RECIPE: Iced Coffee Smoothie

Need a quick, healthy pick-me-up in the morning? Have I got the smoothie for you!

I’m not usually a coffee drinker. In fact, I managed to make it through college, medical school and residency without picking up the habit. But as a mother of a newborn, I’ve found I could use a little more “Get-Up-And-Go” in the mornings.

So I created this healthy iced coffee to help me survive. Hope you enjoy it!

Iced Coffee

In a Blender Combine:

1 cup Spinach

Coffee (either 1 Tbsp coffee beans oR 1/2-1 cup of yesterday’s left over coffee)

1/2 cup Almond Milk

1/2 cup filtered H2o

4-6 cubes Ice

1/2 tsp (or just 4 dashes) Cinnamon

1 Tbsp Maple Syrup (optional for sweet lovers)

1 Tbsp Hemp Seeds (optional Super food, also packs in some protein)

1 tsp (or a splash) Vanilla

 

 

RANT: Eating Yourself Sick

I’ve been explaining to patients over the years, that we are eating ourselves sick. With all of the chemicals, dyes and preservatives in foods these days, it’s nearly impossible to purchase a real food item in the grocery store.

Even produce is laden with pesticides. These chemicals are known to cause diabetes and cancer. So we shouldn’t be eating them. We should eat only the highest quality of foods because our health is at stake!

But recently, I experienced a gluttonous malady caused not by faux food items, but from the most exquisite dining experience.

A favorite couple booked an 8 course chef’s tasting meal for us. The beautifully displayed morsels kept us “oohing” and “ahhing”, delighting in the tastes, but by the 5th course I was ready to ‘tap out’. Of course that wasn’t going to happen. I kept shoveling in these rich flavors. And while it was of the highest quality, the next day I was sick. I felt horrible. When I was not in the bathroom, I spent the whole day in bed, sleeping off this gorge-fest. I didn’t have a fever, it wasn’t food poisoning (though the thought of food was repulsive), but I had literally eaten myself sick.  I think what this episode of prolonged abdominal cramping and nausea taught me, is that I’ve been overeating the last 30 years, but I had really over done it.

turkey dinner

So while you are gathering this week around robust menus and rotund family members, keep in mind the reason for Thanksgiving.  The purpose is to gather together, give love and gratitude, not to eat until you have to loosen a belt notch!

We have several holidays of gluttony coming up (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, St Patty’s and Easter), so take it easy.

And remember, it’s not just the quality of the food that affects our health, it’s also the volume. We all eat way too much.

So, How will you feel post Thanksgiving feast? Full or fulfilled?

 

[photo borrowed from www]

RECIPE: Healthy Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

Recipe below is from my girls at Portland Outdoor Indoor Nutrition and Training! (If you haven’t tried POINT, go immediately! First two classes are free.  Bad ass workout, full pant and sweat-fest and laughter guaranteed!)

 

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Preheat your oven to 350.

In a food processor combine (don’t double this recipe; it might be too much for your machine to handle):

1 1/4 C canned chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), rinsed and patted dry with a paper towel

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 C + 2 Tbsp natural peanut butter (the kind where the only ingredient is peanuts, and maybe salt … add a pinch of salt to this recipe if your peanut butter does not have salt in it) (I imagine you could also use almond butter, which is better for you, but I haven’t tried it.)

1/4 C or less of agave nectar (honey or maple syrup work too, but I like how the agave ones turned out better)

1 tsp baking powder

After combined and smooth add

1/2 C or less of chocolate chips and pulse or stir in by hand (go with vegan chips if you’re into that).

The mixture will seem kind of wet. That’s okay. Just roll them into small, bite-sized balls and drop them on a Silpat or parchment paper. They won’t rise or spread, so don’t worry about spacing.  Bake for 10-12 minutes. They end up being more fudgy and less cookie-y and should be stored in an airtight container. While they are good at room temperature, they are really good warm when the chocolate chips are kind of melty. Nuke* a few for 10-15 seconds to recreate the just-out-of-the-oven feeling.  *Come on … not all the time, but microwaving every once in awhile is okay.

 

 

Photo borrowed from spryliving.com

RANT: Study Abroad

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Next month I’m headed to Italy for a Wellness Retreat. (By the way, contact me if you are interested in participating in or creating your own Wellness Retreat wellandbalanced@gmail.com)

While in college, I spent my junior Fall semester “studying” abroad in Florence, Italy.  “Study Abroad” was really code for excessive travel, red wine appreciation and the ingestion of copious amounts of gelato, olive oil and pasta.

My parents actually made a bet on how humongous I would be when I returned home.  They were shocked that I was the thinnest I had ever been.  It was bizarre. I didn’t belong to a gym, I literally ate pizza, pasta and gelato EVERY DAY and I was tiny.

I wasn’t even trying to lose weight. I was having a blast with my girlfriends and traveling and meeting new people and having totally new and foreign experiences!  I never got tired or stopped laughing.

So what I’m saying is, to look and feel you best, you need to temporarily move to Italy and should eat gelato, pasta and olive oil daily!

Kidding.  But it is interesting that my diet was so contrary to what we now believe is effective for weight management.

It was carbohydrate laden, low protein, and low vegetable.

But it was real.

The olive oil that drenched our pasta servings (which, BTW, were 1/2 of American portion sizes) was made that week, just a few kilometers away.  The gelato, pizza and pasta were all made onsite and had no artificial dyes or flavorings.

We walked everywhere.  Any time I wanted to eat, I had to walk to get it.

So maybe we should all seek out new experiences, revel in camaraderie, eat real food and smaller portions and be constantly active.  I bet we’ll all end up happier, healthier people.

You don’t have to move to do it!

Recipe: Healthy Mashed Potatoes

Don’t tell your husband, your kids or your guests that these aren’t real mashed potatoes — because these are better, healthier and they will never know the difference!

photo-11

This will serve 8-10.  Leftovers keep in the fridge!

Cube 3 parsnips (1 lb)

Cut 1 small head of cauliflower

Boil cauliflower and parsnips for 10-15 min until soft (in a HUGE pot or do each separately in a smaller pot)

Place boiled/softened white vegetables into mixer, Vitamix or food processor

Add 2 Tbsp olive oil

1 garlic clove minced

2 tbsp parsley fresh (I’ve made these without parsley too, pr try with 1 tsp of crushed red pepper!)

 1 tsp Sea Salt and  tsp pepper to taste

 1/2 cup almond milk (optional, if you want them creamy, I’ve also omitted the milk and they’ve still been excellent)

Blend together and serve immediately or transfer to pot and keep on low to keep warm

AN EVEN SIMPLER HEALTHY MASHIE RECIPE:

Chop 1 head of cauliflower and boil for 7-10 minutes

Drain and place in to food processor or Vitamix

Add 2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 garlic clove minced

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

Blend. Serve immediately or store in fridge.

I’ll sometimes sprinkle fresh parmesan on top as well.

RANT: Breaking Bad Habits

“Choose a quit date. It can be a significant day, like a birthday or anniversary or hold no significance at all.  Start cutting back between now and then, and determine what you will do instead of smoking when you get stressed or want a cigarette”

That’s what I tell patients who are contemplating ‘smoking cessation’ (as we call it in the medical biz).

But how effective is that? If I employ the same advice with ‘sugar cessation’ or ‘dessert cessation’ would I be successful?

Could I quit?

Eight Ball says: “Not Likely”

I know it is highly unrealistic for me to never eat a dessert again.  Or to never drink a beer again.  So why would I expect a smoker to be anymore optimistic?

reaching for cake
(photo from culinarykicks.blogspot.com)

What could I do instead of snarfing down the beer and pizza that will inevitably be ordered during gatherings, football games, etc without feeling like a total social outcast?

When someone offers a cookie or cake or my Achilles heal: ICE CREAM, how do I decline without feeling like I’m missing out?

And how do I get through the holiday season not only trying not to over-indulge, but to trim down and eat healthfully to boot?!?

Sounds Daunting.

I do have patients, that quit smoking “cold turkey”, despite numerous failed attempts in the past.  Could I do the same?

Could I be successful this new year? And what foods are off-limits? Sugar? Wheat? Dairy? Meat?

There are no patches, inhalers or pills to assist me.

So how will I do it?

Here’s my list of things I will do instead of over-eating:

Eat something healthy instead (Duh)

Drink water

Make Tea

Take a lap (i.e. walk away from the apps)

Strike up Convo (distraction is key)

Chew Glee

Breath deeply

Read something

So, what bad habits do you hope to break this upcoming year?  And how will you break them?