Cadillac Kitchen Blog

Welcome to Cadillac Kitchen! As the Feel Good Dietitian, I want to help you feel good in ALL aspects of your life. This blog will be filled with recipes, nutrition tips, random facts and tid-bits to boost your mood, teach you some new stuff and help you optimize all aspects of your life!

Homemade Nutella (sugar-free)

Not going to lie, I was patting myself on the back for this one. This homemade Nutella tastes just like the stuff you’d buy in the store but without all of the added oils and sugars. Not only is it free of the junk, it’s packed with healthy fats and antioxidants! I’d call that a WIN-WIN.

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Ingredients:

  • 2.25 cups dry roasted hazelnuts

  • 1 T + 1 tsp coconut oil

  • 2 T cacao powder

  • 8-12 drops liquid stevia

Directions:

  1. Add hazelnuts and coconut oil to food processor or high-speed blender like a Vitamix (if using Vitamix like I did, you’ll need to use the tamper)

  2. Blend / process on high for 1-2 minutes

  3. Add cacao powder

  4. Blend

  5. Scrape from sides with rubber spatula

  6. Add 8 drops of stevia, blend and taste. Add more for more sweetness

  7. Use a rubber spatula to scrape nutella from sides of the blender/processor into a glass jar or dish

  8. Enjoy with apples, bananas, toast or my favorite way, straight from the jar with a spoon :)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mini Tarts (gluten-free, keto)

You guys know I’m always chatting about brain health and omega-3’s. Well this tasty treat is packed with omegas thanks to a nice dose of hemp hearts. No don’t worry, not that kind of hemp; the only high you’ll be getting from these is a chocolate peanut butter high.

So what are hemp hearts? Well, they’re the edible interiors of the seed that hemp grows from. The hemp plant does share the same plant species as the marijuana plant. But the hemp plant contains nearly undetectable levels of THC. Hemp hearts contain less than 0.3%, while traditional marijuana plants can contain levels upward of 10 to 30%.

Per serving, hemp hearts contain 10 grams of plant-based protein and 12 grams of omega-3 and omega-6 per 30-gram serving (which is more than a comparable serving of chia or flax). Combine this with raw cacao powder, an egg, coconut oil and some peanut butter and you’ve yourself got quite a health bomb.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup raw cacao powder

  • 1 cup + 2 T Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • few drops of liquid stevia (optional - I didn’t use stevia but if you prefer sweeter, go for it )

  • 1 T coconut oil (melted)

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter

  • coarse salt

Directions:

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  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray mini cupcake tin with cooking spray

  2. In a bowl, mix the cacao, hemp heart , eggs, vanilla extract and stevia until well combined

  3. Spoon about a tablespoon of the mixture into each well in the cupcake tin

  4. Press down to form a little cup - shown here

  5. Bake for 10 minutes

  6. While the cups are baking, melt coconut oil and peanut butter in a double boiler

  7. Remove tray from oven after 10 minutes and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes

  8. Remove cups from pan and place them on a plate or flat surface

  9. Use a spoon to fill the cups up with the coconut oil / peanut butter mixture

  10. Freeze for 30 minutes

  11. Remove and sprinkle salt on top

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Roasted Tomato Soup

So I can’t take credit for this recipe because my client actually made this soup for me. She sent me the recipe to replicate but it’s so darn good that I asked if she’d be cool if I shared it with you guys. She’s the best so here you have it!

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Ingredients:

Part 1

  • 7-8 vine tomatoes, quartered

  • 1 c cherry tomatoes

  • 1 c cremini mushrooms, sliced

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1.5 T balsamic vinegar

  • 8 cloves garlic

  • 10 sprigs thyme

  • 1/2 t salt

  • 1/4 t black pepper

  • 1/8 t cumin

Part 2:

  • 2.5 T grass-fed Kerrygold butter (can use EVOO if you are vegan)

  • 1 mirepoix container from Trader Joes (or 1/2 C each: chopped onions, celery and carrots)

  • 10 sprigs thyme

  • 1, 6 oz can tomato paste

  • 1 c chicken or vegetable broth (vegetable if vegan)

  • 1/4 t Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning OR 21 Salute Seasoning (optional)

  • 1 handful fresh basil’

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 370 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil

  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients from part 1 and mix thoroughly

  3. Transfer to baking sheet and roast in oven for 30 minutes

  4. When the tomato mixture has about 10 minutes remaining, brown the butter in a large pot over medium heat

  5. Add the mirepoix and thyme and stir frequently

  6. When the timer goes off for the tomato mixture, remove from oven. Spoon ~1/3 c of the juices into the pot with the mirepoix

  7. Place tray of tomatoes back into the oven and roast for another 30 minutes

  8. Add can of tomato paste to pot, stir and continue to cook (stirring frequently) until mixture turns into what looks like a pile of mush

  9. When the tomatoes have finished roasting, remove from oven, remove sprigs of thyme (from the tomato mixture and from the mirepoix) and add to pot

  10. Add broth, and everyday seasoning, stir and allow to simmer for 10 minutes

  11. Add basil, simmer for another 5 minutes

  12. Turn off flame

  13. Use a high power blender or immersion blender to puree and emulsify the soup

  14. Serve hot, preferably with a side of grilled cheese

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Mousse

Does anyone else get annoyed when you look up a recipe and have to scroll for 10 minutes to get past a novel? I get it…blogging. But I’m sure most people just want the recipe……so here you are…. (you’re welcome).

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Ingredients: (serves 3)

  • 7 oz firm tofu (I used House Foods)

  • 6 T powdered peanut butter (I used Naked Nutrition)

  • 1/2 cup cacao powder

  • 1 T raw honey (use more or less depending on preference)

  • 1 small ripe banana

  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

  • Optional Toppings: cacao nibs, shredded coconut, banana slices, nuts, peanut butter drizzle

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth

  2. Divide into cups and refrigerate for 30 minutes

  3. Serve cold with or without toppings

Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Seed Bites

Does anyone else feel like they need a bite of chocolate after dinner to seal the deal before they feel truly satisfied? I’m not sure what that’s all about but these bites are perfect for satisfying that sweet tooth and potentially, simultaneously lowering your blood pressure, reducing your risk of diabetes and improving insulin sensitivity. Yes, you read that right.

Dark chocolate is high in flavanols, (antioxidant) which may actually protect the heart. Dark chocolate is also rich in magnesium, zinc, iron, phosphorus and copper. As always though, quality matters - look for a higher % like 72-85% and read the food labels. Food companies like to pump in tons of added sugars and other garbage to make their product hyper-palatable. Although there are health benefits to dark chocolate, like most things, there is a point of diminishing returns. Aim for 1-2 small square of high quality dark chocolate per day. For more information check out this site.

Pomegranate seeds are also high in antioxidants. They contain flavonoids, polyphenols, tannins, and anthocyanin. Additionally they are rich in vitamin c, fiber, and potassium. So basically you’re doing your body right by making and consuming these bites.

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Ingredients (makes ~16 bites):

  • 3, organic 72% dark chocolate bars

  • 1, 5 oz box pomegranate seeds

Instructions:

  1. Break up bars of chocolate and place into a microwave-safe dish (you could also use a double boiler to melt the chocolate).

  2. Heat the chocolate at 30 second intervals, stirring every 30 seconds, until the chocolate is melted. I heated and stirred about 4 times.

  3. If you are using a silicon mold, place a cookie sheet under the mold so you are able to transfer it to the freezer once you’ve poured in the chocolate.

  4. Pour ~1 Tablespoon of melted dark chocolate into each square of the silicon mold or lined mini-muffin/cupcake pan.

  5. Freeze for 5 minutes so the chocolate hardens a bit and the seeds don’t just sink to the bottom.

  6. Remove from freezer and spoon ~1 teaspoon of pomegranate seeds into each section.

  7. Cover with another 2-3 teaspoons of melted dark chocolate.

  8. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving (or ~15 minutes in freezer to make sure chocolate is completely solidified).

  9. Enjoy (with a napkin nearby).

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Chewy Peanut Butter Protein Cookies (grain-free & vegan)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 (15.5 oz) can organic pinto beans, rinsed

  • 15 medjool dates, pitted

  • 1 T coconut oil, liquid

  • 1 T vanilla extract

  • 1/8 tsp baking soda

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • 1/3 cup natural chunky peanut butter

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter powder (I used Naked Nutrition’s)

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  2. Add pinto beans, dates, vanilla extract and coconut oil to a high speed blender or (ideally) food processor, and blend until well combined (using the tamper to continuously press the mixture down and away from the sides).

    (If you’re using a good food processor you can honestly probably throw everything in that and blend it up - my Vitamix was not behaving)

  3. Use a rubber spatula to transfer mixture to a large bowl.

  4. Stir in remaining ingredients.

  5. Refrigerate dough for 15-20 minutes.

  6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

  7. Roll doll into 1” balls and place on to cookie sheet.

  8. Flatten ball down using a fork. Press down once, lift, turn the fork 90 degrees and press down again to make the classic PB cookie marks

  9. Bake for 15 minutes.

  10. Allow to cool.

  11. Enjoy!

Date Sweetened Granola

Granola is one of those foods you can use in so many ways. Pack some as an easy on-the-go snack, enjoy with some almond milk for breakfast, add some texture to a cup of yogurt or toss some into oatmeal for an extra crunch. This recipe can be altered to meet whatever preferences or sensitivities you may have (almonds instead of peanut if you have an allergy; pumpkin seeds instead of walnuts if seeds sit better with you than nuts: add some flax or chia seeds if you’re feely super crunchy!) Unlike most store bought granolas that are sweetened with syrups and added sugars, this recipe uses medjool dates for a touch of natural sweetness.

Ingredients:

  • 12 pitted medjool dates

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/3 cup chunky peanut butter (or almond butter)

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • 2 1/2 cup rolled oats

  • 1/3 cup roasted peanuts (could also use almonds)

  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces

  • (You can also add in another 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, shredded coconut or hemp seeds - or just substitute the walnut pieces for any combination of nuts/seeds)

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Combine dates, water, peanut butter, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a high speed blender. Blend until thick and smooth.

  3. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients.

  4. Stir in the date mixture until well combined.

  5. Spread the granola on the parchment paper lined cookie sheet.

  6. Bake for 20 minutes.

  7. Remove from oven and stir the granola around.

  8. Bake for another 20 minutes (stir every 10 minutes so it doesn’t burn).

  9. Remove from over after 40 minutes total cooking or when granola is golden brown and crisp.

  10. Allow to cool.

  11. Store in a mason jar or airtight container.

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Easy Cold Lentil Salad

Trader Joe’s does it again with their steamed, ready-to-eat lentils. This definitely isn’t a new product, I’m just late to the game and bummed I’ve been missing out on such deliciousness this whole time. This lentil salad is great as a meal, a side, a snack or on top of a salad. It has a summery feel to it because it’s a cold salad and because of the lime flavor, BUT thanks to climate change who can even keep track of what season we’re in?? The best part about this recipe….it takes about 5 minutes to make!

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Easy Cold Lentil Salad

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Ingredients:

  • Trader Joe’s steamed lentils (1 box)

  • 1/2-1/3 cup chopped scallions (depending on how big of a scallion fan you are)

  • 1/3 cup diced tomatoes

  • 1/3 cup chopped cucumber

  • juice from 1 lime

  • salt / pepper / garlic to taste

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well (unless you’re trying to go for aesthetics for blogs and or social media then mix everything but the cucumbers together and then carefully place chopped cuc’s in a pile in the middle).

  2. Serve cold.

Should I Take Exogenous Ketones.... Even If I Don't Do Keto?

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Before we dive into whether or not you should be supplementing with exogenous Ketones, let’s first get a little nerdy, talk science and have a look at what Ketones are and what they do. If you aren’t the science type and just want to know if and how you use Ketones, skip to the bottom of this post. If you geek out on organic chemistry and scientific research, carry on my friends.

What are Ketones?

Simply put, Ketones are the byproduct of fat metabolism (breaking down fat for energy when carbohydrate intake is low). The body usually uses glucose (simplest form of carbohydrates) as its primary fuel source. When there isn’t enough glucose, the body resorts to burning fat for fuel, leading to the production of Ketones or “Ketone bodies.” This can obviously happen if I person is following a very low-carb Ketogenic diet, but can also happen after prolonged exercise or periods of fasting. When blood concentration levels reach between 0.5-1.5 mmol/L we are considered to be in light nutritional Ketosis. Optimal nutritional Ketosis occurs around 1.5 – 3 mmol/L.

The body can produce three types of Ketones endogenously (in the body). They are:

  • Acetone

  • Acetoacetate (AcAc)

  • β-hydroxybutyrate (β-OHB)

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Benefits of Ketosis:

  • Mental clarity

  • Focus

  • Reduced appetite

  • Energy

Note: There are more benefits of being in nutritional Ketosis (i.e. following a Ketogenic diet) such as improved insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation, increased satiety after eating and improved lipid profile. A Ketogenic diet may also have therapeutic effects for people with epilepsy, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), type 2 diabetes, some cancers, ADD/ADHD, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, ALS, MS. When discussing implementation of the Ketogenic diet, I prefer to focus on the mental and physical health benefits, rather than using it as another diet to lose weight.

What are exogenous Ketones?

Exogenous Ketones are Ketones made outside your body, i.e. a supplement. Ketone body supplements are most often available in a drink or powder form. There are two different kinds of exogenous Ketones: Ketone salts and Ketone esters.

Ketone salts consist of a Ketone body combined (beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) to a mineral ion, usually sodium.

Ketone esters are raw Ketones (β-hydroxybutyrate (β-OHB) and are not bound to any salts or compounds. There appears to be more research in support of their benefits (compared to salts) due to quicker utilization and a greater effect on raising blood Ketone levels. Ketone esters are less prevalent in commercialized products and likely difficult to market due to their unpleasant taste and possible gastric distress.

“Commercially available Ketone body supplements (salts) provide ~8–12 g of β-OHB and ~1 g of sodium per serving, and serve as a means to rapidly increase circulating Ketone body availability. Recently, Ketone esters [i.e., (R)-3-hydroxybutyl (R)-3-hydroxybutyrate] have emerged as a more practical and applicable way to increase the availability of blood Ketone bodies”. (1)

Ketones are not a quick fix answer to weight loss. Any company that claims Ketones “burn fat” or cause weight loss is lying to you. Ketones can help push you into Ketosis which is a metabolic state where your body uses fat as fuel. Just because you are in "Ketosis” does not mean you will lose weight. If you are still eating in excess, weight loss will not occur. I recommend using Ketones as a way to improve your mental clarity, energy and focus, rather than thinking of them as the newest weight loss supplement.

Who Can Benefit From Exogenous Ketones?

Before we discuss how to use Ketones and how you can benefit, head over to TruBrain to identify your Keto Spirit Animal.

People ON KETO:

Supplementing with Ketones can help in a few ways if you are looking to, or already follow a Ketogenic diet.

If you have read up and are considering starting Keto, you may have heard of the “Keto flu”. During this transitional period, where you body is shifting fuel sources from carbohydrates to fats, it is common to experience unpleasant side effects such as headache, irritability, lethargy, brain fog or fever. Symptoms typically last from a few days up to 2 weeks. By supplementing with exogenous Ketones, you can “push” your body into Ketosis faster and avoid or lessen the severity of the Keto flu.

If you are already following Keto, you obviously know there are certain foods that kick you out of Ketosis. If you eat too many carbs, you can take exogenous Ketones to get you back into Ketosis quickly instead of waiting 2-3 days and possibly experiencing the Keto flu.

People NOT ON KETO:

For some, following a Ketogenic diet is not realistic or desired. Some people may feel less energy on a strict Ketogenic diet. It can be restrictive and challenging and may trigger those with a history of an eating disorder. Exogenous Ketones can be a great way to elevate Ketone levels as a way to achieve the benefits of Ketosis between meals, even if you are following a Ketogenic diet. Ketones are able to cross the blood brain barrier to provide our brains with instant fuel. If you are looking for some mental energy, try taking exogenous Ketones on an empty stomach for benefits such as mental clarity, energy, focus and sharpness. I like to take a scoop around 2-3 pm.

People That Do Intermittent Fasting:

Supplementing with Ketones can help prolong a fast and provide an energy boost. Try taking on an empty stomach or immediately prior to your workout.

Athletes:

Ketone bodies have been suggested to enhance performance in endurance athletes via decreases in central (i.e., neural brain) fatigue and improved cognitive functioning (1).

According to research:

“by serving as an alternative fuel substrate, Ketone bodies may reduce the reliance on glucose utilization and spare endogenous glycogen stores. Alternatively, Ketone bodies may compromise endogenous carbohydrate availability via inhibition of hepatic glucose output and/or a reduction in pyruvate and lactate oxidation resulting from inhibition of pyruvate dehydrogenase activity. Therefore, although carbohydrate sparing may benefit endurance performance, it may be hypothesized that Ketone body supplementation during exercise reduces carbohydrate oxidation, thereby lowering the capacity to sustain higher intensity efforts” (1).

Simply put, Ketone bodies may benefit endurance athletes that perform in an aerobic zone (45-60+ minutes) more so than athletes that perform at higher intensities (anaerobic activities such as sprinting, powerlifting etc.).

Thirty minutes prior to an endurance activity consume some type of quick digesting carbohydrate such as a banana or a gel packet. Immediately before your workout, take one scoop of Ketones.

“Graphic representation of the potential effects of ketone bodies on exercise metabolism. Important factors for use of ketone body supplements may include taste, dose ingested, timing of intake relative to training/competition, ketone salts versus esters, and co-ingestion with other nutrients (i.e., carbohydrate). These factors may impact gastrointestinal function of the athlete following ingestion. Increased concentrations of ketone bodies during exercise can increase their utilization by tissues such as skeletal muscle and brain. Ketone bodies may also alter the utilization of other endogenous fuel sources including protein, carbohydrate, and fat. GI gastrointestinal, KB ketone bodies, EE energy expenditure, MPS muscle protein synthesis, IMTAGintramuscular triacylglycero.”

“Graphic representation of the potential effects of ketone bodies on exercise metabolism. Important factors for use of ketone body supplements may include taste, dose ingested, timing of intake relative to training/competition, ketone salts versus esters, and co-ingestion with other nutrients (i.e., carbohydrate). These factors may impact gastrointestinal function of the athlete following ingestion. Increased concentrations of ketone bodies during exercise can increase their utilization by tissues such as skeletal muscle and brain. Ketone bodies may also alter the utilization of other endogenous fuel sources including protein, carbohydrate, and fat. GI gastrointestinal, KB ketone bodies, EE energy expenditure, MPS muscle protein synthesis, IMTAGintramuscular triacylglycero.”

Creamy Truffle Mushroom Soup

If someone asked me what the best meal of my life was, I would without any hesitation say Truffle Ravioli from a restaurant in Long, Branch, NJ. If I was to eat it now however, I’d have to probably take 2 personal days. So I attempted to recreate something as delicious without the GI upset. I give you….

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Creamy Truffle Mushroom Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced

  • 1 small zucchini, cubed

  • 10 oz package sliced mushrooms

  • 2.5-3 T truffle oil (will be used in two parts)

  • 20 oz broth (I used chicken)

  • 4 oz canned coconut milk

  • 1/2 tsp salt (I used truffle salt for a truffle explosion

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, heat 1.5-2 T truffle oil (depending on how strong you want the truffle flavor to be) over medium heat.

  2. Add in diced onions and cook for 2 minutes.

  3. Add in zucchini and stir to incorporate the oil and onion mixture. Cook for another 2 minutes

  4. Using only 2/3 of the 10 oz package of mushrooms, add to pot, stir and cook for another 2 minutes.

  5. Pour in chicken broth and let simmer for 5 minutes.

  6. Add coconut milk, salt, pepper and garlic powder and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes until all vegetables are fork tender.

  7. While the soup is simmering, heat another 1-1.5 T truffle oil in a frying pan and sauté remaining mushrooms.

  8. Remove pot from heat. Use an immersion blender (or regular blender) to puree.

  9. If you used an immersion blender, stir in sautéed mushrooms and serve hot. If you used a regular blender, pour soup back into the pot, stir in sautéed mushrooms and serve hot.

Why I Stopped Keto

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My ketogenic journey started in June of 2018. I had given the ketogenic diet a try in the past but I didn’t really go all in. Earlier this year I began working with a muscle response specialist for help with some symptoms I was having (large swings in energy, occasional bloating, and a few other health issues). Through muscle response testing we discovered many foods were showing up as “problematic”. The foods that were left over were basically the foods “allowed” on a ketogenic diet: chicken, beef, turkey, fish, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, vegetables and berries. All grains, wheat, dairy, sugar, fruit, corn and basically everything else was a no-go.

With the release of “The Magic Pill” on Netflix, keto was suddenly the newest thing and I was getting a ton of questions about it. I thought to myself, “Hey these foods are the only thing my body seems to like so why not try it out for myself?” (Ironically it turns out I had another health condition that was leading to most of these health issues, and it really wasn’t the food causing the problem…..it’s like rainnnn on your wedding day…..)

So I made sure I did my research on how to implement this “diet” in the healthiest way possible. Obviously there are risks for nutrient deficiencies when you cut out certain food groups. I made sure I was prepared with electrolytes, digestive enzymes, keto products and so on. My focus was ALWAYS on food quality; I was not simply reducing my carbohydrate intake. I was still trying to fuel my body with the best food possible to heal my body while reducing inflammation and risk for disease. Hot dogs and cheese dips were not a staple. I think it’s also important to mention that going keto was not an attempt to lose weight. I thought it might be a side effect but I never expected to alter my body composition by going keto.

Now before I get into why I stopped keto I want to say this: I don’t want this post to come off as “anti-keto”. We all have different goals, lifestyles, genetics, accessibility, histories and preferences. I figured I would share my personal experience to provide some more information to you all. At the end of the day, you know your body better than anyone else. You know what feels good and what doesn’t; what works well and what doesn’t work at all. It’s up to you to figure out what feels best to you, keto or not :)

5 reasons Why I Stopped Keto

  1. Decreased Stamina and Athletic Performance: This was hands down the #1 reason why I was ready to ditch keto. My entire life I’ve been an athlete. From soccer, lacrosse, volleyball, softball and basketball to bodybuilding and just trying to beast out in the gym, athletics have always been a big part of my life. For a brief period of time I did notice an improvement in my aerobic capacity (cardio). Weight training however was a different story. I’ve obviously cut back on my weight training since my bodybuilding days but to say I felt weak was a massive understatement. I’d hardly finish foam rolling and band work and was already ready to call it quits. Step ups made me feel dizzy and squats were basically impossible beyond 6 reps. As someone that used to rack pull 315# (literally one time but still) and farmer’s carried 80# for 5 minutes straight, this feeling was horrible. For people that don’t workout or play sports, this isn’t really a big deal. But for someone who lives for that kind of stuff, it’s a massive bummer. I also recently signed up for an athletic event that requires I consume carbohydrates. Eating for athletic performance is something I personally prefer.

  2. The Mental Effects Started To Wear Off: The initial mental clarity I had on keto was awesome. I had lasting energy that would carry me through the day. My sleep was improved and I just felt awesome. After the first month or so the mental effects started to wear off on me. This doesn’t seem to be the case for everyone, but I just wasn’t as “sharp” as when I first started. Again, this could personally be due to other health issues I was dealing with as many people report continued mental clarity.

  3. I Never Felt Physical Hunger. You may be scratching your head wondering why this is a problem. Although the curbed appetite was great in some ways, after a while, not experiencing that hunger sensation in my stomach felt odd to me. I could “feel hunger” in other ways, like getting irritated, moody, or tired, but my stomach felt physically full. I would eat because I could hear my body telling me I needed nourishment but it’s super uncomfortable eating when your stomach feels full - it’s like you are force feeding yourself. Again, lack of hunger might not be a problem for you but after a while it was something I didn’t enjoy.

  4. I Missed Certain Foods: If you follow me on Instagram, you know I like to cook and get creative in the kitchen. I made tons of keto baked goods, breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks and I genuinely enjoyed the food I was eating on keto. The high fat content makes the food super tasty and satiating, until it wasn’t. I never had food cravings because my blood sugar was so stable and the food was so filling. It wasn’t like I was craving pizza and donuts; but I just started missing little things, like food that crunched, peanut butter and jelly and apples. Which bring me to my next bullet-point……

  5. It Was Becoming Moderately Triggering: With a past history of anorexia and bulimia, as much as I tried to not let it get to me, eventually the restriction became triggering. For a while it didn’t bother me because I believed those foods felt good in my body and I wanted to feel good. I was choosing those foods for health rather than weight loss. I was being as intuitive as possible with it; listening to my body (which is hard when if feels like your signals are blunted), choosing what I thought would feel good in my body, eating more carbs when I felt I needed them, etc. But for anyone that has had an eating disorder, food rules of any type can be detrimental. Eventually, that food police food voice, the one I had worked quite hard to silence, began creeping back in. It was at that point I was able to recognize, this is no longer working for me.

So with that being said, I’ve compiled a list of people I think keto might be good for, and who it may not be indicated for.

Who Do I Think Keto Is GOOD For?

  • Sedentary to lightly active people, non-athletes

  • Those with certain health conditions such as epilepsy, PCOS, or type 2 diabetes

  • People that feel like they have a crazy appetite / cravings or blood sugar / mood swings

  • Individuals who are willing to educate themselves about what happens in your body while on a ketogenic diet

  • Men seem to respond better than women as far as weight loss purposes go (generalization, but still)

Who Do I Think Keto Is NOT GOOD For?

  • Very active individuals / athletes especially distance runners, crossfitters, bodybuilders, powerlifters, etc.

  • Anyone with a history of eating disorders - (restriction of carbohydrates / food rules can be triggering)

  • People that don’t want to learn and just want to be told what to eat

  • Quick-fix chasers - this isn’t something you try for 5 days and cheat on on the weekends. That’s not how ketosis works

  • Italians (jk comic relief)

How Did Keto Affect My Weight?

As mentioned earlier, I did not set out on a keto journey in an effort to lose weight BUT because I know most people are interested in keto mostly for weight loss purposes, I’ll share my experience. Initially I probably lost 3-4 pounds of water but eventually my weight stabilized (I’ve probably weighed myself 5 times in the past 6 months so it’s hard to say with complete certainty). Initial weight loss on a keto diet is very typical because we store 3-4 grams of water per gram of glycogen (storage form of carbohydrate) stored. When we stop eating carbs, we burn through that stored glycogen which means we excrete the water stored with it. Weight loss can vary greatly from person to person. My body is at a weight it likes to be at and I didn’t really have much to lose. For others that feel they have a large # of pounds they want to lose, weight loss will likely be greater in some. The appetite suppressing effect tends to be helpful in an effort to shed to some pounds.

The longer I did keto, the more “flat” I felt. Bodybuilders will immediately understand that term. For everyone else, it basically means my muscles didn’t feel full. I felt….deflated, but not in a good way. When we eat carbohydrates, we break them down into glucose which we then store in our muscles as glycogen. Think of your muscles as little pipes and the glycogen fills those pipes up. That’s what makes the muscle look shapely. When we no longer consume carbs, we have less glycogen, aka less “filling” and the muscles then appear flat. (This is why bodybuilders will eat Reeses, Pixie Stix, and other carb-filled foods just prior to getting on stage. The carbohydrates fill them up and give them a vascular appearance). This “flatness” translated into poor performance for me.

Take Home Message

Everyone is different and there are always exceptions to every rule. I’m sure there are keto bodybuilders and distance runners. There are probably also plenty of people that have a history of an eating disorder but do well with keto. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, this is simply my take and experience on keto. If you disagree, that is cool too. Personally, I think it was a great experience. I learned even more about my body and what works (or doesn’t) for me. Rather than taking my word, or anyone else’s word for it, figure out what feels good to YOU! In the meantime, I’ll be over here eating peanut butter and jelly chasing gainz :)

P.S.

And one last thing….just because I no longer follow a “strict keto diet” doesn’t mean I don’t eat similar things - I didn’t just start eating cake three times a day, although if I want to I will. Instead, I’m back to eating for athletic performance, personal enjoyment and overall health and balance.

Avocado Pesto

Who doesn't love a perfectly ripe avocado??? If you answered "I don't" then this probably isn't going to work out between us and maybe we should start seeing other people.......A soft avocado is one of life's greatest pleasures; as is pesto: another gift from God and favorite of mine.  So I decided to bring my true loves together and give pesto a MUFA / fiber-filled makeover. I give you, Avocado Pesto. Add some to a bowl of zoodles, spread some on top of grilled chicken or use as a salad dressing alternative. You could also just eat it with a spoon like I end up doing :) Enjoy!

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Avocado Pesto 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh basil

  • 2 large (or 4 small (I love the teeny tiny ones from Trader Joes)

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/3 cup pine nuts

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice

  • 6 cloves of garlic

  • 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt (regular sea salt is fine)

  • pepper 

Directions: 

  1.  Combine all ingredients in food processor until a creamy consistency is reached. Taste and season to your liking with salt and pepper (You can also combine the ingredients in a bowl and blend with an immersion blender if you don't have a food processor).

Best Low-Carb Snack Bar

Best Low-Carb Snack Bar Review - Who Passes the Bar Exam?

As someone that lives a very on-the-go lifestyle, preparation is key. I like to make sure I prepare most of my food so that I feel my best. There are days though that I just don’t have time to prepare something and I need to grab something to go.

When I first started out on my keto journey, I was all about making homemade fat bombs and other snacks. I learned that I don’t tolerate erythritol and that fat bombs usually melt.

Some weekends were crazier than others and, when I was short on time, I was left without keto-friendly options that I could easily take with me.

I found myself trying other low-carb protein bars on the market just to hold me over. So many of them have artificial sweeteners and certain fibers that just destroy my stomach

I was super pumped to find out Perfect Keto had launched a Keto Bar!

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What Are Perfect Keto Bars?

Perfect Keto Bars are the only low-carb protein bars on the market that are actually optimized for a healthy ketogenic diet.

Unlike other bars, you won’t find cheap fillers, artificial ingredients, or added sugars and sugar alcohols of any kind.

You also won’t see massive amounts of protein and a small amount of fat like your typical protein bars.

Perfect Keto spent a huge amount of time perfecting these bars to create a satisfying snack that won’t kick you out of ketosis. 1 year and 18 different iterations to be exact.

Dr. Anthony Gustin even went so far as to test his bar against 3 other popular low-carb protein bars to see how it affected his blood sugar.

I was happily surprised by what he discovered.

This is a MUST watch video if you are even mildly interested in keto, metabolism, and snack food.

Too long; Didn’t watch? Quest and Dang bars spiked his glucose by 20-30 points and Bulletproof spiked it by 40 points for 5 hours!

Perfect Keto Bars increased his glucose by 3 units. That’s about as much as you would expect from standing up or sitting down.

These Keto Bars are great for people following a strict keto diet since they don’t stimulate increases in blood sugar and there’s only high-quality ingredients inside.

As most females, I have a strong chocolate tooth so they help to satify that craving without causing a headache

Most people can easily pronounce every ingredient in these Keto Bars

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  • Organic almond butter & almondsAlmonds are low in carbs and loaded with monounsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which keeps me feeling full for longer and gives me a nice dose of micronutrients. And since Perfect Keto only uses organic almond butter and almonds, I don’t have to worry about nasty pesticide exposure that comes with other brands.

  • Grass-fed collagenCollagen directly supports healthy skin, hair, nails, brain, joints, gut, heart, and eye health.

  • Cacao butter. The cacao butter in this bar serves two purposes: it adds an extra layer of fats in the form of saturated fats, which can help reduce inflammation, and gives these bars a richer texture that feels more like a brownie than a bar.

  • Organic cocoa. Cocoa is rich in polyphenols and antioxidants -- which can help fight free radicals -- and it’s beneficial for heart health. So while you’re technically eating cocoa, it’s nothing like the sugar-filled chocolate you’re used to since there’s added health benefits. So it’s better taste-wise and nutritionally.

  • Organic coconut oil. As one of the best fats on ketococonut oil is packed with medium-chain fatty acids that give your body the fuel it needs to power through any day and it helps support ketosis. It also has anticancer, antibacterial, and antiviral properties so you know it’s a staple in my house.

  • Soluble tapioca fiber. It’s the cheap binders found in other bars, among many things, that have a tendency to kick you out of ketosis. That’s why Perfect Keto ditched those altogether and used soluble tapioca fiber, which keeps these bars keto-friendly.

And it’s not just these high quality ingredients that make this keto bar stand out. 

Why Are Keto Bars Better Than Other Low Carb Protein Bars?

I’m all for trying out different low-carb protein bars. But, as I’ve learned the hard way, not all low-carb bars can be trusted.

Dr. Anthony Gustin proved this in his recent comparison of 4 popular low carb protein bars.

Because of that, I’m skeptical when it comes to trusting labels. And you should be too.

Luckily, I’ve already done my due diligence on this bar so you don’t have to.

Here’s why these Keto Bars made the cut over other options out there:

  • No junk ingredients or cheap fillers. You won’t find any soluble corn fiber or Frankenstein ingredients that are unpronounceable in this bar.

  • No artificial sweeteners, added sugars or sugar alcohols. You also won’t see high-sugar sweeteners like dates, honey, syrups, or chicory root fiber either. But that doesn’t mean sugar alcohols are lurking behind the label. These bars are also free from those and artificial sweeteners.  

  • Soy, peanut, corn, and dairy free. These common allergens may be in other bars but not this keto bar.

  • Keto-optimized macros. Some bars are too high in protein while others are too low in fat. Perfect Keto’s bar is the perfect sweet spot that delivers macros that are ideal on a keto diet. Each bar contains 19g of fat, 10g of protein, and 3g of net carbs.

And since there’s no carb-heavy syrups or hard to digest sweeteners in these bars, you’ll have no trouble staying in ketosis.

Perfect Keto’s bars were also specially formulated to minimize blood sugar impact which means you won’t experience a huge insulin spike and subsequent crash right after eating one, which you can’t say about some other bars on the market.

My Favorite Ways to Enjoy Keto Bars

-Crushed up over some coconut milk ice cream

-Frozen for an after-dinner delight

-Paired with a cup of keto coffee

Perfect Keto Bars are pretty straightforward in that you can just grab one, stash it in your bag, and enjoy it on the go.

But, if you really want to take things a step further, try pairing your Keto Bars with one of their other products to elevate your performance and taste buds.

Here’s how I use Perfect Keto Bars + Keto Coffee as a breakfast replacement:

  • Step 1: Brew a cup of Perfect Keto’s Instant Coffee and pair it with their Keto Bar

  • Step 2: Enjoy this energizing and satisfying combo on-the-go or sip it slowly as you start your day at home

When I need pre-workout fuel, I reach for Perfect Keto Bars + Perform:

  • Step 1: I’ll eat a Keto Bar 1-2 hours before my workout

  • Step 2: Then, closer to my actual workout, I’ll add one scoop of Perform into my shaker cup

  • Step 3: Next, I top this with 8 ounces of water and mix with a good shake

  • Step 4: I sip on this just before my workout

For a midday energy boost, combine Perfect Keto Bars + Keto Base:

  • Step 1: Mix a scoop of Perfect Keto Base with water or your favorite beverage

  • Step 2: Sip on this as you nosh on a Perfect Keto Bar and you’ll fuel your brain with ketones and protein which both can help you power through the rest of your day

And if you want something more indulgent in the afternoon, reach for Perfect Keto Bars + Keto Nut Butter:

  • Step 1: Slather on a nice spread of Keto Nut Butter on your Perfect Keto Bars for a decadent low-carb treat 

  • Step 2: Enjoy

To refuel after a workout, I like to use Perfect Keto Bars + Keto Electrolytes:

  • Step 1: Shortly after my workouts, I mix Keto Electrolytes in my shaker cup with 8 oz of water to quickly give my body the nutrients it needs to recover properly

  • Step 2: I follow this up with a Perfect Keto Bar to get a dose of protein, which also helps with recovery and gives me some much needed fuel after a workout

Why Perfect Keto Bars Are My Favorite Low Carb Protein Bars

I love how these bars make me feel and how satisfying they are. They keep those ketones pumping for continuous energy.

Since my schedule is so jam-packed, there are weeks when I don’t have time to whip up a batch of fat bombs or other homemade low-carb snacks.


That’s where Keto Bars has become my lifesaver.

Instead of having to waste time sorting through store shelves and ingredient lists to settle on a not-really-low-carb protein bar that will probably kick me out of ketosis anyway, I can reach for this one and know that I’m not taking a step back from my goals or feeding my body artificial ingredients.

And those are just some of the reasons why this bar is my new go-to.

Here are the rest:

  • The almond butter brownie flavor actually tastes like a dessert, not some overly sweet imitation flavor

  • There’s no weird aftertaste lingering around from artificial sweeteners

  • The texture and consistency are also on point. Instead of falling apart into a million different pieces, this one stays together so you can enjoy it one-handed if needed

  • With 19g of fat and 10g of protein, I feel satisfied after eating this bar instead of ravenous for more food

  • I also noticed that I feel more alert and focused on the days I eat a Keto Bar before a meeting or during my afternoon slump

How to Get Your Hands on Perfect Keto Bars

If you’re new to keto and are struggling with hunger in between meals or you’re trying to find a satisfying, convenient way to enjoy a keto snack on-the-go without ruining ketosis, I would highly recommend trying these Perfect Keto Bars. 

The good news is you can do so with a special discount on your first order.

I touched base with the owner of Perfect Keto and he’s agreed to share an exclusive discount with my readers on Keto Bars. 

For the launch month November 2018: Save 25% on Perfect Keto Bars - by using coupon code: KETOBARS25

Missed the Launch Month? You can always save 15% on Perfect Keto Bars -  by using coupon code: APERFECT15.

They sold out of their first shipment in 20 hours and will be running out of stock later this month. Seriously, pick yours up now and hopefully they’ll be back in stock by the time you’re ready for your second order.

Get your Keto Bars today!

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Tips For Easy Meal Prep

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If you have social media, especially Instagram, you've at least heard the term "meal prep" or "meal prepping." Basically it just means prepping your meals ahead of time. This can help you stay on track with your nutrition goals, and save time and money in the long run. Sounds simple enough right? The first time you try preparing a weeks worth of food you may find it wasn't as easy as you thought it might be. Or perhaps you didn't anticipate spending 8 hours cooking rice, chopping veggies, roasting a chicken and sauteing kale. Here are some tips to follow to make your meal prep fun and easy!

1) Identify Your Goal

Are you trying to save money? Increase your vegetable intake? Feel more energized through out the day? Go gluten free? Put on size? Before you can do anything else, you have to figure out your why. What are you trying to achieve here? From there you can figure out what your meal prep is going to look like. 

2) Pick A Day (s):

I like to prepare my meals on a Sunday so that they are fresh for the week. Everyone's schedules are different. Find what day works well for you. Decide whether you're going to do one large prep or break it up into 2-3 different days. People that have limited fridge/freezer space might need to break their meal prepping up into two days.  If you plan to do one large meal prep, you are going to need to freeze the later half of the week.

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3) Have A Game Plan/Make A Shopping List:

What is your plan for the week? Do you have certain recipes you know you want to try out? Do you plan on prepping one time on Sunday or twice a week? Do you know what ingredients you have vs. what ingredients you need? Make a list of what meals you plan to cook and write down a grocery list before you head to the store.

4) Be Prepared:

Did anyone else think of Scar and the Hyenas??? No? Just me? Okay cool….Most people will likely have your basic kitchen items; knives, pots/pans, cutting board etc. But if you're new to packing lunch or preparing multiple meals, you may need to pick up some things. Do you have all of the following?

                1) Enough Tupperware/containers, various sizes
                2) Ziplock baggies
                3) Measuring cups / food scale (if applicable)
                4) Aluminum foil
                5) Cooking spray
                6) Cutting boards
                7) Knives
                8) Pots, pans
                9) Can opener
               10) Vegetable peeler
               11) A cooler or lunch box

5) Multitask / Time Savers:

A big complaint I hear is that meal prepping takes too much time.  Yes it might take some time while your preparing, but during the week you'll be able to grab and go. The more often you meal prep, the better and faster you get. Multitask safely. For example you can hard boil eggs on the stove while you bake chicken or roast vegetables in the oven.  Try some of these tricks to save time. 
        Time-savers:
             1) Chopped onions
             2) Spiralized zucchini
             3) Pre-cut butternut squash / sweet potato
             4) Frozen cut veggies
             5) Individual pouches of nuts (Trader Joe's Just a Handful)
             6) Hard boiled eggs (although I much prefer cooking my own)
             7) Rotisserie chicken 

6) Clean As You Go:

If you have a tiny Manhattan kitchen, you don't have much of a choice but to clean as you go. Even if you have more than 2 ft of counter space, don't leave a massive mess for yourself. Load your dishwasher or clean different bowls/utensils as you finish using them. 

7) Have A System:

Labeling containers can be a great way to keep track of which containers are which. If you use similar ingredients in different meals, it can be hard to tell what's what.  If you prepared food for an entire week, I would highly recommend freezing half of your meals. If you don't, you'll likely be eating mush by Friday. Organize your fridge and freezer so you can easily see where everything is. 

8) Pack Your Meals:

Pack your meals in a lunch bag or cooler the night before. Pull what you plan to eat for breakfast to the front of the fridge. This is supposed to save you time in the long run. You don't want to be rummaging through the depths of your refrigerator at 6:15 in the morning now do you?

9) Pat Yourself On The Back:

Give yourself some credit. You took time out of your busy schedule to make time for your health and well being. 

The Healthiest (and Trendiest) New Oil

Whether you’re paying $2.00+ extra to add it to your Chipotle bowl, brunching with your besties over some smashed toast, or scrapping the sides of the bowl for that last scoop of guacamole, avocados are all the rage and I know you can’t get enough of them. Not only are they super trendy, but they’re super healthy as well. Move over coconut oil, there’s a new fat on the scene! I give you…..Avocado Oil.

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What is Avocado Oil and How Is It Made?

Avocado oil is exactly what it sounds like…oil from an avocado. It is made by pressing the pulp surrounding the avocados pit. The fancy word for this process is mechanical extraction (similar to olive oil extraction). For a more in depth and mildly corny explanation, check out this video.

What Makes Avocado Oil So Healthy?

The fat profile of this oil is one reason it is so healthy. Avocado oil is 76% monounsaturated fatty acids (very high in oleic acid) which is known to be anti-inflammatory. This oil is also high in antioxidants (a-tocopherol), chlorophylls and carotenoids. Studies have shown avocado oil may help to prevent the development of obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels (1).

What Makes Avocado Oil Better Than Other Oils?

Not only can you use avocado oil in uncooked foods such as dips or for salad dressings, but it is highly recommended for cooking because of it’s smoke point (the temperature at which the oil starts smoking). When the oil begins to smoke, not only does the flavor change, but the structure of the oil begins to break down and creates cancer-causing free radicals. If you see smoke while cooking with any type of oil, turn off the stove and throw away the food that has been in contact with the oil. Start the cooking process over again to avoid putting free radicals into your body.

Avocado oil’s high smoke point makes it a great option for most types of cooking, especially those at high temperatures. See how it compares to some other common fats used in cooking.

  • Avocado oil 520°F (12:1 ratio of omega-6 : omega-3, high in vitamin E)

  • Sunflower oil 440°F (inflammatory 32:1 ratio of omega-6 : omega-3)

  • Peanut oil 440°F (inflammatory 40:1 ratio of omega-6 : omega-3)

  • Refined corn oil 450°F (inflammatory 83:1 ratio of omega-6 : omega-3)

  • Extra virgin olive oil 320°F (73% monounsaturated, high in Omega 9)

  • Extra light olive oil 468°F (74% monounsaturated, high in Omega 9

  • Butter 350°F (in so many words-grass-fed butter healthy; conventional butter is trash)

  • Coconut oil 350°F (86% healthy saturated, lauric acid. Has antibacterial, antioxidant, antiviral properties and contains 66% medium chain triglycerides (MCTs).

  • Ghee (clarified butter) 485°F

How Can I Use Avocado Oil?

This oil can be used in place of other oils to do most things in the kitchen. It’s basically the “jack of all trades” of oils:

  1. Toss some veggies in the oil and roast

  2. Drizzle on top of hummus or guac to be super extra and fancy

  3. Use it to make avocado oil mayo

  4. Place some on a dish with some balsamic vinegar, red pepper flakes or sea salt as a dip for bread

  5. Drizzle it over fish before baking or roasting

  6. Add some to your smoothie for a MUFA kick in the face

  7. Use it to make homemade salad dressings

  8. Drizzle a swirl over some soup, hot or cold

Avocado oil is popping up everywhere so you shouldn’t have a hard time finding it in stores. I bought this bottle of Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil from Whole Foods for $10.99 (“on sale”). After the bottle has been opened, it will last for about 6 months (but it probably won’t make it that long because it’s delicious and wonderful and is the greatest thing since sliced bread).

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Fountain of Youth Protein Shake

Inflammation is at the root of all chronic diseases. By reducing our consumption of processed, artificial and inflammatory foods we can reduce our risk for developing numerous chronic diseases such heart disease, arthritis and Alzheimer’s. One way to reduce inflammation is by balancing out your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. We can do this buy:

  1. Switching from conventional meat and animal products, to grass-fed, grass-finished ones

  2. Choosing healthier fats like avocado, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil instead of vegetable or peanut oils.

  3. Consuming wild caught fatty fish like salmon 2-3 times per week

  4. Incorporating flax, chia and hemp seeds into your diet

Now a food doesn’t have to have omega-3’s to be considered “anti-inflammatory”. Plenty of foods such as blueberries, broccoli, spinach and bone broth fight inflammation. Green tea, herbs and spices like garlic, turmeric and ginger can help as well.

I’m always looking for ways to reduce inflammation so I can live until I’m 105. I’m also always trying to do so in a way that is easy and delicious. This protein shake packs a punch with bone broth protein concentrate and Sunfoods Golden Milk Powder. This powder is made with:

  • Turmeric and black pepper to balance inflammation in the body.

  • Maca, which helps to balance hormones and provides natural energy

  • Goji berry which provides antioxidants that eliminate free radicals

  • Boswell is which helps support immune function

  • Cardamom and ginger to help with digestion

  • Cinnamon which helps stabilize blood sugar and makes it delicious

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Fountain of Youth Protein Shake

Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop Ancient Nutrition Vanilla Bone Broth Concentrate

  • 1 tsp Sunfoods Golden Milk powder

  • 1/3 small zucchini

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage

  • 1/2 tsp chia seeds

  • 1 tsp Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil (optional)

  • 6-8 ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 30-60 seconds

  2. Pour into glass and sprinkle a dash of cinnamon on top

Apple Pie Protein Shake

This fall-inspired protein shake packs a nutritional punch delivering 2 servings of veggies, brain boosting octane oil and collagen protein. You can enjoy this for breakfast, lunch, post-workout or dinner. Enjoy the taste of apple pie without the blood sugar crash or stomach ache!

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Apple Pie Protein Shake

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup riced cauliflower

  • 1/4 zucchini

  • 75 g gala apple

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp @bulletproof brain octane oil (optional)

  • 30 g vanilla collagen protein 

  • 10 small ice cubes (5-6 large)

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender (I use a Vitamix) and blend on low speed for 15-20 seconds.

  2. Slowly increase speed to high.

  3. Add more liquid if needed.

  4. Pour into glass and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Caprese Salad Skewers

I served these caprese salad skewers at our housewarming party, because hey, I mean who doesn’t love mozzarella cheese? Although I can’t personally tolerate dairy, that doesn’t mean everyone else should suffer right? Quick, easy, pretty, gluten-free and keto-friendly.

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Caprese Salad Skewers

Ingredients:

  • 1 tub Ciliegine fresh mozzarella (I got mine from Trader Joe’s)

  • 15-20 cherry tomatoes (depending on how many mozzarella balls are in the tub)

  • 15-20 fresh basil leaves

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

  • 15-20 toothpicks

  • salt & pepper (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar to a boil, then lower heat to medium and simmer until it's the consistency of thin maple syrup. This should be about 10 minutes. Pour into a bowl and let cool.

  2. Cut 1/3 off each tomato to create a “flat” bottom.

  3. Thread mozzarella cheese ball, basil leaf (fold in half if large) and a tomato onto a tooth pick and place onto plate, flat side down.

  4. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Sprinkle with salt & pepper if desired, then drizzle cooled balsamic reduction on top.

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Thoughts Become Things

How much attention do you pay to that voice in your head? You know, that running monologue you have with yourself all day (and possibly night). Whether it’s positive and supportive or self-deprecating and negative, that inner voice is referred to as self-talk. That self-talk sets the stage for how your life will unfold around you.

Self-talk is the sum of your conscious thoughts plus your unconscious beliefs and biases. It can help us interpret and process daily experiences and can be useful. It can help calm down our fears or give us motivation, but more often than not, our inner voice is prone to negativity.

“I’m not good enough” “I am a failure” “No one cares about me” are negative assertions and limiting beliefs many people hold. These negative beliefs accumulate and strengthen over time. As an infant, we did not hold the belief that we were worthless or that we couldn’t do anything right. We didn’t know how to judge ourselves and were happy with ourselves whether we pooped our pants, woke up sweaty or cried more than usual.

We were not born with the belief that money is hard to come by or that being thin is better than being heavy. As we grow up and are exposed to different life events, experiences and people, we begin to form our own set of beliefs. Our family, friends and media play a large role in the beliefs we hold and often times we take them as law. But what is a belief? A belief is simply a thought we keep thinking. Repeat after me. A belief is a thought we keep thinking….let that sink in.

We live in an attraction-based universe. Like attracts like. Perhaps you’ve heard the saying “thoughts become things”? Nothing could be more true! If you are thinking thoughts (holding beliefs) that are in opposition of what you want, you will continue to get that which you think about. For example, if you want more money but you hold the belief that “money is hard to come by” you will continue to attract evidence that supports that belief (i.e. no money).

You may feel like you have no control over your situation and that you are simply a victim to what is going on around you. But begin to pay attention to your self-talk and beliefs about the situation. Could you be holding yourself back? Do hold any of these beliefs?

  • Money is tight

  • I’ve always been overweight

  • Good things never happen to me

  • Things never work out for me

  • Traffic is always horrible

  • I’m no good at ___

  • I’m always tired

If you do, don’t worry! Awareness and attention to this inner voice is the first step in changing your life. Once you have identified your limiting beliefs, we can begin challenging them, by choosing different thoughts! Remember, a belief is a thought you keep thinking! If you don’t like what’s showing up in your life, rather than trying to change the circumstance, try changing your thoughts instead.

Instant Pot Bone Broth

If you guys follow me on Instagram, you know I’m ALWAYS raving about bone broth. That’s because it’s one of the best things to consume to improve joint health, boost the immune system, treat leaky gut, overcome food intolerances / allergies and improve overall health. Bone broth is high in minerals such as magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, silicon and sulfur. It is also high in glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate which are associated with reducing inflammation and joint pain. Bone broth is high in collagen which can also help maintain healthy skin.

Okay so great! We know it’s good for you but how the heck do you make it?! I’ve receive a ton of questions via social media on how I make my bone broth so I figured I would blog about it AND make a video. So whether you are a visual learner or prefer to just read a recipe, here you go!

Instant Pot Bone Broth

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb beef, neck & knuckle bones (can also use chicken, pork or fish bones-USE HIGH QUALITY BONES, ideally GRASS-FED, GRASS-FINISHED. I got mine from Hudson & Charles)

  • 1 tub of chopped mirepoix from Trader Joe’s (or 1/3 C of each: celery, carrots, onions)

  • 4-5 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 2 T organic, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar (I like Braggs)

  • 2 t pink himalayan salt

  • 1-2 t black pepper

  • 1 tsp crushed bay leaves (or 3-4 whole leaves)

  • 4-5 quarts filtered water (fill up to max fill line)

Directions:

  1. Plug in instant pot and click “soup” button. Using arrows, increase time to 230 minutes.

  2. Place bones into pot (it’s ok if the bones are frozen) and then add the mirepoix, apple cider vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and bay leaves.

  3. Pour in filtered water until it reaches the max fill line. Stir.

  4. Secure the lid and let cook for 230 minutes.

  5. When the time is up, slowly and carefully shift the pressure value to the left or right to SLOWLY release some pressure. DO NOT look over the valve or put your hand over it as it could easily burn you. Be very careful and let the steam out slowly.

  6. When you no longer see or hear steam escaping, it is safe to open. Remove lid.

  7. Place a colander (with very fine holes) in large pot. Using a towel, dish rag or oven mits, pour the contents through the colander allowing all the liquid to pool in the pot.

  8. Discard the contents of the colander. (Thick beef bones can be saved to make a second batch of broth. Note: This second batch will be less flavorful and not contain nearly as many nutrients. It will likely not gel either as there will not be much collagen).

  9. Let cool for 30 minutes and divide into glass jars (You can also place a few ice cubes in the broth - it’s likely extremely concentrated so this little bit of ice shouldn’t do much to the flavor).

  10. Once the broth has cooled, transfer to fridge.

  11. Broth should keep 3-4 days in the fridge. To extend life, store in the freezer.

  12. Once cool, a layer of fat will form at the top of the jar. This fat is nutrient dense and great for cooking or baking. Skim the top and save for later use. (Fat can also be discarded).

  13. The broth will (hopefully) form a gel once it has cooled. This is a good thing! This means a lot of collagen was pulled from the bones! To consume, heat broth up on the stovetop and gel will turn into a liquid.

  14. I recommend having a cup a day! A cup a day keeps the doctor away!

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