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Eat a Rainbow – Go Neutral

Welcome to the final week of our, “Eat a Rainbow” series, the WHITE and BROWN group.

This is the smallest and least exciting group, but don’t let this group’s lack of pizazz fool you. What these foods lack in color, they make up for in nutrition.

Fiber – Many of the foods in this group are high in fiber content, which you already know is important in maintaining a healthy digestive system, including reducing the risk of some cancers.

Quercetin – Known to have anti-inflammatory and antihistamine effects, quercetin has been shown to lower blood pressure and help prevent heart disease.

Allicin – Allicin is a phytochemical found in garlic, leeks, and onions. Allicin is a powerful immune system booster due to its antimicrobial effects. Allicin is activated when the chopping/cutting process exposes the cells of garlic, onion, or leek to oxygen.

Polyphenols – Polyphenols found in dark brown foods like tea or chocolate have been shown to protect the body from heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and cancer. They may also stimulate bowel movement and support the digestive process.

Foods in the WHITE and BROWN group include:

White and brown foods can help protect against bacterial, fungal, and viral infections, help prevent heart disease, and some cancers, as well as support healthy digestion. That makes them an important part of an “Eat the Rainbow” plan.

Remember, as with the other colorful fruits and vegetables mentioned in this series, foods in this group can interact with some medications or illnesses, so it is best to talk to your pharmacist or a medical nutritionist about adding any new foods to your diet.

Here are a few recipes to help you add more white/brown foods to your daily routine:

Basic Cauliflower Rice

Kale Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

If you need help adding more colorful fruits and vegetables to your daily diet or if you want to develop better nutritional habits, my nutritional coaching plan can help. Fill out the contact form below so we can set up a time to talk and create your nutritional plan.

 


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Ratatouille

Ratatouille

Ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups eggplant, chopped
  • 1-1/4 cups Roma tomatoes, halved
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut length-wise and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon pink salt
  • Ground pepper to taste
  • Instructions:
    • Heat olive oil over medium-high in a large sauté pan.
    • Sauté onion, garlic, and bay leaf until translucent. Stirring occasionally to avoid sticking.
    • Add eggplant and continue cooking 8-10 minutes until eggplant is soft.
    • Reduce heat to medium and add tomatoes, zucchini, bell pepper, and salt.
    • Cook an additional 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
    • Remove from heat, add basil, and pepper to taste.

    Serve Ratatouille alone or over steamed rice, eggs, or tofu.


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    Strawberry Caprese Salad Skewers

    Strawberries are one of my favorite things about summer. As a child I picked strawberries to earn spending money, I think I ate more than I picked, but fortunately we were not charged for eating the profits.

    There is something about the strawberry’s sweetness and slight tanginess that appeals to me and I try to make good use of them in my summer recipes.

    The great thing about strawberries is that not only are they delicious, but they are packed with nutrients as well! Strawberries are loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent damage to the body’s cells and can reduce the risk of heart disease, improve cognitive function (aka improve memory), protect the eyes from diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts, and even help prevent cancer. Strawberries also contain high levels of Vitamin C which supports immune system function. In addition, strawberries contain potassium and magnesium which can aid in lowing blood pressure.

    One of my favorite summer strawberry recipes is Strawberry Caprese Salad Skewers. Creamy mozzarella combines with sweet strawberries, tangy tomatoes and crisp basil topped with a sweet tang of balsamic vinegar. This is a fun delicious recipe that makes a terrific appetizer or side dish for a picnic or summer potluck.

    Strawberry Caprese Salad Skewers

  • Ingredients:
  • Marinade:
    • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar, plain or strawberry infused
      2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
      Salt and pepper to taste

    Skewers:

    • 8 bamboo skewers, 6-8″ long
    • 24 ciliegine mozzarella balls
    • 24 cherry tomatoes, washed and dried
    • 16 strawberries, washed, dried and halved
    • 2 large bunches sweet basil, enough for 24 leaves, washed and dried
    • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    Instructions:
      Whisk together balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a medium sized bowl.
      Add mozzarella balls and marinade in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
      Wash and dry tomatoes, strawberries, and basil.
      To make skewers, slide 1 strawberry half to the end of the skewer followed by 1 basil leaf, 1 mozzarella ball, and finally 1 tomato, repeat 2 more times and finish with an additional half strawberry . Repeat the process for all 8 skewers.
      To serve, arrange skewers on a serving tray and drizzle with additional balsamic vinegar.

    If you do not want to go to the trouble of making skewers, combine marinade, mozzarella, tomatoes, strawberries, and 1/3 cup thinly sliced basil leaves in a bowl and gently mix. Serve over spinach or kale.

    ENJOY!


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    Pineapple and Papaya Salsa

    Salsa is a fun and delicious way to add fruits and vegetables to your diet. Whether they are made with tomatoes, peppers, or tropical fruits like the recipe today, salsa can be eaten alone, with tortilla chips (in moderation of course), or used to garnish fish, meat, tofu, or eggs.

    This pineapple and papaya salsa is loaded with beta-carotene, vitamin C, and enzymes that can help support and improve digestion.

    Pineapple and Papaya Salsa

    Ingredients:
    • 2 cups pineapple, cut into 1/2″ chunks
    • 2 cups papaya*, cut into 1/2″ chunks
    • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
    • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
    • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons pepitas
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon lime zest
    • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • Instructions:
    • Combine all ingredients in a nonmetal bowl and mix well.
    • Cover and place in refrigerator for 4-6 hours to allow flavors to mingle.

    Serving size= 2 Tablespoons

    Serve over chicken, pork tenderloin, grilled tofu, or a green salad in place of dressing.

    * If papaya is unavailable try mangos. Yum!


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    Watermelon Quinoa Salad

    Nutty red quinoa and sweet, crunchy watermelon combine in this unique and delicious summer salad.

    Watermelon Quinoa Salad

    Ingredients:
      3/4 cup red quinoa
      1-1/2 cup water
      1-1/2 cup watermelon, seeded and cubed
      2/3 cup flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
      2 scallions, sliced
      1/3 cup feta, crumbled
      2 tablespoons lemon juice
      1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
      2 teaspoons lemon zest
      Salt, to taste
    Instructions:
    • Rinse and drain quinoa.
    • In a sauce pan, bring water to a boil, add quinoa and cook for 20 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes.
    • Fluff quinoa with a fork and set aside to cool.
    • Once quinoa cools, mix in watermelon, parsley, scallions, lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil.
    • Toss to coat and salt to taste.
    • Fold in feta cheese.

    Serves 4


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    Kale Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

    Kale Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

    Ingredients:
      4 cups kale, cleaned and coarsely chopped
      1 large Red Delicious apple, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces
      1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
      1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
      2 cloves garlic, minced
      2 tablespoons water or vegetable broth
      1 tablespoon rice bran oil
      Salt, to taste
      Pepper, to taste
      4 large Portobello mushroom caps, cleaned and stems removed
      1/2 cup goat cheese or non-dairy cheese, crumbled
      2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    Instructions:
      In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until tender.
      Add apples, yellow pepper, water/broth, and salt and pepper. Cook 3-4 minutes until apples soften.
      Add kale, cover and cook an additional 4-5 minutes.
      Place kale mixture in a bowl and allow to cool slightly.
      Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
      Divide kale mixture evenly between 4 Portobello mushrooms.
      Line a baking sheet parchment paper.
      Place stuffed mushrooms on baking sheet and place in oven. Bake for 15 minutes.
      Remove mushrooms from oven, sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons goat cheese, bake an additional 10-15 minutes.
      To serve, drizzle with balsamic vinegar.


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    Frozen Blueberry-Almond Oatmeal Cups

    Preparing meals ahead of time and freezing them for later use is a great way to stay on track with your nutritional goals (learn more here).

    These delicious oatmeal cups can be made ahead of time and frozen for up to 3 weeks. They make a quick and hearty breakfast or snack.

    Ingredients:

    • 3 cups gluten free oats
    • 3 cups water
    • 3 cups almond milk, unsweetened
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar, optional
    • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
    • 3 cups blueberries, washed and dried

    Instructions:

    1. Combine water, milk, and oats in a large saucepan and cook according to package instructions.
    2. Allow cooked oats to cool.
    3. Divide oats between 12 muffin tins lined with paper or silicone liners.
    4. Top oatmeal with 1/4 cup blueberries and 1 tablespoon sliced almonds.
    5. Cover the muffin tins with plastic wrap and freeze 6-8 hours or until solid.
    6. Once frozen, remove oatmeal cups from the tin and transfer to plastic freezer bag or container.
    7. Keep frozen until ready to use.

    To reheat:

    • When you are ready to eat, remove an oatmeal cup from the freezer, place it in a saucepan with 1-2 tablespoons water or almond milk and heat slowly until warm or microwave for 3-5 minutes.

    Enjoy!


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    Peanut Butter Vegetable Soup

    It’s been an unseasonably cold and snowy week here in the desert and it has made me crave a hearty soup. This soup is loaded with vegetables and the peanut butter gives it a creamy texture and a uniquely roasted flavor. Add chicken or black beans for a boost of protein.

    Peanut Butter Vegetable Soup

    Ingredients:

    32 ounces broth (low sodium vegetable or chicken)
    1 cup sweet potato, peeled and cubed
    1 cup carrots, peeled and sliced
    1/2 cup broccoli
    1/2 cup celery, sliced
    1/2 cup green pepper, diced
    1/2 cup onion, chopped
    1/2 cup zucchini, diced
    1 can chopped tomatoes
    1 tablespoon garlic, minced
    1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy
    Salt, to taste

    Pepper, to taste

    *2 cups chicken, cooked and chopped

    Or

    1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

    Directions:

    1. In a stock pot, combine broth, chicken or beans (if desired), sweet potato, and carrots. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes or until potatoes and carrots are tender.
    1. Add broccoli, celery, green pepper, onion, zucchini, tomatoes, and garlic and simmer for 10 minutes.
    2. Add peanut butter, salt, and pepper. Stir until peanut butter is fully blended. Simmer for 3 minutes longer.
    3. Enjoy!!!!!!


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    Apple-Cinnamon Porridge

    Growing up I loved apple-cinnamon oatmeal, it was a warm and delicious start to a cold winter morning. Even living in the desert I still get an occasional craving for the apple, cinnamon flavor on a winter morning, but those yummy oats of old are basically sugars in a pouch.

    I recent found this recipe for apple-cinnamon porridge that is an easy, delicious, and healthy substitute for over-processed quick coating oats. This recipe is loaded with whole grain oats and fresh Granny Smith apples and yummy cinnamon. Mix it up in the slow cooker before bed and by breakfast time you will have a tasty morning treat that will remind you of your childhood.

    Apple-Cinnamon Porridge

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup steel-cut oats
    • 2 1/2 cups water
    • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk or nonfat milk
    • 1 1/2 cups Granny Smith apples, chopped
    • 2 T flaxseeds, ground
    • 1 T maple syrup
    • 1 t vanilla
    • 1 1/2 t cinnamon, ground
    • 1/4 t salt

    Instructions:

    1. Coat the slow cooker with cooking spray or butter.
    2. Add all ingredients to slow cooker and mix well.
    3. Cook porridge on “low” for 7-8 hours until oats and apples are tender.
    4. Divide porridge into 1/2 cup portions. Top with additional milk, if desired.

    Enjoy!

    Additional portions can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or frozen for 2-3 months. To reheat, add 1/3 c milk and reheat in a pan or the microwave for 1 minute.


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    Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

    Cold winter days make me crave soup. Unfortunately, finding healthy, gluten free soups is a tough task. That’s why I love this recipe for gluten free chicken noodle soup. I usually make a double batch and freeze some for later days.

    Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup

    Ingredients:

    • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
    • 1 celery stalk, sliced
    • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
    • 1 Tablespoon garlic, chopped
    • 8 cups chicken broth
    • 2 chicken breasts, raw, cut into pieces
    • 8 ounces gluten free pasta, elbows, shells, or spaghetti
    • Salt and pepper to taste

    Directions:

    1. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat, add carrots, celery, and onion and sauté until tender. Add garlic a sauté 1-2 minutes longer.
    2. Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.
    3. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to chicken broth.
    4. Turn heat to low and simmer until chicken is cooked through.
    5. Add pasta and simmer until pasta is tender. Stir frequently to keep pasta from sticking.
    6. Serve with small salad or warm crusty bread.