All posts tagged 'healthy living'

Chocolate & Berry Protein Smoothie Bowl

Yummy-Chocolate-Berry-Smoothie-Bowl

Are you tired of the same old oatmeal? Does reaching for your go-to cereal box feel like a joyless act? Maybe it's time for a breakfast that will not only kickstart your morning with amazing nutrients but also make your taste buds sing!

If you're on Instagram or Pinterest, you know that smoothie bowls are the hip choice for breakfast ... and with good reason! Our culinary team focused all of their combined creative powers to come up with a seriously delicious smoothie bowl recipe. It's easy, it's fast and boy-oh-boy, is it satisfying! It may just be the perfect health snack. Make it for yourself or even, since Valentine's Day is only a week away, surprise your partner with this delectable bowl of velvety yumminess.

It's perfect for vegans and vegetarians who need extra protein in their diet. That's because our Chocolate Plant Protein is 100% plant-based, offering up a clean, nutrient-rich serving of proteins from our unique blend of pea, chia, pumpkin, hemp and quinoa. This premium supplement is gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free and grain-free, too! Just remember to use your favorite non-dairy milk!

Ingredients

  • 3 bananas, frozen
  • 2 scoops Life’s Abundance Chocolate Plant Protein
  • 1/4-1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 3/4 cup frozen berries of choice
  • 1 Tbsp. nut butter of choice
  • 1/8 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Toppings: Shredded coconut, nuts or seeds, cacao nibs, granola, banana slices and fresh berries

Directions

Add all ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend until creamy and smooth. Transfer to a bowl and add your favorite toppings. Serve chilled.

Protein-Smoothie-Bowl

Be sure to share this fun and simple recipe with friends and family! And if you create your own twist using different toppings, be sure to share your ideas and results in the comments section below!

Yummy Protein Zucchini Muffins

muffin-fresh-from-the-oven

Nothing's better than a warm, golden muffin fresh from the oven on a cold winter morning. The next time you get a powerful craving for muffins, don't use a cheap grocery store mix. Use your imagination! Our culinary experts tried several combinations of fruits and veggies before discovering a taste sensation that's a guaranteed palate pleaser. We don't mind telling you that this recipe was a serious hit with our co-workers at our home office.

Our bakery-worthy muffins are made from scratch, so you'll rack up some bragging rights for your incredible kitchen skills when you serve these to your friends and family. As it's written below, this recipe yields approximately 6-8 muffins. But you might even consider whipping up a double batch of these irresistible delights.

Be sure to share this inspired recipe with friends and family! And if you do your own twist on this recipe, using different fruits or vegetables, be sure to share your ideas and results in the comments section below!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup spelt flour
  • 1 scoop Life’s Abundance Vanilla Plant Protein
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 small zucchini, grated
  • 1 small ripe banana
  • 2 Tbsp. apple sauce, unsweetened
  • 2 Tbsp. light agave nectar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease 6 regular-sized muffin tins. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In medium bowl, mash bananas with a fork. Add remaining ingredients to the bananas and stir.

Add the wet mixture to the dry, stirring until just combined. Pour into muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating pan half way through. 

Protein-Zucchini-Muffin-is-served

Convenient Health Foods For Time-Strapped Eaters

convenient-health-foods-family

Most nutritionists encourage people to choose lean protein over fatty meats, and vegetables over french fries. But when it’s 6:45 p.m. and you’re staring down at a solid block of frozen chicken breast that you forgot to thaw overnight, the temptation to order pizza is strong. So strong.

Drive-through and fast-casual restaurants are in heavy rotation in many American homes. The truth is, we cook less than pretty much any other developed nation. But it’s to our own detriment, as a strong correlation exists between cooking at home and better nutrition. Among the main reasons we don’t cook? We just don’t have enough time. Fortunately, there is such a thing as a healthy convenience food! From the humble rotisserie chicken to a bag of mixed vegetables, these time-saving items are also super nutritious.

Rotisserie Chicken

Available at most supermarkets for well under the cost of a large hand-tossed Meat Lover's, these ready-to-serve birds make dinner a snap. Just add a side of vegetables and heart-healthy grains, and you’re good to go. One caveat: Some brands are heavy on salt, so either factor that into your choices for the rest of the day, or find a plain-cooked variety like those sold at higher-end grocery stores.

Frozen Fruits & Vegetables

Yeah, we feel pretty self-satisfied toting a basketful of fresh produce up to the checkout counter, too. But that quickly turns to guilt when we have to toss three-quarters of it in the trash a week later because "life happened." Chopping fruit and vegetables takes time we’d rather spend elsewhere, and the pre-prepped servings you’ll find at the store are often come with a significant markup. We’ve found our salvation a few aisles over, in the freezer section. Washed, cut and ready for action, frozen vegetables are the ultimate time-saver for stir-fry dishes, soups and sides. Or pop half a cup of frozen berries into the fridge overnight for a quick-and-delicious yogurt topper. Lest you worry that this convenience comes with diminished nutrition, know that frozen produce is processed at peak ripeness, and nowadays you can even find organic options in most supermarkets.

Prepackaged Oatmeal

We love a mason jar filled with elaborate overnight-oat concoctions as much as anyone, but when it comes to saving time and energy, there’s nothing like a single-serving packet of the instant stuff. The main advantage of traditional oats is their comparatively low glycemic index score (55 versus 70 for instant, which means they’re less likely to raise blood sugar). Whether you prepare your oatmeal the old-fashioned way with boiling water, or heat it in the microwave, within minutes you’ll have an fiber-, iron- and protein-rich bowl that’s delicious plain or with accoutrements. Just make sure to choose a brand without added sugar and sodium.

Canned Beans

Beans are near the top of many experts’ health-food lists, but by the end of a long day, the only thing we feel like soaking is our own bodies, in a hot bathtub, preferably within grasping distance of some dark chocolate. Good thing canned beans are nutritionally equivalent to dry beans, provided you choose products without added salt or sugar (or at least rinse them thoroughly to remove said salt or sugar). Canned beans make Meatless Mondays a snap. Simply mash them with a fork and spread them on a corn tortilla with melted cheese for a quick and tasty dinner. Simmer a can or two of black beans for 20-30 minutes in some pre-packaged broth along with a bag of frozen vegetables for an easy protein-filled soup. Or combine them with corn, olive oil and cilantro for a yummy side dish!

Canned Fish

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends we eat at least two servings of seafood a week. That might be easily achievable if you live on one of the coasts, but affordable fresh fish is harder to come by in many communities — and potentially labor-intensive to prepare regardless of where you live. Widely available canned tuna and salmon is already cooked and ready to eat or cook straight out of the tin. It’s also often cheaper than fresh while boasting the same high protein content and omega-fatty acid profiles. Mix it with salsa for a zesty sandwich topper or stir in plain Greek yogurt for a nutritious take on tuna or salmon salad. Or, if you’re feeling fancy, whip up a quick batch of five-ingredient salmon croquettes. #Drool.

How do you save time while eating well? Share your tips in the comments section below!

Sources

https://www.livescience.com/13930-americans-cook-obese.html
https://www.health.harvard.edu/nutrition/get-cooking-at-home
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749379714004000
https://www.kcet.org/food/grocery-store-economics-why-are-rotisserie-chickens-so-cheap
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/05/17/611693137/frozen-food-fan-as-sales-rise-studies-show-frozen-produce-is-as-healthy-as-fresh
https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/guide/glycemic-index-good-versus-bad-carbs#1
https://www.forksoverknives.com/why-should-we-eat-beans/#gs.oZn3KuU
https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/salmon-croquettes-recipe-1952311

Pumpkin Spice Protein Truffles

pumpkin-spice-truffles

Nothing says Halloween is just around the corner like the arrival of pumpkin season. Sadly, many of us never really enjoy the fruits of this versatile squash varietal. Amazingly, you can easily bake or boil your own pumpkin purée using the innards of your decorative jack o’ lanterns!

This October, instead of stocking up brightly colored, high-fructose-corn-syrup concoctions that can cause repeated sugar crashes that leave you feeling like an empty gourd, why not try an entirely new fall delicacy using pumpkin purée? We promise, there’s nothing terrifying - or tricky - about these tasty treats.

Sure to delight, nourish and leave you with a big, toothy grin on your face, this no-fuss, no-bake recipe will help banish the hobgoblins of low-blood sugar and in-between-meal cravings. And the perfectly balanced blend of spices will instantly transport you to fall memories of years past.

INGREDIENTS

1 1/4 cup oats
½ cup pumpkin purée
¼ cup coconut palm sugar
2 Tbsp. Life’s Abundance Vanilla Plant Protein
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 tsp. pumpkin spice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Unsweetened desiccated coconut or cinnamon to coat

DIRECTIONS

1. In a food processor or high-speed blender, pulse oats until a fine powder is achieved.
2. In a medium bowl, combine oat powder with remaining dry ingredients.
3. Fold in wet ingredients until evenly combined. The batter should be firm with just enough moisture to allow the coconut coating to stick (next step).
4. Use hands or a 1-inch scoop to make small dough balls. Roll balls until outside is smooth, coating in chopped coconut, cinnamon or topping of choice.
5. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week … even though they’ll never last that long because they’re just too darn delicious!

This recipe yields approximately two dozen 1-inch bites. Enjoy!

7 Common Causes of Chronic Headaches

tension-headache

Chances are, you've interacted with more than one person today who's suffering from a headache. There are likely a number of people reading this post right now who have a headache. That's because millions of Americans suffer from mild-to-intense headaches. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 20 people in the developed world suffer from chronic headaches on a daily basis.

For those who have more days per month with a headache than without, life starts to feel like an endurance test more than anything else. Between the pain, the throbbing and the pounding, folks with chronic headaches will begin to have difficulty concentrating. This lack of focus can prove quite dangerous, especially if your job puts you in hazardous situations.

If your headaches began all of a sudden and have lasted for three months or longer, you may be experiencing what experts refer to as New Daily Persistent Headaches (NDPH). Such head pain may grow or slack off in intensity, but they are constant. There are medications to provide relief for such round-the-clock headaches, as well as relaxation techniques and biofeedback which have had some success in treating NDPH's.

Do you or someone you know have chronic headaches? Here are seven common causes, along with some idea about how to remedy such triggers.

1. Medications
Some prescription medications may have the potential to trigger a headache. It may not be just one medication causing the problem, but rather an interaction between prescriptions or even over-the-counter medications. If you've recently switched up your prescription routine, and seen a corresponding increase in headaches, please consult with your doctor.

2. Stress & Anxiety
Stress can take a toll on you, and it's a common cause of tension headaches. If you can avoid stressful situations, great. If not, learning to cope with stress and be more chill could really help. If you're unfamiliar with breathing exercises, just Google it! They're easy to find online and take very little time and effort to yield results. Breathing and relaxation exercises may ease anxiety in stressful situations and prevent possible headaches. Just remember to breathe, relax and maybe take a stroll if your present environment is causing you undue stress.

bad-headache-day

3. Auditory & Visual Causes
Loud, repetitive sounds can definitely lead to bad headaches ... just ask anyone who has lived nearby a construction site. But it's not just super-loud sounds, even low levels of continuous noise can trigger head pain. Calming music playing over noise-cancelling headphones may help. Brightness from your computer screen, sunlight or overhead lights can ramp up the pain. Turning down your screen brightness, or simply switching your devices to night-mode, could make a significant difference.

4. Hormonal Changes
The sad truth is that women are more likely to suffer from chronic headaches than men. When estrogen levels drop, especially right before a period, you may be more likely to develop a headache. Keep track of your cycle in a journal or diary. By analyzing the data, you may be better able to plan for future headaches. We recommend that you share your diary with your doctor, especially if the patterns indicate a correlation between your cycle and chronic headaches.

headaches-ruin-perfect-days

5. Poor Posture
Believe it or not, but your parents were right. Maintaining good posture can have a noticeable effect on your health. This is no laughing matter, especially for those of us who spend a lot of time looking down at our phones (text neck, it's a thing). Whether you're in your office chair or on your couch at home, sit up straight and raise your device to eye level to keep your blood flowing. Be sure to get up and move around every so often, especially if you spend hours hunched over your desk. Just as it is important to be aware of your posture during the day, you should also be mindful of your body position when you sleep. Don’t sleep in an strangely contorted position - especially in a cold room – as this can lead to painful muscle spasms. No one enjoys waking up in excrutiating pain, especially if you're already sleep-deprived, so take this suggestion to heart!

6. Too Little or Too Much Exercise
Since Ancient Greek times, thinkers and philosophers have cautioned us with variations on the phrase, "moderation in all things." Both physical over-exertion and not getting sufficient exercise can increase your risk for headaches. If you're leading a mostly sedentary life now and plan to begin an exercise routine, just be sure to start things off slow at the gym. Pushing too hard can result in an exertion headache from the swelling of blood vessels in your head, neck and scalp. To avoid such a scenarios, talk to your doctor before beginning or revising any exercise regimen.

7. Poor Nutrition
Food and drink release neurotransmitters, which can cause headaches in some people. Such triggers include aspartame, caffeinated beverages, chocolate, alcohol (especially red wine), cheese and others. Skipping meals or eating junk foods can deprive your body of sorely needed nutrition. Doctors recommend focusing on a healthy balanced diet, with a good mixture of slow-release energy foods (taken in small, evenly spaced meals) and limiting your intake of refined sugars. To ensure that you're getting all of the nourishment you need, we encourage you to check out our selection of premium health supplements. Each innovative product was carefully formulated with registered dietitian, healthy cooking expert and author Keri Glassman, founder and president of Keri Glassman, Nutritious Life.

Word of caution ... if you have eliminated all of these potential causes as the trigger of your head pain, be aware that there are other serious causes that can lead to a sudden headache. You should make an appointment with your doctor right away. GP's may order imaging tests - such as an MRI or a CT scan - to rule out more serious conditions that require immediate treatment.

Have you discovered a way to overcome your chronic headaches? We're interested to learn how. Please leave your helpful tips in the comments section below!

7 Tips to Help You Sleep Like a Baby

perfect-night-sleep

Are you one of the millions of Americans who tosses and turns every night? It might be that, without even realizing it, you’re breaking the cardinal rules of sound sleep.

Stress, lack of exercise, poor diets and more play a significant role in insomnia. But since those are all “big things” to deal with, we’re focusing on low or no-cost, simple strategies you can try tonight to help you sleep like a baby. Here are seven simple adjustments you can make in your nighttime routine to help you drift off quickly and slumber more soundly.

Think Herbal. People all over the world have been using herbal remedies to get a good night’s sleep. Melatonin is produced naturally by the body, but if your schedule’s out of whack, taking a melatonin supplement can prove beneficial. Additionally, valerian has been used for centuries as a remedy for various sleeping disorders.

Be Comfy. There’s really no understating the importance of a quality mattress and pillows. Also, discover your perfect sleep temperature, which according to experts is between 60-67 degrees. 

Turn Off Your Screens. When you’re in bed, the light from your phones, tablets and laptops can seriously affect your circadian rhythms. That’s because these devices emit light that’s on the blue end of the visible spectrum, which can make it harder to fall asleep. If you can’t give up your devices, be sure to use “night mode” to avoid disruptive lighting. Some believe that the electromagnetic interference from these devices can cause sleep deprivation, so it’s better not to sleep by a charging device.

expose-your-feet

Mind Your Feet. Have you ever woken to find at least one foot exposed? Though we’re not exactly sure why this tip works – most connect it to your body’s unconscious desire for a cooler temp – some find that leaving one or both feet uncovered will actually help you drift off faster.

Eat & Drink for Sleep. Everyone knows, don't eat a big meal before bedtime. Same goes for not eating, as your body has built-in protections against hunger which manifests as discomfort. And lay off the caffeine and alcohol. Even if you don’t feel jittery, caffeine’s effects can last for hours. While a nightcap might make you feel sleepy, it has a seriously negative effect on your body’s ability to remain soundly asleep.

Embrace Ritual. To prepare your body for sleep, adopt a new ritual! Having a regular task – like reading, listening to calming music or a hot bath – can be an unconscious signifier to your body that it’s time to enter “sleep mode”. Drinking herbal tea or warmed milk with honey is easy, quick, and not to mention, tasty.

Be Predictable. Champion sleepers swear by sleep schedules, allocating no more than eight hours for sleep (healthy adults typically require at least seven hours). Again, keeping to the same schedule will subconsciously train your body to sleep when you’re ready.

If you’re still having trouble sleeping after trying these tips, we advise that you speak with your physician.

Have you found a reliable solution to your insomnia? Be sure to leave your personal insights in the comments section below!

3 Easy Fitness Tips

summer-freedom

It’s right about that time of the year, when you can’t go on Facebook or Instagram without being inundated with advice on how to get ‘bikini body ready’ or ‘fit for the summer’. Upping your fitness and improving your nutrition are absolutely goals to strive for. However, for some people, there is a fair amount of stress that comes along with this ... especially at this time of year. You might get swayed into thinking that a one-week hardcore cleanse is finally the magic bullet to getting into the jeans you’ve always dreamed of, or think that going from 0 to 100 with your workout schedule will be the answer to your physique prayers. And, year after year, you’re reminded that it’s not quite so simple. However, there are a few strategies you can use to improve your fitness routine and eating habits so that they will transform into lifelong positive lifestyle changes.

Here are three ways to improve your fitness, overall health and your fun this summer.

1. Play Like a Kid. I’m not talking about breaking out the legos and action figures, but getting outside and mixing it up! Getting away from your regular 20-minute walk on the treadmill will make exercise accessible and fun. Join your kids in a volleyball game in the backyard. Add a jump rope progression into your weight routine. Turn on music the next time you’re doing a deep clean of the house and work up a sweat. Take the leap and join the recreational basketball team you meant to sign up for last summer. When you get creative in your thinking, you can find a good workout almost anywhere.

greek-recipes

2. Eat Like a Greek. The summer is the perfect time to improve your diet, as loads of fruits and veggies are coming into their peak season. It’s also the perfect time to adopt a mostly Mediterranean Diet, which is inspired by traditional Greek and Italian diets. It emphasizes plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, plenty of extra-virgin olive oil and fresh fish. True followers focus on eating seasonally although depending on where you live, the seasonal foods available may not exactly be those that are available near the Mediterranean. How you eat also matters: preferably with friends and family while enjoying red wine and each other’s company. So when you’re making your meals, think tons of fresh veggies, some fruit, whole grains like brown rice, beans and nuts. Fish and chicken are key, especially flavored with fresh herbs and spices. Dairy is included occasionally - in the form of fresh cheeses and yogurt - as are eggs. While pasta is a staple, it’s usually consumed in small portions at the start of a meal and freshly prepared. Picture a vibrant Greek salad with greens, juicy tomatoes, cucumbers and feta tossed in EVOO and herbs, then topped with a piece of grilled chicken or fish. Yummers!

3. Drink Like a Fish. I mean water in this case, although throwing a mocktail or healthy cocktail into the mix wouldn’t hurt, either. If plain water becomes too yawn-worthy to you, mix it up by adding a scoop of Minerals & Antioxidants to up the flavor, nutritional profile, and overall benefit. Drinking enough water throughout the day can help with weight loss, improved moods, more energy and clearer skin. Liquids may also help move food through your digestive tract smoothly, so your water intake could actually prevent bloating and constipation. Score! With all that it has going for it, it definitely makes sense to keep up with the sipping before, during and between meals. 

Open yourself up to fun and start living your best life!

Keri Keri Glassman, MS.RD.CDN

For more info:

http://nutritiouslife.com/olive-oil-vs-coconut-oil-healthier
http://nutritiouslife.com/spices-health-benefits
https://nutritiouslife.com/recipes/greek-salad
https://nutritiouslife.com/drink-up/low-sugar-cocktails-delicious
http://nutritiouslife.com/do-i-really-need-to-be-drinking-water-to-lose-weight
http://nutritiouslife.com/8-food-tips-for-glowing-skin

Six Principles of Eating Clean

Clean-breakfast

Everything old is new again, as is common with all sorts of trends, but now Millenials are seeking out a simpler, more nourishing philosophy of food. Thanks to their renewed commitment to health, the principle of "eating clean" has found a home in this demographic. And, for some of their parents as well.

Eating clean is a new way of referring to a relatively longstanding mindset. In the 1960's, the natural food movement rejected processed foods, which were wildly popular at the time, not for health reasons, but rather for ethical ones. Today, it's about choosing more nourishing options than those offered by giant corporations that use unrecognizable chemical ingredients.

The whole idea behind eating clean is a reliance on healthy, whole and unprocessed food. Rather than counting calories, or restricting oneself to one kind of food (like, for instance, only those low in carbohydrates), this guiding philosophy is more a lifestyle, a consciousness about what qualifies as nutritious. Those who practice it find that it gives you more energy, and because it's flexible and thus adaptable, regardless of your unique routine. For our modern times, where people generally feel pressed for time and always in need of quality fuel to burn, it's the perfect fit.

Colorful-salad

To adopt the "eating clean" mindset, you won't have to keep up with complex formulas or calculations. Fortunately, you'll only need to understand six essential principles of this dietary philosophy, as follows ...

1. Stop eating processed foods in favor of whole, natural foods. A simple rule to remember is that if it comes in a box, can or brightly colored packaging, it's probably processed. Your grocery cart should be full of color, but only natural colors - fruits, veggies, nuts ... you get the idea.

2. Just say "no" to refined foods. Obviously, it takes a great deal of effort to do this 100% of the time, but committing to a daily intake of whole grains from sources like brown rice, quinoa, amaranth and millet is definitely the way to go. And don't forget legumes and beans, as they're great vegetarian sources of protein. You'll also want to end your consumption of high fructose corn syrup, opting instead for sugars from maple syrup, honey and dehydrated sugar cane juice.

3. Say "goodbye" to meals with huge portions. Instead, spread out your consumption with 5-6 small meals evenly spaced throughout your day. These meals don't have to be all exactly the same size. A less drastic change for people who are accustomed to eating breakfast, lunch and dinner is to have three primary meals with small snacks in between. By adopting the small-snack strategy, you'll be less inclined to overeat at your main meals. Additionally, you'll find that spacing out your meals and snacks will help keep your energy up and your blood sugar levels even.

Fruit-salad

4. Every meal should include proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Most Americans don't need to be told to consume carbs and fats, but we often fall short when it comes to protein intake. Not only is protein essential for healthy muscles, it's great for curbing your appetite. Like with almost anything in life, balance is key.

5. Don't overdo it when it comes to the consumption of sugar, fat and salt. Don't worry, it's not that difficult when you eliminate processed foods from your diet. As you live with your new mindset, you'll soon find this is true, because clean foods are typically low in all of these ingredients.

6. Remember to move your body. Just as important as consuming clean foods is using that fuel to power regular physical activity. Establishing an exercise habit may be challenging at first, but within just a few weeks, it'll become second nature. Not only will you feel better, you'll sleep better too! And when you're burning that healthy fuel, you'll be decreasing your body's store of fat while also building your muscles. Soon, you'll be burning more energy even when you're resting, with the added benefit of improving your heart, lung and bone health, too!

We hope you'll start adopting some of these super healthy clean food attitudes and habits. We guarantee that once you commit to living healthier, you'll be able to enjoy the fruits of clean eating.

World's Best Dairy-Free Cheesecake

LA-cheesecake

It’s raw. It’s vegan. And it’s impossibly delicious.

Our culinary artist has created a taste sensation that puts other cheesecake recipes to shame! What’s so amazing is that’s it’s dairy-free and packed with nutrients, thanks to our incredibly nourishing Vanilla Plant Protein.

Using muffin tins, makes 36 mini or 12 full-size cheesecakes.

Ingredients

CRUST
•1 cup packed pitted dates*
•1 cup raw walnuts (or almonds)

FILLING
•1 1/4 cups raw cashews, quick-soaked**
•1 large lemon, juiced (scant 1/4 cup)
•3 Tbsp Life’s Abundance Vanilla Plant Protein (about 1/2 scoop)
•1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
•1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk (recommend skimming ‘cream’ layer off)
•1/2 cup liquid sweetener of choice (agave, maple syrup or honey if not vegan)

FLAVOR ADDITIONS optional
•2 Tbsp salted natural peanut butter
•1/4 cup wild blueberries (allow to thaw slightly if frozen)
•3 Tbsp caramel sauce
•Lemon peel, fruit, chocolate or crushed nuts

Directions

1. Add dates to a food processor and pulse several times until only small bits remain and form into a ball. Remove and set aside.
2. Add walnuts to food processor and pulse 5 times to create a meal texture. Add dates to walnut meal and pulse until a loose dough forms. Add more dates if the texture is too dry. If too wet, add more walnut meal.
3. Lightly grease your muffin tin, either standard or mini-size.
4. Scoop in a dollop of crust (about 1 T for standard tin, 1-1.5 tsp. for mini). Press is down using a small glass or the back of a spoon. A shot glass works perfectly for mini tins. If it sticks, cover the glass with parchment. Place in freezer to firm up crusts.
5. Add all filling ingredients to a blender and mix until creamy smooth. Add a bit more liquid (either lemon juice, sweetener or coconut milk) if the mix fails to blend uniformly.
6. Taste and adjust as needed. If you opt to use additional flavoring to the filling, blend in now. Leave aside any toppings for now.
7. Divide filling evenly among the muffin tins. Tap a few times to release air bubbles. Add any toppings, then cover with plastic wrap and freeze until solid, about 4-6 hours.
8. Once set, remove by loosening with a butter knife.
9. Serve frozen or thawed. You can store these cheesecakes in the freezer for up to 1-2 weeks … not that they’ll last that long!

Notes

*Soak in warm water for 10 minutes if they’re not very sticky. Drain well and pat dry before using.
**To quick-soak cashews, pour boiling water over them and allow to soak for 1 hour uncovered. Drain well before using.

Top 5 Not-So-Healthy Trends

questionable-resolutions

Our immediate way of life calls for quick results in almost everything we do. The general rule is “Gimmie a quick and effective hack and I’m there.” Those who lead way too busy lives don’t have time to research the latest and greatest on nutritional science. As a result, the big headlines are often very enticing, but the problem is that a lot of nutritional advice goes to extremes. So before you go all out on that “I really mean it this time, I have to lead a healthier life in 2018” resolution, check out these five not-so-healthy trends. Don’t worry, we’ll make it fast and simple!

#1 Extreme Dieting: It’s time to think of the word ‘diet’ as a noun. It’s something everyone has, not something you do, or can ‘be on.’ Severely limiting calories or following a strict plan consisting of only a few foods or even liquids in the hopes to lose weight is not a sustainable way to work your way to health. While you can lose weight following one of these plans, it often throws people into the bad habits of yo-yo dieting. Depriving your body from the adequate nutritional fuel it needs to run properly can have some pretty negative results like mood swings, lack of energy, brain fog, dull skin, slowed metabolism, constipation and bloating. Yuck! Making small, positive changes to your diet over time can help you lead a healthier lifestyle, and reach your health goals, without going to extremes.

#2 Gluten-Free Eating, Just Because: Over the past several years, “gluten-free” went from a medical recommendation to a health fad to, sometimes, a marketing ploy. The truth is, whether going gluten-free is a good choice for you depends on factors like how your individual body digests gluten and your lifestyle. Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. There’s no doubt that those diagnosed with this disease as well as those with gluten sensitivities and wheat allergies should avoid foods that contain gluten. However, many health care professionals advise against a gluten-free diet unless it’s absolutely necessary because whole grains containing gluten like wheat, rye and barley are linked to reduced risks of diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases. In other words, for healthy people, they’re healthy, and avoiding them can actually introduce more ingredients into your diet that you should actually be avoiding, like added sugar.

#3 Cutting Out Fats: Let’s finally put to bed the thought that eating fat makes you fat. The days of low-fat or reduced-fat are behind us. Often, the products that have the fat removed have other filler ingredients added, and are often higher in sugar! Fat doesn’t make you fat! Fats are satiating and help you feel more satisfied after a meal, meaning you need less to feel full. Healthy fats like omega-3s also offer so many benefits, like brain and heart health. Whole milk greek yogurt? We’re for it!

#4 Supplement Supersizing: Adding a good nutritional supplement to your diet is a positive move, but more is not necessarily better, especially when it comes to fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K. Taking excess amounts of these vitamins can potentially lead to overaccumulation, toxicity and other negative side effects. As for water soluble vitamins? Any excess will simply be excreted in your urine. 

#5 All Raw, Vegan Diet: Adding raw fruits and vegetables to your daily diet is a smart move. However, adhering to this strict regimen can be risky because an all raw, vegan diet can often be lacking in important nutrients like vitamin B12, which can cause fatigue, constipation and appetite loss. It also often lacks calcium, an important nutrient for bone health, and vitamin D, a nutrient associated with many health-promoting benefits.

Okay, so this may not be exciting advice, but good common sense is really all that you need to make good choices when it comes to your diet. As we all know, any ‘quick fix’ diet or health trend is not the answer to better health. Focusing on real whole foods that are minimally processed, and incorporating lots of vegetables, fruit, lean proteins (and did we mention vegetables?!) into your diet can help you work your way to better health!

Keri Keri Glassman, MS.RD.CDN