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French Lentils with artichokes, spinach and green beans

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Lentils are one of my favorite legume! I especially love to have this dish after a long bike ride or a long run as all of the macronutrients are replenished in my body!

A good source of fiber, protein, vitamin B1, iron, zinc, potassium, B6, vitamin C, folate, vitamin K!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups dried lentils

1 box organic chicken or vegetable stock (or you can make your own)

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic chopped

1 red onion chopped

1 pound green beans with ends snipped

1 bag frozen artichoke hearts

1 bunch spinach leaves washed

1/4 tsp. thyme or if you have fresh several sprigs chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

4 oz. can of tomato sauce (or you can make your own)

1 (16 oz.) can of plum tomatoes chopped

Directions:

Place vegetable or chicken stock in a crock pot, add 4 cups water. If you do not have a crock pot then place it in a soup pan on the stove. Add lentils to the crockpot and cook on high for about 2 hours or on low for 4 hours. If you are using the stove top method then bring water to a boil and add lentils and allow to simmer until lentils are soft.

Add olive oil to a saute pan and add garlic and onions. Allow to cook until soft. Add green beans, artichoke hearts and saute until soft. Add spinach and allow to wilt. Add tomatoes and sauce and continue to cook until it is at a temperature to your liking.

Add lentils to a bowl and top with vegetable saute. Enjoy!

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Cooking Class to Benefit Andy Welch Racing and the CKG Foundation!

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Black Bean Beet Patty with stir fry

Black Bean Beet Patty

Ingredients:

2 cups black beans

3 cloves garlic chopped

1 small red onion chopped

1 purple sweet potato

2 whole beets

3 tablespoons Hemp seed

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

salt and pepper to taste

I soaked my black beans at night then cooked them in the slow cooker the next day. If it is easier for you to buy canned black beans make sure you rinse them thoroughly. Chop beets and purple sweet potato and place in a dutch oven along with 1 tablespoon olive oil to roast for about 15 minutes. Add olive oil to a pan and saute the red onion and garlic. Add black beans to a bowl along with the roasted beets and sweet potato. Mash them together and add the toasted onions and garlic. Add the hemp seeds and nutritional yeast and then make into patties. Add grape seed oil to a skillet and cook on low until black bean patties are brown on each side. Place on a plate and allow to cool so the patties will then hold together.

Vegetable Stir Fry

Ingredients

2 cups chopped broccoli

3 garlic cloves chopped

1 small red onion chopped

2 cups kale chopped

1 cup shittake mushrooms chopped

Add olive oil to a saute pan and turn stove on medium heat. Add vegetables and begin to saute then slowly turn down the heat and allow vegetables to cook until you like the texture.

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This is a great vegetarian dish to start the new year with. Full of antioxidant nutrients, the beets and the greens will provide iron, vitamin C, folate, magnesium and fiber.

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Beet Blueberry Vegan Complete Smoothie

My newest smoothie creation is made up of unsweetened hemp milk, beet’s and blueberries. Of course I add my favorite protein powder, Vegan Complete which has 15 grams of protein along with fiber.

Beetroot is a rich source of phytochemical compounds that includes ascorbic acid, carotenoids, phenolic acids and flavonoids. Beetroot is also one of the few vegetables that contain a group of highly bioactive pigments known as betalains. A number of investigations have reported betalains to have high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory capabilities. This has sparked interest in a possible role for beetroot in clinical pathologies characterized by oxidative stress and chronic inflammation such as liver disease.

We all know that blueberries are a rich source of antioxidant and 1 cup has 8 grams of fiber!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup unsweetened hemp milk

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

1/2 cup frozen red beets

Vegan Vanilla Complete Protein powder – 2 scoops

Put in blender and blend until smooth and creamy! Enjoy!

If you mention you saw this blog post receive 10% off on a canister of Vegan Complete!

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LIGHTEN UP AND AMY’S ARMY PRESENT:

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Tina’s Cardiometabolic Protein Smoothie, and a Sale!

It’s the time of year where you want something quick, refreshing and satisfying. I combined dark cherries with Fit Food Complete and coconut milk with a added boost of quercetin to help with seasonal allergies. Why call it Cardiometabolic? It has the perfect balance of protein, carbohydrate and fat along with fiber to help stabilize the blood sugar and to make it heart healthy!

Quercetin became a popular and widely used remedy for sinus congestion, sneezing, and the pollen season. I have been using it daily and so far sneezing, nasal congestion and headaches have been low!

For the next two weeks (April 23rd-May 6th) we will be offering 10% off of Fit Food Complete. When you come into the office or call please mention it and we will gladly apply the discount!

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh spinach

2 scoops Fit Food Complete

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk

1/4 tsp. Quercetin (I use Designs for Health)

12 frozen cherries

Add coconut milk with 1/2 cup water to your blender. Add 1 cup fresh spinach and the quercetin and blend on high. Add protein powder and cherries and blend until you have a creamy smoothie.

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Lunch Review: Subway Turkey Breast Salad

We suppose Panera’s awesome chicken salad might have made us a bit biased when it comes to other restaurant options. Okay, really biased. That’s probably all it is. Right?

Or is Subway hiding behind their cleverly executed marketing, which has convinced us all they’re the healthiest fast food option?

Today’s lunch review is not a happy one. As Tina searches through Subway’s online menu, seeking the perfect healthy option to review for you, dear reader, in an effort to make your lunch-on-the-go selections healthier, she finally lands on their Turkey Breast Salad. She nods approvingly. “I would rather have the Double Chicken Chopped Salad,” she says, “but we should try something new.”

Stephanie meets plenty of friendly service and even friendlier smells at the local Subway, and walks away happy with the experience. But when Tina takes a bite, she knows right away something is wrong.

First off, where’s the turkey? It was almost a hopeless task, Tina digging through her salad to find any shreds of meat she could to weigh. (Yes, we weighed it. Don’t you want a thorough review?)

Voilà! Here it is. After minutes and minutes of agonized sifting: an ounce and a half of turkey. It’s precisely the amount they promised, but not exactly the delicious juicy turkey breast we dreamed of. Tina tosses it back into her salad and starts in on her lunch. “I don’t know if it’s the most delicious salad I’ve had, but it’s an okay option,” she decides.

This picture is after Tina found the turkey hidden beneath the lettuce and veggies.

It looks as though we’re facing a mundane C+ sort of review for this salad. But things get exciting when Tina comes across Subway’s page of Product Ingredients. This is different from nutrition facts; here we see more into the details of each ingredient and food item they offer.

Suffice it to say Tina’s salad went untouched after she read this page.

Tina’s discovery at Subway has encouraged her to pen a more thorough, coherent article than we can offer now about what preservatives and additives can do to the body, and why we should all avoid them. For now, we can only mention the horror at realizing Subway injects their hot peppers with Yellow Dye #5 (why?! Fresh peppers?!), and their meats have way too many ingredients that are not meat. Sodium, fats, carbs, sugar and the like should be considered when selecting a restaurant meal, but additives like the ones Subway uses rather liberally should be avoided all together. Soy protein concentrate, another leading player in Subway’s “meats”, for example, can create hormone imbalance, among other issues. Some of their additives may not exactly be deadly, but why would you consume protein with so many fillers if you can help it?

For now, realize that you don’t have to limit yourself to free range, organic, hand-fed and well-loved meat. You do want, however, to see only a few ingredients in your proteins: ideally meat, and as little after that as possible. High-quality protein is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight, having higher energy and generally fueling your body. Don’t settle for sodium injections, corn syrup solids or soy protein concentrate.

We give Subway’s options overall a resounding F. Sorry, Subway. Your food is tasty and we appreciate the gift card, but absolutely cannot recommend it to anyone.

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Nutritious Lunch at Sticks Kebob Shop

We had an absolutely overwhelming response from our clients on that last post about Panera. Making food at home is always the best option, but everyone needs a break now and then. Our clients do a wonderful job of staying disciplined and keeping their eyes on the prize, and we know they deserve a reward. How long can one shy away from the office deciding to order out together? or avoid going to dinner with friends for fear of breaking the rules?

Well, next time you have a say in where to go, we recommend Sticks Kebob Shop. For you Richmonders, there’s one right in Willow Lawn. Feast your eyes on this scrumptious delight:

Oh boy. Is your mouth watering yet? As if their Mixed Garden Vegetables with Basil Oil kebob wasn’t delightful enough, they also offer an amazing Chicken Breast with Fresh Herbs kebob.

These are the two Tina would highlight at Sticks. They are delicious and even more delicious together. Sticks makes a tasty little side of cucumbers, tomatoes and other delights, and we think that rounds out the meal pretty well.

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Grilled veggies and meats seem the obvious choice for healthy options, but the savvy restaurant-goer has to be careful. We were surprised, once we really started researching, at how many dishes are wayyyy too high in carbohydrates, overall calories and sodium (good grief, so much sodium). With this combo, though, Tina found she could get the protein she needed at lunch time as well as our old friend low glycemic index carbs through the veggies. The extra fiber doesn’t hurt, either. What Tina really enjoys here, though, is the healthy fat that is included without the heavy cost of loads and loads of sodium. Total sodium for these two together is 175 mg. Sticks has a shrimp platter which looks awful tempting (Stephanie was this close to ordering that), but with 1,270 mg of sodium it’s not quite worth it at half of your sodium need for the day.

Tina’s only complaint is that the fiber could be a little higher. 3 grams isn’t so bad, but she will have to make sure to include 22 grams more during the day so meet the daily recommendation of 25.

If you’re in Richmond, Charlottesville or Williamsburg, check this place out. At Willow Lawn the staff is exceedingly friendly, willing to offer suggestions about their favorite items and preparing meals quickly. Before you go, take a glance at their nutrition information, and try to make sure your selection matches those of these two kebobs in protein, carbs, and sodium. They also offer a little side salad to enjoy with your kebob choices, which Tina gives a thumbs-up.

The Mixed Garden Vegetables with Basil Oil kebob and the Chicken Breast with Fresh Herbs kebob get an A-. They may be no Power Chicken Hummus Bowl, but as far as we’re concerned, still a great option. Enjoy!

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A Nice Surprise at Panera

Today Tina caught wind of a deliciously amazing option at Panera: their Super Top Secret Must-Know-The-Password-To-Order Menu. Okay, it’s not that secret, but somehow it had slipped under our radar. How could Panera, right around the corner from our office, have such a divine bunch of lunch options that we haven’t even heard of?! You can check this menu out in its entirety here, but we’re most excited about their Power Chicken Hummus Bowl.

Seriously, this salad is amazing. It’s about the farthest thing it could be from a wimpy salad for a wimpy meal plan. The nice folks at our Panera location whipped this salad up in a flash and sent us on our way with the perfect lunch. It’s convenient and tasty, but what really caught Tina’s eye were the nutrition facts.

Waiting to be devoured.

Here it is in all its well-balanced and nutritious glory. The Registered Dietitian Stamp of Approval is owed to the fact that this salad has a very near perfect balance of nutritional elements for lunch. The ratio here is 18 grams carbs : 4 grams fiber : 25 grams protein. When grabbing lunch out on the run, it’s very important to check that your meal comes as close to this equation as possible. Most restaurant meals, Tina says, push an overload of carbs, throwing your meal our of proportion. Sticking to the figures above will ensure stabilization of blood sugar, allowing for energy levels to remain constant and for focus to increase after your meal; not to mention, keeping you sustained for a good three to four hours. You won’t be snoozing at your desk after this salad. The chicken is antibiotic-free and plentiful, accounting for the generous amount of protein. Hummus is a cleverly added low glycemic index carb, while the flavor and consistency of it (AMAZING) eases one’s desire for creamy dressing. Plenty of veggies and spinach contribute fiber and antioxidant nutrients.

Panera’s Power Chicken Hummus Bowl gets an A++ rating on Tina’s list. It’s the best choice we’ve seen in a long, long time from a restaurant.

Way to go, Panera. Way to go.

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Antioxidant Salad with Poached Wild Salmon

Great things are happening as the city of Richmond turns green and the temperatures start to rise! People are emerging from their long winter hibernation into a beautiful spring. We’re busier than ever with clients who want to feel their best and enjoy the glorious weather.

Atlee Chiropractic is getting in the spring spirit and also celebrating their 10th anniversary, and as part of their celebration have invited Tina to talk on a very important topic: eating for energy and focus. We can all use a little of those things, so if you’re in the area, make sure to stop by the Atlee Library on Monday, April 21st at 6:30pm for the talk.

As a teaser, we’re sharing a great recipe to promote focus: a wild salmon salad. Omega 3-fatty acid, which includes EPA/DHA and ALA, is the primary ingredient for a focused mind. This dish is loaded with omega 3-fatty acids which are found in the wild salmon, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and greens. Omega 3-fatty acids are known to help with inflammation, depression, better cellular communication and increased brain power. You’ll feel more and more productive with each bite.

Poached Salmon:
8 oz. of wild salmon
Pan for the salmon
water

Place water in the pan and place on medium high heat. Place salmon with skin side down in the pan and cover. Allow salmon to cook until poached. If you cut through the salmon it should be completely cooked through.

Allow to cool and then place on the antioxidant salad.

Salad Ingredients:
Power Greens (include baby spinach, chard, kale and mizuna)
1 small carrot chopped
1 celery stalk chopped
2 broccoli florets chopped
1/4 cup cauliflower chopped
Red Pepper chopped
1 radish chopped
2 tablespoons walnuts chopped
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds

Mix salad ingredients into a bowl. Top with poached salmon (recipe to follow) and Tahini Lemon dressing (recipe to follow)

Lemon-Tahini Dressing:
1/4 cup tahini ( I used Sesame King Lightly Roasted tahini)
Juice from 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons coconut milk
pinch of coconut sugar

Mix together and serve. Enjoy!

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