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  • Real Food Anti-inflammatory Must-Haves (+ Recipes!)

    Real Food Anti-inflammatory Must-Haves (+ Recipes!)

    There's nothing better than getting presents in the mail!

    Am I right?!

    And if you're as enthusiastic about raw honey, beautiful loose leaf teas, hemp hearts, and turmeric as I am (and that's pretty darn enthusiastic, let me tell you), then you're going to love today's feature! 

    Last month, my friend and fellow culinary nutrition expert Julie Tadeson, wrote to let me know her incredible company, Jule's Wellness, had officially begun shipping to the United States!

    Cue happy dance!

    What it comes down to is this: If you love sampling and collecting carefully curated health + wellness goodness (food, skincare, supplements, and more), you will definitely want to check them out. (And their monthly subscription box is only $34.32!)

    Happily, I got to sample the April Anti-Inflammatory box (thanks, Julie!), and I thought you might like a little peek at what was inside. 

    If you read my blog, then I have a feeling you'll appreciate each of these items just as much as I do!

    Food is powerful, and we can harness that power for good: Overall wellness, immune support, and more! That's what this box is all about. So let's dig right in, shall we?

     

    1 - APPLE CIDER VINEGAR

    And they weren't messing around! They sent me a whole bottle of the good stuff: Certified Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar. It's my favorite brand, and this bottle even comes with "the mother", a strand-like sediment that contains raw enzymes and gut-friendly bacteria! ACV (as it's affectionately known) is majorly anti-inflammatory, supports a healthy immune system, supports healthy weight management, and maintains healthy looking skin! Try it in this addictive Garlicky Kale recipe!


    2 - TURMERIC

    I like to think of turmeric as "the king of spices". It packs a serious anti-inflammatory punch, as it's rich in curcumin and other phytonutrients! This beautiful little package appears to have been sealed with a personal touch, and it's from Fairtrade certified Cha's Organics! I use it in lots of things, but probably most often in my favorite immune-boosting Turmeric Powerhouse Tea.


    3 - RAW HONEY

    I admit it: I have a little bit of a raw honey obsession. The new and most impressive honey section at our local MOM's Organic Market makes me swoon. I was so excited to find a jar of Dutchman's Gold Raw Honey in the box! Because it's raw and unfiltered, we get the extra benefits of the tiny bits of beeswax and bee pollen. I use raw honey in a lot of my sweeter recipes. Try it in my Get-Happy Ginger Cookies or Blackberry-Pear Chia Jam!

    4 - OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS

    It's been mainly just in last two years that I've dug into and discovered the value of high quality omega-3 fatty acids. The average American gets about a 20:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, while a healthy ratio is more likely around 2:1! Fish oil is one option, and it's a good one for those who consume seafood! But for those who are strictly plant-based, there are other great options to consider, like chia, spirulina, walnuts, and flax. Beyond promoting strong bones and teeth, fish oil offers many other health benefits. Check out this awesome article for more on its many benefits! My April subscription box came with a brand called NutraSea+D, which appears to be eco-friendly and to have been sourced sustainably! 

    5 - CINNAMON + CAYENNE

    But more specifically, loose leaf tea that's got the anti-inflammatory giants of turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne in it! I am loving this gorgeous blend from Lemon Lily

    6 - HEMP HEARTS

    Hemp hearts are a constant in our home, and Manitoba Harvest is my favorite brand! Impressively, hemp hearts contain 10 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of omegas (plus vitamins, minerals, and fiber) in every 30 gram serving. They're also super versatile. We use them in smoothies, dressings, dips, salads, and so much more. Sprinkle that stuff everywhere, guys! Try them in this Kale Berry Goodness Smoothie

    BONUS:

    There was also a bonus item, which I devoured immediately. These Martin's Crispy Apply Chips hit the spot!

    Interested in learning more about snagging your own Jule's Wellness monthly subscription box? I loved this one, and I hope to try many more in the future!

    Keep that real food love alive, my friends!

    And if you need a little extra love + support along the way, reach out! 

  • How To: Start Eating Clean + Feeling Awesome Again!

    How To: Start Eating Clean + Feeling Awesome Again!

    A few weeks ago, I sent my top five tips for transitioning to cleaner eating to the fine folks over at Jule's Wellness, an awesome Canadian wellness company on a mission to help you feel healthy, strong, and more conscientious in your life. (Love their stuff! I've got my eye on their monthly subscription box!)

    Eating "clean" isn't nearly as complicated as you might think, but with all the different points of view and diets out there, it's easy to get overwhelmed and confused! I know I used to be. 

    It took getting sick (asthma, IBS, allergies, acid reflux, relentless colds), taking a bunch of meds that didn't work, and feeling hopeless, for me to finally find my way.

    And I'm still learning every day! But that's, I'm quite confident, how it's supposed to be.

    The secret?

    There really is no one-size-fits-all diet. Not in my book, anyway. We are all individuals with unique bodies and needs, so it only makes sense that we would need to take a similar approach when it comes to food!

    Here, I'm breaking the whole "eating clean" thing down into five simple steps. Start where you are, and remember: It's not a race. It's a journey.

    The idea here is to do a little better all the time.

    1 - EDUCATE YOURSELF

    I have a Bachelor's in Secondary Education, a Master's in Science, and 5+ years working as a Trauma/Emergency Department registered nurse, and I still had to go back to school to figure all this stuff out!

    Your story, surely, will be different from mine. And I'm not saying you need to do everything I did! But in some form or another, you're going to need to begin to dig a little deeper and explore a little further than what you've always heard about health and wellness. (Hint: Counting calories, buying non-fat, and opting for "magic pills" will not be getting you to where you want to be, my friends. At least not in any lasting way.)

    For me, it all started with the documentary Forks Over Knives. (You might like Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead or GMO OMG!) From there, I devoured book after book on the subject of food as medicine. A few early favorites were The Omnivore's Dilemma, Keep It Simple, Keep It Whole, and UnDiet. If you haven't read these yet, I assure you they will shed new light on old "truths". 

    Having experienced what felt like was my own "health miracle", I craved expert guidance, to deepen my understanding of nutrition. And I felt a very clear calling to help others begin to take back their health, too.

    I enrolled in T. Colin Campbell's Plant-Based Nutrition course, followed by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, which truly expanded my vision of health (so much more than food!) and taught me the concept of bioindividuality, that what works wonders for one person might not be what's best for another. It was throughout my time at IIN that my vision of health and wellness (and happiness!) began to take shape. 

    If you're anything like me, you'll find that what makes you feel happiest and healthiest may (and likely should!) change over time. Be gentle with yourself as you explore and, ultimately, discover what works best for you. Consider hiring a coach to help you along the way. There is truly something extremely powerful about having a loving, supportive, empowering person in your corner, especially when you're taking on big changes like these.

    2 - THROW AWAY THE CRAP

    As soon as you start re-educating yourself, you'll likely begin to feel like there's a lot in your fridge and pantry (and perhaps hiding under the bed or some other secret stash location?) that simply must go!

    Warning: This could be a little painful. You may want to enlist the help of a supportive friend (maybe after watching one of those awesome documentaries together!), family member, or coach. 

    But, I promise you, this is a critical and crucial part of getting you feeling amazing again!

    You must must must get rid of the bad if you wish to bring on the good. (And I know you do!) If it hurts too much to throw it away, consider donation. Remember: The longer you keep it around, the longer it will take for you to get healthy again! This is something you're going to want to go "all in" on.

    CRAP: I mentioned earlier than I'm of the belief that what's best for me might not be best for you. That being said, my experience and education has taught me that there are a few key offenders that seem to cause a lot of trouble for people. If only for a while, I urge you to consider removing things like dairy, gluten, and processed sugar/sweeteners. Processed anything, really, should go!

    What you want left over is, quite simply, real food. (Not the creations of the food "industry", not those long ingredient lists of unrecognizable items, and definitely not those "fake" and "imitation" animal products laden with processed soy, sodium, and other questionables.)

    3 - REPLACE IT WITH THE GOOD STUFF

    Hint: Good stuff = Real food.

    And here's where it gets fun again! (And the produce department of the grocery store becomes your new best friend!)

    Think seasonal, local, and organic whenever possible.

    Wary about spending more on organics? This little video on The Organic Effect will inspire you to choose "cleaner" options. I also love the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists, which help you choose the cleanest options while also being budget-conscious.

    Shopping the perimeter of the grocery store is another great tip! (Allows you to skip the a bunch of the processed stuff in the middle sections.)

    A couple of my favorite rules of thumb from Michael Pollan (and your great-grandma) that I like to use are: (1) Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much. And I also love Rule No. 19 from his fabulous book Food Rules: (2) If it's a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don't.

    Beyond these, if you're eating animals, please be mindful of their source, what they were fed, and how they were raised. Always look for words like pastured, organic, and non-GMO. If you'd like to learn more about conscious "clean" farming, check out the work of Joel Salatin.

    And if you're looking for another all-around excellent guide to help you identify the crap (and get rid of it), check out Meghan Telpner's down-to-earth and inspiring take-back-your-life book UnDiet. You will love it!

    4 - EAT THE GOOD STUFF

    And make it delicious!

    After throwing together random "plants" for a year or so, I realized I should probably actually learn how to cook! As much as I'd always loved food, I'd never really felt comfortable in the kitchen - until I found Meghan Telpner and the Academy of Culinary Nutrition.

    Mind = Blown!

    I learned that health-supportive, nourishing, healing food can (and must!) taste mouth-wateringly delicious. And I learned that even I could make amazing food! (This shocked me, I tell ya!)

    I started by just watching her free videos, reading her blogs, and experimenting with some of her recipes, which are - to this day - some of my favorites to recommend to clients, friends, and family!

    If you're not used to cooking with a lot of plants and doing it in a way that is nourishing and healing to the body, just do what I did and start trying out a bunch of different recipes - until you find the ones you looove!

    Over time, as you practice and play and experiment in the kitchen, you'll develop a natural intuition about food and ingredients, and you'll begin to find it easier and easier to throw together something that's both delicious and nutritious for you and your family.

    I've got a bunch of recipes here! A couple other favorites (I have so many) are Rachel's Nourishing Kitchen, Green Kitchen Stories, and Sondi Bruner. Oh - and definitely take some time to browse through all the awesomeness in the Academy of Culinary Nutrition's Top 50 Clean Food Blogs!

    5 - REPEAT (WITH FRIENDS!)

    And there you have it! Educate yourself (lots of great books, documentaries, and classes out there to explore), get rid of the bad (seek support if you need it), bring in the good (lots of plants, think seasonal, local, and organic), make it delicious, and eat it - with friends!

    That's how you transition to cleaner eating. In a nutshell. 

    But the learning doesn't stop there, and there are certainly going to be ups and downs as you find your way. So, I'd like to say a word about your support system. 

    Finding a group of supportive, encouraging, like-minded folks will do wonders for your health, both mental and physical! If you can't find one you love, join mine!

    Making changes to the way you eat isn't always easy. You're going to need to have someone(s) to turn to when you looking for an answer to What the heck do I do with rainbow chard?, or your husband isn't exactly thrilled about your newfound plantiful ways, or you just want something sweet to eat, for God's sake! - but you don't know which ingredients are best.

    Why? Because this is the important stuff. This whole "figuring out what to eat" thing will keep you living and thriving and loving life for a very long time. It's completely changed my life, and I have a feeling it will do the same for you!

    YOUR TURN NOW

    Now it's your turn to share!

    Where are you in this whole process? Wherever you are, I hope you've found something useful here. What's been your biggest takeaway, and where would you like more support?

  • Chocolate Bark in Minutes

    Chocolate Bark in Minutes

    Make Your Own Chocolate Bark
    Great to throw together for a party or just enjoy at home.

    This is a really fast and easy solution to the all-too-common "I've run out of chocolate" problem so many of us experience. (Happened to me last night.) If you have raw cacao powder, coconut oil, and sea salt, you're covered. How cool is that?

    High quality, organic, fair trade chocolate is not only decadently delicious, but can also good for you. Just don't go eating it all day long. My feeling on chocolate is that it's meant to be savored and enjoyed, a little at a time.

    Cacao beans (where all real chocolate begins) are rich in magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, and manganese. And they contain more antioxidant flavenoids than red wine, green tea, or blueberries. They're also high in resveratrol, a potent antioxident that protects and supports the immune system.

    What's the difference between cacao and cocoa? Good question, my friend. What you're looking for here is "raw cacao". Why? Here's the low-down, straight from the folks over at foodmatters.tv:

    Raw cacao is made by cold-pressing unroasted cocao beans. The process keeps the living enzymes in the cacao and removes the fat (cacao butter). 

    Cocoa looks the same as cacao, but it's not. Cocoa powder is raw cacao that's been roasted at high temperatures. The roasting changes the molecular structure of the cacao bean, which reduces the enzyme content and lowers the overall nutritional value.

    Making your own chocolate with raw cacao is where it's at! And it couldn't be easier.

    Ingredients:
    1 cup coconut oil
    1 cup raw cacao powder
    1/2 cup maple syrup (or raw honey)
    pinch of sea salt
    pinch of cinnamon, optional
    pinch of cayenne, optional
    chopped nuts/seeds/dried fruit, optional

    Instructions:

    • Over the lowest possible heat, heat coconut oil in a small saucepan. You can even create your own double boiler to further remove the cacao from the heat.
    • Once coconut oil has melted, remove saucepan from heat, and immediately stir in cacao powder and maple syrup, until well combined.
    • Mix in sea salt. (Mix in cinnamon and cayenne, if you like.)
    • Pour mixture over parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
    • Sprinkle with optional nuts, seeds, dried fruit.
    • Place in freezer to harden.

    Note: 
    It will melt quickly (remember that coconut oil is liquid at room temperature), so don't leave it out too long, unless you're planning on eating it all in one sitting -- with your friends, of course.

  • Almond Butter Banana Smoothie

    Almond Butter Banana Smoothie

    Ran out of greens today, so it's a banana, almond butter, hemp, flax, chia kind of morning for me. Delish! Join me?

    Almond Butter Banana Smoothie

    Ingredients:

    1 banana
    1 tablespoon almond butter
    1 tablespoon hemp hearts I love Manitoba Harvest!
    1 tablespoon flaxmeal
    1 teaspoon chia seeds
    1/2 cup ice (about 4 pieces)
    1 cup rice milk

  • Warm Sweet Potato Spirals

    Warm Sweet Potato Spirals
    Ah, the sweet potato. Love it or leave it, this tuberous root veggie is a nutritional powerhouse, packed with tons of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory goodness. 


    But it's not just good for your body! Its sweet, beta-carotene orange flesh is rich in magnesium, which promotes relaxation, calmness, and a good mood, according to Psychology Today. 


    And don't be afraid to add healthy fats to the mix. Aside from being vital to keeping our bodies functioning optimally, healthy fats (such as olive oil and avocado), when eaten along with sweet potato, help the body to more efficiently absorb beta-carotene!


    De-stress and give your body some love with these simple Steamed Sweet Potato Spirals. This recipe is so super simple, and it works great as a nutrient-packed veggie side or a mini-meal. 


    Serves: 3
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 10 minutes
     
    ​Ingredients:
    Spiralizer (Or something similar. Even a simple veggie peeler will work.)
    1 medium-size sweet potato, peeled
    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    1/2 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed (More to taste)
    Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
    1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds, to finish
    Avocado, sliced lengthwise (Optional)


    Instructions: 
    • ​Spiralize the sweet potato.
    • Fill the bottom of a large pot with 1/2 of water, place steamer basket in pot, and place sweet potato spirals in steamer basket. Steam on medium-to-high heat for 10 minutes, checking occasionally to ensure desired tenderness.
    • While sweet potato steams, mix EVOO and lemon juice in a separate dish.
    • Once steamed, remove spirals from steamer. Add EVOO-lemon juice mixture, tossing to lightly coat. Taste test: Add more oil and/or lemon juice as needed.
    • Finish with sea salt, pepper, and sesame seeds to taste.
    • Garnish with avocado slices.

    Enjoy!

  • Turn Up The Beet (Chips)

    Turn Up The Beet (Chips)

    This is the simplest recipe ever - and super delicious! Get yourself some beets and throw these together for a snack or a side. Easy peasy.

    Not nearly as good for you as fresh pressed juice, which is what I'd originally intended to do with my beets, but these babies are delicious. A fun treat from time to time!

    Ingredients:
    1 beet
    1 tablespoon healthy cooking oil
    sea salt and ground pepper

    Instructions:

    • Preheat the oven to 385F.
    • Use a mandolin slicer to slice very thin slices of beet.
    • Place the beet slices in a bowl, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of healthy cooking oil. I recommend an oil that can withstand high temperatures, like coconut oil (make sure the beet is room temperature, or the coconut oil will harden when it hits the cold flesh of the beet) or avocado oil.
    • Lightly sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, mixing to evenly distribute.
    • Place beets on parchment-lined baking sheet.
    • Bake for 20 minutes, flip each beet, and continue to back for about 10 minutes, checking frequently at the end to avoid burning!

    Enjoy!

  • Superfood Hot Chocolate

    Superfood Hot Chocolate

    It's another snowy morning here in Baltimore, but I'm warm already just thinking of how much I'm going to enjoy this totally awesome hot chocolate recipe I created a few weeks ago.

    MindBodyGreen is featuring the recipe on their website this week.

    It's all the good stuff. None of the bad!

    With warming spices like cinnamon, cacao, and just a pinch of cayenne, you'll be feeling cozy and energized in no time. Maca, coconut oil, and turmeric are few more of the powerhouse ingredients you'll find here. 

    Don't be put off by the turmeric! This one's a winner, my friends.

    When you're feeling like you need a little afternoon pick-me-up (power up!), this will do the trick. Works every time. 

    Whip one up this afternoon and let me know what you think!

  • Delicata What?

    Delicata What?

    Hey Loves!

    It's been far too long since we've connected here. Time to nip that in the bud! I've missed you!

    How are you? How's life going for you? 

    The last few months have been a bit of a wild (and awesome) ride for me. I've been TA-ing for the most wonderful Culinary Nutrition Expert program, teaching people how to use essential oils to improve their (and their families') lives, and working on a very cool group coaching program!! (Definitely keep an eye out for that one - because I'll be sharing all the details very soon!)

    Lots of good things! And lots to be grateful for. 

    But in the midst of a lot of professional goodness, I found that my self-care routine had been taking a bit of a back seat. (Raise your hand if that sounds familiar.) I know I'm not the only one who struggles with maintaining self-care and work-life balance! 

    It's an ongoing thing. Life is always gonna be busy, right? Things are always gonna happen.

    So what are we gonna do about that? Well, I've decided that I've got to stop putting myself last. And you know what's kind of awesome and amazing?

    I'm finding that my relationships, my body, and my business will ALL benefit from my re-commitment to self-care.

    You can't take care of others if you're not taking care of yourself.

    AmIright? So from here on out - and I'm putting it out into the interwebs for all of you to hear...and hold me accountable - I'm recommitting to doing what I need to do in order to love and respect myself AND be able to serve all of you best

    Let's start with food! Today, I've got a delicious delicata squash salad for you. It's seasonal, simple, and so delicious. If you haven't had delicata squash before, then you need to try this. It's a personal fave, inspired by a recipe a dear friend of mine sent me last year! Ready? Here we go:

    Super Simple Delicata Salad

    Ingredients:
    1 delicata squash
    1/2 tablespoon EVOO (or coconut oil)
    1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
    Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
    Leafy greens Enough to fill a plate. (I used mesclun and spinach.)
    1/4 cup of walnuts (roughly chopped)
    1 tablespoon of dried cranberries

    For salad dressing:
    1/2 tablespoon EVOO
    1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    1 teaspoon dijon mustard
    Splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice

    Instructions:

    • Wash squash and slice it in half long-ways. Scoop out the seeds. 
    • Slice squash into half-medallions (as pictured) and place in a medium-size bowl.
    • Add EVOO, maple syrup, and sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper. Toss to combine/lightly coat.
    • Place on parchment paper-lined cooking sheet and bake for 20 minutes at 350F.
    • Place greens on plate, and sprinkle walnuts and cranberries on top.
    • In a small bowl, mix all salad dressing ingredients together.
    • When squash is finished baking, add it to the top of your salad. The warmth of the squash will warm your salad just the right amount, making it a nice salad for cold weather.
    • Drizzle with salad dressing, and enjoy!

    Let me know what you think! And take me up on this self-care challenge: Do at least one thing today to take care of yourself. What will it be? You are so worth it, my friend. XO

    Love,
    Katie

  • My Real Food Philosophy

    My Real Food Philosophy

    Food should be real.

    It should be whole and unprocessed, and it should come from the earth. No GMOs. No laboratories. No complicated labels or ingredients. Less is more.

    Grow your own food. If you can’t – find someone who can, naturally. Go to the farm. Meet the farmers. Understand and appreciate the process.

    Eat locally, seasonally, and organic – as much as possible. Eat mindfully and gratefully. Eat with loved ones and new friends. Remove stress from the equation. Eat slowly and peacefully.

    Cook your own food – and do so often. Let the food itself shine through. Appreciate the colors, shapes, smells, and tastes.

    Enjoy your food. Make it beautiful. Take your time.

    Drink water. Skip the coffee. 

    Stick with plants whenever possible. And change things up. Variety is the spice of life.

    Eat animals? Do so consciously – minus the cages, chemicals, drugs, and pain. Choose wisely and with compassion.

    Consider the process. Consider the environment. Consider your health.

    What works for one person may not work for another. Let your body be your guide.

    The healing power of food is undeniable. Got a story? Let’s hear it.

    Learn as much as you can – and keep learning. Share what you’ve learned with others.

    Read the labels. Do your homework. Don’t fall for the advertising. Don’t turn a blind eye. Don’t forget.

    If you know better, do better. Some folks don’t know better. Don’t judge. If you can, help them understand. Empower them.



    If I had to sum up my philosophy *in three words*, I'd say they'd be REAL, FRESH, and PLANT-BASED. What about you?