Trending Now: Keto Diet

tables cape of a meal that is considered keto, keto diet, disease prevention, diabetes management, eating for blood sugar, weight loss and weight management

Here’s a phrase you’ve likely heard lately, and if not, you will, and most likely while discussing the newest diet that your PureBarre and BLAST friends have started.

Keto.

Or Ketogenic Diet, to be accurate.

If you dabbled in the Atkins Diet in the 90’s and 00’s,  you are probably familiar with “ketosis,” or the phase of the Atkins Diet that indicated you were burning fat for fuel instead of sugar (as most of us do). Ketosis also came hand-in-hand with the less-attractive side effects of bad breath, mood swings and constipation.

Although similar to Atkins with its relatively higher ratios of protein and fat than the typical American intakes, the ketogenic diet, or keto diet, takes a cleaner, less-processed approach to protein and fat sources and has risen to the forefront of health due to the incredible health benefits that have been observed over decades. Some say over thousands of years, as fasting has been a religious practice since the dawn of time. (Those unpleasant side effects still hold, but only last for 1-2 weeks, say practitioners.)

Where did it come from?

Like many other diets, the keto diet was originally “prescribed” as a method to treat disease. Doctors used this method of eating to treat children with epilepsy in the 1920s. In its original form, the diet reduced carbohydrate intake to just 5% of caloric intake with 75% from fat and 20% from protein. Today, many people who subscribe to the keto way of eating alter the amounts & types of carbohydrates, protein and fat to include 30%/40%/30% respectively, all of which are clean, aka non-processed. For instance, bacon, though OK for Atkins, is not OK for keto.

So, what’s the big deal about keto?

As mentioned above, keto brings the body into ketosis where it burns fat for fuel instead of sugar, thus burning through the fat stores in the body, simulating fasting and eventually achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Weight loss and weight maintenance are not the big deal, though.

The reduction, elimination and prevention of cancer cells, recovery from diabetes, reversal of cognitive impairments, like Alzheimer’s symptoms and brain fog, and protection against heart disease risk factors are the biggest headliners of benefits of the keto diet.

Wait, it does what? How?

By reducing the amount of glucose in our blood, insulin is not released. Insulin strongly influences the chemistry and balance of our bodies. It tells cells to store as much energy as possible, which means if we don’t burn the sugar, we store it as fat. Fat storage is a result of too much sugar, not too a result of too much fat.

Therefore, by eliminating carbs (and eating the right amount of protein, which, in excess, also gets stored as fat) and by keeping the carbohydrate stores empty, we avoid a flood of insulin being released that we can’t fully utilize, which triggers insulin resistance, which contributes to diabetes AND premature aging, oxidative stress, chronic systemic inflammation, and other degenerative conditions and diseases.

The keto diet offers a solution by eating in such a way that the body is quasi-fasting, insulin is not released, inflammation and insulin resistance are avoided, and disease is prevented.

The Main Take-Away

The ketogenic diet is a proven method of eating that yields impressive results. Its focus on healthy fats and protein, much like the foundation of other blood-sugar regulating diets, allows the body to heal and repair itself, prevent disease and even reverse damage.

As with any diet, do your research, apply what feels right for you, and have check-up’s with your trusted medical professional to track the changes through blood work and biomarkers.

Additional reading:

Ketogenic Diet Boosts Fat Loss and + Fights Disease

Bulletproof Podcast: Dominic D’Agostino: Mastering Ketosis

New York Times’ Interview with Dr. Mark Hyman, “Making a Case for Eating Fat”

2 Keto Dudes – Ketogenic Lifestyle Podcast

We love to hear what works for you and how you’ve taken charge of your own health journey by actively participating and applying what makes sense to you. Tell us about it below!

Goes-With-Everything Peachiarry Compote

peach, chia, berry compote - perfect for dessert, breakfast, and dinner

The perfect complement to just about everything from chia seed pudding to biscuits, yogurt, oatmeal, pancakes, salmon, chicken is our Peachiarry Compote! This delicious blend of peaches, chia seeds, and raspberry (ahem, “peachiarry”) with just a tad of natural sweetener adds flavor and tang and rounds out any dinner, side dish or dessert. It’s low-glycemic-index, particularly if you use stevia or monk fruit, gluten-free, dairy-free, and freezable.

Our favorite part about this recipe? It takes just minutes in the kitchen to prepare, it’s full of superfoods, like chia seeds, and the leftovers taste even better than on the first day!

Try it at your next soiree!

Peachiarry Compote

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cans sliced peaches in pear juice
  • 1/3 cup frozen organic raspberries
  • 1 tbsp natural sweetener of choice
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

Instructions

  1. Drain most of the juice from the cans of peaches, leaving a few tablespoons of liquid.

  2. Stir peaches, juice, raspberries, chia seeds and sweetener together in a bowl.

  3. Let sit for ~10 minutes until chia seeds form a gel around them.

  4. Top dish or dessert, and serve!

We love hearing how you take these delicious, gluten-free recipes and make them your own! Tag us in your social post of your Peachiarry reveal, so we can see your creative and healthy choices!

S&R’s Roman Omelette

You may be familiar with a Tortilla Espanola, or Spanish Omelette, a delicious dish from Spain consisting of eggs, potatoes and onions and perhaps a few spices, like chives. Having studied Spanish cuisine and culture for years, I was immediately inspired to create a unique recipe for a similar dish with an Italian flair when things went a little awry while preparing Italian “Fried” Cauliflower. As with many creations throughout history, some of our best ideas come about when amidst a total mess 🙂

Instead of thinly sliced, layered potatoes, the S&R Roman Omelette includes slices of cauliflower, mixed with sliced onion and covered by an egg solution, chockfull of the herbs and spices to give it that Italian flavor we know and love.

Get a load of this! Not only is it rich with Vitamin C (move over, oranges!), a slew of B Vitamins (including Folate, important for women!), and Vitamin K (good for strong bones and preventing heart disease), but Cauliflower is also a powerhouse of phytochemicals and antioxidants. In fact,  the National Foundation for Cancer Research considers it a cancer-curbing cruciferous veggie! Sounds like eating a delicious dish full of this superfood is una buona idea to me, Paisan!

Roman Omelette

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 head raw cauliflower
  • 1/2 one yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 dozen cage free eggs, or 2 cups egg whites

Italian herbs and spices to taste; we used:

  • 1 tsp parlsey
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic
  • 1/2 tsp course black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.

  2. Spray or grease a large pie pan or casserole dish.

  3. Slice the head of cauliflower parallel to the base into half-inch steaks. If florets or pieces fall off, you can include them, too!

  4. Layer the cauliflower steaks and the onions in your pie pan or casserole dish.

  5. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the herbs.

  6. Once fully beaten, pour over the vegetables in the pie pan or casserole dish.

  7. Bake for ~45 minutes or until the eggs have finished cooking and the top is slightly golden.

  8. Enjoy!

a scene of sliced cauliflower on a cutting board
Sliced cauliflower steaks replace the sliced potatoes in this new-world take on an old-world staple.
a casserole dish filled with cauliflower
Layered cauliflower and onion slices.
the casserole dish with the egg mixture added to cover the cauliflower
Make sure to cover all the cauliflower with the egg mixture.
The casserole dish cooked next to a serving of the omelette with a greens salad topped with grapefruit
The Roman Omelette is lovely for brunch or dinner, and can be paired with a simple greens salad, sautéed spaghetti squash, or simply as-is! Buon Appetito!

Another delight about Italian living is the slow pace of mealtime and the enjoyment of the people with whom you share it, so share this dish (or recipe) with your loved ones, and enjoy each moment as you savor each bite!

 

 

‘The Struggle is Real’ Rice Pudding

Fast breakfast of Rice Pudding in a white porcelain mug on top of a dark wooden table with goji berries and a drizzle of date paste syrup.

Named accordingly, this healthy-carb’d, protein-packed, deliciously fast dish is the perfect breakfast for those mornings when you want to eat well, yet you have NO TIME to make anything that would resemble a breakfast of champions, if you eat breakfast at all! The struggle is real, right?

Well, first things first, put down that Pop Tart and Double Soy Unicorn Latte (not a good breakfast, girls!), then check this out.

"The Struggle is Real" Rice Pudding

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups cooked rice (brown or black is the best!)
  • 1/4 cup milk (almond, soy, organic cow, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup egg whites or one egg
  • 1/8 tsp ghee, coconut oil or grass-fed butter

Optional Ingredients

  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon, ginger, cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbl raisins or Goji berries
  • Drizzle of honey, date syrup or brown sugar; go easy if your milk is sweetened

Instructions

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a microwave-safe non-plastic bowl (plastic leeches chemicals into the food when cooking).

  2. Microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes. If you prefer the stove, bring the ingredients to a boil, then simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking.

  3. Stir.

  4. If still runny, add another minute. Continue doing so until the eggs are cooked.

  5. Enjoy!

As you see, there are yummy & healthy options available to you in a pinch (particularly if you’ve been using your healthy shopping lists). All you need is a few minutes, and you’re good to go with a breakfast that will keep your brain sharp, your belly full and you at your peak. Now, THAT is a Breakfast of Champions!

As always, we love to hear your thoughts, your breakfast best practices, your tips, tricks and techniques – and so does our community! So please share them below, and if someone in your tribe, network, company needs a little morning overhaul, please feel free to share this post!

Pamplemousse Greens + Vinaigrette Fraiche, a Delicious Summer Staple

Salad of mixed greens topped with cucumber, avocado and grapefruit
Pamplemousse Greens

Spruce up your salad this summer with an unexpected twist and a deliciously fresh vinaigrette!

Pamplemousse Greens is one of my favorite summer salads! It’s simple, yet refreshing  and impresses every time. It makes a beautiful side salad for a poolside BBQ or as a stunning main dish with salmon. Although your friends may love it for it’s tang, sweetness and crunch, you’ll love it for its heavy-hitting nutrients like vitamin C, lycopene and a slew of other antioxidants and minerals that revive the skin, detox the bod and hydrate, too. It’s so good, you may not even want to share!

Is there any wonder this salad is one of the S&R summer staples!?

C’est magnifique!

Pamplemousse Greens Salad + Vinaigrette Fraiche

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 6 cups baby kale, spinach or both
  • 1.5 large grapefruit, peeled
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 grapefruit peeled
  • 1/4 c. chopped yellow or white onion
  • 1/4 c. EVOO
  • 2 Tbl. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbl. water
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions:

  1. If greens are not yet washed, rinse, then dry using a salad spinner or a dish towel.
  2. Divide the grapefruit into sections, then tear or slice into bite-sized pieces; you’ll use 1 1/2 of the grapefruit for the salad. The other half you’ll use in the dressing.
  3. Slice the avocado into moderately thin slices.
  4. Slice the cucumber thinly.
  5. Create a bed of the clean greens, then place the remaining ingredients on top.
  6. Tear the remaining grapefruit into bite-sized pieces, if you have not already, and squeeze all the juice into the a sealable jar or plastic container (Gladware, Tupperware, etc.). Leave the fruit sections intact and include them in the jar, if desired.
  7. Add all of the remaining ingredients.
  8. Tightly close the container to ensure no spillage
  9. SHAKE!
  10. Once all the  ingredients are fully combined, the Vinaigrette Fraiche dressing is done!
  11. Plate your salad and lightly pour the dressing over it, and enjoy!

     

    Vinaigrette Fraiche | Getting ready to shake it up!

     

    Pamplemousse Greens Bowl with salmon, brown rice and the delish Vinaigrette Fraiche

 

 

Five Healthy Holiday Tips

Collage of table scapes for Chinese New Year Feast, Hanukkah Feast, Christmas Feast and Kwanzaa Feast

 

We are officially in the swing of the Holiday Season!! This magical time of year brings so many opportunities for us to reconnect with ourselves, our friends, our families, and our traditions. (All of which are rich with complexity and emotion…and usually also desserts 🙂 )

Here are a few tips to help you not only survive the holidays, but also thrive during this time of year, so you can both take care of yourself and enjoy the wonder and whimsy of the season.

Stick to the Basics.
Throughout the Holidays, these year-round basics will be your best allies:

  • Pack in the greens and unprocessed, whole foods as much as you can, for instance:
    • When you’re invited to a party, bring a veggie (or even raw veggies with dip) as your dish to pass to ensure that you’ll have healthy options at your finger tips
    • Plan ahead and stock up on healthy snacks at home, so you’re not reliant on cookies and leftover pie for snacks when you get hungry
    • Fun fact: the best way to guarantee you’ll crave something tomorrow is by eating it today; if you eat less sugar and more veggies today, you’ll work with your natural wiring to prevent off-the-rails sugar cravings the next day and the next…
  • Drink plenty of water, i.e. one glass every hour if not more; when attending a party, alternate a glass of water with every sugary or alcoholic beverage, which will give you the added benefit of something to occupy your hands while also preventing a hangover
  • Exercise 20-30 minutes each day; even a 15 minute walk a few times throughout the day makes a difference for your mental and physical well-being
  • Get enough rest; when we’re rested, our willpower, patience and energy levels are significantly higher, which means better decisions and more equilibrium and energy to navigate the jam-packed social calendar!
  • Meditate or practice positive visualizations and/or affirmations five minutes a day

Be Mindful.
Very important is to be aware of what you’re eating, how full you are and why you’re reaching for seconds. Often times, we choose to feed our feelings instead of to satisfy our physical hunger. Being mindful of our choices and the reasons behind them will help us outsmart the autopilot eating that is easy to slip into when we’re having fun (or not) and surrounded by food and friends!
Quick tip: If you find yourself on emotional overload, try 4-7-8 breathing. Breathe in for a count of four, hold for seven, and exhale for a count of eight. Do this about five times whenever you feel the stress or anxiety (or any emotional trigger) overwhelming you.

Make time for yourself.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of the Holiday – the planning, the parties, the presents – and the allure of saying yes to it all! Families, friends, work, and school activities are abundant, and whether out of obligation or delight, we will say yes… and yes, and yes.  In doing so, we get thrown out of whack and worn out. Make sure you keep your overall well-being in mind as you schedule your fun and festivities.

Here are a few ideas to help you maintain your equilibrium:

  • Schedule your workouts on your calendar, so you can blow off steam and get those natural endorphins to keep you energized
  • Say no to social engagements if it’s too much (or simply leave early, so you can get enough rest)
  • Schedule time with friends who lift you up and nourish your soul (you know the ones)
  • Put quiet time on the calendar, such as reserving a few nights for doing absolutely nothing
  • Take a nap on a Saturday afternoon
  • Have a “wrapping party” to allow you and friends to catch up as you wrap gifts or a cookie swap where the cookies baked can be given as goodies for co-workers or teachers (time with friends AND gifts for folks on your list sounds like a win-win!)
  • Give yourself permission to ask for help and/or delegate; for instance, if you’re having a party, prioritize your to-do list and enlist family to help or hire someone to help clean before or after, ask friends to bring a dish to share or help clean-up afterwards, etc.

Whatever helps you maintain your sense of self and balance this time of year is a MUST.
Spoiler alert: it may vary day-to-day, and it may not look the same as what your friend, sister, mom or significant other needs, and that’s OK. Taking the time to make time for yourself and your mental, emotional and spiritual health this time of year will reap enormous benefits!

Eat the pie. Then let it go.
It’s OK to indulge, especially if you’re keeping the other 80% of your food and drinks on the lighter side. One powerful trick to minimizing the impact on your overall health (and waistline) is letting go of any guilt your carry for indulging in a slice of pie (or two), and then resetting to “normal” eating habits. Remember that there are hidden calories and sugar in holiday libations and dishes. Swap in water or herbal tea where possible, and if you do indulge at that office party, overindex on clean eating for your other meals that day and a few days after.

Enjoy!
Most important of all… Enjoy the moments, the meals, the memories of this Season! Savor each bite and every experience because this year’s Holiday season is different than all those that have come before and all those to come. Soak it in. Even if you eat too much, have an emotional breakdown, or don’t get it all done before your family or guests show up, it’s OK. It truly is OK. Breathe. Speak kindly to yourself, and give yourself grace. ‘Tis the season after all. Take advantage of the joy and generosity of this time of year. Live in the moment. Say yes when you feel it, and say no when you feel called to. Take care of yourself and those you love and enjoy!

Peace, Love, and Happy Holidays!

 

Cioppino: An Italian-American Classic

cioppino, easy recipe, family friendly, kid friendly dinner, easy dinner, gluten-free,

cioppino, easy recipe, family friendly, kid friendly dinner, easy dinner, gluten-free,

Cioppino (pronounced “chee-oh-PEE-noh”) is an Italian-American dish, likened to the various regional fish soups and stews of the Old Country; however, it’s not actually an off-the-boat traditional Italian. Cioppino itself hails from… San Francisco!

Often served at Christmas time, cioppino is an easy-to-make dish and even easier to customize for various food allergies, as you’ll see. We had a shrimp allergy in our  midst, so that ingredient was cooked separately with many of the same flavors as the stew to conceal the fact that it had been cooked in a separate pan away from the smorgasbord of seasonings. If you have gluten free and non-gluten free friends and family, cooking the pasta separately is a cinch and will not compromise the delicious flavors for any of your guests.

Here’s another little secret. Cioppino calls for mussels, clams, and in some recipes, calamari, none of which I know how to cook, nor were they easy to find in the hubbub of preparation, so these items were conveniently left out of our dish:) I’ve included these succulent seafoods in the recipe for those of you who are epicurean masters.

As you can tell from my tale of preparing this one for my family, and as with all the dishes you’ll find on the website, the trick is to use the recipe as a guidepost and tailor to your own tastes. Have fun and make the dish your own!

Buon appetito!

 

 

photo 1
Preparing the pan.
photo 2
Sauteeing the onions, garlic and parsley.
photo 3
Beginning to prepare the broth with tomatoes and vino.
photo 4
Beginning to cook the shrimp separately while the broth begins to take shape.
photo 5
Whether cooking with white or red, sometimes an Italian chef needs a little vino 🙂
photo 6
The ingredients are coming together to form an amazing, rich seafood stew!
photo 7
Simmering…
photo 9
Almost done. Adding the pasta, will give it one or two more stirs, and ta-da!
photo 10
Buon appetito!!

 

Cioppino
Serves 6-8

Ingredients
1/2 cup butter
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch fresh parsley leaves, minced
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves (2 1/2 tablespoons if dried)
1/4 teaspoon thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon if dried)
1/4 teaspoon oregano leaves(1/2 teaspoon if dried)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes (juice and all)
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups gluten free pasta (spaghetti noodles are my favorite)
1 1/2 pounds raw extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 1/2 pounds fish fillets (halibut, cod, tilapia or salmon; if tilapia, note: it cooks quickly and falls apart more easily, so add it later in the process)
1 1/2 pounds bay scallops
12 small hard-shell clams in shell
12 mussels in shell
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions 

For the Broth:
In a pan on medium-low heat, melt the butter.
Turn the heat up to medium, then add the onions, garlic and parsley. Stir occasionally to keep them from burning.
Let the onions and garlic start to brown.
Add the chicken or vegetable broth, tomatoes, wine, bay leaf, basil, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper.
Bring the dish to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If you’re doing the full-boat seafood version:
Scrub clams and mussels with a small stiff brush under cold running water; remove beards from mussels.
Discard any open clams or mussels.
Cover with cold salted water; let stand 5 minutes and then pour off the salted water.

For the pasta:
Begin to cook your pasta by bringing 3 cups of water to a boil and adding the pasta noodles.
Cook pasta until al dente. (You can tell it’s al dente, but taking a noodle, biting/cutting in half and seeing a wee little white dot in the middle, which is the uncooked part.  You want to prevent the pasta from overcooking. It will cook a little more when you add it to the broth, so undercooking is favorable at this stage.)

Back to the Broth:
Gently stir in the clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops, and fish fillets into the prepared stock.
(If you have any food allergies, like we did, cook that seafood separately using butter, garlic and parsley.)
Cover and simmer 5 to 7 minutes until clams pop open and shrimp are opaque when cut.
Add the pasta into the stock, turn it off, and you’re done!

 

Out and About: True Food Kitchen, Atlanta, GA

True Food Kitchen Buckhead, anti-inflammatory dish, spaghetti squash, Buckhead restaurant, vegan restaurant Atlanta, Vegetarian Restaurant Atlanta, gluten free restaurant atlanta
TRUE FOOD KITCHEN
A new addition to the Buckhead scene!

Weeknight Girls Nights are always a blast, but they’re even better when they take you to a new restaurant! A last-minute change in plan brought us a new epicurean adventure: True Food Kitchen.

Many restaurants connect food with bringing people together, soothing our souls through comfort foods, or providing the backdrop for celebrations, but very few eateries put two and two together when it comes to serving foods that also empower our bodies to be strong and healthy, which is exactly True Food Kitchen’s value proposition to its patrons. All dishes are intended to support a healthy body and soul with combinations of anti-inflammatory ingredients “that can help people achieve and maintain optimum health over their lifetime.” (In truth, I am not 100% on board with dairy being included on a menu with this rationale since dairy can cause inflammatory responses, but it’s a slight digression that doesn’t detract from True Food’s unique offerings.)

In fact, True Food Kitchen identifies so deeply with healthy, balanced living that its staff is comprised solely of active lifestyle enthusiasts. It’s a job requirement! How cool is that? And being an enthusiast myself, it was encouraging to see that the restaurant’s values resonate so strongly with us Atlantans, indicated by a full patio and bar area. Whether for young couples, retirees, rowdy gals after work, happy hour partakers, or post-workout diners, the casual allure and affordable, guilt-free fare had a wide-appeal.

Overall, the ambiance, wait staff and cuisine were delightful, and we will certainly be returning to try more of these dishes, cocktails and natural refreshers! If you’re looking for fun, laid-back dining  for your next night out, definitely give True Food a try!

Inside 1
The interior dining area is reminiscent of a European bistro with its minimalist, laid-back decor, but with a warm wooden floor, ceiling and other furnishings that add warmth and coziness for a welcoming ambiance. There are also live plants that are interspersed throughout, which add an air of freshness inside and on the patio.
Inside 2
The inside bar had a local feel with a hint of French bistro despite being part of a restaurant group with locations across the country. The blackboards with chalk designs that lined the far wall were a lovely touch to reinforce the feel of a homegrown experience.
photo 2
Although True Food does offer cocktails, the Natural Refreshments are just as popular. You have to love a restaurant with coconut water as a hangover cure on the menu!
photo 4
We had to give a few of those Natural Refreshers a try. And, of course, H2O always playing a lead role in the hydration situation. 🙂
photo 2
Pomegranate Limeade
The most interesting & talked-about Refresher was the Pomegranate Limeade of lime juice, evaporated cane, pom juice & chia seed. This mocktail is one of the most popular (as seen by multiple tables sprinkled with them!), but texture of the chia seeds certainly took the girls a little getting used to. Needless to say, they are now chia seed converts.
photo 3
AUTUMN INGREDIENT SALAD
The Autumn Ingredient salad, made of Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Squash, Mulberry, White Bean, Pomegranate with a Horseradish Vinaigrette, was delish. The vinaigrette was kicky and very clean tasting with a hint of apple cider vinegar. The pom seeds added a great texture and a nutty sweetness to the winter veggie salad we enjoyed as our first course.
Chicken, tandoori, lentils, mint, almond, roasted chicken
ROASTED CHICKEN TANDOORI
Beluga Lentil, Greek Yogurt, Sprouted Almond, Date, Mint, Turmeric & Lemon
The chicken was delicious, very flavorful and refreshing. To see lentils so closely resembling beluga caviar was new to us, and I know I certainly found them to be kind of whimsical! The dish was a table-pleaser, and the portion large enough for each of the girls to try without putting too much of a dent in Shauna’s dinner.
photo 4
SPAGHETTI SQUASH CASSEROLE
(Sans) Fresh Mozzarella, Organic Tomato & Zucchini
Although this dish does come with Mozzerella, yours truly requested no Mozz, but nothing was lacking. The dish really didn’t need it. I loved the addition of the zucchini to the spaghetti squash, which added a welcomed al dente texture to the softer texture of the squash. The sauce was basil-icious with just enough garlic to be noticed, but not too much as to overwhelm the overall flavor of the dish. (Some Italian dishes can be too garlicky, particularly lighter fare, so as to compensate for other paltry flavors. Not so with this one!)
photo 5
WILD MUSHROOM PIZZA
Roasted Garlic & Taleggio (gluten free crust available!)
According to the girls, this pizza was to-die-for, and from where I was sitting, it is no surprise! It smelled and looked absolutely divine. It had just the right amount of mushrooms to be earthy, but not too shroomy. The taleggio cheese and garlic complemented the shrooms for a rich flavor, and the crust was crisp, but still chewy. I think this dish was the fave!
The Ladies
GIRLS NIGHT OUT
All of us showing off our premier memberships in the Clean Plate Club at True Food Kitchen! 🙂

 

 

Eating Healthy on A Budget

Let’s be honest, eating healthy on a budget can often be a challenge. From choosing organic produce to supplementing already healthy lifestyles with herbs and vitamins, the costs add up, don’t they?

Here are a few tips to keeping your body a temple without breaking the bank:

Shop Online for Herbs & Supplements
With sites like iherb.com, vitacost.com, vitaminshoppe.com and amazon.com, there are multiple options for saving on supplements. By using retailmenot.com for additional coupon codes, you can further save! If you’re an avid Amazon shopper, consider the Amazon Prime account that for $79/year allows you free shipping on all Prime-eligible purchases (which for me, have been 80% of the herbs and powders I’ve bought)!

Buy in Bulk
Whether it’s chia seeds or carrots, buy in bulk! Check out the bulk sections at the grocery store for grains, seeds, beans, and nuts, and consider buying produce, like apples, carrots or onions, in larger quantities (like 2-5 pound bags), which have lower costs per ounce and will save you money in the long run. This trick is particularly helpful for buying produce for juicing.

Know Your Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen
Check out the Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen lists before buying organic produce. Buying organic is not always necessary! These lists break out which fruits and veggies are high and low in pesticides, so that you can spend smart when selecting which ones to buy organic.

Sign Up for Customer Loyalty Programs
I don’t know about you, but I tend to shop at the same grocery store every week. For me, it’s Kroger. Not only do I get in-store discounts because I signed up for their Kroger Plus rewards program, but I also receive personalized coupons in the mail that let me save on items I already buy, like baby carrots and organic leafy greens. Every month, I get a packet of coupons that include FREE items and big savings on groceries I buy regularly. It’s easy peasy to save where I already shop!

Avoid Prepackaged Items
In this day and age, we hardly have time to get to the grocery store, let alone prepare a meal, so it’s very alluring to buy premade meals and precut veggies; however, these alternatives often cost more than their need-a-little-preparation brethren. To save your cents and avoid feeling overwhelmed, think through your weekly meal plan prior to hitting up your local grocer. For instance, if you’re thinking of making a pasta dish or a rice dish, make enough pasta or brown rice to last you a few days. You can turn what was leftovers into a new dish, like a yummy soup later in the week simply by just adding it to some broth and chicken in the crock pot. (PS. Buying the broth already made is definitely the way to go! Unless you have time to simmer and stir for a few hours, get it in the carton!) Or, you can toss the extra rice or spaghetti noodles into a pan with fresh veggies, tofu, and beans (or leftover meat, for you omnivores) and you’ve got an easy stir fry!

Grow Your Own!
As we approach spring, it’s time to start thinking about your garden! I started getting itchy to get to work on mine last week when we were given a glimpse of sunshine and warmer temps in Atlanta. Even if your available gardening space (fire escape/balcony) makes a shoebox look spacious, you can still plant a few herbs or lettuces in bright-colored pots or planters for extra oomph. Not only is it good to your wallet, but it’s also good for YOU! Getting creative and exploring your green thumb while getting your hands dirty will give you a sense of both peace and accomplishment! For you newbies, try out a few novice-friendly crops, such as basil, mint and rosemary; these were my “gateway herbs” into lettuces and strawberries. Just do a little research, such as visiting www.urbanorganicgardener.com, and let your garden grow!

For some other tips, check out this list, too! Though some tips are duplicates, these quick and easy helpful hints will allow you to eat smart without spending a fortune.

How do you shop smart? Share your comments below!

Peace, love and homegrown veggies!