fruits

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!

 


Calories Are Not All Created Equal..Learn to Lose Weight Fast!

Rachel Lifestyle, Nutrition, Workplace Wellness Leave a comment   , , , , , , , , , , ,

salmonsalad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A calorie is a calorie is a…fat blasting machine! When you eat the right kinds of calories, and more importantly in the right combinations, you can turn your food into a tool for thermogenic weight loss.  This means that your own body, through efficiency and digestion, is able to burn more calories and fat than if you ate the same amount of less healthy or less productive kinds of calories.  Here are 3 things you can do today to turn your body into a fat burning machine:

  1. Eat equal parts protein and carbohydrates – when carbs and protein are in balance, it stabilizes blood sugar which prevents fat accumulation.
  2. Eat small, balanced meals 6 times a day – Eating small meals every 2-3 hours keeps your body on its toes and in a state of digestion…this lights up the internal calorie-torching furnace that exists within all of us.  This also helps stabilize blood sugar, as mentioned before, which promotes a sense of satiety and keeps the body regulated as far as knowing that the next meal is right around the bend.
  3. Healthy fats, in moderation, are our friends – Healthy fats, such as nuts, olive oil, oily fish and avocado are a boon to health; fat aids in nutrient absorption and also promotes a feeling of fullness.  Make sure not to go crazy with the trail mix, though; each handful can easily have 200 calories and it adds up fast!  A 1/2 ounce portion of your choice of nuts makes a great snack.

Start small…Pick one of these items and do it for a week or two…then do the next, then finally the third.  Making small, steady change leads to a lifetime of good habits!

Check back for tips on how to put these principles to work while on the go, or at the office!

almonds-superfood


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!!


Nutritional Counseling…DO IT NOW!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is easy to run off and buy the newest iPad, designer handbag, or splurge on a trip to Europe; these kinds of purchases are exciting and come with tangible objects or, in the case of travel, photos and memories that can be ascribed to a specific time and place.  It is a lot harder to invest in personal health and wellness, which often lacks tangible, day-to-day markers of success.  In a world of instant gratification, holding something in your hand can be a lot more fulfilling then knowing that your efforts will pay off a month or two or three down the road.  Those who take the time to help themselves are often shocked when they come to understand how much nutrition and personal eating habits play a role in physical health and sense of well being.  You can have all the cool technology in the world and a wardrobe that Kate Moss would die for, but if you do not feel healthy, energetic and full of life then you cannot fully enjoy your spoils.

Summer is the best time to invest in YOU by adding both new physical activities AND nutritional counseling to your regimen; the weather is great, the produce is fresh, and the fish are swimming.  Changing eating habits is hard, and while it might sounds simple enough to read a book and follow an arbitrary plan it is important to set yourself up for long-term success while creating a plan that caters to your specific goals.

Get started on becoming the healthiest version of yourself, and address some of the following issues:

  • Weight Management
  • Making sense of fad diets and understanding past success/failure
  • Diabetes and blood glucose management
  • Meal Planning
  • Healthy Snacking
  • Food Allergies
  • Aerobic / Cardiovascular health and wellness
  • Persistent Gastro-intestinal (G.I.) Problems
  • Breaking long-standing negative eating behaviors (e.g. night eating, stress eating)
  • Mindful Eating
  • Positive habits for Children and youth
  • Eating healthy on-the-go / during travel
  • Food journals and other tracking methods
  • Technology-driven tools for successful eating and living
  • Sustainable healthy eating practices

Visit our nutrition page to learn more and call 415-602-4291 for an in-person meeting or a phone/skype/video meeting from anywhere in the world!


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!!

 


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!

 


Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream Soup!

Rachel Nutrition Leave a comment   , , , , ,

Sometimes eating healthy can seem like a drag…especially when you are someone who houses a serious sweet tooth!  Do not give up hope – really healthy ingredients can be made to taste like chocolate strawberry ice cream!

Here is the simple recipe for a fabulous chocolate strawberry shake; or, eat it with a spoon like you would soup!

  • 1-1.5 cups frozen strawberries
  • tbsp cocoa powder
  • stevia sweetener to taste
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • a scoop or two favorite all-natural (no chemical fillers) protein powder.  This recipe used Pumpkin protein powder.
  • 1/2 cup chocolate unsweetened almond milk (or other milk of choice)
  • ice cubes (8-15 depending on desired consistency)

Just blend and there you go!  Sweet awesomeness in a glass or a bowl!  You can also experiment with flavors, i.e. blueberries or mixed berried, or flavored protein powder (keep it natural) and different milk or alternative milk flavors, flavorings, etc.

 


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