Monday, December 3, 2018

How to Have a Healthy Holiday (And Spread a Little Cheer at the Same Time!)

Do you get stressed out during the Holidays?  Run around like a maniac?  Pound Peppermint Mochas and Gingerbread Lattes for the instant energy boost?  Scoff down fast food 'cuz that's all you have time for? 

Yeah, you're not alone. Lots of people are running around doing the exact same things.  You can tell by the dark circles under their eyes from the lack of sleep and the irritability from the post-latte sugar crash.  They feel like crap...just like you do.  And when ya feel like crap, ya get grouchy.  (Or at least I certainly do!)

Have no fear, Lovelies.  I've got an easy-breezy solution to get rid of that stressed out, irritable feeling.  And it's easy.  Like, super easy.   

It has to do with Random Acts of Kindness.  I know what you're thinking, "Who has time for that this time of year?  My whole problem is that I've got too much to do and you're giving me ONE MORE THING?? ARRRRGGGGG!!!" 

Take a breath. 

I promise. It takes hardly any time, and the payoff will tame your inner beast and make your friends and neighbors feel good too.  Win win!

It's proven by science!*   Being kind can:
  • Foster feelings of happiness
  • Promote empathy and compassion
  • Make you feel connected to other human beings
  • Reduce stress
  • Boost your immune system 
  • Encourage others to be kind
  • Lessen pain
So here it is.  All you gotta do is this:  

Print out this calendar (or make one of your own, using ideas that float your boat and make your heart smile) and make an X whenever you complete an Act of Kindness.  One a day, two a day...in order, out of order...whatever works for your schedule and doesn't stress you out.  ('Cuz that would be totally counterproductive...) 



 https://docs.google.com/document/d/15edJYxTBjh0Eq2Ol2wJWEdyWDhPqn7LI4QqhdcAAbM/edit?usp=sharing 


Give it a try.  Find some extra happiness and health during this Holiday Season.  Spread the love.  

Happy Holidays!
Hugs!

Dorothy


P.S.
*Hey Health Nerds!  For more about how Random Acts of Kindness can boost your health, see: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/emotional-nourishment/201711/why-random-acts-kindness-matter-your-wellbeing

P.P.S
Sorry about the random largeness of the calendar.  It was either too tiny to read, or it overlapped the page.  As one who has trouble seeing the fine print, I went for the ridiculously large version that over-extended the page...




Sunday, September 30, 2018

Soup Weather Adventure

I woke up this morning and I knew it was here.  Soup weather.  Tis the season here in Seattle--gray, misty days that are just cool enough to spark the desire to wear flannel and switch from sneakers to hiking boots.  I love it.  I welcome the gray with flannel-covered open arms.

So here's the thing.  I wasn't really expecting the lovely gray Soup Weather day, so I was caught off guard.  No freshly made bone broth, no celery, no carrots on hand...what was a soup-obsessed girl to do?

I decided to wing it.

Those of you who know me may know that on any given day, I might be trying a new "way of eating".  I do this for two reasons...(One) I'm in the process of healing my gut and my thyroid and (Two) because I'm a health coach and I think it's really important to try out different ways of eating so when clients have questions about a particular way of eating I can answer them based on true life experiences.

Now that being said, I just finished reading two books-- "Eat Right 4 Your Type:  The Individualized Blood Type Diet Solution" by Dr. Peter J. D'Adamo and "Happy Healthy Thyroid" by Andrea Beaman.  Both interesting books.  The funny thing is, based on my blood type (O) and my thyroid issues, both books had similar recommendations about how to eat.  So...I'm doing a little combo of the two and we'll see how it goes.

OK, now back to my soup dilemma!  I needed to find blood-type friendly soup ingredients that I could just toss into the Instant Pot and let it do its magic (cuz I'm totally lazy on gray Seattle days).  So...I found the following:



Not bad, right?  Boxed Chicken stock, onions, garlic, ginger, sweet potatoes, kombu, and power greens.  All blood type O powerhouses!  Yay!  Not really sure how it's going to taste, but we'll see!

I roughly chop the onions, garlic and sweet potatoes and then shave off some ginger.  I keep the finely chopped power greens and the kombu separate.


Now comes the Instant Pot.  Hit Saute and throw in a bit of olive oil and let it heat.  Next comes the onions, garlic, sweet potato and ginger.  And a little salt.  Stir it around.  Crap...the ginger is sticking!  I should have anticipated that!  So I throw in a splash of broth and scrape it up.  Note to self:  Next time add ginger after the broth. 

Oh well.  Live and learn.  So now I dump in the broth and re-set the Instant Pot to the Soup setting.  12 mins on high pressure.  Go!

Of course I totally lose track of time (because I'm writing this) so the Instant Pot beeps and it gets to depressurize naturally due to my lack of focus.  I open up the IP.  It looks like this:
  

Which is fine, but I'm more of a creamy soup girl, so out comes the immersion blender which I stick directly into the Instant Pot and blend like crazy until the contents look like this:



Then I cut the kombu into strips (by the way, this is my first time trying kombu) and add them to the pot.  I press saute and saute for about 4 minutes to soften and release the nutrients. 



Almost time for the big taste test!  I sprinkle a little chopped power greens into a bowl (just a little), pour in a little soup, add a dash of turmeric and give it a stir.  Top with a sprinkle of parsley.  Let it sit for a bit to let the greens soften.  Results?  Pretty great.  Warming and healing.  Though next time, I think I'd leave out the turmeric (and maybe the power greens...as much as I love the extra nutrients, I really DO prefer a creamy soup).  Maybe next time I will sub out the turmeric for a little cinnamon or maybe even chili powder.  Mmmm.  I'm dreaming of my next soup day already!



So that's my Soup Weather adventure...have you got a favorite that you just "throw together" on a crisp Fall day?  Share below if you like!






Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Move Over, Pumpkin! There's a New Squash in Town. (Recipe: Delicata Squash--Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free)

It's Fall.  And anyone who knows me knows Fall is my favorite.  Love the beautiful colors, the crunchy leaves under my feet, the crisp fresh air, and of course, all the delicious foods that Fall has to offer.



My old self (the one who was addicted to sugar) would go crazy in the Fall.  I would obsessively buy and try every Fall treat I could find--pumpkin lattes, pumpkin scones, pumpkin muffins with cream cheese topping, pumpkin cookies, ginger cookies, gingerbread lattes, spiced cider, apple cinnamon doughnuts, caramel apple pie, pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cake, pumpkin pancakes...you name it.  Needless to say, I always put on a lot of extra "padding" during the month of October.  I also walked around feeling like a zombie--tired, stiff, foggy brain, grouchy mood, etc.  Sugar was not my friend.

Fast forward to today.  I've pretty much kicked the sugar habit. (Woo hoo!)  I don't crave the same type of sweets that I used to.  I DO however, occasionally crave sweetness...not from a cake or a doughnut, but from a squash or a pumpkin--you know, something REAL from NATURE that hasn't been processed and then drowned in milk with 8 pumps of chemically flavored liquid sweetness.  It's been a long journey, but I made it!  ;) 

So, I'm here to tell you about my new favorite fall snack...Delicata Squash.  Well, I ate it today as a snack, but really it's a veggie...so maybe it's a side dish?  Or a main part of your vegan dish?  

Have you had Delicata Squash? Here are my top 5 reasons why you should try it:

  1. They are inexpensive...you can get them at Trader Joe's for only 99 cents each.
  2. They are EASY to prepare--Wash, cut in half, scoop out seeds, maybe cut into slices, season and roast.  No peeling needed!
  3. High in fiber, low in calories.
  4. Good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron.
  5. They are filling, sweet, and full of Fall flavor!


So, here is the snack I had today.  Easy breezy and yummy.

Roasted and Spiced Delicata Squash (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Ingredients:
  • Delicata Squash-washed, cut in half, seeds scooped out (You can leave the skin on!)
  • Spices of Choice...I used the following (But really you could just use Salt & Pepper!):
    • Salt
    • Garlic
    • Turmeric
    • Ginger
    • Cardamom
    • Ground Cloves
    • Cumin
    • Cinnamon
    • Chili Powder
  • Olive Oil
Directions:
  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees (I used the "convection roast" setting)
  • Take the prepared squash and cut into 3/4" slices
  • Put your squash slices, some olive oil, and your spices of choice into a plastic bag and seal (or put it all into a bowl with a snap on lid).  Shake, shake, shake, until all the slices are coated with oil and spices.
  • Put your squash on a cookie sheet and roast for 15-25 mins.  I like my squash fairly soft and a little crispy on the edges!
  • Enjoy! 
The one in the front is a Delicata Squash.  The one in the back is Butternut.
(I multi-task...I cooked them both at the same time!  Cook once, eat twice...)

Washed, scooped, and cut in half!

Spiced, oiled and ready to be put in the oven!
25 minutes later--DONE!





Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Aquafaba! What the heck is it? (Vegan, Egg-Free)

Aquafaba. Sounds like a word a magician would use. What is it? It's the leftover cooking liquid from beans or legumes, most often chickpeas. It's becoming increasingly popular as an egg white substitute.
Why do you need to know this? Well, you don't, really. Unless you're avoiding eggs--Hellooooooo, Vegans! (And people, like me, who are allergic to eggs or who are egg intolerant).
Aquafaba has only recently (since 2014) become known as an egg white substitute. It's often used to make meringue and mayo.
Pic from the Minimalist Baker, https://minimalistbaker.com/about/

As someone who is egg-free, but finds Vegenaise to be totally not worth it taste-wise, I was really interested to come across this recipe by the Minimalist Baker https://minimalistbaker.com/easy-vegan-mayo-with-aquafaba/ . I made it sans the brown rice syrup (as I'm avoiding all sweeteners...plus, I prefer tangy mayo to sweet) and with extra light olive oil (because olive oil is good for you!). It was totally yummy! I mean, like, better than regular mayo! What? Weird, right?
OK, so then, I thought, this has got to be too good to be true. What the heck is in Aquafaba? I mean, in every other recipe, it tells us to drain off that goopy bean liquid, right? So I started searching and came across this article about "6 Reasons to Avoid Aquafaba and Other Bean Liquids"
https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/aquafaba-bean-water/
I read it and found parts of the article to be a little alarmist, but I'm not going to lie, other parts made me nervous. Mostly I don't like the claims that Aquafaba probably has BPA in it (bad for the Endocrine System) and that it also contains the anti-nutrient Saponin (bad for pregnant women and can cause leaky gut). I mean, who wants to mess with the endocrine system or cause their gut to leak???
So then I did a little more research, and like anything, there are two sides to every story.
I came across a site completely dedicated to Aquafaba.(http://aquafaba.com/index.html)
(Seriously. You can find anything on the internet.)
So, according to this site, "3/4 cup of Aquafaba contains less than three hundreds of a percent of saponins".  That kind of took away my worry about the saponins.  

BPA though...still a worry.  But this goes with anything that comes in a can--beans, tuna, salmon, pumpkin puree, soup, etc.  I don't use a lot of canned stuff (I've weaned myself off over the years), so that is not too high of a risk for me, personally.  If you use canned everything...you may want to re-think that and start cooking some of your canned stuff from scratch or finding glass jar alternatives.

So now what?  I REALLY liked that mayo recipe!  Should I still make it?  

Aquafaba is definitely not something nutritious, but it also doesn't seem toxic.  For me, I'm throwing it in the "neutral" category for now and I'll keep my eyes open for more research.  I think more info is needed before I can totally get behind it as something I use FREQUENTLY as an egg substitute.

Right now, mayo is a rarity for me, so I think using Aquafaba once in a blue moon to make Vegan Mayo is okay for me, personally.  

How about you?  Is Aquafaba something you use or avoid and WHY?  

We're all different--one person's food is another person's poison and only you can decide what works for you!  No judgements!


As always, feel free to leave constructive comments below!  I'd love to know your thoughts!

--Dorothy




   

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Recipe: Shrimp, Zoodles and Green Goddess "Pesto" (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

So you noticed that "Pesto" is in quotes, right?  There's no cheese in this one. (I know, a lot of you are saying "Booooo!"  But my Dairy Free friends are saying, "Yahooooo!")  Also, not sure if it is because I used a Magic Bullet, rather than a Food Processor (I'm not a cook remember?), but my "Pesto" came out delightfully creamy rather than "Pesto-y".  

Regardless, it was delicious--and totally healthy.  Lots of good veggies and herbs, healthy fats, and even some protein.  If you're not a shrimp eater, feel free to sub out with chicken, beef, beans, or whatever strikes your fancy.  It's all good!  Enjoy!

BIG GADGETS NEEDED:
  • Spiralizer
  • Food Processor (or Magic Bullet!)

INGREDIENTS:

   FOR THE ZOODLES
  • 2-3 Zucchini, washed, ends trimmed and zucchini cut in half
  • Coconut oil/Avocado Oil (if heating your zoodles) 
   FOR THE "PESTO"
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves packed
  • 1/2 cup baby arugula packed
  • 1/3 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped chives or green onion tops (NOT the white part)
  • 3 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon jarred capers, drained
  • 1/4 teaspoon of the caper brine (i.e., liquid from jarred capers)
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  • Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
   FOR THE SHRIMP
  • Shrimp
  • Coconut oil
  • Garlic Powder
  • Lemon
  • Salt
  • Pepper
   OPTIONAL
  • Chopped cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh Basil

HOW TO:

   ZOODLES
  • Wash and dry your zucchini.  Trim the ends.  Cut in half.  Prep a plate with a paper towel to catch your freshly spiralized zoodles.
  • Use the "spaghetti" blade and make your zoodles.
  • Pat zoodles dry with paper towels
  • Now let the zoodles sit and go make your pesto

   PESTO
  • Take all pesto ingredients and add them to your food processor.  Blend.  Yup.  It's that easy.
   SHRIMP
  • Heat up your fry pan.  Add the oil.  Add the shrimp.
  • Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  • Cook until just firm.
  • Squeeze a little lemon on top.  Remove pan from heat.  Take shrimp out of the pan, put them on a plate.  
   HEATING ZOODLES (Optional)
  • Choice is yours.  If you're a David Wolfe follower, maybe you like your zoodles crunchy and raw.  Me?  I like them just warm with a slight snap.
  • So...if you're like me, take your shrimp pan and wipe it out carefully with a paper towel. Please do not burn yourself.  That would not be cool (literally).  
  • Throw a little coconut or avocado oil into the pan and heat to medium high.  Once the pan is hot, toss in your zoodles and stir them around for 2 mins.  (They will still be a little crunchy.)
  • Do not overcook or you'll have a mushy mess.  Nobody wants that.
   COMBINE
  • Put a little pesto over the top of your zoodles (if the pesto isn't runny enough, you can always add a little warm water to thin it out--there's totally enough flavor in there to do this) and mix it in.  
  • Shrimp goes on top.  
Done.  

Maybe add some chopped cherry tomatoes on top and if you want to look extra fancy add a little sprig of basil.  Enjoy!  

Let me know how it goes or if you add your own little flair to the recipe!  



Thursday, August 2, 2018

Recipe: Cherry Banana N-ice Cream (Dairy free, Vegan, Paleo)

So I was super sad when I was told that I was allergic to dairy.  Like, suuuuuper sad.  

No butter, cheese, yogurt, milk, chocolate, cream, sour cream, creamy dressings, cream sauces, chowder, bisque, pizza, mac n cheese....and worst of all...no ice cream!  Whaaaa???  How would I ever survive?  Especially during the summer!

Well, where there's a will, there's a way!  And here's the way!  I started making my own...sans milk/cream of course.  And it's easy breezy.

I even have a favorite flavor already.  It's cherry banana.  So here's my recipe for 
Cherry Banana N-Ice Cream.  (If you're wondering, the "N" stands for "Not". You can say it out loud like, "Nnnnice Cream".  Isn't that fun to say?)




PLANNING AHEAD:  

  • Making this N-ice Cream requires frozen bananas. SOOOOO....When you buy bananas and they get to that stage where they're starting to get little brown spots on their gorgeous yellow peels, don't grumble and toss them out in a couple days.  Instead, peel them, cut them into bite-sized chunks and freeze them.  

EQUIPMENT:

  • I use a Magic Bullet (with only a slight struggle...it's just on the edge of being not powerful enough!), but I'll bet you could use anything whirly--blender, food processor, Nutribullet, Vitamix, Ninja, etc.  
    • BTW, you may be wondering, if my Magic Bullet isn't quite powerful enough then why do I use it?  Well, it's sooo darn easy to clean...and I'm super lazy about washing dishes...true story.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2  frozen banana (sliced)--you can guesstimate here as to how many slices make up 1/2 a banana
  • Frozen cherries (no sugar added, organic--after all, cherries are on the EWG's 2018 Dirty Dozen list)
  • Splash of liquid--water, almond milk, coconut milk, coconut cream, etc. (I use canned coconut cream from Trader Joe's.  Why?  Cuz it's organic and there are no weird ingredients like carageenan, guar gum, soy lecithin, or xanthan gum.)

DIRECTIONS:
  • Stick all the ingredients into your whirly thing and blend until it's the consistency you like (ie. Liquid-y like a shake or creamy like soft serve).  
  • Eat slowly!  Avoid brain freeze at all costs!
Image result for sliced bananaImage result for cherries


See?  Easy breezy!  Now, the fun part!  You can add stuff or take stuff out.  Like what, you ask?
  • To your Cherry N-ice Cream (AFTER blending) you can stir in cacao nibs, tiny chunks of Montezuma's Absolute Black 100% Cocoa (you can get it at Trader Joe's at the moment), and/or roasted salted pecans.
  • Swap out cherries for blueberries, strawberries, mangoes, power berry mix or whatever you like!  Just make sure there isn't any added sugar or other crap...cuz who needs that?
  • Add in other fun things like cocoa powder, PB,  cinnamon, or vanilla BEFORE blending.... or stir in nuts, toasted coconut, or similar fun stuff AFTER blending.
  • Maybe go totally crazy and add in mint leaves and chocolate chips, or pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice if you wanna go all Fall-like. (Please note...chocolate chips are most often not vegan or paleo if you're sticking to one of those ways of eating.)
  • Really, the possibilities are endless!  Have fun with it!

Image result for blueberriesImage result for strawberriesImage result for pecans

HUGS!
Dorothy

Friday, July 27, 2018

Are You Dying Slowly...or Living Vibrantly?

A lovely friend of mine posted the following poem (Muere Lentamente) written by Martha Medeiros and translated to English by Pablo Neruda.  

You Start Dying Slowly


Kinda thought-provoking and beautiful, right?  
And then I thought...why do we have to go down that path? Why can't we change our direction...change our mindset...focus on the positive?  So here's what I've got...


So my wish for you today is that you find ways to live vibrantly.  Let me know how it goes!

Hugs to you!
Dorothy