nutrition

Episode 21 | Practical, Healthy Life Swaps

Episode 21 | Practical, Healthy Life Swaps We often talk about healthy, real food swaps like using spaghetti squash instead of wheat based pastas or cauliflower “rice” instead of the regular stuff and if you’re listening to the podcast regularly, chances are you’ve got these hacks down pat.

Today we wanted to get a little more specific, yet very simple and practical, with 6 of our favorite healthy life swaps (think protein powders, deodorant, mayo and more) to help you take a few more baby steps toward the healthiest you. Because the little steps matter.

We’ve also got a lot of “Link Love” in this episode so definitely check out all the goodie’s we’re talking about in today’s episode below. We ONLY share the tried and true and these get the Colorful Eats podcast stamp of approval!

We also wanted to ask that if you love this episode, click SUBSCRIBE in iTunes and write us a review. Think of it as a little cyber high five! This also helps other listeners find the podcast so that more people can hang out with us each and every week! Enjoy the episode friend!

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Link Love:

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3 Ways to Love On Your New Mom Bod & How to Drop the Baby Weight While You're At It

Oh the dreaded baby weight. You spend 9 months gaining the weight and 4 weeks after that precious bump appears in your arms, you’re looking in the mirror like, “Shouldn’t this fluff be gone by now!?” I know because I’ve been there. Actually, I’m there now.

I had my precious baby girl at home on Christmas Day and about a month into sweet motherhood, I found myself staring in the mirror wondering why all this nursing hadn’t eaten up the 30 pounds I gained. I swear someone said it would!?

They lied.

Post-BabyAloWellnessAnd the hardest part? Now that you’re a mama (of one, two, three or more), your time all of a sudden drops off the face of the earth.

Aren’t there 24 hours in a day?

Nope. Not after you have a baby.

Can I get an “amen”?

The struggle is real and if you’re a new or seasoned mama, you know the feeling. As a Nutritionist, I thought that getting back into the grind of meal prep and my usual fare (minus the added preggo carbs and such) would be a cinch and all would be well. I honestly thought the weight would fall off in the first few weeks and I’d be feelin’ like a million bucks in no time.

The reality, as many of you have experienced, is that taking care of a sweet little or young children takes a ton of energy, time, focus, etc., all of which we give willingly as our babes are our greatest treasures! This makes taking care of ourselves more challenging than ever. And that baby weight? Good night!

But, if there were ever a time in your life that you needed to take care of yourself, now is that time.

As mommies, we forget that taking care of ourselves is one of the best ways we can care for our families. And for a few reasons.

  • As a pillar of the family, everyone is watching and learning from you. What mama eats, how she talks about herself, how she looks at herself in the mirror, what she says, what she believes in, etc. Our kids are watching our every move (creepy, right!?) so our moves as mamas matter and can affect our children for the rest of their lives. Self-care is no exception to this.
  • It is hard work taking care of a family so if you are not taking care of yourself, your energy, focus, patience and overall wellbeing will be affected. When you feel like crap, often times you act like crap. Get it?
  • If you are like every other mom in the universe, you want to be around for your little ones for a long, long time, you want to feel good, you want to run and jump and play with your babes and even their babes (I know, I know. I’m getting ahead of myself on that one!). I find that most moms put themselves last thinking that they are doing the best for their family. But without you mom, life would be in shambles, let’s be honest.

3 ways to love on your new mom bod (and how to drop the baby weight while you're at it)...

1. Nourish that bod.

Question of the day. Do you want to get back to your pre-baby weight? “Um, duh!” you say? What you put in your mouth is key to dropping that baby weight, but keep in mind that every body is different. For me, doing Whole30 affected my milk supply in a bad way so doing something that strict is just not in cards for me right now. BUT! Keeping sugar off of my plate and focusing on nutrient-dense, whole foods is definitely doable.

Elevated blood sugar and therefore insulin levels puts your body in storage mode rather than the desired fat burning mode. Take the time to nourish your amazing body with whole foods, making sure to include plenty of healthy fats and protein sources and making sure to avoid processed carbohydrates and junk food like chips, white bread, cookies, candy, soda, Frappuccino’s, etc. I'm not asking you to be perfect, I absolutely love to enjoy a homemade cinnamon roll or a grain-free chocolate chip cookie here and there, but the majority of your intake needs to be rich in nutrients and low in sugar.

Though you’d literally kill for a quadruple shot frilly Frap, these types of food items not only mess with your blood sugar, but can also have a negative affect on your gut health, hormones and cardiovascular system. Choose to reward yourself with non-food related goodies and fill up on whole foods.

After all, a healthy mama is a healthy family!

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2. Get your "me" time in with a detox bath.

What better way to reward yourself for all that hard mommy work than an hour of quite time, sipping on a big glass of champa…I mean, lemon water, while enjoying some much needed “me” time in a warm detox bath? Arrange for the hubs to hang with the babe(s) for an hour so you can get some much needed “mommy time”, at least once a week, where you can unplug and de-stress.

A detox bath is a great way to gently cleanse the body and just unwind from the busyness of the day. Emotions can often times be all over the place as a mommy so you can choose different essential oils based on the mood you are trying to achieve. Here’s how to make it happen: fill your tub with warm water, add 1 cup of Epson salt, ½ cup baking soda and 10 drops of your favorite essential oil or essential oil blend (I absolutely love Balance and Serenity together and this combo helps to balance emotions and creates a calming affect naturally). Soak in the bath for 20 minutes. I know, I know. You’re welcome. [Details below on how to get the purest essential oils into your bath and wellness routine...I've got goodies to giveaway so scroll down!]

Detoxification is part of healthy weight loss. If your body has the opportunity to gently detoxify on a regular basis, it won’t need to store toxins in your adipose tissue (aka fat! Think of the fat cells like little jail cells for toxins!). When your fat cells are keeping your body safe from all these toxins, it doesn’t really want to let go of the fat. Give it a reason to by taking regular detox baths and exploring other gentle detox methods.

Breast feeding mamas...beware of detoxing...we don't want baby to get your junk. Gentle, everyday methods that encourage natural detoxification like dry brushing, rebounding, detox bathes, etc. are fine, but definitely stay away from intentional detoxification programs where you may be moving large amounts of toxins or heavy metals around your body.

3. Get out the house.

Get out of the house, even if baby is in tow. One thing I’ve heard from mamas who have suffered from post-partum depression is that getting out and about with other mamas or loved ones is a great way to help overcome some of those really difficult times. Figure out what brings joy to your heart, makes you laugh, gets you excited and do it! Often. And with others. By creating opportunities like this, you create a plethora of “happy chemicals” or neurotransmitters in the brain leading to more contentment and happiness in your life. When our neurotransmitters are stable, our mood, eating habits, blood sugar and so many more important aspects of life become balanced as well.

IMG_5736What are some ways that YOU love on that amazing mom-bod? What's helps you to feel nourished, rejuvenated and full of life? Please share!

xo,

Justine

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Interested in working one-on-one with Justine? Check out the Alo Wellness Shop and all the ways she can help make real food and healthy living a reality in your life. 

Citrus Salsa-Topped Pistachio Crusted White Fish

CitrusWhiteFish|AloWellness I have a number of reasons for loving winter in California [especially Redlands], but one of the list-toppers is the fact that winter is citrus season. Days that start off with a fresh grapefruit at breakfast and end with fresh-squeezed lime juice in homemade guacamole at dinner are some of the best. It’s at this time of the year that farmers’ markets become saturated with delectable orange, grapefruit, lime, and lemon crops, which is great news for the citrus-loving folk among us! Can anyone say ‘free samples’?!

Not only are they absolutely delicious, but citrus fruits are also a great source of vitamin C. This important vitamin serves to promote a strong immune system for fighting off those winter cold and flu bugs, so it’s a good thing that citrus season coincides with sick season! Besides immune health, vitamin C has antioxidant properties that make it a factor in reducing oxidative stress. A reduction in oxidative stress improves vascular health and reduces cancer risk, and that’s a benefit worth pursuing when you consider the environmental pollutants we are exposed to every day.

One of my recent trips to the farmers’ market inspired me to create a salsa of sorts using all of the wonderful citrus fruits currently in season here. I found a great recipe over on the blog E is for Eat that got me excited to make my own version to share with you all. Besides being an avid citrus fruit lover, I also have a strong affinity to fish, and what better way to enjoy a fresh citrus salsa but on top of piece of seafood?! Jaymee over at E is for Eat had similar thoughts, which is probably why I was so drawn to her idea of winter citrus salsa on pistachio-crusted white fish. Plus, fish is an excellent source of the fats that support a whole bunch of cellular functions to keep our bodies working smoothly, so this dish is really a win-win-win situation!

CitrusWhiteFish|AloWellness

The original recipe wasn’t quite suited for gluten-free eaters, so I decided to substitute the bread crumbs with almond meal. This resulted in a delightfully nutty flavor for the crust along with a boost in nutritive value. Another win-win-win, in my opinion! You can select any of your favorite types of white fish for this recipe, though I would recommend halibut caught off the California coast or in Alaska for its healthy amount of omega-3 fatty acids and light flavor. Just make sure to check into the sustainability factor of the fish that you purchase. Do your best to avoid farm-raised fish and chose a wild variety. A great source for information regarding current issues of overfishing and contamination is Seafood Watch, an organization that researches the sustainability of different types of fish and their harvesting methods to help consumers make informed decisions in purchasing.

I have a couple of tips for you as you dive into this delicious endeavor. First, be sure to process the almonds and pistachios to a fine flour when preparing the crust because anything too coarse will not stick to the fish very well. Feel free to top the fish with some of the extra nut mixture before popping them in the oven; I am a huge fan of the nutty flavor, so the more the tastier! You could probably use any of your favorite nuts and have an equally delicious result, in case pistachios aren’t your thing. Also, the coconut oil will give the fish a slightly coconuty flavor, which is a great surprise if you like coconut, but if not, feel free to substitute butter or ghee. When finishing the dish, be generous with the citrus salsa! The tastiest bites are those that have a little bit of everything. Oh, and don’t forget the avocado. It offers a great diversity in mouthfeel and texture!

CitrusWhiteFish|AloWellness

I hope you take advantage of this beautiful winter season to load up on that in-season, locally-grown, vitamin-packed citrus! Enjoy!

 

[yumprint-recipe id='7'] The post was written by my incredible intern, Ashley Huisman. We prepared the dish together and she did a beautiful job at photographing this delightful meal! Thank you for your hard work Ashley!

Like what you see? Share the love! Then join our monthly mailing list here to receive tips for healthy living, real-food recipes and updates on Alo Wellness workshop + events!

Interested in working one-on-one with Justine? Check out the Alo Wellness Shop and all the ways she can help make real food and healthy living a reality in your life. 

[Video] 4 No-Brainer Tips to a Healthy Holiday Season

photo-11 The holiday season is upon us and there is no better time than now to make healthy choices for ourselves and our family. But this is no easy task my friends. Not with all the cookie exchanges, party invites and lazy days lounging by the fire.

I absolutely adore fall and the start of winter because it means more excuses to throw parties, spend extra time with loved ones and cook up a storm. I’m sure I’m not alone in this.

These very things we are so grateful for during the season can be the very things that leave us 10 lbs heavier at the start of the New Year, tired and in a sugar coma. The holidays have become for many, a time of total and utter indulgence, but I’d like to challenge you to a better way this year.

One that involves YOU feeling fabulous by the start of 2015.

So, how does one conquer the holiday season and come out victorious?

Take a peak at our very FIRST YouTube video for tips to nourish and flourish this holiday season!

Head over to YouTube: CHECK IT OUT HERE!

 

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Smoothie Skeptic Turned Believer + a recipe

photo-3 I have always been a smoothie skeptic. Fruit, sweeteners, ice cream- SUGAR! I struggle with a good piece of dark chocolate calling my name from the freezer, no need to add the temptation of more sugar in a liquid form that is all too easy {and tasty!} to suck down.

Most of my clients are dealing with blood sugar imbalances and insulin resistance. The last thing I want them to do is add in simple sugars that spike glucose levels and feed the vicious cycle of sugar cravings and imbalance.

It wasn’t until I did some research on how to put together a healthy smoothie {because let’s be honest, they sure are quick and easy!} that I began using them in my own healthy lifestyle and in time, recommending them to my clients.

Smoothies can pack a punch of superfood power and provide the macronutrients {carbohydrates, protein, fat} to make the perfect breakfast or post-workout meal.

Here are five tips to build the perfect, nutrient-dense smoothie!

5 Nourishing Tips to Build the Perfect Smoothie

  1. Chose the perfect base. I recommend using a homemade almond or coconut milk. If you’re running short on time, use a canned coconut milk that does not have any additives {I like this one}. You can also use raw milk {if well tolerated}, kefir, coconut water or plain ol’ water. Add your liquid of choice to your high-powered blender first.
  2. Add organic, frozen fruit {preferably a low sugar option like blueberries or raspberries} and fresh vegetables. I also like to add a ¼ to ½ of a ripe banana to help create a creamy smoothie. Depending on whom the smoothie is for, you can add fruits like pineapple, mango or peaches, but do not forget the next step! As for vegetables, spinach is one of the easiest greens to add to a smoothie, along with kale. But don’t stop there! Consider adding cucumber, beets, basil, cilantro or celery to pack some veggie punch!
  3. Add a high quality fat source to help balance the blood sugar reaction, feed healthy metabolism and keep you fuller, longer. You can use coconut oil, avocado, MCT oil {I love this one}, raw cream, egg yolk {from pastured eggs only}, coconut manna/butter or coconut flakes, raw nuts or nut butters. Chose one or two for your smoothie creation and reap the many benefits of healthy fats!
  4. Superfood your smoothie. Superfoods are nutrient-rich foods considered to be especially beneficial for health and wellbeing {according to Google}. Maca root powder, lucuma, acai, raw cocoa, bee pollen, chia seeds, hemp seeds, etc. All touted for their vitamin, mineral and antioxidant punch, these items are a great addition to any smoothie. I am currently loving raw cocoa, maca root powder and chia seeds!
  5. To protein or not to protein? {Shakespeare anyone?} My humble opinion is that it is better to get your protein from real foods, but I understand that many people are looking for an on-the-go meal or need to add in extra protein. Chose a high quality protein powder that is free of sugar, artificial sweeteners, synthetic vitamins and added nonsense {read the label, my friends!}. I like Jay Robb, Raw Organic Whey and One World Whey brands, which can all be purchased online.

There are endless possibilities for building smoothies and I surely have not touched on all of them here. Play with your taste and food combinations to find the smoothies that rock your world. They are a great way to add in nutrient-dense foods, especially for children! You can even add your powdered probiotic! The hiding capabilities are endless parents!

One of my favorite smoothies combines raw cocoa powder, almond butter and banana…can you say milk shake for breakfast!? Nourishing the busy mama to the professional athlete, this antioxidant and nutrient powerhouse is the perfect meal or snack to include in a health-bent lifestyle!

Cocoa Powerhouse Smoothie

Serves 2

  • 2 cups homemade almond or coconut milk
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach, washed and patted try
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of raw almond butter OR organic peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons raw cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil OR ½ avocado
  • 1 tablespoon maca root powder, optional
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds, optional
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3-5 drops vanilla stevia
  • 2 teaspoons organic cocoa nibs, for garnish

Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth. Pour into your favorite smoothie vessel and garnish with a teaspoon of cocoa nibs and enjoy!

Shine Bright and live well!

 

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Why I Love My Work + Grain-free Zucchini Apple Muffins

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Last week, a woman came into my office after being brutally tortured {dramatic, yes} by an RD pushing “healthy” whole grains, margarine and diet drinks. Her food plan looked like a supermarket bread isle with 1-2 servings of grains during 4-6 meals each day. She is insulin-resistant and dealing with some less than desirable thyroid issues. She’s looking for relief, knowledge and empowerment to take charge of her health. I could hear the despair in her voice as she laid out her history and deep desire to feel well.

Unbaked muffinsAmidst her bags of supplements and meds, food journal, paperwork and a stack of Paleo cookbooks, she pulled out two recipes she had printed for me, “that I just HAD to try!” I was so excited that she shared one of her favorites with me, knowing how finding a good recipe, a tasty meal, a new ingredient can make a foodie’s whole day!

My clients are awesome. They come to me, often times desperate for something more than they’re getting from other healthcare providers, looking to change the course of their health. They want to feel better, move better and live fully.

The most rewarding aspect is when they kick-butt and totally rock out whatever crazy awesome protocol I put them on.

They come in astonished by how well they’re sleeping {I even had one guy get mad at me, saying, “How am I supposed to catch up on my TV if I am sleeping through the night!?”}, they’re new-found energy and lack of sugar cravings and how they can’t believe they’re not bloated after meals. They feel good. They feel alive.

I am so thankful for each one of my clients and am inspired by their drive to take action.

Today I wanted to share my version of my client’s recipe, {Grain-Free} Zucchini Apple Muffins. Enjoy these nutritious muffins for breakfast with butter or coconut manna or as an afternoon snack. These are also a great for children’s lunches!

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{Grain-Free} Zucchini Apple Muffins

  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 cup nut butter {almond, organic peanut butter, sunbutter, etc.}
  • ¼ cup or less raw honey or pure maple syrup
  • 3 eggs, preferably pastured
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped {soaked and dehydrated is best!}
  • optional: 1/2 chocolate chips {I like the Enjoy Life brand}

Preheat over to 350°F.

Put grated zucchini in a clean kitchen towel or strong paper towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

Place zucchini, apple and carrot in a medium mixing bowl and lightly toss. Add nut butter, honey, eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly.

In a separate bowl, mix coconut flour, baking soda, spices and salt.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix to combine. Fold in walnuts.

Spoon batter into a lined or greased cupcake pan. I like the If You Can brand, Unbleached Baking Cups or using coconut oil to grease the pan.

Bake for 18-22 minutes.

Enjoy!

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Merry Christmas + Easy Peppermint Hot Cocoa

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” {Insert Frank Sinatra voice here}

I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and share this delicious + super simple recipe for one of my favorite holiday treats, Peppermint Hot Cocoa.

May you all be blessed beyond belief in the coming year!

Easy Peppermint Hot Cocoa + Fresh Whipped Cream

Serves 2

  • 2 cups milk (I use raw, full fat milk)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons raw cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract (I used Organics brand, you can also use a few drops of pure peppermint oil)
  • ½ cup heavy cream, preferably raw
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Beat heavy cream and honey with a hand mixer or stand mixer until soft peaks form. Cover and chill.

Whisk milk and honey in a saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; add cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Whisk in peppermint.

Top with a dollop of whipped cream and enjoy!

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Shine bright my friends!

Justine

Halloween, the Healthy Way [aka simple, nourishing & totally delicious!]

Happy Halloween

For every child in the world, there are at least 1,000 pieces of candy floating around this time of year, filling their cute little tummies with corn syrup, hydrogenated oils and synthetic dyes.  Oh, a true nightmare for Nutritionists and Dietitians alike, the Halloween season can be disastrous on those sweet little immune systems, not to mention the parents trying to control those sugar-crazed little nuggets!

Are you with me?

Is it coincidence that “flu season” flares right around the same time most of our bodies are in total sugar overload?

I think not.

Sugar can cause total and complete havoc on the immune system, not to mention our mood, sleep, brain, gut, heart, etc. Many Americans experience intense sugar cravings most days of the week so this sneaky little October holiday tends to start us on that {yearly} downward spiral into the holiday season leaving us heavier, sicker and blood sugar busted.

Why not make this year a wee bit different and nourish the bod on this spooky holiday!? Just because the neighbors bought the expensive candy with the Twix and Snickers bars {you know what I'm talking about...} doesn't mean you need to compete. Challenge yourself to overcome this sugar crazed holiday and whip up some tasty, healthy-er treats for you and your family and friends.

I promise you will wake up November 1 feeling like a million bucks! Oh, and that neighbor of yours, yeah, the one with the "expensive candy", she'll be rolling out of bed disoriented and as puffy as Will Smith in Hitch when he ate that crazy fish!

I have a couple of ideas that you will totally love! Check them out and let me know what you think! My favorite: the Dark Chocolate + Sea Salt Toffee! Yum!

Mini Chocolate Cupcakes + Pumpkin Spiced Frosting {gluten, dairy, soy-free}

{Adapted from PaleOMG’s Paleo Chocolate Cupcakes}

1 cup of blanched almond flour, sifted

½ teaspoon of baking soda

½ teaspoon of sea salt

1 cup dark chocolate chips

½ cup full fat canned coconut milk, room temperature

1 tablespoon raw honey

¼ cup coconut oil, melted

½ teaspoon of vanilla

2 organic, cage-free eggs {pastured eggs are best}

Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Line a cupcake pan with liners or grease thoroughly if you won’t be using liners.

In a medium-sized bowl combine your dry ingredients, almond flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Stir to combine then set aside.

In another medium-sized bowl combine chocolate chips and coconut milk and melt using the double boiler method. Stir consistently until completely melted. Remove from heat.

Stir in the coconut oil, honey, vanilla and eggs into the melted chocolate and coconut milk mixture.

Now fold your melted chocolate mixture into your dry ingredients and thoroughly mix until completely combined.

Pour batter into the cupcake liners and fill about ⅔ full, they will rise slightly when baking.

Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool completely before frosting.

Pumpkin Spiced Frosting

1 (13 ounce) can coconut milk

¼ cup freshly roasted pumpkin

1 tablespoon honey or pure maple syrup

½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

½ teaspoon vanilla

Place the can of coconut milk into the refrigerator for a couple of hours or overnight. Scoop solid cream off the top of the can of coconut milk and place into a blender.

Add pumpkin, honey, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla to the blender.

Puree on highest setting for 10-15 seconds, until smooth. Turn off the blender and scrape down the sides if necessary.

To frost, transfer the frosting to a decorating bag and use desired tip. If the frosting becomes too soft, let it sit in the refrigerator until it becomes firm again.

Cupcakes

Savory/Sweet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds {gluten, dairy, soy-free}

2 cups fresh pumpkin seeds {right out the pumpkin!}

Clean water

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

For Savory Seeds:

½ teaspoon garlic salt

 ½ teaspoon cumin

 ½ teaspoon coriander

 ½ teaspoon cardamom

For Sweet Seeds:

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger, ground

½ teaspoon cloves, ground

1 teaspoon honey

Clean stringy flesh off of seeds and rinse thoroughly. Place seed in a large bowl and cover with clean, warm water. Add sea salt and gentle stir. Allow seeds to soak for 6-24 hours. Once they’ve soaked, pour seeds into a strainer, rinse, then transfer to a clean dish or paper towel and pat dry.

Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, spices of choice {savory or sweet} and toss to combine. On a parchment lined baking sheet, spread the seasoned seeds in a single layer. Roast seeds, stirring every 10-15 minutes, until seeds are crispy and just starting to brown, about 1 hour. Allow to cool completely then enjoy!

Dark Chocolate + Sea Salt Toffee {gluten, soy-free}

2 cups butter {yes please!}

1 cup honey

2 cups good quality, dark chocolate

1 tablespoon coconut oil

½ cup almonds or pistachios, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon coarse sea salt {fine sea salt will also work}

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a saucepan, combine the butter and honey. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until the mixture becomes a dark amber color, and the temperature reaches 285 degrees F. Stir often to avoid burning the toffee.

As soon as the toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it out onto the prepared baking sheet and set aside.

In the same saucepan you used for the toffee, add chocolate, coconut oil and nuts and allow to melt, stirring often. Once melted, pour the chocolate mixture on top of the cooling toffee and use a spatula to distribute the chocolate evenly.

Allow to cook for a few minutes then sprinkle the sea salt over the top.

Place flat in the refrigerator and allow to cool completely.

To serve, lift an edge of the hardened toffee and break off chunks in desired sizes.  Next, devour.

I also saw these fabulous looking Honey Caramel Apples by the Nourished Kitchen! Definitely worth a try!

Don't forget! The Real Food Meal Plan - Fall Edition is in full force and available for purchase on the Alo Wellness website. Check out the Alo Wellness October Newsletter for a link to a sample day!

I wish you all a happy and healthy fall season! Make every bite count {and make 'em tasty too}!

Shine Bright!

Nourished Travels

Travel season is upon us my friends and MAN I am SO excited! One of my favorite things in life is vacationing, seeing different places and straight up livin' the life {tell me, whose favorite isn't it!?}. It helps that I have a husband whom I adore and would rather no one else to adventure with! Ah, sweet vacay memories... The hubs and I leave for Mammoth tomorrow to visit friends and celebrate a wonderful pair exchanging vows! June brings a Palm Desert lady's weekend and in late July the hubs and I are off to NY and Scotland! Summer is the perfect time to get away from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives and live it up in the sun doing things that bring us joy.

The hubs and I on a mini-trip to good ol' Vegas for a friend's 30th. Road trips are the best.

Lily loves the road as well! Obviously...

Vacations can also derail many of our health efforts as we quickly switch into “vacay mode” and eat and drink whatever the heck our little heart’s desire. PEOPLE! Vacations do not = fall off the bandwagon and forget all things we know about health and wellness! We are much better served in our efforts to relax, rejuvenate and recharge if we continue to fill our bellies with wholesome, real foods! They give us energy, thinner waistlines and sexy, sparkling skin to boast. Why fall off and feel fat, tired and right back at ground zero when you get home?

On a flight to Istanbul in July 2011, still packin! I see some beef jerky and plenty of "YumNuts" from Whole Foods! Don't forget to bring a good read!

But how on earth am I supposed to eat healthfully when I’ll be on the road for 15 hours straight with nothing but a Jack-in-the-Crack and a 7-11 for fuel or on a plane with neatly packaged, microwaved wonders full of preservatives and crap!? Great question!

Making vacations healthy is all about preparation! Yes, you have a bit of homework, but the outcome will leave you feeling 100 times better than if you just went with the flow like an Aunt we know…

5 Tips for Healthy Travels

  1. Pack dry storage snacks. This is one of the easiest things to do! There are plenty of healthy, whole food choices in your local health food store that are easy to pack in a “snack bag” that will not spoil during your travels and that will keep you full and nourished. Think grass-fed beef jerky, mixed nuts (soaked and dehydrated, of course), dried fruit, dried seaweed, kale chips, Larabars, plantain chips, Tanka bars (a traditional American-Indian buffalo and cranberry snack), canned salmon or tuna, coconut manna/butter, salami, fresh fruit, avocado, unsweetened dried coconut, etc. Since many of these foods may be packaged, it is important to read labels and avoid additives such as food coloring, preservatives and unnecessary binding agents.
  2. Pack a cooler…if possible. A cooler is key to a successful work day as you are able to pack almost anything and keep it from spoiling. The same goes for your travels, especially if you are road-tripping it! Think raw cheese, fruits and veggies, hardboiled eggs, hummus, sliced meats (turkey, roast beef, ham, etc. from appropriately raised animals and without additives), sauerkraut or other fermented veggies, yogurt, Kombucha, leftovers, etc. Be careful when flying, I have had my yogurt thrown away! You may need to use ice in a baggy, dispose of it prior to security then refill when you get to your gate at an airport restaurant or fast food joint.
  3. Do your research! Often times you can find local Whole Foods or other health food stores near your hotel or airport, depending on your destination. When the hubs and I flew to Maui for our honeymoon, we found a Whole Foods and a small organic co-op type market right near the airport. If you are traveling abroad, inquire about local farmer’s markets or restaurants that use local, whole foods in their prep when you arrive.
  4. Include a healthy treat. I say this because inevitably we are going to want to “treat” ourselves on a vacation and more times than not that equals sweets. Why not come prepared with something that won’t throw us off the deep end and into a sugary bliss that we all know quickly turns to a sugary hell!? I like taking along a good quality, organic dark chocolate (70% or more) bar or dark chocolate covered nuts. If sweets aren’t your thing then make sure your “savory tooth” is fed with the right “treats” as well!
  5. Snack prep – at home! If you’re the type that likes to make the majority of your goodies at home, make sure you plan to begin making jerky, soaked and dried nuts/seeds, granola bars, etc. a week or more prior to take off. Making these types of items at home always ensures that they’re properly prepared and as nutritious as possible. But don’t worry if the week before D-day is more than you can handle, just make sure you make it to the store to get all the nutritious goods you need!

This trips's goodies include {from top left} smoked salmon, organic carrots, sauerkraut, mixed nuts with banana chips and unsweetened coconut, Larabars {this is our "sweet treat"} and organic hummus from TJ's {this is also a treat for the hubs as we don't usually do many beans}. We also have grass-fed beef jerky, apples and hard boiled eggs. Let's just put it this way- if we had to sit in traffic the entire weekend, we'd be well fed.

It definitely takes some planning and prep time (get over it people, real food takes time and it should!), but I promise you will feel like a million bucks when you get home from your summer excursions feeling fit and fabulous. Don’t let vacations, which are meant to bring us relaxation and joy, be something that derail your efforts to be the best you possible!

As we learn more about the benefits of real foods and experience their amazing effects, it becomes easier and easier to stick to it in all situations {mostly because we feel like crap when we eat the junk we used to}. Remember, real food is a way of life, not a “diet”.

Happy and safe travels my friends!

Shine Bright!

The Big Fat Lie

Myth: Fat makes you fat.

Truth: You need fat to burn fat.

The human body NEEDS fat. Fat is one of 3 fuel sources the body can use.

Fat is imperative for:

cellmembrane

  • Healthy cholesterol levels
  • Optimal liver and gallbladder function
  • Healthy hormone balance
  • Cell wall integrity (permeability) {see cell wall illustration above}
  • Production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins

And remember, fat is the main slow burning, long acting fuel. Think glucose = twigs on a fire and fat = logs on a fire. Which would you prefer to keep you warm?

Thus, fats are absolutely necessary for healthy blood sugar regulation and optimal liver/gallbladder function and therefore optimal weight control. Most of my clients initially associate eating fat with gaining fat, but this cannot be further from the truth. I will say that if you increase your healthy fat intake and continue to eat processed carbohydrates and grains, you will most likely gain weight.

Shoot to eliminate all processed forms of carbohydrates and increase you intake of avocado, properly prepared nuts/seeds, organic butter from grass-fed cows, organic virgin coconut oil, cold-pressed flax oil, wild fatty fish, organic grass-fed animals, etc.salmon4

Caveat!

Not all fat sources are created equal. There is a difference in the QUALITY of the fats available to us.

Good Fats vs. Bad Fats

The difference between a good fat and a bad fat is in the way they are processed, not in the inherent nature of their source. {Exceptions: canola, soy and cottonseed oils – not recommended…ever} “Bad fats” are extracted from their sources using high heat and/or chemical solvents leaving the oils rancid, dead and potentially toxic to the human body. { Check this out - How It's Made- Canola Oil }

The body needs a balance of the various components of saturated and unsaturated fats.

coconutHow do you know the difference between a Good and Bad fat?

When reading food labels (please, read food labels my friends! You will be amazed at what you find…), look for these terms…

Good Fats:

Cold Pressed / Unrefined / Organic / Extra Virgin / Expeller Pressed

Bad Fats:

Hydrogenated / Partially hydrogenated / Cold “processed” (dirty trick!)

Our chose of fats and oils is one of extreme importance. Most people, especially infants and children, benefit from more fat in the diet rather than less, but the fats we eat must be chosen with care. Avoid all processed foods containing newfangled hydrogenated fats and polyunsaturated oils. Instead, use traditional vegetable oils like extra virgin olive oil and small amounts of unrefined flaxseed oil (never heat flax oil or any other omega 3 oils.) Acquaint yourself with the merits of coconut oil for baking and smoothies. Eat egg yolks and other animal fats with the proteins to which they are attached making sure to choose organic, grass-fed sources whenever possible. And finally, use as much good quality butter as you like, with the happy assurance that it is a wholesome, (and indeed an essential) food for you and your whole family.

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Did I just make everyone’s dreams come true?