I know some people that begin to drive heave if they are threatened to eat a brussel sprout. A couple are in my immediate family. Growing up my mom on occasion would make them but they were usually either steam or boiled with some butter on them. Although I could probably stomach that now, at the time it was one of the most disgusting flavors. The smell was similar to what a Band-Aid smells like and I could only imagine what they taste like.
Had my mom prepared sprouts this way, I'm guessing there would have been a 50/50 chance that I would have actually eaten them. I mean they are still green and green food in our house was immediately met with rejection, unless it was Jello. That stuff was delicious! Just don't ruin it by putting fruit in it!
The process of roasting brussels is pretty straightforward. One key is making sure you start with fresh brussels not the frozen version. If you get the frozen ones, they will be more apt to just steam and bring you and I back to that Band-Aid flavor and smell. So start fresh! Then all you need to do is trim a little bit of the chewy stem off of them if there is some. We like to half or quarter ours from there depending on the size. You could roast them whole but they would take a LONG time so that's not advised. Once you halve them, spread them out evenly on a baking sheet. Drizzle with roughly 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil per pound of brussels. Season generously with salt and I like a little pepper also but not always.
Once seasoned, put them the oven that was preheated to 425. Depending on the size they should take anywhere from 20-30 minutes and I like to stir them half way through. What you are looking for is for them to start turning slightly brown if not black. In the cooking world that's called carmelization! Do it! They aren't burnt, they are perfect that way. It will bring out some of the natural sugars that are in a plant that is inherently bitter and if prepared poorly can taste like Band-Aids!
Try it this, I bet you will like brussels for the first time! Or at worst you won't hate them.
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I know we haven't done many book reviews on our blog in the past. Recently we were approached by a "book tour" company and they asked if we would read and review Darin Olien's book Superlife. I first read this book back when it came out back in 2015! I was even fortunate to get to meet Darin and hear some stories behind the book. Turns out he grew up about an hour from where I did. Apparently kids from small farm towns in rural Minnesota can have a career in nutrition!
When I was approached to share Darin's message I was all for it. The principles he teaches in the book are also some of the fundamentals of living a healthy life and always good to revisit myself. Darin breaks out these fundamentals into what he refers to the 5 Life Forces.
Life Force 1: Nutrition
This is at the core of being healthy. His basic approach revolves around eating whole foods in abundance and variety. Eating this way will ensure that you are satiated with micronutrients that all too often we lack. Being a vegan himself he isn't a huge proponent of eating animal products but is ok if people chose to eat animal products as long as they are high quality and occasionally eaten.
With nutrition he also stresses the importance of keeping your gut healthy! This is something I strongly advocate for as well and think can be a real game changer for a lot of people. For most people that looks like... cutting out processed foods, adding foods/supplements rich in probiotics and prebiotics, and probably supplementing with some digestive enzymes.
Life Force 2: Hydration
Water... something so basic but something that so many people fail to consume. As humans, we are water! Roughly 2/3 of our bodyweight is water. It does everything from provide pathways to carry raw materials around our body to insulate us and keep us warm or cool. Let's just say it's super important! Darin provides some great tips to upgrade the quality of your water also in the book.
Life Force 3: Oxygenation
Oxygen - it's critical to life and something that gets overlooked in regards to health. Darin quotes a couple of studies that talk about how cancer thrives in low oxygen situations and dies off in oxygen rich environments. Pretty amazing stuff! Increasing oxygen ties back into life forces 1 and 2. Whole food plants contain more oxygen than processed, packaged foods. Getting adequate water also increases the amount oxygen that enters our bodies. Combine that with some intentional deep belly breathing and you are really improving your oxygenation.
Life Force 4: Alkalization
This life force is one that is definitely overlooked and understudied. Darin and I maybe differ slightly on this point. Some of the research that I've done and read suggests that it is highly unlikely your body will become more acidic based on what we eat. The pro-alkaline movement tends to look at the acid levels of a person's urine which looks at what is excreted versus the pH of a person's blood and cellular fluid.
My opinion here is the jury is still out, but I would agree with Darin in that a diet high in plant based foods will improve your overall health.
Life Force 5: Detoxification
Darin is a big believer in the process of detoxing the body. He points out the constant stress that our bodies are under from everything in our environment to what we consume. Our bodies have normal detox pathways but they get backlogged when we consume low quality foods and are exposed to chemicals in our environment.
His advice to handle all of this, focus on the first 4 life forces and your detox system will be able to handle the workload.
Darin, finishes the book with some recipes and final thoughts on how you can implement the 5 Life Forces into your current life.
I'm a big fan of Darin's approach to health and this book does an excellent job in getting people to think a little differently about their health. It's not all about being reactionary and trying to take care of yourself after you get sick. It's about doing things that produce vitality in your life and keep disease at bay. If you are looking to up your health game I highly recommend this book to give you a solid baseline of information.
One thing we really encourage a lot of our clients to work on is to be more veggies, especially greens. One of the easiest ways to get more greens in is to eat more salads. We love our salads, and try to it one 5 days a week. We aren't just talking about a little side salad with dinner. We are talking full on, stuff my face and stomach salad that is loaded with greens and veggies. We see a lot of people that grasp that concept which is awesome, but then they douse all those quality veggies with some low quality salad dressing.
A couple of tips if you do buy store bought dressings;
If the idea of eating more veggies and cleaning up your eating sounds like something you would be interested in, we will be hosting a special group on Facebook in a little over a week. The group will revolve around having a salad a day for week. We will provide recipes like the one above and some more tips on how to put together an amazingly healthy salad. If you are interested click on the image below and RSVP.
This dish was totally inspired by leftovers. To be honest a lot of the meals we make are throw together at the last minute. We try our best to just keep healthy ingredients in our fridge, freezer and pantry. Then I (Dan) find inspiration either from Pinterest, Google, a random cooking show or something I've made before to dictate what we eat. I'm not the most creative person when it comes to other things, but food, that's my jam - pun intended!
Seriously this soup was so easy to make and you could easily scale it up if you wanted to make it for a larger group. Like most soups the key to flavor is using a flavorful broth/stock and letting it simmer for a long time. I recently made up a batch of chicken stock in our pressure cooker. Homemade stock makes a huge difference in my opinion both in flavor and quality of ingredients. I probably need to write up a post about our stock recipe. Very simply we just add water, old chicken bones, carrot, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaf, thyme, apple cider vinegar, peppercorns and a little salt into our pressure cooker. We pressure cook it for about 3 hours and it turns out great!
We hope you enjoy this soup! We always love to hear if you try out our recipes, so if you give it a try, drop us a comment on the post or shoot us a message.
Superfood is a buzz word in the health world these days. Eight years ago as a single guy if you would have asked me what my definition of superfood was I probably would have told you anything that is super cheap or super easy to prepare. So frozen pizza and hamburger helper would have fallen into that category.
Oh how the times have changed. Now I look for every effort to search out real superfoods and add them to my diet. I recently heard about broccoli sprouts and the amazing health benefits that they have. So I had to do a little research and find out all about them.
Basically a majority of the health benefits that would classify broccoli sprouts as a superfood stem back to one compound in it, sulforaphane. Sulforaphane is an antioxidant that has been shown to eliminate cancer causing free radicals, reduce inflammation, help your heart health and reduce your chance of diabetes.  Not a bad resume for a plant that is only a few days old!
Here's the "super" thing about sprouts versus the broccoli that you buy in the grocery store. With sprouts you are eating the whole plant including the the roots, not just the trimmed up pretty part that you see on grocery store shelves. The average pack of sprouts that you would buy in a grocery store has around 4,000 sprouts, that is 4,000 future heads of broccoli!!! Also with the sprout the you get anywhere from 10-100 times the amount of antioxidants that are in the adult plant if eaten within the first 7 days.  Sulforaphane tends to peak in the broccoli plant around the 3 day mark and begins to decline after that point. So eat them early and eat them often.
Sprouts can easily be added to salads as I did with my salad pictured above. You can also juice them and still get a lot of the benefits from the sulforaphane. We also recommend adding them to your smoothie or shake.
Don't take this post as a reason to avoid regular broccoli because there are still tons of health benefits from the adult plant too. Vitamins like vitamin A and C and minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron, and magnesium increase as the plant ages so we still encourage you to eat mature broccoli also. We would still consider regular broccoli pretty darn super too!
Let us know how you use your sprouts or if you are planning on trying broccoli sprouts.
So we asked you guys via our Facebook Page what were some of your guilty indulgences. For most humans at some point in our lives we have all had certain foods that we ate because they just taste so damn good even though we know they are unhealthy. Mac and cheese definitely falls into that category. There are two kinds of mac and cheese in my mind, the first being the kind that came out of the blue box with powdered cheese. I'm pretty sure that cheese sauce had crack in it because it tasted so good, especially the spirals....but seriously, this is about one of the most processed foods you will find on a store shelf. Frankly, looking back I don't even know if I would call it food. The second version is the homemade version which is loaded with butter, cream, and cheese, not to mention the vehicle to consume said fat mixture is an enriched white flour noodle. Just in case that wasn't enough fat, I would usually throw some bacon into my version too.
So the feat of "healthifying" this dish was going to be a tough one. I knew that I wasn't going to try to make a powder that somehow magically turned into cheese. So the other option was to try to recreate the base bechamel sauce that traditional mac and cheese is made from. Your traditional bechamel is made from fat and flour and it usually incorporates onion. In the case of mac and cheese, you also add cheese to it. I had heard of someone else making a cream sauce out of cauliflower before so I figured this would be the perfect time to try that out. I've done a cauliflower puree before, so this was simply making that a little thinner to resemble a bechamel sauce instead of mashed potatoes.
So I've now got a creamy sauce but then I had to somehow infuse that sauce with a cheese flavor. Let me just start by saying actually cheese flavor is next to impossible to recreate but I feel this got close. So a lot of cheeses have a nutty taste to them along with a an obvious saltiness. Salt is the easy part, so for the nutty factor I used cashews that I had soaked in water for about 4 hours to soften them. Another ingredient that our friend Lindsay over at The Paleo Paramedic told me about was Nutritional Yeast. Nutritional yeast has a natural cheese like flavor. It is also a great source for your essential B vitamins, which if you live in the vegetarian or vegan world can be the toughest vitamins to acquire through food sources. So I added all of that to get it tasting like a cheese sauce...but that last elusive thing was giving it that cheese color. Tumeric to the rescue. Not only is tumeric a superfood but is also turns anything it touches yellow.
So we've got a blob of cheesey like goodness which is actually really healthy for you but do you just drench regular noodles or at best whole wheat noodles in this sauce and call it a day? You certainly could and you would have a tasty dish...so if you want to stop right there, feel free. But to ultra-healthify this dish, why not find another vegetable that would resemble elbow macaroni. My brain ran the gamut of veggies trying to think of something that would resemble the texture and size of elbow macaroni. If you are following us or in the healthy eating community you have probably heard of Zoodles or noodles made out of zucchini. Typically, most people use a spiralizer or mandolin to cut zucchini into either a spaghetti or egg noodle like shape. I wasn't able to get that little curve in the noodle or make them hollow by just using a knife, but I cut zucchini into a 1/4" x 1/4" by 1" pieces so that it would resemble macaroni.
What would some homestyle mac and cheese be without a topping, right??? So to add that crunch to the top of this dish I just added some crushed almonds that I combined with some dried parsley and oregano.
Some possible modifications if you aren't looking for an ultra healthified mac and cheese option or you don't need to follow a vegan diet.
This soup was something we just threw together the other night as an attempt to eat something spicy to get baby moving a bit. The soup was delicious but didn't do it's job to help move along labor. You could certainly modify this to include whatever veggies you have in your house. We happened to have some swiss chard that we picked up from the farmer's market this past weekend so it worked out great.
So we like to our vegetables, so we started up a deal a few weeks ago that we would try to use a weird vegetable each week. We also thought it would be fun to take semi-normal vegetables prepare them in a weird way. So we have all had cucumbers, but have you had cucumber ice cream? On top of that we decided to go a step further and make a vegan ice cream using coconut milk. We have the luxury of having an ice cream maker so if you don’t have one you may need to get creative on how you can make it without one.
Mmmmm…muffins. Vegan Banana Nut Muffins to be exact…although I don’t ever put nuts in them so they’re usually just banana muffins to me. These are SO easy and pretty much the only muffins I make. Probably because I’m lazy and sometimes hesitate to step outside of my baking comfort zone.
My sis over at www.happyfoody.com introduced me a long time ago.
Delightful Banana Nut Muffins
Cookbook: The Garden of Vegan
By Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard
The Cook & The Coach
Healthy is a LIFESTYLE.