Banana Bread Bars (Vegan, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free)

You know what coffee shop I love??? Gregory’s. They have delicious coffee and reallllly tasty baked goods. You know what I don’t love about Gregory’s Coffee though? The fact that ONE energy ball is $3.50!!!! Every time I buy one of them I savor every bite while simultaneously kicking myself for spending $3.50 on a tablespoon of rolled mush.

These banana bread bars are inspired by Gregory’s energy bites but TBH they don’t taste anything like them. I made these as simple as possible because that’s how I live my life :)

You can spice them up (literally) with cinnamon or nutmeg; maybe add some coconut flakes; get really wild add some chocolate chips - the world is your oyster. If you have a peanut allergy you could also skip the powdered peanut butter and just add a bit more oatmeal to soak up the moisture. Maybe do a little flax meal - hey I’m down for a good time. These bars are great to grab and go in the morning, as a mid-afternoon snack, or a pre-workout bite to fuel you towards your gains. Whatever it is, enjoy!

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Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe medium bananas

  • 2 cups rolled gluten-free oats

  • 3 scoops Naked Nutrition chocolate peanut butter powder

  • 1 T chia seeds

  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

  • dash of salt

  • Optional add in’s: coconut flakes, nuts, seeds, cranberries, raisins, chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper. (We ran out of parchment paper so I had to use aluminum foil - just be sure to spray with cooking spray)

  2. Mash bananas in a large bowl

  3. Stir in dry ingredients

  4. Using about 2 T of “dough” form into a rectangle and place on cookie sheet. This should make about 8-10 bars depending on the size

  5. Bake for 12 minutes

  6. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.

  7. Store in airtight container and keep in the refrigerator to last longer. You can microwave for 15-20 seconds to get them all goey again :)

Banana Bread Bars

Banana Bread Bars

How Yo-Yo Dieting is Harming Your Health

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We live in a world that not only shames obesity, but blames it for almost every chronic disease. Whether our doctor tells us we are 10 pounds “overweight'“ or 100 pounds “overweight”, we live in fear that this weight will eventually lead to our demise.

So what are we told to do? Lose weight of course! How? Through DIET and EXERCISE!

More often than not, people embark on a weight loss journey in an attempt to improve their health. Now don’t get me wrong - changing up your nutrition can and will improve your health - IF you change the way you THINK about food. Most people however, tend to engage in restrictive, unhealthy behaviors in order to lose weight though (which remember, was to be healthy - backwards much?)

I’ll cut out carbs. Nothing white allowed. Only protein and veggies. No eating after 6pm. No more sweets. Fast intermittently. Do weight watchers. Go keto. Give vegan a try.

These are some of the ideas we come up with for ourselves or are given as suggestions from friends, family AND DOCTORS.

What if I told you restrictive diets not only DON’T WORK (as in they don’t keep weight off long term) BUT actually NEGATIVELY impact both your PHYSICAL and MENTAL HEALTH?

That’s right - diets ARE BAD FOR YOUR HEALTH!

Today I am going to share the biological, physical, psychological and emotional ways in which diets can negatively impact your health. The following information is adopted from Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch’s book Intuitive Eating; A revolutionary program that works (pg 48-49).

Biological and Physical Damage

Throughout the history of our human existence, human starvation has occurred. In some parts of the world, it still occurs today. In order to survive as a species, human beings adapted during times of famine and learned to hold on to extra energy stores. In order to survive, we needed to store fat. Today, although our technology, access to food and day-to-day lifestyles have changed drastically, this built in survival mechanism has not - and it kicks on when we diet. Which leads to the following:

  1. Chronic dieting teaches the body to retain more fat when you start eating again. Low-calorie diets double the enzymes that make and store fat in the body. This is a form of biological compensation to help the body store more energy, or fat, after dieting.”

  2. “Chronic dieting slows the rate of weight loss with each successive attempt to diet.”

  3. Decreases metabolism. Dieting triggers the body to become more efficient at utilizing calories by lowering the body’s need for energy”

  4. Increases binges and cravings. Both humans and rats have been shown to overeat after chronic food restriction. Food restriction stimulates the brain to launch a cascade of cravings to eat more. After substantial weight loss, studies show that rats prefer eating more fat, while people have been shown to prefer foods both high in fat and sugar”

  5. Increase risk of premature death and heart disease.” Studies have shown that people who’s weight repeatedly goes up and down, have a higher death rate and two times the risk of dying of heart disease (independent of cardiovascular risk factors, and held true for thin and obese people). The Harvard Alumni Health Study shows that people who lose and gain 11+ pounds within 10 years or so, don’t live as long as people that maintain a stable weight.

  6. Cause satiety cues to atrophy”. Dieters learn to rely on external cues/rules to stop eating rather than listening to inner cues of fullness.

  7. Cause body shape to change. Yo-yo dieters who continually regain the lost weight tend to regain weight in the abdominal area. This type of fat storage increase the risk of heart disease.”

Irregular periods, fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, and headaches are other side effects of dieting.

Psychological and Emotional Damage

  1. Dieting is linked to eating disorders.” In one study, by age 15, dieters were 8x more likely to suffer from an eating disorder than non-dieters.

  2. Dieting causes feeling of failure, erodes self-trust, confidence and self-esteem. It can also increase social anxiety.

  3. Loss of control when eating. Continuous restriction and deprivation can trigger overeating when a “forbidden” food is consumed.

As you can see, dieting is harmful in so many ways. You are probably thinking “Okay so what am I supposed to do instead?” Well, I’m glad you asked. Weight gain beyond what is healthy for your body is almost always a SYMPTOM, not a cause. In order to treat the symptom we need to treat what is causing it in the first place. For some that could be stress, a busy schedule or perhaps a knowledge deficit. For many though, dieting is the cause, in which case we need to stop dieting.

Learning to eat intuitively is the answer, for EVERY SINGLE PERSON. Intuitive eating is a paradigm shift on how we approach food. It is looking at nutrition from a completely different frame of reference and getting back in touch with the intuition we were all born with.

Are you ready to get off the merry-go-round that is the diet cycle and become an intuitive eater FOR LIFE? Click HERE to schedule a free 30 minute discovery call to see how my intuitive eating program can help.

Summer 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!

Cold Lentil Salad

Cold Lentil Salad

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.

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!

Dairy-free Roasted Tomato Soup

Dairy-free Roasted Tomato Soup

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

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.

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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Grain-free, Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies

Grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free peanut butter protein cookies

Grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free peanut butter protein cookies

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!