paleo

Episode 49 | Questions from the Audience

Today’s episode is so fun because we are digging in and answering YOUR burning questions, the things you wish you could ask your Nutritionist bestie…if you had one. Well, now you do!

We reached out to you, our listeners, and asked what you want to know more about, from nutrition, lifestyle, business and everything in between. In today’s episode, we dive into our fave environmentally-friendly clothing brands, our top cookbooks (even for feeding little ones), some of our favorite everyday detox methods, the best busy mom snacks and more! We’ve linked to all of the products, books or sites we mention in the episode below so you can snag all our faves!

We’re also spilling the beans on our upcoming GIVEAWAY in celebration of our 50th episode! Don’t miss out on your opportunity to score these delicious eats and clean beauty treats. All you have to do is write a review in iTunes and you’ll be entered to win!

Highlight Reel

02:02 | Episode 50 Giveaway items…revealed

05:03 | Our fave environmental-friendly, ethical clothing brands and why this matters

17:57 | Thyroid health ain’t so easy

22:03 | How to detox everyday stress

26:25 | Why we never leave home without snacks

Download Episode 49 in iTunes!

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My Take on Grains + Cauliflower Pizza Crust

IMG_6328 A hot topic in the world of nutrition right now is that of “healthy” whole grains. This is a very interesting debate because like fat, eggs and salt, we have been taught one thing when another is actually true.

When I was in my Bachelors program for nutrition, we discussed wheat and other grains a lot and we all had a good understanding that everyone should consume approximately 6 servings of grains (half of them whole) per day. That's easy! Plus, that’s what the government taught us was healthy, so why would be question this!?

Now I have a completely different understanding of wheat and other grains {bulgur, rice, corn, rye, oats, millet, quinoa, etc.} and how they can affect ones health. I no longer recommend “healthy” whole grains as half of my clients (or family and friend’s) diets, but rather, to incorporate an abundance of nutrient dense vegetables as their main carbohydrate source.*

This is something that blows people’s minds, just like when they learn that butter is actually GOOD for them. It is also a very difficult idea for people to grasp because so many of us are so addicted to processed carbohydrates and “healthy” whole grains.

There are many reasons to limit or avoid grains in your diet, but I will only touch on a few. For starters, grains have a significant affect on blood sugar. When you eat grains, even when they’re considered “whole” grain, they flood the blood with glucose {aka sugar}, calling insulin into play. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose enter the cells to be used as energy. When we consume grains with every meal, day in and day out, we put a heavy burden on the sugar handling organs {the pancreas, liver and adrenal glands}, become resistant to insulin and addicted to sugar. This encourages a wide array of health problems such as weight gain, digestive issues, Diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, and heart disease, to name a few.

Gluten is another problematic aspect of wheat and other gluten containing grains {not all grains contain gluten}. Gluten is one of many complex proteins that make up the structure of gluten-containing grains. Gluten can be very irritating to the digestive tract and many individuals can be/become sensitive, lending a hand to leaky gut, dysbiosis {an imbalance in good and pathogenic gut buggies…to get really sciency on you} and a less than thriving digestive environment. As my clients know and many people are beginning to understand, the health of our digestive tract plays a major role in the function of other body systems and even our overall health.

Phytic acid is also something to consider. Phytic acid is the principal storage form of phosphorus and is found in the hulls of nuts, seeds and grains. Phytic acid has a high affinity for {aka it really likes} important minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium. When we eat foods containing phytic acid, these minerals become bound up, making them difficult to digest and ultimately can be passed through the digestive tract unused. Cooking food can reduce phytic acid amounts, but soaking, lacto-fermenation and sprouting are much more effective at neutralizing this anti-nutrient. Therefore, proper preparation of nuts, seeds and grains is very important. A great resource for more info and how-to’s is Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

Also, consider that most of the grains that are sold in common food items like breads, pasta, muffins, cookies, crackers and so on are highly processed, leaving a nutrient devoid Frankenfood not worth  your time!

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So, the bottom line is that grains should be limited or even avoided and it is important to properly prepare grains when they are consumed {soaking, sprouting, lacto-fermentation}.

The best part {and the point of this post} is that there are a ton of amazing alternatives to our common grain-containing foods that are simple, totally scrumptious and most importantly, nutrient dense!

Below is a recipe I have wanted to try for a long time, cauliflower pizza crust! It turned out great and I am so excited to share! I looked at quite a few different recipes and kind of put all the aspects that I liked into this recipe. The sauce is adapted from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam. Please, let me know how you like it!

 

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

For the pizza crust:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 medium sized head of cauliflower
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 oz soft goat cheese
  • 1 teaspoon mixed herbs
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

For the pizza sauce:

  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • ¼ cup clean water
  • 1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 basil leaves, diced

Toppings: whatever you want! For the pizza in the photos, we added broccoli, crimini mushrooms, red onion, zucchini, fresh basil and shredded raw cheese. We also love to add sliced chicken sausage. Feel free to add whatever pizza toppings your family enjoys!

Preheat oven to 400°F.

To make the cauliflower rice, pulse batches of roughly chopped, raw cauliflower in a food processor until you achieve a rice-like consistency.

In a large frying pan, melt coconut oil over medium-heat. Add cauliflower rice and sauté until tender, stirring occasionally, about 6-8 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix egg, cooked cauliflower, goat cheese, herbs and sea salt. I used my hands here to gently incorporate the ingredients.

On a parchment lined baking sheet, place the dough in the center and cover with another sheet of parchment paper. Use a dough roller or your hands to press the dough out to approximately 1/3 inch thick. Remove the top piece of parchment paper, bake for 25-30 minutes or until the crust is firm and golden brown.

While the crust is baking, place all the pizza sauce ingredients in a saucepan; allow to simmer about 15 minutes.

Now, time for the fun part. Spread the pizza sauce evenly across the crust, add your favorite ingredients then top with cheese. Return the pizza to the oven, bake for approximately 10-15 minutes or until chees melts and begins to bubble.

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Serve with a fresh green salad and Garlicky Balsamic Vinaigrette! Enjoy!

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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!