tasted way better than the way the other company did it. There was actually zero taste with the one from OM.
I tried two of the flavors from OM. Honestly the taste was the same so my review is for both of them. They do have similar ingredients but not identical. The two flavors were Restore and Beauty. Here is why I love the mushroom powder from OM
They have the following naturally occurring benefits:
- Beta Glucans
- Vitamin D
- Digestive Enzymes
- Amino Acids
- B Vitamins
- Selenium Compounds
- Chelated Minerals
Some of these might not mean a lot to you but the ones that mean a lot to me are selenium, vitamin D, beta glucans and l-ergothioneine. All of these are excellent for the immune system and helpful in reducing inflammation in the body. I work a lot with clients that have autoimmune conditions and food allergies and these are some of the best supplements for these conditions. Now I can suggest they use a powder vs spend gobs of money on supplements.
The mushroom powder from OM is all organic, non gmo and gluten free. Triple score. They currently have ruffly 20+ products. They use 10 different species of mushrooms when making their various blends. Some of their products are single mushrooms and some are blends. I am very excited to try out their reishi one. This is my favorite mushroom at the moment. Research has shown this mushroom to not only help with your immune system but also increase your energy and help with an overactive immune system. This mushroom intrigues me because it acts as an adaptogen. Do not want to get all medical on you but in a nut shell it means it has a way of knowing what your body needs.
Another mushroom they use a lot is the cordyceps mushroom. This mushroom is known for increasing vitality and endurance. It also supports cardiac function and respiratory health. Mike is excited to try out their FIT blend because it is suppose to improve oxygen consumption and delivery to increase energy. The company rep told me a lot of athletes use it as a during workout drink and/or recovery drink.
Turkey Tail is another winner. Have you ever heard of turkey tail before? This mushroom is a POWERHOUSE of goodies. Super duper good for your immune system. Do you like that professional medical term? Hey I am not a doctor 🙂
The last mushroom I want to chat with you about is Maitake. This was a new one to me but I have researched it and love what it is all about. Full disclosure here, I have not tried it so I can not vouch for the taste. The others are tasteless so I am assuming this one is as well.
I could go on and on about the products from this company and the benefits about mushrooms but I hope that I have given you enough to try them out. I add a tsp every day to my tea or smoothie its just that simple. There was zero taste going down and zero aftertaste. I have been taking 1 tsp a day for 10 days now and I have noticed an increase in my energy. I alternate between the Restore and the Beauty. I have also noticed I have to cut my fingernails twice a week now as well. Weird? Coincidence? Or maybe a by product from the mushrooms 🙂
The company suggests that when you first start out that you do two tsps a day but as I stated above I am a firm believer in slow and steady and not going all bonkers with super foods. I will however continue to add a tsp a day because I have noticed a difference when using it.
I hope you try this company out, I think you will be pleased you did.For recipe ideas you can visit their Facebook Page
PS Did I mention they have products for your pet and horse as well? No idea about this product line but you can be sure Roscoe will be testing them out soon.
The other day I went to a brunch and was asked to bring a side dish. I am so over potato salad and green salads right now. I wanted to think of something that would be fun, pretty and also a conversation piece. BINGO then I received this recipe in my email and knew I had a winner. The recipe was taken from teambeachbody.com, author Rebecca Pardess.
Did you know that watermelon is super hydrating because it is 92% water??????? More and more you are seeing athletes turn to watermelon water vs that cruddy Gatorade stuff that rots your insides. Watermelon is also full of lycopene which is fabulous for your cardiovascular health. Watermelon also has a lot of citrulline. Citrulline is an amino acid which converts into arginine with help from the kidneys. The citrulline in watermelon has also been shown to reduce the accumulation of fat in our fat cells. Strawberries are not only full of vitamin C, but they taste AMAZING during the summer months. Strawberries contain potassium, folate, manganese, fiber, and magnesium. I could go on and on about these red beauties, but I think you get my drift- they are good for you 🙂
Blueberries are one of my favorite summer fruits. Part of this fascination with this berry might be because we started growing them in our backyard this year. There is a lot of new research out there that says blueberries might provide some cognitive support for us. I don’t know about you, but I am all for that 🙂 This support is because of the active flavonoids in the blueberries. The antioxidants (flavonoids) may activate the neuronal receptors, signaling proteins and gene expression in the hippocampus. Blueberries are good for so many things. They are a daily staple in my house.
Blackberries are a hit and miss in my book. They are fantastic for you, but if you do not get the right batch they can be tart. I purchase all my blackberries from our local CSA or farmers market. I have found that these berries, in general, taste better, and I do not get as many tart ones. When you get a good batch though, these beauties are delightful. Blackberries are very high in antioxidants. Blackberries are also high in flavonoids, especially anthocyanins. Did you know that if you have gout, blackberries are one of the best fruits you can consume? This is because of the high antioxidant and flavonoid levels in these berries.
If at all possible try and get all of your berries organic. I know it is not always possible to do this, but berries rank high on the dirty dozen. It is worth the few extra bucks if you can swing it.
Now lets chow down.
- 1½-inch thick slice fresh watermelon, cut into 4 wedges (quarters)
- 4 Tbsp. reduced fat (2%) plain Greek yogurt
- 4 medium strawberries, sliced
- 2 Tbsp. fresh blueberries
- ¼ cup fresh blackberries
- 1 kiwi fruit, cut into 4 slices
- 4 fresh mint leaves
- Spread each watermelon wedge with 1 Tbsp. yogurt. Top evenly with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and a kiwi slice.
- Garnish with mint leaves; serve immediately.
If you are using the portion control containers this recipe would be one purple. Because such a small amount of Greek yogurt is used, you only need to count this toward your purple containers.
First things first, this is not my typical type of bakery good, it has a little more sugar than I like and second I did this on the fly with my own substitutions from an original recipe from Gluten Free on a Shoestring. I have never made them before so I was winging it (Spoiler alert- They were kick ass)
Here is a link to Nicole’s great snack book on Amazon. Nicole is a fabulous gluten free resource, I own all of her books and highly recommend you check them out. My substitutions are in bold.
For the Crunch Topping
3 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups) unsweetened gluten free cornflakes (I used Nature’s Path Organic Corn Flakes ), crushed into small crumbs (I used a food processor, but you can crush them by hand as well)
1/3 cup (32 g) nonfat dry milk powder (I used almond blanched almond flour)
1/3 cup (67 g) granulated sugar (I used 1 tablespoon date sugar but coconut sugar would work too)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, melted (I used Earths Balance Vegan Butter)
I added 2 tablespoons cinnamon to the crunch topping
For the Donuts
1 5/8 cup (228 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used 1 1/4 cup Trader Joes Gluten Free Flour Blend and 1/3 cup sweet rice flour)
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
6 tablespoons (54 g) cornstarch (I used arrowroot)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup (133 g) granulated sugar (I used 2 tablespoons date sugar but coconut sugar would work too)
1/4 cup (56 g) neutral oil (like canola or safflower oil) (I used coconut oil)
1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell) plus 1 egg white (25 g) at room temperature, beaten (I did not use the egg white)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (5 fluid ounces) buttermilk, at room temperature (I used coconut milk)
2 tablespoons (42 g) honey
1/2 teaspoon pure coconut extract (I used real vanilla extract)
4 to 6 tablespoons (84 g to 126 g) honey (I used 2 tablespoons honey and 2 tablespoons real maple syrup)
Crunch topping (above)
First, make the crunch topping. Preheat your oven to 300°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside. In a large bowl, place all of the crunch topping ingredients, and mix to combine well. Turn the mixture out onto the prepared baking sheet, and spread into an even layer. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake until just beginning to brown (about 20 minutes). (I baked it for 10 min only) Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet while you make the donuts.
Make the donuts. To make the donuts in the oven, increase your oven temperature to 350°F. Grease a miniature donut pan, and set it aside. To make them in an electric donut maker, warm the appliance according to the manufacturer’s directions. In a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine well. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the oil, egg, egg white, buttermilk, honey and coconut extract, mixing well to combine after each addition. The batter will be thick. I used my mini donut maker- LOVE IT LOTS
Bake the donuts. If making the donuts in an oven, fill the prepared donut wells about 3/4 of the way full. Place in the center of the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the donuts are set and a toothpick inserted in the center of a donut comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. If making the donuts in an electric donut maker, fill the bottom of the donut maker wells completely with batter, then close and secure the lid. Allow to bake for 3 minutes. Open the donut maker and remove the donuts with the remover tool or the tines of a fork. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining batter.
Assemble the donuts. Place 4 tablespoons of honey for the coating in a small, heat-safe bowl and warm in the microwave for about 20 seconds or over a double-boiler until thinned. Place the cornflake crunch in a shallow bowl and set it next to the honey. Dip both sides of each cooled donut in the warm honey, and then press firmly into the crunch topping on all sides so the topping adheres before placing on the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining donuts, adding more honey to the dipping bowl as necessary. Allow the donuts to set before serving.
These were a hit with the neighbors. They may seem like a lot of work but I promise they really are not, the donut maker saves the day. Check out The Gluten Free on a Shoestrings other donut recipes here. Let me know if you make them 🙂