Tag Archives: #healthyeating

5 Food Choices to Make You a Happier, Healthier Person

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In an age where more and more people are looking to take the easy way out when it comes to health and nutrition, poor eating decisions have led to serious health problems, because bad eating can kill you just as starvation can.

People are trading “shelf life” for freshness, “cheap” for nutritious, and “quantity” for quality without ever really knowing what they are putting in their body.

Here’s a list of 5 food choices that can change your life from Women’s Health Mag:

There is a solution to this very complex and far-reaching problem: you. By making small changes to your own diet, you can not only improve your health but also become part of the collective force needed to re-create a healthy food system that feeds the world well. Start here.

1. OCCUPY YOUR KITCHEN
By deciding how much and exactly which types of salt, sugar, and fat we will use to make our fruits, veggies, meat, dairy, and grains taste delicious, we reclaim control over our health and our weight. Cook as often as you can.

2. WHEN YOU BUY GLOBAL, THINK FAIR TRADE AND LOW IMPACT
Global certification programs like Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, and Marine Stewardship Council ensure that foods are grown sustainably. They also reduce the impact of chemically intensive growing practices.

3. USE WORD OF MOUTH
School gardens are cropping up, which is encouraging kids to ask for veggies at home. Millennials are teaching their parents the joys of kale and the tastiness of a veggie burger. The next time you host family or friends, serve them a grass-fed burger on a whole-grain bun along with a plateful of local vegetables. Let them see firsthand that eating in a way that changes the food system for the better can be delicious—and fun.

4. GROW SOMETHING EDIBLE
City dwellers can plant herbs in pots on a windowsill. Suburbanites can cultivate garlic and asparagus, a perennial vegetable that keeps producing for decades. Encourage your kids, neighbors, and friends to do the same. Odds are, you’ll feel more connected to your food and to your community (many food banks accept fresh produce donations from individuals and farmers’ markets).

5. REMOVE HIDDEN CORN FROM YOUR DIET
It goes well beyond high-fructose corn syrup—processed corn ingredients include dextrose, corn syrup solids, and corn-based sweeteners, as well as meat, milk, and dairy from corn-fed cattle. Nixing those products from your kitchen may encourage manufacturers to find healthier alternatives, and it’s also a great way to remove junk foods from your cabinets and make room in your wallet and home for natural, whole foods.

How to Break the Cycle of Excuses, Over-Eating, and Falling out of Your Fitness Routine

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I totally understand, I’ve been there myself. Since I’ve started training others full time, teaching classes, and running out of time by the end of the day, I have found it incredibly difficult to stick to my healthy lifestyle. It’s so easy to say “push through”, “stick with it”, “focus on your goals”. At the end of the day, however, sometimes those motivational messages just aren’t enough. Here is how I have managed to stick with my routines (despite falling off more than once, it happens) and if this article helps even just one person then I’ve accomplished my task!

1. “I just don’t have any time”
I am a HUGE believer that you should exercise when you will get the most out of your workout. This, unfortunately, isn’t always possible with the hectic lives we all lead! No need to fear! Instead of saying “well I missed my normal workout time, that’s it, it’s all ruined for the day.” Encourage yourself to get in 15 minutes of something low intensity right before you shower (post on super quick full body exercises to follow shortly). Even though it may not be the same as killing it in the gym, it will still boost those positive, feel good chemicals in your brain, and soon enough it will become a habit!

2. “I have no time for a healthy meal”
I am a huge advocate of prepping food out once (or twice) a week. If that still is too much for you to fit into your schedule it takes approximately three minutes (and I have TIMED this) to create a healthy fulfilling salad, with a yummy healthy dressing that will both be filling, nutritious, and will make you feel good about the decision that you made!! (Recipes for healthy quick meals to follow shortly!!)

3. “I have no motivation, I feel like I just can’t do it anymore”
This is probably one of the biggest reasons people fall out of their routine, lack of motivation. I cannot emphasise enough, DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP!!! I’m a personal trainer, it is my job to make others fitter, healthier, and feel better about themselves, but, I’m getting ready to go back and see my mentor (check out @trainingaspects – they are the absolute best!!) for one month to up my cardio, strength and get myself to that next level. Find encouragement where you can! Whether it be from family, friends, a trainer, a blog, or wherever you can! Dig deep! You have it in you and you can accomplish whatever it is you want to. Always keep your eye on the prize and don’t be too proud to accept help from others!! Even Ghandi had a spiritual mentor, if he needed it, I’m sure the rest of us can admit to the fact that sometimes we just need that little bit of extra help!

I hope some of these tips helped, if you have questions, comments, feedback, I would absolutely love to hear it!! Please remember, you are doing this for YOU! For YOUR health, YOUR mental wellbeing, and sometimes we need to take a step back and focus on ourselves a bit more and remember, we can’t help others until we are the best person that we can be!!!

Much love,
Shannon

Recipe of the Week!! Butternut Squash and Tomato Posole

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Posole is a traditional Mexican stew most often made with pork and hominy (dried corn kernels that have been treated to soften the hull) cooked in a fragrant chile-based sauce. In this quick vegetarian recipe, we rely on the meatiness of pinto beans and butternut squash combined with hand-crushed whole tomatoes to make a satisfying stew.

Ingredients:
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, preferably no-salt added
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 cups chopped red onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
3 cups diced (1/2-inch) peeled butternut squash (see Tip)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 15-ounce can white hominy, rinsed
1 15-ounce can pinto beans, rinsed
1 ripe but firm avocado, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Method:
1. Working over a bowl, break apart tomatoes with your fingers one at a time, letting them drop into the bowl
2. Heat oil in a large, heavy pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until beginning to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add chili powder and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add squash, broth, hominy, beans and the crushed tomatoes (and juice). Bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
3. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve with avocado and cilantro.

Recipe of the Week!! Roasted Yam and Kale Salad!

Roasted Yam and Kale Salad

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Here is a quick and easy dinner salad that is quick to prepare and full of healthy vitamins and minerals. Enjoy! 

Ingredients:

2 Jewel Yams, Cut into 1-inch cubes

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 Onion, sliced

3 Cloves garlic, minced

1 Bunch kale, washed well and torn into bite size pieces

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 Teaspoon chopped fresh time

Salt and Pepper to Taste

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Toss the yams with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and arrange evenly onto a baking sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven until the yams are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool to room temperature in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir the onion and garlic until the onion has caramelized to a golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the kale, cooking until wilted and tender. Transfer the kale mixture to a bowl, and cool to room temperature in the refrigerator.

Once all the ingredients have cooled, combine the yams, kale, red wine vinegar, and fresh thyme in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and gently stir to combine.

 

How to Eat Healthy and Maintain Your Budget

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Healthy eating on a budget is possible, it just takes a game plan and a bit of creativity.  In this article i’m going to discuss some tips on how to keep your meals healthy, nutritious and budget friendly.  

Tip #1: Go in with a Plan 

When you’re doing your food shopping go to the store with a plan of action and stick to it! Never go to the store hungry, this will make you more susceptible to the lure of the snack foods that will take money away from your healthy eating options.  Check the circulars before you head to the store, look for discounts on fruits and veggies and then build your meal plans around what you can get the best offer on.  

Tip #2: Buy Seasonal and Avoid the Exotic

If you buy fruits and vegetables that are in season they are likely to be more budget friendly than their non-seasonal friends.  In the winter, squash, broccoli, endive, sweet potatoes and cabbage are are in season, to name a few.  Winter fruits include pears, clementines and grapefruit.  Save the exotic fruits for special occasions, as these are usually much higher in price since they are shipped in from where they are grown.  

Tip #3: Meatless Mondays

Lean meat, such as chicken, is a fantastic protein, but can also be on the expensive side especially if you are buying organic.  Legumes and grains can be a fantastic source of protein and will leave you with some extra cash in your wallet.  Quinoa is a complete protein, is easy to make, and matches well with a vegetable stirfry.  A three bean chili is a great winter warmer that is delicious meatless, and will satisfy even the biggest carnivore.  

Tip #4: Leftovers Are Your Friends

When you’re cooking, think about what you can make that will allow enough for leftovers for lunches for the week.  If your craving soup, make a large batch.  Put the remaining into individual containers and take it to work for lunch.  Try  and overnight crockpot oatmeal.  Steel cut oats are cheap, healthy and in hardly any time at all you have made yourself breakfast for the entire week.  

Tip #5: Stock Your Freezer While Your Favorite Fruits and Veggies are in Season

Going back to tip #2, if you see a great deal on fresh berries during the summer, buy in bulk! Place them into freezer bags and save them for the winter.   Same rule goes for vegetables.  Before you freeze your veggies, blanche them first (submerge in boiling water for a brief interval, then place in an ice bath to stop the cooking process).  Be sure to dry them thoroughly and then store in a freezer bag.  Some vegetables that freeze well are broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, peppers and peas.  

With a little pre-planning, you can be a healthier eater on a budget.  You can enjoy a greater variety, avoid deprivation, and gain a hipping strategy that is both easy on your waistline and  your wallet.

Recipe of the Week: Vegan Cherry Almond Pudding Parfait

Cherry Almond Pudding Parfait

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Ingredients:

1 cup cherry puree*
1/2 cup cashews
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons melted coconut butter
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

Method

Blend all but the butter and oil in a high speed blender until smooth.
Add the last two ingredients. Blend again to incorporate.
Chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

*Cherry Puree

Blend just over 1 cup cherries on the lowest speed in a high speed blender (not sure how it would work in a regular blender).
Pour into a bowl and pick out the pits.
Pour back into the blender and blend again (doesn’t have to be smooth but must be pit free).
*Alternatively, pit each cherry and then puree briefly in a blender or food processor.

Assembly

Layer the cherry pudding with cherry puree, and chopped nuts. Almonds would be nice here to compliment the almond extract in the pudding.

Recipe by SweetlyRaw

Food For Thought: Portion Distortion

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As obesity rates rise, and diabetes is becoming an epidemic, shouldn’t we really be taking a look at what it is that we are putting in our bodies?  Doesn’t it seem alarming that when you order food at most restaurants the portion size is big enough to feed a family of four?  As portion sizes have grown at restaurants, supermarkets and at home, it’s harder to avoid overeating.  Here’s how portion sizes of some foods have changed over the past 20 years.

Bagel:

20 years ago: 3-inch diameter, 140 calories

Today: 6-inch diameter, 350 calories

Increase: 210 calories

Turkey Sandwich:

20 years ago: 320 calories

Today: 820 calories

Increase: 500 calories

Spaghetti and Meatballs:

20 years ago: 1 cup spaghetti with sauce and 3 small meatballs, 500 calories

Today: 3 cups of pasta with sauce and 3 large meatballs, 1,025 calories

Increase: 525 calories

French Fries:

20 years ago: 2.4 ounces, 210 calories

Today: 6.9 ounces, 610 calories

Increase: 400 calories

Soda:

20 years ago: 6.5 ounces, 85 calories

Today: 20 ounces, 250 calories

Increase: 165 calories

 

These statistics are staggering.  We must also remember, that this only takes into consideration the amount of calories and the increase in serving size, and does not address any of the issues of what they put in food today as opposed to 20 years ago that is also contributing to disease and obesity.  I think the thing I take away most from this article is to remember to keep eating clean, healthy, organic, natural foods. Stay healthy, and stay happy!

Shannon

Source: NIH 2013

 

Raw Vegan Chocolate Avocado Pudding

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If you love chocolate pudding, you’re going to adore this recipe for a delicious but healthier version of your favorite dessert. Creamy, rich, and bursting with sweet chocolate flavor, this pudding takes only a few minutes with a blender to put together.

The avocados — full of vitamins and healthy fat — give it the smooth, thick consistency while honey and dates sweeten it. The mild flavor of the avocado allows the chocolate flavor to stand out front and center. Topped off with favorites like sliced bananas and chopped walnuts, or perhaps fresh strawberries and mint leaves, and you have a guilt-free dessert!

Adjust the amount of almond milk (or whatever vegan milk substitute you choose to use) to adjust thickness. Remember that it will thicken up in the fridge so don’t be too worried about adding more milk than you might think it needs.

In fact, by using less almond milk, you can make this into a fantastic thick, structured frosting for vegan cupcakes.

Inspired by This Rawsome Life.

Ingredients:
2 ripe avocados
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, or coconut oil, or avocado oil
1/3 cup agave or maple syrup (or honey for a non-vegan version)
3 dates soaked in warm water for 15 minutes and chopped
1/2 cup cacao powder
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 to 1 cup non-dairy milk, such as almond milk

Toppings:
Chopped pistachios
Sea Salt
Chopped walnuts
Chopped fresh strawberries
Raspberries
Fresh mint leaves
Sliced bananas
Shredded coconut

1. Add ingredients to a blender or food processor in this order: oil, dates, honey, vanilla, half your non-dairy milk, avocados, cocoa powder.

2. Blend until smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Add additional non-dairy milk until the pudding is the consistency you want. A little on the thin side is best since it will thicken after chilling in the refrigerator.

3. Spoon into ramekins or bowls, cover and chill.

4. Top with your favorite fruits, nuts, or other yumminess, and enjoy!

Healthy, Creamy, Horseradish Hummus

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I love hummus, and I also love horseradish.  At parties they always seem to have a creamy, cheesy horseradish dip served with crackers.  Since that is a no no for my diet I decided to seek out a fantastic recipe for something a bit healthier.  Served with vegetable crudites you can satisfy your hummus and horseradish craving at the same time and not feel so bad about it afterwards! Enjoy!

Horseradish Hummus

Ingredients:

-1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in water or for at least 3 hours
-1/3 cup Tahini plus 1 tablespoon
-2 large garlic cloves minced
-juice of 1 large lemon
-4 tablespoons water
-1/3 cup olive oil
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 bunch fresh dill
-2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
-vegetable crudites for serving

Method:

-Place soaked chickpeas in a small pot with fresh water. Bring chickpeas to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for at least one hour. You may need to add more water as you simmer the chickpeas ~ check every so often to make sure there is an inch or so of water covering them.

-Once the chickpeas are fork tender, drain them from the water.

-Add the chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, water, olive oil, salt, fresh dill and horseradish to a large food processor. Pulse until the consistency becomes smooth. If needed, add more water or olive oil to achieve desired consistency.

-Serve with crudite

Recipe thanks to Food52