Friday, December 21, 2012

Chocolate


You might have heard the good news: the powers that be have decided that chocolate is good for us. Those of us who have a relationship with chocolate couldn't be more pleased. It turns out that humans have included chocolate in their diets for thousands of years, and not just for dessert. The Aztecs, Maya, and Olmecs knew of the healing properties of cacao, and consumed a drink made of cacao seeds.


Like most fruits, the cacao seed is full of antioxidants. These healing properties are derived from cocoa flavanols, the plant-based nutrients in cocoa which have been intensely studied for their health benefits.

Chocolate contains the same flavonoids found in red wine and tea. Flavonoids are potent antioxidants and have been linked to numerous health benefits. Surprisingly, chocolate has these antioxidants in even higher concentrations. One bar of dark chocolate has twice the flavanol content of a glass of red wine and seven times the amount as green tea. Most of these benefits have to do with their Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC). The ORAC is a measure of the ability of foods to neutralize harmful free radicals. Free radicals are associated with many diseases such as Alzheimer's, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, cataracts, cancer and more. Chocolate is a concentrated source of antioxidants—other fruits and even vegetables don't come close. Prunes are in second place behind chocolate at 5,770 ORAC units per gram, but dark chocolate has 13,120 ORAC units per gram!

How Much is Too Much?
It is best to think about the antioxidant content as you look at the percentage on the label of a chocolate bar - essentially, the higher the percentage of cocoa the better. Dark chocolate has the highest amount of cocoa and less sugar. Currently, most sources say about 6.3 grams of dark chocolate (one square inch) per day is sufficient for a tasty antioxidant boost.

Happy Holidays Everyone!


Nancy Silva, ND
Faculty, Health Sciences Dept


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sweet Potatoes


Whenever I think of sweet potatoes, I envision the holidays. In my mind's eye I see that glass casserole dish with warm gooey sweet potatoes covered in melted brown sugar and marshmallows. While using the sweet potato as a holiday table specialty is nice, sweet potatoes are actually much more versatile than one might imagine. There are many ways to include them in one's diet—and many reasons one should. Sweet potatoes are ranked highest of all vegetables in nutritional value by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Ounce for ounce you get a load of nutrients from a sweet potato. This blog entry will focus on just a few that make this tuber an excellent dietary choice for the cold and flu season. 
Nutrition and the Immune System
As we make our food choices, we must remember that nutrient intake is an important contributing factor in the immune system's ability to function. Micronutrients that are required for the immune system to function efficiently include vitamin A, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin E, Zinc, Copper, Iron, and Selenium. It turns out sweet potatoes are high in many of these:
Vitamin A. The intense orange color of the sweet potato is evidence of its high concentration of vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. In fact, just one has five times the RDA of vitamin A. Besides being recognized as essential for vision, growth and bone development, vitamin A plays a crucial role in immunity.
Vitamin C. Sweet potatoes are considered to be a very good source of vitamin C. Vitamin C affects the immune system by stimulating the production and function of white blood cells.
Vitamin B6. Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin B6. Studies have demonstrated that low dietary intake of vitamin B6 can result in depressed immune function.
Copper and Iron. Sweet potatoes are a good source of both copper and iron. Minerals such as these are essential to immunity as they aid in the maturation, function, and activation of defense mechanisms.

If you would like to learn more about sweet potatoes or simply find some great recipes – try the World’s Healthiest Foods website: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=64

Eat Sweet Potatoes! Now that you know the incredible nutritional value of the sweet potato, there is just no excuse to reserve them only for the holiday table. Be creative - try adding them to your everyday meals, especially during the cold and flu season!


Nancy Silva, ND
Faculty, Health Sciences Dept

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cranberries


Hi Everyone,

If you have been following this blog for some time – you have probably noticed that I have a deep interest in the health effects of food. Due to this passion, many of my friends and family members enjoy asking me about the health benefits of particular foods. And so, for this week’s blog – I’d like to analyze some of our holiday favorites. First one up: Cranberries.


Cranberries not only complement the taste of our turkey and decorate our holiday tables, they also have many health promoting properties. Cranberries are rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, and they are a good source of dietary fiber, manganese and vitamin K.

Historically, Native American Indians used cranberries to treat urinary tract infections and other ailments. Current research has revealed that cranberries contain proanthocyanidins which prevent the adhesion of bacteria to the bladder wall, thus thwarting potential urinary tract infections.

In addition to the wonderful properties listed above, cranberries contain significant amounts of phyto-nutrients. When compared to many commonly eaten fruits, cranberries have been shown to contain higher concentrations of antioxidant phenols. Antioxidant rich fruits aid in the prevention of heart disease, cancer and more.

If you would like to learn more about the medical powers of cranberries, click here and explore this NPR link: 




Stay tuned for a close look at the health benefits of sweet potatoes…


Nancy Silva, ND
Faculty, Health Sciences Dept





Friday, November 30, 2012

'Tis the Season! (To Get Started Early)

‘Tis The Season!  (To Prioritize Exercise)

Quick, what was/were your fitness-related resolution(s) for 2012?  Lose 15 pounds?  Run a 5K race; Run a 5K race faster?  Go to the gym 3 days per week, walk 5? You have just over 30 days remaining in 2012, did you achieve your fitness goals that you set for yourself in January?  Are you close?

Do you even remember what your 2012 fitness goals were or did you stop working on them around February?

One of the reasons I think it’s important to stick with exercise during the holidays is that by doing so, it makes January a heck of a lot more pleasant.  I don’t know about you, but when I mostly sit on my backside between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, it makes getting off my backside in January particularly hard.  In my personal opinion, the reason why so many people’s New Year’s fitness/weight loss resolutions fail is because they’ve spent 4-5 weeks prior to the New Year eating to excess, sitting to excess and doing everything unhealthy to excess.  Starting the year off on the right foot is especially painful when you have to detox from all the junk food and walking up the stairs makes you winded.

This year I’m looking at the 30ish days of the holidays as my New Year Pregame.  Here’s my Play Book (Get it?! I’m making football references!):

1) Create my New Year fitness goals now.  Rather than waiting until December 31st around 11:49pm or worse, January 3rd to create my fitness goals, I’m going to create them now.  I’m going to write them down.  I am going to share them with my loved-ones.  I’m going to post them somewhere prominent so I see them often.

2) Create my Play Book.  In order to win a football game, the team can’t just step onto the field and hope for the best (okay they could, but chances are they aren’t going to win), they have to create a play book full of strategies and they have to practice those plays before the game.  For me, I’m going to create a play book of what I need to do to accomplish my goals next year.  For example, I know one of my fitness goals in 2013 will be to back squat 225 pounds.  In order to do that, I need to squat.  Every week.  Several times per week.  So I create a program that accomplishes that.

3) Start Practicing the Play Book Now.  Rather than waiting until January 1st to start tackling my Play Book, I’m going to start now.  I have 30 days between now and then and I’m going to feel a lot better in January if rather than creating a new habit, I’m just continuing the routine.

4) Create a Short Term Holiday Goal.   For me personally, I have 30 days left to reach my 2012 fitness goals (and they are within reach, which pleases me) so I have to continue to work hard.  But perhaps you’ve already reached your goals for the year in which case, set a mini 30 day goal to reach before December 31st.  Some ideas could be: register for at least one 5K race, take a new fitness class, hike a particular trail in your area, bike 50 miles… I find that having goals keeps me motivated and moving. 

The holidays can be an easy excuse to avoid exercise, but rather than spending this month in repose, let’s use these 30 days to transition into the New Year in a healthy, motivated manner. 

Happy holidays, y’all!

 

Posted by Rachel May, School of Health Sciences
Thursday, November 29, 2012

'Tis The Season! (To Be Fast and Dirty)

When it comes to exercise during the holidays -- okay, okay -- when it comes to why I don't exercise during the holidays, my excuses usually fall into one of three categories:

 1) I don't have time.  (I have shopping to do, mostly for myself. Plus, my hair looks good and I don’t have time to wash it again before I go to that party.)

2) I don't want to. (I’d rather drink wine and watch heart-warming holiday television programming.)  
3) I am away from home. (I don’t have a gym membership; I can’t workout if I don’t have a gym membership.)

Do any of these sound familiar?  Perhaps not my exact excuses, but I feel confident that during the holidays you’ve been too busy, not interested and out of your fitness routine.  Fear not!  We have solutions to all of these categories of excuses.

 1) I don’t have time.

            First and foremost, reconsider when you exercise.  I have something shocking to tell you: Nothing holiday-related happens at 5am.  Nothing.  Exercise early and you know that no matter what happens, your exercise session is done and you didn’t miss anything fun.  Second, reconsider how long you need in order to exercise.  We often think we need to carve out 30, 60 or 90 minutes (plus travel time if you’re going somewhere to exercise) in order to make exercise meaningful.  You don’t need 30-90 minutes to exercise.  Remember, any exercise is better than no exercise at all and while your non-holiday exercise program may involve 30-90 minutes, in this time-crunched season, shorten that bad boy way down.  I advocate for a 10 minute workout.  What?!  Ten minutes?! I see you rolling your virtual eyes at the thought of a 10 minute workout.  Here are my two favorites:

- Do 100 burpees as fast as you can.  I read recently that burpees are one of the best exercises you can do.  Not doing them?  Start during the holidays!  Click here for a demo.

- Find a set of stairs, ideally a longer set that what you have in your house (but in a pinch, the house will do).  Personally, I like parking garages or stadiums, if you have either nearby.  Now that you have your stairs, run (or walk) up and down as many times as you can in 10 minutes.   Don't stop.  Don't!  Santa's watching!

If these workouts don’t leave you tired and sore in just 10 minutes let me know and I’ll refund your money.

 2) I don’t want to.

            This excuse is invalid.  I don’t like paying taxes, brushing my teeth or setting an alarm clock.  Guess I still need to exercise.

 3) I am away from home.

            When we travel and are out of our fitness routines, it’s easy not to exercise but I like to see exercising out of town as an adventure.  Here’s how:

            - Do your 100 burpees in the living room of your host’s home.  Perhaps consider doing it during mealtime.  It will be a holiday to remember, trust me.

            - If you’re a gym person, find a local gym and ask them to pay a drop-in fee.  Usually it’s between $5-$15.  I have dropped-in to gyms all over the world and have yet to have someone tell me “no, we don’t like your kind”.  A lot of times if you're really nice they’ll let you workout for free(or so nice people tell me). 

            - Go outside.  Walk, run, skip, hike, climb, in the area where you’re staying.  It can be a great opportunity to enjoy beautiful scenery or at the very least, locate a good restaurant for dinner.

            - Bring your own equipment (your body should be considered equipment) and you can do a workout right where you are: your hotel room, your mother-in-law’s kitchen, the backyard… Back in May I wrote a blog post about go-anywhere workouts, you can read it here. 
 
Darn.  I had intended to open a bottle of wine and settle down for some fine television programming after I finished this post but  it looks like I’ve got 10 minutes to do some burpees. 



Posted by Rachel May, School of Health Sciences

 

 

 
Wednesday, November 28, 2012

‘Tis The Season! (To Prioritize Exercise)

If you’re like me, you’re still recovering from Thanksgiving.  Between 18 hours in the car to go over the river and thru the woods (or at least over three states and numerous highways), and four days of my family’s not-so-healthy-but-oh-so-delicious traditional dishes, I’m feeling  stuffed.  Stuffed and lazy.

Over the years I have found that the holiday season tends to be a time that exercise takes backseat, for both me and my clients.  Frankly, it’s totally understandable; the holidays are a busy time.  We have work and social functions galore, shopping to do, decorations to hang, church and school pageants to attend, and traveling to do.  And the food.  Oh the food!  This time of year we indulge in the special casseroles, sweets and drinks that only come around once per year (mmmmm Eggnog).  Having less time and being stuffed from fattening foods are hardly the ingredients for exercise.

All year I’m motivated to exercise.  I prioritize my workouts, I create schedules and make sure “GYM” is somewhere on my daily calendar.  But year after year, that motivation and dedication to making exercise a priority falls by the wayside like clockwork as Thanksgiving approaches.  At Thanksgiving my inner Fat Kid voice wakes-up and whispers, “You’re so good all year, don’t you just want to take a little break? Missing a couple workouts won’t kill you.  You can redouble your efforts in January.”  And of course my favorite Fat Kid refrain, “Just one more piece of _____, it’s a special time of year.”

It’s hard to want to exercise during the holidays.  We have less free time and frankly, lots of special activities that are a lot more fun than hitting the gym.  We are traveling or on vacation and out of our fitness routines.   Plus, we know January is right around the corner.   Our New Year’s Resolutions are already on our minds; our inner Fat Kid says, “Why not just wait until the 1st to worry about exercise?”
But this year is going to be different! This we’re going to silence our inner Fat Kids and create strategies for making time for exercise and for setting ourselves up for success in January.   We can still enjoy the holidays and make fitness a priority.  ‘Tis the season!    
 
Posted by Rachel May, School of Health Sciences
Monday, November 26, 2012

Guiltless Gifts

Well, it's that time of year again.  The leftovers are just about gone, holiday decorations are coming out, and you're hearing festive music in all the stores.  If you haven't started already, it's time to think about gifts for the ones you love.  The holiday season can take a real toll on your pocket book, however.  This season, why not try to do more handmade gifts?  They are more meaningful, save you money, and leave you feeling guilt free.  These can be anything from healthy treats to bath products, to culinary delights.  Here's a few of my favorite recipes:

This recipe is brought to you from the folks at Mountain Rose Herbs.  It looks delicious!

 

Chai Spice Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

Ingredients
1 cup organic all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 teaspoon sea salt
1 3/4 sticks softened organic butter
1 cup organic sugar
1/4 cup packed organic light brown sugar
1 large organic free-range egg
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups organic old-fashioned rolled oats

Powdered Chai Spice Mix
3/4 tsp organic cinnamon powder, 1/2 tsp organic cardamom powder, 1/4 tsp organic ginger powder, 1/8 tsp organic clove powder, 1/8 tsp organic nutmeg powder


Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, powdered spice mix, and sea salt together.
3. In another bowl, beat butter and sugars until fluffy and creamy. Add egg and vanilla to the butter and sugar mixture and beat until combined. Scrape bowl with spatula.
4. Gradually add flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until it just becomes smooth.
5. Gradually add oats and mix until well combined.
6. Roll 2 tablespoons of dough into balls with your hands. Place on parchment lined baking sheets about 2 1/2 inches apart. Gently press down each ball to about 3/4-inch thickness using fingertips.
7. Bake until cookies are golden brown, about 13 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack to cool.
Makes 22-24 amazingly delicious chai cookies!

Just package them up and voila!

This next recipe is one of my favorite gifts to give.  I have to admit I always make a little extra for myself as well. :)

                                                             Dreamy Bath Salt Blend

    1/2 cup Sea Salt        1/2 cup Baking Soda
    1/2 cup Epsom Salt        5 drops each of Rose, Chamomile, Lavender, and Jasmine Essential Oil

    ~Mix all ingredients well.  Package up in a pretty bottle with a handmade tag.  Add to bath by tablespoons to desired strength.   Ahhhhh!


Finally, we have a super simple gift for those would-be culinary artists.  Infused oils and vinegars are incredibly simple to make, and make a powerful addition to any recipe.  The method of preparation is basically the same, so go ahead and make one of each!  These do take some time, so be sure to get started right away!

Infused Oils and Vinegars

 Herbs to Use: Almost any delicious smelling herb you can think of!  Use fresh herbs for vinegar when possible.  Use dried herbs for oil to prevent rancidity.  Popular choices are rosemary, basil, thyme, lemon balm, garlic, and cilantro.  Feel free to throw in some whole dried peppercorns, dried chiles, cardamon pods, caraway, or fennel seeds as well.  Be creative!

Oils to Use: Olive oil, sesame oil, walnut oil, or any other culinary oil of your choice.
Vinegars to Use: Apple Cider vinegar, white vinegar, rice vinegar, or any other culinary vinegar.

Preparation:  
~Sterilize a pretty bottle or jar by washing thoroughly and then boiling for 10 minutes.  You can also use the Sanitation cycle on your dishwasher if you have one. Dry thoroughly.

~ For oil preparations, fill the bottle about 1/4 full of herbs, then top off with oil of choice.
~For vinegar preparations place a few sprigs, or about 3-5 tablespoons of herbs into bottle.  Top off with vinegar.

~Cap tightly, and let sit for about 2-4 weeks in a dark location.  You can strain the herbs out or keep them in for a more attractive look.



Have fun as you embark on your holiday creations!

Be Well,
Kristin
 

 


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Burn Off the Bird

Are you as sick of leftovers as I am yet?  Yes, they are delicious.  But after a few days I can't even look at pie anymore without feeling a bit queasy.   While it's common around the holidays to put on a few pounds, it also feels really  good to get moving and burn off those extra calories.  And as long as you stay active, you won't feel quite so guilty about joining in the delicious holiday festivities.

Yoga is a great way to get active.  It's low-impact, affordable, and can be done just about anywhere.  Try this series of Sun Salutations to get your blood pumping, build muscle strength, and improve flexibility.  Don't be discouraged by the length of the sequence! Here's the breakdown:

Surynamaskar B: Sun Salutation

Tadasana: Start with your feel firmly rooted into the earth, with the crown of your head reaching towards the sky.  Lightly shrug the shoulders back and let your palms face out.
 

Mountain Pose



Utkatasana: Inhale and bend the knees as you reach towards the sky. Keep your shoulders relaxed as you bend the knees a little bit more. 

Chair Pose








Uttanasana: Exhaling, straighten the legs and bend at the waist to fold forward.  Keep a slight bend in the knees to protect the lower back.  Let your head hang towards the earth.


Forward Fold






 Flat Back: Inhale, and come up on your finger tips, as you flatten your back.  It's okay to bend the knees here as well.







  Chatturanga Dandasana: Exhale, and step back to a high push-up position, hands shoulder width apart.  Slowly bend the elbows and lower yourself down (feel free to bend the knees).  Keep the space between the shoulders broad, and keep the sternum up to look slightly forward.

Four-limbed Staff Pose






Urdhva Mukha Svanasana: Inhale and draw the chest forward through the arms.  Press firmly into the hands to lift the thighs off the ground.  Relax through the shoulders.



Upward Facing Dog




Adho Mukha Svanasana: Turn your toes under, and with an exhale push down and away from the floor to lift the hips high up into the air.  Soften the space between the shoulders and lightly descend through the heels.


Downward Facing Dog





Virabhadrasana I: Inhale the right leg up towards the sky.  With an exhale, step your right foot between your hands.  Turn your back heel down and root into the earth.  With an inhale, reach up towards the sky as you come up into a high lunge.



 Warrior I (Right Side)







Chatturanga Dandasana: Exhale, and step back to a high push-up position, hands shoulder width apart.  Slowly bend the elbows and lower yourself down (feel free to bend the knees).  Keep the space between the shoulders broad, and keep the sternum up to look slightly forward.

 Four-limbed Staff Pose






Urdhva Mukha Svanasana: Inhale and draw the chest forward through the arms.  Press firmly into the hands to lift the thighs off the ground.  Relax through the shoulders.


 Upward Facing Dog





 Adho Mukha Svanasana: Turn your toes under, and with an exhale push down and away from the floor to lift the hips high up into the air.  Soften the space between the shoulders and lightly descend through the heels.
 
 Downward Facing Dog






 Virabhadrasana I: Inhale the left leg up towards the sky.  With an exhale, step your right foot between your hands.  Turn your back heel down and root into the earth.  With an inhale, reach up towards the sky as you come up into a high lunge.


 Warrior I (Left Side)






Chatturanga Dandasana: Exhale, and step back to a high push-up position, hands shoulder width apart.  Slowly bend the elbows and lower yourself down (feel free to bend the knees).  Keep the space between the shoulders broad, and keep the sternum up to look slightly forward.

 Four-limbed Staff Pose (yes, again!)





Urdhva Mukha Svanasana: Inhale and draw the chest forward through the arms.  Press firmly into the hands to lift the thighs off the ground.  Relax through the shoulders.


 Upward Facing Dog




Adho Mukha Svanasana: Turn your toes under, and with an exhale push down and away from the floor to lift the hips high up into the air.  Soften the space between the shoulders and lightly descend through the heels.  Lightly step your feet between your hands with an inhale.


Downward Facing Dog (almost done!)






Uttanasana: Exhaling, straighten the legs and bend at the waist to fold forward.  Keep a slight bend in the knees to protect the lower back.  Let your head hang towards the earth.

  Forward Fold






Tadasana: Inhale, rooting down into your feet to reach up towards the sky. Exhale, and let the arms come down.  Lightly shrug the shoulders back and let your palms face out.


Mountain Pose (aaahhhhh!)





Be sure to move with your breath throughout the sequence.  Sun salutations are like a moving meditation.  Repeat this sequence 3-5 times, and you will end feeling energized.  And ready to face that next holiday feast!

Be Well,
Kristin
Friday, November 23, 2012

Harvest Gratitude





This week as I've been starting into the holiday season, I find I've been finishing a lot of the bounty from the growing season.  The snow peas, so carefully frozen in June are now all gone.  The shelled peas suffered the same fate a few weeks ago, and the blueberries....well, they didn't even make it into September.  Each time I come to the end of a bag, or a jar, I have to sigh a little bit.  Not only for the deliciousness that I won't experience again until the next growing season, but for each memory tied to that particular food or medicine.  



 Like running out to the fields to pick the last tiny strawberries before the rains came.

Or how excited my littlest was about finding the "perfect blossom!".
And how hard it was to wait for the pickles to get just the right flavor.
I stayed up way too late finishing the pasta sauce.
And salsa!
But of course you know it's all worth it when you see beauty and love in a butternut squash.

So much of the world has lost this kind of meaningful connection with their food.  I feel so very grateful to my CSA, Riverland Farms, for working incredibly hard to feed the people of my community.  They have nourished our bodies and our souls! And truly, it gives real meaning to the celebration of the harvest.  Hope your holiday is full of gratitude, and butternut squash!

Be Well,
Kristin Henningsen

p.s.  Find a CSA near you!  Sign-ups are happening now for the next season.  Check out LocalHarvest.org and change your life!
 

 

 





                                                                

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Turkey Avocado Bacon Bites (Another Coconut Flour Recipe!)

by Lisa Beach, Ph.D.

I have one more coconut flour based recipe to share with you! If you missed the prior posts/recipes, check them out here: 
What is Coconut Flour and what can you do with it?
5- Minute Breakfast Cookies
Coconut Flour Cauliflower Pizza Crust

I love making crispy "bites" with all different themes--like pizza, ham and cheese, cheeseburger, etc. The base is always the same, and then you just add in whatever you like! The recipe I'm sharing today is my favorite "bite" theme to date!

Grain Free Turkey Avocado Bacon Bites

Heat 2 heaping Tbsp coconut oil in a skillet.
In a bowl, mix together:
1/4 cup diced avocado
3 Tbsp crumbled bacon
3 Tbsp parmesan cheese (grated or shredded)
3 Tbsp diced turkey
2 Tbsp diced sauteed purple onion (optional)
1 egg
1 1/2 Tbsp coconut flour

Dump the melted coconut oil in with the other ingredients and mix well. Add a little more coconut oil to your pan, and drop dollops of the mixture in the pan on medium-low heat. Flatten just a little bit. When the bottom is browned, flip them over and finish off the other side.

Serve with Chipotle Avocado Dip. This isn’t really a recipe, but just take 1/4-1/2 of your avocado and blend (or mix with hand mixer) it with a splash of oil (I used walnut oil, but olive oil or some other would work–it’s just to thin it out a little bit). Add chipotle powder or cayenne pepper to taste. Add a dash of salt, a squeeze of lemon, and any other seasonings you like (I put in a shake of southwestern seasoning).


This serves one to two people (one if it’s for me!).

The "stuff" to go into the bites.... note, I only used 1/4 of the avo, but you could probably use 1/2.

It isn't pretty, but it turns into one of the most delicious things I've had for dinner in a long time!

Avocado Dip is the perfect complement to the bites!

These are amazing!
Monday, November 12, 2012

Grain Free 5-Minute Breakfast Cookies (made with coconut flour!)

by Lisa Beach, Ph.D.

I decided to continue my posting trend about coconut flour, and share another grain free healthy recipe! If you missed my other posts about this, check out the background information plus a recipe here, and a pizza crust recipe here.

5 Minute Stovetop Coconut Flour Cookies
2 eggs
2 tbsp coconut flour
2 tbsp melted coconut oil
1 scoop protein powder (21g – I used SunWarrior brand, but I honestly think Jay Robb would be better) – I bet you could just sub in a little more coconut flour for this if you aren’t into protein powders.
a few drops of stevia (to taste), or a splash of maple syrup (to taste)

First, in a frying pan over medium heat, add just over 2 T coconut oil to melt.

Next, in a bowl, add all the other ingredients. Add the melted oil to the bowl, and mix with a fork till well-combined. Taste the dough and add more sweetener if needed. You can add things to these—chocolate chips, nuts, cinnamon, seeds, etc.

Roll the dough into balls with your hands and flatten (they won’t rise or change shape in the pan). Place the cookies in the pan, brown on each side and then eat! They would be fabulous with nut butter, chocolate, or even cream cheese on them. I ate them plain and was completely happy. This will make about 7 cookies, depending on how big you make them.


20121001-202920.jpg
These are a great texture and flavor...you could use maple syrup or some other sweetener if you don't like stevia.
20121001-202933.jpg
I'm imagining these dipped in peanut butter....or sunbutter...or chocolate pudding :-)
20121001-202948.jpg
This is the closest I've gotten to a real cookie texture with coconut flour. Still not really "chewy" but way more like a cookie than other recipes! I love this texture--it reminds me of a specific cookie my grandma made when I was a kid.

These are a great quick and easy breakfast, snack, or even dessert!  I have a brownie version of these too, so if you'd like that, leave a comment on this post and I'll share it with you!
Friday, November 9, 2012

Coconut Flour Part II (with a recipe for Cauliflower Coconut Flour Pizza Crust!)

by Lisa Beach, Ph.D.

Back in April, I wrote a post about the benefits of coconut flour and what you can do with it. This week, in my seminar for HW220: Contemporary Diet and Nutrition, my students and I had a discussion about this ingredient, and I told them I'd share another recipe.

I've made cauliflower pizza crusts many times (don't knock it till you try it!), but this time I decided to add coconut flour to it in hopes that it would make the crust a little more "bread-y." It worked! I tried this recipe out on some unsuspecting (standard American diet eating) guests...

Cauliflower Coconut Flour Pizza Crust
3/4 cup riced cauli (steam it, rice it—the best way is with a food processor, but you could use a grater)
3/4 cup shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs
2 Tbsp coconut flour
1 to 2 tsp pizza seasoning
add garlic and other flavors of your choice

Mix everything together till well combined, form into pizza crusts (I did three small ones so I could flip them easily) on a very well greased baking pan. I greased it with butter, and it stuck a little bit…I’d recommend coconut oil for less sticking!

Bake at 350 until the bottom is browned (depends on your oven, probably 15-20 minutes or so). Flip the crusts and continue baking till the tops are golden. Remove from the oven, add toppings, and then put under the broiler till everything is warm and the cheese is melted.

pre-baked crusts
Baked crusts, raw toppings...
Done! This could have used some veggies on top, but I'll just try that next time!

The guests' verdict: “Amazing!”

What do you think? Do you dare try coconut flour and cauliflower in your pizza crust? 

Are you adventurous in the kitchen?
Monday, October 29, 2012

NOVA Sleep


If you would like to explore this topic further, this NOVA website has a variety of links to more interesting sleep research:

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sleep, Dreams, and Memories


Click here to watch this fascinating PBS video, where Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson explores the connection between sleep, dreams, and memory:



Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Importance of Sleep


Hi Everyone,

This week I’d like to share another UCSF video. In this segment, Dr Ellen Hughes explores the importance of sleep and how it impacts our health and wellness.



Nancy Silva, ND
Health Science Faculty

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Birds of a Fitness Feather Part III: Flying Solo


I'll be honest, I'm a bit of a timid soul when it comes to exercise. Not the exercise itself, I like being sweaty, out-of-breath and sore; but the act of exercise, exercising *gulp*, alone.

Years ago when I was a long distance runner I preferred to run alone primarily because I was slow and when I ran alone, I could run as slowly as I wanted. I found a run group whose members were also slow, and I liked them, but unless you too were slow, I wanted to run solo.

But then I started doing Crossfit. Crossfit scared the heck out me, it was totally unlike anything this runner had ever experienced and it was hard. Like really hard. So I recruited a buddy to go with me (birds of a feather and all) and she and I would plan our schedules so we could workout together. After a few months my buddy moved on, but that was okay because I had met new buddies with whom I could coordinate. My dependency on the buddy system was such that there were times when my buddies wouldn't show-up and even though I was already at the gym and ready to workout, I'd skip it. Yep, it was that bad.

After years of Crossfit, I began to drift toward powerlifting, which is where my ship has harbored today. Powerlifting, like Crossfit before, scared the heck out of me. Luckily for me, my husband is a powerlifter (what a coincidence!) and I began planning my training schedule around his training schedule. Like the buddies before him, if he couldn't train, I didn't train.

But then something happened. We moved. We moved to an Army post in the middle of nowhere (like all good Army posts are). I didn't have any buddies and my most important buddy, my husband, well his schedule and mine don't exactly mesh anymore. With a powerlifting tournament looming, not training wasn't an option. So I had to do something rather terrifying for this timid soul: I had to train alone.

I've been training alone for two months now and I have to be honest, it's been the best thing to happen to my training. Some of the benefits have been big and some have been more discrete. A few worth mentioning are:

1) I have become more aware of my form and technique. When you train with a partner or a coach, you receive feedback about what you're doing wrong (or right, but in my case, mostly wrong). Of course this is valuable information, especially for a novice. But since I am no longer a novice, I *should* be aware of my form and technique errors most of the time without coaching. And more importantly, I *should* be able to correct those errors myself. And now that I have to, I have. Training alone has forced me to be more self-aware and self-corrective.

2) I have more space to think and reflect. Like everyone, I have a lot of chatter in my mind. The inner monologue bounces all over the place and contains an endless loop of to-do-lists, grading rubrics, doctor's appointments, dinner recipes and random observations about foreign affairs. Sometimes my brain is exhausting! But an interesting thing has happened since I started training alone: the chatter quiets. Since I must now focus on my form and technique (see: above) and I don't have any distractions (like gossiping with my buddies) I am able to quiet my mind and enjoy the solitude. Training as meditation perhaps.

3) I am no longer afraid. I have always feared the back squat. I became less fearful by relying on a buddy who could spot me. But when it comes to squatting, you can safely do it alone if you do so in a rack. And this process scared me. What if I got stuck? What if I couldn't stand-up? What if I failed and people stared? Training alone showed me these things aren't a big deal. And more importantly, because I didn't want to get stuck, not stand-up or make a lot of noise by dropping the bar, I worked a heck of a lot harder in my squats than I ever did with a spotter.

4) I am a strong, capable woman. Sure, I knew I was fit before I had to train alone. But walking into a gym (a gym where you have no buddies) alone can be intimidating. But every time I walked into that gym, did my training, didn't need help, could quiet my mind, I left there with more confidence. And now, now when I walk in, I feel like Helen Reddy, "I am woman, hear me roar!"

In summary, there is a lot to learn about training. By identifying "experts", mirroring them and being mentored, you can take your training to the next level -- find an elite flock to fly with. But be sure to on occasion fly alone. Training solo is a way to learn something about yourself, your abilities and your limitations. Find a flock, then soar to your own heights.

Happy flying friends.

Posted by Rachel May
School of Health Sciences


     



 

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