Simple Chia Pudding

Being dairy free, I sometimes really miss yogurt. I can buy the coconut or almond milk yogurts, but they just do not satiate me the way a thick Greek yogurt used to. The best alternatives to me are thick smoothies and chia pudding. Today I am sharing with you my simple recipe that can be enjoyed with whatever toppings your heart desires. I have this as a breakfast or even a dessert when I am trying to behave. After the amount of candy I consumed this past weekend on Easter I would say I am trying to behave. So here is what you will need for the pudding itself. This recipe makes 4 servings.

1/2 cup chia seeds
2 cups coconut milk, almond milk or cashew milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp maple syrup, more or less to taste

Mix the above ingredients together and let them soak for at least an hour. I usually just leave them in the refrigerator overnight. You can add fruit, nuts, granola, nut butters, chocolate chips, the list goes on. Pictured I have topped my pudding with almonds, walnuts, dried fruit, banana slices and fresh mango slices.

I hope you enjoy!

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Gooey Pumpkin Bars

Pumpkin Blond Pic Stitch

Gluten free, dairy free, vegan, full of fiber, guilt free and absolutely delicious.  This recipe screams fall without an over powering pumpkin spice flavor.  I wish I could say I came up with the genius secret ingredient, but the credit goes to the Purely Twins.  The ingredient that makes these bars gooey and flour less is pureed plantain.  I had all the necessary ingredients in my pantry, with the exception of a plantain, so chances are you have most of these ingredients already at home! I modified the original recipe just bit.  See below:

Pumpkin Blonde DoneBlonde Pumpkin

Ingredients

  • 1 medium ripe plantain
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup turbido sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (1oz), liquid
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Puree the plantain in a blender or food processor
  • Combine all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl but hold the chocolate chips
  • Add the plantain, pumpkin and coconut oil to the dry ingredient bowl and mix well with a spatula
  • Fold in chocolate chips if you so desire
  • Spread the mixture into an 8×8 baking dish greased with coconut oil and bake for 20-25 minutes

These bars are gooey and decadent, but are best when stored in the refrigerator.  They are moist and prone to molding if you leave them out for days at a time.  I have a bar recipe similar to this one and I always keep cool or even freeze if I know I cannot gobble them up in less than a week.  I usually do not have that problem…

This recipe packed with fiber and makes for a great snack, breakfast or dessert.  Feel free to experiment and add your own mix ins.  I think pecans or sliced almonds would add a great crunch! If you try anything out, let me know how it goes 🙂

Gut Health Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Fall is officially here in Virginia.  The nights are in the low 40’s and Trader Joes is stocked with all things pumpkin.  I don’t usually like the taste of  most pumpkin flavored products.  They all taste artificial and not much like pumpkin if you ask me.  I remember trying the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks a few years ago.  It was so disappointing, I ended up taking two sips and dumping it in the trash before I left the store.  Now Starbucks is being slammed with criticism for using caramel coloring and other artificial ingredients.

So maybe pumpkin packaged goods are icky, but you can still celebrate fall by making delicious and healthy homemade recipes with fall squash.  Pumpkin is a super food.   So why not add it to everything?

Pumpkin Packs:

  • Lots of dietary fiber
  • Low calorie count
  • Antioxidants to improve skin and sight
  • Vitamins A& B
  • Folates
  • Minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus

Recently I have been on a quest to improve my gut health. Going dairy, grain, soy and legume free has made breakfast a challenge.  I have had to get creative to find things that keep me full when I don’t have time for eggs and veggies in the morning.  So let me present you with my Gut Healthy Pumpkin Spice Smoothie recipe.

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Ingredients

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp organic honey
  • splash of unsweetened coconut milk (or as much as needed)
  • few dashes of cinnamon
  • 1 dash of nutmeg
  • 1 dash of ground cloves

Simply add all your ingredients together, blend and enjoy at home or on the road! Happy fall y’all 🙂

Super-Gut-Food Almond Butter

I have been dealing with Leaky Gut Syndrome for a while now, but my flare ups have become irregular and almost obsolete.  In fact, my gut has been fairly healthy in the past year and a half.  However, this past Monday I was completely blind sided by the side effects of this crap syndrome.  So for a few days I was consuming mostly liquids (coconut milk, kombucha, hot tea, and lots of water).  I eased my way to coconut milk yogurt, sauerkraut and mashed up bananas.  My stomach was inflamed and my energy level was insanely low due to a calorie deficit.

So now I am on a mission to repair my intestinal lining and get back to a healthy gut.  My diet for the next 2-4 weeks is going be restrictive, more or less Paleo with some extra rules.  I cannot eat soy, sugar, legumes, dairy, night shade vegetables, grains or anything processed by any means. Last night I had a dream I was eating Chinese food. I don’t even like Chinese food.  I have been Gluten Free for almost seven years and I remember in the first year I would have dreams I was eating sandwiches all the time.

It is not complete torment, I still get to eat most of the things I love.  I will be consuming lots of coconut products like coconut milk, coconut milk yogurt, coconut oil and coconut butter.  Fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi are great for gut health and I do love an excuse to splurge on kombucha.  I will be attempting my first bone broth this weekend which is supposedly deeeelish, I just hope I can find some chicken feet.  Another great food group for gut health is sprouted seeds (like flax seed, chia seed and hemp seeds).  Which brings me to my creation this morning.

Super Gut healthy Almond Butter

  • 2 tablespoons of Almond Butter ( I use Trader Joe’s Unsalted Crunchy)
  • 1 teaspoon of Chia Seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of Ground Flax Seed
  • 1 teaspoon of Coconut Oil

Mix them all together and enjoy! I spread mine on apple slices for a mid morning snack.  This is a very filling spread so you might not need to eat the whole two tablespoons in one sitting, but it’s so good I cannot help but lick the bowl clean.

Sleeping Late & Dessert for Breakfast

Monday sucks.  It’s painful for almost everyone.  Today I attempted to keep my bad mood under control by making two decisions last night. 

  1. I turned my 5:30 alarm off and I slept until 7:30
  2. I prepped a magically decadent breakfast

Monday Fuel

I typically wake up around 5:30-6:00 on Monday mornings to workout, but as I climbed into bed last night I realized how sore I felt from that morning’s weight lifting session.  It has been a crazy couple weeks with new clients and a new workout regimen so I am stepping out of my routine for some rest.  Wow, 9 hours of sleep has me feeling like a new woman.  Sleep is the new cardio. 

When I went to prep my breakfast last night I realized there was only about half a serving of yogurt left, so I improvised and made the most decadent breakfast of my life.  It was like eating peanut butter pie for breakfast, but better, because it was filling fuel not empty calories. 

I zoomed to the office this morning so excited to dig into my breakfast jar.  Catching up on emails is so much more fun when you are shoveling delicious food down your throat. 

Here is what went into my morning jar: 

I mix all the ingredients together and let the jar sit in the refrigerator over night.  This allows the flavors to really soak into the yogurt.  The chia seeds expand into gelatinous fibrous omega-3 fatty acid sprinkles. 

This recipe is full of healthy fats and 19 grams of protein to keep you full and satisfied until lunch! There is no added sugar (or artificial sugar), so you wont crash like you will with a bowl of cereal.  I even counted calories for all you number crunchers and with my portions it was 380 calories.  That is one gram of protein for every 20 calories.  Vegetarians rejoice!

Give it a whirl or make your own version, it will make your regimented morning a tad more exciting.  Report back!

Avoiding Muscle Cramps & My Potassium Packed Green Smoothie

Muscle Cramps: for the most part we know how to prevent them, but we don’t always make the time to take preventative action.  After multiple clients stopped to hold their cramping legs, feet and toes during our workouts in the past week, I figured this topic deserved a blog post.  I in particular get them in my toes while I am stretching after a hard workout or in the middle of the night, but this week I had clients cramping mid circuit.  So here we go:

  1. Are you hydrated? If you are not drinking enough water for you weight and activity level this could be your problem.  So start logging your water.  Try the app waterlogged to train yourself to make water consumption a priority.  Plus, being hydrated will make you feel better, look better and help curb hunger between meals.
  2. Are you stretching adequately?  If you are partaking in any distance running, HIIT Training, or cycling you need to stretch a lot! For example: the repetitive nature of running tightens up your hamstrings, hips and calves when you are logging miles.  So stretch after you run and invest in a foam roller.  Happy hamstrings make a happy athlete.  If you cramp up while you are sleeping, stretch before bed.
  3. Are you getting enough potassium? People always think bananas when they are reaching for potassium, but potassium can be found in so many everyday foods.  Try a baked potato (sweet if you are watching your sugar), avocado, raw kale, brussel sprouts, mushrooms, white beans, salmon, yogurt, the list goes on.  Click here to see the Top 10 Foods Highest in Potassium.
  4. Are your sodium levels depleted? If you are an endurance athlete or a heavy/salty sweater, you may be deficient in the electrolyte sodium.  This can easily be balanced by consuming sports drinks when you are working out for more than an hour or during extra sweaty sessions.  (I am one of those salty sweaters.  I always have a white film on my face and body after an endurance run, it’s a good look)
  5. Are you getting enough carbohydrates? You have to replenish your glycogen stores when you are working out for over an hour.  You also need to have adequate glycogen stores before you begin exercise.  If your muscles do not have fuel, they cannot perform optimally and you will cramp.  You can replenish with sports products like GU or sports drinks but for the most part, a small snack an hour before your session will do.  See my post on Pre Workout Snacks! Remember, fat burns in a carbohydrate flame.

Potassium

I was feeling inspired by the muscle cramp topic and decided to make a potassium packed smoothie after my Saturday workouts. Here is what it consisted of:

  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 cup of kale
  • 1 cup of pineapple
  • 3-4 stalks of celery
  • 1 tbsp of chia seeds
  • splash of vanilla unsweetened almond milk (or coconut milk)

The majority of the potassium in this recipe comes from the first three ingredients (Banana, Avocado & Kale).  In addition, chia seeds are great for ridding your body of toxins.  The gelatinous nature of the seeds help pick up unwanted toxins that are often stuck in the small intestine and reabsorbed into the blood stream.  The key with chia seeds is to let them soak.  A great way to accomplish this is by allowing them to soak them in the almond milk (or coconut milk) you use for your recipes.   Fill a ball jar with almond milk and a 1/2 cup of chia so you have them handy in your refrigerator.  If you need to fill up and feel good, I recommend making this after a hard workout or a weekend of too much drinking and eating out (sodium detox).