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Nutrition

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This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, grain-free, paleo, vegetarian and vegan.

After a visit to the Farmer’s Market, I had a large bag of kale and some gigantic elephant garlic that I had planned on sautéing together in a little oil and apple cider vinegar (my usual go-to kale dish). However, with the addition of only a few raw ingredients, I ended up making a delicious and satisfying meal!

Notes

  • Recipe Yields: 2 servings
  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 5-7 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of kale, washed and trimmed from stems
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 15 oz. can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Heat a medium-sized sauté pan on low-medium setting.  Once heated, add the oil and garlic, cook for about 30 seconds.
  2. Destem kale, pulling leaves away from the stems. Discard stems. (This step is optional).
  3. Cut the kale into ribbons and add to the sautéing garlic and oil, then add the Apple Cider Vinegar.
  4. Cook the kale for approximately 4-5 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  5. Remove pan from heat and toss in remaining ingredients.

You can serve this dish warm, at room temperature, or chilled! We know that kale is a great source of vitamins and minerals, but recent studies have also shown that kale can help regulate detox at a genetic level. Also, by adding beans (protein), seeds and healthy fats, this dish becomes a complete and satisfying meal.

 

Eat Mindfully,

Holly

 

Inspired to create some diversity in my blended soups while on the CLEAN program, I came up with this simple and tasty recipe.  Using ingredients I had on-hand, I blended roasted butternut squash – known for its abundance of carotenoids – with some sweet and savory flavors to create a deliciously balanced soup.

Notes

  • Recipe Yields: 4 servings
  • Prep time: 5-10 minutes
  • Cook time: 35-40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 (2-3lb.) Butternut squash
  • 3 Celery stalks
  • ½ Sweet, organic apple (such as Gala or Pink Lady)
  • 3 cups organic chicken or vegetable stock (use veggie stock for a vegetarian/vegan recipe)
  • 1-2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 425° F. Then cut the squash in half, length-wise, and scoop out the seeds.
  2. Brush each cut-side of the squash with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Then place the squash in a pan, cut-side up, and bake for 35-40 minutes or until fork tender.
  3. Meanwhile, remove the skin from the apple and cut it into bite-size chunks.
  4. Remove outer layer of celery strings by either peeling them or cutting down the length of the stalk. Then cut into 1-inch pieces.
  5. Once squash is cooked and slightly cooled, scoop the cooked flesh out of the skin and into a blender.
  6. Add stock, apple, celery, pepper and thyme and blend until smooth.

You can also garnish each bowl with slices of avocado, toasted pinenuts, or some fresh, chopped thyme leaves.  Serve warm or cooled and enjoy!

Happy Blending!

-Holly

 

 

At 35 weeks pregnant, I’ve now gone back and forth for the last 20 or so weeks over how I should write this, or if I should write it at all. You see, it’s personal, and the internet, well, it’s public. But what kind of person would I be if I couldn’t share my mistakes with you all, who also care so much about health and wellness? In the end I’ve decided that this is the right thing to do. Although it means admitting I messed up, it was a humbling experience, and one that I’m fairly certain many of us have gone through or will go through, as we ladies deal with pregnancy. I also want others to realize that these struggles happen to everyone, even trainers with specializations in nutrition. I now feel better equipped to help people that may run into these issues, having now experienced them first-hand.

If you read my Life Changes post, you know a little bit about my mental state upon learning I was pregnant. Excited, nervous, scared, stressed, stressed and a little bit stressed. All of a sudden I found myself questioning my own knowledge. Not being a dairy-eater, I found myself craving cheese and wondering if it was because I wasn’t getting sufficient calcium? Am I missing other nutrients because I don’t consume meat? Is my baby okay? I found myself stressed, nauseous and consuming foods I hadn’t eaten in years. I got numerous comments from friends, family, clients and gym members “oh you’re going to be the cutest pregnant person ever” which added a level of stress I can’t really describe. I felt like everyone had unrealistic expectations of me. “Why am I going to be cute, because I’m a trainer? Because I’m supposed to be thin, cute, happy and pregnant?” I was stressed and unable to eat any sort of vegetable without gagging. This was going to be a long pregnancy.

Several weeks later, I found myself feeling awful from a less-than-ideal diet, still nauseous and packing on pounds at a rate faster than the typical pregnant woman should. I had to have a serious conversation with myself about what I was doing. Although we’ve acknowledged that I was scared, stressed and nauseous, causing me to consume foods I wouldn’t normally even consider putting in my body, I think I also thought I was immune to the science of nutrition. You know the “since I’ve been so healthy for so long, I can eat whatever I want and it won’t affect me” kind of mentality. Not sure what was happening upstairs, but this is definitely NOT true. I’m human just like the rest of the world, trainer or not. And when I started eating pasta, bagels, cookies and crackers instead of spinach, vegetables, fruits, lentils, etc., my mental and physical state declined rather rapidly.

It was at about the 15 week mark that I realized I needed to get my head out of my “you know what” and pull myself together. Whether or not I could stomach a vegetable no longer mattered. My baby NEEDS proper nutrition and it’s up to me to provide that. I also realized that I could either live the remaining 25 weeks like this—miserable—or I could make a change.

I emailed my nutritionist in a panic saying something to the extent of “I messed up. How much damage have I done and can I fix it?” You might be thinking “man, she’s really overreacting about a little pizza and some cookies”…but I really wasn’t. Every part of me knows how crucial good nutrition really is, so when I realized that I’ve been slacking at the most important time of my (and my little one’s life), I was pretty upset with myself. The emails we exchanged are actually quite humorous in hindsight. My messages to him are long, drawn-out confessions about how much shame and embarrassment I’m feeling, that I “know better” and how could I let this happen…and his to me are comforting and reassuring with words like “it’s not too late, and yes, you can fix it.”

With that, I got myself back on track. And wouldn’t you know it—soon I started to feel MUCH better! The next 15+ weeks were much improved. I still had some food issues but not nearly as bad as the first 15 weeks. I was juicing vegetables (and still am) to ensure I was getting them in my diet (still can’t choke those things down without throwing them in the juicer), started drinking my Amazing Meal smoothies again, and life was looking up.

I’m due with our sweet baby in 5 weeks. I never really regained my appetite for clean eating, or an appetite at all really, but have definitely been making healthier decisions. As nauseous as I am today, eating healthier has allowed me to feel better physically and mentally. Pregnancy is a funny thing—I’ve decided that you can only be so hard on yourself for the crazy things your body is enduring, but it’s also important to not let yourself go off the rails. There are two people relying on you for the proper nutrients, so cookies for dinner is not acceptable. Nor is two or three bagels in one day…yikes, glad that’s in the past!

So if you’re pregnant, or might become pregnant, I hope you can learn from this post. If you eat crappy food, you’re going to feel crappy. This is actually ALWAYS true, pregnancy doesn’t really matter here. But when you ARE pregnant, and you already feel crappy, it can be hard to make nutritious choices. Employ your spouse or partner to help get healthy food in your body, for both you and the baby. If you’re at that point where nothing is staying down and you’re reading this cursing me—I get it. Just remember that you can only eat so many crackers, and your body would really rather prefer non-processed food choices. Try some brown rice and bananas. 🙂

Oh, and it turns out, all that second-guessing about my pescetarian, dairy-free diet was a waste of energy. Much needed energy, at that! It is perfectly okay to be a pescetarian, vegetarian, etc., you just need to ensure you are getting the proper nutrients in sufficient amounts through other food sources. Find a good, natural pre-natal vitamin, do your research, involve your health care provider and employ a good support system and you will be just fine. Oh, and if your health care provider tells you otherwise about not eating meat, dairy, etc., it’s probably time to find a new one!

Good luck to all the mommas-to-be out there!

Peace, love and proper nutrition,

Melissa

Note: I am not a doctor and do not claim to be one. If you have questions about your vitamin and nutrient intake, please consult a qualified nutritionist or medical practitioner.

This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, grain-free, paleo, vegetarian and vegan.

I absolutely love roasted vegetables. Cauliflower provides a great source of Vitamin C, which boosts immune function, as well as Dietary Fiber, which helps in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. The basic roasting technique in this recipe can be applied to any root vegetable and seasoning options are up to you, although salt, pepper and olive oil is simple and delicious.

I like tossing leftover roasted veggies with fresh spinach, leftover cooked grains (such as brown rice or quinoa), and a simple Dijon & lemon vinaigrette. By adding nuts, seeds or beans to the mix, you can get extra protein in as well.

Notes

  • Recipe Yields: 4 servings
  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Heads of cauliflower
  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Turmeric
  • 2 tsp. Cumin
  • 2 tsp. Chili powder
  • 1 tsp. Yellow mustard seed
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 425° and place a rimmed cookie sheet in the oven while it’s preheating.
  2. Meanwhile, rinse cauliflower and cut into pieces (any size you like, just make sure they’re consistent in size).
  3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together olive oil and all spices.
  4. Toss cut cauliflower in the spice oil and use your hands to make sure the spice oil is distributed evenly.
  5. Remove heated baking sheet from oven and spread the cauliflower evenly on the sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes.

Serve as a side dish with Lentil Dal, or on its own with brown rice, chopped fresh spinach and chickpeas for a complete meal.

Happy Roasting!

-Holly

If you are reading this post, you are probably one of two groups of people. You either know deep down that it’s important to buy organic, but if you were asked to list the reasons, you might not be able to do so, or you are not yet convinced that it’s important to buy organic and are interested in what I have to say about it. Although I feel there are about a million and a half reasons to buy organic, I’ll keep this post short.

Reasons to buy organic:

  • Organic foods have no synthetic fertilizers, no synthetic pesticides or insecticides, no genetically engineered plants or animals… (Um… that means that conventional foods DO have those things. Who wants to eat fertilizer or genetically engineered animals?! Not I!)
  • Organic foods have less pesticide residue than conventionally grown foods and it is well documented that children who eat a predominantly organic diet have lower levels of pesticide residue in their bodies. (Oh the innocent children! Don’t feed them chemicals!)
  • Buying organic can be expensive, so here are the top foods to buy organic, since they have the highest amount of pesticides: celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, cherries, potatoes and imported grapes. Hormone and antibiotic free butter, milk, eggs and meat are good too. Although it can be pricey, the money you spend now to eat better will be far less than what you’ll spend later in life with all the medicine and drug treatments you’ll need because of all the pesticides you consumed.
  • Organic farms are less damaging to the environment and when you buy organic you subscribe to a different kind of environment ethic. Buying organic tells store owners and farmers that there is a demand for organic food.

So there you have it. Moral of the story—take care of yourself. Don’t feed yourself (or the innocent children) chemicals.

Peace, love and pesticide-free food,

Melissa

I love soups, stews and chilies. During cold-weather months, soup is my go-to meal. Not only is it a great comfort food, it can be a great way to get essential vitamins and nutrients to keep your body and immune system strong during the cold and flu season.

Additionally, soup is a great make-ahead meal that can be low in calories and fat, which helps you stay satisfied while working towards those 2013 personal health goals.

Here is my step-by-step guide to making great soups with some basic ingredients and options to utilize items you already have in your pantry and fridge.

Step One: Building the base

For a great tasting soup, I always start with a simple mirepoix, which is a fancy French cooking term for chopped onions, carrots and celery. Adding 3-5 chopped garlic cloves (depending on your taste for garlic), while the mirepoix is sautéing in a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil will create a nice flavor base for your soup.

Step Two: Choosing a broth

Depending on your personal dietary choices, the broth type is up to your tastes. I recommend using a low-sodium, organic broth base or homemade stock. The amount also depends on how much soup you want to make. I typically use about 2 quarts of stock.

Step Three: Pick a healthy starch

Potatoes, pasta, and grains (cooked brown rice, farro, barley or quinoa) are great for a hearty soup. Potatoes, pasta and quinoa can be cooked in the soup, but any cooked starch you have on-hand is a good addition and reduces cooking time while utilizing leftovers.

Step Four: Add essential nutrients

Canned whole tomatoes (if you can, get them in a glass jar), with their juices, helps balance flavors while adding lycopene to your diet, which has been shown to be a cancer-fighting agent. Also, adding dark leafy greens like spinach, kale or collards provide essential vitamins such as A, C and K as well as folate and calcium. I just use my hands to lightly crush the tomatoes and after washing my greens, I give them a rough chop and add them to the simmering soup.

Step Five: Pack in protein

Finally, I like adding a simple protein such as white beans, cooked chicken or turkey. Almost any bean or cooked, lean meat is a tasty and hearty addition to your soup.

 

One of my favorite recipes is Rachel Ray’s Tuscan Kale & Farro Soup. I use only 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and add 1 cup of chopped celery and use 1 cup of chopped carrots to incorporate more vegetables.

Happy Cooking,

Holly

This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, vegetarian and vegan.

For those of you who know my husband, you know that he’s quite a trooper. If I’m cooking, he’ll eat whatever crazy vegan creation I am making. He embraces healthy eating (for the most part) and in fact, he is the creator of this recipe, which has become one of my favorites! Also, don’t let the name or the ingredients scare you—as it is quite delicious. For those of you scared of greens, the broccoli or celery flavors are not strong at all. It has a nice, subtle taste and the lemon gives it a welcomed “zing.” I encourage you to use organic ingredients whenever possible.

Notes

  • Recipe Yields: ~4 servings
  • Prep Time: ~10 minutes
  • Cook Time: ~30 minutes

Ingredients

  • ~1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2-3 bunches of broccoli (depending on their size)
  • 5-6 stalks of celery
  • 1 box (32 oz) vegetable stock
  • Filtered water
  • A small amount of unsweetened original almond milk (optional)
  • 1 lemon

Preparation

  1. Add olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent ( ~5  minutes).
  2. Chop off ends of celery and pull off any obvious “strings”. Chop broccoli into smaller pieces.
  3. Add celery, broccoli, vegetable stock and water to pot. Add enough water so that the chopped veggies in the pot are covered (after the veggie stock has been added).
  4. Simmer covered on medium heat until veggies are soft (~20 minutes).
  5. Take portions of the soup and add to blender or food processor, blending until a creamy texture is reached.
  6. In the “old” version of this recipe, we would add heavy whipping cream to the soup to thicken it up and add “creaminess” to it. Since cream is no longer a part of our diets, we now use unsweetened almond milk (original) on occasion. It’s personal preference, however, as it’s not a necessity.
  7. Pour soup into individual bowls.
  8. Cut lemon wedges for each bowl, squeezing the juice of one wedge into each bowl. Mix juice in with soup and enjoy!

I can’t wait to hear your feedback on this recipe! It’s one of my favorites and I have to tell you, I’m not a huge fan of broccoli OR celery!

Happy Healthy Eating,

Melissa (+ Juan)

Growing up I witnessed my mom struggle through numerous fad diets – Cabbage Soup Diet, No Carbs Diet, Fat-Free Foods Diet, etc. I also noticed that although she may have reached a goal weight utilizing these fad diet methods, but she could never maintain it.

90-95% of the people that go on a diet will add more weight than what they started with.” – Hungry For Change

However, no matter what fad diet my mom was trying, she and my dad continued to prepare healthy, balanced meals for the rest of the family that included vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy starches. For that, I can’t thank my parents enough. They helped me learn the importance of including a variety of foods and nutrients into my every day eating.

The struggle that my mom, and millions of men and woman across the country have encountered, is keeping the weight off while maintaining a normal lifestyle. The origins of the word diet comes from the Greek word díaita, which means, “way of living.” We have to re-train ourselves to make good food choices on a daily basis, which means buying and cooking whole, nutrient-rich foods as part of our lifestyle.

Another pitfall that my mom and many others face when it comes to eating well consistently is treating food as a reward. I grew-up thinking I could eat as much as I wanted as long as I stayed active and “worked it off.” To an extent, I believe this is true. Your body definitely needs sufficient fuel stores to perform strenuous physical activity, however, the kind of calories you are putting into your body is what matters most.

Healthy eating is a never-ending journey and should be viewed as a continuous education. The more you learn the better off you will be to make informed choices and do what’s best for your body. As I’ve stated before, I love food. I do not enjoy eating strictly as a means to fuel my body, but rather as an opportunity to indulge in nature’s most delicious offerings. Let fresh, whole foods be your reward and be sure to balance your díaita with activity and movement.

Happy Eating!

Holly

This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, grain-free and vegetarian.

When shopping at my favorite local farm in Austin, I picked up a few baby eggplants and asked one of the farmers for recommendations on the best way to cook these beautiful little gems. She suggested to not cook them at all, but to slice them raw into thin slices to best enjoy they’re sweet, light flavor. Wanting to balance the sweetness of the eggplant, I paired them with quick-pickled onions and arugula for a slightly sour and spicy contrast.

Notes

  • Recipe Yields: 4 servings
  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2-3 baby eggplants, thinly sliced
  • ½ red onion, pickled (see Quick-Pickling recipe below)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 10 oz. washed arugula
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Quick-Pickling Recipe

  • 1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup white vinegar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 allspice berries (or ¼ tsp. ground allspice)
  • 5 whole cloves (or ¼ tsp. ground cloves)
  • 1 small, dried chile pepper

Directions for Pickling

  1. In a small, non-reactive saucepan, heat the vinegar, sugar, salt, seasonings and chile until boiling.
  2. Add the onion slices and lower heat, then simmer gently for 30 seconds.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool completely.
  4. Transfer onions and liquid into a far and refrigerate until ready to use.

seasonal summer salad eggplantDirections for Salad

  1. Rinse quinoa and cook according to directions. Let cool.
  2. Toss arugula, eggplant, pickled onion (along with 1 tsp. pickling liquid), quinoa and oil in a bowl.
  3. Add salt & pepper to taste.

I made this salad part of a satisfying meal by serving it alongside baked sweet potato fries. For an extra flavor and protein boost, add shavings of parmesan cheese before serving the salad. Using local, seasonal ingredients like eggplant and arugula are a great way to ensure your getting the most nutrition and flavor from your produce, not to mention the environmental advantages of buying local!

If you like this recipe, try our Grilled Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad.

Happy Eating!

Holly

This recipe is gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free and dairy-free.

This recipe is one of my favorites from CLEAN by Dr. Alejandro Junger. The halibut is light but filling and the zucchini, lemons, olives and rosemary add a unique and refreshing touch! And best of all, it’s EASY to make!

Notes

  • Recipe yields: 2 servings
  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 12-15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 (5-ounce) portions of halibut
  • ¼ cup of pitted, halved kalamata olives
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary (or thyme if you prefer)
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced in discs (skin on)
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced diagonally
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Parchment paper cut into two 12-inch circles (if you do not have parchment paper, use a covered ovenproof dish)

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 425°F.
  2. Brush each parchment sheet with olive oil.
  3. Place one piece of halibut in the middle of each sheet and season with sea salt.
  4. On top of the fish, first place three slices of lemon, then three slices of zucchini, then top with a sprig of rosemary.
  5. Sprinkle the olives over the top and drizzle with olive oil.
  6. Pull the sides of the parchment together like a calzone. Fold paper over and crinkle together to seal.
  7. Place each package on a baking tray and place in the lower third of the oven.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes. The paper will puff up and brown lightly.
  9. Remove from oven and place on plates to serve. Open packages at the table and enjoy!