Friday, July 31, 2015

Overnight Berry Nutty Omega Porridge

I'm a breakfast fanatic.  Not forever.  It's really in the last few years I have embraced breakfast and its endless possibilities.

Why are your omega 3s so important?  Coming from both plant and animal sources, omega 3s actually influence genes to reduce cancer cell growth.  They benefit your heart health, regulate your cholesterol-triglyceride levels, help prevent disease, and aide in behavioral and mental health.  Interestingly, studies have found that supplementation with omega 3s have been more effective than placebo in the treatment of depression .  You can find out more benefits of omega 3s in this great article entitled, "Ultimate Guide to Omega-3s Benefits an Supplementation."

Mamas this is important for you.  Most women are deficient in omega 3s.  Because a mother's dietary intake and plasma concentrations of DHA (a form of omegas) directly influence the DHA level of the developing fetus, it is crucial that moms maintain an adequate omega 3 supply.  This ensures the healthy development of the fetus and benefits the child's brain and eye health.  Getting omega 3s in your diet or via supplementation is crucial!

Chia seeds are a great source of omega 3s, and I love putting it in my porridge recipe.  This is the richest plant source of omega 3s, even having more than salmon.  Chia seeds are also high in fiber, calcium, and minerals, such as iron, potassium, folate, phosphorus, and magnesium.  In addition, chia seeds are a complete protein, high in antioxidants, and are cholesterol and gluten free.

If you are new to chia seeds, than you might not know that they expand and can become jelly like in texture once they have been sitting in liquid.  So when you eat them after they have been soaking they don't taste chewy like a seed or a nut as much as it's more like a gelatinous texture.

This recipe is very fulfilling, full of healthy fats, and is completely free of any added sugar.  Not only are you getting great antioxidants from the chia seeds, but your also getting them from the organic berries.  I like to add a little water to mine to make it last longer and to split up the drink to have before and after workout.  It can work great as a snack or healthy dessert too, for both kids and adults!

Hope you enjoy!

Overnight Berry Nutty Omega Porridge (paleo, AIP, whole 30, GF, soy free, DF)

1 carton or 1 cup arroyo-d full fat coconut milk
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 to 3/4 cup organic berries
1 tbsp organic chia seeds
2 tbsp chopped raw nuts (optional)
1/2 cup water (optional)

Pour coconut milk into mason jar.  Add other ingredients and layer and shake well.  I like to shake well to prevent chia seeds from clumping up too much.  If you are doing autoimmune protocol, skip the chopped nuts!  Refrigerate overnight (6 to 8 hours) and enjoy in the morning!



Thursday, July 23, 2015

Sugar Free & Grain Free Cake in a Mug

Seriously.  This recipe is so good you will not believe there is no grain or added sugar.

We are fasting from sugar in our home which is no easy task.  I am not totally avoiding fruit, though I do try to keep it to one serving a day, again, because of the sugar content.  This is to further reduce inflammation in my body and let my gut heal. With my hormones still changing postpartum, I've been feeling really good with the exception of my sleep being off.  And it's not my son's fault!  He has been sleeping through the night since early on, but I have been having bouts of insomnia which is not my cup of tea.  Years ago, it was normal for me to run off of 4 or 5 hours of sleep and just work like a dog and work out.  But when my body went through so much sickness last year, it became clear I could no longer let this be routine.  In fact, I have had to take an interest in "sleep hygiene" by trying to go to bed by a certain time each night, dimming lights, avoiding late meals, avoiding caffeine, etc.  Some days it pays off.  I try to remember that sometimes healing takes a very long time of doing the right thing :o)

Ok, back to my mug cake.  Avoiding sugar is hard, and I personally have been avoiding using grain and baking substitutes, such as coconut and almond flour.  Not because I think they are bad ingredients, but just because I have been trying to avoid all grains (again, for gut healing).  But one thing you get used to with cooking paleo and for whole 30 is that bananas and almond butter have got to be some of the best ingredients to pull off baking- and they taste good too!

This mug cake is a great afternoon treat or dessert and great for kids too with the low sugar content and healthy ingredients.  Give it a try!

Sugar Free & Grain Free Cake in a Mug (Sugar Free, GF, DF, Soy-free, whole 30, paleo)

1/4 cup or 2 heaping tbsp almond butter
1 small banana
1 organic egg
2 tbsp unsweetened almond or coconut milk
1 tspn baking soda
1 tspn cinnamon
1/2 tspn vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp carob powder or unsweetened cocoa or maca powder (optional)

Mash banana in mug.  Add smooth almond butter ,and mix well.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.  Heat up in microwave safe mug for 90 seconds or until cooked through (mine needed 2 minutes).  Serve and enjoy!



Friday, July 17, 2015

Paleo Cinnamon Grahams

Looking for a back to school snack?  I made be out of grade school, but I'm headed back to grad school in a little over a week and need easy-to-go nutritious snacks in my backpack!

It's very bittersweet.  I've always wanted to be a nurse practitioner.  When I started embracing the paleo lifestyle and holistic health, I directed this as well towards the focus of my career.  However, since having my son, I sometimes wonder if that truly is my God-given purpose.  Because being a mom is so fulfilling and so enriching.  It is everything I could ever hope and dream of it being.  And so with a heavy heart, I return back to school, knowing it's just 6 months, it's just a season, and then I'm done.  And God will direct and lead me the entire way.

Clinicals keeps me VERY busy.  It is no joke.  It's many hours in an office and in front of a computer. I am determined to stay focus on my nutrition goals.  Having maintained paleo for the past year and whole 30 postpartum, I totally see this as doable.  Do you have any hurdles standing in the way of your nutrition goals?

It can be easy to miss gluten when going paleo...losing grains in the diet too is a double whammy.  But it definitely can help you find better food options to help nourish the body.

In many ways my go to has been coconut.  Its a great base for so many recipes, and when unsweetened, is such a great low sugar ingredient.  It's a great binder and perfect for so many recipes.

This recipe reminds me of honey cinnamon graham cracker.  I imagine it would taste good in coffee too!  I created it out of desperation to fine something that was crunchy with a hint of sweet.  The cinnamon is a great addition, proving that blood sugar balancing help to go with the hint of honey in the recipe.  Simple, inexpensive ingredients, and definitely a crowd pleaser.  Give it a try!

Paleo Cinnamon Grahams (paleo, whole 30, GF, soy free, dairy free)

1 cup unsweetened organic shredded coconut
1/2 cup raw organic almonds
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup organic honey
1 large organic egg
1 tsp melted organic coconut oil
dash of himalayan sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place the coconut shreds and almonds in a food processor and grind for 30 seconds.  Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until combined (about a minute).  Scoop the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.  Spread and flatten onto pan, making mix 1/4 inch thick.  Score the dough into 2 inch squares.  Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes until slightly brown and crispy.  Serve immediately or store in airtight container for up to a week.



Sunday, July 12, 2015

Vegan Cheesy Kale Chips

Disclaimer: these are the

I'm not a newbie to kale chips. However, they are not usually my favorite on-the-go snack, and I prefer kale in salad or smoothies.  Check back to posts of my Garlicky Kale Salad and Green Pancakes to find out more ways to use kale in your cooking!

Why should you care about kale?  Kale is a powerful detox agent with risk-lowering benefits for cancer and special antioxidative effects.  In addition, it is rich in Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, copper and manganese, helping to support the endocrine, immune, nervous, musculoskeletal, integumentary and reproductive systems.  Kale contains very little fat, but the fat it does contain is rich in omega-3 fatty acids like alpha-lipoic acid, which is super beneficial for your blood sugar and health.  Studies on alpha-lipoic acid have shown it can also help to decrease peripheral neuropathy and/or autonomic neuropathy in diabetics.

So I was determined to recreate one of my favorite treats from Whole Foods and other healthy food stores: cheesy kale chips!  Anyone who has bought these from the store knows these are no cheap meal.  One package has usually just 2 or 3 servings and ranges in price from $5-$7 (or more!).  Dang!

With just a few kitchen staples, you can make these yummy snacks yourself and save yourself a few dollars, as well as know the source of your ingredients.

Give these cheesy kale chips a try and enjoy (and don't feel bad for eating them all!)!

Vegan Cheesy Kale Chips (GF, DF, soy-free, vegan, paleo, whole 30)

2 bunches organic kale (washed and dried, stems removed, torn into bite-sized pieces)
1/3 cup organic tahini
1/2 cup organic almond butter
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
2 tbsp EVOO or macadamia nut oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp coconut aminos (optional but I use)
1/2 tspn minced garlic
dash of himilayan sea salt
dash of onion powder

Preheat oven to 175 degrees.  Mix all the ingredients into a blender and process on low for 30 seconds or until well blended.  Put into large mixing bowl.  Add kale to mixing bowl and coat pieces with cheesy mixture until all are coated.  Place kale chips onto parchment paper-lined baking pans.  Make sure to spread the kale leaves out so not in big clumps. Bake for 3 to 3 1/2 hours until the chips are dry and crispy (you may also use a dehydrator here instead of the oven if you wish and follow the dehydrator's instructions).  Eat right away or store in air-tight container.



Saturday, July 11, 2015

Bats About Beets!

Postpartum cravings?  Believe it or not, I have craved just as many foods postpartum that I have had when I was pregnant.  One of the main items being beets.

I used to hate beets.  Well, honestly, I never remembered trying them or eating them much growing up.  I think I probably ate them for the first time after college, and they were from a can.


Then in the past year I discovered delicious, raw, organic beets.  I love all the different varieties and colors.  I didn't enjoy them while I was pregnant, but I certainly have loved cooking with beets during my "fourth trimester."

What's so special about beets?  Dr. Mercola has a great article entitled "Six Amazing Health Benefits of Eating Beets" that gives six reasons why beets should be in your diet.  They include: lowering your blood pressure, boosting your stamina, fighting inflammation, helping in detoxification, being a fiber agent, and acting as an anti-cancer food.

One of the main reasons I'm enjoying incorporating beets into my diet currently is for their liver detoxification benefits.  Pectin, which is a fiber found in beets, can help clean out the toxins removed by the liver, allowing them to be flushed out of the system rather than be reabsorbed by the liver.  Another beet component, betaine, encourages liver cells to get rid of toxins, as well as defends the liver and bile ducts, thus helping to support liver function.

Interestingly, the green leafy tops to your beets are one of the healthiest things you could eat too!  They contain protein, phosphorous, zinc, fiber, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, copper, manganese, vitamin A, vitamin C and iron.

I find I like beets best when juiced with other greens, when sautéed, roasted or baked into chips.  The recipe I'm going to share with you today is very basic, and the one that helped me to start to fall in love with beets.  It's simple and definitely a crowd pleaser!!


Roasted Balsamic Beets (GF, DF, soy free, whole 30)

2 medium sized beets
2 tbsp EVOO
1/4 tsp himilayan sea salt
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp coconut sugar (optional and I omit for my use)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Use a vegetable peeler to peel the beets, and cut into 1 to 2 inch cubes.  Line a pan or casserole dish with aluminum foil, and place the beets in the pan.  Rub the EVOO over the beets, and sprinkle with salt. Cover the beets with another layer of aluminum foil.  Roast for 60 to 90 minutes. Check after one hour, and every 15 minutes thereafter for texture with a fork.  Remove from oven once soft and tender.  While the beets are cooling, cook the balsamic vinegar with sugar (if desired).  Heat on high until a syrup consistency, and then remove from heat.  Pour the balsamic glaze over the beets.  Serve!! Any leftovers may stay refrigerated up to one week.