Food & Cooking

nutrient-rich yogurt bowl

5 Nutrient-Rich Breakfasts

One of the most important steps you can take to balance your blood sugars is to eat a nutrient-rich breakfast. Instead of dashing out the door with a granola bar, or slamming down a bowl of cold cereal, try these family favorites that comfort and nourish simultaneously.

For the Oatmeal Lover: Nutrient-Rich Black Rice Pudding

Nutrient-Rich Black Rice Pudding

For being nutrient-rich, the darkest rice wins the prize. In this soothing and creamy pudding, rice is cooked in coconut milk to increase its healthy fat content, then served with vitamin-packed berries.

  • 1 cup wild or black rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 3 scoops protein powder
  • 1/3 c. pure maple syrup
  • Berries and cream for garnish

The night before, simmer rice and water in a rice cooker or covered saucepan on medium heat until water is absorbed, 30-40 minutes. The following morning, add the remaining ingredients and cook until rice begins to break down and the mixture thickens. Garnish and serve. Makes 6 cups.

 

For the Pancake Lover: Nutrient-Rich Okonomiyaki

nutrient-rich Japanese pancakes

These Japanese pancakes are a delicious way to eat more nutrient-rich vegetables. Basically, you make a pancake batter, add shredded vegetables, fry them, and top them with sriracha mayonnaise, sesame seeds, and green onions.

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 Tb. soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1 1/2 Tb. fish sauce
  • 2 Tb. sesame oil
  • 1 c. whole wheat or gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 head cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 Tb. coconut oil

Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. While it is warming, whisk together the eggs, water, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Next, stir in flour until a thick batter forms. Then add cabbage, carrots, and half of green onions. Lastly, stir until vegetables are evenly coated with batter. Now, pour 3/4 cup batter at a time into the skillet, smoothing with the back of a spoon into a circle about 1/2 inch thick. Cook until golden brown on the bottom (3-4 minutes, flip and repeat. Serve topped with remaining green onions, sesame seeds, and sriracha mayonnaise.

 

For The Meat Lover: Nutrient-Rich Vegetable & Sausage Skillet

nutrient-rich skillet of yams, apples and sausages

Photo Credit: Aidells Sausage

Pure comfort food – that’s what I call yams and apples with warm spices, layered with grilled sausages. No one will even think twice about the nutrient-rich greens tossed in. If you make it the night before, and pop it in the oven to heat through when you wake up, it will be ready by the time you are.

  • 2 sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds), baked
  • 1 package Aidells Chicken & Apple Sausage
  • 3 apples
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1/2 tsp. each cinnamon and nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. each ginger and coriander
  • 2 Tb. pure maple syrup
  • Salt to taste
  • 2-3 c. spinach or kale, cut into fine strips

First, peel and cube sweet potatoes and set aside. Second, slice sausage and cook according to package directions. Third, dice apples and saute in butter with maple syrup and spices. The last minute of cooking, toss the cut greens in with the apples. Finally, combine all ingredients in a covered casserole dish. If desired, refrigerate for use at a later time. An hour before serving, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake casserole for 45 minutes, or until heated through.

 

For The Smoothie Lover: Nutrient-Rich Tropical Smoothie

nutrient-rich green smoothie

This pineapple-coconut smoothie supports your blood sugars with protein and natural fat. Additionally, it contains nutrient-rich leafy greens, essential omega 3 fatty acids, and a bitter herb (ginger) to enhance digestion.

Greena-Colada

  • 1/3 c. frozen pineapple juice concentrate
  • 2/3 c. ice and water
  • 1 c. coconut milk, chilled
  • 2 c. spinach (I freeze mine ahead of time)
  • 1 tsp. grated or minced fresh ginger root
  • 2 scoops protein powder
  • 2 capsules Omega 3 fish oil

Before blending, slit open the capsules of fish oil and squirt the contents into the blender. Discard the empty capsules. Then add the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and frothy. Serve immediately. Serves two.

 

For the Yogurt Lover: Nutrient-Rich Breakfast Bowl

nutrient-rich yogurt bowl

Chock-full of protein-packed yogurt, beneficial seeds, and antioxidant berries, this powerful nutrient-rich combo will keep you fueled for hours.

Just layer and serve!

If you like these recipes, check out our cookbook!

 

 

Big Fat Treat #2: chocolate pops/pudding

Big Fat Treats

If you want to quit sugar, it’s important to “add before you subtract.” In other words, feed your soul and body to avoid deprivation. So, increase the amount of satisfying, wholesome fat you eat, while decreasing the amount of sweeteners you consume. When you increase your fat-to-sugar ratio, you prevent the blood sugar crash that sends you diving for donuts. My clients report that their cravings quit when they eat their Big Fat Treats.

Below are 3 simple Big Fat Treat recipes that you can make in just 5-10 minutes. Healthy fats such as nuts, avocado, and coconut as the basis for these snacks. A little bit goes a long way. Therefore, a few bites will leave you happier than a whole package of Oreos.

Big Fat Treat #1: Fruity Frosty

Fruity Frosty is a Big Fat Treat

photo credit: Mordi Photographie

Blend or process until smooth:

  • 1 c. frozen raspberries
  • whole avocado, peeled & pitted
  • 1 Tb. each lime juice and honey

Eat immediately, or scoop into an ice cream freezer and churn according to manufacturer’s directions.

Winning variations

  • Peach: 1 c. frozen peaches, 1/2 c. coconut milk, and 1 Tb. orange juice concentrate.
  • Cherry: 1 c. frozen cherries, 1/4 c. almond butter, 1 Tb. pomegranate juice plus water for blending.
  • Banana: 1 c. frozen banana slices, 1/4 c. cashew butter, 1 Tb. pure maple syrup, plus milk for blending.

 

Big Fat Treat #2: Chocolate Pudding/Pops

Big Fat Treat #2: chocolate pops/pudding

Blend or process until smooth:

  • 1 large banana
  • 1 Haas avocado
  • 3-4 oz. bittersweet chocolate bar, 70% cacao, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 Tb. pure maple syrup, optional

Spoon into cups and refrigerate until serving time, or spoon into molds and freeze for fudgesicles.

 

Big Fat Treat #3: Ginger Cookies

Ginger Cookies are Big Fat Treat #3

  • 2 c. raw walnuts or pecans*
  • 1 c. dried dates (pitted) or figs*
  • 1/4 c. molasses
  • 4 Tb. arrowroot or tapioca starch
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

While oven is preheating to 325 degrees, churn nuts and dates in a food processor until they form a smooth paste.* Then, add remaining ingredients and pulse to combine. Next, form 1″ balls. Place on a greased, sprayed, or parchment-lined baking sheet. Finally, flatten with the palm of your hand. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Note: If you do not have a food processor, you can substitute 1 cup of nut butter and 1/3 cup honey for the nuts and dates/figs.

Chocolate Round-up Recipes for Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day Chocolate Round-Up

Perhaps no treat is more popular at Valentine’s Day than chocolate. And for good reason! Chocolate releases a chemical in the brain called phenylethylamine. This chemical is called the “love drug” because it stimulates that same twittery pulse you feel in a romantic relationship. But because we all need to avoid sugar, here’s your Chocolate Round-up for healthier treat options this Valentine’s Day.

Peppermint Patties

Dr Axe's Homemade Peppermint Patties

They might sound difficult to make, but these homemade peppermint patties from Dr. Axe are quite simple to whip up at home.

Fudgesicles

Fudge Pops from Mommypotamus

There’s no better way to capture the joy of frosty chocolate creamies  than with this winner from Mommypotamus.

Bliss Balls

Bliss Balls from Healing Family Eats

Here’s a recipe from Healing Family Eats to prove you CAN have a treat without resorting to added sweeteners.

Brownies

Flourless brownies from Paleo Grubs

Have a pan of mind-blowing flourless brownies from Paleo Grubs in just 30 minutes.

Chocolate Truffles

Chocolate Truffles from Dr. Jockers

Decadent and rich, the secret ingredient in these creamy delights from Dr. Jockers is avocado.

Hazelnut Fudge

Hazelnut Fudge from Inner Connected Wellness

This is one of my very own recipes. Cocoa powder and carob powder are interchangeable in these simple fudge balls.

 

 

 

Eat more vegetables with cake, pizza, fruit, and pancakes.

Eat More Vegetables

Let’s face it: Vegetables are not exactly comfort food! But we all know we need to eat more of them. Try these 3 easy tips to eat more vegetables in your family.

1. Go Green

Here’s a hint for multiplying your intake: buy a big bag of spinach, arugula, mustard, chard, kale, or other dark leafy variety – even parsley or cilantro. The minute you get home from the store, toss the whole bag in your freezer (trimming stems may be necessary). After it is frozen completely, crumple the bag, breaking up the leaves into tiny bits. Return the bag to your freezer. Then, every time you’re making food, put some frozen green fragments into your dish. This works for stuffed meats and pastas, sauces, soups, smoothies, sandwiches and stir-fries.

The “freeze-your-greens” trick is how I got 3 cups of arugula into 12 ounces of pizza sauce for this segment on the KPVI Morning Show.

2. Sneak in Some Sulphur

When I say sulphur, I mean vegetables from the cruciferous, allium, and mushroom families.

  • Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, kale, spinach, radishes, bok choy, cauliflower, cabbage, turnips, and arugula.
  • Alliums are onions, garlic, leeks, shallots, green onions, and chives
  • Mushrooms go far beyond the button variety. Shiitake, Morel, Maitake, Portabello, and Oyster are a few popular choices.

Because cruciferous vegetables are the hardest to disguise with their sulphur-y taste, I’m going to to show you how easy it is to hide them. I have 4 sneaky ways to add them to your family meals: pancakes, pizza, fruit salad and chocolate cake!

JAPANESE PANCAKES, known as okonomiyaki, are comforting street food. They are a delicious way to eat more vegetables. Basically, you make a pancake batter, add shredded vegetables, fry them, and top them with sriracha mayonnaise, sesame seeds, and green onions. Try this recipe:

Japanese Pancakes are 1 way to eat more vegetables

Ingredients

2 large eggs

1/4 c. water

1 Tb. soy sauce or coconut aminos

1 1/2 Tb. fish sauce

2 Tb. sesame oil

1 c. whole wheat or gluten-free flour

1/2 head cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)

1 carrot, grated

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced

2 Tb. coconut oil

Directions

Whisk together the eggs, water, soy sauce, and sesame oil. stir in flour until a thick batter forms. Add cabbage, carrots, and half of green onions. Stir until vegetables are evenly coated with batter. Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Pour 3/4 cup batter at a time into the skillet, smoothing with the back of a spoon into a circle about 1/2 inch thick. Cook until golden brown on the bottom (3-4 minutes, flip and repeat. Serve topped with remaining green onions, sesame seeds, and sriracha mayonnaise.

Eat More Vegetables Than That

How about a CHEESE PIZZA, made with 3 whole cups of arugula? Chop your the greens finely (see freezer method above), and stir them into the pizza sauce before spreading it on the crust. Then top with mozzarella and parmesan. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

eat more vegetables with cheese pizza

In this colorful CHICKEN & APPLE SALAD, there are chunks of raw turnip. Because they are white and crisp, they blend right in with the apple. Toss the following ingredients and serve over mixed greens:

chicken apple salad helps you eat more vegetables

Ingredients

2 chicken breasts,  cooked and sliced into strips

4 cups of spring lettuces

1/2 purple onion, thinly sliced

1/2 c. pecans, broken into pieces

1 red apple, diced

1 raw turnip, peeled and diced

1/2 c. dried cranberries

Dressing Ingredients

2/3 c. olive oil

2 Tb. red wine vinegar

2 Tb. apple cider vinegar

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tb. Dijon mustard

2 Tb. honey

And Eat More Vegetables Still

Finally, there is CHOCOLATE CAKE Chocolate Covered Katie from . Can you guess the secret ingredient? It’s cauliflower! That’s what makes the cake so moist. But you can’t taste it – even though there’s 4 cups! Here’s how I made it:

have your cake and eat more vegetables

Ingredients

2 c. whole wheat or gluten-free flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

4 Tb. ground flax

1 c. coconut sugar or raw turbinado sugar

2 Chocolove Strong Chocolate, Almond, & Sea Salt bars, broken into 1/4″ bits*

1 Tb. pure vanilla extract

2 14-oz. bags frozen cauliflower, thawed but not cooked

2/3 c. milk (dairy or non-dairy)

1/2 c. butter, melted

Frosting Ingredients

1/2 c. peanut or almond butter

1/3 c. pure maple syrup

1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

2 Tb. milk

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease  and flour 2 round 8″ cake pans. Combine dry ingredients and mix well. Puree vanilla, cauliflower, milk, and butter in blender until very smooth. Pour into dry ingredients, and stir just until evenly moistened. Pour into prepared pans. Bake 30 minutes. While cake is baking, whisk together frosting ingredients. Cool cake 15 minutes in pans, then invert onto cooling racks. Ice when completely cool. Store in refrigerator.

*Note: to break chocolate bars, freeze them first, then hit them with a meat mallet.

3. Crank Up the Color

Colors make meals visually appealing. But they taste good, too, and have tons of health benefits. So, you can eat more vegetables and really enjoy them. Choose from as many colors as you can each day! Eat them raw, or eat the grilled, roasted, steamed, or sauteed. Ditch your beige foods and eat a cup of colors every meal!

  • Green: (excluding leafy varieties above) asparagus, broccoli, cucumber, green beans, celery, cucumber, artichoke, Brussels sprouts
  • Red: sweet red peppers, tomatoes, beets, red potatoes (skin on)
  • Yellow/Orange: carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, yellow peppers
  • Blue/purple: eggplant, purple cabbage, purple onion, purple potato
  • White: parsnips, rutabaga, turnip, cauliflower, garlic, onion, ginger, mushrooms
nutrient-rich skillet of yams, apples and sausages

Holiday Brunch

Christmas comfort food – that’s what I call yams and apples with warm spices, layered with grilled sausages. Make it a few days before your celebration, and pop it in the oven to heat through when you wake up. It will be ready for brunch after your Christmas morning festivities.

Ingredients

2 sweet potatoes (about 2 pounds), baked

1 package Aidells Chicken & Apple Sausage

3 apples

1/4 c. butter

1/2 tsp. each cinnamon and nutmeg

1/4 tsp. each ginger and coriander

2 Tb. pure maple syrup

Salt to taste

Directions

Peel and cube sweet potatoes and set aside. Slice sausage and cook according to package directions. Dice apples and saute in butter with maple syrup and spices. Combine all ingredients in a covered casserole dish. If desired, refrigerate for use at a later time. An hour before serving, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake casserole for 45 minutes, or until heated through.

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.

 

 

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.

 

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.

5 Slow-Carb Side Dishes to Love

Trying to ditch potatoes because they spike your blood sugars? Staying away from breads because they aren’t low carb? Not to fear! These amazing slow-absorbing, insulin-stabilizing dishes will have you so crazy about the sides, you’ll almost forget the entree!

Red Lentils and Tomato – best with beef

1 c. red lentils, washed and drained

2 c. bone broth

2 Tb. coconut oil or red palm oil

1 tsp. brown mustard seed

1/2 tsp. cumin seed

1 onion, chopped

1″ ginger root, grated

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 c. tomato paste

1/2 tsp. salt or more to taste

In a small saucepan, combine the lentils and broth. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat, cover, and cook until lentils are soft and only a little liquid remains, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the oil over medium heat. Add the seeds. When they sizzle and change color (10-20 seconds), stir in the onion. Saute until onion becomes translucent, 2-3 minutes, then add in the garlic and tomato paste. Reduce heat to low and cook gently to marry the flavors while the lentils finish cooking. Combine the cooked lentils with the tomato mixture. Add salt to taste.

Gluten-Free “Dumplings” – excellent with stews

1 lb. cassava root, yucca root, or African white yam

2 green plantains

1 1/2 Tb. butter or coconut oil

salt to taste

Pare the root vegetable and the plantains. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes, or until fork-tender. Drain thoroughly and cool slightly. Place in a high-power blender or food processor. Add the butter or coconut oil and salt. Process until smooth and lump free. Take spoonfuls at a time to form balls.

Note: over-ripe plantains will cause your dough to be sticky. If this happens, add a little cassava or arrowroot starch to the dough. If your plantains are too under-ripe, the dough will be mealy and will not hold together. Add a little coconut milk to the dough in this case. Aim to use plantains that are mostly green but just beginning to turn yellow.

 

French Lentils with Capers – complimentary to fish

1 c. green lentils

4 c. bone broth

2 leeks, thinly sliced (white part only)

1/4 c. butter

1 Tb. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. dried tarragon

4 oz. capers

Salt to taste

Put the lentils to simmer in a saucepan with broth over medium heat for about 40 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and lentils are tender. Meanwhile, saute the leeks in butter. Add the leeks, lemon juice, tarragon, capers, and salt to the cooked lentils and cook 5 more minutes to marry flavors.

 

Savory Bananas in Coconut Milk – beautiful with teriyaki chicken

3-4 green bananas or 2-3 green plantains, unpeeled

1 onion, chopped

2 Tb. coconut oil

up to 8 oz. coconut milk

salt to taste

Put the bananas or plantains in a saucepan covered with water and bring to a boil. Simmer until the skins split and the fruit is soft, 15-20 minutes. Drain and cool. Meanwhile, caramelize the onion by cooking in oil over medium heat, stirring frequently, until golden brown. Peel and slice the fruit and return to the saucepan along with the onions. Add just enough coconut milk to cover them. Simmer until the milk thickens slightly, 3-5 minutes. Salt and serve.

 

Green Apple Curry – exceptional with pork chops

2 Tb. coconut oil

1 tsp. brown mustard seeds

2 bay leaves

1-2 Tb. curry powder or 1/2-1 Tb. curry paste

3-4 large green apples, cubed2 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tb. palm sugar or 1 Tb. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. bone broth

1/2 c. coconut milk

Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and bay leaves and sizzle for about 20 seconds. Then mix in the curry, apples, sugar, and salt, tossing to evenly cost the apples. Saute 5-10 minutes, until apples start to soften. Add broth and coconut milk. Continue cooking about 10 minutes more, until apples are quite soft and sauce is thickened.

Eat Probiotics When Cravings Strike!

Have you ever eaten something sour when your body cried out for sweets? It seems counter-intuitive, but the probiotics in a cultured food can alter your cravings in the long run by improving your gut health.

In this video, you can see how easy and inexpensive it is to create your own probiotic foods from your garden.

You can find recipes for culturing your vegetables online at Cultures for Health. If you are purchasing naturally fermented foods, look for phrases such as “contains live cultures” or “never heat-treated” on the label.

Other benefits of probiotic foods, aside from helping with cravings, are that they:

  • Bolster your immune system and help fight infection.
  • Strengthen your gut and help relieve conditions such as bloat, indigestion and IBS.
  • Make your food more digestible and help your absorb your nutrients better.
  • Manufacture B vitamins, which you are likely to have a deficiency of if your are under chronic stress or sugar overload.
  • Are an economical way to boost your health.