Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Light & Delicious Cilantro Rice (or Quinoa!) Salad

This Cilantro Basmati Rice Salad is zesty, really FRESH, and compliments almost any meal! It also happens to be one of the simplest recipes in the world. It’s just as easy as those boxes of Rice-a-Roni, but without the nasty additives … Continued

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The Benefits of a “Dry January”

After a holiday season filled with overindulging, you might be ready to make some lifestyle changes. Are you willing to kick off 2017 with a hiatus from alcohol? The benefits may prove motivating!

Liquid Calories
Every alcoholic drink you toss back contains calories and these can add up – fast! Each bottle of beer, glass of wine, and shot of hard alcohol brings along a minimum of 100 empty calories. Pour in a few sugary mixers and the calories multiply, making many popular mixed drinks rack up more than 400 calories each. Two servings of alcohol a day for a year adds up to nearly 75,000 calories, and that’s not counting the mixers. That means saying bye-bye to these drinks could save you more than 20 pounds a year.

Drying Out
The concept of an alcohol-free January was sparked by a charity in the U.K. called Alcohol Concern. Part of the intention behind this program is to make social drinkers more mindful about their choices, fundraise for alcohol awareness, and reap the personal benefits. According to the organization, participants in the month-long challenge can lose weight, sleep better and save money.Weight loss aspirations aside, there’s science to back up additional benefits. Studies reveal that even just a month of cutting out alcohol can also spark improvements in liver function and blood sugar control for some people.

Bottom Line: Dry January is not a treatment program, but may be a beneficial hiatus for social drinkers. Taking this 31-day pledge can force you to be more mindful about your alcohol consumption and the calories that come along with it!

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.



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The Power of a Kick-Off Plan: What Elimination Programs, Total Resets, and Community Challenges Can Do for You

Inline_The_Power_of_a_Kickoff_PlanYou’re already quite Primal.

You know your way around a grocery store. I mean “around” literally: you know to shop the perimeter.

You’ve struck up relationships with vendors at the farmer’s market. The beet guy had Thanksgiving dinner at your house (being frank, the mashed beets were a bit much).

You read this blog every day, so you’re aware there’s another Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge kicking off next week. If not, read yesterday’s posts in which I give a heads up and ask what 2017 will mean for your life. But if you’re already a devoted Primal adherent, what’s in it for you?

Why You Might Consider a Kick-Start…

1. Everyone falters.

No one’s perfect. Folks slip up. The vast majority of people on a Primal eating plan (or any healthy diet and lifestyle) stray from time to time. Food they’d given up begins reappearing. Old health issues they thought had resolved resurface. Niggling pains, once gone, return to niggle again. People regress toward the mean.

When that happens, something’s gone wrong. But instead of combing through your past to figure out where you went astray, and making a lot of trial and errors in the process, why not start over? That’s where the hard reset comes in. That’s when an elimination program makes perfect sense.

2. Everyone knows less than they think.

No one believes me, but I always use this time of year to participate in the 21-Day Challenge. I do so quietly, without fanfare, but I do it, because I always learn something about myself and the Primal way of living. Me? The guy who wrote the book(s)? Yep. The same holds true for everyone reading this. You know less than you think you do. Believe me.

Participating in a Primal community challenge, elimination program, and/or total reset can—and will—get you back on track by bringing you back to the start of the journey. When you start over and relinquish the story of your supposed expertise, you discover all the things you always needed to learn.

3. Everyone needs someone.

It gets lonely out there. While some people have converted their friends and family to the Primal way or found a group of likeminded individuals, not everyone has Primal “people.” Heck, some people don’t even have a workout buddy.

Contributing to the lack of community is the fact that it’s a busy world out there and folks just don’t have—or make—the time to commiserate in meatspace anymore. Busyness has become a virtue, a status signal. People pride themselves on being too “busy lately” to make plans.

But we need to socialize. We need to bounce ideas off each other. We need to push each other, to congratulate each other, to challenge each other. We need to simply revel in the joy of being in the presence of others. While it’s not quite the same as living in a small village with your extended family or facing down a braying animal with your tribe, participating in a community health challenge like the PB 21-Day gives us similar benefits.

A Kick-Start Can Take Many Forms

You can try an elimination program. The Whole 30 is a famous (and rightly so) example of a Primal-aligned elimination program. Participants pare everything down to the basics to discover how their diet is affecting them, eliminating any potentially problematic foods and then slowly reintroducing them while noting the effects. This equips you with valuable feedback that will assist you going forward. If you’re interested in knowing your food sensitivities, intolerances, or stumbling blocks with any detail, the Whole 30 is probably your best bet.

You can try the total reset. This means starting over from square one, acting like a total newbie. That’s not really acting, either. Because, let’s face it: we’re all newbies in this thing called life. Beginner’s mind, as some would say. No one really knows what they’re doing. Some are stumbling their way through with more grace and aplomb than others, but we all have something to learn.

You can try a community challenge, like the Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge. These are my favorite. I think all resets or elimination programs should include some sort of community participation, simply because we’re social animals who respond best to social pressures. It’s why CrossFit is so successful pairing sound technique and exercise programming with camaraderie.

That said, none of these are mutually exclusive. In fact, I’d suggest you incorporate all three at once for the duration of this challenge. The Whole 30 can be a touchstone for you throughout the PB 21-Day Challenge—and you can structure your entire challenge as a total and utter reset.

As the Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge approaches, what form will it take in your life? What are you hoping to get out of it? What are you hoping to excise from (or add to) your current regimen?

Thanks for reading, everyone. Take care and Grok on!

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5 Root Vegetables You Need To Try

When you think of root vegetables, do you automatically picture potatoes, carrots and onions? While these veggies are classic favorites, they can also be a bit uninspiring. Luckily, the cold weather brings some delectable and underutilized root vegetables to the forefront. Try something new in your cold-weather cooking and branch out into turnips, rutabaga, celeriac, sunchokes or parsnips. These veggies are supremely nutritious and can be used in a variety of ways.

Turnips

A member of the cabbage family, turnips look like a mix between a radish and beet. Not only can you eat the bulb, but the turnip greens are edible too. Packed with vitamins and minerals, the greens have a taste similar to kale. The turnip bulb is a good source of potassium, a nutrient known for lowering blood pressure, and the greens contain calcium, vitamin K and vitamin A. Eating the entire turnip is a surefire way to get your daily dose of nutrients.

“Turnips are delicious when prepared simply,” says chef and registered dietitian Abbie Gellman, M.S., R.D., CDN. “Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or until golden brown.”

Rutabaga

Also known as a yellow turnip, a rutabaga is slightly larger and sweeter than a turnip and pale yellow in color. The waxy outer skin prevents dehydration, and the flesh turns somewhat orange when cooked. Rutabagas are an excellent source of vitamin C to help ward off winter colds, and they also contain potassium and fiber.

This starchy vegetable lends itself well to a basic mash. Try swapping out half the Yukon golds for rutabaga in your basic mashed potato recipe.

Celeriac

Often referred to as celery root, celeriac is a close relative to the common celery you know. A bumpy, pale yellow veggie, it tastes somewhat like celery, with a more earthy and intense flavor. You may have trouble peeling this knobby vegetable, but its smooth and creamy texture makes the hassle worth it. Celeriac boasts an impressive nutrient profile, with vitamins K, C and B6, phosphorus, fiber, potassium and manganese.

Because of its rich and creamy texture, celeriac makes a luxurious fall soup. Gellman recommends sauteing small cubes of peeled celeriac with garlic and onions. When they’re soft, add vegetable broth and puree the mixture into a silky soup.

Sunchokes

These oddly shaped root vegetables have a nutty and sweet flavor. Sunchokes (aka Jerusalem artichokes) are an excellent source of fiber, but they sometimes get a bad reputation for their abundance of inulin — a type of fiber that has been known to cause gas. It’s recommended to cook sunchokes before eating, to avoid digestive issues. They’re a good source of phosphorus, which helps keep bones and teeth strong, and thiamine, which helps convert food into energy. And there’s great news for vegetarians: Sunchokes are also an excellent source of plant-based iron.

Boil them until soft, then puree and add to a polenta dish for a boost of sweetness and nutrients. Or, use your basic pickling recipe and sub in sunchokes for a crisp and unique briny veg.

Parsnips

This root vegetable looks like a white, starchier carrot, but has a sweeter and meatier taste. Parsnips are a good source of vitamin C, fiber and folate, which is vital for DNA production and cell health.

“Parsnip chips are a great snack. Use a mandoline to make paper-thin slices, then toss them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes, until golden brown and crispy,” says Gellman.



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What Does A Real Person Eat?

Since Kath does eat real food, let’s see some of that in action!! Here’s what I’ve been eating and doing this week : )

Above ^^ A morning mixture of plain yogurt, oats, chia seeds, pear, raspberry jam and Vanilla Chex.

And this morning I am enjoying two fried eggs, whole wheat toast with jam and some grapes.

I shared on Instagram the other night that I made a big massaged kale salad and am using it up throughout the week. Yesterday for lunch I had some topped with sliced steak (leftovers from dinner) and some freekeh (a grain) leftover from dinner. This lunch took all of five minutes to heat and eat! It’s all about what you have in your fridge people. The fridge is your best healthy living friend.

Our weather has been so up and down this week. Cold and rainy to warm and sunny. On our dreariest day I took Mazen to see the movie Sing! It was very cute, and I loved all the songs throughout. He is back in school as of Tuesday, and mama is happy to have some work time again 😉

We went to the gym together as well. (My friend Gaby has a shirt that reads “Gym Hair. Don’t Care.” I need that! Mazen always jokes that while I exercise with the grown-ups, he works out with the kids in the jumpy play structure there. He told me how many push-ups he did while I was gone!

I have sent an intention to drink a little less alcohol at home this month. (But can still partake in restaurants because deprivation does not work!) I’m going to talk more about that soon! But I made a mocktail to enjoy while making dinner and the tiniest splash of bitters made it taste legit.

I made this Blue Apron Cod in Papillote with Spinach and Freekeh for dinner. It left me satisfied and feeling good!

And because real life means pizza sometimes, I had Christian’s pizza with a big salad before seeing the movie La La Land (which I loved!)

Today I am feeling motivated and energized! I am visiting Mazen’s classroom to be their guest reader today, so I am looking forward to that : )

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SIMPLE MEALS: Clean Eating Tahini Stuffed Avocados Recipe

Clean Eating Tahini Stuffed Avocados Recipe

I haven’t done a Simple Meal (meal ideas so simple, you don’t need an actual recipe) in a very long time and this “recipe” definitely qualifies. I also sometimes like to toss a vegan or vegetarian … Read more →



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