Tag Archives: Healthy living

Perfect Paleo Pancakes

 

This morning, I was not in the mood for any of my typical breakfasts. Eggs and toast - bleh, savory oatmeal -  too hot, a protein smoothie – not filling enough, a greek yogurt bowl - lame… I wanted something new and exciting! But still satisfying, delicious, and healthy.

I peered in the fridge. No inspiration. I opened up the freezer, dug around, and saw my abandoned almond flour. I had tried to pancakes with it before, but they were too eggy and covered in second degree burns. It was time to try it again.

Perfect paleo pancakes with caramelized banana compote – for one!

for just the right kind of full

These pancakes came out perfectly! They are fluffy and lightly sweet with a hint of vanilla. They are very low carb, high protein & fat, paleo, and sugar & dairy free! I had a scrambled egg + an egg white on the side as well :)

Recipe: Serves 1

1/3 cup almond flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

2 tsp almond milk

1 egg

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

~6 drops liquid NuNaturals stevia (or to taste)

dash cinnamon

dash salt

For the compote- 

1 ripe banana

tsp coconut oil

tbsp real or sugar free maple syrup + plus extra for drizzling

Directions –  Place a pan on the stove with 1 tsp of coconut oil. In a bowl, mash a banana with some maple syrup and spoon into the pan. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the banana is caramelized.

Meanwhile, combine all of the pancake ingredients in a bowl (I recommend in that order) and mix well. Place a non stick pan on the stove on medium heat (mine was on 3.5 out of 8). Pour 1/3 of the batter into the pan. Let the bubbles rise to the top. Once the bubbles start to disappear, flip the pancake with a spatula. It should be light brown on the other side. Let cook for an additional minute or two. Remove pancake and place onto a heating plate and repeat with the rest of the batter. Plate the pancakes and top with the caramelized banana and additional maple syrup.

Benefits:

Almond flour * by subbing almond flour for regular flour, you are getting more healthy fats and less carbs in your cookies. These are monounsaturated fats, which raise HDL (good cholesterol) levels and lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels! Almonds also have fiber, manganese, vitamin E (another antioxidant), tryptophan, copper, B2 and phosphorous!

Banana * A good source of fiber and potassium.

Eggs * the yolk is where all the nutrients are! It contains tryptophan, selenium, iodine, B vitamins, and phosphorous, many of which are necessary for optimal metabolism. The egg white has 6 grams of complete protein!

Coconut oil * coconut gets a bad rap because of its saturated fat content, but its fatty acids are mainly medium-chain triglycerides, not long-chain. The long-chain triglycerides are bad for our cholesterol levels, but coconut has been shown to improve cholesterol levels. Animal studies suggest that medium-chain triglycerides can increase metabolism. It is great to cook with because it is stable at high temperatures!

almond flour pancakes with caramelized banana and maple drizzle

Make these!

Detox: Day 3-5. Conquering of the migraines!

Day 3:

Day three was a success as far as the detox went. My headaches were still present, but more of a dull humming rather than an opera of cracked out hyenas. ………  I didn’t have any coffee, dairy, refined sugar or wheat, but my food was fugly. I was rushing around all day going to class and studying for my midterm and simply lived off of leftovers. Lunch looked appalling and I don’t want to desecrate my blog with photos of it.

workout: bikram yoga class

Day 4:

By day 4, the headaches were almost completely gone, but I was starting to crave MEAT. I wanted bigger meals and more quality protein, so thats what I had! I don’t remember all of my snacks, but I know that fruit, hard-boiled eggs, and grain-free banana bread was in thur (somewhur?).

Breakfast: 

bowl lickin’ good

Breakfast bulgur heated up with some almond milk and a banana-peach pie topping! The topping was completely inspired by Natalie. Simply put some coconut oil in a pan on the stove on medium heat. Add a few slices of peach and banana and saute. Add in a handful of walnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup. Cook until everything is caramelized and delicious. Scoop on top of the bulgur.

Lunch:

Grilled chicken, bulgur, broccoli, cauliflower, and cherry tomatoes tossed in basil walnut pesto. BOMB!

90 minutes of  indoor rock climbing!

Dinner: 

For dinner, I experimented with something that is new to me – white miso paste! I made a tasty stir fry with bok choy, japanese eggplant, yam noodles, and chicken that I will perfect and post soon!

Day 5:

Caffeine headaches were absent, but I finally started to miss my dearly beloved gelato! Snacks were the same as yesterday.

Breakfast:

Oatmeal topped with 3 scrambled eggs cooked with some butter, 1 sunny side up egg with yolk popped, and a handful of cherry tomatoes. Satisfying.

Lunch: 

Best meal of the day fer sure. 

BBQ salmon and white bean salad

Recipe: Serves 1

2 cups romaine lettuce

sliced cucumber

cherry tomatoes

~2 tbsp Annie’s Cowgirl Ranch dressing

4 oz salmon, grilled

~1/2 cup white beans, cooked

~2 tbsp Trader Joes BBQ sauce

pinch salt

handful whole wheat panko bread crumbs

Directions – Toss the salad, cucumber, and tomatoes with the ranch and plate. In a bowl, combine the salmon, white beans, and BBQ sauce. Mix well. Scoop on top of the salad. Top with a sprinkling of whole wheat bread crumbs.

Football Field Sprints Workout

10-15 minute warm up jog

100 meter sprint down the football field

100 meter walk back to start

repeat 10x

10 minute cool down jog

There is something sexy about running on the football field. I think it is because it has been somewhat of a forbidden fruit for me these last few weeks. Every time I run to the high school track and football field, it is infested with pre-pubescent boys practicing for pre-season, and I am stuck with the track and bleachers again.

Dinner:

Dinner was another stir fry, and just as delicious as the first! It was too late to take a photo, but the main ingredients were bok choy, quinoa, egg plant, chicken, shredded coconut, and the rest you will have to wait for!

Post Dinner… 

Seeing as Day 5 was a) my second genetics midterm, b) the anticipated end of my detox and c) Friday, I made mojitos and went out with some wonderful friends!

Skinny Mojitos

best summer drink e v e r 

Recipe: Serves 1

2 oz silver rum

~6 drops NuNaturals liquid stevia (or to taste)

2 tbsp lime juice (or to taste)

2 tbsp fresh mint

6 oz water

ice

Directions – Combine the rum, stevia, lime, and mint in a glass and muddle. Add the water and ice and stir. Enjoyyy!

I am going to keep up with not drinking coffee for as long as I can. I am hoping to simply only drink coffee when I really need it. I also might reduce the dairy a bit, since my digestion seems to have improved without it. Or was it the lack of coffee? Or gluten? Or..

Guess I’ll never know!

Ps – If you are a winner of my NuNaturals Stevia giveaway and you have not contacted me yet, please do so by Monday at noon. Otherwise, I will have to re-pick several winners! You can check here.

Detox: Day 1

The detox today was quite the success! I woke up and decided to forgo my usual coffee. I do not think that coffee is “bad for you” because we learned in Food Science that the effect that coffee has on our heath depends on our genetics. People who are fast metabolizers of caffeine (AKA can fall asleep in class soon after drinking 24 oz of light roast nectar) will not suffer ill effects from drinking coffee. Those who are slow metabolizers (people who are bouncing off the walls for hours after a small) may have an increased risk of heart attacks. While I am definitely a fast metabolizer of caffeine, I do think that it contributes to my constant state of mild dehydration. I could fix that by drinking enough water, but water is so borringggg.

Basically what I did for the detox was eliminate dairy, caffeine, and refined sugar and emphasize veggies, fruits, and whole grains in a series of mini meals. (Except I forgot there is some parmesan in my pesto…) The switch to mini meals was really different for me since I usually eat three big fatty meals a day. This way of eating, though, is a bit hard on the digestion. I prefer larger, more lavish meals over lighter, more numerous meals simply because they are more satisfying and usually have more complex flavors.

My number one beef with normal detoxes and “cleanses” is that they are usually essentially protein-free. I am not down with that. Eating or drinking only vegetables and fruits or weird spicy lemonade drinks is basically asking your body to please please burn off my muscle. Dietary protein is not stored in the body; our only sources of it are what we eat while it is still in our system and our own muscles. Every day, the cells of our muscles, hair, skin, everything turn over. We are constantly breaking down our muscles and rebuilding them. Sure, some of the protein that we broke down goes back, but some does not, and we need dietary protein to rebuild our cells every single day. So, to prevent muscle loss (and thus a slower metabolism!), I made sure I got enough protein through both complete sources and complementary sources.

First things first to get things movin':

1 mug of hot water with fresh lemon and ginger

Mini meal #1:

Superfood Smoothie Recipe

I have had this Vega stuff sitting in my kitchen for over a year now and have hardly used it. To be honest, it really does not taste very good. Very planty, with essence of earth. But the nutrition facts are out of this world and I like that it has lots of enzymes to help things along!

1 1/2 scoops vega vanilla chai powder

~3/4 cup frozen blackberries

a few drops NuNaturals vanilla stevia

handful ice

~3/4 cup almond milk

Directions – Blend away!

Mini meal # 2:

Fruit & spice infused bulgur cereal

 

Recipe: Serves 1

3/4 cup bulgur breakfast mix (recipe below)

~1/2 cup almond milk

handful pecans and walnuts, chopped

Directions – Pour the almond milk over the bulgur breakfast mix and heat in the microwave for about 20 seconds. Top with nuts.

Bulgur Breakfast Mix

Recipe: Makes 2-3 servings

1 cup bulgur

2 cups water

1/4 cup vanilla almond milk

a few drops NuNaturals vanilla stevia

1 tbsp dried cherries

1 tbsp dried blueberries

1 tbsp dried raisins

1/2 tbsp flax

1 tsp psyllium

cinnamon to taste (I also added a pinch of nutmeg)

Directions – Combine the water and bulgur in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 30 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid. Pour into tupperware and add the almond milk, dried fruit, flax, psyllium, and spices. Seal and let sit in the fridge overnight.

30 minute run!

Mini meal # 3:

Kale & Carrot Salad with Honey Sesame dressing 

 

I didn’t realize it at the time, but this was definitely inspired by Natalie!

Recipe: Serves 1

1/2 bunch kale

1 large carrot

handful shredded coconut, toasted

1/2 tbsp white sesame seeds

for the dressing -

1 tbsp tahini

1/2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1/2 tbsp coconut butter, melted

2 tsp honey

Directions – Heat the coconut oil and coconut butter in the microwave until melted, about 20 seconds. Mix all the ingredients together and let sit. Wash the kale and tear the leaves from the stalks into a bowl. Grate the carrot into the bowl. Toss with all of the salad dressing. Top with sesame seeds and shredded coconut.

Mini meal # 4:

4 hardboiled eggs  (minus a yolk or two)

1/2 slice of grain free banana bread (recipe to come!)

Bikram yoga class for the first time in a year!

Meal # 5:

Summer vegetable & white bean-quinoa salad with basil walnut pesto

 

 

Recipe: Serves 1

1/2 cup white beans, cooked

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked

1 small patty pan squash

1 small zucchini

1/4 small sweet onion

~2 tbsp basil walnut pesto (recipe here!)

Directions – Preheat the oven to 400. Slice the squash and zucchini and onion into small cubes and place on a baking sheet. Bake for one hour and remove the onion and zucchini. Bake the squash for an additional 30 minutes. Combine the quinoa, beans, and vegetables in a bowl and toss with the pesto. Enjoyyyy.

Mini meal # 6:

1/2 slice grain free banana bread

2 hardboiled eggs

Whew! I feel pretty darn good. ;)

My first WIAW!

Thank you to everyone who has entered the Stevia Giveaway so far. All of your blog and recipe suggestions are inspiring – I can’t wait to get working on them! Apparently, y’all have an obsession with cinnamon rolls…. If I undertake this, someone better make my recipe!

A Yes Woman update: Lately, I have upped the ante on being a Yes Woman. This may have come at the expense of my first week of Genes and Genetics, but meh! I did a lot of catching up over the weekend. In the last week or two, I have said Yes to:

a poetry open mic night

more rock climbing!

going to a farm and picking fruits and veg

(the fun was only slightly spoiled when my friend pointed out that we were doing for fun what others do for work…)

going out when I when I felt like being a hermit

trying a new restaurant

and last night?

salsa lessons!

That may all sound like fun and games, which it was, but I am not a good dancer. I love to dance and typically take a no fear-dont care if I look like an idiot approach, but that all goes out the window when it comes to a specific type of dance. If everyone is properly salsa-ing, waltzing, or two stepping, I don’t want to be the only one out there thats just shakin’ my hips and flailing my arms! So, I was a bit nervous to go to a salsa dance class last night, but my friend and I went and gave it a go! A Corona Extra with lime and a dash of salt mayyy have helped a tad…

But not nearly enough! We missed the first 5 or so minutes and tried to jump on in, but we weren’t able to catch up in time. After about 20 minutes (okay… probably more like 15), we gave up and went to a local trivia night downtown. Going to every trivia night in Davis is also on my Yes Woman list, so it was a win anyway!

And what did I have before my Corona? Allow my first What I Ate Wednesday to show you! I only photographed my meals, and not my snacks or spoonfuls of vanilla bean Talenti. I always get a bit bored when bloggers show the same picture of their hand holding an apple or a Larabar, so I figured I’d spare you.

Breakfast

A parfait of cottage cheese, Fiber One Honey cereal, cantaloupe, figs, and sliced almonds!

(accidently took the photos pre-almond-addition)

You don’t eat your breakfast out of a beaker too? What! Crazy.

It is actually a… souvenir from the death camp that was Biochemistry Lab last quarter. Don’t judge.

Lunch

worlds best Cobb salad!

Recipe:

shredded romaine, 2 slices of nuked bacon, 1 hard-boiled egg + 2 hard-boiled egg whites, tomatoes, cucumbers, a smattering of bleu cheese crumbles

all tossed with salt, pepper, and Annie’s Cowgirl Ranch dressing


Dinner

was a Whole Wheat or Bust classic – cheesy chicken enchiladas! No pictures though, I just wanted to enjoy my meal sans glass lens.

And that was…

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July from Lake Tahoe! This weekend has truly been a blessing. Carlyn and I drove to Tahoe early Friday morning to her parent’s new home on North Shore. It is the longest period of time I have been able to spend with her throughout our entire friendship. She is the busiest girl I know. She wants to be a vet and apparently getting into vet school is even harder than med and law school combined. I have to fight for a sliver of her time between her two jobs, internship, and school – so obviously spending an entire weekend with her and her fam has been extra special. We have gone hiking…

We have tanned…

We have eaten delicious food and made fresh mojitos…

And simply enjoyed the beauty around us..

In 4th of July spirit, I have a recipe that can easily be made red, white and blue! Just add a few red sprinkles or cherry chunks ;)

Vanilla Cashew Blueberry Cookies

sugar free but delish!

soo creamy

Recipe: Makes ~10 cookies

Dry ingredients – 

1/2 cup whole wheat white flour

1/2 cup NuNaturals baking blend stevia (can sub in sugar in equal quantities)

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cup blueberries

optional: dash cinnamon and/or tbsp brown sugar

Wet ingredients – 

1 tbsp butter, melted

3 tbsp cashew butter

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions – Preheat the oven to 350. Combine all the wet ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Combine all the dry ingredients in a separate bowl (except blueberries) and mix well. Add the dry ingredients to the wet bowl and mix with a spatula until well combined. Fold in blueberries. Take a spoonful of cookie dough, roll into a ball, and flatten onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes.

they were a hit –  literally gone in 10 seconds

Benefits:

Cashews * may help prevent gall stones and are a prime source of copper, tryptophan, magnesium, and phosphorous. Low copper intake can lead to anemia, osteoporosis, elevated LDL cholesterol (bad), and join problems. Inadequate magnesium can lead to muscle cramps (the kind that wake you up at night in agony), headaches, high blood pressure, and fatigue. While obviously high in fat, most of it is monounsaturated and may help lower triglyceride levels and reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.

Blueberries * have one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants of all fruits and veggies. Their anthocyanidins counteract free radicals, which damage cells and tissues. One study demonstrated that blueberries improve memory and learning capacity in aging animals. They also protect against all forms of cancer, especially colon and ovarian cancer.

Fresh recipes for summer!

Happy 4th of July weekend everyone! The week really flew by. Between classes, my internship, and being a Yes Woman, I feel like I have hardly sat down in the last 6 or so days. My internship at the fertility center has gotten much more stimulating lately. Even my busy work was fun this week. Instead of filing charts and alphabetizing papers, I got to handle ‘delinquent’ charts, which for whatever reason are lacking key information needed to close the chart. Basically, I got to call patients who completed treatment (in vitro fertilization or intrauterine insemination) and find out whether or not they gave birth and what the sex, name, and weight was. Luckily, everyone I called had a successful outcome and were now the parents of healthy, beautiful babies. Hearing the joy and pride in their voice as they told me little Alexa or Trevor was born on this or this day and weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces left me smiling for days. It was a good lesson in talking to patients on the phone and both keeping it professional, yet showing emotion and excitement for their new family addition. My other shift was even better: I got to watch 4 ultrasounds! At 8 weeks, you can hear the heartbeat  – and it is usually around 170 beats per minute. Crazy.

I need to research on my own and talk to the endocrinologist at the center more before going into details, but I have been meaning to share something he taught me with y’all for weeks now. As most of you are probably aware, foods have been labeled with a rating system called the Glycemic Index. Basically, a high GI food spikes blood sugar and a low GI food keeps blood sugar stable. The whole point of the glycemic index is to predict the body’s insulin response to a food. When we have high blood sugar, our body secretes insulin to make our cells suck it up from the blood. Insulin spikes cause a MASSIVE chain of events in the body and do many things, including promoting weight gain (and growth), and in the long term can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. So, people have been afraid of high GI foods for years now, but as it turns out the GI rating system is not always a good predictor of insulin response. For the most part, it is, but there are many exceptions. It thoroughly depresses me to report that yogurt (yes, including Greek yogurt) actually spikes insulin quite badly (more so than white bread) despite the fact that it is high protein and low GI. This is because whey and casein protein are insulin promotors. Some other proteins (like beef) appear to be low GI but actually have a higher insulin response than would be predicted. In contrast, some higher GI foods have lower insulin responses, like popcorn and brown rice and pasta.  Im not saying to stop or start eating anything, I just think it is good to be aware that the relationship between glucose response and insulin response is not so clear. Once I learn more and can make a better judgement about actual diet modifications related to insulin response, I will certainly share. For now, you can check out this cool chart comparing GI and insulin index ratings and an interesting blog post from a few years back (I don’t know about the accuracy of either).

I am currently in Tahoe with my girlfren Carlyn and am not cooking a single meal this weekend, but here are a few summer-inspired recipes I have been lovin’ on lately.

Blueberry Lemon Yogurt Pops

cool, refreshing & high protein!

Recipe: Makes 3-5 pops depending on mold

1 cup plain greek yogurt

3 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 cup blueberries (Rhythm and blueberries are the best, if you’re semi-local!)

NuNaturals liquid stevia, to taste

1/2 tsp lemon zest, very finely grated

3 tbsp heavy cream (optional)

Directions – Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix. Fold in blueberries. Divide mixture into popsicle molds and freeze.

Sesame-Sugar Snap Peas

such a filling, delicious snack

Recipe: Makes 1-2 servings

1 cup sugar snap peas

1/3 cup edamame, shelled

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp sesame seeds

dash salt

Directions – Lightly steam the snap peas and edamame (unless you prefer raw!). To do this the lazy way, simply add 1 tbsp of water to the veggies in a bowl and cover with a plate and microwave for about 10-15 seconds, until bright green. Drink the leftover water and pat dry! Toss with oil, seeds and salt. Enjoy!

World’s Best Honey Mustard Dressing

greens, snap peas, grilled parsnip, chicken, sunflower seeds, whole wheat panko

Recipe: Makes 2-3 servings

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tbsp greek yogurt

1/4 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/4 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp honey

1 egg yolk

1 drop stevia (or pinch sugar)

dash salt, to taste

Directions – Combine all in a dish and mix with a fork until homogenous. For the weird vinegar measurement, I simply used a 1/2 tbsp measuring spoon and filled it half way with apple cider vinegar and filled it to the top with white balsamic vinegar.

Just make sure you re-wash your pre-washed mixed greens!!!!

I came thissss close to eating the little guy. 

Q: How are you celebrating the 4th?

The breakfast pizza to end all breakfast pizzas.

I have my final final today for the quarter at 1pm. I will then rush on over to my internship until 5, maybe (but doubtfully) squeeze in a quick run or something, and then get ready for the celebratory festivities of the night! I am quite excited. Perhaps a little of this…

Little of that?..

the annual bar crawl

Either way, I need some substantial fuel for the day. I’ve been fiending for eggs lately (I just made up the stupidest joke regarding the fertility center I work at in my head), so I made the breakfast pizza to end all breakfast pizzas. 

come to Mama

This actually tastes like pizza. Mozzarella cheese, fresh basil (that I grew!), sun dried tomatoes, oregano, thyme, onions, spinach, perfection.

Italiano Supremo Breakfast Pizza

Recipe:c serves 1

1 egg + 3 large egg whites

2 tbsp onions

1 whole wheat tortilla

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

handful spinach

2 tbsp sun dried tomatoes

basil

oregano

thyme

garlic salt

Directions – Toast the tortilla until it is just firm enough to hold its shape. Place a pan on the stove on medium low heat and grease with 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, or however much you need to make sure it is very well greased (including the SIDES of the pan). Spread the onions in the pan. Crack the egg and egg whites into a bowl and mix well. Pour over the onions and cover. Don’t stir! Let cook until it is almost done and then add the cheese, tomatoes, spinach, basil, and spices. Recover. When the cheese is melted and the eggs are completely cooked, take a spatula and tease out the egg pancake. Try not to break it, but its fine if you do! Lay the entire egg pancake on top of the tortilla. Enjoy!

Benefits:

Tomatoes * also contain a LOT of vitamin A and C. Vitamin A is a potent antioxidant that has been shown in studies to reduce the effects of smoking. This does not mean it is okay to smoke, but if you do, it is a VERY good idea to make sure are getting lots of vitamin A daily. Tomatoes are also rich in lycopene, which has been proven to halt the growth of cancer cells!

Onion * Contains quercitin, an antioxidant that halts the growth of tumors! Also, studies have linked regular onion consumption with lower cholesterol and reduced risk of colon cancer. A prime source of chromium.

Eggs * the yolk is where all the nutrients are! It contains tryptophan, selenium, iodine, B vitamins, and phosphorous, many of which are necessary for optimal metabolism. The egg white has 6 grams of complete protein!

Basil * Has anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants called flavonoids. Flavonoids protect your cells from damage (and thus, in the long run, cancer).

Fun Fact

10 most purchased grocery items in America (in order) are:

soda, milk, bread, beer, salty snacks, cheese, frozen entrees, cereal, wine, cigs