Category: Detoxifying Page 3 of 5

Happy National Kale Day! {10 Kale Recipes Plus a Must-See RNK Video}

My friend Natalie texted me this morning to wish me a “Happy National Kale Day.”

She’s super thoughtful and was actually the person who got me an¬†awesome Eat More Kale shirt last year for my birthday. I was so excited that I had to make a short¬†video dedicated to today’s vegetable of honor!

In addition to posting that video on my Facebook page today about why kale is so awesome and some tricks for how to make it taste good and NOT bitter, I thought I’d whip up a quick blog post ūüôā

Kale is related to some of my other favorite veggies, including cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts! It scores 1,000 on the ANDI scale, which measures the nutrient density of a food. In English, that means it packs in a TON of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals essential for our health, growth and development).

The more nutrient-dense our diet is, the better off we will be!

Kale is loaded with antioxidants that protect our body (inside and outside!) from damage caused by things like stress, poor diet, lack of activity and smoking.

This leafy green¬†also contains isothiocyanates (say “eye-so-thio-CY-a-nates”) more simply known as ITCs. These compounds have strong cancer-preventive properties. Not only that, but kale contains over 45 flavonoids, a type of phytonutrient (FIGHT-o-nutrient) that protects plants from disease as they are growing. Flavonoids protect our bodies as well AND are give plants their colorful pigments.

Veggies at the San Diego Farmer's Market, including lots of kale!

Veggies at the San Diego Farmer’s Market, including lots of kale in the middle!

Kale is full of micronutrients like beta carotene, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Vitamin K is an important nutrient involved in blood clotting and one cup of kale contains 7 times the RDA for vitamin K.

You may have heard people express concerns about eating too many leafy greens if they are on blood thinners. In fact, the well-known anticoagulant drug Warfarin (Coumadin) works by blocking the function of vitamin K, which is why anyone taking those medications should talk to their doctor about any dietary changes like significantly upping their intake of vitamin-K containing foods.

When¬†there are ways to naturally support our body rather than using medication, I’m all for it!

Kale is anti-inflammatory and detoxifying, so it helps us calm the fires inside of our body and get rid of toxins that can build up as a result of how we live, including how we eat. Dr. Mark Hyman, Director of the Center for Functional Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, writes and speaks about how inflammation and toxicity are two of the reasons we are sick, develop disease and have trouble losing weight. Check out his video about it here.

If you want to learn even more about the awesome benefits of kale, check out this post by Authority Nutrition about the 10 Proven Benefits of Kale.

Oh, and if you want to be entertained, make sure you check out my National Kale Day tribute video on Facebook!

In the meantime, here are some recipes to try (and check out others on the National Kale Day website):

My Famous Super Food Kale Salad!

My Famous Super Food Kale Salad!

Med Kale Salad

  1. “Taste the Rainbow” Super Food Kale Salad (my signature salad that gets RAVE reviews!)
  2. Upgraded Kale Waldorf Salad
  3. Mediterranean Chickpea and Sundried Tomato Kale Salad
  4. Mini Kale & Mushroom Breakfast Frittatas
  5. Peachy Keen Kale Salad
  6. White Bean & Fennel Soup
  7. Caribbean Island Breeze Smoothie
  8. The Recipe that Will Make You Fall In Love with Kale All Over Again from MindBodyGreen
  9. Lentil & Carrot Salad with Kale from Serious Eats
  10. Bobby Flay’s Sauteed Kale¬†from Food Network

Do you have a favorite kale recipe or one that you want to try? If so, feel free to share it below!

Anti-Inflammatory Berry Blast GBOMBS Smoothie {Paleo, Vegan}

I’ve been preparing for a client presentation today all about one of my favorite topics in nutrition – GBOMBS.

I’ve written about them before, but I love the acronym because it’s an easy way to remember some of the most nutrient-packed, disease-fighting, health-boosting foods on the planet, according to Dr. Joel Fuhrman:

  • Greens
  • Beans
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Berries
  • Seeds (+ Nuts)

One of the easiest ways to pack in a bunch of GBOMBS at once is in a smoothie ūüôā

Smoothies are also an easy way to “upgrade” our diet, adding in lots of nutrients that keep our body¬†clean, energized, and feeling awesome.

My husband, Bill, and I have them for breakfast almost every morning. We change them up, so we are getting a variety of nutrients from different fruits, vegetables and super foods.

Today’s¬†smoothie has a lot going for it, including being¬†anti-inflammatory and detoxifying.

According to Dr. Mark Hyman and other functional medicine doctors and nutritionists, inflammation and toxicity are the two reasons most of us are sick and holding on to extra weight, so we want to load up on foods that help us reduce them, and this smoothie does the trick!

Check out the amazing health benefits of three of the key ingredients in this smoothie:

Supercharged berries

GBOMBS berries

Berries

Blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries.

No matter which berries you pick, they are one of the best foods you can eat because they’re low in sugar, and their high antioxidant power helps protect our heart and contains potent anti-cancer compounds.

For these reasons and more (they taste amazing!), berries¬†are considered one of¬†Dr. Fuhrman’s GBOMBS foods.

A curly bunch of kale!

A curly bunch of kale!

Greens {Kale}

This superstar¬†veggie is another GBOMBS food, so it’s also loaded with anti-cancer and anti-fat storage benefits.

Leafy green veggies are the most nutrient-rich foods we can eat. That’s our goal – to get the most nutrients we can in every calorie we eat or drink. It’s one of the¬†secrets to optimal health.

Read more about kale’s amazing health benefits here.

flax

Flaxseed

Yet another GBOMBS food, flaxseed is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and keeps our brain and arteries healthy due to its Omega-3 fatty acid content.

Flaxseed is also loaded with fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar (a key to staying energized!), keep us feeling full, and promote healthy digestion (keep things moving).

Make sure you grind the seeds before eating them, as it is tough for your teeth to break down the whole seeds and release all of their health benefits. My blender does a good job of this, but a coffee grinder will work, too. 

Click here for more ideas to add flaxseed into your daily diet!

smoothiepic

Ingredients (ideally organic)

  • 1.5 cups unsweetened (or homemade) almond milk
  • 2¬†cups greens, loosely packed (baby kale, kale (remove stem), spinach, etc.)
  • 1 cup frozen berries (I used black raspberries in mine but any will do)
  • 1/2 frozen banana (peel it first)
  • 1 tablespoon¬†almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed / ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Optional to make it more filling: scoop of your favorite protein powder (I want to try this one¬†and have been pretty happy with this one)

Directions

Put all ingredients in a blender in the order listed above for about 60 seconds, until you reach a smooth consistency.¬†If you don’t have a high-powered blender, blend the greens and liquid FIRST and then add the rest of the ingredients.

*As your taste buds adjust to like naturally sweet foods, you may find that adding a pitted Medjool date or a teaspoon of honey sweetens up this recipe a bit, but the berries, banana, and cinnamon are enough for me!

Mediterranean Chickpea & Sundried Tomato Kale Salad {Vegan}

I’ve been a kale lover for¬†a few¬†years now and have fun¬†coming up with new ways to incorporate it into recipes.

I even found these super cool kale-lover clothing items at a small store called Simply Local in¬†San Diego that reflect someone’s serious obsession with this leafy green veggie.

Kale Clothes SD

Today’s salad recipe has some Mediterranean inspirations with lemon, olive oil, garlic, tomatoes and chickpeas. It comes together in a matter of minutes and can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner.

From the kale and garlic to the hemp seeds and chickpeas, this delicious dish is LOADED with cancer-fighting and fat-storage fighting foods known as GBOMBS. Click here to learn more about GBOMBS and why we should eat them daily.

The key to this salad is massaging the lemon juice into the kale leaves to¬†“cook” and soften the kale and break down its bitterness; it’s always important to give your raw kale a little massage.

Speaking of massage, when I was in college I considered going into massage therapy and even went so far as to buy a KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) guide-book to learn¬†the basics. Clearly I didn’t pursue that route, so massaging kale will have to do! ūüôā

Mediterranean Kale Salad

What I love about kale salads (one of the many things) is that they¬†“keep”¬†for a few days in the fridge.

Any other greens’ salads will wilt in a matter of hours once you put dressing on it, but kale salad holds up for about 3 days, so it’s something you can make ahead of time and enjoy¬†for several meals.

Check out today’s recipe, and let me know what you think!

Med Kale Saladkale salad 2

Mediterranean Chickpea & Sundried Tomato Kale Salad

I love the Mediterranean-inspired flavors and ingredients in this salad. Feel free to add some chicken or fish on top, if you’d like, for a complete meal!

  • 1 bunch curly kale (destemmed, washed and dried)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about one lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed and finely minced (1 large clove or 2 small cloves))
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas AKA garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed (I use the Eden brand))
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes (chopped)
  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds (hulled)
  • Black pepper (to taste)
  1. Tear kale leaves into pieces and put in large bowl.

  2. Add lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and sea salt, and massage everything into the kale leaves for 1-2 minutes, until the leaves are shiny, soft, and have reduced in volume by about half.

  3. Add the black pepper, nutritional yeast, chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, and hemp seeds and toss until evenly combined. Add more salt or pepper to taste. Enjoy!

 

Curb Your Coffee Craving: Upgrade to This!

My earliest memories of coffee are of Saturday morning trips to Belvedere Square Market with my mom after her aerobics class.

Burgeoning burlap sacks of coffee beans lined the floor of the market and the aroma filled the air. Sourcing coffee beans wholesale that are of a really good quality can be difficult but Belvedere Square never failed to disappoint. That is why it is one of my favorite places ever to get a good cup of joe. They work brilliantly in ground form in my coffee machine too, which is always a must for me because I’m obsessed with that machine. I read reviews on Greatcoffeebrewers.com to find it and it is one of the best purchases I’ve ever made; perfect coffee every morning, what a start to the day.

To this day, Belvedere Square is one of my favorite places to go in all of Baltimore and is now the site of my FAVORITE chocolate place, Jinji Chocolates (check it out if you haven’t yet!) and two of my top places for a healthy meal in Baltimore.

A box of melt in your mouth chocolate from Jinji

A box of melt in your mouth chocolates from Jinji

I know I’m a minority when it comes to not being a fan of the taste of coffee, but my husband and other friends, family and coworkers couldn’t think of any other way to start their day.

For many people, it’s the taste and habit of drinking coffee, which tempts them to find other Interesting ways to make coffee on a daily, but for others, caffeine is queen.

They will try anything from a Mocha to a Cappucino and will probably always be on the lookout for new products that will tingle their taste buds. When it comes to my friends, and any new and interesting coffee information about new flavours, or different ideas on how to make it, you can guarantee that they’ve already read it and tried it before anyone has a chance to do so themselves. Sometimes, you will think that their lives revolve around coffee.

Caffeine is a big draw, as many of us are walking around a bit more sleep-deprived than we’d like to admit and have gotten used to being in a state of feeling artificially energized all day.

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I get it.

Our lives are demanding.

We’re pulled in multiple directions at any given time, and making it through the work day, getting everything done around the house, and still having time for fun, friends, family and fitness can feel exhausting. Sometimes we feel like we need something to help us get it all done.

The truth is, caffeine affects different people differently. It’s when we become dependent on it to function that it can have a negative impact on our health, artificially stimulating us all day and running our adrenal glands dry.

Here’s a video by a clinical nutritionist that answers the question, “Is coffee good or bad for me?”

If you’re looking to kick caffeine, want to change up your morning or evening routine, or are ready to boost your health by making an upgrade, you have to give Dandy Blend a try.

So, what is Dandy Blend and why is it so, well, dandy?

Dandy Blend is a healthy, instant herbal substitute for coffee that’s caffeine-free. Thousands of people use it as an alternative to coffee because the blend of herbs that are used to make it tastes remarkably similar to coffee.

dandy blend

I’ve been sharing it with friends, coworkers and clients for the past few months, and quite a few people have already happily made the switch…including my husband, Bill!

Not only that, but because the ingredients have detoxifying properties, many people can make the switch without the unpleasant withdrawal side effects that often follow quitting coffee.

Pretty cool, huh?!

So, how do you use Dandy Blend?

  • For a light tea: add 1 level teaspoon per 8 ounces hot water.
  • For a rich, full-bodied coffee-like flavor: add 1 rounded teaspoon per cup hot water.
  • For a strong, coffee- or espresso-strength beverage: use 1 tablespoon per cup hot water.

Technically, you can use hot or cold water (or almond or coconut milk), but I prefer hot.

I’ll be sharing some of my favorite recipes that use Dandy Blend throughout the week – the first of which is for a SUPER delicious mocha fudge ball. You guys…they are SO good! ūüôā

db2

Don’t just take my word for it, check out what Dandy Blend customers have to say about this awesome coffee alternative:

I was pleasantly surprised! I have to admit, I was a skeptic. I’ve tried other non-coffee bean hot drinks and was disappointed. However, Dandy Blend tastes as close to real coffee as you can get!

Dandy Blend is the only coffee alternative that actually tastes better than real coffee.

Dear Dandy Blend, I LOVE YOU!!!! An avid coffee drinker for decades, when I was told by a doctor earlier this year I needed to get off coffee, I almost needed counseling! So, I tried Pero, Cafe’ Roma, Bru, and Cafix, but YOU GUYS TAKE THE CAKE! I love that it’s strong, like-coffee, no acid, no caffeine, and no gluten! Thank you so very much!

You can buy Dandy Blend online at Vitacost, Amazon or iHerb or at MOMs Organic Market.

And you can order a sample of Dandy Blend to try for yourself for just $1 on the Dandy Blend website. $1 will get you 2 samples! Click here to order.

If you end up trying it, please come back and leave a message to let everyone know what you think!

Fancy Pants Curried Cauliflower Steaks & Mash {Paleo, Vegan}

When it comes to eating well, one of the key things we’re told to do is “eat the rainbow” and include a variety of brightly colored foods in our diet.

I totally agree, but the¬†unfortunate part is that advice leaves out foods that are well…white and colorless.

Like cauliflower.

Cauliflower doesn’t get nearly as much love as its green buddy broccoli, but it should!

It’s just one of the many health-boosting, inflammation-fighting, detoxifying foods in this recipe.

cauli closeup

I was inspired to come up with this dish when I was doing an assignment focused on anti-inflammatory foods for the Culinary Nutrition program I finished this winter.

If we can reduce inflammation, we set ourselves up to feel better, look more alive, prevent disease and even get to a healthier weight. Dr. Mark Hyman has written extensively about inflammation and how to reduce it. Click here to learn more about it from him.

For this dish, I wanted to use as many anti-inflammatory foods as possible, including cauliflower, turmeric, ginger and garlic.

  • Cauliflower, a cruciferous vegetable, contains the antioxidant sulforaphane, which is known for its powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Here’s my first post about cauliflower and the rest of its amazing health benefits.
  • Turmeric contains over two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds with curcumin being the most potent.
  • Ginger extract regulates pathways that halt¬†the activation of genes involved in the inflammatory response.
  • Allium vegetables like garlic contain sulfur compounds that prevent¬†inflammation in the body.

This recipe puts a creative spin on “steak and potatoes” by using cauliflower¬†“steaks” and “mash.”

I was inspired to share this recipe that puts a vegan-friendly spin on a specialty dish just like the crew at the Wynn Las Vegas.  New York Times Bestselling author of The Conscious Cook and vegan chef Tal Ronnen creates vegan and vegetarian menus for every restaurant at the Wynn, and I hope to have the chance to try his food firsthand one day. Since not everyone (myself included!) can make it to Vegas for a fancy meal, making a dish like this one is the second best option!

**Don’t let the ingredient list intimidate you (it’s mostly spices!). Also, I was VERY thorough on the directions and have included step-by-step pictures of the process below to help you visualize how it works. Give it a shot!*

cauli2name

Ingredients

1 small head garlic
1 teaspoon coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 large head cauliflower
Sea salt and black pepper
3 tablespoons coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ginger root
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1‚ĀĄ2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1‚ĀĄ2 teaspoon ground coriander
1‚ĀĄ4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1‚ĀĄ2 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup reserved water from steamer
Black pepper, to taste
Juice from 1 lemon
1‚ĀĄ4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
Small handful of parsley, chopped

Step-by-Step How To Photos (Written Directions Below)

How to Make Cauliflower Steaks

How to Make Cauliflower Steaks (Directions Below!)

How to Make Cauliflower Mash

How to Make Cauliflower Mash (Directions Below!)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Peel and discard the papery outer layers of the head of garlic. Using a sharp knife, cut 1/4 inch from the top of cloves, exposing the individual cloves of garlic. Pour 1 teaspoon of oil on top and tightly wrap the head of garlic in foil or parchment paper. Place directly in oven, and roast for 30 minutes or until soft to the touch.
  3. While the garlic is roasting, remove the leaves and trim the stem end of the cauliflower, leaving the core intact. Using a large knife, cut the cauliflower from top to bottom into two 1-inch-thick steaks. Season each steak with salt and pepper on both sides. Set aside loose florets for the cauliflower mash.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the cauliflower steaks until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer steaks to parchment-lined baking sheet.
  5. Whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, ginger, garlic, cumin, turmeric, coriander, and red pepper flakes. Brush the mixture onto both sides of the cauliflower steaks. Roast steaks in oven, about 15 minutes.
  6. While the steaks and garlic are roasting, put the loose cauliflower florets in a steamer basket over 1-2 inches of water in a pot. Cover and steam until cauliflower softens (about 10-12 minutes). You should be able to stick a fork through it easily. Set aside 1/3 cup of the steam water.
  7. Put steamed cauliflower in a food processor and add 1‚ĀĄ2 of the head of roasted garlic (squeeze each clove out by pushing on the bottom of each one after you‚Äôve let it cool). Add olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and reserved cooking water to the food processor. Pulse until smooth. Taste, and add more garlic if you prefer.
  8. Remove cauliflower steaks and garlic from oven. Place half the cauliflower mash on each plate, top with a cauliflower steak, and then squeeze lemon juice over each steak. Sprinkle toasted pine nuts and chopped parsley over each steak, and ENJOY!

The Easiest and Cheapest Way to Make Your Own Vegetable Broth

Until about a month ago, I had never made my own vegetable broth.

I always bought boxes of broth at the grocery store for about $3 a pop because I assumed it was too much work and way too difficult to make it myself.

Turns out I was wrong!

Not only is it easy, but it’s also CHEAP.¬†The secret is using¬†vegetable scraps you would have probably thrown away, so you don’t even have to spend extra money ūüôā

I learned about this technique when I attended a soups and stocks cooking class at Pure Sweets & Co. in Philadelphia earlier this month.

It’s just one of the ways they make using all¬†organic vegetables more sustainable and affordable because¬†they¬†use the ENTIRE vegetable…no waste!

Once you see how EASY it is to make your own broth, I bet you will actually do it!

veggie broth banner

Ingredients

  • Scraps, peels, stems, skins, ends, nubs from a variety of vegetables (garlic, onions, mushrooms, potatoes, carrots, celery, herbs, squash, turnips, broccoli) – use a variety or you will have a one-note broth ūüôā
  • Water

scrap soup how to pics

Directions

  1. Save your scraps. Whenever you are prepping vegetables or herbs, put all of the stuff you would normally throw away (butts/ends, stems, skins, tops, leaves, peels) into a bag and store the bag in your freezer.
  2. When you’re ready to make your broth, simply fill about 1/3 of an 8-quart¬†pot with the vegetable scraps and the rest with water. If you have extra fresh veggies like carrots, onions, or¬†parsley, you can chop them up and throw them in, too.
  3. Bring pot to a boil then lower heat to a simmer and cover. Let simmer for 1-2 hours. The longer it simmers, the richer the flavor will be.
  4. Let broth¬†cool to room temperature, then strain off the vegetables so you’re left with just broth. Compost the scraps.
  5. Pour the broth into glass jars, leaving AT LEAST 2 inches of air above the broth before you seal it, so the broth has room to expand in the jar once you freeze it. If you don’t leave enough room, the jar could crack from the pressure…which may have happened to me once already…Oops!¬†(By the way, we swear by this canning jar funnel to prevent spills. It’s totally worth it.)
  6. Store broth in the fridge for up to one week or in the freezer for up to six months.

We had lots of scraps…sooo now we have about 32 ounces of vegetable broth ūüôā Stock up on those mason jars for storage! You can find them at Home Goods, Michael’s, Target, Walmart, and online.

Do you have any favorite soup recipes or requests? I have white bean and fennel soup and creamy butternut squash recipes coming up soon. Let me know if you have any requests!

New Year, New {Healthier} You: 3 Detox Programs to Start the Year Off Right!

Happy New Year!

HNY

Unlike just about every commercial you’ve seen on TV or heard on the radio in the past few days, I’m not here to guilt you. I don’t think guilt is a very useful emotion, even if we have fallen out of our routines a bit.

I’m just ready to get back into my routine and guide my body back to where it feels and functions best!

I’m committed to my health and health choices for the long haul because I like how I feel when I’m well nourished. But this isn’t a “once-a-year-because-everyone-else-is-doing-it” type of thing. It’s a lifestyle, a commitment.

When I regularly nourish myself in a way that I know my body needs, I’m energized. I’m alive. I’m healthy. My weight stabilizes itself naturally. My immune system is strong and fights for me (even when I’m overdoing it), and I don’t get sick. My skin is clear. I sleep better. I handle stress better. I look and feel great!

I’ll be sharing a post in the next few days about what I do to reset overall this time of year (spoiler alert: It doesn’t involve making a laundry list of New Year’s Resolutions!).

After a few months of overindulging, not moving as much as we know our bodies need, and with renewed motivation and intention to start the year off right, many of us could benefit from an internal “reset” or even a “detox” to help us get back on track.

The word “detox” can be a turn off for a lot of people. It sounds so…intimidating and maybe even a little extreme. However, others are absolutely ecstatic to find a link that will lead them to some detox supplements that they’ll love.

What does “detoxing” mean anyway? Why should you think about doing it?

I like this explanation from Food Matters (worth following on FB if you don’t already!):

detox tip2

However, even if you’re including only organic foods in your diet, detoxing can reboot your system and rid your body of harmful toxic build up.

Toxicity (having a building of harmful substances in our body) is one of the main reasons we get sick and have trouble losing weight. Toxic tissues hold on to fat in our bodies. As long as we’re inflamed and toxic, we’ll have trouble looking and feeling our best.

So, where do all these toxins come from? I recently read an incredible book called The Disease Delusion by Dr. Jeffrey Bland, and he wrote a whole chapter devoted to explaining detoxification. Here are some of the toxins he mentions:

  • Additives or harmful chemicals in the refined and processed foods we eat
  • Chemicals sprayed on our food like pesticides, insecticides & herbicides (this is one of the main reasons we eat organic)
  • Metabolizing/breaking down things like alcohol, caffeine and medications
  • Our environment (the air we breathe, creams and sprays we put on our bodies, chemicals like BPA in the plastic we store our food in and water bottles we drink out of)

We may not even realize we’re accumulating all of these things in our bodies, but we are, and they are preventing us from having optimal health. Taking some time to physically detox our bodies and our minds is a great way to get ourselves back in balance and feeling great. This is why places like Amity Wellness exist, to help you feel your best. If you want to Book Direct @ Amitywellness.com for a detox program then you can just follow that link!

Anyway, until I have one of my own programs (which I firmly believe will happen in the next year!), I wanted to share three detox-focused programs that are excellent options to consider as you start off the year. I plan to sign up for all three and take bits and pieces from each ūüôā

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Food Matters FREE 3-day Detox: Food Matters does great work. Their documentaries are worth watching and may transform the way you think about food (and eat!). Their free 3-day detox is a great option to upgrade your diet with some more nourishing choices and help your body naturally clean out the gunk ūüôā

Their Facebook page is full of helpful hints, recipes, and cool infographics, so you should follow them on there, too!

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The Detoxinista’s 21-Day Warm & Cozy Winter Detox: The Detoxinista (Megan Gilmore) is another talented blogger I’ve been following for some time. She is also a graduate of the health coach training program I went through in 2013. We have similar ways of thinking about food – that healthy eating can be easier than you think…and delicious!

Megan also focuses on dairy-free and gluten-free recipes, so I get a lot of inspirations from her. This is her first detox package, and I’m sure it will be great!

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Meghan Telpner’s Awesome Life Detox: Meghan is awesome. I just finished her Culinary Nutrition Expert Program and love her approach to food, boundless and positive energy, and quirky creativity. This program is about more than just food, and I know it will be worth doing. I’ve already signed up and am super stoked for it!

So there you have it, those are my three top picks for New Year, New You resets to try out this month. If you end up doing one, let me know! I’d love to hear what you think.

Here’s to your best year yet! ūüôā

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5-Minute Basil Walnut Pesto Sauce & Cucumber Bites {Paleo, Vegan, Dairy-Free}

If you are looking for ideas for a healthy New Year’s Eve appetizer recipe, look no further! After I shared this dish at a friend’s Christmas party and everyone devoured it, one of my friends there asked me for the recipe so she could make it for her family’s Christmas dinner. This is tried, tested, and approved ūüôā And you can whip it up in 5 minutes!

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The first time I shared this recipe was two weeks ago during my very first cooking class. I had so much fun teaching it and can’t wait to do more classes in 2015!

During the class, we¬†focused on making recipes that “cool,” calm and nourish the body. One of those recipes was for an Italian favorite – pesto sauce.

pesto demo

Teaching everyone about the health benefits of basil!

pesto food processor

All of the ingredients in the food processor before they are blended together.

Traditional pesto sauce is made with¬†either parmesan or romano cheese, and since I’m dairy-free, I wanted to come up with a recipe¬†that I could eat.

Something I’ve learned over the past couple of years that was news to me¬†is that¬†conventional dairy products are pro-inflammatory.

They promote inflammation in our bodies Рand show up in annoying symptoms like excess mucous production and congestion, and other digestive, sinus and respiratory issues. Many people find that ditching dairy helps them get rid of or reduce all of those symptoms.

I never would’ve thought it was possible that I could go through a winter without bronchitis or congestion, but I have now for 2 years in a row, so I can attest to the fact that going dairy-free works ūüôā

After experimenting with about 5 different versions of this recipe for pesto sauce, I finally came up with one that I liked. The ingredients in it are amazing for our health because they are immune & beauty-boosting and inflammation-reducing.

plate of pesto

Inflammation is one of the main reasons most of us are carrying around extra weight and getting sick.

Fat tissue is often inflamed tissue, and as long as our bodies are inflamed, we will have trouble keeping off weight long-term.

Not only that, but inflammation is at the root¬†of most major diseases¬†from digestive issues like heartburn, Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome to diabetes, heart disease, asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, and arthritis. For many of us, it’s “silent”¬†so we may not even know it’s happening. We want to eat foods that help us “cool” our body from the inside out, so we can be well.

Check out the amazing anti-inflammatory benefits of this pesto:

  • Garlic. Known as an “allium” vegetable (same family as onions, leeks, shallots, etc.), garlic is a potent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial food.¬†Two of garlic‚Äôs sulfur compounds inhibit the activity of inflammatory messenger molecules in our body, thereby reducing inflammation.
  • Walnuts. These brain-shaped nuts are an excellent source of an anti-inflammatory omega-3 fat known as¬†alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Omega-3 fats also help keep our blood sugar levels regulated, which helps us avoid inflammatory spikes. Extra virgin olive oil, which is also used in this recipe, is another source of healthy omega-3 fats.
  • Basil. This green herb contains an oil that blocks harmful enzyme activity that promote inflammation in our body. It’s also rich in flavonoids (plant pigments found in high levels in deeply colored fruits and vegetables) and antioxidants, which help “cool” and calm our body.
  • Lemon. Citrus fruit high in flavonoids and antioxidants that combat harmful free radicals that damage our body and its cells and promote disease.

I served the pesto¬†on cucumber slices and topped them with some shredded red cabbage. They are PERFECT for a holiday appetizer or just as a snack. Your guests will rave about them if you bring them to a party! ūüôā

pesto bites

Ingredients

2 small cloves garlic, peeled (or 1 medium)
2 cups packed fresh basil (I bought one pack of organic basil from Trader Joe’s and it was the perfect amount!)
1/2 cup raw walnuts
3 tablespoons lemon juice (juice from about 1 1/2 lemons)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Few dashes black pepper
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 cucumbers
Optional: shredded purple cabbage

Directions

  1. Process garlic cloves in the food processor until the garlic is minced.
  2. Add the basil, walnuts, lemon juice, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, and nutritional yeast. Process until a uniform paste has formed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  3. Turn on the food processor and drizzle in the olive oil in the top hole.
  4. Process until the pesto reaches your desired consistency, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Taste and add more lemon juice or salt if necessary.
  5. Cut ends off of cucumber and slice into 1/2 inch circles. Top each cucumber slice with 1 tablespoon of pesto. When I taught my cooking class last week, some of the attendees came up with the awesome idea of putting the crunchy purple cabbage (another super anti-inflammatory food) on top!

Chai-Spiced Yogi Tea: How to Make It Yourself (SO EASY!)

I love tea.

There’s something calming and comforting about wrapping your hands around a warm cup of herbal tea, especially chai tea.

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I used to get chai tea and chai tea lattes from Starbucks this time of year, but my recipe assignment last¬†week for the culinary nutrition program I’m taking gave me a chance to make it myself!

All I can say is WOW.

I had never made my own tea before, but this recipe is definitely a game changer, AND it was super EASY!

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First of all, the recipe makes 8 cups of tea, which is enough for at least half of a week for me. Here are a few more reasons to try this recipe for yourself at home:

  • The spices in this recipe and the ginger are cleansing, healing, comforting, and warming to the body – perfect for this time of year! For more information about the incredible health benefits of the spices¬†in this tea, click here.
  • Cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and cloves simmering¬†on the stove smells AMAZING.
  • It’s cheaper than buying tea by the box!

If you’d like, you can also add in your favorite non-dairy milk,¬†but I just drank it as is. Deeelicious!

I’ve already made it twice in two weeks and will be serving it¬†t0¬†everyone attending my cooking class tonight.

Yogi Tea

Ingredients (8 cups)

  • 8 cups water
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tablespoons¬†cardamom seeds (pop them out of the pods for¬†stronger flavor (that’s what I recommend)¬†or use whole pods for a milder flavor)
  • 2 tablespoons¬†whole cloves
  • 2 inches fresh ginger root (sliced)
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • almond milk as desired

Here’s¬†the full recipe¬†from the awesome Meghan Telpner! Just make sure you strain it with a fine mesh strainer as shown above after simmering everything. We don’t want to be eating cinnamon sticks ūüôā

*Helpful Hint: I buy my spices in the individual jars at MOMs Organic Market;¬†you can also find them at Roots¬†Market¬†and other natural food stores. It’s MUCH cheaper than buying an entire jar of something when you only need 1 or 2 tablespoons or a few sticks. You can also order spices online, but a natural food store near you should have fresh spices in bulk if your grocery store doesn’t.

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Rainbow Super Food Kale Salad {Paleo}

Today’s post is inspired by¬†Skittles.

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Whenever I hear the phrase, “Taste the Rainbow,” I always think of Skittles.

They were one of my favorite candies as a kid, especially the purple and red ones!

Not so fun when you reach a wet hand into a¬†bag of Skittles after an hour of swimming at the pool in the summer though… ūüôā

Okay, so this post isn’t exactly about Skittles, but this recipe¬†and the chewy¬†bite size candies¬†do have one thing in common…

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They are both very colorful…and look like a rainbow!

I taught a group of a dozen coworkers how to make this kale salad last week and they LOVED it!

In fact, there wasn’t any left for me by the end of the demo – which is a good sign! Here’s what one of my coworkers said about the salad:

“I have a new appreciation for kale. I never eat it but the salad today was so good. I also want to start making my own dressings and that was fabulous.”

See what I mean?? You have to try this salad!

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So, what inspired this recipe?

I’m currently going through a certification program to become¬†a Culinary Nutrition Expert, and one of our assignments has been to focus on a particular health condition and come up with recipes and meal plans that would help someone with that issue.

I chose inflammation.

If you’ve ever had any kind of “itis” (dermatitis, laryngitis, bronchitis, colitis, rhinitis, gastritis, arthritis, thyroiditis, etc.), you’ve dealt with inflammation.

Our body is really smart, and it’s naturally designed to protect us from harm.

At its most basic level, inflammation is the body‚Äôs response to an attack from a “foreign invader,” such as an injury, infection, bacteria,¬†or virus. It’s designed to help us fight the bad guys, so we can stay healthy.

We want our body to respond with inflammation temporarily when we do something like sprain our ankle or scrape our knee. Inflammation brings a rush of blood, nutrients and fighter white blood cells to the area to start the repair and healing process.

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For many of us though, inflammation is driven in part by the food we eat (and don’t eat). Most of the Standard American Diet (abbreviated SAD)¬†is full of pro-inflammatory processed, refined foods loaded with chemicals most of us can’t pronounce and would be more likely to find in a lab than a farmer’s market.

If we can reduce inflammation, we set ourselves up to be much better at preventing or delaying disease and even getting to a healthy weight. Dr. Mark Hyman has written extensively about inflammation and how to reduce it. Click here to learn more from him.

The key dietary recommendation to heal or ‚Äúcool‚ÄĚ inflammation is to consume an unrefined, whole food (ideally organic), high fiber, plant-rich diet, which naturally stabilizes our blood sugar (and energy levels!) – another key to keeping inflammation at bay.

When I was creating this recipe, I focused on making it an anti-inflammatory powerhouse, something that your body would love for you to eat…and that would taste amazing.

Crunchy, creamy, sweet, and the slightest bit salty, this salad has all of the flavors and textures we crave and love.

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I’m about to get a little nerdy here, but just go with it ūüôā

The healing foods in this recipe contain anti-inflammatory compounds like antioxidants, polyphenols, and flavonoids that not only help us reduce inflammation but also boost our immune system, slow the aging process, sustain our energy, and regulate our weight.

Here are just a few reasons why you’ll want to upgrade your diet and add in this super nourishing salad that’s loaded with immune, beauty and energy-boosting ingredients!

  • Avocado, hemp seeds, tahini, pumpkin seeds, and extra virgin olive oil are excellent sources of¬†anti-inflammatory fats¬†that are not only good for our body but also for our brain (our brain is 60% fat!).
  • The sulfur-containing compounds in garlic are also anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting.
  • Leafy green vegetables like dino kale contain flavanoids and antioxidants that reduce inflammation in the body.
  • Isothiocyanates (eye-so-thio-CYA-nates), sulfur-containing phytochemicals found in red cabbage, regulate the body‚Äôs inflammatory response.
  • Turmeric contains over two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, the most powerful of which is the antioxidant¬†curcumin, which gives it its bright yellow color.

Ok, now that you’re super stoked about eating anti-inflammatory foods, here’s the recipe! Bring it to your next potluck or holiday party – it’ll be a hit!

taste the rainbow salad

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Taste the Rainbow Kale Salad

This is my #1 favorite salad of all time and is always a hit at parties and potlucks. Packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients and full of flavor, this salad will turn any kale hater into a fan in no time!

Creamy Lemon Tahini Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (or raw honey)
  • 1 tablespoon tamari ((gluten-free soy sauce))
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves (peeled and minced)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (extra virgin)

Salad

  • 1 bunch kale (dino kale is best)
  • 1 cup purple cabbage (shredded)
  • 1 cup carrots (shredded)
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 avocado (diced)
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds (shelled)
  • 1/4 cup goji berries or dried cranberries
  1. Whisk all dressing ingredients together in a bowl OR place them in a blender for 30 seconds until smooth. Taste and make adjustments to dressing, if necessary. Add a few tablespoons of filtered water to thin it out if needed. I like mine thick.

  2. In a large bowl, place kale greens and add dressing. Massage dressing into kale leaves for about 2 minutes (until volume reduces by about 1/3). Add purple cabbage and toss to coat. Let sit for 15-30 minutes, so the dressing can continue breaking down the kale and cabbage.

  3. When ready to serve, add in shredded carrots, pumpkin seeds, avocado, hemp seeds, and goji berries (if using). Toss to combine.

This salad will stay good for about two days in the refrigerator. The heartiness of the kale greens prevents it from wilting like other salads would.

Double this recipe¬†if you’re bringing it to a party!

You can add in any vegetables you like. Try this salad with some diced bell peppers, chopped broccoli, cooked sweet potato cubes or other vegetables. To make more of a complete meal, add in your favorite animal or plant-based proteins (chicken, salmon, lentils, beans, tempeh). Chickpeas or white cannellini beans would pair well with this salad.

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