ABC Fudgesicles (Avocado, Banana, Cocoa/Coconut)

 

 

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With the warm summer weather in full swing, it is a great time to play with some fun, frozen, kitchen concoctions! These naturally sweetened fudgesicles are a hit amongst adults and kids alike. The creaminess of the avocado and banana combined with the sweet delicate coconut flavor works wonders in this delicious dessert.

In addition, it’s always great to find alternatives to the highly processed, super sugar laden dessert options found in the grocery store. Below are the ingredients lists from two popular brands of fudgesicles.

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Yikes!! High fructose corn syrup, aspartame, guar gum, carrageenan, artificial colors and flavors, plus loads of other difficult to pronounce chemicals… this is not the stuff you want to ingest or feed to your kids! Carrageenan for instance, is a gumming agent that is known to cause inflammation in the digestive tract, which is the root cause of ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease and certain types of cancer. In fact, drug investigators have actually used carrageenan in the past to cause inflammation in the tissues of laboratory animals in order to test the anti-inflammatory properties of new drugs. Steer clear of this harmful additive also found in most shelf stable milk alternatives, boxed almond milk, coconut etc. by making your own! The freshness and flavor can’t be beat! Injoy!

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Ingredients:

8 Medjool dates

½ cup water

1 medium avocado, pitted

2 small bananas (or 1 ½ large)

1 cup coconut milk (from a can)

5-7 Tbls raw cocoa powder

2 tsp. vanilla

pinch sea salt

 

Optional additions before blending:

½ cup fresh mint

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

 

Optional additions after blending

½ cup chopped walnuts

zest from ½ orange

dried coconut chips

 

Instructions:

1. Place the dates into your blender and cover with water. Pack the dates down so they are completely covered and let soak for 30 minutes.

2. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. Depending on your blender, you may need to add a little more water or coconut milk.

3. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 6 hours. Remove by running warm water over the molds to loosen fudgesicles.

 

** This recipe makes 8 fudgesicles, I used half of the quantities to make the 4 pops pictured. Another option is to serve the extra as pudding. It is delicious as a creamy unfrozen desert as well! Injoy!

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5 Tasty and Refreshing Workout Waters

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Staying properly hydrated is the number one thing you can do for your body on a daily basis. When it comes to the health of our organs and digestion, fat loss, energy levels, sleep patters, brain function, our detoxification systems and nutritional choices… daily water consumption affects it all. And our bodies are made up of substantial amounts of water: The brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. The skin contains 64% water, muscles and kidneys are 79%, and even the bones are 31%. We need to drink plenty of water, plain and simple.

The problem is many people have a hard time getting in the ‘half your body weight in ounces’ recommendation. The #1 complaint I hear from clients is that they are bored with plain water. Skip the artificially flavored sugar packets and try these 5 refreshing, whole food based recipes to jazz up your water. I suggest investing in a water bottle that holds at least 32 ounces in order to track how much you’re drinking most efficiently. I really like my HydroFlask!

  1. ½ lime sliced thin, ½ lemon sliced thin, ½ cup packed fresh mint
  2. ½ cup chopped seedless watermelon, 3-5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  3. ½ cup chopped pineapple, ½ cup packed fresh mint
  4. ½ cup raspberries (fresh or frozen), 3-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  5. ½ cup blackberries (fresh or frozen), 3-5 sprigs of fresh sage

 

Also, get creative and come up with your own combination! Pretty much any fruit will work, aside from bananas. Use what’s in season in your garden or the farmers market. Mix with other fruits and berries and/or fresh herbs, add filtered water and voila! Injoy!

 

Embodied Health: A Weight Loss Support Group

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Every year an estimated 45-million Americans attempt dieting to lose body fat. Of these, over 90% of individuals end up in a miserable yoyo dieting cycle that ultimately does not lead to accomplishing their health goals. Many simply lack the quality information, support and guidance needed to make lasting life changes.

Beginning this Wednesday, I am thrilled to be leading a weekly gathering where we will support, motivate and encourage one another in achieving the health and vitality we all deserve. We will discuss the pillars of health and the practical application of solid nutritional information. The focus will be on creating value in our lives surrounding weight loss, building supportive relationships and setting smart short-term goals to call on throughout the week. We will celebrate our success, share our challenges, hold one another accountable and offer insights and healthful recipes.

My vision for this group is to build self-awareness and intuitive eating habits. Show up with an open mind and readiness to shed the patterns that are no longer serving you. Uncover your tremendous potential and embody your greatest health.

Where:

Heroics Training Systems

900 Lenora St

Suite 140

Seattle, WA 98121

When:

Every Wednesday 7:15-8:15pm

Cost:

$12 or 6 weeks for $60

To Register:

Email Instructor Guinevere Amadeo

GAmadeo@Heroicsusa.com

Or connect through Facebook event page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/848439845182660/

Breakfast Chicken Sausage

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While shopping for breakfast protein recently, I discovered that my beloved turkey bacon brand had begun to include carrageenan in their ingredient list. This is bad news. Carrageenan is an additive with no nutritional value that is derived from raw seaweed and is widely used as a thickening agent in milk alternatives (boxed soy, almond, rice milk etc.), ice cream and yogurt. One of the main reasons I started making my own Almond Milk.

Carrageenan is known to cause inflammation to the digestive system, and in the past, drug investigators actually used carrageenan to cause inflammation in tissues in order to test the anti-inflammatory properties of new drugs. In addition, when laboratory mice are exposed to low concentrations of carrageenan for 18 days, they develop “profound” glucose intolerance and impaired insulin action, both of which can lead to diabetes. More bad news for our country’s already soaring diabetes rates. Best to stay away from Carrageenan.

Alas, a delicious homemade breakfast sausage recipe, nutritious and free of pesky preservatives! Injoy!

 

Ingredients:

1. 1 lb ground chicken

2. 2 tsp fennel seed

3. 2 tsp dried rosemary

4. 1 ½ tsp garlic powder

5. 1 ½ tsp dried sage

6. ½ tsp salt

7. ¼ tsp black pepper

 

Instructions:

1. Grind the fennel seed and the rosemary in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle to break down the spices (recommended).

2. Combine all of the spices together.

3. Incorporate the spice mixture into the chicken.

4. (Optional) Fry 1-2 tsp of the meat in a skillet to see if you need to adjust the seasoning.

5. Form into 10 equal patties.

6. Heat 1 Tbsp of oil, in a large skillet, over medium-high heat and brown the patties for 4-5 minutes per side or until cooked through.

7. Serve with your favorite vegetable.

 

The 21-Day Sugar Detox

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Diane Sanfilippo with Balanced Bites has quickly become one of my favorite authors and educators in the field of nutrition and health. She wrote the wildly successful New York Times best seller Practical Paleo, has an incredible podcast with Liz Wolfe, and offers a fun and approachable perspective to creating healthy habits in our lives.

Her new book, The 21-Day Sugar Detox, is an extremely informative and easy to follow guide to busting carb cravings and breaking the blood sugar roller coaster. Though the book has only been on shelves a short time, the 21-Day Sugar Detox has been followed by thousands of people over the years, through Diane’s work as a certified holistic nutrition coach. The program outlined in the book is broken down into three levels. The varying factors are based on your experience with detoxification and what your current diet consists of. For instance, if you already eat primarily vegan, you will likely begin on the more advanced level that does not include dairy.

The book contains an extensive list of foods to avoid and foods to include, a full menu plan for the 3-week program and over 100 delicious (gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and Paleo-friendly) recipes that are worth trying anytime! The supplement recommendations and descriptive section on what to expect during the 21 days are both very helpful as well.

This simple, straightforward, practical plan is a whole-foods-based program created to help you reset your habits, your taste buds and your entire relationship with food. If you are someone who wants to take control of your sugar cravings, and experience better energy, improved sleep, and freedom of symptoms from a myriad of health issues, I highly recommend picking up a copy of the 21-Day Sugar Detox.

 

Seahawks Sustain on Superfoods, Stress Reuction and Sound Sleep!!

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If you live in Seattle, you might agree that it feels nearly impossible to avoid getting excited about the Seahawks mania that’s going on in our fair city. Twelfth Man flags in store windows, flying off of cars and even over the Space Needle, blue and green Seahawks gear being sported by everyone from grocery store clerks to bus drivers to downtown executives. There’s even a 12th man handshake, the official touchdown celebration for Seahawks fans. It’s everywhere!

What’s even more thrilling is learning about the Seahawks nutrition and well-being practices. Reviewing the changes that have been made in a team that went from finishing the 2009 season at 5-11 before new Head Coach Pete Carroll arrived, to securing a spot in this year’s Superbowl.

It turns out the changes that Coach Carroll has implemented are all about a positive and healthful experience. “I wanted to find out if we went to the NFL and really took care of guys, really cared about each and every individual, what would happen?” Carroll explains in an interview with ESPN. His dream was to fundamentally change the way players are coached. Yelling and swearing are frowned upon, everyone in the facility, from coaches and players to personal assistants and valets, is expected to follow Carroll’s mantras regarding positivity of thought, words and actions. “Do your job better than it has ever been done before,” he tells them. The big idea is that happy players make for better players.

This big idea shows up in many forms around the Seahawks practice facility in Renton, WA. Mac McNabb, the team’s official chef begins breakfast preparation at 4am by cracking 60 dozen fresh, organic, free-range eggs. The Seahawks purchased an organic farm in Olympia, where the chickens roam free and are fed an organic diet including leftovers from the players’ fresh-fruit buffet. In addition, the players are fed all grass-fed beef, wild caught fish, and organic vegetables and fruits. No deep-fried food is made in the kitchen. Even French fries are baked. And no sodas or junk foods are served, but there are fresh-baked cookies on Thursdays.

Along with a foundation of the highest quality foods available, the 91 men that make up the Seattle Seahawks also participate in some wellness practices that are unheard of in the NFL. Yoga classes are part of the team’s regular strength training sessions; daily meditation with Michael Gervais, a high-performance sports psychologist for mental wellbeing; Neurotopia brain-performance testing to manage stress and sleep quality. Carroll has gone to extraordinary lengths to create a culture of happiness and wellbeing for his players, and it shows in their performance.

With this wonderful insight in mind, I am even more excited to cheer on our Seattle team in Sunday’s Superbowl XLVIII! GO HAWKS!!!

Seasonal Superfood Spotlight: Butternut Squash

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Move over zucchini, there’s a new seasonal favorite in my pantry… butternut squash! Like all members of the gourd family (which includes pumpkin, melon, and cucumber), butternut squash is technically a fruit because it contains seeds. It also compliments sweet dishes just as well as savory, so it can be a wonderfully versatile addition to winter kitchen staples.

Butternut squash delivers an ample dose of dietary fiber, making it an exceptionally heart-friendly choice. It provides significant amounts of potassium, important for bone health, and vitamin B6, essential for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems. Squash’s tangerine hue, however, indicates butternut’s most noteworthy health perk. The color signals an abundance of powerhouse nutrients known as carotenoids, shown to protect against heart disease. In particular, the gourd boasts very high levels of beta-carotene (which your body automatically converts to vitamin A), identified as a deterrent against breast cancer and age-related macular degeneration. What’s more, with only a 1-cup serving, you get nearly half the recommended daily dose of antioxidant-rich vitamin C. As if this weren’t enough, butternut squash also has an anti-inflammatory effect because of its high antioxidant content.

Incorporating more of this hearty winter staple into your diet could help reduce risk of inflammation-related disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

Try this Butternut Squash Soup to integrate more of this heart-healthy fruit today!

 

Blueberry Cauliflower Porridge

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I came across the original recipe for this sweet little morning meal while on the hunt for new grain-free, egg-free breakfast options. I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first, but cauliflower continues to impress me! While it’s about as void of color as a vegetable can get, its nutritional profile offers great reasons to incorporate it into your diet. With 1 cup racking up only 20 calories, it supplies 3 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and is a great source of vitamin C. In addition, cauliflower, along with other cruciferous vegetables (kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, bok choy) has been proven to fight oxidative stress and help to detoxify the liver. Set a goal to get at least 3-5 servings of these vegetables a week. Make a cauliflower pizza crust, or perhaps some chicken fried cauliflower rice! It is easier on the digestive system when already pulverized into small bits as in these recipes. Injoy!

Ingredients:

1 1⁄2 cups riced cauliflower

(Pulse raw cauliflower in food processor until it resembles rice.)

1 cup coconut milk

2 Tbsp equivalent sweetener  (coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey, stevia)

2 tsp cinnamon

1 cup blueberries

1 Tbsp coconut flour

Directions:

1. Combine all of the ingredients, except the coconut flour, in a saucepan over medium- high heat. Bring to a rolling boil.

2. Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 12-14 minutes. Mash the blueberries and stir occasionally.

3. Add coconut flour, 1 tsp at a time, until the desired consistency is reached.

4. Choose your own adventure toppings! The photo shows toasted coconut flakes and raw pecans.

Setting Smart Goals: A Guide to Successful New Year’s Resolutions

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A national statistic posted in the NY Times stated that over 80% of New Year’s Resolutions are broken in the first 3 weeks. I can already see the numbers fading at The Redmond Athletic Club where I run my nutrition coaching business. The yoga classes I could barely find a place for my mat to rest the first Saturday of January, had a little extra breathing room this weekend, and the pool where I lap swim in the morning had less than 4 people per lane today for the first time since the 1st.

Did you set resolutions or new goals for 2014? How are they working out so far? We are right around the 2-week mark, and this is the make-it-or-break-it time. If you make it into February, it is much more likely that you will make it to the 6-month mark. So, what is it going to take to get you there?

Let’s start with your strategy for goal setting. Making sure you are creating S.M.A.R.T. goals will help to set you up for success in accomplishing your objectives for 2014. Following is a guideline to setting SMART goals and creating an environment of achievement!

Specific- Being as specific as possible will help to focus your efforts and clearly define the outcome you’re looking for. What do you want to ultimately accomplish? Why is it important to you? How are you going to do it? Rather than simply stating that you want to lose weight or read more, be more specific. You may want to lose 10 lbs. by March or read 2 full books a month.

Measurable- If you can’t measure your goal, how will you know when you’ve succeeded? Establish criteria for measuring progress and set smaller short-term goals so that you can see the changes occur. This is a great way to stay on track in achieving your goals.

Attainable- If a goal is set too far out of your reach, it’s unlikely you will fully commit to doing it. Set the bar high enough for a satisfying achievement, but make sure your goal is realistic and do-able to keep the momentum going.

Relevant- Brainstorm for a few minutes as to the relevance of your goal. Why do you want to achieve this goal? What will it look like to have succeeded? What will keep you on track when you feel challenged? Answering these questions will help to give you a focus at all stages of accomplishing your goal.

Time-bound- Set a specific time-line for each stage of your goal. A weekly check-in is a great place to start, then make sure you have the final goal in mind within a realistic and attainable time frame. Without a time-line there is no call to action, no urgency to begin. This is a vital part of goal setting.

Internationally renowned business philosopher Jim Rohn says, “We want to set the goals that our heart conceives, that our mind believes and that our bodies will carry out.”

Everyone will benefit from setting SMART goals to accomplish their New Year’s resolutions.

 

Superfood Spotlight: Chia Seeds

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Chia is an edible seed that comes from the desert plant Salvia hispanica, a member of the mint family that grows abundantly in southern Mexico. You may be familiar with the name as an ancient staple for the Aztec and Mayan diets, or much more likely, as a popular novelty item, the Chia Pet.

Chia seeds have long been known to have an abundance of essential nutrients. Here is a break down:

1. They are an excellent source of fiber, with a whopping 10 grams in only 2 tablespoons. Fiber is associated with reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol and regulating bowel function.

2. Chia seeds’ lipid profile is composed of 60 percent omega-3s, making them one of the richest plant-based sources of these fatty acids

3. Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals, aging and cancer.

4. Chia seeds have one of the highest levels of antioxidants in a whole food.

5. Chia is a wonderful source for calcium.  Three tablespoons contains 307 milligrams of calcium.

6. Chia seed is easily digested and does not need to be ground.

7. Chia seeds are often recommended for diabetics because the balance of soluble and insoluble fiber slows the absorption of glucose.

I also love Chia seeds because they make a great substitute for egg in vegan cooking or baking. Just add 1 Tablespoon of Chia seeds to 3 Tablespoons of water. In about 20 minutes, it will turn into a gel equivalent to one egg. Also, because it’s nutritional profile and stability, Chia seeds will store up to two years in a dry place. Use in baking, add to smoothies, or try this great pudding. Injoy!