fiber

Sweet Potato (Yam) Goodness!

Rachel Lifestyle, Nutrition Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , ,

Fantastic sweet potato snacks – Sadly I cannot take credit for these; they are courtesy of the Whole9 website and the Whole30 program and are a recipe I took directly from there.  I must give credit where credit is due, and these deserve the shout-out!!

I do make some killer ‘proprietary’ yam chips…I will include those on here soon!

Post-Workout Sweet Potato Chews

Cast of Characters:

  • Sweet potatoes. I thought these were yams, but apparently they are sweet potatoes.  Whatever, I don’t really care.  Just get the orange ones.  The yellow ones don’t survive being baked and cooked.
  • Cinnamon. I’ve read that it improves insulin sensitivity.  It’s also delicious.
  • Coconut oil.  It imparts a subtle coconut taste that rounds out the flavor of the sweet potato in a truly marvelous way.

 

Now Do This:

  • First, you have to bake the sweet potatoes, so preheat oven to 325.
  • Spread a piece of aluminum foil on a middle rack and bake as many as you can fit for about an hour.  You want them soft, so the skins easily pull away from the sides.
  • After baking, let them cool in the oven until it’s convenient to move on to the next step.  Sitting in the oven overnight is fine, in fact.
  • Now you have to peel them. If you baked them long enough, you should be able to get most of the peel off with your fingers.  Use a knife for any stubborn bits.

  • Next, you need to slice them and arrange them on a baking sheet.  You can use a pan liner (like Silpat) to make removal of the finished product easier.
  • Cut them about 1/2 a centimeter thick.  You want a uniform thickness if possible, and I find 1/2 cm gives me enough potato to keep it from becoming a mess when I transfer pieces to the pan.
  • Arrange them flat side up.
  • Now, melt your coconut oil and paint on your potato slices using a pastry brush.
  • Give a healthy dusting of cinnamon (I really load up).
  • Then back to the oven it goes for the “drying”.  Cooking at 350 for 50 minutes brings about half the pan to an acceptable level. They sizzle nicely under the high heat.
  • Usually, I’ll remove the done ones and throw the pan back in for another 10 minutes and that produces pretty good results. I’ve also done 300 degrees and 90 minutes. That works pretty well too and is more forgiving, meaning less crispy pieces. You may have to experiment a bit. If you go too long or too hot, you will have sweet potato crisps.  Not bad, but I prefer the chewy consistency of soft dried fruit.
  • Partition slices into perfect transportable snack-size portions and pack them in Ziploc bags or covered glass storage containers.  (I don’t know how long they keep because we’ve never had a batch last longer than a couple days.)  Enjoy!


Butternut Squash Season!

Rachel Lifestyle, Nutrition Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , , , , ,

chopped_butternut_squash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Butternut Squash is a personal fall favorite.  Versatile, filling and chock full of vitamins and minerals (think beta carotene, potassium and fiber), this staple can be made into soups, savory dishes, sweet desserts and, of course, roasted as is!  A plethora of wonderful recipes are a mouse-click away (check out www.foodnetwork.com and www.cookinglight.com) but a personal favorite involves the combination of this autumn staple with everyone’s favorite superfood quinoa!  The following is a Rachel Rettman original, simple, easy recipe bound to please even the most finicky eater:

  • 1.5 cups white quinoa (remember to use a 1:1 quinoa to water ratio to truly cook the quinoa properly)
  • 1.5 cups cooked butternut squash (cube into 1/2 inch pieces, toss with salt and olive oil and bake at 400 degrees for 15 min)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup sauteed white onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery or jicama (crunch factor)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • *optional – add a 1/2 cup of chopped apple of choice
  • leave plain, or use salt/pepper, a tsp of honey, 1-2 tbsp olive oil and your choice of lemon juice/vinegar and some mustard (1/2 to a whole lemon, 2-4 tbsp vinegar, 2 tbsp mustard depending on preference) to make a light dressing

 

Cook the quinoa, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.  Saute onions with a dash of olive oil, also seasoning to taste.  Combine cooked quinoa, cooked squash, onions and mix.  Add cranberries, celery/jicama and optional apple and mix, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.  Add light dressing or skip it, then sprinkle walnuts on top and enjoy! Want things a little sweeter???  Add candied walnuts for a savory/sweet explosion of taste (For fewer carbs, stick to plain nuts and omit apple and cranberry).

Serve this alongside a protein and another veggie (think spinach or kale salad) or all by itself for a wonderful seasonal dinner!

 


Make Healthy Eating Fun For Kids!

Rachel Nutrition Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , , ,

5_colors_a_day_produce

 

 

 

Make Healthy Eating Fun!

Instead of ‘tasting the rainbow’ according to Skittles candy, encourage kids to eat healthy by tasting the rainbow of fruits and veggies available throughout the year!  Here are some ideas for each color:

  1. Red – Strawberries, raspberries, red pepper, tomatoes, red apples, pomegranate, cherries, radishes
  2. Orange – Carrots, orange pepper, oranges, kumquats, clementines, yams, honeydew, papaya
  3. Yellow – corn, squash, yellow pepper, sweet potatoes, yellow zucchini, lemon, banana
  4. Green – broccoli, peas, green beans, green apples, kiwi, lettuces, cucumber, green grapes, pears
  5. Blue – Blueberries (can anyone think of anything else)?
  6. Purple – eggplant, grapes, marion berries, blackberries, red/purple beets, purple onion
  7. White – cauliflower, potatoes, jicama, coconut, white onion

Have fun, make it a game, and encourage suggestions from the kiddos!  Maybe they will even want to help with dinner!

 


Starbucks…Healthy Food Mecca???

Rachel Fitness, Lifestyle, News, Nutrition Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , , ,

 

 

 

For the few of us left in the world that do not drink coffee, there is little reason to go to a coffee shop such as Starbucks.  Or is there…On a recent trip in for (free, perfectly good tap) water after a long hike, a treasure trove of healthy, interesting, and TASTY food options were sitting on the shelves, much to my satisfied surprise.

Long hailed for its giant donuts/muffins/pound cakes, Starbucks has changed with the times as the times have called for more nutritious options for the working professional on the go.  Realizing that this particular Starbucks is a busy outpost in health-conscious Portland, OR, and knowing not all stores are same, here is a list of some of the options available on a Tuesday afternoon:

  • Dehydrated fruit chips/freeze dried fruit slices
  • Regular cut fruit
  • protein plates (think an egg, cheese slices, meat slices)
  • high quality trail mix
  • air popped popcorn (and pop chips)
  • KIND fruit and nut bars
  • Raw food bars, local too!
  • greek yogurt
  • Nice sandwiches without mayo slathered on, with respectable nutrition stats, protein, whole grain bread, etc.
  • cut veggies/veggie trays with hummus
  • Salads with protein
  • Nuts
  • Fresh pressed juices, locally bottled (not Odwalla or another national company; something with short shelf life)
  • The usual milk, soy milk, and other healthy options available steamed, in a latte, etc.
  • numerous gluten free, GMO free, dairy free etc. options
  • Also, many of the less healthy treats are much smaller and have calorie content listed

This is impressive!!!  A picky, raw-food-eating paleo gluten free vegan could come in here and do just fine.  Pretty cool, huh?

Fun fact – Between my first and second year of business school I interned at Starbucks corporate in Seattle – and happened to sit next to a food procurement team.  This was 2005, and it was all cookies, cakes, muffins, doughnuts.  Exclusively.  It was hard to resist (though I did a great job) but now it would be FUN to sit next to that team.

So, the next time you are hard up for a quick healthy meal, head to Starbucks – you can actually get your needs met, walk away feeling satisfied, and even grab and raw food bar for the road!

 

 


Food Dehydration – Fun for the Whole Family!

Rachel Lifestyle, Nutrition, Wisdom Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , , , ,

Creating fun, interesting, healthy and PORTABLE snack foods can be a challenge for even the most creative people.  Carrot sticks get boring, and buying packaged snacks gets expensive!  Those amazing Kale Chips from New Seasons Market are one of the tastiest snack foods this health enthusiast has tried all year (and the best Kale Chip ever, hands down), but at $6-7 for a 2.2 oz. container it is not exactly the bang for your buck most people look for.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One idea is to dehydrate your own food!  Whether you make Kale chips or apple slices, over time you will save $$ by passing up those $8 bags of dried fruit slices.  Nesco makes some wonderful, affordable food dehydrators, with entry level models starting at under $40!  Fred Meyer also sells a good entry level model, and they often run coupons too!  Mine was purchased this past weekend for $39.99 through creative coupon use, saving $20 off of the original price of $59.99.

Once you have your dehydrator, grab some apples, some peaches, some strawberries, and a big bunch of kale and get cracking; all the instructions for how to dehydrate come with the appliance, but please remember this IMPORTANT FACT: Despite what the directions say, you need to keep temperatures under 125 degrees Fahrenheit in order to maintain nutrient profiles; heats above 125 zap vitamins and minerals and begin to degrade foods.  You can even make beef or turkey jerky and bring healthy protein snacks to work without all of the preservatives found in any mass market jerky product.

This is a fun activity for the whole family, and a way to create a conversation around healthy snacking.  So have fun with it!!


Office Juice Cleanses

Rachel Fitness, Lifestyle, Nutrition, Wisdom Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When it comes to the office, there are a wealth of unhealthy habits that tend to dominate typical corporate etiquette.  From big box takeout lunches to cookie trays to your cubicle-mates consistent stream of new cupcake recipes (and let’s not forget those ever-present candy dishes, somehow unnoticed by their owner but loved by you), it is HARD to stay healthy at work!

Enter office juice cleanses, as well as other forms of office bonding that encourage healthy behavior en masse.  If we can’t beat ’em,  let’s join ’em; if we are joiners then join something positive and beneficial!  Whether it be a juice cleanse,  a veggie of the month where colleagues share recipes, or even just committing to pre- and/or post-work walks, there are infinite ways in which coworkers can support one another in the quest for health and happiness.

Summer is the best time to get started on healthy eating – with the abundance of beautiful produce, availability of healthy fish and seafood, and the general sunny weather that keeps daylight way past the end of the workday, there are no excuses to eat poorly and stay cooped up inside.  Head on down to your local Whole Foods or equivalent) or farmer’s market (click here to search for a local farmer’s market)to get your hands on great produce and more.  Explore the nuts, seeds, and nut butters to get healthy fats and copious amounts of fiber into your diet. The grocery store employees and the market vendors are always ready and willing to help you get started!

What are you waiting for!


Superfoods for Weight Loss

Rachel Lifestyle, Nutrition, Wisdom Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , ,

 

 

 

 

Whether or not you want to lose weight, the following article outlines a number of benefits associated with eating some very important foods such as black beans, salmon, blueberries (wait, wasn’t there a post here all about blueberries recently?!?!?!?!), spinach and more.

Best Superfoods for Weight Loss

You can never eat enough healthy food, and in our era of highly processed foods in an overly saturated and confusing marketplace it is time to go back to basics!

Remember you ABC’s…..Almonds, Berries, (dark) Chocolate!!

 


Navitas Naturals Sweet Cacao Nibs

Rachel Nutrition, Wisdom Leave a comment   , , , , ,

Healthy eating can be challenging, and even the most dedicated wellness enthusiast has moments of weakness.  But let’s think of these moments as opportunities…chances to get a little novelty into the diet!  There are ways to have your cake and eat it too.  Or in this case, have your Cacao nibs and eat them too.

Cacao nibs, especially when covered in sweet cocoa liquer and cane juice, are a delightful and healthy treat.  Although high in fat, cacao nibs are chock full of antioxidants and trace minerals like magnesium and iron; they even have some protein.  Additionally, they are VERY high in fiber…each serving of this particular brand of sweet cacao nibs has 5 grams of fiber!  5 grams of fiber is 20% of our recommended daily intake and that is a big deal!

Check out Navitas naturals here; they also have tons of other great products which are both nutritious and delectable!  Next time you need a sweet treat try these out; you wont be sorry!

 


5 Great Ways to Eat Blueberries!

Rachel Lifestyle, Nutrition Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guess what…It’s blueberry season!  Blueberries are one of those powerhouse foods that make every ‘most nutritious’ or ‘top 10 must have’ foods list.  Rarely does one come across a person that does not like blueberries, and kids can also love them because they are both sweet and, well, blue!

There are many great ways to incorporate blueberries into one’s diet, including my top 5 recommendations:

  1. Freeze them – Begin by washing a pint or two of blueberries, letting them air dry, and then freezing them overnight in Ziploc freezer bags.  They make a great snack and last a long time since they are frozen and take longer to eat.  They also taste like little popsicle bites…
  2. Mix with Greek Yogurt, Stevia, and chopped nuts – not only does this make a balanced meal (healthy fat from nuts, protein from yogurt, and fiber/carbs from berries), but also it tastes like dessert!
  3. Sprinkle over salads – start with spinach, then add goat cheese, pecans, and a little vinaigrette; top with a generous handful of blueberries.  To add a bit more substance, mix in some Quinoa or another light grain of choice.
  4. Oatmeal!  Try oatmeal or oat bran topped with our fruit du jour.  For added sweetness and texture sprinkle in ground flax seeds and a little brown sugar or maple syrup (or stevia for a no-calorie alternative).
  5. Shake it up – a cup of Blueberries along with a cup of ice, 1/2 cup milk of choice, protein powder (something organic with few ingredients and little processing, see www.wholefoods.com for options) and sweetener if desired tastes like ice cream while serving as a filling snack or meal replacement option.

Always remember to wash your berries well…you can also soak them in grapefruit seed extract (3-5 minutes) for a natural fruit and vegetable cleaning option.  Check out Nutribiotic Grapefruit Seed Extract.

Most of all, enjoy one of the best foods of spring and summer!

 


Eat Right For Your Blood Type

Rachel Lifestyle, Nutrition, Wisdom Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , ,

Did you know that, according to Dr. Adamo, people require different diets (i.e. eating plans, not a lack of eating) according to their blood type?  Someone with Type A blood is optimally sustained by different foods than someone with Type O, Type AB, or Type B blood.  While fruits and vegetables are a mainstay for any and every human out there, there are even certain produce items that are recommended for or detrimental to various blood types.  It is interesting to learn about!

A few fun facts:

  • People with Type A blood are considered the first vegetarians, and are best served by a diet with no red meat, no dairy, little white meat, and a few servings a week of fish?  This blood type should primarily get protein from nuts, seeds, legumes, soy, eggs, and the occasional fish/chicken (they can also skip chicken and similar meats).
  • Type B individuals have a tolerant system and can eat most things (like difficult to digest dairy and red meat) but should not eat wheat, corn, or lentils?
  • Type O is the oldest bloodline, hence the O, and should only avoid wheat, grains and legumes but requires vigorous exercise (compared to Type A for which gentle exercise is recommended).
  • Type AB is a more modern blood type and its hallmark is a very sensitive digestive tract; people with Type AB blood should completely avoid meat, chicken, and pork.

While there is debate as to the scientific validity of eating for one’s blood type, it does make some sense in terms of historical origin, lifestyle, heritage, and ancestry.  But as a Type A, this blogger has to completely disagree with the prescription for gentle exercise; plenty of Type A individuals love and thrive on lots of vigorous physical activity!

Check WebMD and the aforementioned Dr. Adamo website for some interesting facts on blood type eating; if anything it is an education!

 


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