Healthy Easter Treats

Growing up I remember Easter with chocolate bunnies, malted eggs, jellybeans and a variety of other marshmallow and chocolate treats. This was all on top of the traditional Easter Egg. Below I have listed some healthy alternative Easter treats.

Healthy Marshmallow Recipe (or Homemade Peeps)

peeps

These fluffy honey-sweetened homemade marshmallows will deliver all the flavor but none of the health-compromising refined sugar. Plus, these can be made in a coconut or chocolate version (see below) based on the recipes plans or preferences. This simple recipe will make you wonder why you ever bought marshmallows at the store. But remember, sugar that comes from whole foods like honey or fruit is still sugar, so remember to eat these as a treat, not a regular snack.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tbsp. grass-fed gelatin (or agar agar for a vegan option)
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions

1. Lightly grease a loaf pan. Then cover with parchment paper (with enough to hang over the sides of the pan one way), then grease the parchment paper.
2. Put ¼ cup of water in a medium bowl (or in the bowl of a mixer with attached whisk) , and sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Set aside to soften.
3. In a small pot, place the honey, salt, and the other ¼ cup of water. Heat on medium heat. Using a candy thermometer, bring the mixture to 240 degrees. (You can also test it by dribbling a little of the liquid into a bowl of ice cold water. It should be in the candy stage of forming little soft balls when cooled in the water and taken out. It takes about 7-8 minutes to reach this temperature. ). Remove from the heat immediately when reaching temp.
4. Using a hand mixer on low, very carefully mix in the hot syrup into the gelatin mixture by pouring the hot syrup in a drizzle down the side of the bowl. Once it’s all combined, add the vanilla and increase speed to high. Beat for 12- 15 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and fluffy (it will look like marshmallow fluff). *Scrap into the prepared pan and leave, uncovered, for 4-12 hours to dry. Cut into squares, serve as is or for an extra treat cut with bunny cookie cutter to create little bunny ‘peeps’.

*If making Peeps you will want to divide the mixture into parts (as many as you need) an add food coloring to make the various color peeps before leaving to let dry. Then proceed to cutting with cookie cutter. You will need to coat the cutter lightly with cooking oil to keep marshmallow from sticking.

Homemade Reeses Peanut Butter Eggs

reeces

Total Time: 10m
Yield: 6-9 eggs

Ingredients

Filling

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter OR allergy-friendly alternative at room temperature (homemade recipe here)
  • dash salt
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 more tbsp of the sugar

Coating

  • 3/4 cup (3.6 ounces) sugar free chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Mix the first three ingredients together in a bowl into crumbly dough. Also, I put the dough into a plastic bag to shape into a ball with less mess.) Add the extra 2 tbsp. sugar if it’s too gooey, and add a little more pb if it’s too dry. (Different brands of peanut butter will yield different results.) Taste the dough and add a little more salt if desired. Form dough into egg shaped ovals** (like Reeces eggs). Freeze the dough for an hour or until firm.
  2. Meanwhile, melting the chocolate chips and coconut oil for 30 seconds in the microwave. Stir until smooth.
  3. Next dip frozen peanut butter eggs into melted chocolate. Set on tray with wax paper and refrigerate until chocolate is set.

**Note Alternatively, you can use candy egg molds. Instead of shaping peanut butter pour mixture into egg molds and freeze for about 1 hour. Remove from mold Next melt chocolate chips and coconut oil and then dip peanut better eggs. Set on wax paper and refrigerate until set.

Filled Plastic Eggs

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Growing up our family always had the traditional Easter Egg Hunt. What made it an extra special treat was my mom used to hide a few plastic eggs filled with special treats. She would put a variety of Easter surprises in them. You can fill ‘em up with dried fruits or peeled snacks and/or nuts or even little toys!

Healthy Easter Egg Popsicle

Saw this on a Pinterest post and thought it’s the perfect Easter morning brekkie!

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Individual Phyllo Apple Cups

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Candy apples are a decadent fall treat, but they’re loaded with sugar and calories. These rehabbed apple cups taste just as indulgent with all the gooey, seasonal goodness of fall, but contain just 144 calories a serving — that’s half the calories of a candy apple. Plus, the perfectly portioned apple cups are not only easier on your waistline, but on your teeth as well!

Serves 12

Ingredients:

Non-stick cooking spray
2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch chunks
1/3 cup dried cranberries
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons water
4 (9×16) sheets phyllo pastry, thawed
1 cup fat-free vanilla frozen yogurt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a standard muffin pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.

In a large pot, combine the apples, cranberries, lemon juice, zest, agave, ginger, cinnamon and allspice. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the juices in the pot thicken and very little syrup remains, about 10 minutes, set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, mix the melted butter and water. Unfold the phyllo, lay one sheet on a cutting board, and brush the dough with the melted-butter-water mixture — be sure to keep the pastry you are not working with covered with a damp towel to prevent it from drying out. Repeat three times, stacking the layers of dough on top of each other so that you have four layers.

Cut the stack of phyllo sheets three times crosswise and then cut again lengthwise twice so you have 12 even squares. Lay the phyllo squares in the wells of the muffin pan and gently press them into the cups, letting the edges fold and overlap naturally.

Spoon ¼ cup of cooled apple mixture into the phyllo cups. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until nicely browned. Let the apple cups cool in the pan before trying to remove them. Serve warm with a small spoonful of frozen yogurt.

Nutrition info. (per serving): Calories: 144, Total fat: 4 g, Saturated fat: 3 g, Cholesterol: 8 mg, Sodium: 74 mg, Protein: 2 g, Fiber: 4 g, Carbs: 27 g

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Spaghetti With Wilted Greens and Walnut-Parsley Pesto

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This meal makes for excellent post-workout fuel (a great mix of whole grains and protein).
• It helps keep you energized, since it provides one-third of your daily iron needs.
• You get antioxidants from the veggies, herbs, and walnuts

1 (1-pound) box whole-wheat spaghetti

1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped

1 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 cup packed fresh baby spinach

1/4 cup walnuts, toasted

1 small clove garlic, peeled and chopped

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons olive oil

1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

6 large eggs

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Cook pasta according to package directions; reserve 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water. Add chard after 5 minutes of cooking and drain; return pasta and greens to pot.

2. While pasta is cooking, combine parsley, spinach, walnuts, garlic, 2 tablespoons oil, lemon zest, 1 tablespoon water, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a food processor; pulse until chunky.

3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, crack eggs into skillet. Cook until the whites are completely firm but the yolks are still soft (about 2 minutes). Season eggs with remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.

4. Toss reserved pasta mixture with pesto and enough reserved cooking water to make a thin sauce. Divide pasta among 6 shallow bowls and top each with a fried egg.

Nutritional Information

Calories per serving: 439
Fat per serving: 14.8g
Saturated fat per serving: 2.9g
Monounsaturated fat per serving: 6.8g
Polyunsaturated fat per serving: 4.1g
Protein per serving: 20g
Carbohydrates per serving: 62g
Fiber per serving: 11g
Cholesterol per serving: 186mg
Iron per serving: 6mg
Sodium per serving: 448mg
Calcium per serving: 128mg

Grapefruit and Avocado Salad With Seared Salmon

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Fatty acids from the walnuts and salmon, as well as monounsaturated fats from the avocado keep this dish heart-healthy.
• Grapefruit helps kick up fat-burning and stabilizes blood sugar.
• This salad nets you a good amount of the B vitamin niacin, which helps keep your skin, hair, and eyes healthy.

1 large grapefruit

2 large bunches arugula, stems removed (10 cups)

1 ripe avocado, pitted and sliced

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

Cooking spray

3 (5-ounce) wild salmon fillets (skin on)

1/4 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped

Peel and segment grapefruit with a sharp knife on a cutting board; reserve juice in a bowl. Toss grapefruit segments and juices with arugula and avocado; divide salad among 4 serving plates. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, oil, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Sprinkle remaining salt and pepper over both sides of salmon. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Add fish (skin-side down) to skillet, and cook until skin is golden and fish releases easily from pan (about 4 minutes). Using a spatula, gently flip fish and cook about 3 minutes more. Break each fillet into 4 pieces; top salads with 3 pieces fish. Drizzle salads with reserved dressing; sprinkle with walnuts.

Brown Rice Bowl With Turkey

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Very low in sugar—only 1 gram!
• This dish serves up about one-fourth your daily requirement of vitamin B6, which is crucial for a healthy immune system.
• It’s super lean, too, with just 1.2 grams of saturated fat.

1 1/3 cups dry short-grain brown rice

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided

1 (2-pound) bone-in turkey breast

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce, divided

4 cups baby spinach

1 bunch scallions, chopped

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, optional

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 425°.

2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine rice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 cups broth, and 1 cup water; cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until rice is tender (about 45 minutes).

3. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with foil. Place turkey on sheet and coat with oil. Season with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and brush with 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce. Roast, turning halfway through, until turkey is cooked and a meat thermometer inserted in the center reads 165° (50-55 minutes). Remove from oven and transfer turkey to a cutting board. Tent with foil and let rest (about 5 minutes).

4. Stir spinach, scallions, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce into rice with remaining 1 cup warmed broth. Thinly slice turkey. Divide rice and sliced turkey among 4 bowls; drizzle each with sesame oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.

 

Nutritional Information

Calories per serving: 486
Fat per serving: 9g
Saturated fat per serving: 1.2g
Monounsaturated fat per serving: 4g
Polyunsaturated fat per serving: 2g
Protein per serving: 42g
Carbohydrates per serving: 57g
Fiber per serving: 5g
Cholesterol per serving: 94mg
Iron per serving: 4mg
Sodium per serving: 528mg
Calcium per serving: 81mg

How To Make Sure Your Energy Bar Is ACTUALLY Healthy

energy-bar

If you’re looking for an energy bar that truly provides energy instead of zapping it, you better plan on spending some time looking at the food labels on these products. Although granola and energy bars are often relied upon as a snack of choice, some bars are surrounded by health halos even when they’re actually full of unhealthy ingredients.

Not all bars are alike. The key is trying to choose a bar that adds value to your diet and contributes a balance of protein, fiber, whole grains, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. The right snacks keep blood-sugar levels and moods stable, and may help you stay alert and focused. In fact, some snacks can even help you lose or maintain weight if they satisfy your mind and mouth and they keep you from otherwise eating high-calorie foods that are devoid of value.

Here’s how to navigate the bar aisle to make a choice that best suits your needs:

1. Look for a bar that contains about 5 grams of protein.

There’s no need to go for bars that contain an overwhelming amount of protein. Excess protein doesn’t go directly to your muscles! Unless you’ve suffered an illness, where you had significant protein (muscle) loss or if you have increased needs for protein, much of the excess protein that is eaten is stored as body fat. Protein taken in greater quantities than needed, over extended periods of time, might result in bone thinning or perhaps impair kidney function.

Be sure to check to see that you’re getting protein from real, whole-food sources, like nuts, as opposed to highly processed ingredients mostly from isolates. A bar that contains around 5 grams of protein should do the trick, especially in the company of other nutrients below.

2. Make sure the main source of sugar comes from fruit.

Avoid sugar sources like added sugars, sweeteners, or sugar alcohols. Check to see how sugar is spelled — sometimes it’s not S-U-G-A-R! Sugar can appear as dextrose, maltose, organic can juice, rice syrup, and so on. Look for sugar in the form of real fruit, not pseudo-fruit-like substances.

3. Choose a bar that has healthy carbohydrates.

Look for whole grains on your ingredient list like oats, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, and quinoa. Fiber provided by these grains will help move you — look for around 5 grams of fiber.

4. Don’t be fat phobic.

Helpful fats derived from nuts can be deliciously satisfying, and certain fats (like almonds and walnuts) have even been shown to help lower cholesterol and stabilize blood-sugar levels. Your best bet is when the source of fat is derived from nuts.

5. Be mindful of calories.

You want to keep your snack bar between 150 and 200 calories, especially if you’re trying to watch your weight.

6. Aim for transparency.

Pick a product that actually looks like the ingredients contained within. Instead of looking like a piece of pressed wood, your bar should proudly display the nuts, grains, and fruit that appear on its ingredient list.

Raise the bar by choosing one that your body will be happy to reach for when you need it.

Here are some healthy bar recipes  if you’re up for cooking your own:

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No Bake Granola Bars:

Healthy, no bake granola bars with just 5 ingredients and a sweet, crunchy texture. Peanut butter and honey complement each other perfectly in this ideal portable breakfast or snack.

1 cup packed dates, pitted (deglet nour or medjool)*
1/4 cup maple syrup (or agave for vegan option)
1/4 cup creamy salted natural peanut butter or almond butter (even better make your own!)
1 cup roasted unsalted almonds, loosely chopped
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (gluten free for GF eaters)
optional: chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, banana chips, vanilla, etc.(I add walnuts &/or pecans and dried cranberries)

5-Ingredient-Granola-Bars1

Process dates in a food processor until small bits remain (about 1 minute). It should form a “dough” like consistency.
**Optional:Toast your oats in a 350 degree oven for 15-ish minutes or until slightly golden brown. Otherwise, leave them raw (I just prefer mine toasted)
Place oats, almonds and dates in a bowl – set aside.
Warm honey and peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir and pour over oat mixture and then mix, breaking up the dates to disperse throughout.
Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to an 8×8 dish or other small pan lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper so they lift out easily.
Press down until uniformly flattened. Cover with parchment or plastic wrap, and let set in fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes to harden.
Remove bars from pan and chop into 10 even bars. Store in an airtight container for up to a few days or refrigerate.

PEANUT BUTTER & HONEY CHEWY GRANOLA BARS

Ingredients:

2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter* (unsalted)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (optional)

*Peanuts are one of the crops most heavily sprayed with pesticides, so make sure to buy organic whenever possible.

peanut-butter-granola

Line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the honey to a boil. Set a timer, and allow the honey to continue boiling for 1 minute. In the meantime, place the oats in a large bowl and set aside. Remove from the pan of honey from the heat and stir in the peanut butter and salt. Immediately pour the warm mixture over the oats, and use a spatula to stir well, coating the oats evenly. As the mixture cools, it will become sticky and difficult to mix, so be sure to move quickly!

Transfer the mixture to the lined loaf pan, and press HARD to pack it into the pan. Pressing firmly will ensure that the bars stick together well later. Place the pan in the fridge or freezer to cool, then use a large knife to cut the bars. I like to store these bars in the freezer for best shelf life (up to 6 months) then pull them out as needed– they thaw in about an hour, which makes them perfect for a mid-morning snack. If you’d prefer to store these bars at room temperature, they should last for up to a week.

Benefits of Almond Milk You May Not Know About

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Those looking for a dairy-free milk substitute have probably stumbled across almond milk and wondered, “Is almond milk good for you?” Whether you’re a vegan, sensitive to milk or just don’t like the taste, almond milk is a fabulous alternative.

While almond milk is becoming more and more popular, it’s important to note that it doesn’t provide as much protein or calcium to be a complete substitute, so make sure you receive adequate amounts from other sources. One cup only has one gram of protein versus 8 grams in cow’s milk, and 2 milligrams of calcium versus 300 milligrams in cow’s milk.

As with everything you buy, make sure to check the labels and purchase almond milk that contains the least amount of preservatives and other additives.

1. It helps with weight management.

One cup of almond milk contains only 60 calories, as opposed to 146 calories in whole milk, 122 calories in 2 percent, 102 calories in 1 percent, and 86 calories in skim. It makes for a great substitute that will help you lose or maintain your current weight.

2. It keeps your heart healthy.

There’s no cholesterol or saturated fat in almond milk. It’s also low in sodium and high in healthy fats (such as omega fatty acids, typically found in fish), which helps to prevent high blood pressure and heart disease.

3. It keeps your bones strong.

While it doesn’t offer as much calcium as cow’s milk, almond milk does offer 30 percent of the recommended daily amount, as well as 25 percent of the recommended amount of vitamin D, reducing your risk for arthritis and osteoporosis and improving your immune function. Plus, these two nutrients work together to provide healthy bones and teeth formation.

4. It keeps your skin glowing.

Almond milk contains 50 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin E, which contains antioxidant properties essential to your skin’s health, such as protecting it against sun damage.

5. It barely impacts your blood sugar.

Almond milk (with no additives) is low in carbs, which means it won’t significantly increase your blood sugar levels, reducing your risk for diabetes. Because of its low glycemic index, your body will use the carbs as energy so the sugars aren’t stored as fat (score!).

6. It contributes to muscle strength and healing.

Although almond milk only contains 1 gram of protein per serving, it contains plenty of B vitamins such as iron and riboflavin, both important for muscle growth and healing.

7. It keeps your digestion in check.

Almond milk contains almost one gram of fiber per serving, which is important for healthy digestion.

8. It doesn’t contain lactose.

Lactose intolerance impacts about 25% of the US population, which means they have difficulty digesting the sugar in cow’s milk. This makes almond milk a suitable, lactose-free substitute.

9. It tastes better than cow’s milk.

Almond milk doesn’t taste like cow’s milk, perfect for those who are turned off by the taste. It has its own unique flavor many describe as being light and crisp. Bonus: it’s versatile, meaning you can use it instead of cow’s milk in recipes that require it. It won’t have the same taste, but it will have the same consistency.

10. It doesn’t require refrigeration.

Knowing that you don’t have to refrigerate almond milk means you’ll be more likely to take it with you to work, or on a camping trip. It’s perfectly fine at room temperature which makes it a convenient, nutritious staple to pack, automatically upping your daily intake of all the fabulous nutrients above.

11. It’s easy to make.

Being that it’s a tad inconvenient to have a cow grazing in your backyard, almond milk is the convenient alternative to make at home. It’s made by finely grinding almonds and placing them in a blender with water, then filtering the pulp with a strainer to separate it from the liquid. Want to give it a try? Below is a delicious almond milk recipe.

Have you ever tried almond milk? Let us know what you think in the comments!

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Stocking & Maintaining a Wholefood Kitchen Pantry

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The key to changing everything is simply awareness. If we don’t know that something exists, we will never know what we’re missing.  With the ever changing pace of our busy lives and our efforts to try and balance what is quick & easy with what is good for us, we can take a practical approach to our weight and health goals, by changing what we keep in the house, and therefore what we put in our bodies.

Keep your commitment to yourself by implementing what you learn in this article to slowly and steadily re-stock your kitchen with new, healthy items you may not have heard of before. By purchasing 3-5 new products each time you shop at a health food store, and making a commitment to experiment with them, you can have access to more vibrant health than you ever thought possible. Nothing in here involves a sacrifice, it’s simply either an upgrade to a product you might be using or an addition to your diet.

Tempeh, nuts, beans

PROTEIN

      • Aduzi Beans- buy them canned to start out. Eden Organic is a good brand. This bean strengthens the adrenal glands and supports kidney function
      • Garbanzo Beans (chick peas)- for those eating less meat this bean packs more iron than any other. Have it in hummus form to cut back on dairy or in salads to double as a complex carb and a protein.
      • Tempeh- a natural fermented soy that makes a great veggie burger patty. Full of protein, dietary fiber and b vitamins; a healthier choice than tofu and easy to cook.
      • Fresh Fish- Look for “wild caught” to protect yourself from heavy metals and to maintain the nutrient content. Fish is the fastest protein to cook so if you are intimidated by it, start out with the flaky white fish like red snapper and tilapia and look up some recipes to bake them. Then move on to salmon, tuna, and any others
      • Nuts and seeds- raw almonds and walnuts are a great daily source of protein and healthy fat; bound to sustain you for hours. Have a handful of these with an apple for a snack and enjoy the feelings of satiety.

produce

PRODUCE

      • Leeks, red radishes, daikon radishes, and green onions- great fat emulsifiers for those trying to detox, loose weight or lower their cholesterol. Daikon radishes mirror the shape of carrots but they are white and translucent. Grate them into a salad just like they do at Japanese restaurants.
      • Broccoli Sprouts- 10x more cancer-fighting ability than regular broccoli. Keep your fridge stocked with these to put in salads, wraps and sandwiches. Great detox and weight loss vegetable as well.
      • Sweet Vegetables- beets, sweet potatoes, parsnips and yams are a great way to stave off sweet cravings during this time of year as well as to stay grounded. Cut up your favorites, coat them in olive oil and bake them for 45 minutes at 375. Good for breakfast, over a salad for lunch or as a side dish with dinner.
      • Boxed/bagged mixed field greens- easy, convenient way to eat your greens and to get more than one variety in your salads. Store with a paper towel to ward off excess moisture that wilts the greens.
      • Kale- most powerful source of well-absorbed calcium than any other food. You will be doing yourself a huge favor if you incorporate this food in your diet on a daily basis. Use in sandwiches and wraps in place of lettuce, mix in with a salad or sauté it with garlic and olive oil (or coconut oil). Make sure to de-stem it.
      • Lemons- powerful cleanser. This fruit is highly alkaline and helps wash excess acids from the stomach into the intestines so our bodies can eliminate them. Try the juice of ½ a lemon in water first thing in the morning. This is a great way to kick start your metabolism for the day.

grains

WHOLE GRAINS

      • Bread- try wheat alternatives like brown rice bread, ezekial sprouted grain, manna bread, or many others avoid allergies, mental fog and weight gain.
      • Pasta- pick up brown rice pasta for a low-glycemic choice. You will never taste the difference, but your body will process it much better.
      • Quinoa- a south American grain packing more protein than any other grain. Delicious, full of fiber and b vitamins and one of the least allergenic foods. Cooks in 20 minutes!
      • Millet- this light, fluffy grain is good to use as a breakfast porridge when mixed with almond milk, trail mix and a touch of agave and cinnamon. It is a complex carbohydrate easily processed by any body type.

ghee-coconut oil
FATS AND OILS

      • Flax Oil- great source of desperately needed Omega 3 fatty acids. Never heat it – best on steamed veggies and used in salad dressings or in smoothies. The good fats lower cholesterol, balance our moods, reduce inflammation and promote weight loss!
      • Coconut Oil- use to bake and stir-fry. Helpful with weight loss and stable under high heat.
      • Ghee- alternative to butter because it’s clarified which means the milk solids have been taken out.
      • Avocado- more vitamin E than any other food and provides monounsaturated fat 80% of which is digested immediately.

dairy alternatives

DAIRY AND ALTERNATIVES

      • Goat’s milk yogurt- considered dairy-free for those who cannot process lactose, casein or whey.
      • Feta Cheese/Goat cheese- dairy-free, low fat, and the healthiest cheese.
      • Almond Milk- nut milk found in a box in the cereal isle. Great source of magnesium and protein. Tastes good too!
      • Rice Milk- healthy alternative to milk and much easier to digest.

condiments
CONDIMENTS

      • Tamari- wheat-free soy sauce.
      • Apple cider vinegar- healthiest vinegar to alkalize the body. Can alleviate indigestion and acid reflux with regular use of 1T/day. Make it be your mainstay in the vinegar category.
      • Cayenne Pepper- boosts metabolism and warms us from the inside.
      • Herbs and Spices (a variety of fresh or dried)
      • Cinnamon- will balance your blood sugar for 24 and stave off sweet cravings
      • Coconut Milk- use for asian dishes and to replace milk and crème on deserts. Nice topper to your breakfast cereal.
      • Agave Nectar- honey-like natural sweetener that is completely safe for diabetics, low in calorie and 1/4x sweeter than sugar. My personal favorite!
      • Xylitol- This natural sweetener comes from plants and can be used cup for cup in place of sugar in any recipe for a healthy “sugar free” treat.
      • Celtic Sea salt- matches the exact mineral profile of our blood; supports healthy skin and digestion.
      • Raw Almond butter- healthier than peanut butter and more satisfying.

Now that your pantry is all stocked up here’s a few recipes for you to try:

Quinoa with Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms

quinoa

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 pear , peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1 garlic clove , halved
2 pounds portobello mushrooms , stemmed and gills scraped out
1 cup red or white quinoa
3 cups tightly packed fresh spinach , chopped
4 green onions , thinly sliced
1/2 cup slivered almonds , toasted
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 475°F.

Put vinegar, mustard, pear and garlic in a blender with 1/3 cup water and blend until smooth, about 1 minute, to make the dressing. Cut mushrooms into chunks and combine in a large mixing bowl with 1/4 cup of the dressing. Spread mushrooms in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender, stirring occasionally, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

While mushrooms roast, prepare quinoa. In a medium pot, bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil. Stir in quinoa, cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside, covered, 10 minutes more. Uncover and fluff quinoa with a fork.

Combine mushrooms, quinoa, spinach, green onions, almonds, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup more dressing in a large, wide serving bowl. Stir to mix well. Serve with remaining dressing on the side.

Nutritional Info: 
Per Serving: Serving size: , 280 calories (60 from fat), 7g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 120mg sodium, 43g carbohydrates, (7 g dietary fiber, .9g sugar), 12g protein.

Creamy Sesame Greens

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6 cups chopped kale, Swiss chard or collard greens , tough stems removed
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons orange or lemon juice
1 clove garlic , finely chopped

Heat 2 tablespoons water in a large skillet over medium heat. Add greens and cook, tossing occasionally, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Drain well.

In a large bowl, whisk together tahini, orange juice, 2 additional tablespoons water and garlic. Add hot greens, toss to combine and serve immediately.

Nutritional Info:
Per Serving: Serving size: , 200 calories (80 from fat), 9g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 95mg sodium, 25g carbohydrates, (5 g dietary fiber, .0g sugar), 9g protein.

Your Amazing Liver

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Keeping an eye open for any early signs of liver problems is an essential part of maintaining a holistic health lifestyle. Without a fully functioning liver, both your health and lifestyle will be compromised. Luckily your liver is capable of repairing itself, so providing that any problems are spotted early, and are not allowed to develop and worsen, your liver is likely to make a full recovery. So you need to be on the alert. Here are some symptoms of liver problems to be on the lookout for.Liver damage can include anything from heredity (i.e., inherited from a family member), toxicity (i.e., due to chemicals or viruses) to a long-term disease (i.e., Cirrhosis) that can affect your liver for the rest of your life.

The liver helps the body digest food, absorb nutrients, and eliminate toxic substances. Without this abdominal organ you wouldn’t be able to live.

Causes for liver damage

Liver problems usually occur gradually and over many years. The most common cause for liver problems is long term alcohol consumption. Other causes are:

  • Various viruses including many type of hepatitis
  • Malnutrition
  • Reactions to certain medications
  • Overuse of certain medications
  • Exposure to harmful chemicals
  • Inherited disorders of iron and copper metabolism
  • Diseases like liver cancer and fatty liver caused by obesity
  • Diabetics have an increased risk of liver disease
  • Even smoking can dramatically increase the risk for not only lung cancer, but also liver cancer. Certain chemotherapy drugs can damage cells in the liver, and even too much of vitamin A can cause liver damage.

7 Early Symtomps of Liver Damage

Dark yellow urine

Due to increased levels of the bile pigment in the body that cannot be eliminated by the damaged liver. People may associate it with dehydration, but if they drink enough fluids, it should not happen.

Swollen Abdomen

Cirrhosis, the serious progression of liver disease, causes fluid build-up in the abdomen (a condition referred to as ascites), as levels of albumin and proteins in the blood and fluid are retained. This may actually make the patient appear pregnant. While ascites can be caused by numerous medical conditions, cirrhosis of the liver is the single most common. Sometimes, swelling can also take place in the ankles, as accumulated fluid is drawn down into the body by the forces of gravity.

Diarrhea, constipation or intestinal bleeding

There are noticeable changes in bowel movement. You may have periods of constipation or diarrhea or change in the stool color or traces of blood in it.

Acid Reflux

If you suffer from increasingly frequent attacks of acid reflux with indigestion, with or without vomiting, these are other warning signs that all is not well and needs investigating further.

Jaundice

This is the well known ‘yellowing’ of your skin. Your whole body including sometimes your fingernails and eyes take on a yellow hue. This is mainly due to the build up of ‘bilirubin’ which is a pigment in bile. Bile is made in our livers, and is essential in the digestion process. If your liver is having problems filtering the toxins that you ingest (whether through the digestive tract, the skin or the respiratory system) bilirubin will collect in the bloodstream thus turning your pallor yellow.

Nausea and vomiting

Due the interruption to the digestive system, you may suffer from heartburn, nausea and vomiting.

Abdominal pain

Especially where the liver is located, in the upper right part of the belly under the ribs.

3 Liver Detox Recipes

Beet-Juice

Liver Boosting Beet Juice:

1 beet
1 carrot
1 lemon, peeled
1 handful parsley
Run all ingredients through a juicer and enjoy.

Deep-Green-Liver-Detox

Deep Green Liver Detox:

1/2 cucumber
2 cups kale
1 lime, peeled
1 cup swiss chard
1/2 lemon, peeled
Run all ingredients through a juicer and enjoy.

Liver-Detox-Green-Smoothie

Liver Detox Green Smoothie:

2 oranges, peeled
1/2 rib celery
1 lemon, peeled
1/2 cup dandelion greens (or other bitter green)
1/2 cup parsley
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.