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This recipe comes from the Clean Team, whom I love so dearly! This recipe is time-consuming, but well worth it! Keep in mind that you’ll need to pre-soak the cashews for 4-6 hours before making this meal. If you’re a working mom/dad, this is a great Saturday or Sunday recipe. 🙂

Filling

3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 to 4 shallots, minced
1 cup sliced carrots
2 celery stalks, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced and divided into two equal portions
2 to 3 boneless chicken breasts (about 1½ pounds), diced
1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
2 cups chicken broth (may need more but start with this amount)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ red onion, minced
1½ cups raw cashews, soaked for 4 to 6 hours, then drained
½ teaspoon cayenne
Optional: 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Crust

1½ cups blanched almond flour
½ cup raw sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon dried herbs, such as sage, rosemary, thyme, or chives (fresh herbs will work too; just use a bit more)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon water

 

Directions for the filling

Heat 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sauté them for 5 minutes, or until they are translucent. Then add the carrots, celery, and half the minced garlic, and continue to sauté until the carrots begin to soften, about 3 to 5 minutes.Add the chicken and cook until most of the pink hue is gone from the flesh. Add the peas and ½ cup of the chicken broth. Continue simmering until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is fully cooked. Salt and pepper to taste, and set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the red onion and sauté 5 to 8 minutes. Add the other half of the garlic and sauté for an additional 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. In a blender, purée the onion mixture, cashews, 1½ cups of the chicken broth, cayenne, and the optional paprika until smooth. Transfer the mixture back to the large skillet with the chicken and vegetables, and cook everything over medium heat until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Add more broth if needed and stir frequently. Further salt and pepper to taste, then transfer everything to a lightly oiled deep baking dish.

Directions for the crust

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a food processor combine the flour, sunflower seeds, herbs, garlic powder, salt, olive oil, and water, and pulse everything until well combined. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured (non-gluten flour) cutting board or on a sheet of parchment paper, which might be helpful in transferring the dough to the baking dish. Lay the dough over the top of the chicken mixture. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

It’s hard to believe, but my little angel turned one this past week! What an incredible, challenging and exhausting year it has been! We had his party this weekend and I was faced with the decision of what to do in terms of a birthday cake. I don’t want to be that parent who doesn’t let their kid eat anything “bad”, but I also am not ready to fill his body with sugar, dairy, gluten, etc., especially considering he has not yet been introduced to any of these potential allergens.

I elected to make him his very own CLEAN smash cake—free of all food allergens—using only foods he has been introduced to and we know don’t cause any adverse reactions. It was a huge success! In fact, almost everyone wanted to try the “clean cupcakes” just to see what they were like! I’ll consider that a win.

The recipe is below. Feel free to experiment with different proportions and different gluten-free (or other) flours. I personally started out just using quinoa flour but found I don’t really love the flavor, so I mixed it with a few others. Coconut flour on it’s own can be pretty dry and brown rice flour is okay, but mixing these together was perfect. We also have not yet introduced nuts, so almond meal was not an option.

I made these as cupcakes, but you could easily use a larger pan and make this a larger cake. Be mindful to adjust cooking times, and prepare the cake pan by lining with parchment paper or using coconut oil. On the other hand, if you use these as cupcakes, they make great breakfast muffins with or without the avocado on top!

Happy birthday baking!

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

Notes

  • Recipe Yields: One small cake or about 6 cupcakes/muffins
  • Prep time: 10 minutes (if you cook the sweet potato ahead of time, 50 minutes if you don’t)
  • Cook time: ~15-20 minutes

Ingredients

Wet

  • â…“ cup melted coconut oil
  • ½ baked sweet potato (no skin)
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed

Dry

  • ⅓ cup quinoa flour (gluten-free)
  • â…“ cup brown rice flour (gluten-free)
  • ⅓ cup coconut flour (gluten-free)
  • 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
  • A pinch of baking powder (optional)
  • A handful of pumpkin seeds (optional)

“Frosting”

  • 1 ripe avocado

Preparation

  1. COOK THE SWEET POTATO: You can do this ahead of time if you would like. Use a fork to poke some holes in the potato, wrap in aluminum foil and bake for ~40 minutes at 400°.
  2. FOR THE CAKE: Preheat oven to 375°
  3. In a large bowl, combine wet ingredients
  4. In a separate large bowl, combine and mix dry ingredients
  5. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Mix well. If mixture seems too dry, add additional applesauce. If mixture seems too wet, add additional flour.
  6. Coat the cake pan with coconut oil (and GF flour if you’d like). You can also use muffin tins to make muffins/cupcakes.
  7. Spread batter into pan
  8. Bake for ~15-20 minutes at 375° (baking times vary per oven). Remove from oven when the cake starts to brown on top.
  9. Let cool, then spread avocado on top of cake. NOTE: If you attempt to spread avocado on top of cake too soon out of the oven, you will smoosh the cake. I actually baked the cupcakes the night before and stored them in the refrigerator overnight. The morning of the party, I removed them from the fridge and let them sit out at room temperature until the party that afternoon. I frosted them right before we ate to keep the avocado fresh.

Feel free to be creative with the ingredients! Pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds, and nuts (if your child is OK with nuts) are nutritious additions! If you’re making these for yourself or other adults, I might suggest adding some cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, (baking soda/powder if you want the cake to rise more) and possibly some coconut aminos if you want added sweetness. Also, I am very loose when it comes to measurements for this (and most) of my recipes. If you find you prefer more or less of something, please feel free to customize this recipe to fit your taste! Enjoy!

Peace, love and clean-eating babies,

Melissa

 

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

Notes

  • Recipe Yields: ~12 muffins (depending on the size)
  • Prep time: 12 minutes
  • Cook time: ~17 minutes

Ingredients

Wet

  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp coconut nectar (or honey, or Grade B maple syrup)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed

Dry

  • ÂĽ cup coconut flakes
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup gluten-free quick cooking oats
  • ÂĽ cup sprouted pumpkin seeds (sprouted has more nutrients) (optional)
  • â…› cup sunflower seeds (optional)
  • A few dashes of sea salt
  • 2 dashes of cinnamon
  • 2 dashes of nutmeg
  • ÂĽ cup ground flaxseed (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp psyllium husk (optional)
  • ÂĽ cup raisins (optional)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 365°
  2. In a large bowl, combine wet ingredients
  3. In a separate large bowl, combine and mix dry ingredients
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Mix well. If mixture seems too dry, add additional applesauce. If mixture seems too wet, add additional oats/almond meal. This mixture should be “wetter” than a typical dough to ensure the muffins are soft when they are done baking.
  5. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or use a muffin tin with the paper muffin liners. (Or, omit liners all together, it’s up to you).
  6. Drop batter by heaping spoonful onto cookie sheet. Muffins/cookies do not change shape while baking, however they look when you drop them on the cookie sheet is how they will look when they are fully baked.
  7. Bake for ~17 minutes at 365° (baking times vary per oven). Remove from oven when the muffins start to brown on top.
  8. Let cool for a few minutes, then, enjoy!

Feel free to be creative with the ingredients! Nuts, seeds, raisins, etc. are all great additions, and if you don’t like something, feel free to omit it! You’ll notice that most of the dry ingredients are listed as “optional”. Also, I am very loose when it comes to measurements for this (and most) of my recipes. If you find you prefer more or less of something, please feel free to customize this recipe to fit your taste! Enjoy!

Melissa

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
  • ÂĽ 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

This weekend, a miserable cold front blew through Dallas, keeping me inside for most of the weekend. What can I say, I hate the cold. Fortunately, it was a blessing in disguise because it allowed me to catch up on several “indoor” things I needed to get done and also forced me to spend some time de-stressing. I was able to watch two health/food documentaries I’ve been dying to see, Food Matters and Hungry For Change. Although they were both awesome, I’m going to focus on Hungry For Change in this post.

Let me start by saying this is a must-see! I know, I say that about all these food documentaries but this time I REALLY mean it. In this film are some of the most influential advocates for health and wellness, ones that I follow closely, like Dr. Alejandro Junger (author of CLEAN), Dr. Joseph Mercola (author of one of the most popular online health newsletters) and David Wolfe. I feel like I’m friends with these guys. For instance, I just found out that Dr. Mercola practices in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, where I grew up and Dr. Junger himself has commented on my blog posts in the past. I mean, come on, we go way back!

As I review the pages of notes I took while watching this fabulous documentary, I’m realizing that I have far too information to discuss in just one 700-1400 word post. So keep in mind this is a short synopsis of what this film covers.

One of the most important things that is discussed is that diets don’t work. Amen! Really, anything with the word “diet” associated with it—I want no part of. The word “diet” should refer to how you eat on a daily basis, in terms of your lifestyle, not a temporary shift in eating in order to lose weight.

Up to two-thirds of those who are on a diet regain more weight than when they started. – University of California, Los Angeles

We, as Americans, are starving. We are starving on a nutritional basis. We could eat 10,000 calories a day and still feel hungry. Let’s break it down—when your body needs nourishment, the brain sends out hunger signals, prompting you to eat. When your body has received the proper nutrients, the hunger signals will shut off. However, if you eat processed foods that lack nutrients, your body will not turn off those hunger signals. You could eat 10,000 calories worth of junk food and still be hungry!

Man-made foods like bread, sugar and table salt trick your body into thinking you’re getting those specific nutrients but your cells aren’t getting nourished. Now you’re starving at a cellular level. – Jon Gabriel

Americans are not eating food anymore, they’re eating food-like products. That’s what we try to drive home with Live Whole Be Free. Eating whole food, that nourishes your body, will allow you to break free from fad diets and other miserable habits and allow you the joy to truly just live!

Some additional things that are discussed in Hungry For Change:

  • The food industry’s role in creating and feeding your food addiction
  • The risks of consuming artificial sweeteners (aspartame) and chemicals (propylene glycol)
  • How sugar, fluffy carbs (white bread, pastries, cereal, pasta, potatoes) and high fructose corn syrup make you fat
  • What are good detoxifying foods for your body
  • The benefits of juicing
  • How stress and lack of sleep contribute to weight gain
  • How to use visualization to help lose weight
  • Why loving yourself is important for a healthy life

Hopefully this is enough to convince you to watch this film. Although I’ve discussed many, if there’s only one you watch, let this be the one! It is available for download from iTunes. Also, stay tuned as I cover more of the specifics in future posts!

Peace, love and healthy lifestyles,

Melissa

 

Good news for those with sensitive skin! Live Whole Be Free has created a special line of deodorant just for you! This all-natural deodorant is similar to our other scents with the exception of the essential oils. The essential oils have been omitted from this sensitive skin version, which may alleviate any redness or irritation that some may experience.

I will say that some people do experience some minor redness and irritation (small bumps) during the initial weeks of using this all-natural product (me being one of those people). If this happens to you, my suggestion is to avoid applying the product on areas that might be irritated and/or skip applying the product for a day or so, until irritation has subsided. This worked just fine for me! Sometimes the essential oils may cause this irritation, so we’ve created a version that doesn’t include them to enable everyone to use the product.

The good news is that even though this version is not scented with the essential oils, it still has a nice light coconut scent to it. Men, not to worry, you can’t smell anything once it’s on! Interested? We thought so! You can buy it online from our Etsy shop!

Peace, love and chemical-free lifestyles,

Melissa

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!