Tag Archives: gluten free

The Amazing Artichoke!

I recently held a cooking and nutrition seminar with a support group of amazing ladies who are either currently in cancer treatment or are in recovery. To say it was inspiring just doesn’t do justice.  These women were warriors!   I am a firm believer that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and have witnessed testimonials from people who say some of their weakest and lowest moments end up becoming their biggest blessings.  #staystrong

This particular seminar focused primarily on anti-inflammatory foods since inflammation and gut health are critical to recovery and fighting free radicals.  #foodheals  One of my highlighted foods was the artichoke and can I just say it is amazing!  Truly!   I can’t say enough about how my mind was blown when I started researching the benefits and why artichokes might be the best superfood on the planet!

For starters,  did you know that the antioxidant value in one cup of artichoke hearts is nearly the equivalent of  1 cup of blueberries plus an 8-ounce cup of orange juice combined?! Not to mention it is double the fiber of 1 cup of cooked broccoli and 25% higher in fiber than a cup of prunes! But wait, there’s more;  artichokes provide 12% of our daily requirement of vitamin k, they also contain phytonutrients and compounds that fight and neutralize free radicals. The list goes on and on…

http://www.oceanmist.com/artichokes/12-unexpected-artichoke-health-benefits/

So when was the last time you ate an artichoke heart and why didn’t we know this? Clearly, pom wonderful and blueberries have a better marketing team because for the longest I thought they were The power food with the highest amount of antioxidants.  #mindblown

Now comes the hard part.  What do I do with an artichoke? How do I cook artichokes and start incorporating them into my diet?  Easy!  Check out some of my favorite recipes below for preparing this superfood at home fresh or out of the jar! And check out my video below on grilling artichokes with a Ceasar style dipping sauce.

 

artichoke benefits

Artichoke & Leek Soup

  • 2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
  • 2 leeks- tops removed, washed well and chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cans (8 ounce) artichoke hearts, drained
  • 2-3 quarts of chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can of coconut cream
  • 1 TBSP Turmeric
  • 1 lemon juiced or 1 Tablespoon organic bottled lemon juice
  • Pinch of Cayenne
  • Chives for garnish

Heat the oil in a stock pot or large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the leeks and garlic and stir.  Add the artichokes, stock, salt, turmeric, and pepper and cook until vegetables are tender about 15 minutes.

Using a handheld immersion blender, puree the soup.  Add the coconut cream, lemon juice, cayenne and re-season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Garnish with chopped chives and a pinch of cayenne or paprika.

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup artichoke hearts
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1/2 bunch of green onions finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoon mayonnaise or substitute with greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 TBSP Sambal Oleek – (Red Chili Paste)
  • Splash of lemon juice
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Hot sauce to taste

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until combined. Once all ingredients are combined serve fresh with toasted pita chips or place in a baking dish and bake at 375° for 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle additional Parmesan cheese on top

Grilled Artichokes 

grilled artichoke

  • Four large artichokes
  • 2 lemons halved
  • Fresh dill for garnish
To prepare the artichokes bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lemon to a large bowl of water and working with one artichoke at a time, trim the outer leaves, cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the choke.  Place in lemon water to prevent browning while trimming the remaining artichokes.
Cook the artichokes in the pot of boiling water for 15 minutes or until almost tender but not falling apart. Drain.
Heat a grill pan on a high heat.  Brush the artichokes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill the cut side down until charred in spots for about 5 min.  Serve with dipping sauce and enjoy leaf by leaf.
Caesar style dipping sauce 
  • 1 can of coconut cream
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp anchovy paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp red pepper flake
    Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
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Maximizing Macros and I Still Eat Bread!

Today is day four of the #fasterwaytofatloss boot camp and I am loving it! I must say, @amandatress you are an amazing inspiration! Being a female entrepreneur myself, and having listened to her this week has provided me helpful insights and encouragement for the struggles I face daily!

For the fist two days of this program we focused on low carbs in order to deplete our glycogen stores combined with intermittent fasting to maximize our fat burning hours. #keto  Day one and day two workouts were just sprints, which burns additional fat stores for the best results.  Yesterday was a heavy lifting day (arms) and today was another heavy lifting day focused on legs.

To say I felt a little soreness when I got out of bed this morning is an understatement, and my legs are already like jello from this morning’s workout. If I even get near a stairwell or squat on the pot, I think they might actually give out.  LOL! (picture this; woman knocked unconscious in the bathroom as her legs gave out and she busted her head on the toilet)  I just have to laugh at myself and remember I got into this mess because I haven’t worked out in six months! “Positive changes, one day at a time!”

Since yesterday and today are ‘heavy-lifting’ days, I am granted a little more flexibility in the carbs arena.  Low-carb days are under 50 net carbs, however, yesterday and today are more about the macro percentage and the extra carbs are OK.

What exactly are macros?  

Macronutrients are the caloric content found in food.  Sometimes referred to as “macros,” the three categories are carbohydrates, fat, and protein. The caloric combination of the macros is where that mysterious total number of calories comes from. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories
  • 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
  • 1 gram of protein = 4 calories

So it’s not about how many calories are in your food, but what kind of calories are in your food.

Simply put, strict calorie setting can be deceiving; you could be staying within your calorie count for the day but eating total crap.  I can’t count how many times I have seen people come into my shop and we start talking about their ailments, lack of energy, focus, fatigue, and their inability to lose weight. Then once we actually start looking at what they are consuming, (ie. cereal bars, fat-free ready meals, plus all those items that appear to be healthy and are full of artificial flavors, preservatives, additives,) it’s no wonder they feel like total shit.

How do you track macros?  

I am currently using the My Fitness Pal app which is addicting!  It helps me keep a food diary, and it has everything (all the way to Trader Joe’s cookie butter)  programmed and will give you the calorie count, macro breakdown, etc.  You can also scan barcodes through the app, adjust your serving size, and create your own recipes to get an accurate breakdown of what you are putting in your body. (and that’s just the beginning)

What are the benefits of ditching the calorie counting method?

For starters, you can indulge with a little less guilt. “Eat for crying out loud, and eat what you want!” Fit them into your macro allowances, and don’t just stick to ‘boring foods’ or you’ll burn-out and then binge. When you’re eating a balanced diet, the cravings go away, because you’re no longer deficient in anything. This balance will give you more energy, better workouts, and better results.

Feeling better, working out better, killing cravings, and treating yourself to the foods you love? Sounds too good to be true right? Well, stay with me through this six-week journey and we will prove this method to be either true or false.

What is the best ratio of macros for a typical day? 

With the #fasterwaytofatloss boot camp, I focus my macro ratio at 50% carbs, 30% fat, and 20% protein.   I tend to be a little higher in the fat% intake because I am used to eating keto and paleo and therefore consume more coconut, avocados, nuts, etc.  So my percentage of fat may be slightly higher but my trans fats are always 0.

I am currently in a closed boot-camp facebook group where we send our macro counts each day to have that accountability and support.  I have seen across the board that you honestly have to push yourself to eat and keep eating to reach the right carbs and macro counts for the day. You just feel full and aren’t super hungry.  Amanda even encouraged us to enjoy a doughnut today since we had a heavy leg day. “It’s all about progress, not perfection!” (mind-blown) This may sound weird, but when you are eating the right foods (primarily gluten, dairy, and soy free) you will have that full sensation, not be ‘hangry’ or have cravings.  It has been eye-opening and freeing, to say the least!

Alrighty then,  I say that is enough info for one day!  Y’all know I couldn’t leave you without a recipe and this one is a good one! Not just that it tastes good but it is really good for you, and the macros on this bad-boy are fantastic!  You noticed the title of this post says “I can still eat bread!” and just like Oprah, who doesn’t love bread? I am remaining gluten free, meeting my macro goals, and  I can still have bread!

Please enjoy this delicious recipe for my QUICK & EASY ten minute English Muffins topped with guacamole and salmon salad.  It is the perfect start to the day (even if you don’t break your fast until noon).

Gluten Free English Muffins topped with Guacamole and Salmon Salad 

Yield: makes 4-6 muffins img_1693

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 6 tsp coconut flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 TBSP Nutritional Yeast  (optional, but gives it a cheesy flavor)
  • Pinch of Paprika, garlic, and dried basil ( add red pepper flake if you like a little spice)
  • 2 TBSP of coconut oil for searing edges

Directions

Whisk eggs, coconut flour, baking soda, salt, nutritional yeast and spices in a medium bowl vigorously until well combined.   Pour contents of egg mixture into a greased or non-stick muffin pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes  or until they have risen and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Once the muffins are cool enough to handle, slice in half. Preheat a non-stick or stainless steel saute pan with 2 TBSP of coconut oil on a medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, place the muffins in the pan cut side down and allow the edges to sear and crisp.  Remove and serve immediately.

Calories per muffin  Fat- 16.7g     Protein- 6.7g    Carbs – 3.3 g  Fiber – 2 g

You could top this with anything….bacon and eggs, smoked salmon and goat cheese, sliced ham and honey dijon.

I topped mine with a TBSP  of Avocado’s number Guacamole from Trader Joe’s   on each half (total count of 3) and whipped up a quick salmon salad by using a 1/2 can of Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon, mixed with fresh dill (1/2 a bunch), 2 Tbsp capers, and about a 1/4 of a red onion sliced. Mix together in a bowl and serve on top of the guacamole on the seared English muffins.

Beats the heck out of  bagels & lox any day and it’s guilt free! 

 Thanks to My Fitness Pal app, I also can give you the macro breakdown of this dish!

Total Nutrition per serving as shown in the picture (3 halves) is as follows:

Fat= 21.4g    Protein= 21.8g   Carbs= 17.7g   Fiber=10.5g

Macro Percentage: 25% carbs / 50% fat / and 25% protein   (remember this is not a daily macro percentage just this dish and it’s very high in fiber!)

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boot Camp & Broccoli “Cheese” Dairy-Free Soup

My last post was all about guilty indulgences(#cinnamonandhoneycremebrulee) and boy did I ever satisfy my sweet tooth last week! (Halloween candy hangover) I knew if I didn’t get it out of my system, I would have little success with the boot camp I started today. (yes, I started yet another boot camp & fingers crossed I will see it through to the end) Stay tuned for my random rants throughout the next six weeks as I continue to post and blog about my fitness and nutrition journey as I follow the guidance of fitness trainer/mogul and digital marketing consultant @AmandaTress with her #FASTerwaytoFatLoss program.   I have had several friends complete this program and their results were amazing!  I mean these women (unlike myself) have had a serious and consistent workout regimen in place and have lost inches and toned up by working out less!  This program is proving what I have always believed to be true.  Weight loss and body composition is  80% nutrition and 20% fitness.  What you put in your body affects everything else from your overall health to how well you fit in “dem” jeans, no matter how hard you workout.

Day one of boot camp (can you see how happy I am?)

img_1655

I focused on low net carbs.  (Total Daily Carbs – Fiber = net carbs).

Another key factor in this boot camp is known as intermittent fasting.  Not a full day fast by any means (no chance in hell I’m doing that)  but planning your meals and food intake during a 6-8 hour window (i.e. Noon-7pm).  I am pretty familiar with this concept because I have also been following the ketogenic diet prior to this program and just finished Quick and Easy Ketogenic Cooking by Maria Emmerich where she also highlights the fasting periods to greater weight loss.  The idea is since you have low glycogen stores, your body will use ketones and body fat for energy instead of glycogen. Combine this with a cardio workout in the morning and your sure to be burning those fat stores! (let’s hope it hits my thigh fat stores first!)

So today, I fasted until 12:30 and then had to come up with a low carb solution to satisfy my hunger and quickly!  I am not only trying to run a business, answer phones and emails, cater to customers that pop into the shop; I am now trying to log all my food and exercise intake into my fitness pal app, monitor my macros for the day, and cook for other people while refraining from snacking.  (WTF was I thinking?)   So I made a quick and easy Broccoli Cheese or rather “Nooch” soup. Most of you are thinking, what the heck is Nooch…but if you are “in the know” or have some vegan friends you may have heard this term used before for nutritional yeast.  Now before you skip on to the next recipe you MUST trust me when I say this stuff is amazing (coming from a cheese lover) and it tastes just like cheese!

This soup is super easy to make, takes less than 15 minutes, only has six ingredients, and is damn good too!  Enjoy!

broccoli-soup

Creamy Broccoli “Cheese/Nooch” Soup 

  • 2 Broccoli Crowns -cut into small florets
  • 1 onion -small diced
  • 5 garlic cloves -minced
  • 1 can of coconut milk or coconut cream
  • 24 oz of beef bone broth (or organic beef broth)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (I prefer Braggs brand)

In a medium stock pot heat 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil or olive oil on a high heat.  Add the onions and saute for two-three minutes. Add in the garlic and continue to stir until fragrant. Add in the broccoli and saute for another three-five minute on medium to high heat.  Add the broth and turn heat to medium and continue to cook for another five minutes. In a separate bowl whisk the coconut cream and nutritional yeast together and season with salt and pepper.  Pour in the “Cheese” or “Nooch” mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.  Taste and adjust with salt and pepper to taste.  This soup can be served chunky with bits of broccoli or pureed by using an immersion blender to blend the soup to a creamy smooth consistency.

 

 

 

 

 

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