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Chocolate Coconut Butter (or Nutbutter) Cups (Paleo, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-free)

Soooooo, chocolate. It really needs no introduction – am I right?! If you’re reading this post you probably love chocolate like I do…and like most people with a pulse do. Ive had to give up chocolate twice in my life: once when I was breastfeeding my little guy, who had bad reflux and was clearly allergic to something I was consuming, so I eliminated all possible culprits (thankfully it was dairy, not chocolate that he was allergic to); and once when I had to eliminate “moldy” foods due to systemic mold toxicity. It was not easy, and it was not pleasant, life without chocolate. Some of you may be thinking “you own a health and fitness studio – why are you always encouraging us to eat chocolate?”. Well, because I am a firm believer that, as the Eating Evolved slogan so cleverly puts it, chocolate is food, not candy. When it’s the right kind of chocolate that is. Here’s why:

Health Benefits of Chocolate

  • Packed with anti-oxidants and is free radical fighting
  • Can improve heart health
  • Promotes healthy cholesterol levels
  • May help fight cancer
  • Can reduce inflammation
  • Can boost cognitive functioning
  • Can help lower blood pressure
  • Contains numerous vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron, selenium, etc

Isn’t that amazing? But here’s the thing: we’re not talking about the chocolate that you used to get trick-or-treating as a kid: you know, the Snickers and Butterfinger bars…those are not considered “food” and you will not see the above benefits from eating 6 candy bars a day. We’re talking about pure, dark chocolate, the darker the better. Here is what you want to look for – and avoid – when choosing a healthy chocolate:

  • 70% or higher cacao content (we typically don’t use anything lower than 85%)
  • organic or fair trade
  • minimally processed
  • no additives or soy
  • preferably no refined sugar (maple or coconut sugar preferred)

We buy Eating Evolved chocolate because it meets all of our criteria and is delicious! While we don’t use it as a meal replacement, we do eat quite a bit of it, and like knowing that we’re nurturing our bodies and our health. We also love to make treats with it from time to time, like my Chocolate Coconut Butter (or Nutbutter) Cups!


Chocolate Coconut Butter (or Nutbutter) Cups

Ingredients

  • 1 dark chocolate bar (we use 85%, but you could use darker or lighter, or a combination of the two!)
  • 1T coconut oil
  • 1/4c coconut butter or nut butter (we like almond butter)

Directions

  1. Line mini-muffin tin with 12 mini-muffin liners. Alternatively you can buy mini muffin liners that do not need to be used in a tin, you would just place them on a baking sheet.
  2. Melt chocolate and coconut oil in double boiled over low-medium heat.
  3. Spoon about a teaspoon of chocolate into each muffin liner. Steps 3-5 should be done rather quickly to avoid the chocolate drying and becoming less manageable (and pretty)!
  4. Spoon a dollop (a teaspoon or so) of coconut butter or nut butter on top of the chocolate.
  5. Spoon another teaspoon or so of chocolate on top of the butter. If needed, continue to add a little more chocolate to each cup to cover the butter, and until all of the chocolate is used.
  6. Freeze for 20 min.
  7. 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.

12 Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Add to Your Life

Inflammation is a topic that hits close to home for me. Having been exposed to mold in my home for 4 years, my body suffers from systemic inflammation, which has caused everything from significant and unexplained weight gain to rotating bouts of tendonitis to chronic fatigue and joint pain. Inflammation in the body is not always a bad thing, and can just be a function of the body doing its job to ward off illness. However, if the immune system goes into overdrive, an autoimmune disorder and serious inflammation can result. Some examples of this are fibromyalgia and even asthma.

As with most illness and disease, inflammation can be relieved and even reversed through diet. Many foods that we consume in our typical diet can promote and even cause inflammation and disease. When looking at reducing inflammation then, it’s no wonder that many good practitioners first look to diet. When working with clients, diet is an integral part of helping to not only optimize health, but also to help resolve many health issues and concerns, including inflammation. We look at moving clients toward a whole foods diet, full of healthy and organic fruits, veggies, fats, and of course meats. Antioxidants and essential fatty acids are components that are important to incorporate when working to reduce inflammation.

12 Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Add to Your Life

As I talked about in my earlier post about forming positive relationships with food, when transitioning to a food and lifestyle change I think its important to find foods that you do like that also are healing foods for your body. Try to avoid focusing on the foods that need to be eliminated from your diet, and try to focus more on the healthy and delicious foods that you are adding to your diet. Here are 12 Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Add to Your Life:

 

  1. Leafy Greens. By now you should be eating lots of leafy greens daily anyway (and if you still need convincing read my post here), but if you still haven’t jumped on this health-wagon, nows a good time to start. Leafy greens contains numerous vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants needed to help fight disease and inflammation, and they are simply a game-changer.
  2. Beets. Another food rich in antioxidants, beets are also anti-inflammatory. And as a bonus, they contain high amounts of magnesium as well (see my post here on the importance of magnesium in your diet).
  3. Turmeric. Curcumin is highly regarded as an anti-inflammatory food, and has proven to even be more potent than aspirin. We use turmeric in tea, golden milk, and in various dishes when we can.
  4. Ginger. Ah, this is my favorite. A cousin of turmeric, ginger is a powerful root that also helps to fight inflammation. We use ginger daily in our lemon-ginger tea, and I add it into smoothies, soups and other dishes every chance I get!
  5. Garlic. Garlic is anti-fungal, anti-viral, and full of antioxidants. Among other medicinal benefits is garlic’s ability to help relieve inflammation.
  6. Blueberries. High in anti-oxidants, blueberries can also help fight inflammation.
  7. Wild-Caught Salmon. Wild-caught salmon contains essential fatty acids and omega-3s, which are potent inflammation-fighters. Fish oil and fermented cod liver oil are excellent supplements to take, especially when eating fish on a daily basis is not practical.
  8. Bone Broth. Bone broth, especially homemade bone broth, can help reduce inflammation and heal leaky gut (also a result of inflammation).
  9. Coconut Oil. Coconut oil has endless health benefits, so it’s no surprise that anti-inflammatory properties are on it’s list of ways it helps your body.
  10. Chia Seeds. Chia seeds can help reverse inflammation due to their anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  11. Spices. Spices such as cloves, cinnamon, oregano, sage, and thyme are extremely anti-inflammatory.
  12. Dark Chocolate. Last, but not least, dark chocolate. Cocoa contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Make sure you choose a chocolate that is 75% or higher, and try to avoid any additives such as cane sugar or soy. We buy our chocolate here!

If you are suffering from inflammation and other health issues related to inflammation, we encourage you to speak with a knowledgeable professional who can help guide you toward food and lifestyle changes to heal your body. Contact us for a free consult and see how we can help you feel better and eliminate unnecessary inflammation!

 

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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.

8 Super Simple Ways to Get Your Greens In

 

Leafy greens are vital components of a healthy diet, and provide numerous nutrients that our bodies need. I talked about the many benefits of leafy greens in a previous post here. Some of the challenges of eating greens, though, are efficiency and convenience. I’m not talking about eating a piece of lettuce on your burger and calling that your veggie serving. I mean real servings of greens. Several cups of a dark leafy green, such as kale, spinach, or chard, for each meal. Those mason jar salads? Believe it or not. they do not contain the amount of veggies your body should be getting in a meal. So how can you eat that many greens three to four times a day, and still manage to do all the things you need to do on a daily basis? That’s the tricky part for most people, and one of the many reasons that our society, as a whole, is deficient in vegetables, especially the super-healthy, super-vital dark leafy greens.

That is also why in this post I have outlined 8 Super Simple Ways to Get Your Greens In! Feel free to get creative with this list. Use it for inspiration and find your own ways that work for you. But don’t, please don’t, skimp on your veggies or your greens. Make a commitment and make it work.

8 Super Simple Ways to Get Your Greens In

  1. The Ultimate Green Smoothie. Packed with all kinds of health powerhouses, including probiotics and collagen, this is the ultimate delicious and healthy smoothie. And, it takes mere minutes to make!
  2. Sauteed Bacon-y Spinach. I’ve said it before and it’s worth saying again: bacon can make anything good. Simply heat up a couple of tablespoons of bacon grease in a saute pan and throw in as many cups of spinach as will fit in the pan. Place the lid on and cook until spinach wilts. Remove pan and stir until all spinach is wilted and ready to eat!
  3. Pesto. This is another really easy and efficient way to get those greens in. If you have a food processor this literally takes minutes to make, and you can eat it with any protein of choice. I like to make a large batch of pesto, using spinach, kale, herbs, and any other greens I can find. Add olive or avocado oil, and seasonings such as garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Here is a delicious and power-packed recipe to try.
  4. Kale Chips. If you haven’t tried kale chips yet, you should. They are delicious, and you can hardly tell you’re actually eating kale! Because they aren’t fresh, or likely local, you may not want this to be your sole- or even primary veggie source, but in a pinch, this is a great way to get your greens in and still get most of the benefits. And they’re much healthier than many other snack alternatives!
  5. Raw Wraps. Have you ever ordered a burger at Elevation Burger or Five Guys and asked for no bun, but a lettuce wrap instead? Or how about the famous Lettuce Wraps at PF Changs? Well, why not make your own? Try using chard or kale leaves instead of bib lettuce thought – it’ll significantly increase your nutrient intake.
  6. Homemade Healthy Sauteed Swiss Chard with Garlic and CheeseSoups. I throw everything in soups. That half of an onion that I didn’t use? Into the pot. Those extra herbs in the fridge? Into the pot. Hamburger meat and stew meat? Yep, why not. My dark leafy greens go in too (during last few minutes of cooking). If it’s a creamy soup, blend them right in with the other ingredients.
  7. Sauteed Greens. Saute up a bunch or more of de-stemmed kale, Swiss chard, or collard greens, using a fat of your choice, optional onion or bacon add-ins, a little salt, and about a cup of broth per large saute pan. Cook until just wilted and enjoy!
  8. Spinach Scrambled Eggs. Eggs pair really well with greens, and scrambled eggs are a quick and easy way to get the protein and veggies in to start your day off right! Whisk 4-6 eggs in a bowl and season with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 6-8 cups of spinach (little at a time if needed), and cook until wilted. Add eggs to pan and cook until set.

These are some of my favorite quick and easy ways to get my – and my family’s – greens in! What are yours?

 

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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.

 

The Ultimate Green Smoothie (paleo, dairy-free)

Like probably millions of other Americans, our schedule is pretty hectic. Between the business, two small children, and all of the day-to-day things that come up, I need quick and easy when it comes to cooking. That’s not to say I skimp on taste, quality, or health though. No matter how hectic things get, I will move everything aside if I’m working on perfecting a recipe or experimenting with new ways to introduce delicious foods into our diet! Thankfully this one didn’t take too long to perfect. Once I finally invested in a Vitamix (life changer, and every bit worth the price!), making smoothies became a piece of cake. In fact, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t hopped on the bandwagon before! Life before the Vitamix didn’t have a lot of greens in it. I mean, we’d eat greens on a regular basis, but the majority of our veggie intake came from root veggies, because they’re faster and easier to eat relative to leafy greens. One serving of a sweet potato equates about 4-6 cups of leafy greens, and when you’re always on the go there’s no time for eating that many greens for every meal, much less for eating mindfully! But then, smoothies came into my life, and I no longer lack leafy greens in my diet. We (kids included) drink a green smoothie each morning to start our day, and I usually have one or two throughout the day as well, along with the other veggies I eat.

Why Leafy Greens are Important

We probably all know by now that leafy greens are good for us. Everyone tells us to eat more leafy greens, the darker the better. But why? Here’s a refresher of some reasons that leafy greens aren’t just important, they are necessary. Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, chard, mustard greens, etc. contain vital nutrients that our bodies need to function and live optimally. They are a good source of:

  1. Magnesium
  2. Potassium
  3. Calcium
  4. Folate
  5. Betaine
  6. Manganese
  7. Carotenoids
  8. Vitamin C
  9. Phytochemicals such as beta-carotine
  10. Antioxidants

The Ultimate Green Smoothie

I call this The Ultimate Green Smoothie because not only does it contain a generous helping of dark leafy greens, but also other powerful foods such as nutrient-dense herbs, health-boosting gelatin, and digestion enhancing probiotics. And even with all of this healthy stuff it still tastes so good we all ask for more! **Make sure to use local organic ingredients as much as possible in order to access the nutrients fully, and to avoid ingesting chemicals.

Ingredients:

  • water or water kefir, enough to fill blender 1/3-1/2 full
  • 2 probiotic capsules
  • dark leafy greens, enough to fill blender about 2/3 full (about 1 bunch of kale or 6c spinach)
  • 1 generous handful fresh herbs (we use cilantro, basil, or parsley)
  • 1c pitted dates
  • 2c frozen fruit (we like mangoes and strawberries the best)
  • 2tsp grass-fed collagen hydrolysate

Directions:

Fill blender 1/3-1/2 full of water. If you like thick smoothies use 1/3 water; if you like runnier smoothies, use 1/2 pitcher of water. Open probiotic caps and pour powder into water. Wash greens and herbs thoroughly and pack them down into pitcher until it gets to about 3/4 full. Add dates. Next add fruit, and top with gelatin. Blend until smooth and enjoy!

I hope you enjoy this Ultimate Green Smoothie as much as we do! How do you like to eat your leafy greens?

 

Affiliate Notice
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 Non-Food Ways That We Use Coconut Oil in Our House

Coconut oil in our house is one of those items that we would have a hard time living without. We try to be pretty minimal when it comes to shopping, and products that are both healthy and multi-purpose are wins. There are a million and one uses for coconut oil, ranging from using it as a cleaner, to using it in your favorite brownie recipe. It’s well-known and revered in both the primal/paleo and the non-paleo world, as one of the healthiest foods on the planet, and one of the most versatile products to own.

Benefits of Coconut Oil

The benefits of coconut oil have been proven in over a thousand research studies, and the list is endless. Here are a few commonly known benefits of this amazing fruit:

  • high in saturated fat, making it heart healthy
  • can heal urinary infections
  • high in antioxidants
  • can reduce inflammation
  • anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral
  • improves gut health
  • helps balance hormones
  • improves hair and skin conditions
  • prevents tooth decay and other dental problems
  • treats candida and yeast infections

10 Non-Food Ways That We Use Coconut Oil in Our House

In order to gain benefit from coconut oil, you can eat it as part of your regular diet. Grease your pans with it, cook your eggs in it, use it in baking recipes, melt it over your favorite veggies, etc. But don’t stop there! Coconut oil can be used in a myriad of ways that are non-food related! *Just as a note, I believe that anything that goes on your body should be safe enough to go in your body. After all, your skin is your largest organ, and it absorbs anything that you put on it – if you wouldn’t eat certain chemicals and toxins, why would you put them on your skin? Here are 10 Non-Food Ways That We Use Coconut Oil in Our House:

  1. Skincare. We use coconut oil in our homemade body butters, lip balms, lotion bars, deodorants, and sunscreen. It has a natural SPF of 4, is an excellent moisturizer, and can heal skin conditions. Additionally, in a pinch we use plain coconut oil on our dry skin or lips – doesn’t get much easier than that!
  2. Haircare. We use coconut oil in our homemade hair pomades and conditioners. To condition hair, simple rub between your hands until soft, then rub on ends of hair and into scalp. Leave on for 1 hour or even overnight, then rinse. *Be careful not to use coconut oil in the shower or sink too frequently as we have found that it clogs the drain when used regularly!
  3. Detox Bath. We love detox baths, and while we don’t take them as often as we’d like, we definitely feel the benefits when we do. It’s great for kids too, and seems to instantly relax them. Here’s a simple recipe to try:
    – 1/2c Epsom salts or magnesium flakes,
    – 1/4c coconut oil
    – 2-3 drops of essential oils (such as lavender or eucalyptus)
    – Hot bath
  4. Dental Care. We oil pull. Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic technique, used to draw out toxins from the mouth and body, and create a sort of anti-septic environment. It is said to prevent tooth decay, kill bad breath, and whiten teeth, among other oral hygiene benefits. How to do it: Swish about a tablespoon on coconut oil around in your mouth for about 20 minutes. Spit into trash can. Do this daily for noticeable benefit.
  5. Cleaning. We even use coconut oil for cleaning purposes! It cleans crayon and other marks off of walls, a trick that I was very grateful to learn. We also use it to clean marks off of furniture!
  6. Petfood/Health. Did you know that coconut oil is also beneficial for pets? Makes sense, since it’s
    so beneficial for us, right? We give our cats food that contains coconut oil daily, and have noticed a huge difference in their digestion and fur since starting it.
  7. Carrier Oil for Use with Essential Oils. Coconut oil is one of our favorite carrier oils when using essential oils. We mix it with peppermint eo to help with headaches, eucalyptus eo for a chest rub when sick, tea tree eo when needing a powerful antibacterial (think warts or fungus), wintergreen eo for sore muscles, and many more.
  8. Candles. I’ve started making my own homemade candles from beeswax and coconut oil. It’s so easy, and a greta way to avoid the chemicals and toxins that many candles consist of. I can add my favorite essential oils for an amazing scent too!
  9. Cough Suppressant. We make our own cough drops and cough medicine using combinations of coconut oil, ginger, cinnamon, and honey, all immune-boosting superpowers.
  10. Itches. We sometimes use coconut oil plain, or more often blended with essential oils, for relieving the sting or itches of bug bites or rashes.

As you can see, coconut oil really is a go-to for us; so much so that our kids even request it when they have a minor ailment! Hopefully this list will inspire you, if you’re not already a coconut-oil fanatic! What are your favorite uses for coconut oil?

 

 

 

 

Affiliate Notice
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!

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!

 

 

Affiliate Notice
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.

How to Make Healthy Homemade Sunbutter (nut-free, sugar-free)

 

How to Make Healthy Homemade Sunbutter (nut-free, sugar-free)

I love nut butters, and with my paleo lifestyle, nuts were my not-so-guilty pleasure for a long time. Almonds, walnuts, pecans, pistachios, macadamia nuts, no nut was safe! I started making my own nut butters a couple of years ago, when I became more aware of what my habit was costing me, and also when I became more conscious of all of the unnecessary and often unhealthy ingredients that are added to most store-bought versions…oils, sugar, words I didn’t recognize. Making your own nut butter is not only super-easy, but also cost-efficient, especially when you buy your nuts in bulk. All you need is a food processor and a jar to store it in!

Now, onto sunbutter. I discovered sunbutter when I started realizing that my beloved nuts were actually causing me some digestive distress. They made me bloated and uncomfortable. For many people they can also be a barrier to weight loss. Like many, I found that seeds do not have the same effect on my body, and I find them to be just as delicious. I often sprinkle them over salads, use them as a substitute for nut butters when baking, and even eat sunbutter drenched in honey for a treat sometimes. This homemade sunbutter is not only healthy, but with the added sweetness of the coconut sugar (sunbutter alone can be a little bitter), it is yummy enough for your whole family to enjoy!

Benefits of Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are beneficial to your health for several reasons. They are a great source of vitamin E, magnesium, and selenium. Because of these properties, these delicious seeds can help promote cardiovascular health, detoxification, healthy cholesterol levels, and a healthy mood. They also, of course, make a healthy and delicious snack, and even dessert!

How to Make Healthy Homemade Sunbutter
4c. Shelled sunflower seeds
1/3c coconut sugar
1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt

Preheat oven to 350. Spread sunflower seeds in thin layer on parchment paper lined, rimmed baking sheet (you may need 2 if you’re sheets are smaller like mine). Toast them in the oven until they are lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Be sure to stir them every few minutes to keep them from burning. **Toasting the seeds first makes it easier for them to release their natural oils, thus eliminating the need for added oil!

Once they are toasted, pour them into your food processor and start processing. This will take several minutes, so just turn it on, go do a load of laundry and come back. Don’t stare at the sunbutter. I do that, and it doesn’t go any faster. If you are staring at it, you’ll notice that the sunflower seeds first turn into a ground meal-like substance, and then a few minutes later will turn into more of a sticky ball, as the oils begin releasing. Don’t stop here! Keep going for a few more minutes and the butter will reach a creamy consistency. At this point you can add the coconut sugar and salt and continue to process to combine. It will look like this

Spoon into a jar of your choice and try not to eat it all at once. Or eat it all, we’ve all been there.

I hope you try this healthy homemade sunbutter recipe, and enjoy it as much as I do! What other nut butters have you made?

 

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10 Healing Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar (plus a recipe to relieve inflammation!)

10 Healing Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar (plus a recipe to relieve inflammation!)

Today, apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a household staple for many, and is used for much more than making delicious recipes. Its anti-bacterial properties make it a perfect all natural cleaning product, while it’s anti-fungal properties make it a simple cure for fungus, warts, and other annoying and unsightly skin problems. Additionally ACV is becoming more and more well known for its proven benefits related to acid reflux, high blood pressure, and inflammation, weight loss and digestion. In our house, we use ACV daily to help improve digestion and maintain overall health, by either incorporating it into our recipes or drinking it with water, as a tonic, each morning.

What kind should I use? 

In order to get the most bebenefit from ACV, make sure you use:

– raw
– organic
-unfiltered
– unpasteurized

Here are 10 Healing Uses for Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV):

  1.  As a Probiotic. ACV contains probiotics and a type of acid that promotes the growth of probiotics. These properties can help with constipation, diarrhea, and indigestion. Mix 1T with water and drink once a day.
  2. An Aid to Weight Loss. Studies have found that consuming apple cider vinegar can promote weight loss. ACV reduces sugar cravings and improves detoxification, and may even reduce body fat.
  3. To Kill Fungus. Much like coconut oil, ACV is an amazing anti-fungal and you’ll notice the effects almost instantly. To kill skin or toenail fungus, rub ACV on the area of fungus twice daily.
  4. To Heal Poison Ivy and Other Rashes. ACV can help reduce swelling and inflammation, and help the body detox. These properties will help poison ivy and other rashes heal more quickly. To relieve itching, mix 3 teaspoons of baking soda with one teaspoon of water and mix to form a paste. Apply this paste to the infected area to relieve irritation. Alternatively you can dip a cotton ball or q-tip into a small amount of ACV and apply directly to infected area a few times a day as needed.
  5. Healthy Hair. ACV can used as a natural conditioner, or as a rinse to dry out overly oily hair. Try this for the conditioner: 1T ACV mixed with 1 cup water, poured onto hair after shampooing, 3 times a week. To help combat oiliness: Mix 1 part ACV with 1 part water and pour over hair once a week.
  6. As a Natural Alternative to Deodorant. ACV is anti-bacterial, and can therefore kill yeast and other bad bacteria in the armpit, while also neutralizing odor. Just rubbing a little into your armpit each day can be beneficial.
  7. To Kill Warts. Apply ACV topically and cover with a bandaid once a day until wart is gone. Be careful not to over apply, as this may lead to an acid burn.
  8. To Cure a Cold or Sore Throat. Due to its vitamin and probiotic content, ACV is an ideal remedy to cure a cold and sore throat. Try 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in one glass of water 3 times daily to cure a cold. For acute laryngitis or strep throat, gargle 1 tsp ACV in 1/2 cup of water 3 times an hour.
  9. To Help Acid Reflux Symptoms. Many have touted the benefits of ACV in combatting symptoms of acid reflux, by breaking down fats, balancing pH levels, and improving digestion. Try 2T in 8oz water before meals.
  10. To Heal Inflammation. Sinusitis, joint pain, tendinitis, etc. can be helped by ACV. Try a tonic of 2T in 8oz water once daily.

To find out more about ACV, see this post by our friends at Cooking Detective!

Plus, here is a recipe that we use to help prevent and heal inflammation. This is a great alternative when the taste of the tonic is not so appealing!

Recipe to Relieve Inflammation:
1/2 organic lemon
2 in piece of ginger root
4 tsp apple cider vinegar
Raw honey, to taste

Chop lemon and ginger and add to teapot full of water. Boil tea and remove from burner. Pour tea, strained, into mug and add 1 tsp ACV per cup of tea. Add honey top taste, for added benefit and to help the taste!

I’d love to hear which of the healing uses of apple cider vinegar you’ve tried, and any others that work for you!

 


 

Affiliate Notice
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.

Dates – A Super Snack

medjool datesDates – A Super Snack

Dates have quickly become a part of our daily diet not only because of how delicious they are, but their versatility also makes them an easy favorite in our house! It’s funny, I don’t remember eating dates much as a child or even as a grown up until I had kids. I’m not sure why…I think they are quite understated. These little sweet fruits are packed with nutritional benefits and are just plain yummy.

Before I dive into the eating part, I want to tell you a little about the benefits of dates so you can feel even better about pigging out on these little guys. Dates are old. Really old. And are from the palm tree family, like coconuts! They are packed with vitamins and minerals and are even considered medicinal in many cultures. (Read about some of the emerging medicinal research here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/22214443/)  Dates are a good source of iron, magnesium, selenium and potassium. Which means they can be cancer-fighting and good for heart health. As a source of soluble fiber, they are also good for digestive health. As an added bonus these characteristics also make them a healing food for those who suffer from adrenal fatigue.

Wow, dates are awesome! But…how do I eat them? Ok, I’m sure most of you know how to eat them. Grab a handful and put in your mouth. Chew. OR cut some up for a salad topping. If you’ve exhausted these methods though, here are just 5 of my favorite – quick and easy – ways to add them into our daily routine! *as always, be mindful of what you’re buying- you want to make sure your dates have nothing added, and are ideally organic. We buy ours from nuts.com.

1) Stuffed Dates. It is what it sounds like. First take the pits out (unless you’re lazy like me and buy them pitted). Then stuff them with almonds, almond butter, or coconut butter.

2) Date Rolls. Roll your pitted dates in coconut. Better yet, stuff them and then roll them in coconut!

3) Homemade Lara Bars. Try this: 1c each of pitted dates, nuts of choice, other dried fruit; dash of cinnamon; pinch of salt. Combine in food processor until sticky. Add more of any of the above ingredients, if needed, until sticks between your fingers. (Can also add chocolate chips). Press into square baking dish and refrigerate. Cut into squares.

4) Date Balls. I like to make these for a sweet snack “for the kids” (or…maybe for us!):
– 2c pitted organic dates
– 1c coconut butter
– 1/4c unsweetened shredded coconut
– 1T coconut oil
– 1tsp cinnamon
Combine in food processor until sticky enough to form balls. Place 1-in balls on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Place in fridge until a little hard (or eat right away – no judgment!)

5) SMOOTHIES! Dates make the perfect sweetener for smoothies! Here’s a rough recipe that I use every morning, as a guaranteed hit with the kids! Add to blender in this order:
– 3 c water (or water kefir or coconut milk)
– 1 bunch of kale
– 2c frozen fruit of choice
– 1c pitted organic dates
Blend until smooth.  Bonus: can also pour leftovers into Popsicle molds for later!

Enjoy your dates! What’s your favorite way to eat them?

-Suzanne