Whether you’re a football lover or just watch for the commercials, chances are many of you will be watching the big game this Sunday. Maybe you’re hosting a big party or perhaps just settling down with the family. Whatever the case, you’ll want something to munch on while you watch. There’s no need to reach for unhealthy, fat, sugar and salt laden foods. You can “have your cake and eat it too” so to speak, with these 10 healthy snack recipes.
Today I have a whole food recipe which gives you a way to use up some of your leftovers. Here is my personal recipe for leftovers, which in this case was turkey. However, this really isn’t a recipe, as much as a process, which is very versatile. In this instance, I used Delicata squash, along with other things I had on hand: the basics, turkey, of course as well as kale, carrots, celery, onion, along with homemade bone broth, white wine, a little Himalayan salt, and some spices. The Delicata squash, pictured below, is a small, slightly sweet squash, about the size of a large sweet potato.
This recipe was born out of a craving for pot pie. Being gluten-free, I was too lazy to attempt the almost impossible “gluten-free” pie crust. So, I made the filling for the pot pie, and put it over a baked potato. Thus the lazy pot pie was invented. In this instance, I expanded the recipe by using squash instead of a potato.
With this recipe/procedure, you are only limited by your imagination. Are you a vegan? Use beans instead of meat. For the rest, open your fridge and see what you have on hand. How about, Sweet Potatoes, with left over steak, zucchini and tomatoes, or, Acorn squash, rotisserie chicken, broccoli, and spinach…well you get the idea. Experiment! There is a huge variety of squash, potatoes or even ancient grains, such as quinoa, amaranth or millet.
Add some fresh herbs to liven it up. This is a recipe I developed several years ago. Looking back at it today, I’d add poultry seasoning herbs, such as sage, rosemary and/or thyme. Fresh herbs add life and wonderful seasoning to this dish. With that said, it’s all about using what’s on hand. If you don’t have fresh herbs, by all means, use dried instead.
Here are a few photos of the ingredients and recipe steps. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the complete recipe.
In honor of my post yesterday on the Okinawa Diet, I am posting one of my recipes, Purple Sweet Potato Nachos. Sweet potatoes, particularly the purple variety, are a large part of the Okinawa style of eating. Sweet potatoes are super healthy, packed with fiber and a host of vitamins and minerals. For more information on the health benefits of these little gems, see this article by Dr. Axe.
In this recipe, I used ground bison for the meat. However, any ground meat would work. Just make sure it’s grass fed or pasture raised. To truly honor the Okinawa way of eating, however, would eliminate the sour cream and cheese all together. You could use vegan options, however, Okinawan people typically don’t eat processed foods. You could also swap out the ground meat for your favorite beans. All other steps would remain the same. Enjoy!
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce or spinach (or both)
**eliminate or use vegan versions for the Okinawa Diet
Wash and thinly slice potatoes. Place potatoes on a parchment covered baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, until coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake at 425 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes, or until desired crispness.
While potatoes are baking, brown ground bison in large fry pan. Drain. Add salsa and onion. Bring to boil, then simmer until cooked through, onions are done and sauce is desired thickness. If it is too thick, add some water.
To assemble: place baked chips on plate. Top meat, cheese, lettuce and other toppings. ENJOY
Yesterday, I posted an article highlighting the 9 secrets to longevity from the world’s centenarians, from the website bluezones.com. Today, I picked some of the best longevity recipes from this wonderful website. What makes these recipes “anti-aging” or “longevity” recipes? Number one, they are plant based, which is one of the 9 longevity secrets. Number two, they are all jam packed with super healthy, super nutritious foods, such as sweet potatoes, kale, quinoa, beans, avocado, coconut, etc.
Each of these foods alone are wonderful additions to any diet. However when combined they make up some nutritional powerhouses, that are not only anti-aging, but good for brain and heart health as well. Combine some of these recipes with a naturally active lifestyle for a winning combination.
Experts always tell you not to eat at night. However, when you have insomnia, you are willing to try anything. In my last Insomnia Fix article, posted yesterday, I recommended adding tryptophan rich foods into your diet. Why? Tryptophan is a precursor to melatonin. Everyone knows the sleepy effect a big Thanksgiving dinner has on our body. That’s due to the tryptophan rich foods in the dinner, such as sweet potato and turkey. Below is a chart from Dr. Axe, which details some of the top tryptophan rich foods.
In today’s post, I’ve looked for recipes that use at least one of these foods. In some cases, more than one is used in the recipe. In most cases, you can add nuts or seeds to boost levels of melatonin. As a reminder here are some seeds/nuts rich melatonin.
Know Your Produce
This couldn’t be easier! Some fresh or frozen banana and some yogurt, with a hint of vanilla extract. Add some almonds or almond butter for a dose of melatonin.
Oatmeal at night? YES! It’s high in both melatonin and tryptophan! Using greek yogurt instead of milk and adding banana and nuts makes it a nighttime powerhouse! Make it your own, and an even better nighttime snack by adding melatonin rich seeds.
Anyone who knows me knows I am a whole food advocate. I feel we were meant to get nutrients from whole foods, not man made, highly processed supplements. Supplements have their place, when accounting for nutrient deficiencies. However, the average, healthy person, who eats a mainly whole food diet, doesn’t necessarily need artificially produced supplements.
Yesterday, I published a Brain Talks article on my main blog called:
In that article, I highlight the importance of melatonin in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. That article explains that melatonin is a master hormone that is not only necessary for sleep, but also:
a potent anti-inflammatory agent
inhibits the secretion of amyloid plaque, seen in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients
decreases insulin secretion
regulates the levels of all other hormones
a powerful and effective antioxidant and anti-toxin agent
regulates the immune response
protects the liver
Melatonin is produced naturally in the body, through proper sleep and a nutritious diet. However, research shows we can boost melatonin levels through supplementation or by consuming foods high in melatonin.
As part of my master’s thesis, I researched phytomelatonin, or melatonin found in plants. I discovered several researchers who calculated the melatonin content in plants. Below you’ll see a chart listing the top 13 melatonin containing plant foods.
Experts indicate typical artificial supplement doses of melatonin range from .20 milligrams (mg) to 5 mg daily. As you can see, the amounts in the chart are measured in picograms/gram of food weight. 1 picogram (pg) is a very small unit of measure and equals 0.000000001 milligram (mg).
Dried goji berries, the food which contains the most melatonin, contains 103,000 pg/gram. So, 100 grams of goji berries would then contain 10,300,000 pg of melatonin or .0103 mg. This is obviously a long way from a normal dose. However, the idea isn’t meant to replace supplements, as much as it is to reduce the amount of artificial melatonin needed, if someone is deficient. If an individual is healthy, simply adding in melatonin rich foods will eliminate the need for artificial supplements all together.
Other benefits of goji berries
Besides, goji berries are a super food and a wonderful addition to any diet. Benefits of goji berries include:
Boost brain power and prevent neurodegenerative disease
Detoxify the liver
Ease mood and improve quality of sleep
Improve eye health
Balance blood sugar levels
Boost the immune system
Prevent heart disease
Now, onto some healthy but delicious recipes to include in our diet, that will boost your melatonin levels and so much more!
As a sufferer of chronic sinus migraines, I have reluctantly come to realize that grains, dairy and I just don’t get along. For more than 10 years I was gluten-free. Giving up gluten helped rid my body of chronic psoriasis and arthritis. However, my sinus headaches persisted and gradually worsened over the years.
I searched for a reason, an ailment that could explain my sinus problems, even visiting specialists, but to no avail. My ENT doctor checked my sinuses and even sent me for MRI’s and other scans, which all came back clean. She said the migraines are more than likely food related.
So as a nutrition junky, I knew all about the elimination diet and gave it a try. Unfortunately, the elimination diet eliminates dairy and gluten, but not all grains, since oats and rice are allowed on most plans.
It wasn’t until I tried the paleo diet that my headaches finally began to subside. Now my diet is paleo approximately 95% of the time. The other 5% of the time, I allow myself indulgences, including gluten containing foods such as cakes, cookies as well as certain comfort foods and dairy. I find if I indulge in only one or two meals or so a week, my headaches remain at bay.
With that said, there are times when I’m eating healthy that I just need some comfort foods. Today, I’ve searched the internet’s plethora of Paleo sites for paleo versions of some popular comfort foods! ENJOY!
Fork and Beans Use these amazing tortillas with your favorite taco filling for perfect paleo tacos! I make these all the time! They are delicious and better than any store bought tortillas, whether regular or gluten free..
We have all watched the news stories and seen videos and photos of the wild fires that are devastating Australia right now. We sit back and feel helpless as homes burn, peoples lives are lost or endangered and most of all, millions of innocent animals lives are lost.
Here are some statistics:
480 million animals have died as a result of the fires
30% of New South Wales koalas killed
28 people are missing in Victoria
Over $50 million a day lost.
11.3 million acres destroyed, an area larger than the Netherlands.
2,500 buildings destroyed
Air pollution in Sydney makes breathing equivalent to smoking 37 cigarettes.
How you can help
Unless we’re firefighters, it’s likely we can’t go down and help directly. However, there are ways to help from a distance. Almost all organizations are asking for financial donations, instead of goods, or physical…
I decided to start a cooking journal, to coincide with my lifestyle and fitness journal from my main site. This journal will be a log of my adventures as I teach myself more about cooking, baking and making my own recipes. I hope you’ll join me on this new venture!
Cookbooks & DVDs
Most of what I know about cooking was self taught as well as learned through observing my mother and grandmothers cook. I also learned many healthy cooking techniques at Hawthorn University. It is my dream to one day go to school to become a Natural Food Chef. However, Until then, I will continue to learn on my own.
As you can see in the photos above, I have 2 very large cookbooks, as well as a Great Courses DVD.
America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook -weighing in at just over 6 pounds and 2 inches thick, this book is HUGE!
How to Bake Everything By: Mark Bittman- not as big, but still quite large, this book weighs in at a little over 3 pounds and about an inch thick.
The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the lost art of cooking. This is a DVD set through Greatest Courses. I’ve had it for awhile. My son and I started the classes together a few years ago, but never finished the course. I’ll be going back to the beginning and working my way through. The courses are taught by an instructor from the Culinary Institute of America.