New obsession: Blueberry Salsa!

Throughout my pregnancy I’ve noticed significant changes in my food aversions. During this third trimester I find that I can’t look at red meat and I’m eating more fruit than ever! I still need to eat chicken, beans and turkey for protein and iron so when I found this recipe to smother them in fruit I was ecstatic!

Below is the original recipe and a second version I altered for fish.

Original Recipe: Great for tacos, chicken and protein bowls. This version is Paleo, Vegan, Whole30 and low carb

  • 2 Cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 Cup cilantro, fresh and finely chopped
  • 1 Lime, squeezed
  • 1 Red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 Red onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Jalapeño peppers, seeded and membrane removed, finely chopped

Recipe for fish:

  • 2 Cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 Cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1/4 Cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 Lime, squeezed
  • 1/2 Red onion, chopped
  • 1 Cup watermelon, chopped (also works with mango!)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Jalapeño peppers, seeded and membrane removed, finely chopped

New obsession: Buddha Bowls

Recently I’ve been diverting back to my vegetarian ways. As someone that doesn’t like salads I’m left with veggie burgers, yogurt, nuts and fruit. Buddha bowls allow me to mix in a variety of ingredients and feel satiated without adding animal protein.

Here is my buddha bowl blueprint: I pick one or two items from each category

  • Cooked grains or riced cauliflower
  • Avocado
  • Sweet potato, butternut squash, carrots or cauliflower
  • Radish, cucumber, beets, olives, broccoli, peas, mushrooms, fire roasted corn
  • Kale or arugula
  • Hummus, tahini, falafel, tofu
  • Mint, parsley, basil, coriander, cilantro
  • Dressing: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, ginger or cilantro

Pan Fried Cinnamon Bananas

Dessert without feeling guilty!

4 Ingredients:

  1. 2 Bananas slightly overripe
  2. 1 tsp Cinnamon
  3. 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
  4. 2tbsp sugar (I use to taste because 2 tbsp’s is quite a bit of sugar and calories!)

Steps:

  1. Peel and Slice bananas into 1/4 inch thickness
  2. Throw bananas, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar into a ziploc bag. Mix thoroughly but cautiously not to smash the bananas.
  3. Add to a frying pan and cook for 10 minutes rotating the bananas until they carmelize.

Healthy Tacos!

Being a Taco lover is I made it a mission to find some healthier recipes. Restaurant tacos are exploding with sodium and often enveloped in fried tortillas. Using fresh ingredients to eliminate the sodium was easy but finding a substitute for that oily, crunchy shell not so much! Here is a list of my shell alternatives, ingredient upgrades and tips!

  • Taco lettuce wraps: What I like about these is that you still get that crunch when you bite into them. I like to use a full romaine leaf for these.
  • Avocado stuffed tacos: Avocados are a great source of healthy fats. However it’s best to limit your portion to half of an avocado if you’re watching your calories. Depending on the size an average avocado can pack 250 calories! There is a ‘light’ avocado available in supermarkets. It’s larger, has more of a watery then dense taste and of course less calories. The flavor of your taco stuffing completely masks the lack of fat flavor and the texture is identical. I like to use these when I can find them and fill them with meat and tomatoes!
  • Taco stuffed peppers: This is an easy alternative to a shell. Cut bell peppers down the center, remove the seeds and stem and stuff away!
  • Taco stuffed sweet potato: This is my favorite of all the options! You’re probably thinking potatoes are high in carbs. Well carbs are not bad for you, especially healthy carbs that come from vegetables vs processed tortilla chips. This is a great post-workout meal!
  • Lentil Tacos: When you make lentils from scratch they have much less sodium then those you find in a can or frozen. So for my vegan fans consider these protein packed legumes.
  • Taco shells made out of zucchini and eggs: The best way to make these unique shells is to use zucchini zoodles and chop them up into bite size pieces. Saute them in a pan with egg and create a small omelette, cooking on both sides. Fold them up like a pancake!
  • Black bean & corn: If you’re looking for a meat alternative try fresh black beans and fire roasted corn. Grille the corn until it has grill marks and then cut it off the cob with a knife (watch your fingers!). Boil the beans yourself to avoid extra sodium. Add cilantro, salt, tomatoes, onions, cumin and jalapenos to taste.
  • If you’re looking for a way to incorporate more fish into your diet, tacos is a great way. Most people tell me they don’t eat fish because they don’t like the taste. The toppings in a taco can easily mask the fishy undertone and using a less “fishy” fish should help. I like swordfish and tuna. Both are very mild and the texture it more dense than a typical fish. If you don’t have a grille you can use an air fryer to crisp up the fish! This works best with a cod like, white fish. You can even coat them in panko bread crumbs before frying.
  • Hosting a taco party? For bigger portions consider stuffing spaghetti squash with your taco filling.
  • Cauliflower crust taco pizza: Cauliflower crust is available at Trader Joe’s and Wholefood stores nationwide. Bake your crust, add your topping, bake again and bam you have a healthy taco pizza!
  • Mason jar tacos: And last but not least, layer a mason jar with all your favorite taco ingredients. You eliminate the shell and create a portable taco! You can take it to work, have a taco picnic or surprise a hangry boyfriend.

Why I drink Après every day..and no they’re not paying me for this.

Après has been a lifesaving gem I found online about a year ago. Having numerous food sensitives and being unable to consume enough protein in my diet to gain muscle has always been a challenge. I use these drinks as breakfast when I’m in a rush, as post workout recovery drinks and occasionally as dinner if I got home late and don’t want to eat a full meal before bedtime. (These are my personal methods not dietary recommendations. For that you should consult your health care provider)

I have been recommending Après to my patients since I’ve tried them. With 4 flavors and a world of nutritional benefits in my opinion there is no downside to these drinks.

Let’s talk about the ingredients. Full list in order of content (Mint Cacao flavor-because it’s my favorite and it’s sitting on my desk right now): Filtered water, organic coconut water, plant protein blend (pea, chia, cacao, hemp), organic virgin coconut oil, natural flavors, organic coconut sugar, organic cocoa powder, organic sunflower lecithin, electrolyte blend (potassium phosphate, sea salt) organic Madagascar vanilla extract, organic monk fruit extract and gellan gum.

**Non-GMO, Vegan, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free**

Organic coconut water and virgin coconut oil are packed with metabolic fats. You’re probably thinking oil is a fat. Not all fats are the same! This form of fat categorized as medium-chain triglyceride (MCT). There are numerous benefits of adding MCT’s to your diet I outlined a few here:

  • Easily digestible
  • Promote weight loss: They make you feel fuller longer, prevent obesity, are processed by your body in a way that requires you to burn more calories and people that consume them on a regular basis usually have a decrease in their waistline circumference.
  • Have 10% fewer calories than other fats such as those found in nuts
  • Ketogenic friendly: This fat is metabolized into ketones and not body fat.
  • Ketones can pass through the blood brain barrier supplying your brain cell with energy
  • The body can process them into instant energy
  • They can optimize the growth of good bacteria and support gut lining
  • They can reduce the amount of lactic acid build up following a workout. One study found that athletes who took 6 grams or about 1.5 teaspoons of MCTs with food before cycling had lower lactate levels and found it easier to exercise. Furthermore, the study found that taking the MCT oil before exercise may help you use more fat instead of carbs for energy
  • They help people with Alzheimer’s disease and in prevention. Alzheimer’s disease impairs your brain’s ability to use sugar. An MCT ketogenic diet offers an alternative energy source: ketones. This allows brain cells to survive better. It also blocks a receptor in the brain that causes memory loss.
  • Many autistic children benefit from ketogenic diets. One study found positive overall improvements when a ketogenic diet was followed for 6 months. Après can be used as part of ketogenic diet. It’s also gluten free which is occasionally recommended for children on the spectrum.
  • MCTs have been shown to reduce fat storage and increase fat burning. One small Chinese study of 40 people with diabetes found that those who consumed MCT oil daily had significant reductions in body weight, waist circumference and insulin resistance

Next Ingredient: Cacao powder

Cacao has 40 times the antioxidants of blueberries. Yes, you read that correctly 40 times!! There is a scale called an ORAC score that measures the ability of an antioxidant to absorb free radicals (toxins that come from pollution and our environment) which can lead to disease such as cancer.  Cacao has a score of 98,000 per 100g where blueberries have a score of 2,400.

Cacao also has the highest plant-based source of iron, at 7.3mg per 100g.  For comparison, beef and has about 2.5mg per 100g and spinach at 3.6mg per 100g.  It also has one of the highest plant-based sources of magnesium. Magnesium helps turn glucose to energy and is a heart healthy mineral. It also happens to be the most deficient mineral in the Western world. It’s also high in calcium and a natural mood elevator.

The last ingredient I’m going to review is Plant protein. People that eat a diet that is rich in plant proteins tend to have lower risk of heart disease, reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, lower body weight, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure levels, lower risk of stroke and cancer. This of course would only benefit you if you use Après as a substitute for an animal protein for one or more meals a day. For example, instead of having a chicken salad you could have an Après drink and green vegetable salad instead.

As a workout recovery drink Après not only replenishes your energy with its MCT’s but with electrolytes. Hydration is an often-misunderstood term. Hydration is the ability to absorb water not just drinking water as it’s often misused. You are not hydrated if you drink water, you are hydrated when your body absorbs it. To absorb, use and maintain body water you need electrolytes to maintain the balance on a cellular level. Sodium maintains fluid balance, potassium prevents cramping, calcium regulates muscle contractions and heart rhythm, magnesium relaxes the muscles and bicarbonates delay fatigue and enhance endurance. Après contains all these key ingredients.

In addition to the electrolytes mentioned Après also contains 2g of fiber, only 14g of carbs, vitamin C, 25% of daily value of Iron and phosphorus.

Why do I love the taste of Après?

All the Après drink have a smooth velvety texture. They’re not watery or so thick you can’t swallow them. No chunks! You cannot taste the protein. In other drinks I’ve tried I felt like I was drinking liquid chalk (gross). I also like that they’re cold which is great when you know you must eat something but you’re feeling a little under the weather. Your stomach tolerates cold drinks much easier. Some people get nauseous after they work out and cold fluid is all they can get down. Water is great but doesn’t replenish your electrolytes and sports drinks have so much sugar they can make your nausea worse or cause a sugar spike that’s followed by a plummet.

Après has 4 flavors: Sea Salt Chocolate, Mint Cacao, Vanilla and Cold Brew Coffee. My personal favorite is Mint Cacao which has a very slight Mint taste. They are all Non-GMO, vegan and gluten free. They taste best shaken and chilled in the refrigerator or over ice. I have mixed them with crushed ice in a blender before and partially frozen as my version of ice cream. You can take the dairy away from the girl but no the ice cream craving! You can purchase Après online here . 

I have been selling this product in my office as mentioned before for my clients. However, we can’t stack large cases, so we suggest ordering online if you fall in love with them like I did.

Lastly, this post was not sponsored by Après. This is my personal and medical professional opinion on the product. You should always consult with your own medical provider regarding your diet.

Sweet Potato Toast

Sweet Potato Toast is healthy breakfast or snack that’s also gluten free, vegan, paleo and whole30.

Tip: When buying the sweet potatoes try to pick large round ones. They’re easier to use and slice.

  1. Wash and Peel the potatoes
  2. Slice them 1/4 inch thick. Thicker won’t cook all the way through and thinner will fall apart. (if you accidently cut them too thick no worries! Poke holes in the potatoes with a fork and microwave for 30 seconds before toasting)
  3. Turn your toaster up to the highest setting.
  4. Toast your slices twice each. They should be a light golden brown when finished. If not throw them in for a third round.
  5. For the long pieces that don’t fit in the toaster, just flip them around for the second round of toasting.

Tip: You can pre slice the potatoes and keep them in a ziploc bag in your refrigerator. They can last up to one week!

Topping combos:

  1. Bananas and peanut butter
  2. Eggs and Bacon
  3. Avocados, cheery tomatoes, salt and pepper
  4. Almond butter, chia seeds and hemp seeds
  5. Apples, peanut butter, cinnamon, dried cranberries
  6. Egg whites, avocado, cilantro, salt and pepper
  7. Eggs, black beans, cilantro, avocado, salsa and cheese
  8. Cottage cheese and mixed berries
  9. Arugula, lemon, avocado
  10. Cream cheese and blue berries
  11. Goat cheese, dried cherries and pistachios
  12. Avocado, bacon and soft boiled egg
  13. Hummus and radish slices