Treat Yourself with Tangerines

Treat Yourself with Tangerines

It’s citrus season in the Untied States-that time of year when you can find those little citrus sweeties all over the grocery store. Tangerines are in season from November through April.

There are three major types of tangerines that we tend to find here in the western hemisphere: tangerines (tangerine is a type of tangerine), mandarins, and tangelos. These cute little fruit are smaller than oranges, and they also tend to be easier to peel because the peels are much looser, so they make a wonderful snack. Kids love them and, really, who doesn’t?

You start finding tangerines around Thanksgiving. The most common tangerine varieties we find here are Dancy and Fairchild.

Mandarins are known for their exquisite sweet flavor and their light orange color. Satsuma, Clementine, Royal and Honey are the most commonly found varieties of mandarin in the US.

Tangelos are very juicy and have quite a mild flavor. A hybrid between a tangerine and a grapefruit, tangelos aren’t as sweet as the other types of tangerines.

There’s a lot of nutrition packed into these small orange fruits.

A single tangerine contains:

1 gram of protein
2 grams of fiber
45% of the Vitamin C you need for the day
6% of your RDA (Recommended Daily Amount) of Vitamin A
4% of your RDA of calcium, magnesium and potassium
2% of your RDA of manganese, copper, phosphorus and zinc

Tangerines also contain notable amounts of: Vitamin B6, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamin and riboflavin.

So much goodness in these yummy little guys!

I love tangerine segments in green salads and they’re divine in coleslaw (really!), but don’t forget to pop out the seeds!

Print Recipe
Mandarin Orange Teriyaki Chicken Salad
Half of a peeled Mandarin Orange on a white marble surface
Course Salads
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Course Salads
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Half of a peeled Mandarin Orange on a white marble surface
Instructions
  1. In a large zipper-topped plastic bag, combine chicken and teriyaki sauce; seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
  2. Drain and discard marinade.
  3. Coat a large non-stick skillet with cooking spray; add chicken; cook and stir for 5 to 7 minutes or until no longer pink; transfer to a bowl; cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  4. In a large bowl, combine salad greens, frisee, chicken, oranges, carrot, almonds and green onion.
  5. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine remaining ingredients; shake well and drizzle over the salad; toss gently to coat.
Recipe Notes

NUTRITION per serving: 299 Calories; 13g Fat; 25g Protein; 22g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 49mg Cholesterol; 1066mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 3 Lean Meat; 2 Vegetable; 1/2 Fruit; 2 Fat. Points: 6

Getting creative with pumpkin

Getting creative with pumpkin

With the end of November comes the end of pumpkin season. You know what that means-we need to make the most out of this year’s harvest because you just can’t find a good pumpkin any other season!

Why not challenge yourself to see how many ways you can enjoy pumpkin this week?

Let me give you a few ideas to start with:

Appetizer: Pumpkin soup, anyone?  For bonus points, serve the soup in half of a hollowed out, roasted squash. How pretty would soup in a squash bowl be on the Thanksgiving table this year?

Main: Make dinner in a pumpkin! First, cut off the top of the pumpkin and hollow it out as if you were making a jack-o-lantern. Sauté some diced onions until they’re soft, and then brown some meat in the same pan. Stir in some sliced mushrooms; coconut aminos; leftover rice, cauli-rice, or quinoa; water chestnuts; diced tomatoes . . . get creative! When everything in the pan is nice and hot, spoon the mixture into the hollow pumpkin. Put the stuffed pumpkin on a baking sheet and put its hat back on it. Bake in a 350-degree oven for an hour or so. At serving time, put the pumpkin on a serving plate and scoop out servings. The roasted pumpkin counts as your vegetable for this innovative one-pot dish!

Side Dish: Make miniature, single-serving stuffed pumpkins using a similar recipe as above, but use smaller pie pumpkins and serve one to each dinner guest. These would make perfect side dishes for your Thanksgiving Dinner.

Dessert: There are so many ways to use pumpkin in desserts. I’ve shared a recipe for pumpkin cheesecake on my YouTube channel, and it is one of our family favorites. But you can find recipes for everything from pumpkin bread pudding to pumpkin donuts if you search Google for five minutes!

Smoothies: I have a great pumpkin smoothie recipe below!

So, get creative in that kitchen with those fresh pumpkins in savory and sweet dishes! Pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin brownies….

Here’s that recipe for pumpkin smoothie:

Print Recipe
Pumpkin Spice Smoothie
orange smoothie in a glass with a blue straw on a table next to a small decorative pumpkin
Course Smoothies
Cuisine Smoothie
Servings
serving
Ingredients
Course Smoothies
Cuisine Smoothie
Servings
serving
Ingredients
orange smoothie in a glass with a blue straw on a table next to a small decorative pumpkin
Instructions
  1. In a blender, place all ingredients; blend until smooth and enjoy!
Recipe Notes

It's ok to add a tad more milk of your choice, if a thinner smoothie is preferred.

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PS–Everything in our store has FREE SHIPPING right now!  Click here to stock up on Perfect Paleo Protein, Just Juiced Greens and FiberMender!

10 Fall Super Foods

10 Fall Super Foods

Harvest time is like Christmas for me. So many delicious and healthy foods are in season that I can hardly eat enough to get in all the foods I want to eat. I’m popping these Fall superfoods into my smoothies (sweet potatoes), soups (pumpkin), and desserts (pears).

I like to bulk up on all of the healthiest foods I can this time of year to help get my immune system in tip-top shape for cold and flu season.

There are plenty of superfoods in season during the fall, so buy them frequently and eat them often!

Here are ten of my favorite fall superfoods:

 

Pomegranates.

Pomegranate juice is full of antioxidants, Vitamin C, and folate. Either juice those gorgeous red orbs inside the pomegranate fruit or sprinkle them on your salads.

 

Pumpkins.

Full of fiber, B vitamins, and potassium, pumpkin is a powerhouse of nutrients. It’s not just for pie! Add cooked pumpkin to your smoothies, soups, and chilli. Why not?

 

Apples.

Not only crunchy and sweet, apples are rich in antioxidants and high in fiber. An apple a day is great for you, but choose organic. Apples are high on the Dirty Dozen list.

 

Brussels sprouts.

One of my favorite of all superfoods, Brussels sprouts contain loads of Vitamin K, folate, and iron. As long as you don’t overcook them, brussels taste absolutely out of this world.

 

Parsnips.

A good source of fiber and potassium, parsnips resemble carrots, but they have a sweeter flavor and a much lighter color. I love parsnips pureed in soups or roasted with other root vegetables as a side dish.

 

Pears.

This sweet and juicy superfood has 4 whole grams of fiber per serving. It’s also a good source of copper and Vitamin C. If you’ve never tried a baked pear, you don’t know what you’re missing.

 

Cauliflower.

This cruciferous veggie may help prevent cancer and lower cholesterol. It’s a great source of Vitamin C. Cauliflower is fantastic as a low-carb substitute for mashed potatoes or rice.

 

Squash.

Butternut squash, acorn squash…. so many squashes! I love them all. Squash is a great source of Vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids. I use squash in soups and as side dishes frequently through the fall.

 

Sweet potatoes.

Chock full of Vitamin A, iron, and anti-inflammatories, I love sweet potatoes. Why cook their white counterparts when you can get so much more nutrition from these guys?

 

Cranberries.

Rich in Vitamins C and E, potassium, iron, and folate, these antioxidant-filled berries are one of the healthiest things you can eat. Use them in your smoothies, cocktails, oatmeal, salsa… anywhere you can fit them, do it 🙂

 

I just love eating beautiful food. Don’t you?

Salt – The Essence of Life

Salt – The Essence of Life

Most people are familiar with basic table salt, the type of salt that is most common in the U.S.  It is white, has small granules, and seasons almost every kind of food we can think of when we sit down in a restaurant, too often before we even taste what the chef or cook has prepared.

However, that basic table salt is only one of many options available to us today and is generally among the worst for us.

Starting with the basic chemistry, salt is chemically defined as sodium chloride or NaCl in chemistry lingo.  It is produced for commercial purposes through a variety of processes, including evaporation and underground mining, and the resulting product may range from a quality cooking salt to rock salt, a lower end commodity that gets spread out on icy roads.

For cooking purposes, there is a wide variety of salts you can use and the differences are almost like the differences between wines, with different chemical compositions, flavors, and uses.

 

Table Salt

Beginning with that basic table salt, we are using a product that is mostly harvested underground and then highly refined and finely ground.  A variety of trace minerals and impurities are removed through processes that include other chemicals, bleaching, and heat so that the resulting product is pure sodium chloride.  The salt is then treated with an anti-caking agent to prevent clumping, dextrose (!) and potassium iodine. Keep in mind that dextrose is sugar derived from corn and is used to prevent the added potassium iodide from oxidizing and breaking down into iodine.  Standard table salt like Morton’s will have approximately 0.04% dextrose, or 40 milligrams per 100 grams of salt.

As a manufactured product it serves its purpose, but is not an option for those who want the best flavor and nutritional seasoning in their food.

 

Sea Salt

Sea salt is a pretty broad term and actually defines in part some of the salts that we will discuss later.  It is harvested through the evaporation of sea water and contains a variety of other minerals like iron, potassium, and zinc.

These additional elements give sea salt a more complex flavor and actually a different feeling as you eat it since the grains can be less refined and coarser grained.  The downside is that our seas are no longer as pristine as they were in the past and we are learning more about the micro-plastics and other heavy metal pollutants that will inevitably be found in sea salt harvested from the seas today.

 

Pink Himalayan Salt

Harvested by hand from a salt mine in the Himalayan Mountains, Himalayan salt is the purest form of salt.  Around 250 million years ago the Himalayan Mountains were formed and ancient seas were broken up and some evaporated, leaving salt deposits deep beneath the surface.  It is a true sea salt, but with a few important differences.

While table salt is highly refined to eliminate all minerals other than the sodium chloride, Himalayan salt contains the 84 minerals that are naturally found in the human body, so it is also commonly used in spa treatments as well as for cooking.

Due to its ancient sea origins, before the mass pollution of the modern era, it is not only richer in minerals than modern day sea salt, but also purer.  It has none of the micro-plastic elements we are hearing more about these days.

Also, because it already contains iodine in addition to all the trace minerals a human body has and needs, it is highly regarded as a more healthy option because that multi-mineral composition means that the human body more readily recognizes it, accepts it and absorbs it.

Because of the chemical composition and minerals in this salt, it has a range of colors, usually dependent on the amount of iron in it.  It provides both flavor and texture and is the preferred salt for serious home cooks and professional chefs.

 

Celtic Sea Salt

Sorry, it doesn’t come from Ireland.

It is actually harvested from tidal ponds off the coast of France and is also known as sel gris, which is French for “grey salt”.  The grey color comes from the rich variety of minerals and clay found in the salt flats where it is harvested.

While the production and harvesting processes are highly controlled for quality and purity, the fact that today’s waters are not as clean as they were 250 million years ago means that it is not as pure as Himalayan Salt.  Microplastics, lead, and other heavy metal pollutants are possible additions to even the cleanest sea salts.

 

Kosher Salt

Essentially, kosher salt is the same as standard table salt.

The difference is that the flakes are larger and flakier, making it appealing to some chefs because of the feel; it is easier to pick up with your fingers and spread over food.  Chemically, the biggest difference from standard table salt is the lower levels or absence of anti-caking additives and iodine.

Also, because of the larger crystal structure it is not as dense as regular table salt, so you might want to use more than is called for in a recipe that calls for regular salt.  And, because of the different size of grains and flakes, it has a different taste profile because the larger flakes take longer to dissolve on your tongue.

 

Gourmet Salts

There are a number of specialty salts available to you, depending on how good the shopping is in your area and your budget.

Black lava salt comes from the volcanic Hawaiian waters and includes activated charcoal.

Red Hawaiian salt comes from different island waters and the reddish color comes from the local iron-rich volcanic clay called alaea.

Smoked salts are made by actually smoking the salt like you would meat or other foods and the results depend on the type of wood used and the length of time in the smoker.

Other than the different flavors, whether naturally occurring and subtle mineral flavors or heavily smoked and infused, the chemical composition of any gourmet salt is still basically sodium chloride, or salt.

The Countdown to Carbage Carnage

The Countdown to Carbage Carnage

A ketogenic (keto for short) diet is essentially a way of eating where you get your caloric intake from protein and fat instead of from carbohydrates, including and especially sugar.  When you consume less than 50 grams of carbs/day you will generally be in a state of ketosis in 3 to 4 days, but everyone is different so keep that in mind.

When you are in that state of ketosis, your body has run out of the easy fuel it can use quickly; glycogen which is stored in your liver. It is then forced to find an alternative source of energy.  It starts to break down protein and fat, which helps you lose weight.

That said, most keto diets can be pretty inflammatory–this is why our clean version, the Hot Melt Diet has become so popular–it takes the inflammation out without infringing on the quick weight loss achieved with a traditional keto diet.

 

BMI Is One Measurement

The scale and measuring tape are another, but more on that in another post–let’s talk BMI.

The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of a person’s weight and height to determine the total body fat in adults.

With a BMI in excess of 30, one has a higher risk of heart disease and other chronic health issues, so the Hot Melt Diet is a way to work on fat loss quickly and easily.

Unfortunately in today’s food culture, it can be a real challenge for to avoid carbs like pasta, bread, and sugar. That’s why it is important to be set up for success and understand how your own brain plays into the equation.

I’ve created what I call the Countdown to Carbage Carnage–see if this looks familiar:

 

Step One – The YUM Factor

Generally, the first stage of the Countdown is obsession–your thoughts are all about food, crunchy, sweet, whatever your drug of choice.  Your obsession may last only a few minutes or it may last for hours or days.

That little voice in your head is telling you that it misses your old friends sugar, wheat, creamy ice cream, and maybe even their always-fun relatives salty and crunchy.  You’re intent on reuniting with these old chums!

 

Step Two – The Cave to the Crave

Step Two can last as long as its predecessor, the obsession with Yum, whether minutes, hours, or days.

Some can open up the freezer, take a spoonful of ice cream to satisfy the craving, and then walk away.

For others, that one little spoonful (just this once!) triggers a binge: digging through an entire carton of ice cream, and then go hit up the chips, graduate to cookies or find actual friends (that aren’t sitting in your pantry or fridge) to go out and have pizza and beer all night.

Even worse is when you completely cave in and go back to all the old eating habits with no restrictions for days on end, quickly gaining it all back, and then some.

Besides the likelihood of giving up altogether, there’s the cascade of bad feelings that just don’t stop.

Regret is often the first and most common feeling you have and when this happens, guilt is not far behind. Naturally the feelings of remorse and regret rear their ugly heads, and that awful feeling of being  “less than” can consume you.

But there comes a point when you rationalize your actions.

Your “would have, could have, should have” is replaced by “because”.

You find an excuse to let yourself off the hook and might even forget all about it because it wasn’t your fault or there were extenuating circumstances that practically forced you to change direction.

Rationalizing this kind of “food fail” is a common human response and helps us avoid dealing with it at all.

Like Step One, your post Yum stage can last minutes, hours, or days, and the longer it lasts the more damaging it may be.

Regardless, it cannot protect you from the inevitable Step Three.

 

Step Three – The Truth of The Consequences

OK, you fell. You caved.

Now what?

Well, just like the first two steps, it is all a matter of time.

If you caved in for only that spoon of ice cream you may have put it away because of all those same feelings we just discussed, and those feelings happened fast enough and strong enough to make you regret, rationalize, and move on very quickly with minimal damage.  In the morning the scale might not reflect another significant drop, but it isn’t catastrophic.

Of course, if your Step Two cave-in did indeed last the entire night with a full on binge, then you will more likely find that all those your days of weight loss have now reversed and you just stomped on all that hard work and are reaping the unfortunate reward of the cave.

You have not only gained a few pounds, you feel like crap. The pain is back, your appetite is raging out of control, cravings are to be obeyed, your weight continues to soar upwards.

At this point, your self-esteemed is shredded and your will to go forward?

Gone.

That is until a new diet guru makes your ears perk up. Or a new book comes out or everyone at the office is talking about the new (fill in the blank) diet.

THIS is just the set up to start allllll over again.

But there is another way.

You can choose to give up and just continue feeling miserable, knowing that it will most likely get even worse and your quality and quantity of life will be less than you want–take a look at the cycle–this is not the first time you lived this.

You can stop this Carousel of Crazy and reset–we have a plan for that and it works–The Hot Melt Sprint.

Listen, Edison failed many times before he succeeded in inventing the light bulb. Lincoln failed at several elections before he eventually became one of our most successful and respected presidents.

A personal hero of mine, Diana Nyad finally crossed the ocean from Havana to Miami at 64 years old after 3 prior failed attempts, being stung by jellyfish the entire way and surrounded by sharks.

You know what she did?

She found a way! She didn’t give up, even with the pain and the sharks around her, she kept swimming.

My dear friend…you can find a way–just like Diana did.

Perseverence pays off in huge dividends for those that choose to succeed and don’t let anything stop them.

It’s time to take back your power. You’re not pitiful, you’re powerful.

Choose to be in community with like-minded sisters who have your back. We are not lone rangers–we need each other.  Click here to join now.

Fermented Foods

Fermented Foods

I think our ancestors would be pretty surprised at how fermented foods seem to have all but disappeared from our dinner plates.

You hear about gut health all the time–leaky gut and other such 21st century maladies. Eating fermented foods is one key to making sure your gut has a chance to heal. That’s because the fermented foods I’m talking about contain “food” for the good guys in your gut that you want to feed–the stronger the army, the faster battles are defeated and ultimately, the war is won.

 

History Shows Us Why Cooties Are Important

Since nearly the dawn of time, humans around the world have been fermenting their food before eating or drinking it. Wine was being made at least eight thousand years ago. Milk fermentation has been happening since around 3000 BC and folks have been eating leavened bread since around 1500 BC.

Our grandmothers made sauerkraut and pickles via lacto-fermentation (using salt) where today we use vinegar. They used wild yeast (sourdough) to leaven their bread. Those types of fermentation provided us with probiotics, replenishing the good bacteria in our bodies.

 

Too “Clean”, Too Sanitized

Today, almost everything we eat is pasteurized.

We use antibacterial soap to get rid of “all” the dirt and germs and drink chlorinated water.

We take antibiotic drugs for every little thing, oftentimes, when we really don’t even need to.

 

Imbalancing Act: The Symptoms

Most of us have an imbalanced level of bacteria in our guts and that can make us sick and compromise our immune systems.

The symptoms for an imbalanced gut include:

  • Indigestion–your digestive capabilities are compromised when you don’t have everyone on your team. This is why fermented foods are so important–they feed the good guys!
  • Upset stomach–when your balance is off, you’re likely to feel it and your stomach let’s you know in a number of ways.
  • Sleep issues–from insomnia to waking up in the middle of the night with an inability to go back to sleep. Serotonin is made in the gut and without adequate serotonin, your sleep is impaired. The ability to create serotonin is in direct proportion to the health of your gut.
  • Skin issues–from acne to eczema, these are signs of a leaky gut. Some practitioners point to all inflammatory skin issues as leaky gut being the root cause.
  • Autoimmune disease–researchers are finding new evidence on the impact of gut health and the immune system. An unhealthy gut is inflamed and can alter the proper function of the immune system. And when you consider that most of your immune system resides in the gut, it’s imperative you’re feeding it right.

 

Fermented Foods To The Rescue

Adding fermented foods to your diet will help restore those levels of healthy bacteria and it will do wonders for your well being.

Here are some good reasons to eat fermented foods:

  • Improved digestion. Eating fermented foods is sort of like having it already partially digested before it hits your stomach. That allows your body to take the good out of the food without doing so much heavy lifting. When you improve digestion, nutrient absorption is naturally improved as well.
  • Vitamin boost. When you ferment foods you boost their vitamin content, especially with fermented dairy products like kefir.
  • Gut health. You need good bacteria in your gut to avoid yeast infections, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance and lots of other nasty things. Eating fermented foods can help strike the right balance.
  • Flavor. Why do we like drinking wine with our cheese and eating sauerkraut on our hotdogs? Because it’s delicious, that’s why! Fermented foods are healthy and delicious.

Fermenting food is inexpensive, requiring very basic ingredients, salt and mason jars and it helps to preserve foods for a long period of time.

To get more fermented foods into your diet, drink kombucha (a fermented tea you’ll find at Asian markets) or kefir. Eat naturally fermented condiments that you buy at the store or make your own at home. Kim chi, sauerkraut, salsa and pickles are all examples of fermented condiments you can easily make yourself.

 

Here’s a different recipe for Fermented Apple Pear Sauce:

Print Recipe
Fermented Apple Pear Sauce
Bowl of applesauce on a wooden surface next to whole apples and cinnamon sticks
Course Side Dishes
Cuisine Paleo, Vegetarian
Servings
Ingredients
Course Side Dishes
Cuisine Paleo, Vegetarian
Servings
Ingredients
Bowl of applesauce on a wooden surface next to whole apples and cinnamon sticks
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in your food processor and process until as smooth or as chunky as you like your sauce. Add more water if you need it seems too thick or has trouble being pureed.
  2. Transfer to a jar, leaving an inch between the sauce and the top of the jar.
  3. Seal jar tightly with a lid and store in a warm place for at least 3 days.
  4. Taste it and when it suits you, transfer to the fridge.
  5. Chill and enjoy!

Don’t forget, you can add probiotics to help out tremendously!

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