Green Detox Juice

Green Detox Juice

This green juice is wonderfully refreshing, and packs a punch of nutrients and fiber.  Try it early in the morning to start off your day or whip it up as your evening “cocktail” to unwind with.  More than once, I have turned to this recipe to ward off sluggishness, headaches, and other various ailments.  For best results, refrigerate ingredients before juicing.

Green Detox Juice

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1 peeled orange
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 piece turmeric, peeled
  • 2 handfuls kale

Juice, stir, and serve in a tall, frosty glass for a delicious burst of nutrients!

Healthy Quinoa Sushi

Healthy Quinoa SushiLooking for a rice-free sushi option?  Your search ends here.  Quinoa sushi is easy, delicious, and jam-packed with protein and nutrients.  It also has a lower glycemic load than traditional sushi rice, so you will stay full longer.  Swap in sashimi grade tuna or salmon if you have it available to you, otherwise broiled or smoked salmon works great.  If this is your first time making sushi, it is very helpful to watch a quick Youtube video on how to properly roll sushi using a bamboo mat, otherwise your rolls may not stay together.

Healthy Quinoa Sushi

Servings: 1

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup prepared quinoa
  • 4 oz salmon (grilled, broiled, smoked, or sashimi grade), sliced lengthwise
  • 1/4 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cucumber, sliced into matchsticks
  • 2 sheets nori
  • 1 tsp rice vinegar, + 1 tsp more mixed with 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp mirin (optional)
  • Coconut aminos, wasabi, and ginger, for serving

Combine quinoa with rice vinegar and mirin in a mixing bowl.  If the quinoa was just prepared, allow to cool to room temperature.  Place a sheet of nori shiny side down on a bamboo rolling mat (see here).  Spread half of the quinoa on the nori, leaving about a 2 inch edge free on the far edge.  Arrange salmon and toppings horizontally a little closer than half way on the mat.  Roll tightly, and wet the far edge slightly with the rice vinegar/water mixture.  Repeat with remaining ingredients to make second roll.  Using a very sharp knife (what I use), wet with rice vinegar/water mixture and then slice into 6 to 8 pieces, wetting knife between each cut.  Arrange sushi on plate and serve alongside coconut aminos, wasabi, and ginger.

Variations:

  • Swap out salmon for chicken, shrimp, or crab
  • Try fresh add-ins such as mango, cilantro, or thinly sliced jalapeno
  • Omit salmon and add more veggies for a vegetarian version

Why I’ll Never Eat a Chicken Breast Again (And What I Eat Instead!)

Chicken_Breast_Raw
The chicken breast is without question America’s favorite form of protein.  Lauded for its lean, white meat, the chicken breast is enjoyed by the average American about eight times a month.  White meat is preferred so highly over dark meat, that much of US’s dark meat is exported to Russia and Asian countries, who prefer it over white meat.  However, I will make the argument that there is a better cut of poultry that trumps the chicken breast, hands down.
The lowly chicken thigh boosts both flavor and nutrient density.  And, because it is not enjoyed nearly as often as the chicken breast, it is often very affordable.  Chicken thighs cost about half of the price of chicken breasts.  But I know what you are thinking, dark meat is so unhealthy and fattening, right?  Wrong.  Chicken thighs contain about 0.5 g more of saturated fat and a mere 5 additional calories per 100 grams of meat.  What’s more is that chicken thighs have higher levels of vitamins B6 and B12, iron, thiamine, zinc, folate, selenium, and riboflavin.  Finally, chicken thighs taste better than chicken breasts!  Okay, this one is subjective, but there is no denying that dark meat is more moist and tender.  White meat has a tendency to dry out, which can result in a chalky taste, especially when you have it as leftovers.
I love chicken thighs.  They are easy to prepare, and can be grilled, baked, pan-fried, or slow cooked.  I personally purchase both bone-in and the deboned varieties from Costco.  The deboned thighs taste great on the grill, in stir fries and fajitas, and quick seared in a cast-iron pan.  The bone-in thighs taste amazing braised or slow-cooked.
So, I challenge you to come to the dark side and try chicken thighs.  Let me know what you think!
Tamara

The Whole 30: My Results

I started my first Whole 30 in January, 2015.  The novelty of my New Year’s Resolutions was still fresh, and I was equal parts excited and nervous to take on the challenge of thirty days of nutrient dense, real foods.  I remember the day before I was entirely unsure of whether or not I would be able to even make it one week.  But in true Whole 30 fashion, I just went for it. And I succeeded!  Thirty days without sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, and dairy.  I said adios to the scale and scored many non-scale victories.  At the end of my thirty days, I had lost 5 pounds and 2% body fat.  I had also gained muscle, as my gym performance greatly improved as well!  In addition to a slimmer physique, I enjoyed the added benefits of increased energy, improved sleep, emotional stability, clear skin, and best of all, the feeling of accomplishment and control over my health and happiness.  Eating real and nutrient dense foods is so empowering.  Every dietary choice I made for the duration of the program was a choice that supported a healthy lifestyle.  I’m sure you have heard the phrase you are either feeding or fighting disease with the food choices you make.  The Whole 30 made me an ultimate fighter against illness, disease, and cancer.  I am so grateful for all that I have learned.  Although there were many challenges, at the end of the program I knew that I would be completing many more rounds in the years to come.  Are you interested in trying the Whole 30 yourself?  You have nothing to lose – it is entirely free on their website.  I also greatly benefited from reading the book that started the phenomenon – “It Starts With Food” (See side bar for link).  Click here for my earlier post for my top 5 tips for Whole 30 success.

Have you done a Whole 30?  I would love to hear your results below 🙂

XOXO,

Tamara

The Whole 30: How It Changed My Life

The Whole 30 has become increasingly prevalent in the media, and has become subsequently available to a wide population of people.  I first heard about the Whole 30 program when I began my research into real foods and the paleo approach of eating.  The concept interested me – 30 days of whole foods.  Cut out all alcohol, sugar, grains, legumes, and dairy.  Add in quality meat and seafood, nuts and seeds, healthy fats, fruits, and all of the vegetables you can eat.  Eat three complete meals, instead of grazing all day long.  Put away the bathroom scale until day 30.  This encompasses the basic foundation of the program.  For some, the Whole 30 is an elimination diet used to determine intolerances to certain foods that cause inflammation, such as gluten or dairy.  For others, it is used regularly as a diet reset to purge the body of unhealthy cravings.  For me, the Whole 30 was an eye-opening learning experience.  I considered myself well-versed in the concept of real foods, however through my 30 day journey, I felt as if the food industry was exposed to me.  Finding compliant food was easier said than done. I remember once I searched numerous brands of tomato past for one that did not contain sugar as an ingredient.  Out of several brands, only one was worthy of being added to my grocery cart.  This was definitely one of the most frustrating parts of the program.  Sugar is in just about everything.  For the duration of the program, many condiments, meats, and other products were not an option because finding a sugarless choice was near impossible.  The next time you go to the store, just try and find a package of bacon or sausage without sugar listed as an ingredient.  Even most high quality brands were ruled out due to this one ingredient!  But enough about sugar – I could rant for several posts!  The Whole 30 was not an easy program.  It definitely challenged me.  About halfway, I reached a point where I wanted to quit very badly.  I’m a bit ashamed looking back, because I vividly remember texting my boyfriend how badly I wanted a chocolate malt and french fries! Despite my struggles, accomplishing a Whole 30 in its entirety was an amazing feeling.  The last week of the program I felt on top of the world physically and emotionally.  Whipping up a delicious and healthy meal became second nature.  Meal planning was my best friend.

If you are considering completing a Whole 30, here are my top tips to make the 30 days go as smoothly as possible!

1) Meatballs, Meatballs, Meatballs

Make up a batch or two of your favorite compliant meatballs and freeze in individual servings.  They can be paired with a cauli-rice, a side salad, or veggie noodles for a delicious and quick meal.

Here are my favorite Whole 30 meatball recipes:

Nom Nom Paleo’s Asian Meatballs

The Whole Smith’s Mango Jalapeno Chicken Meatballs

The Clothes Make The Girl’s Paleo Czech Meatballs

2) Cauliflower = Your New Best Friend

I have always liked cauliflower, and I have found several new methods of preparation.  Whether mashed, riced, or roasted, it makes a delicious and inexpensive side dish.  Bonus points if you use riced cauliflower to make Whole 30 “sushi” to be served alongside coconut aminos!

Try out these recipes:

Holistically Engineered’s Slow Cooker Mashed Cauliflower 

Stockpiling Mom’s Roasted Cauliflower

The Clothes Make The Girl’s Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Rice

3) Meal Plan – But Not Too Much

I found that it really helped to have a general idea of what I would be eating each week.  But planning every detail of every meal of every day was exhausting and ineffective.  I enjoy the spontaneity of throwing a meal together rather than following a strict plan.  Instead, I opted to loosely structure each week around the protein I bought.

Here’s what my line up looked like:

Week 1: I roasted a whole chicken and from this had many different meals including chicken and veggies, chicken salad, and bone broth made from the carcass.

Week 2: I made Nom Nom Paleo’s famous Slow Cooker Kalua Pork.  This provided meals of pulled pork with Tessamae’s barbeque sauce and coleslaw, pork tacos in romaine lettuce wraps, and roasted butternut squash noodles with pork and garlic cream sauce.

Week 3: I defrosted a bag of frozen shrimp, and enjoyed grilled garlic-lemon shrimp kabobs, spring rolls wrapped in romaine, and spaghetti squash shrimp “alfredo”.

Week 4: Pork chops.  This is easily my favorite recipe.  It has always turned out amazing for me, and goes great with mustard mashed potatoes/cauliflower.  I made up several pork chops and enjoyed them just as they are all week long.  Yum!

If I got tired of the protein of the week, I could always heat up my frozen meatballs or cook up some eggs and veggies.  I also kept some frozen leftover soup in baggies to defrost when needed.

4) Drink Water and Stay Active

While eating Whole 30 style, your body is experiencing the wonderful benefits of detoxification.  To prevent negative side effects such as headaches and irritability, drink lots of water and keep your body moving.  Having a water bottle handy at all times can also prevent you from absent-mindedly eating something non-compliant.

5) Take a Break From Dining Out

It is not easy to eat out while doing a Whole 30.  This is not to say that it is impossible, and if it is part of your lifestyle by all means you can find a way to make it work.  However, I found it refreshing to simply avoid eating out for the duration of the 30 day program.  I ate out one time during the program and it consisted of sashimi and coconut aminos at my favorite sushi restaurant.  For the rest of my meals, I either ate at home or brought along a packed meal that I had made earlier.  This was great because I was completely in control of what I ate and how it was prepared.  When eating out, the ingredients and their preparation are largely unknown.  This can cause anxiety and uncertainty, which are not part of the healthy eating habits endorsed by the Whole 30 program! It is my personal opinion that minimizing eating out during your Whole 30 makes it easier to make the best possible choices.

In my next post, I will share my personal Whole 30 results.  Just reliving my experience through this post has me excited to schedule another one in the future!  Feel free to leave any comments or questions below!

XOXO,

Tamara

The New Market on the Block

Where you live has a big impact on the quality and types of food that is available.  Living in the midwest gives me access to fresh, organic produce during the growing seasons, and wild fish and game.  The disadvantages is that health foods are limited and more expensive than in more urban areas.  Because I am living on student loans while in school, I have to prioritize my budget.  It is most beneficial to me to spend my money on in-season, local produce and quality proteins.  There are pantry staples that I like to keep on hand for favorite recipes and experimenting in the kitchen, such as almond flour, coconut aminos, spices, bone stock, avocado oil, coconut oil/flour/milk, nut butters, lard, tallow, and ghee.  Many of these products are difficult for me to find, and when I do find them they are very expensive.  I hope with time, finding and affording healthy staples becomes easier! In the meantime, I have found what I believe to be the best prices for nearly every heath food that I could want.  Introducing Thrive Market.  Thrive Market is Whole Food products at Amazon prices.  Actually, at significantly less than Amazon prices.  Thrive Market’s prices are up to 50% less than Amazon.

Here’s how it works: Click this link to sign up for a free 2 month trial to the Thrive Market.  You will receive a coupon for $10 off your first order (yay, even more savings!).  Peruse the site for your favorite healthy staples, and get excited over the significantly decreased prices.  What is great about Thrive Market is that you can filter the products by various themes such as raw, vegan, paleo, gluten free, and healthy moms.  I was so excited when I realized that in addition to healthy staples, there are also vitamins/supplements, health and beauty, baby supplies, and home good.  

If you decide that Thrive Market is not for you, you can cancel your trial membership at any time during the first 2 months.  If you love it as much as I do, you can continue being a member and you will be charged at the end of your trial membership.  They send out a reminder email before your trial ends, so you can decide if it is right for you.  With my first order, I more than paid for my membership with the savings and free shipping (with every purchase over $49!)  Check it out and see if it is right for you!

My first order completely stocked my cupboards with all of my favorite staples.  I am putting together my next order now which will focus on natural, toxin-free health and beauty products.

Comment below with any questions you have about Thrive Market!  I think it is a great resource to increase availability of affordable health products.

XOXO,

Tamara