4 Reasons to Love Strawberries + a Smoothie Recipe

4 Reasons to Love Strawberries + a Smoothie Recipe

By: Leanne Ely

 

Strawberries are one of the most popular berries on the block. Equally delicious eaten right out of hand or tossed into a salad, strawberries are quite versatile fruits.

These sweet, red heart-shaped fruits are not only scrumptious, they are also packed with nutrition (as most berries are).

One cup of strawberries (roughly 8 large berries) is considered a serving. Each serving of strawberries contains a full gram of protein and 2 grams of fiber.

Strawberries also contain a slew of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.

strawberries

Minerals. Strawberries are very high in potassium, and they are a good source of iron and calcium.

Vitamins. One serving of strawberries contains a full 160% of the Vitamin C you need in a day. That same serving of strawberries also contain 20% of your recommended daily amount of folate.

Flavonoids. Strawberries contain a flavonoid called fisetin, which has been shown to reduce complications of diabetes.

Antioxidants. Ripe, juicy strawberries also contain phenols, which are special antioxidants that fight inflammation, heart disease and cancer.

Strawberries are best when they’re nice and fresh. Mmmm! But if you can’t get your hands on fresh organic berries, head to the freezer section. Avoid eating conventionally grown strawberries because they are on the Dirty Dozen List.

I always keep frozen organic strawberries on hand to toss into a smoothie. There is nothing like the addition of some strawberries to perk up a smoothie! Here’s one of my favorite smoothie recipes using strawberries!

Strawberry Mint Smoothie
Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 to 3/4 cup water (or more coconut milk)
1/2 cup strawberries (frozen or fresh)
1 tablespoon mint, chopped
1 scoop Perfect Paleo Protein Smoothie Mix
2 teaspoons Saving Dinner Fibermender (optional)
1 tablespoon Just Juiced Greens (optional)
Directions:
In a blender, place coconut milk, water, strawberries, mint, Saving Dinner Perfect Paleo Protein, Saving Dinner Fibermender and Saving Dinner Just Juiced Greens (optional); blend until smooth and enjoy! It’s ok to add a tad more milk of your choice, if a thinner smoothie is preferred
My Top Diet Tips for a Strong Immune System

My Top Diet Tips for a Strong Immune System

By Leanne Ely

 

The transition between seasons, especially one as extreme as winter to spring, can take a toll on people’s health. Think about it for a minute–not only is your body trying to adjust to extreme changes in the climate, but allergies are at their peak!

Immune Support

So how are you supposed to defend yourself against seasonal changes and pollen laden spring air that seems to induce one too many sneezes? The answer is simple–build your immune system. When you give your body what it needs to create a strong wall of defense to withstand the attacks, your body will do better than just hoping for the best! Isn’t it great that we can be proactive in the fight against seasonal allergies?

To help build a strong immune system, understand that what is in your diet will have a direct impact of how well (or poorly) your body immune system functions.

One of the most important nutrients on the list for nutritional assurance in aiding your immune system is vitamin C. Vitamin C increases the production of infection-fighting white blood cells, antibodies, and interferon, major factors for building a strong immune system. Vitamin E, zinc, garlic and omega-3 fatty acids, are also major contributors to immune system health.

Remember, start with a diet rich in healthy proteins (beef and fish are rich in zinc and omega-3 fatty acids), lots of veggies and fruit (citrus, broccoli and peppers are chocked full of vitamin C), olives and blueberries (great sources for vitamin E).

A varied, healthy diet is the key, always, isn’t it? Remember, eating single ingredient, highly identifiable foods without relying on processed foods will never serve you wrong.

Get the essentials bundle here

Holy Mackerel!

Holy Mackerel!

By: Leanne Ely

 

We know that we should be adding fish to our diets for optimal health, but which fish should you be reaching for?

It’s hard to go wrong as long as it’s wild fish caught in a sustainable, responsible manner, but one of the healthiest fishes you can buy is mackerel, a fatty deep water fish with a very firm flesh and a strong flavor.

Mackerel is easy to cook, it tastes great and it’s very good for you.

Let’s look at some of the health benefits of this delicious fish:

Omega-3. Mackerel is famous for being a very oily fish. It’s very high in those omega-3 fatty acids that we all should be eating more of.

Heart health. Mackerel can actually improve the condition of the heart. It lowers blood pressure and can prevent stroke.

Low in calories. A 3-ounce serving of this firm fish contains roughly 230 calories (providing it’s been cooked without added butter or sauces), which makes a fillet lower in calories than other meats.

High in protein. There are 21 grams of protein in that 3-ounce serving of mackerel and like other fishes, it contains no carbs, making it a wonderful item to add to your dinner plate.

Minerals. Mackerel contains calcium, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and selenium. It’s a good source of folate, choline, Niacin, Vitamins A, D, K, B12 and C.

Mackerel lowers cancer-causing agents in the body, improves our immune systems and is great for brain health. Mackerel can help ease symptoms of arthritis, arthrosis and even migraine pain. Holy mackerel!

Now, one thing to be aware of when purchasing mackerel is that it is a deep water fish and depending on where it came from it may contain mercury. Pregnant women should not eat mackerel or any food that may contain mercury because it may harm the developing baby’s nervous system.

FishandVeggieBake

To cook mackerel, simply pan fry it at medium heat until it flakes with a fork! Or you can try this recipe from our new 10-Day PaleoBlitz!

Fish and Veggie Bake

Serves 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 to 17 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

2 firm-fleshed white fish, fresh or frozen

1/8 cup honey

1/8 cup yellow mustard

Lemon juice, to taste

1/4 cup onion, diced

1/4 cup celery, diced

1 cup shaved Brussels sprouts

3 cups cooked and diced sweet potatoes

1/4 teaspoon ground paprika

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon grass fed butter

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS: Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk the honey, mustard and lemon juice.

In a medium mixing bowl, coat the fish with the honey mixture.

In a large mixing bowl, add the remaining 9 ingredients (onion through butter) and mix together thoroughly.

In a large casserole dish, add fish and top with the vegetable mix. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve warm.

 

Healthy Meals for Picky Eaters

Healthy Meals for Picky Eaters

By: Leanne Ely

 

If you’re trying your best to lose weight and/or improve your health, it can be challenging to stick with it (to say the least) if your family isn’t on board with the changes. When you’re struggling to make the right food choices, negative feedback from the dinner table every night can push you back to old ways pretty quick. (What’s this? I don’t eat green things. I don’t like that. Why do you hate us?)

Lucky for you, there are some tricks you can use to help your picky family be part of your changes, without them even realizing it (sneaky).

Chicken salad with roasted vegetables and mixed greens.  Delicious healthy eating.

Don’t make an announcement. If you sit down at the dinner table one night and tell everyone that you’ll all be eating healthy from now on (huge mistake), your family is going to convince themselves that meals are going to be bland and yucky.

Increase veggies gradually. If your family members are not fans of vegetables, start by serving the ones they do enjoy, and find new ways of cooking those they do not. Add a salad at the center of the table for every meal, and let everyone choose their own toppings or dressings. If you know they like broccoli, try kohlrabi one night (they taste similar). If your family makes a face at brussels sprouts, try sautéing them with a bit of bacon. This makes it less about your lifestyle changes, and more about getting everyone a bit healthier.

Make small changes. If you live with other people, you may not wish to throw away all of the packaged foods, sugary salad dressings, and frozen entrees all at once. A big dramatic act like this will scare them and will make your life difficult. Start slow by making little, barely noticeable changes. Once you run out of a certain salad dressing, for example, don’t replace it with the same kind (make your own or buy a healthy version). Make everyone’s favorite lasagna, but add more vegetables to the sauce and add a bit less cheese. Serve with a salad instead of garlic bread.

Make a healthy version of familiar recipes. Let’s go back to the lasagna example. If you’re giving up gluten but the family isn’t, go ahead and make your world-famous lasagna, but make your own serving with zucchini noodles instead of wheat. Let everyone try a small piece of yours so they see how delicious it is.

Find healthier ways of preparing things. If you normally fry your chicken, use the same recipe, but bake it in the oven instead. Cook foods in coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. Bake muffins with whole wheat or coconut flour instead of white. Halve the amount of sugar in all recipes and substitute with honey. Little changes like this all add up, and it isn’t going to be a huge shock to your loved ones’ systems.

Involve them. If you’re making fajitas, provide everyone with healthy topping options: red onions, tomatoes, peppers, refried beans, cheese, lettuce, salsa, etc. Place everything on the table, and make a rule that everyone has to either choose three toppings (or three different colors) or eat their fajita with extra salad. You can do something similar with a variety of healthy foods like chili, soup, and pasta. Put all of the options on the table and let them choose what they want. Then you can eat as many vegetables as you want without forcing it on them. (Directly!)

Experiment with salads. When you’re trying to increase the number of salads your family is eating, it’s going to take trial and error. A bowl full of ice burg lettuce is not going to make anyone your friend. Prepare a big bowl of greens and serve with a variety of meats, colorful veggies, boiled eggs, avocado, nuts, dried fruits… see what everyone gravitates towards.

Make notes. Keep a bit of a food journal so you can remember which meals your family enjoyed, and which they did not. Allow everyone to choose one or two foods they will not eat. Promise that you will do your best to avoid those foods in your meals, if they promise to be open minded about what you serve.

Be creative, and you’ll be surprised at the gains you can make with your picky family while eating a healthier diet!

Lower Calorie Winter Drinks

Lower Calorie Winter Drinks

by Leanne Ely

 

Winter is here, and baby, it’s cold outside! Everyone enjoys a cup of something warm but you know the drill–most of the time, these things are calorie bombs in a cup! So how do we navigate this desire for warm beverages vs. the stuff out there that will pack on the pounds and make your thighs expand?

winter sips-1

Let’s start with some tea, shall we?  Is anyone out there a tea drinker? I have English bones, and was raised in a regular tea-sipping home. The only challenge with tea is that it’s hard to break the English tea habit of adding milk or sugar. But I’ve come across a tea that doesn’t need a thing. Good Earth is the brand and the tea that I especially love is the original Sweet and Spicy. It’s a deep red color, with a rich cinnamon taste with sweet tones, leaving the drinker’s tongue infatuated with flavor and subtle sweetness. Give it a try, it’s low in the calorie department and tastes like Christmas in a cup!

For an occasional treat, like after you go cross country skiing or other winter sport (think TREAT!) you can make your own drinks that you would usually buy mixes for: hot chocolate for example.

Hot chocolate is especially easy to make. All you need is unsweetened cocoa baking powder, sugar to taste (be mindful or use a little xylitol insted), a splash of vanilla extract, and a cup of hot milk. In measuring out your own ingredients you don’t have to worry as much about any mysterious additives that tend to increase that calorie count we’re all so cautious of.

Or you can use this Paleo Hot Chocolate recipe, but remember this is a TREAT, not something to drink all the time:

Paleo Hot Chocolate
Serves 1

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 to 3 tablespoons raw honey (to taste)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
In a heavy bottom sauce pan, heat almond milk over medium high heat. Remove from heat before milk boils. Whisk remaining ingredients together with milk and voila! Add a dash of cinnamon if you’re an adventurous cocoa consumer 😉