Yes, Diabetics CAN Eat Pasta!

May 22nd, 2019 | no comments

Photo by Krista Stucchio on Unsplash

Plus:

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO TODAY’S POST!

 

Pasta can often spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E for those of us trying to manage our blood sugar. But not anymore! When done right, you can enjoy a delicious bowl of pasta without your blood sugar hitting the roof. 

But… (there’s always a but isn’t there?)

You must have an open mind and be willing to try new things.

 

Let me get real with you about your blood sugar

Listen, if you want to eat like you’ve always eaten, take a look at your most recent lab results…because that’s exactly what you’ll continue to get. I’m sorry if this sounds a little brash, but I’m really saying it out of love.

I want you to be well my friend; nothing would make me happier. 

And guess what? You have another ally—your body. It wants so badly to be well that it absolutely will adapt favorably to change when given the opportunity.  

Broaden your horizons and challenge your taste buds a bit! Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to drink a kale smoothie (yet 😉).

 

Pasta and marinara sauce recommendations

Let’s start by swapping your traditional wheat-based pasta for…hold on to your undies…chickpea pasta. 

Are you still breathing?

Banza is a low-glycemic (gentle on the blood sugar) pasta ideal for diabetics. It’s made from chickpeas and pea protein, so not only are you gaining plant-based protein, but also four times the fiber and 40% less net carbs. That’s a double hell yeah for your blood sugar.

There are no special cooking instructions; just boil for 8 minutes and it’s done! And it doesn’t fall apart or turn to mush like some of those other alternative pastas out there. 

Banza pasta is gluten-free, non-GMO, and comes in the following varieties: penne, elbows, shells, rotini, spaghetti, wheels, rigatoni, cavatappi, and ziti. Check them out HERE!

Now for the sauce.

If you aren’t up for making homemade pasta sauce, you’ll want to choose a jarred sauce with no added sugar or sweetener in the ingredients. It’s simply unnecessary! FYI…the majority of commercial sauces contain added sugar, so check the list of ingredients. 

Newman’s Own Organic Marinara Sauce tastes great and keeps a simple ingredient list: Organic Tomato Puree (Water, Organic Tomato Paste, Citric Acid), Organic Diced Tomatoes, Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Organic Carrot Puree, Organic Basil, Sea Salt, Organic Garlic, Organic Onion*, Organic Black Pepper*, Organic Fennel. 

Another sauce worth mentioning is Mia’s Kitchen Kale Pasta Sauce. It’s made with California tomatoes, tomato puree, kale, fresh onions, roasted red peppers, extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic, sea salt, spices. Although the ingredient list on their website shows “cane sugar”, the actual sauce contains no added sugar. The company assured me they are in the process of updating the label.  

If you haven’t clicked off of this post by now, it means you have a fairly open mind. So of course I’m going to push my luck (it’s only because I love you!). Keep reading…

 

Instead of meat, try crumbled tempeh (a high-fiber plant-based protein)

Still with me? 

Tempeh is a probiotic-rich fermented soy product with a dense texture, making it a suitable replacement for meat.

The state of your microbiome (the collection of 100+ trillion organisms living within your intestines, mouth and nose) impacts virtually everything about you, including your: body weight, digestion, mood, immune system, and yes…blood sugar.

Because tempeh is full of healthy bacteria, it can help support a healthy, viable, and thriving microbiome. You’ll learn how to make crumbled tempeh in this week’s recipe pick for Marinara & “Sausage” Pasta!

If you draw the line at trying a meat alternative, I am still as happy as a pig in mud that you are willing to try chickpea pasta!

Because of your willingness (and because I know you can do this last one), I’m going to push you just a little further….

 

Finally…add a leafy green salad

As you learned in this previous post, greens offer more nutrients per pound than virtually any other Earthfood. Packed with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber, greens improve the health of your microbiome and also aid in blood sugar management.

Enjoy these benefits and more by serving a leafy green salad alongside your pasta! In fact, I recommend getting at least a serving or two (or three) of greens in your diet every day. Add them to shakes, sauté and fold in omelets and stir into marinara sauce, or make them the base of a main course salad!

Photo by Madison Inouye from Pexels

Greens include:

Arugula, bok choy, beet greens, broccoli rabe (rapini), cabbage, collard greens, dandelion greens, endive, escarole, kale, mesclun, microgreens, mustard greens, Romaine lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, watercress, and wild greens.

See what happens when you open your mind just a bit? Now get your fanny to the grocery store and make it happen! Trust me, your body will ❤️ you for this! 

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Marinara & “Sausage” Pasta (ideal for diabetics)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get FREE tips and tiny slices of motivation to help you live a healthier life...without giving up chocolate!

Marinara & “Sausage” Pasta (ideal for diabetics)

Pasta can often spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E for those of us trying to manage our blood sugar. But not anymore! When done right, you can enjoy a delicious bowl of pasta without your blood sugar hitting the roof. 

This recipe uses gluten-free chickpea pasta in place of regular wheat-based pasta, and a jarred marinara sauce with no added sugar. 

In place of meat, I used crumbled tempeh, a probiotic-rich fermented soy product that can support healthy blood sugar. 

Print Recipe
Marinara & “Sausage” Pasta (ideal for diabetics)
This recipe uses gluten-free chickpea pasta in place of regular wheat-based pasta, and a jarred marinara sauce with no added sugar. In place of meat, I used crumbled tempeh, a probiotic-rich fermented soy product that can support healthy blood sugar.2 Earthfoods per serving ❤️❤️
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 8-ounce package organic tempeh I like Lightlife Organic Tempeh
  • 12 ounces water
  • 2 tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos or Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic power
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. sage
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 1 box Banza Chickpea Pasta
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 24-ounce jar no added sugar pasta sauce I like Newman's Own Organic Marinara Sauce or Mia's Kitchen Kale Pasta Sauce
  • fresh basil, cut into ribbons
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 8-ounce package organic tempeh I like Lightlife Organic Tempeh
  • 12 ounces water
  • 2 tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos or Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic power
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. sage
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. thyme
  • 1 box Banza Chickpea Pasta
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 24-ounce jar no added sugar pasta sauce I like Newman's Own Organic Marinara Sauce or Mia's Kitchen Kale Pasta Sauce
  • fresh basil, cut into ribbons
Instructions
  1. Crumble the tempeh and add to a large pan. Add water through thyme and stir well.
  2. Bring to a simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until tempeh has absorbed all the water. Meanwhile, prepare pasta according to package instructions, drain and set aside.
  3. When tempeh has absorbed all of the liquid, mix in oil and continue to cook on medium heat for another 5 minutes. Add jar of sauce to the pan and cook until heated through.
  4. Serve sauce over cooked pasta and top with basil ribbons. For an extra Earthfood serving or two, add a nice leafy green salad on the side!
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per servingCalories: 285Total Fat: 10 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Sodium: 530 mg; Potassium: 485 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 35 g; Dietary fiber: 11 g; Net Carbohydrates: 24 grams; Sugar: 7 g (0 grams added sugar); Protein: 18 g

Share this Recipe

Get FREE tips and tiny slices of motivation to help you live a healthier life...without giving up chocolate!

The Four Types of Hunger

May 15th, 2019 | no comments

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Plus:

  • Mel’s weekly food pick: Ayala’s Herbal Water
  • Mel’s weekly recipe pick: Fruit-Infused Water
CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO TODAY’S POST!

 

Merriam Webster defines hunger as: An uneasy sensation occasioned normally by the lack of food and resulting directly from stimulation of the sensory nerves of the stomach by the contraction and churning movement of the empty stomach. (Whew…talk about a mouthful!) 

This definition refers to physical hunger. We all know what it feels like—an unmistakable, uncomfortable sensation triggering you to go on the hunt for food. Thank goodness your body is equipped to sense physical hunger, otherwise you’d run the risk of starvation and entire organs and body systems would shut down! 

It’s very important for you to understand all of the ways that hunger can present itself. Some of these are quite sly, causing you to reach for a snack even though you aren’t physically hungry. But don’t worry, you’re about to learn how to recognize these little tricksters and put them in their place!

 

Pleasant hunger

This is a safe and trustworthy hunger. It’s the type that causes a baby to fuss just a little bit to let you know she is hungry. If you miss her subtle pleasant hunger cues, she’ll be sure to remind you with a piercing cry.  

How does it feel?

Pleasant hunger feels like: “I could eat, but the hunger is not controlling or bringing me down.”

To be pleasantly hungry means you have an appetite for nutritious food. It results from eating healthy and well-balanced meals throughout the day while minimizing unnecessary snacking. Meals that contain the proper balance of Earthfoods and healthy proteins and fats will keep you satisfied for around four to five hours, at which point you will begin to feel pleasantly hungry. Click HERE for ideas to help you get started.

Opt for the following meats and seafood when possible:

  • Hormone and antibiotic-free meats (organic when possible), such as free-range chicken and turkey, and grass-fed beef
  • Free-range eggs (organic when possible)
  • Omega 3-rich fish (wild or at the very least, certified sustainable farm-raised): anchovies, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout, tuna

Some of the best plant-based protein options:

  • Legumes: beans, lentils, peas
  • Hummus made with tahini or olive oil (versus inflammatory oils such as canola or soybean)
  • Nuts: almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, peanuts (although technically a legume), pistachios, hazelnuts
  • Seeds: sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds
  • Nut and seed butters (only ingredient should be the nut or seed; a little salt is OK): almond butter, cashew butter, peanut butter, pecan butter, pistachio butter, sunflower butter, walnut butter
  • Tempeh: fermented soybeans formed into “cakes”
  • Natto: fermented soybeans
  • Plant-based protein powders, such as hemp powder and pea protein powder

Healthy fats include:

  • For salads, stews and low-temperature cooking: Extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil (also good for higher-heat cooking), macadamia oil, walnut oil, almond oil
  • Avocado
  • Grass-fed butter (good for high-heat cooking)
  • Ghee, or clarified butter (good for high-heat cooking)
  • Unrefined coconut oil (good for medium-heat cooking)
  • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, peanuts (although technically a legume), pistachios, hazelnuts
  • Seeds: Sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds
  • Nut and seed butters (only ingredient should be the nut or seed; a little salt is OK): almond butter, cashew butter, peanut butter, pecan butter, pistachio butter, sunflower butter, walnut butter
  • Olives
  • Omega 3-rich fatty fish (wild or at the very least, certified sustainable farm-raised): anchovies, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout, tuna
  • Tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • MCT oil

Be careful of processed foods like chips, frozen meals, deli meats, and artificially sweetened beverages (to name only a few), as they can disturb your hunger and fullness signals, causing you to eat more than you bargained for!

 

Urgent hunger

Urgent hunger is what causes happy Mel to turn into the Wicked Witch of the West!

Caused by insufficient calories in the bloodstream, while in the midst of it, you will eat just about anything in site with no regard for its nutritional content. Your body sends a signal to your brain saying “NEED FOOD NOW!”

When in a state of urgent hunger, I’m definitely not chopping vegetables for a nice garden salad. Instead, I’m ripping open the nearest bag of corn chips like a starving raccoon. Remember, it’s a food-emergency and your body needs food fast—preferably something that will raise your blood sugar quickly back to normal. We never make healthy choices in this state, so avoid it at all costs.

How does it feel?

This is what I call desperate hunger. Your stomach is growling loudly and you feel faint and unstable. When in this state, if someone dares to even say hello, you’re liable to bite their head off! 

How to avoid it

The best way to avoid urgent hunger is to never allow yourself to get there in the first place! Eat a nutritious breakfast, lunch and dinner (see above) and if more than five hours pass between meals, plug in a small snack like a handful of raw walnuts, raw veggies with hummus, or half of an apple with almond butter. 

 

Thirst hunger

Did you know that thirst can be mistaken for hunger in your body? All too often, we find ourselves reaching for a snack, when what we really need is a glass of water. How can you tell the difference? Drink a glass of water, and if the hunger pangs go away, then you know it was thirst.

How to avoid it

To avoid this false hunger, be sure to drink at least 48 ounces of water throughout the day—or enough to produce urine that is pale yellow in color and almost clear. 

Water recommendations are based on several factors:

  • Physical activity
  • Body weight
  • How hot it is outside
  • Illness/fever
  • Thirst

Keep in mind that once you begin feeling thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. So don’t wait until you get to that point.

Don’t like the taste of plain H20?

Make your own fruit-infused water (see this week’s recipe pick!) or look for these naturally infused waters: Hint Water, Ayala Herbal Water, or La Croix Naturally Flavored Sparkling Water!

 

Head-hunger

If you use food to cope with life or find yourself eating when you aren’t physically hungry, you are most certainly feeding your head-hunger. Maybe you eat when you’re bored, stressed, sad, angry, depressed or happy—whatever the reason, this is a sure sign of disconnect.

When was the last time you witnessed a baby cry because he needed a diaper change and Mom came running with a bottle? She tries to feed him, but he keeps crying. If he could talk, he’d probably say: “Hey, dummy, check the diaper! I’m wet and uncomfortable…not hungry!” He’s upset but doesn’t turn to food to ease his emotions because he knows it won’t work!

Feeding your head-hunger is one of the driving forces preventing you from achieving your health goals.

To conquer head-hunger eating, answer these questions:

  1. I am about to eat because I am ______________.
    (i.e. Stressed!)
  2. Why do I feel this way?
    (i.e. I’m overwhelmed with end of the month projects at work!)
  3. How else can I cope with this feeling?
    (i.e. Practice deep breathing exercises)

For best results, put your #3 plan into place immediately.

 

Final words of wisdom

It only takes a little bit of awareness to be successful at this…so pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you.

Remember, it’s always speaking…

Are you listening?

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
Ayala’s Herbal Water

 

Ayala’s Herbal Water is the first nationally available organically certified enhanced flavored water made with all organic ingredients.

With flavors like lavender mint (my favorite), cinnamon orange peel, lemongrass mint vanilla, ginger lemon peel, and cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, Ayala’s Herbal Water sets a new standard for healthy beverages: zero artificial sweeteners, flavors, and colors, and zero chemical preservatives. 

If you like a little fizz, Ayala’s offers these flavors in sparkling water too! 

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Fruit-Infused Water

 

Get FREE tips and tiny slices of motivation to help you live a healthier life...without giving up chocolate!

Fruit-Infused Water

Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

 

Not a fan of plain old water? Or maybe you’re just looking for a change of pace. Fruit-infused water is the perfect solution!

Made with a combination of fruit and optional vegetables, herbs, and spices, this water is not only refreshing, it also offers endless combinations so you’ll never get bored. My favorite is strawberry, basil and cucumber!

You can easily make a big glass pitcher of fruit-infused water, just add more fruit, veggies and herbs/spices. The longer it sits, the more flavorful it will be! 

Print Recipe
Fruit-Infused Water
Made with a combination of fruit and optional vegetables, herbs, and spices, this water is not only refreshing, it also offers endless combinations so you'll never get bored.
Prep Time 3 minutes
Servings
serving
Ingredients
  • Fruit of choice CITRUS: grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, tangerines | BERRIES: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, cherries | TROPICAL: pear, pomegranate, mango, pineapple, banana, kiwi | MELONS: honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon | OTHER: apples, grapes, plums, peaches, nectarines
  • Vegetable of choice Cucumber, carrots, celery, peppers (hot or sweet)
  • Herb of choice Mint, sage, rosemary, basil, cilantro, thyme, lavender
  • Spice of choice Ginger, cinnamon stick, black pepper
Prep Time 3 minutes
Servings
serving
Ingredients
  • Fruit of choice CITRUS: grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, tangerines | BERRIES: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, cherries | TROPICAL: pear, pomegranate, mango, pineapple, banana, kiwi | MELONS: honeydew, cantaloupe, watermelon | OTHER: apples, grapes, plums, peaches, nectarines
  • Vegetable of choice Cucumber, carrots, celery, peppers (hot or sweet)
  • Herb of choice Mint, sage, rosemary, basil, cilantro, thyme, lavender
  • Spice of choice Ginger, cinnamon stick, black pepper
Instructions
  1. Add the fruit/vegetables of your choice to a glass and mash slightly using a muddler or wooden spoon. Tip: peel the citrus fruits from their skin to avoid a bitter taste.
  2. Take the herb/spice of choice and gently mash the leaf. This helps release the natural extracts and oils.
  3. Add either sparkling water or filtered water and drink!
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts: N/A

Share this Recipe

Get FREE tips and tiny slices of motivation to help you live a healthier life...without giving up chocolate!

What’s the Deal with Gluten?

May 9th, 2019 | no comments

Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash

Plus:

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO TODAY’S POST!

 

Gluten is the protein found in wheat, rye, barley, spelt, non-gluten free oats, and processed foods containing these ingredients (i.e. bread, cereal, pasta, pancakes, pizza, bakery and other packaged foods).

Gluten causes a whole spectrum of problems for many people, ranging from non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) to celiac disease— an autoimmune condition where ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine, creating iron deficiency anemia, joint pain, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and migraines.

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, some people experience symptoms of celiac disease, such as foggy mind, depression, ADHD-like behavior, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, headaches, bone or joint pain, and chronic fatigue, when they have gluten in their diet, but they do not test positive for celiac disease. NCGS is generally used to refer to this condition; removing gluten from the diet resolves symptoms.

 

Why does it seem like gluten intolerance is more of a recent problem?

When I was a kid, there was no such thing as gluten sensitivity. Although it can seem like a fad, I can tell you it is indeed a real thing.

Due to hybridization of wheat grown in the United States, the quality and type of proteins and starches in wheat have changed, creating a higher gluten content than ever before. The result is an overwhelming increase in the diagnosis of celiac disease and gluten intolerance.

Food allergies and sensitivities create an inflammatory state in the body, leading to weight gain and insulin resistance. So if you suspect you are intolerant of gluten, it would be wise to eliminate it for a six-week trial to see if your blood glucose numbers and weight improve. This also holds true for other common food allergies and sensitivities, like dairy, soy, eggs, shellfish, and peanuts.

 

Mel’s experience with gluten

Although I never officially set out to remove gluten from my diet, it turned out that most of the food I was eating just happened to be naturally gluten-free, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, lentils, seafood, and natural, unprocessed meats.

After a while, I noticed a subtle, yet significant improvement in my digestion and also quite a bit less brain fog and joint pain. If a little gluten sneaks into my diet in the form of an occasional donut, brownie or cookie, it’s not like I suffer horrible side effects or anything like that, but I also don’t feel 100%. I simply choose not to make it a habit because it’s just not worth it to me.

Some of my favorite gluten-free alternatives include:

 

Recommended gluten-free grains

If you choose to eat grains, I recommend aiming for small amounts of what I call “upgraded” grains. These include whole, minimally processed, non-GMO, gluten-free grains such as:

  •    Brown rice
  •    Wild rice (which is actually a semi-aquatic grass)
  •    Quinoa (which is actually a seed)
  •    Amaranth
  •    Buckwheat
  •    Millet
  •    Sorghum
  •    Gluten-free steel-cut oats
  •    Teff

If you happened to eat a gluten-containing grain, opt for sprouted varieties. Sprouting— which involves soaking grains, seeds, beans, legumes or nuts in water until a sprout forms— can reduce the gluten content by almost 50%. Studies also show that sprouted grains become easier to digest and breakdown for those with diabetes because of changes in the amount of enzymes available, which is needed to properly digest glucose.

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
Applegate Organics Sunday Bacon

You preach about Earthfoods Melanie, and I fully respect that. But what about bacon? I’m not willing to give that up…no way, no how!

Listen, I get it. I’m not asking you to give it up for a couple of reasons: First, it’s not necessary because it can absolutely fit in small amounts on occasion. Second, thanks to companies like Applegate, you can now have your bacon and eat it too!

Applegate Organics Sunday Bacon is humanely raised, USDA organic, and free of: nitrites, nitrates, preservatives, hormones, GMOs, gluten, and antibiotics. Everything you should look for when purchasing bacon.

Check out this week’s recipe pick for Purely PMS Brownie Bites. These decadent little morsels are made without flour (so they are gluten-free), and are topped with drizzled dark chocolate, cacao nibs and bacon pieces.

You’re welcome! 🙂 

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Purely PMS Brownie Bites

Get FREE tips and tiny slices of motivation to help you live a healthier life...without giving up chocolate!

Purely PMS Brownie Bites

These brownies are not “healthy” per se, but what I call an “upgrade”. Made with raw cacao powder, coconut sugar (which is still sugar, but a more natural, upgraded version), natural almond butter and zero flour, they are safe for those with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Oh and by the way…I topped them with raw cacao nibs and little pieces of cooked bacon from Applegate Organics, which is free of preservatives, hormones, antibiotics, nitrites, and nitrates.

If you are feeling a little hormonal and ready to bake up a batch of crappy boxed brownies, do yourself a favor and try this recipe. It covers all PMS-related cravings wrapped up into one: sweet, salty, chewy, and chocolaty.

Once cool, slice the brownies into 24 bite-size pieces and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. One little square, eaten in pure presence, is all it takes to satisfy even the bitchiest PMS craving.😈

Print Recipe
Purely PMS Brownie Bites
Feeling a little hormonal and ready to bake up a batch of crappy boxed brownies? Do yourself a favor and try this recipe. It covers all PMS-related cravings wrapped up into one: sweet, salty, chewy, and chocolaty. 0 Earthfoods per serving.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18-20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 2 slices Applegate Organics Sunday Bacon
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder Navitas brand
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1 large organic, free-range egg
  • 1 large organic free-range egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup organic, unrefined coconut sugar
  • 1 cup almond butter the drippy kind; only ingredient should be almonds (salt is OK too)
  • 1 tsp. bacon fat from cooking bacon
  • 2 tbsp. unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips Equal Exchange or Enjoy Life (dairy-free)
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped Endangered Species 88% Cacao bar
  • 3 tbsp. cacao nibs Navitas brand
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18-20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 2 slices Applegate Organics Sunday Bacon
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder Navitas brand
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1 large organic, free-range egg
  • 1 large organic free-range egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup organic, unrefined coconut sugar
  • 1 cup almond butter the drippy kind; only ingredient should be almonds (salt is OK too)
  • 1 tsp. bacon fat from cooking bacon
  • 2 tbsp. unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips Equal Exchange or Enjoy Life (dairy-free)
  • 2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped Endangered Species 88% Cacao bar
  • 3 tbsp. cacao nibs Navitas brand
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment and grease with butter or coconut oil.
  2. Heat a nonstick skillet to medium high heat. Cook the bacon until crispy. Reserve one teaspoon of the bacon fat for the brownies. Set aside. Set the bacon on paper towels to drain.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cacao powder through salt until combined. Set aside. In another medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and coconut sugar until combined. Add the almond butter, bacon fat, coconut oil, and vanilla and whisk until combined.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips. Add batter to pan and smooth out with a rubber spatula. Chop bacon into small pieces, sprinkle on top, and bake for 18-20 minutes or until center is set and edges are golden.
  5. Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments until melted (about 60-90 seconds). Drizzle on brownies and top with cacao nibs. Set aside until completely cooled. Cut into 24 bite-size pieces and store in a covered container in refrigerator.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per servingCalories: 130Total Fat: 10 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Sodium: 40 mg; Potassium: 0 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 11 g; Dietary fiber: 2 g; Net Carbohydrates: 9 grams; Sugar: 8 g (7 grams added sugar); Protein: 3 g

Share this Recipe

Get FREE tips and tiny slices of motivation to help you live a healthier life...without giving up chocolate!

Praiseworthy Earthfoods (you should be eating daily)

May 1st, 2019 | no comments

Photo by William Felker on Unsplash

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO TODAY’S POST!

 

Earthfoods are the foods your body was designed to eat and truly longs for. They are powerful beyond measure and can heal your body at a cellular level.

They include whole, plant-based, nutrient-rich foods from the earth, such as: vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, avocados, legumes, herbs, spices, and more. (Click HERE for a list of Earthfoods)

The payoff of eating an Earthfood-rich diet is a body that is satiated to the core.

 

These foods won’t cause you to raid the refrigerator looking for more an hour after you’ve eaten them (think potato chips and chocolate chip cookies).

 

Moreover, you aren’t likely to feel the need to overeat them because they are so nourishing. They give you energy, help your brain function at optimal levels, and provide a sense of clarity.

All Earthfoods are health-rocking, however there are a few categories that stand out as praiseworthy. Actually there are more than a few, but for the sake of keeping things simple, I will focus on the top three here: Greens, berries, and cruciferous vegetables.

 

Greens:

One of the most nutritious foods on the planet, greens offer more nutrients per pound than virtually any other Earthfood. Packed with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber, these powerhouses (still sadly referred to as mere “diet food” by many) offer so many health benefits, you’d be foolish not to include them in at least one of your daily meals.

Some of these benefits include:

  • Healthy aging.
  • Helps fight inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
  • Aids in blood sugar management.
  • Improves health of skin and protects against harmful UV rays.
  • Supports a healthy immune response.
  • Improves gut health.
  • Supports your body’s detoxification system. The chlorophyll in greens binds to heavy metals and other toxins and carries them safely out of your body.
  • Decreases rates of cognitive decline as you age.

Greens include:

Arugula, bok choy, beet greens, broccoli, broccoli rabe (rapini), cabbage, collard greens, dandelion greens, endive, escarole, kale, mesclun, microgreens, mustard greens, Romaine lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, watercress, and wild greens.

 

Berries:

Ever hear of oxidative stress? It occurs when unstable byproducts of metabolism, called free radicals, build up in the body and cause cellular damage. Alzheimer’s disease, arteriosclerosis, cancer, heart disease, rapid aging, and diabetes are just a handful of conditions linked to oxidative stress.

Although a small amount of free radicals are essential to help us fight dangerous bacteria and viruses, we must take steps to neutralize excess production if we wish to enjoy good health. One way to do this is by eating antioxidant-rich Earthfoods. Berries top the list, alongside other powerful foods like herbs, spices, cacao, green tea, and brightly colored vegetables like sweet potatoes, peppers, spinach, and kale.  

Berries include:

Acai berries, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cranberries, elderberries, goji berries, raspberries, and strawberries.

 

Cruciferous veggies:

These are the veggies I always turned my nose up as a kid, followed by a “yuck!”. But it turns out, my mom knew something I didn’t. This class of vegetables, belonging to the Brassicaceae family, is named after the “cross-bearing” (Cruciferae) shape of their flowers.

Cruciferous vegetables made the praiseworthy list because they are rich in free radical-neutralizing antioxidants and other cancer-fighting compounds (called glucosinolates). When eaten regularly as part of an Earthfood-rich diet, they can also help you: manage your weight, normalize blood sugar, reduce inflammation, support heart health, and balance estrogen levels.

Cruciferous veggies include:

Arugula, bok choy, broccoli, broccoli rabe (rapini), Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, maca, mizuna, mustard greens, radish, rutabaga, turnip, watercress.

 

What are you waiting for?

I just handed you three keys to better health, so what are you waiting for? Eat them and do so every day…with relentless consistency! Try one of these previously featured recipe picks to get you started…

 

Mel’s weekly recipe picks: 

Strawberry Banana “Surprise” Shake

 

 

 

 

 

Nourishing White Bean Chard Soup

 

 

 

 

 

Simple Mediterranean Mason Jar Salad

 

 

 

 

Caulimash

 

 

 

 

 

Egg Roll in a Bowl

 

 

 

 

 

Turmeric Roasted Vegetables

 

 

 

 

 

Shredded Kale & Blueberry Salad with Pecan “Cheese”

 

 

 

 

 

Celery, Date & Almond Watercress Salad

 

Get FREE tips and tiny slices of motivation to help you live a healthier life...without giving up chocolate!

The Power of Relentless Consistency

April 25th, 2019 | no comments

Photo by Francesco Gallarotti on Unsplash

Plus:

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO TODAY’S POST!

Do you realize how many times you’ve been so close to experiencing a real, tangible shift in your health, but you quit just before the bloom? Maybe you didn’t see the number on the scale move fast enough so you threw in the towel (one of the many reasons why I dislike scales).

You were so close it’s scary.

When you plant a tomato seed, it doesn’t sprout the next day does it? Mother Nature decides when, not you. Your job is to water it with consistency, and within five to six days…bingo! If you expected an edible tomato on day seven, grew impatient and yanked the sprout from the ground because it wasn’t “happening fast enough”, you’d never know what it’s like to experience the divine deliciousness of a fresh tomato. It takes time.

So why should it be any different for you?  

Ever hear the story told by Napoleon Hill, of the gold-digging man who grew impatient and stopped digging…only to discover later that he was just three feet from the rich stuff? If he only hung in there long enough.

Get the point?  

 

Chocolate chip cookies are not the problem

The problem I see is not one of eating poor quality food per se, but eating poor quality food with relentless consistency. That’s what gets us into trouble. A chocolate chip cookie here or there, even every day, is not enough to drive your blood sugar through the roof and cause diabetes. It’s the cookie, the footlong sub, handful of M&Ms, and bagel the size of a small country, eaten on a relentlessly consistent basis, that eventually invites high blood sugar.

Said another way, it’s the relentless inconsistency of nourishing foods, regular exercise, and general self-care, that contributes to diabetes and other diseases.

If you want to experience tangible results, you must reverse this order.

Practicing relentless consistency sounds sort of like health food boot camp doesn’t it? Like I’m telling you to drop and give me 20! Don’t worry, it’s nothing like that!

 

The formula for relentlessly consistency (you’re going to LOVE this)

First and foremost, we are not going to complicate things with special meal plans and a long list of rules (you’ve been down that road…it’s called a diet). Second, you don’t have to purchase special food, your local grocery store or farmer’s market has everything you need to be successful. Third, you will not be given any limits.

I have only one rule for you:

Challenge yourself to eat at least ten servings of Earthfoods every day and follow through like your life depends on it!  (Click HERE for a list of Earthfoods)

 

The only actual planning you will do is to take an “Earthfood inventory” of your kitchen the night before and then write down the ten Earthfoods you will eat tomorrow. It’s really not even so much about planning as it is creativity! How will you creatively plug these foods into your meals tomorrow?

For example, it’s Tuesday evening and as I open my refrigerator and pantry to plan for the next day, I notice it’s pretty scarce. But there’s still enough to hit the ten Earthfood minimum, so I add the following to tomorrow’s plan:

  • Large apple
  • Large banana
  • Half of a small avocado
  • A couple of large carrots
  • Fresh ginger
  • Leftover roasted veggies
  • Frozen blueberries
  • Frozen cauliflower
  • Can of black beans
  • Chia seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Cacao powder

Now of course I don’t just sit and eat black beans out of the can (that wouldn’t be very fun would it?). Instead, I find a way to plug it into a meal.

 

Here’s what this looks like in meal form…

Although it doesn’t sound like much, with a little creativity, here’s what the above inventory would look like in meal form:

Breakfast (6 Earthfood servings):

A Peace of Health Shake made with ½ cup of frozen blueberries, ½ large banana, 1 tbsp. Cacao powder, 1 tbsp. Chia seeds, 1 cup frozen cauliflower, 1 tbsp. Fresh ginger.

Lunch (4 Earthfood servings):

Egg salad made with: ½ of an avocado, mashed (used in place of mayonnaise), ½ apple, diced, ½ cup black beans; served with carrot strips.

Dinner (1 Earthfood serving):

Eat the roasted veggies as a side dish with whatever you are serving.

Snack (1 Earthfood serving):

Handful of pumpkin seeds.

Once eaten, I simply cross them off the list. I just love crossing things off of a list, don’t you? Such a feeling of accomplishment! 

A few things to keep in mind:

  1. I only listed Earthfoods in the sample meals above. Your breakfast shake would also contain a liquid base and lunch may include some sprouted chips on the side.
  2. Notice that I wound up eating 12 servings of Earthfood. Even though my kitchen wasn’t stocked full of food, I still went above and beyond!
  3. If they aren’t in your kitchen, you can’t eat them! Shopping on a weekly basis is important, and even then you don’t have to spend a lot of time or money. Notice all of the shelf-stable Earthfoods in my example above: black beans, cacao powder, pumpkin seeds, and chia seeds. Stock up while you’re there and figure out what to do with them later.
  4. Please, please, please don’t get hung up on portion sizes. I only offer them as a guide to help you meet the minimum number of recommended daily Earthfood servings, not to perpetuate a scarcity mindset. Once you understand what a portion looks like, you can eyeball it from there.

 

The magic of an abundance-mindset

There is a certain level of magic built into an abundance-mindset. Because you aren’t placing limits on how much you’re allowed to eat, you are in fact putting faith and trust in your body and can more easily tap into how much it’s truly asking for. This is why I use the language of minimums: eat at least ten Earthfood servings per day. Could you eat 15 or 20 Earthfood servings per day? Even better!

Now you tell me, after a day full of 20 Earthfoods, how much room would you have left in that beautiful stomach of yours for pizza, chocolate cake and potato chips? You aren’t forbidding them, not at all! You are crowding them out with Earthfoods…and your cravings will follow suit.

How cool is that?

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
Native Forest Jackfruit

Indigenous to India and Bangladesh, jackfruit is a large bulbous tree fruit (can reach 100+ pounds) with a thick green rind. It’s rich in magnesium, vitamin B6, fiber and antioxidants.

When marinated, jackfruit mimics the texture of pulled pork, which is why it’s gaining popularity as a meat replacement. Once ripe, it is often used in sweet recipes such as smoothies, cakes and other desserts.

Recipes abound for jackfruit pulled “pork” and Philly “cheesesteak” sandwiches, however my favorite is jackfruit taco “meat”. Check out this week’s recipe pick for Spicy Jackfruit Taco Salad.

Jackfruit can be purchased fresh, but it’s a pain in the rear to cut. Save yourself time and aggravation by picking up a can of Native Forest Jackfruit or a package of Upton’s Jackfruit.

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Spicy Jackfruit Taco Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get FREE tips and tiny slices of motivation to help you live a healthier life...without giving up chocolate!

Spicy Jackfruit Taco Salad

No, this isn’t the type of fruit salad you think it is!

Jackfruit is a large bulbous tree fruit that’s rich in magnesium, vitamin B6, fiber and antioxidants. When marinated, it mimics the texture of pulled pork, which is why it’s gaining popularity as a meat replacement.

Jackfruit can be purchased fresh, but it’s a pain in the rear to cut. Save yourself time and aggravation by picking up a can of Native Forest Jackfruit or a package of Upton’s Jackfruit.

By the way, don’t mistake those purple chunks in the photo for beets; they are actually Melissa’s purple potatoes! Like other blue/purple Earthfoods (i.e. beets, blueberries, blackberries, red cabbage), purple potatoes are full of anthocyanin, a powerful antioxidant that combats the effects of aging and oxidative stress in the body.

Note: This recipe was adapted from forksoverknives.com

Print Recipe
Spicy Jackfruit Taco Salad
Jackfruit is a large bulbous tree fruit that's rich in magnesium, vitamin B6, fiber and antioxidants. When marinated, it mimics the texture of pulled pork, which is why it’s gaining popularity as a meat replacement. 5 Earthfoods per serving ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Course Dinner, Lunch
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp. avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups purple potatoes, diced with skin on
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 14-oz. can water-packed jackfruit, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp. taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. teaspoon minced chipotle in adobo sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 1 cup tortilla chips, crushed I like Jackson's Honest or Way Better brands best
  • 8 cups leafy greens Romaine, spinach, arugula, baby kale...you pick!
Course Dinner, Lunch
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp. avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups purple potatoes, diced with skin on
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 14-oz. can water-packed jackfruit, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp. taco seasoning
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. teaspoon minced chipotle in adobo sauce
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 1 cup tortilla chips, crushed I like Jackson's Honest or Way Better brands best
  • 8 cups leafy greens Romaine, spinach, arugula, baby kale...you pick!
Instructions
  1. Heat olive or avocado oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the potatoes, onions, and garlic for 10 minutes or until the onions are tender.
  2. Add the diced tomatoes, jackfruit, taco seasoning, paprika, and chipotle in adobo sauce, and continue cooking for 10 minutes until the juice from the tomatoes is absorbed.
  3. Using the back of the spatula, break the jackfruit into smaller pieces. Stir in the cilantro and lemon juice.
  4. Divide greens evenly between four plates and top with one cup of filling, 1/4 of the diced avocado, and 1/4 cup crushed tortilla chips.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per servingCalories: 290Total Fat: 13 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Sodium: 980 mg; Potassium: 1200 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 38 g; Dietary fiber: 13 g; Net Carbohydrates: 25 grams; Sugar: 6 g (0 grams added sugar);Protein: 8 g

Share this Recipe

Get FREE tips and tiny slices of motivation to help you live a healthier life...without giving up chocolate!

The #1 Secret of Successful Healthy Eaters

April 18th, 2019 | no comments

john-baker-349282-unsplash

Plus:


IMPORTANT:

There are only 5 seats left for: Discover Your Missing “Peaces” of Health, an afternoon full of possibility, empowerment, and discovery (plus healthy and delicious food!). The event will take place on Saturday, May 4th from 12-3 pm. Click HERE to grab one of these seats before they are gone! 


CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO TODAY’S POST!

 

OK, I won’t beat around the bush. The number one secret of those “gifted” individuals who are able to begin and stick to a healthy lifestyle is this:

 

They focus on the how of eating before the what.

 

Most people shoot straight for the food rules: what should I eat? And after about a week, where do they wind up? Back at square one, a little more confused, and looking for yet another solution.

The how of eating must come before the what, otherwise the mere whiff of an airport Cinnabon will be enough to lure you away from your healthy intentions. I’ve seen it happen a million times.

Enough of this ridiculousness already!

Don’t get me wrong, the what is important, but it’s always trumped by the how. Besides, the how is a much more natural place to begin…it’s where we started out as infants.

 

The how of eating: Being with your food

In my book Missing Peace, the how of eating is answered by Missing Peace #5: Return to Your Roots. It involves being fully present with your food while you eat it, a prerequisite of what it means to be a mindful and connected eater. 

Mindful eating means:

  • Eating in pure enjoyment and gratitude.
  • Really tasting your food— appreciating the flavors, textures and aromas.
  • Feeling the sensation of your body as it gently moves from ‘hungry’ to ‘satisfied’. 
  • Eliminating distractions like phone, email, texting, television, and yes, even reading.

Sound familiar? It should. These are all natural behaviors witnessed by observing an infant as she receives a breast or bottle.

Only when you are fully present with your food are you able to uncover and tap into your innate, fine-tuned ability to sense hunger and satiety (fullness). This ability is rooted deep within; you were born with this gift, and still harness it today.

 

Being with your food: Which TV are you watching?

When you eat, there are three possible “televisions” you can have before you.

The first plays movies of your past, the second shows scenes of the anticipated future, and the third looks like a television, but the screen is actually a mirror, reflecting back to you this very moment: you sitting down with your meal. Let’s call this one TV-Me.

 

Just like you can’t watch the movie ET without a box of tissues in hand (no you can’t!), TV-past and TV-future can spark certain emotions, causing you to ignore the yellow light of satiety, blow through the red one, and get a ticket…in the form of an over-satisfied belly.

Both can also evoke feelings of anxiety, depression, restlessness, anger, guilt, and resistance— all sensations we tend to soothe with comfort food (and I’m not talking chicken soup here!).

 

Understand, I am not suggesting you push your emotions away. In fact, being present with your food involves being with your emotions too: noting and feeling them, in the present moment. It’s part of the experience!

Remember, what you resist, persists. Nowhere is this more evident than with food. Burying your emotions will only strengthen their hold on you. Only when you shine the light of presence on them can darkness dissolve, and peace be found.  

And if you’re doing this right, you may even discover that it’s not physical hunger you are trying to feed, but emotional hunger (or what I call “head-hunger”). 

 

TV-Me: The only place to be

When you tune into TV-Me, you are choosing mindfulness over unconsciousness; peace over conflict. You observe only you, with your food, experiencing all that it has to offer with complete gratitude. You pay attention to your body as it receives the food and feel the reward of nourishment and satiety. 

Watching any television other than TV-Me will pull you away from Home, into a fog and disconnected from your roots. It’s impossible to be fully present with your food.

Yes, the temptation to glance at what’s playing on the left or right will always be there, but it’s up to you to grab the remote, turn them off, and deactivate their power. And if they happened to “magically” turn on, take a breath, note the scene, and then move on to enjoy the rest of your meal in peace and presence.

 

You have what it takes to be a “gifted” eater

You have everything it takes to be one of those “gifted” and successful healthy eaters. So when you eat, just be with your food, in this moment and nowhere else! Because in this moment, with this breath, you really have no problems.

If you are tempted to challenge this statement, I invite you to think of a problem and then ask yourself if it’s tied to something in the past or future. The answer will always be yes.

Do the work and focus on the how.

The what is a piece of cake 🍰 (figuratively speaking). 😉

 

Mel’s weekly food pick: 
Riced Cauliflower

An amazing alternative that works beautifully in virtually all recipes calling for rice. 

Riced cauliflower is just what it sounds like, cauliflower that has been chopped into itty bitty pieces using either a box grater, food processor, or blender. You can certainly make it from scratch (try this recipe), or indulge in the convenience of fresh cauliflower rice in the produce department at your local grocery store. 

Fresh cauliflower rice can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in a large skillet with a bit of olive or avocado oil and used in stir-fries or hot side dishes (see my recipe pick below for Cauliflower Fried “Rice”). 

Cauliflower (along with kale, broccoli, arugula, cabbage, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts) is a cruciferous vegetable—a super powerful class of veggies that aids in boosting immune function, reducing inflammation, and balancing blood sugar. I make it a rule to eat at least one hefty dose of cruciferous vegetables every day. Cauliflower rice can help you do the same!

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
Cauliflower Fried “Rice”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get FREE tips and tiny slices of motivation to help you live a healthier life...without giving up chocolate!