Posts tagged food
Lunch Box
IMG_3142.jpg

How do I get my kids to eat well?  The answer is to offer them and stock the kitchen with only healthy food.  At least while they are within your domain, you have a bit of control over what they eat.  The bonus to this approach is that everyone else living in the household benefits  - you also are happily trapped into making healthy eating choices.  What happens to your child's diet outside your doorstep is honestly out of your control and coming to terms with this (at least for me) is somewhat comforting.  What children eat is important for reasons beyond maintaining physical health.  It will help with proper growth and development, mood, focus and cognition - the alternative (i.e. sugary foods) lead to distraction and sleepiness.

So, school lunches are slightly out of the control of parents seeing as once the kid(s) are out the door, whether that carefully prepared lunch will be eaten, discarded or traded is junior's decision.  My sweet mama did her best to pack me and my siblings healthy lunches.  Tuna fish on whole wheat bread, accompanied by fully oxidized, brown apple slices and a thermos of room temperature milk were frequently served - and often traded for Jiffy and Smuckers or mystery meat sandwiches, chips, candy and Kool-Aid.  As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.  To this day, I wonder if those kids who agreed to trade with me and my siblings were intrigued by our lunches or simply felt sorry for us.  In any case, offering up healthy AND delicious lunches could solve this problem.  In my personal experience with my daughter, it totally has.  In fact, she's often reported that her friends often want to try her lunches and friends' parents regularly ask me for recipes.   When thinking of packed lunches, my first line of defense are leftovers.  Whenever possible, that's what I serve up!  Otherwise, I've poked around the internet and have put to the test what seems like hundreds of lunch box recipes.  Below are some of our tasty lunch ideas with links and recipes.  

I am always looking to expand my lunch box repertoire.  What are some of your favorites?

MAINS

1. Prosciutto wrapped mini frittata muffins (pictured above)

2. Vietnamese Mini Meat Balls (*recipe below)

IMG_3960.jpg

3. Lettuce Wrapped Chicken Tacos - Wrap left over chicken in butterhead lettuce with sliced avocado or guacamole, shredded carrots, diced tomatoes, shredded cheese or whatever you choose.  Serve with a side of sour cream for dipping.

4. Prosciutto Wrapped Avocado Slices - Wrap sliced avocado in slices of prosciutto.  Secure the wrap by tying a chive around it.

5. Smoked Salmon, Avocado Nori Rolls with Cauliflower Rice (or rice of choice) - Spread rice of choice on a sheet of nori.  Top with smoked salmon and avocado.  Sliced cucumbers work well too.  Roll and cut into bite sized pieces.  Note, if using cauliflower rice, you may need to add a bit of cream cheese to help bind it together.

deviled-eggs.jpg

6. Hardboiled eggs or if you have more time, deviled eggs.  

7. Egg Salad

8. Shaker Salads

9.  Spanish Tortilla Squares

10. Sausage Patties

11. Grass Fed Uncured Pepperoni Sticks

12.  Soups - Broccoli Cheddar, Cauliflower, Creamy Tomato - add shredded chicken, pork or hard boiled eggs for added protein.  This is a great, leakproof container that will keep your liquids warm (or cold) for hours.  

SIDES

1. Cut veggies:  carrots, celery, fennel, broccoli, baby bok choy, cucumber, mini peppers, cherry/grape tomatoes

2. Homemade chia bars (*recipe below)

3. Homemade chia pudding

4. Seasonal Fruit (berries, orange wedges, small whole apples, or sliced - squeeze lemon juice if to prevent browning )

5. Olives

6. Pickles

7. Homemade crackers

8. Dark Chocolate

DIPS

1. Hummus

2. Tzatziki

3. Cottage Cheese

4. Plain, whole milk yogurt.  Add berries for variety.

5. Homemade chocolate pudding

6. Seasnax

BEVERAGES

1. Filtered water 

2. Herbal iced teas, unsweetened

3. Homemade Strawberry Hemp Milk (or milk of choice: almond, cashew, coconut) (*recipe below)

4. Warm Golden Milk

 

Thai Mini Meatball Recipe, serves 4

  1. Season the pork with salt and pepper and then roll into mini meatballs (or whatever size you choose), place each meatball on a tray as you work. In a small bowl, combine the sesame oil, coconut aminos, fish sauce and honey.

  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook the meatballs until cooked through, about 5 minutes, turning them 2-3 times throughout cooking. During the last minute or so of cooking, add the sauce and give the meatballs a good toss through the sauce. Cook another minute longer you until the sauce glazes the meatballs. Remove from the heat.

Serve with Basil and Cilantro Yogurt Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 3/4 cups greek yogurt
  • fresh squeezed lime juice
  1. Add the cilantro, basil, yogurt and lime juice to a blender or food processor. Blend until completely smooth and creamy. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Turmeric & Black Pepper Pumpkin Seed Chia Bar

  • 6 large Medjool dates
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • ¼ cup sprouted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Remove pits from dates and pulse in a food processor or blender to form a paste.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix dates and the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Press into the bottom of a baking dish lined with parchment paper, cut into squares or rectangles and refrigerate until firm.

*Variations: Roll into bite sized balls instead of making bars, omit turmeric and black pepper for a “plain” bar, add coconut flakes and/or dark chocolate chips & top with flakey sea salt such as Maldon.

 

Banana Walnut Chia Bar

  • 3 dates
  • ¾ cup dried bananas
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  1. Remove pits from dates and pulse in a food processor or blender to form a paste.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix dates and the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Press into the bottom of a baking dish lined with parchment paper, cut into squares or rectangles and refrigerate until firm.

 

Homemade Strawberry Hemp Milk (serves 2)

  • ½ cup hemp seeds (organic, hulled seeds)
  • 4 cups water
  • 10-15 hulled strawberries
  • 1 pitted date (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  1. Blend hemp seeds in water until smooth. 
  2. Add strawberries and blend again.
  3. Strain the pulp from the hemp milk if desired.
  4. Refrigerate. Hemp milk will be good for 5 days.

 

(Full disclosure:  There are some affiliates links above.  While we make a little bit of money if you make a purchase using our links, it is at no extra cost to you.  Rest assured, we honestly wouldn't be recommending them if we didn't believe in them)!

Sneak Peek into the Week #4

Happy Monday folks! 

We are happy to say that our month of "No Complaining" has been going very well.  It's challenging and imperfect, but has really changed the way we are experiencing life in a positive way, as well as the way we have been communicating, and therefore experiencing each other.  It is so interesting that such a seemingly small thing can have such a great impact.  We are thinking we will keep this challenge going beyond the month.

So, here's what we've been doing this week...



FOOD EXPLORATION:

Have you taken a walk down the snack aisle at the grocery store lately?  I often find myself strolling down the aisle in search of an easy-to-pack lunch treat or after school snack for my daughter and clients.  Sadly, my search is usually fruitless and I am overcome with disappointment.  Even seemingly benign foods (like nuts and jerky) are often tainted with dastardly seed oils and processed sugars.  Aside from a handful of good choices, healthy snacks are really hard to find.  Here are my go-to's:

 
 

I've been challenged by my clients (and especially my daughter) to come up with my own snack recipes.  The criteria is that they need to be easy to make, easy to transport, heathy and pass the taste test across all ages.  Luckily, the experimenting has been fun and the results super yummy.  Below are two versions of a healthy seed bar.

Banana Walnut Seed Bar

  • 3 large Medjool dates
  • 3/4 cup dried bananas, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Remove pits from dates and pulse in a food processor or blender to form a paste.

In a medium sized bowl, mix dates and the rest of the ingredients.

Press into the bottom of a baking dish lined with parchment paper, cut into squares or rectangles and refrigerate until firm.

 

Turmeric Black Pepper Seed Bar

  • 6 large Medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup sprouted pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Remove pits from dates and pulse in a food processor or blender to form a paste.

In a medium sized bowl, mix dates and the rest of the ingredients.

Press into the bottom of a baking dish lined with parchment paper, cut into squares or rectangles and refrigerate until firm.


BOOKS WE ARE READING:

  • The Fourfold Path to Healing by Dr. Thomas Cowen, Sally Fallon and Jaimen McMillen.  It is a fascinating look at healing, fusing nutrition, traditional healing remedies, movement and meditation.  Interestingly enough, Jaimen McMillen, one of the authors, was one of Gregg's teachers in a movement course called Spacial Dynamics he took way back in the early 90's.  Dr. Thomas Cowen is also the man behind Dr. Cowen's Garden, where we get our amazing dehydrated veggie powders.  They are a delicious and easy way to get additional micronutrients into your diet.  Check them out here!

MOVEMENT OF THE WEEK:

  • Goblet Squat.  This exercise is great for all the muscles in your legs including quads, hamstrings, and glutes as well as for increasing core strength.  Because the weight is held in front of the body, it can help with technique with a regular back-loaded squat.  Because the weight is held in front of the body, it allows you to sit down into a squat in an upright position as opposed to leaning forward at the hips, a typical squatting mistake.  Here is a quick demo.

Gregg has released his first podcast (yay).  Have a listen to the intro session.  So much more to come!  

Have a lovely week and Happy Valentine's Day!

Food Manifesto

Do you feel incarcerated by dietary labels?  It seems that everywhere we look, there are new dietary dogmas categorizing who we are, carefully dividing us into Paleo, Ketogenic, Gluten Free, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Vegan, Raw, Raw Paleo, Dairy Free, Grain Free, etc, etc, etc.  We identify with these labels sometimes so deeply, it is as if one bite of the "forbidden fruit" (or pasta or meat) will destroy who you believe you are, who you associate with, i.e. make you immediately and irreparably overweight and banish you from the gates of dietary heaven.  Yet every day there is new scientific research pointing to what is good and bad for your health.  This information is often contradictory, always confusing and ultimately exhausting.  It is no wonder we don't really know how and what to eat.

We've been guilty of this many times over and fortunately, through these experiences, have become wiser.  Eating well can be simple.  And so, here is our basic Food Manifesto.  Follow it and you should be fine.

  1. Eat fresh and local and wild.
  2. Eat vegetables mostly.  Many, and a variety.
  3. Eat slowly and gratefully.
  4. Chew well.
  5. Don't overstuff yourself.
  6. Drink good, clean water.
  7. Avoid processed and/or added sugar.
  8. Avoid seed oils.
  9. Avoid processed food.
  10. Avoid excessive alcohol.
  11. Don't overdo anything.
  12. Pay attention to your body, its cravings and how it feels after eating.
  13. BONUS: Move after eating.
Sneak Peek into the Week #3

Hi All,

Here is our list of interests/learnings/ponderings for the week.  Enjoy, and as always, we love your feed back so let us know if you enjoyed this post.

 

 
THE-MOON.jpg
 

OUR OBSESSION:

Sleep - getting enough as well as good quality.  The more we learn, the more interested we become.  Why such a fascination?  Well...a short blurb directly out of the book Gregg has been reading, Why We Sleep, by Matthew Walker, sums it up pretty well. 

"Scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer.  It enhances your memory and makes you more creative.  It makes you look more attractive.  It keeps you slim and lowers food cravings.  It protects you from cancer and dementia.  It wards off colds and the flu.  It lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke, not to mention diabetes.  You'll feel happier, less depressed and less anxious.  Are you interested?"

He is referring to sleep, of course.

Six simple ways to help you get more and better sleep are:

  1. Keep your room on the cooler side.  
  2. Turn off all screens, ideally 2 hours before bedtime.  If you must use a screen, invest in blue blocking glasses.
  3. Create a sleep cave out of your room.  Cover up any and every light in your room, including small rays of light coming in from the streets, lights from alarm clocks, smoke alarms, etc.  (These tiny pre-cut light blocking stickers are really helpful).
  4. Avoid alcohol before bed.  It takes your body hours to process alcohol and get it out of your system and it WILL disrupt your sleep, so save drinking for special occasions.
  5. Create a sleep schedule and stick to it every day including weekends.
  6. Get outside in natural sunlight at least 30 minutes a day to help regulate daily sleep patterns.  If you can, make it first thing in the morning. 

FOOD EXPLORATION CONTINUED:

 
Sweet-Potato-Okinawa-DSC01703.jpg
 

Our Okinawan exploration continues.  (The soba noodle soup was AMAZING, by the way.  Sorry, it was gobbled up before I could snap any pictures.  Email us if you'd like the recipe we used (I made noodles from scratch but some good alternatives are available at Thrive Market or even Amazon).  

Next, we tried a little something to satisfy the sweet tooth, Imo Custard.  Though not very sweet at all, by "normal" standards, we really enjoyed this recipe.  We tried it as written below, and also substituting the sweetener completely with a bit of cinnamon, which changed the flavor profile, but was equally enjoyable...even by 9 year old taste buds.  

Imo Custard (Okinawan sweet potato dessert)

  • 4-6 Okinawan Sweet Potatoes or Purple Yams, peeled boiled and mashed
  • 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar (we used maple syrup)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • Milk (cow, coconut or nut milk) as needed

Blend all ingredients until creamy, adding milk to get to desired consistency.

Another helpful takeaway from the Okinawan culture is the concept of Hara hachi bun me (腹八分目/はらはちぶんめ), (or hara hachi bu).  As Okinawa has the highest proportion of centenarians in the world, its worth paying some attention to.  What exactly is hara hachi bu?  It is a Confucian teaching that translates to "belly 80 percent full".  Of course this is relative and difficult to quantify, but is simply a wonderful reminder to eat slowly and reap the benefits of chewing your food well, being present and expressing gratitude during mealtime.


MOVEMENT OF THE WEEK:

Dead Hang Plus.  Add on to the dead hang from last week and try lifting your chest and squeezing your shoulder blades down and back while hanging.  Hold strongly for a few seconds before releasing and repeating.  Note that the movement should come from the shoulder girdle, not your arms.  Keep your elbows straight. 


FINAL WORDS:

Inspired by Gabby Reece, my super-hero role model, we, as a family, have declared February a No-Complaining Month.  According to research, less complaining = better mood + increased happiness and mindfulness.  It's only day 5, but the effects are REAL.  It's a great exercise in taking a pause before speaking, and also rethinking and perhaps editing the way we express ourselves.  We are each holding each other as accountability partners, just in case we begin to slide down the complaining rabbit hole.  Join us.  You have nothing to lose and so much to gain!

Have a great week!

 

 

Superbowl Pre-Game and Menu Plan

Do you have Superbowl plans this Sunday?  Personally, my interest is in the commercials, and the half-time show, admittedly, in anticipation of the next big blooper (flashback to Justin and Janet 2004).  Gregg, on the other hand, is all in.  He loves watching the game and really lives into the whole great American chicken wing/chili/pizza and loads of drinking phenomenon.  Seeing as the cuisine of the evening is not necessarily what one would traditionally classify as "healthful", we tend to modify the menu in that direction, and I have to say, we (collectively) have been thrilled with the results.  

And...then there is the drinking.  Thank goodness dry January/Whole 30 is over because imbibing also seems to be a big part of game day.  Want to know how to prevent a hang-over?  More then simply not over-drinking, staying hydrated and pacing yourself, which are all very important, we've got some not-so-obvious tips to help you out.  Monday morning mania can ensue, (shout out to the Bangles) and not be further burdened by headache and brain fog.  

Let's begin with food.  (Scroll down if you want to get right to the pre-game strategies).  

The Menu: Crispy Baked Wings with Salsa Verde, Grass-Fed Beef Chili, Crudités with Ricotta Arugula Pistachio Pesto and Avocado Crema.

Here is a great chili recipe made stove-top and here is another if you own a pressure cooker or Instant Pot.  Crudités seem pretty self explanatory.  Dips, sauces and healthy wings that are still crunchy and delicious - a bit more challenging - and where we step in.

Crispy Baked Wings

(Warning, you need to begin at least the night before)

  • 4 pounds chicken wings, cut into drumettes and flats
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 4 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set a wire rack inside.  Thoroughly dry the wings with paper towels.  Combine wings, baking powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Place the wings on rack and be sure not to crowd them.  You will likely need more then 1 rack.

Place baking sheet(s) in the fridge for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours, uncovered.

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat oven to 450°F. Add chicken wings and cook for 20 minutes. Flip wings and continue to cook until crisp and golden brown, 15 to 30 minutes longer, flipping a few more times towards the end.

Salsa Verde

  • 1/2 cup lightly packed fresh parsley
  • 1 large handful fresh chives
  • 4 sprigs fresh tarragon 
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 anchovy
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 1/2 shallot chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeño (or more, seeded or not, depending on desired heat)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, plus zest of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste

Throw everything but the olive oil, lemon juice, zest, salt and pepper into the food processor.  Slowly pour in the oil and continue to pulse until you have a chunky but smooth sauce.  Stir in lemon juice and zest and season with salt and pepper.

Ricotta Arugula Pistachio Pesto Dip

  • 1/3 cup pistachios
  • 1 1/2 cups packed arugula (or watercress) 
  • 3/4 cup packed parsley 
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice plus zest of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt
  • 1 cup organic whole milk ricotta

Pulse pistachios, arugula, parsley, oil in the food processor until smooth.  Stir in the lemon juice, zest and salt.  Swirl into ricotta and top with a layer of olive oil, a pinch of sea salt flakes like Maldon, and freshly ground black pepper.

Avocado Crema

  • 2 avocados
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 cup full fat greek yogurt*
  • Sea salt

*I love this with feta or goat cheese cheese as an alternative to yogurt.  For a dairy free version, blend in some olive oil instead.

Combine all ingredients except salt into the food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.  Season with salt to taste.

And now, Pre-Game Strategies

As I mentioned earlier, the simple solutions are to abstain (ha), stay hydrated and drink plenty of water before, during and after the time you drink, and nurse the hell out of your drinks.  But in addition, there are some helpful things you can do to just in case things do get out of hand (and that will do your body good regardless).

1. Green Tea: One of the many benefits of green tea is its ability to support the liver.  It is helpful in preventing hangovers as well as remedying them.

2. Asparagus: Compounds in these gorgeous green stalks help break down alcohol, allowing it to exit the body more quickly.

3. Vitamin C: Alcohol can deplete your body of vitamin C, which assists in alcohol-induced oxidative stress in your liver.  Studies have shown that taking vitamin C before indulging will protect the liver and in addition, help detoxify alcohol.

4. Glutathione: This is the body's greatest antioxidant and a major player when it comes to liver support, detox, immunity, to name just a few.  Unfortunately, most supplements are not very effective.  Look for a good quality brand with liposomal means of delivery for this.  This is what we use.  

5. Activated Charcoal: Take this before wine or beer, or after you're done drinking to help move the toxins out of your body.

6. Hydrogen Water: Molecular hydrogen has a list of benefits I will not get into here, but one is its ability to support the liver and scavenge harmful free radicals, while leaving the beneficial ones alone.  If you are interested in learning more about this, please contact us.

At the end of the day, if you blew it this time, don't stress over it.  Get yourself a Myer's Cocktail infusion during your lunch break and be back on your game for the second part of the day.

Sneak Peek into the Week #2
 
books.png
 

Hello Evolutionaries!  We hope the weekend has been relaxing and fulfilling.  Here's what we're upto this week.

WHAT WE ARE READING:

  • Auggie and Me by R.J. Palacio.  We are fortunate enough to have a 9 year old daughter who reads like its going out of style.  This is her recommendation.  I haven't gotten to it yet, but if the first book, Wonder (now also a major motion picture), is any indication, it will be well worth the investment in time.  Heartfelt and well written book about empathy, kindness and being human.  
  • Farmocology: Total Health from the Ground Up by Daphne Miller (who wrote the book we were reading last week, Jungle Effect).  An interesting investigation into biodynamic farming and its relationship to health and medicine.  Definitely a fresh perspective.
  • Why We Sleep, Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker
  • Did anyone read this article in the NY Times this week?  It's an interesting look into friendship and its relationship to health and also offers up some tips on how to nurture our connections.

MOVEMENTS OF THE WEEK:

  • Dead Hang.  Why?  Several reasons.  Spinal decompression, decreasing the risk for back injury, posture correction, grip, rotator cuff, shoulder, forearm and wrist strength, core stability.  You can do this from any overhanging bar.  We keep a pull up bar in our doorway and hang throughout the day.  Start with 30 seconds at a time and gradually work your way up to 90-120 seconds.   Before attempting this, make sure you've nailed your form.  Here is a good reference.  
  • Post Dinner Dance Party.  Research shows that easy movement immediately after a meal has been shown to help lower blood glucose levels.  This could be a 20 minute walk or for us, a family post-meal dance party.  

FOOD EXPLORATION:

  • Okinawan Cuisine:  Taking a page from The Jungle Effect, we decided to experiment with traditional Okinawan fare this month.  We are starting with Soba Noodle Soup with homemade fermented sprouted einkorn noodles...a mouthful both literally and figuratively, and adventurous undertaking indeed!  We will post the recipe and pictures soon.  Know any recipes we should try next?  PLEASE SHARE!

The first month of 2018 is just about over.  How are you doing with your resolutions?  If you've fallen off the bandwagon or find your enthusiasm quickly waning, you are not alone.  Apparently, 80% of resolutions fail by February.  Habits are extremely difficult to change and our resolutions are often too grand to allow for any changes in neurological wiring and therefore have little staying power.  So, how can we make change happen and stick?  Let's look at a few effective habit changing strategies.

1. Think small.  Small changes are surmountable and sustainable.  Small successes are gratifying and can cultivate the path to more change.

2. Set up goals.  For example, if you're looking to incorporate more exercise into your day, instead of resolving to visit the gym 5 days a week, resolve to being able to increase the number of push ups you are able to do per day from say, 20-100 in six months.

3. Establish some type of accountability.  Depending on your tendency and whether you respond to inner or outer accountability, you may need to get a friend, join a club or invest in a program to help stick to your goals.

4. Create a morning routine.  We've talked a bit about the importance of morning routines, and their role in getting things done.  Our will power is strongest in the earlier par to the day and decreases throughout the day.  By harnessing will power in the morning and setting the day up properly, we are more likely to follow through on our commitments.

5. Lastly, consider hiring a coach!

Enjoy the week friends!  Findings from the books we've been reading coming up next.  We'll also be posting some Superbowl pre-game strategies and recipes later this week.  Stay tuned.