You GUAC My World

You GUAC My World

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AVOCADOS // people who eat them tend to be healthier

One study looked at the dietary habits and health of people who eat avocados. They analyzed data from 17,567 participants in the NHANES survey in the U.S.

Avocado consumers were found to be much healthier than people who didn’t eat avocados. They had much higher nutrient intake and were half as likely to have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of symptoms that are a major risk factor for heart disease and diabetes.

People who ate avocados regularly also weighed less, had a lower BMI and significantly less belly fat. They also had more HDL (the “good”) cholesterol.


For those of you who are close to me or read my blurbs know that I am trying to eat less meat for inflammation purposes. To get myself to lower my animal protein intake, we have started doing Meatless Mondays in hopes that I can get enough staple meals to have Meatless Wednesday’s, Fridays, etc. relying less and less on meat.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a nice bloody steak or a well-dressed chicken breast but the way I feel after I eat them just isn’t worth the frequent intake, nor the long-term effects it has on my body. I will not judge or preach to other meat-eating family members or friends since I do miss the stuff and realize the nutritional benefits. But, like I said, this is for my health and I am determined to feel like a normal, healthy, adventure-seeking individual.

For a recent Meatless Monday, I came up with a dish that became an instant classic. Not only because it was delicious, but it also could be stored in the freezer and enjoyed time and time again. I love a good comfort meal and this one really hit the spot.

If you feel like trying a fun, new weekly tradition, try Meatless Monday’s! You will be very surprised to find how filling these meatless meals can be!

 

VEGAN CHILI SMOTHERED SWEET POTATO

(Feeds 4)

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INGREDIENTS

4 sweet potatoes (1 per person)

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 medium onion, peeled and diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, chopped

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

2 cans tomato sauce

2 cans diced tomatoes or 5 roma tomatoes, diced

1 4oz can chopped green chilies

5 cups veg. stock

2 tbs chili powder

1 tbs ground cumin

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp black pepper

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS:

avocado, shredded cheese, crushed tortilla chips or Fritos, green onions, sour cream, salsa, etc.

  1. Add all ingredients (except the sweet potatoes) to a slow cooker and stir thoroughly to combine. Cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or on LOW for 6-8 hours.
  2. Taste and season with additional Salt, PP or seasonings, if need be.
  3. When there are 1-2 hours left of slow cooking, wrap your sweet potatoes in foil and place in the oven on 425 until soft (between 1-2 hours)
  4. Serve immediately, garnish with extra toppings.
  5. Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  6. Enjoy!

105 days IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY!!

-C

Double Date

Double Date

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DATES // your perfect energy booster

 

Dates are high in natural sugars like glucose, fructose and sucrose. Therefore, they are a perfect snack for an immediate burst of energy.

Many people around the world use dates for a quick afternoon snack when they are feeling lethargic or sluggish.


Since I don’t consume any form of caffeine I typically have to get creative when that inevitable afternoon crash comes.

(Your body temp drops around 3pm on the reg, causing that lovely afternoon crash)

I have tried jumping jacks to get the blood movin’ but that typically causes some stares, peppermints (eating and smelling it’s oil), and a nice cold-pressed juice but those things can get redundant after a while.

When I found out my newest afternoon snack gave a great energy boost, I was given an even greater incentive to enjoy them.

I challenge you to put down your artificial sweetener filled coffee or your nasty Red Bull -esque energy drink and ingest something natural to help boost your energy.

Do you accept? If so, here is the recipe!

ALMOND BUTTER STUFFED DATES

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Medjool Dates

Almond Butter

Cacao Nibs

Goji Berries

  1. Cut open the center of the date, removing the seed. I use my hands typically but these guys can get pretty sticky.
  2. With a sandwich knife, fill the center of the date with almond butter as well as the top making it look like the date has been dipped into the almond butter.
  3. Roll or sprinkle your toppings onto the almond butter. This recipe can be used with so many other toppings; almonds, pistachios, shredded coconut, etc.
  4. Enjoy!

100 DAYS IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY!!!!!!!!!!

Quick tangent: I cannot believe I have gone this many days without getting a cold, sinus infection, etc. It’s honestly been “always something” since my freshman year of college!! (2005) This is a great feeling and I truly owe all of it to NUTRITION…food truly can be medicine. It’s proven so for me! I really cannot wait to see my friends and loved ones lives and health improve when they realize what you put in your body affect how you feel.

-C

Ch-ch-ch-CHIA {SEEDS}

Ch-ch-ch-CHIA {SEEDS}

AdobeStock_87911504-Small-e1445636301302.jpgCHIA SEEDS // high in many important bone nutrients

Chia seeds are high in several nutrients that are important for bone health.

This includes calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and protein. The calcium content in particularly impressive…18% of the RDA in a single ounce.

Gram for gram, this is higher than most dairy products. Chia seeds may be considered an excellent source of calcium for those who do not eat dairy.


 

I must admit, this may be my favorite breakfast to date. The flavors went together so perfectly–imagine a little sweet + tart all at once. (The toppings I chose for this breakfast were– mangoes, cacao nibs, goji berries, passion fruit and a few mint leaves.)

Not only did it taste great but it was very easy to make. The chia pudding I made the night before and then just added the toppings in the morning. Ate this bad boy while getting ready for work, my favorite way to have breakfast.

I slowly have been removing animal products from my diet to help my joint pain and inflammation. After my friend Kristin posted an awful video of how cows are mistreated at certain facilities and how nasty milk truly is being made, it was easy for me to quit the stuff.

Chia seeds have become a big source of calcium for me since removing milk from my diet. If you too have recently cut dairy from your life or have an intolerance, add some chia seeds to your diet to get that calcium! Especially for the females reading, its very important to have good bone health.

Here you go!

BEET CHIA PUDDING

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1 small raw beet (shave the skin off and roughly chop)

6-7 tbs chia seeds

2 cups unsweetened almond milk

1 1/2 tbs of honey or maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. In a blender on high speed, add the chopped beets and almond milk until the beet is well pulverized.
  2. Pour into a jar of your choosing and mix in the chia seeds, honey and vanilla, stirring up to a minute to ensure no clumps form.
  3. Let sit overnight to enjoy the next morning or for at least 3-4 hours
  4. Enjoy!

92 DAYS IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY!

Chickpea Party

Chickpea Party

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CHICKPEAS // help support wound healing and bone development

Garbanzo beans also contain vitamins and minerals and significantly boost your intake of manganese and folate.

The mineral manganese helps support bone development and would healing and also help carry out chemical reactions important to your metabolism.

A 1-cup serving of chickpeas contains 1.7 milligrams of manganese, approximately 94% of the daily recommended intake for women, or 74% of the RDA for men, according to the Linus Pauling institute.

Folate,  or Vitamin B-9, aids in new cell growth and brain cell communication and protects against genetic mutations that contribute to cancer development.

Eating a cup of chickpeas provides you with 282 micrograms of folate, or 71% of your daily folate requirements, according to the NYU Langone Medical Center.


 

Some “fun” issues that come from having EDS (Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome) & Celiac is that my wounds don’t heal as well and I am at risk of osteoporosis. Unfortunately, my bone density is decreasing (slowly) but luckily thru research I have found ways that hopefully can help me in these departments.

When I came across the benefits of chickpeas, I knew they needed to be added to my daily regiment. Thank goodness for Instagram because I have come across so many recipes to integrate them into wonderful meatless but protein packed meals!

Do I know if this will help with my bone density or wound healing? No, but I am willing to experiment with really delicious and nutrient-packed meals to find out!

Today’s recipe was very easy to make and definitely out of the norm of what I typically create. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

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CHICKPEA AND COCONUT CURRY SPINACH SOUP

2 tbs olive oil

1/2 onion diced

3 cloves garlic minced

1.5 tsp curry powder

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 can full-fat coconut milk

1 can chickpeas, drained + rinsed

1 tbs lemon juice

4 handfuls of fresh baby spinach

salt + pp to taste

  1. In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over low heat
  2. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes or until soft.
  3. Add in garlic, curry, red pepper flakes and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes
  4. Add in the coconut milk and chickpeas, bring to a gentle boil and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Lastly, add in the lemon juice and spinach and cook for 1 minute until the spinach leaves are lightly wilted.
  6. Taste, season with salt and pp and serve warm.
  7. Enjoy!

90 DAYS IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY!

 

Blueberry Yum Yum

Blueberry Yum Yum

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BLUEBERRIES // may help reduce muscle damage after strenuous exercise

Strenuous exercise can lead to muscle soreness and fatigue. This is driven, in part by local inflammation and oxidative stress in the muscle tissue.

Blueberry supplementation may reduce the damage that occurs at the molecular level, minimizing soreness and reduction in muscle performance.

In a small study of 10 female athletes, blueberries accelerated muscle recovery after strenuous leg exercises.


With MS150 training in full motion, proper recovery is essential. Immediately after a long ride I typically hammer some bananas, coconut water and a whole lot of protein to refuel. Not only is potassium key for post-working recovery but apparently blueberries are too!

This recipe is a fun one because it can be made with leftovers; smoothie and chia pudding leftovers, saving you a lot of time! Nothing better than an easy to make snack pack(ed) with nutritious goodness. Here you go!

Blueberry Smoothie + Chia Pudding Snack Pack

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BLUEBERRY SMOOTHIE INGREDIENTS

1 beet

1 banana

5 strawberries

handful of blueberries

2-4 leaves of mint

1/2 cup almond milk

handful of ice

water for desired consistency

CHIA PUDDING INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup chia seeds

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbs local honey

GARNISH + LAYERS INGREDIENTS

handful of blueberries

handful of strawberries

1 banana

handful of almonds

handful of goji berries (optional)

  1. The night before mix all of the chia pudding ingredients together in a seal-able container (I use a glass jar), whisk for 1-2 minutes to ensure no clumping and place in the fridge. The chia seeds need minimum 3 hours to set
  2. That night or the next day (smoothies can keep for up to 24 hrs) blend all ingredients for the smoothie and set aside.
  3. Grab a wine glass, jar, or bowl and make your first layer with blueberries.
  4. Add your desired amount of chia pudding into the dish, next. I added just a few inches to my glass.
  5. Next, add a layer of almonds
  6. Pour a few inches worth of the smoothie on top of the almonds
  7. Garnish with 1/2 of the banana…eat the other half as you stand there
  8. Top the rest of the parfait with goji berries, strawberries, blueberries, almonds and some mint.
  9. Enjoy!

67 DAYS IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY!

-C

Quinoa pronounced KEEN-WAH

Quinoa pronounced KEEN-WAH

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QUINOA // high in minerals that most do not get enough of

There are many nutrients in the modern diet that people tend to be lacking in.

This is particularly true of some minerals…especially Magnesium, Potassium, Zinc and (for women) Iron.

Interestingly, quinoa is very high in all 4 minerals. It is particularly high in magnesium, with one cup having about 30% of the recommended daily amount.

The problem is that quinoa contains a substance called phytic acid, which can bind these minerals and reduce their absorption.

However, by soaking and/or sprouting the quinoa before cooking it, you can reduce the phytic acid content and make these minerals more bio-available.


Most dinners I plan days in advance but with this one that was NOT the case. I literally threw things together that were in my pantry and quite honestly I got lucky with the outcome!

I always keep quinoa, beans and sweet potatoes on hand and I bought a pre-made butternut squash soup that I had been meaning to play around with. I found it in the same section where you would buy broth.

If you’re in the mood for something easy, protein-packed and filled with carotenoids, here you go!

Butternut Squash Soup + Stuffed Sweet Potato

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(Serves 2)

32oz Pacific brand Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

1 can black beans

2 sweet potatoes

1 cup uncooked quinoa

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

S & PP to taste

  1. Set oven to 425, wrap sweet potatoes in foil and cook until soft (60-75 minutes)
  2. Soak/rinse uncooked quinoa for a few minutes before cooking
  3. Add quinoa with 2 cups water or chicken broth. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes until fluffy. Set aside.
  4. Pour entire soup mix into medium sized pot and turn heat to medium low and simmer, adding the almond milk and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add black beans to a small pot a cook on low
  6. Once all of the above has been cooked, pour the soup into bowls and add your desired amount of black beans and quinoa.
  7. Top sweet potatoes with beans and quinoa.
  8. Enjoy!

65 days IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY!

(I HAVE NEVER GONE THIS LONG WITHOUT GETTING SICK)

 

Power to Goji Berries

Power to Goji Berries

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GOJI BERRIES // A nutritional powerhouse

Unique among fruits because they contain all essential amino acids, goji berries also have the highest concentration of protein of any fruit.

Goji berries are also loaded with vitamin C, contain more carotenoids than any other food, have 21 trace minerals and are high in fiber.

Having 15 times the amount of iron found in spinach, as well as calcium, zinc, selenium and many other important trace minerals, there is no doubt that the delicious goji berry is a nutritional powerhouse.


Not only have I cut certain protein sources from my “diet” (animal proteins excluding chicken) due to doctor recs but I am also cycling many miles throughout the week. My current goal in life is not only to get well but to gain weight in the process. With those competing lifestyles I have to eat smart to make sure I don’t lose any weight and that I am getting the right nutrients.

With that being said, I do a lot of research on what is best to fuel my body. When I came across goji berries I felt like I had hit the jackpot…PROTEIN, vitamin C, fiber & iron! All in that little berry–so awesome.

This flavorful fruit really makes breakfasts and snacks fun. So far I have put them in smoothies, chia/yogurt parfaits and on toast with almond butter. Today’s recipe will be for a smoothie I made last week. What ways will you incorporate goji berries into your diet?

GOJI BERRY POWERHOUSE SMOOTHIE

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1 beet

1 banana

5 strawberries

3 dates

handful of goji berries

handful of blueberries

3-5 leaves of mint

2 tbsp of chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds

1/2 cup almond milk (unsweetened)

water for desired consistency

5-7 ice cubes

  1. Add all above ingredients in a blender and enjoy!

 

63 DAYS IMMUNE SYSTEM HEALTHY

-C