What you should really be focusing on when it comes to food and nutrition in 2019

Around the Holidays and with the start of the New Year, we are totally inundated with messages on social media and tv promoting all sorts of diet plans and detoxes. I get it - Holiday eating is often far from normal and can leave us feeling a little run down. After what feels like 2 weeks of non-stop celebrating with family and friends, I definitely notice a difference in how I feel. Layer on a lack of sleep + little movement and here I am feeling a little bit sluggish, and I'd be lying if I didn't say my digestion has been far from normal (TMI?).

This to me is a sign that I should focus on incorporating more of the foods and behaviors back into my life that make me feel my best - energized, clear headed and well rested. Not a crazy cleanse or quick fix diet. Not because of the number on a scale. Not because I want to make up for the food I ate last month (because I will continue to drink wine and eat cheese this month and every month of 2019).

I understand the appeal that diets and cleanses may have on the surface, but you are doing yourself a disservice by engaging in behaviors that deprive your body of essential energy and nutrients. Buzzwords like cleanse and detox are thrown around irresponsibly (especially this time of year!), making it seem as though we need to follow a radical diet to improve our health. Let's talk about the truth when it comes to detoxes.

Our bodies have built in detoxification systems including kidneys, lungs, a liver, the colon and the lymphatic system (just to name a few) to remove unwanted substances from our bodies and to regulate bodily processes for optimal health. Our bodies are pretty dang good at what they do, but they cannot do their best work under conditions of deprivation and stress (aka cleanses and restrictive diets).

In order for the body’s detoxification systems to work optimally, a variety of nutrients are required to make this happen. For example: your liver needs adequate amino acids, B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium and selenium to function. Juice cleanses and other restrictive diets actually deprive your body of many of these essential nutrients.

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I am all for starting the New Year with a fresh set of goals and intentions, but I truly loathe the messages that make us feel as though we need change our bodies, starve ourselves, or go to extreme measures to make up for the "bad" foods eaten during the Holidays. Research shows that 95% of diets do not work in the long-term. And ironically, chronic dieting is one of the biggest predicators of weight gain. Overindulging from time to time is part of an overall healthy diet. We all do it. No one is perfect. Bottom line: there is never a time in life no matter what you have eaten or drank that your body does not need adequate fuel.

With the start of 2019, I encourage you to stop thinking about your diet as a rigid plan, and to focus less on which foods you are going to restrict or avoid in the new year. I challenge you to think about how foods and behaviors make you feel both physically and mentally (digestion, mood, energy, etc.) and to focus on incorporating more of what makes you feel your best. Below are some ideas for ways to reset without falling into the dieting/detox trap, which can ultimately lead to an unhealthy relationship with food and poor health outcomes.

  1. Meal planning/prepping. If you feel a little out of sorts from traveling, Holiday parties, etc, focus on returning to your usual eating habits. For me, this means planning a couple meals/snacks at the beginning of the week and having homemade food on hand to eat throughout the week. Focus on eating a variety of nutrient dense, whole foods.

  2. Increase fiber intake! Include more fiber rich vegetables and fruit at meals - this could be as simple a handful of spinach in smoothies or some peppers and onion in an egg scramble.

  3. Up your hydration game. Dehydration can contribute to low energy levels, brain fog, headaches and GI disturbances. Pick up a new water bottle and carry it around with you to promote adequate hydration.

  4. Get moving. You don't have to do an hour long spin class to reap the benefits of exercise. Get out for a walk with a friend or zone out to music while you do some cleaning to get those endorphins pumping.

  5. Focus on Satisfaction. If you're craving fresh crunchy veggies in a big salad, awesome! If you're not in the mood to eat a salad, that's cool too! Don't force yourself to eat something because you think it's what you "should" be eating. Choose foods that sound good and that also nourish your body.

**These are very broad and basic tips for a gentle reset. There is no one sized fits all plan and I wholeheartedly believe in an individualized approach to nutrition. Reach out below to learn more about my one-on-one nutrition counseling services.

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Healthy Coconut Lemon Energy Bites

These no-bake Coconut Lemon Energy Bites are my latest obsession. They’re the perfect way to satisfy the desire for something sweet, while also giving your body a boost of blood sugar stabilizing fats and fiber thanks to the cashews, coconut and chia seeds.

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I shared a version of these in the past made with lime, but this coconut + lemon combination is the new winner in my opinion. They’re also ridiculously simple to make which is always a plus!

Step 1: Pulse cashews in the food processor.

Step 1: Pulse cashews in the food processor.

Step 2: Add coconut, dates, chia seeds and a pinch of salt.

Step 2: Add coconut, dates, chia seeds and a pinch of salt.

Step 3: Pulse until ingredients are well combined. It should looks like a crumble and won’t form a stick dough yet.

Step 3: Pulse until ingredients are well combined. It should looks like a crumble and won’t form a stick dough yet.

Step 4: Add the juice and zest of 1 large lemon. Pulse until a sticky dough is formed.

Step 4: Add the juice and zest of 1 large lemon. Pulse until a sticky dough is formed.

Step 5: With wet hands, roll into little balls. Roll each ball in additional shredded coconut.

Step 5: With wet hands, roll into little balls. Roll each ball in additional shredded coconut.


Healthy Coconut Lemon Energy Bites


Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups raw cashews

  • 1 cup pitted dates

  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

  • ¼ cup chia seeds

  • Pinch of salt

  • Juice and zest of 1 large lemon

Directions:

  1. Pulse cashews in a few processor a few times until chopped.

  2. Add dates, coconut and chia seeds and process until well combined. This will look like a crumble and will not be sticky at this point.

  3. Add the lemon zest + juice and mi until the ingredients are well combined and come together to form a dough.

  4. With damp hands (or a scooper!) roll into small balls. Then roll each ball in extra shredded coconut.

  5. Store energy bites in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. You can also freezer for up to 3 months. 

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The only Turkey Chili recipe you will ever need

The only Turkey Chili recipe you will ever need

I firmly believe that this is the only turkey chili recipe you will ever need! I’ve shared several variations of chili over the past couple years, but this cozy bowl of turkey chili is definitely the best so far.

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Quinoa Broccoli Salad with a Honey Mustard Dressing

Quinoa Broccoli Salad with a Honey Mustard Dressing

Quinoa Broccoli Salad with a Honey Mustard Dressing.

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Tips for Navigating a Healthy and Happy Holiday Season

Tips for Navigating a Healthy and Happy Holiday Season

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed this Holiday season when it comes to health and wellness, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It IS possible to strike a balance between feeling good, maintaining health promoting behaviors, and fully enjoying this time of year. Check out my top tips for navigating a healthy and happy Holiday season!

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Curried Carrot Dip

Curried Carrot Dip

Snacks are one of the most important parts of our diet, but often one of the most overlooked. They bridge the gap between meals, help to support stable blood sugar and energy levels, promote mental clarity, and prevent you from becoming overly hangry before your next meal. Spice up your snack game with this incredibly flavorful and satiating dip!

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Butternut Squash Apple Soup

Butternut Squash Apple Soup

Cozy, warming & flavorful….everything you could possibly want in a bowl of soup in November! This soup is simple to make and perfect for freezing + reheating. Definitely a new Fall/Winter favorite over here!

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10 Minute Avocado Chickpea Salad

10 Minute Avocado Chickpea Salad

Quick, protein rich & plant-based. This simple and flavorful Avocado Chickpea Salad is the answer to all of your weekday lunchtime dreams!

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Vegetarian Thai Green Curry

Vegetarian Thai Green Curry

This super simple Vegetarian Thai Green Curry has become and absolute favorite around here recently. It’s quick enough that you could make it on a weeknight, and holds up super well for leftovers.

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Fuel for Fitness: What to eat before and after a workout

Fuel for Fitness: What to eat before and after a workout

Too often I see clients working out hard in the gym, and then sabotaging their efforts with poor nutrition. Nutrition is important for everybody, but particularly for individuals who demand more of their body systems through exercise. Common questions I get from clients include “what do I eat before and after a workout?” and “does the timing of meals and snacks really matter?”. Let’s answer these questions!

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