Tag Archives: healthier

  1. A Guide to Smarter Smoothies

    While smoothies have become a popular meal replacement, snack and all around trendy food, crafted incorrectly you can be consuming a sugar-loaded, blood sugar exploding cocktail. I am excited to share with you A Guide to Smarter Smoothies to hopefully help you understand how to better create the smoothies that are right for you.

    A Guide to Smarter Smoothies

    A Guide to Smarter Smoothies

    If you’ve been reading Tasty Yummies for some time, you probably know that the archives are LOADED with smoothie recipes. Smoothies used to play a much larger role in my daily diet routine, for the longest time it was always my favorite way to start my day. Interestingly at the height of my smoothie consumption, weight loss was definitely a struggle, as were energy crashes and sugar cravings. What I didn’t know back then, but I do know now as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, is that without the proper formulation, smoothies are a blood sugar explosion waiting to happen.

    Every time you consume any carbohydrates and sugar containing foods, it causes an increase in blood glucose. How much so is dependent on the food and the individual. Simple sugars more specifically (monosaccharides), those sugars ending in -ose, sucrose, glucose, fructose, lactose, galactose, maltose – these are metabolized especially quickly and can often cause a big surge in insulin.

    Our body’s innate intelligence continually monitors the amount of glucose in our bloodstream to maintain balance and homeostasis. When blood glucose levels increase, the pancreas releases the hormone insulin.  Insulin increases the uptake of glucose by our muscle and fat cells; increases the amount of glycogen in our muscle and liver; increases fatty acid synthesis from excessive carbohydrates; and decreases fat breakdown and mobilization from our fat tissue.

    A Guide to Smarter Smoothies

    How Bad Can a Fruit-Loaded Smoothie Be?

    With a spike in blood sugar, a release of insulin and the impending crash, no matter what food is the initial cause, this can lead to immediate hunger, mid-day cravings, energy crashes, lightheadedness, anxiety, etc. Even worse, if the rest of your day’s eating (and most days) continue on the carb and sugar path, you are absolutely creating a long term problem. Whether you are overweight, struggle with weight loss or notice blood sugar issues or not.

    Day in and day out this roller coaster can lead to a slew of health complications beyond obesity, lethargy and cravings. To simplify the worst of it, constant output of insulin is like the boy that cried wolf, your cells stop responding to the insulin that is constantly being produced and they become resistant, meaning without the insulin to transport the excess glucose to your cells for energy production, blood sugar levels remain high and this is can lead to chronic insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and eventually diabetes.

    These days, I personally prefer to opt for (and I recommend to my clients) the prioritizing of nutrient-dense whole foods, rather than drinkable meals, like smoothies or juice. Whole foods offer the opportunity for maximum nutrient absorption, which allows our digestion to work as intended, and assuming these whole foods aren’t loaded up with carbohydrates and sugar – it’s much easier on your blood sugar.

    That said, in the summer I do find myself with a much different appetite and my cravings differ quite significantly from the cooler months. I am not nearly as ravenous for more robust meals, especially on the hotter days. In the summer months I find myself wanting and craving more smoothies than any other time of the year. Knowing what I know now, my approach to creating them has drastically changed, so today I am going to share with you my Guide to Smarter Smoothies.

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  2. What You Need to Know About Eggs – Pasture Raised vs Cage-Free vs Free-Range, etc

    Selecting eggs these days can be a bit overwhelming. There’s Free-Range, Organic, Caged, Cage-free, Pasture-Raised. There are brown eggs and white eggs,  Omega-3 enriched eggs. Not only are there significant differences in the animal care with these various types of eggs, but in addition, depending on what the hens themselves ate and their access to sunlight, the end result in the eggs we eat, also show drastic nutritional differences, as well. Read on for What You Need to Know About Eggs. Let’s get right to it:

    What You Need to Know About Eggs - Pasture Raised vs Cage-Free vs Free-Range, etc

    Look at the difference in the color of the yolks from a conventional egg (left), to a pasture-raised egg (right).

    What You Need to Know About Eggs - Pasture Raised vs Cage-Free vs Free-Range, etc

    The Various Labels – What Do They Mean

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  3. Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups

    Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups

    Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups

    With Halloween approaching and the rest of the holidays not far behind, sweets and treats are going to be just about everywhere, tempting us at every turn. While I don’t see anything wrong with the occasional indulgence, I still also maintain my concerns about the quality of ingredients in most treats. From loads of refined sugar to, often times if store-bought, a lengthy list of fillers, thickeners, “natural flavors”, soy products and who knows what else. There’s just no reason for it, especially when you can make your own.

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  4. Dark Chocolate Drizzled Popcorn Balls (Gluten-free & Dairy-Free)

    Dark Chocolate Drizzled Popcorn Balls - Gluten-free and Dairy-free

    I love the challenge of creating healthier versions of classic recipes. Earlier this week I asked my Facebook readers: what Halloween treat would they like a re-imagined healthier version of? Popcorn balls popped up (pun intended) quite often! Traditional popcorn balls are usually loaded with butter, sugar, corn syrup or marshmallows, etc. I figured the easiest way to hold these together without all the junk was honey! It worked perfectly and it gave the popcorn a nice caramel-like color and flavor, too. The dark chocolate drizzle on top is optional, but I do have to say it really makes these extra special and it shouldn’t be skipped if you can help it. Dark chocolate and salty-sweet is an amazing combo.

    Dark Chocolate Drizzled Popcorn Balls - Gluten-free and Dairy-free Read the rest of this entry »

  5. Vegan Waldorf Salad – Stella Artois Apple Cidre Perfect Pairing

    Vegan Waldorf Salad {Gluten-free}

    It’s that time of year already, apple season is upon us! I think I may be in the minority when I say I might get more excited about the apples than pumpkins this time of year. GASP! I know right? While everyone else is going pumpkin crazy, I am quietly enjoying and celebrating the often-forgotten apple! This year I am lucky enough to have a small apple tree in our yard, that has already given me a few apples. Honestly, if you saw this tree, that would shock you. It is barely 3 and a half feet tall and really nothing spectacular, but it must be healthy, hearty and well since we’ve already gotten 4 big apples from it and it has another few that will be ready soon.

    Vegan Waldorf Salad {Gluten-free}

    Since we won’t be getting a ton of apples from our tree, I wanted to make something that would highlight and use just one apple in a very special way. I didn’t want to just juice it or mix it up in a cake or some muffins. When I was offered the opportunity to try Stella Artois’ newest beverage, a delicious Apple Cidre, I was inspired to make a light and savory fall salad to pair with it.

    Stella Artois Apple Cidre is a European-style cider made from fresh, hand-picked red apples with accents of peach, apricot, and orange. The crisp, and refreshing taste paired perfectly with this light, fresh salad.  I will for sure be serving the two together at our next BBQ if we still have apples from the our tree. My favorite part of the Cidre is how it instantly brings me to the feeling of the fall that I grew up with back east! Something I am going to miss intensely this year! This Cidre has a hint of spice and the perfect apple flavor and it isn’t overly sweet like some ciders can be and it is far lighter and more natural tasting than most every other hard cider I have tried. It’s basically a grown-up spiked, sparkling apple juice! Plus, the best part is, like most hard ciders, Stella Artois’ Apple Cidre is naturally gluten-free. BONUS! Back in the day, I used to love Stella Artois’ signature lager, it was one of my go-to beers, but after going gluten-free nearly 9 years ago, I haven’t been able to enjoy it. So as you can imagine, I was super excited to see they had introduced a naturally gluten-free Apple Cidre to the market and of course, even more excited that it tastes so good.

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  6. Grain-free Maple Bourbon Pecan Tart – Gluten-free + Dairy-free

     

    Grain-free Maple Bourbon Pecan Tart - Gluten-free + Dairy-freeI am going to start off this post by saying that this isn’t the usual über healthy dessert that I am usually touting here on Tasty Yummies. It has a full 2 cups of maple syrup and some additional coconut sugar. So yeh. But the good news is it IS healthier than the usual pecan pie. No butter, no corn syrup, no refined sugar, etc. Could I have made this healthier? Probably, but this was the compromise I came up with since I promised hubby I wouldn’t mess with this classics too much. I actually hadn’t even planned on sharing this recipe, but after I posted a photo on Instagram, people were begging for the recipe.

    I made this for the Kentucky Derby party that we hosted here at our house on Saturday. I promised Mark an afternoon of all of his favorite Southern foods that remind him of Louisville. I promised not to “healthy-up” the recipes. I made mini hot browns (the sandwich made famous at the Brown Hotel in Louisville), pimento cheese dip, southern style deviled eggs, jalapeño cornbread mini muffins, a blackeyed pea salad, apple cobbler (I made this recipe with apples instead of the berries), mint-infused raw sugar simple syrup for Mint Juleps and this Maple Bourbon Pecan Tart. The menu was ALL about Mark and though I couldn’t eat a lot of it, I wanted it to be all yummy and I wanted to bring as much of Mark’s home to him on a day he is super homesick

    Grain-free Maple Bourbon Pecan Tart - Gluten-free + Dairy-freeWhen I promised to make pecan pie, I did specify that I had to make it gluten-free and dairy-free so I could enjoy it and I refused to make it with the usual corn syrup or regular sugar. I wanted a grain-free crust that would compliment but not overpower the tart and I went for as much maple and bourbon flavor as I could get.

    I am so excited with how this turned out. It has a really rich flavor from the maple syrup and the bourbon that is really special. It is luscious, sticky and sweet, without being overly sweet and heavy. Though it isn’t something I will be making often, it is perfect for those special occasions, like a Derby party or the holidays.
    Grain-free Maple Bourbon Pecan Tart - Gluten-free + Dairy-free

    [print_this]Grain-free Maple Bourbon Pecan Tart – Gluten-free + Dairy-free
    Serves 8-10

    Tart Crust

    • 2.5 cups almond flour aka almond meal
    • 3 tablespoons flax seed meal
    • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
    • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt

    Preheat the oven to 375º F. Lightly grease a 9 or 10-inch tart pan. In a large bowl, add all of the crust ingredients and mix very well. I like to get my hands right in there to make certain it is all mixed up. Add the crust mixture to the tart pan and press down firmly into the pan, going up the sides just a tad bit. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside.

    Tart Filling

    • 2 cups pure organic maple syrup, preferably Grade B
    • 3 large local farm fresh eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1/4 cup coconut sugar or firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
    • 1/4 teaspon salt
    • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
    • 3 tablespoons bourbon
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 cups organic raw pecan halves or pieces

    Meanwhile in a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the maple syrup to a boil and boil for 8 to 10 minutes to reduce. Remove from the heat and pour into a heatproof measuring pitcher. The syrup should be reduced to 1 1/2 cups. If necessary, return the syrup to the saucepan and continue to boil until sufficiently reduced. Let cool to room temperature before proceeding.

    In a bowl, stir together the eggs, coconut sugar, reduced maple syrup, the bourbon, salt, coconut oil and vanilla until well mixed. Add the pecans and stir well. Pour into the partially baked pie shell, making sure the pecans are evenly distributed.

    Bake the pie until the center is set and firm to the touch, 25-30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 1 hour; remove pan sides. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.[/print_this]

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