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Butternut Squash Season!

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

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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!

 


Veggies are Like Legos…

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

I have come to think of veggies like I do Legos…they are interchangeable parts that can be mixed and matched to form new things.  The ingredients are the same, but the pairings and combinations change, bringing ever-important variety to the table, literally.

Recently Rachel Rettman – Fitness. Nutrition. Lifestyle. has been prepping food in a wonderful Kosher kitchen (read more about Kosher here), which adheres to specific levels of cleanliness and food preparation guidelines.  All this to say that the food and what it is prepared in is extremely clean and well kept.  Helping others to stay healthy by bringing lots of prepared, chopped, cleaned, and portioned items such as chicken, eggs, veggies, grains, salads, etc. into their lives makes THE different between staying on a clean eating plan and ordering that pepperoni pizza at the end of a long day.

Contact us NOW for meal preparation services; whether done in our kitchen or yours (this is another option), you will be ecstatic to have all the ingredients on hand to build your very own Lego-style lunches and dinners – endless combinations of health at your fingertips!

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

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

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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!

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Make Healthy Eating Fun For Kids!

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

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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!!


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!

 


Mushrooms, Asparagus, Cabbage, and Onions Oh My!!

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

All fruits and veggies are vitally important to our health and wellness.  Any time you can get your hands on a fruit or a vegetable, even if it is not organic, please eat it!!  While different produce items contain various types of essential vitamins, minerals, and cell building blocks, our ‘title’ veggies, i.e. Mushrooms, Asparagus, Cabbage, and Onions, contain high amount of SULFUR, which our bodies need in order to thrive.

Why do we need Sulfur??  Isn’t Sulfur that smelly gas we experimented with in elementary school science class??  In some forms, yes; but more importantly Sulfur is a building block for our brains and our mitochondria, and our liver and kidneys need Sulfur to remove toxins from our body and bloodstream.  Plus, when you chop up some mushrooms, cabbage and onions and saute with a little extra virgin olive oil you will have a fantastic side dish to a plump, fresh piece of wild caught fish.  MMMMmmmm….

Do not be afraid of Sulfur!  It is one of the best nutrients we can ingest, and you will save thousands of dollars on future medical care costs by eating healthy food now.


Check out the First Public Food Forest!!

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

This is amazing – the city of Seattle is planning to plant and sustain an urban food forest!  Trees, plants, and bushes will yield fruit, vegetables, nuts, and herbs for public consumption.  Listed among the items to be available are apples, pears, blueberries, raspberries, guavas, pineapples, chestnuts, walnuts, herbs and more.

Click here for the details: FOOD FOREST IN SEATTLE!!

One of the best things about this is that people can get nutrition that was previously unavailable to them due to cost – anyone can take what they need.  Yes problems could arise, but better to deal with some potential issues then to never test out innovative ideas.

Good luck Seattle!


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