gluten-free

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!!


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!


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!

 


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.

 


Hello Healthy (TASTY) Dinner!

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

Cauliflower Chia Baked Falafel

Contributed by: Sarena Shasteen of The Non Dairy Queen

This recipe was not tested by Bob’s Red Mill. Gluten Free, High Fiber, Lactose Free, Low Cal, Low Carb, Low Fat, Low Sugar, Soy Free, Vegan.

 

 

Directions

Step 1

Pulse the cauliflower and onion in a food processor until it’s finely chopped. Remove the cauliflower mixture from the food processor and place in a bowl. Next, process the chickpeas until mostly pureed. Leave it a little chunky.

Step 2

In a large bowl, mix the chia through pepper until well blended. Next, add the cauliflower mixture and chickpeas to the oat mixture and stir until completely combined.

Step 3

Scoop 1/4 cup balls out onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour at 425. Allow to rest for 20 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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