Tag Archives: Real Food

How I Bounce Back from the Holidays and What I’m Eating to Start the New Year and do a Reset!


New Year's Reset - What I'm Doing

The New Year is here, and I’m resetting my taste buds after enjoying the holiday and extra treats.

The number one rule I have when doing a food reset is Don’t Starve Yourself. That just messes up your metabolism and hormones, so don’t be tempted by that. It never works long term.

I am taking out extra sugars, which for me would be maple syrup and honey mostly, but still eating low sugar fruit like blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, which are full of nutrition and fiber.

I am making sure I get plenty of low starch vegetables in like spinach, bok choy, artichokes, broccoli, zucchini, Swiss chard, kale, cucumbers, leafy green lettuces, mushrooms, asparagus, fennel (one of my favorites) onions, a little bit of fermented vegetables each day, and Brussels sprouts. I eat as many of these vegetables as I want.

I’m eating complex carbs from vegetables like butternut squash, beets, carrots, and winter squash. You can make “noodles” with butternut squash, beets and zucchini noodles using a spiralizer. (I have this one that suction cups to the counter top and cleans up like a breeze! It’s under $20. now. ) You need adequate protein for each meal like grass fed meat, pastured chicken and seafood such as salmon, and also healthy fats, especially whole food avocados.

I am also prioritizing sleep. Plenty of sleep helps avoid cravings and lowers cortisol levels. High cortisol can cause you to store belly fat and make you crave sweet things more than ever.

I’m drinking plenty of water and clear teas which are perfect hot for this deep freeze we are having in Maryland! My favorite teas are Dandelion Root, Rooibos, Chamomile and Milk Thistle with a piece of ginger root in it. I also have one cup of coffee a day with raw cacao powder, a scoop of collagen and a tablespoon of coconut milk.

I have a shoulder injury at the moment involving the lower trapezius muscle by my right shoulder blade, so weight bearing arm workouts are on hold for now. It’s an injury that occurred last June that healed, and then I re-injured it doing planks again. So, now I’m starting physical therapy to help heal and learning techniques to strengthen that muscle and restore the range of motion to prevent another re-injury. It’s a bummer for me, but you have to take care of your body. Currently my exercise routine looks like this, and I’ll add there is a point of exercise where you feel good and refreshed, and one where you overdo it and feel depleted. You want to avoid feeling depleted. If you can’t recover quickly, then it’s too much. For me what works is twenty minutes in the morning of some form of toning exercise like pilates, resistance bands, cardio step or an exercise ball, and then later in the day a 30 to 40 minute brisk walk, preferable outside, but on the treadmill if the weather isn’t good. I start out my walk with a square of 70% dark chocolate. I’ve been doing this for years, and it works very well for me as a motivator.

Happy, Healthy New Year to Everyone!

Sam

 

 

 

Raspberry, Blackberry, Mango Smoothie


Raspberry Blackberry Mango Smoothie

Are you ready for a super delicious, berry infused, smoothie to jump start your day?

This smoothie has your daily allowance of selenium with the addition of just two Brazil nuts! Brazil nuts are a rich source of selenium. Selenium is one of the nutrients that helps regulate thyroid function, as well as boost immunity, and so much more. Learn  more here from Dr. Axe on the benefits of selenium. Other good food sources of selenium are liver, eggs, grass fed beef, yellowfin tuna, cooked halibut, sardines, turkey, and spinach.

The berries in this smoothie are fantastic sources of Vitamin C, Magnesium and Fiber. Mango is great for the skin and digestion, as well as a good source of Vitamin C and Fiber. I added almond butter for healthy fat and some protein, and ground flax. There is an option to add in Grass Fed Collagen (I have it every day in my smoothies no matter what kind I make for my hair, skin, nails and gut health. It is tasteless, and also is a source of protein.) The lime juice gives the smoothie an extra zip like a sweet tart, and coconut water is very hydrating. I just love the flavor and color of this health promoting smoothie!

Raspberry, Blackberry, Mango Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 Cup of Coconut Water

1/2 Cup of Frozen Raspberries

1/2 Cup of Frozen Blackberries

1/2 Cup of Fresh or Frozen Mango

2 Brazil Nuts (I use this gluten free brand)

1 Tablespoon of Almond Butter

1 Rounded Tablespoon of Grass Fed Collagen (optional)

1 Tablespoon of Lime Juice

1 Rounded Teaspoon of Ground Flax

1/2 Cup of Crushed Ice

Directions:

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and add a straw. Enjoy!

Sam

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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)

 

 

 

 

Lemon Fig Cake


Lemon Fig Cake on a Plate

Lemon Fig Cake

Lemon Fig Cake (Coconut Flour)

Date Sweetened Lemon Fig Cake Using Coconut Flour

Yes, I love cake, and I am a healthy eater and consider myself vegetable forward. I don’t eat refined sugar anymore. I ditched it several years ago in favor of natural sweeteners like dates, honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar. After some practice and experimentation in the kitchen, and reading a lot of cookbooks on baking with alternative sweeteners, (You should see my library, seriously. Does anyone else read cookbooks like novels?) I find I prefer the natural sweetener’s flavors over the white stuff. I like options! Dates give substance to baking, are a whole food, and have a rich flavor similar to brown sugar. Honey is distinct, light, and good for neutral baking. It does have a tendency to over brown at too high of a heat. Maple syrup is very distinctive. I think everyone can picture that flavor on their tongue. It is delicious in chocolate breads and with pecans for example, and coconut sugar has an earthy flavor and is closest in texture and application to refined white sugar.

Lemon Fig Cake Grain Free

Lemon Fig Cake

So, tada………introducing Lemon Fig Cake! Don’t worry if you think you don’t like dates, they are not predominant in the cake. They just add moistness and structure to the cake and contain a ton of trace minerals, calcium and fiber. Dates are a fruit and a whole food sweetener.

Lemon Fig Cake

Ingredients:

6 Eggs (I used local)

1 Cup of Medjool Dates (Soaked and Pitted)

1/2 Cup of Coconut Flour (here)

1/2 Cup of Apple Sauce

1/2 Cup of Dried Figs, halved

1/4 Cup of Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons of Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice

Zest of 1 Lemon (organic)

1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Soda (Gluten Free here)

1/2 Teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract (I use this kind)

1/4 Teaspoon of Fine Sea Salt

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350º degrees F. Line an 8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.

Place the dates in a bowl, and cover with very hot filtered tap water, and soak for five minutes. Halve your dried figs from stem to base and set aside. If they are extremely dry, you should soak them as well. In a food processor with a blade attachment, crack six eggs. Pit the dates after soaking and add them to the eggs. Then, process the eggs and dates until you have just little flecks of date in your batter. Add the remaining ingredients, except the figs, and process for about one minute until the batter is a smooth creamy yellow and a thick cake batter. Scrape the batter into your prepared parchment lined pan. Now, add your figs decoratively on the top, cut side up and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly touched with your finger. Cool on a wire rack, then remove the cake from the pan using the parchment paper as handles.

Lemon Fig Cake Batter (Grain Free)

Batter ready to bake shown above.

Servings 9

 

Free Printable Farmer’s Market Guide!


Farmer's Market Shopping

Good Morning!

Did you have a fun Memorial Day weekend? I had a blast! It was so nice to relax and play, with no obligations or “to do” list!  We visited our farmer’s market this weekend. I love the beginning of growing season and all the local produce bursting with nutrition and so fresh! It is also a great outing and sense of community while you support local growers. Here is your free guide! Compliments of me and Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the school where I graduated as a Health Coach!

Just click the guide below, and you will have a free PDF printout you can take with you and refer to! There is also a free recipe and other health tips using Farm Market finds!

Farmers Market Guide

Enjoy your day!

Sandra Shields, Certified Health Coach

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