The Fermentation Series, Part One: What’s the Dill, Pickle?

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As a child, that oversized barrel of dull, green, rubbery floating objects swimming in a tub of liquid ambrosia was always a source of marvel and excitement. The aroma that ascended when the barrel lid was lifted was enough to send me spinning. As it was positioned next to the deli counter, the mere thought of the long walk to the back of the store to get lunch meat brought forth feelings of joy (at the thought of fishing out my own), angst (Would I be allowed to have one?) and the sheer delight that only a kosher dill pickle could bring (Well, that and the Mr. Softee truck, the Italian Ice truck, the freezer in the corner store where the bomb pops lived…you get the point-it was important!).

Fast forward some um-hmm odd years and pickles are not really a thing for me anymore. Don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy them occasionally as accompaniment to a nice sandwich or as a necessary ingredient in a bomb macaroni salad, but aside from that, I rarely think of them.

What IS a thing for me, however, is good digestion and gut health! And fermented foods and beverages have been shown to be excellent for both. So in the interest of my childhood nostalgia and in my quest to add more fermented foods to my diet, eating pickles made the old-fashioned way is a no-brainer. Continue reading

Can chia seeds really do that?

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YASSSS DAHLING! They can, they can! Chia seeds are like that!

Once an 80’s fad used as window sill fillers, paper weights and conversation starters, these little powerhouses have burst on the scene and gone straight to the top of the superfoods lists! The nutritional value of chia seeds (also known to me as the chias) has been well documented, some may even say ad-nauseum. Still, I manage to consistently run into that percentage of the population that remains unaware and even shocked when they hear me talk about the chias as if they were common knowledge.

My bad! I have been known to get caught up in my health bubble at times. So in an effort to acquaint you all with my bffs, I’ll share a little info about them and how I use them to stay healthy. Continue reading

Infused Water Under the Bridge

Did you know that there are some people who don’t like the…taste(?)…of water?

True story. I hear it quite often, actually. “I know that I should drink more water, but I just don’t like the taste.”

Lack of taste may be a more accurate descriptor, but tomato, to-mah-to. As a health coach, I’m happy that they even recognize the need to increase the hydration factor! After all, knowing is half the battle. Especially now, during the summer months, staying well hydrated is more of a challenge than usual due to increased temps outside, increased air circulation inside and of course, the increase in social events that come with their own dehydration temptations, like alcohol. The benefits of staying hydrated are many and include things such as: Continue reading

Jammin’ on the one!

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Since my childhood, I’ve had a non-committal relationship with jam. I always preferred the smooth transparency and easy spreadability of jelly. Jam, with it’s chunky, nebulous, spread-resistant constitution, placed a very distant second to my beloved jelly. As an adult, my tolerance for jam had significantly increased as my aversion to chunky textures disappeared. Until recently, what stood between us was that most store-bought jams have way too much sugar and even if I wanted to make my own, I had no more space for equipment, storage or unitasking ingredients like pectin. So I just went without. And then it happened. A friend of mine shared a recipe for a pectin-free, sugar-free Refrigerator Jam.

Shut yo mouth!” you say.
Right?! I would, but then you wouldn’t get the recipe. Back to the story.

Once my head stopped spinning like the wheels of a slot machine and I realized that everything I had ever known to be true, wasn’t… OK. Well, more like everything I had known about jam wasn’t true. Anyway, once I realized that, I was able to make my own loose interpretation with stuff I already had on hand. And it was da bomb! Continue reading

Okra Soup

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Okra is one of those veggies that people either love or hate. I was in the latter group until I had it prepared for me while visiting Nigeria.  As a child and later as an adult, I had a hard time getting beyond the slippery texture and had simply decided that it wasn’t for me. Thank goodness for good manners and not wanting to offend my gracious hosts because what they prepared for me on that most memorable of evenings is now one of my favorite soups ever. Cooking the okra in a soup does two things: it makes the okra itself less slippery and capitalizes on the gelatinous nature of the vegetable as a thickener for the soup. This makes it very hearty and perfect for those cold, winter days. In Nigeria, this soup would be served along with a starchy side such as gari, fufu or pounded yam and eaten with your hands. Being that I partake of a mostly Paleo diet, I simply enjoy it by itself, in a bowl, with a spoon. I have adjusted this recipe somewhat for easier to source ingredients, but the outcome is still as delicious as it’s West African inspiration. Let me know what you think!

THRIVE in Livity!

Angela Continue reading

Stewed Brussels Sprouts

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Easy. Nutritious. Delicious.

I am a veggie lover. Especially green veggies. But somehow, in all my years, I have never managed to have a single brussels sprout pass my lips. It was one of those things that when put on a plate in front of me as a kid, I would just go to bed hungry. Fast forward X amount of years and I finally had my first taste of them about a month ago. Wow! Who knew? These nutrient dense wonders are packed with Vitamins A, C and K and also high in folate and fiber. 1 Cup of brussels sprouts has 56 calories, 4 grams of fiber and 4 grams of protein. Stewing them in tomatoes also adds the additional benefit of lycopene which has been suggested by studies to be associated with decreased risk of cancer, heart disease and age-related eye disorders. So “Eat your Brussels Sprouts,” just like your Mama said…only this time, enjoy them!

Prep Time: 10 min      Cook Time: 35-40 min      Servings: 2- 4

What you’ll need:

BRUSSELS SPROUTS11 lb of brussels sprouts, rinsed and drained

2 C water

1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes

3 cloves of garlic, diced

½ medium onion, chopped Continue reading

Coconut Curry Chickpea Stew

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Nothing beats a warm bowl of stew on a cold day, especially if it spent the day cooking itself and all you have to do is serve it up and chow down! This particular stew is also a nutritional powerhouse which is a Double Win in my book! Full of insoluble fiber and containing nearly 1/3 of the %DV of protein per serving, garbanzo beans (chickpeas) are already satisfaction superstars! Add to that the high %DV of manganese, copper, iron, folate, phosphorus and zinc and we’re talking All-Star, baby! Holding their own are the other main ingredients, garlic and carrots. Garlic has been used for conditions linked to the circulatory system including high cholesterol and high blood pressure and is also a powerful anti-infective agent. Carrots are high in Vitamin A (good for your peepers) and are a good source of Vitamins K and C (helps with blood clotting, supports immune system and healthy teeth and gums). Aside from how good this stew is for you, the taste is also phenomenal! The Indian influences of Curry, Garam Masala and Cayenne will warm you up as much as the heat from the steaming pot itself. Put it in a crockpot, put a lid on it and let the magic happen! Leave a comment below and let me know how much you loved it! Continue reading

How to stay GREEN when everything around you is brown!

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The AWESOMENESS of drinking green juices has been well heralded. The benefits of increased fruit and vegetable intake include increased phytonutrients, increased antioxidants, increased soluble fiber and increased oxygen availability just to name a few. Green juicess make you feel alive and give you an instant energy boost to start the day off right. In warmer climates they can be super cooling and refreshing. And guess what? In colder climates, they are still super cooling, which it turns out, is not so refreshing. On their long list of stellar achievements, green juices have never been called comfort food. That luscious fare that hugs your body and soul from the inside and leaves you feeling warm and happy regardless of the temperature and evidence of the changing season outside. No, sadly, our champion falls short in this arena. Green juice is more like a chest bump than a hug. It pumps you up and gets your adrenaline flowing, but soothing and comforting, it is not. Why, you wonder, do I bring up this ever so slight shortcoming? Why not let it go unsaid and even unnoticed by those who live in warmer climates and who don’t have to experience drinking a green juice after coming in from 30 degree temps or less? I do this because I am a fan…one of their biggest. Continue reading

Holiday Eating Survival Tips

12 Easy Tips for Holiday Eating

HOLIDAY EATING SURVIVAL TIPS

Holidays are a favorite time of the year for many people and there’s no wonder why! The parties, the festive atmosphere, spending time with loved ones, and the delectable dishes and goodies that are never more than a stone’s throw away. But wait! You have adopted a lifestyle based around healthy eating of anti-inflammatory, whole foods and juicing. Or, you’ve at least started to be more mindful of your eating habits and don’t want to fall back into old patterns. How will you ever be able to sit down to a holiday with family and friends who haven’t?

Not to worry! Whether you are preparing the meal or simply an honored guest, there are several strategies that can be employed to navigate holiday tables with ease. Broken down into 3 categories, these 12 tips will empower you to stay in control while enjoying the holidays without stress. Continue reading