Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa

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Red drum has become one of my favorite fish. It is offered at Yellow Umbrella in Richmond, VA. These tacos are loaded with fresh fruit and vegetables which have plenty of nutrients including iron, vitamin C,  potassium, vitamin A, Vitamin B-6, folate, and niacin. This is a easy dish to prepare for dinner and kids will love it!

Ingredients:

1 pound Red Drum (I buy mine from Yellow Umbrella

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 lemon

Jalepeno – 1/4 chopped

Garlic – 2 cloves

Onion – 1/4 chopped

Spinach – 1 cup

Corn or whole wheat or gluten free tortillas

Pour the olive oil over the red drum. Squeeze the juice from the lemon on the fish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until fish is flaky.

Saute onion, garlic and jalepeno. Add spinach and put to the side.

Place 4 oz. of the fish on the tortilla. Add the spinach saute. Top with the mango salasa.

Mango Salsa

1 mango chopped

1 jalapeno chopped

1/4 cup onion chopped

3 garlic cloves chopped

1 cup cilantro chopped

1 lime

Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and squeeze with lime. Allow to be refrigerated for about an hour.

 

 

 

 

Tina’s Cardiometabolic Protein Smoothie, and a Sale!

DSCN9310-2It’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.

 

 

Chicken Chinese Cabbage Fajatas with Black Bean Toasted Pumpkin Seed Salsa

This dish is full of color and flavor and is super easy. It is packed with fiber, antioxidant nutrients as well as protein and low glycemic index carbohydrates.
You can use the salsa on any salad or just for a dip!
Ingredients:
 3 (4 oz.) chicken breast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot chopped
1 teaspoon roasted garlic (I use Penzey’s)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon coriander
ground black pepper
1 lime
1 blood orange
1 head of savoy cabbage to use for wraps
Add a chicken breast to a glass pan along with 1 tablespoon olive oil, shallot, roasted garlic, turmeric, coriander, black pepper, juice of 1 lime and juice of 1 blood orange. Allow to marinade for at least 1 hour in refrigerator. Heat a pan over low heat, add olive oil and add chicken and cook until cooked through.
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Black Bean Salsa:
1 can black beans drained
2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds
1 red pepper chopped
1 orange pepper chopped
2 cloves garlic chopped
6 sprigs of cilantro chopped
1/4 serrena pepper chopped
1 lime
1 tablespoon olive oil
Pepper to taste
1 avocado
Toast pumpkin seeds in 1 tsp. coconut oil.
Place black beans, peppers, garlic in a bowl. Add dressing. Add cilantro and mix. Top with toasted pumpkin seeds.
Place a few pieces of chicken in one of the cabbage leafs and top with black bean salsa!

Cranberry Butter Kale Salad

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Merry Christmas Eve, dear readers!  It’s an unnaturally warm Christmas here and across the east coast, but we know you’re in a festive spirit.

Tina will be heading to a Christmas brunch, and we thought we’d share her contribution.  As always, you can trust that this dish is healthy, so have a heaping helping!  Besides being beautiful (we’re loving the red and green), you’ll get a flavorful boost from these veggies and kale, as it’s full of antioxidant nutrients, vitamins and minerals.  Not only will you get a helpful boost to your immune system, but the fiber will reduce temptation to consume too many of those sweets later.  This combination of veggies is particularly delicious, the kale gives a full-bodied base and the roasted pears topped with kelp granules are a sweet surprise on top.

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This one’s sure to be a hit, so bring it along with you and enjoy the extra after the holiday craziness calms down!

Ingredients:
6-8 cups of curly red and green kale torn into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 orange
1/2 butternut squash cubed
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds roasted
jicama (small one sliced thin)
red onion – small sliced thin
fennel – about 1/4 cup sliced thin
pear – sliced thin
Kelp Granules (I use Main Coast Sea Seasonings)
Romano cheese – grated to taste
Coarse ground black pepper

Directions:
Take the cranberries and cubed butternut squash and place on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Drizzle with grape seed oil (about 1-2 tsp) plus 1 tsp. honey. Bake until butternut squash is roasted and soft.

Remove from oven and allow to cool

Place sliced pear in baking pan and place in oven and roast at 350 degrees until pear is roasted through about 15-20 minutes.

Remove from pan and allow to cool.

Place kale in a bowl.  Add onion, jicama, fennel, pumpkin seeds, butternut squash and cranberries.  Squeeze the orange over the salad and add olive oil. Mix thoroughly. Add grated cheese. Add pepper to taste. Top with pears and sprinkle with Kelp granules.

Enjoy!

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?)

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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.

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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.

Pumpkin Coconut Soup with Toasted Pears

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Good morning, good and faithful readers!  And happy Thanksgiving!

We know cooking is underway at your house.  If hoards of loved ones haven’t arrived yet, they’re on their way.  Or maybe you’re getting ready to pack up your contributions to today’s feast and are looking forward to a day with friends or family.  Either way, Thanksgiving is a time to focus on what we’re grateful for, to enjoy the conversation and company of those around us.  Amidst the craziness and joy today, find time to pause and take in the moment.  In a way life is short, and times like these are worth cherishing.

Whether you’re cooking today or mom’s doing it again this year, we would like to offer a suggestion: Tina’s Pumpkin Coconut Soup with Toasted Pears.  It’s an unconventional choice, but undeniably festive with its myriad fall flavors.  The pumpkin is sweet, the coconut adds a light and surprising flavor, and the holiday season is represented by its hint of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  You know us, though; it’s healthy to boot.  We wouldn’t recommend anything that wasn’t packed with nutrients, fiber and antioxidants, and this soup is no exception.

Try this sweet and rich soup throughout this holiday season.  It’s sure to keep you in a cozy mood and please your taste buds all the while.

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Ingredients
:
1 medium pumpkin baked for 45 minutes or until soft (about 4 cups of pumpkin)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (I used so delicious)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds (I toasted the seeds in some coconut oil)
2 bosc pears sliced thin

Directions:
Put cooked pumpkin into a food processor or a blender.  Add the coconut milk and blend until smooth and creamy.  Add the maple syrup, coconut sugar, and spices and continue to blend.

Spread sliced pears on parchment paper and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil.  Sprinkle pears with coconut sugar.  Bake at 350 degrees until soft and toasted.

Add soup to a bowl and top with pumpkin seeds and toasted sliced pears.

Enjoy!

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:

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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.

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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!

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.

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.

Apple Pie Gluten Free Cooked Grains

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About ten years ago Tina started a detox with a colleague who practices Chinese Medicine.  Combining his expertise with Tina’s in Functional Medicine, the program was referred to as an “East Meets West” sort of philosophy.  Chinese medicine teaches that warmer foods are better to have in the morning in order to avoid shocking the system with something like cold cereal or yogurt; Functional Medicine celebrates the health benefits of gluten free oats, millet, buckwheat and amaranth, which are full of fiber, nutrients and protein, all with a lower glycemic index.  So here we are with a perfect East-meets-West breakfast that satisfies both philosophies, and will start your day right on a chilly fall morning.

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Tina’s tip: top this oatmeal with walnuts for a boost of good fat and protein… not to mention a satisfying crunch.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup amaranth seed
1/4 cup millet
1/4 cup quinoa flakes
1/4 cup gluten free oats
1/4 cup coconut flakes unsweetened
1 cinnamon stick
4 dates chopped
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. allspice
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 apples cubed

Directions:

Add all ingredients to the crockpot the night before. Turn on low and it’s ready the next morning.