Healthy Swaps!

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This week we are going to talk about HEALTHY SWAPS! The graphic above has some of my favorite ways to eat cleaner, healthier and with less calories/sugar/fat, etc. In the comments below post one healthy swap you made today! And come back all this week as I’ll be sharing some of my favorite swaps as well as recipes using some of these swaps.

Vegan Ice Cream

It’s been a hot summer and the temps are still pretty high. A great way to cool off is with ice cream, but who wants all that fat and sugar? Try this recipe for a vegan ice cream using frozen bananas. You can alter the recipe by adding different toppings or add ins. The basic recipe is frozen banana and vanilla extract. You can try a strawberry ice cream by adding frozen strawberries, or add cocao powder to make chocolate ice cream.

Acai Bowl

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I recently stumbled across something that is my new healthy/clean eating obsession: the Acai Bowl. It sounds exotic and fancy, yes? Really it’s just a smoothie in a bowl, but with a texture like ice cream. The Acai Bowl has become a trendy food item that is found at juice bars in big cities like LA and NYC. It’s a favorite of people to fuel up after a ride at the local SoulCycle or Hot Yoga class. I’m not one to follow trends, especially a foody trend (it’s even weird to think of a food item as trendy to me), but I had to try the Acai Bowl. I’m in love!

Not only is it delicious but it’s super easy to make. Here is how I made mine. In a blender combine the following:

  • 2 Packs of Sambazon Acai Smoothie Packs
  • 1/2 of a frozen banana
  • 1 Tablespoon of your favorite nut butter
  • 1/2 – 1 Cup of Almond Milk

You want it thick like an ice cream texture. Spoon into a bowl and top with your favorite toppings. I added fresh banana, walnuts, fresh blueberries, more peanut butter and some ground flax. Grab a spoon and dig in. It was so delicious and more satisfying than just drinking a smoothie, plus it’s packed with super foods. I like that you can add different fresh fruits, nuts, etc to the bowl, which you cant do with a regular smoothie.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

pumpkin-patch-1Fall is my favorite time of the year. Especially the month of October with Halloween and all. Not just because the weather starts to change and we get a cool crispness in the air. Not just because the leaves start to change colors, and the landscape looks like a beautiful painting.  Not just because of all the great Fall Festivals that take place. I’ll be honest and admit it’s really because of all the foods that come out at this time of the year: pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie muffins and cakes, pumpkin beers, pumpkin flavored anything really. Don’t even get me started on Halloween candy.

When I decided to launch OktoberFIT again this year, I was a little sad about missing out on all of these Fall favorites. But OktoberFIT is all about making smarter and healthier choices, it’s not about missing out! You have to be careful about the swaps you make though. Some people will think any type of smoothie will be a good choice. We think “Oh I’ll just grab a smoothie from this place on this corner. It’s a smoothie, so it can’t be bad right?” WRONG!! Just for an instance, A large Jamba Juice Mango-A-Go-GO smoothie has MORE sugar than an ENTIRE Mrs. Smith’s Classic Cherry Pie!! SAY WHAT?!

I wanted to satisfy my cravings for something pumpkin flavored. So I decided to switch my regular Peanut Butter and Jelly breakfast smoothie out for this Pumpkin Pie Smoothie. Below is the recipe I will be using for my breakfast smoothie for the month of OktoberFIT. Give it a try and let me know.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Ingredients:

1/2 frozen banana
4- 6 ice cubes
1 cup almond milk
1/2 – 1 cup canned pumpkin (just pure pumpkin, not the pie filling. Make sure there is no added sugar or other crap)
1-2 tsp maple syrup, honey or agave to sweeten (optional)
dash of pumpkin pie spice
dash of cinnamon (cinnamon is a great blood sugar regulator, so I recommend adding it to all smoothies)

Directions:

Place all ingredients in the blender and blend together until smooth.

Healthy Snacking

Some days of mine are long, and I am literally running all over. I’m usually up by 5AM, having breakfast around 6 or 7AM, then off to teach, running errands in between classes, and sometimes not eating lunch until 1 or 2PM. On days like this I have to have some snacks on hand to make it through the day and on to the next class. Not to mention that I’m often also squeezing in my own workouts, for which I need to properly fuel and refuel for. Every week I go to the grocery store and peruse the aisles for some healthy snack options.

Being that I’m in my car for hours at a time, I have to have snacks that dont need to be refrigerated and will travel easily. I usually wind up with nuts, or some sort of trail mix. Which gets old very fast. How many handfuls of almonds can one person eat anyways? I’d love to have dried fruits on hand but its so hard to find ones that don’t have added sugar and preservatives. Fruit is naturally sweet, why add sugar? I’ll never understand that one. Granola bars are pretty much just all junk. Read the ingredients and nutritional labels people! Never just trust that “ALL NATURAL” yellow starburst logo on the front of the package.

So I was super stoked when I discovered Organic Living Superfoods at a local yoga studio one day after class.

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Organic Living Superfoods is a local company founded by Bruce Nameson and Craig Singer. Bruce is the former owner of one of my favorite vegan restaurants in the area, Prana (which is sadly now closed). Their incredible line of snacks are all organic, vegan, gluten free, raw and composed of real live super foods. These snacks more than satisfy!

I got to try a few of their snacks, shown in the photo above. By far my all time favorite was the Raw Juice Infused Strawberries. As stated on the label, these are nature’s gummy bears. I’m a sweets person. When I want a snack, I usually crave something sweet. These satisfied my sweet tooth so much, that I’m seriously going to order a pound of these.

My other favorite Organic Living Superfood snack is the dried mango. Again, this satisfies my sweet tooth in a healthy way. This is the BEST dried mango I’ve had. Its not super tough to eat, like leather, as so many other brands are. It has that natural sweetness, without being overwhelming, as there is no added sugar. The dried mango is my go to snack, I pick these up whenever I find them.

For those people like a salty snack, and in a moment of weakness, turn to a bag of chips. You will love the Salt and Vinegar almonds! If you are a fan of Salt and Vinegar chips, you can satisfy that taste with these almonds in a much healthier way.

So many of the Organic Living Superfoods are just so incredible that I could go on and on. Try the Chia Energy Squares for instance! After the mango and strawberries, these are the ones I try to keep on hand.

Organic Living Superfoods offers something for everyone. The owners, Bruce and Craig are dedicated to bringing you the healthiest, plant based snacks on the planet. This is so much more than satisfying a craving, or that rumbling in your tummy, but it’s about feeding your body with with real food that has so many benefits. Eat real food people!

Easy Energy Protein Bars

barsSometimes it’s nice to grab something quickly to snack on or to have after a workout. Protein bars are one of the better options because of their easy grab and go size. But most store bought variations are loaded with lots of junk we don’t need, mainly excess sugar. Here is my easy to make recipe that is vegan, gluten free and paleo. Have fun making these by changing up the throw ins; use different types of nuts, dried fruits, or add cacao nibs, anything you like!

1/4 cup almonds (any nut or mix of nuts will do)
1 cup fresh or soaked dates
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup hemp protein powder
1/4 cup of orange juice or juice of lemon
1/2 tsp lemon zest
Sea salt to taste
1/2 cup frozen blueberries (or raisins, dried cranberries, etc) to be mixed in at the end.

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor, except the mix ins. Pour mixture (it should be pretty thick and similar to a cookie dough texture) onto a large sheet of waxed paper. I pat mine out until I get the desired thickness and then form into a more square shape.

Using a knife ( you can add oil or a cooking spray to knife to keep it from sticking to the mixture) cut into the desired shaped bars and wrap each one individually in wax paper and place in freezer. These do not get super hard when in the freezer so you can eat them right away or let them come to room temperature and they will be a little more gooey. Another option is to make these more like truffles. Just roll dough into small balls and roll in any “topping” you like such as crushed nuts or toasted coconut. Enjoy!!

Zucchini Pasta and Sauce

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Last night’s dinner of a Raw Zucchini Pasta was so quick and easy! It is a fast and easy meal that everyone will love! It’s flavorful, healthy, and fresh tasting! I love this dish because it feels you up but in a way that is not too heavy, its light and satisfies the desire for pasta.

Peel the outer skin off of a Zucchini ( I use one to one and a half Zucchini per person) and then with your peeler, peel the Zucchini into strips that will become your “pasta” and place the strips onto a pile in the center of the plate.

In a food processor combine all the following and process/blend until you reach your desired consistency. I like my sauce a little on the chunky side, so I just pulse the food processor a few times to achieve the perfect pasta sauce.

1 Cup of tomatoes ( I use the little cherry tomatoes)
1 Cup of soaked sundried tomatoes
1 Tblsp of chopped Garlic
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 Tblsp of Hemp Oil
1-2 Tblsp of Balsamic Vinegar (based on your tastes)
1 Tblsp of dried Rosemary
1 Tblsp of dried Thyme
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
The juice of one lemon

I like to add fresh mushrooms to the sauce once it was blended, and top with raw Sunflower Seeds or another type of raw nut. Enjoy!