Breaking Down the Egg

Whole eggs are one of the most nutritious and versatile foods you can eat! Remember when we used to be afraid of egg yolks? I am so glad that we’re past that stage overall. While egg whites and egg yolks have different nutrient profiles, they can both be a great part of an overall healthy diet and can be incorporated in many different ways. That's why I'm breaking down the egg white vs. whole egg debate and sharing 6 of my favorite ways to eat eggs.

Egg Whites vs Whole Egg

Egg whites overall are a lean source of protein and can be good to incorporate if weight loss if one of your goals. However many of the nutrients actually reside in the egg yolk. Whole eggs contain all of the vitamin A, D, E & K. Whole eggs are also full of protein, choline, antioxidants, omega 3’s, and they contain all the essential amino acids that our bodies need! Additionally, they have a higher amount of B6, B12 and folic acid compared to their egg white counterparts. That’s why it’s a good idea to not skimp on the yolk too much.⠀⠀

If you want to add more volume to a meal, a nice trick is to do an omelet with 1-2 whole eggs + 2-3 egg whites (you can use the egg white cartons if you want to reduce waste). This way you get the best of both worlds!

Not only are eggs great because they’re packed with nutrients, but they’re also extremely versatile and taste delicious at any time of the day. That’s why I’m sharing my 6 favorite ways to eat eggs, breakfast lunch or dinner.

 

6 Ways to Eat Eggs

1- Bake egg cups in a muffin tin with your favorite veggies, high quality meats, or cheeses. ⁠⠀
2- Boil and add them to your go-to salad. Not only do eggs provide a good amount of protein, but they taste great with all kinds of fresh veggies.⁠⠀
3- Scramble them in a pan and eat with your favorite breakfast sides (or any sides really). ⁠⠀
4- Make an omelette! You can also have fun with it and add vegetables and high quality cheeses. ⁠⠀
5- Cook an egg sunny side up and pair it with any type of vegetables, rice, etc. The runny yolk creates a delicious sauce that adds tons of flavor!⁠⠀
6- Make eggs in purgatory by cooking the eggs in marinara sauce and topping with fresh basil leaves

Note: Many cultures have different variations of this dish, but the southern Italian variant is called Spicy Eggs in Purgatory. Similar dishes are Shakshouka (Middle East/N. Africa), Huevos Rancheros (Mexico/Southwest US), & Huevos a la Flamenco (Andalusia). Each of these is spiced/flavored slightly different.⁠⠀

 

Now if you’re wonder how to boil the perfect eggs, follow the instructions closely below:

1 - Place eggs in a large saucepan and cover them with cool water by 1 inch.
2 - Cover the pan with a lid and bring water to a rolling boil over high heat.
3 - When the water has reached a full boil, set a timer for the desired time and keep it full boiling the whole time.
4 - Immediately place the eggs in an ice water bath once they are done (this helps ensure they come out easier to peel too!)

Timing:
Soft boiled - 2 minutes
Medium boiled - 3-5 minutes
Hard boiled - 6-7

I hope you found this helpful! What’s your favorite way to egg?⁠

Xoxo,
Amanda


healthier peanut butter and jelly

How to Upgrade a Childhood Classic: PB&J Sandwich

This blog is proof that you can make healthy upgrades to some of your classic favorite foods. There’s something about a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich that brings back so many childhood memories! And while it’s totally okay to treat yourself to the classic version occasionally, there are also some easy swaps you can make if you want to enjoy a delicious peanut butter and jelly sandwich more regularly at home. That’s why I’m breaking down the original version and sharing some tips for how to upgrade a classic into a more nutritious but equally delicious sandwich.

For the Bread:

White breads like wonder breads are stripped of much of their nutrients, can be bleached and often contain added sugar. Try to opt for sprouted, whole grain bread when you can (Ezekiel is one of my fav).

For Picking Out a Peanut Butter Brand:

Not all brands are created equal - make sure to check nutrition facts and ingredients. Even some brands of peanut butter labeled “natural” will still include added sugar. I usually opt for brands which ingredients include simply just “peanuts” or “peanuts, salt.” The same goes for other nut/seed butters if you prefer a different flavor.

For the Jam Portion:

I love using fresh fruit instead of jam when I can. Mashed raspberries, strawberry slices or even banana slices are some great options. There are plenty of fresh fruit that taste great on an upgraded peanut butter and jelly sandwich, so I thought I’d share 6 of my favorite fruits to add:

 

For the grape sandwich- Cut the grapes in half. Spread natural peanut butter on both sides of the bread and lay the grapes down flat. Close the sandwich and enjoy.

For the peach sandwich- Slice a fresh peach. Spread peanut butter on both sides of the bread and add your peaches. Close the top and eat it!

For the banana chocolate chip- Cut the banana into thick slices. Spread natural peanut butter on both sides of bread and lay the bananas flat. Top with a handful of chocolate chips, close the sandwich and dig in.

For the raspberry jam- Mash fresh raspberries to create a “jam” or use my raspberry chia seed jam recipe below! Spread peanut butter onto the bread, add your chosen mixture, and close it. You’re good to go!

For the kiwi sandwich- Cut a kiwi into thick slices, then cut each half into another bite-sized half. Add the kiwi to your bread and peanut butter and dig in.

For the blackberry jam- You can mash the blackberries by themselves or sub blackberries in my jam recipe above!

If you aren't a fan of having whole fruit on your peanut butter and jelly sandwich, there are also plenty of ways to create your own upgraded jam at home. Highly processed jellies can be loaded with sugar and made with high fructose corn syrup so I also included an easy, alternative recipe for homemade jelly that you’ll love, with simple ingredients!⁠ Note: I used raspberries, but you can easily sub in your favorite fruit of choice.

 

What you need for the the raspberry jam:⁠

3 cups raspberries

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp water, 1 tbsp chia seeds

1 tbsp lemon juice⁠⁠

What to do:⁠

1- Bring the raspberries, water, syrup, and lemon juice to a boil.

2- Mash the berries using a fork.

3- Reduce the heat to a simmer for 9 minutes.

4- Stir in the chia seeds and cook for another 9 minutes.

5- Remove from heat and let cool for 10-15 minutes.

6- Store in a sealed jar in the fridge!

Additionally, there are some better berry preserves out there that at least contain less additives than Smuckers, if you really prefer to go that route.

Which one is your favorite version of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

Xoxo,⁠

Amanda⁠


8 Naturals Ways to Support Your Immune System

Supporting your immune system is one of the most crucial things you can do for your overall health. However, I'm here to say that you don't need to rely on tons of supplements everyday in order to support a healthy immune system! Many supplements and products in the grocery store claim to help boost immune health, and while a small percentage of of those claims may even be true, simple lifestyle adjustments are the best thing you can do to give your immune system a leg up. It may seem like it requires an overwhelming amount of hard work to feel your best, but it's actually much more simple than you'd think.
 
That's why we discuss all things immune support in our recent podcast episode, Science Backed Ways to Support Your Immune System. In the episode, we take a deep dive into how the immune system functions, ways to support it naturally, and so much more so that you can feel 100%.
immune system

Because it can play such an important role in overall health, I want to share a few of our top tips for strengthening your immune system:

1- Get adequate sleep.

Studies show that people who don't get quality sleep are more likely to get sick. Sleep strengthens T-cells, which are a type of immune cell that fights against regular pathogens. While it varies, most adults should get at least 6-7 hours of sleep per night, so if you have trouble sleeping, that's definitely something you'd want to figure out. Simple adjustments like limiting screen time before bed, getting blackout curtains, and taking melatonin can make a big difference. Inadequate sleep may even increase your risk of getting sick, so match sure to catch your zzzz’s.⠀

2- Eat your veggies.

Eating an array of colorful vegetables provides a wide range of essential micronutrients and fiber which supports a healthy gut & can help build up your microbiome all which supports a healthy immune system. Additionally, the antioxidants found in vegetables can help decrease inflammation, which can contribute to illness. Some even contain high amounts of nutrients like vitamin C, which may reduce the duration of the common cold.

3 - Minimize your consumption of highly processed foods.

While you should definitely enjoy your favorite treats in moderation, minimizing the amount of highly processed foods you consume can help lower inflammation caused from many additives, filler ingredients & added sugars. Additionally, added sugars in excess can play a role in the development of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease all of which can suppress your immune system and increase risk of getting sick.

4- Focus on eating mostly whole foods.

Whole foods provide a wide variety of health benefits. A diverse diet can help lower your chances of a micronutrient deficiency which can have a negative impact on your immune response. One of the best ways to support your immune system is to consume a wide variety of nutrient-packed whole foods like legumes, nuts/seeds, healthy fats, etc.. Additionally, shopping for produce that is in season can be a fun way to try new foods and ensure that you'e getting a variety of nutrients.

5- Get some daily movement in.

Exercise and movement, for many different reasons, support overall health, which supports a healthy immune system and metabolic health. Moderate exercise can also reduce inflammation and help your immune cells regenerate regularly. Just keep in mind that too much prolonged intense exercise can sometimes have the opposite effect and end up suppressing your immune system, so be sure to not over-do it.

6- Manage your stress.

 Chronic stress can promote inflammation and reduce your immune system’s ability to fight off antigens. If you have trouble relieving stress, try adding in relaxing elements to your routine like meditation, epsom salt baths, journaling, etc.. that will help your body relax into parasympathetic mode and support a healthy immune system.

7- Stay hydrated.

Water is a key foundation to overall health, which includes supporting a healthy immune function. Not only does it help you feel full and energized, but staying hydrated can also help your body naturally eliminate toxins & other bacteria. Drinking water throughout the day is a simple way to prevent dehydration and help support your immune system.

8- Wash yo’ damn hands.

Washing your hands is the most important thing you can do when it comes to supporting your immune system. Many germs that contribute to illnesses are spread from surfaces to people so it's always a good idea to wash your hands frequently, especially after you've been outside of the home. A drop of soap diluted in water is sufficient to rupture and kill many types of bacteria & viruses so remember to wash your hands thoroughly.
All of these steps will support a strong immune system and not only help you not only avoid getting sick, but feel your best for whatever life throws at you. If you want to learn more about the different ways to naturally support your immune system, check out our latest Master Your Health podcast where we take a deep dive into to Science Backed Ways to Support Your Immune System on Apple Podcast (Click here for Spotify | Click here to listen on Android).
Hope these tips are helpful!
xx,
Amanda⠀

Why Fruit Juice Isn't Usually the Healthiest Choice (& Some Better Options For You)

Why Fruit Juice Isn't Usually the Healthiest Choice

I want to clear up some confusion around fruit juice! While indeed the ingredients are better than a sugary soda, your blood sugar still goes for a wild ride when you consume these sugary drinks. This is because fruit juice lacks the fiber that comes with eating the physical fruit. The fiber found in whole fruit helps to slow down the absorption of the sugar in your bloodstream. While whole fruit will lead to a more steady and slow release of sugar, fruit juice will lead to a much larger spike and crash.
Fruit juice is also much easier to over consume! It takes handfuls of fruit to create enough juice to drink, which maintains all of the sugar and removes the fiber. Due to the lack of fiber, you won’t feel quite as full. While eating something like 5 oranges in one sitting would be very difficult to do, drinking 16oz of OJ (the equivalent in sugar and calories) is very easy to do.
Commercial fruit juice is also often pasteurized, causing it to lose some of the vitamins & minerals present. Pasteurized juices have been heated to high temperatures for a short time in order to kill any bacteria or other microorganisms that may be present but this in turn also kills some of the beneficial compounds.
When it comes to drinking juice regularly, it's a more nutritious choice to go for a vegetable juice that maybe has 1 fruit present since vegetables aren't nearly as high in sugar as fruit. Vegetable juices taste delicious AF and are packed with an array of beneficial nutrients that you wouldn't normally get in a single meal (if you need some inspiration for homemade juice recipes check out my blog post).

Why You Should be Wary of Fake "Green Juices"

If you don't have a juicer (or the patience for the cleanup that it takes) then you may be tempted to opt for a bottle of "green juice" from your supermarket. However it's important to know that while they may seem like a good choice, most bottled "green juices" are either mostly concentrated fruit juices or have other filler ingredients. Here’s a few reasons why that’s an issue:
1- That huge amount of sugar will lead to a a blood sugar spike and crash later, especially due to the lack of fiber.
2- The way these “green juices” are processed, strips the fruit of many of it’s beneficial vitamins, minerals & phytonutrients.
3- The amount of greens & nutrient-dense foods is lacking in these commercial juices compared to the amount of fruit juice incorporated.

Some Better Juice Options

I know from my personal experience how frustrating it can be to find out that a product isn't what you thought it was, especially when it comes to your health. That's why I'm such a big advocate of healthy on-the-go juice options like Organifi! All of their products contain research-backed, whole food ingredients that will actually benefit your health. And a huge added bonus is that their juices don't require any messy cleanup.
Now here’s why I’m truly a fan of Organifi Green Juice and excited to be a partner:
1- The beneficial ingredients are extracted in a way that keeps many of the beneficial vitamins, nutrients & minerals intact.
2- There are no fillers & all ingredients are organic.
3- Their green juice includes research-backed ingredients like ashwanagda, spirulina, chlorella, +more.
If you’re looking for a green juice that supports your overall health & immune system, look no further. Check out my partner Organifi, and get 15% off with my code: MeowMeix.
 
Xoxo
MeowMeix aka Amanda

Don't Fall for Marketing: How to Outsmart Food Brands

When it comes to making food choices, you want to know exactly what's what, right? Well the same should go for these processed food items. The truth is that many food companies nowadays like to make their products sound better than they actually are, with many claims on the front of the package in hopes that you won’t read the ingredients or you will be thrown off by all the buzz words they throw at you. It’s crazy how much marketing can shape and mold our opinion of certain brands. Let’s be real - it’s because marketing works! However, it is becoming increasingly important that we become conscious consumers and really start to question if brands actually live up to the stories and claims they put out there.⁠ That's why I wanted to share some tips to help you shop smart and look for quality products rather than junk food that likes to pretend it's health food.  

If you've been following me for a while, then you know that I am a huge advocate for eating more whole foods and less processed foods overall. This is because the added sugar in many of the processed foods today come with little-to-no added nutritional value and lack the proper fiber that helps your body release and digest the sugars at a more steady pace instead of a huge spike.⁠ In contrast, natural sugars like those found in real fruit and other whole foods are often paired with fiber, vitamins & minerals. Plus, the sugar added to processed foods makes them more addicting and easy to overeat compared to fruit which is much more filling so it's important to know when you're eating natural sugar and when you're eating processed sugar. 

And of course it's totally great to treat yourself to processed sugars in moderation, but just knowing when candy is candy and consciously choosing to eat it can help you make intentional decisions to better your health. A good general guideline to help find a healthy balance with more processed foods is the 80/20 method, which is when you eat about 80% whole foods and 20% fun foods. Everyone is different and won't be exactly the same (I personally stick to more of 90/10) but this method can be helpful to find a good balance.

Here are a few things you can look out for to help you avoid accidentally mistaking junk food for a healthier choice:

1- "Buzz words": These are phrases or words placed on the front of the package that are popular and make the product seem much healthier than it is. A few examples of buzz words/phrases are: "No preservatives", "Gluten free", and "Made with real fruit!". All of these make the product seem like a more nutritious choice but when you turn around and look at the ingredients it is full of added sugars, artificial flavors and coloring.
2- Ingredients that you don't understand or don't recognize (you can always do a google search to double check): When you're trying to pinpoint the quality of a product the most obvious place to check is the list of ingredients. I suggest avoiding anything with a long list of chemical ingredients because they're almost never derived from whole food ingredients. A couple other common ingredients to avoid are: high fructose corn syrup and food dyes.
3- Cartoons & colorful imagery: Of course there are some great whole food options with colorful packaging, but oftentimes the marketing for highly processed foods is geared to draw in children with bright colors and imagery. So while it's not an exact science, just make sure to double check the ingredients on these type of products.

So with that in mind, let's look at some examples of how a food company might try to use marketing to trick you:

They're obviously trying to sell this as a "Healthy" Fruit Snack.


When looking at the front of these popular fruit snacks, they seem great. They're "gluten free, fat free, made with real fruit, 100% vitamin C, no preservatives" and "Fruit is their first ingredient"! However when you turn it around and really look, the first ingredient is fruit puree, followed by corn syrup, sugar, artificial flavors, red 40, blue 1, and even carnauba wax which is often used on cars. None of these ingredients will benefit your health-- trust me.

Some Better options:


As you can see, the ingredients in better fruit snacks are simple - just fruit which hasn’t been stripped of it’s fiber like in the Welch’s “fruit snacks”. Obviously, whole fruit is best option when you have access to it and it will contain the most phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals still intact from the fruit.⠀

Similarly, here's a look at some popular drinks:

"Great for athletes" or "great for kids"


It's pretty easy to see here that most of the ingredients in these drinks are artificially derived and packed with sugar. The Hawaiian Punch for example is pretty much just water & high fructose corn syrup with food dyes - yikes! Less that 2% is made from real fruit juices yet the company happily displays all the wonderful fruit on the front of the package.⁠⠀⠀

As for Gatorade, the amount of marketing tying that brand in with pro-athletes is unbelievable. They tout the benefits of "electrolytes" and claim it's the best option after exercise.

Better options:

A more simple choice like water or coconut water that is full of natural electrolytes and natural sugars is much better than all the filler ingredients and blue food dye.⁠ If you want to add flavor to your water you can get creative by adding ice, fruit and herbs

So the takeaway here is that it's totally ok to indulge in your favorite treats, but just be aware of the fact that they are indeed treats. I hope that these tips help you on your health journey!

Xoxo,
MeowMeix aka Amanda


6 Health, Nutrition, & Wellness Influencers In The Black Community to Follow Right Now

While there are many different ways I'm showing my support for the black community, one of the things I'm doing proactively is elevating black voices and creators on social media platforms by not only following their accounts, but also highlighting their pages to all of my audience. I have promoted many of these influencers and health gurus in the past but I thought right now would be a great time to highlight them to you in case you missed it! You will also find some new faces in here.

I truly believe diversity and equal representation in the food, health & nutrition space is a must. That's why I've put together a list of 6 influencers in the health and wellness black community to follow and support. Whether you’re looking for new recipes to try, general health tips, or workout information, there's an influencer on this list with helpful info for you. Between their high-quality content and aesthetically pleasing photos, your feed is about to burst with flavor and personality!

 

#1 - Creator of the Model Health Show Podcast & Bestselling author of #SleepSmarter, Shawn Stevenson

Shawn Stevenson is a nutritionist/health guru who hosts "The Model Health Show"- one of my all-time favorite podcasts about health and fitness. I have looked up to Shawn for a long time. Nerd alert, I even printed his podcast logo to put on my desk as a reminder to strive to be as genuine and helpful as he is. I love that he breaks down complex health issues and makes them easy to understand and shares helpful information about all kinds of topics. You can follow Shawn's Instagram for more details.

#2 - Dietitian sharing delicious, easy vegan recipes & wellness tips daily, Catherine @PlantBasedRD

Catherine is a Dietitian that shares yummy and easy plant-based recipes and wellness tips everyday on her page. Her recipes make eating more whole foods fun and delicious! Catherine's flavorful recipes are packed with a wide variety of simple ingredients and other nutritious whole foods which make healthy eating exciting; I truly had a tough time picking my favorites when scrolling through her feed. Check out her page @plantbasedrd here. 

#3 - Graphic artist and content creator spreading impactful and positive messages, Oh Happy Dani

Danielle Cooke aka Dani shares all kinds of awesome, colorful graphics and is a wonderful voice for positive change in the world! While I haven’t met her in person, I have loved following her account and learning from her beautiful and informational posts. If you're looking to incorporate more positivity in your life (who isn't?!), give @OhHappyDani a follow.

#4 - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist + Recipe Developer, Marisa Moore, MBA. RDN.

Marisa Moore is a registered dietitian nutritionist who posts all kinds of healthy and vibrant recipes on her page! I love that she switches it up in her recipes and uses a wide variety of ingredients to make them even more fun and nutritious. If you're looking for some creative healthy-cooking inspiration her page is perfect for you!

#5 - Recipe developer and epic food content creator, Kevin Curry @FitMenCook

Kevin shares tons of fun, healthy and delicious recipes on his page as well as on his youtube. I love how he combines simple, whole-food ingredients to make a wide variety of flavorful meals that are full of nutrients. If you like to get creative in the kitchen, his Instagram page @FitMenCook is perfect for you.

#6 - Women’s health dietitian, Valerie Agyeman, RD aka @flourishheights

dietician

I can't believe I just found Valerie’s account but love all the tips she shares! Her easy-to-follow graphics make it perfect for anyone wanting concise but fun wellness, healthy & nutrition tips. She really brings the science to the nutrition space while also making it easy to understand.

I hope you found this blogpost inspiring! Let me know what other content creators you love in the space.

Xoxo,
MeowMeix aka Amanda

nutrient dense shelf stable foods

15 Nutritious, Dry Whole Foods with a Long Shelf-Life

During this time of social distancing, it can be tempting to stock up on highly processed food items that won’t expire for years in order to avoid the grocery store - but there are also plenty of more nutritious, whole food options with long shelf lives that will keep you on track with your goals and satisfy your taste buds. 

While of course fresh produce is always a great choice, it isn’t always accessible so I wanted to share some other nutritious food choices that have a longer shelf-life.

There are such a wide variety of healthy, shelf-stable foods available that won’t make you feel like you’re missing out on anything. From salty foods, to sweet and savory, here are 15 nutrient-dense dry good items to keep on hand: 

 

Olives - are a great low carb fruit that last for many months at a time (typically 12-18 months), have a high fat content and are full of powerful antioxidants. Olives also are a good source of nutrients like iron, calcium, copper, and vitamin E. Additionally, you can eat them in many different ways like in salads, tapenades, on sandwiches and more.

 

Seaweed - is extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes like soups, sushi, salads, smoothies, and more. It contains an amino acid called tyrosine, a concentrated source of iodine, and is a good source of omega-3 fats. Seaweed is also a good source of folate, zinc, sodium, calcium, vitamins A, C, E and K. The salt is seaweed helps preserve it, and it can stay fresh for up to 2 years. 

 

Goji berries - contain all eight essential amino acids and are packed with fiber, which will help slow the raise of your blood sugar. Goji berries are also full of antioxidants like zeaxanthin and can stay fresh for up to a year, if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. They can be used to add a sweet flavor to a wide variety of healthy meals like oatmeal, smoothie bowls, toast, and more! 

 

Wonderful Pistachios - are a good plant-based protein snack because they contain 6 grams of protein per serving. They also contain healthy fats and fiber to keep you fuller for longer throughout the day. Pistachios also have a long shelf-life, meaning that they stay fresh and delicious for long periods of time. For me personally, one of my all-time favorite salty snacks and long-term partners is @WonderfulPistachios.  

 

Sweet potatoes - are a great shelf-stable root vegetable that can stay good for about 3-5 weeks when stored in the pantry and up to 2-3 months when kept in the fridge! They can be orange, purple, or white and are a great source of fiber, vitamins A, C, manganese, and antioxidants that promote gut health. I love to bake sweet potatoes in the oven and stuff them with other nutritious ingredients like corn, beans, and onions, or even almond butter and berries when I’m craving something sweet.

 

Quinoa - is high in protein, fiber, magnesium, vitamins B & E, iron, and potassium. Quinoa is extremely nutrient-dense and contains all nine essential amino acids, large amounts of flavonoids, and multiple antioxidants. Uncooked quinoa will last for up to 3-4 years if stored correctly. 

 

Steel cut oats - are the most unprocessed form of oats compared to rolled or quick oats that can last for over a year when properly stored. They are a great source of fiber, protein, vitamins, beta-glucan and antioxidants. Steel cut oats can be paired with a wide variety of flavors to satisfy any craving you may have while still providing tons of nutrients.

Beans - are a good source of protein that is also high in folate and fiber, which can help slow the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream. Dried beans can last indefinitely and canned beans can stay good for years, making them a great shelf-stable item to keep on hand. Additionally, most kinds of beans contain all of the essential amino acids and can be used in tons of recipes, since they easily absorb and taste delicious with various spices. 

 

Brown rice - contains both the bran and germ which provide fiber and several vitamins and minerals like manganese and magnesium. It is also a good source of antioxidants as well as the anti nutrient phytic acid that may offer some health benefits. 

 

Green tea -  is a hydrating drink that is loaded with antioxidants and it’s dry leaves can last for up to many years. Green tea is rich in polyphenols and great for reducing inflammation. It also contains multiple antioxidants that may help protect against cancer. I love to drink green tea with an apple or other healthy snack in the morning to help prepare for the day. 

 

Bone broths - can last for up to 3-5 years and are rich in minerals that help strengthen your bones. They also are low in calories, contain vitamins, amino acids, and essential fatty acids, and can be used in other recipes as well for added flavor and nutrients. Bone broth also supports healthy digestion and helps to fight inflammation. 

 

Garlic - is extremely nutritious, low in calories and rich in multiple nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese and more. It has been shown to  boost the function of the immune system, improve blood pressure, and even lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. Fresh, whole garlic tastes great with almost any type of dish and can last for up to 3-6 months.

 

Whey protein powder - is a complete protein that contains all of the essential amino acids. Depending on the kind, it can last for up to 16 months, it is quickly absorbed from the gut and usually easily digested. Just keep in mind that whey does contain lactose, so if you have trouble digesting dairy you may want to avoid this kind of protein powder and opt for a pea protein instead. 

 

Lentils - provide a good source of protein, fiber, folate and manganese. They can benefit gut health, improve bowel function, and help with digestion. Lentils can be paired with a wide variety of flavors making them a fantastic staple for your pantry. Dried lentils can stay good for up to 2-3 years.  

 

Dried dates - will last for up to 6 months in an airtight container, and a year if stored in the fridge. They are incredibly nutritious and are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth if you have cravings. Dates also contain important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. However it’s important to keep in mind that their calorie content is higher than most fresh fruit since it is dried, so you’ll want to eat them in moderation. 

 

Shoutout to @functional.foods for the inspiration for this post. 😁

 

Xoxo, 

MeowMeix aka Amanda


Coffee: How to Maximize Its Benefits & 3 Delicious Recipes

If you're a coffee lover like me, I've got great news for you! It doesn't just taste delicious- there are multiple health benefits when it comes to drinking coffee. A hearty cup of joe contains a small amount of vitamins and minerals, is high in antioxidants, and is linked to a reduced risk of many diseases. You may not be surprised to learn that coffee is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world. It contains caffeine which is a stimulant that can disrupt sleep and cause problems for some people. If you are sensitive to caffeine, you may want to opt for decaffeinated coffee, which uses solvents to extract the caffeine from coffee beans. However for most, caffeine can cause a short-term boost in energy levels, brain function, and even exercise performance.

Coffee contains a small amount of some vitamins and minerals, which can add up if you drink multiple cups per day (not that I recommend that for everyone) and is high in antioxidants. It's definitely not required for optimal health by any means, but the research does favor coffee as a means of improving health-span (at least for the general population)

For example, in a recent study people who consumed 1 cup of coffee a day (including decaf) were 12% less likely to die from heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and respiratory and kidney disease over 16 years compared to those who didn't drink coffee. People who drank 2-3 cups per day were 18% less likely. The notable thing about this research was that the study population was highly diverse and varied in ethnic makeup which makes it more likely to apply to the general population (although still, its a correlation, which cannot prove causation).

While coffee on its own is full of health benefits, there are also ways to maximize them. One way to get the most bang for your buck is to not add a ton of sugar. Most coffee drinks that you find at cafes contain hundreds of calories and a ton of sugar- promting the question: since when did coffee become dessert?! Coffee or not, these drinks are unhealthy if consumed regularly. Of course treating yourself to a sugary drink like that on occasion isn’t an issue but I want to make sure you’re making the smart choice on a day-to-day basis.

But this doesn't mean you can't sweeten your coffee at all! You definitely don’t want to overdo it on the sugar, but 1 teaspoon of sugar is not what is causing a huge problem. It’s the store-bought foods and drinks that have so much added sugar, you wouldn’t even dare to add that much to your food or drinks at home.⁠ The standard medium mocha from a popular coffee shop has 35g sugar - that’s a whopping 8.75 teaspoons. Would you add that much sugar to your coffee? No, no you wouldn’t. Drinks that would be considered healthy at home like a matcha-latte often come pre-sweetened at these commercial coffee shops, containing a whopping 28g+ sugar.⁠ So when you think about it, a teaspoon of sugar is a much more reasonable amount.

Creamer is another common addition to both store-bought and homemade coffee beverages. Whether you opt for the dairy version or a non-dairy substitute, it's important to always look for the unsweetened versions since flavored creamers can have lots of added sugar.

If you do like to sweeten your coffee, here are some other options to flavor it up that have more nutrients than regular sugar:

  • Splash of unsweetened almond milk: low in calories, contains vitamin E, lactose free
  • Splash of coconut milk:   low in calories, contains potassium, lactose free
  • Stevia or monk fruit extract: both have 0 calories & are much sweeter than table sugar which means you don’t need as much
  • Cinnamon: is a potent antioxidant that can help fight inflammation & lower blood sugar by slowing down the breakdown of carbs and improving overall insulin sensitivity
  • Coconut oil or mct oil: great source of MCTs (pro tip: blend it with hot coffee - comes out creamy!)
  • Vanilla extract: may help reduce inflammation & contains the antioxidant Vanillin

All of these healthier sweeteners make it possible to re-create some of the most beloved coffee beverages like the Pumpkin Spice Latte & Peppermint Mocha. That's why I wanted to round up 3 of my favorite healthy coffee recipes that will satisfy any coffee craving you may have!

#1 - Looking for an equally delicious and aesthetically pleasing drink? Try making a stunning Whipped Coffee:  

If you haven’t heard of the whipped coffee trend yet, here’s the download on it. When you combine 1-2 tbsp of instant coffee with sweetener of choice and 1-2 tbsp boiling water then whisk the crap out of it, you end up with a fluffy, delicious looking coffee.⁠⠀

If you’re whisking by hand though, you’ll most likely need to whisk the coffee until it feels like your hand is going to fall off but the good news is it doubles as an arm workout. If you have an electric handheld mixer, you’re in luck and it will probably only take you about 2-4 minutes.⁠⠀

What you need:⁠

  • 2 tbsp instant coffee⁠
  • 8oz-12oz unsweetened almond milk⁠
  • 2 tbsp water (boiling)⁠
  • Sweetener of choice (stevia & monk fruit are two of my favorites)⁠
  • Dash of cinnamon⁠

What to do:⁠
1 - Bring the water to a boil.⁠
2 - Add the instant coffee, boiling water and sweetener to a bowl.⁠
3 - With a hand whisk, whisk until your arm feels like it’s going to fall off (about 15min+). With an electric hand mixer, whisk for about 2-5min.
4 - Top the whipped coffee mixture over ice cold almond milk or hot milk if you prefer.⁠ Add the cinnamon on top.⁠
5 - Mix & enjoy.

#2 - Craving a refreshing and sweet treat? Make this upgraded Peppermint Mocha:

With this homemade recipe, you can enjoy all of the chocolate-minty goodness of a peppermint mocha without the filler ingredients and all the added sugar.

What you need:⁠

  • 8-12oz unsweetened almond milk⁠
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 instant coffee packet or espresso shot⁠
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract⁠
  • 1/2 Tbsp MCT oil or coconut oil
  • Stevia to taste

What to do:⁠

1 - Heat the almond milk on the stove.⁠
2 - Add the hot almond milk and rest of the ingredients to a blender.⁠
3 - Blend and enjoy!

#3 - Want to cuddle up with a comforting pumpkin spice latte? Whip this healthier version up:

In this recreation of the classic PSL, you get to taste the creaminess & flavors of a pumpkin spice latte without all the added sugar and filler ingredients.

What you need:⁠

  • 8-16oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk⁠
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin puree⁠
  • 1 instant coffee packet or espresso shot⁠
  • dash of pumpkin pie spice⁠
  • dash of cinnamon⁠
  • Stevia to taste⁠

What to do:⁠

1 - Heat the almond milk on the stove.⁠
2 - Add the hot almond milk and the rest of the ingredients to a blender.⁠
3 - Blend & enjoy

I hope you love these recipes as much as I do! What's your favorite way to drink coffee?

Xoxo,
MeowMeix aka Amanda

Why You Should Eat a Wide Variety of Green Vegetables

You all know I love to include tons of green, cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens into my routine! It might not be the sexiest of subjects but these veggies are important for your overall health for many reasons. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner – I enjoy having healthy and delicious veggies ready to go and since there are almost too many green vegetables to count, I thought I’d round up 12 popular ones and some of their benefits for you.

It is crucial to support your microbiome with a diverse group of vegetables since the fiber in them feeds the good bacteria in your gut.⁠ Additionally, green vegetables also contain an abundance of phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are compounds found in plants that help protect plants from disease, insects, etc. and are thought of as biologically active compounds of a plant’s immune system. Basically the more phytochemicals we consume, the better we equip our body to combat oxidative stress, decrease inflammation, and protect the gut.⁠

Chlorophyll is another beneficial compound found in green plants. Chlorophyll is a green molecule found in plants that absorbs sunlight during photosynthesis and converts it to energy. While there have been some questions on the benefits of taking chlorophyll as a stand alone supplement, I like knowing I get this compound as part of the overall benefits of eating your green veggies.⁠⠀

Most greens are also low in calories, high in fiber and have a high water content — all of which make them beneficial to consume if you’re trying to support natural weight loss. I always love to fill my plate up with leafy greens or green vegetables in addition to having a protein, fat & sometimes a complex carb at my meals and find that to be a super filling combination.⁠⠀

It can be easy to get into a groove of buying the same green vegetables that you know-and-love over and over again. And while of course your go-to veggies are a great choice, switching up your veggies from your normal routine can provide a wide variety of nutrients that your body needs to thrive on. That’s why I wanted to round up 12 nutritious cruciferous and leafy greens along with some of their benefits.

Eat Your Greens

Here are 6 cruciferous green vegetables and some of their benefits:

Artichoke – is rich in fiber, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamins C and K, and multiple antioxidants. They can be eaten braised, steamed, or raw- although eating them raw is less common.

Asparagus – is safe to eat raw or cooked, is low in calories and full of folate, iron, zinc, riboflvain, antioxidants, and vitamins A and E.

Broccoli – can be eaten cooked or raw and is packed full of vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin.

Green Beans – contain no cholesterol and are a good source of vitamins C and A as well minerals like manganese and calcium. They’re great for eating on-the-go and adding to dishes like chili.

Brussel Sprouts – are low in calories and are a good source of vitamins C and K. They can be eaten whole, shaved, sliced, raw or cooked and are delicious in just about everything.

Cucumber – a good source of water, antioxidants, and multiple important vitamins and minerals. Most people eat cucumbers raw but they can also be sauteed or baked and added to other dishes.

Eat Your Leafy Greens

Here are 6 leafy green vegetables and some of their benefits:

Romaine Lettuce – is packed with vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate. It is also high in minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and potassium. It is light and watery so you can pair it with pretty much any flavor.

Arugula – is full of fiber, calcium, potassium, folate, vitamins C & K, and phytochemicals. Arugula has a peppery flavor and is great to use as a base for salads, in smoothies, or even as a garnish for an entree.

Collard Greens – are a good source of the vitamins A, C, K, folate, and calcium. They’re most commonly eaten cooked, but collard greens are delicious raw as well.

Kale – is packed with nutrients like antioxidants, manganese, and calcium in addition to vitamins A, K, C, and B6. You can add it to such a wide variety of meals like salads, smoothies, in soups and more.

Red Leaf Lettuce – is great because it’s low in calories but full of nutrients like iron, vitamin K, and the antioxidant beta carotene. Like romaine, it is packed with water and tastes great with a wide variety of flavors.

Dandelion Leaves – are slightly bitter and full of fiber, minerals, vitamins A, C, K, and E, as well as the antioxidant beta-carotene.

Whichever vegetable is your favorite, I hope you make room for more greens in your life and don’t be afraid to try new ones. Let me know if I forgot one of your favorites!

Xoxo,

MeowMeix aka Amanda


4 of My Favorite Homemade Juice Recipes

Spring is in full effect and the summer heat is just around the corner, so I wanted to share 4 of my favorite homemade juice recipes with you that are guaranteed to keep you feeling refreshed and hydrated. Homemade juices are an easy way to pack more veggies into your day while also having a refreshing drink, and it eliminates all of the questionable ingredients that can be found in store bought juices.

A few things to keep in mind about juicing: 

Juicing is great because the process removes all of the fibrous pulp, leaving behind just the liquid from the fruit/veggies. Because of this, juice can be easier to digest and have more concentrated amounts of vitamins and minerals than a smoothie. However, juices made of mostly fruit with few vegetables can be packed with sugar. Fruit juices lack fiber to help slow the absorption of sugar and can raise blood sugar levels quickly, so it’s definitely better to juice mostly vegetables along with maybe one fruit to get the most nutrients.⠀

Additionally, many store-bought juices are pasteurized in high heat killing off many of the beneficial enzymes, vitamins, minerals & phytonutrients. When buying store-bought juice, look for cold press juices since that process helps retain more of the benefits.

While you probably know I’m not a fan of overdoing fruit juices, I’m definitely a fan of vegetable juices because it’s a great way to get more micronutrients and phytonutrients in. Since the juicing process does remove the nutritional fiber, it’s better to juice mostly vegetables and mix in maybe 1-2 fruits if you need it a little sweeter without overdoing the sugar.

 

Looking for a refreshing green juice? Try out Green Machine:⠀

IMG_5680

-1/2 cucumber ⠀

-1 whole green apple ⠀

-1 C spinach ⠀

-7 celery stalks⠀

-Juice of 1/4 lemon⠀

 

Want something with a little spice? Check out this Beet Orange Powerhouse:⠀

IMG_5679

-4 beets ⠀

-3 large carrots ⠀

-1 orange ⠀

-1/2 C kale ⠀

-Ginger⠀

 

Love a mix of green veggies? You’ll love this Green Goddess juice:⠀

IMG_5681

-1/2 C kale ⠀

-1 C spinach ⠀

-2 cucumbers ⠀

-4 mint sprigs ⠀

-2 Tbsp parsley⠀

-Juice of 1 lemon⠀

 

Is simple and tasty your jam? Lean & Green is the juice for you:

IMG_5682

-8-9 celery stalks ⠀

-1 cucumber⠀

-lemon⠀

 

Instructions:⠀

1- Wash and prep all of the produce for your juice. (Note: I remove the rind from oranges for a less bitter taste and always add lemon last.) ⠀

2- Start safely adding your produce to the juicer one at a time. Press it down into the blade with the round tool. ⠀

3- If your juice calls for lemon, squeeze it over the juice mixture and stir.⠀

4- Pour into a glass and enjoy!⠀

Hope you love these recipes as much as I do! My personal favorite is the Green Machine, but I'd love to know which you loved in the comments below!

xoxo,

MeowMeix aka Amanda