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Quick and Creamy Cauliflower Mash (Paleo, Vegan, Gluten Free, Whole 30)

I cant even begin to tell you how burnt out I am from my dietetic internship and masters program. The 8 hour days PLUS an additional 3-4 hours of homework, exams, etc. is really sucking the life out of me.

And even though I have the weekends to get ahead of my work, I end up doing the bare minimum so that I can do more important things like go to salt caves, farmers markets, coffee shops and 50% off sales at 5:00AM.

But seriously..

My sister, Candyce and I woke up at 5:00AM on Sunday to go a big half off sale at a boutique called Ooh La La.

Mind you, my internship is completely unpaid. But someone at the Gap thought it was a good idea to approve me for a Visa….

Anyways, I originally wanted to do a more elaborate recipe, but for lack of time I decided to go with a basic cauliflower mash. Sometimes it’s difficult to find such a simple and quick recipe so I think this worked out for the best. I whipped this side up in minutes and my family found it creamy and delicious. Feel free to add in chives, rosemary, thyme, cheese, or whatever other mixings you desire.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower (you may also use the frozen cauliflower)
  • 1 cup less sodium chicken broth (or bone broth or vegetable broth)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Jackson Honest Chips as topping (I get mine at Whole Foods or Wild by Nature)

 

Directions:

  1. Cut head of cauliflower into florets and steam until tender
  2. Place ½ of the steamed florets into a food processor or blender ( I used the Vitamix)
  3. Add ½ cup of your chicken broth and blend until smooth
  4. Remove the blended mash and place in a bowl
  5. Toss the other ½ of florets into your blender, add the remaining ½ cup of broth and blend until smooth
  6. Remove mash and add into the bowl with the first batch
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste
  8. Crush up your yummy Jackson Honest chips and sprinkle on top!

Avo Citrus dressing blog pic

Avocado Citrus Dressing

I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that the groundhog was right and 6 more weeks of winter is among us. If you live on Long Island you were most likely off on todays “snow day”. By me it was legit rain. RAIN! I got all psyched for nothing. Despite the non-treacherous driving conditions I still had that snow day mentality, so I bummed around the house in my pajamas for hours before realizing I had no excuse to not get my ass BUTT to the gym. 

Side Note: I gave up red meat and cursing for lent (two very big sacrifices for me). One is going much better than the other..

When I came home from my workout I had this delicious salad and my quick and easy Avocado Citrus Dressing. I meant to add cilantro to the recipe but totes forgot to pick some up at the store. Overall it tastes creamy and refreshing and is very similar to tzatziki sauce.




My next blog post will be about listening to your body and how cutting back on exercise can actually help you lose weight. 

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 large avocado, peeled and pitted
  • Fresh juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar with the mother
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tsp. honey (optional)
  • water

Directions:

  1. Purée all ingredients adding 1 tbsp of water at a time to thin to your preferred consistency

Salad Ingredients:

  • spinach or other leafy green
  • roasted organic chicken
  • Root and Bones Cordyceps (this is an adaptogenic herb I use to manage stress and give me energy)
  • vegetables of your choice (I did steamed carrots and broccoli,cauliflower rice, and organic bell pepper)
  • 1 Tbsp. chopped scallion

Directions:

  1. Sprinkle the root and bone cordyceps on your chicken and toss
  2. Throw all ingredients in a bowl and top with your avo citrus dressing!

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Buzzing Blueberry Smoothie (GF, Paleo, Dairy Free)

This smoothie may be low in sugar, but it’s high in nutrients and gets me buzzing with energy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic coconut milk (or any milk you like)
  • ½ cup frozen cauliflower florets
  • Handful of organic blueberries (berries are highly sprayed with pesticides so opt for organic if possible!)
  • 1 Tbsp. sunflower seed butter (or any nut butter you like)
  • 1 packet stevia

Directions:

  1. Blend coconut milk and frozen cauliflower
  2. Add in blueberries, sunflower seed butter and stevia and blend once more

 

 

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Fruit-Free Green Smoothie (Low Sugar, Paleo, Whole 30, Gluten Free)

I’m not a huge fruit person. As a child all of my friends would reach into their lunch-boxes at snack time and pull out an apple or banana. Meanwhile my dad hooked me up with chocolate chip mini muffins and a fruit rollups. LIT.

But veggies were never a problem. Throw some ranch on the side and watch me go to town on a plate of raw carrots, cauliflower and broccoli. Now, as an adult I’ve developed allergies to a significant amount of fruits so just more of a reason to stay away. This smoothie is not too sweet but it is creamy, filling and gets you buzzing with energy. Since my stress levels have been through the roof I decided to add some Root and Bones Reishi powder. This powder is an adaptogenic herb so if you have a lot of stress and anxiety in your day to day life just a teaspoon each day goes a long way. These adaptogens keep your body at an even keel by supporting your adrenals and thus decreasing your stress response. If you can’t get to a yoga class and make time to distress yourself then you should look into these ancient medicinal plants. Click HERE to get your Reishi on!

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup nut milk (I used macadamia milk)
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ jicama
  • ½ juiced lemon
  • 1 cup steamed kale (raw kale is no bueno for your thyroid and will have you sprinting to the bathroom all day)
  • ¼ avocado
  • 1 tsp. Root and Bones Reishi (good for Stress relief)
  • 1 tsp. Maca powder (good for thyroid)
  • ¼ – ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 packet stevia
  • 5-8 mint leaves

 

Directions:

  1. Blend together nut milk, water and jicama
  2. Add in the remainder of the ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy!

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21 Day Sugar Detox Round 2!

Last month I completed the 21 Day Sugar Detox by Dianne Sanfilippo. After a long holiday season of cookies, cakes and other treats I needed something to get me back on track, but this detox did more than just that. My sugar cravings diminished and even 3 weeks post detox I no longer feel overpowered by the need for sweets. I have become one of those people who can eat one Reeses cup and NOT THE OTHER! Like what?! A little nibble of chocolate doesnt turn into a full blown binge anymore.

I’m excited to announce that my friend Lea and I are doing a round 2 of the detox. I loved seeing the positive changes I made physically and mentally and am excited to embark on the journey once more. During my detox a lot of people contacted me looking for help getting started. Whether this is your first, second or third time around I welcome you in joining us on the detox February 15th- March 8th.

Feel free to follow our progress, tips, tricks and recipes here and on my Instagram @CrunchandLunch as well as Lea’s @Lea_fitlife .

If you are interested in seeing a recap of my first round on the Sugar Detox (level 3) click HERE

This will also be Lea’s second time doing the 21DSD (level 1) and here was her progress from the first round:

10-12lbs lost!

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Refreshing Detox Water

I always recommend consuming half of your body weight in ounces of water. For example, if you weigh 120lbs get in at least 60 ounces. Water helps to flush out toxins and boost your metabolism to burn fat more efficiently. Some people find it hard to drink plain water so liven it up with fresh fruits, veggies and herbs. I personally love this recipe, but you can throw in sliced oranges, pineapple, peaches etc.

By making a big ol’ pitcher you want to keep going back for more. I do recommend making a fresh pitcher daily because overnight the water will taste too strong.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sliced limes
  • 1 sliced lemon
  • handful of fresh mint
  • 1 sliced cucumber
  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 large pitcher

Another one of my favorites is sliced pineapple, fresh cut strawberries and mint or pineapple and cucumber

Directions:

  1. Toss the sliced limes and lemon into the pitcher
  2. Grab a handful of fresh mint and rub it in your hands to activate the oils in the leaves
  3. Throw the mint into the pitcher, add in 2 cups of the water and grab a large spoon to press all of the ingredients down
  4. Add in the cucumber
  5. Add in the remainder of the gallon of water

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Tropical Chicken (Gluten Free, Paleo, Dairy Free)

Yesterday was 60 degrees and today.. a blizzard.

WHY.

New York (especially LI) got hit with some crazy snow so I decided to channel tropical thoughts and create this healthy pineapple chicken dish.

Now, someone please fly me back to Key West so I can relive my sisters wedding at the Hyatt.

Ingredients: 

  • 1lb. boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 1/2 garlic
  • ginger powder
  • garlic powder
  • 1 olive oil or coconut oil
  • 1 20 can pineapple chunks in juice (not syrup!!!) Save the juice
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 lime
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut aminos
  • 2 tsp. corn starch ( or arrowroot)
  • 2 Tbsp. cashews (optional)

Instructions

  1. Cut the chicken breast into bite sized chunks and season with garlic powder and ginger powder to taste
  2. Heat oil in a skillet, add in the chicken and cook until golden
  3. Drain the pineapple, reserving the juice in a separate bowl or cup
  4. Add 1/3 cup of the pineapple juice to the skillet with the chicken. Cover and simmer for 6 minutes
  5. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside
  6. Squeeze the lime into your pan and add in honey, coconut aminos, cornstarch, and the remainder of pineapple juice
  7. Bring to a boil stirring very frequently for 3-5 minutes or until thickened
  8. Add chicken and half of the can pineapple chunks to the pan with the sauce
  9. Top with cashews and serve over cauliflower rice or regular rice!

 

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What I Ate Wednesday #4

Happy What I Ate Wednesday! Last week I was indulging on my double chocolate fudge birthday cake and today.. kale water.. LOL it actually wasn’t bad!

I’ve been experimenting with my dehydrator to make homemade green powder. After a few tries I finally made an easy to use kale powder that adds an nutrient boost to any recipe. Today my morning elixir consisted of warm water, 1/2 tsp. kale powder, lemon, ginger powder, tumeric and cinnamon. Before tossing in a packet of stevia to mask the odd combination of ingredients, I decided to take a sip and test it out in its raw form. Wasn’t bad! The stevia went back into the cabinet and I downed my kale water as is.

Today was my rest day so I went for a walk and then had steak, eggs and sauteed spinach for breakfast.

A few hours later I had 2 handful of crushed walnuts and homemade jerky

Lunch consisted of a simple salad of romaine, broccoli, radishes, baby corn, chicken and a sprinkle of kale powder. I dressed my salad with apple cider vinegar and EVOO.

Sunflower seed butter was my snack

By the time I got home from my internship all I wanted was food and sleep. I inhaled one of my chicken thighs and some string beans before realizing I needed to take a pic for my this post. I removed my one eaten chicken bone and quickly took this horrendous pic.

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Clean Eating Essentials

  1. Dehydrator- I love snacking on jerky but it’s so damn expensive! Investing in a good dehydrator like THIS one saved me a ton of money, and allowed me to control what went into the recipe. Some store bought jerky is loaded with sodium and sugar. To avoid that I use coconut aminos and a variety of spices. I’ve also been experimenting with dehydrated fruits and veggies so stay tuned for my DIY Kale powder!

2.  Lemon juice- When cravings hit (especially on week 1 of the sugar detox) put a ton of lemon juice in your water. In only a few big sips the tart flavor takes away my sweet tooth!  I also enjoy a big glass of room temperature lemon water right when I wake up to help wake up my digestive system.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar- In the morning I flip flop between my AM lemon water and hot water with one capful of ACV and cinnamon. I also use ACV on my salad. I enjoy the vinegary flavor but if you can’t tolerate it add some stevia or honey. ACV helps with digestion so if you suffer from chronic constipation, bloating etc. try taking a capful of ACV in water before each meal to stimulate digestive enzymes and help breakdown food.

4. Jicama- Jicama is low calorie, low sugar root vegetable from Mexico. Jicamas crispy crunch and lightly sweet flavor makes it taste like a refreshing mix between and apple and a pear, or an apple and a water chestnut… It’s hard to describe, you need to experience it! You can pick up this veggie at ShopRite or buy them already peeled and cut into sticks in Stop and Shop.

5. 40oz. BPA free water bottle- I love how big this water bottle is, it makes it easy to track how much water I consume in a day.

6. Organic cacao- When its right before that time of the month I mix one heaping tablespoon of organic cacao in a small mug of hot water and add a few drops of liquid stevia. Cacao helps boost calming and happy hormones like dopamine and serotonin which is great for PMS! Serotonin release also helps control appetite which can aid in weight loss. Cacao is rich in antioxidants and has been shown to be help boost the immune system.

Get a great deal on cacao and other organic products at HomeGoods, Marshalls, or TJMaxx.

7. Organic coffee- My midday (11-1:00ish) pick me up, hold the pesticides. My organic coffee comes from one of the 3 stores listed above.

8. Stevia drops- Sometimes I want a nice ice coffee with some sweetness. Regular stevia doesn’t dissolve in cold liquid so thats where THESE drops come in. I got mine at Stop and Shop.

9. A good butcher- Find a butcher that is open with you and tells you where their meat and produce comes from. My butcher hooks me up with free cuts and the taste is out of this world! I also save a ton of money getting my grass fed meat there as opposed to the grocery store.

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Sleep Challenge

Recent studies have shown that going to bed and waking up the same time every day could be the missing link to shedding some pounds.

Sleep is one of the most under appreciated fat burning tools. I’ve always noticed that when I get good, consistent sleep I feel better and look leaner. Though it’s such an easy way to rev up my metabolism, grad school keeps me up in the wee hours of the night and I end up hitting the hay at different times each day.

Based on this relatively recent study I am creating a mini sleep challenge to help regulate my sleep patterns. Bonus benefit: maybe this challenge will force me to get my work done early! I’m gonna have to put myself on a schedule.

A 2013 study at Brigham Young University followed 300 female college students, ages 19 to 26 to monitor the affects of their sleep wake cycle on their body composition.

After the one week study period researchers found:

  • A consistent cycle of waking up and going to sleep at the same time are strongly linked with lowering body fat.

Other findings in this study include:

  • Getting fewer than 6.5 hours of sleep or more than 8.5 hours is linked to higher body fat.
  • Sleep quality affects body composition. High quality sleep was associated with lower body fat while poor sleep correlated with higher body fat
  • The greater the variation in sleep patterns, the higher body fat percentage. Women whose sleep patterns varied by 90 minutes (i.e.: Thursday you go to sleep at 11:00PM and wake up at 7:00AM, then Friday you go to sleep at 1:00AM and wake up at 9:00AM) had higher body fat than those whose sleep varied by 60 minutes.

Leading researcher, Bruce Bailey states that by not adhering to a consistent sleep pattern hormones related to food consumption can be altered causing weight gain. These hormones include ghrelin, the hormone that controls food cravings, and leptin, the hormone that signals satiety and helps prevent over-eating.

Even though this was a small study and very short duration, implementing regular sleep patterns can be an easy way to increase energy levels and shed some weight. So if you’re looking for an easy way to lose: Put yourself on a regular sleep schedule.

My Challenge

Feel free to join me on my simple challenge or let me be the guinea pig and stay tuned for the outcomes.

I plan to force myself into bed by 11:00PM and wake up at 7:00AM daily for at least the next 2 weeks to see how my body responds. That’s it! The real challenge will be getting all my assignments in before my 11:00PM curfew!