Banana Pudding in a Bag
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
Paleo Strawberry Jam
Yield: 1 cup
How Digestion Impacts Mental Health
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?
Sugar-Free Paleo Applesauce
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)
Tiger Nut Milk - Paleo & AIP
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
This simple sauce packs a lot of flavor thanks to the briny tang of capers and sweet silkiness of San Marzano tomatoes. Spicy broccolini is a nice complement to the earthy sauce and the charred crispy florets provide a welcome crunch. A quick pan-sear of the grouper gives a nice crust.
San Marzano plum tomatoes are hand-picked at the peak of their ripeness with close attention to quality. Considered among the best in the world by chefs, San Marzanos are grown under very strict guidelines and proudly display an official DOP (Denominazione d' Origine Protetta) seal on the can. Hailing from Italy and grown from the soil of Mount Vesuvius, they are often described as earthy, bittersweet, and less acidic — the perfect vehicle for a homemade sauce.
Wild Grouper with San Marzano Tomato Caper Sauce
Crispy Chili Broccolini
Porcini Dusted Fingerlings
2 8 ounce salmon fillets
1 small onion (approximately 4oz)
1 large garlic clove, minced (approximately 1.5 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon capers
I cup San Marzano tomatoes (approximately 7.5 ounces)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (approximately 7-8 stems)
½ pound broccolini
1 ½ teaspoons chili oil
½ pound fingerling potatoes
⅛ teaspoon porcini salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
AIP & Paleo Nachos
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!
These soft and cakey cookies are something you can feel good about eating for breakfast. Lightly sweetened with honey and high in fiber from sweet potatoes and nuts, just one batch will provide grain-free grab-and-go snacks for the week.
Paleo Breakfast Cookies
Yield: 24 small cookies
1 small sweet potato (approx. 7 ounces)
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup shredded coconut
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
Nothing says fall like pumpkins...or apples...or cinnamon...or nutmeg...or Halloween chocolate peanut butter cups. We usually associate these delicious ingredients with pies and other not-so-healthy desserts that are enjoyed post-Thanksgiving dinner or on that other major holiday, November 1st (a.k.a. Drugstore Halloween Candy Sale Day). Why not enjoy dessert for breakfast? Even better, keep it healthy? And even better than that, keep it easy! Below is a simple smoothie that is packed with nutrients and definitely satisfies any sweet tooth.
The Ultimate Fall Dessert Smoothie
1/4 cup 100% pure pumpkin purée
1 1/2 cup diced apple with skin on (approximately 1 large apple)
1/2 small frozen banana
2 teaspoons raw cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon raw peanut or almond butter
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and process until smooth.
JENNIFER SWEENIE, NTP
Nutritional Therapy Practitioner & Chef