Thursday, June 22, 2017

Iced Avocado and Coffee Drink

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Singapore native Pat Tanumihardja grew up on refreshing avocado drinks like this one, which combines chunks of avocado in a coffee-laced milk sweetened with a thick simple syrup. This version is blended into a creamy vegan shake, but it can also be made with regular or low-fat milk.
The syrup is steeped with pandan leaves, which have a lightly citrusy vanilla flavor. Use the same syrup to sweeten tea and cocktails; if you have trouble finding pandan leaves, you can substitute a split vanilla bean and add a squirt of lime juice.
Make Ahead: You'll have syrup left over, which can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 months.
Where to Buy: Pandan leaves are available at Asian markets (typically frozen).

Tested size: 4 servings
  • For the syrup
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 pandan leaves, trimmed and tied into separate knots (see headnote)
  • For the drink
  • Flesh of 1 large ripe Hass avocado
  • 1/3 cup espresso plus 2/3 cup water (may substitute 1 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled)
  • 2 cups almond milk (may substitute other plant-based milk)
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes, or more as needed
  • Chocolate syrup, for serving
  • Instant espresso grounds, for serving
    For the syrup: Combine the sugar, water and pandan leaves in a large saucepan over medium-high heat; once the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is bubbling, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until thickened, adjusting the heat as needed.
    Discard the leaves, then pour the syrup into a heatproof container or bottle. The yield is about 1 3/4 to 2 cups; you'll need 1/4 cup for this recipe.
    For the drink: Combine the avocado, espresso and water (or coffee, if using), almond milk and pandan syrup in a blender. Add ice cubes, cover and blend on HIGH speed until smooth and frothy. Add ice cubes and blend again, as needed, for a thicker consistency.
    Divide the drink among individual glasses or cups. Drizzle the top with chocolate syrup, and then sprinkle lightly with ground espresso. Serve right away.

  post signature

Emilia Burgers

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post
talk about your umami flavor bombs -- these are winners, all around. Besides the pair of quick and savory condiments, the ground beef is laced with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, in honor of chef Massimo Bottura’s roots in the Italian province of Emilia-Romagna.These are rich-tasting, so a half-burger and salad might make a nice summer meal.
Make Ahead: The salsa and balsamic mayo can be made a day or two in advance; refrigerate in separate containers with plastic wrap directly on the surface. You may have a little salsa verde left over, which would be great on garlic bread or stirred into scrambled eggs.
Tested size: 4-8 servings
  • For the salsa verde
  • 1 thick slice day-old crusty white bread
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 3 anchovy fillets
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • Leaves from 8 to 10 stems flat-leaf parsley (1 packed cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • For the burgers
  • 1 pound very cold ground beef (preferably 92 percent lean)
  • 1/2 cup packed freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 hamburger buns, preferably potato
  • For the balsamic mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar
    For the salsa verde: Place the bread in a medium bowl. Pour the water over it and let it soak in for a minute or two, then tear the bread, letting the pieces fall into a food processor. Drain the capers and anchovy fillets.
    Cut a few slices off the garlic clove and add to the food processor, along with the parsley leaves, capers, anchovies, vinegar, oil and a pinch of salt. Puree until fairly smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. The yield is about 1 cup.
    For the burgers: Place the chilled ground beef in a mixing bowl. Fold in the cheese until well incorporated. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions and form each into a 3/4-inch-thick patty.
    Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the burger patties and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until well seared and just cooked through (medium-rare). Transfer to a cutting board to rest while you prepare the buns.
    Melt the butter, then use it to spread on the inside of the hamburger buns. Toast in a toaster oven until golden brown.
    For the balsamic mayonnaise: Stir together the mayonnaise and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl, until well incorporated.
    To serve, spread each bottom bun with one-quarter of the balsamic mayo. Place a burger on top, then spread salsa verde over each burger and finish with the top buns. Serve warm.

   post signature

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Jan's Story weight loss story

I have a strong family history of diabetes, and I was headed on the same path when my blood-sugar levels started steadily climbing. However, my true wake-up call came in 2007 when I had a hysterectomy. The extra weight I carried made the healing of my surgical wound take a lot longer, and keeping the wound clean was quite a difficult task. I was disgusted with myself, but I felt more determined than ever to lose weight and improve my health.
I had been successful at losing weight before — but never at keeping it off. Once I hit a goal weight, the pounds inevitably came back. This time around, I knew I needed a different approach. On the Mayo Clinic Diet, I learned how to change not only what I ate, but how I ate and how I felt about food. Prior to starting the program, I never allowed myself to feel hunger. I almost always ate second helpings at every meal, and I ate sweets when I was bored. For the first time ever, thanks to the diet, I learned how to become aware of the feeling of satiety and never eat past a certain level of feeling "full." I stopped eating fast food. I stopped drinking carbonated beverages in favor of water. While following the diet, I learned that each and every day (maybe each hour) is a chance to start over.
Before I started the Mayo Clinic Diet, I was depressed and always tired. I never wanted to try anything new, and I had resolved myself to the "fact" that I would always be obese. In two years, I lost 105 pounds and went from a size 24 to a size 10, my blood sugar went from 101 to 93, and I can proudly say that I have completed two half-marathons!
With the Mayo Clinic Diet, I learned behavior modifications and tools to help me sustain a healthy lifestyle for the rest of my life. The information helped me face the issues that led me to overeat, and that was the help I needed. My self-esteem and confidence levels are so much better than before!


Do not look at the number on the scale as the only measurement of success. Make sure to track your progress and reward yourself along the way. This will help you feel good about the process. Success breeds success. Also, if you are experiencing a plateau, just keep doing the same things you were doing when you were losing weight, and if you can, increase the intensity of your exercise, and you will break through that plateau and be SO GLAD you didn't stop trying.

Looking to lose 6-10 lbs in two weeks? Start now with a 7 day free trial! post signature

Why would you you need a health or weight loss coach

As wellness has increased in popularity and the Internet has become an unprecedented resource for everything from recipes to research, many have taken their health into their own hands and experienced a wide range of results. With that has come the explosion of unverified information, confusion, and more yo-yo dieting than ever before!
The truth is there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach that's going to work for everyone, and figuring out the most nourishing diet and lifestyle for YOU isn’t easy.
There are many factors that go into finding your unique balance, such as your family ancestry, body type, personal preferences, life circumstances, schedule, location, access to resources, and much more. Putting it all together in a way that makes sense and allows you to thrive requires a personal touch from someone knowledgeable and supportive. That’s where a Health Coach comes in!
A Health Coach can help you sort out truth from fiction, provide you with customized information that’s relevant to you and your individual challenges or goals, and most importantly give you the opportunity to ask questions and speak freely in a supportive environment.

Here are 6 signs you would benefit from the help of a Health Coach:
1. You feel like something might be off with your health, but you’re not sure what it is.
In addition to consulting your primary care provider, working with a Health Coach can help you dig deeper into what you’re experiencing, get to the root of your imbalance, and find new ways to help you feel your best again. From fatigue and low energy to acne and digestive issues, Health Coaches guide clients through listening to their bodies and making sustainable lifestyle adjustments to fix seemingly minor issues that may have major effects on health!
2. You’re more likely to accomplish goals when you have guidance and accountability.Whether it’s having trouble addressing your cravings, finding the motivation to keep up with your fitness routine, or getting inspired to be more creative in the kitchen, a Health Coach can help you establish the structure you need to make progress toward your goals. Regular check-ins with a Health Coach will help you feel accountable for the health decisions you make in a way that is motivating and encouraging.
3. You want to improve your diet and lifestyle but you’re not sure where to begin.
One day you’re vegan, the next day you’re paleo, and the day after that you’re sure that Mediterranean is the way to go. Sound familiar? A Health Coach can help you take the pressure off perfection and simply take things one step at a time. Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches are trained in over 100 dietary theories, and can guide you towards an eating plan that works best for your mind, body and soul.
4. You’re tired of dieting, deprivation, and the frustration that comes with trying to lose weight.If you’ve tried every diet under the sun and are fed up with feeling discouraged, a Health Coach will help you reconnect with your primary goals and what’s preventing you from achieving them. Health isn’t just about nutrition – in fact, weight loss comes with a variety of lifestyle related challenges that a Health Coach can help you safely address so you can shed the weight for good.
5. You want to become a more positive health influence on the people around you.Your first priority should be to establish healthy habits for yourself, and through that process you will inevitably become a positive role model for the people around you. A Health Coach can help you refine your own health and through that process, provide you with ways to inspire others along your journey, whether it’s your family, your community, or those whose lives you touch through your work.
6. You’re looking for a more personal approach to health from a caring individual who has your best interest at heart.If you’ve exhausted the Internet and find yourself overwhelmed with all the information out there and are unsure where to begin your wellness journey, a Health Coach is definitely for you. He or she will help you create a personalized roadmap to health that prioritizes simple methods that will support you to find lasting health and happiness.
If you’re interested in taking the next step, search for Health Coaches in your area and simply reach out to begin the conversation of discovering whether they’d be a good fit for you. You can usually schedule a consultation and even speak with a few Health Coaches until you find the one that feels right for you.
  post signature

Thursday, June 8, 2017

So What is clean eating?

The term clean eating — or eating clean — seems to be all over the internet and in grocery stores and restaurants. What do these buzz words mean? Is clean eating just another fad?
Clean eating is in essence a diet — just a way of eating. But it is also a way of a way of living that lends itself to improving one's health and wellbeing.
From my reading on clean eating, I've found a few key principles that align with basic principles of healthy eating. Here is how I see clean eating:
  • Eat more real foods. Sound familiar? One of the tenets of the Mayo Clinic Diet is eating more real foods and fewer processed or refined foods. Convenience food is OK, sometimes even necessary, just make sure that what's in that can or package is the real thing with few other ingredients.
  • Eat for nourishment. Eat regular, balanced meals and healthy snacks that are nourishing and not too rushed. Eat at home more often and prepare food in healthy ways. Pack food to eat away from home when on the road, at work or activities. When you do eat out, choose wisely.
  • Eat safe food. This is my addition to the idea of clean eating. Based on the name itself, clean food should be safe. Practice food safety by washing produce before consumption (you may consider buying organic as well), keeping raw meats separate from produce from the grocery store to home, cooking food to proper temperatures and chilling food quickly after service.
Other principles you may consider to enhance the basics:
  • Eat local. Keep foods close to your home by growing your own, participating in community supported agriculture (CSA), farmers markets and the like.
  • Eat more plant-based foods. Ramp up on plants by eating more plant-based proteins, such as beans, lentils and peas, and high-protein whole grains, like quinoa, barley and buckwheat.
  • Clean up your act. Adopt a cleaner lifestyle by getting plenty of physical activity during the day, getting enough sleep at night and managing stress in healthy ways. Connect with people you enjoy — talk, laugh, share a meal, go for a walk or play a game.
Since clean eating and living a clean lifestyle have no official definitions, you can determine what they mean to you. Choose a few changes that will help you improve your diet and your overall wellbeing.
  post signature

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

How to deal with diet saboteurs




Friends and family:

Don't let those closest to you unravel your weight-loss plan. Stay on course in any situation with this advice.

Often, the people you spend the most time with — your family, friends and co-workers — may create high-risk eating situations for you. This could be an intentional attempt to undermine your weight-loss effort from a jealous friend or sibling, or it could be unintentional because many people don't understand how difficult it is to eat healthy on a consistent, ongoing basis. To stay focused on your goals, you need to know how to manage negative influences in your social circles. Review these scenarios and make a plan for the next challenge a potential saboteur presents.
Scenario: Your spouse surprises you by bringing home your favorite dessert.
Your response: Stay cool. Thank your spouse for thinking of you, and then remind your loved one that you are adopting healthier eating habits and don't need any food treats right now. Ask that the dessert be put somewhere you won't see it. If you can work it into your meal plan, divide the treat into multiple portions. If this scenario happens more than once, throw away the food treats — and be sure to tell your spouse that inedible gifts, like flowers, are the appropriate surprises for you.
Scenario: Friends expect you to continue with the group's eating traditions, such as beer and appetizers after work, junk food while watching sporting events together or regular stops at your favorite ice-cream shop.
Your response: Take the lead in scheduling nonfood activities, such as a game of badminton or bocce ball. Invite your friends to your house so that you can serve some of your favorite healthy foods. Ask for their help as you lose weight, and make it clear that your decision to change eating habits is not meant as a criticism of them. Let them know that you value their friendship and that their support for your healthy lifestyle changes is very important to you.
Scenario: Your family refuses to eat the new, healthier meals you're preparing.
Your response: First, take it slow. Don't change the whole menu overnight. As you introduce new foods, remind your family how important it is for all of you to take better care of yourselves. Healthy eating is more than weight management; it can improve the energy level and quality of life for everyone. Tell your family that you're managing your weight in part for them, so you can be a healthier, happier person. Invite them to suggest some healthy foods or recipes to try.
Scenario: Your best friend surprises you with a birthday party, complete with a table of tempting treats.
Your response: Express your amazement and pleasure at the thoughtful gesture. Comment on the visual appeal of some of the foods (you're giving praise without taking a bite). Slowly sip a glass of water with a lemon slice. Then, before visiting the food table, decide what and how much you're going to eat. Keep portions small, nibble slowly and occupy yourself with something else — chatting with friends, introducing people who don't know one another or getting groups together to take photos. Finally, congratulate yourself on managing a high-risk situation! After the event is over, talk to your best friend about ways to truly support you.
Your turn! Think of how your support people can help you in your journey: Can they provide emotional support by simply letting you vent or offering encouragement? Or can they provide practical support and go for a walk with you? Talk to your friends and family and ask for their help. Then identify your most-challenging scenarios with family and friends. Think through your best responses and strategies, and store them for future use. We can all benefit from support in our weight-loss journeys.

Today's Fitness Tip
Be flexible with exercise
When you're sketching out your physical activity plan, don't forget to plan for rest. You can stay moving on rest days with walking and gentle exercise, but plan to take days off from your routine from time to time in order to prevent burnout. Also, allow yourself to take a day or two off if you're not feeling well.
post signature

Dandelion Tea

Article from Mommypotamus
When I first heard that dandelion root is used as a coffee substitute, I immediately ruled it out as something I wanted or needed in my life. Because y’all, I. AM. NOT. breaking up with coffee. And yet, as I dug deeper into the benefits of dandelion flowers, leaves, and roots, I realized that there’s way more to dandelion tea than its use as a coffee substitute.
In Persian, dandelion is called the “small postman” because it is thought to bring good news.   It’s one of the first flowers that pops up in spring, and it stays with us all through the summer. That makes it one of the easiest plants to harvest and use – which is awesome because it has lots of uses!
This rich, creamy dandelion root tea is so delicious that I always make a double batch – one cup for me, and one to replace that cup when my littles steal it.

So, what is dandelion tea used for?

Tea made from fresh or dried dandelion leaves is often used to strengthen digestion and as a diuretic to help the body let go of excess water. We’ll cover how to make it in an upcoming post.
In this recipe, we’ll be using the roots, which are helpful for balancing hormones and detoxification. They also have anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of taraxasterols, and are rich in minerals (iron, manganese, calcium, potassium) and nutritive compounds such as carotenes.
In traditional herbal medicine, dandelion root is used to help get things moving in cases of mild constipation. Un-roasted roots are also known to be rich in the gut-nourishing prebiotic inulin, and although roasting reduces the amount there is still a significant amount in this tea. Hot water and a little time is the best way to extract inulin, which is just another reason to love this recipe. 

Where do I get dandelion root?

You can buy dandelion root – which is very affordable – here. Or you can use roots you’ve gathered as long as they are from an area that has not been sprayed with pesticides. Here’s how to properly identify dandelions. You will need to scrub, chop and dry them out before using them, though. I typically put mine in my dehydrator at 95°F for about 12 hours, but you can also just lay them on a towel in a dry, cool area until they’re brittle.

How do you roast dandelion root?

Although you may be imagining that it’s similar to the somewhat daunting process of artisanal coffee roasting, it actually couldn’t be easier. All you do is throw some dried roots in a pan over medium-high heat and stir until they become golden brown and fragrant. Yep, that’s it.

How do you make dandelion coffee?

If you’re wanting a dandelion coffee recipe instead of a dandelion tea recipe, you’re in luck. . . they’re exactly the same thing.   For whatever reason, dandelion tea is reminiscent of regular coffee and that’s why it’s sometimes called dandelion coffee. It’s a hard connection to explain until you’ve tried it. If you’ve ever had a friend that reminds you of someone else, and yet you can’t put your finger on why, it’s basically like that. Now, on to the recipe!

 Roasted Dandelion Root Tea Recipe

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1.5 teaspoons dried dandelion root (where to buy dandelion root if you can't find it locally)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter or cream to taste (optional)
  • Optional additions - 1 cinnamon stick OR ½ teaspoon of dried ginger OR 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger. OR vanilla extract to taste (or a combination of these!)
  1. Place a medium pot over medium heat and place the dried dandelion root in the bottom. Toast the root until it becomes fragrant and golden brown, then add water and additional flavorings (if using) and bring to a boil. When the water boils, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 30-45 minutes, then strain and serve. I like to blend in a little maple syrup and a tablespoon of butter, but it's also good with cream and a bit of vanilla extract.

  post signature