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


How to Choose a High Quality Cheese

While there are certainly many types of tasty cheese available, it’s important to remember that not all of them are equal when it comes to nutrient value. I personally like to mix in some quality cheese in moderation, but there are so many types of cheese that it can be difficult to narrow down what’s real cheese from what isn’t. For example, did you know that American “cheese” is also called Pasteurized Processed Cheese Food which is only required to be at least 51% real cheese? It’s typically combined with cheap filler ingredients and emulsifiers. Also note that there are “cheeses” that contain less than 51% cheese and will then be labelled “cheese product”.⠀

IMG_5660

It’s also important to keep in mind that 65% of the adult population is lactose intolerant, meaning that eating dairy products like cheese (and especially non-fermented forms of dairy like cottage cheese) causes them to have digestion and skin issues. However some people with these issues are able to process certain types of high quality cheese that are lower in lactose, like goat cheese. There are so many factors that may affect which cheese is the best fit for you, so I wanted to break down some higher quality types of cheese that all have different nutrients and some beneficial compounds and will also satisfy your taste buds, dietary needs, and keep you on track with your goals. 

Many of the better choices are fermented and contain beneficial probiotics that make them easier-to-digest than their overly processed counterparts.

 

Some Better Types of Cheese:

 

Mozzarella - contains bacteria that act as probiotics, including strains that may boost your immune system.⠀

Cottage cheese - has much more protein than some other cheeses & also contains beneficial probiotics.⠀

Blue cheese - boasts more calcium than most other cheeses. Blue cheese is cured with cultures from the mold Penicillium, which is what gives it a distinctive odor & tangy flavor. ⠀

Goat cheese - is a tangy, soft cheese made from goat’s milk which has more medium-chain fatty acids than cow’s milk. It also can be easier for some people to digest than other cheeses because goat’s milk is lower in lactose & has different proteins. ⠀

Feta - is typically made from sheep or goat’s milk. Feta provides conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which has been associated with reduced body fat and improved body composition. ⠀

Parmesan - is made from raw, unpasteurized cow’s milk that’s aged for at least 12 months to kill harmful bacteria. Parmesan is full of calcium, phosphorus & lower in lactose than some other cheeses.⠀

With all of this in mind, remember to pay attention to how you feel when you eat cheese & adapt accordingly or opt for something like goat cheese which has less lactose than cheese from cow’s milk if you have trouble digesting dairy. 

Which kind of cheese is your favorite? 

 

Xoxo, 

MeowMeix aka Amanda 


Why You Shouldn't Count Out Liver

When it comes to adding protein into your diet, it’s important to focus on high-quality protein sources. While you can get protein from many different types of foods you eat, different protein sources come with different benefits – so it’s important that you mix them up and include several in your regular eating routine. Chicken breasts and thighs are great sources of animal protein to have on a more daily basis, but I wanted to share why you may want to give liver a try next time you’re at the butcher counter.

IMG_D45A27C7A959-1

Most people don’t think to incorporate liver into their diets as it’s a less common cut of meat and doesn’t have the same flavor as other parts of the chicken. However, liver is extremely nutrient dense and has even been labeled a “superfood” because it is so packed with quality protein, is low in calories, and has all of the essential amino acids you need. It also provides more than the RDI for vitamin B12, riboflavin, and vitamin A, copper, and is a good source of iron and choline. In fact, it is so nutrient dense that you’re not really supposed to have liver more than once a week because it’s so concentrated in vitamins and minerals.⁠ Additionally, pregnant women may want to avoid eating liver due to it’s extremely high vitamin A content. 

Liver is definitely an acquired taste so I highly suggest trying Mary’s (@paleochef) Bangin’ Liver Recipe, which has lots of tasty spices and flavors and is simple to make. Personally, it’s my favorite liver recipe!  Check out her recipe below and her post with all of the details here.

IMG_5666

Ingredients:

1/4 tablespoon salt

2 tbsp ghee

1 lb liver of choice, chopped

6 garlic cloves, crushed and minced

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped

1 tbsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

1/4 tsp ginger powder

1/4 tsp cloves powder

1/4 tsp cardamon powder

juice from one lime

 

Instructions: 

1- Clean and roughly chop your liver

2- Sprinkle salt on chopped liver, set aside 2-3 minutes

3- Heat ghee in frying pan

4- Over medium-high heat, sear liver until browned on both sides

5- Once browned, add garlic, bell pepper, jalapeño

6- Allow ingredients to slightly brown before adding the rest except for lime, mixing well

7- Cover, allow to cook for another 5-8 minutes on medium-low heat

8- Add lime juice, scraping up the browned bits from the pan, mixing well

9- Remove from heat

10- Garnish with cilantro and enjoy!

 

Chicken breasts are another great high quality source of protein and one of the most common. They are a good source of vitamins and minerals like selenium, niacin, phosphorus, and vitamin B6. Chicken breasts are also a great choice if you’re trying to lose weight, since they’re full of protein and lower in calories than other cuts. ⁠

No matter what type of protein source you choose, you’ll want to focus on clean, herb-seasoned meat without a bunch of stuff added to it, like preservatives, salt, and breading. I also encourage you to try and go for pasture-raised chicken and eggs when you can. Animals get many benefits from being raised in their natural environments with natural food sources and in turn, pass those benefits onto you. 

No matter which cut of meat you choose (or if you don’t eat any), I’m here to support you!

 

xoxo,

MeowMeix aka Amanda


You Didn't Evolve to Feel Like Sh!t

I truly believe that everyone deserves to feel their best, which is a huge part of why I do what I do. Now, more than ever- I encourage you to take this time to reflect on how you’re feeling.  I know that no one feels their best 100% of the time, but my question for you is: Is it normal to feel like crap? Brain fog, grogginess, bloating, fatigue, aches, skin problems, and energy crashes are some things we accept as normal, but I’m here to confidently share that it definitely does NOT have to be that way. You didn’t evolve to feel like sh!t. Just because these symptoms are normal in today’s society, doesn’t mean it has to be YOUR normal. 

While I can admit that modern society has definitely given us some huge advancements, like digital communication channels, technology, and more...it’s also set us up in a way that doesn’t necessarily support a healthy, thriving lifestyle.  This is especially true if you don’t actively try to incorporate habits and rituals that make you feel better. It’s SO easy to wake up and instantly check your phone and email, however, this can lead to a spike in your cortisol levels & set you up for a stressful day.  There are ways you can change these habits though, in order for you to feel your absolute best. Whether it’s adjusting your morning, nighttime, or daytime routine. YOU deserve to feel good and that starts with listening to your body. I’ll also always encourage you to turn to the foundationals. If you’re feeling like crap more often than not, then your body is screaming at you to tell you that something is off balance.  It is YOUR duty, to find the root of that & work to fix it. Change won’t happen overnight, but incremental change & focus, will help you make small changes that will make a big impact in your day to day. 

Here are some questions I encourage you to ask yourself if you haven’t been feeling great:

▶ Are you supporting your body with good nutrition & hydration?

▶ Are you incorporating some natural movement or exercise?

▶ Are you prioritizing sleep and stress management?

These are some of the core pillars to feeling your best, so I encourage you to evaluate how they are affecting your daily life, and make changes if necessary. It’s not about losing weight or getting “beauty sleep”- it’s about you listening to your body and having the tools to set yourself up for success every day.  When it doubt, here are some tips I like to integrate into my day if I'm not feeling my best.

Get Moving: Any type of movement always helps me relax, clear my head.

Hydrate: Drink lots of water!

Journal: Take 5 minutes to reflect on everything you're grateful for.

Meditate: Take 10 minutes of your day to slow down and meditate.

Get some zzzs: Going to bed early will help your body & mind reset.


And also please don’t be afraid to reach out for help or check in with a physician, functional medicine doctor, or therapist to address the underlying issues.

Here’s to making 2020 a year of feeling great! Let me know what helps you feel your best in the comments below. <3


10 Books that Will Elevate Your Health and Wellbeing

Most people are finding themselves spending more time inside lately, and while there are plenty of great physical activities you can do inside, I thought I’d share some of my favorite books so that you can have them ready to go in your downtime. Whether you read just to pass the time, learn about a new topic, help you fall asleep, or all of the above, reading is a fantastic activity that you can do almost anywhere. I love to read books that teach me something new, inspire me, or just make me want to be better in some way and all of these books definitely fit the bill! From being informed on everything from the food industry to birth control to posture- I’ve got you covered with 10 of my all-time favorite book recommendations. 

GW8B3019-2

10 Books that Will Elevate Your Health and Wellbeing:

Want to know about the secrets of the food world? Read this: 

Screen Shot 2020-03-17 at 2.24.58 PM

Food Fix 

By: Mark Hyman, M.D.

“In Food Fix, #1 bestselling author Mark Hyman explains how our food and agriculture policies are corrupted by money and lobbies that drive our biggest global crises: the spread of obesity and food-related chronic disease, climate change, poverty, violence, educational achievement gaps, and more.

Pairing the latest developments in nutritional and environmental science with an unflinching look at the dark realities of the global food system and the policies that make it possible, Food Fix is a hard-hitting manifesto that will change the way you think about -- and eat -- food forever, and will provide solutions for citizens, businesses, and policy makers to create a healthier world, society, and planet.”

This is one of my all-time favorite books when it comes to uncovering what’s really going on in the food world. Dr. Mark Hyman is extremely knowledgeable and in this book he highlights some of the major flaws of our food system, from the very beginning stages to the last. This is a great read no matter where you are in your health journey. 

Want the scoop on healthy aging? Here it is:

Screen Shot 2020-03-17 at 2.23.33 PM

The Longevity Solution, Rediscovering Centuries-Old Secrets to a Healthy, Long Life

By: James DiNicolantonio & Jason Fung 

Getting older doesn’t have to mean experiencing more pain and illness, becoming less mobile, or developing disease. Renowned cardiovascular research scientist and doctor of pharmacy Dr. James DiNicolantonio partners with leading physician and bestselling author Dr. Jason Fung to deliver The Longevity Solution, a groundbreaking new book that unlocks the secrets of healthy aging. Using evidence drawn from their years of medical research and clinical practice, Dr. DiNicolantonio and Dr. Fung lay out five simple, easy-to-follow steps you can take now for a longer, fuller, healthier life.”

I love this book because it breaks down the aging process and debunks the idea that it has to be difficult to navigate your health as you get older. The Longevity Solution is easy to understand and is full of simple solutions that can be put into practice immediately. If you’re curious about aging and how food can affect it, this book is for you! 

Curious what goes on in the food system? Get the scoop:

Screen Shot 2020-03-17 at 2.22.22 PM

Feeding You Lies: How to Unravel the Food Industry's Playbook and Reclaim Your Health

By: Vani Hari 

“There's so much confusion about what to eat. Are you jumping from diet to diet and nothing seems to work? Are you sick of seeing contradictory health advice from experts? Just like the tobacco industry lied to us about the dangers of cigarettes, the same untruths, cover-ups, and deceptive practices are occurring in the food industry. Vani Hari, aka The Food Babe, blows the lid off the lies we've been fed about the food we eat--lies about its nutrient value, effects on our health, label information, and even the very science we base our food choices on.”

This is one of those books I will always suggest to anyone looking for a good, informative read on food/nutrition. Vani Hari does a great job of breaking down the truth about our food, what’s in it, and how to choose foods that will nourish your body rather than deplete it. This is a must-read if you want in on what goes on behind the scenes of the food industry. 

Looking to learn something new? Try this:

Screen Shot 2020-03-17 at 2.10.17 PM

Tools of Titans 

By: Tim Ferriss

“Tim Ferriss has been listed as one of Fast Company's "Most Innovative Business People," one of Forbes's "Names You Need to Know," and one of Fortune's "40 under 40." He is an early-stage technology investor/advisor (Uber, Facebook, Shopify, Duolingo, Alibaba, and 50+ others) and the author of four #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestsellers, including The 4-Hour Workweek and his latest, Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers. The Observer and other media have called Tim "the Oprah of audio" due to the influence of The Tim Ferriss Show podcast, which has exceeded 100 million downloads and has been selected for "Best of iTunes" three years running.”

Tim Ferriss has interviewed over 200 professional guests on The Tim Ferriss Show, an in-depth podcast with interviews sometimes up to 3 hours long. This book recounts what Tim has learned over the years and gives insight into how some of the most successful professionals got to where they are today. This is a great read if you’re looking for some inspiration and guidance. 

Pushing yourself to be the best you can be? This will help: 

Screen Shot 2020-03-17 at 2.17.19 PM

There’s No Plan B For Your A Game 

By: Bo Eason

“In There’s No Plan B for Your A-Game, former pro athlete, playwright, and acclaimed leadership coach Bo Eason shows you exactly what it takes to be the best. His proven tools and training have worked for Olympic medalists, military leaders, bestselling authors, professional athletes, and business executives and their teams.

There’s No Plan B for Your A-Game explains how to develop the character, integrity, and commitment it takes to become the best. Bo Eason focuses on a winning four-step process that helps you attain the skill, maintain the effort, and persist through challenges:

Declaration: What do you want to achieve?

Preparation: How can you make it happen?

Acceleration: Where will you find the stamina to reach your goal?

Domination: Why do you take others with you?

With inspiring, specific, real-word guidance, There’s No Plan B for Your A-Game teaches the best practices that lead to the best results, in every walk of life.”

This book always motivates me to be on my A-game and I guarantee it will do the same for you! Bo Eason has a tough love attitude that will push you to be the absolute best version of you possible. If you’re looking for an inspiring read, this is a great book for you. 

Want to know about food and how it affects brain health? This book breaks it down: 

Screen Shot 2020-03-17 at 2.16.00 PM

The Genius Life 

By: Max Lugavere

In The Genius Life, Lugavere expands the Genius Foods plan, which focused on nutrition and how it affects brain health, and expands it to encompass a full lifestyle protocol. We know now that the health of our brains—including our cognitive function and emotional wellness—depend on the health of our gut, endocrine, cardiac and nervous systems as there is a constant feedback loop between all systems. Drawing on globe-spanning research into circadian biology, psychology, dementia prevention, cognitive optimization, and exercise physiology, The Genius Life shows how to integrate healthy choices in all aspects of our daily routines: eating, exercising, sleeping, detoxing, and more to create a healthy foundation for optimal cognitive health and performance.”

In his book, Max gives simple, yet scientifically backed guidelines for optimal health now and to protect your brain later in life. This book does a great job of explaining the connection between the food we eat, brain health and so much more. If you’re looking to improve your overall health, brain health included, this book is a great place to start! 

Are you on a birth control pill, or are you thinking about it? This book may be for you:

Screen Shot 2020-03-17 at 2.03.45 PM

Beyond the Pill

By: Dr. Jolene Brighten 

“Out of the 100 million women—almost 11 million in the United States alone—who are on the pill, roughly 60 percent take it for non-contraceptive reasons like painful periods, endometriosis, PCOS, and acne. While the birth control pill is widely prescribed as a quick-fix solution to a variety of women’s health conditions, taking it can also result in other more serious and dangerous health consequences. Did you know that women on the pill are more likely to be prescribed an antidepressant? That they are at significantly increased risk for autoimmune disease, heart attack, thyroid and adrenal disorders, and even breast and cervical cancer? That the pill can even cause vaginal dryness, unexplained hair loss, flagging libido, extreme fatigue, and chronic infection. As if women didn’t have enough to worry about, that little pill we’re taking to manage our symptoms is only making things worse.

Jolene Brighten, ND, author of the groundbreaking new book BEYOND THE PILL, specializes in treating women’s hormone imbalances caused by the pill and shares her proven 30-day program designed to reverse the myriad of symptoms women experience every day—whether you choose to stay on the pill or not. The first book of its kind to target the birth control pill and the scientifically-proven symptoms associated with taking it.”

If you currently take birth control or plan to, I highly suggest reading this book as it contains important information in regards to making such personal, health-related decisions. In Beyond the Pill, Dr. Brighten reveals the harsh effects birth control pills can have on your body as well as outlined steps to “make friends with your period” and even a guide to help you get off of the pill, if you decide that’s what is right for you. If you’re curious about everything birth control, give this a read. 

Getting on the same page with your mind, body, and soul? Give this a read: 

Screen Shot 2020-03-17 at 2.14.05 PM

The Align Method

By: Aaron Alexander 

“Good posture is about more than standing up straight: It can change your mood, alleviate pain, rid your body of stressful tension, and may be the difference between getting that raise you've wanted and attracting your ideal mate, or not. But in order to reap all those benefits, the body must be properly integrated. Celebrity movement coach and manual therapist Aaron Alexander offers a revolutionary approach to body alignment to build strength, reduce pain, and put you on a direct path to peak performance that is both fun and accessible.”

In The Align Method, Aaron explains why our bodies and posture are connected to other things going on in our lives like sleep quality, energy levels, and overall happiness. If you’re looking to learn about posture and the effects that it can have on the rest of your body and life, I highly suggest reading this book. 

Looking to get better sleep? Want to wake up feeling completely refreshed? Read this: 

Screen Shot 2020-03-22 at 11.01.43 AM

Sleep Smarter

By: Shawn Steveson 

"When it comes to health, there is one criminally overlooked element: sleep. Good sleep helps you shed fat for good, stave off disease, stay productive, and improve virtually every function of your mind and body. That’s what Shawn Stevenson learned when a degenerative bone disease crushed his dream of becoming a professional athlete. Like many of us, he gave up on his health and his body, until he decided there must be a better way. Through better sleep and optimized nutrition, Stevenson not only healed his body but also achieved fitness and business goals he never thought possible.

In Sleep Smarter, Stevenson shares easy tips and tricks to discover the best sleep and best health of your life. With his 14-Day Sleep Makeover, you’ll learn how to create the ideal sleep sanctuary, how to hack sunlight to regulate your circadian rhythms, which clinically proven sleep nutrients and supplements you need, and stress-reduction exercises and fitness tips to keep you mentally and physically sharp."

In Sleep Smarter, Shawn Steveson lays out pretty much everything you need to know on how to optimize your sleep. From setting up a comfortable sleep sanctuary in your bedroom to routine hacks to improve your sleep cycles, Shawn Steveson is my go-to guru for all things sleep.

Implementing new lifestyle habits and/or trying to kick old ones? This book will guide you through the process: 

Screen Shot 2020-03-22 at 11.20.46 AM

Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything 

By: BJ Fogg, PhD. 

"When it comes to change, TINY IS MIGHTY. Start with two pushups a day, not a two-hour workout; or five deep breaths each morning rather than an hour of meditation. In TINY HABITS, B.J. Fogg brings his experience coaching more than 40,000 people to help you lose weight, de-stress, sleep better, or achieve any goal of your choice.  You just need Fogg’s behavior formula: make it easy, make it fit your life, and make it rewarding. Whenever you get in your car, take one yoga breath. Smile.  Whenever you get in bed, turn off your phone. Give yourself a high five.

Change can be easy—once it starts, it grows.  Let B.J. Fogg show you exactly how."

This book is instrumental if you're looking to create healthier habits that will stick long-term. In the most recent episode of our Master Your Health podcast, How to Make New Habits Actually Stick with Sohee Lee, MS, CSCS*D, CISSN, Sohee Lee shared her experience with creating new habits over the years and how this book has largely shaped her approach. If you're looking for some tips on creating healthy habits, this is the book for you!

Hope you love these books as much as I do. 

As always, I’d love to hear what some of your favorite books are too! Drop it in a comment below.  

Xoxo,

MeowMeix aka Amanda 

GW8B3032


Stock Your Pantry For Success

Having an array of non-perishable food on hand is always a good idea! My husband and I love keeping a well organized pantry so we have healthy food choices ready-to-go when needed.

With that in mind, I wanted to make sure you had everything you needed to stock your pantry for success! This has been my number one request lately and I wanted to make it as easy as possible for you to have a plan of attack when it comes to restocking your pantry.

These are just some of my favorites so let me know if I’m missing any of your go-tos but I hope this helps make grocery shopping easy peasy.

My Favorite Healthy Non-Perishable Foods 

fully-stocked-pantry

Canned Goods

The canning process preserves most of a food's nutrients, so important things like protein, carbs, fat, minerals, and most fat-soluble vitamins remain intact for long periods of time in canned goods. They are also great because they are inexpensive, easy to prepare, have a long shelf life, and you can typically use them in a variety of different ways. For example, something like black beans could be used in tacos, stews/chili, salads, with rice, eggs- you get the idea. Being creative with your canned goods and using them in ways you may have not tried before can be a great way to add extra flavor and nutrients to your meals.

Some canned goods I love: 

  • Black beans
  • Pinto beans
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Organic corn
  • Sweet peas
  • Artichokes
  • Olives

Grains

I love to keep different kinds of healthy complex carbs on hand at all times to even out meals. Grains like lentils, quinoa and rice can be combined with almost any kind of food, they support healthy digestion, and are full of minerals and fiber. Additionally, these healthy complex carbs are all extremely versatile and can last a long time, especially when kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry place (I love these OXO ones). 

Some healthy grains to get: 

  • Lentils
  • Rice (white & brown)
  • Quinoa
  • Organic oatmeal

Broths/Liquids:

Broths and soups are inexpensive and nutritious, usually have a long shelf life, and can also be used in a ton of different ways. I love to make my own soup at home with vegetables and chicken or bone broth. Broths can also be added to many kinds of dishes when cooking everything from grains, to chicken, to chili, and more. Soups are also great to have since they last a long time and can be prepared easily. 

Some great broths/liquids: 

  • Chicken broth
  • Bone broth
  • Soups

Dried fruit:

Dried fruits have had most of the water content removed, so they can be preserved for much longer than fresh fruit. Dried fruit like raisins for example are rich in fiber, phenolic antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. This type of fruit is also great to pair with other nutritious foods as a snack. For example, I love to spread peanut butter or almond butter on an apple slice and top it with some dried fruit for added flavor and nutrients. You can also add them to recipes like oatmeal, muffins, salads, and as a topping for smoothies! 

While I typically like to opt for fresh fruit over dried fruit when I can, these are great options for when you don’t have as much access to fresh fruit or to use as a more natural way to sweeten certain recipes. 

Dried fruit to add to your list:

  • Raisins
  • Goji berries
  • Dates

Nut butters

When it comes to nut butters, it’s important to watch out for added sugars and other processed ingredients, but they can be great to have on hand for all kinds of things. I suggest looking for a nut butter that consists of just nuts, or nuts and salt. However, whether you choose almond butter, peanut butter, or cashew butter, all types of nut butter are a good source of healthy fat and other vitamins and nutrients. They can last for long periods of time and be added to all kinds of food like protein shakes, fudge, overnight oats, sandwiches and more. 

Nut butters to include:

  • Almond butter
  • Peanut butter
  • Powdered peanut butter

Sauces/Oils

It’s great to keep a wide variety of healthy sauces, dressings, and oils in your pantry. Not only do they have long shelf lives but they also add lots of flavor, variety, and nutrients to meals which makes healthy eating with these items easy as pie. With items like balsamic, salsa, and hot sauce on hand, you’ll never be stuck with a bland meal again. Additionally, I like to keep healthy oils like avocado oil and ghee in the pantry because of their added nutrients and flavor when cooking. 

Healthy sauces/oils to stock:

  • Salsa
  • Hot sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Ghee
  • Balsamic
  • Dressing  

Nuts

Nuts are great to keep in your pantry because they can be stored for long periods of time, are high in fat and are good sources of fiber and protein. They can also be used in an endless amount of recipes, making them the perfect pantry staple. I love to eat pistachios as a snack with fruit, and add them to all kinds of recipes- breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Like grains, nuts are best kept in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. 

Types of nuts you can get: 

  • Pistachios
  • Any nuts your heart desires

Canned Meat

Getting enough protein is important not only for your energy, but also for maintaining overall health/muscle and feeling full. Canned meat is great to have in your pantry, especially for when it’s difficult to find it refrigerated or frozen in the store. Canned meat maintains most of its nutrients and can last for long periods of time making it a great choice. 

Canned meats to keep on hand:

  • Canned tuna
  • Canned chicken
  • Canned salmon

Extras

Items packed with protein are great to keep in the pantry at all times. They take minimal effort to prepare, are nutritious, and will last for a long time. They’re also great because the protein helps you feel full for longer, which can be helpful if you’re running low on other types of food. 

Protein for your pantry: 

  • Protein powder
  • Protein bars

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Xoxo,

Amanda aka MeowMeix


smoothie bags

4 Sexy Smoothie Bags You'll Love

We finally have more daylight back & Spring is just around the corner! With the changing of the seasons I wanted to share four of my favorite pre-made smoothie bag ideas to satisfy your taste buds and streamline the process with pre-portioned vegetables and fruit! These smoothie bags are all nutrient dense and a real game changer if you’re short on time in the mornings or just want a simple, quick, and healthy breakfast. Not only is this method a huge timesaver, but will also save you money & will help you effortlessly maintain your healthy eating habits. You can store these smoothie bags in the freezer which will also help prevent your produce from rotting quickly.⁠ Pro Tip: If you have browning bananas, this is a great way to salvage them and not let them go to waste! 

All of these recipes can be customized to your liking too! Some of my favorite things to add to the blender are chocolate or vanilla protein powder, greek yogurt, kefir⁠, unsweetened nut milk, water, coconut water, and ice, if needed. When you’re ready to enjoy your smoothie, simply empty the bag into your blender, add milk, yogurt, etc. and pour into a cup!  

Craving Berry Bliss? Go for this:

Mixed Berry Smoothie⁠

smoothe bags

⅓ cup Strawberries⁠

⅓ cup Blueberries ⁠

⅓ cup Raspberries ⁠

1 cup baby spinach⁠

 

Looking for a tropical taste? Try this:

Tropical Smoothie⁠

smoothie bags

½ an Orange ⁠

½ cup Pineapple ⁠

½ cup Kale⁠

½ Avocado⁠

 

Feel like something powerful? Power up with this: 

Green Machine ⁠

smoothie bags

½ - 1 cup Spinach ⁠

½ cup Cucumber ⁠

½ green apple ⁠

½ cup Pineapple ⁠

2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes⁠

 

Craving chocolatey goodness? Indulge with this:

Chocolate Cherry⁠

smoothie bags

1 small banana or ½ a large banana⁠

½ cup pitted cherries ⁠

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder⁠

½ cup spinach⁠

 

Instructions: 

  1. 1. Place all of the smoothie ingredients in a bag

2. Freeze them until you’re ready to eat 

3. Pour the contents of the bag into a blender

4. Add milk, coconut water, yogurt, etc. 

5. Blend & enjoy! 

My personal favorite from these sexy smoothie bags was the chocolate cherry combo! I’d love to hear which of these you tried and loved, let me know below!