Take a Bite into Great Health with Apples!

For many of us, it’s fall, which means apple season! As I packed my pantry bag this week to travel to Monday Night Football in Baltimore (GO RAVENS!) I was sure to throw in a few apples. Apples are truly one of the healthiest and easiest foods to keep on hand-no matter where you are or what you are doing! We’ve all heard the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, and there is some real science behind the saying!

No matter what type of apple you eat (there are over 7500 varieties, 2500 different types of apples are found in the US alone!!) you will get some excellent nutritional benefits along with a sweet, juicy, crunchy, treat. There are SO many different types of apples you could eat one a day for 20 years and never eat the same kind twice! Because they are so portable, and don’t require refrigeration or preparation, they are perfect for traveling and busy lifestyles.

As I did a little research on this popular fall fruit, I learned some interesting facts. Did you know????

~The apple is a member of the rose family

~it takes the energy of 50 leaves to produce one apple

~apples range in size from as small as a cherry to the size of a grapefruit

~the largest apple ever produced was over 3 pounds

~in Chinese culture the word for apple is “ping” which also stands for peace.

~the average apple has 10 seeds

~top producers of apples are China, US, Turkey, Poland, and Italy.

~Apples were planted by Pilgrims in the Massachusetts Bay Colony

~apple juice is one of the most popular juices in the US

Apples are truly a nutritional marvel, with so many benefits for the body. Here’s just a few facts to get you thinking about grabbing an apple as you go about your awesome busy life!

Packed with nutrition!

The average apple is about 100 calories, and is full of great vitamins like C, K, A, E B1, B2, and B6. Eaten with the skin on, the apple gives us a great amount of fiber as well. Because apples are small, fresh, and portable, this makes it the perfect healthy snack!

Good for elimination and bowel health

One apple with its skin contains 4 to 5 grams of fiber – the most important nutrient in keeping your bowels working like clockwork. Fiber helps with constipation, and an ingredient found in apples called pectin has a congealing effect to also help with diarrhea. Pectin is considered a prebiotic, which means it feeds the good bacteria in your gut. Apples are a healthy gut food.

Keep your body young.

Apples contain polyphenois, which has an antioxidant effect on the body. Antioxidants help protect our bodies from aging, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and diabetes. When scientists compared a 1,500-milligram vitamin C supplement to one small apple, the results were astounding – the antioxidant values were equal. That means a fresh apple has more than 15 times the antioxidant power of the recommended daily dose of vitamin C. Apples also contain magnesium and potassium that help regulate your blood pressure and keep your heart beating steadily, and it’s the flavonoid quercetin, a naturally occurring antioxidant, that protects your artery walls from damage and keeps your blood flowing smoothly. Apples are also linked to better brain health and mental clarity.

Excellent For Weight Loss Efforts

Because apples are high in both fiber and water content, they are very filling. In studies, people that snacked on apple slices before meals ate fewer calories and felt fuller for longer periods of time!

Protects your Bones and Joints.

Eating fruit is a great way to maintain bone density and decrease the risk of arthritis. The high amounts of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in apples promote bone health, and the trace mineral boron found in apples aids in joint health.

Be sure to buy apples that are unbruised, firm, and have good color. Take them out of their plastic bag and store them in your refrigerator – loose in the produce bin or in a paper bag is best. And since they will absorb odors, keep them away from strong-smelling foods like garlic and onions. If you have an opportunity to visit an orchard and go apple picking, I highly recommend doing so-there is nothing like the taste of an apple pulled directly from the tree!

For a special treat, try baking apples for a healthy and incredible smelling dessert or snack. Just core your apples and place them in a greased baking dish. Add a bit of apple cider or juice to the dish, and sprinkle the apples with maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, or apple pie spice. You can also fill the hole of the apples with oats, nuts, or raisins. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes, checking with a fork for softness. Top with a dash of yogurt or vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

If you are looking for more easy superfood recipes, be sure to check out my 5 Ingredient Superfood Cookbook! It contains power food recipes for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, desserts, and snacks. Get yours free here!

I’d love to help you with your health and wellness journey! If you are interested in a 30 minute conversation about your goals, please reach out!

Healthy Choices When Dining Out

For many, life is beginning to look a bit more “normal” after too many months of 2020, and that may mean more dining out with family and friends. One of the biggest questions I hear from my friends and clients these days is how to navigate a fun meal out without overdoing it or falling completely off of their health goals. As we move into cooler months, with less cookouts and BBQ’s, and more opportunities to dine out, I thought this might be a great topic to address.

Who doesn’t love dining out? Having someone wait on you, cook for you, and the chance to order dishes you might never prepare at home! Being able to relax and just enjoy good food and company without the worry of shopping, cooking, or cleaning up-so much fun! But for many that are trying to stick to a healthy lifestyle, dining out can bring many challenges. Portion sizes are usually massive, ingredients tend to be super rich, and we truly have no way of knowing exactly what, and how much, we are consuming.

The first thing to remember when dining out is to focus on enjoying your food and company without over-indulging. Pay more attention to your companions and savoring every bite, and you will find yourself more relaxed, and more mindful of what you eat. Dining out should be more about experiencing all of your senses-the different tastes, the aromas, the music, the lighting, and the mood-and less about filling your stomach. Relax, discuss the foods, try bites of different foods, and be fully aware of everything around you.

Plan Ahead

Fortunately, most restaurants offer their menus for online viewing and ordering. Take advantage of this by looking at it the menu ahead of time and coming up with a game plan for how you will order and eat. This can remove the stress of trying to come up with the perfect plan while others are talking or discussing what they might order.  Have a back up plan as well, just in case a menu item has sold out or isn’t available. Plan your meal based on a healthy protein source, veggies or salad, or even a healthy soup to begin your meal. Avoid the breadbasket, and ask to have your soup or salad brought before the entrée.

Don’t Starve Yourself!

Heading into a restaurant with an empty stomach and uncontrollable hunger is NOT a good idea! I’ve known many people that decided to not eat all day so that they could indulge at a dinner out, and it never goes very well. Plan to eat small, balanced meals throughout the day to avoid a situation in which you are hungry, cranky, and not thinking clearly. This can lead to overeating, and even binge eating.

Avoid “Bad” Words!

When deciding on your meal of choice, try to avoid the “bad” words. These words include “deep fried”, “rich”, “buttery”, “creamy”, and “battered”, just to name few. Instead, look for words like “fresh”, “farm grown”, and “lean”. Knowing the proper language can make choosing a meal so much easier.

Balance Your Plate

Be sure that your plate includes many colors, and a variety of nutrients. Base your meal on a healthy protein, and fill the remainder of your plate by ordering fresh veggies and a healthy grain like a rice dish, sweet potato, or baked potato. Ask for toppings, dressings, sauces, and condiments to be on the side so that you can control how much is on your food. *Did you know? Many restaurants use over 3 tablespoons of butter when serving a baked potato???? That’s 300 calories and 36 grams of fat in just a topping!!!!

Consider ½ To Go

This is one of my favorite tips for eating out! I’ve done this many times, and I’ve also had many times that I wished I had done so!

Ask for half of your meal to be placed in a carry out container before it even comes to the table. Portions are SO huge, and most can easily be divided into more than one meal-take half for lunch the next day! This allows you to focus on conversation and company, without the sudden realization that “Oh, NO, I ate ALL of it!” I have found myself in this situation-stuffed uncomfortably, barely realizing I was eating, and not feeling great after-even into the next day. I LOVE having leftovers for lunch the next day-and leaving dinner without feeling stuffed.

Share Treats

Because dining out is an experience that is to be enjoyed, be sure to indulge in small amounts of yumminess! Have a small taste of the appetizers, try a side portion of a new item on the menu, and yes-grab a fork and share the dessert! Everything is allowed in MODERATION!! Taste, enjoy, roll your eyes back in your head and say, “Ohmygosh, that is SO good!” But do it in moderation!!!

Make the Toast

Alcohol is a HUGE conversation with clients these days-absolutely HUGE. Due to that, I have done a great deal of research on the subject, and come up with a list of “healthier” drinks to avoid high calorie and high sugar intake. Sugar content in many alcohol beverages is super high, and I have found that for many that focus on healthy eating, the sugar hangover can be worse than the average alcohol hangover-even in small amounts of indulging. To avoid this, focus on spirits with low sugar content like tequila, vodka, and gin, and be sure your mixer of choice is not full of sugar as well. Avoid simple syrups and pre-made mixers, and focus on fresh juices or sugar free sodas. Keep in mind-alcohol slows your metabolism, and processes in the body AS a sugar.

Most importantly-stay hydrated! For each alcohol-based beverage, have a glass of water. You will thank me in the morning!

Be Mindful and Enjoy

Dining out is a fun activity that should be enjoyed completely and fully. Keep this in mind, plan and order carefully, and relax and enjoy! I truly believe that while our nutritional intake should be a clean as possible much of the time, food can also be an adventure of tastes that should be relished. Keeping the adage “everything in moderation” completely applies here. Be mindful of your meal and your company, embrace all that comes with it, and enjoy without overdoing.

If you’d like more info about finding your perfect, personalized health plan or reaching your goals, I’d love to help you on your journey! Let’s talk!

Also, make sure to download a free copy of my e-book, The BeeWell Guide to Clean Eating to get you started!

The Magic of Blueberries!

For many of us, it’s blueberry season! I just got back from the grocery store with some, and was inspired to write about them! These indigo-colored berries are sweet, long lasting, and versatile. They are a great way to jazz up salads, smoothies, yogurt, pancakes, or waffles. Not only are they tasty and easy to snack on, but they are powerhouse superfoods with a wide range of benefits. Here are just a few magical benefits of the super sweet “candy of nature”!

High in nutrition

Blueberries are very nutritious. A cup contains four grams of fiber, 36% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin K, 24% DV of vitamin C, 25% DV of manganese and 15 grams of healthy carbohydrates.

Low in calories

Although they are high in nutrition, they are low in calories. One serving of 148 grams of blueberries only contains 84 calories.

King of anti-oxidants

Blueberries are often referred to as the king of antioxidants. They contain a high number of flavonoids that reduce the risk of various types of diseases and illnesses like cancer and heart problems. 

Promote anti-aging

Daily consumption of blueberries reduces the risk of DNA damage and the development of anti-aging symptoms.

Fight various diseases and illnesses

Blueberries can help reduce cholesterol, lower blood pressure and improve your memory and other brain activities.

Workout partner

Blueberries are great for restoring and repairing muscle damage after hard workout sessions. Add a handful of them to your post-workout protein shake or smoothie.

Help in losing weight

The fiber in blueberries helps you feel full, satiates cravings, and provides you with loads of long-lasting energy. Whip up a smoothie or throw them into some Greek yogurt to help keep your snacking healthy.

Healthy digestion

Having a handful of blueberries as a dessert after your meal will help to improve your digestion and will save your body from disturbing illnesses like constipation.

Promote clear and glowing skin

Blueberries promote clear skin. The high levels of vitamin C help reduce the damages of smoke, pollution and built up makeup. Try a blueberry facemask at home to help your skin regain its glow. 

Have luscious locks

The vitamins and nutrients in blueberries can help restore the luster and shine of your hair. You can even crush a handful of blueberries and add them to your hair oil as a hair mask. Apply, let sit for a few minutes, and rinse. Your hair will feel amazing.

You are strong when your bones are strong

Blueberries contain magnesium, calcium, iron, and phosphorus that promote strong, healthy bones. Daily consumption of a handful blueberries may help repair damaged bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

SO GOOD!

Blueberries can be adding to almost anything-throw some into yogurt, on top of your cereal, into salads, or mixed right into your protein pancakes or waffles. They add a sweetness that allows you to reduce the sugar in man recipes!

To get a super powerful morning or post workout kick, try making a power smoothie with blueberries as the star!

Allow yourself to be creative, use your favorite add-ons, and make this a power filled addition to your daily nutrition!

Start with your favorite milk-almond, oat, it’s your choice! Add in some spinach or kale (I promise-you won’t taste it!!), perhaps a scoop of your favorite protein powder, and a handful of blueberries and blend! To add more nutrition and power to your shake, try adding some greek yogurt, chia seeds, or flax seeds. For a little added sweetness, try adding half a banana to this. YUMMY! If blueberries are not in season where you live, frozen blueberries work just as well, and make give your smoothie an extra creamy and milkshake type of texture and taste.

If you’re looking for ways to clean up your diet, find the right nutrition for your lifestyle, learn how to reduce stress in your lifestyle, or gain focus and motivation to make healthy choices in your life to live the best life ever, please feel free to connect and set up a personalized plan just for you. You can also follow me on IG for daily inspiration, tips, and freebies.

Be blessed and BeeWell!

Super Fresh and Healthy Summer Eating: Starring Kale!

It’s summer time for many of us, and it’s a fantastic time to add some fresh, light, and healthy veggies to our diet! If you’re looking for a power packed but super low calorie vegetable to add to your summer meals, leafy greens like kale, is a great choice. Kale grows well year round and is easy to find at any grocery store. It is a superfood filled with health benefits like helping to reduce various types of cancer and type 2 diabetes, boosting digestive health, and helping to manage blood pressure. Kale has antioxidants to help remove toxins from the body, as well as fiber, and a huge range of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, K, and A, as well as calcium, magnesium, and manganese. Kale is a perfect staple for many diets, from clean eating to Paleo or Keto. At 33 nutrient packed calories a cup, kale is considered one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet!

To get you started on your quest to add this amazing green to your diet, here is a personal summer favorite recipe of mine-chicken kale soup, as well as four different types of kale salads to try out this summer!

Chicken Kale Summer Soup

1 sweet Onion chopped

1 bunch scallions chopped

2 tbsp minced garlic

3 carrots sliced

1 tbsp butter

½ bunch kale, washed and torn into small pieces

1 15oz can diced tomatoes rinsed

2-3 chicken breasts cooked and chopped

6-8 cups chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

Saute the butter, onions, scallions, garlic and carrots until soft, add chicken broth and heat to a beginning boil. Add chicken and tomatoes, cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Add kale pieces, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on very low heat an additional 10 minutes.

This is a super tasty, very light summer soup that is less than 90 calories a serving.

Citrus Kale Salad with Dressing

2 ruby red grapefruit

2 oranges

6-8 oz kale washed and torn into smallish pieces

3 tbsp orange juice

3 tbsp white wine vinegar

2 ½ tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp honey

pepper to taste

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

small red onion sliced

4 oz feta or goat cheese

Peel and section oranges and grapefruits, removing pits. Cut into bite sized pieces.

Mix together orange juice, white wine vinegar, Dijon, sugar, salt, and olive oil-whisk until blended well. 

Toss kale, onion, and ½ of dressing together, add salt and pepper to taste. Top with citrus pieces, onion, and sprinkle with cheese. Serve with remaining dressing.

And, a few other super easy ideas for superfood kale salads:

Chopped Kale Superfoods Salad

This salad is great when you want a chopped salad and have some berries and quinoa you want to use as well. Adding quinoa, makes it a heartier salad that really fills you up. It’s an ideal meal if you follow a clean eating diet.

 Use chopped kale for this chopped salad, then add rinsed uncooked or cooked (cooled) quinoa for a nice crunch. You can add a variety of superfood toppings to this for a powerful summer meal.  Berries, like cranberries and pomegranate seeds work well with this. For more crunch and added healthy fats and proteins, add some crushed walnuts as well.

Kale and Veggies Salad

Another great option for kale salad is one that uses even more veggies. You can also add berries to this salad if you wish as well. Simply replace your lettuce with kale!This can be a good main course, but it works well as a light lunch or a side dish as well. This salad uses fresh kale, along with some brussel sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower, all of which are available throughout the summer season. If you want to add a little fat to the salad, you can add some bacon bits as well. Nuts taste great on the top. Leave it as-is or make a simple dressing with olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, and some lemon juice.

Kale and Apple Salad

Kale happens to taste great when combined with sweet fruits. This kale and apple salad is perfect when you want to combine fresh flavors for a brand new taste. Use your chopped kale, along with some sliced sweet apples, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, or even sliced and pitted cherries, and add some chopped walnuts or almonds. To add more protein to this salad, add sprinkles of goat or feta cheese. Add a splash of lemon juice for a tasty light dressing.

Oh, That Sweet Liquid!

Soda and sweetened drinks are one of the biggest sources of hidden sugars in our diet. A single can of soda contains upwards of a staggering 33g of sugar. However, if you’re used to chugging soda, sweet tea, or other sweetened drinks every day, making the transition to drinking just water can be difficult. I live in the south, and sweet tea, Mountain Dew, and Cheerwine are considered cultural gold, so today I’m going to be sharing some healthy, low sugar alternatives to these drinks that you can enjoy in place of those super sweet, sugar packed indulgences.

Sugar is detrimental to so many facets of our overall health. It affects the insulin levels in our blood, which creates inflammation in our arties, and stresses the heart, possibly leading to heart disease. It greatly affects our blood pressure, creates inflammation throughout the entire body, destroys our skin, causes weight gain, diabetes, and fatty liver. Sugar in the system induces sugar cravings, leads to sugar “crashes” which cause irritability, loss of energy, and mood swings, and can even increase hunger.  Cutting as much sugar from our diets as possible reduces the risk of so many illnesses and diseases-and it’s not incredibly hard to do! With ALL health goals, it’s best to start with small achievable steps that will lead you to a much bigger goal, so perhaps starting your no sugar journey begins with losing those sugary drinks. Here’s a few tasty and refreshing substitutes to get you started. Try replacing one of two of your sugary drinks each day with one of these alternatives, and soon you will find that you don’t miss that sugar after all! And the benefits will be SO rewarding-healthier heart, clearer skin, lower blood pressure, less aches and pains caused by inflammation, losing some extra weight, and a more even flow of mood and energy!

Fruit Juice Spritzers

Fruit juice spritzers are a great place to start when quitting soda. They contain around a third of the sugar that you’ll find in a can of soda (12g of sugar per cup), taste sweet and are carbonated. While fruit juice spritzers are probably not something you want to be drinking every day if you’re cutting back on sugar, they’re still a much better choice than soda. To prepare a fruit juice spritzer simply combine half a cup of your favorite fruit juice with half a cup of soda water and enjoy.

Green Smoothies

If you choose the right ingredients, you can easily create green smoothies that contain less than 10g of sugar and still have a subtle sweet taste. The great thing about green smoothies is that because they’re packed full of fiber, vitamins and minerals, any sugar they contain will be released into your bloodstream slowly, so you won’t experience any of the energy surges and crashes that usually come with sugar consumption. To find low sugar green smoothie recipes, simply do a search online and experiment with the recipes that come up until you find one that you like. For the sweetest taste, try carrots, raspberries, strawberries and cucumber in your smoothie!

Fruit Infused Water

Fruit infused water contains no sugar or calories, so is perfect if you’re on a sugar detox. It shares the same benefits of standard water and will keep you hydrated, brighten your skin and enhance your energy levels. However, the fruit infusion gives it a subtle and sweet flavor, so if you find standard water too bland, give fruit infused water a try.

To prepare fruit infused water, you’ll need a mason jar and a cup of 2-3 chopped fruits that you’d like to infuse into the water. Once you have the fruits ready, place them in the mason jar, fill it with water and then allow it to infuse in the fridge for at least 24 hours.

Fruit Tea

Like fruit infused water, fruit tea contains zero calories and sugar, and is just as healthy as standard water. However, even without any sugar, it has a surprisingly strong, sweet and satisfying flavor.

There are lots of different fruit teas you can try and each one has a very distinctive flavor and offers differing health benefits. Your local store should sell a wide range of fruit teas, so try a few different teas until you find a favorite.

Coffee

Coffee isn’t sweet but it’s still tasty, hydrating and contains no sugar. If you drink it instead of soda, you’ll cut out 33g of sugar per day. To ensure that your coffee contains no sugar, avoid buying it in coffee shops and drink it black or with milk.

For an amazing tasting beverage, try this incredible infused water recipe! It will cure that thirst for something sweet and will keep you hydrated.

MANGO, RASPBERRY AND GINGER INFUSED WATER

5 cups water

1 cup ice cubes optional

1 mango peeled and cubed

1/2 pint raspberries

1 (2-inch) piece ginger peeled and thinly sliced

Mix together, and let infuse for at least 3 hours, longer for a stronger taste. Enjoy!

If you’re interested in going completely sugar free, and need help with a diet plan, setting goals, and finding motivation, please contact me for a free and fun personal consultation to see how we might best work together to reach ALL of your heath and wellness goals. It’s time to live your best life possible-I can’t wait to guide you!!

From my website www.Beewell.com

Healthy Hot Weather Hacks for Weight Loss

For many of us, the hot weather of summer is here! Summer can be such a fun time, with so many outdoor activities, and lots of fabulous foods at parties, cookouts, and picnics.  It can be super easy to find yourself straying from the healthy eating habits we may have built in recent months, or even the habits we may still be trying to build. There are lots of ways to enjoy the summer fun while still sticking to your healthy eating plans though! I wanted to pass along a few quick ideas to get you thinking-as I’m sweltering here in the super sunny, hot weather at the beach!

Fortunately, for many of us, summer brings MANY choices of fresh, delicious produce! Strawberries, blueberries, cherries, tomatoes, corn on the cob and more, are usually ripe, and ready for us at our local farmers market, produce stand or grocery store.  To keep your belly full of all the best vitamins while still focusing on eating super healthy, try adding a fruit of vegetable to every meal or snack! Get creative with your produce-mix it into salads, sauces, smoothies, or consider freezing it into a fabulous sweet sorbet! When hosting parties, or visiting friends, be sure to offer a dish that is cool, fresh, and filled with vitamin packed fruits or veggies: fruit or veggie trays with healthy dips, fruit salads, or veggies with delicious fruit salsas are a great choice. These foods. are not only nutrient packed, but also cool in temperature! Offering these choices ensures that you have a yummy, healthy, filling choice available to stick to your plan.

Be sure to get that water in! Drinking a tall glass of water before meals helps in so many ways. It cools us down, fills us up, and helps replenish the hydration our bodies need in hot weather. Our needs for hydration increase in warmer months, especially when we are active. Be sure to aim for at LEAST half your body weight in ounces of water each day to stay healthy and ready to do all the hot weather activities you want to do.  (example: a 150 pound person should drink 75 ounces of water each day!) Start and end each day with a glass of water, have a glass before each meal and snack, and a glass before and after workouts of activities, and this goal can easily be reached.

Keep an eye on alcohol intake! Alcohol is super dehydrating to the body, and some of those wonderful summer drinks are full of added sugar, so plan your drinking carefully. Drink a glass of water between drinks to keep your body hydrated and flushed. Choose drinks that are lower in sugar. Daiquiris, margaritas, long island ice teas, and other sweeter drinks are made with syrups that are filled with sugar and tons of calories. To cut the sugar, choose a drink made with vodka, or gin, with low sugar soda or fresh squeezed fruit spritz. Be sure to drink that water along with your alcohol to avoid both dehydration and the hangover that can come with it.

Summer often offers up special times, with special treats involved-like ice cream! My beach town has at least 7 ice cream shops within a few blocks-so the temptation is always looming!! Make a plan for getting, and enjoying, those special treats. For me, ice cream is a reward for walking! I only allow myself ice cream when I WALK to the ice cream parlor to get it! A nice evening walk with friends or family on a warm evening is the perfect prelude to enjoying ice cream and conversation. This works with most of those summer treats; a hot pretzel after a game of mini golf, a cold frozen libation after a long walk on the beach or at the park, or an extra serving of my favorite cookout food after a game of volleyball or a swim in the pool or ocean.

Summer is a time to have fun, be outdoors, travel, and be with loved ones, often while enjoying foods that just scream “SUMMER”. It’s important to remember-everything in MODERATION is fine! Balance your foods and drinks with healthy activities, water, and rest, and you will continue to see results in your personal health journey!

*Looking for a few super fun, super cool, super easy summer treats to share on a hot day?  Check out a few of my favs here!

*Looking for someone to guide you on your health and wellness journey? Help you set achievable goals, motivate you, and help you find the answers to the things that are holding you back from your ultimate health goals? Contact me for a totally free and fun 30 minute consultation to see how we can work together to get you there!

From my business site www.beewell.com

Clean Eating the WHY, and How to do it on a Budget

You may have heard about the benefits of clean eating but perhaps don’t believe you have the time to think through the process, or, maybe you are concerned about the cost.  After all, we’ve all noticed that the cost of fresh foods compared to that of popular fast food options seems high. As a result, you may be finding it easier and cheaper to just keep your favorite takeout or delivery on speed dial and maybe your freezer is filled with packaged microwave meals.  There’s a chance you haven’t considered that by eating this way you are depriving your body of many essential nutrients and missing out on a number of important health benefits. AND, your future health care costs may reflect that due to illnesses or medications due to poor eating choices.

Clean eating can be done easily, tastes amazing, and doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, this may be the best time to embark on a journey of clean eating as spring and summer bring us farmers markets, and tons of amazing, tasty fresh foods to our local grocery store. I’d love to pass on some tips for getting the healthiest foods into your diet on a budget, but first, let’s look at the benefits of clean eating!

It Gives You Energy

One of the main reasons to eat healthy is because it gives you energy.  Healthy foods are filled with slow digesting carbohydrates.  These take longer to digest than unhealthy, rapidly digesting carbohydrates, so the energy they provide is released into your blood at a much slower and more stable rate.  This means that you have more consistent energy levels when powering up with healthy foods

In contrast, unhealthy foods generally contain high levels of rapidly digesting carbohydrates.  These get digested very quickly and the energy they provide is released into your blood stream at a much faster, less stable rate.  As a result, your energy levels generally peak and then crash when you eat unhealthy foods. For many people, this “crash” leads to craving more unhealthy foods, quicker hunger, and even mood swings.

It Ensures That Your Body Works Properly

Healthy foods are packed full of the nutrients that your body needs to operate properly.  They support almost every function you can think of.  For example, vitamin A is essential for healthy vision, chloride helps keep the fluid levels within your body balanced and potassium helps keep your blood pressure under control.

Eating unhealthy foods deprives your body of these nutrients and prevents it from functioning properly.  For example, failing to eat enough vitamin A can limit your vision and in the worst cases cause full blindness.  Not getting enough sulphur can prevent your nerves from functioning properly. Literally every body function is affected by the way you choice to fuel your body-choose to fuel it well!

It Reduces Your Chance Of Illness

Another key benefit of following a healthy diet is that the wide range of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients in these foods help keep your immune system strong.  Your immune system is what keeps you safe from disease, infection and foreign bodies.  If you have a strong immune system, then your chances of getting ill are much lower.

However, following a limited, unhealthy diet means that your body does not get given all these immune system boosting nutrients.  As a result, your immune system becomes weak and your body becomes much less effective at fighting disease, infection and foreign bodies.  This leaves you much more open to illness.

It Improves Your Physical Performance

Eating the right foods doesn’t just benefit you internally – it also greatly improves your physical performance.  For example, the clean protein in healthy foods ensures that your muscles have the fuel they need to repair after exercise and grow back stronger.  The vitamins and minerals in healthy foods keep your blood healthy and ensure that it can quickly transport oxygen to where it is needed when you exert yourself.

Following a poor diet has the opposite effect and can actually hinder your performance during exercise.  For example, eating poor quality, rapidly digesting carbohydrates will not give you the steady release of energy that is required to complete a grueling workout.  Failing to get enough protein, which is lacking in most processed and fast foods, will prevent your muscles from fully recovering after a workout. Fuel our body for success with the best foods possible!

Clean Eating is Healthy for the Gut and Hormone Balance

Healthy foods help reduce inflammation in the body. Fast foods and processed foods are a leading cause of unhealthy gut issues that can increase inflammation throughout the entire body. This can lead to hormone imbalances, skin issues, food intolerances, and immune issues. Healthy foods help to heal the gut, decreasing inflammation, and helping to balance the hormones while building the immune system.

Not Only FEEL Your Best, But LOOK Your Best

Eating clean and healthy not only helps you feel your best, but will also help you LOOK your best. Focusing on high nutrient, filling whole food will keep you full longer, provide you with more energy, and lead to a decrease in overall calories-which means weight loss! You will find yourself sleeping better, performing better, clearer headed, and even experience more balanced moods. Your skin will be clear and bright, your nails and hair will be stronger and healthier-this health plan is a true beauty boost!!!

How to Eat Clean on a Budget

Now that we’ve discussed the awesome benefits of clean and healthy eating, let’s explore some ways to do it without breaking the bank! Here are 10 tips you can use to start eating healthy on a budget.

Buy Frozen Fruits & Vegetables

Buying frozen fruits and vegetables can be a great money saving option. Frozen foods usually have a longer shelf life and this makes them cheaper than their fresh counterparts. Since good vendors pack their frozen fruits and vegetables right from the farms, many of the nutrients are locked in, thus ensuring that the frozen produce retains all its nutritional value. You can even save more by buying healthy frozen fruits and vegetables in bulk when they’re on offer, then store them in your freezer and not have to worry about the food going bad.

Don’t Go Shopping When You’re Hungry-Shop the Perimeter!

You’re more likely to succumb to temptation and buy expensive foods and snacks when shopping on an empty stomach. Having a meal before you shop for food will actually help you to avoid impulsive spending and stick to healthy choices while you shop. If you don’t have time for a full meal, a filling healthy snack will still work to help you avoid overspending.

Also, to avoid buying tempting packaged and processed good, shop the perimeter of the store! Hit up the produce, meat, seafood, and dairy sections and fill your cart!

Check Out Local Farmer’s Markets, Produce Stands, and Food Co-ops

Spring and summer are a fabulous time to get great deals on many fresh items that are grown local to your area. Focus on foods that are fresh and in season, and consider buying in bulk and freezing them for future meals.

Fill Up on Fiber Rich Foods

Fiber provides a feeling of satiety since it metabolizes slowly in the digestive tract. This in turn curbs hunger cravings, allowing you to eat less and spend less. Fruits, leafy greens and whole grains are some of the best sources of fiber. These foods are also packed with nutrients and generally low on calories, making them a great addition to any healthy diet.

Freeze Your Leftovers

Studies have shown that the average family of four in the US throws away about 40% of the food that they purchase every year. However, these leftovers can easily be frozen and re-heated. By doing this, you’ll avoid wasting such large quantities of food that would otherwise end up in the garbage bin and therefore spend much less at the grocery store.

Go for Fresh, Lean Meats

While processed meats such as burgers and fried chicken are tempting, they’re neither healthy nor good value for money. If you purchase fresh, lean cuts of meat such as chicken breast or turkey breast, you’ll pay as little as $0.50 per serving. You’ll also supply your body with the essential nutrients it needs without filling up on harmful trans fats and chemical preservatives. The best part is with a few spices, you can crank up the flavor of these meats and make them taste even better than their processed counterparts.

Look For Special Offers

Before heading to the grocery store, take the time to look for discount deals. There are many sites online which provide great deals on local healthy foods which are constantly updated. Local daily newspapers are another excellent way to find discounted healthy groceries in your area. Also, make sure to keep your eyes peeled when you’re in the grocery store, as there are likely to be lots of promotions running while you shop.

Try Homemade Sauces

Making and canning your own homemade sauce can save you money. You can use many locally sourced fruits and vegetables for the ingredients and these will cost a fraction of what you’ll end up spending on 1 bottle of ketchup. The best part about making your own sauce is that they taste so much better than the processed sauces you’ll find in stores. Plus, there are many free recipes on the Internet that can help you get started making your own sauces instantly.

Prepare Your Healthy Meals In Advance

A sure way to overspend is by heading to the grocery store unprepared and tossing whatever looks good into your shopping cart. Instead of doing this, plan your healthy meals in advance and write a shopping list for the week ahead. This will allow you to control how much you spend on groceries and prevent you from going over your budget.

Take Advantage of The Grocery Store Clearance Rack

You can cut back on your grocery bill by checking for discounted foods at the clearance rack. Some stores mark down the price tag on perishable goods that are stacked on shelves when the expiry dates are nearing in order to encourage buying and reduce waste. By taking advantage of these deals, you can enjoy discounts of up to 75% on a range of tasty and healthy foods. Many of these foods on the clearance rack can be frozen, so even though you’re paying a fraction of the price, you don’t need to eat them right away.

Shop “the Seasons”

Plan your meals around the foods that are in season in your area to get the best deals. Over-abundance of freshly picked fruits and veggies lowers the price. You can do a quick search to find out what produce is heavily available, in each month, in your local area.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult, expensive, or time consuming.  Grabbing a piece of fruit instead of a bar of chocolate, drinking a glass of water instead of a glass of soda or cooking up some chicken and vegetables instead of having a microwave meal are all quick and easy ways to eat more healthy.  Making smart choices such as these will do you a lot of good in the long run and help you live a much fuller, happier and healthier life. If you’re curious about changing your diet for the better, please check out my newest freebie on “Ditching the Diet and Embracing Clean Eating” Get your free copy here!

Let’s Eat for POWER (Super Yummy Recipes with Only 5 Whole Ingredients!)

I recently released my free cookbook full of super healthy 5 ingredient recipes on my website, and I wanted to be sure to share them here with you! This cookbook offers 19 recipes for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and even desserts that are full of superfoods and whole ingredients to provide you with powerful nutrients for energy and vitality-and they are super yummy as well!

To give you a sneak peek, I want to share a dessert recipe here for you to try!

Ingredients

2 cups (250g) all-purpose whole wheat flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 cup (180g) coconut sugar
1 egg
2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into chucks

½ cup coconut oil, melted (panty ingredient)

Preheat the oven to 360°F (180°C). Prepare an 8-inch (20cm) baking tin lined with baking paper.
 
Place the flour, baking powder and sugar into a large bowl and mix well. Add in the egg and melted coconut oil and stir until combined.
 
Now add in the apples; using your hands incorporate them into the batter.
 
Place the batter into the lined tin and bake for 35-40 minutes. Once ready remove from the oven and allow to cool. Store this cake in an airtight container.

Serves: 12
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 40 mins

Nutrition per serving:
227 kcal 10g Fats
36g Carbs 2g Protein

This is a “bonus” recipe, not included in the cookbook, just for you!

For more recipes including Protein Pancakes, Stuffed Peppers, Slow Cooked Fajitas, Black bean brownies, and many more, simply go to www.beewell.com/recipes to download your copy now!

get your free copy now!

Dip into a Healthy Game!

It’s Superbowl Weekend, which means it’s time for football friendly snacking!  Even though parties are still on the backburner, I’m offering up a few yummy and super healthy crowd-pleasing dips that are a convenient and delicious way to consume a wide variety of anti-inflammatory vegetables, spices, and healthy fats. While we love the convenience of purchased dips like packaged hummus, many brands contain unnecessary levels of fat and preservatives. Making dips yourself allows you to control the flavor and quality – and it’s easy!

The best dips begin with a creamy base made from foods such as beans, lentils, avocados, edamame, and roasted vegetables [eggplant, carrots, squash, zucchini, peppers, cauliflower] that are blended with oil or another liquid. Add flavor boosters such as tahini, garlic, hot sauce, nut butters, nuts and seeds, lemon or lime juice and zest to add dimension. Finish by seasoning with fresh and dried herbs, spices, salt and pepper and your dip is complete. Here are some of our favorite combinations with healthy “vehicle to your mouth” ideas:

Ingredient and flavor combinations

  • Chickpea hummus [and other beans] – The classic chickpea base is very versatile and can be made with any bean. Add tahini, garlic, lemon, and cumin to chickpeas for a traditional version. Variations include [but are not limited to] roasted red pepper, lemon kale, Moroccan carrot, roasted zucchini, kalamata olive, spicy sriracha, and creamy pesto. Try this crowd-pleasing version for Lemon Dill Hummus!
  • Avocado, AKA guacamole! We love the healthy fats in avocado, but the calories can be intimidating. Cut the amount of avocado in half by adding defrosted edamame beans – you will decrease the calories and increase the protein. Win, win. Add some greens to keep your dip bright and fresh. This Kale and Avocado Guacamole is a team favorite.
  • Roasted vegetables – Baba ganoush is the ultimate example here – a combination of roasted eggplant, tahini, lemon, and garlic. Other roasted vegetables that work well in dips are butternut squash, cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, and peppers. Roasting them allows you to process vegetables until creamy. Start with store-bought for this nutrient-dense and super flavorful Roasted Red Pepper Walnut Dip.

Vehicles: (GET IN MY MOUTH!)

  • Carrot chips or sticks – You can purchase prepared crinkle cut carrot chips or slice carrots on angle. Baby carrots work too.
  • Cucumber chips – Slice cucumbers on an angle to maximize surface area for scooping.
  • Broccoli or cauliflower – Lightly steam these vegetables to bring out their sweetness – you want them to still have the firmness necessary to dip.
  • Green beans – Remove stems, rinse, and dip. If you prefer, you can lightly steam these as well.
  • Endive – This nutrient dense vegetable is the ultimate chip – perfect shape, size, and sturdiness.
  • Peppers – Red, yellow, and orange peppers provide a variety of phytonutrients and are milder than green peppers.
  • Celery sticks – Firm and crisp, celery is a go to vehicle.
  • Snap peas – These can be consumed raw or lightly steamed.

Cherry tomatoes – We love using grape tomatoes on our crudités platters, but dipping them can be tricky. Using toothpicks can help keep your fingers free of dip.

I hope you get a chance to try them while watching the game. Go Team!!!

Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Dip

Ingredients

4 roasted red peppers, If jarred peppers, drain and rinse (fresh roasted red peppers work too)

1 Tbs olive oil


3 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp cumin, ground

1 lemon, juiced (for 2 Tbs juice)

1 clove garlic, chopped


1 cup walnuts, raw


1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

salt, to taste

Directions

Prep

Drain and rinse roasted red peppers. If using freshly roasted red peppers, you can leave the skin on. 


Chop garlic. 


Make

Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until creamy with a bit of texture. 


Garnish with some additional walnuts and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt to taste. 


Serve with fresh vegetables like endive. 


Servings 4

Calories  242

Fat 22.6g    Saturated Fat 2.3g

Carbohydrates 8g   Dietary Fiber 2g     Sugars  4g

Protein 5g

Kale and Edamame Guacamole

Ingredients

4 avocados


4 cup shelled edamame, defrosted (peas work well too)


2 cup kale, spines removed and chopped


1/2 cup lime juice


2 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped


1/4 cup red onion, chopped


2 Cloves garlic, pressed or minced


2 tsp ground cumin 


1 tsp salt


hot sauce, as desired

Directions

Prep

Remove spines and chop kale. 


Juice lime. 


Chop cherry tomatoes. 


Press or mince garlic cloves. 


Make

Cut avocados in half, remove pit, and scoop flesh into food processor. Add beans, kale, and lime juice and pulse until creamy. Add some water if you need some more creaminess or more lime juice to increase tartness. 


Add tomatoes, onion, garlic, cumin to processor and pulse until just combined 


Stir in hot sauce and salt to taste. 


Serve with baked chips and raw vegetables. 


Servings 12

Calories  196

Fat  13g   Saturated Fats 2.3

Carbohydrates    15g     Dietary Fiber  9g     Sugars   5g

Protein  9g

Lemon Dill Hummus

Ingredients

1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 Tbs tahini paste


1 lemon, zested and juiced


1 Clove garlic

1/4 cup olive oil


2 Tbs dill, fresh, chopped

1/4 cup scallions, chopped

salt, to taste


pepper, to taste

Directions

Prep

Drain and rinse chickpeas. 


Zest and juice lemon. 


Chop dill, scallions, garlic. 


Make

Add chickpeas, tahini, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, juice of lemon [about 3 tablespoons], and garlic to a food processor. Pulse until combined. 


Run processor while adding olive oil and continue running until hummus is smooth, stopping to scrape down sides. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add more lemon juice if desired. 


Add dill and scallions and pulse to combine. Do not run too long or the dip will turn green. 


Serve with your favorite vegetables. 


Servings 8

Calories 117

Total Fat 8.5g   Saturated Fat 1g

Carbohydrates 9g   Dietary Fiber  2g   Sugars 1g

Protein  3g