The hard truth about weight loss

November 15th, 2018 | no comments

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

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I laid it on pretty thick in last week’s post, didn’t I? I told you that in order for your body to return to the weight that it’s most comfortable, the last thing you need is another diet. What you need to do is listen to and trust in your brilliant body like your life depends on it.

Then I just left you hanging, didn’t I?

That was on purpose. 

I wanted you to spend a little time letting that message marinade in your subconscious.

Breaking free from the magnetizing force that triggers you to sabotage your efforts (i.e. grab the bag of chips and go to town until you’re covered in crumbs, licking your fingers, and wondering what just happened) really does begin with relearning the lessons that came so naturally to us as children:

  1. Lesson one: Stop dieting and trying to lose weight! We didn’t do this as kids.
  2. Lesson two: Stop labeling food as good versus bad. We didn’t do this as children, unless we learned it from our parents.
  3. Lesson three: Stop forbidding yourself from eating certain foods. We didn’t do this either…but our parents were masters at it, weren’t they?

As I tell my audiences time and again: I can’t even begin to talk to you about food until I’m sure you understand the basics of what it really takes to help your body settle into the weight it is most comfortable.

 

And it has nothing to do with food per se, but rather your relationship with food and your level of trust in your body. 

 

This is something that took me years to learn, which is why I wrote a book about how to restore this inner harmony.

If you are ready to begin “the work” at this fundamental level, you will be successful at releasing the weight that isn’t serving you. I promise. 

If, on the other hand, you want to skip over all of this and jump right into a weight loss meal plan…I’m not your girl and you should probably stop reading any further.

You know, it took me years to understand my place in this world as it relates to weight loss:

I don’t help people lose weight.

I help them prepare their mind and heal their relationship with food and the deeper part of themselves so that their body can release the weight, if necessary.

The truth is, focusing on food won’t get you very far. More often than not, it is the very substance that well-meaning dieters end up manipulating and abusing because they failed to do the real “work”. For example, eating artificially sweetened foods to “save” calories; starving yourself all day in an effort to “save” calories so you can go out with your friends and drink the night away, etc. Sound familiar?

 

The hard truth: your body will not release weight while it’s tangled in a dysfunctional relationship with food. 

 

Quite the contrary.

It will hold on to that weight for dear life…sort of like a protective shield.

If you are doing the real work (which really isn’t work at all) and are getting better each day at listening to and trusting your body while practicing what I call “permission-based” eating (i.e. no food is forbidden), well then by golly…you are ready to hear about food. 

Next week, I will share the eating style that works extremely well for me. You may find it works for you…or not. That’s the beauty of being an individual armed with the freedom of choice; you get to fashion an eating style that works best for you, then test it, tweak it, and hit repeat! 

Before I let you go, let’s say you are plugging along, eating well, not dieting, not labeling foods as good/bad, and you’ve lifted the red X off of all foods. How do you really know if you are on the right path and have broken free from that self-sabotaging force? 

  1. You are willingly making healthier choices and do not secretly feel like a caged animal who really wants the cheeseburger and fries. Your cage door is open and you feel free as a bird around food…ALL food.
  2. You eat something that you previously labeled as “bad” and you feel at ease, unrestricted, and absent of guilt. 
  3. Food only occupies a small space in your brain. You aren’t obsessing over it or thinking about it night and day. 

There is no better feeling in the world than to be free from the bonds of food.

You CAN do this.

Just trust a little more than you did yesterday.

 

Mel’s weekly food pick:
Maca Root Powder

Maca, also known as Peruvian ginseng, is the root of a vegetable native to Peru. It falls under the category of “adaptogens”, which means it has the power to fight daily stress, thereby helping your body achieve a state of balance and harmony. If coffee tends to give you the jitters, you’ll probably respond favorably to maca. Unlike stimulants, it supports a natural level of energy and vitality. 

With it’s sweet, nutty flavor, maca root powder can be easily mixed in yogurt, nut butters, and shakes and added to baked goods, pancake mix, and energy bites.

Check out this week’s recipe for No-Bake Cranberry Coconut Mood-Boosting Bites or check out these other previously featured recipes using maca powder:

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
No-Bake Cranberry Coconut Mood-Boosting Bites

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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No-Bake Cranberry Coconut Mood-Boosting Bites

November 14th, 2018 | no comments

Don’t let their size fool you; these little bites are rich in antioxidant, mood-boosting ingredients like maca root powder and cacao nibs. Other Earthfoods worth mentioning in this recipe: unsweetened coconut flakes and ground flaxseeds!

Held together with “peanut only” crunchy peanut butter (the oily/drippy kind works best) and a drizzle of pure maple syrup, No-Bake Cranberry Coconut Mood-Boosting Bites are the perfect little treat for when you want something sweet after dinner (which I always do!) and are craving a little nutrition too.

Having that usual cranky family member over for Thanksgiving dinner? Adaptogenic maca root powder is known for boosting both energy and mood! So consider whipping up a batch and offering one to Mr./Mrs. Grumpy Pants for dessert (a glass of wine wouldn’t hurt either…for both you and the grumpster! 🙂 ).  

Print Recipe
No-Bake Cranberry Coconut Mood-Boosting Bites
Held together with "peanut only" crunchy peanut butter (the oily/drippy kind works best) and a drizzle of pure maple syrup, these bites are the perfect little treat for when you want something sweet after dinner and are craving a little nutrition too. 2 Earthfoods per bite: ♥♥
Course Sweet Treats
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
bites
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened Let's Do Organic or Bob's Red Mill brand
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free oats, dry
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, unsweetened
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs Navitas brand
  • 2 tbsp. maca powder Navitas brand
  • 3/4 cup natural peanut butter (oily kind works best) "Peanuts" are the only ingredient (salt is OK too)
  • 3 tbsp. pure maple syrup
Course Sweet Treats
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings
bites
Ingredients
  • 3/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened Let's Do Organic or Bob's Red Mill brand
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free oats, dry
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, unsweetened
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs Navitas brand
  • 2 tbsp. maca powder Navitas brand
  • 3/4 cup natural peanut butter (oily kind works best) "Peanuts" are the only ingredient (salt is OK too)
  • 3 tbsp. pure maple syrup
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix coconut through maca powder until combined. In a smaller bowl, whisk together peanut butter and maple syrup.
  2. Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and fold together until well incorporated. If mixture is too dry, add a little more peanut butter.
  3. Scoop a little less than a ping pong ball-size amount for each bite and with clean hands, roll into a ball. Store in sealed container in refrigerator. Enjoy! 🙂
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per serving (serving size = 1 bite): Calories: 160Total Fat: 11 g; Saturated Fat: 4 g; Sodium: 50 mg; Potassium: 105 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 13 g; Dietary fiber: 4 g; Net Carbohydrates: 9 grams; Sugar: 5 g (3 grams added sugar from maple syrup); Protein: 5 g

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Let’s talk about weight loss

November 8th, 2018 | no comments

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If you are serious about losing weight, I need you to really tune into what I am about to say…

Stop trying to lose weight.

Wait…what?

The one thing that really plucks at my heartstrings is when I hear someone—be it friend, family, or complete stranger—announce they just started a new weight loss program. Maybe they are counting calories with their brand new calorie-tracking app, or perhaps choosing to follow a “keto” or “paleo” plan. Whatever the method, it gets to me every time.

Why do I get so emotional? Because I know where this diet will eventually lead them.

Sure they’ll plug along just fine for a week or so, meticulously measuring their portions with their perfectly calibrated food scale, scanning every label for the presence of carbs, and entering every morsel of ingested food into their phone. But what they don’t see is that “thing” bubbling beneath the surface of their skin.

They don’t see it, but I do.

I’m referring to that quiet, subtle brewing of discontent.

A yearning for normalcy.

A desire to turn back the clock and transport themselves to simpler times—when they could trust their body to tell them what it needed, how much it needed, and when to put the fork down. No, it wasn’t a reaching of their assigned calorie limit that guided them to stop eating, it was their brilliantly tuned-in body.

But because they proceed with the diet and fail to listen to this quiet unsettled calling, they end up sabotaging their efforts. You see, nothing about what they are doing is natural, so they subconsciously rebel. It’s like an invisible force pulling them to the pantry for chocolate chip cookies or driving their car to the nearest drive-thru and before they know it, are elbow-deep in a greasy bag containing French fries and God knows what else.

No human being is a match for this force. And no, the answer won’t be found in another diet…that will only add fuel to the force.

So how do you break free from it?

Take yourself back to your earliest recollection as a child and learn from your younger self. Think about it, as a child:

  • You did NOT diet or try to lose weight. Without question, you trusted your body to tell you when to put the fork down. You listened and naturally settled into the weight your body was comfortable with.
    • Think you can’t do this as an adult? Think again. In fact, it’s the only way out of your self-constructed, weight-cycling prison. Newsflash: if you’ve been on the same weight loss plan more than once, and you keep returning to it every time you put on a few pounds, that plan is NOT working! Oh no it’s not.

 

  • You did NOT label food as good or bad (and if you did…I’m sorry you had to go through that as a child). Food was food. If you ate a few pieces of Halloween candy, you didn’t follow it up with feelings of guilt and 30-minutes on the treadmill. You ate your vegetables, and although they didn’t even come close to comparing to that Halloween candy, you knew darn well vegetables were good for you and eating them meant you would grow up strong like Popeye.
    • Yes, certain foods will destroy your health if you overdo them on a regular basis. And of course there are foods that will totally rock your health when eaten consistently. But for heaven’s sake, please stop with the labels! The only purpose they serve is to make you feel like a loser when you eat a so-called “bad” food. Just stop it! 

 

  • You did NOT forbid yourself from eating certain foods because they had too many calories, carbs, fat grams, etc. Maybe your parents forbid you from eating certain things, like chocolate…and you remember how that turned out right? Once you got your hands on some, you inhaled it like a Hoover!
    • We humans thrive on the ability to choose. Take that right away and I’ll bet you wind up eating the forbidden food in a quantity five times larger than if you didn’t forbid it in the first place. This is so important. The beauty is, nine times out of ten you’ll find that once you’re “allowed” to have it, you really don’t even want it. It’s all about the power of choice. 

Can you wrap your beautiful head around this? Do you get it? Are you willing to look at food and your body through a totally new pair of eyes? Are you finally willing to trust your body in all of its brilliance like you did so effortlessly as a child? 

But wait a minute Melanie, surely what I eat matters. I know I can’t survive on jelly doughnuts and expect to enjoy good health.

Listen, the basics of healthy eating aren’t rocket science: eat oodles of plants, go easy on the sweets, drink lots of water, etc. You know this stuff. Even if you only get it 50% right and do so consistently, you are doing a good job. But consistency is a foreign concept to the individual who hasn’t yet embraced and embodied the above bullet points. It starts there. 

To help your body return to the weight that it is most comfortable (and stay there), you don’t need another diet. You need to listen to and trust your beautifully brilliant body like your life depends on it. Otherwise be prepared to ride that diet train right to the grave.

 

Mel’s weekly food pick:
Mushrooms

You’ve probably heard at least one health professional suggest you stay away from all white foods. After all, bread, flour, pasta, and sugar—all foods that can spike your blood sugar if you aren’t careful—are white. But what about those Earthfoods that happened to be white? Think garlic, onions, potatoes, cauliflower, and mushrooms?

Mushrooms are incredible. Technically a fungus,  they are one of the most health-promoting foods on earth.

Even though they are white, mushrooms pack as many antioxidants as those colorful fruits and vegetables we are told to eat more of, such as peppers, carrots, berries, and tomatoes. 

Here are just a few of the known benefits of mushrooms:

  • Give your immune system a boost.
  • Improve the health of your gut: mushrooms are a powerful prebiotic, which is like fertilizer to help grow the good bacteria in your body.
  • Weight management: mushrooms may alter your gut bacteria in ways that help promote a healthy weight. 
  • Cancer prevention: Research suggests mushrooms may protect against breast and other hormone-related cancers because they inhibit an enzyme called aromatase, which produces estrogen.

Enjoy mushrooms in sautes, stir fries, casseroles, and soups. Check out this week’s recipe pick for: 30-Minute Immune Boosting Mushroom Soup below. Whatever you do, be sure to eat mushrooms in the cooked form. According to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, several raw culinary mushrooms contain a potentially carcinogenic substance called agaritine, and cooking mushrooms significantly reduces their agaritine content.

Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
30-Minute Immune-Boosting Mushroom Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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30-Minute Immune-Boosting Mushroom Soup

November 8th, 2018 | no comments

I just can’t get enough of soup this time of year, and mushroom is one of my favorites because of its earthy flavor and hearty nature. While some don’t prefer the chewiness of cooked mushrooms, I LIVE for it! 🙂

Mushrooms have some serious bragging rights too. They are full of B-vitamins, trace minerals, and vitamin D, and also serve to boost the immune system. Think of this soup as not just a meal, but a potion to help keep colds and flu bugs at bay.

I altered this recipe (just a tad) from bitesofwellness.com and served it with a beautiful arugula salad topped with pulled rotisserie chicken, goat cheese, chopped veggies, and alfalfa sprouts. Talk about filling! It’s one of those meals that nourishes to the core. I’ve said it before, your body gets satiated from nutrients, not calories. This soup is a testament to that fact.

30-Minute Immune-Boosting Mushroom Soup is vegan and both gluten and dairy-free, so it can be enjoyed by the entire family! If you aren’t a mushroom fan or if the mushrooms are simply too much for you to handle in the sliced form, try dicing them up into itty-bitty pieces and see how that works for you. 

Print Recipe
30-Minute Immune-Boosting Mushroom Soup
Mushrooms have some serious bragging rights. They are full of B-vitamins, trace minerals, and vitamin D, and also serve to boost the immune system. Think of this soup as not just a meal, but a potion to help keep colds and flu bugs at bay. 2 Earthfoods per serving: ♥♥
Course Dinner, Lunch
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large white onions, diced
  • 16 oz. sliced white button mushrooms
  • 16 oz. sliced baby portobello mushrooms
  • 15 stalks fresh thyme, leaves removed To remove leaves, hold each stalk at the top and run your fingers down the length. Leaves will slide right off!
  • 2 bay leaves, dried
  • 3/4 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1 tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos or Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos
  • 16 oz. vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp. arrowroot starch/flour I like Bob's Red Mill brand
  • 16 oz. unsweetened coconut or cashew milk
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
Course Dinner, Lunch
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large white onions, diced
  • 16 oz. sliced white button mushrooms
  • 16 oz. sliced baby portobello mushrooms
  • 15 stalks fresh thyme, leaves removed To remove leaves, hold each stalk at the top and run your fingers down the length. Leaves will slide right off!
  • 2 bay leaves, dried
  • 3/4 tsp. Sea salt
  • 1 tbsp. Bragg Liquid Aminos or Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos
  • 16 oz. vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp. arrowroot starch/flour I like Bob's Red Mill brand
  • 16 oz. unsweetened coconut or cashew milk
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the diced onions and cook for 5 minutes or until slightly translucent.
  2. Move onions to the sides of the pot and add mushrooms, allowing to cook 5 minutes uncovered.
  3. Stir the onions and mushrooms together. Add fresh thyme and allow to continue to cook, at least 10 minutes. Add the bay leaves, sea salt and the liquid aminos to the mushrooms.
  4. Stir arrowroot starch into the vegetable stock, then add to mushrooms and stir. Add milk and allow to cook for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Soup will thicken as it cooks. Add fresh ground black pepper to taste.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per serving: Calories: 140Total Fat: 9 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Sodium: 770 mg; Potassium: 570 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 14 g; Dietary fiber: 3 g; Net Carbohydrates: 11 grams; Sugar: 6 g (no added sugar); Protein: 6 g

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Don’t be fooled by low-fat

November 1st, 2018 | no comments

Plus:

  • Mel’s weekly product pick: 
    Kalona Supernatural Organic Whole Milk Cottage Cheese 
  • Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
    Whipped Cheese, Fruit & Nut Breakfast Bowl

Back in the 90’s it was a common belief that dietary fat made you fat. That’s what all of the popular diet books led you to believe, and of course it was supported by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Guide Pyramid, which encouraged you to eat six to eleven servings of grains every day, while minimizing fat. Naturally, being a follower of “sound” nutrition advice, I followed the guidance. But I took it to the extreme.

Every piece of food that passed my lips had to have no more than one or two grams of fat inside. I paid no attention to sugar, preservatives or any other substance that were harmful to my health, only fat. Cookies, ice cream, candy, yogurt, breads, crackers, salad dressings, cakes, frostings and peanut butter (yes, peanut butter) were all either fat-free or very low-fat. 

When WOW chips hit the grocery shelves, I just knew there was a God. They were a line of snack chips made with a fat replacement called olestra. It had all of the properties of fat, including mouthfeel and taste, but it went through the body undigested, so you didn’t have to worry about the calories. There was one downside—a potential side effect of eating olestra was loose bowel movements. And do you think that stopped me? Hell no! They were fat-free, they had to be good for you, I reasoned. We won’t even go into how my body “handled” those WOW chips :). 

If you’re stuck in the antiquated mentality that dietary fat is no good, you may actually be doing your body more harm than good.

Of course you want to stay away from trans fats (also known as partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oil) and refined vegetable oils like canola, soybean and corn, but when it comes to choosing between a naturally full-fat food and low-or-non-fat, 99.999999% of the time, you are better off with full-fat. 

Why? First, not only does dietary fat help you burn fat, it is essential for proper brain and hormone function, nutrient absorption and blood sugar regulation. Ever eat a meal and still feel hungry afterwards? Most likely your meal lacked enough healthy dietary fat.

Nuts and seeds, coconut and extra virgin olive oil, and avocados are healthy fats that will do your body good. And as I mentioned above, aim for full-fat versions of naturally full-fat foods when possible. For example, the difference between full-fat cottage cheese and fat-free cottage cheese is a big one. Take a look at the ingredient list of a well-known brand of fat-free cottage cheese:

Cultured nonfat milk, contains less than 2% of whey, salt, maltodexrin, artificial color, guar gum, citric acid, carrageenan, mono and diglycerides, polysorbate 80, locust bean gum, natural and artificial flavor, potassium sorbate (preservative), vitamin A palmitate, enzyme.

Compare it to the ingredients of Kalona Supernatural Organic Whole Milk Cottage Cheese:

Certified Organic Grade A Nonfat Milk, Organic Grade A Whole Milk, Organic Grade A Cream, Celtic Sea Salt®, Cultures

You don’t need a four-year nutrition degree to realize the better choice. This rule holds true for milk, yogurt, sour cream, cheese, and salad dressings. Plus…full-fat tastes damn good! You can’t argue with that. 

Listen, when they remove the fat, they usually add other “things”, such as sugar, salt, preservatives and emulsifiers. When in doubt, ask yourself: WWGD?

What would grandma do? 

 

Mel’s weekly food pick:
Kalona Supernatural Organic Whole Milk Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is traditionally thought of as diet food. In the 1980’s and 90’s, you couldn’t find a weight loss diet without it on the menu. Truth be told, I burned myself out on cottage cheese and then avoided it for quite some time for two reasons:

  1. It reminded me of hellish starvation diet days gone terribly wrong.
  2. Who in their right mind would choose to eat something reminiscent of chunky spackling paste?

This all changed when I (reluctantly) tried whole milk cottage cheese. You see, up until that point, I always thought low-fat and fat-free were the way to go. Bleck! Boy was I wrong.

If you have a rocky history with cottage cheese, give it another shot…but go for the 4% milk fat. It’s a great source of fat and protein and makes a great:

  • Vegetable dip
  • Base for a low sugar fruit parfait
  • Topping for your salad
  • Mayonnaise replacement
  • Addition to overnight oats 
  • Base for a breakfast bowl

Are you turned off by the chunky texture of cottage cheese? Check out my weekly recipe pick below…you just might change your mind. 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
Whipped Cheese, Fruit & Nut Breakfast Bowl

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Whipped Cheese, Fruit & Nut Breakfast Bowl

November 1st, 2018 | no comments

Assuming you aren’t dairy intolerant, unsweetened yogurt can be a great breakfast solution. But if I’m being honest, sometimes I like my first meal of the day to be a little salty. In fact, if you were a fly on my kitchen wall, you’d most certainly witness me adding a few cranks of pink Himalayan sea salt to my apple and peanut butter slices. 🙂

Cottage cheese is a nice alternative to yogurt, however one of the biggest complaints is its chunky texture…and I sort of agree. It doesn’t exactly have a becoming mouthfeel, does it?

To fix this, I decided to run a few heaping spoonfuls of Kalona Supernatural Organic Whole Milk Cottage Cheese through my food processor to give it a nice smooth texture. The result was a creamy—and dare I say decadent—cheese that really doesn’t resemble cottage cheese at all…except of course for the color. 

A few shakes of cinnamon, two sliced strawberries, half of a sliced apple, and a couple tablespoons of pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas) later…and breakfast was served. 

I prefer full-fat dairy, and cottage cheese is no exception. If you want the decadent texture to come through in this simple recipe, go for whole milk cottage cheese. Also, to save time you can blend an entire container of cottage cheese in your food processor and simply store it back in the container for easy access. 

Print Recipe
Whipped Cheese, Fruit & Nut Breakfast Bowl
Cottage cheese is a nice alternative to yogurt, however one of the biggest complaints is its chunky texture. I decided to run a few heaping spoonfuls of Kalona Supernatural Organic Whole Milk Cottage Cheese through my food processor to give it a nice smooth texture. A few shakes of cinnamon, two sliced strawberries, half of a sliced apple, and a few tablespoons of pumpkin seeds later...and breakfast was served! 2 Earthfoods per serving ♥♥
Course Breakfast, Lunch
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings
serving
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup Kalona Supernatural Organic Whole Milk Cottage Cheese
  • 2 large strawberries, sliced or a handful of your favorite fresh berry!
  • 1/2 medium apple, diced with skin on fresh pears would also work well!
  • 1/4 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or other nut/seed of choice
Course Breakfast, Lunch
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings
serving
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup Kalona Supernatural Organic Whole Milk Cottage Cheese
  • 2 large strawberries, sliced or a handful of your favorite fresh berry!
  • 1/2 medium apple, diced with skin on fresh pears would also work well!
  • 1/4 cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or other nut/seed of choice
Instructions
  1. Add cottage cheese to food processor and pulse until smooth. You will have to stop and scrape the sides a couple of times. If only processing a small amount, a mini food processor will work better.
  2. Add berries, apples, and pumpkin seeds and sprinkle with a few shakes of cinnamon. Enjoy!
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per serving: Calories: 240Total Fat: 10 g; Saturated Fat: 5 g; Sodium: 430 mg; Potassium: 280 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 24 g; Dietary fiber: 5 g; Net Carbohydrates: 19 grams; Sugar: 11 g (no added sugar); Protein: 15 g

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Fall off the health food wagon? Erase your history

October 25th, 2018 | no comments

Plus:

  • Mel’s weekly product pick: 
    Kerrygold Butter 
  • Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
    Buttery Almond Flour Bread

 

“We all need to be blind sometimes in order to see”
~ Jon Bon Jovi 

 

Although Jon Bon Jovi was referring to the importance of keeping an open mind in order to experience the most life has to offer, I took something different away from his brilliant advice:

Sometimes we need to turn a blind eye to our past attempts at healthy living.

Play along with me…

Think back to the very last time you attempted to make a change in your eating habits. Maybe you were scared into it by an unexpected diagnosis, like diabetes, or perhaps you finally got tired of being sick and tired and decided to do something about it. 

Now I want you to revisit the moment you gave up and returned back to your old, unsupportive food choices. For example, you went out to dinner with a few friends at your favorite Mexican restaurant. You started with a margarita, follow it up with a basket of chips and salsa, then topped it off with a taco salad (sour cream, cheese, beef…the works!) in an oversized fried shell, and ended with another margarita. You woke up the next day feeling so awful (and hungover) about yourself that you threw in the towel. You are back where you started, only worse! Now your self-esteem is really in the crapper and you are convinced you don’t have what it takes to do this…after all, history has proven it so!

Now, here’s what I want you to do:

  • Turn a blind eye.
  • Forget about it.
  • Pretend it never happened.
  • Erase your history.

In fact, I want you to close your eyes and pretend you are one of those toy drawing boards with a built-in eraser. You know, the one with the knob that you slide to the right and your drawing magically disappears. Whatever just happened, use your magic eraser to wipe your slate clean.

Next I want you to view this moment forward as if you have no history with food—no past diets gone wrong or failed attempts to make healthier choices. You are like a newborn baby seeing and experiencing food for the first time.

Yes, you really CAN do this…it’s called the power of your mind. 

Look, I’m not denying that old habits tend to linger around, waiting for a vulnerable moment when they can sneak back and sabotage your efforts.

Habits are real.

Habits are comfortable.

Habits have roots. 

Speaking of roots, did you know that oversaturated soils cause the roots of even the strongest trees to die? Not only that, once the roots die, the remaining live roots will grow too near the soil surface, resulting in instability. What on earth does this have to do with you? Over time you can weaken your unsupportive habits, pluck them out, and dispose of them along with the weekly grass clippings! 🙂

How do you do this? By saturating them with better habits! I mean really drown those stubborn little suckers.

For example, you are well aware that your health would improve by leaps and bounds if you could just get a handle on overeating at dinner. Drown this unsupportive habit with these three strategies:

  1. Plug in a pre-dinner snack of raw veggies and hummus and drink down a 16-ounce glass of lemon water. Many of us go to the dinner table overly hungry and then overeat to compensate. If lunch is at noon and dinner at 6:00, you run the risk of overindulging if you don’t settle your hunger a bit before sitting down to eat.
  2. Eat dinner on a smaller plate.
  3. When you’re done eating, immediately put your shoes on and take a walk around the block for some fresh air and exercise. The dishes can wait.

Hit REPEAT on this dinnertime ritual until you can loosen the decaying habit of overeating and yank it out like a dead root!

 

Mel’s weekly food pick:
Kerrygold Butter

Rich and creamy Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter is made from the milk of cows that have never been treated with antibiotics or hormones, and have been almost entirely grass-fed. This means more omega-3 fatty acids for you!

Because of its lower water content and higher amount of butterfat, Kerrygold boasts a more “buttery” flavor than your average run-of-the-mill butter.

For higher quality you can actually taste, use it for cooking, baking, or as a spread on your favorite bread. Try this week’s recipe for Buttery Almond Flour Bread, which uses Kerrygold butter both in the recipe and on the final product… what’s bread without butter?

 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
Buttery Almond Flour Bread

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Buttery Almond Flour Bread

October 24th, 2018 | no comments

I’ve never been much of a bread girl. Just like pasta, I can take or leave it. However, a bowl of soup seems sadly incomplete without a slice of bread and butter.

In the past, crusty French or chewy sourdough were my go-to favs, but since I’ve made it a goal to minimize gluten in my diet, I had to find another option. Gluten-free breads are just OK, but they are loaded with carbohydrates…and to be honest, I’d much rather get my carbs from the beans in my chili or after-dinner chocolate than bread. Some aren’t willing to compromise their bread, and that’s A-OK. Look, I get it— I’m not willing to compromise my cheese…so don’t even try messing with it! 

Buttery Almond Flour Bread is not dense, crusty or chewy, but rather light and more “cake-like”. It pairs beautifully with a bowl of turkey chili or, as pictured here, White Bean-Chard Soup

If you’re like me and even looking at a slice of bread is enough to send your blood sugar busting through the roof, you’ll adore this bread all the more because it has only a mere gram (that’s one gram) of net carbohydrates per slice. 

Print Recipe
Buttery Almond Flour Bread
Buttery Almond Flour Bread is not dense, crusty or chewy, but rather light and more "cake-like". It pairs beautifully with a bowl of turkey chili or White Bean-Chard Soup.  With just one gram of net carbohydrates per slice, it is extremely gentle on your blood sugar. 0 Earthfoods per serving.
Course Side Dish
Servings
slices
Ingredients
  • 6 large organic free-range eggs, separated
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 4 tbsp. Kerrygold butter, melted
  • 1.5 cups Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-2 dashes Sea salt
Course Side Dish
Servings
slices
Ingredients
  • 6 large organic free-range eggs, separated
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 4 tbsp. Kerrygold butter, melted
  • 1.5 cups Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-2 dashes Sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 9x5 loaf pan. Using a hand mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
  2. Using hand mixer, beat egg yolks, butter, almond flour, baking powder and salt until combined (dough will be thick).
  3. Add 1/3 of the beaten egg whites to the almond flour dough mixture and mix together. Add the rest of the egg whites to the dough mixture and combine. Do not over mix!
  4. Add bread mixture to buttered pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per serving (1 slice): Calories: 90; Total Fat: 8 grams; Saturated Fat: 2 grams; Sodium: 60 mg; Potassium: 21 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 2 grams; Dietary Fiber: 1 grams; Net Carbohydrates: 1 gram; Sugar: 0 grams ; Protein: 4 grams

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4-Steps to honor your cravings in a healthier way (this really works!)

October 18th, 2018 | no comments

Plus:

  • Mel’s weekly product pick: 
    Jackson’s Honest Coconut Oil Chips
  • Mel’s weekly recipe pick: 
    Simple Homemade Trail Mix

When someone tells me they never have food cravings, I’m always tempted to check their pulse.

Listen, if you are a living, breathing human being, you most definitely have food cravings. And if you follow a relatively healthy lifestyle, these cravings are probably for healthier foods. Remember…what you feed your body most, it will crave.

With this in mind, every once in awhile you will naturally get a craving for, say, a peanut butter, hot-fudge sundae with salted pecans and whipped cream (OK, maybe that’s just me).

It’s how we are wired. In fact, we were born to be perfectly imperfect. I believe this to my core, which is why I dedicated an entire section to it in my new book Missing Peace. Missing Peace #7 is Imperfection IS Perfection

I discovered a way to successfully honor my cravings in a healthier way and I think you will find it works for you too! Keep in mind, sometimes you have to just say “what the hell!” and go for the peanut butter hot-fudge sundae thing. But it doesn’t have to be as often as you think.

The next time you experience an intense food craving for a food that may not be exactly supportive of good health, rather than hit the panic button, try my four-step process for honoring your cravings in a healthier way:

Step 1: Describe your craving

First, ask yourself: What is my body really craving right now? Describe your cravings using adjectives versus nouns, or specific foods. The reason for this is that 99.9% of the time, a craving can be satisfied by a healthier food offering the exact same properties you are craving, without perpetuating continued eating. It cures the craving and nourishes the body all at the same time.

For example, are you in the mood for something:

  • Creamy?
  • Crunchy?
  • Fizzy?
  • Salty?
  • Spicy?
  • Sweet?

Step 2: Grant permission

Next, even though I’ve just prompted you to describe your cravings with adjectives, you may still have a specific food in mind that you want to eat. In this step, I want you to give yourself full permission to eat the food you are craving, whether it’s a doughnut, potato chips, or an ice cream sundae. This mental clearing puts you in control and releases the sex appeal of your trigger food.

An important point to note here is this— if what you are craving is your kryptonite food and you can’t control yourself around it, it is best not to have it in your house at all.

Step 3: Honor your craving

After giving yourself full permission to eat the food you are craving, it’s time to feed your body what it really desires- fat, crunch, fizz, salt, spice or sweet. It matters not, the package in which these cravings are delivered, so why not aim for a choice that will honor your beautiful body?

The key to success in step three, is to make sure your kitchen is stocked with healthier alternatives. Let’s get real here … we both know if you are on a serious mission for salt and crunch and the only food in your kitchen to deliver those qualities is a bag of chips, no matter how pure your intentions, you will not get in your car and drive to the store for hummus and carrots. You just won’t.

Here are some foods to help you bust through your cravings in a healthier, more peaceful way:

Creamy

  • Mashed avocado on sprouted bread
  • One tablespoon of fresh ground almond butter, peanut butter or cashew butter
  • Guacamole with raw veggies

Crunchy/Salty

  • Handful of raw, salted pumpkin seeds or pistachios
  • Hummus with celery sticks, red pepper strips, or baby carrots
  • Spoonful or two of fermented vegetables (kimchi or sauerkraut)
  • Homemade trail mix (see this week’s recipe for Simple Homemade Trail Mix!)
  • Jackson’s Honest Coconut Oil Chips

Fizzy

  • Club soda or sparkling water with a twist of lemon (Add one ounce of fresh squeezed orange or grapefruit juice for more flavor)
  • Kombucha

Spicy

  • A spoonful or two of kimchi
  • Roasted chickpeas seasoned with cayenne pepper

Sweet

  • A square or two of dark chocolate (72% cacao or higher)
  • 2-3 pitted dates
  • Homemade trail mix (see this week’s recipe for Simple Homemade Trail Mix)

Step 4: Evaluate your craving

Now it’s time to evaluate whether or not your craving was satisfied. The good news is, 99% of time the healthier alternative will do the trick. But what happens when it doesn’t? Then go ahead and give yourself full, guilt-free, non-judgmental permission to drive to the store and settle your craving once and for all! This is the beauty of being a perfectly imperfect human being.

Mel’s weekly food pick:
Jackson’s Honest Coconut Oil Chips

Sweet potatoes, coconut oil, and sea salt. That’s it! Three, pronounceable, recognizable ingredients.

Although these chips aren’t a certified “health food”, they are a snack you can feel good about indulging in. No fake, inflammatory ingredients here!

So many snack foods on the market today are loaded with inflammatory, highly refined oils such as canola, corn, and safflower oils. Jackson’s Honest gives the other guys a run for their money by using a healthier, albeit more costly oil. And those of us who care about the ingredients we put in our bodies, will gladly pay a few extra pennies. Check out all of their varieties HERE!

A note of caution: These chips are amazing, but they are also addicting! Be a smart little cookie and portion a serving into a small bowl or soufflé cup (worth the small investment), that way you won’t be tempted to polish off the entire bag. 

Mel’s weekly recipe pick:
Simple Homemade Trail Mix

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Simple Homemade Trail Mix

October 18th, 2018 | no comments

It’s 4:00 pm. Lunch was at noon and dinner isn’t until 6:00. Your stomach starts to growl and history shows that when you ignore it and try to wait it out until dinner, you always end up eating an extra helping (or three) of this or that (usually not salad). 

If you aren’t prepared with a healthier snack, let’s be honest, no matter how pure your intentions, you will absolutely grab a handful of M&Ms or salty chips. This is one of the easiest recipes I can share with you to help keep your hunger under control until meal time. It offers the perfect combo of sweet, salt, and crunch!

NOTE: Trail mix is extremely easy to overeat…I know, been there, done that! Set yourself up for success and use a 1/4 cup measuring cup as your serving spoon, portion into a small cup, then close the lid and put it away! I always leave the measuring cup in the container with the handle facing upward. 

Print Recipe
Simple Homemade Trail Mix
If you aren't prepared with a healthier snack, let's be honest, no matter how pure your intentions, you will absolutely grab a handful of M&Ms or salty chips. This is one of the easiest recipes I can share with you to help keep your hunger under control until meal time. It offers the perfect combo of sweet, salt, and crunch! 1 Earthfood per serving: ♥
Servings
1/4 cup servings
Ingredients
  • 4 cups assorted raw, unsalted nuts (if you want a little salt, you can make one of the cups a lightly salted nut) Any variety will do (bonus points for choosing sprouted nuts): almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, walnuts
  • 1 cup unsalted seeds (sprouted if possible) I like pumpkin seeds (pepitas) or sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dried fruit (Made in Nature is a good choice since they don't add sugar) Try goji berries, blueberries, dates, apricots, raisins, cranberries, cherries, figs, golden berries, plums, mangoes
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips I like the Equal Exchange brand; For dairy-free, use Enjoy Life brand
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs I like the Navitas brand
  • 1 cup organic, unsweetened coconut flakes Let's Do Organic brand
Servings
1/4 cup servings
Ingredients
  • 4 cups assorted raw, unsalted nuts (if you want a little salt, you can make one of the cups a lightly salted nut) Any variety will do (bonus points for choosing sprouted nuts): almonds, cashews, pecans, pistachios, walnuts
  • 1 cup unsalted seeds (sprouted if possible) I like pumpkin seeds (pepitas) or sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened dried fruit (Made in Nature is a good choice since they don't add sugar) Try goji berries, blueberries, dates, apricots, raisins, cranberries, cherries, figs, golden berries, plums, mangoes
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips I like the Equal Exchange brand; For dairy-free, use Enjoy Life brand
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs I like the Navitas brand
  • 1 cup organic, unsweetened coconut flakes Let's Do Organic brand
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in a sealed container and shake to combine! Leave a 1/4 cup measuring cup in the container with the handle facing upward for easy (and responsible) serving. 
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts per serving (1/4 cup): Calories: 120; Total Fat: 9 grams; Saturated Fat: 4 grams; Sodium: 35 mg; Potassium: 100 mg; Total Carbohydrate: 8 grams; Dietary Fiber: 2 grams; Net Carbohydrates: 6 grams; Sugar: 5 grams (1 gram added sugar); Protein: 3 grams

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