Mealtime Shortcuts + Healthy Eating Solutions

My fingers on the keyboard, pondering how to open this topic and my mind quickly goes to a phrase: “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Seriously, in the world of Amazon Prime, we can surely find a way to make dinner healthier, easier, and faster. Maybe we just use Amazon Prime ūüôā So let me just get right to it. Here are some of my kitchen hacks on how to build an easier dish and simpler¬†solutions for mealtime.

Salads:

  • If you plan to have a daily salad, make a large one and store it in the salad spinner. It will last longer, and usually, when you open the fridge it will be at eye level, which will also influence you to eat/want more of it.
  • To whip together a diverse salad without chopping a lot of things, combine coleslaw vegetables with lettuce¬†greens. Come mealtime, top this with high-quality protein (wild, canned seafood or pre-grilled meat) and nuts, and you are good to go. Portable packets of extra virgin olive oil are clutch, along with lemon packets. This serves as a simple, portion-controlled dressing.
  • Portable fruit is a great way to round out a salad-based meal. Don’t fear carbs.
  • Whatever you store the salad in, put a paper towel in with it. It will extend the life of the leafy greens. If I have 1 limp salad, my desire for salad over the next few days…are limp.

Sides:

  • Buy pre-washed and pre-cut vegetables/fruit. Have you seen the awesome cauliflower rice from Trader Joe’s and Costco? Or the frozen zoodles from Trader Joe’s? Easy peasy. You can microwave both of these. Top with some olive oil or butter, salt, and pepper. Nom nom.
  • Canned organic beans. So versatile. Open a can and rinse the beans and toss them in a skillet with a little avocado oil, salt, and pepper. Stir for 5-10 minutes, depending on the texture you prefer. Sometimes, I just want them warm. Overall beans are a great slow-cooker or vegetable addition. Have you made chili yet this Fall? It’s a 5-minute prep process! Pull a pound of ground meat out of your freezer, organic beans, organic diced tomatoes and a pre-mixed spice packet (you can make your own combination, but we are talking easy here). Toss all the above in the slow-cooker and let cook for 6 hours on high and you are good to go. I love my chili with a dollop of guacamole (Costco has a great pre-packaged one. I do not like the 100 cal packs of guacamole as they taste off).
  • Roast veggies (3 sheets of veggies at a time. Make true use of the time you are using the oven. I often roast chopped Brussel sprouts, frozen veggies and some form of potatoes).
  • Fruit or sliced veggies with nut butter packets (like these).
  • I make a box of lentil-based pasta every week (I get my pasta from Trader Joe’s or Thrive Market). I drizzle olive oil on it after cooking to prevent leftovers from clumping together. This is a handy and satisfying side to mix with most things.

Slow-cooker: Perhaps I should have put the chili comments¬†down here, but REALLY, befriend a slow-cooker and/or an Instapot. The saved time will be worth your money. Shoot, you can even use Kohl’s cash on these kitchen tools. Tis¬†the season.

  • I work from my freezer (A LOT) and my family really enjoys when I do slow-cooker tacos/Mexican. I pull out a bag of frozen diced peppers and onions (Trader Joe’s), a pound of ground meat and spices. Sometimes, I will get a little frisky and add in some salsa. If I don’t do the salsa, I just add a little broth. Thanks to Costco for conveniently offering bone broth at an awesome price, I often have a carton opened in my fridge at all times. The broth is great for bumping up the nutrition of a meal and reducing the need for adding fat to saturate ingredients.
  • Chicken Artichoke (hello fiber) Stew: I get the frozen artichoke from Trader Joe‚Äôs, I use 2-3 chicken breast, enough broth to just cover, a carton of sliced mushrooms and enough peas to add good color. Salt and pepper to taste, cook on high for 6 hours. This is awesome when paired with some cauli-mash.¬†¬†

Breakfast:

  • Meal prep paleo pancakes. Pancakes were my go-to before I knew I was sensitive to eggs (KBMO Fit Test). Overall they are healthy, filling, high in protein and good fat and easy to take when wrapped in foil. I like the recipe of just mixing a small banana with 3 eggs – or – adding 1 scoop of protein powder (like my favorite one from Standard Process) + 2-3 eggs. Mix the 2 ingredients together until you get a batter-like consistency and make 1-2 pancakes out of it.
  • Overnight oats (gluten free) with collagen protein powder and some nuts/chia seeds in mason jars.¬†
  • Combine smoothie ingredients in a blender, the night before, and store in the fridge. Come morning, you can blend and go.

Lunch:

  • Carton/canned real food soups. I like Amy’s brand among many of the cartons offered at Whole Foods, Mariano’s Fresh Thyme, etc. Be sure to add collagen¬†(I buy mine from Vital proteins or Thrive Market) to help keep blood sugars stable and assist with keeping you full until the next meal. Also consider adding a fat to round out the meal (olives, avocado, olive oil packet, nuts, seeds, etc)
  • Chicken sausages – and I am picturing the various flavors from AmyLu. Throw 2 of these in the microwave or skillet, slice and have with some fermented saurkraut. Pair with some leftover roasted veg or gluten-free grain like wild rice.
  • Mason jars salads
  • Leftovers

Dinner: always double recipes and use leftovers for following lunches and dinners.

  • Regardless of what you put together – keep the ingredients simple.
  • Breakfast for dinner! Pleases everyone.
  • Buy an organic rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods (or from somewhere like Boston Market, but when the quality of the chicken is lower, avoid eating the skin) and have it with a¬†salad kit or leftovers.
  • Cook fish from frozen. My fam loves the salmon burgers from Costco.¬†Heat oven to 400F, cook for 12-20 minutes depending on the thickness of the fish.¬†
  • Have a smoothie for dinner. Mix frozen greens, vegetables, ice/water, spices (cinnamon, ginger, or cocoa) with some frozen fruit, high-quality protein powder. I always top my smoothies with something crunchy to help enjoy “eating” my meal. I like baked coconut flakes, sunflower seeds or cocoa nibs.

Above all:

  • Be organized – have the right tools in your kitchen: a good knife, cutting boards, blender, food processor, slow-cooker, ceramic skillet, and a white/board.
  • The whiteboard or menu board can help make the meal ideas easy – and assist in building a grocery list. Try to only grocery shopping 1-2x a week to save time, and download an app like AnyList to have a handy list at all times.
  • Pack your lunch – and be sure to have good containers, thermos, shaker bottles, water bottles and lunch boxes. I have way too many water bottles and bento boxes, but you know what? I am always hydrated and have a packed meal when need be.
  • Buy as many things you can online. I use Amazon Prime (also for Whole Foods produce) and Thrive Market.

What tips and tricks do you use/do? I want to hear, selfishly to make the mealtime even easier!

Recommended Grocery List

If we fail to plan, we plan to fail. Eating healthy begins with a good grocery list and having an idea of what meals to make for the week ahead. More tips and advice below.

Produce Рfocusing on seasonal produce and organic if possible

  • Veggies – lots and lots!
  • Sweet potatoes – great for sweet potato chips or just oven roasted with butter or coconut oil.
  • Mushrooms – use these in everything, from eating raw to throwing in eggs.
  • Wild green
  • Broccoli – usually buy frozen in bulk, therefore, no stress on consuming it before it may spoil.
  • Zucchini, asparagus, brussels sprouts, cabbage, all pending on the planned meals for the week.
  • Cauliflower – use as cauli mash or cauli rice.
  • Fresh herbs – can really change the way a meal tastes, and provide antioxidants and helps detoxify our body.
  • Avocado – helps heal us from the inside out.
  • Frozen berries – for those nights I want something sweet – coconut cream, cocoa nibs and berries.
  • Bananas ‚Äď so good frozen
  • Jicama ‚Äď full of fiber and great for dicing in a stiry-fry, salad or slice cylinders and use as a chip.
  • Lemons/Limes

Health Tips:

Eat fermented foods daily. You can find options at Whole Foods (including Kombucha), fermented vegetables at the farmer’s market and online at wisechoicemarket.com.

Overall diversify the types of produce you eat weekly, even simply rotate the type of salad greens you eat.

Meat/Seafood

  • Anything grass fed/free range at a good price – beef, lamb, venison, pork
  • Nitrate free bacon –¬†shortcut¬†or Canadian bacon
  • Organic, free-range poultry – opt for skin-on, bone in. Both of these elements are mineral rich and good for our body.
  • No¬†nitrate,¬†hormone¬†free, gluten free deli meat (Boar’s Head, Applegate, Columbus
  • WILD Salmon, tilapia, scallops, calamari, tuna, cod, shrimp ‚Äď usually buy frozen and some fresh if eating same day.
  • Sardines

Health Tips:

If you don’t have access to quality protein sources there are some great online stores and possible local CSA’s. I recommend US Wellness Meats, Tropical Traditions, Vital Choice (awesome seafood) and Eat Wild websites. Amazon is great for getting certain ingredients, including jerky.

Choose wild caught fish and not farmed. The nutritional profiles in wild are better and contain fewer toxins.

Dairy

  • Organic (grassfed is even better) butter
  • Full fat, organic and grassfed cheese
  • Free range, organic eggs

Compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from hens raised on pasture contain: 1/3 less cholesterol, 1/4 less saturated fat, 2/3 more vitamin A, 2 times more omega- 3 fatty acids, 3 times more vitamin E, and 7 times more beta carotene.*

Aisles

  • Pickles
  • Oils such as coconut, macadamia nut and high quality olive oil
  • Nuts ‚Äď store them in a cool place, heat can turn them rancid
  • Coconut flour and cream/milk
  • Dark chocolate and cocoa nibs
  • Himalayan sea salt
  • Hot sauce and spices
  • Tea and coffee (organic coffee)
  • Raw honey (real raw honey)
  • Salsa ( no corn or wheat ingredients)
  • Chia, hemp, whole seeds (soak chia seeds overnight in water or unsweetened almond milk/coconut milk to have a porridge like texture)
  • Tamari (gluten free soy sauce)

References:
Lopez-Bote, C. J., R.Sanz Arias, A.I. Rey, A. Castano, B. Isabel, J. Thos (1998). “Effect of free-range feeding on omega-3 fatty acids and alpha-tocopherol content and oxidative stability of eggs.” Animal Feed Science and Technology 72: 33-40.

5 Ways to Build a Better Salad

Salads can get boring and if we do not rotate our ingredients, we can ambush the success of enjoying such healthy nutrients. If you are guilty, like me, I used to buy the exact same ingredients, week after week. Not only did this put me at risk for nutritional gaps, but my taste-buds got bored with the same flavors, textures and color. Overall, a good salad should include protein, fat and some carbohydrate and a minimum of 4-5 ingredients. Here are 5 ways to build a better salad.

Shrimp Salad

  • 5 large shrimp, or 3/4 cup of shrimp (cooked then chilled), I prefer using my grill pan and cooking the shrimp with some spice and lemon juice
  • Cherry tomatoes, chopped cucumber, green onion
  • Seasonings/dressing: combine cilantro, lime juice and olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss with a bed of organic greens.

Tuna Caper Salad

  • 6 ounce can of all white tuna in water or pure olive oil (I will admit it’s hard to find tuna in 100% olive oil; read labels and stay away from fillers like soy)
  • Chopped celery and diced tomato
  • Seasonings/dressing: 1 tablespoon of capers (undrained), chopped¬†parsley¬† dijon mustard, salt and pepper with a bed of organic greens.

Asian Salad

  • 4 ounce chicken breasts, skin on, organic, free-range
  • 1 cups Chinese cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • minced scallion
  • 1/8 cup sliced almonds
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 TBS toasted sesame seeds
  • Seasoning/dressing: 1/2 TBS extra olive oil, 1/2¬†TBS tamari sauce,¬†1/8 cup rice vinegar, 1/4 TBS honey,¬†pinch red pepper flakes

Snag and Kraut Salad

  • 1-2 cooked sausages (as I learned in Australia “snags” is jargon for sausages). Make sure to read the ingredient list on sausage and only buy ones that don’t have chemical nor high fructose corn syrup. I personally love snags sourced from the farmer’s market, US Wellness Meats or when in a pinch Trader Joe’s has a clean Chicken Italian Sausage. Lastly, if you are in the Chicago area, I have recently discovered an awesome butcher in Lincoln Park, Gepperth’s Meat Market on Halstead St.¬†
  • Chopped romaine lettuce, organic
  • 1-2 chopped carrot
  • 1 chopped cucumber
  • 2-3 TBS of fresh¬†sauerkraut (the Green City Market has the best, or make your own)
  • Dressings/seasonings: I either use some mustard or use a little salsa to add some texture/liquid to my salad. The¬†sauerkraut¬†and sausage provide a lot of flavor without a dressing too. ¬†

Homemade Chipotle

  • Slow roast 1-2 pounds of pork tenderloin, overnight with onions and spices (I like chili spices with my pork)
  • Fresh organic salad greens
  • Avocado, 1 small
  • Dressings/seasonings: salsa verde and freshly squeezed lime

Overall don’t limit yourself to ingredients¬†traditionally¬†in a salad. Throw anything in there – and it doesn’t have to be only vegetables. I love using fresh berries or diced apple in my salads. If I don’t have anything raw on hand, I will also put in some dried fruit. Load on herbs too. Such beautiful flavor adding a nice punch of antioxidants.

Cheers to you and good health,

Kelly

A Few Gifts For Christmas

I adore gifts that involve health and this December I have come up with the following ideas to assist with your seasonal shopping.

SERVICES

Nutrition Counseling РIt would be (silly) hard not to list the idea of buying a voucher for a loved one to visit with a dietitian, such as myself. Depending on their current health status, anyone can benefit from conversing with an RD about getting the most out of their nutrition and understand what diet is best for their health goals. In the least, treat yourself. Your health should be a priority and no one is a better advocate than yourself in taking charge of your quality of life. Along with one-on-one counseling, I host a 4 week Pledge (via a private Facebook forum) and coach you along the 28 days to reach a set health goal and learn clean eating techniques, as well as, work with a local personal trainer conducting a Clean Eating Bootcamp, which will launch the second Monday in January!

Spa Рgive the gift of relaxation with a spa package. This is a perfect service around the holidays when everything is hustle-bustle.

Fitness Programs¬†– give the gift of fitness. If in Chicago, I recommend¬†Fit Girl Studio‘s monthly package of unlimited classes. They have everything from Barre to spinning. Throughout the month you can mix up the routine and stay inspired to keep on coming back for more. If you do the¬†Paleo Infused Pledge, you get a massive discount. As well,¬†I am affiliated with a great personal trainer in Chicago, who I can connect you with at a discounted price. Email me with interest.¬†Other options include packages for yoga, pilates, Crossfit or barre classes. I am huge fan of barre. You work muscles you didn’t know you had and leave the classes feeling accomplished.

FOOD ITEMS

I love gourmet food, especially those hard to find gems that are clean of unneeded preservatives and flavor enhancers. Below are some of my top picks.

Hemp Seed¬†– looking to increase your protein and fiber intake? This may be your go-to ingredient. It’s nutty delicious flavor marries well with salads, soups, smoothies and more. I often eat 3-4 T of Hemp Seed Hearts with some almond milk or coconut milk in the morning.

Organic Coconut Oil Рuse in place of butter and olive oil, adding an extra dose of nutrition to your meals. Learn more about the benefits of coconut oil here.

Dark Chocolate РLindt dark chocolate 85% and above is one of few commercially found chocolates that does NOT contain soy lecithin (which is a huge plus!). Buy one for mom and one for yourself!

Bars¬†– I do not want to categorize this gift as “granola bars” because my recommended bars lack grains and are gluten free. So therefore, we will stick with bars. However, with many of my clients who need something on the go, or have in the gym bag for a time of need, I recommend a few bars including¬†Lara Bars,¬†Kind bars, and¬†Zing bars. As a health professional I am able to sell Zing bars at a discounted rate, compared to retail. If interested, feel free to email me ([email protected]).

Grassfed Meat/Cheese Рhigh quality protein sourced from grassfed animals is one of the best fuel sources we have. I love US Wellness Meats and their broad offerings including sugar free, nitrate free bacon.

Looking for more food ideas? Feel free to review my collected list on Amazon by clicking here.

BOOKS 

There are a number of great books out there right now and a few of my favorite include: Wheat Belly, Primal Body, Primal Mind, Eat Fat, Lose Fat, Practical Paleo, Good Calories, Bad Calories and a few more.

A few fellow dietitian friends have also recently published some interesting eBooks including:

GADGETS

I am afraid this list could go on forever, but beyond the iPhone and accessories, these items are appealing:

FitBit Aria Scale¬†–¬†Aria is a high performance scale, tracking weight, body mass index (BMI) and % body fat over time. After easy, wireless set-up, your Fitbit aria scale taps into your home wireless network and uploads your information automatically to fitbit.com each time you step on the scale. Automatically recognizes up to 8 different people in your home, sending their info to separate accounts at fitbit.com.

FitBit One & Zip trackers Рtrack your movement with this little device.

Nike + Sports Watch and GPS¬†–¬†Tap the screen to mark laps and activate the backlight during your run, and personalize the data that you want to see during your run. For direct connect, USB contacts are built into the watch strapjust plug the watch directly into a USB port on your computer to upload run data and recharge the battery.

Camelbak Water Bottle РI love my camelbak water bottle, and the lid/straw helps me stay hydrated. When you see me, I am sure you will see me with my Camelbak.

There are numerous fun gadgets on the market right now. Everything from sound-proofed headphones to high-tech shoes. If I come across anything that I think is a must-have for the holidays, I will update this post. Until then, please let me know what you are eyeing for the holidays.

Enjoy the season, and try to stop and smell the pine once in awhile.

Cheers to you and good health,

Kel

5 Ways to Enjoy Pumpkin

If you have been following my tweets you may well know my recent love for pumpkin. It. Is.Amazing. Certainly satisfies any taste and easy on the blood sugars. A few ideas for pumpkin include:

1.Pumpkin Soup  РFirst peel an pumpkin, cube and then roast in the oven. Once tender blend together ingredients such as cinnamon, nutmeg, coconut milk, onion, pepper, sea salt and a touch of honey.

2. Pumpkin Porridge РOn a Sunday I will roast a whole pumpkin or throw a diced pumpkin in the slow cooker to have on hand during the week. This comes in handy, especially early mornings when I am pinched for time. My pumpkin porridge includes 2 eggs, 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of pumpkin, cinnamon, sea salt pecans/macadamia nuts all mixed together and microwaved in a coffee mug. Viola.

3. Roasted Pumpkin РAs simple as it sounds, I reheat pumpkin and add some spice to my liking. Paprika and pumpkin marry well and go nicely with 2 poached eggs or grilled fish.

4. Pumpkin Dessert – I reheat pumpkin again with a concoction of coconut milk or flakes, cocoa nibs and cinnamon. If I have a really bog sweet tooth, I will drizzle some honey on-top.

5. Pumpkin Salad РPumpkin over some fresh greens, pine nuts and homemade balsamic dressing is an easy and go-to dinner for me this season. The fiber keeps me full and the pine nuts have the perfect taste. If I want a little sweetness to my salad, I will also throw in some raisins.

As you can see pumpkin is so versatile. Do you have a favorite way to eat it? One thing is for sure – while it’s easy to buy pumpkin in a can (especially in the US), it is much better to buy and roast one, eliminating the preservatives and package contamination. Good health, often takes an extra step but is always worth it.

Cheers to you and good health,
Kel

See You Later Hypertension

Last fortnight I was asked to participate in an online interview (article originally published on: http://www.bloodpressurecharts.net/kelly-o-connell-interview.html) about natural ways to manage high blood pressure. Not only was this request interesting but it is a topic that needs more coverage. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a silent killer. I hate to be so blunt but there is no way around it Рone in four adults (US data) have hypertension. Untreated hypertension can get ugly causing kidney damage, stroke, heart disease, dementia and more. However, with most things related to health, you can turn it around for the better. If hypertension is something you deal with personally, consider the below to incorporate with your daily routine. As always, if you need some help, feel free to contact me.

  • What supplements/foods do you recommend people with high blood pressure try, to help lower their blood pressure?

Before advising someone on what to eat and what to supplement with, I first need to understand if there is anything else going on with their health, such as diabetes, kidney disease, etc. I also want to know what medication they are taking.

Generally speaking though, I advise eating a moderately high protein and fat diet, with moderately low (less than 150 grams per day) carbohydrates. Carbohydrates should be mainly sourced from vegetables, legumes/lentils, tubers and fruit.

Important foods to consider are those rich in potassium (bananas, avocado, herbs, cocoa, nuts, and tomatoes), magnesium (pumpkin, squash, cocoa, nuts, fish), vitamin C (citrus fruits, broccoli, bell peppers, cauliflower, cabbage, celery) and vitamin E (almonds, herbs, olives), omega 3 fatty acids (fatty fish like salmon or sardines) and flavonols (red wine, grapes, cocoa). Do you see a trend? I am a believer in dark chocolate/cocoa nibs and consume cocoa in one shape or another daily.

However, more important than knowing what to eat is knowing foods to cut back on, including foods high in fructose and processed foods (chips, deli meat, bread, pastries, cookies, desserts, etc).

Fructose, simply put, is a type of sugar. It is under a lot of scrutiny causing detrimental things to our health including hypertension. While the jury is still out, there is a true consensus that fructose does more harm than good. The important take away is to know what foods are high in fructose i.e. candies/lollies, cold breakfast cereals, desserts such as ice cream, cake, muffins, salad dressing, breads, pizza,crackers, canned fruit and juices with added sweeteners and more.

My recommended supplements include high-quality fish oil, a strong probiotic, magnesium twice a day, Himalayan sea salt and CoQ10. Food always comes first.

  • What are your thoughts on salt and high blood pressure? Should we be limiting salt intake or is the salt thing all blown out of proportion?

You may be surprised to hear that I do not stress salt restrictions. Processed foods should certainly get more vigilance in this space. I think overall sodium claims are blown out of proportion and certainly, I strongly advise the use of Himalayan sea salt. Overall, individuals need to self-assess how salt makes them feel. If the consumption of salt makes someone retain fluid or make their heart palpitate/speed up, then a reduced salt intake should be implemented. However, I think there are far more important actions to take than demonizing salt. Focus should zero in on stress levels, adequate sleep, exercise, eating whole foods (this does not include whole grains) and maintaining a healthy weight.

  • Not necessarily specific to high blood pressure, but what are your top 5 healthiest foods we should all be trying to eat more of, and why?

Grassfed/free range meat¬†‚Äď protein is essential and free range meat, ideally, beef, has an optimal fatty acid ratio, up to 6 times more omega 3’s compared to the grocery store variety. Certainly, omega-3 fatty acids play a vital role in¬†every¬†cell and system in our bodies. Beyond the nutrient profile grassfed/free range beef offers, it¬†is a great tool for optimal health. It is satiating, protective against cancer and¬†cardiovascular¬†disease, has low insulinogenic properties and more.

Coconut Рwhether it is coconut oil, flour, cream or milk, I welcome it all. I consume this functional food daily, reaping one of the thousands of benefits it offers. In traditional medicine, coconut is used to treat a wide variety of health problems and it is so versatile to use. I make pancakes from coconut flour and milk, I cook with coconut oil, especially with eggs and coconut cream is delicious with berries.

Pumpkin Рis loaded with healthy starches and it is absolutely delicious. Pumpkin is nutrient-rich, easy to make and can satisfy a sweet or savory craving. I have learned to cook pumpkin in a variety of fashions from pumpkin soup (with coconut milk and cinnamon), roasted pumpkin salad (with pine nuts, spinach, feta and homemade balsamic dressing) to pumpkin porridge (mixing puree pumpkin with eggs, nuts, and raisins).  Pumpkin can also serve as a dessert by garnishing it with spices and honey.

Free range eggs¬†‚Äď they are one of few foods that naturally contain vitamin D and are far superior to caged eggs when it comes to nutrient content. They are rich in vitamin A and E and omega 3 fatty acids, among many other important vitamins and minerals.

Fermented foods¬†‚Äď I am all about gut health and a happy gut, makes a good immune system. Fermented foods such as¬†sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, etc provide probiotics to our intestines. There are plenty of benefits to adding probiotics to our bodies, including¬†protection from colon cancer,¬†relief from lactose intolerance and diarrhea,¬†reduction in cavities, and more. Improved digestion means more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals are absorbed, making you an overall healthier being.

Cheers to you and good health,

Kel
.

 

 

 

Monday Movers – Journaling

If you frequent my site, you may be aware of some of the food logs I have posted, predominately in the beginning of 2012. Since sharing my meals on my blog, I often track my food intake and health goals with traditional pencil and paper. What have I realized with both methods? Keeping track of what I eat is a SUPER easy way to stay motivated and it facilitates making the right health decisions.

The best thing about a diary is it does not have to be all about what you eat. Just logging some personal thoughts can go a long way. As mentioned above, I make weekly goals and write them down – if I do not write them down, I find I do not stick to them. Certainly I have learned to phrase my goals in a positive light as self-talk is nearly as important as laying out a personal goal. For example instead of saying, ‚Äúdo not eat nuts this week,‚ÄĚ I phrase the goal to say, ‚Äúseek out meals and snacks that include good protein, vegetables, fruit and good fats.‚ÄĚ Other things I jot down include intentions to do some fitness classes during the week or no caffeine for better sleep on school nights.

The benefits of keeping a journal are extensive and can include the following:

–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† May help with self-intuition and stress management.

–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† You may realize that some of your staple snacks/meals may not be making you feel your best. I just realized this with nuts. I love macadamia nuts but lately I have been making my way around them and found I feel better and have more stable blood sugars.

–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† It can help build self-esteem. Once you make goals or write down anything you have overcome, it is as if you are patting yourself on your own back. Start with small goals and slowly make bigger ones, week by week.

–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† May help keep optimal health in check. Whether you are looking after your weight or nutrient consumption, logging information is making you attentive and cautious of what you want.

–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† If you decide to jot down some notes in a journal or on some scrap paper, make sure you do not stress over keeping a perfect record. This diary is to help you, not to fuel more strain.

What weekly goals do you intend to make for yourself? Do you have any good experiences with journaling?

Cheers to you and good health,

Kel

Mashed Cauliflower

As of June 1 it turned winter here in Melbourne and with cold weather I am craving comfort food.

Let health remain on the horizon with some out-of-the-box ideas for meals. Mashed cauliflower hit the spot tonight and it was so so easy to make.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped
  • Himalayan¬†sea salt, to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon of gluten free soup stock
  • Butter (optional)
Directions:
Boil water and soup paste to a boil and add in the chopped cauliflower. Once all the cauliflower is added, turn temperature down to medium and let cook while stirring occasionally for 25 minutes. You want the cauliflower to get so tender that you can mash it easily with a fork. Strain the cauliflower and toss in a food processor until the consistency you desire. Top with salt and butter (optional).

Cauliflower is a good source of fiber, an excellent source of Vitamin C, a good source of Vitamin K, folate, Vitamin B6 and potassium. Talk about nutrient density mate!

Cheers to you and good health,
Kel

Pesto Prawns

Boy did we have a sexy dinner tonight. I have been craving to put together a meal from scratch and came up with a homemade pesto sauce, vegetables, including some of our homegrown chilis and prawns (shrimp). The recipe was too easy.

Pesto Sauce:
– 1 bushel of fresh basil, washed, dried
РHimalayan sea salt
– 1/2 lemon
– 1/8 cup of pine nuts
– 2 garlic cloves
– olive oil

Depending on how liquid you want the sauce will help determine how much or how little of olive oil to use. With this dish, which fed 2 adults, I used about 1/2-1/3 of a cup. Take all of the above ingredients and blend on a food processor.

Prawn Dish:
– Peeled prawns, enough to feed 2
– 10 sliced button mushrooms
– 1/2 lemon, juiced
–¬†Himalayan¬†sea salt
– Spinach
– Broccoli
–¬†Chilies
– Cracked black pepper

First place the prawns in a large, hot skillet, eventually add remaining ingredients and simmer. Right before the dish is done, add the pesto sauce. It is good to do this towards the end because it is not good to cook olive oil at high heat.

Cheers to you and good health!

Dear Food Diary – 1/12/11

Today, Thursday, I ate:

Breakfast: 8:30PM
Coconut eggs – 2 eggs, 3 ounces of coconut cream, tablespoon of coconut oil, tablespoon of coconut flour, fresh minced ginger, cinnamon, sea salt.
Large spoonful of sunbutter on top of sweet eggs (Crazy, yes! But so yum!)
Water
Fish oil
Probiotic
Selenium
CoQ10

Exercise: Clean house & gardening

Snack: 11:45AM
Glutamine fortified jelly (Jell-O)
1 large strawberry, sliced

Lunch: 1PM
Kangaroo burger, no bun
Cheese
Again, cheese is not considered paleo but I wanted to test the affects it had on m blood sugar. Indeed testing m blood suagr before and after lunch I found the dairy elevated my blood sugars and in my opinion desensitized my insulin. It took more insulin to coorect my blood sugar. Note to self, say good-bye to cheese and the Robb Wolfe’s out there are correct – anyone with an autoimmune disease need to avoid this part of the cow (dairy).

Exercise: 3 mile walk

Snack: 4 PM
1/2 small banana
Sunbutter

Catch-up with lovely girlfriends (@stekko & @leannemci): 6-8PM
Wine from South of Spain, Picante
(It was not my favorite. We are too spoiled in Melbourne with good wine from the region)
Shared order (between 3) of slow cooked chicken nachos – corn chips, cheese, peppers, jalapenos, chicken, avocado
Water

Good-bye dairy – see you never and please do not tempt me in the future. Sincerely, Happy Blood Sugar