All Posts Tagged ‘healthy

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Brussels Sprouts Breakfast Skillet

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A few years ago I would have never imagined eating brussels sprouts for breakfast. When I adopted the grain free, sugar free, dairy free lifestyle, one of my biggest struggles was figuring out what to eat for breakfast. I got sick of scrambled eggs pretty quickly and so started combining meat and veggies and now breakfast has become my favourite meal. I love starting off the day with a full stomach and tons of energy.

I use ground pork for this recipe because it’s relatively cheap. Our family only buys pastured, hormone free, antibiotic free, and humanely raised meats and that really adds up over time and makes a huge dent in our budget. Pork is a cheaper option than chicken, beef or turkey and works well for a meal like this.

As for the brussels sprouts…just try it! My kids won’t touch them on their own, but they’ll gobble them up mixed into this skillet without even noticing. Victory!

This recipe is enough for 3 breakfast meals for myself, or you can stretch it farther by adding 2 eggs to each portion.

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Ingredients:

1-2 tbsp of coconut oil

1 lb ground pork (pastured, hormone and antibiotic free, humanely treated)

1 large yam (or 2 smaller yams), diced

10 brussels sprouts, quartered

1 large apple, diced

2 bell peppers, diced

1 bunch kale, roughly torn into bite size pieces (stems removed)

1-2 tbsp of rosemary

1-2 tbsp of sage

Sea salt to taste

Directions:

1) Heat the coconut oil in a large pan over medium.

2) Crumble your ground pork into the pan and season with sage and rosemary. Sprinkle with salt.

3) Once the pork begins to brown, add the diced yams and brussels sprouts. Mix to combine and continue cooking until yams being to soften to your liking, about 10 minutes.

4) Add your diced apple and peppers. Mix to combine and continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes.

5) Lastly, add your torn kale. Mix to combine, fry for approximately 3 minutes, and then serve and enjoy.

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Potato Soup with Kale and Italian Sausage

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All of a sudden winter has hit us here in Vancouver. It’s been beautifully sunny and absolutely chilly and we are loving it! We’ve spent hours outside each day soaking up the sunshine and everyone’s mood has been lifted.

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The fresh cold air makes me crave hot soup, and so that plus the fact that kale was on sale at our local market had me coming up with this for dinner last night. This made quite a large pot, probably enough for about 6 bowls.

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Ingredients:

-6 slices of nitrate free, sugar free bacon

-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed

-1 leek, white and light green parts only, chopped

-2 celery stalks, chopped

-4 medium sized potatoes, peeled and chopped (I used red potatoes but any kind will do)

-3 potatoes, diced into bite size pieces (I prefer to leave the peel on for this part)

-6 sausage links, Italian flavoured or chorizo (I did a mix)

-2 large red bell peppers, diced

-2 bunches of kale, stems removed and roughly torn or chopped

-fresh chives, chopped

-4 cups chicken broth

-1 cup water

-salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1) Fry the bacon in a large soup pot over medium heat. (Put the bacon in your cold soup pot and then turn on the heat to medium to get the most fat rendered out of your bacon – thanks Cherie for that tip!)

2) Once the bacon is cooked, remove it and set it to the side. Remove all but 1-2 tbsp of the bacon fat. (Save that removed bacon fat in a jar for another day…it’s gold.)

3) Fry your garlic, leek and celery in the pot with the 1-2 tbsp bacon fat until it smells wonderful, about 2-4 minutes.

4) Add in your 4 peeled and chopped potatoes and fry for another few minutes.

5) Pour in your chicken broth and water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 or so minutes, until potatoes are soft.

6) While your potatoes are cooking, heat a large pan over medium heat. Remove the sausage casing and crumble the meat into the pan. Cook until there is no longer any pink.

7) When the potatoes are soft, puree the whole pot of broth, potatoes, garlic, leeks and celery. Use a hand held immersion blender or remove the mixture and blend it in a Vitamix and then return it to the pot.

8) Add the rest of the potatoes and the cooked sausage. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for 10 minutes or until the diced potatoes begin to soften.

9) Add your chopped kale and diced red pepper and simmer for 3-5 minutes.

10) Ladle the soup into bowls and serve topped with chives and bacon.

Enjoy!

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On Why We Don’t Use the F Word – And Other Family Rules

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No, I’m not talking about THAT F-word.

In our home, we do not say the word fat. Ever. Sound extreme to you? Maybe. But if you’ve ever spent time in that dark place of self-loathing because you can’t seem to starve away every single tiny piece of fat from your body, then you will understand my intense feelings surrounding that word. (Someday I will write in more detail about that dark place, but not yet.)

That’s my sweet daughter Charley in that photo on her first day of preschool. She’s three and a half and as happy as can be. It kills me to know that because I have suffered from an eating disorder, and even though I consider myself healed, she is at a higher risk of developing one in her lifetime. I’ve read the research, and it’s enough to make some very firm rules for our household, to protect her from becoming another statistic. (Even still, if I had never had an eating disorder, the statistics of women developing eating disorders these days are still frightening.)

You may see it as helicopter parenting or keeping my child in a bubble. But have you experienced the hell of an eating disorder? Or the hell of an addiction? The hell of mental illness? If you have, you will understand my desire to build that bubble around her as long as possible. Yes, she will encounter the outside world eventually, but not until our family beliefs and words are imprinted so deeply in her mind and heart that when she comes across the confusing ideas of fat that our society presents, she will be so strong in her beliefs that they will not be shattered by Victoria’s Secret commercials, false advertising, rude comments from men, outrageous diet claims in magazines, etc.

In our home:

We do not use the word fat as an adjective (or at all). Our society focuses on size so much. Why do we always comment on the shape of a person first? Instead of describing someone as fat, large, skinny, chubby, thin or huge, we use other characteristics. “Your Auntie Julia has curly hair, blue eyes, and wears glasses sometimes.” This is a tip that I learned a few years ago in therapy and have made a rule in my life since then, even when I’m not around my kids. The obsession with size in our society needs to end, and this is one tiny place to start.

There are no good foods or bad foods. Food is food. In our home I do my best to not label foods as bad or good, positive or negative, junk or treats. This is especially difficult for me as a Health Coach because I find the nutritional value and science behind food so fascinating. We do discuss that some foods can make us feel sick, slow, or tired and that other foods can give us energy and make us feel good.

Food does not make you bigger or smaller, fatter or skinnier. Yes, if you eat pizza all day, every day, you will get fat. And if all you eat is lettuce all day, every day, you will wither away into nothing. But neither of those are options in Charley’s life right now so she doesn’t need to know that. I never want her to look at ice cream and think it will make her fat.

That scene in Little Miss Sunshine makes me so angry. I want to punch my screen. I remember watching that before I had my own kids and vowing to never let that happen in my family.

We walk everywhere, as often as possible. The walking thing started out not by my choice. Charley was an extremely spirited toddler and absolutely refused to ever sit in the stroller. She was walking confidently soon after her first birthday and at that point we just packed the stroller away into storage and she walked every where from then on. It was annoying at first, but now at age 3.5, she can walk for hours without whining. She loves hiking and running and knows no difference. I absolutely love it. We go for long walks almost every day. We make it a priority so that it is part of her lifestyle now, and not something we have to worry about incorporating later on.

She sees my love for exercise. This one can be tricky and leads right into the next one.

I do not exercise to get smaller or skinnier. My kids see me exercise. I take them for runs, I lift weights while Xavier naps, and they watch myself and other moms workout at our Mommy Workout Group that my friend leads in a park. They know that once a week I wake up early to meet a good friend for a morning workout, and they know that once a week Daddy puts them to bed because I’m at a running clinic. The thing is, my exercise has nothing to do with shrinking. I’m not “working off that ice cream”, “shrinking my love handles”, or trying to achieve the impossible “thigh gap”. My children will NEVER hear those words from me. Instead, I tell them that I’m building muscles so that I can be strong to pick them up, that I’m getting fast so I can run with them and play with them, and so my body has more energy. And those things are true. I’m not exercising to get smaller or reach some goal. I’m exercising so I can keep up with my kids, lift heavy things when I need to, and open my own darn pickle jar.

I do not stare at myself in the mirror. It’s amazing how much little children observe and absorb. I don’t do it anyway (anymore), but I especially do not stand in front of a mirror and critique myself in front of my children. I need a mirror to do my hair and makeup, but I am careful with my facial expressions. No deep sighs of dissatisfaction, no grimaces or squeezing and pinching any extra skin. I don’t have a scale, but if I did, I would not weigh myself in front of my children. So many women I know weigh themselves every single morning. What kind of habit is that to instil in our children?

I am IN our photos. I am in those photos with my kids.  I will not stay out of a photo because I don’t think I look my best or because my outfit isn’t especially flattering that day. And I will NEVER say out loud that I don’t like the way I look in a photo. I avoid negative self talk internally and externally as much as humanly possible. With this same mindset, when we are at the beach or at the pool, I will be there in my swimsuit as confidently as possibly. (It has taken me a long time to get there, but my children are a great motivator.) I will be in the water, swimming and playing with my kids, and not caring if my make up runs or my hair gets drenched and stringy. I still don’t love being in a bathing suit in public, but I’m going to fake it until I make it and make sure my children don’t pick up on that.

I compliment Charley on more than just her beauty. Charley is beautiful, and she hears it all the time from family, friends and strangers. And I’m totally okay with that. I tell her she’s beautiful all the time. It won’t take long before our society tries to make her feel ugly, so I’ll tell her as many times as I can until then that she was created perfectly. I don’t think you can tell your children they are beautiful too often, as long as your compliments of their other strengths outweigh the compliments of their appearance. For every time I tell her she’s beautiful, I make sure to magnify two or three other strengths of hers. For example, things like “I love that you are so kind to your brother”, “You are so good at sharing”, “You are so helpful”. I learned this from a very wise friend of mine who is parenting a few years ahead of me and aim to use this tool with all people I come in contact with, not just my own children.

Food is GOOD. So many people have negative issues surrounding any and all food. In my darkest times, I would be kept awake all night from the shame of eating a plain chicken breast. I would imagine all the fat accumulating on my body as I lied in bed and how much bigger I would be in the morning. I know better now. Now I know that food equals life. Food is fuel for my body. Food is energy and strength, and strength is beautiful.

This all my sound crazy to you. I might sound paranoid and maybe I am a little. These rules may evolve as my children mature and can understand nutrition and science more.

But for now, instilling these values in Charley’s mind and heart is one of my biggest passions.


To read a bit about my story and why I’m so passionate about this, click here.

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Whole 30 – Week 2 – Meal Plan

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Hey there! Wow, this no caffeine thing has been ROUGH. For the first 3 days I had a non stop pounding headache, was exhausted during the day, and awake in the middle of the night. By day 4 I was feeling way better though, and I’m excited to see how things improve even more over the next few weeks.

Here’s my meal plan for this week. A few breakfasts that I will double, and leftovers for lunch every day. 

Breakfast:

Yams and Eggs (There isn’t much to this “recipe” but it’s one of my favourites. I chop the yams into cubes and fry them in coconut oil and steak spice until cooked through. I remove them from the pan and cover them to keep them hot. Then I quickly fry 2 eggs and put them on top of the yams. You could partially boil the yams at the beginning of the week to make them quick and easy to fry up in the morning.)

Sweet Potato Breakfast Skillet

Potatoes with Kale and Bacon

Crustless Quiche

Dinner:

Mexican Meatza

Chocolate Chili on spaghetti squash

Spicy Coconut Shrimp Bisque (skip the corn)

Sweet Pineapple Ginger Meatballs 

Lemon Garlic Chicken on Zoodles and Kale

Italian Sausage and Zoodles

Moroccan Spiced Salmon

I suggest tripling the Chocolate Chili and Spicy Coconut Shrimp Bisque and freezing them for Whole30 emergencies. Those are two of my favourite recipes…you won’t be sorry!

Enjoy!

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Potatoes with Kale and Bacon

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POTATOES. KALE. BACON. These are few of my favorite things, especially all served together. I’ve stayed away from white and red potatoes for years but have recently had some fun reintroducing them into my diet after the big Whole30 announcement saying they are now approved.

In regard to the bacon, please don’t make this dish unless you are using sugar free, nitrate free bacon. My conscience can’t let me get away without saying that in this post. Clean bacon can be difficult to find, so do your homework. Find a good butcher and quiz him on how he makes his bacon. If you can’t find it locally, check out US Wellness Meats.

This dish, paired with a few eggs, works well as a pre/post workout meal or a hearty breakfast.

Ingredients

3 cups potatoes, chopped into 1 inch pieces

3 strips of sugar free and nitrate free bacon

1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped, stems removed

Directions

1) Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cut the bacon into 1 inch pieces and fry in the pan until cooked through. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside, to be added back in later.

2) Remove some of bacon grease from the pan, but leave about 1-2 tbsp in the pan.

3) Add the chopped potatoes to the pan and fry in the bacon grease. Turn the heat down and a little and fry until the potatoes are almost completely cooked through.

4) Turn up the heat again and add in the chopped kale. Give it a good stir and add in the cooked bacon pieces. Fry until the kale becomes slightly crispy in the pan and the potatoes are cooked through.

Serve up and dig in!

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Italian Sausage and Zoodles

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If you don’t have a vegetable spiralizer yet, you need to go get yourself one. Right now we are squeezing our little family into a basement suite and my kitchen is tiny, so I was thrilled when I found this little hand held one for $10 at Ross last week.

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However, someday when we are living in a bigger space with a bigger kitchen, I’m going to order this bad boy. But for right now I’m happy with my little one and it’s doing the job just fine. Look at these beautiful zoodles!

photo copy 2Zoodles are quick, easy, delicious, and a great substitute for pasta, which is what I used them for last night. This recipe makes enough for about 3 people. Enjoy!

Ingredients

5-6 large zucchini, spiralized into zoodles

1-2 tbsp olive oil

1 lb Italian sausage (pastured pork and sugar free)

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 carrot, diced

2 garlic scapes, diced

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1-2 tbsp fresh Italian parsley, chopped

1 jar of your favourite sugar free pasta sauce (I usually just blend fresh tomatoes with some Italian herbs rather than buying pasta sauce)

Directions

1) Heat a large pan over medium heat and pour approximately 1 tbsp of olive oil into it. Once heated, crumble the Italian sausage into the pan and add the bell pepper, carrot, onion and garlic scapes. Fry until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink.

2) Add the jar of pasta sauce and mix to combine. Lower the heat, put the lid on, and allow to simmer while you make your zoodles.

3) Heat another large pan over medium heat and pour approximately 1 tbsp of olive oil into it. Working in batches, fry your zoodles in the olive oil for 3-5 minutes or until softened.

4) Once all of your zoodles are softened, serve them with the sauce on top and sprinkled with fresh parsley. Enjoy!

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