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October 11, 2018

8 ways to make veggies feel like treats

If you are getting tired of conventional veggie form factors, here are our favorite ways to make them feel like special treats:

  1. Zucchini spiralized into noodles.

    You can eat them raw or cooked, and they have a different taste and texture depending on how long you heat them. Mix them heated with marinara, parmesan, turkey meatballs, or your own creation. Or try them in a cold pasta salad, mixed with your favorite confettied veggies, olive oil, queso fresco crumbles, black beans, or whatever you like on noodles. Toasted sesame seeds and a little sesame oil works on either hot or cold noodles. Yellow squash work great, too.

  2. A grilled or roasted portobello mushroom turned into pizza.

    Just fill with spinach, onion, garlic, pesto, cheese or whatever you like.

  3. Grilled eggplant slices as taco shells or "bread" for a grilled cheese sandwich.

    Just slice them thin, grill each side with a spriz of oil and voila.

  4. Cabbage roasted into steaks.

    Slice purple or green cabbage into 1/2" disks, spray with a little oil, then top with herbs, garlic, spices or whatever you like.

  5. Cauliflower diced into rice or risotto.

    You can either put cauliflower in your food processor and chop it to bits before cooking, or just buy it ready-to-go at Trader Joe's. As an extra perk, it cooks very quickly.

  6. Riced cauliflower pizza crust.

    Here is a recipe from Cacique that I've been meaning to try: http://www.caciqueinc.com/blog/2016/01/cauliflower-crust-pizza/#.VtdLaZWCOrU.

  7. Cauliflower as mashed faux-tatoes.

    Boil cauliflower and blend it 'til it looks like your favorite Thanksgiving treat. Optionally, add some salt, garlic, spices, bit of cheese, cream, or other delights, if that will make it a true treat.

  8. Zucchini French fries.

    Roast or grill thin slices of zucchini, with salt and pepper sprinkled on, and perhaps a spritz of oil. Sliced portobello mushroom strips also work well.

Thanks to our clients, who taught us these tricks. We know you have more great ideas...will you share them with us?

September 10, 2018

How to think about food like a Success Story

If you struggle with making good food decisions, here's a little insight into the thought processes of people who become Success Stories:

They don't use will power much. In fact, they don't think about food very much, especially when it gets close to mealtime.

On-the-fly food decisions are the enemy.

People who have successfully changed their eating habits use routines, habits, environmental engineering and personal policies to cut down on the number of food decisions they make each day. This is smart because research proves that will power wanes when you get hungry, distracted, stressed or tired.

So here's how (and when) they think about food:

With plans and policies like these, there is no need for major decision-making, which only invites will power battles.

So take a little time this week to start thinking about next week's meals like a person who is a Success Story. See if you eat healthier AND ditch the mental burden of on-the-fly food decisions.

August 18, 2018

Taste more sugar while using less

Read this before your next ice cream cone: The temperature of your sweet food affects the strength of the taste.

Sweet flavors taste sweeter when eaten hot, and taste less sweet when cold.

A classic example is that when people make homemade jam, the warm cooked fruit needs to taste super overly-sweet, so that when it cools off it will taste just right. The sugar content is the same; it just tastes much sweeter when warm.

How can you use this to eat healthier? You probably already guessed it: If you must have sweets, favor warmer ones. Ice cream needs extra sugar to taste as sweet as hot cocoa. An iced tea needs more sugar to taste as sweet as a hot tea. Cold pie tastes less sweet than warm pie. ...one more reason to swear off Frappucinos.

Use this to cut your sugar consumption this summer without even sacrificing any flavor!

P.s. Interestingly, bitter flavor is the opposite. It's stronger when cold.

July 16, 2018

Chewing boosts cognitive function

Just chewing more can improve your life in several different interesting ways.

You probably already know that chewing promotes good digestion, better nutrient absorption, and helps you eat more slowly so that you don't overeat. But research also suggests that chewing more can improve cognitive function. Chewing food or gum has been shown to...

All that from chewing more?!

Yes, it appears that chewing promotes better circulation to the brain, so maybe it's no surprise that executive function improves.

You can read the details in the study links below. In the meantime, happy chewing!

Study links:

June 28, 2018

Better crackers

If you love crackers, but not inflammation, here are some options made with sprouted seeds instead of baked flour:

There are many more brands, but these are among the easiest to find. They aren’t cheap, but they are much healthier than conventional crackers, and you can always make your own in a food dehydrator if you like, as online recipes abound.

June 11, 2018

Signs you should slow down your weight loss

Happy almost-summer!

We know...there’s lots of pressure to have a beach body ASAP. But here are some signs that you may be pushing your body or brain too hard to lose weight--and are at risk for sabotaging your long-term results or health.

Your mood, memory, creativity, sense of humor and general brain function are very sensitive to your blood sugar, which is the brain's main fuel. It can suffer when that fuel gets too low. Getting dizzy is dangerous--especially while driving!--so have a small carbohydrate snack, like a few crackers, if that ever starts to happen.

Injuries, constant soreness or lethargy might mean you are undernourished or undereating. Burning fat (which requires lower blood sugar) while remaining energetic (which can be tough with lower blood sugar) is admittedly tricky, so come talk to us if you are struggling.

Losing too much muscle is bad for health and long-term results because muscle boosts metabolism, strength, immunity, and blood sugar control. Muscle is always good weight. Slower weight loss helps preserve it.

Here's why: Burning fat inevitably involves lowering blood sugar, but if your blood sugar goes too low for too long, your will power suffers. Research suggests you may "blow it" and eat back more calories than you suffered to burn in the first place.

If any of these sounds like you, don't worry. Just slow down a bit. Even losing 1/4 pound of fat per week is a whole stick of butter off your body!

May 17, 2018

Broccoli sprouts for air pollution

With recent news of Hawaiian volcano smog and spring air quality alerts, I'm reminded that nature has generously provided us with a partial antidote to harm from air pollution: Broccoli sprouts!

Studies involving diesel emissions and highly polluted parts of China suggest that consuming broccoli sprouts may help to prevent long-term health damage from air pollution. To quote researchers, "intervention with broccoli sprouts enhances the detoxication of some airborne pollutants and may provide a frugal means to attenuate their associated long-term health risks."

You can buy broccoli sprouts in the produce section or easily grow them yourself in mason jars. They have numerous health and anti-aging properties, so enjoy them anytime, but air quality alerts are my reminder to stock up.

Here are links to two research studies, if you'd like more details:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4125483/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24287881

May 17, 2018

Affordable family meal ideas

Need new ideas for yummy, affordable, family-friendly meals or snacks? Check out this lovely website created by a local eighth-grader who wants to help fight childhood obesity: https://mkenny22.wixsite.com/healthyhabits

Bravo, Maya!

April 20, 2018

Scrape that avocado!

Quick tip: The avocados are AMAZING right now, so don't miss out on the most nutritious part, which is the dark green part next to the peel. Scrape it good and be rewarded with over 10x the nutrients of the part closer to the pit.

That's all. Enjoy!

April 18, 2018

4 ways to save money while eating better

If you just finished your taxes, you may be thinking about how to spend less money this year. Here are four ways that also help you eat healthier:

1. Get fresh food straight from a local farm with a CSA membership.

Community supported agriculture (CSA) programs mean that you buy shares in a family farm and get a weekly delivery of goodies. You typically pay less than at the store, because there is no middleman. It also benefits farmers. A Google search can tell you about options near you.

2. Replace conventional meat with more vegan meals.

Most Americans overeat animal protein, and conventional methods (i.e., concentrated animal feeding operations) use hormones, antibiotics, high-pesticide feed, and other cost-cutting measures that appear increasingly terrible for human health. Plus, researchers at the USC Longevity Institute report that reducing protein intake, especially from animal foods, is healthy in numerous ways that promote slower and healthier aging.

3. Skip meals when you don’t feel like eating.

I know, I know… Researchers have done a complete 180 on this one. But skipping a meal now and then is currently believed to be good for gut health, and most people do not grossly overeat afterwards, as previously thought. In fact, research suggests that people only eat about 110% at the meal following a short fast.

4. Drink less alcohol.

You’ve probably been seeing the depressing headlines about how any benefits from alcohol have been overhyped. Some studies about the benefits of resveratrol were even fraudulent and retracted. Bummer! ... but a good opportunity to save money and get healthier.

What else do you do to eat healthier and save money? We’d love to hear about it!