Savory Grain-Free Waffles

Yea, you read that correctly. Savory grain free waffles. Three ingredients. Versatile. Delicious.

What?!

I am doing Whole30 for the month of June to help prepare my body for Marathon training which begins in July. The idea of Whole30 is similar to the elimination diet: to rid your body of the toxins that are causing inflammation and irritation. It’s essentially the Paleo diet. It’s not that much of a change for me besides the no grains and no alcohol thing. That will be the most difficult, for sure. But I enjoy a good challenge and figure, why not?! Plus, some good recipes will come out of it for you and for me. Worth it!

These waffles are the perfect answer to your delicious runny yolk brunch-dish cravings. I made the waffles and topped them with avocado mash and a runny egg. So, Avocado Waffles and Eggs. ūü§§ Delicious. I cannot wait to make this dish over and over again. All you need is a food processor and a waffle maker to make the waffles and they’re that easy!

Enjoy. If you make the waffles #avocadowafflesneggs !

I want to see your creations!

Bon appétit!

Savory Grain-Free Waffles

Makes 2 1/2 large waffles

  • 1 medium potato, shredded or chopped
  • 1/4 onion, shredded or chopped
  • 1 egg
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions: You can shred the potato and onion on a cheese grater, or if you have a food processor, chop them up and put all of the ingredients into the food processor and blend until it turns into a batter. Heat your waffle iron, load it up with the batter and cook!

Top with avocado mash and runny eggs or unsweetened yogurt and hot sauce, or spinach, tomatoes and eggs. It’s so versatile and so easy!

Pictured here is avocado mash, egg, cayenne pepper and nutritional yeast.

 

 

A Savory Green Smoothie a day…

I don’t know if it is post-vacation blues, but lately I’ve been feeling more tired and low-energy than usual. I’m sure it is a combination of working more, running more (pre-marathon training has begun), the temperature change and potentially recovering from e coli, or whatever weird virus I contracted in Morocco. I have been extremely mindful of what I am fueling my body and nothing is more frustrating than knowing that everything I have consumed should do nothing but give me adequate energy. But alas, here we are. When your body is craving rest, listen to it, don’t push it. I have a very difficult time with this, especially when I can’t find as much time as I’d like to rest, but you have to make an effort in whatever way you can which is why I prioritize fueling my body with quality, whole foods.

Green smoothies, kombucha, matcha, water… those are my go-to’s when it comes to boosting natural energy without resorting to coffee. That’s where this savory green smoothie was born! I really wanted a kick of energy and electrolytes but did not want anything sweet. Green smoothies, kombucha, matcha, water… those are my go-to’s when it comes to boosting natural energy without resorting to coffee. That’s where this savory green smoothie was born!This smoothie could be turned into a chilled soup with some added thickness for those hot summer months. It’s so delicious. I drank it in probably 60 seconds. Try this first thing in the morning or as an afternoon pick-me up. You won’t regret it!

Savory Green, Energizing Smoothie 

Servings: 1

Ingredients:img_9611

  • 1 cup coconut water-natural electrolytes
  • 1/2 frozen avocado – stabilizes blood sugar, healthy fats for sustained energy
  • Handful of arugula- helps alkalizes the body
  • Small handful of frozen pineapple – anti-inflammatory and natural electrolytes
  • 1 scoop of Amazing Grass Greens powder – contains all daily vegetable servings plus vitamins, minerals and probiotics
  • 4 basil leaves – anti-inflammatory
  • 1 knob ginger- anti-inflammatory, aids digestion

You may need to add a little more coconut or regular water for optimal blending. Blend and enjoy!

Cheers, friends!

Why you Should Incorporate Salmon into your Diet. PLUS: Pan-Seared Ginger Salmon Recipe.

I am obsessed with salmon recently and I came up with this recipe to satisfy my cravings one night and am super proud of how it turned out.  I hope that if any of you readers try to make it, that you enjoy it as much as I did because it was delicious. I think I could eat it everyday. I concocted this recipe while I was riding the train home from work a little earlier than usual (8:30pm) and was salivating at the thought of pan-seared salmon over sweet potatoes.

I’m such a dork, I know.¬†

Let’s talk about Salmon, shall we? Why is it so good for you? It’s almost always deemed the most “diet-friendly” item on any menu ever. Salmon is a major staple for many well-known diets such as The Hormone Diet, The South Beach Diet, Low-Protein Diet, The Omega Diet, The Candida Diet, The Metabolic Typing Diet, The Paleo Diet and so on and so forth…

I bet you didn’t know that some of those diets existed! As you know I do not advocate for any specific diet; I believe in experimenting and finding what works best for you.¬†

So, maybe salmon isn’t really your thing. Or maybe you’re sort of indifferent about salmon. I’m not being paid by the salmon fishermen and sellers¬†to tell you any of this, but I believe that the more you know, the better.

  • Omega-3’s : Omega-3’s are a chain of fatty acids that are considered essential to consume since your body cannot produce them.
  • High-Quality Protein: A serving of salmon is a source of high-quality essential protein.
  • Good source of B vitamins and Potassium: These help the body fight of numerous diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, etc.
  • Helps reduce Inflammation: because of it’s high quality vitamins and omega 3’s, it is said to help lower¬†inflammation in the body, which can cause autoimmune diseases/disorders, heart disease, diabetes, stroke and hypertension.

Try incorporating this protein-dense fish into your diet at least one to two times a week. It provides¬†numerous health benefits plus it’s delicious and easy to make, so why not try?!

Pan Seared Ginger Salmon over Stewed Za’tar Vegetables and Whipped Truffle Sweet Potatoes.¬†

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2, 6-8oz salmon filets
  • Ground Ginger, Salt and Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Avocado Oil

For the Vegetables:

  • Avocado Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Za’tar seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 garlic gloves, minced
  • 1 cup chopped heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 pepper, diced
  • 1 cup spinach, chard or kale
  • Black Truffle Extra Virgin Olive Oil, drizzled on top.

For the Whipped Sweet Potato:

  • 1 sweet potato, boiled until soft
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Fourth and Heart White Truffle Salt Ghee

Salmon directions: Season the salmon generously with salt, pepper and ground ginger on both sides. Let sit for at least 15-20 minutes in fridge before cooking. To pan sear : heat avocado oil in a deep skillet then reduce heat to medium-low to cook the filets. Press the filets firmly into the oil and cook for 5 minutes on one side and 1 minute on the other.

Veggie directions: Heat pan with avocado or coconut oil, add garlic cloves, tomatoes, pepper and za’tar seasonings and cover and cook for 5-8 minutes on medium-low. Add in 1 cup of spinach and cover and cook for another 10 minutes. The tomatoes should become very soft and stewed (juice-y and flavorful essentially making their own sauce)

Sweet Potato directions: Boil 1 large sweet potato until tender. Drain except for the last inch of hot water in the pan and add sweet potato and water to a blender or food processor. Add nutritional yeast, salt and pepper to taste, garlic powder, ghee and a drizzle of black truffle olive oil. Blend on high until it is completely pureed, taste and season to your liking.

To plate: Sweet Potatoes first, stewed veggies and Salmon filet. Add the juice from the stewed veggies on top of the plate plus maybe a little extra ghee or truffle olive oil.

Enjoy!

Travel Tales of Gluten and Maybe E Coli.

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Hello there, it’s me, Anne. It’s been a while. I’ve been off traveling around the world, working a lot and potentially having, and recovering from, e coli. Fun!

In all honesty I do want¬†to share these amazing Moroccan-Spiced Turkey Burgers with you all because they’re simple and delicious… but I also have so, so many thoughts on my travels. I couldn’t decide whether to break this up into two posts or not, plus I have been procrastinating a lot this week/only yesterday did I start to feel like my normal self. IE: regular-ish bowel movements and having my appetite back.

TMI? Then I would stop reading now. Although this post won’t only consist of tales of my bowel movements, but that topic is far from being dismissed.

First of all, I consumed a lot of gluten, dairy, sugar and alcohol and loved every second of it. It is vacation after all. ¬†To be honest, before I got sick (thankfully only the last two days of the trip) gluten and dairy were not bothering me like they normally do. I knew to expect this because of my travels to Asia last year when I discovered that I could have many, many baguettes and Bahn-Mi’s and my tummy was totally fine. So, you better believe the first thing I did when we landed in Paris was order Petit Dejuner Francais a.k.a. GLUTEN. ¬†Just like in Vietnam, my stomach digested that gluten and continued on with it’s bad self.

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Mmm all the gluten.

The implications of this, while exciting to indulge while traveling, is very disturbing. What do we do to our wheat here in the USA that makes us sick? I have theories and so do many scientists. But this is not a scientific blog and I am not going to go in depth, but what I will say is that we clearly modify our wheat and we utilize GLUTEN in our wheat products more than Europeans/Africans/Asians/seemingly everyone except America. This is coming from someone who experiences first hand the stark difference in the way her body digests wheat and gluten outside of North America and if you have issues here, I bet that you would experience the same moment of joy while traveling abroad that you too, can enjoy a baguette without negative repercussions for the first time in a very long time.

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The Seine

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Inside Notre Dame

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I just had to include more pictures of Paris. We were only there for 6 hours but it’s Paris, so…

Moving on.

Barcelona. The land of Tapas aka grazing all day long. I LOVED this. It’s a much more relaxed way of going through your day, plus I never truly felt too “full”. I felt like I ate just the right amount because we were eating small meals pretty much all day long. Again, lots of gluten (tomato bread!), meats and cheeses were consumed. The¬†cheese didn’t bother me because none of it is processed or “fake” it’s all very real, aged and delicious.

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The only thing I missed was breakfast, they don’t really do breakfast like we do here because they eat more later in the day. That’s all well and good, I just don’t have much interest in eating a croissant or baguette with espresso for breakfast. Bring on the protein! We did as the Catalonians do on a couple of mornings, but we were able to find some amazing healthy breakfast/brunch spots on the other days. Another thing: nothing really opens until 9 or 10am so there’s no point in waking up super early besides getting a morning workout in. I really enjoyed sleeping in and taking our time in the morning and want to implement that mentality in my day-to-day routine. Wake up, leisurely drink my coffee, read the news, and then have breakfast a couple hours later. I really enjoyed that.

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This place was super popular and for good reason: this brunch was unreal! 

One of my favorite things we did was run to Park Guell one morning, a gorgeous park in Barcelona. We were staying about a mile and a half to two miles away from the park¬†that has some of Gaudi’s (famous Modernist architect with a very distinct style)¬†most famous ¬†architectural structures¬†sitting above the city.¬†While, completely uphill, we were able¬†to see more of the Gracia¬†neighborhood on our way to the park, and quickly. I want to try to run more when I travel because it was a really fun way to explore the city and see the sights.

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Park Guell

Major takeaways from Barcelona: take your time, take a nap in the middle of the day, savor every flavor, graze all day and buy your alcohol for home consumption before 11pm.

More pictures of food, mountains we climbed, the Mediterranean and the beauty of Barcelona:

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I guess I should move on to the showstopper: Fez, Morocco. Morocco stole the show with it’s rich and plentiful history, flavorful and healthy cuisine, bountiful¬†and breathtaking topography, intricate and colorful decor, relaxed and generous culture, ancient and grandiose architecture and the most sincere and giving people that I had the pleasure¬†of meeting.

It is difficult to explain Fez (or Fes, I don’t actually know the correct spelling maybe it is different in different languages) to someone who has never been there, which is pretty much everyone I know except for a few people I work with. It truly feels like you’re going¬†back thousands of years in time in the Medina or the old city. No cars are allowed, donkeys, mules, and foot are the only forms of transport allowed within the city walls, and yes, there¬†is a wall around the Medina. We walked around for a full day and I felt like we walked so far, but I don’t think we even hit two miles. There aren’t streets, per say, just lots of alleyways that twist and turn that eventually bring you to mosques, mausoleum, shops, the market, museums, and the oldest university and library in the world, Al Qarawiyyin, that was opened by a woman in 859 B.C.

This design is all over the medina.

Fez, from the rooftops. 

The tanneries, where they still use ancient methods to dye leather.

The Tanneries: aka leather making/dying. They still use ancient techniques and use all natural dyes like turmeric, indigo and pigeon poop! 


Sound like a mythical place? Yea, I thought so too when I was researching it before our travels. What is amazing to me is that after all of these years it is essentially the same as it was in 859. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, plus there have been lots of foreign investments to keep the city preserved and intact so we saw a lot of preservation and restoration work going on while we were there.

I wish we could’ve had more time here as it was so different and incredible. Did I mention the beautiful Riad’s we stayed in? A Riad is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with rooms around the perimeter with a courtyard or garden situated in the middle. The first Riad we stayed in used to be a palace, art museum, home and now it is a hotel.

Looking from above

Our second Riad, from the rooftop. 


Honestly, just staying in such a gorgeous place for so cheap would’ve been worth the trip alone. Luckily, for us we experienced even more.

One of my colleagues at work has family in Fez so we met them and they showed us around on our last day and were so incredibly kind, fun and generous. They bought us souvenirs to take home with us and invited us over for some homemade Moroccan couscous. I only wish I could’ve communicated with them better, I really should brush up on my French…


Where did the sickness come in? I’m not entirely sure. I honestly thought it was just food poisoning from some undercooked chicken we grilled on a picnic in the Atlas Mountains.

Oh, I didn’t mention that did I? Yea, that was beautiful.

Ancient Jewish Berber city where there is no running water and those doors lead to house caves.

Fossils in the Atlas Mountains


It was a relatively relaxing day exploring the Arabic and Jewish Berber towns and cities outside of Fez and at the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. My favorite part of the day was when our guide took us to a market where we picked up all the ingredients for our lunch. There were absolutely no tourists besides us and I felt like we got a taste of what a day in the life is like. Everything is a farmer’s market there. I know there are grocery stores but from my understanding most people choose to go to the outdoor markets because everything is fresher and cheaper.


WHY CAN’T IT BE LIKE THIS IN AMERICA? Is all I kept thinking…

Anyway, I thought I got food poisoning from some undercooked chicken that I had a iffy feeling about so I fed most of it to the most adorable puppy in the entire world, Doggie Baba.

</3 Miss him. And to be clear, he was a stray. 


However, most of my symptoms lasted for a full eight days. Hm, not normal for food poisoning. Also not normal? Giving it to your boyfriend. Happy Birthday, Mike!

Oops.

The internet says probably e coli. I experienced all of the symptoms with the worst of it being within the first 48 hours. We’re talking everything coming out both directions and retching so badly that I pulled a muscle in my calf.

At the hotel, the home of our new friends, the airport, in our other hotel…¬†

… and vomiting…¬†


Not only did I not keep anything down¬†for over three days but my right calf would send shooting pains up my leg while I was walking up and down stairs. Fun! And now Mike has it… not quite as bad as me, but basically the same… yesterday was the first day I felt like myself and my bowel movements didn’t make me want to scream/faint/curl up in a ball. Please wish Mike a speedy recovery from the¬†exotic virus he contracted without stepping outside of New York City.

Oops…

Despite probably getting e coli in Morocco, I cannot wait to go back. I want to explore more in Fez. I want to go to the Sahara. I want to visit Marrakesh. I want to visit our friends. I want to eat more of that amazing fresh cuisine that may or may not have gotten me ill! It was a magical place that I certainly will never forget because I WILL be back.


I think I’ll write a second part to this post, but for now I will leave you with tales of gluten and e coli.

And a recipe!

Moroccan Spiced Turkey Burgers

Ingredients:img_9412

  • 1 lb ground organic turkey
  • 2 carrots finely chopped/shredded
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped/shredded
  • 1 bunch of scallions, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons Moroccan 5 spice blend*
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil

*I bought this in Morocco so I don’t know if you can find a blend here in the states but this is what it consists of:
equal parts ginger & coriander (let’s say 1
teaspoon fullsizeoutput_2a03each), white pepper, cayenne and cinnamon (1/2 teaspoon each), allspice and turmeric (1/4 teaspoon each) .

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Chop the onion and carrots in a food processor until fairly small and mix in with ground  turkey in a big bowl. Add in scallions, spice blend, salt and pepper and mix together with your hands until thoroughly combined. Make small patties and set aside.

fullsizeoutput_2a21Heat coconut oil in a cast iron skillet or large frying pan and place patties once pan is heated. Do not flatten the patties so they maintain their juiciness. Cook for 3 minutes on each side then place on cookie sheet at bake for 5 minutes to ensure the patties are cooked all the way through while maintaining their crispiness and juiciness.

Add to salads, sandwiches, quinoa, rice or enjoy as a snack!

 

 

 

Spring-y Seared Salmon

I got my first sunburn of the season today… I should have worn sunscreen but I was so excited to be enjoying the rays that I forgot!¬†Even though I wasn’t enjoying the beautiful weather in the exact way I would’ve liked ( I was working ) it was so, so great to get that raw¬†vitamin D.

I love eating in season as much as possible. I find that I feel more connected to my environment when I eat what the earth is providing me. I understand that it’s not easy,¬†and if I’m being honest, eating strictly local would mean no avocados or bananas for this New Yorker, and I don’t know if I could do that. What I can do is try to nourish my body with as many fruits and vegetables that are in season as best I can, because that’s all we can do; our best.

I highly recommend supporting your local farmer’s market/farmers as much as possible. Not only will you be eating what is available to you in your area, you’ll most likely meet some of the people that harvested your food. The energetics of food that is¬†grown and harvested with love and care taste far superior, in my opinion.¬†It’s like homemade vs. store bought. Nothing quite beats homemade.

I was inspired by the gorgeous Spring weather to concoct a light, spring-y dish for dinner. This salmon dish was just that. It was filling and FULL of so many good things: good fats, omega-3’s, protein, immune boosters, mood boosters and MORE.

Enjoy with a glass of Sancere, Pilsner or good ‘ol water. If you can enjoy outside on a patio or deck, even better!

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Spring-y Seared Salmon

Ingredients:

  • Wild Caught Alaskan Salmon, filet
  • Arugula (or any green you like. I used Arugula because it’s in season!)
  • 1/2 dry Quinoa, cooked according to package directions
  • Asparagus, grilled
  • Avocado Oil
  • Salt, Pepper and Oregano

Cook the quinoa first. I don’t have a grill so I used a grill pan to grill the asparagus. While they were cooking, I sprinkeld the pan with a bit avocado oil, salt and pepper for added flavor.

 

For the Salmon: Dry with a paper towel by patting down firmly on the filets. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano and let sit in the fridge for 10-15 so the salmon absorbs the seasoning. Add avocado oil to a skillet, enough to cover the surface area, and heat on high. When the oil is heated, lower the temperature to med-low and add the salmon filets and press down with a spatula for 10 seconds. This will help the salmon to crisp on the outside and cook evenly throughout. Cook for about 6 minutes and flip over to the other side to lightly sear for 1 minute. This will make a Medium Rare/Medium crispy, flavorful salmon filet.

Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Dash of Ginger
  • Sprinkle of Garlic Powder
  • Salt & Pepper

Mix ingredients together and whisk!

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Assemble the arugula and quinoa, drizzle with dressing, top with the Salmon and Asparagus, add a little more dressing, yum!

 

I’m Obsessed with Turmeric, and You Should Be Too.

Turmeric is everywhere lately and rightfully so; it’s freakin’ delicious and magical. Prior to this past year or so, it’s been that weird ingredient that you need at the grocery store because you want to try this new Indian or Asian recipe. That’s how I knew of it. I started to become obsessed with making curries and Thai noodle dishes before, and after, my Southeast Asia trip and turmeric was a common ingredient. I didn’t know too much about it other than it’s vibrant yellow color and it’s ability to stain my white dishes if not washed right away. (Lesson learned)

When I began my studies at IIN, turmeric came up in multiple different lectures ranging from Ayurveda, Macrobiotics, Food Energetics, Inflammation, Religious and Cleansing lectures. My interest was peaked and I found myself looking up more recipes and holistic remedies to use this incredible root.

Turmeric is a root, looks similar to ginger, and is native to the Southeast Asia region. For centuries it has been used for both¬†medicinal and culinary purposes. It is said that turmeric aids indigestion, boots immune system helping fight the common cold, an anti depressant, anti inflammatory, assists liver function and may even help treat cancer and prevent heart disease. It’s used in savory and sweet Asian, Middle Eastern, Indian and Moroccan dishes.

Magical, right?

I’ve even used it mixed with coconut oil as a holistic method to¬†whiten my teeth.

1 tablespoon of coconut oil, small dash of turmeric.

It’s a little messy, and you’ll ruin a toothbrush, but you see results right away.

Same thing with your face: add coconut oil, turmeric, mix and apply to your face as a mask for 10-15 minutes. The moisturizing properties of the coconut oil, plus the multitude of antioxidants and antibacterial properties in turmeric help treat acne, remove scars and brighten your skin giving it a glow.

Today I needed a little afternoon pick-me-up. I really wanted some coffee or another matcha but decided to switch it up and make an Iced Turmeric Latte. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? RIGHT! So easy, so pretty, so yummy.

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I thought it was fitting to take a picture of my gorgeous Southeast Asian inspired drink in front of pictures from my trip to Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. 

 

Iced Turmeric Latte or CappuccinoIMG_8219

Good for an afternoon pick-me-up or a caffeine/coffee substitute in the morning. 

Makes: One 8oz Latte or Cappuccino

Benefits: Cleansing, Anti-Inflammatory, Immune Boosting, Mood Boosting, eases Indigestion and aids Digestion.

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon ground Turmeric
  • 1/2¬†teaspoon ground Ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons Date Sugar (substitute Maple Syrup or Honey)
  • Unsweetened Dairy-Free Milk (I used Almond)
  • Ice Cubes

Directions:

Mix ground turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, sweetener and dairy-free milk and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to steep. Strain the contents through a mesh strainer or cheese cloth into a new 8oz glass, add ice cubes and enjoy!

If making a cappuccino: add all ingredients into a blender to get a frothy foam or use a froth stick to create the same effect.

This may have a bit of spice. If this bothers you, add more sweetener, cinnamon or non-dairy milk. I kind of like the combination of sweet, yet slightly spicy, so it tastes just fine to me.

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What’s date sugar? And why? Ever since I did the elimination diet, I’ve been very wary of sugar. I’ve been trying to consume it little, to not at all. I found a great substitute that is completely sugar free: Date Sugar! I bought mine on Amazon. I cannot recommend this brand enough. It is literally ground up dates until¬†it has a sugar-like consistency. I’ve been adding it¬†to my matcha, coffee and oatmeal and have loved it. It’s easier to mix into drinks and bake with, which is why I got it. It adds just enough sweetness and remains sugar-free, obviously. Check it out!

Have you ever cooked with Turmeric? What do you think? If you try this recipe let me know what you think!

Be Well!

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Guilt free Mac & “Cheese”

When it’s cold, all I want to do is eat warm things. Usually soup. But sometimes I really¬†want cheesy pasta (a.k.a. mac & cheese) and bread. It’s comfort food.

I think that because I had so much boxed mac & cheese in my younger years, my body decided I¬†should figure somethin’ else out for the rest of my life. It was a sad day when I began to accept this. But alas, our bodies are smart, even if they’re a little curt, and we should listen to ’em.

So, here I am, on a cold winter’s night with an impending BLIZZARD approaching and all I want is Mac & Cheese. What’s a girl to do? Make a healthy substitute of course!

This is my favorite thing to do now. I love getting creative in the kitchen and finding healthy ways to make the “unhealthy” foods I crave.¬†I think about what I’m craving and try to create, or find a recipe online, a healthy version of that craving. I urge you to try this too! It’s a simple, easy change to implement that will help you deconstruct your cravings and eat something that not only pleases you, but nourishes you. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be¬†flavorless and boring.¬†You have to get creative sometimes!

If you’re craving ice cream- have yogurt, or blend up some fruit for a smoothie bowl and top it with some nuts and peanut butter! Want chicken nuggets and french fries? Make your own nuggets coated with almond meal and slice up some potatoes and bake them yourself!¬†And on, and on, and on…

So, I present you with my guilt free Mac & Cheese recipe. If you try it, let me know what you think. I’ve been messing with the “cheese” recipe for a while now and I’d love to know how other people find it.

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Stay warm and be well friends!

Guilt-Free Mac & Cheesefullsizeoutput_260c

Gluten Free, Vegan and delicious 

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz Gluten-Free Pasta
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, steamed
  • 1 sweet potato, boiled
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast + more to top
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Dollop of vegan cream cheese, I used Kite Hill’s Almond Milk based Chive Cream Cheese
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt + more to taste
  • 1/4 head of broccoli or your green of choice
  • Optional: 2 tablespoons gluten free breadcrumbs

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350

Steam cauliflower and sweet potato. Once done, drain most of the water but leave just a little bitto make blending easier. Add olive oil, nutritional yeast, salt & pepper, lemon juice and cream cheese and blend in a blender until completely smooth. This should come out looking like Velveeta. Separately, cook¬†the pasta according to package directions. Once pasta is done, use a baking dish to combine the “cheese”, pasta and broccoli and mix so it’s even. Top with extra nutritional yeast, salt & pepper, more spices or gluten free breadcrumbs and put in oven for 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

14 Day Elimination Diet Wrap-Up

And just like that, I’m done with the cleanse!

*cue fan fare*

Wow, I learned a lot. I did a lot of things right and a lot of things wrong. But who’s perfect, anyway? Certainly not me. I may be a Health Coach, but I am on a health and wellness journey just like everybody else and perfection, especially in health and wellness, is not possible. What is possible? Balance. Feeling good without being perfect. That’s possible.

It’s difficult¬†to grabble with the imperfect mindset in the midst of an intense detox, which is all about sticking to “the plan”. I’ll be honest with you, I wanted to quit a couple of different times and eat an entire bag of salt and vinegar potato chips or order pizza and drink beer. But I didn’t. Instead I asked myself: “why do I want to quit?” And in both instances it was to eat my feelings; to forget about why I¬†had an emotional or bad day. This is my go-to bad habit and always has been since I was the new girl in my third grade class coping with a tragic death in my family in addition to moving 12 hours away. It was a lot to deal with as a 7 year old. So, I turned to food. Bread, in particular. And that’s been my pattern for the past 20 years.

I mean, I’m not a little butterball anymore:

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Instead of caving and satisfying my cravings, I (begrudgingly) made myself a dinner (it always happens around dinner-time, interesting to note) that I thought would satisfy the craving I was having in a healthy, clean way. That I am familiar with, but not with as many restrictions as I was on with the elimination diet. But I made it work! And guess what? I felt satisfied and proud of myself. Win-win.

What else went wrong? Well, I’m pretty sure while being out and about a couple of times I accidentally had sugar. I had the famed Unicorn Latte at THE END in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and it most definitely had honey in it because I felt extremely buzzed and I thought it was the E3 live, a nutrient-dense blue green algae, but then I realized that it felt like a sugar high. Oops. I was really mad at myself, but you know what, sh*t happens and I moved on.

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The trendy Unicorn Latte

I also didn’t plan well for some long days at work and some outings with friends and instead of packing food I could eat to tide me over until I could cook at home, I didn’t eat. That’s not okay either. There were a couple of days that I didn’t have lunch and I felt so freakin’ hangry (hungry and angry aka my favorite word) and annoyed with myself. “Who am I? A Health Coach who doesn’t meal prep properly and doesn’t come prepared?!” . Again, no use in trying to be perfect because we all have flaws, and one of mine is that I sometimes neglect planning ahead and like to live spontaneously which usually works out just fine, but on a cleanse, it clearly does not. This lead to a desperate Anne searching for something to eat off a random subway stop on the Upper East Side. I luckily found some baby carrots, hummus and green juice. I survived! Side-note: this is never a cheap situation to be in. I think I paid $15 for the hummus, carrots and green juice. UGH. Not worth it. Lesson learned.

I only dealt with a few days where¬†I felt like crap, had a headache and was going through withdrawal. The second week was pretty much a breeze in terms of cleanse symptoms which was great. I will say that one symptom that is bewildering to me is my gassy-ness. Sorry, TMI, but we’re talking about digestive cleansing, farts are going to come up. I started to become really gassy by the third day and it’s ranged from fine to horrible for the rest of the cleanse. I can’t really pinpoint exactly why, other than the major increase in veggies in smoothie and juice form, which is difficult for your¬†intestines and bowels to break down because of the massive, quick, rush of nutrients and the temperature, hence the gas. That’s definitely a thing, so I tried to back off the delicious avocado smoothies and came up with the most delicious PB&J¬†Chia Porridge recipe¬†because of it.

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PB&J Chia Porridge

Before the cleanse I was experiencing a lot of gas and bloating and thought it was because I wrecked havoc on my digestive system by eating pizza and cheese just a little too much for the past month, but now I’m not so sure. I was also curious about eggs, so we’ll see how the re-introduction phase goes.

Wow, I’m a horrible salesman. I’m talking about all of the problems I had. What went well? Many things!

  • Clearer skin
  • Increased clarity and conciousness
  • Regular bowel movements
  • Satisfied longer
  • Hair is softer
  • Eyes are¬†vibrant, not bloodshot
  • I feel lighter
  • SO much more energy
  • Experiencing almost no cravings
  • Increased yoga and meditation practice, because I felt like it!
  • Tried making new things: Chia Porridge, Sweet Potato Toast and homemade Golden Milk and Matcha Lattes!
  • I discovered new places like Pressed Juicery Freeze, aka ice cream without sugar or dairy, Hu Kitchen and Bluestone Lane Coffee with plenty of clean options!
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Seriously ridiculous. This was the chocolate flavor made simply out of  cacao, almonds, dates, vanilla bean and sea salt topped with almond butter, raspberries and coconut.

I am very glad I did this cleanse for numerous reasons, but mainly because I kept a promise that I made to myself. It was incredible practice in self-love and self-care. I realized how personal cleansing can be, and how close you become to your body, senses, mind and intuition. Because you’re eliminating common dietary irritants that cause inflammation, your body is working harder to detox all your systems of toxins and irritants.¬†When your body is rid of all that crap, you’re left with a more conscious version of yourself. And it¬†can be¬†painful, but it can also be fun. Getting a front row seat to my body’s innate healing abilities¬†made me really appreciate all of the hard work it was doing. I was amazed. The body will get well on it’s own, if we let it. And I let it. And it brought me closer to myself.

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I’ve now been elimination-diet free for one day and I want to go back! I seriously messed up today and reintroduced coffee and sugar. I didn’t think it was a big deal to have a small cup of coffee and a little bit of granola sweetened with coconut sugar (low glycemic index) but it was clearly not a good idea because I’ve been in bed for the past 5 hours. My¬†heart began to race, I got a terrible headache and I felt nauseous which induced a small anxiety attack. Wow, right? On one hand, I’m glad I got rid of a lot of¬†inflammation and cravings caused, and related to sugar, but now I have no tolerance to it.¬†I felt like I had a very, very bad high.

Whoops.

Lesson learned; do not reintroduced two YIN foods at once after an elimination diet. What I should have done was a yin food, coffee, and a yang food, eggs. Yin and Yang, aka a yin-yang, is a macrobiotic dietary tool that helps establish balance in your diet and lifestyle.¬†Pairing yin (energetic) and yang (grounding) foods together should help maintain a sense of balance in the body and in your mind. I actually didn’t grasp this concept until today thanks to this experience. So, that’s another plus I guess! Now I know what to tell people NOT to do! Ah, the sacrifices of finding your bio-individuality.

Tomorrow I will probably go back to matcha and try to reintroduce eggs. We’ll see how that goes. Given today’s experience, I’m going to continue to leave sugar out of my diet for the time being because I feel better without it. I never thought I’d say that. I also never thought I’d be comfortable in my own skin so, you just never know.

Be well, friends.

Until next time.

Sugar Free PB&J Chia Porridgeimg_7977

Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons Chia Seeds
  • 1/2 cup culinary full-fat coconut milk + 2 tablespoons
  • Handful of blueberries
  • 1 date, pitted
  • 2-3 figs, halved
  • Dash of cinnamon & nutmeg
  • Dollop of nut butter
  • Whatever toppings you’d like. I used unsweetened coconut shreds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and hemp seeds. Other ideas: dairy-free yogurt, nuts, banana, more fruit.

Directions: Warm up the milk over medium heat until it’s bubbling. Add chia seeds slowly, stir consistently. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the additional milk and bring back to a simmer for about 2 minutes. Add blueberries, figs and date. Stir consistently for about 4 minutes until the¬†porridge is thick and tinted from the blueberries. The blueberries act as the “jelly” so you want them to liquify to get all the natural sugars out! Pour into a bowl, add peanut butter and your choice of toppings!

Cashews Make Great Milk and Cheese!

I have been dairy-free for almost three years now. I have my moments where I’m like: screw it! Give me pizza! (my parents and sister know this to be true) I can actually tolerate more aged cheeses like brie, camembert, blue cheese and goat cheese but on a very limited basis and I feel just fine. It’s when I decided I was completely immune to eating dairy in the midst of marathon training that I kind of fell of the wagon more than I’d like to admit. I realized we had this amazing Italian pizza place near our apartment and I couldn’t stop ordering it. It was bad, but also so, so delicious. I mean, come on, I ordered the Kale, Fig and Goat Cheese salad every time so it didn’t really count right? Oh, it counted. It counted because my body was not happy with me. My IBS symptoms were getting bad again and after all of my hard work I was not about to throw in the towel.

So, here we are. I am on Day 8 of the elimination diet and I can’t say dairy is something I miss, mainly because I’ve spent the majority of the past three years off of it. However, there’s something just so comforting about a little cheese on top of your salad, pasta, or sandwich. ¬†I’ve been buying dairy-free nut cheeses to satisfy this craving for years. It’s expensive, but delicious. My favorite brand is Tree Line Creamery. Their cheese is seriously amazing and it has¬†minimal ingredients which you can’t find with most vegan cheeses.

I finally bit the bullet and decided to try to make my own nut cheese! This is due to the abundance of time I have right now and due to my brand-new fancy blender. I made this Dill Cashew Nut Cheese that was inspired by Amie Valpone’s cookbook: Eating Clean.

Dill Cashew Nut Cheese img_7884

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked in 4 cups of water for 2-4 hours or overnight
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons of water (or less if you want a harder consistency)
  • 3 tablespoons dill, chopped

Directions: Allow cashews to soak at least 2 hours. They’re good to blend when they feel soft to touch. Drain the water and put cashews in a high speed blender or food processor. Add lemon juice, salt & pepper, cumin, dill and one tablespoon of water. Blend the mixture until your desired consistency, for me this meant adding two more tablespoons one by one while blending. Use a spatula to get the “cheese” out and there you go! You have cashew nut cheese! It’s that easy!

You know what cashews are also great for? MILK. Non-dairy milk can get pretty expensive especially if you’re using a lot for smoothies and such. Making your own nut milk is cheaper and pretty easy. Some nuts require a cheese cloth to get the proper consistency, but cashews blend right up into the perfect creamy texture. I made my matcha latte with cashew milk this morning and it was life-changing. Here’s my personal recipe for sugar-free Cashew Milk:

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for 2-4 hours
  • 5 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions: Take soaked cashews, drain and place in blender. Add additional water, add more or less depending on how thick you want the milk to be. 5 cups gives you a semi-creamy consistency. Dash the cinnamon in the blender and blend for 2 minutes and you’ve got yourself dairy-free milk!

 

Detox Diary and a Recipe

So remember when I told you I was detoxing? Yea, that’s still happening. Today is Day 5¬†and it’s actually going really well. Read more about what I’ve been eating and how I’ve been feeling.

Day 1

Breakfast: Almond Milk Matcha Latte mixed with Vital Proteins Collagen  and Mashed Sweet Potato and Carrot Breakfast Bowl. (recipe below)

I felt a little buzz after having the matcha, like a high! It was awesome. I wonder if this was how I felt when I first had coffee… hmm.¬†

Lunch: Saut√©ed Kale, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, and Potatoes topped with nutritional yeast,olive oil, Trader Joe’s 21 seasoning salute, salt and pepper.

Dinner: Spaghetti Squash with Shredded Chicken, Peas, and Sweet Potatoes topped with olive oil, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper.

Snacks: Green Tea, Fatty Coconut Nut Balls, Dark Chocolate, Banana.

Yes, snacking on a detox is fine! If¬†you’re active and working out, snacking and keeping your energy up is a great idea especially if you’re snacking on¬†quality fats and protein.¬†

img_7817Mashed Sweet Potato and Carrot Breakfast Bowl & Matcha Latte

Day 2

Breakfast: Almond Milk Matcha Latte mixed with Vital Proteins Collagen and Mashed Sweet Potato and Carrot Breakfast Bowl.

Lunch: Grain-free Vegetarian Lasagna at Hu Kitchen.

Hu Kitchen specializes in organic everything, hormone-free meat, and uses minimal ingredients. They keep it REAL.¬†¬†I was out and about and hungry and knew that I could walk through these doors and find something that was compliant with the elimination diet. This lasagna was unreal and I was SO FULL. The “cheese” they used was made out of cashews and it was to die for.¬†

Dinner: Roasted Cauliflower, Carrots, Brussel sprouts, and Sweet Potatoes over a bed of Spinach at Whole Foods.

Snacks: Apple Cinnamon Larabar and the Golden Milk Turmeric Latte from Bluestone Lane Coffee. I AM OBSESSED. 

As you can see I ate out a lot on Friday and I still stuck to the cleanse. It’s not easy when you’re out and about but if you do proper research, you can find places that have exactly what you’re looking for. If you aren’t sure about ingredients, ask the chef, or ask to see the nutritional facts, most places should be able to provide you with the comfort of knowing exactly what you’re putting in your mouth. I am lucky to live in NYC where there are numerous healthy restaurants and a Whole Foods at least every 20 blocks. That’s not to say there isn’t temptation, because that $1 pizza joint ¬†and that empanada truck I passed on the way to Whole Foods smelled better than it ever has in my entire life… it’s funny when you start to crave things that you never eat. That’s detoxing for you.

fullsizeoutput_218dFatty Coconut Balls & Green Tea during study time

Day 3

Breakfast: Almond milk Matcha Latte with a Smoothie (Avocado, Spinach, Pineapple, Celery, and Coconut Water)

Lunch: Lentil Dahl (curried lentils) with Kale, Cauliflower, Butternut Squash, and Potato topped with a homemade Tahini Dressing

Dinner: Coconut Chicken Curry with Asparagus, Purple Cabbage, Carrot, and Potato

Snack: Fatty Coconut Nut Balls, Peanut Butter, and Kombucha

Today was a hard day. I had a horrible headache from sun-up to sun-down. I was definitely going through withdrawal from caffeine and sugar. It sucked, honestly. I tried to run three miles and everything hurt.¬†I walked a¬†couple of miles afterwards because it was a¬†beautiful day but¬†couldn’t enjoy myself¬†because my head hurt so much. But I didn’t give up, I didn’t grab a cup of coffee. I took a long hot shower and tried to rest as much as possible. This is important to do when you’re on a detox. Your body is going through a lot so it’s important to take it easy,¬†which means rest and sleep… a lot of it.¬†

 

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Bluestone Lane’s Golden Milk and Beet Latte, oh so beautiful.

Day 4

Breakfast: Green Tea and a Smoothie (Avocado, Banana, Spinach, Collagen, and Coconut Water)

Second Breakfast: Roasted Potatoes and Oranges

Lunch: N/A yea… not good… I was at work.

Dinner: Lentil Dahl with Kale, Butternut Squash, and Sweet Potatoes

Snacks: Fatty Coconut Nut Balls, Almonds, Mashed Sweet Potato and Carrot Bowl

I surprisingly felt very energized throughout the day and I attribute that to my amazing Avocado Smoothie! I’m obsessed. It’s silky texture reminds me of a milkshake. I packed it with protein and good fat that sustained my energy. At work I had some roasted potatoes and oranges because I needed a little something, but no lunch… that’s how it goes sometimes. Instead of beating myself up, I look at how well I fueled myself to sustain a long, hard, day at work and look to do better next time.¬†

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I woke like this. With an Avocado Smoothie in hand. Or within 15 minutes of waking up…

Day 5 

Breakfast: Almond Milk Matcha Latte and a… you guessed it, Avocado Smoothie! ¬†I can’t stop. Except tomorrow I might have to since I ran out of avocados…¬†

Lunch: Shrimp Papaya Salad from Chop’t with no dressing, just lemon, lime, and olive oil. This was YUM!¬†

Dinner: Curried Lentil Dahl with Pulled Chicken, Butternut Squash, and a Potato.

Snacks: Salmon Avocado Cauliflower Rice Sushi roll and a Golden Milk Turmeric Latte from Bluestone Lane Coffee again because, it’s ridiculous and I’m obsessed.

As you can tell, once I find something that’s healthy and delicious I can’t get enough of it. I should probably vary my diet a bit more than I do, but when you’re cleansing and detoxing I ¬†think that it’s comforting to have a few go-to meals that you know are satisfying and delicious. It helps keep the: “oh my god I can’t eat anything. I give up. Give me the bag of chips.” at bay.

The hardest part of the cleanse so far is making plans with friends and having to explain that I’d rather not go to that restaurant, or that bar, and asking them if they’d like to come over to my apartment instead. This takes so much discipline and dedication, but it is possible. All of my friends are understanding and for that, I am grateful. But I do want to buy a bottle of wine and make pasta, or eat BBQ, or go to that new Dim Sum place with them! It’ll happen, just not now, and that’s okay. I know why I’m doing this, and that¬†I’ll feel great afterwards,¬†¬†so¬†it’s¬†worth it.

I want to emphasize that this is a cleanse and not the way I plan to live my life from now on. Detoxes and cleanses aren’t meant to be maintained for longer than a month or two. Once you detox, you slowly reintroduce your body to the things you eliminated, and you’ll discover what you should keep, and what you should minimize. It’s about balance. It’s not about giving up social engagements that involve any sort of food or drink and staying at home by yourself. That’s not sustainable. It’s about getting rid of cravings, getting in touch with your true wants in regards to food and drink, giving your body a break and eliminating toxins and allergens so you can start with a blank slate.

Okay, day 5 almost done, 9 to go.

Mashed Sweet Potato and Carrot Breakfast Bowl Recipe

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Health Benefits: High in fiber, protein, vitamins, quality fats, betacarotene, potassium, magnesium and antioxidants.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Sweet Potato, mashed (I make a big batch ahead of time and heat up)
  • 1-2 Carrots, mashed (see above)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Toppings:

  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened, plain dairy free yogurt, or greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp nut butter
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp hemp seeds
  • sprinkle of coconut shreds
  • sprinkle of nuts
  • dash of cinnamon
  • Other topping ideas: granola, flax seeds, cacao nibs, dates, banana, blueberries, pumpkin seeds, freeze dried, or regular dried, ¬†fruit (no sugar added)

Mix the sweet potato and carrot together in small saucepan with the coconut oil. Dash with cinnamon and mix until heated through. Put the mixture into a bowl and top it up! It’s that easy.