Salmon with Lemon, Dijon and Dill

marinade salmon

Salmon is one of my favorite go-to weeknight mains – it doesn’t take long to marinate, it cooks quickly and as a bonus I can save a dose of my Omega-3 supplements… The main reason I cook it during the week though is it’s not something I usually order out. I’m going to try to say this without sounding like a giant food snob, but most salmon served in restaurants is farm-raised, which means it ate GMO corn and soy, was injected with dye to make it pink and doesn’t have near the Omega-3s it should. It can also be higher in mercury. I sound horrible, don’t I? But you know, when you start connecting the dots between what you put in your mouth and how you feel in your body you take this stuff a lot more seriously! I always say, eat like your life depends on it… because it does! What’s scarier is GMO corn and soy and food dye could one day be the least of our worries if frankenfish become a real thing. Yikes!

So then you can imagine how excited I was to see wild Pacific-caught salmon on just about every menu I opened on our California road trip last month. I must have had salmon four times that week. And holy… was it good. I swear, looking at the ocean while I ate it made it taste even better. When I shop for salmon, Pacific is what I look for because it’s less exposed to mercury so has lower concentrations of the toxic metal that can be a concern in larger fish. I can usually find it at the store either fresh or frozen. Wild is a bit pricer so to help offset the cost you can always opt for frozen which is usually less expensive. That’s typically how I buy my fish anyway. It’s easy enough to thaw and, hello, we live in Texas; most of the fish behind that glass was frozen not to long ago too….

Salmon is one of the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acid, an essential nutrient our body needs to regulate inflammation. Omega-3 is something to be conscious about adding to your diet if you have any sort of pain, stiffness or swelling. People who suffer from joint pain report great results and relief (myself included) from supplementing with fish oil and other Omega-3 supplement sources like cod liver oil and krill oil. It’s also been shown to help reduce the risk  of heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Of course it’s always best to get your nutrients from your food, that’s why I try to have salmon at least once or twice per week. And this recipe is one of my all time favorites. I love the combination of dill and mustard. I know it sounds like dressings for a hamburger but I suppose there’s a reason those condiments just work so dang well together.

This is great with sautéed vegetables like dark leafy greens, squash, zucchini and onion. Or for something a bit lighter you could serve on top of a spinach salad with fresh raw, thinly sliced veggies like carrot, celery and radish. Enjoy!

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ingredients

saute salmon

Salmon with Lemon, Dijon and Dill

Ingredients

2 wild Sockeye salmon filets
1 lemon, juiced
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
a couple sprigs of dill, minced
2 tsp dijon mustard
sea salt
black pepper

Directions

To marinate salmon, place salmon filets in a glass container or gallon-sized plastic bag. Combine lemon, olive oil, dill, dijon, salt and pepper and then pour marinade over salmon. Mix well to coat the salmon filets and then set aside in fridge to marinate at least 30 minutes.

When ready to cook, heat a skillet over medium heat. Pour salmon and marinade into skillet and cook salmon 4 minutes on each side.

Serve with sautéed spring vegetables like zucchini, squash, asparagus, peas, etc.

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4th of July Berry & Coconut Yogurt Parfait

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I couldn’t let one of my favorite holidays go by without making something festive to contribute to the red, white and blue section of the blogosphere. This little treat is almost too simple to warrant a recipe or a post but really isn’t simple just what you need on a holiday that’s all about being outside with great friends and family? Then again, making something a little more challenging is always fun too.

These berry and coconut yogurt parfaits are just sweet enough for a light dessert and look festive without even trying. I’m really wishing all of our kitchen stuff wasn’t in storage right now because I have the most perfect cocktail glasses that these parfaits would look beautiful in. They’d also be cute in little 2 oz shot glasses if you happen to have a collection of those. Otherwise a small glass or clear plastic cup will do – I say glass or clear so that you can see the pretty layers.

Leftovers make a delicious and healthy breakfast too (love it when that happens), especially with some added ground flax and walnuts – one of my favorite yogurt breakfast combos that adds a hearty dose of omega-3s and fiber. Not that this treat isn’t healthy on it’s own. Berries are one of the best sources of antioxidants to protect your DNA, and your skin and hair too. They’re good inflammation fighters as well.

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strawberries

Side note… On our California Highway 1 road trip last week we pulled over for some fresh-picked organic strawberries at a farm stand after driving past miles and miles of strawberry fields being hand picked by workers. Gotta say, I have a whole new appreciation for how we get these little gems. And my god were they the sweetest, juiciest strawberries I’ve ever had. Ever. I mean it; they were candy. Here I am in front of the “you-can-pick” olallieberries. We didn’t have time for that so we just took the pre-picked berries and hit the road in our Mustang convertible (hence the head scarf).

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coconut yogurt

These parfaits use coconut yogurt which is a fantastic alternative to traditional yogurts for those that can’t tolerate dairy or are trying to avoid cow’s milk products. It’s  sweeter and a lot less tart than dairy yogurts too which makes it good for desserts. I buy the So Delicious brand and opt for plain. Then you can flavor it however you want with fruits like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cherries or peaches. It’s much fresher tasting that way and you can skip the added sugar and natural flavorings.

So there you have it – what just might be the simplest dessert for the 4th. I hope your Independence Day is as sweet, juicy and full of life as these little treats. Happy 4th!

parfaits

4th of July Berry & Coconut Yogurt Parfait

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

1 pint coconut yogurt
1 pint blueberries
1 pint strawberries, chopped

Directions

In a small glass or plastic cup, place a layer of berries (you can do either just strawberries or blueberries, or mix them together) then top with a layer of coconut yogurt. Then add another layer of berries and top with yogurt. Continue alternating layers until you reach the top and make the last layer of berries.

 

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Almond Butter Cups

almond butter cups

There’s something about rainy days that makes me want to hide in my house and play in the kitchen. Anyone else? A few weeks ago we got a real soaker on a Sunday and inspiration struck I saw these on Pinterest. I’d been wanting to make homemade Reese’s (with a few tweaks) for awhile and here was my opportunity. They’re Ross’ absolute favorite and I have to admit… I’ve sort of missed them ever since I changed my diet.

You know that urge you get to just be bad? Usually when it comes on I try to get my rebellious fix in other ways like deleting emails, Netflixing in bed and machine washing dry-clean only clothes (be careful with this one!) rather than sacrificing how great I feel when I stick to my anti-inflammatory lifestyle. But in this moment I just wanted chocolate. So, I’ve learned the trick to splurging a little without feeling like the train has completely left the tracks is being prepared and making homemaking little treats like these guys to stock away for those just-gotta-have-it kind of days.

These almond butter cups are rich, decadent and have plenty of sweetness. They’re a treat no doubt, but splurging with one of these bad boys is a much better option than what’s in that orange package. These are made with just four simple ingredients that are nutrient rich. Heck, cacao powder and coconut oil are even considered super foods meaning their among the most nutrient dense foods you can eat.  And there’s none of that other questionable stuff and a lot less sugar too.

So, go ahead, make a bunch and store them in the freezer for when you just need a little somethin’ somethin’. You can thank me later. ;)

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chocolate

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Almond Butter Cups

Ingredients

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
4 tbsp maple syrup
almond butter

Directions

In a sauce pan heat coconut oil over medium heat. Once melted, remove from heat. Stir in maple syrup and cacao powder until you have a smooth chocolate sauce.

Line 12 mini muffin cups with paper liners. Drizzle chocolate sauce in the bottom of the cups just enough to coat the base. Place in freezer about 10 minutes to set. Spoon a small amount – about 1/2 tsp size – almond butter into each cup. Cover with the rest of the chocolate sauce filling cups to the top. Return tin to freezer and allow to set at least another hour or two. Store in freezer or fridge.

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Turkey Tacos

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As much as I love to cook, this time of year I just want to fix something quickly so we can get on to more fun things… like going for a walk, relaxing on the patio or planning our California road trip we have on the calendar in June. Summer (especially these early few weeks before it really heats up in Texas) is no time to be slaving away in a kitchen. That’s why there are grills. And gorgeous fresh produce that’s even better raw.

These turkey tacos are a perfect summer dinner. They’re quick – like 15 minutes quick. And using romaine instead of tortillas give them an even fresher, crisper taste. Top them with your favorite fixins. We usually keep it simple with fresh avocado, cilantro and tomato. You could always go even more low maintenance with your favorite store-bought salsa. Or take it to a whole new level with your own salsa creation…maybe something with mango or peach?

In the name of keeping things simple for summer, I’m making this one short and sweet…and going for a walk. Happy Summer, everyone!

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Turkey Tacos

Ingredients

1 tbsp virgin coconut oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp chili powder
1 lb organic ground turkey
1 head romaine, leaves seperated
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 lime, cut into wedges

Directions

Heat skillet over medium heat and add coconut oil. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and spices; stir and cook another minute. Add ground turkey and cook until cooked through and lightly browned.

To serve, spoon turkey into romaine leaf and top with tomato, avocado and cilantro. Finish with a squeeze of lime.

 

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Seeduction Muffins

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I used to be obsessed (I mean, obsessed) with this bread at Whole Foods called Seeduction bread. It’s the heartiest, nuttiest (or seediest) bread I think I’ve ever had and it’s so so tasty. If you’re not avoiding gluten or grains, I highly recommend it on pure taste alone. You know those breads that are light and fluffy and are actually more air than bread? This is not one of those breads. You know what I mean, right? Have you ever taken a piece of regular white or wheat bread and tried rolling it up into a tiny little ball? If you haven’t done this before with conventional bread, try it. Do it with your kids, it’s tons of fun. You see, most conventional breads on the shelves don’t have much to them and are actually more air and sugar than whole grain. To make sure you’re getting something of substance when shopping the bread aisle, look for the words 100% whole grain; the first ingredient listed should be whole grain, not whole wheat. Whole wheat is tricky. That phrase could still mean that the grain has been processed to separate the bran from the starch. With 100% whole grain, you can be sure you’re getting the nutrition of the whole grain and not just the starch – which to your body is pretty much just sugar.

It’s been about three years since I’ve had a real piece of bread. People ask me, do I miss it? And, you know, I really don’t most of the time. It’s funny how you adjust and adapt to a new way of eating and before you know it it’s just the new norm. But one day I saw that seeduction bread and I had to have it. So I decided to try making my own gluten-free, grain-free version… I got inspiration from one of my favorite blogs – My New Roots. Sarah B. has what she calls her Life Changing Loaf of Bread which gave me inspiration for my own seeduction bread – or muffins. And they’re every bit as hearty and delicious as the one Whole Foods makes.

More Fiber, Please
Without flour, grains or gluten, you may be wondering what’s holding all those seeds together here? It’s a little trick with one super ingredient: psyllium seed husk. Psyllium seed husk comes from a plant and is extremely high in soluble fiber. You may have seen or used it yourself mixed with water as a supplement to, you know, get things moving. Psyllium seed husk’s fibrous qualities happen to make it a good substitute in gluten-free baked goods as well because it works to bind ingredients together.

Like other foods high in soluble fiber, psyllium seed husk is thought to be effective in lowering cholesterol and controlling certain types of diabetes. Look for whole psyllium seed husk or psyllium seed husk powder. A little bit goes a long way, you’ll notice in this recipe it only uses 2 tablespoons.

To get the full benefit of adding the extra fiber from psyllium to your diet, be sure to drink plenty of water too.

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Seeduction
These muffins have five different seeds in them, all with their own health benefits. There’s a healthy mix of Omega-6s and Omega-3s, two essential fatty acids we must get from food while making a conscious effort to maintain the right balance of the two. Most seeds and nuts are higher in Omega-6 which promotes inflammation in the body. When our ratio of Omega-6 far outweighs the amount of Omega-3s we’re getting in our diets – which is usually the case – we end up with way too much inflammation that can end up as the basis for ailments and disease. The key is to make sure you’re getting plenty of Omega-3 fats as well from plant-based foods like flax and chia seeds, walnuts and greens, as well as animal sources like wild salmon and other seafood. Staying away from processed foods and foods prepared with refined seed oils like sunflower, safflower and canola also helps keep your Omega-6 count in check.

I am sort of obsessed with pumpkin seeds. I love adding them to salads or just snacking on them all by themselves. For salads and snacks, I love Go Raw’s sprouted pumpkin seeds. Sprouted seeds and nuts are easier to digest because the sprouting process neutralizes inhibitors and releases enzymes that are dormant when raw. Once a seed is sprouted, it becomes alive all the nutrition packed into that tiny little seed gets activated. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of manganese, magnesium, zinc and iron.

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Just the Flax
We know flax seeds are one of the best plant based sources of Omega-3 fat but that’s not the only reason to add these golden flecks to your baked goods and smoothies. Flax seeds are high in antioxidants and have been associated with the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and decreased insulin resistance. Flax seeds are also a the No. 1 source of lignans which are another type of antioxidant and phytoestrogen. Sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are high in lignans as well.

Flax seeds should always be ground first before consumed so that they can be more easily digested and absorbed. Because of the delicate nature of the oils in flax seeds, ground flax has a much shorter shelf life. So, as a general rule it’s always better to purchase whole flax and grind it yourself. You can store both in the fridge or freezer for a longer shelf life.

I usually grind mine with my Magic Bullet, but a regular ol’ coffee grinder or food processor will work too. In fact for this recipe I pulsed all of the seeds individually in the Magic Bullet and then added them to the mixing bowl one by one. In this recipe, you pulse each just enough to get a coarse chop, but not pulverize completely. The result is a hearty seed mix that’s still crunchy.

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Seeduction Muffins

Ingredients

2 tbsp psyllium husk powder
1 1/2 cup water
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
2 tsp sea salt
3 tbsp virgin coconut oil, melted
dash of stevia

Directions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a small bowl, combine psyllium husk powder and water and stir. Set aside – after about 5 minutes it will for a thick gel. Meanwhile, place all seeds in a food processor and pulse a few times to coarsely chop. Transfer seeds to a large bowl and add salt, stevia and coconut oil. Stir to combine evenly.

By now the psyllium husk and water should be thick. Add the melted coconut oil to mixture and stir. Pour the liquid into your seed mixture and mix it up well. Cover and set aside for an hour – this allows the seeds time to absorb some of the liquid and the dough will become firmer. (Note: This step does make for a better end product, but you can skip it if you are pressed for time.)

Grease your muffin pan with coconut oil and then spoon the dough into the pan, filling each muffin slot to the top. Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour.

Recipe yields 24 mini muffins or 12 regular muffins.

The Megg Salad Store

You may have noticed a few of the food items listed above are linked. These links take you to the new Megg Salad Store on Amazon.com. I’ve pulled together many of my favorite ingredients, food products, books and tools and organized them in a convenient little online store for you. I get asked all the time for product and brand recommendations so I decided to create a place where you can easily find the items I recommend and use in my own kitchen. Full disclosure: As an affiliate of Amazon I receive a small percentage of any sale made from my website.

The store will be available on meggsalad.com shortly… just as soon as I can figure out how to add it. Any WordPress whizzes out there? :)

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Breakfast Week!

breakfast puns

Get excited! It’s breakfast week on the meggsalad.com Facebook page. I’ll be sharing my all time favorite good and good for you breakfast recipes everyday this week. If you don’t eat breakfast or are confused about what to eat in the morning, or if you’re just plain bored with your a.m. routine, you won’t want to miss these delicious healthy breakfast recipes…

So, hop on over to the meggsalad.com page and click “like” to get a new healthy breakfast idea in your feed every day this week. Who knows, you just might find your new favorite way to start the day.

One of the questions I get a lot is “what should I eat for breakfast?” When you’re changing your diet or just trying to eat better in general, breakfast can be tough, but really it’s the perfect place to start a healthier routine. Breakfast can make or break your day when it comes to energy, feeling good and making good-for-you choices. The wrong breakfast can be like getting on a roller coaster with a big drop just around the corner. But the right breakfast can completely change the course of your day. It’s amazing how when you start the day off on the right foot, it’s like it inspires you to make better choices all day long.

Speaking of inspiration… while you’re on Facebook, get caught up on some of the other tips and inspiration on the meggsalad.com page if you don’t already get them in your feed. I love posting random healthy tips, inspiring quotes and ridiculous things like that little gem of a pun up top.

I say it a lot, good for you has got to be fun. Because it’s not just about being healthy for health’s sake, it’s what being healthy allows you to do. And that’s all the things you love in life – laughing, playing, dancing, following your dreams… when you’re at your best, life is just that much sweeter. I’m looking forward to staying even more connected with you through our fun little meggsalad community on The Book. See ya there!

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Spring Spaghetti Squash Pasta

spring spaghetti squash

I was going to wait to post this one after another go-around so I could make it a little prettier. I wanted to add fresh basil. And put the vegetables and chicken on top of the spaghetti squash instead of mixing it all up in the pan hamburger-helper style so it would photograph better. In my blogger’s mind I can see it and it’s stunningly green and gorgeous. But, then I remind myself… that isn’t real.

What’s real is what you see right here. No frills, just dinner. In under an hour. And on a weeknight, what’s better than that right? Um, ok, maybe dinner in under half an hour…

With every post I find myself wishing my photos were more professional and gourmet looking. But then again, professional and gourmet doesn’t really happen when it’s Monday night and you’re just trying to get dinner made after a long day at work. It’s those nights when dried basil will do just fine and you ask yourself, “how can I do this using just one pan…”

You see, really what I aim to do on this blog is give you recipes and good-for-you things you can and actually want to make. I try to keep the ingredient lists low with simple steps to follow and as minimal clean up as possible, which I’ll admit isn’t always the case but I’m getting better… right, Ross? ;)

The thing is, it’s easy to get wrapped up in making healthy eating complicated. There are lots of recipes out there calling for 15+ ingredients with things you’d have to go to three different grocery stores to find. But healthy isn’t exotic or expensive ingredients, or crazy complex recipes, or intimidating cooking methods. Healthy is actually quite simple. So simple in fact, it makes for boring and rather unappetizing photos (this tastes better than it looks, I promise!). So, while it may not be sexy or overly impressive to throw some meat and vegetables in a pan and call it a night, that’s really all there is to it sometimes – basic ingredients, cooked intuitively and enjoyed thoroughly.

So…I’ll do my best to continue bringing you just that so you can stop stressing about what’s for dinner and start enjoying the process… Ah, wouldn’t that be nice?

Get in the Groove
One of my favorite moments I see happen over and over again with my health coaching clients is when they find their groove in the kitchen and cooking becomes fun. Because that’s really what it’s all about – figuring out how to make the process of planning, shopping and cooking enjoyable and maybe even a little bit exciting (yes, it totally can be!) so you’ll want to do it all again next week. 

Check out these testimonials from some of my clients. They achieve some amazing results in a short amount of time once they start finding their groove. For the most part, it’s about figuring out what works with your routine and life and then consistently implementing it until it becomes just what you do. Then you get to do your thing while continuing to reap all those great benefits, like clearer skin, less stress, no more cravings…. seriously, check out these results. And know that you can do it too. If you want to talk more about exactly how, click here to schedule a free 30 minute strategy session with me

I hope you enjoy the fresh taste of spring in this no-frills, very real weeknight dish. Bon Appetit!

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spaghetti squash

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Spring Spaghetti Squash Pasta

Ingredients

1 spaghetti squash
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 lb ground chicken or turkey
1 bunch asparagus
1 cup frozen peas (omit if strictly following the Paleo diet)
sea salt & black pepper
lemon
fresh basil leaves, sliced thin or torn (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place spaghetti squash on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, until it’s slightly soft to the squeeze.

While the squash, bakes, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 tbsp olive oil. Add onion and sauté 3-5 minutes until translucent. Add garlic, basil and oregano and continue cooking another minute until fragrant. Add ground meat and stir to combine with aromatics. When cooked through, transfer to a plate and set aside.

Place skillet back over medium heat and add another tbsp olive oil. Toss in asparagus and sauté until slightly soft. Return meat to the skillet and add peas. Continue cooking a few minutes until peas are warmed through.

When the squash is done, remove from oven and allow to cool a few minutes before handling. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and discard them (or you can save them to roast later for a healthy snack). Now, using a fork, scrape the flesh of the squash away from the skin with a raking motion. The squash will come out in strings, sort of like angel hair pasta.

Add spaghetti squash to skillet with meat and vegetables and mix it up. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon. And top with freshly torn basil… if you have it. :)

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Beef & Broccoli + Why I Went Paleo

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It took me a long time to come around before jumping on the Paleo bandwagon. And then once I did, it took me a longer time still to say the words about myself: I’d gone Paleo. Even now, writing this post, it’s hard seeing them in black and white, not gonna lie. You see, I’ve never been much of a fad follower when it comes to lifestyle habits like eating. And I get really turned off by all the hype around a trendy new diet – which is all I used to see Paleo as being. There’s all the books, magazines, shows, events… Diets are a billion dollar business and most end up being just a flash in the pan – you may see results in the short-term but eventually you end up going going back to the old habits and routine and you’re right back where you were months ago. I’ve always believed in balance, moderation, an abundance of good-for-you foods and no deprivation. That’s what works. Not a fad diet. Never mind the fact that I’m a health coach for crying out loud… I don’t do “diets”! That’s what my brain said anyway. But something else inside told me to look further and eventually I came to see that certain components of eating Paleo could really help me.

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One day a little over a year ago, I was home working on the couch because I was too stiff with joint pain to make it into the office and I caught an episode of Dr. Oz. He was interviewing a young girl who had gone Paleo as part of a treatment protocol for Rheumatoid Arthritis. She’d removed all grains, beans and legumes among other common inflammatory foods such as dairy and sugar and after a few months eating mostly vegetables and high quality animal protein she was living without pain and medications. With a little research, I found several other stories of healing while following a Paleo lifestyle. So, I hopped on and decided to try it for myself. I had already cut out common allergenic and inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy, soy and corn, but up until then I regularly ate grains and beans and even though I wasn’t strictly vegetarian, I ate very little animal protein. So I traded my quinoa and chickpeas for grass-fed beef and bison, and of course continued to load up on a crazy amount of vegetables. Within weeks I noticed a difference in my stiffness and energy level. And as I’ve stayed on the diet, I’ve felt better and better.

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Against the Grain
If you’re saying to yourself now, “But I thought quinoa was healthy?!” You’re right it is. It’s not that these foods the Paleo diet eliminates are inherently unhealthy. When properly prepared and if you can tolerate them they can be extremely healthy for you. The problem is grains, beans and legumes can be particularly difficult to digest and rob the body of key nutrients like zinc. These foods have proteins called lectins and other anti-nutrients that help to preserve the plant and protect it from insects, molds, funguses out there in the wild. The lectins in the grain are like poison to whatever may threaten the life of the plant. To the plant though, we may as well be an insect. It’s poison affects us the same way, potentially depleting key nutrients we require for optimal health and immune function. This is one of the reasons why many with autoimmune and inflammatory conditions, myself included, have had such success removing these foods from the diet.

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Paleo Pointers
The other thing to remember with Paleo, is the emphasis is really more on the vegetables than on the meat. I often see it the other way around so you want to make sure you’re filling your plate with high fiber vegetables like dark leafy greens and crucifers such as broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. The fiber helps keep things moving through the digestive tract (if you know what I mean) so you minimize the amount of time you have beef hanging out in your gut. High quality, organic, grass-fed animal protein is an efficient way to get key nutrients but the key is to keep it moving, you don’t want it sitting around for a few days in your intestine. That can just get downright unpleasant.

In hindsight, I don’t really know how I could have objected to a way of eating where you get to eat steak and all the vegetables you want. That’s not to say that I won’t go back to eating grains, beans and legumes one day. But when I do I’ll have this experience to help me be aware of how these foods affect my body.

Even though for a long time my mind rejected the idea of “Paleo,” a little voice inside me told me there might be something there worth pursuing. I suppose we all have to come around to taking the step that we know is best for us, but that for whatever reason our minds tell us is pointless or silly or not worth the effort.

Sometimes we just have to politely tell our mind to shut up so we can hear that tiny little voice inside that’s so easy to ignore. It’s usually much smarter than our brain and it seldom leads us wrong.

If you’re intrigued about Paleo or if you have any questions about the diet or how it can be used as part of a protocol for autoimmune or inflammatory conditions, I’d love to talk more about it with you. You can email me at megan@meganadamsbrown.com.

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Thinking About Making a Change?
A few posts ago I introduced my new No Pain, Everything to Gain: 90 Days to the Real You. Note: This is not a Paleo diet program. No Pain, Everything to Gain is designed to help you heal and recover from chronic issues such as joint pain, muscle aches, allergies, asthma, headaches, rashes, etc. Through the program you’ll make shifts in your diet and lifestyle to take control of your health so you can feel better and get back to living life on your terms.

I have three free 30 minute strategy sessions open this week. If you think trying something new might be just what you need, schedule your free 30 minute session here.

Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry

Ingredients

1 lb beef stew meat
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
salt & pepper
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 head broccoli, cut in florets
1 tbsp peeled fresh ginger, grated
1 bunch green onions, white and green parts separated, thinly sliced
2 tbsp lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions

Place stew meat in a bowl and sprinkle with arrowroot, salt and pepper and toss to coat. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook the beef until browned on one side, about 1-2 minutes and transfer to a plate. Add broccoli, white part of scallions, ginger, and 3/4 cup of water to the skillet. Season with salt and pepper and cook until broccoli turns bright green and begins to soften. Add beef back to the pan and cook until meat is cooked through, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and mix in green part of scallions and lemon juice. Serve with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes if you like a kick.

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The Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

anti-inflammatory smoothie

Last week I mentioned how I use food as medicine to help relieve pain and heal. When you approach food from this perspective, food is more than just calories or something to silence a growling tummy. It is information that tells our cells what to do and how to react. Imagine your body is like a computer and everything you put into it is a command on the keyboard. With the right combination of key strokes the computer will perform a given function. In a similar way our bodies’ output directly depends on the input.

Just like any other chemical substance you might put into your body – pharmaceuticals, over the counter drugs, other drugs, alcohol, etc. – the foods we eat create a chemical reaction just the same. And believe it or not, certain foods can have an effect that is just as strong, if not stronger, than one you can get from a bottle.

Take turmeric for example. I talk a lot about this root here because it has incredible healing properties. And several studies have shown it to be as effective as Ibuprofen at relieving pain. So I add it to a variety of foods and dishes when I cook to give myself a regular does of its healing benefits.

Super Power Spices 
Turmeric, along with ginger and cinnamon in this smoothie help to reduce inflammation and the pain associated with it. Here are a few more specific benefits of each:

Turmeric: One of the most powerful medicinal herbs that has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic (ancient Indian) medicine to treat a variety of ailments including arthritis, bruises and wounds. It also aids protein digestion, decongests the liver, acts as an antioxidant and can reduce menstrual pain.

Ginger: In addition to it’s anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, ginger is used to ease an upset stomach, reduce nausea, improve digestion, clear congestion and warm up the body.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon can reduce inflammation, have antioxidant effects and fight bacteria. It’s been shown to help regulate blood sugar, reduce LDL cholesterol, and help with hormonal balance that can improve fertility. It’s also high in calcium, iron and manganese.

pre-blend smoothie

Oh-Mega Dose
Another way to bring down inflammation is to make sure you’re getting plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids daily. Omega-3s reduce inflammation and work to balance the abundance of the pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids we tend to get so much more of in our diet. When the ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 gets out of proportion and skews to the pro-inflammatory side, it lays the ground work for all sorts of problems from allergies to aches and pains to the more serious stuff. The key is to get plenty of Omega-3s from food and even supplements to maintain a proper balance. The hemp and flaxseed in this smoothie are two of the best plant-based sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. You can also get Omega-3s from salmon, walnuts and dark leafy greens.

So there you have it, five (count ‘em – five!) superfood inflammation fighters crammed into one glass. That’s a mega dose of anti-inflammatories to help kick your pain to the curb and boost your immunity.

The Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
2 tbsp vanilla hemp protein powder
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
dash black pepper*
1/2 banana (preferably frozen)
handful ice cubes

Directions

In a blender combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.

 *black pepper is added to enhance the potency of turmeric and help it get into the bloodstream. A dash a black pepper enhances the benefits of turmeric 2,000 times. 

You Can Feel Better with Food
If the idea of using food as medicine intrigues you or if you’re curious about how you can start using food to feel better, I’d love to help.

Last week I introduced my new program, No Pain, Everything to Gain: 90 Days to the Real You. This program is about making shifts so you naturally crave and want to eat good-for-you foods. We’ll work together to identify problem foods and replace those with ones that make it easy to make the necessary changes for you to feel your absolute best. We’ll look at the complete picture to help you manage all the areas of your life that can affect your well being including stress, physical activity and emotional health to give you a sturdy foundation for long-term health and healing.

I’m offering five free 30 minute strategy sessions this week. If you’re interested in learning more about how small changes can make a big difference when it comes to dealing with chronic pain, schedule your free 30 minute session now.

 

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No Pain, Everything to Gain: How I Use Food as Medicine to Heal and How You Can Too

I usually try to stick to the food here, but today I want to share my story with you and explain how I ended up as a health coach and food blogger. You see, there comes a time for all of us when something hits and we realize if I keep eating, drinking, partying, stressing, worrying… fill in the blank (or all of the above) it’s not gonna be pretty. That time came for me at a much younger age than most – It started when I was 22 with severe joint pain and swelling. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease where your immune system mistakenly attacks your joints. At the time, it had gotten so bad I couldn’t lift my arms to get dressed. I got on medication that helped control my symptoms and I went on with my 22-year-old post college life pretending everything was the same – late nights, drinking, fast food… I was burning the candle at both ends and I wasn’t getting any better. In fact I was getting worse. Finally though, that something hit me, and I realized things had to change.

My body had been trying to tell me this all along but I just kept turning up the noise and tuning it out. Until I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

So, I started to listen. And I began a journey of discovering exactly what it needed to heal and recover from the years of wear and tear that ended up creating a perfect storm for my immune system to go haywire. I read up on natural, holistic approaches and one of the first books I read was Dr. Andrew Weil’s Spontaneous Healing. In it he explains the body has an innate ability to heal itself when given what it needs.

That’s when it clicked. And I started making changes. It didn’t happen overnight. At this point my freezer was full of Lean Cuisines (I had a long way to go!). There were ups and downs, I resisted, I even threw in the towel a few times. But that voice would come back…

Eventually I learned how to tune into it and really listen. This was the key that changed everything.

For the first time in my life, I understood that what I ate directly affected how I felt.

It was food that got me back to 100% and feeling like myself again. I’m still on this journey – and always will be. I have days when I feel great and days that are not so great. But I’m in control; I have the power over my well being. And that is… well, everything!

In the middle of all of this I got my health coaching certification and started helping other people achieve their own health goals such as losing weight, having more energy, learning to cook, etc. I can’t tell you how incredible it is to be able to help others make their own health goals happen.

OK, so I’ve told you my story, now I want to hear yours…

If pain or discomfort is keeping you from doing the things you enjoy…

If you’ve ever thought, “If only I felt better, I would…”

If you think your body might be trying to tell you something too…

Le me help you tune in, find some relief and get back to feeling like the real you again.

I’m offering a new 90 day intensive program designed to help those struggling with chronic pain learn how to use food as medicine so you can feel like yourself again and live life to the fullest. It’s my No Pain, Everything to Gain Program: 90 Days to the Real You.

In this transformational program, you’ll look at food in an entirely new way. We go beyond diet and work on making shifts so you naturally crave good-for-you foods that make you feel vibrant and healthy. You’ll experiment with foods to figure out which ones support you and which ones may be causing you more harm than good. Additionally, you’ll learn strategies for balancing all the other elements in your life that can lead to pain and disease such as stress and emotional well being. Through this program, you can begin to heal from your pain and get back to feeling good in your body and living life on your terms.

The first step is a free 30 minute No Pain, Everything to Gain Strategy Session.

In this session we’ll talk about your health concerns, what it is you want to achieve and what might be standing in your way. And we’ll discuss how we can work together to get to where it is you want to be.

I have a limited number of strategy sessions available for this program and am offering three sessions this week. If you’re interested or curious, click here to book your free session.

I’ve learned a lot trying just about everything under the sun to feel better and help myself heal. It’s added up to a lot of time, money, ups, downs and runarounds but it’s all been worth it to know my body and to be able to give it what it needs to thrive.

My goal is for others to benefit from my trials, errors and successes so you can discover a simpler, more direct path to healing. I’m here to support you so you can follow through like you never have before and finally get your life back.

Are you ready to feel like the real you again?

Schedule your free No Pain, Everything to Gain Strategy Session now.

Curious about the other programs I offer? Click here for more programs.

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