All posts by dlevy

Grilled Chicken with Watermelon Salsa and Quinoa

Grilled Chicken with Watermelon Salsa and Quinoa

1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
Bay leaf
1/2 Jalapeño chopped no seeds
1 pound watermelon chunks
Vidalia onion
2 limes
1.75 package of mint finely chopped
Carrington Farms coconut oil
1 pound of chicken breasts

In a medium pot, toast sliced almonds over medium heat until golden being careful not to burn.
Add 1 cup of quinoa until toasted.
Add 2 cups of vegetable broth, bay leaf and cinnamon to taste. Bring to a boil, covered, then reduce the heat to simmer for about 20 minutes or until liquid evaporates.
Remove from heat and let it sit an additional 5 minutes. Fluff and enjoy.

While quinoa is cooking, cut lime in half. In a large pan, add a drizzle of Carrington Farms coconut oil and add chicken breasts. Squeeze lime on top of breasts, cook on medium heat until halfway cooked through. Flip breasts over and squeeze rest of lime on top. Cook until chicken is cooked through.
Add watermelon chunks to large bowl, add 1/4 vidalia onions, the juice of 1 lime, finely chopped mint, jalapeño and drizzle of carrington farms coconut oil.

What Do I Pack for a Healthy Lunch for Myself and My Kids?- A Memoir

Back to school means back to packing school lunches. Yup, I said it! If you’re like me, those words sent a shudder down your spine. What’s a busy mom to do? I’ll tell you what I do… I remember that “Pretty Colors Feel Very Soothing.” Okay, okay. Now you’re scratching your
head and wondering if this is some kind of yoga-inspired meditation? Well, I guess it could be but that’s not it. Remember those words—

Pretty (P is for Protein)
Colors (C is for Carbohydrate- whole grain, of course!)
Feel (F is for Fruits)
Very (V is for Vegetables)
Soothing (S is for Snack)

Here are some healthy school lunch ideas (it also works for bagged lunches you take to work): Oven roasted turkey (P) on whole wheat bread (C) with lettuce and tomatoes (V) and a snack
bag of grapes (F) and a 100 calorie snack pack (S).
or Single serve container of plain or vanilla nonfat greek yogurt (P) with snack bag of blueberries to either be mixed in or eaten separately (F), whole grain, high fiber bar (C), snack size bag of
baby carrots (V) and a single serve bag of air popped popcorn (S)
or Last night’s left over grilled chicken breast cut up into small pieces (P) with brown rice (C) and broccoli florets (V) mixed together in a container, with a small cup of melon (F) and 100 calorie
pack of your choice (S) You get the idea. Be creative and give the kids what they like but don’t compromise the nutrients they need. You can give sandwiches, yogurts, soups or leftovers and know that they
have the well-balanced, healthy lunch they need to get through the day.

Oh, and, of course, don’t forget the water!

Natural Flavors vs. Artificial Flavors

Butylated hydroxytoluene…

Polyglycerol polyricinoleate…

Tongue twisters, right?  The above words are actually names of additives found in everyday foods!  Which brings me to an excellent point…why eat what you can’t pronounce.  I can’t stress this enough…  read the label on the foods you buy.

You learn a lot about the amount of sugar, fat, fiber, protein and calories in a single serving. You can also see what’s actually in the food. The general rule of thumb when reading the list of ingredients in foods is to make sure you can pronounce the ingredients. If you can, it’s a good bet it contains wholesome ingredients.

But, Deb, you ask, what about “natural flavors”? Are they a better option than “artificial flavors”? The definitive answer—NO.

Natural flavors originate from a whole food, for example, fruit, and then get extracted and made into a chemical compound that can have 50-100 ingredients; artificial flavors are lab-made with the same number of ingredients. Both are equally unhealthy.

However, is it realistic to go through life without ever eating something that doesn’t have natural flavors? Probably not. But, I’d recommend avoiding them whenever possible and choosing whole foods, like bananas, apples, and pears, instead of foods sweetened with natural flavors to taste like fruit.

It’s much better to eat foods with ingredients grown in the ground rather than made in a lab!

MCTs– What are they?

It seem that MCTs are all over the news. What’s the real deal? You hear about possible health benefits of them and you are not even sure what they stand for. MCTs are Medium Chain Triglycerides.  They are unique because their chemical configuration enables them to be absorbed easily in the gastrointestinal tract. Other fats need to be broken down and digested with the help of bile acids and enzymes; MCTs are rapidly absorbed intact and travel directly to the liver to be used for energy. Due to this process, MCTs, unlike LCTs (long chain trigylcerides), are not stored as fat but used as fuel for the body in a way that is similar to the digestion of carbohydrates.

As is true for all fats, use foods with MCTs sparingly. Fats are high in calories and those calories can add up quickly if you use too much. That’s why moderation is always the best bet for overall health and wellness.

Green Tea Goodness

As the temperature outside rises, we all look for ways to keep ourselves hydrated throughout the summer months. How often have you felt tired and had a killer headache on those hot,
sticky days and not realized it’s because you are dehydrated?
If you’re looking for a healthy and refreshing iced beverage, brew your own iced green tea.  Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages to reach for because its rich in polyphenols, like
EGCG which may play a role in preventing cancerous cells from growing (how great is that?).  Some companies, like Carrington Farms, make green teas in delicious flavors like Green tea
with mint, lemon or even jasmine for variety. I also change it up by adding mint leaves or fruit such as lemon, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries or strawberries to my tea with a teaspoon
of honey.  One last thing– green tea has only about 30 mg caffeine compared to 140 mg caffeine in a cup of coffee so you don’t need to worry about getting the caffeine jitters.  A healthy, refreshing summer beverage to keep you healthy and hydrated….drink up!

The Benefits of Magnificent Magnesium

Feeling stressed? Out of sorts? If you’re not eating as healthy as you’d like and not sleeping well either, it’s possible you have a magnesium deficiency.  Many of us do.  Especially in times of stress (and who isn’t stressed these days?), we deplete an essential mineral necessary for hundreds of bodily processes.  Magnesium may improve heart health, menstrual cramps, migraines, decrease anxiety and is essential for strong bones, just to name a few of its powers.
How can you get more magnesium? Working it into your diet is one way.  Eating plenty of leafy green vegetables, nuts, beans, whole grains or chia seeds will definitely help.
If you choose to supplement, no worries, the recommended amount is 200 mg per day.
I recommend a chelated magnesium which is gentler on the stomach and does not cause any unwanted side effects. I suggest taking it at night because it can relax your body and help you get a good night’s sleep. Magnesium is nature’s sleeping pill.

Sweet Dreams!

Chia, Flax, Hemp: Your Healthy Guide to Using Seeds in Your Recipes

If you are on the lookout for the latest nutrition trends, you’ve likely stumbled upon the nutritional powerhouses of Chia, Flax and Hemp seeds. But, if you are still uncertain how to make the most of them in your cooking and what the benefit of using them is, this article will help you figure it all out.     Click here to read the article.

Decoding the Nutrition Facts Label

Decoding the Nutrition Facts Label
It’s almost time to make that New Year’s resolution. For many people, it is something similar to “new year, healthier me.” But, how do you know if you are making good choices? Start with the Nutrition Facts Label. Check out this one from Crush’d Garage’s Algae Bloom juice.
The first thing you’ll notice is that there are only 100 calories in the entire bottle which is 100% juice. There is nothing else added! These are also nutrient-packed calories which are essential for weight loss and weight maintenance efforts.
There’s little or no fat, cholesterol or sodium in this juice. Potassium, which is an important mineral in the body for many key functions, is plentiful in this juice. Potassium plays a role in building proteins, breaking down and using carbs, building muscle, controlling the electrical activity of the heart, and controlling the acid-base balance in the body.
Dietary fiber is an essential aspect of a healthy diet and achieving weight goals. Crush’d garage juices use the whole fruit or vegetable so they are able to have the ever-important nutrient of fiber in their juices. This juice has 4 grams per bottle. Other juice companies are devoid of fiber. How can no fiber ever be considered “healthy?”
Although some juices are very high in sugar, this one has only 6 grams. ( I tell my clients in my private practice, to keep sugars at 8 grams or less per serving). This certainly fits the bill. Some of the other delicious juices I’ve tasted from Crush’d Garage have higher grams of sugar per serving, but it’s due to the fact that they are fruit-based, not vegetable. Fruits are always higher in sugar than vegetables in their natural state. Also, because the skins are left on during the juicing process, the fiber in the Crush’d Garage juices helps to naturally counteract the body’s response to the sugar.
In addition to fiber, protein is key to staying fuller longer and feeling satisfied. These juices also have protein in each bottle. This one has 5 grams which is what I consider to be a good amount for a plant-based snack or drink. Other juice companies have much less protein in their juices and they have absolutely no fiber.
The last component to choosing a healthy food or drink is to look at the list of ingredients. As you can see, the ingredient list is short which is always a good thing. This is the indisputable “less is more” adage. You do not want a long list of ingredients in anything you put in your body. Chances are then more likely there will be additives, preservatives and all kinds of unnatural ingredients.
Bottom Line: Keep it simple. Crush’d Garage does. They have only a few organic ingredients which keep their juices clean and healt