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2-Ingredient Maple-Chocolate Candy (Paleo, Refined Sugar-free)

Have you ever been to a sugarhouse in Vermont? If not, you should go. Why? Because first of all Vermont is beautiful. Peaceful, serene, unplugged. Everyone should spend at least a weekend in Vermont. Seriously. Maybe we’ll add that as part of our health and wellness plan for our clients. As soon as you enter the state you immediately feel your breaths become deeper, your shoulders relax back down to where they’re meant to be, your mood lightens. It’s the perfect place to de-stress, to enjoy nature, and

Maple sugar house between trees with fall foliage at the countryside at Reading, Vermont, USA

to just be. Second, sugarhouses are usually set in some beautiful majestic setting (it is Vermont afterall), often down a windy, hilly path surrounding by mountains, trees, and gorgeous clean air. Third, this is where the most delicious, pure, straight from the trees maple syrup is made. And if you’ve never tried Vermont’s maple syrup, well…you should. It’s the perfect blend of sweet and intense flavor, and you can almost taste the cool air and pure nature that only Vermont can produce.

Okay, okay, maple syrup is delicious. But it’s sugar, right? Actually, maple syrup is an unrefined natural sugar, and like honey it contains higher levels of antioxidants and beneficial nutrients than white table sugar or high fructose corn syrup. It’s a wonderful alternative to refined and processed sugars, which are linked to numerous health problems. In fact, here are some benefits of maple syrup, in case you’re on the fence (I suggest getting down from the fence and going to Vermont, but hey that’s just me):

5 Benefits of Maple Syrup:

  1. Contains nutrients: zinc, potassium, manganese, magnesium, iron and calcium.
  2. Contains antioxidants
  3. Lower glycemic index than refined sugars
  4. Good for the skin: can lower inflammation and dryness
  5. Healthier alternative to artificial sweeteners and refined sugars, thus helping to prevent health problems that these cause
  • Even with these health benefits, maple syrup, just like any sugar, should be consumed in moderation.

In our house, maple syrup and raw honey are the sweeteners of choice when we need to satisfy a sweet tooth. This Easter I decided to think outside the box a little, and instead of more chocolate candies, I decided to make a maple candy. It turned out delicious, and just like the candy we tried in Vermont! It’s pretty easy to make, but make sure you follow the directions as accurately as possible. We no longer use chocolate chips because even the dark chips often contain soy and/or sugar, which we try to avoid. Instead we use our eating evolved chocolate bars and chop them up into chip-sized pieces! Also, you can choose to omit the chocolate chips and you’ll still have a delicious maple candy that can be spooned into candy molds for a cute presentation!

2-Ingredient Maple-Chocolate Candy

  1. In large saucepan, boil maple syrup over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Use candy thermometer and continue boiling until it reaches 235 degrees F.
  2. Remove saucepan fro heat and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes, or 175 degrees F.
  3. Once cooled, whisk rapidly until lighter in color, thick and creamy. Quickly stir in chocolate pieces (it’s okay if the chocolate is a little melty; you want to add the chocolate once it’s smooth and somewhat cool, but if you wait too long the mixture will be too hard!)
  4. Pour into candy molds or into an 8X8 pan (or something similar). Cool in refrigerator for a few minutes. Can be stored in airtight container in fridge for up to 3-4 weeks (but I promise it won’t last that long!)

I hope you enjoy this Maple-Chocolate Candy as much as we do, and at some point get to experience Vermont too! What are you’re favorite uses for maple syrup?

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This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

Developing a Positive Relationship with Food: Making a Positive Shift

What comes to mind when you hear the word “diet”? For many, it’s a sense of dread or even disgust. Just like with any diet or lifestyle choice, Paleo has its critics. I’ve found that the most critical opinions tend to come from those who don’t really understand what Paleo is, and what it really is about. For us, it’s not a diet (and I hate associating it with the word “diet” because of the negative connotations that go along with that), and it’s not meant to be a restrictive lifestyle either. Paleo, for us, is changing our way of thinking about food, and our perspective about what food is and what we use it for. Since beginning the Paleo lifestyle, I have gone through a myriad of emotions, many that I witness our clients going through as they transition to eating healthier. It’s looking at food in appreciation, and an understanding of how it was made, what is in it, and how those things effect our bodies. Paleo is a lifestyle, not a diet. It’s not a temporary way to lose weight, or a restriction of all things fun. In fact, since going Paleo, I have had more fun than I ever have in shopping for food, creating food, and enjoying food with my family, without that insatiable need to depend on food for all social activities and emotional ups and downs. It’s been freeing in that I can focus more of my energy on experiences and relationships with people, rather than food. All that said, like anyone, I struggle at times, especially as our society is still not conducive to clean eating. Going out to eat can be challenging, as can other social events. But I have learned to navigate most situations in a way that is comfortable to me and my family, and allows me to still enjoy most things that I did before – and then some new things too! For me, once I figured out how to look at food differently, more positively, I became content with my nutrition, my lifestyle, and myself.

Negative Relationship Patterns with Food

So let’s take the word “diet” out of the equation, and even the word “Paleo” for a minute and focus on how to start shifting perspective from a negative to a positive relationship with food. Because in order to be successful in reaching any health and fitness goals, a positive relationship with food is necessary, and imperative. Here are some of the most common negative patterns with food (do any of these relate to you?):

  • Emotional/Stress Eating: whether feeling positive or negative emotions, eating based solely on emotion can have a negative impact on your physical and emotional health.
  • Ignoring Hunger Cues: an inability to tell when you are hungry, and when you are satiated. Ignoring your body’s signals can lead to weight fluctuation and unhealthy weight gain or loss.
  • Food Guilt: beating yourself up about an unhealthy food choice so much that you’re unable to enjoy the food, or the experience.
  • Skipping Meals: skipping meals is just a bad idea. It can be detrimental for your mood, your sleep, your metabolic functioning and your overall health.
  • Negative Nelly: when describing your eating routine you list all the things you cannot eat. When thinking about your health/nutrition plan, the only things you can focus on are the foods that you miss and that you have eliminated, and how that impacts other aspects of your life in a negative way.
  • Restriction: you restrict yourself from food so much that you miss the point of healthy eating – to fill your body with the nutrients it needs to be healthy mentally, emotionally, and physically – not to deprive yourself of all things happy!

Making a Positive Shift

If any of these things describe you, you may have some work to do before you can be successful with your health and nutrition journey. We’re striving for healthy body and healthy mind, and to do that we want to take some of the emotional stress out of your relationship with food. Here are some ways to make a positive shift in perspective when it comes to food, and how ultimately to develop a more positive relationship with food in order to be successful – and happy!

  1. Mindful Eating. This is listed first because I feel that it is the most important key to enjoying food, understanding food, and learning to eat and enjoy real, whole, organic foods. Eating mindfully can lead to better control over your weight by allowing you to tune into hunger cues. When eating mindfully, it also helps you to get more satisfaction from food, and enjoy the various flavors of real foods. Think about how you might eat a hamburger from a fast food restaurant or popcorn at a movie theatre – probably pretty fast and mindlessly, right? And you think it tastes so delicious because in those quick minutes of eating you are overwhelmed with the taste of salt and chemicals. Now imagine sitting down to eat a salad made with fresh, local organic vegetables and a bunless grassfed burger, eating slowly and tasting each subtle flavor, imagining the farm that these foods came from, healthy cows, and vegetables growing in the warm sun, and no added pesticides or chemicals. Try bringing more time and awareness to your next meal and notice the difference.
  2. Eat When You’re Hungry. It sound so simple, but we all struggle with this one. You come home from work and nosh on the first thing you see because you’re relieving stress. You have a fight with a friend or spouse and you down 6 brownies. You go to dinner with friends and you eat an inordinate amount of cheese dip, fries and maybe even some key lime pie. I’m not saying don’t eat when with friends. My point here is to bring more awareness to when you eat and why. And try to eat when you’re hungry, as much as possible. Emotional/stress eating leads to weight challenges, and negative emotional energy toward yourself and others.
  3. Imperfection. If you’re human, you will make mistakes, even when eating. And it’s ok! Just because you couldn’t resist that bread, or slice of cake, doesn’t mean your health plan is ruined, and it doesn’t make you a failure. Acknowledge your mistake, and how you want to do it differently next time, and let out go. Move forward. Be kind to yourself.
  4. Positive Penny. Let’s say goodbye to Negative Nelly – she drives me crazy. When someone asks you about your nutrition or lifestyle, start telling them about all of the amazing things you do and eat. For example, I had this amazing 6 layer paleo strawberry cake for my birthday this year! I discovered how to make the most delicious salad dressing I’ve ever eaten because of my paleo preferences, and I never feel bloated after a Thanksgiving meal! Also, I’m more active since going paleo, because all of my social engagements are no longer centered around food, but more around things like yoga classes, bowling, hiking and concerts!
  5. Enjoy the Experience. Whether cooking your own food or eating out with others, take time not just to eat mindfully, but to enjoy and be grateful for the experience of creating the food, sharing the food, and eating the food.
  6. Eat. Be okay with eating. Every meal, and multiple times a day. When you use the tools above you’ll soon realize that not only will you not gain weight or fat from eating multiple meals a day, you will actually feel better and your life and energy will improve.

Hopefully this will give you some food for thought. How have you found success and contentment when it comes to food and a healthy way of eating? What mistakes have you made, and how have you overcome your challenges?
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This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

Instant Pot Chicken Salad (Paleo, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free)

Instant Pot Chicken Salad (Paleo, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free)

The Instant Pot makes life so much harder! – Said no one, EVER. The Instant Pot is amazing, and I’ll tell you why. It has about a million settings on it, for everything you could possibly need, from stew and chili to yogurt. It boils eggs perfectly, making them a breeze to peel, cooks beef to the perfect level of tenderness, and produces perfectly steamed veggies in a matter of minutes. When we switched from slow-cookers to the Instant Pot, I admit I was a little reluctant. My slow-cooker was my prized possession, giving us warm and wonderful meals week after week, delighting our house with the smell of something yummy cooking. But then Japheth started going on and on about the benefits of pressure cooking, and then he said “it acts as a slow-cooker too”, and I was intrigued. “I’ll give it a try” I said. So I did. And I faced my pressure cooking fears too. Come to find out, pressure cooking with the Instant Pot does not result in fires that destroy the kitchen and home, as I had pictured. I now own 4 Instant Pots, and rave about them so much that I’ve convinced numerous clients and friends to get them too (and they LOVE it).

3 Striking Benefits of Pressure Cooking

If you’re like me, you may be a little averse, or even ignorant to pressure cooking because of preconceived notions based on your mom or grandmom’s pressure cooking fiascos. The truth is that many modern pressure cookers are actually very safe due to built-in safety mechanisms. Here are some benefits of pressure cooking, and why you may want to give it a try!

  1. It’s More Healthy Than Many Other Cooking Methods. Research shows that pressure cooking can actually preserve more nutrients in foods that most other cooking methods. This is because the amount of time to cook food through pressure cooking is much less, and because they actually cook food at relatively low temperatures compared to most methods.
  2. It’s Fast. Pressure cooking can cut down cooking time by as much as 70%. While this is great for us and our busy lives, it also helps preserve the rich flavors of the food.
  3. Saves Energy. Cooking with a pressure cooker means less time using appliances, and the convenience of one-pot meals cuts down on the number of appliances or boiling pots that are needed.



Instant Pot Chicken Salad

So now that you’re sold on the Instant Pot, lets talk food. As I said, my Instant Pot(s) is my go-to for almost everything (except ice cream). This recipe uses the Instant Pot to cook the chicken to absolute perfection, but if you’re still not ready to try this magical vessel, then I’m sure you could use another method to cook he chicken. Just don’t come complaining to me if it’s less than amazing. Anyhoo, the Instant Pot makes cooking the chicken super-easy, and then after that you simple shred and mix and voila! I like to eat this chicken salad with my Spinach-Avocado-Herb Dip, sometimes in a wrap, and sometimes over greens.

Chicken

Dressing

Put your chicken breasts and broth in the Instant Pot and place pressure cook lid on tightly. Make sure valve is set to “sealing”. Press the “Poultry” button, which defaults to 15 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, you can make the dressing by combining all dressing ingredients in a bowl.

Once chicken is done, simply turn valve to “venting” and open lid (you can let the pot release naturally if you like, it will just take a little longer). Remove the chicken breasts and place in a large bowl. Shred using two forks. It should look like this:

Once shredded to desired consistency, toss with the dressing to make sure all the chicken is coated. It’s delicious warm, if you need to eat it right away (like me), or cold after you refrigerate it. Enjoy!

 

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This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

Spinach-Avocado-Herb Dip (Paleo, AIP)

Spinach-Avocado-Herb Dip (Paleo, AIP)

Let’s face it: dips are fun. Who doesn’t love dips? They make food fun, and delicious. The word “dip” might even be the reason you’re reading this post. Dips are so much fun that they even make spinach fun.  It’s true. Take this dip for example. Here I’ve paired spinach with avocados (another fun food, by the way) and added some fresh herbs to create a nutrient-rich, anti-inflammatory, power-packed and superfun dip. Serve this at your next gathering and you can’t go wrong. Unless you go fun-overboard, by dancing the Funky Chicken or something weird like that. Then you’ve taken it too far.

Health Benefits

Avocados are not only delicious, but are also packed with health benefits. Read more about the health benefits of avocados in this blog post. Spinach is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat, and the great thing about it is its versatility. Raw or cooked, stand alone or in a pesto, spinach makes for some very yummy and creative dishes. Eat more spinach. Here are a few of the health benefits of spinach to get you going:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • high in anti-oxidants
  • cancer-fighting
  • immunity-boosting
  • detoxifying
  • heart healthy
  • promotes bone health
  • high in vitamins and minerals, including magnesium

Spinach-Avocado-Herb Dip

We’ve been really into avocados lately, and have been big fans of spinach and fresh herbs for years. Smoothies, salads, dips and casseroles, no green dish is safe from us. With my renewed love of avocados, I have found that combining this superfruit with a superveggie like spinach is a match made in heaven. They are delicious together, and your body feels good eating them. Pay attention when you eat this dip – notice how your body responds. For this dip, I used a little fresh cilantro and basil for additional health benefit and of course flavor. And to me, no dip is complete without garlic. Enjoy this over chicken or hamburger, with plantain chips, or in a grain-free tortilla, the options are endless!

Ingredients

  • 6c raw organic spinach, washed
  • 2 organic hass avocados
  • 1c organic basil, washed
  • 1c organic cilantro, washed
  • 1/4 organic yellow onion, rough chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 2T olive oil
  • juice of 1 organic lemon
  • 1/2tsp Himalayan sea salt

Directions

Throw all ingredients except olive oil into food processor and process. Drizzle olive oil into processor while its running. Process until creamy and smooth. Eat immediately or store in fridge for up to two days.

And don’t forget: eat more spinach!

Unbelievable Sunbutter Buckeyes (Paleo, Nut-Free, Refined Sugar-Free)

Unbelievable Sunbutter Buckeyes (Paleo, Nut-Free, Refined Sugar-Free)

If you’ve been following my blog, you probably know that I’m from the south. While I haven’t lived in North Carolina for many years, its true that once a southerner, always a southerner. You don’t hear my accent much, but when I talk to my NC friends or family it all comes out. My husband says he doesn’t even understand everything I say when my accent kicks in – ha! “Whatchall doin'”, “crank the car”, and “I’m fixing’ ta…” are all fair game southern-speak. And my Tarheel blood runs blue and always will. Just like many other parts of the country – and world – as a Southerner, food is a big deal. The southern dishes and candies of my childhood are the inspiration for many of my recipes, and I find it both challenging and fun to bring these old traditions to life in a new, healthier way! I like to re-create these recipes not just for myself but also for my kids, to continue old and joyful traditions. It’s something special when you see your child enjoying something that you enjoyed so much as a child too.

The fruit of the buckeye tree, named because it resembles the eye of a buck deer

Buckeyes were made every year around the holidays in my family, and were and are a favorite! I think it was a recipe passed down from my grandmother, but ask any southerner and they will tell you they have a family recipe for too. Traditionally these are made with a load of confectioner’s sugar (a staple in every southern household), peanut butter, and of course butter. Being paleo, I had to significantly modify the traditional recipe to make these. But no worries – these buckeyes are unbelievably yummy (even yummier in my opinion)! The sunbutter works as a wonderful substitution for the inflammatory peanut butter, and the honey gives it a natural sweetness that’s not overwhelming like confectioner’s sugar. Learn more about the benefits of sunflower seeds here. I use a touch of coconut butter to add a little more structure and texture. These are also as easy to make as they are delicious, and can be whipped up in no time! Simply dip them in chocolate and you have a dessert that no one – southern or not – will resist!

Unbelievable Sunbutter Buckeyes

Sunbutter Balls

Chocolate Mixture

Throw all ball ingredients into food processor and process until a dough forms. Form dough into balls (1/2-inch to 1-inch) and place on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Put cookie sheet in refrigerator for about 20 minutes or until they become firm. Melt chcocolate and coconut butter in double boiler. Once melted, dip sunbutter balls into the chocolate (using a toothpick), covering them about 3/4 of the way. Place buckeyes chocolate-side down on parchment paper. Refrigerate until chocolate hardens, then store in airtight container, refrigerated, for up to a week. Of course ours never last that long because they’re gone before I can even say “Unbelievable Sunbutter Buckeyes”!

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This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

Yoga and Pumpkin Meatballs (Paleo, Gluten-free, Nut-free)

Yoga and Pumpkin Meatballs (Paleo, Gluten-free, Nut-free)

Meatballs are fun. Fun to make, fun to eat, fun to talk about…everybody loves meatballs. Actually that should be the name of a book, or cookbook, or maybe it already is. Kids love meatballs too, especially making them, so anytime I make meatballs I enlist their help. I use the word “help” very loosely here! They love making the dough into balls, hearts, snakes, monsters, and anything else, and then of course getting to eat them when they’re ready. And I use the word “they” very loosely here, because I probably enjoy making monsters more than they do.

Let’s talk about yoga and meatballs for a second. I talk a lot about how to incorporate yoga into everyday life and situations, and this is a great example! Sound crazy? Read on. I may be a little weird, but I find it therapeutic to squish things together and make a yummy concoction. Taking a few minutes to use your senses (touch, smell, sight, and later taste) and be present with the dough can be a very yogic process. Squishing, kneading, and forming balls, using the physical body in conjunction with the calm, quiet mind can soothe the spirit. It’s a great opportunity to connect with the breath and to enjoy the mindfulness that cooking and preparing food promotes. Plus, you’re making something that is healthy, delicious, and good for your body, which makes the process that much more rewarding and fun. Try it, you’ll get it.
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Anyway, these Pumpkin Meatballs are yummy. A warm comfort food on a cool day, an easy snack for on-the-go, or, paired with some roasted veggies or maybe spaghetti squash, a perfect meal for an evening at home. The pumpkin and cinnamon add a little fall flavor, while the honey gives it a subtle sweetness to complement the savory aspect of a traditional meatball. They are super easy to make, which is always a plus in my book. I also love that you can freeze these to enjoy later, or as I do, pull them out when you forgot to make lunch for your husband to take to work!

Pumpkin Meatballs (Paleo, Gluten-free, Nut-free)

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 c fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 T organic pumpkin puree
  • 2 T yellow onion, minced
  • 1 T dried oregano
  • 1T raw local honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Get your hands in there and really mix, enjoy the therapeutic benefits! Once everything is well combined, form into 1-2” balls. Place balls on parchment paper lined baking sheet and put into the oven for 20-25 minutes (on the longer end if your meatballs are larger).

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Let me know if you try Yoga and Pumpkin Meatballs, and how it goes for you!

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This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

18 Health Benefits of Avocados and Avocado-Pudding Recipe! (Non-dairy, Paleo)

18 Health Benefits of Avocados and Avocado-Mango Pudding! (Non-dairy, Paleo)

Let’s talk about avocados. You wouldn’t believe the amount of avocados we go through in our house. Seriously. We (and by “we” I mean even the kids) eat them by themselves, on top of salads, and on top of soups. We make recipes, using them in pesto, puddings, ice creams, and of course guacamole. Avocado oil is our oil of choice for most salad dressings and in much of our cooking. We love the creamy texture, the subtle flavor, and most of all how it makes us feel. Avocados provide healthy fat, which when paired with its high nutrient content (i.e. fiber, vitamins B, C, K, and E, potassium, and magnesium) makes them satiating and super-healthy.

Here are some Avocado products that we use and recommend:

18 Health Benefits of Avocados

The health benefits of avocados are numerous, and are backed by loads of scientific research. Here are 18 reasons why these little fruits are so great for us:

  1. They are very nutritious. As I mentioned, avocados are packed with vitamins and minerals, namely vitamin K, folate, Vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B5 and B6, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin A, copper, zinc, and more. They have a very low glycemic index and are low in saturated fat.
  2. They are high in fiber. Avocados are very high in fiber compared to most other foods, a quarter of which is soluble.
  3. They help lower cholesterol.
  4. They promote better nutrient absorption. Avocados actually increase the amount of nutrients your body can absorb from other plant foods.
  5. They promote eye health. Avocados are high in antioxidants that support eye health and lower the risk of eye problems such as degeneration.
  6. They promote weight loss. Avocados are often recommended when trying to lose weight, as they are high in fiber and healthy fat, thus more satiating.
  7. They are high in protein. Avocados, unlike most fruits, are high in protein and low in sugar.
  8. They promote healthy metabolic functioning. Avocados contain fat-soluble vitamins A, E, and K.
  9. They are easy to eat. We all love foods that are quick to prepare and easy to eat. Avocados fit the bill. Just cut and scoop, and your snack is all set!
  10. They are beneficial in pregnancy. Due to their high levels of folic acids, vitamin K, and vitamin B, avocados are often recommended to women who are pregnant and post-partum.
  11. They promote healthy liver. Avocados help protect the liver in a number of ways.
  12. They are anti-inflammatory. Avocados contain vitamins K and E, which help reduce cellular inflammation.
  13. They provide dental care. Avocados contain antibacterial and antioxidant properties which have the ability to kill bad bacteria in the mouth.
  14. They promote longevity. These superfoods are associated with healthy aging due to a regenerating compound called xanthophyll.
  15. They promote bone health. Avocados are shown to help in lowering the risk of osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
  16. They heal dry skin. They help soothe chapped lips and cracked skin.
  17. They provide great skin care. Avocado oil is soothing and moisturizing for the skin. It can be used in natural homemade skin care such as body butters, face cream and lip balms. Also, the good fats can help protect the skin and prevent sun damage.
  18. They promote healthy mood and sleep.

As if that list isn’t enough, here is another reason to buy and consume avocados: a delicious and easy Avocado-Mango Pudding recipe! This is a favorite in our house. I can whip it up in under 5 minutes, and it hits the spot when craving something sweet and satiating. The light and fluffy texture makes it fun for the kids too!

Avocado-Mango Pudding Recipe

– 1 ripe organic haas avocado, peeled and pitted
– 1 10-oz bag frozen organic mango chunks
– 1 can full-fat organic coconut milk
– 2 T raw local honey (or more, to taste)

Throw all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and fluffy. Eat, and enjoy!

 

 

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This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.

10 Health Benefits of Drinking Water (And How to Know if You’re Drinking Enough)

10 Health Benefits of Drinking Water (And How to Know if You’re Drinking Enough)

Drink more water. This is one of our most repeated, most basic, and most necessary pieces of advice for our clients. We have helped our clients cure and improve everything from debilitating headaches to metabolic functioning simply by increasing their water intake. Endurance athletes have noted feeling and performing better, others have reported increased mood. Water is critical to our survival, our health, and our ability to carry out basic functions.

So how much water do we need? This can depend on a number of personal and environmental factors. It can also depend on diet. A Paleo diet typically includes a lot of water-rich foods, for example. Most of us have heard the “eight by eight” rule: drink eight eight ounce glasses of water a day. This rule is actually not backed by scientific evidence, but it is easy to remember. We have a somewhat different approach, and recommend that our clients drink half their body weight in ounces of water daily. Regardless of level of activity, diet, or other factors, we find this to be a good, healthy rule of thumb for everyone, and also easy to remember! Also, drink plain water. No, drinking 100 ounces of Diet Coke a day is not equivalent to 100 ounces of water.

How do you know if you’re not getting enough water? Our bodies are very clever. They let us know when something is amiss; the problem is we don’t always listen or pay attention. When in doubt, drink more. Pay attention to how your body is feeling. Are you thirsty? Is your urine a deep yellow? Is your mouth dry? These are all signs that you need more water. Below are 10 more common symptoms of mild dehydration.

10 Symptoms of Inadequate Water Intake

1) Lethargy
2) Constipation
3) Dry skin/lips
4) Weakness
5) Headaches
6) Low blood pressure, resulting in dizziness
7) Decreased mental acuity
8) Mood changes
9) Difficulty losing weight
10) Muscle cramps

10 Health Benefits of Drinking Water

And now, the health benefits. We’ve discussed what inadequate water intake can do to our bodies and how it can effect us cognitively, emotionally and physically, but what can a healthy intake of water do to our bodies (and therefore our quality of life)? LOTS!

1) Increased Energy and endurance
2) Aids digestion and maintains regularity
3) Keeps skin hydrated and healthy
4) Promotes healthy immune system functioning
5) Relieves and prevents headaches
6) Removes waste and toxins from the body
7) Helps with focus and concentration
8) Promotes healthy mood
9) Aids weight loss by improving metabolic functioning
10) Keeps joints lubricated and prevents muscle cramps

So now that you have the information, it’s just a matter of filling up that water bottle or glass and drinking it down. If you’re not accustomed to drinking large amounts of water you may not like the taste. It’s okay, you will get used to it. Feel free to add a little lemon, lime, or even cucumber slices to dress it up a bit! I personally love water, but for those who don’t, just remember that your body needs it. Better to drink an extra few glasses now than feel awful, or worse yet, pay medical bills, later. When you pick up that glass remember these 10 Health Benefits to Drinking Water and enjoy doing something good – no, great! – for your body.

3-Minute 3-Ingredient Mango Milkshake (dairy-free, sugar-free, paleo)

3-Minute 3-Ingredient Mango Milkshake (dairy-free, sugar-free, paleo)

It’s winter, but in our house that doesn’t deter us from requesting – and eating – ice creams, or in this case, milkshakes. It does, however, deter us from eating them outside like we would in the summer. I mean, we’re not crazy. Winter also makes me lazy. Well, as lazy as a mom of two littles who also owns a business can be, I guess. Lazy in terms of making ice cream. During the summer I get super creative with experimenting with recipes (usually involving chocolate) and concocting all kinds of frozen goodness in the kitchen. But in the winter, I spend most of my cooking energy on warm meals (soups and stews oh my), and stick to the basics when it comes to frozen treats. That’s why I love this mango milkshake recipe. It fosters my laziness.

Health Benefits of Mangoes

Let’s talk about mangoes for a minute. They deserve a minute – maybe two. Mangoes have a number of health benefits that make them a super snack. Mangoes are packed with vitamins A, B, and C, and contain magnesium, potassium, and copper too. The antioxidants contained in mangoes can help the body fight cancer, while the vitamins and fibers help lower cholesterol and keep blood pressure in check. The probiotic fibers in mangoes aid digestive functioning, the vitamins and potassium content can help ward off heart disease, and the vitamins and carotenoids contribute to immune system health. Mangoes even promote healthy skin and hair, good eye sight, and bone health.

And they’re delicious.

3-Minute 3-Ingredient Mango Milkshake

Have you ever had frozen mango? Much like fresh mango, frozen mango is yummy. It’s a nice blend of creamy, sweet, and slightly tart, and makes a great addition to smoothies, FYI. We keep a huge stock of frozen fruit in our freezer at all times for our daily kale smoothies, and mango is a favorite. The kids often request frozen mango as part of their snack. So one day, probably a winter day, when I was craving ice cream, I decided to throw some frozen mango into my food processor and see what happened. And this 3-Minute 3-Ingredient Mango Milkshake recipe was born. You won’t believe how easy and delicious it is. You might even feel silly for spending possibly more time reading this post than actually making the milkshake. But hey, you learned some pretty cool things about mangoes!

– 10oz bag organic frozen mango chunks
– 2/3c full fat organic coconut milk
– 2T organic maple syrup  or raw honey

Put everything in food processor (or a really great blender) and process/blend until smooth and creamy. Add more milk if you like your shakes a little runnier, no judgment here. *TIP: store any leftover in popsicle molds for popsicles later!

 

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Simple Paleo Creamy Chicken Soup

Simple Paleo Creamy Chicken Soup (grain-free, dairy-free)

Ugh, the stomach bug. I dread it each year, because as anyone with children understands, the stomach bug will hit at some point each year. This year we naively thought we were in the clear, as our oldest is in her first year of preschool, and only three half-days a week, and our youngest is home with me every day. Somehow in my mind the half days made her less susceptible to the ick. We made it until February, and then it hit. One down, two, three, then all four of us were down. I was the last one to catch on; I had gotten too confident and couldn’t resist kissing my little ones even when they were sick. I paid the price. We were fortunate I guess that we didn’t all have it at the same time, but the stomach bug is simply awful regardless. On a more positive note, we all survived, despite our proclamations in the moment that death must be near. We made it through – for now – and are back to living life with gratitude!

Post-bug I am working my way through the house, disinfecting with essential oils and vinegar everywhere. Our stomachs are all still a little queasy, even days later, so we’re not quite back to eating like normal. It was time for me to make my old standby, my very simple and perfect-for-sick-recovery Simple Paleo Creamy Chicken Soup. There really is nothing better than a warm bowl of chicken soup, made with the freshest ingredients to make a tummy swoon. Sick or not this is a family favorite and a winter staple in our house! Feel free to experiment with veggies; we tend to keep ours very simple but I imagine kale, spinach, celery, carrots, mushrooms, even peas would make delicious additions!

Simple Paleo Creamy Chicken Soup

– 3T avocado oil or olive oil
– 3lb organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts
– 1 large yellow onion, diced
– 4 garlic cloves, minced
– 2T coconut flour
– 2c bone broth (we used homemade chicken or beef broth)
– 1c full fat organic coconut milk
– sea salt and black pepper, to taste
– cilantro (opt)
– avocado (opt)

Heat 2T oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and make sure it covers the bottom. Cut the chicken into large cubes and toss into pot. Sautee until lightly browned on all sides. Remove chicken and place aside. Add 1T oil to pot and sauté onions until translucent, then add garlic and cook until fragrant. 

Whisk in coconut flour. Pour broth into mixture and stir. Add chicken now, and any other veggies that you desire. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then turn to low, maintaining simmer, for 30 minutes. Stir in coconut milk and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Serve and top with cilantro and avocado if you like that kinda thing
(definitely recommended!).

I hope you try this Simple Paleo Creamy Chicken Soup the next time you’re feeling under the weather, or maybe just when you want an easy warm meal!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This website may, from time to time, endorse various products and/or services that we believe will benefit you in your quest for improving your life and health. It may be true that this website and its owner will receive compensation for these endorsements should you choose to purchase said products or services. In fact, in such cases, you should assume that we are an affiliate and will be compensated. Having said that, this website and its owner will only endorse products and/or services in which we strongly believe, or which we have used ourselves. By using this website, you hereby consent to the disclaimer and agree to all terms, policies, and conditions.