Asian Chicken Meatballs with Vegetables

Recently I’ve been watching videos of this chef organizing her food into bento boxes and have been finding the videos very calming to watch.  I’m kind of like those people who enjoy watching Youtube videos of Koreans eating, though that part I’m not into.  One thing I’ve noticed about the bento boxes it that they always contain majority vegetables, something acidic, a very small portion of protein (about the size of the palm of your hand), some gluten-free grains, and something probiotic.  I was inspired by the bento boxes when I came up with this recipe: Asian chicken meatballs with broccolini, maitake mushrooms, brown rice, and microgreens with lime.  I bought a premade dressing for the microgreens consisting of a variety of probiotics (pickle brine, sauerkraut brine, etc), but you could also add pickled vegetables or kimchi to the meal to include your probiotic component.  Though this meal takes about 45 minutes to cook,  it is a fairly easy recipe even for beginner cooks, and most of these ingredients should be staples in your pantry.

Ingredients

For the Sauce:

-1/2 cup Teriyaki sauce or hoisin

-1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce

-1 tsp. or more of sriracha depending on how hot you like it

-1 tbsp. honey

 

For the Meatballs:

-1lb. organic ground chicken

-1 egg

-1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs

-3 scallions, sliced thinly and white bottoms separated from green tops

-1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger or ginger powder

-3 minced garlic cloves or 2 tbsp. garlic powder

-salt and pepper

 

For the Rice:

-1 cup brown rice

-2 cups water

-2 pinches salt

-1 tbsp. ghee, or preferred fat (oil, butter)

-1 lime + zest

-sesame seeds

 

For the Salad:

-Microgreens

 

Instructions

Note- Allow the rice to soak overnight or for some time before cooking (I soaked my rice this time for 40 minutes).  This will reduce cook time, release nutritional enzymes, and make the rice more digestible.

  1.   Fill a medium-sized pot with water, rice, fat, and salt.  Bring the water to boil then cover and reduce heat to simmer for 45 minutes. Remove from heat leaving the lid on. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Add lime zest and fluff rice with a fork.
  2. Wash and prep your vegetables while the rice cooks.  In a small bowl, make the sauce.  Zest the lime in a small bowl using a microplane then quarter the lime and set aside. In a large skillet, heat oil and add the white bottoms of the scallions, ginger and garlic and cook about 1 minute or until aromatic.  Transfer to a large bowl and wipe out the pan.
  3. Add the ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, half of the sauce, and the salt and pepper to the bowl containing the onion, ginger and garlic. Mix the ingredients and allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes so it’ll be easier to form the meatballs.
  4. Reheat the pan to medium-hot and add enough oil to evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Add the broccolini and mushrooms and toast in the oil.  Let cook without touching while you form the meatballs.
  5.  Flip the broccolini and mushrooms and brown the other sides.  Get two large bowls ready so you can divide the vegetables between the bowls when they’ve finished browning.  Wipe out the pan.
  6. Reheat the pan over medium-high heat and add enough oil to form a thin layer on the bottom of the pan.  Add the meatballs, cooking 4-6 minutes per side.  You’ll know when the meatball is ready to turn when it’s no longer sticking to the pan.  Once cooked, add 1/4 cup water and the remaining sauce to the pan.  Toss the meatballs in the sauce to evenly coat and scrape up any remaining fond in the pan. When the sauce has reduced, remove from the heat.
  7. In the bowls containing the vegetables, add brown rice, the salad, lime, and the meatballs. Dress the salad with the lime, garnish with the green tops of the scallions, and sprinkle sesame seeds.  Enjoy!

How to Win the Never-Ending Battle Against Late Night Snacking

Fighting off late night munchies can be a true battle. No matter how big of a dinner you eat, sometimes it’s too difficult to say “no” to snacking before bed.  If you are trying to sleep better or lose weight, avoid eating at least two hours before bedtime. Otherwise the food you eat will store as fat, rather than being processed or burned off (source: Dr. Hyman). If you struggle with late night eating, try these tips to curb bedtime snacking.

1- Eat breakfast. Having breakfast sets the tone for the rest of the day, but not just any breakfast. Having a high protein breakfast will keep you satiated longer and energize you throughout the day. If you eat late, you might not be hungry enough in the morning to get the right breakfast you need to power through your day, so it’s important to break this cycle.

unnamed-1

2% Greek yogurt with fruit, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and bee pollen = lots of protein!

Some of my go-to, protein-packed breakfasts might include chia seed pudding, eggs (with the yolk!), a smoothie with proteins such as almond or peanut butter, chia seeds, hemp seeds, greek yogurt, or protein powder. I also like to add green vegetables to my breakfasts whenever possible. A meal like any of these really gives you the brain power you need, but also keeps your blood sugar levels steady throughout the morning. When my blood sugar levels take a dip, this is when I find myself so starved I’ll reach for anything in sight, no matter how bad it is for me. Eating some protein and healthy fats with every meal really makes a difference in your overall energy and health, versus eating no breakfast or something lacking in nutrition, like cereal or a bagel.

2- Drink water. When we are dehydrated, sometimes our minds will interpret that as hunger. Try drinking water when you feel a late night craving come on before you head to the kitchen for some snacks. I like to infuse my water with cucumber, lemon, fresh herbs, or berries. I find that I can drink much more water when I’ve infused it, especially with my favorite, cucumber.

3-Eat mindfully. Eating too quickly doesn’t give the body enough time to realize it’s full. Practice chewing your food and remember to breathe while eating. The more you chew your food, the more the food is broken down, which means it digests more easily in the stomach. This is a pro tip for weight loss!

4- Turn off the tv and go to bed! It’s really easy to eat mindlessly when eating while watching tv. On occasion, if it’s getting late and I find myself getting hungry again after dinner, I will actually just send myself to bed. If I continue to stay up, then of course I’m going to get a snack to fuel me. Try having that glass of water instead or some warm almond milk or tea, then hit the hay.

5- Identify areas of your life that may be out of balance. Snacking is often triggered by emotions. Think, for example, about the image of a girl (or guy) shoveling ice cream in her mouth after a bad breakup as an example. Whatever the trigger may be, even if it’s just craving dessert after dinner out of habit, try to identify what could be causing you to have unhealthy cravings. This may not even apply to food; it could be some sort of substance abuse too. Think about the quality of all your relationships, career, spiritual practice, finances, home environment, or exercise routine. How satisfied are you in each of these areas of your life? If any aspect of your life is missing or unsatisfactory, it’s possible that this could be causing you stress, which can then lead to late night binge eating or unhealthy habits. Once you’ve identified what’s stressing you out, take measures to make improvements and reduce any stress.

Here is an exercise for you to try to find balance that I use with my clients throughout their program. This is called the Circle of Life (source: Institute for Integrative Nutrition). On the circle there are a number of important categories listed, each one representing a major aspect of life that contributes to overall mental and physical health. Being satisfied in each of these categories is extremely important for living a well-balanced life.

Here’s what to do. Place a dot in each category of the circle. The closer your dot is to the outside of the circle, the more content you are with that area of your life. And the closer your dot is to the inside of the circle represents less satisfaction with that category. When you are done connect all the dots and see what areas of your life need nourishment. If your dots create a perfect circle when connected, then you should be living pretty much stress-free.

circle of life color

6- Identify your food sensitivities. We are typically allergic or sensitive to the foods we crave the most. For many people this is gluten or dairy. Experiment with an elimination diet, or just try removing these two food groups and/or sugar for a few weeks and see if you feel any improvements. After a few weeks of eliminating certain food groups, gradually add back one food group at a time for a few days to see if any symptoms (maybe even some you weren’t aware of before) return. Other foods that tend to cause sensitivities or allergies are corn, soy, alcohol, sugar, red meat, processed foods, or nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, eggplants, etc).

If you have experimented with these tips and are still finding yourself reaching for the cookies before bed, then replace those temptations with healthier options. I can recommend peanut butter with green apple, chocolate chia seed pudding, roasted salty chickpeas, or black bean brownies.

Please leave other suggestions in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you. If you’re interested in talking about how a health coach can help you eat better and improve your overall health, sign up for a complimentary 50-minute consultation with me!

Face Mapping: Let Your Skin Be Your Guide to Health

Our skin is a reflection of our inner body’s health, according to Ayurvedic tradition.  Ayurveda, “the science of life,” is a 5000-year-old form of natural healing started in India that focuses largely on maintaining balance. By looking specifically at the face, you are able to learn a lot about what might be going on inside of your body, and what might be out of balance in your life.
Face Mapping

1. Forehead

Possibly means: gallbladder and liver issues

The forehead, according to Ayurvedic practices, relates to the nervous system and digestive system.  This means that stress and internal stagnation could be the cause of the breakout here.  Find ways to reduce stress, like yoga or meditation, and reduce the amount of processed foods and unhealthy fats in your diet.

2. Left Eyebrow

Possibly means: repressing emotions in the spleen.

If you have a line on the left side, this could mean you have emotions pent up in the spleen.

3. Right Eyebrow

Possibly means: repressing emotions in the liver.

Cut out the alcohol, processed foods, and sugar.  Drink more water and add lemon to your water to rid the liver of toxins.  Get plenty of sleep and get in light exercise.

4 & 5. Eyes

Possibly means: impaired kidney function, dehydration

The skin around the eyes is typically connected to the health of the kidneys,  Signs like dark circles under the eyes often signals dehydration.  Small irises can tell you that you may have joint problems. If you have a yellowish color in the eyes, then this may be an indication of a weak liver.

6. Cheek

Possibly means: slow metabolism, low absorption of nutrients, lung issues.

The upper cheeks are related to the lungs.  Air pollution can contribute to this, or pressing your face up against a cell phone or dirty pillowcase. The lower cheeks typically mean problems with dental hygiene.

7. Nose

Possibly means: blood and heart issues.

Your nose is connected to your heart.  Swelling of the nose can mean high blood pressure.  Eat well to remedy this. Cut out sugar and processed foods, reduce spicy foods, caffeine and alcohol, lower salt intake, and eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.

8. Lower Lip

Possibly means: intestines, digestion.

The lower lip is linked to the intestines.  Cut back on dairy products and oily meals and eat a diet consisting of lots of fruits and vegetables to keep digestion running smoothly and prevent blemishes.

9. Tongue

Possibly means: toxin buildup, lung issues.

We can learn a lot about our health by looking at the tongue.  White residue on the back of the tongue could mean it’s time for a detox, since this signals a buildup of toxins.  Abrasions or frothiness along the edges of the tongue could mean issues with the lungs, so implement regular aerobic exercise and meditation.  Uneven or ridged outer edges of the tongue often means that nutrients aren’t being absorbed properly into the blood stream.  Implement a diet of whole foods high in vitamins, iron, and folic acid, and steer clear of processed foods.

10. Chin

Possibly means: hormonal imbalance.

Stress and hormonal imbalances can be seen on the chin.  Expect to breakout around your menstrual cycle.  Get plenty of sleep, reduce stress, drink plenty of water, and eat lots of vegetables, especially the leafy green ones.

What’s the lesson here for perfect skin?  Drink lots of water, get plenty of sleep, eat whole foods, especially lots of vitamin-rich vegetables, make time for meditation or stress-relieving activities, and exercise.

Sources: MindBodyGreen, Into The Gloss

Why Routines Are the Ticket to Success

Humans are creatures of habit.  Most of us have a daily routine of some sort, whether we are conscious of it or not. Life can definitely be hard and full of stress.  The more out of control we feel, the more a routine will benefit us. There aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, so keeping a routine helps greatly with time management, efficiency, energy, and motivation. Through personal experience and through my health coaching practice, I have realized that maintaining a routine is repeatedly one of the best ways for achieving success and happiness.

Everyone has their own morning ritual, but the day should begin with some type of routine.  My morning routine begins with my puppy’s cold nose on my arm every morning around 6:45am.  I get up, let him out and Wake-up-to-a-new-day1feed him, drink a warm glass of lemon water and have a small bite to eat while I journal for a little, brush my teeth, get dressed for the gym, work out, and then eat my post-workout meal.  This doesn’t need to be everyone’s routine, but for me, I anticipate my morning going as mentioned.  When these things don’t happen, my entire day is thrown off. Work gets put off, my energy is low, I get crabby often because I’m stressed from my routine being altered, I procrastinate more, forget to do certain things, crave foods I shouldn’t be eating, and just feel out of balance.

Think about the times you’ve traveled or had a reason to change your normal schedule.  Did you notice any differences in your day?  Perhaps differences in your eating, sleeping, emotions, motivation, or stress levels?

Sleep- Going to bed and waking up at the same time is crucial for healthy sleep patterns and deep sleep. Sticking to a schedule also gives our minds a sense of a starting and stopping point with work during the day.  For example, if you work a 9-5 job, our minds know that those hours are working hours.  But if you work a job with inconsistent hours, you’ve probably experienced your mind and body getting out of whack, and that it becomes more challenging to get in the mindset of work mode.

Meals- Try to eat at the same times daily.  This keeps our blood sugar levels steady throughout the day and gives us a sense of consistency.  Even eating the same foods (or similar foods) every day gives us one less thing to think about.

Morning Routine- In my opinion, having a morning routine is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Wake up at the same time, brush your teeth and wash your face, have a glass of water, and get dressed, even if you work from home.  This pattern helps get our mind prepare for the day and for work.  I also find I stay more organized and have more energy during the day if I stick to my morning routine.

Exercise- Even if it’s just stretching or getting off the subway a few blocks early so you can walk the rest of the way to work, a morning routine will help your success.  Exercise is a great way to escape stress and 31d21c8c1ae2bdde84b3483a75531396it gives us a sense of accomplishment.  This initial success in our day prepares us to take on the rest of the day and the obstacles it may throw at us.

Friends and Family- Spending time with the people that make us happy is important for maintaining balance in our lives.  Even with a busy schedule, find a little time during the week to catch up with the people that matter most.

Personal Time- “Me time” is so important!  Our lives are so busy that we often forget to make time for ourselves.  This alone time is time to decompress, reflect, relax, and to do the things that make us happy. Don’t use this time to respond to emails or phone calls… that does not count as personal time.

Interested in health coaching?  Check out my website jkhealthcoach.com for more information or contact me at jessicakhealth@gmail.com.

Sources: Motivate Thyself, Man Cave Zen