Tag Archives: healthy cholesterol levels

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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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?

 

 

 

 

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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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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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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.