After 40(ish) years, I’ve learned to keep my resolutions pretty simple. According to a Forbes.com post, just 8% of us achieve our resolutions. I’m sorry, but that really stinks. I think a big part is that we don’t always make realistic goals. Sometime we just need to start with baby steps. Maybe instead of saying that you’re going to work out 6 days a week, 1 hour each day, maybe do about 20 minutes worth of HIIT (high intensity interval training) 3 days a week. They say that 20 min of HIIT is better than an hour of cardio anyway! And, instead of going on an extreme “diet” (which rarely works anyway), or doing a “cleanse”, try to just eat REAL food (by taking out most of the processed stuff). Or, try to take out one type of food — maybe an allergen or trigger food like sugar or gluten or dairy? Depending on your needs, pick one and really stick with it for at least a month, or at least long enough to see how much better you can feel without that irritant.
Who knows, you might feel so good that you decide to workout 4 days a week for 30 minutes a day. Or, instead of just taking out sugar, maybe you’ll want to remove you now want to eliminate gluten as well. Let’s just keep getting better, one step at a time….
One thing I have learned this year (I’m getting to my resolution, I promise) is that I have a MTHFR mutation. Did you know that as much as 30-50% of us have at least one gene mutation? So, what does that mean?
My body doesn’t absorb nutrients like B vitamins like folic acid into methylfolate quite as efficiently as someone without mutations. There are two main mutations (C677T and A1298C) that can cause a list of health issues such as:
Here is a great podcast called MTHFR Made Easy by my favorite Sean Croxton from Underground Wellness. This is also a good post that describes the mutations in more detail.
If you would like to get tested, make an appointment with your holistic MD or Naturopath Doctor (ND), or even possibly your MD or OBGYN (call ahead). Or, you can do it yourself by using labs like 23andme.com.
Anyway, one of the best things I can do for myself is to eat more greens. While I love my salads, there is no way I’m going to ingest nearly enough leafy greens, so this is where my resolution comes in…
A few years ago I got a Vitamix. I was so excited to make smoothies, but at the same time, I was overwhelmed with smoothie options. Do I use spinach or kale, bananas, apples, or pineapple? How about celery, cucumber, or carrots? Flax, chia or hemp seeds? Do I need coconut water or almond milk? Parsley? Lime juice? Cacao? Ugh, there are just way too many options!! So…after a few months thanks to the paradox of choice, I stopped making smoothies. If it’s not quick and simple (if you read this web site, you know that is how I work when it comes to food), I’m just not going to do it. Sad but true!
So, I had to think to myself, what is my purpose with a smoothie? My purpose was pretty simple….lots of green, little sugar, delicious taste. Hmm, I can do that.
Anyway, my resolution has been (I started a month early) to drink 1 green smoothie at least 5 days a week. And so far, so good! I keep it simple by doing things like storing my kale in the freezer and using jarred organic lemon juice from Whole Foods. Whether or not this fits into your resolutions, it’s worth a try. My son now loves this smoothies and drinks them with me. As for me, I’ve come to crave it every day single. My goal was 5 days and I’ve been drinking it 7 days just because it makes me feel so good, it’s easy to make, and I love the taste. I think this is a resolution that will last! At least…that’s my plan, so take that you measly 8%!
If you love things like mint chocolate chip ice cream, then this is your snack. We love these things year round, which is why I put them in Super Paleo Snacks. But they just seem very festive and appropriate for this time of year. And, (I know I say this a lot but it’s true) they’re so easy to make! See the pictures below for proof. Anyway, I hope you love these things as much as we do!! They really are fantastic!
Using a food processor, grind the nuts and pepitas together until they are finely chopped. You don’t want a flour-like texture, so be sure not to blend too much. Then add the rest of the ingredients into the processor and blend until well combined.
Next, remove the mixture from the processor and use your hands to roll the into golf ball sized dollops. If they are sticking to your hands too much when rolling them, put them in the refrigerator for a few minutes, clean your hands off and then continue to make the rest of your balls. Enjoy!
Oh and apparently Sam Flax has some cute little containers so again, if you are thinking of using them for teacher gifts or what have you, you can get these for about $2 a box!
Oh, and one other gift besides the mint chocolate chip balls could be…a snack book maybe? Just a thought!
Store them in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container for up to 2 weeks or on your counter top for 4-5 days (but there is no way they are going to last that long without being gobbled up!!)…
Unless it were up to George and apparently he isn’t really a big fan…
Mint Chocolate Chip Balls
Reminiscent of Girl Scout Thin Mints, these bite-sized little treats will make your taste buds want to sing around the campfire. With a crunchy texture and a minty-sweet taste, this snack will be loved by all. And unlike many Paleo snack balls (or bars) that use high glycemic sugars, like dates, these will keep your blood sugars stable.
Oh my, this is going to be a crazy week for all of us, right? Since time is going to be short, I thought I’d try to keep dinner as simple as possible. To be honest, I still haven’t figured out our main meals but at least I’m good to go on our veggies and appetizers. The good news is that none of these veggies have to be chopped (as long as you have access to a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s). Easy and delicious! I hope this helps you all just a little bit. Maybe when I can really get my stuff together and figure out the main dinner portion, I’ll post that too.
Tuesday: Sauteed Shredded Brussels Sprouts (from Trader Joe’s) – Just heat up a large pan on high, add about 1 tbsp of ghee and add the shredded brussels sprout, some salt and pepper, and some garlic and onion powder and cook until brown (about 10 or so minutes). You could always get fancy with it and use this recipe.
Wednesday: Broccoli and Tessamae’s Balsamic Dressing (Whole Foods or online). Steam your broccoli, put it in a large bowl and pour about half a bottle of Tessemae’s on it.
Thursday: Sweet Potato Fries. Whole Foods has diced pre-cut fresh sweet potatoes in the back, and Trader Joe’s typically has them, as well. Also, many other grocery stores will have them pre-cut in the frozen food section, or you can just use a mandolin if you have one). We love these things! Lately I have had these ready for my kids’ after school snack. They’re crunchy, sweet and salt, and great with cinnamon, too.
Friday: Oh, Friday. Sorry, I’m not cooking Friday! But…if you really want a whole week’s menu of sides, I’ll give you one more. It’s another family favorite, and ridiculously simple to make. It’s seasoned green beans. We get organic pre-packaged green beans from Whole Foods or Publix. All you need to do is take about 1 1/2 tbsp of ghee or grass fed butter and put in a medium pot. Melt and then add the bag of beans. Stir around so the butter covers the beans and they start to turn brown (for about 5 or so minutes). Then add 1 cup of chicken broth, some salt, garlic and onion powder and cook on low for about 25 minutes or until desired tenderness and enjoy! That’s simple enough, even for a Friday dinner!
That’s it! I hope this might help you get through this busy week with all of the holidays approaching. Have fun and happy holidays!
Tomorrow, Saturday December 14th is the official day my book is released, and I’m so excited!! Super Paleo Snacks will be available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound, Indigo, or Bookish and in some retail stores. So crazy and surreal! We didn’t know for sure if it would launch in time for holiday gifts. (We thought Jan 1st all along, but hoped for this!) Now I’m in a mad scramble to do some speedy-quick marketing. So, if you wouldn’t spreading the news, I’d sure appreciate it. Fortunately, there is no easier and better way than to share the news via facebook, instagram or pinterest. I would be so so grateful!!!
Okay, enough with my shameless desperate plea. So, to celebrate the release, I wanted to share my favorite snack. It’s the Crunchy Omega-3 Flax Granola (I am realizing just how truly lame that name is, so please don’t judge this snack by it’s name). I eat it daily. I take this on every trip with me. It is always in my purse in case I need a snack, and it’s the first thing I eat every morning. This recipe is under the “Nut Free” section in my book (page 152) but I think this snack belongs in every chapter because it is so practical.
I love this snack for so many reasons. First, you can easily tinker with the recipe to include what YOU like. Mine ingredients are fairly simple. But, you can toss in more salt or coconut palm sugar, add some different nuts, shredded coconut, whatever…Second, I love it because it is super duper crunchy and that (crunchiness) is one thing I miss eating from Paleo foods. It’s very satisfying when I want something crunchy! And third, I love it because it has a purpose (multiple, actually). While many of us love our flax and chia (especially chia) seeds for their fiber and anti-inflammatory properties, some of us have a hard time getting those slimy things down (especially the chia seeds!). This is by far the easiest way I have found to get these seeds into my diet. And, because I cook this recipe on such a low temperature, it helps to preserve the nutrients in the seeds and protect against oxidation. Oh, and lastly, it’s super easy to prepare. It’s probably THE easiest snack I make, for what it’s worth. Please do note though that compared to the other snacks in the book, this one tends to be more suited for adult pallets.
Play with what combo works best for you. You can eat it on it’s own, add it to your Greek or grass-fed yogurt or however you would like….
½ cup dried fruit (I like tart cherries which are anti-inflammatory)
Preheat the oven to 170°F
In a small bowl, mix the dry ingredients together.
Then add the water, combine well with your hands and let it sit for 10 minutes.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Spread the mixture as flat and evenly as possible on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 8 to 10 hours or until crispy. Allow to cool for 30 minutes. Break apart and enjoy. Store in an airtight container.
Lately I've been using 1 cup chia and 1/4 cup flax to get in the extra chia and that seems to be my favorite combination.
Also, I make this at night so around 7 or 8pm I'll get it ready and put it in the over. And then it's ready for me when I wake up in the morning. You can also flip the whole piece about two hours after it's cooked (but not necessary), and then let it cook the rest of the way until the next morning. It should be super crunchy when it's done cooking. If it's not, allow it to cook until it is completely dry and crunchy.
Also, I typically double this batch so if you eventually do, be sure to spread it out on the baking sheet flattening it out as much as possible. It tastes better when it's thinner.
I love this time of year! What a great time to celebrate with family and friends. And, yes, often these celebrations include yummy treats like candy canes, sugar cookies, hot chocolate, gingerbread men, and pumpkin pie. While it can be hard to do, I still try to maintain a little bit of a healthy balance with my family. Of course, sugar is super tasty and makes us feel good when we are eating it, but soon after look out for a loss of energy, grumpy moods and a lowered immune system. Not to mention, for us adults, too much sugar can trigger inflammation and stress to our bodies in an already stressful time of year. Who has time to be sick and worn down during the holidays? We’d miss out on too much fun!!
I like to balance our days with some healthy yet fun and tasty snacks and treats. One of our favorite treats are these Molten Lava Cakes. I have to be honest, in the year or so we’ve been eating these, I’ve never actually made them. Alice is the one who has always the baker of these delicious treats. It’s so great that she can make things all on her own now!
Anyway, this recipe is one of the treats in the “Sweet Treats” chapter of my new book Super Paleo Snacks. The chapter includes a few sweeter snacks like real chocolate chip cookie cake (crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside) and the most delicious cupcakes you will ever eat…you’ll swear they aren’t Paleo, but they are! You can find these recipes and more in the new Super Paleo Snacks available for pre-order now on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound, Indigo, or Bookish available just in time for the perfect holiday gift!!