Banana Pudding in a Bag (Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-free)
Yield: 4 half cup servings
Toasted Tigernuts & Caramelized Coconut Chips
Yield: Approximately 6 cups
If I had a dime for every time someone told me they "don't eat much sugar", I'd be sitting on a pretty big pile of dimes by now. Unfortunately, the sweet stuff has become so ubiquitous, most people don't even realize they are consuming it. You may cut out cookies, but there's sugar in your salad dressing. Order sushi for dinner, but there's sugar in that rice. Forego the bun on your burger, but there's sugar in the mayo and ketchup! I recently read a startling discovery that even juice labeled 100% is doped with corn syrup. Some FDA officials suspect that many fruit juices claiming to be 100% natural juice are actually sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup...fruit juice naturally contains fructose, so if manufacturers add more, how can anyone prove it? Frightening.
One way manufacturers hide sugar is by calling it something else. Good news is you can take back the power and be a label sleuth! Learn the following terms and be on the lookout. I suggest taking a screenshot of this for reference when you're shopping.
All of the below terms are converted to glucose or glycerine when you ingest them. The list goes on and on, but these are some commonly hidden gems most people overlook:
Barley malt extract
Barley malt syrup
Brown rice syrup
Evaporated cane juice
Yield: 1 cup
Adequate digestion is key to maintaining optimal levels of mental wellness. There is a direct relationship between the nutrient pool in our body and our brain chemistry, specifically of 5 neurotransmitters. These specific transmitters are responsible for moods, depression, anger management, problem resolution, and energy and activity levels. If we do not make the necessary nutrients available to the body from our food, we are unable to produce the proteins/neurotransmitters we need. Low levels of one or more essential amino acids results in low levels of one or more neurotransmitters, with resulting varying degrees of depression. Therefore, adequate digestion of proteins is crucial to mental health.
So much of our mental wellness is based on what nutrients are available to our bodies. Optimizing diet/nutrients and digestion is often the biggest "missing piece" when it comes to balancing our emotional health. While amino acids, vitamins, and minerals are crucial, we also cannot forget the role of fatty acids on mental health. They are required for the proper transport of nutrients into and out of our cells, they feed anti-inflammatory pathways (decreasing free radical production), and form the sheathing around nerves.
Ensuring proper digestion is of utmost importance for mental health. In order to properly digest food, we must be in a parasympathetic state when dining. Are you digesting what you eat?
Yield: 2 Cups
4 large apples, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (Gala work well!)
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 C filtered water
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
As you may have noticed, tiger nuts are popping up all over the place in the Paleo community — specifically Organic Gemini brand. What you may not know is that tiger buts are not actually nuts, they're tubers (or small root vegetables). They're an excellent source of prebiotic fiber, which becomes fuel for probiotic bacteria. One ounce of tigernuts has 40% of your recommended daily fiber. In other words, they're good for the belly! They have a slightly sweet and nutty flavor, reminiscent of coconut, and make for a delicious milk. Try it in your tea or coffee.
Yield: 2 cups
Jackson's Honest Sweet Potato Chips
Coconut Sour Cream
1 can AIP compliant coconut milk (I used Natural Value), chilled
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt to taste
Refrigerate can of coconut milk for at least 2 hours. Spoon out coconut cream at top of can and add to a medium bowl. Add vinegar or lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Mix until combined and season to taste with salt. Let chill for 30 minutes before serving.
1 ripe avocado
1/2 small white onion, diced
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
Red onion and cilantro leaves for garnish
In a small bowl, mash together the cilantro, onion and salt with a sturdy wooden spoon until it forms a thick, juicy paste. Scoop flesh from avocado and add to bowl. Mix to combine.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound grass-fed ground beef
Salt to taste
Heat a medium skillet over medium- high heat for 30 seconds. Add olive oil. Add onions and sauté until translucent, approximately 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add ground beef and break up with a spatula or wooden spoon. Season with salt (I use a lot!). Cook beef until browned, approximately 10 minutes, stirring often.
Lay sweet potato chips on a large plate. Top with ground beef mixture and guacamole. Drizzle with coconut sour cream and top with red onion and torn cilantro leaves.
I didn't want to feel left out of the gluttonous festivities this past Super Bowl Sunday, nor did I want to spend hours in the kitchen prepping snacks for myself. A pre-made bag of AIP compliant chips (like the addictive Jackson's Honest Sweet Potato Chips) made whipping up a batch of nachos take only minutes!
JENNIFER SWEENIE, NTP
Nutritional Therapy Practitioner & Chef