Spring into Health: What in the World is Kohlrabi?

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I incessantly encourage my clients to eat more cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, Brussels sprouts, bok choy).  They are loaded with phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals that can help with hormone balancing, cancer prevention, and heart disease prevention. Their natural anti-inflammatory properties can avert any form of inflammation.

If you dislike any of the aforementioned vegetables, no worries! There is an unfamiliar cruciferous vegetable that I love more than all of the above. It’s sweeter and more succulent. It’s called Kohlrabi–find one at a farmer’s market near you! Kohlrabi has more than 100% of your daily vitamin c needs and it is loaded with minerals as well as the cancer-fighting phytonutrients.

Try this recipe: kickin Kohlrabi Slaw.

Ingredients:

  • –          1 Kohlrabi, peeled and shredded
  • –          ½ cup plain yogurt
  • –          2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • –          3 Tablespoons of honey or agave nectar
  • –          2 shredded carrots
  • –          Handful of raisins
  • –          Sea salt to taste

Directions

Mix the yogurt, vinegar, and honey or agave nectar. Mix the kohlrabi and carrots. Pour yogurt mixture over the kohlrabi and carrots. Season with sea salt and toss in the raisins!

Enjoy the sunshine and fuel yourself with healthy choices like this! Two keys to vitality!

Better than Rice & Beans

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I love experimenting with different fiber-filled whole grains during this No White Flour Challenge. Millet has a nice nutty flavor and quinoa is a personal favorite because it is a COMPLETE protein source. I wanted to add a little bit of green to this recipe so I diced up a zucchini and added it. Feel free to swap that for green pepper.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of millet rinsed
  • 1 cup of quinoa rinsed
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 cans red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 jar of organic salsa of choice (I like Newmans)
  • 1 zucchini chopped in small cubes and steamed for 5 minutes

Directions: Bring quinoa, millet and water to a boil in water. Once boiling, turn to a simmer. Simmer for 25 minutes. Immediately transfer grains to a big mixing bowl and fluff with a fork. Add beans, salsa and zucchini, and voila! You can add a small amount of part-skim cheddar if you are a cheese fan. Anyway you have it; this is a tasty, easy way to get in good, hearty whole grains.

 

Fingerprint Cookies—My Treat to You

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Hi there! So I have made it to the half-way point of my five-week No White Flour Challenge.

If you are craving cookies, here is a “healthier cookie” recipe just for you. Using ground almonds and oats as well as whole wheat flour, a serving of these cookies boasts five grams of protein and four grams of fiber. I am not saying to indulge in these every day because they do have sugar (from the maple syrup and jam) and they have saturated fat (from the butter).

What I am saying is that these are healthier for you than most cookies you find! They are great to make with your kids too like the ones in the photo I took above (notice the different fingerprint sizes).

Enjoy!

FINGERPRINT COOKIES

Yield: 24 cookies

Serving: 2 cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 cup of rolled oats

1 cup of almonds

1/4 cup butter

¼ cup apple sauce

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

½ jar all fruit jam

Directions: Grind the rolled oats and nuts in a blender or food processor.  Add them to flour.  Mix the butter, vanilla and maple syrup.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix well.  Drop batter onto the cookie sheet using a spoon.  Make a finger print in each cookie and fill it with jam.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Snacks during the No White Flour Challenge

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I have been asked a lot of questions about how to maintain the No White Flour Challenge over the past week and perhaps the most frequently asked question is, “What do I do about snacking?” I know, I know, plain ol’ fruit and veggies can get boring, but you can “spice it up,” literally! This entry will give you some ideas of how to do that.

A lot of times, the white-flour food you crave can be combated if you choose a non-white-flour food with a similar texture, so I will categorize some snack choices based on texture.

Crunchy Snacks:

These crunchy snacks are way healthier than the crackers or chips that you tend to fill up on when craving a snack. Yes, I do have some fruit and veggies on this list, but they are oh-so-flavorful with the condiments or spices that I add.

– Carrot sticks, snap peas, green beans, celery, bell peppers with hummus

– Popcorn…pop it yourself…lightly salt it, and guess what? It’s a whole grain!

– Kale chips…preheat oven to 350…grab a bunch of kale, de-stem it, chop the leaves, brush olive oil on the leaves and place in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder and ¼ teaspoon of sea salt on them and bake for 12-15 minutes. Way better than chips

– Roasted chickpeas—so crunchy and fun. Check out the recipe on my website

– Organic corn tortilla chips with salsa. No white flour here, but with corn, you want to make sure it’s organic, otherwise it’s likely that it is genetically engineered!

What about cake…or cookies…or BROWNIES?

There are actually some whole grain flours you can use…or even non-grain flour like almond flour to make cake-like treats.  Try quinoa flour, brown rice flour, almond flour, or buckwheat flour.  Even whole wheat flour is an acceptable flour to make with.

Did you know that you can also make sweet treats with beans?! I kid you not. Check out the brownie recipe made with black beans that I posted on my website.

Even Harvard University School of Public Health is a proponent of making sweet treats with beans. Check out the delicious lemon-chickpea breakfast muffins! Yummier than cake!

If you are a cookie lover, you will love this “healthier” chocolate chip recipe using coconut oil and whole wheat flour.

Try these snacks anytime you are craving a white flour “delight.” If you don’t have time to bake, there are some whole grain treats you can buy at the store. There are some sweet Kind Bar flavors that combat my cookie cravings—try the Dark Chocolate Nuts + Sea Salt flavor!

Feel free to add your healthy snack ideas in my comment section below and keep rocking my NO White Flour Challenge!

 

 

Keep a Healthy Weight and Feel Great at 40

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I can’t even count how many women choose to come see me when they hit the milestone of age 40. As women, when we start to hit middle-age, our metabolic rate drops so we can’t burn calories as quickly. I have also found that stress takes over for a lot of women in this age range, juggling career, children, and other obligations—and unfortunately, emotional eating may result.

Don’t fear, it is totally possible to prevent weight gain after 40 by following a few guidelines I have outlined below:

  • Address your gut health. You want to ramp up on your healthy bacteria. Most women are great with yogurt, but I suggest kicking it up a notch with kefir. You may want to even consider a probiotic supplement to further improve your gut health. You also want to be sure you are getting enough fiber in your diet from fruits and veggies—some of my high-fiber favorites include broccoli, peas, artichokes, avocado, squash, pears, and berries.
  • Make sure you get enough protein—and not just at dinner. Try to get at least 15-20 grams of protein at every meal time. Consider eggs for breakfast or tuna at lunch. Turn to protein-rich snacks as well. Cottage cheese, yogurt, a piece of fruit with nut butter. I also like roasted chickpeas; I have a great recipe for honey-dill roasted chickpeas on my website.
  • Curb your carbohydrate cravings with water. I’m serious about this! If you keep yourself hydrated, you will have way less cravings. Try to schedule your water if you have to. For example, have 16 ounces before 9:00 am, 16 ounces before noon, 16 ounces before 3:00 pm, and another 16 ounces before 6:00 pm. The bonus about keeping hydrated with water is that it will help that healthy gut bacteria thrive.

Try these tips out; stay active; get ample sleep; and reduce your stress with yoga or meditation as well as fun with friends and family and you will feel fabulous at 40 and beyond!

 

 

Celebrate National Nutrition Month with Veggies

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March is National Nutrition Month—a perfect time to discuss one of the healthiest food groups you can consume—veggies! Vegetables are low in calories, high in vitamins, and high in antioxidants. Each time you eat a meal, you should make sure at least half of your plate is fruit and vegetables. Turn to veggies for snacks too.

To truly reap health benefits from veggies, your goal should be to make sure that you consume veggies from each of the five sub-groups of veggies every week. In this entry, I discuss each group and some ideas of how to eat the veggies within each particular group and the amount of veggies women and men should consume from each sub-group every week.

Dark Green Veggies

Broccoli, kale, spinach, collard greens, chard, and Brussels sprouts are some of the vegetables in this group. Kale is probably one of my favorites. I like it sautéed, in salads, and it’s great in soup too. Check out my delicious strawberry kale recipe on my website . Women should aim for at least 1.5 cups of veggies from this group every week and men should aim for two cups.

Red and Orange Vegetables

Veggies in this group include red and orange peppers, tomatoes and carrots, as well as beets and red onions. I love adding red onions to salads. Peppers and onions are yummy in omelets.  And you can’t go wrong dipping carrots, grape tomatoes, and peppers in hummus. Women should aim for 5.5 cups of veggies from this group every week and men should aim for six cups.

Beans and Peas

Think of all the different type of beans there are: black, green, pinto, kidney, chickpeas, and more. These have more fiber and protein than veggies from the other groups as do peas. You’ll love the bean salad recipe on my website. Women should aim for 1.5 cups of veggies from this group and men should aim for two.

Starchy Vegetables

The main starch veggies are your potatoes, yams, and sweet potatoes. These guys get a bad rap, but they’re filled with lots of important vitamins and minerals. I sometimes bake a sweet potato for a snack—naturally sweet and delicious!  Women should aim for five cups from this group and men should aim for six. I know that sounds like a lot, but over the course of the week, it really isn’t.

Other Veggies

Think of other veggies you might eat—cucumbers, celery, onions, etc. Women should consume around four cups of other veggies and men should consume five.

These recommendations come from MyPlate. I generally agree with these, but I do think it’s okay to eat more from the dark green veggie group and less from one of the other groups. As long as you eat a lot of veggies and a good variety, you’ll be insuring good health for the long run and that’s a wonderful thing!

Reach for an Avocado for your Heart

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For this last week of Heart Health month, I am going to feature some of my favorite heart-healthy foods. Today, I will zoom in on Avocados. I LOVE Avocados, they are king of Omega-9s, a heart-healthy fat. I’m including an Avocado DESSERT recipe in this blog as well.

Why Avocados are Heart-Healthy:

-They may lower your bad cholesterol and total cholesterol

A recent study at Penn State tested three different diets, all designed to lower cholesterol. One diet was low fat, one was moderate fat, and one was moderate fat with an added Hass Avocado. The researchers tested the diets with 45 healthy, overweight adults. All three diets significantly lowered LDL — also known as bad cholesterol — as well as total cholesterol. However, participants experienced an even greater reduction in LDL and total cholesterol while on the avocado diet, compared to the other two diets, according to this study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

They may lower you triglyercide levels

People tend to know more about cholesterol than they do about triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood. When you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn’t need to use right away into triglycerides. The triglycerides are stored in your fat cells. Later, hormones release triglycerides for energy between meals. However, many people eat more unhealthy carbs and unhealthy fats than they can burn so the triglycerides remain stored. High triglyceride levels provoke metabolic syndrome, which is a high risk factor for heart disease.

A recent pilot study found that when avocados are added to a burger, your triglyceride levels do not increase. When the burger is eaten alone, your triglyceride levels do increase. How cool, right? You can help combat the unhealthy effects of a burger by adding avocado!

They help you absorb all the antioxidants from other healthy foods

Avocados can actually help increase the absorption of nutrients from other vegetables! This is a concept known as nutrient fusion. For instance, a salad with lettuce, carrots, some spinach, and salsa is rich in carotenoids (example: beta carotene), which are extremely health-promoting. Add an avocado in your salad, and you automatically increase your body’s ability to absorb those nutrients! Why? Because these carotenoids are lipophilic (which means they are soluble in fat, not water); if you eat them along with a healthy fat, like avocados, you enhance their bioavailability!

So, on your next trip to the grocery store, pick up some avocados…trick your loved ones with this avocado mousse dessert!

Awesome Avocado Mousse (Makes 4 servings)

By Kelly Springer. RDavocado_mousse

Ingredients:

-3 avocados

– 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk

-1/4 cup cocoa powder

-2 Tablespoons maple syrup

½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon

-Unsweetened dried coconut for garnish

 

Directions:

Blend the first five ingredients until smooth. Pour into 4 ramekins or small bowls. Chill for at least two hours. Garnish with dried coconut.