Author Archives for Sandra Shields, Certified Health Coach

About Sandra Shields, Certified Health Coach

Hello! I am Sandra, and I am a Health Coach! I went to school at Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I am here to help you be healthy and always eat delicious! Taking real food and creating delicious recipes with it is something I love to do. I get excited when I see lives changed and people feeling better than they ever have in their lives through diet and lifestyle changes. Health starts in your kitchen, and nutrient dense food can give your body the tools it needs to stay vibrant, healthy, prevent disease, and maintain great energy as well as heal. I am passionate about helping others eat delicious food through sharing my recipes and tips!

Health Benefits of Zinc and Recipes to Include it in Your Diet

Health Benefits of Zinc and Recipes to Include it in your Diet

Zinc is a trace mineral and is needed for many important functions in the body. Zinc is not stored in the cells of the body, so it is needed in small amounts consistently. Benefits of zinc are: shorter duration of the common cold, good hair, skin and nails, prevention of age related macular degeneration, help in regulating blood glucose, keeps your immune system strong, and may stabilize cognition according to a six month study in Florida on Alzheimer’s patients.

I reversed a zinc deficiency by adding whole foods containing zinc daily into my diet using food as medicine. When I retested three months later, my zinc levels were normal, and my hair was growing thicker again. Once I started eating the zinc containing foods, I found I craved them and couldn’t get enough for a while. This was most likely my body’s way of saying “Yes! Thank you for listening!”

Those at a greater risk of zinc deficiency are those with gastrointestinal disorders (my case), a vegetarian diet, large iron supplementation, diabetes, chronic diarrhea, and liver or kidney disorders. However it is becoming more common to have mild zinc deficiency world wide due to soil depletion.

According to studies, low level zinc deficiencies are on the rise in the world. Signs you may be deficient in zinc are:

Poor Memory

Brain Fog

Hair Loss

Vision Degeneration

Slow Wound Healing

Weakened Immune System (frequent colds for example)

White Spots on Fingernails

I don’t recommend supplementing with zinc unless you get tested for deficiency and work with a practitioner. However, eating a diet including foods containing great levels of zinc in a whole food form can be very beneficial to preventing or correcting a mild zinc deficiency. Whole foods that are a zinc rich are:

Oysters

Pumpkin Seeds (I use these) (One of the Best Plant Sources of Zinc)

Lamb

Tahini (Sesame Seed Butter also a good source of calcium)

Dark Chocolate (Ya!) Keep it at least 70% Dark or else you are getting too much sugar! I eat Alter Eco Dark Blackout Organic Chocolate that is 85% Cacao and it is melty on the tongue and yummy!

Almonds

Cashews

Chickpeas

Lobster

Beef

Pork

Chicken (Dark Meat)

Yogurt

Cheese (such as cheddar and Swiss)

Here are some delicious recipes you can make at home that are good sources of zinc!

  1. Almond Tahini Grain Free Cookies
  2. Chesapeake Crab Cakes
  3. Chocolate Mocha No Moo Smoothie
  4. Chinese 5 Spice Chicken Bites
  5. Lamb and Pine Nut Meatballs with Swiss Chard
  6. Mango Cashew Chicken Salad
  7. Oven Chuck Roast with Vegetables
  8. Oven Roasted Carrots with Cumin, Lime and Pumpkin Seeds
  9. Pizza Kale Chips
  10. Pumpkin Seed Pesto
  11. Sunflower Pumpkin Seed Crackers

References:

Discovery of Human Zinc Deficiency: It’s Impact on Human Health and Disease

The Emerging Role for Zinc in Depression and Psychosis

Zinc Deficiency Associated with Hypothyroidism: An Overlooked Cause of Severe Alopecia

A 3-Month Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study Evaluating the Ability of an Extra-Strength Marine Protein Supplement to Promote Hair Growth and Decrease Shedding in Women with Self-Perceived Thinning Hair

Zinc Fact Sheet for Health Professionals NIH

Disclaimer: This medical information is not advice and should not be treated as such. Consult your doctor before taking any supplements or vitamins.   The medical information on this website is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied. You must not rely on the information on my website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor. If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.

Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Pumpkin Seed Pesto - Rich in Zinc and Nutrients

Pumpkin Seeds are rich in zinc, magnesium and plant based omega-3s. But, did you know they make a pretty amazing tasting pesto? Well they do! They almost taste cheesy, and they make a very creamy pesto dip!

This recipe is currently my new favorite dip/spread! It’s quick and easy to make!

Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Ingredients:

1 Cup Fresh Basil, lightly packed

3/4 of Olive Oil

1/2 Cup of Raw Pumpkin Seeds (the kind that are shelled, I use these)

1 Clove of Fresh Garlic (or you can use garlic infused olive oil)

1 Teaspoon of Fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

1/2 Teaspoon of Aged Balsamic Vinegar

Directions: Blend the ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth and creamy. Store in the refrigerator.

Perfect for serving with an appetizer tray. It also makes a delicious sauce to drizzle on chicken and seafood as well as salad!

Enjoy!

Sandra Shields, Certified Health Coach

 

 

Grain Free Peach Cobbler

Grain Free Peach Cobbler on a Spoon

The peaches are fresh, juicy, ripe, and begging to be baked into something with cinnamon and nutmeg. There is nothing like peach season for eating peaches! They are at their most excellent and not to be missed! Peaches are sweet juicy pleasures, but they also are packed with health benefits and a broad range of nutrients!

The fiber in peaches helps keep you regular, they are rich in ascorbic acid and zinc (which also has anti-aging properties) to aid your immune system, rich in vitamin C and flavonoids for healthy skin, and contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin for eye health.

The batter for the cobbler features coconut flour, pastured eggs and natural maple syrup as the sweetener.

Grain Free Peach Cobbler

Grain Free Peach Cobbler

Preheat your oven to 350° degrees. Grease a 8″ x 8″ square pan with coconut oil.

Ingredients for Filling:

4 cups of peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced (about 4 peaches)

1/4 Cup of Maple Syrup (I used local)

2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice (fresh squeezed)

1/2 Teaspoon of Cinnamon

1/4 Teaspoon of Nutmeg

1/8 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

Toss the peaches and filling ingredients together in a bowl, and set aside to let them start releasing some of their juices.

Ingredients for Cobbler Topping:

1/3 Cup of Coconut Flour (I use this brand) scooped and leveled, it makes a big difference with coconut flour how it is measured!

1/3 Cup of Coconut Milk

2 Tablespoons of Melted Coconut Oil

3 Pastured Eggs

1/4 Cup of Applesauce (no sugar added)

1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract (gluten free here)

1/2 Teaspoon of Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda

1/4 Teaspoon of Cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling the top before baking

Directions:

In a medium mixing bowl, add the eggs and beat with an electric hand mixer until frothy. Add your coconut milk and beat. Slowly pour in the melted coconut oil while beating. Add the applesauce, vanilla extract and lemon juice and blend. Sift together the coconut flour, cinnamon and baking soda. Add it to the egg mixture, and mix with the electric mixer for one minute. It will thicken.

After mixing up the cobbler topping, pour your peach filling into the prepared 8″ x 8″ square pan. Dollop the cobbler batter on top as desired and sprinkle with some additional cinnamon, about 1/4 teaspoon, no need to be perfect with this, just a pinch or so though.

Bake in your preheated oven for 30 minutes. The peaches should be bubbling and the cobbler topping golden brown. Remove from the oven, and cool slightly before serving warm. You can also reheat any leftover cobbler quickly in the microwave if you want to eat it warm.

Sliced Peaches in Pan for Grain Free Cobbler

Peach Cobbler Filling

Batter on Peaches for Baking a Grain Free Cobbler

Ready to Bake above.

Serves Six

Enjoy!

Sandra

*Affiliate Link – I receive a very small commission (cents) when you purchase products I recommend through my Amazon links. I use these products myself and never recommend anything I haven’t tried and use regularly. The small commission helps me keep my blog up, so if you have enjoyed my posts and recipes, I appreciate your support. You don’t pay any extra for your products. Thank you.🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Mango Cashew Chicken Salad

Mango Cashew Chicken Dinner Salad

This salad is inspired by one of my favorite salads from Red Mesa Grill in Northern Michigan. I order it every year from their gluten free menu and it is so good, I decided to recreate it at home adding my own spin on it.

Mango Cashew Chicken Summer Salad

The salad has a delicious combination of sweet juicy mango, crunchy cashews, tart cranberries, onion and roasted chicken. The mango dressing is bursting with vitamin C. It is a perfect Summer main dish salad!

Mango Cashew Chicken Salad

Mango Cashew Chicken Salad

Begin with making a marinade for the chicken breasts:

Marinade:

1/4 Cup of Olive Oil

Zest and Juice of 1 Lime

2 Cloves of Smashed Garlic

2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

Whisk the marinade together well. Add 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts to a gallon zip bag, and pour the marinade over the chicken. Seal the bag, and place it flat in the refrigerator for 3 hours, flipping once halfway through to ensure the chicken is evenly seasoned. You can refrigerate the chicken for up to 24 hours in the marinade.

Now prepare your salad dressing.

Mango Salad Dressing

Mango Salad Dressing:

Ingredients;

1 1/4 Cup of Ripe Mango, diced

1/4 Cup of Good Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons of Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice

2 Tablespoons of Fresh Cilantro

2 Tablespoons of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (I use this kind)

1 Green Onion, sliced

1 Teaspoon of fine Sea Salt (I like this brand)

Blend the mango and olive oil in a blender until completely smooth and creamy. Add the lime juice, salt and cider vinegar and blend to incorporate. Now, add the fresh scallion and cilantro, and pulse the blender just until you can see tiny bits of scallion and cilantro. You want to be able to see it and not completely incorporate it into the dressing.

Refrigerate the dressing. This will keep 3 days in the refrigerator.

Now to make the salad! 🙂

Mango Cashew Chicken Salad Prep

Mango Cashew Chicken Salad Ingredients:

4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

1 – 5 oz. Container of Organic Baby Romaine, washed and spun dry

1/2 Head of Organic Iceberg Lettuce, washed, spun dry and torn into bite-sized pieces

1 Ripe Mango, Diced in to 1 inch pieces

1/2 Cup of Salted or Raw Cashews

1/4 Cup of Apple Juice Sweetened Dried Cranberries (I use this brand)

1/4 Cup of Green Onion, Sliced

1/4 Cup of Red Onion, Finely Diced

Additional Sea Salt for Sprinkling

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375° degrees. In a cast iron skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat on medium-high. Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade, and sprinkle them with additional sea salt, and add them to the pan. Brown the breasts two minutes per side, until golden brown, but not cooked through. Place the chicken on a baking sheet, and place them in the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes or just until the chicken reaches 165° at the center. Remove the chicken from the oven, and set aside to cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Mound the salad greens in a large bowl. Drizzle with a generous amount of Mango Salad Dressing. Sprinkle the mango, cashews, cranberries, green onion and red onion on top. Slice your cooked chicken breasts on a diagonal (they can still be warm) and arrange the breasts on the top of the salad. Sprinkle with some additional sea salt to taste.

Serve!

4 Large Dinner Sized Servings (1 Chicken Breast per person)

 

 

 

 

Double Chocolate Bakery Style Cookies

Double Chocolate Cookies - Coconut Flour Baking

We talked about getting in your vegetables, which is so important to our overall health! Community and celebrations are equally important and a key factor that Octogenarians living in the Blue Zones of the world all have in common. Celebrations invariably have food, including sweet choices. Balance is key and not diving in face first into a whole batch. Believe me, I’ve been there! Think college years! I myself love a delicious treat that is full of healthier ingredients! So, here is one we enjoy here at my home that I am proud to bring to any gathering!

Double Chocolate Cookies Date Sweetened Coconut Flour

This Double Chocolate Jumbo cookie recipe is a healthier version of a coffee shop cookie, but just as delicious, with less guilt, and more benefits! I used a date paste I made myself with just pureed dates. You can easily make a batch and keep it on hand in the refrigerator, or make just enough for this recipe. It takes very little time! There are local pastured eggs in these beauties, Enjoy Life chocolate chips (here) which are dairy and soy free, raw cacao and heart healthy olive oil. Let’s bake!

Jumbo Double Chocolate Grain Free Cookies

These are perfect for a picnic or while sitting in the park waiting for the Fireworks!

Double Chocolate Jumbo Cookies with Coconut Flour

Double Chocolate Bakery Style Cookies

Preheat your oven to 350º degrees.

Date Paste Directions:

Soak 1 1/2 cups of Medjool Dates in hot water for five to ten minutes until soft. Drain and remove the pits. Blend in a blender with 1/2 cup of hot water. That’s it! Date Paste. You will use 1/2 cup in this recipe. The rest lasts a long time in the refrigerator, or you can freeze it or make just enough for these cookies.

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup of Date Paste

1/2 Cup of Olive Oil

1/3 Cup of Coconut Flour

1/4 Cup of Raw Cacao Powder (here)

2 Pastured Eggs

1 Tablespoon of Grass Fed Collagen (optional here)

1 Teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract

1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda

1/4 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

1/2 Cup of Enjoy Life Mini Chocolate Chips (here)

Directions:

With a handheld electric mixer, cream the olive oil and date paste. Add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition. In a separate bowl, sift together with a wire whisk the coconut flour, raw cacao powder, salt, baking soda and gelatin. Add it to the date and egg mixture, and blend thoroughly. Fold in the mini chocolate chips, then let sit for five minutes. The coconut flour will thicken up the batter. Scoop the dough onto a large parchment lined cookie sheet with a muffin sized scoop, spacing the cookies evenly into 8. Flatten slightly with a fork so the tops are even. Bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool on the cookie sheet for ten minutes. Mmmmmm!

Enjoy your day!

Double Chocolate Cookies Grain Free and Yummy

Teriyaki Chicken and Quinoa or Cauliflower Rice

This is a hearty dish utilizing my new teriyaki sauce recipe that is soy free and healthy. I have been experimenting with quinoa lately in my cooking, and find I tolerate it very well. This is a pleasant discovery since I admire the benefits of quinoa, such as it being a good source of protein, with all nine essential amino-acids in it and fiber. I buy sprouted quinoa here. If you are eating grain free or strict Paleo, substitute cauliflower rice (here is a video demonstration from Cooking Light on how to make delicious cauliflower rice) for the quinoa.

Teriyaki Chicken and Quinoa

The Teriyaki Chicken and Quinoa also has one of my favorite things………lots of veggies! I am The Eat Your Veggies Lady after all! I have included broccoli (cruciferous vegetable), carrots (a root vegetable and a good source of Vitamin A and healthy carbs), scallions (alliums which are cholesterol lowering and cardiovascular protective), mushrooms (a significant source of zinc, calcium, iron, potassium, folic acid and more), and I just couldn’t help myself, I added some fresh basil on top of each bowl at the end, because I like it’s flavor so much (it’s benefits are, disease fighting, antibacterial, and combats stress).

First you will make the sauce. This can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. It is a wonderful condiment to have on hand, so any extra will not go to waste.

Soy Free Teriyaki Sauce

Makes 2 Cups

You will need a medium sauce pan and a blender.

Ingredients:

10 ounces of Frozen Pineapple (or fresh)

1/2 of a Red Apple, cored but not peeled

1/3 Cup of Chopped Yellow Onion

1/3 Cup of Coconut Aminos (a soy free alternative made from coconut sap)

1/3 Cup of Fresh Orange Juice

1/4 Cup of Apple Cider Vinegar

2 Cloves of Garlic, minced or 2 Teaspoons of Garlic Infused Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons of Honey

1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Ginger

1/2 Teaspoon of Sea Salt

Directions: Add all the ingredients to the sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until the apple is tender, about five to ten minutes. Cool for fifteen minutes. Add it to your blender and puree until smooth. Add the sauce back to your sauce pan, and simmer again until reduced by a third. Store refrigerated in a glass container until ready to use.

Now to prepare the Teriyaki Chicken and Quinoa!

Teriyaki Chicken and Quinoa – Soy Free

 

Teriyaki Chicken and Quinoa

Prepare enough Quinoa to make 4 servings according to package directions. Set aside, covered.

Ingredients for Teriyaki Chicken:

2 1/2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1 inch cubes

4 Cups of Fresh Broccoli Florets cut into bite size pieces

4 Cups of Carrots, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch pieces (this is about 4 large carrots)

6 ounces of fresh mushrooms, diced (I used oyster mushrooms. Use the kind you like.)

1/2 Cup of Scallions, sliced

2 Tablespoons of fresh Basil

4 Tablespoons of Olive Oil, divided

1 1/4 Teaspoons of Sea Salt, divided

1/2 Teaspoon of Ground Black Pepper, divided (omit for nightshade free)

Directions:

In a large skillet, add 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil. Turn your burner to high heat, then add the chicken cubes to the olive oil and sprinkle it with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Brown the chicken on one side for 5 minutes, then flip and brown the other side for 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan into a large bowl and set aside. Don’t worry if it is still pink. You will cook it more.

In the same pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Over medium high heat add the diced carrots and a half teaspoon of  salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Cook for five minutes. Then, add the broccoli to the carrots and cook another five minutes, stirring frequently. You can add a little broth or water if needed.

Add the carrots and broccoli to the chicken in the bowl.

Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and the mushrooms. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and brown the mushroom over medium high heat. This should take about 5 minutes.

When the mushrooms have browned, add the chicken and vegetables back into the pan and bring up to a sizzle over medium high heat. Stir in the scallions and 1 cup of prepared teriyaki sauce. Add more if needed. Cover and cook over medium heat for five minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Oyster Mushrooms

Chicken and Broccoli

 

Teriyaki Chicken and Quinoa

Serve beside the cooked quinoa, sprinkle with fresh chopped basil and some extra scallions.

Teriyaki Chicken and Quinoa

Serves 4 – 6 people with leftovers. 🙂

Eat Your Nutrients!

 

Eat Seven Servings Plus of Vegetables a Day and Notice the Difference!

Benefits of Eating Broccoli

Good Morning Everyone!
Are you getting your veggies in every day? I challenge you to eat at least seven servings of vegetables daily! Yes, at least seven, and I prefer eleven. It isn’t as hard as you think! A serving is roughly 1 cup of raw vegetables, 1/2 cup of cooked, or 2 cups of raw, leafy greens. If the leafy greens are cooked, such as spinach, chard and kale, it shrinks considerably! The average person eats less than three servings daily of vegetables. That’s not enough nutrients for your body, and vitamin pills have their place, but they are never the same as real food working synergistically with your miraculous machine (your body). Look at all the benefits of broccoli alone! Here’s an example of getting those vegetables into your day in a variety of colors.
Breakfast – Throw some leafy greens into a fruit smoothie or the eggs you are scrambling. Be generous, and that’s two servings to jump start your day! Make a vegetable omelet. Add some vegetables from last night’s dinner to your breakfast on the side.
Lunch – Include a salad with your meal. It is filling, and you can get in at least three servings of vegetables. Think Tomatoes, Romaine, Shredded Carrot, Cucumbers, Onions, Peppers, Scallions, and how about some Basil?
Dinner – Make a deliberate decision to always serve three vegetables at dinner. This is easy in a stir fry, or a vegetable medley. Last night I made a quinoa shrimp bowl for the whole family. It had carrots, scallions, basil, broccoli, and zucchini in it. We also had a salad.

Here are a few recipes from my blog that are vegetable forward main dishes, and there are many more in the recipe index.

Bacon, Tomato and Basil Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Butternut Squash Lasagna

English Cottage Pie

Grilled Vegetables and Shrimp Toss

Below, I have a handy free Seasonal Produce Guide to help you out!

Seasonal Produce Guide


Find ways you like to cook and eat vegetables, and just do it! Over time, you will notice a huge difference in how you look and feel! Summer is one of the best times to meet this challenge. There is an abundance of fresh, local vegetables available. I want you to feel your best! So, I’m curious, how many servings are you guys getting on average a day? How do you eat them?
Enjoy your Wednesday!
Sandra Shields, Certified Health Coach

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