Recipe: Fruit & Nut Tart

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In honor of National Pecan Month, we were invited to share our fruit and nut tart recipe with the fine people of Columbus, thanks to WBNS 10TV. This beauty is easy to make and fun to decorate. Made from fruit and nuts, it’s raw, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free. Did we mention delicious? Because it’s definitely that too!

Ingredients

Crust

1 cup chopped nut blend (we used 1/2 cup walnuts and 1/2 cup pecans)
1 cup chopped dates
1 cup flaked or shredded coconut
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of nutmeg, optional

Toppings

1-2 mashed bananas
Blueberries, strawberries, and kiwis to decorate (about 1 cup of each)

Instructions

Soak dates in warm water for about 10 minutes to soften them. Chop nuts with a knife or use a food processor. Drain dates and mix with nut blend, coconut, cinnamon, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Once well mixed, roll into balls and press into pie plate. Mash bananas and add a layer or ‘frosting’ to the crust. Top with berries and kiwi or your desired fruits. For extra pizzazz, drizzle honey or melted chocolate over the tart.

Thank you, Flu

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Wondering where we’ve been? Well, first Arizona, and then, during the week where writing a blog was at the top of the list, something happened. Whether it was a delayed on-set from exposure to recycled airplane air or just from another silently contagious human, the flu caught up with us.

An early morning of feeling super-slow, as though walking through molasses, and strange aches made us call a meeting short. Thinking we could still rally and celebrate a friend’s birthday dinner, we decided on a nap. It was only upon awaking that the sad truth set in, with its fever and chills, achy joints, headache, and congestion. The flu.

Too tired and weak to drum up a will to fight, we chose an opposite approach. Giving in. It was decided: instead of trying to force ourselves to feel better and continue working (at least from home), we would do what animals tend to do – including slowing waaaay down. The first day we didn’t eat, the second day was spent in the cave-like bedroom allowing sleep to take over whenever tiredness hit (which was basically all day). Though we couldn’t eat much at all, we took a look at our mental diet…what would we watch or read that would make us feel better? (It ended up being Netflix’s Kindness Diaries and Queer Eye, both rather inspiring and heart-warming). For someone whose stomach rules her life, it was odd not to feel hungry and day 3 brought back a little hunger and ability to enjoy a favorite Mediterranean meal. Here are some silver linings from the experience:

  1. Slowing down – the experience showed the wisdom of not running ourselves into the ground all the time
  2. All of the delicious vacation meals (including homemade Butterfingers and coconut ice cream) put some weight on, which was promptly removed by the flu.
  3. Seeing people in life care and bring wellness remedies, food, and even humor to the situation.
  4. Gratitude for health increased dramatically; how we take it for granted when we’re well!
  5. A nice surprise: sugar cravings went away! It felt like a whole-body reset after a few days of tea, remedies, lots of water, and rest.

Though it was wise to take time to heal, it was more than a bit frustrating to have to scratch all of our appointments and goals for the week. So if getting sick is something you don’t have time for, take time for keeping yourself well. Here are some tips to do just that:

1. Wash hands thoroughly; clean door handles on a regular basis
2. Get enough sleep; skimping here will lower your immune system’s ability to fight off illness
3. Healthy diet; this should go without saying. Proper nutrition is critical to protecting the body and keeping it well.
4. Stay hydrated; it is easy to over-look the benefits of getting enough water
5. Laughter: it boosts the immune system!

Stay well, friends!

8 Tips to Shake the Salt

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The American diet is rich in high-sodium foods and, between processed foods and eating out, we are often getting much more than we need. Some say salt is a substitute for the flavor that used to exist when we consumed fresh, locally-grown produce. Though an easy way to flavor food, salt is a cheap and rather pedestrian flavoring agent.

Excess salt is a danger to the body and the brain. It can raise blood pressure, risk of heart attack and stroke, put a strain on your kidneys, and more. Did you know it can also lead to over-eating and cause weight gain?

Here are some tips to enjoy satisfying flavor in our foods, without added salt.

  1. Huddle up with herbs. What cuisines do you enjoy – Italian, Mexican, French, Indian? Choose some herbs that fit the flavor profiles and add them to your dish. For example, oregano, rosemary, and basil are go-to Italian herbs for elevating your pasta dish.
  2. Citrus zest and juices. Grate the skin of organic lemons, limes, or oranges for sweet and/or savory meals. Spritz fresh lime onto your tacos or lemon into a lentil soup.
  3. Roasted root vegetables. Lightly toss your favorite root vegetables (such as beets, parsnips, etc) in melted coconut oil and roast at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until tender, turning over once halfway through roasting.
  4. Eat slowly. Chewing your food well breaks down the carbohydrates, making it taste sweeter. Slowing down while eating introduces your tastebuds to the complex flavors in your food and makes for a more pleasurable meal experience.
  5. Caramelized onions. Sauté diced onions in some olive oil, stirring frequently until browned (about 45 minutes to 1 hour). Use in a French onion soup or on rice dishes, burgers or veggie burgers, omelets, and more!
  6. Organic food can be more flavorful. Try some organic strawberries or eggs and see if you can tell a difference between them and their conventional counterparts.
  7. De-glaze the pan. By simply using some balsamic vinegar, which combines with those sticky brown bits in your cooking pan, you can make a delicious sauce.
  8. Spice it up. Cumin adds a depth of flavor to a number of dishes, as does adobo, curry powder and even nutmeg.

Evaluate your salt consumption and then challenge yourself to incorporate one or more of these ideas. Your tastebuds and body will appreciate it.

 

Warm Breakfast: Great Goji Groatmeal

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For National Hot Tea & Oatmeal Month, we shared the Great Goji Groatmeal breakfast recipe on this recent WBNS 10TV segment with Karina Nova and Ross Caruso. With our weather being perfect (meaning: cold, rainy) for this breakfast, we’re sharing it here with you too!

What is an oat groat? It’s the whole grain form of oatmeal, before it is steel-cut, rolled, or pulverized into an instant oatmeal package. These oat groats are chewy and take some time to cook, which is why we called upon our trusty slow cooker to work the overnight shift.

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Ingredients
2 cups oat groats
2 tablespoons chia seeds (and/or flax seeds)
1/3 cup shredded coconut
3 cups water (we used hot green tea)
3 cups of non-dairy milk (i.e. DIY almond milk)
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 apples, cored and blended
1/8 cup of goji berries (or substitute with raisins)
1/3 cup cacao nibs (optional)

Instructions
Use a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Put oat groats, chia, shredded coconut, water, non-dairy milk, coconut oil, and goji berries (and cacao nibs if desired) inside. Blend cored apple and add to slow cooker. Stir all ingredients and cover, cooking on low for about 8 hours (automatic slow cookers should then switch over to ‘warm’ setting). Stir and serve with additional fruit (i.e. berries), nuts, seeds, or sweetener on top and enjoy a warm belly of food to start your day!

In the Client Spotlight!

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“Working with you was the first time I have ever worked with a nutritionist and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Now having done so I can confidently say I’m very happy I did!

As a result of our work together I changed daily food choices in my lifestyle including but not limited to: ditching sugary creamer, consuming less coffee, drinking more water, adding in kale to my daily egg breakfast routine (which I love), lowering my overall weight average by 5 pounds (my husband lost about 10lbs), incorporating more veggies in my meals, and most importantly getting my digestion back on track. I’m proud to say I’m “regular.” 🙂 I also no longer weigh myself after ‘eating bad’ and punish myself by skipping meals. I give myself grace and let my body get back into balance.

Adrienne, you are a wealth of health knowledge! I loved listening to your ideas on how to achieve my overall best level of health—both body and mind, internal and external. I also really enjoyed the ways you help break down my calls to action after each meeting. Additionally, you are full of grace and never made me feel bad if I didn’t stick with something we agreed to. Another benefit is that I look at food and my body in a healthier way. I also think more about ways to improve my mental health on a daily basis by doing things that bring me joy and help my brain breathe.

I’m also happy I did this program as I recently found out I am pregnant with our second child! I feel like it will be easier to cut out coffee now as well as deal with the hormones and cravings for things like nachos and sweets. I know I’ll be eating healthier as a whole.

The most important thing I tell others that you will learn so much about food, your body, and yourself and you’ll be so thankful you did!”

– Christine Y., London, Ohio


You know what ‘sparks joy’ for us? Well this client was not only a lovely, bubbly person to work with but her enthusiasm and gratitude for all she had accomplished reminded us of why we do this work. It is a great honor to guide her, and all clients, from a place where they feel stuck, hurt and in pain, or feeling like something is ‘off’ to where they feel light, whole, confident, and vibrant! Our long-standing mission in life is to help others heal and reach their potential. Thank you for allowing us to work our magic :).

Stay tuned, more client spotlights to come!

Your Body: Whispers or Screams?

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Source: Pixabay

You push back from the computer and yawn, eyes falling upon a clock which reminds you of the many hours left until you can leave work. You notice your bladder is full, shoulders are tense, and stomach is rumbling. Then you detect the hint of a headache starting on your right temple.

In today’s unceasingly racing world, our bodies often fall to the bottom of our priorities list, stuck behind a mountainous back-log of seemingly insurmountable tiny, and big, to-dos. Its little signals are often drowned out by the noise of our work deadlines and chores. Yet, these little symptoms are the body’s attempt to communicate with you. Like a baby, its little whimpers can become melt-downs if its needs – to eat, sleep, play, and eliminate (or the clean-up thereafter) – are ignored. As adults, what starts as a slight, pulsing tension headache can grow into a full-blown migraine.

How do you develop a satisfying relationship with anyone? You start by listening. The same goes for developing a genuine connection with your body.

By tuning into your body at regular, short intervals during the day, you can prevent a lot of the strain and stress placed upon it. Just stop, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Another tip is to look in the mirror and pretend to be your own parent or health-care provider as you check-in with yourself. Do you have dark circles under your eyes? Stomachache or bloating? Brittle hair? Ridged fingernails? Is constipation or diarrhea an issue?

If you notice dark under-eye circles, can you make a connection to fatigue and being under stress? In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), this can show a deficiency of kidney Qi (energy that flows through the acupuncture meridians. When Qi is strong and moves smoothly through the meridians, our health is said to be good).  Prioritizing sleep, exercising for stress reduction, good nutrition and even acupuncture can help re-balance the body here. Also consider that the dark circles can signal anemia and may require a visit to your doctor for a blood test.

Perhaps your hairdresser has mentioned it, or you notice on your own that your hair has gotten drier and more brittle recently. The simplest explanation could be a reaction to your hair care products; however, it could also be a signal of low thyroid function (which slows down metabolism and can lead to depression, PMS, anxiety and depression, constipation, and migraines). In TCM, this is often associated with our very yang (active, masculine) culture and not enough yin (passive, feminine) energy. To address the hair issue, you may want to have your doctor check your thyroid function or eating more ‘yin’-nourishing foods such as apples, broccoli, celery, cucumber, spinach, sweet potatoes, and healthy fats.

Peeling or ridged fingernails can be caused to low mineral absorption relating to a deficiency of stomach (hydrochloric) acid. When we are under stress, for example, our body is prepped to run from danger or fight; the body’s priority is to increase our heart rate and breathing (and release glucose from the liver into the bloodstream for energy) while it shunts energy away from digestion (imagine the body yelling, “No time to digest now! We have to run from a tiger!”). Low hormone levels during menopause can also relate to ridged fingernails. Consider getting evaluated for stomach acid production and, for menopause, remember to support your adrenal glands (they play an important role in boosting estrogen levels).

Constipation a constant companion? If you’re not having a bowel movement everyday, there could be a lot of factors to look into. A simple reason for this issue could be dehydration or not enough fiber in the diet; even supplement and medication side-effects can cause constipation. For women, hormonal changes can cause slow transit of the gastro-intestinal tract a few days before menstruation starts.

Diarrhea can signal abnormal intestinal flora or yeast (especially if you were recently on antibiotics) and can also signal a food sensitivity or allergy. Let’s not forget stress and anxiety, which can also manifest as diarrhea. If you’ve had a round of antibiotics recently, consider taking a probiotic supplement (including acidolphilus, lactobacillus, and bifidobacterium) to help re-establish the ‘good guys’ in your gut. To help identify a food sensitivity or allergy, reach out to a registered dietitian to help you make an effective food elimination plan. Common triggers can include dairy, eggs, fish, nuts, soy, and shellfish; however, other foods and even food chemicals can also be at play. This is where a food sensitivity test and certified LEAP therapist can help pinpoint the foods contributing to the increased transit time of your gut. To help reduce stress levels, consider joining a yoga class, prayer/meditation, listening to music, getting a massage, or spending some time alone to unwind.

Next time you get a minute at work or stop by a mirror, do a quick check-up on yourself, beyond lipstick application or ensuring hands are clean. By addressing health issues and symptoms while they are mild and quiet, you can help avoid the more intense, painful symptoms later on.

Read more: Quiz! Body Mindfulness & Straight Poop on Stool

 

Recipe: Spicy Gazpacho Shooters

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Gazpacho is a quick, raw, and delicious soup that hails from southern Spain. It typically includes tomatoes, peppers, onion and garlic but unique versions include pickles, avocados, cucumbers and watermelon.

Did you know that gazpacho can also be used as a salad dressing or with pasta as a sauce?

This gazpacho recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free and good for the body. It’s a healthy snack that can also be served at lunch or dinner. Watch the video segment here.

Spicy Gazpacho

Ingredients

4 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 cucumbers, sliced into chunks
1 bell pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinaigrette or red wine vinegar
1 cup cilantro, chopped for garnish
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions
Blend and serve chilled. Garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired. Enjoy!

Your Sustainable Dietary Change: 2019

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*This was originally written for 614 Magazine and is here to guide you into 2019.

Perhaps you’ve crafted your long scroll of resolutions including the popular “hit the gym everyday, never eat junk food again, be more organized” intentions. However, the first domino to create a cascading health effect hasn’t been set up. The single most important item missing from that 2019 to-do list is changing your mindset.

The first decision, the beginning domino, is key to making every other decision infinitely easier. Ready? Here it is.

Make the decision to be a healthy person. Once you do, whether presented with a restaurant menu or a choice between hitting the gym and skipping it, you’ll make the decision through a filter that ultimately leads to a result aligned with your new values. By adopting the desired identity, the behaviors naturally follow. For example, when reading over the restaurant menu, you’re now doing it through the eyes of your new identity; what would a healthy person eat? Then you choose such a dish. If you’re trying to decide between a workout and binge-watching a favorite show, the choice is already made for you (and after the gym, you can still partake).

This is not to say that you can never indulge in favorite foods. A guideline I share with clients is to go 80/20 or 90/10, meaning if 80-90% of your choices are favorable to reaching your health goals, then don’t sweat the cheesecake at your friend’s birthday party. Ultimately, you can avoid guilt, fear, and shame by having this ‘allowance’ set up. It’s more about trajectory than perfectionism.

When it comes to fad diets, they are novel and intensely followed for a short time. Some become longer-lasting, influential trends. We’ll share some pros/cons of popular diets:

Continue reading

Vegan Banana Pudding

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In honor of National Vegan AND National Banana Pudding Month, we recently did a segment where we combined the two into a demo for Vegan Banana Pudding. Not only are you getting the benefit of the potassium, vitamin C and B6 from the banana but also the creamy texture it lends to this dessert! It’s a quick, no-added sugar dessert to eat when you have a craving and is perfect to share with others. If you are fans of chocolate like we are, you’ll notice how the cacao powder and nibs elevate this dessert to make it feel like a true treat. Top with your favorite fruit (our seasonal favorite is juicy pomegranate) and chopped nuts and enjoy!

Ingredients
1 cup cashews
2 frozen bananas
1 fresh banana
2 medjool dates
1/2 cup coconut cream
1.5 tbsp cacao or cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions
Blend and serve chilled. Enjoy!

How to Handle Holiday Eating

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During a recent interview for an AARP article we were asked quite a few questions and here’s a full scoop of answers to help you handle your holiday eating.

How to handle buffets and cocktail parties:

When it comes to holiday parties where buffets are a feature, it’s best to eat a sensible snack beforehand so you’re not ravenous when you arrive.

At cocktail parties, where cheese cubes, salty snacks, and sweet treats are ubiquitous, it’s a good idea to grab a small plate and find the veggie tray first before choosing one or two favorite treats to add. Also, have a game plan with alcohol- perhaps you limit yourself to one drink and two treats. Without this guideline, or with extra alcohol involved, the intake of calories can go haywire.

Healthy ways to handle sit-down dinners:

Some ideas for smart side dish swaps include having roasted Brussels sprouts, mashed rutabaga, or mashed cauliflower. All of these have fiber and are great source of antioxidants.

Generally, fasting earlier in the day leads to over-eating later when the large meal is served. I always suggest eating a healthy breakfast and lunch, and to treat Thanksgiving dinner as you would most dinners. Enjoy one plate and focus on the conversation. There’s no requirement to eat all you can and overly stuff yourself.

Smart holiday drinking:

Q: Is it true that drinking alcohol can stimulate your appetite?
A: The main problem with drinking alcohol is its well-known effect of impairing our judgment. After a few drinks, we find it easier to ‘justify’ having more cheese cubes, salty or sweet treats. Think of the number or holiday parties you’ll be attending this year and how much this could impact your health goals or weight loss/maintenance.

General nutrition for the holiday season:

Q: Can you offer some healthy foods that are at their peak in November/December for people to take advantage of?
A: When it comes to seasonal produce, it depends on which region of the United States you are in. California has a lot of fantastic offerings during November and December, including avocados. In the midwest, Brussels sprouts, garlic, rapini, and horseradish are seasonal in late November.

Q: Is it true that stress can cause cravings?
A: Stress in general – and especially during the holidays – can trigger more emotional eating. More than foods that help reduce stress, lifestyle factors are very key in keeping  on track. Ensuring that you get enough sleep, keep up with exercise, take a bath or participating other self-care activities, is particularly effective in reducing stress-related cravings.

Shopping at the mall:

Q: Are there any tricks for surviving a day at the mall, where temptations—from food courts, to Godiva shops, to “gotta buy” seasonal goodies at Williams-Sonoma—abound?
A: For keeping on track when it comes to shopping malls and their abundance of food court options and other temptations, the same tip applies as for going grocery shopping. It’s best to go shopping after you’ve recently eaten a meal, such as lunch, and to carry snacks that are high in protein and fiber because they will fill you up. 

So often we focus on what to do during a particular holiday meal, when what we’re doing the other 99% of the year with our food choices and behaviors actually matters more. Going a bit overboard, once or twice, during the holiday season is not going to dramatically throw you off your goals. On the other hand, working with your nutritionist to improve the other 99% of the year can show dramatic benefit.