White winter salad

White Winter SaladOk, I totally stole this from Whole Foods. I can’t wait to prep this tonight, toss it all together tomorrow. Thanksgiving dinner foods tend to be carb- and fat-heavy and my palette craves lightness. Add some fiber, flavor and sweet crunch with this winter white deliciousness. Vegan Ranch dressing makes it even better…..

White Winter Salad

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup vegan mayo
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup plain, unsweetened soy milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Salad:

  • 2 cups cauliflower florets, sliced paper-thin (use a mandolin if you have one)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 medium parsnip, peeled and sliced paper-thin
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, trimmed, halved, sliced paper-thin
  • 1/4 medium jicama, peeled,halved, sliced paper-thin

For dressing, whisk all ingredients together.

For salad, layer the ingredients on one large plate. Lay down the nicest cauliflower florets first. Sprinkle with salt; drizzle with dressing. Leave a 1-inch border of cauliflower around the edge; continue layering the remaining ingredients in the center, using half of each ingredient per layer, sprinkling each layer with salt and drizzling with dressing. Continue until all ingredients are used. Top with final cauliflower layer and drizzle with remaining dressing.

Serves 4

Per serving: 200 calories, 14 g fat, 3 g protein, 19 g carbs, 572 mg sodium.

 

 

 

 

Graceful change

Ardha ChandrasanaWhat would it be like to embody the gift of embracing and navigating the unexpected with tremendous grace and beauty?

First, consider the unexpected.

  • Were you disappointed because your expectations were not met?
  • Do you feel like everything always goes against you?
  • Are you sad enough about it to give up?

For some of us, it happens like that. Our idea or plan we had in mind doesn’t go the way we dream, it sucks now, or someone got in our way and something unexpected pops into the picture that veers us off course. Others of us flow with the tidal shift and accept change as the one constant in life while some of us rail out against the challenge feeling life should always be stable and status quo.

We either cry and get depressed about it. Or find a solution to the change in plans, using creativity and courage to move forward. If you are at home watching TV and the lightening from the raging storm outside hits a transformer and darkens the room, you can’t see anything for a few moments. Gradually, your eyes adjust to the dark and you can see enough to make your way around. Our bodies are designed for that type of adaptability!

The privilege of this practice is just that – yoga teaches us to apply ourselves to life as water to a vase – no matter the shape of the vase, the water will fill to the edges. We become flexible in thinking, moving, and being. We shift and move into the empty spaces. We fill the containers of adversity and challenge with Grace. We become a conduit of transformation. We flow and ebb and move over and under that which is in our way. We connect to our Inner Harmony and sing.

Trail mix – the go-to slump zapper

Trail mixThat slump at 3pm every day? Means your body needs more calories, well, and maybe less sugar and caffeine and maybe eating a decent breakfast and lunch but those are a whole other blog post.

Afraid of nuts? Think they are full of fat and calories and don’t really serve you well other than increasing the number on the scale? Think again.

Nuts have staying power against hunger due to the role of protein and unsaturated fat, the kind of fat that protects your heart from disease by lowering the bad kind of cholesterol implicated in heart disease. Omega-3 fats, another healthy fat, are also in many nuts – their role is to keep the rhythm of your heart steady to prevent heard attacks.

Fiber, as well as fat, keeps you full and is known to lower cholesterol and prevent diabetes. Some nuts have plant sterols, the substances margarine companies use in products like Benecol to lower your cholesterol. Vitamin E in nuts helps keep the lumen, that hollow inside, wide open so nutrients can flow freely to your body and l-arginine keeps your blood vessels more elastic and flexible. All in all, nuts sound pretty damn impressive to me.

Here’s a recipe to get you started on creating your own heart healthy, slump zapper snacks. If you want this for breakfast instead, add 1 cup of your favorite dry cereal (aim for <10 g sugar and >5 g fiber per serving), douse with your milk choice and feel the vibe!!

Classic Trail Mix

  • 1 c. unsalted roasted almonds
  • 1 c. dried cranberries
  • 1/2 c. raisins
  • 1/2 c. toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 c. toasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 c. dark chocolate chips

Mix all together and store in 8 individual Ziploc bags.

Makes 8-1/2 cup servings: 313 calories, 8 g protein, 21 g fat, 5 g fiber.

 

Veggies for breakfast?

Breakfast veggiesI challenged a client.  He’s worked supremely hard, improved his cholesterol and blood pressure by outstanding standards, but still is pre-diabetic. He heroically gave up a convenient and tasty McDonald’s sausage, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich for a packet of oatmeal and a banana. Yet, that combination added to his blood sugar problem because oatmeal and fruit enter the blood system too quickly and annoy the hormone insulin. I challenged him to think outside the status quo and add more vegetables and protein to his breakfast.

Later, it dawned on me that if I challenged him to do it, I should accept the same challenge. Two things caught my attention – the Sauce Lady and pressed tofu.

Sensible food prep means you have a fully stocked pantry and fridge. From there, you concoct a meal. First, locally sourced pressed tofu is a time saver in that I don’t have to cover a block of tofu with a towel and precariously perch my cast iron skillet on top of it for half an hour. 30 minutes that I don’t have in the morning. Simply open package, dice up a 3 oz piece, and you have a serving.

Next, take a nose dive into exploring the crisper. There I found a zucchini, grape tomatoes, spinach, shallot, garlic, and an ear of corn neatly tucked in together. Perfect. Heat extra virgin olive oil (first cold expeller pressed and yes, it matters) in pan, add shallot and garlic. Add tofu. 2-3 minutes later, add chopped zucchini, grape tomatoes and corn. Just as it’s all seamlessly forming a glaze and wafting a tantalizing aroma, add in baby spinach leaves until wilted.

Double OMG. Meet Sauce Lady aka Joni Marie Newman, vegan cookbook author. OK, a week or so ago, I made one of her sauces. Creamy Cilantro Pepita Pesto Sauce. She says it’s great over pasta, rice, on pizza or sandwiches. She totally forgot to say it adds the power to the punch for a tofu veggie breakfast dish!

Tofu veggie breakfastNow, don’t judge me on how this dish looks after I stir in the sauce – a sauce that starts with 5 cups romaine lettuce, a bunch of cilantro, a jalapeno – more veggies, right? Plus this dish packs added protein from the soft silken tofu that forms its base. What more does a body need than carbs from the veggies and protein from tofu to do a body good, reach peak energy levels and stabilize blood sugar? Oh, and the flavor? Kick-ass. Lively and vibrant. Makes me want more.

I did it. I challenged. I achieved. And boy, was it good. I’m not sure my client is ready for this yet. But I did send him the pictures and he bought the cookbook. Live by example.

 

Is agave nectar better for you than sugar?

Agave nectarAgave nectar climbs the popularity charts with health conscious consumers as a “natural,” kosher, and vegan sugar substitute. However, it’s important to remember that the Food and Drug Administration and US Department of Agriculture have yet to formally define the term “natural.” Agave nectar is from Mexican blue agave plants, and in its natural state is a thin liquid. By the time you buy it, the base of the agave plant has been cooked in a pressure cooker to get the inner liquid moving, then chopped up and filtered into a ‘syrup-like’ liquid before it’s bottled. It goes through processing similar to other sugars.

While one teaspoon of agave has 21 calories—about the same calories as other sweeteners, like honey (21 calories) and table sugar (15 calories)—its advantage is a lower glycemic index (GI). The lower the GI, the slower the body absorbs the carbohydrates in the sugar, which results in fewer spikes in blood sugar levels.

Sugars have varying antioxidant activity, which may be useful in reducing oxidative damage that leads to chronic diseases. Among sugars tested, blackstrap molasses has the highest antioxidant activity; brown sugar, maple syrup and honey show moderate activity, and agave nectar come in at the bottom, according to a 2009 study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

The bottom line is that agave nectar is no healthier than sugar, honey or HFCS, and all added sugars should be limited in the diet.

 

Sugar GI
Agave nectar 15 low
Fructose 25 low
Brown rice syrup 25 low
Honey 50 high
Maple syrup 54 high
Blackstrap molasses 55 high
Table sugar 65 high
High fructose corn syrup 68 high

 

Source: http://www.sugar-and-sweetener-guide.com/glycemic-index-for-sweeteners.html

Article published in Environmental Nutrition, Aug 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

Good Measures