Mindful Eating

Are you eating correctly? Eating is a basic human function. Even if you make a strong effort to eat healthy, it’s important to think about the act of eating. When you enjoy good food, do you ever look past just the taste? 

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For many people, their meals are an integral part of the structure of their day, so don’t glance over the experience as just a necessity. Instead start to be more mindful while eating. Here are some suggestions you will consider at your next meal:

  • How do you feel before eating? Are you eating because it is that designated time of the day (lunch break)?
  • Is there an event that is prompting the hunger? You may be eating due to a stressful circumstance, a social gathering, or even as a personal reward. While these all certainly have their place, it is important to be aware that this can easily develop into a habit.
  • Notice the feeling of hunger before the meal. Throughout the meal continue to reflect back on this feeling. Does it abate? Learn to know the necessary amount and not over-indulge.
  • Think of where the food may have came from. Was this locally grown produce? Free range chickens? Think of how many people came together to bring you the food and appreciate it.
  • Take smaller bites. Learn to appreciate the taste of the food. This is essential in order to avoid over-indulgence as well.
  • Take your time and chew slowly.
  • Avoid the inevitable guilt of “just one more” or “well it’s just for ____ reason”. This is a habit that will take time and effort to break. It is important to stay consistent, eat well, and learn to appreciate the fuel we are putting into our bodies.
  • Unplug. The world needs more of this in general. Take the time to enjoy your food and the company you are in. Engage with one another, and if you are alone, learn to appreciate being alone with yourself.

 

Consider these points at your next few meals, and become more mindful about your eating habits. We can find enjoyment and gratitude in even the most basic elements of our day, you just have to notice it.

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January is National Slow-Cooker Month!

Chances are there is a slow cooker in your house. Slow cookers are made for convenience. Whether you are a college student or a member of a family, slow cookers make life easier.  They provide easier clean up with just one pot and a home cooked meal when you get home from school or work. The slow cooker can be found at pot lucks, Superbowl parties and family gatherings with everyone’s best recipes kept piping hot  – nacho dips, chili, baked beans, pulled pork or mac & cheese. The list is endless.

So get started with slow cooking today. If you are a newbie try the recipes that come with your slow cooker. Once the cooking starts, only remove the lid to stir as needed. Moisture loss causes meals to become dry. Today’s slow cookers have multiple settings as well as a warm setting. Try these easy recipe ideas!

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Chicken Curry (Makes 10 servings):

Ingredients:

  • 2¾ lb. chicken breasts, without skin
  • 1 (16-oz.) jar salsa (mild or medium)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 cup fat-free sour cream.

Directions:

Place chicken in slow cooker. Combine salsa, onions and curry powder and pour over chicken. Cover with lid. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours (or high for 5 hours). Remove chicken to serving platter; cover and keep warm. Add sour cream to salsa mixture in the slow cooker. Blend and pour over the chicken.

spinach artichoke dip

Low-Fat Cheesy Spinach-Artichoke Dip (21 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts, chopped and drained
  • 1 (10 oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, low-fat, softened
  • 1 (8 oz.) carton sour cream, low-fat
  • ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese,
  • ¾ cup low-fat milk
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • ½ cup mayonnaise low-fat
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar,
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder (optional)

Directions:

Place ingredients in a 3½ quart slow cooker. Mix well. Cover slow cooker with lid, and cook on low for 1 hour. Stir occasionally. Serve warm with whole wheat bread or tortilla chips.

 

Developing Healthy Habits

December passed in a blur of holiday parties, work events, family parties, and a few eggnogs; and here we are in the year 2019. Every New Year, millions of people around the world make pledges to change something about themselves that they don’t like. While this may feel productive and the social media networks may seem brimming with resounding success stories after 2 days, these types of changes will not last.

In order to make a long lasting change, it is important to develop healthy habits.

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Here are some tips:

1) Reflect on the change you want to make, and search for the root of these thoughts or actions.

For example, if I want to stop eating junk-food, at essence, I am trying to deny the short term satisfaction of tasty treats, and not suffer through the regret afterwards. Understand why you are making the choices that you do. Then begin to think of how to change.

2) Set small, attainable goals that are in line with your “Big Picture” goal. Reinforce these often, and watch them develop into habit.

3) Understand that it will take roughly 2 months to make this habit stick.

It may seem like a long time, but we are talking about making lifelong changes! Two months is well worth the effort for creating healthy habits. But it is important to note that..

4) If you make a mistake, steel your resolve and push through it

It can quickly snowball, best to nip these in the bud, bud.

5) Stay positive and enjoy it!

It may seem cliche, but you determine how you feel and react to difficulties with the changes. Stay positive! Don’t dread your new habit, you are the one who put it there. And do not underestimate the little voice in your head telling you to quit, it can be quite resilient as well.

6) Know yourself, and do what works for you

If you are tech savvy, there are plenty of apps out there that can help with building a healthy habit. If you are trying to remove yourself from the tech space, tell a loved one or someone you are around often about your new habit, they will help keep you in line! Think about past successes you have had, and determine what made that work for you. Now apply this to your new habit and watch the results!

Happy New Year!

National Cupcake Day

Keep your positive trend going with this (mostly) healthy cupcake recipe!

It seems like it’s always “National (insert random nonsense here) Day”, but this is one we can definitely get behind: Cupcakes! And while it may not be your “birthday week (month…?)” we will happily extend Cupcake day to give you something useful you can bring with you to any number of holiday parties you have. This week we are bringing you a recipe which you can use guilt and gluten-free!  And those people you suppose qualify as your friends will appreciate it as well!

Untitled design (30)Without further ado, I bring to you..

Black Forest & Cherry Cupcakes


You will need:

  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 6 tsp. Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Eggs
  • Salt
  • ½ Cup Olive Oil
  • ½ Cup Full Coconut Milk
  • ⅓ Cup Honey (or Agave)
  • 1 Smashed Banana
  • 1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Cans Full-fat Coconut Milk
  • 1 tbsp. Maple Syrup
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 Jar of Sour Cherries or Black Cherries (NOT maraschino, it won’t taste right trust me)
  • Cupcake Tin
  • Oven

Prior to starting, you should store the cans of Coconut Milk in the refrigerator overnight, upside down. This is important for the next day, when you will need to scoop out the solid part in the can, and discard or use the liquid for something else.

1) Preheat Oven to 350 Degrees F
2) Mix Coconut Flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda together in a large bowl
3) Whisk Eggs, mix in Olive oil, coco milk, smashed banana, honey, vanilla, apple cider vinegar together and mix thoroughly
4) Mix the result of steps 2 and 3 together, spread this evenly into the cupcake tin, put it in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until done. Do not be alarmed if the cupcakes seem to rise & fall, trust the process and stick it out until baking is finished – use your best judgement, don’t catch anything on fire.

While Baking, let’s make the icing:
1) Remember the Coconut milk cans in the fridge? Pull them out, open them, scoop out the solid part into a bowl, and do whatever you want with the liquid part, it’s not needed.
2) Add Maple syrup and vanilla. Whip the mixture thoroughly
3) Add the final product to the freshly baked cupcakes, and top with cherries & some cherry juice from the jar.


Tip: If you want to get fancy looking with the icing, and don’t have the appropriate tools, just scoop the icing into a Ziplock-style bag, cut the corner with scissors, and squeeze! This blog is not liable for any bag cutting accidents, and don’t run with the scissors.

Enjoy! It’s that time of year again!


Thanks for the inspiration Alexandra from Occasionally Eggs
https://www.occasionallyeggs.com/2015/02/black-forest-cupcakes-gluten-free-grain-free-dairy-free.html

Some Handy Tips to Stay Clean & Healthy This Holiday Season

National Handwashing Week.jpgDecember 4-10 is National Hand Washing Awareness Week! Conveniently placed in the calendar, National Hand Washing Awareness Week reminds us that the risk of infection is ever-present, especially around the holidays. Even though National Hand Washing Awareness Week only lasts until December 10, hand washing should always be a habit we never want to quit!

Hand washing is one of the best and easiest ways to protect you and the people around you from illnesses. The holidays are a very friendly time, which means it is more important than ever to stay on top of your hand-washing game. Regular hand washing is quick, simple, and can keep us all from getting sick. Hand washing is a win for everyone, except the germs.

So How Should You Wash Your Hands?

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

These are just a few tips to help lend a clean hand this winter and remember this is a holiday that should be celebrated year-round to keep you spic and span. As long as you follow the five important steps and wash your hands frequently, I promise you won’t have to spend the holidays sick in bed!

Healthy Protein Packed Vegan Recipe for the Chili Weather

November, 2018 is World Vegan Month! So, to celebrate this holiday I have a few facts about veganism and a fun protein-packed vegan recipe to share with you all. Veganism has become increasingly popular over the years for those against animal cruelty or for those just trying to eat a little healthier and incorporate more veggies into their lifestyle.

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History of World Vegan Month: This holiday was established in 1994 to commemorate the forward movement of ideology, as well as the creation of the Vegan Society in the UK half a century earlier. The date was selected to fall in line with Halloween and the Day of the Dead to honor the animals that have passed for human consumption. World Vegan Month is a time for celebrations and festivals to help bring together vegans and share diet tips and ways to replace meat.

Sometimes it can be challenging to get enough nutrients and protein with eating vegan, but there are so many protein sources out there besides animal products. To name a few: beans, nuts/seeds, chickpeas, quinoa, tofu, lentils, and many more can all be used in replacement of meat. Just because you are eating vegan, does not mean you need to sacrifice taste or protein. I have provided a fun tasty recipe for anyone interested in trying veganism or for those wanting to cut back on animal products.

Now for a little recipe to keep you warm this winter:

Protein-Packed Vegan Chili

Serves 6 to 8

INGREDIENTS:

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1 tablespoon sunflower oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 cup shredded carrots

1-2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup bulgur, rinsed

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

2 cups diced fresh tomatoes (about 2 medium or 6 plum tomatoes)

1 1/2 cups tomato sauce

1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste

Chopped fresh cilantro

PREPARATION:

  1. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrots, and jalapeño and sauté, stirring often, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the bulgur, chili powder, and cumin and stir until well combined.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender, about 1 hour. Season with salt to taste. Serve with a sprinkling of cilantro, if desired.