Shrimp Pad Thai with Veggie Rainbow Noodles

To date, this may be one of my favorite real food meals I’ve put together on so many levels:  anyone can make it, great flavors and colors, reasonable cost (see breakdown at bottom) and it’s loaded with real food nutrition.  This is a Pad Thai you’re going to love… and rather than typical Pad Thai made with rice noodles, I did a grain-free veggie spin on it using rainbow carrot noodles and zucchini noodles.  Super healthy real food remix version!

This Shrimp Pad Thai is recipe-friendly:

  • Paleo
  • Vegetarian
  • Vegan-adaptable
  • ReBoot Protocol (see kitchen notes)
  • Gluten-free
  • Grain-free
  • Dairy-free
  • 100% real food ingredients

Let’s dig in…

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Veggie Fajitas with Cilantro Lime Caulirice

It’s Taco Tuesday! …and although I would love to indulge in some tasty tacos, I’m still deep in the detox game (see previous Spring Salad post) and tacos are off limits for the time being.  So to adapt, I whipped up something tasty in the spirit of Taco Tuesday, but that was also ReBoot protocol-friendly:  Veggie Fajitas 

Fajitas have always been a favorite Mexi-style meal of mine because they’re so versatile… we have so many options with them, right?  Shrimp, chicken, steak, veggies… go tortillas or tacos with them…  generally it’s an easy real food dish that can please everyone’s palate and food lifestyle preference from paleo to vegetarian.

These particular fajitas are a multi-color and flavor veggie base with a garlic sauce that you can serve with a homemade cilantro cauliflower “rice” (caulirice) option.

They can be eaten on their own as veggie fajitas, add any of your favorite integrity-sourced animal food aforementioned, you can go rice bowl-style (picture example below), serve with your favorite tortilla/taco or if you want to try a paleo tortilla with them, check out Amy’s over at Paleo Cupboard.

Overall this is what I call a “piggyback” recipe… a ton of possibilities you can do with it.

The veggie fajitas & caulirice are recipe-friendly:

  • Paleo
  • Vegetarian/vegan
  • ReBoot week 1+
  • Gluten-free
  • Dairy-free
  • 100% real food ingredients

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Beautiful Spring Salad Flavors with a Mandarin-Tahini or Citrus-Mango Tahini Dressing

After a fun filled & relaxing winter vacation with a little more than usual indulgences (sugar/Christmas treats) and fermented grape juice, I’m currently cleansing the body cells doing a 21-day ReBoot – the perfect way to start 2015. 

If you’ve been following me on Instagram lately, I have been posting some of my ReBoot-friendly meals I’ve been eating like this oven-roasted rainbow veggie medley meal prep recipe, a multi-color/nutrient-dense raw chopped salad, a really tasty shrimp pesto “linguine” recipe made with spiralized zucchini noodles, and a beautiful kitchen sink frittata recipe loaded with different veggies that my man Jamie Oliver chimed in on (I guess when Jamie digs it I’ve got to be doing something sort of right? 🙂 ).

So this week the body cleansing eats continues… I’m playing around with different salad and dressing ideas including this main base Spring Salad loaded with really fresh flavors, as well as a couple of dressing recipes you can try for it – a mandarin raw tahini dressing or a lemon-mango raw tahini dressing – both are epic and full of flavor.

The salad & both salad dressings are recipe-friendly:

  • Paleo
  • Raw 
  • Vegetarian/vegan
  • Gluten-free
  • Dairy-free
  • 100% real food ingredients
  • ReBoot-friendly:  Week 1+

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Happy Holidays to you!  Wow, is it me, or did December just fly by… Christmas is in a few days?!  I’m horrible when it comes to last minute Christmas shopping (read: still have most of my shopping to do this evening!), planning festivities, cooking, etc.

Luckily this year for family Christmas festivities I’m on cookie detail and was able to tackle a couple healthy treats over the weekend.

Rather than your standard Christmas sugar cookies, I wanted to get creative and come up with a unique spin on different cookies.  Last year I made raw maple bar bites, and this year I wanted to come up with a raw, paleo-friendly nutmeg thumbprint cookie, as well as thinking along the lines of pomanders (you know the oranges with the cloves poked in them that smell amazing?). 

So these little snowball cookies came into fruition from a combination of two things:

  • I had leftover “scrap” ingredients sort of laying around.. a few oranges, a bit of shredded coconut, some cloves and left over macadamia nuts from the nutmeg cookies.
  • Pomanders, a classic winter holiday thing we see… what if I could recreate that, but in flavor?

So the stars were aligned and these real food remixed “pomander cookies” were born… loaded with intense orange and clove flavor, and just sweet enough to satisfy any sweet tooth.  Definitely a cookie that packs a holiday flavor punch and really easy to make (no baking required!).

These real food remixed cookies are recipe-friendly:  raw food, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and made with 100% real food ingredients.

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The winter holiday season is here and that means holiday flavors and cookies (everywhere).  But that also means extra empty calories everywhere provoking us to nibble where we find ourselves having to balance those two little voices in our heads- “you can have just one” vs. “no, I’m trying not to be a fatty no cookie for me!”.  You know that back and forth banter I’m talking about?

Thing is you can enjoy treats without feeling guilty about it, especially if you’re dialed in with an 80/20-type of healthy lifestyle.  Problem is, most case histories I evaluate people are 20/80, or worse and often don’t even realize it (they think they’re doing the right things and “eating clean”, but they’re not).

So for someone who is currently healthy (without dis-ease) following an 80/20 lifestyle, their body can typically handle the nutritional stress of a cookie, but when we’re 20/80 or worse, it’s like putting more “fuel on the fire”, where that fire is inflammation, pain, sick, functional pathology, etc.  Does that make sense?  

Many of you know my policy is real food from integrity sources, but I’m also a HUGE foodie… so am I going to eat holiday treats this year?  Of course!

That being said, set yourself up for success by putting strategic “real food insurance policies” in place, and rather than the processed flour, processed sugar-based ingredient cookies with chemical dye-sprinkles and more we see everywhere this time of year, we can easily create amazing holiday flavors with real food ingredients… that way we have a healthy indulgence choice vs. the junk choice when that voice leans “just have one” (and it probably will, happens to me as well so you’re not alone. We are normal!).

These raw macadamia nutmeg thumbprint cookies are an example of that healthy indulgence, dead simple to make, and very versatile in that you can add different fillings in the middle.  Real food remixed and recipe-friendly: raw food, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, no added sugar.

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Seriously, though… where is it?

Isn’t creamer supposed to be cream-based, at least to some degree?  In other words, in the essence of the word and assumed consumer purchase, you would think you’re buying a plain or flavored cream for your coffee, right?

Not so with Coffee-mate.

Typically the main ingredient in real food-based creamers is, well, cream…  Coffee-mate uses water and corn syrup solids (very likely being from GMO corn as 90%+ of corn grown in the US is GMO), among other suspect food-like product ingredients.

So I ask, where’s the cream in the creamer?

Coffee-mate is one of many brand options we can choose from when buying a coffee creamer, however, I wanted to cover this particular brand for a few reasons:

  • It’s one of the most popular brands we see everywhere (is it in your fridge right now?).
  • It’s the holiday season and the “holiday editions” of Coffee-mate are all over our super market shelves with pretty/flashy labels provoking our taste buds to buy.
  • and of course, the ingredients (or lack there-of)… this creamer is not food, it’s food-like product.

Let’s take a look at the Coffee-mate ingredients, as well as the healthy Certified Nutrition You Can Trust real food alternatives for some of the flavors.

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  I got to take some time off and spend it with family, including my little niece from New Zealand who I had a lot of fun with.

I also got a chance to get busy in the kitchen adapting my real food remix raw bread recipe into some new styles:

  • raw cinnamon raisin bread for a breakfast raw bread option
  • Almost raw pumpkin bread for the holiday season (almost = all ingredients used raw except canned pumpkin)
  • raw banana-walnut bread… just because banana bread is one of my all time faves!

and this gem that is ready to share:  raw olive bread with rosemary

If you’re looking for a tasty and healthy processed flour-free bread option to include like a dinner bread for example, this is it.  I love olive bread, but obviously the doughy fluffy Italian kind my grandmother used to make has the processed flours/grain, etc. which is not an every day option for me.  So this olive bread is real food remixed and one you can make to avoid the processed breads and include in your own healthy diet & lifestyle routine.

This raw bread is recipe-friendly:  paleo*, vegetarian, vegan, raw foodie, ReBoot (week 2+), gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and of course, processed junk-free real food remix style.

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Finally getting this Certified Nutrition You Can Trust out of the blog archive, and for good reason on why I wanted to wait… this amazing tool is now available that I wanted to share on this post:  “Food Scoresby the EWG.  

This tool will give you the ability to “Rate Your Plate” and search 80,000+ foods all given a score 1-10 based on nutrition, processing (whole foods vs. processed), and ingredients (including ratings based on factors like pesticide-load, additives, contaminants, antibiotic residue, etc).

It literally just came out today, so I haven’t had too much time to look through it… but from what I see so far, I’m liking it and I think it will be a great tool to help you out when choosing foods!  A simple search and you can get a good idea of the quality of foods (or food-like products) and brands you and your family are consuming.

You are what you eat!

OK OK, enough of that excitement… now on to our Lunchables post, which I’ll add, for the example meat, cheese, cracker, cookie one I used for this post, scored a 10 on the Food Scores (the worst score possible).

Lunchables:

We live in a high paced, nano-second driven world, where grabbing for convenience can sometimes be a necessity, including sending our kids off to school with convenience foods like a Lunchables, money for vending machines and school lunch program options.  I wish I could say our school lunch programs and cafeterias at all grade levels, K through college, served quality sourced, integrity real food and were great for health, vitality & performance (and growth & development for our children), but the mass majority don’t… not even close.  In fact, it’s some of the worst food and the quality can be worse than fast food chains.  Would you eat this day in and day out?  How about this?

When I’m consulting with parents I usually give them this “ah-ha”:  would you eat the food served in a prison?  Would you have your children eat it?  And would you eat it day in and day out?

Usually the answer is “no”.  The reason I do it is because the mental association to prison usually = bad, and the mental association with school usually = good.  But the truth of the matter is the same Big Food sources of food that are served in a prison, are the same, if not worse, Big Food sources we find in many school lunch programs, as well as, ingredients and quality we find in Big Food convenience products like a Lunchables.

Convenience in today’s food supply world doesn’t typically = healthy.

So I do understand convenience works when grabbing something like a Lunchables…  but at what expense to our health?  What expense to our children’s health, growth and development?

Big Food does an amazing job marketing and disguising ingredients so many parents and individuals just don’t know how unhealthy these food-like products are.  The Lunchables website for example doesn’t even list their ingredients so we can’t check!  But on most all food [-like products], it’s all very calculated so that our attention is focused to the front of flashy packaging and buzz words like “natural”, “fat-free”, “reduced-fat”, “low-calorie”, “Only 100 calories!”,”gluten-free”, “high in fiber”, “good source of protein” etc. while being driven away from the tiny-size text on the back label:  the part of the packaging we truly need to be focused on… and even when we do find ourselves looking at the ingredient label, that can be confusing in and of itself where you feel like you need a PhD in chemistry to understand what some of the words are, right?

And that’s why we do consumer awareness Certified NYCT posts like these.

In this post, we’re going to look at some of the Not Certified Nutrition You Can Trust suspect ingredients in a Lunchables, as well as look at healthier Certified Nutrition You Can Trust alternatives for a Lunchables.

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What's Really In That Lunchables?  Plus DIY Lunchables You Can Trust!

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With Fall now here and a trip to the farmers market to see the seasonal real food possibilities we can play with in our kitchens, I decided to kick off the Fall flavor season with an indulgence.

Brownies!

But not just any ol’ brownies typically made with processed white flour, processed sugar and other junk…  a more healthy real food remixed version:  grain-free chocolate cashew pumpkin brownies.

And they turned out epic good with a moist, rich gooey texture… you know, the kind when after you take a bite you get that sticky-brownie mouth feel where you’re rolling your tongue on the roof of your mouth with each chew and need something cold to wash it down?  <—Volume ON

These brownies are recipe-friendly:  paleo, vegetarian, vegan-adaptable, gluten-free, dairy-free, and made with real food ingredients.

Tis the season…

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Homemade Paleo & Vegan-friendly Raw Bread Recipe

One of my all-time favorite foods is bread, but like many of our favorite foods, not always the best for us when it comes to our health – especially what’s available as our options today.  As most of us know, most all bread is a processed food-like product, it’s not real food (we don’t find slices of bread hanging from plants or trees, right?).  It’s man-made.  And our man-made options for a quality bread today are few and far between.  When I do have it, its always on my reward day (I’ll always have bread in my Italian DNA for the occasional indulgence) where my body can handle the nutritional stress processed bread provides; as most bread we find in the grocery store today uses highly refined flour, is heated and nearly, if not totally, void of vitamins, minerals & enzymes – or dead food.

In fact, do you know why we see on many brand name grain/bread packaging (as well as milk) the words “Good Source of”, “Fortified” and “Enriched”?  Usually with Calcium, Vitamin A, D, E, etc. attached to it…

Nutshell:  It’s because these critical vitamins & minerals for healthy body/cell function are destroyed during the refining process (even though these phrases on packaging may look like something “extra special” for the food, triggering us to buy [clever deceptive Big Food], they’re not, it’s because it’s dead).  They figured this out in World War II when over 50% of the soldiers enlisting for the war did not pass a physical for health.  The government was stumped and wondering why so many people could be so malnourished and in poor health.  Besides poor soil quality from conventional farming practices soil scientists realized and pleaded with congress about in 1936, the malnutrition was traced back to the early 1900’s when processing of food (including pasteurization) became prominent pre-World War I.  Processing and canning of foods was a solution THEN for the war so we could ship foods in mass quantity across seas.  WWI was our first major war where we sent millions and millions of troops across seas, whereas before that, major wars were fought on the homeland where we lived and our food supply was more readily available for soldiers.  Processing and canning of food THEN was a solution for foods not spoiling and lasting longer periods of time so they can be shipped across the world – it was a solution to feed millions of soldiers.  Yet they didn’t realize and figure out until the 40’s that the processing of the food decades earlier destroyed much of the nutrition in it, literally giving us soldiers that were so malnourished, they were turned away from enlisting in World War II.

As a result since the 1940’s, foods began to be “fortified” and “enriched” with cheap synthetic (not from nature) lab-made vitamins and minerals, and they still are even to this day. Why? Because the food is enzyme, vitamin & mineral nutrient-dead.  You’re eating dead food… and what do we get when we chronically eat dead, processed food?  We get chronically ill, diseased & eventually, dead people.  You are what you eat.

Grain, and the bread made with it, back in ancient times used to be stone-ground (actual big ol’ stones), much of it sprouted, and some varieties were even made through a fermentation process (sourdough for example).  Bread was minimally processed and it actually had some healthy qualities to it (in terms of nutrition still being intact) that many of our ancestors in different parts of the world relied on as a nutrient source. The highly refined grain bread we mostly find on grocery store shelves today is nothing like it; especially the non-organic stuff from poorly grown, nutrient-depleted grain (from nutrient-depleted soil). It’s what I call C.R.A.P. – Chemically Raised/Grown Agriculture Product… it’s a food-like product disguised as food and designed as a food industry for-profit staple… not for-health.

But what if we could make a raw, 100% real food bread with it’s enzymes and nutrients intact?

A raw bread we could use for one of those All-American meals: the sandwich?

A raw bread that doesn’t fall apart and slices great? (my goal for this recipe!)

A raw bread that is recipe-friendly:

  • paleo*
  • vegetarian & vegan
  • gluten-free
  • dairy-free
  • egg-free
  • ReBoot Protocol (week 2+)

and made with real food ingredients?

Is it possible while still tasting good?!

I give you the latest NYCT real food remix recipe for homemade raw “low-baked” bread…and probably one of my favorite real food remix recipes on this blog to date.

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