Red Quinoa With Vegetables, Almonds, and Cheese

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile (thank you to those who have!), you’ve already heard me discuss the importance of listening to your body’s cravings and eating with the seasons.  Last night was a perfect example of this.  I had bought all the ingredients to make this recipe for a red quinoa salad for dinner, but when dinnertime rolled around, my body wasn’t craving a salad at all, but instead a hot meal.  This is completely natural to experience as the warmer months transition to the colder Fall and Winter months. Our bodies crave cooling foods in the Spring and Summer (think salads and fresh fruit), and warmer foods in the Fall and Winter (stews, soups, and hearty meals). So I took the red quinoa and scavenged through my fridge to come up with this delicious recipe.  I hope you enjoy it!

 

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Ingredients  (2 servings)

-1 cup red quinoa, rinsed thoroughly under cold water.  Use your fingers to lightly rub the grains together.

-3 cups water

-1/2 bouillon cube

-2 carrots, thinly sliced

-6 oz. shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

-1 large shallot, thinly sliced

-6 asparagus stalks, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

-Garlic powder or 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced

-2 handfuls unsalted almonds, chopped

-Ricotta salata cheese to top (or other favorite cheese)

-salt, pepper

 

Instructions

  1. Turn oven to 425 degrees F.  Add the rinsed quinoa to a medium-sized pot with the water, salt, and the bouillion half.  Stir to mix in.  Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer.  Cook for 20 minutes or until water is absorbed.  Drain water in a strainer if necessary at the end of cooking then add the quinoa back to the pot.  Fluff with a fork.
  2. While the quinoa cooks, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add olive oil. When the oil is hot, add all the vegetables to the pan to saute.  Add pepper and the garlic powder, but no salt yet.  Add more oil if necessary.  Cook for about 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until browned and softened. Add salt the last couple minutes of cooking.
  3. Place the chopped almonds on a piece of tin foil and toast in the oven for 2-3 minutes. Remove and turn off the oven.
  4. Combine the quinoa, vegetables, almonds, and top with ricotta salata.  Serve in bowls.  Enjoy!

 

You Are Invited! Slim Down For Summer and Join Me For A Summer Anti-Inflammation Detox

17327_10204034803084733_8189935535209272625_nWho else wants to feel totally energized, vibrant, and renewed this summer? Who wants to feel the best they’ve ever felt, lose some weight, and think more clearly than ever before? If this speaks to you, then join me this summer for an anti-inflammation detox and elimination diet!

Is a detox right for you? 

• Do you have trouble concentrating and/or staying focused?

• Do you feel tired or lethargic?
• Do you experience frequent colds or flues?
• Do you have joint pain or stiffness?

• Do you get frequent headaches?
• Are you overweight?
• Have you had a change in body odor or taste in your mouth?
• Do you have dark circles under your eyes?
• Does you skin lack luster?
• Do you have acne, eczema, or psoriasis?
• Do you have constipation (less than one bowel movement/day)?

• Do you have gas, bloating, or indigestion?
• Do you look puffy or bloated?
• Do you have high cholesterol or fatty liver disease?

If you answered “yes” to any of the following questions, then consider detoxing!

What is a detox?

A detox removes toxins from the body, almost like a “spring clean” for the soul to renew your inner self. We are exposed to numerous toxins every day, whether it’s through the air we breath, the food we eat, or the products we use. Stress is a very large contributor to inflammation too, and is also responsible for 75-90% of hospital visits.

As a result of all these toxins in our system, our body becomes inflamed. Although inflammation is typically the body’s natural, healthy immune response (think redness, soreness, or swelling), chronic inflammation often flies under the radar, disengaging the inflammation shut-off button. Chronic, low-level inflammation is also known as the “silent killer,” because it develops without pain and research shows it can lead to obesity, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease among other illnesses.

There are different types of detoxes out there, but I want to focus on the anti-inflammation detox, because reducing levels of inflammation is SO critical for achieving optimum health and avoiding big health problems down the road. This anti-inflammation detox focuses on hormone balance, limiting stress levels, improving sleep, and the elimination diet, which are all important factors that’ll contribute to abundant health and wellbeing. Hormones control everything in our body from the reproductive system to mood, energy levels, sleep, and appearance. All of the sources I previously mentioned that cause inflammation also can cause hormonal imbalances, and create symptoms like irritability, fatigue, inability to lose weight, unhealthy food cravings, and even conditions like diabetes, osteoporosis, or heart disease.

Health Benefits To Expect From This Detox:

  • Improved hormonal balance and fat burning with better liver function.
  • Relief from the effects of harmful excess estrogen (sex hormone).
  • Reduced insulin and less inflammation.
  • Restored serotonin activity and enhanced mood, memory, and focus.
  • Maximized activity of thyroid hormone (energy hormone).
  • Support of the breakdown and clearance of cortisol (stress hormone) from the body.
  • Better appetite control, freedom from cravings, and enhanced fat burning through improved leptin levels.
  • Diminished cellulite.

From this detox you will also learn to identify food sensitivities and allergies, which I will get into more just below.

Detox Details

1. Media Detox

This portion of the detox might be hardest for most. Although you will not need to abstain from media entirely, the more you can power down (especially before bed), the better. This will help greatly to reduce stress levels and improve sleep.

2. Restorative Sleep

Getting quality sleep is extremely important for balancing hormones and reducing inflammation.  It also makes it easier for us to stick with our health goals.

3. Replace home goods, cleaning products, and beauty products with natural, chemical-free products

Although this can be costly, over time I recommend switching out products for natural, chemical-free, or homemade versions to reduce and eliminate toxins. Think about it, over 80,000 industrial chemicals have been developed in the last 80 years, and these chemicals are found in almost every commercial product you use! These chemicals completely disrupt hormone balance and contribute to life-threatening illnesses.

4. Stress Management

Most of us suffer from stress in some way, whether it’s environmental, from food, work-related, relationship-related, personal, or psychological. When stress goes untreated, it suppresses the body’s immune system and ultimately manifests as illness. Stress is also a huge contributor to digestive troubles. Throughout this detox I will be coaching participants on ways to reduce and eliminate stress, since stress also leads to inflammation!

5. The Elimination Diet

It’s hard to pinpoint food allergies or sensitivities, so this part of the detox will help you discover your trigger foods. Over 10 days, we will eliminate some of the most toxic or most commonly allergenic foods from the diet: sugar, processed foods and hydrogenated oils, alcohol, caffeine, corn, dairy, cigarettes, red meats, citrus fruit, peanuts, night shade vegetables, and gluten.

Don’t freak out. You may be thinking “well what’s left for me to eat?,” but that’s where I step in.  Not only will I be coaching you through this process, but I will also set up a support system with the rest of the group members. I will provide you with delicious recipes, meal plans, and whole food education, and don’t forget, I will be joining you for this detox too!

After the ten days of the elimination diet, then the real work starts. Over the course of about three weeks you will begin to reintroduce one food at a time back to your diet. Introduce a food, see how you feel after eating it for two days, then eliminate that food again and start with a new food for two days. This process repeats itself until you’ve tested out all types of inflammatory foods.

The great thing about this detox is that you will feel so much better afterwards that it’ll be easier to incorporate this type of eating on your own.  You’ll be resetting and refreshing your body, so you may even notice that you might not even crave some of the foods you used to crave before, making healthy eating way more convenient!

What You’ll Get With This Detox

For $50.00 (USD), you will receive health coaching, group support, recipes, meal plans, and tips to set yourself up for lasting health improvements!  My health coaching services are normally triple this rate, so take advantage of this opportunity!

Here is what to expect:

-the anti-inflammation overview packet

  • information I’ve compiled about the detox
  • detox Q & A
  • list of foods to eliminate
  • list of foods to include
  • types of activities to include

-tips and tricks that’ll help with the detox, but will also help you after the detox

  • stress management techniques
  • whole food education
  • identifying and deconstructing cravings
  • group health coaching with check ins a couple times a week
  • helpful tips to help you through the detox

-recipes and meal plan

  • a sample meal plan for 10 days
  • recipes for every meal

-group support

  • access to a Facebook support group with other members
  • a partner to share triumphs and set backs with and to have as an accountability coach
  • I’ll be regularly posting tips and tricks here to help with the detox

-unlimited email support with me

  • I’ll be available to answer any questions via email

Join Me!

If this detox speaks to you, then please write me an email so I’ll have your contact information!  This detox will begin the week of July 13, 2015, but it is important to give yourself at least a week leading up to the beginning of the detox to get yourself ready!

You can reach me via email at jessicakhealth@gmail.com and don’t forget to visit my website and sign up for my newsletter www.jkhealthcoach.com.

8 Tips to Help Yourself Eat Better During the Week

We are busy people and not enough of us make the time to take care of our health. Eating well is much easier when we plan ahead, and even easier when we get other people involved.  When we designate one day for food prep, we allow ourselves more time during the week to rest, relax, and enjoy our pre-prepped food.  I recommend Sunday as the day for cooking and preparation.  This way, when our lives our full of stress and things to do, we have pre-prepped meals to look forward to.

Top tips for eating better during the week:

1. Make a batch of your favorite whole grains 

Whole grains can be very versatile.  I love to cook a big thing of rice or quinoa that’ll last me through the week. For breakfast I personally love putting eggs over rice with avocado and hot sauce, and then for other meals top the rice with vegetables or other forms of protein.  Fried rice is an easy enough recipe that’s always a favorite.  For more information and a list of all whole grains, click here.

2. Designate one day for prepping

As mentioned above, one of the most useful tips I have is to prep ahead of time. On your designated prep day, slice all your veggies, cook your whole grains, and soak your beans.  This saves time and makes eating healthy more realistic.

3.  Cook once, eat twice (or more!)

Prepare enough food while cooking to have leftovers.  Take advantage of the time you have to cook, because it can be hard to guarantee you’ll have time or even want to cook the rest of the week.

4. Keep a food journal

It’s easy to forget the meals we eat.  If your goal is to lose weight or discover what foods work best for your body, I always advise my clients to keep a food journal. Keeping a food journal not only helps us track what we eat eat and our portion sizes, but we can note things we are feeling emotionally or physically when we eat or after we eat. Identifying our emotions or even things we are feeling physically from eating helps us pinpoint food intolerances or allergies, and can even answer questions about other physical ailments.

From my own experience, it wasn’t until I started noting how I felt physically and emotionally after I ate processed foods and sugar that I was able to solve feelings of anxiety and depression. I realized those foods made me physically sick to my stomach, and I was also experiencing high levels of serotonin while eating the food, and suffering from low dopamine levels after the sugar high wore off.  Most of us probably aren’t conscious of these things as we’re eating and going about our lives, but once we stop and think about it, we may discover things we didn’t realize about our bodies.

6. Cook at home

I love going out to eat.  It’s convenient, there are lots of options, and the food tastes pretty good, but why not save some money and calories by cooking yourself?  When we eat out, there’s no way of controlling what exactly goes into our food.  I enjoy cooking because I know exactly where my food comes from, I have control over what I put in my food, and I get to pick what I want to eat.  Aim to eat at least two homemade meals a day, then work toward three meals at home a day.

7. Plan your meals

It’s much easier to eat well during the week if we take some time to plan meals ahead of time.  Make a grocery list and write out what you plan to eat every day. There’s no need to get fancy.  If you like having oatmeal for breakfast every morning and vegetable stir fry for dinner, then go for it!

8. Add in vegetables, nuts, legumes, fruit, and whole grains

By adding in more vegetables, nuts, legumes, fruit, and whole grains to our diet, we can naturally crowd out unhealthier foods and prevent unhealthy food cravings.  When we fill up on foods that nourish our body, we become more satisfied quicker, so we’re less likely to go for the desserts or snacks after we eat.

Looking for more tips?  Subscribe to my newsletter!

Pay me a visit at www.jkhealthcoach.com to learn more about how working with a health coach can benefit you and the ones you love!

All Hail Kale

kale-heartProbably five years ago or so, I don’t believe I had ever heard of kale.  It seems like the green, leafy vegetable blew up to celebrity status overnight, suddenly becoming the most talked about superfood.  This vegetable has become one of my personal favorites and with any vegetable, if you know how to prepare it right, it can be delicious.

Buying vegetables, whether it’s kale or other green vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, spinach, etc, is cost effective and leaves less of a carbon footprint.  While animal agriculture has many implications like land degradation and reduction of biodiversity, vegetables have a very low environmental impact and be grown in most climates.

Kale, because of it’s high nutrient value, is a good option to replace our society’s high meat consumption.  I’m not saying cut meat out entirely, but I think people can certainly add in more vegetables to crowd out large portions of meat.  Everybody’s body is different, but vegetables are an important part of our diet, and lots of us don’t get the correct amount of vegetable servings in our diet.  Here are some reasons kale is one of my favorite vegetables:skinny-bitch3

Anti- Inflammatory

Dark leafy greens are an important source in reducing inflammation in the body.  Vitamin A, selenium, and beta-cryptoxanthin are some of the few anti-inflammatory agents found in vegetables.

Fiber

Our ancestors had way more fiber in their diets than we do today.  Fruits and vegetables are a fantastic source of fiber, especially kale, broccoli, carrots, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and avocado.  Fiber maintains bowel regularity and prevents the risk of health problems.

Iron 

Some people believe that it’s difficult to get healthy amounts of iron in our diet if a person doesn’t eat meat.  This simply isn’t true.  In actuality, some vegetables contain higher levels of iron than animals foods, especially vegetables like Swiss chard, soybeans, lentils, spinach, and turnip greens.

Calcium

Milk is believed by many to be the greatest source of calcium, however, vegetables have high calcium amounts that’ll keep our bodies strong.  That being said, don’t rely solely on vegetables as a source of calcium, because it’s harder for our bodies to absorb calcium from vegetables.  Kale, collards, cabbage, arugula, and bok choy are some examples of vegetables containing lots of calcium.

Healthy Fats

As I’ve written about before, getting healthy fats in our diet is very important, and there is a distinction between good and bad fat.  Omega fatty acids are necessary to our diet.  Lots of people take fish oil capsules, but kale actually contains both omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids.

Look to Your Farmacy

It’s true, the majority of my money goes toward food.  Delicious, organic, local food.  And you know what?  I’m totally ok with it. Understandably, not everyone wants to spend the money, because organic can be expensive.  Just remember, the more processed crap, toxins, and sugar we consume today, the more doctor visits and money spent on pharmaceutical drugs in the future.  That’s why I look at eating well as an long-term investment in my health, because food is medicine.Let your food be your medicine(1)

Currently, the average American eats too much and spends too little on food.  It can cost a lot to eat organic, but I have some tips on how to best spend your money when buying organic.  Organic food is more expensive because it’s a more time and labor-intensive form of farming. If you’re someone who doesn’t eat organic currently, start by switching at least one thing in your diet to organic, because baby steps are better that no steps. If you’re someone who currently doesn’t eat vegetables or fruits, then maybe starting with canned or frozen vegetables or fruit is the place for you to start.  You don’t need to eat organic all the time to reduce chemical exposure.  Starting a garden, if you have the space, is also a cost-effective way to eat right.

What does it mean to eat organic anyway?  Organic refers to the procedure in which foods are grown, raised, or produced based on government-defined standards.  Originally, all our food was “organic.”  There were no herbicides, pesticides, irradiation, or chemical fertilizers. Rather, all our food was naturally raised, unrefined, unprocessed, and whole. Processing food and chemical farming has only been around since World War II, and since then, our soil has been depleted of important minerals and nutrients that we need.
Because not all of us can or want to buy everything organic, I’ve supplied a list prioritizing which fruits and vegetables to buy organic.  Please refer to the list below for most and least contaminated foods, provided by The Environmental Working Group.image

12 Most Contaminated Fruits and Vegetables:

Apples

Celery

Cherry tomatoes

Cucumbers

Grapes

Hot peppers

Nectarines (Imported)

Peaches

Potatoes

Spinach

Strawberries

Sweet bell peppers

Kale / Collard Greens

Snap peas

15 Least Contaminated Fruits and Vegetables

Asparagus

Avocados

Cabbage

Cantaloupe

Sweet corn

Eggplant

Grapefruit

Kiwi

Mangos

Cauliflower

Onions

Papayas

Pineapples

Sweet peas (frozen)

Sweet potatoes

The two foods that I highly recommend buying organic are strawberries and chicken.  The U.S. uses 1.2 billion pounds of pesticides a year, and only .01% of those pesticides actually reach bugs.  Strawberries, even after washing, retain the most of amount of pesticides.  Pesticides cause issues like skin, eye, and lung irritation, hormone disruption, cancer, brain and nervous system toxicity, blood disorders, nerve disorders, birth defects, and reproduction effects.  If you have children, just remember that kids are four times more sensitive to cancer-causing pesticides in foods than adults (Source: US Environmental Protection Agency).

Vintage arsenic poison bottle on antique shelfThe reason I disapprove so strongly of commercial chicken is that commercial chickens contain arsenic, which is actually approved and regulated by the government.  Arsenic is known to cause cancer, as well as a number of other health issues.

Trust me, you’ll be able to tell the difference in color and taste between organic and commercially-grown produce. Washington State University actually proved through lab taste tests that organic tastes better.  There are more reasons to shop organic though.  By purchasing organic foods, you’re reducing your carbon footprint and helping out local farmers. Our health starts not with food but with our soil and water. Organic farming respects our ecosystem, while conventional farming leaks pesticides into our soil and our water, which in turn makes people sick. Additionally, organic farms are often smaller and independently owned and operated, so it’s great to help out the little guys.  Buying organic saves energy too, since more energy is used to produce synthetic fertilizers for commercially-grown crops.

organic_food

If you’re interested in going organic, but don’t know how or where to start, find your nearest Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) so your can get your food straight from your local farmer.  If you have questions, feel free to ask.  Drop me a line.

What’s For Breakfast?

Here are two breakfast ideas to fit your busy schedule:

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1. Steel cut oats topped with fresh fruit, chopped nuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, cacao nibs, and organic maple syrup.

-3/4 cup water
-1/4 cup steel cut oats

-fruit of choice (bananas, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries)

-handful of chopped nuts (almond, walnut)

-1tsp each of hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, cacao nibs

-organic maple syrup to taste

For those of you with sugar cravings, like myself, I find that adding a bit of healthy cacao nibs to my oatmeal early in the day reduces my cravings later in the evening.  Give it a shot.

Easy Steps:

-Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan.  Add steel cut oats and cook on low heat for 5-7 minutes.  Remove from heat and mix in other toppings.  BOOM, done!

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2. The Perfect Fried Egg

My recommendation for the best ever fried egg is to cook it in a cast iron skillet.  If you don’t own a cast iron skillet, get one. Not only will it add iron to your diet, but it doesn’t contain the chemicals found in nonstick pans, and it transfers easy from stove top to oven.  Even if you don’t have a cast iron skillet, my recommendation for the perfect fried egg is to add about 2tbs extra virgin olive oil and heat on the skillet over medium heat.  Once hot, crack the eggs and salt and pepper them.  Add about 1tbp of water to the pan with the eggs and cover the skillet.  After a few minutes (5 minutes if you’re not using a cast iron skillet) your fried eggs are done.

I personally love to lay my fried eggs over a bed of vegetables or on avocado toast.  Sometimes I add bacon or toasted prosciutto 🙂 I cook my eggs in extra virgin olive oil because it’s important to have those healthy fats, like the fats found in vegetable oils and avocados!