Chicken Tacos. While the slow-cooker is out, make some tacos the following night. Add frozen (or fresh) chicken breast or tenderloins to a slow-cooker on high, allow to cook for 6-8 hours with a jar of salsa. My go-to? Salsa verde. We love our chicken tacos w/ a purple cabbage leaf for the “taco shell,” black beans and some sour cream or guac.
Salmon Burgers + Roasted Veg. If my hubs is home, I’ll have him fire up the grill to make the wild salmon Kirkland burgers (look for any salmon burgers that are made with wild, not farmed, salmon), but if he isn’t, to save time, I bake 4-6 burgers in my toaster oven. Leftovers are a blessing. I also make multiple trays of veg on the weekend, like the pic above, which happens to be 100% from my garden. I use ample amounts of avocado oil, cook at 350F for 30 minutes and douse the vegetables in the Unami spice from Trader Joe’s.
It comes down to being savvy with scanning the label and ingredient list. Bypass the claims and labels on the front of a product,, many of them are meaningless and are there to lure you into buying it.
Seek a product with real food ingredients and avoid soups that have chemicals as the preservatives.
Avoid soups that host common allergens and fillers like corn, maltodextrin, sugar, gluten, and soy.
Boxed soups are sometimes better than the canned versions. Canned soups can come with toxins due to the packaging. Another option includes frozen soups.
Choose broth and vegetable-based soups
Always have soup on hand. It’s a great resource when you are pinched for time or options when pulling a meal together.
Don’t assume that organic soup is better than it’s the conventional counterpart. Review the ingredient list, opt for one higher in fiber and protein and lower in total carbohydrates.
Soup Formula: use this template when making a homemade soup
1 carton bone broth, 3 vegetables, different colors (ex: cabbage, carrots, and broccoli), meat (ground meat, chicken breast, canned seafood) + spices, garlic, onion. Cook this on high for 4-6 hours, or on low for 6-8 hours (this is an option for when you turn it on in the AM and go to work).
Lemon juice, thyme, s/p, bay leaf, cayenne
Or – lime juice, fish sauce, cayenne, form of soy sauce (tamari) and ginger.
Add in non-flavored collagen to hover around the goal of 25 grams of protein, supporting blood sugar control and weight loss.
Add in your own bone broth. I will often do this, splitting a carton of soup, like lentil or split pea soup, mixing in 1 part bone broth to one part lentil soup.
Slice and dice additional vegetables to add in, adding texture, fiber, and nutrients.
Buy some fresh herbs to toss in once heated to enhance the flavor and comfort of the meal.
Pair the soup with grain-free crackers to add crunch to your meal, a flax muffin or a small salad.
Eating a balanced diet doesn’t need to be labor-intensive. With planning and being efficient with shopping, you can save your mola and feel good. Here I am highlighting some how-tos on eating home-cooked meals, catered to those looking after blood sugar control, which in a way, relates to everyone.
“If we fail to plan, we plan to fail.” Sketch out 7 days and plot 2-3 meals, based on real food, plus snacks (if needed). Intend to make surplus for the meals so you have leftovers. Looking at your calendar:
Do you have plans for meals out this week? Will you need to pack any meals for school/work/appointments? For the latter, can you make things or buy items that can easily be eaten as is, or cooked in the microwave?
How many people are you responsible for feeding?
Do you have any long days or night errands to run? You will need something portable
Make a grocery list with meals in mind and use ingredients that can come from the freeezer or pantry, in the scenario your schedule changes. No one likes throwing money away.
A French man once said he walked into a North American grocery store and couldn’t find any food.
What? Well, if you think about and roam the aisles and food labels enough, you will find that this certain man is onto something. A majority of our packaged food is not real food. Just this morning I rant to the grocery and reviewed a dozen products and set them right back down because of cheap, unhealthy ingredients listed on them such as GMO beets (sugar), canola oil (very inflammatory), food colorings, chemicals, HFCS, more sugar, MSG, artificial sweeteners, BHA/BHT, nitrates, sulfates, the list goes on. Yet, my point is, know what is good for you and have an idea of where to get it.
Put together a grocery list before you head out. Ideally capture it on your phone. We often leave home without a list, but rarely forget our phone. Review your list before you go, and make sure the items you plan to buy, reflect the volume of foods you want on your plate. For example, if you intend to have half a plate of vegetables, make sure you buy enough vegetables. Same for protein, make sure your cart is about 25-30% of animal protein and 25-30% of fruit, grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables.
Additional ways to save and simplifiy:
Look at ads, use coupon apps available on smartphones
Buy ingredients, not products
By produce in season, when cheapest
Grow your own vegetables/herbs
Never overeat and see how the quality of food, not volume, makes you feel satisfied (intuitive eating)
Cook in bulk and freeze portions for leftovers
Buy in bulk, and choose ingredients that can used in multiple dishes
Buy whole, canned wild fish or frozen fish
Buy fruits and vegetables frozen (just as healthy, if not more healthy)
Buy cheaper cuts of meat and slow-cook it to tenderize it.
Don’t major in minor things. Focus on buying real food and don’t stress if you can’t get organic or grass-fed
Avoid foods void in nutrition, which can simply just increase appetite. For example, gluten-containing grains, sugar, processed food, granola bars
Cut out the extras – bottled water, mints, etc
Keep food simple, yet, have variety so your palate doesn’t get bored.
Food prep can be therapeutic; especially when you look at it as a time to unwind and forget about stressors. We need to unplug, to recharge. Set aside time, one time a week, to prep meals so when you come rushing in the door, or out, you have something nutritious to quickly reheat or consume within a short window of time.
Frittata – these are great, and can be made in advance, sliced and heated or chilled for a well-rounded breakfast or lunch. The ingredients do not need to be elaborate. Choose some produce, lean meat and spices.
Salad with Tuna – as simple as it sounds. When I was on the road a lot with work, I would run to the grocery before Monday AM, pick up a bag of lettuce greens, canned tuna, eggs (then hard boil them) and some other type of produce, and throw it all together for 3 lunches or so a week.
Lettuce Tacos – buy some lean meat, mix some spices and throw it over some vegetables or romaine leaves. Leftover meat is great with eggs too.
Grilled Fish and Frozen Veg with spices – buy some frozen fish in bulk, pull out however many filets you need in the morning, thaw in the refrigerator, and cook in a skillet with some lemon, butter and pepper and pair with a vegetable.
MEAL PLANNING: It’s great to batch cook, especially the vegetables, but diversity is needed. One huge perk of following the meal plan and using their One Degree of Change Cookbook. is variety is guaranteed. Being healthy is beyond having healthy ingredients as boredom can arise and needs to be prevented/intervened. If I wasn’t clear in my past posts, I am not using the meal plan bc following something so strictly doesn’t mesh with my rebellious personality and my reality of cooking for everyone in my house (2 littles and one big kid, my husband). Closing down this week, I know going into week #3 I need to mix up the grocery list and have different batch cooked items ready to go. Thankfully this can be as easy as changing the prep method and spices used.
SUPPLEMENTS: I do not tolerate the second supplement, SP Green Food, which came into the program on day 8. SP Green Food supports organ function and detox elimination. Overall, it’s not a huge loss, as I am still taking the fiber and using the nutritious shake powder, and I have a good candidate in the house who can take the pills (husband is getting lots of love in this post). However, it would be nice to reap the benefits of these pills. If you are reading this and question if you are not tolerating the supplements, you will have obvious digestive distress. Most cleanse participants eliminate more than normal, and I am less and bloated like a blimp. When I stopped the pills, it was night and day. However a few things you can try, before cutting out the pills: take a digestive enzyme with SP Green Food and/or decrease the serving size of 5 pills per meal to 2-3 pills per meal.
INDIVIDUALITY: Going off the 2nd bullet-point, I think 1) this is a fabulous well-rounded food and herb based cleanse for people coming from a pretty healthy diet, or even a not so healthy diet, however, 2) it is not for everyone. For example, I had a client email me about this cleanse and she is coming from an auto-immune paleo protocol diet (AIP) and I won’t recommend this program for her and people coming from a similar place, which would include myself. I really hate to say that about myself too as I am still getting results. Likely my results are from avoiding nuts (I haven’t done that before, even on the numerous Whole30 program and paleo challenges I have done in the past), but I know myself and am also avoiding the allowed quinoa, butter and minimizing my smoothies. Smoothies are a little tougher to cover with insulin, so I have minimized my shakes to 1x a day. The recommendation for the program is 1-3. All in all, no matter what cleanse people do/nutrition coaches recommend, they need to be recommended uniquely.
FOOD: I am eating so many nutrients. I am also not terribly missing much, except the occasional whiff of coffee I smell from my husband’s mug and a Friday night unwind wine. Overall, especially with the dairy free protein powder used in the shakes, all my food is so beneficial. My cells are getting awesome fuel and I can feel it in my energy and deep sleep. I continue to steer my desires to real food options. My latest obsession is sweet potatoes. I have a portion every night for dinner. To me, it’s mother nature’s dessert.
MEASUREMENTS: I haven’t gotten on the scale since day 1 as I don’t what a number to distract me from listening to what my body is craving. However, I feel really lean. A pair of pants I wanted wear Saturday night were too loose, and even if the scale doesn’t move much by the end of this program, my weight is shifting in a flattering way. This is bizarre, but I almost subconsciously ate more one day because I had a moment of fear of losing a lot of weight. It’s weird, yes, but it was honest and I like being in control. We will see come end of next week as how I will measure to conclude the program. On this topic, it’s very normal and common to lose an average of 15 pounds on this program (I read this in another Standard Process write-up). The more someone has to lose, the more likely their weight will calibrate to a new lower set point. Above all, this cleanse is not about under eating nor being hungry. I am never hungry and that is a good thing.
MOVEMENT: I increased the intensity of my workouts this week. I did more rigorous exercise most days – lifting, boxing, trampoline workouts with kettle bell swings, hot yoga and stair-climbing – and it felt great. I am just listening to my body and assessing how much I should push.
Day 8 – Going off my Saturday night out with friends, I woke more hungry. I played it safe with food and kept my order simple. I had a healthy appetite and changed up my egg and avocado breakfast and added a bowl of kale soup (I made this starting week 1, and should have froze half of it for week 3. I ended up pitching a serving of 2 because I let it sit too long). The rest of the day was a smoothie, veggies and a mouth-watering zoodle dish, broccoli and half a salmon filet I split with my husband for dinner.
I did some rebounding (trampoline) work to aid the detox, guzzled water and went to bed early.
Side note: I didn’t mention this in my last week’s summary, but I was so cold every day and night. I would sleep with wool socks and an extra blanket. By Day 8, my body temp has normalized.
Day 9 – I have good and steady energy and went back to a full-body lifting session at the gym. It felt so good.
I feel like I could use the word “awesome,” during this cleanse as much as the Bachelor says, “beautiful.” Forgive my redundancy of expression!
Life is a little slower in some ways. The herbs on my vegetables explode with flavor, I am more upbeat and positive in the kitchen. My plant intake is rubbing off on the household. My toddler loves the shakes and my husband is snacking on my batch-cooked veggies!
My biggest craving, which is funny, is actually gum. I want gum in the afternoon, but I am just opting for peppermint tea. I have had so much of this tea since the beginning, I wouldn’t be surprised if I started sweating candy canes.
Day 10 – a Tuesday – Loads of energy. I did so much today, but also woke up about an hour earlier than norm. I had eggs/avo combo for bfast, a beet, lots of greens, cucumber, fresh ginger, cinnamon and vanilla smoothie (it’s like a garbage can, I feel like I put anything in the blender) and had broccoli, sweet potato and a salmon filet for dinner.
Day 11 – I’m a go-go bunny. I was reflecting on the program and honestly I feel like I can eat like this forever. I would need a nudge to continue shakes through winter, but the food is delicious, and it challenges me to get creative with vegetables and spices. As mentioned above, I do need to be consistent in mixing up what I cook. I used cocoa in my smoothie, and it’s not exactly recommended in the program because Standard Process wants to ensure high quality cocoa, but that is what I had on hand, so I used it. I am being naughty, but it tasted nice!
Day 12 – Not much change from Day 11.
Day 13 – Hunger is roaring. I am very impressed with how much I can eat too. Lunch has been a big bowl of vegetables. The latest is half a bowl of spicy lime roasted broccoli, paired with spaghetti squash with onion, garlic and tomato. On top of this, I make a large smoothie with half a banana, vegetables, SP protein powder and some gelatin. I sprinkle most, if not all, of my smoothie with pumpkin seeds and or coconut flakes, unsweetened.
Day 14 – Pretty tired but hard telling if it’s my body or my toddler with his 5am wake-ups.Reflecting on the day, I got so much done and went out with friends in the evening. I’d typically wake up exhausted from a delayed bedtime, but I had a refreshed feeling waking up Sunday, starting Week #3, and certainly kept my dinner order clean! I had wild salmon, capers, Brussels sprouts and oysters to start.
JANUARY CLEANSE – If you are interested in doing a cleanse in the New Year, Standard Process is kicking off their 21 Day Standard Process Purification program with a webinar on the 9th of January, and the diet/supplement regime starts on the 10th. Let me know if you need to order a kit, and I will get you what you need. Their cleanse has dairy free and a standard version (both ~ $235)
This program has a Guide and a full eBook (1 Degree of Change) with step by step meal plans and a free app you can download, which has tracking tools, shopping lists/list builder and recipes from the meal plan.
A lot of information, but all of the above makes the program really easy to follow. Hope you have a healthy New Year and entire 2017 in whatever way you choose to strive for your best health.
A few weeks ago we experienced Super Bowl 2015, but in Chicago, we had Super Bowl on-top of a hefty snow storm. Record breaking actually, and somehow my insane (awesome) friends still made it to our party. However, being the hostess of the mostest wasn’t my priority (honestly I didn’t think people would show), but rather I crafted a list of foods I could prep and have in the house for a week plus to handle the snowy, cold and inability to pull out of our alley.
To relate, this situation can be applied to many circumstances such as:
when we return home from a vacation and need something to eat; and more likely than not, something really healthy.
any weather pending event,
and/or weeks when there is not time to make it to the store or batch cook, etc.
In creating an action plan I think these questions:
Do I have freezer space?
What non-perishable goods can I get and like?
How many days do I need to consider and what meals do I need to prep for myself and the family?
What do I already have, what food groups do I really need?
With any health journey, a crazy weather circumstance or not, we need a soft plan. No doubt, “when we fail to plan, we plan to fail.” I capture such in my smart phone, using the notepad app. Too many times I have made a grocery list and left it at home. Rarely do I forget my phone.
First, I choose a store – and while I love Costco and often shop there weekly, I went with a standard grocery store this time to easily get all I needed.
I thought of the meals I needed and what I had on hand. Fortunately in my freezer I already had frozen grass-fed, organic beef, wild salmon burgers and some cod. I also had frozen berries, organic Normandy vegetable blend and scallions. Other staples I already had – canned wild skipjack tuna, onions and garlic.
Proteins I needed – a whole chicken (I planned to roast one and extend it over 3-4 meals as a main dish then the following days I plan to top the meat on salads or make into lettuce wraps), eggs (I go through them like oxygen) and I can also use the proteins I had stocked at home. Canned seafood is cheap, delicious and nutritious. Best of all, it can be made into a meal with little prep and can be quite handy for road trips, camping or when we don’t have electricity.
Produce – bananas (I use them in so many ways, from smoothies to banana pancakes), mustard greens or romaine lettuce for my “wraps,” green apples and oranges (my current favorite fruits and they both last numerous days), acorn squash (a family favorite), raw veggies such as cucumbers, carrots and lastly some arugula. For my veggies I had plenty of good olive oil at home.
Dairy – I need to make sure I have plenty of Kerrygold butter on hand. I use it in my eggs, on my banana pancakes and roast vegetables with it.
As you may know, I am a big fan of discussing ways to execute a healthy lifestyle, as it’s often the hardest puzzle piece to work. Along with keeping meals creative and satisfying, they also need to be well-rounded and easy to make. Here are some go-to lunch ideas.
Nom Nom Paleo hit the nail on the head with her hot-dog as the bun lunch box idea. Using a good hot dog (such as Applegate Organic and grass-fed beef dogs), split it down the middle and load in some sauerkraut and peppers. Pair w/ more veg and fruit.
An apple-sundwich (sliced apple w/ sunbutter in the middle) paired with roasted Brussels sprouts and grilled chicken tenders.
Nine times out of 10, my lunch is a derivative of dinner. For example I made a whole chicken in a slow-cooker yesterday and I am using that meat for lunch, combining it some roasted cinnamon, ginger carrots and a spinach salad.
If your lunch is looking limp, dress it up with some guacamole, homemade chunky apple sauce, a piece of dark chocolate or some kombucha. There are many real food lunch ideas, just step back and try to think outside of the box.
Strolling through Costco I was happy to find a chicken salad that wasn’t loaded with canola oil or soybean oil-filled mayo, and since they were sampling the product, I read the ingredients (looked pretty clean; not perfect) and really liked what I was tasting. This is indeed a great summer entree. I can have it on some lettuce greens, or make a romaine lettuce sandwich out of it. Best of all, my husband can’t seem to get enough. Win-win.
2 free-range, organic chicken breast, boiled
4-6 celery stalks, chopped
16 grapes, red
1/3 cup almond slivers
4 T of Greek yogurt
1 T raw honey
1 T apple cider vinegar
Salt/pepper to taste
Boil the chicken for 15 minutes, or until there is no pink in the middle. Strain and allow to cool. Once cool. shred chicken and mix in teh ingredients. Allow to chill in the refrigerator up to 30-45 minutes and enjoy.
Wash all produce thoroughly and prepare it for the blender. Blend all ingredients until smooth; 30-60 seconds depending on your blender. Add more liquid if needed to blend. Best if served immediately (nutritionally and for taste).
Tip: The ingredient measurements in green smoothies are flexible, add more or less of any ingredients to your taste.
Have you ever looked at the ingredient list on pre-made taco seasoning? If you have, you are aware of the unnecessary fillers such as corn starch and wheat. And these are the ingredients we can pronounce! My point being, is instead of buying a taco seasoning packet, simply use your spice rack for the Mexican dinner. This is what I do for my family.
Clean Eating Tacos:
1 pound of grassfed beef (or very lean ground beef)
Optional – 1/2 onion and/or bell pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
3 tsp cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp fresh oregano (dried if frsh isn’t handy)
1/2 tsp sea salt or himalayan salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
Heat ground meat (and onion or some fresh diced bell pepper) on high. Cook, stirring frequently to break up the meat, until fully cooked, about 8 minutes.
Add spices to beef. If the meat appears dry, add 1-2 Tbsp of water. Stir to fully incorporate.
Turn temperature down to medium and cook another 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. I often stir in some salsa at the very end to add more moisture and flavor.
We usually eat our tacos w romaine lettuce leaves and homemade guacamole Oh! And I can’t forget to mention, save the leftovers for a killer taco omelette in the morning.
A go-to recipe for teacher gifts around the holidays.
1 1/2 cup almond meal
3/4 cup raw pepitas/pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds (no shell)
2 1/2 cup raw sliced almonds
1 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
3/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup raw honey (more if you desire)
2 TBSP vanilla extract
2 TBSP cinnamon
2 tsp. sea salt
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Mix all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
Microwave the coconut oil, raw honey and vanilla extract together in a medium sized mixing bowl for about 30-45 seconds.
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry.
Spread the granola mixture evenly onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cook for about 20-25 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove from heat and sprinkle with sea salt and cinnamon, pressing the mixture together to form a flat surface.
Allow to cool for about 20 minutes or until hardened, and then break into chunks and enjoy.
This is really good anytime of the day and feel free to add on some fresh berries or sliced apple or pear. This granola can be the perfect fit for breakfast, snack or treat. Pair it with either coconut milk/almond milk or Greek yogurt.
Give this recipe a whirl and let me know how much you enjoy it!