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Experience Calm with Natural Vitality

Natural Vitality CALM Magnesium offers several benefits when added to your daily routine.

It’s no secret that magnesium is a crucial mineral for overall health and wellbeing. About half of Americans don’t get enough magnesium from their diet and supplementation can offer benefits for many people. Magnesium is well-known for its stress relieving and calming properties. Its list of benefits ranges from preventing migraine headaches to insomnia.

I have used supplemental magnesium into my daily routine for over a year now, and I have first-hand felt and experienced the benefits. I don’t skip a single day of taking magnesium, because I know how powerful and important it is for my body. In the spirit of embracing a more restful and relaxing 2019, I was given the opportunity to try out a magnesium supplement called Natural Vitality CALM. I was very impressed with the quality, taste and ease of the product. Below I share more about my experience and the proven benefits of adding magnesium to a wellness routine!

What is Natural Vitality CALM?

Natural Vitality CALM Magnesium Supplement

Natural Vitality CALM Magnesium Supplement

Natural Vitality CALM is a fruity, light, dissolvable powder that promotes healthy magnesium levels and balances calcium intake when mixed in with beverages—helping you to feel more grounded and calm throughout your day, or as you rest and go to sleep. Magnesium is a vital mineral supports so many important bodily functions that keep you healthy from day-to-day. The award-winning product is made with high-quality ingredients. It is sweetened with stevia (a plant-based sweetener), and is verfied non-gmo. The light-weight powder is naturally flavored raspberry-lemon, so it is a great addition to a green smoothie or to liven up a plain glass of H2O!

My Story with Magnesium

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Many magnesium supplements I have seen and tried are what I call “horse pills” because they are such large capsules that they are very difficult to swallow, and I have had to crush them or break them in half, which is just a mess and as you can imagine tastes awful! Being able to take the Natural Vitality CALM magnesium in a dissolvable form has been a much-welcomed change to my wellness routine! You simply just add the power to a drink of your choice or glass of water.

I started taking magnesium when I was diagnosed with frequent migraines from undiagnosed lyme disease. I was a little skeptical at first about how a simple supplement could really help the awful migraines I was experiencing a few times a week, but to my surprise once I was taking magnesium regularly for several months I did notice a reduction in my migraines. Some other benefits I experienced fairly quickly were less muscle spasms, and the ability to relax in the evening and fall asleep easier when I was stressed out or my body was in pain.

As a certified integrative nutrition coach and chronic illness warrior, I am a big fan of this product and utilizing magnesium as a part of a self-care routine to help combat stress and other health issues.

When to Take Magnesium?

Magnesium can be taken in the morning or evening depending on your own personal preference and routine. It can help you to jumpstart your day in a calm state-of-mind, or help you wind down in the evening and relax your muscles and body, so you can more easily fall asleep. There are so many benefits to adding magnesium into your daily regimen. How and when you decide to take it, is up to you!

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What are the Benefits of Magnesium?

Magnesium Can Boost Your Mood

Magnesium can boost your mood and promote relaxation. Studies have shown that people who have a magnesium deficiency are more likely to develop depression, anxiety and mood disorders. In fact, it has been shown that magnesium can work just as well as an anti-depressant in some cases.

Magnesium Balances Blood Sugar

Magnesium helps control blood sugar levels. Many studies have shown that higher levels of magnesium in your body are correlated with a lower risk of developing diabetes.

Build Healthy Bones with Magnesium

Magnesium is also crucial for your bone health. Along with Vitamin D and calcium, magnesium helps support the building of healthy, strong bones. Some experts say that boosting your calcium levels without increasing your magnesium could render the calcium ineffective. It is crucial to keep a balance of 2:1 with calcium and magnesium in your body.

Magnesium Can Help Hypertension

Magnesium is also said to lower you blood pressure, however it is important to note that studies have found this is only true for people who already have high blood pressure, and that magnesium may not have a preventative impact on those with normal blood pressure levels.

Migraines Can be Caused by Magnesium Deficiency

Additionally, some people, including myself, use magnesium as a migraine preventative. Studies have shown that many individuals who have migraines are actually magnesium deficient and therefore supplementing with the mineral decreases the frequency of their migraines and headaches.

Magnesium Can Help fight Inflammation

Magnesium also is said to have some anti-inflammatory properties. People who have chronic inflammation many times are also magnesium deficient. Adding magnesium to your regimen when you suffer from a chronic inflammatory condition can potentially help improve your symptoms.

Where to Buy Magnesium?

If you have any questions about Natural Vitality CALM or want to experience the benefits for yourself you can visit https://naturalvitality.com or Amazon to learn more or purchase the product today!

Natural Vitality CALM Magnesium mixed in with Tropical Green Smoothie

Natural Vitality CALM Magnesium mixed in with Tropical Green Smoothie

Tropical Calm Smoothie Recipe (shown above):

  • 1 cup almond milk

  • 1 banana (cut into pieces)

  • 1 handful of kale chopped

  • 1 handful of spinach leaves

  • 1 small peeled kiwi

  • 1/4 cup fresh raspberries

  • 1/4 cup frozen pineapple

  • 1/4 cup frozen mango

  • 2 tsp Raspberry-Lemon Natural Vitality CALM magnesium

I always blend my smoothies in layers to get the best taste and texture! I blend the banana, almond milk and magnesium powder first to create a smooth consistency. Next, I blend in the greens, and lastly I mix-in the fruit one-by-one. Blend until the smoothie has an even texture. It may take an extra couple minutes to do it this way, but I can promise the better quality is worth it! Enjoy!

If you have questions regarding your magnesium levels or whether or not magnesium is right for you, be sure to consult your doctor or health care provider as this article is not to be taken as medical advice.

8 Foods to Avoid Eating When You Have Eczema

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If you suffer from eczema, you are not alone. An estimated 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from eczema. Another name for eczema is atopic dermatitis and it is characterized by red, painful, itchy skin patches. Conventional medicine claims the cause of eczema is unknown, yet in the integrative and functional arena we are finding that many times it is related to an underlying immune system malfunction or imbalance.

Eczema and the Immune System

One of the best ways to tackle eczema can be from the inside-out. Many clients are shocked to learn that their skin conditions are actually related to an internal imbalance in their immune system or digestive system (gut). I hear many people say that they have tried everything and seen numerous doctors to fix their eczema and itchy skin, but to no avail. Many doctors will attempt to fix or “band-aid” the symptoms by providing a topical or oral medication to temporarily stop the painful itching, redness, and flaking of the skin. The problem with this approach is it does not address the root cause as to why you skin is responding this way in the first place.

The way you eat can effect your immune system as 70% of your immune cells reside in your gut. There are certain foods that have been known to make eczema and skin conditions worse.

Foods That Can Trigger Itching in Eczema

Below are some foods that can potentially be fueling your itching and uncomfortable. sleepless nights dealing with eczema. Some of these foods are considered healthy, but as the saying goes “one man’s food is another man’s poison.” I firmly believe in bio-individuality and the fact that we all have different body chemistry’s and one food that may be healthy to one person can be detrimental to another.

Dairy Products

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Dairy products are known to be one of the most common eczema triggers. Dairy can cause excess inflammation and damage to the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and therefore has a direct effect on the immune system.

The flip side of this is that many people who suffer from eczema are actually calcium deficient and may have depended on dairy for that, but there are other ways to get your calcium. People successfully take supplemental calcium paired with magnesium, which can even help promote relaxation and improve sleep.

Tomatoes

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Tomatoes are rich in salicylates which are known as an eczema trigger. Salicylate is a natural chemical made by many plants, especially those in the nightshades category. This natural chemical is often said to make the itching and redness of eczema worse.

Grapes

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I am sorry to share the bad news on this one, but grapes, raisins, and yes wine are known as  a “triple threat” when it comes to eczema because they contain three itch-promoting chemicals: salicylates, amines, and natural MSG. They are also considered a highly-acidic fruit that can be irritating to the gut. This also includes children’s juice blends and boxes that contain grape juice.

Oranges

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Oranges are a strongly acidifying fruit, and a source of two itchy chemicals: salicylates and amines The acid from oranges and citrus fruits can also be irritating and cause inflammation in some people which can impact their eczema symptoms.

Avocado

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While avocado might be touted as one of the best health foods out there, it is also one of the richest sources of amines and itch-inducing salicylates. Many eczema sufferers say that avocado makes their itching and symptoms worse. It might be to your benefit to skip the avocado trend for now, if you suffer from eczema.

Broccoli

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Broccoli, spinach, and other leafy greens like kale can actually worsen eczema symptoms because they are rich sources of salicylates, amines and natural MSG, all of which can contribute to worsened itching and eczema flare-ups.

This doesn’t mean you should skip out on green veggies all together, some greens are lower in salicylates that you could incorporate instead, including green beans, iceberg lettuce and celery.

Deli Meats

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Deli meats such as ham, salami, sausages and bacon contain nitrates and other chemical preservatives and fillers which are irritants to eczema and can worsen systemic inflammation. You can look for nitrate-free versions of these meats, but some people report better management of symptoms by just eliminating them all together.

Eggs

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According to a book called The Eczema Diet, more than 70% of eczema sufferers are allergic to eggs based on 'skin prick' and patch testing. For a long time, the media and nutrition experts have advised to only eat the “egg-whites” due to cholesterol, but this way of thinking is actually counter-productive to those with immune-conditions like eczema. We also now know that there is a lot more to maintaining cholesterol other than just lowering your consumption of it.

The proteins found in egg whites can act as carrier molecules for bacterial proteins to cross the gut barrier, which can then stimulate the immune system. Egg whites can transfer gluten proteins and other irritants to get into the blood stream. Once these undigested proteins cross the intestinal barrier, it can trigger an autoimmune type response, heightened inflammation and therefore worsen the symptoms of eczema.

Heal Your Eczema From Within

If you are really ready to heal and conquer your eczema once and for all, it might be worth looking into some of the above dietary triggers. Keep in mind though, everyone is different and what works for one person may not be beneficial in your case, and it can take some trial and error. Listed above are some of the most common eczema triggers based on their chemistry and feedback from those who suffer from the condition.

If you are seeking further advice on how you can change your lifestyle to improve your eczema symptoms and heal from within, contact me for a complimentary consultation.

Sources: Fischer, K., 2014, The Eczema Diet, Second edition, Exisle Publishing, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180306131759.htm, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/atopic-dermatitis-eczema/symptoms-causes/syc-20353273, https://nationaleczema.org/eczema/

Noodles & Company Launches Two New Zoodles Recipes!

I am excited to announce I have teamed-up with Noodles & Company to introduce you to my new favorite alternative pasta dishes!

Noodles & Company recently added not one, but TWO new Zoodles recipes to their menu last week, and I was fortunate to be able to try them out! The new dishes include: Zucchini Truffle Mac and Zucchini Spicy Peanut Sauté w/Grilled Chicken.

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The Zucchini Truffle Mac is draped in the famous Noodles & Company cheese sauce, and garnished with black truffle, roasted mushrooms, parmesan cheese, and toasty breadcrumbs. The regular serving contains 540 calories and 31 carbs, and the small dish contains 260 calories and 16 carbs.

The Zucchini Spicy Peanut Sauté w/Grilled Chicken is mixed in a spicy, peanut flavored sauce with grilled chicken breast, broccoli, carrots, snap peas, and cabbage. It is finished with peanuts, black sesame, and fresh cilantro. A regular serving contains 610 calories, and small dish contains 380 calories.

Both dishes are light, bright, fragrant and flavorful! These healthier zoodles recipes are perfect for anyone trying to watch their carbs and calories.

Benefits of zoodles

  • Zoodles are low in calories, so you can eat approximately five cups of zoodles for the same number of calories that you’d get from just one cup of regular wheat-based noodles!

  • Zoodles are low in carbohydrates. This is important because eating too many carbs – or the wrong type of carbs – can sometimes lead to health problems including blood sugar issues and unwanted bloat and weight gain.

  • Zoodles are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, potassium, and other essential nutrients. Two cups worth of zoodles provides about 15 percent of your recommended daily dietary fiber intake. The fiber found in zoodles is good for digestion, heart health and overall gut health. A healthy gut is so important as 70 percent of your immune system resides there.

  • Zoodles are a great pasta alternative for anyone following a gluten-free, grain-free, paleo or keto regimen. Because they’re made without any wheat, flour or grains at all, zoodles are also a safe substitute for individuals with celiac disease.

giveaway—Win a Noodles & Company Gift Card!

To celebrate the launch of the new Zoodles, I am hosting a giveaway to offer you a chance to test out the new Noodles & Company recipes for FREE! One Grand Prize Winner will receive a $50 digital gift card for Noodles & Company to be redeemed at a location near you. Giveaway ends 10/31/18, so spread the word! To ENTER: Visit my Instagram profile and click on the photo with me eating Zoodles (below) and follow the instructions.

To Enter the GIVEAWAY: Click on this photo on my Instagram profile and follow the instructions!

To Enter the GIVEAWAY: Click on this photo on my Instagram profile and follow the instructions!

order noodles & Company

If you are as excited about the new Zoodles as I am, and want to taste them for yourself you can find them at a Noodles & Company location near you. You can also conveniently order them online for Quick Pickup at http://bit.ly/2OUE7nl.

Skillet Sweet Potatoes

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Get all the nutrients and fuel you need from this super easy recipe!!

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes (cut into cubes)

  • 1 cup chopped spinach

  • 1 bell pepper

  • 1/4 cup of diced onion

  • Handful of fresh cilantro

  • Pink salt + pepper

  • Red Pepper Flakes

  • EVOO or coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Cube sweet potatoes, dice up the onion, cut-up bell pepper into small pieces, and chop the spinach.

  2. Cook all veggies over EVOO or coconut oil on stovetop with a sprinkle of pink salt and pepper, frequently stirring. Cook until potatoes start to soften and brown. Can cover with lid for a few minutes to speed up the process, but do not leave on for the entire time.

  3. Remove from heat and top with crushed red pepper and fresh cilantro.

Avocado Nests

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Start your day off right with this filling and nutritious breakfast! This recipe is dairy and gluten free!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large avocados

  • 2 cage-free eggs

  • 1 cup chopped spinach

  • 1 cup diced red onion

  • 2-3 pieces of turkey breast (deli style)

  • 1 TBSP almond mozzarella

  • 1 TBSP plant-based butter

  • Pink Himalayan Salt

  • Pepper or red pepper flakes

  • EVOO or coconut oil

  • Hot sauce or chili powder (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cut (or rip) turkey breast into small pieces and add to stove top pan with a drizzle of coconut or EVOO and sprinkle of pink salt and pepper. Add 1 cup of chopped spinach and diced onions to the pan after about 3 minutes and continue to cook and stir until turkey starts to brown and then remove from heat. At the same time you can scramble the eggs in a separate pan over 1 TBSP of melted plant-based butter and pink salt/pepper.

  2. Cut avocados in half (long ways) and scoop out the pit and the center filling (save for another meal or recipe!)

  3. Combine the turkey mixture with the scrambled eggs and fill-up the avocado bowls. Weave in some shredded almond mozzarella while still hot so it melts and can top with additional pink salt and red pepper flakes, chili powder or hot sauce to taste!

Orange-Cranberry Salad

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I love adding fruit to my salads, especially during the late-summer and fall! This salad is both sweet and savory, enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of romaine

  • 2 cup of fresh spinach

  • 1/4 cup Mandarin oranges

  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

  • 1 handful of slivered almonds

  • 1 handful of pecans

  • 1 TBSP goat cheese

  • 1 TSP uncured bacon crumbles

  • Poppyseed dressing OR Balsamic Vinegar + lemon juice

Directions:

Mix the chopped romaine and spinach leaves in a large bowl, add the mandarin oranges, cranberries, almonds and pecans and toss well. Top with crumbled goat cheese and uncured bacon bits. Dress with an organic poppyseed dressing OR make your own dressing using balsamic vinegar and a splash of lemon juice. This recipe will make 2 servings.

Mexican Sweet Potato Noodles

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Ingredients:

  • 1-2 large sweet potatoes (depending on how many noodles you want to make) OR can buy pre-cut sweet potato noodles.
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 can organic sweet corn
  • 1 can organic black beans
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 fresh lime
  • 1 tsp dried onion seasoning
  •  1 tbsp olive or coconut oil
  • Optional-shredded cheese and hot sauce

Recipe:

  1. (If you bought pre-cut noodles, skip this step) Wash sweet potatoes, peel, and cut in half to prepare for spiralizer. Run through spiralizer. May need to cut into smaller chunks if it is not working well. I find that an electronic spiralizer works much easier for harder veggies like sweet potatoes. 
  2. Add olive oil to pan with sweet potato noodles and sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover with lid and cook on medium heat for 4-5 minutes, then lower heat and cut for another 4-5 minutes until noodles start to soften and brown, remove from heat so they don't get too sticky.
  3. In a separate pan add the black beans and corn and heat on low for a few minutes until they are warm and then remove from heat. If in a hurry, can also microwave in covered bowl for 2-3 minutes. 
  4. Cut avocados in half and scoop out the filling to a mixing bowl. Mix with the cayenne, chili powder, 1/2 cup of chopped fresh cilantro, onion, red pepper, and pressed garlic. Squeeze fresh lime juice and continue to mix until consistency is like guacamole. (This will be your topping or sauce)
  5. First, add on the bean and corns to the noodles on a plate or in a bowl, then top with the avocado mixture and sprinkle the leftover fresh cilantro to taste. Can also top with cheese and hot sauce, or add extra seasonings to your liking. 

There's a New Kid on the Guac! (Dos Toros Taqueria)

Dos Toros Taqueria Chicago, IL

Dos Toros Taqueria Chicago, IL

My husband and I got a "behind the scenes" look and taste at Dos Toros Taqueria in Chicago. And I gotta tell ya, I'm feeling what they're bringing to the table! We took our "Taco Tuesday" up a notch and dined at the Loop location situated just along the river. 

The Vibe

Dos Toros brings the Northern California vibe and fare to Chicago! From sourcing only naturally raised meats to composting their kitchen waste, this company takes sustainability seriously. The "little" things matter at Dos Toros, as all of the restaurant tables are made from reclaimed wood, and the receipt paper is even BPA-free. The company also gives back to the local community by donating to schools and partnering with non-profits. It was an good atmosphere to relax and enjoy a good meal and cerveza.

The Menu

The menu offers a wide-range of options, you can choose to build-your-own: tacos, salad, burrito, or quesadilla. For each menu category they also offer a vegan option called "market vegetables" which includes a fresh mixture of seasonal squash & greens, with cremini mushrooms & shishito peppers. 

Some of my recommendations include:

Pork + Chicken Tacos

The meat was so tender on its own, it was cooked just right and was delicious. We garnished our tacos with homemade salsa, rice, cheese, and guac. They gave us generous portions of the guac AND it only cost 45 cents extra, which is actually cheaper than some of the competitors. 

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Burrito

The burrito shells are the perfect consistency to be able to hold everything together, while still allowing the taste of all the fresh ingredients to come through. We were actually shocked at how thin the shell was, because it didn't break apart or leak through, and most importantly didn't overpower all the good stuff inside! 

Another aspect of the burrito I was able to appreciate was their signature layer of cheese. They melt a fresh piece of queso right on the tortilla shell prior to building the burrito, it was almost just as much fun to watch this process as was to eat it! The flour and corn tortillas are also GMO free. 

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Salad Bowl

The theme behind the salad is Go Big AND Go Home, because you'll have enough to fill-up now and still have some leftover for dinner and maybe even lunch the next day. They don't skimp on the ingredients and they pack the salad bowls sky-high with a rainbow of fresh ingredients including: meat or veggie, rice option, lettuce, beans, salsa, cheese, and guac. You can garnish your bowl with crumbled tortilla chips, fresh cilantro, and a lime vinaigrette salad dressing. 

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The Ingredients

All of the meat is naturally raised with no hormones or antibiotics, which is something that I strongly value in my food. As mentioned above, the shells are also GMO-free. Additionally, I was told that they work with a local vendor in Chicago to supply some of their tortillas. 

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If you're in downtown Chicago and craving a filling yet somewhat healthy meal, check this place out! Honestly, I could eat Mexican food every day of the week and I was overall pretty impressed with my experience here. Dos Toros, you guac my world!  

Strawberry-Poppyseed Salad

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Whoever said fruit + veggies don't go together certainly hasn't tried my Strawberry-Poppyseed Salad! This salad is one of my favorites to make in the springtime and summer, as its unique combo is so refreshing on a warmer day! As always, I used all organic and fresh ingredients. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag or box of Spinach
  • 1 head or bag of Romaine lettuce
  • 1 container of fresh strawberries
  • 1 container of blueberries
  • 1 cup of pecans
  • 1 can of mandarin oranges
  • 1 1/2 cups of feta cheese
  • Poppyseed Dressing (I use Annie's)

Directions:

  1. Wash and toss the romaine and spinach together in a large bowl or container.
  2. Mix in the cut-up strawberries, blueberries, and drain mandarin oranges.
  3. Add pecans and sprinkle the feta cheese on top.
  4. Drizzle on Poppyseed dressing and mix all ingredients together well. Store in refrigerator or wait to add dressing until right before eating and it may get a little soggy when sitting out. 

 

Smoked Mozzarella Pasta

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I am not taking credit for this recipe as I got the idea from Whole Foods. I used to love getting some of their Smoked Mozzarella Pasta from the salad bar, but since changing my diet and lifestyle for lyme disease a lot of the ingredients don't mesh with me anymore. I wanted to come up with a healthier version of this pasta, so I got creative in the kitchen, because seriously that's what I do for fun!  

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 box of organic penne (I used the 365 brand)
  • 2-3 thick slices of mozzarella or 1/3 of a block of smoked mozzarella 
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 cup of chopped spinach
  • 3/4 cup of plan-based mayo (I used Earth's Balance)
  • 1/4 cup of organic white wine vinegar
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Olive oil
  • Pink salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Boil water and cook the penne pasta based on the box instructions. When pasta is done rinse noodles with cool water so they don't stick when refrigerated. 
  2. Cut-up red bell pepper into small pieces or strips, chop up spinach. Cut mozzarella into small square pieces and set aside.
  3. Add a drizzle of olive oil to pan on medium heat and add the red pepper and spinach, cover with lid. Let cook until tender, can remove the lid for 3-4 minutes and let finish cooking.
  4. To make the sauce: in a bowl combine the 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, 3/4 cup plant-based mayo, 1 tsp chili powder, fresh parsley, 1 pressed garlic clove, and 1 tsp red pepper flakes, stir well. Taste and if vinegar is too potent can add a little more of the plant-based mayo or some water to help lower the acidity. Add pink salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Combine the sauce, cooked vegetables and the noodles and stir in the mozzarella chunks. Can add additional red pepper flakes for more spice. 
  6. Let the pasta salad cool and set in the refrigerator, preferably overnight, but a few hours will do the trick. 

Taco Lasagna

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Taco Lasagna: A mexican twist on the traditional comfort food! And it will fill-up the family for more than one dinner! I used all organic ingredients. If you are vegetarian, leave out the meat and add extra beans. For vegan or dairy-free use all beans and a plant or nut based cheese instead. 

Ingredients:

-Small corn shells
-1lb grass fed ground beef
-1/2 package of mild shredded cheddar (I like the thicker 365 brand bc melts like mozzarella)
-1 can garbanzo beans
-1 can black beans
-2 bell peppers (color of your choice)
-1 handful of romaine lettuce
-1 handful of fresh parsley
-Organic taco seasoning packet
-1 Tsp cumin
-1/2 an avocado
-1 container of salsa (I prefer the 365 black bean corn salsa)

RECIPE:

1. Preheat oven to 350. Brown the ground beef on stove top, mix with taco seasoning. At the same time add a drizzle of olive oil and heat can of garbanzo beans, black beans and diced bell peppers with cumin in a pan on low to medium heat. 

2. Once meat is done add the bell pepper/bean mixture to the the meat pan and stir. Add jar of salsa and mix well. 

3. Spray the bottom of Pyrex dish or wipe with olive oil. Add 6 corn tortilla shells for the bottom layer. Then top with the meat mixture, then cover with shredded cheese. After that, repeat the next layer by adding another 6 shells, then meat mixture, then cheese. 

4. Cook in oven at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until shells are crispy. Let cool and top with chopped romaine lettuce, cilantro and diced Avocado--can also drizzle on some fresh lyme juice. Cut with a knife and serve with spatula like lasagna.

Easy-Peasy Minestrone Soup

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This soup is similar to my Vegetable Tortellini Soup which everyone enjoyed! This recipe can be made gluten free with quinoa noodles or by leaving out noodles completely. I use organic bone broth for many of my soups because of the collagen and gut healing benefits, however that can be subbed out with more veggie broth and water. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 32 ounce container of organic bone broth
  • 1 32 ounce container of organic vegetable broth
  • 4 large carrots
  • 4 celery stalks 
  • 1 can of cannellini beans
  • 1 can of red kidney beans
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans
  • 1 cup of diced red onion
  • 2 cups of frozen green peas
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach
  • 1 handful of fresh parsley leaves
  • 5 oz (or half jar) of Tomato-Basil Sauce (I use 365 organic brand)
  • 1 box of organic shell noodles or elbow quinoa noodles
  • Italian seasoning
  • pink salt and pepper

Recipe:

  1. Wash and cut the carrots and celery into small pieces.
  2. Dice 1/4 of a red onion into tiny pieces
  3. Chop 2 cups of small spinach, removing the stems (set aside for the end)
  4. Boil a pot of water for the noodles, and add noodles and cook to al dente (leave a little firmer than normal since they will be added back into hot water). Rinse with cold water so they don't stick together.
  5. Heat a large pot on the stove and add the entire container of bone broth and veggie broth. Next, press 3-4 garlic cloves (depending on your preference), add the celery, carrots, onion, peas to the soup mixture *HOLD OFF on spinach*
  6. Rinse and drain all of the beans and add them to the pot. 
  7. Add the handful of fresh parsley (can rip into smaller pieces)
  8. Add about 5 oz of marinara sauce to pot and stir well.
  9. Let cook on medium heat for about 30 minutes.
  10. Lower heat and add cooked noodles, spinach, dry Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and cook until noodles are fully cooked and carrots are tender. 

This soup will last you several days and can simply be reheated over the stovetop and can re-season with Italian seasoning and pepper. 

Creamy Chicken + Wild Rice Soup (Dairy-Free)

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This recipe is a healthier version of the famous Panera soup that I developed from scratch. I used all organic and fresh ingredients! This soup is dairy free and you can make it vegan by leaving out the chicken and using all vegetable broth instead of a combo of that an bone broth. Cream-based soups are delicious and satisfying during the winter months, but they can pack lots of extra calories and fat, so this recipe is a better-for-you alternative! Plus, bone broth is one of the best foods you can feed your gut this time of year to help fight and prevent illness and strengthen your immune system. If you are lactose intolerant, sensitive to dairy, or live a vegan lifestyle this is a great way to still enjoy a rich soup! 

Ingredients:

-4 cups of bone broth (1 container as you may use more)

-4 cups of vegetable broth (1 container as you may use more)

-3 cups of wild rice

-1 box of organic pre-cut chicken breast or 2-3 small organic chicken breasts cooked on the stove top over olive oil, salt and pepper. 

-1/4 cup of nutritional yeast

-1/4 cup of raw cashews (soaked prior to blending)

-1 regular potato or 2 small potatoes

-1 tbs white wine vinegar

-Olive oil

-Pink salt and pepper to taste

-Handful of fresh parsley

-3 large carrots

-3 large celery stalks

-1/4 cup of diced red onion

-3-4 cloves of fresh garlic

-1 can of organic cannellini beans

RECIPE:

1. Soak the cashews. Can do this overnight or I prefer to boil a small pot of water, remove from heat and then cover the cashews for 15-20 minutes. Drain once the time is up.

2. While the cashews are soaking you can boil a pot of water to cook the potato. Can leave the peel on if you prefer. I used two small golden potatoes and did not peel them prior to boiling. Once cooked set aside to cook and cut into small pieces. You can also cook the chicken breast if you did not buy the organic packaged version. Cook in olive oil with salt and pepper, remove from heat and use food scissors to cut into smaller pieces, set aside for later. 

3. Heat a large soup pot on the stove top with olive oil and add cut-up carrots and celery, diced onion, and press the 3 garlic cloves. Stir in 1-2 cups of bone broth and cook until the veggies start to soften. 

4. Add the wild rice to the pot mixture for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the remainder of the bone broth and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes with lid on. 

5. While the rice is cooking in pot, combine the cooked potato, raw soaked cashews, and rinsed beans into a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. I added a little bit of water to help the consistency blend easier. You may want to use a spatula to scrape the sides and blend a few times to make sure the mixture is smooth. 

6. Add the cream mixture to the soup pot and stir well. Add 1 tbs of white wine vinegar, 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast, pepper, and salt. If you are using chicken, now would be the time to add the cooked chicken to the pot as well. 

7. Cook on low heat until rice reaches desired texture. Make sure to stir frequently to prevent the rice from sticking together or the bottom of the pot. You may need to add more broth or water as the cream mixture will be pretty thick, it depends what kind of consistency you like. I added more broth at the end and let it heat for a little while before serving.

Top with fresh parsley and can serve with oyster crackers or fresh bread if you eat gluten. 

Can store in the fridge and enjoy as left-overs, but may need to stir in more water prior to reheating as it will thicken up from being stored. 

Frozen Yogurt Fruit Cups

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Recipe:

  • 2 cups of granola
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1/4 melted butter
  • 4 cups of vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of raspberries
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • Cupcake wrappers
  • Organic food coloring of your choice (I used beet and spirulina)

Click to view video recipe or follow directions below

  1. Mix together the granola, honey and melted butter in a bowl.
  2. Fill cupcake tray with cupcake wrappers
  3. Mix organic food coloring with yogurt I did 1 1/2 cups with each color
  4. Add the granola to the bottom of the cupcake wrapper in tray, just enough to cover the bottom.
  5. Carefully spoon in the yogurt to each cup, make sure to not overfill want to leave a little space between the top of the wrapper.
  6. One-by-one add the fresh and frozen fruit to the top of the cups 
  7. Put tray in freezer for 2-3 hours
  8. To serve, let thaw for around 3-5 minutes before removing each cup and its wrapper to serve as a frozen treat! 

Italian Veggie Tortellini Soup

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This soup is super easy and super satisfying for these colder winter evenings!! I used all organic products to put this recipe together!

Ingredients:

  • 2 packages of cheese tortellini
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 1 large container of organic vegetable broth
  • 5 large carrots chopped up
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 jar of organic basil marinara sauce
  • Olive oil (for sauteing carrots) 
  • Dried Italian seasoning 
  • 2 cups of chopped spinach 
  • Pink salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Cut up veggies and sauté carrots in pan with olive oil to soften a bit.
  • Add zucchini, garlic, veggie broth, spinach, dry seasonings, and marinara to large pot on stove-top. (I only used 3/4 of the jar of marinara for a more soupy consistency)
  • Add carrots and parsley to the pot. 
  • When veggies seem softened enough, add the tortellini and cook for about 15 minutes or until soft. (careful to not overcook the pasta)
  • Garnish with more fresh parsley, salt, pepper and optional-parmesan cheese

**Can also cook in a crock-pot, but same as the above recipe do NOT add in the tortellini until the last 15-20 minutes because they will get soft quick. Time will vary based on your crock-pot**

Crock-pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can of organic chickpeas/garbanzo beans 
  • 1 can of organic corn
  • 1 can or container of enchilada sauce (used 365 organic brand from Whole Foods)
  • 2 small containers of green chiles (usually found on international aisle)
  • 1 large container of chicken broth (I used organic chicken bone both for added health benefits)
  • 1 lb of fresh chicken breast 
  • 1 tsp olive oil 
  • Handful of fresh cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Pink salt and pepper
  • 1 Tbs chili powder (can get away with more if you like a kick)
  • 1 Tbs cumin
  • Organic yellow corn tortilla shell or chips to break as topping
  • Optional-shredded cheddar cheese to top
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Recipe:

  1. Add tsp of olive oil to pan and cook chicken breasts with salt and pepper, remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Warm-up crock-pot
  3. Once chicken it cooled cut or shred to smaller pieces, I prefer to use cooking shears
  4. Add to crockpot: enchilada sauce, can of corn (undrained), drained and washed garbanzo beans, cut-up chicken, 1 pressed garlic clove, chicken broth, green chillies, fresh cilantro, chili powder and cumin and pepper and salt. 
  5. Cooking time can vary based on your slow cooker's setting, I cooked mine for around 2 hours, could go longer on a very low setting. 
  6. Once soup is warmed and cooked, serve with more fresh cilantro, tortilla crumbles, and cheddar cheese

Roasted Brussels Sprouts Bruschetta

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A twist on the traditional holiday bruschetta appetizer! This snack is gluten free + can be made completely dairy free as well--see below for the substitutions. The prep and process is super easy and these can be refrigerated and reheated as well! 

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of mini brussels sprouts or 1-2 large bunches
  • Gluten Free Ancient Grains Cracklebred (Natural Nectar Brand) or can use regular bruschetta toasts
  • 1 Tablespoon of Balsamic vinegear
  • 1/2 cup of almond mozzarella or shredded mozzarella 
  • Pink salt and pepper
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Splash of organic olive oil

Directions:

  1. Cut the ends and take the outer leaves off the brussels sprouts and add to heated pan with olive oil, mix with 1 grated garlic clove and dash of pink salt and pepper. Make sure to stir and cook until they start to brown. 
  2. Cut the large gluten-free toasts in half 
  3. Remove the brussels sprouts from the pan into a small bowl, add 1 Tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (a little goes a long way) Mix together.
  4. Add 1/2 cup of the dairy free almond cheese or shredded mozzarella and put bowl in microwave for 30 seconds to 1 minute to melt the cheese if the brussels sprouts are not warm enough to do so. Mix once again.
  5. Spoon the mixture onto the individual toasts and top with grated parmesan or leave the cheese out to make them dairy free. 

 

ITALIAN ORZO SALAD

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This fresh pasta salad is the perfect side dish to any meal! I came up with this recipe using some of my family's favorite ingredients, and I try to use everything fresh and organic when possible.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of organic orzo pasta
  • 2 cups of spinach
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/4 of a red onion diced
  • 1 cup of feta cheese
  • Italian seasoning (oregano)
  • Balsamic vinegar or 365 brand Balsamic Vinegearette 

Recipe:

  • Bring water to boil, and cook box of orzo
  • Petite Dice 1/4 of a red onion 
  • Cut up cucumber into small pieces
  • Rip apart washed spinach and basil into small pieces (can also try cutting)
  • When pasta is done cooking, rinse with cool water to avoid sticking. Add pasta to a large bowl, and combine with all of the ingredients. Add the dressing and cheese last. Chill before serving.  

BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER BITES

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Try this recipe as a healthier alternative to wings! It's super easy + you can bring your own taste to it by selection which sauce you would like to garnish with! 

Ingredients:

  • One head of organic cauliflower
  • 1 cage-free egg
  • Pink salt + pepper
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Organic or Natural Buffalo Sauce (I like Tessemae's Mild Buffalo Sauce)
  • 1 -2 cups of almond flour

Recipe:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and prepare baking sheet with parchment paper(optional)
  • Wash and separate the cauliflower into smaller florets
  • Mix 1 egg with dash of pepper, pink salt + garlic in bowl
  • Add 1 cup of almond flour to large plate and spread out
  • Dip each floret one-by-one into the egg mixture and then cover with flour (might need to add more flour to the plate depending on how much cauliflower you have)
  • Add florets to baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes
  • Let bites cool, then garnish with your favorite sauce. I use Tessemae's All Natural Mild Buffalo Sauce because the ingredients are good quality, but Whole Foods has some good options I have used as well! 

Serve with blue cheese and celery for the ultimate tailgating snack or party app! 

 

 

FIT LASAGNA (KALE + GROUND TURKEY)

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Do you crave a good Italian meal, but dread the calories? I feel your pain. Fall is the season of football, food and more food! So, in trying to stick to my meal plan while at home I came up with a guiltless organic lasagna recipe! Pair it with a great glass of red wine and you've got yourself a nice little dinner for a Wednesday ;) 

SHOPPING LIST:

-Organic Lasagna Noodles

-1 container of Ricotta cheese (part-skim)

-1 block of almond cheese

-Fresh basil

-Fresh oregano

-1 garlic clove

-1 jar of basil marinara sauce (or your sauce of choice)

-1 lb of organic ground white turkey meat

-olive oil

-Himalayan sea salt

-pepper

-lemon juice

-1 egg

-handful of fresh kale

RECIPE:

-Cook package of noodles to al dente (or as package reads), cool with cold water prior to laying on pan.

-Simultaneously Brown 1lb of ground turkey with olive oil as non-stick remedy, 1 garlic clove, fresh basil, fresh oregano, pink salt, and pepper.

-Once meat is cooked mix in the marinara to create a meat sauce

-Preheat oven to 375f

To Make Ricotta Mixture:

Mix one container of ricotta with one egg, pink salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

To prepare pan:

-Layer bottom of pan with olive oil and thin layer of sauce

-Then add 3-4 noodles to cover pan

-Add on meat sauce mixture

-Add ricotta mixture

-Add bits of kale

-Add fresh almond mozzarella or regular organic  mozzarella to cover

-Add next layer of noodles and REPEAT the order!

On the last layer of noodles add the extra sauce and meat sauce and some fresh almond mozzarella & basil!

Cook for 35-40 minutes, check to see progress. Bon Appetit and enjoy that glass of red wine because you earned it!