What the Heck Should I Eat!?

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We are the only species on this earth that makes eating so complicated. All other life forms have a specific diet that they follow without ever getting together to talk about. Generally speaking, birds eat nuts and seeds, insects eat plants, and many animals eat plants and/or other animals. So what happened to us?

Our evolution and domestication has made the act of eating a very complex topic. There is controversy about whether or not humans should eat meat, dairy, and grains, how much protein, carbs, and fat we should consume – and wait a minute – do we need supplements?! In a world where information is always at our fingertips, in this area we have way too much of it. It’s no wonder why our nation is so confused and overwhelmed!

When thinking about what a person should consume, I like to go back to the basics. The food that comes from nature (plants and animals included) often times are not the problem. I believe the real problem lies in the decline of home cooked meals and an increase in convenience eating, packaged foods, frozen meals, fast food, and regularly taking out or dining in at restaurants. These types of meals will always contain more sugar, more salt, more processed/GMO ingredients, and more unhealthy fats than anything you would prepare at home.

Before starting a radically new approach to eating, I would like to encourage you to start small by introducing foods that you do not typically consume. Joshua Rosenthal, founder of IIN™, coined the term “crowding out” which focuses on inclusion rather than avoidance. By nature, humans do not like to be restricted. Have you ever noticed that day one of your new diet your body suddenly craves everything on the “do not eat” list? We are all children at heart that crave positive reinforcement over negative. Rather than cutting out bread, meat, dairy, or any other food groups, try to add a healthy one instead. By filling up your plate with more vegetables, fruits, and unprocessed real foods, you are automatically leaving less room for less desirable ones.

Using this approach, I think you may find that instead of always being on a “diet”, you will easily be able to adopt a new healthy way of living. For one, you will feel amazing and nothing beats that! But also, when you don’t restrict anything, you aren’t leaving room for yourself to “fall off the wagon” and find yourself on a binge happy downward spiral.

If you give this method a try I would love to hear your feedback. Leave me a comment here or head to my website and send me a message there.

With Love & Gratitude,

Brittany

 

 

Clean Eating 101

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Clean eating is one of the simplest ways you can improve your health. But what is “clean eating” exactly? With so many theories on health these days, that is a very good question.

To eat clean is to consume foods that are closest their natural state. This may look different for each individual, but the goal for everyone should be to load up on fresh, whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and limit sugar, highly processed/refined foods, alcohol, and sodium. Some people may choose to include animal products, but overall it is suggested to cut back on meat and dairy.

Here is an example of a clean eating shopping list:

  • apples
  • bananas
  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • raspberries
  • pears
  • spinach
  • broccoli
  • tomatoes
  • avocado
  • romaine lettuce
  • arugula
  • kale
  • celery
  • cucumbers
  • peppers: red, yellow, orange, green
  • sweet potatoes
  • butternut squash
  • onions
  • cauliflower
  • quinoa
  • rice: brown, wild, jasmine, basmati
  • oats (steel cut or old fashioned)
  • Plant-based milk: almond, coconut, flax, etc.
  • nuts/nut butters: almonds, walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts, pine nuts, etc.
  • seeds/seed butters: pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, chia, flax, etc.
  • oil: olive, coconut, avocado, sesame, flax
  • pasture raised egg
  • pasture raised chicken
  • grass fed beef

I encourage you to buy organic when possible, but definitely focus on the “dirty dozen”. This includes:

  1. strawberries
  2. spinach
  3. nectarines
  4. apples
  5. grapes
  6. peaches
  7. cherries
  8. pears
  9. tomatoes
  10. celery
  11. potatoes
  12. sweet/hot peppers

 

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I recommend mainly shopping the perimeter of the grocery store. There is where you will find mostly everything you need, except maybe your oils, grains, nuts, and seeds. The isles can be dangerous because that is where much of the processed, packaged, sugar laden junk foods hang out.

If you are used to eating the Standard American Diet (SAD), this way of shopping may be an adjustment. Once you’ve taken your clean foods home, you may think to yourself, “what do I do with all of this?” Well, I am here to help.

Here are some meal ideas to inspire you on your clean and healthful journey:

Breakfast:

  • steel cut oats with nuts and blueberries
  • green smoothie with almond milk, spinach, cucumber, pear, apple, and banana
  • sprouted whole grain toast with almond butter and sliced banana
  • pasture raised eggs with sautéed spinach and tomatoes

 

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Lunch:

  • arugula salad with apple, walnuts, red onion, and avocado
  • quinoa with sliced almonds, shaved carrots, chopped kale, and olive oil
  • rice bowl with roasted butternut squash, brussel sprouts, and dried cranberries

 

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Dinner:

  • grass fed steak with sautéed peppers and onions
  • baked sweet potato, roasted broccoli, and baked chicken thighs
  • grilled tofu, brown rice, and sautéed spinach

 

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Cooking at home will definitely help promote a cleaner way of living. Knowing how your food is prepared in what is in it is crucial for staying on track with your health goals. You may even find you enjoy your food even more when you prepare it yourself! Take your time, enjoy the process, and don’t forget to infuse everything with the most important nutrient – vitamin L, love.

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With love and gratitude,

Brittany

 

Nut Free Apricot Granola Bars

If you’re pressed for time in the morning, or frequently find yourself needing a snack to keep you satiated between meals, granola bars are great option.

While there are some store brands that I will have in a pinch, my belief is that homemade is always better because they are fresh and don’t require any preservatives. I often make bulk batches and keep them in my freezer. This saves time and energy and is super convenient.

These bars are loaded with healthy fats and fiber, keeping you fuller longer, and will hopefully deter you from reaching for any not so healthy temptations.

Just a tip before you get started.

You may want to soak your seeds for a few hours prior. Soaking nuts and seeds before consumption will increase digestibility, maximize absorption of nutrients by the body, promote greater enzyme activity, and initiate the sprouting process, which increases nutritional benefits.

Here you go!

Nut Free Apricot Granola Bars:

Preheat oven to 350°

In a large bowl, combine:

1 cup GF old fashioned oats (not quick oats)

1 cup raw sunflower seeds

1 cup raw pumpkin seeds

1/2 tsp salt (optional)

1/4 cup applesauce

1/2 cup agave (honey would also work)

1 cup apricots

Mix well.

Press mixture down into a 9×7 in pan

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

*Let cool for about 30 minutes before cutting to prevent crumbling.

Enjoy!!!

Xo, Brittany

Superfood Chocolate Elixir

You know when midday hits and caffeine and/or a snack is calling your name? Well, for me, this delicious concoction satisfies both.

It’s warm, indulgent, filling, and gives an all natural boost. And it doesn’t come from a packet that you shake into a mug. This is the real deal. The secret to it’s benefits lies in the ingredients: the superfoods. Cacao and maca.

Cacao is one of the most powerful antioxidants on the planet. The list of wonderful things it can do for your health goes on and on, but here are just some of the reasons to add it to your regular diet:

  • Increases mood
  • Reduces hunger
  • Creates energy
  • Prevents heart disease

I don’t need reasons to eat chocolate, but this information definitely encourages me even more.

Keep in mind, to get these benefits it must be in its raw, naturally fermented state, not chocolate with sugar, milk, and other ingredients added. When milk is added, the dairy actually blocks the absorption of the antioxidants.

Maca powder is an ingredient that I love to add to my smoothies and baked goods, especially ones containing chocolate because I love the combination.

Like cacao, the benefits for consuming maca is extensive, but here is the short list:

  • Increases libido
  • Improves mental and physical energy
  • Helps skin health
  • Balances mood and hormones

This food is highly nutritious, but consume it in small amounts. Starting at just 1/2 teaspoon and working your way up to about a tablespoon per day is recommended.

Now for the recipe!

Serves 2.

In a small pot:

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 tbsp cacao powder
  • About 1 tbsp cacao butter
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • Sweetener of your choice (I used stevia, but honey would also be a great natural option.)

Continue to stir over medium heat with a whisk until all ingredients are incorporated together. Pour into mugs and enjoy!

Xo. Brittany

Double Chocolate Nutter Butter Muffins

I love chocolate. Especially dark chocolate. It’s the one treat that I crave practically everyday. And with so many health benefits, I am happy to give my body what it wants.

These muffins are filled with nutritious ingredients that’ll leave your belly full and your face smiling. Chocolate, peanut butter, bananas…I’m already drooling.

 

Ingredients you’ll need:

2 ripe bananas

1 cup old fashioned oats

3/4 cup almond flour

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar .

1/2 cup cacao

2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flax, 5 tbsp water, let sit for 5 min)

3/4 cup almond yogurt (I used @kitehillfoods plain)

1/4 cup avocado oil

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tbsp maca powder

1/2 cup cacao chips

Method:

Preheat oven to 375°.

Blend all ingredients in high-speed blender, except for chocolate chips.

Add chips to blender and stir with a spoon.

Spoon batter into a 12 cup muffin tin (lined or greased).

Bake for 20 minutes.

Eat, enjoy, repeat 🙂

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*I crumbled mine on some banana ice cream for an extra special snack. (ripe bananas in an ice cream/sorbet maker for 20 minutes)

Vegan Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

My kids love sweets – especially anything with chocolate – so I am constantly trying to make recipes that get them excited to eat, while not sabotaging their health. By taking a plant based approach to baking, swapping conventional flours for more easily digestible whole grains, and adding in power packed superfoods, commonly unhealthy options can transform in to nutrient rich meals!

As a mom, I also have limited time and energy. I want quick and simple recipes that do not require a ton of clean up. This recipe requires one appliance – a high powered blender. Once you’re done, simply add a little soap and water and blend your blender clean. It’s that easy!

These muffins are a crowd pleaser at my house – we eat them for breakfast and also enjoy them as snacks. Batches are gone within a few days, so I find myself making them over and over again! They are also great for play dates 🙂

Here’s what you need:

  • A blender
  • 2 bananas
  • 1/2 cup coconut yogurt (dairy yogurt could also be substituted)
  • 2 cups old fashioned oatmeal, or steel cut oats for heartier muffins (gluten free if necessary)
  • 2 vegan “eggs” (I currently use Namaste foods egg replacer, but you could also use flax eggs – 1 tbsp flax to 2.5 tbsp water per egg – let sit 5 mins)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 4 tsp Maca Powder (the secret superfood ingredient – optional, but gives a unique nutty flavor, while also packing a nutritious punch)
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 6-8 medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (for highest nutritional benefit be sure chocolate doesnot contain milk, as milk interferes with the absorption of the great antioxidants found in cocoa)

Place all ingredients in blender, exceptthechocolate chips. Add those last and incorporate into batter with spoon.

Fill a 12 cup muffin tin and bake at 375° for 18 minutes.

These are so delicious as is, but sometimes I like to mix it up.

Some things I’ve tried:

  • top them with a nut butter you love
  • break them apart and throw in a smoothie or yogurt bowl
  • Cut in 1/2 and top with bananas or another favorite fruit

I hope that you enjoy!!

xo Brittany

Avocado + Herb Toasts

There is something so comforting about toast. And it is so versatile – it can be topped with literally anything to suit your cravings and needs, while also being perfectly suitable for any time of day!

Lately, I’m all about herbs. Herbs have so many health benefits, and there are many ways we can incorporate herbs into our daily lives. And it is highly encouraged since herbs are, in fact, small doses of medicine! They have disease preventing and health promoting properties, and can help with a variety of ailments and issues from fighting germs to relieving symptoms of inflammation. Mother nature is pretty flipping amazing!

Today I made two kinds of avocado + herb toasts because my body wants what is wants and I listen. These toasts are colorful, flavorful, loaded with vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, and healthy fats, and combine many textures to completely satisfy those taste buds.

Here’s a list of all the ingredients you will need:

  • 2 slices of gluten free bread (you could also try a sprouted bread, sourdough, or another personal favorite)
  • Handful of arugula
  • 2 slices tomato
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • Red onion (to taste preference)
  • A couple slices of mango, diced
  • Fresh curley parsley
  • Fresh cilantro (coriander)

Method:

  1. Toast your bread to your preference (I like mine crisp + crunchy)
  2. Place ingredients on top of your bread in any order that you choose.
  3. Eat and thoroughly enjoy every bite 😉

It’s that easy! Now get toastin’!

Much love,

Brittany