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a low-sugar Christmas meal

Low-Sugar Christmas

You’ve eaten the turkey, cranberry, and stuffing from Thanksgiving.  Now, you’re counting down to the glazed ham, mashed potatoes, and rolls of Christmas. Such high-glycemic choices are why Santa has his belly! So, here are a few delicious alternatives for a low-sugar Christmas.

Low Sugar Christmas Roast

If turkey is your tradition, then try fresh cranberry relish with it and non-traditional stuffing to reduce the strain on your pancreas. Or you might consider prime rib instead. If you like ham, you could serve it with a savory mustard glaze. To avoid unhealthy fats, whip up your own 3-ingredient mayonnaise in just 1 minute to use in the mustard sauce recipe.

Slow Carb Side Dishes

Think colors and fiber when selecting your side dishes. Herbed sweet potatoes, free from marshmallows, are a delightful alternative to mashed potatoes. If you like, you can blend some sour cream with them. Cruciferous vegetables lend color, minerals, and nutrient density to the meal. Caramelized Brussels sprouts and kale are quick and easy to prepare.

Roll Over, Breads

Dinner rolls may be a feature of most American holiday meals. But a low-sugar Christmas should avoid breads made with refined flours. To keep your carbohydrates in balance, use fresh greens to fill your plate. A festive salad is eye-catching and provides necessary enzymes to digest your meal.

What About Dessert?

If you still have room after all that, go ahead and have a treat. Pears drizzled with dark chocolate are a light, refreshing option that won’t spike insulin levels. For a decadent delight that will wow your guests, these chocolate truffles only have 5 grams of carbohydrate.

 

 

Pre-diabetes, like an iceberg, holds dangerous risk

Dangerous Risk

An iceberg is a dangerous risk because of what you don’t see. Likewise with pre-diabetes. Today, more than 84 million Americans have pre-diabetes, but most of them don’t know it.

Are You Pre-Diabetic?

You can take a one-minute quiz to find out if you have certain risk factors for pre-diabetes. But, the biggest factor – the one not in any assessment – is eating a Standard American Diet.

Setting risk aside, here are some actual symptoms of pre-diabetes:

  • a waist that bulges over your belt a little
  • difficulty losing weight
  • rising triglyceride levels
  • a high blood pressure reading
  • inability to free yourself from sugar or carb cravings
  • chronic tiredness, especially after meals
  • facial hair or gestational diabetes (female) or low testosterone (male)
  • irritability, especially if meals are delayed
  • memory issues

You only have to experience one of two of these symptoms to be pre-diabetic.

Why is Pre-Diabetes a Dangerous Risk?

Pre-Diabetes heightens your risk for heart disease and stroke. Unfortunately, that is not the biggest concern. “Pre-diabetes is not ‘pre’ anything,” says Dr. Mark Hyman, MD, author of The Blood Sugar Solution. “It is a deadly disease.” This disease causes organ damage every second it goes untreated, including injury to the eyes, kidneys, and nerves.

How to Escape This Dangerous Risk

You may hear this advice from a doctor or dietician: first, eat right; second, exercise; and third, lose weight. That sounds great! However, eating the highly-touted low-fat diet in many cases increases triglyceride levels even more. Further, you have difficulty losing weight and are too tired to exercise because you’re pre-diabetic (see symptoms above). Like the Titanic, you seem to be sinking hopelessly.

Luckily, Nutritional Therapy Practitioners work from the inside out. Our focus is to reverse, not just treat, the condition. We make sure you can absorb the nutrients from your food and that you have high quality nutrients available to you. This foundational work gives you energy to exercise. Our therapy also balances your body so that it sheds its excess pounds naturally, even effortlessly.

If you are ready to change your life, I am ready to work with you!

Be Fabulously Fit by following these four tips

Fabulously Fit This Holiday

Gratitude and cheer can turn to dread and anxiety if you fear that holiday parties will ruin your figure and your health. But by following 4 simple tips, you can still be fabulously fit on January 2nd.

Fresh, Fiber-ful Food

To begin with, scan the table before you pick up your fork. Look for unprocessed foods with minimal ingredients. Fruits and vegetables with lots of color are your best bet. Any offering that is live, real, wild, or fresh is going to be more nourishing than foods that are artificial or processed. Nature’s carbohydrates contain plenty of fiber to help you fill up before you overindulge. So, choose to load up on healthier options first!

Also, keep in mind that balance is vital. Even a meal of whole carbohydrates can leave you craving if you don’t eat adequate proteins. A good rule of thumb is to make half your plate non-starchy vegetables, and one-fourth of your plate protein. You can fill the remaining quarter with fruit, legumes, whole grains, or starchy vegetables. If you have the option, dress your foods with traditional fats, such as butter, olive oil, or avocados.

Finally, beware of triggers. Sugar, alcohol, caffeine, MSG, hydrogenated fats, and refined flours can all stimulate overeating. Stay on the fabulously fit side of life by avoiding sweetened beverages and by limiting desserts, rolls, pastries, and other baked goods.

Focus

No one ever got fabulously fit by accident. Therefore, be deliberate about your objective. For example, you might decide ahead of time whether your purpose is to connect with people, feel the joy of the season, or simply eat your next meal. If you intend to meet your body’s nutritional needs, then set an intention to feel comfortable and energized after the meal, not sluggish and bloated. You can meet this aim with several strategies.

First, eat regular meals throughout the day. The “skip and save” approach to caloric intake only makes you grouchy and starved. Then, you are extremely vulnerable to eating too much of the wrong kinds of foods.

Second, allow yourself a smart snack before the party so that you can keep your portion sizes down. Smart snacks are fruits or vegetables eaten with a little bit of protein or a bit of natural fat. Baby bell peppers filled with cottage cheese, celery spread with nut butter, and carrots dipped in hummus are a few examples.

Third, mind your eating hygiene. Take a deep breath before you begin your meal to set yourself in the present. Avoid gulping your food, savor the flavors, and put your fork down between bites. Notice when you have reached a 6 or 7 on the hunger/fullness scale, with 10 being so stuffed you are sick. Stopping before you reach an 8 or 9 insures that you are satisfied but not miserable.

Lastly, hold yourself accountable. Find a friend, family member, or health mentor to report back to on your success in meeting your intention. We all perform a little better when we know we will be sharing our results.

Family & Friends

If your life were to end tomorrow, what you had for dinner would be immaterial. But how you interfaced with people would be highly significant. While the purpose of a holiday may be to express gratitude or commemorate a special event, that purpose is much more meaningful when shared. So, make the most of the occasion by focusing on loved ones rather than food.

In addition to stimulating and happy conversation, shared activities are a good means of connecting with others. Why not put together a puzzle, do the dishes together, go for a walk, drag out the ice skates, or tell stories around a fire instead of just sitting at the table? Physical activities have the added benefit of revving up your metabolism and keeping you from picking at leftovers.

Fabulously Fit and Free

When you give in to instant gratification at the buffet table, guilt and remorse follow. It does not feel good to have blood sugar swings, to carry excess weight and to lose your health. What does feel good is the freedom that comes from nourishing yourself with nutrient-dense food. However, it is important to remember that we are all human. None of us eats perfectly 100% of the time. As a result, you might occasionally give in to a tempting food that is not part of your plan.

You can stay fabulously fit and free by forgiving yourself and moving on. There’s no sense in flattening the other 3 tires on your car just because one of them got punctured. In other words, don’t allow yourself to make excuses to eat lousy for the rest of the season because you made one un-wise choice. Choose to make the season one of gratitude and cheer.

 

 

Halloween snacks

Halloween Snacks

Halloween’s just a week away, and the kids are definitely excited about their costumes, and their loot. But, you want to avoid sugar overload! So, the video showcases some great Halloween snacks for kids – and adults, too!

Children have a very high need for protein and fat to support their development. And with their high energy output, they often need more carbohydrate than adults do. Unfortunately, we often buy refined, processed food-like substances, which not truly nourishing!

A smart way to fuel kids is to pair a fiber-rich, whole-food carbohydrate with a natural fat, such as strawberries in coconut milk.   Or peaches and cottage cheese, or apples and almond butter.  Even grapes and cheese.

Here are 10 creative Halloween snacks for you:

  1. Kids like colors, so you can use beet puree to color plain hummus. By using a bell pepper to serve it in, the bowl is edible, too!
  2. Purple ice pops can be made by blending Greek Yogurt & blueberries
  3. Kids like to dip their food. Try guacamole with baked sweet potato slices!
  4. If you’re worried about portability, you can grab condiment cups & baggies. Fill them with sunflower seed butter and celery sticks.
  5. For a change from peanut butter or hummus, you can use tahini. Sesame tahini dip goes great with sugar snap peas.
  6. You can make your own trail mix by combining pumpkin seeds, nuts, coconut flakes, goji berries.
  7. Instead of grabbing fig bars, just give the kids figs, or better yet, figs and brie cheese. Or dates and goat cheese.
  8. Instead of cottage cheese, you can use ricotta, which has a really good protein, fat, carb ratio. It’s yummy with raspberries.
  9. With baked cheese & beet slices, you can make mini “cheese – burgers.”
  10. Hard-boiled egg & grape tomatoes make a bright combination!

With winning combinations like these, you can eat them year-round!

 

feeling foggy, fatigued and inflamed

Foggy, Fatigued, and Inflamed

Are you feeling foggy, fatigued, and inflamed? This cluster of symptoms is common in many conditions from blood sugar imbalance to infection. But, autoimmunity is perhaps the least recognized of these conditions. So, learn to reverse and prevent autoimmunity by knowing more about brain fog, chronic fatigue, and inflammation.

Do I Have Autoimmunity if I am Foggy, Fatigued, and Inflamed?

Having these 3 symptoms does not mean you have an autoimmunity. For example, you can experience brain fog when your blood sugars are too high or too low. Further, you can feel fatigued because of insomnia, stress, or nutrient deficiencies. Additionally, both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis cause inflammation, but only the latter is an autoimmune condition.

Although autoimmunity is difficult to diagnose, it usually causes other symptoms besides brain fog, fatigue, and inflammation. Here are some tell-tale signs:

  • anxiety
  • trouble sleeping
  • forgetfulness
  • racing or fluttering heart
  • depression
  • digestive issues

In addition, many who suffer from autoimmune conditions complain of:

  • swollen glands
  • chemical sensitivities
  • food allergies
  • headaches

Why Feeling Foggy, Fatigued, and Inflamed is Dangerous

First, you may be oxygen-deprived if you can’t think clearly and are excessively tired. Second, your fatigue may be a sign that your immune system is not keeping up with clearing toxins from the body. Third, when your inflammation causes water retention, puffiness and pain, it suggests that you might have  gut dysfunction.  Like the tip of the iceberg, fog, fatigue, and inflammation are not the problem themselves. Together, they are the indicator that you have a bigger, deeper issue.

Clearing Your Fog, Fatigue and Inflammation

Briefly, you have to remove your triggers AND strengthen your barriers. Triggers can be:

  • Things to avoid (food and airborne allergens or emotional stressors).
  • Substances to detoxify (heavy metals).
  • Nutrients that are deficient (essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals).

Because these are so tricky to identify, you may want to work with a health practitioner to identify them.

You strengthen your barriers when you heal your gut. Start by removing the most-damaging elements: sugar, stress and environmental toxins. Then, add these Super Six Gut Enhancers:

  1. Water: Staying hydrated helps you make gastric juices and purge waste and toxins. Water aids digestion of soluble fiber, which in turn feeds your healthy gut bacteria.
  2. Anti-Inflammatory Nutrients: Omega 3 Fish and Krill oils turn on anti-inflammatory processes. You might consider a high-quality fermented cod liver oil. Also, turmeric and enzymes such as bromelain and papain help turn off inflammation.
  3. Probiotics: You enhance your gut and immune system both with probiotic supplements and probiotic foods.
  4. Bone Broth: Glutamine, glycine, and cysteine are all amino acids that help rebuild your gut lining. Bone broth contains all these amino acids.
  5. Vitamin D: This essential immune-boosting vitamin has a positive effect on the good bacteria in your gut. It works best when you take it with magnesium, which may help relieve anxiety.
  6. Minerals: Zinc, selenium, manganese, and molybdenum assist the enzymes that help you digest, detoxify, build up the gut lining, and squelch inflammation. Putting trace minerals in your drinking water helps your body absorb what it needs.
Don't let spooky high blood sugars ruin your healthy Halloween

5 Healthy Halloween Tips

Don’t let spooky high blood sugars and a hypoglycemic hangover ruin your healthy Halloween this year! Try these 5 tips to avoid sugar overload.

1. Load Your Candy Bowl With Toys

You say the candy is for the kids, but before you know it, you’re dipping into the bowl yourself! That gooey chocolate, the fun colors, and the tricky triggers from your childhood sneak up on you. Even if you intend to refrain, pretty soon urge overcomes willpower. Your next thought is, “Just one won’t hurt.” Then you can’t stop because you’ve awakened your brain’s pleasure center.

So, why not give stickers, bracelets, glow sticks, super balls, spider rings, glow-in-the-dark fangs, and other well-loved trinkets instead? You will help others have a healthy Halloween as well, and I’m sure many moms will thank you!

2. Host a Harvest Party

You can shift the focus of the evening from treats to whole foods by staging a potluck. Roast a turkey and invite friends to bring seasonal garden side dishes. Or stir up a delicious soup  which you can serve in a pumpkin. Games such as hunting for mini-pumpkins and tossing rings around pumpkins will keep the kiddos entertained. End the evening by telling stories around a campfire with steaming buttered apple cider.

Make it a healthy Halloween by including loved ones, time outdoors, laughter, and nourishment.

3. Choose Healthy Halloween Snacks

Plan ahead so you don’t end up in a hunger crisis that will have you diving for the treats. Fueling throughout the day with a combination of complex carbohydrates, natural fats, and high quality proteins will keep your blood sugars level. Then, you won’t have an emergency to eat just as you are donning costumes to go trick-or-treating. Here are just a few ideas:

  • guacamole and spicy chicken wings
  • cottage cheese and vegetable dippers
  • fruit and cheese
  • nuts, pumpkin seeds and dried fruit
  • hard-boiled eggs and grape tomatoes
  • olives, hummus, and whole grain pita bread
  • crackers and smoked fish

4. Indulge Deliberately

If you choose to eat sweets, why not select something like an 85% cacao dark chocolate bar? One study suggests that individuals will consume less junk food after eating dark chocolate than after eating milk chocolate. You’ll feel you are eating something decadent, and getting the antioxidant health benefits all at the same time!

5. Learn From Your Mistakes

Don’t use a slip-up as an excuse to dig a deeper hole! Human nature says, “You’ve failed; there’s not use even trying now!” Instead, you can use your experience to plan how to do better next time. Remember, we’re all on a diet continuum, not a diet plan! Your healthy Halloween last year likely will look much different from your healthy Halloween next year if you keep applying what you have learned and keep making the effort.

 

 

Oatmeal for breakfast

Oatmeal for Breakfast

Are you in the “Oatmeal for Breakfast” crowd? That’s the camp that believes whole grains are the best way to start the day. If you are, you have the backing of the American Diabetes Association. But perhaps you side with the keto bunch and prefer eggs or sausage. So which, really, is the best way to eat in the morning?

Consider Your Unique Biological Needs

First of all, let’s be clear that there is no one-size-fits-all diet. Whether you are male or female, old or young, active or sedentary impacts your dietary needs.  But that’s not all. I had a client who became very sick on a high-protein, high-fat diet because she couldn’t digest the food well. On the other hand, I have seen individuals with chronic inflammation because of their high-carb diet.

I know a healthy man who eats oatmeal for breakfast 365 days a year. However, I also know a woman whose blood sugars spike like crazy when she eats oatmeal. The more you become educated about your own body, the more you can tailor your breakfast to your health goals. Lab tests can be an important part of assessing your needs.

Strive for Balance

Excess is not healthy for anyone. Individual foods have both strengths and weaknesses. Spinach is high in iron and calcium, but it can’t give you thiamine or B-12. So you should aim for lots of variety in your meals.

Also, recognize that you need all three macronutrients: carbohydrate, fat, and protein. Build meals that do not favor one macronutrient too heavily. Oatmeal  is 70% carbohydrate. If you add sugar and fruit to it, you are increasing the potential for a blood sugar surge. In two hours, this could drop you into a hypoglycemic reaction, causing you to need more fuel fast. Then you will be driven to eat more carbs because fat and protein don’t enter the blood stream quickly enough. As a result, you create a blood sugar roller coaster.

oatmeal for breakfast can cause a blood sugar roller coaster

How to Eat Oatmeal for Breakfast

If you like oats to start your day, think like a pancreas. You want a slow, sustained energy burn that keeps blood sugars – and insulin levels – low and even.

Add protein or fat to your oatmeal for breakfast to keep blood sugars level.

Consider one of these balancing options:

  • Stir in some grass-fed butter or full-fat coconut milk.
  • Serve with a side of eggs or uncured, center-cut bacon.
  • Sprinkle in some protein powder just before serving.
  • Top with nuts and seeds.
  • Mix with almond butter
  • Add egg whites the last minute of cooking.

 

chubby cheeks are a clue to metabolic syndrome

Metabolic Syndrome and You

Metabolic Syndrome is possibly the most dangerous health condition you will encounter. Yet, you probably haven’t even heard of it. The real tragedy is that you can reverse it with just diet and lifestyle changes. But, uninformed, you will ask your doctor for prescriptions to treat your symptoms and will never solve the root cause.

What is Metabolic Syndrome?

This deadly imbalance of your metabolism shows up as a trio of problems. First, there’s weight gain – especially around the belly. Next, you notice  disturbing changes in your blood lipid profile. HDL’s begin to sink and LDL’s rise. Triglycerides climb alarmingly! Finally, your blood pressure begins to creep up. But these are just the telltale signs of Metabolic Syndrome. It is, in fact, a result of making too much insulin all the time.

Insulin is necessary. You can’t live without insulin. But when you have an excess, you store fat not burn it. Also, you make more triglycerides than you should. Your body creates smaller, denser LDL particles, which are the most treacherous kind, promoting to arterial plaque. Lastly, with higher insulin levels, your blood vessels constrict more, driving up blood pressure.

Metabolic Syndrome, called MetS, is your clue that your insulin has been elevated long enough, that your own cells are turning it away. Insulin can no longer keep blood sugars low. So your body makes even more of it in an effort to get the job done.

Why is Metabolic Syndrome Dangerous?

This cluster of abnormalities is a clear predictor of the top killers in America: stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. But because it is really a disease of insulin, it also puts you at risk for fatty liver disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. Less threatening perhaps, you become a candidate for obesity, infertility, PCOS, and certain autoimmune conditions, too.

You may think there’s not much harm in a little extra weight, or a blood lipid test that’s just above normal. In reality, your body is sending you a red flag that your metabolism has changed. You are like a ship with a gaping hole in the side. If you do not fix the hole, your ship will lean off balance more and more, until finally it cannot keep itself up!

Do You Have Metabolic Syndrome?

Check this list for clues to Metabolic Syndrome. A doctor will diagnose you with MetS is you have three of these signs.

  • Measure your waist at the belly button and at your hips around the widest point. Your waist measurement should not be greater than your hip measurement.
  • Request a cholesterol density test. You should have large, fluffy particles, not small, dense ones.
  • Know your blood lipid results. Expect triglycerides less than 100 and HDL’s greater than 50.
  • Calculate your the ratio of triglycerides to HDL’s. It should be less than 4.
  • Order a fasting insulin test. Look for a result of 5 or below. Many online labs offer this test for less than $50.
  • Check your hemoglobin A1c, which measures blood sugar over the last 6 weeks. If should be less than 5.7

Reverse Metabolic Syndrome

The first and foremost thing you have to do is prevent insulin surges. Since you produce insulin when your blood sugars rise, take these actions to keep blood sugars low:

  • Eat SLOW carbs. These are plant foods that enter the blood stream slowly because they contain lots of fiber and complex starches. Steel cut oats, asparagus, and lentils are some examples. They do not contain an abundance of simple sugars, like FAST carbs. Fruit juice, table sugar, and white bread are examples of foods that raise blood sugar rapidly.
  • Eat good quality protein, fibrous non-starchy vegetables,and unrefined fats with your meal. These will slow digestion and keep carbohydrates from entering the bloodstream too quickly.
  • Keep your carbohydrates less than 50% of your calories. No matter how clean you eat, if your meal is predominantly carbs, you will still produce insulin.
  • Practice stress-management techniques throughout the day. Stress can raise blood sugars even more than a high-carb meal. No one can avoid stress, but you can take steps to lower it.
  • Make a point to get 8 hours of sleep per night. You body produces cortisol to raise blood sugars when you are tired. A poor night’s sleep and flagging energy can also instigate sugar cravings.

Of course, if you need nutrition counseling or help with nutrient deficiencies, you can work with me.

Tips for Healthy Dining

Guide to Healthy Restaurant Dining

Here are 5 ways to make healthy choices when you eat out.

Visit a Local Health Food Venue

These small, independently-owned establishments specialize in farm-to-table offerings. They pride themselves on whole, unprocessed, simple food. You are likely to find keto, vegan, and gluten-free options, as well as local, homemade dishes.

Choose a Chain that Touts Fresh, Organic Ingredients

They may be fast food, but it’s fast food with an emphasis on natural foods. If you opt for a salad, bowl, or soup, rather than a sandwich, and add extra vegetables, you’ll be getting the best possible combination.

Go for the Salad Bar

It’s a great idea to fill half your plate with vegetables, then add a high quality, lean protein on the side, such as fresh trout. Watch those carbohydrates, and select fibrous, colored options. For example, pick sweet potato cubes instead of rolls, or quinoa instead of mashed potatoes.

Try Ethnic Food

Cultures with a rich food history usually incorporate many antioxidant ingredients in their traditional dishes. Use these guidelines to stay on track:

  • Thai – go crazy for coconut to cool inflammation.
  • Asian – choose steamed or stir-fried vegetables and request the sauce on the side.
  • Indian – order anti-oxidant curries laced with turmeric, cumin, and ginger.
  • Mexican – say yes to salsa, guacamole and seafood!
  • Greek – load up on tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, and spinach. Opt for grass-fed lamb.

Be Mindful

Wherever you eat, watch portions, sip water with lemon instead of soda, avoid fried foods and sauces, and pass on the dessert.

Meat and veggies for grilled customizable meals

5 Customizable Meals

With these quick meal templates, you can modify your meal according to your budget, time, and tastes. So, you will have delicious meals and optimal nutrition! Further, you can choose your meal to fit  your mood, and tailor it to the seasonal foods available. Now, you can have healthy customizable meals anytime!

Customizable Meals in a Salad Bowl

marinated chicken and vegetables for customizable meals

Ingredients

8 oz. any cooked protein, cubed
2 c. any raw vegetables, chopped
1 Tb. any fresh herbs, minced
3 Tb. vinegar, any flavor
2 Tb. any unrefined, cold-pressed liquid oil
1 tsp. prepared mustard, any type
1 clove garlic
salt to taste
2 c. salad greens, any variety
1 c. cooked grain or legume

Instructions

In a large bowl, toss together the protein, raw vegetables and fresh herbs. Next, whisk together the vinegar, salad oil, mustard, and garlic. Pour dressing over meat and vegetable mixture. Marinate at least 1 hour, and up to 48 hours. To serve, place greens in serving bowls. Then, add grain. Finally, top with the marinated mix.

Variation: Omit the grain or legume and serve in a tortillas or pitas.

Customizable Meals In a Soup Pot

soup ingredients for customizable meals

Ingredients

3 Tb. coconut oil, pastured lard, red palm oil, tallow, or ghee
1 onion, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart bone broth
12 oz. beef, pork, organ meat, seafood, poultry or tempeh
2-3 c. starchy vegetable OR 1 c. whole grain or legumes
Abundant greens –cabbage, kale, spinach, chard, bokchoy, etc.
Up to 4 c. additional vegetables: green beans, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, zucchini…
salt to taste

Instructions

First, sauté the onion in fat until translucent. Second, add the onion to the remaining ingredients in a crock pot or large soup pot. Third, simmer until food is tender. Lastly, season according to one of the variations below.

Mexican: Add tomato, cumin and chilis. Serve with avocado and lime.
Indian: Spice with cinnamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, and turmeric. Serve with cilantro.
Italian: Stir in basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme & fennel. Use tomatoes generously.
Thai: Season with ginger, lemongrass, fish sauce and lime. Serve with coconut milk.
Garden: Use any fresh herbs, such as dill, savory, thyme, parsley, or marjoram.

Customizable Meals In A Skillet

stir-fry vegetables for customizable meals

Ingredients

2 Tb. temperature-stable cooking oil
1/2 lb. cubed raw protein
1 onion, sliced
2-4 c. cut vegetables, fresh or frozen
1 c. chopped tomatoes
½ tsp. each cumin, coriander, turmeric and ginger
salt to taste
1 c. grain: rice, millet, buckwheat, quinoa…
2 c. bone broth

Instructions

In a large skillet, sauté the protein, and onion in the cooking fat. When the onion is translucent and protein is browned, add the tomatoes, spices, grain, and broth. As the final step, cover, reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and grain is tender, 20-30 minutes.

Variation 1: For quicker meal prep, cook the grain in the broth beforehand. Store it in the fridge or freezer until needed. Then, stir-fry the rest of the meal while the grain is warming in the microwave. Serve the stir-fry on top of the rice.

Variation 2: For a more southwestern flavor, substitute chili powder, paprika, and red pepper flakes for the coriander, turmeric and ginger.

Customizable Meals Roasted or Grilled

grilled veggie and meat skewers for customizable meals

Ingredients

1 lb. pork, beef, poultry, fish
2 Tb. coconut oil, avocado oil, ghee, tallow, or pastured lard
1 onion, chopped
Several cloves garlic, minced
2 c. root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, turnips, rutabaga, beets, parsnips)
2 c. non-starchy vegetables (green beans, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, peppers, celery)
1 Tb. Italian seasoning OR chili, cumin and paprika
salt & pepper to taste
1 Tb. balsamic, red wine or apple cider vinegar

Instructions

Cube the meat and chop the vegetables. Then, toss these together with the cooking fat and place in a roaster pan or on skewers. Before cooking, season generously. Grill or roast in a 450°oven for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through. When meat is cooked and vegetables are tender, remove from heat and sprinkle with vinegar.

Customizable Meals in a Slow Cooker

mushrooms and peppers for customizable meals

Ingredients

4 c. firm vegetable peeled and sliced (eggplant, turnips, celeriac, rutabaga, yam, squash…)
1 lb. beef, poultry, pork, seafood or tempeh
8 oz. tomato paste
2 c. bone broth
1 tsp. each dried rosemary, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder and salt
1/2 c. fresh basil, packed
2 c. additional vegetables (carrot, celery, bell peppers, spinach, zucchini, mushrooms…)

Instructions

Spread the 4 c. sliced vegetable evenly on the bottom of your crock pot. Next, lay the protein on top of the sliced vegetable. In a bowl or blender, whisk the tomato paste, broth and seasonings together. Then, chop the basil and mix into the sauce along with the 2 c. additional vegetables. Finally, pour the sauce over the meat. Cook on low for 4-6 hours

Variation: Add 1/4 lb. grated frozen liver to the sauce before pouring over the meat and vegetables.

More Customizable Meals

If you liked these recipes, find others like them in our Balanced Bowl Cookbook.