Recipe: Lemony Kale & Almond Salad

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We’ve tested it thrice so far with the crowds at Thanksgiving, a holiday party, and recent Friendsgiving with rave reviews. Here we share the zingy, tongue-tingling Lemony Kale & Almond Salad! May it serve you and yours well during holiday celebrations, potlucks, a light dinner, and even just for a mid-day snack. The dressing’s simple ingredients become something greater when combined, like when the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers connected their rings. Also, *voice lowers* it’s gluten-free and vegan…not like anyone will hold it against you :).

Yields: about 12-15 servings

Prep time: about 25-30 minutes

Ingredients

1 lb kale (we’ve used a clamshell of baby kale)
2 cups almonds, chopped
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
6 cloves garlic, crushed or finely chopped
1 tsp sea salt
Optional: pepper to taste

Instructions

Let garlic steep in olive oil. Toast almonds in pan until golden brown, then set aside to cool. During garlic-steeping and toasting of almonds, cut small batches of kale into thin strips and place into a very large bowl (with lid, for transport to holiday gathering). In a separate bowl, put dressing together by adding lemon juice, salt, and garlic-steeped olive oil. If you don’t want garlic in the end-product, remove crushed garlic from oil and discard. If you are a garlic-lover, use the finely chopped garlic, without sieving, in the dressing. Combine almonds and dressing into larger bowl with kale and toss with tongs. For best results, serve within about 1 hour. Note: the more oil used, the heavier the kale leaves will be and it will reduce volume of salad within the bowl.

❄️ Are you Frozen too? ❄️

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One of the great joys of having young kids in the family is letting our own inner child come out to play. With the recent release of Frozen II in theaters, we thought this was the perfect time to relate this to being frozen in our own lives. Elsa the Snow Queen’s super-power is turning objects and people to ice. She can build icy bridges, stop an attack, and probably make ice cream whenever she wants (lucky). But her power has to be controlled. And while Elsa freezes things, we often freeze ourselves.

How we ‘Freeze’ ourselves

How do you relate with being frozen? In what area of life are you stuck? It could be around starting an exercise regimen, decluttering the basement or guest room, addressing the issues in your relationships, writing the book, updating the resume or asking for a raise. It could be in the area of health improvement, where we want to lose weight or become more plant-based, but we just can’t seem to begin or sustain our progress.

And because we are frozen, we just find ways to feel better about it. Sometimes we distract ourselves. Have you ever needed to study for a test and then looked at the messy state of your room and thought to yourself, “there’s no ways I can study in this environment”and then spent your study time detail-cleaning the room? We may distract ourselves with lounging in front of the TV, or spending hours on Facebook or Instagram. Numbing out with sugar, caffeine, smoking, or alcohol are also ways we try to make ourselves feel better about being frozen.

What makes this even worse is we put a layer of shame frosting on top. We start belittling ourselves and ‘wishing’ we were better. “Argh,” we think as we get up from the couch after 4 hours of watching Gypsy Sisters or Netflixing World War II documentaries, “I wish I had more motivation to have exercised today” or “I should have cleaned out the downstairs closet, it’s such a mess.”

Perhaps you can relate to unachieved goals, shame storms, and numbing out. Have you ever wondered what lies beneath?

What causes us to be Frozen

In a word: perfectionism. It sounds kind of beautiful, but it’s actually one of the worst words because of the meaning and effect it has in our lives.

It’s hard to say where our perfectionism comes from, but if you’ve ever grown up hearing someone say to you, “If you can’t do it right; don’t do it at all!,” that could be part of the origin. In essence, we are told that our actions, and even who we are, aren’t worthy unless perfect. What a toxic message to carry around with us in our lives.

Perfectionism tends to either paralyze us into inaction or cause us to go overboard and, consequently, burn out.

Why even start to clean the guest bedroom if we can’t do it ‘perfectly’ and we don’t have the five hours we believe it will take? Well, because you CAN make progress, even with 15 minutes of removing trash, clutter, and boxes. 

Perfectionism with our food usually looks like following a certain diet for a few days or weeks, then falling off the wagon and eating everything in sight. There’s an anti-dote to this that allows for sustainable weight loss; chat with us and find out more.

In short, perfectionism usually causes us to procrastinate, get overwhelmed, and shut-down or ‘freeze’.

What’s the cost of perfectionism? The cost is not getting things done at all, whereas we could have made progress. The cost is our inner peace; we don’t feel at peace when we feel stressed and frustrated by not having the time or ability to do something perfectly. Perfectionism can cost our relationships with other people. If you’ve ever yelled at a child or spouse because of a small mess or because they aren’t cleaning the ‘right’ way (your way) you can see the effect your perfectionism and words have on others. Also – and this is two-fold- if you value keeping your home environment museum-perfect over having your ‘messy’ grandchildren visit or if you feel like you can’t have visitors due to a messy, cluttered environment, your relationships with others will suffer.

Check yourself: next time you find yourself frustrated or overwhelmed by a challenge, look underneath that feeling to see if perfectionism is the undercurrent.

How to get Un-frozen

The power of un-freezing ourselves comes from realizing that progress > perfection. Initially, your belief in that statement will recoil. How could progress be better than that which is perfect? Well, considering the high costs and knowing something will never, ever truly be perfect….progress starts looking really good, right? Excellence, according to dictionary definition is, “the quality of being outstanding or extremely good.” If excellence means that we can take action, feel good about ourselves, and not get stuck, why would anyone choose perfectionism instead? 

A small step, taken consistently and continuously reaching toward our goal is better than no action at all. Perhaps you remember My 30-minute Morning Routine about how many people create obstacles for themselves to workout when 6 minutes of strength-training in your own home can still help you feel better and see results. But if you don’t learn to change your way of thinking, perfectionism will keep you hog-tied and frozen.

In Frozen II, Elsa’s sister, Anna, seems to display and embody more of the element – fire – in this movie. Here’s where we have an answer to thawing ourselves out and taking action. Fire motivates, it stirs passion, and, if uncontrolled, it will burn everything in its path. So the key here is to find your motivation and use it as the fire to propel you towards your goals, but without going overboard and burning out.

Motivation isn’t usually enough though, so consider other ‘hacks’ such as scheduling your workout. The 4 Tips to Fit in Fitness blog is a great place to start. When it comes to decluttering, check out our experience with the Konmari Method for inspiration and ideas to make it easier.

Want to write a book? Just start writing, imperfectly. A typo is not the end of the world; besides, there are opportunities to review and make edits (or have others do it!). Allowing perfectionism to rule in this area of your life means your story is never shared, in-print or online.

What’s one area of your life where you’re willing to become ‘unfrozen’ and warm up your ‘fire’ to take action?

Recipe: The Anytime Warm Apple Crisp

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And we do mean anytime…it’s wonderful for dessert and breakfast (try it with some added pecans or walnuts!). Have it in the cold winter months and the early days of spring. Enjoy it on a holiday or any day. This is dish is so versatile and easy to make, it’s perfect for everyday and special occasions. Load a 15-20 minute music playlist or podcast and that’s about all the prep time you’ll need in order to be rewarded about 40 minutes later with a warm, cinnamon-y apple crumble.

Prep time: 15-20 minutes
Cook time: about 40 minutes
Yields 13 x 9 oven-safe baking dish

Ingredients

12 medium-large apples
1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour
1 1/2 cups organic oats
1 cup organic butter or coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut sugar or maple syrup
1 tbsp cinnamon

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove apple cores and chop apples into about 1/2 inch  pieces. Put apple bits into medium pot with 1/2 tbsp cinnamon about 1/2 cup water and heat to soften, about 10-15 minutes. Next create the crisp topping by combining flour, oats, butter or coconut oil, sugar or maple syrup, and 1/2 tbsp cinnamon. Use a fork (or your clean fingers) to mash the cold butter or coconut oil into the oat mixture until it looks like coarse crumble bits. Carefully place apple pieces into 13 x 9 baking dish. Spoon and spread the crumble mixture on top of apple bits until evened out. Place baking dish in oven and bake about 40 minutes or until topping is golden brown and sides bubble. Bonus: this dish pairs exceptionally well with some (non-dairy) vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

CNBC: Allergies & Gluten

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We recently had the pleasure of educating the public about the top food allergies as well as the difference between gluten intolerance or sensitivity and celiac disease in a segment this past weekend.

The segment aired on Saturday, October 26th on CNBC but you can watch them on the Advancements website and Vimeo. Learn more about this important topic with these additional questions and answers:

Q: How are food allergies and food sensitivities becoming a growing public health concern?

A: Food allergies and food sensitivities are becoming a growing public health concern because of how it affects us in healthcare expenditures, our communities, schools and even in our own homes if a family member or friend has food allergies and sensitivities.

Food allergies can cause anaphylactic shock and are a huge concern. The ‘big 8’ allergens in the U.S. are milk and eggs, fish and shellfish, tree nuts and peanuts, wheat and soy. In other countries, including the United Kingdom, they have even more common allergies including lupin, sulfites, and celery.

Q: How does gluten affect a person with celiac disease versus one with a sensitivity or intolerance to gluten?

A: In someone with celiac disease, eating gluten causes the body to attack and destroy the villi in the small intestine, causing nutrient deficiencies and gastrointestinal issues including diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, and weight loss. Even skin rashes, lactose intolerance, infertility and bone loss can be symptoms.

For a person with gluten sensitivity, the symptoms can be similar to the ones present with celiac disease minus the damage to the villi of the small intestine.

Q: What are the benefits of a gluten-free diet to those who have celiac disease or gluten sensitivities?

A: Following a lifelong gluten-free diet is imperative and the only treatment (thus far), for those with celiac disease. The good news is that the villi of the small intestine can heal and one can absorb more nutrients, have a decrease or elimination of symptoms, and have a reduced risk for colon cancer.

The benefit of a gluten-free diet to those with gluten sensitivity can be a lessening or even elimination of symptoms including skin rashes, headaches and migraines, bloating, stomach pains, and fatigue.

Q: Who else can benefit from following a gluten-free diet?

A: Some people with autism, eczema, multiple sclerosis, and chronic fatigue syndrome report feeling better when eliminating gluten from their diets. It is possible that they could have a gluten sensitivity and this may help explain why their symptoms improve on a gluten-free diet.

Also, some people have gone on a gluten-free diet as a means for weight loss, but it is not necessary nor recommended.

 

London Calling: Food & Fun

Last month we finally went on an intentional vacation to Amsterdam and London. We say ‘intentional’ because sometimes our vacation days in Columbus turn into work days (reading/writing about nutrition)…and that’s sometimes okay because we obviously have a passion for what we do, but for the brain and body to fully recharge, it’s wonderful to put the phone on ‘airplane mode’, hop on a plane, and explore another part of the world. Should you get the chance to travel to London, here are some must-eats and must-sees:

Restaurants

Zizzi

Address: 194 Earls Court Road, SW5 9QF

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The receptionist at our Kensington hotel suggested this place, and we were initially skeptical for two reasons: it was a chain and it was Italian food. It was hard to believe that we would find gluten-free options, but their online menu sold us. Vegan, non-dairy, and gluten-free options?! Amazing. They had delicious, thin-crust gluten-free pizzas that Italy itself would be proud of! With so many toppings and combinations offered, the though crossed our minds to order two (one for breakfast). There was wine, the vegan ‘Zucca’ pizza, and, of course, three scoops of chocolate and salted caramel gelato!!

Squirrel

Address: 11 Harrington Rd, South Kensington, London SW7 3ES

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Vegan and gluten-free eaters of the world, rejoice!  Squirrel offers a treehouse-like interior and a variety of delicious plant-based options (menu here). You can order coffee, smoothies, juice, baked goods, and more. They are very careful about 14 different food allergies, including celery, mustard, lupin and sulfites.  This plant-forward establishment offers a diversity of meal options ranging from chilis and soups, salads, bowls, and fancy avocado toasts. We chose chili served on a sweet potato and chose a fresh juice called “Bushy Tailed.” The squirrel-forest motif carried through the whole restaurant, including the bathrooms, and added to the pure delight of the tasty meal.

In the name of research, we came back here for breakfast and were very pleasantly surprised to find gluten-free pancakes with nuts and other toppings as options. Grab a quick meal and fresh juice…and rejoice!

Note: Remember that ‘rocket’ is  arugula in British English.

Dishoom

Address: 4 Derry St, Kensington, London W8 5SE

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If you’ve perused our recipes tab and stumbled upon our Chickpea and Cashew Korma or Spicy Indian Dal, you may get the idea that we love Indian food…and that we do.

Because of the many positive reviews about this restaurant, we made a reservation before ever boarding the plane to Europe. Trust us, you’ll want to reserve a table and skip the line when it comes to this outstanding restaurant. In a beautifully decorated Art Deco-style restaurant, you will dine on the most delectable dishes. There are vegan and gluten-free options that don’t feel like an after-thought. The dishes are meant to be shared and everything works well together. We started with a Peacock Cider while others at the table enjoyed pale ale beer and tea. The appetizers and entrees rolled in soon after. Omnivores will love the Chicken Ruby or Tikka and everyone will likely enjoy the Fried Green Chillies and Bowl of Greens. We also ordered biryani and, surprisingly, jackfruit is an option! Of course, the gluten-tolerant may want to indulge in the garlicky, chewy naan. To finish the meal, we had a creme brulee rice pudding and a Chocolate Chai that made our eyes pop with the joy of surprise – it tasted like Christmas in a cup! Since then we’ve been aiming to re-create it almost every morning.

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Of course we had to try so many different entrees, drinks, and desserts in order to do our proper research for you, that we had picked up four extra pounds of ‘luggage’ around our abdomen. The sacrifices we make *sigh* :D.

See the Sights

Definitely check out Hyde Park, it’s London’s equivalent to New York’s Central Park and, inside, you’ll find Kensington Palace, the Sunken Garden, and the Serpentine, a memorial to Princess Diana. Also, there’s the Albert Memorial. A short walk can bring you to Buckingham Palace!

Big Ben was under construction at the time of our visit so we moved on to London Tower (London Bridge was not as exciting), after playing in the fountains with other kids.

Because Mr. Chef and I had so enjoyed watching the Mr. Selfridge series on Netflix, we had to go to the aforementioned department store once in London. There we found lots of designer clothing and items and another floor held a food court with an grocery area full of culinary delights – candies, jams, biscuits, teas, macarons- and another meal or so there. Bring your wallet, it’s not a discount store.

Of course, just walking and exploring is exciting – you’ll see the red London double-decker buses, the Shakespeare-related Globe Theater, the London Eye, cool small cars (two can fit in one parking spot!). To help off-set our eating, we walked 20 miles on the Sunday before our flight back to Amsterdam. Bring comfortable walking shoes and make sure to visit this charming city sometime soon.

In the Client Spotlight!

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“As to working together, I’m really blown away. I hoped to get some advice on making adjustments to my diet, but never anticipated the many other aspects of my life that you would end up helping me with. Your willingness to dive deep into the minute details of my habits and routines is something I’ve always wanted from a professional. Also your orientation towards self-care and positivity is much needed for a generally shame-driven perfectionist like myself. I’ve hired expensive life coaches in the past who never came close to your level of thoroughness when it comes to taking a holistic perspective on health and happiness. You’ve given me so many helpful recommendations that even though I feel like I haven’t come close to implementing all of them perfectly, I keep a list of them and feel grateful to have a sort of backlog of positive changes to work on. You’re like a nutritionist, life coach and therapist all in one! So thanks for everything and looking forward to our meeting!” – Blake M., Columbus, OH

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Well you’ve probably described what we do better than we have! Many clients have mentioned similar revelations as they recount why they initially sought out a dietitian and the ways in which their lifestyle changes have also led to their positive results. As Steven has said, “It’s ALL about the connections and it goes waaaay beyond food!” and “I now see my life as many pieces of a puzzle (about 10,000 I’m thinking), with the Diet/Nutrition puzzle piece being far larger, more central and more complex than I’d ever imagined, and… it connects with damn near ALL the other puzzle pieces!” Part of being an integrative and functional nutritionist IS this work – the tweaks and adjustments not just with meal choices but with sleep, stress, mindset, and creating positive habits and routines – so that the pieces can fit together and build the ‘whole’ you.

Curious to see what better nutrition and lifestyle habits can do for you? Start your positive path with a complimentary 20-minute Discovery Call

Recipe: Amaranth for Breakfast

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Move over, porridge! We have a higher-protein option that also provides minerals such as iron, manganese and phosphorus. This delicious seed, not a grain, is called amaranth and there’s a rather sordid history which explains why we haven’t heard much about it until recent times. Marry it with chocolate and your taste buds will have a party!

Ingredients

1 cup water
1/2 cup amaranth
1/2 cup chopped strawberries
1/4 cup almonds (or choice of nuts; macadamia pairs well here too)
2 squares dark chocolate (we like 85% and 90% cacao versions)
2 tbsp shredded coconut
2 tbsp cacao nibs
1 tbsp cacao powder (optional)

Instructions

Bring water and amaranth to boil, cover, and then simmer for about 15 minutes. Amaranth is done when liquid has been absorbed. Carefully transfer into your breakfast bowl and add nuts, dark chocolate, coconut, cacao nibs and cacao powder. We often add maca or ashwagandha powder and a drizzle of honey in the case of the latter (as it is aptly called in Sanskrit “the smell of a horse”). Enjoy this power-packed breakfast!

The Perfect Cuppa ‘Joan’ 🍵

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There are many theories as to why a cup of coffee is referred to as a ‘cup of Joe’; two strong contenders emerge. One involves “joe” being a slang derivative from the other commonly-used slang words for coffee: “java” and “jamoke” (the latter of which is composed from the words “java” and “mocha”, kind of like what we did for the 5-spice Hot ‘Choffee’ recipe blog). So it’s possible that asking for a “cup of java/jamoke” could have easily turned into asking for a “cup o joe.”

The other theory is that “joe” was slang that referred to the common man, perhaps similarly to the way we might say, “hey man, good to see you” or “alright, dude.” Even the term “average joe” gives the idea that joe, or coffee, was a beverage for the common man. Have a little bit of fun and do your own research though; some fun slang we put together from the 1920’s: “You think he’s the bee’s knees? Horsefeathers! He’s zozzled, a wet blanket AND a lollygagger. Let’s blouse.” Care to translate? (Read our answer at the bottom.)

If a cup of ‘Joe’ is coffee, we think of a cup of tea as ‘Joan.‘ With the masculine name of “Joe,” we are given a clue to how coffee reacts in the body. The caffeine content of coffee can provide the rather aggressive ‘jolt’ we need to wrestle ourselves from the tendrils of sleepiness that remain so that we can start our days.

While tea can have an effect with its caffeine content, it’s generally not as severe. Depending on caffeine content and your sensitivity to caffeine, it could be more of a gentle ‘lift’ into your day. Studies show that tea has a multitude of health benefits too.

The Many Beautiful Faces of ‘Joan’

Tea is so much more than just Earl Grey or green. There are more than 3,000 varieties of tea, including oolong, green teas (including matcha), white tea and so many options with herbal teas (think beyond peppermint, chamomile, and ginseng). In fact, we have a whole cabinet dedicated to our teas. As we check in with the body each morning, it may signal the need for a bit of a pick-me-up, in which case the white tea or ginseng may be chosen. Maybe red raspberry tea for hormone health. If we’re feeling a bit under-the-weather, our cold and flu tea blend will come out. Jasmine is a relaxing favorite that has currently joined us for this writing.

Join the Tea Party

Whether black, green, or white, these teas all come from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. Rooibos (also known as red tea) and herbal teas are exceptions. The color of the tea depends on the processing method and how much oxidation it undergoes during production. Generally speaking, the less oxidized a tea is, the lighter color it is…and the more antioxidant and polyphenol compounds it contains. Also, tea typically has much less caffeine than coffee, and some teas are naturally caffeine-free.

The health benefits of tea come from a tea’s polyphenol content. Research shows that tea drinkers may have stronger bones, lower incidence of cancer and cardiovascular disease, and lower cholesterol levels.

From most to least oxidized:

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Fit in Fitness: 4 Tips

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To sing-quote the 80’s band, Europe, “it’s the final count-down!”….

….of 2019. During this last quarter before the new year begins, how many of us are still on a roll with our weight, diet, and fitness goals?

If increasing physical activity has been part of your plans, here are a few tips on how to squeeze exercise into our ever-increasingly busy lives.

  1. Schedule it! A favorite saying shared with our clients is this “if you don’t plan, plan to fail.” Whether it’s menu-planning, arranging for proper sleep, or getting your exercise in, it is unlikely to get done unless you look at your weekly plan and then create physical activity time-blocks and protect them like gold.
  2. Work out at home. Yes, it can be such a brilliantly simple solution and yet we often choose to believe that we need 2 hours (we don’t have) to allow time to get to the gym, change clothes, workout, shower, and drive back home. Forget all that – you can just WORKOUT. Load up YouTube, your favorite fitness app, or a yoga routine for 15-30 minutes in a comfortable space and start the calorie burning. That’s it! Bonus: you’ll be saving travel time as well as money formerly spent on a gym membership. Also, you don’t need to worry about what you look like – you can workout in your pajamas with hair that resembles a deranged mental patient’s – and then shower. No fancy clothes, make-up, or other props needed for dealing with the public as you would at a gym.
  3. Make it fun with metrics! Lots of our clients enjoy competing against themselves (and their friends) when it comes to getting their steps in or seeing how many calories they burned in the day. Some have even found that the technology has helped in avoiding higher-calorie, lower-quality food choices that could sabotage their efforts.
  4. Get up early to exercise. Starting the day with a metabolic-boosting workout from the comfort of our homes is a great way to start a productive day. It also means no longer have to deal with the obstacles that stand in our way to exercise at day’s end.

Give it a try and let us know how these tips work for you!

 

Surprise! Sardines

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Photo source: Pixabay

The term “sardine” has been in use for over 500 years and is thought to have come from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, Italy where sardines were found in abundance. around which sardines were once abundant. Like most fish, which can be enjoyed fresh, sardines are perishable; this why they are commonly found canned.

Sardines only feed on plankton, which is why they do not contain the high levels of mercury and other heavy metals that other fish often do (this could be a safer fish to eat for pregnant women and older adults). According to the Marine Stewardship Council, they are sustainable fish to eat.

Need some other reason to consider eating these little fish? How about good ole nutrition? Because sardines are a nutrient powerhouse, they can help keep the body healthy and prevent diseases.

Let’s talk vitamins; these fish are a great source of vitamin B-12, which helps improve energy and the functioning of the cardiovascular system. They also contain vitamin D which is important for bone health and mood. Niacin assists in regulating ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol as well as boosting brain health.

In terms of minerals, sardines are an excellent source of calcium (good for those who are allergic or sensitive to dairy, or who are lactose intolerant), iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Protein content – just once ounce of sardines contains 7 grams of protein.

Sardines are a source of healthy fats. These omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that can help prevent cardiovascular disease. These beneficial fats can also lower blood pressure and reduce risk of blood clots.

Selecting Sardines

Ready to shop? Choose canned sardines packed in water or olive oil; remember to check expiration dates. If buying fresh, the sardines should be firm, with bright eyes and shiny skin. They shouldn’t smell too fishy.

How to Incorporate Sardines in your Diet

Rinse canned sardines under cold water; gut and rinse fresh sardines. Now you’re ready to go!

Like most protein sources, sardines are a very versatile food and can be easily added to salads (like our Mediterranean salad), eaten with mustard and crackers, rolled in grape leaves to make a wrap, or made into a main dish, such as a curry.