Salad Made Easy

This technique makes creating a mid-day lunch or dinner snack easy.  It also helps with creating a variety in your meals.

What I like to do is put various toppings together into containers and add the salad dressing too. Ideally, choose any ingredients that you would like to marinate in the salad dressing. For me, this is everything other than nuts and soft lettuces, but I will add kale and cabbages because they are tougher lettuces.

Toppings in this photo:  beans – edamame and chickpeas, fresh sweet corn, zucchini, artichokes, bell peppers and olives.

There are so many vegetable toppings for you to choose from. For more ideas visit the FREE DOWNLOADS page to get access to the “Delicious – ‘No Fail’ Salads” Guide. Also, check out these delicious oil-free salad dressings.

Chickpea Tortillas

Tex-Mex is my favorite without a doubt. I really enjoy corn tortillas, and my preference is organic corn tortillas. Yet, it’s so difficult to find organic corn tortillas or the right organic corn meal (masa) to make my own tortillas (still looking though). But this tortilla recipe is just as satisfying. It’s very mild tasting so it would make a good wrap for anything you wish to put inside.

The original recipe is from Elavegan, but when I didn’t have any chickpea flour I decided to try fresh, cooked chickpeas instead – and it worked!

Chickpea Tortillas

Chickpea Tortillas

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chickpeas (they should be cooked until very tender)
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 3/4 cup of water, to start
  • 1/4 - 1/3 tsp salt (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat stove-top griddle/pan
  2. Add chickpeas to a food processor, and process until very grainy.
  3. Add tapioca starch and pulse to mix in.
  4. Add water while processing to form a batter which should be pourable.
  5. Pour the batter onto a hot griddle/pan to the desired size. You may need to spread a bit with the back of a spoon or spatula.
  6. Cook until bubbly on top (just like pancakes) and flip over to cook the other side.

Notes

These always turn out well, even when I have difficulty with the mix. If you think it's too sticky add more chickpeas.

I have even used much less water to form a dough that I rolled out using a pin to form the tortilla before cooking on the griddle.

As per Elavegan's recipe (see link above) you can use chickpea flour in place of the chickpeas in this recipe.

https://realfoodanddrinks.com/chickpea-tortillas

Notice how flexible they are!

Be on the lookout for the video. (I will post it here when it’s done.)

Crispy Baked Tofu

Main Tip: Use firm tofu always. I’ve never had a problem eating firm tofu, but ‘Silken’ (soft) tofu can be difficult to digest especially if you are more sensitive to the GOS and Fructan FODMAPS (found in wheat, rye, onions, garlic, legumes and lentils).

Crispy baked tofu goes well with leafy greens and wheat-free noodles, rice or quinoa.

Ingredients:

  • Firm tofu 
  • Seasonings (suggestions): Tamari sauce, cumin, turmeric, dried chives, dried parsley, salt/pepper
  • Coconut oil or Garlic infused olive oil if you enjoy the taste of garlic

Directions:

  1. Cut tofu into desired sizes, preferably equal size squares
  2. Press tofu between napkins or a clean towel to remove excess liquid. The more drier the more crispier once baked.
  3. Brush tofu with Tamari sauce

 

 4. Place into bowl with desired seasonings

5. If using oil, drizzle a bit onto the baking pan prior to adding the seasoned tofu. You should just slightly oil the pan. Oil is not necessary for baking, but will produce a crispier texture.

6. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes. It’s best to flip half way through cooking. If desired crispiness/firmness has not been achieved after 20 minutes, you can bake longer.

 

Sunlight and Infrared Sauna Therapies

Sunlight and Saunas! I’m all about these. I prefer light/heat therapy because they are most enjoyable for me. They provide relaxation for the nervous system and when my nervous system is relaxed, my digestive system is at ease too. Sunlight undoubtedly has a wonderful effect on our immune system.

SUNLIGHT IS MEDICINE and CONTAINS LIFE-GIVING NUTRIENTS

“When you spend time in the fresh air and sunlight, your body drinks in their life-giving elements” – Stormie Omaritian, Greather Health God’s Way. I couldn’t have worded this sentiment in any better way.

Benefits of the sun:

  • Vitamin D
  • Calming, yet Energizing at the same time
  • Refreshes/relaxes the mind
  • Gives life to fresh fruits and vegetables (and then we eat their nutrients )
  • Assists in detoxification

Ways to get more sun in your life. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Ride with my car’s sunroof/windows open (even if I have to run the A/C at the same time)
  • Take a walk/bike ride through your neighborhood (even better through a park with lots of trees)
  • Open the windows and blinds inside your home to allow fresh air and sunlight inside
  • Step outside often to take breaks from inside chores and the computer
  • Have meals outside away from electronic devices

We should be enjoying the sun and air that God has created for us. He knows what’s best for us and it’s almost as if we have forgotten how to live properly. Note: Of course we don’t want to stay in the sun until we are sunburned. But we can enjoy healthy doses without this damaging effect.

INFRARED SAUNA THERAPY for DETOXIFICATION and HEALING

All objects in the universe emit some level of infrared light, but two of the most obvious sources are the sun and fire.  Therefore, when we get sunlight we are also getting the benefits of infrared light and more. But, if you cannot get sunlight or you wish to intensify the benefits of infrared light. Infrared sauna therapy makes this happen. I enjoy both the sun and infrared saunas to attain the best benefits.

Sauna heat therapy is good, but infrared sauna therapy has some added benefits.

All saunas:

  • Balance the autonomic nervous system
  • Induces sweating along with relaxation
  • Increases circulation
  • Relaxes muscles and enhances flexibility
  • Hastens the death of weaker cells (such as cancer, bacteria, viruses, parasites)

Additional benefits of infrared saunas:

  • Deep tissue healing
  • Increased enzyme activity (required for digestion and healing)
  • Ability to direct heat energy to specific parts of the body
  • Color therapy
  • Ease of use

What first caught my attention about infrared sauna therapy is it’s ability to inhibit the sympathetic nervous system (the one that is activated when we are anxious) and enhance the parasympathetic nervous system (the one activated when we are in a relaxed state). It’s the parasympathetic nervous system that is required for healing. So if we remain in our anxious states, we inhibit healing.

These lists of benefits, by no means, are exhaustive. Additionally, I cannot explain the feeling  and degree of healing that has occurred in my body as a result of adding infrared sauna therapy to my lifestyle.

I want to encourage you to make some healthy lifestyle changes toward getting more sunlight and infrared saunas into your life to activate healing in your body.

Wondering how to get started? 

  1. Greater Health God’s Way” by Stormie Omartian
  2.  “Sauna Therapy – for Detoxification and Healing” by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
  3. Watch my YouTube Video to see my infrared sauna setup

Tex-Mex Bowl

As you may already know, I live in Texas. Houston has been my home for my entire life. (Actually now I live in Pearland, but if I just drive for 5 minutes I’m back in the Houston areas.) Therefore, it should be no surprise that my favorite dishes are “Tex-Mex” combinations which include lots of beans, rice, salsa, guacamole, corn, grilled onions, etc. Yeah, I know, you might be thinking…”What about the cheese?” Well I don’t eat cheese anymore, (gasp), and I don’t miss it one bit.

This is my chance to add a little nutrition/health info…so I’m going to do just that.

I grew up eating cheese and many dairy products (ever heard of Borden milk and Blue Bell ice cream?) I never imagined my life without cheese/dairy. But about a decade ago, when my allergies had become unbearable…I decided to test the theory that perhaps the milk and cheeses were causing most of my issues…and that was exactly the case.

But, since that’s the only change that I made during that time and the fact that I haven’t been bothered by seasonal allergies since then….well one thing is for sure – the milk and the cheeses didn’t agree with my body. I had these issues since a small child and they disappeared  when I took milk and cheeses out of my diet. The relief that I now experience makes up for any losses I initially felt when I gave up dairy.

For you – Do you battle seasonal allergies? If so,  I suggest that you try changing your diet by removing dairy from your diet. You will know in a matter of weeks whether it’s had a positive affect.

I won’t try to explain the science behind it all. Just some basic principles. I talk about this more in the online courses and in some of the nutrition blog posts too. Here is the recipe:

Tex-Mex Bowl

Tex-Mex Bowl

Ingredients

  • 1 clove garlic
  • Fresh slices of colored bell peppers, chopped
  • Onions (of choice)
  • Prepared beans of your choice*
  • Leafy greens, chopped (collards, kale or chard)
  • Diced tomatoes (fresh)
  • Sweet Corn** (fresh or frozen organic is a quick and handy option)
  • Pico de gallo (topping)
  • Guacamole (topping)
  • Cooked Brown rice or quinoa

Instructions

  1. Grill the onions and bell peppers together on the stove-top, adding garlic last so it doesn't burn
  2. Add beans, tomatoes, corn until heated thoroughly
  3. Toss in chopped leafy greens
  4. Serve in a bowl on top of a bed of rice/quinoa. Add toppings such as guacamole and/or pico.

Notes

* Home-cooked beans are preferred, but organic canned is a quick and handy option

** Fresh corn is preferred, but organic frozen corn works well too

Most of the ingredients in this recipe are some that you can keep on hand in your fridge/freezer ready to grab. This makes preparing meals so easy.

https://realfoodanddrinks.com/tex-mex-bowl

Sleep is VERY important

Have you ever considered that the amount of sleep you get can affect your health and your weight?

Let’s face it, when we’re tired we tend to make fewer healthy choices throughout the day, and we reach for the quick-fix energy boost we need, often in the form of sugar-filled options and processed snacks. When we’re tired, we also tend to skip the workout we had planned for the day. For many people, this is an ongoing cycle that’s tough to break.

Adequate sleep sets the stage for everything else. I found this quote online. It seeks to explain the concept of getting enough sleep using science.

“When it comes to body weight, it may be that if you snooze, you lose. Lack of sleep seems to be related to an increase in hunger and appetite, and possibly to obesity. According to a 2004 study, people who sleep less than six hours a day were almost 30 percent more likely to become obese than those who slept seven to nine hours.
Recent research has focused on the link between sleep and the peptides that regulate appetite. “Ghrelin stimulates hunger and leptin signals satiety to the brain and suppresses appetite. Shortened sleep time is associated with decreases in leptin and elevations in ghrelin.
Not only does sleep loss appear to stimulate appetite. It also stimulates cravings for high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods. Ongoing studies are considering whether adequate sleep should be a standard part of weight loss programs” – WebMD

But, as I’m sure you already know and have experienced…you feel great when you get good, adequate sleep and almost miserable when you do not! (No science explanation needed.) But think further, not only is it affecting how you feel, but what’s actually going on inside of your body. Your body simply functions better when you get the sleep that you need.

Sleep can also affect your immune function, aging process, memory, learning, and metabolism. Yes, adequate sleep is a big deal! I know that the days I haven’t had enough sleep that my digestive system is sluggish. And I’m sure your experience is something similar…something is just OFF when you lack sleep. If you have been in a habitual pattern of not getting enough sleep then try to experience something new and refreshing by making a change. You won’t regret it.

To get more sleep, set a goal of what time you need to be in bed each night to get the 7-9 hours you need. Try it this week and see if you notice a difference with your energy level and your eating habits. When I get adequate sleep, I just want to sing and jump for joy in the mornings. (Really, my family looks at me strange when I behave this way, but I just cannot help it because it feels so GOOD!) When is the last time you gave yourself the gift of sleep?

Make a commitment right now by writing this goal down on your TO DO list and read it throughout the day.

Write this down: “I’m committing to getting _______ hours of sleep each night this week.“  (Did you write down your commitment? Really? Go ahead. Do it. Okay. That’s good.)

View this video of one day (in 2018) when I made the mistake of not getting enough sleep. (This video isn’t published on my channel, but I felt it would be good for me to share with you.) Did I pay for it the next day? Yes I did.

So, add something good to your lifestyle: add more sleep. Your body will thank you for doing so.

Much health to you.

Carrot Juice

My favorite juice is carrot juice. (Just in case you didn’t already know.)

Juicing provides a rush of energy because it’s a hydrating drink full of vitamins, minerals that can do not require much digestion and therefore, it’s in your body’s cells in a matter of about 15 minutes. Even if you are new to juicing, you are likely to enjoy this recipe that’s balanced with a perfect touch of sweetness and tartness.

Carrot Juice

Servings: 1

Carrot Juice

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of carrots
  • 2 granny smith apples

Instructions

  1. Rinse all vegetables in cool water in a large clean sink/bowl.
  2. Cut the tops and ½ inch off the bottom of the carrots. Then cut vegetables to a size that will fit through the feeding tube of your juicer.
  3. Feed vegetables through the juicer.

Notes

Optional Add-ins • Kale • Ginger • Lemon juice

https://realfoodanddrinks.com/carrot-juice

Tips

  • Removing apple seeds/core is not necessary (especially when using organic)
  • Use a strainer over the juice collection cup/bin or simply strain the juice before pouring into your glass for drinking.
  • It’s best to drink immediately or drink within 24 hours to get as much of the nutrients as possible.
  • Once you become familiar with this juice, try changing up the tastes and nutrients by adding in some of the optional ingredients.

If you do not YET have a juicer at home (highly recommended), you could ask your local juice bar to make this exact recipe for you. Hint: To find a local juice bar, simply GOOGLE ‘juicebar near me’ for maps and reviews using an internet web browser. (You can also try this direct link.)

Nutrition Made Simple

Eat real food and good nutrition just happens naturally. Do you agree? That good nutrition can be that simple? Or are you feeling overwhelmed? Well, I’m here to tell you that it can be “made simple”. That’s why I chose Nutrition Made Simple as the name for my wellness coaching business.

Every where you read (look), there are articles (and news stories) telling you how to eat properly. Or, to try this diet or perhaps you should skip this list of foods. I’m here to tell you that it can be a simple subject. I admit that at one time (actually for quite a long time) I too was one trying all the diets to see which one fit me best. I researched the properties of food to no end. It was exhausting! I was frustrated. Perhaps this has been your experience too.

Well I’ve made it past all those difficulties. So, don’t worry. It can become simple for you too.

Listen to this: The only reason that nutrition has become such a difficult subject is that foods have been (and continue to be) introduced that don’t qualify as real foods. 

Just to explain what I’m saying and to get the message across, here is a sample list of foods that don’t qualify as real foods. (Sorry that I’m one of those people giving you another list. But stick with me, soon you won’t have to refer to any lists or any food or calorie counting charts.) The list:

  • margarine and hydrogenated oils
  • boxed cereals, chips, pastries (loaded with preservatives, sugar and unhealthy oils)
  • Soft drinks and soda (contain addictive preservatives and chemicals)
  • microwave “ready to eat” meals (such as pizza and even many “diet” offerings)
  • cured meat products (with added preservatives)
  • packaged breads, biscuits (with added dough conditioners, extra gluten, preservatives, unnatural yeasts)

I could have added more to the list, but I don’t want to lose you. Please continue reading this article. In no way am I suggesting that you cannot eat these foods. It’s just that there are better choices. Yes, much better choices!

Because, when we eat real foods we don’t have to think about nutrition. Good nutrition just happens naturally.

You are going to have to trust me on this one (and stick around for future articles). When we eat natural “real” foods our bodies will guide us as to what we should eat and we can even throw away the calorie counting and food rules for good.

There is only one simple rule. The only rule you should strive to follow is to eat real foods as close to their natural state as possible. (This will be defined for you later…or simple check out the recipes on this website for ideas.)

What about cravings? Most of our cravings are unnatural and are highly encouraged by the foods that we choose to eat. It’s the chemicals, flavor enhancers, etc. in unnatural foods that drive our appetite. They make us desire more fat or more salt or more sugar. Remember that famous slogan: “Bet you can’t eat just one”? (Mike drop.)

More so, these unnatural foods are are out of balance. They simply don’t contain the nutrients (protein, vitamins, minerals) and fiber we need. As a result, we become out of balance: our appetites don’t get satisfied and our bodies don’t receive the needed nutrients.

Here is the good news. We can train our bodies to crave natural “real” foods. How do we do this? By eating real foods and avoiding those that are unnatural. It’s just that simple. 

Here are some simple, natural “real” foods you can focus on to get you started:

  • smoothies
  • fresh pressed juices
  • salads (make as colorful as you can, avoiding heavy oils that just add calories)
  • whole cooked grains (brown rice, barley, oats, quinoa, millet)
  • soups (full of vegetables and legumes/beans)
  • fresh fruit
  • nuts, seeds
  • lightly steamed/baked vegetables – yes, even baked potatoes, but don’t load them with butter/cream…instead, try adding vegetables as toppings

So, is it time for you to make a change? Try a simple meal plan this week.

  • For breakfast eat cooked whole grain cereal such as oats.
  • At lunch have a large salad, loaded with leafy greens, colorful vegetables, nuts/seeds and a cooked grain to make it a meal.
  • Snack on fruit in between meals if you are hungry.
  • For dinner, I’m going to suggest more VEGETABLES. Cooked with a whole grain or baked potatoes. Beans and rice with a side salad. 

Did you notice I didn’t include meat? My purpose is to encourage you to eat all the other food groups! (If you eat meat, then I’m sure you don’t need any encouragement – other than…I think it’s important to choose wisely.) I’ve tried many “diets” and it just so happens that I feel best when I don’t eat meat. It’s been almost two years, but what I remember the most is that I would eat the meat and be done. I would be satisfied and skip all the vegetables and other foods I should have been eating. We miss out of many nutrients when we skip fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, legumes  and whole grains. Here is another nugget of truth: You can get all the protein and fat you need also by eating this way (without meat) and get a load of other important nutrients. So, for the purposes of these posts and recipes, they will all be WFPB (Whole Foods and Plant-Based).

Eating this way is low in calories, but high in fiber – which means you can easily get your “fill” of nutrients while keeping your calorie intake lower than eating the standard American diet. Yes, you might still crave the “other” foods, but if you think you are still hungry after a meal…just eat more! Eating more fiber to fill up your stomach will satisfy those cravings and they will soon dissipate. This is the truth and it’s truth worth savoring! I hope you learn to savor real foods and enjoy them to the fullest!

I know this has been quite a long article, so I’m going to bring this one to an end. Let me know what you think. Your feedback is most welcomed. Let me know if this is the beginning of a new lifestyle change for you. Yes, I call it a lifestyle change instead of using the word “diet” because we all know that diets don’t work. They are just too complicated! Just stick around and I will prove to you that nutrition can become a simple thing. 

I want to help you create a new lifestyle. Perhaps you are in need of healing from certain symptoms, want to lose weight, have more energy or even just continue on your current path of health and wellness. I invite you to subscribe to my newsletter so that you won’t miss any posts or recipes. 

When you subscribe you can download my “Healthy Eating with Real Food Guidebook”

Grilled Eggplant and Hummus Stacks

Note: This grilled recipe was inspired by the grilled eggplant as described by https://minimalistbaker.com/smoky-grilled-eggplant/.

Serves 4.

Grilled Eggplant and Hummus Stacks

Grilled Eggplant and Hummus Stacks

Ingredients

  • 1 Eggplant
  • Power Greens: spinach, chard, kale, arugula (a mixture or just one)
  • 1 TBS balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 1 TBS coconut aminos (optional)
  • 1/3 small onion
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 6 ounces of mushrooms (4 - 6 small sized)
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • salt to taste
  • Hummus

Instructions

  1. Cut eggplant into about 1/2 inch thick slices and season with spices (paprika, cumin, coriander, salt) and allow to sit if you need to make hummus.
  2. See below for hummus recipe.
  3. After about 15 minutes or allowing the eggplant to marinate, cook the eggplant on a hot griddle. (I used my George Foreman Grill.)
  4. Simultaneously, you can grill vegetables (onions, red bell pepper and mushrooms) in a shallow pan.
  5. Lastly, pan saute the power greens using the coconut aminos and/or balsamic vinegar and water.
https://realfoodanddrinks.com/grilled-eggplant-and-hummus-stacks

Hummus Recipe:

Mix all of the following ingredients using a food processor.

  • 1 can of chickpeas (or 2 cups)
  • 1 clove garlic (2 if you like it spicy!)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 2 TBS roasted red bell peppers (optional, but adds a nice flavor)
  • salt to taste

Here is the way I served it:

1. First lay a base of sauteed power greens

2. Then layer: (stacked at least twice)

    • Grilled Eggplant
    • Hummus 
    • Grilled Veggies: Onions, Red Bell Peppers, Mushrooms 

3. Serve with a side of quinoa ( or other grain).

Homemade Cough Syrup

Instant Pot Cough Syrup

Hello to all. I’m still dealing with this nasty ‘bug’ as I create this post. This must really be a BAD ONE y’all. I never get sick! My 4-year old dogs are looking at me as if to say, “What’s wrong mommy? We’ve never seen you like this.” Those little sweet things.

So here I am, trying my best to cope. It started with my husband and he agrees that it’s pretty BAD! (So I’m not just being a weenie-whiner because I haven’t seen sick in a long while.)

When my youngest was small, until we figured out her triggers, she would often come down with respiratory issues. This was my “go-to” recipe for her and even as a small kid she never had any complaints about taking this medicine.

Back then I didn’t have an InstantPot, so I would just put the onions in the honey and allow to soak overnight. Not sure if I ever thought about heating them on low on the stove-top to speed up the process until I found the recipe online today.

My idea is that by using an InstantPot, I could set it on low for an hour and not be concerned that they would burn and it WORKED!

Why onions? Onions are rich in antioxidants which make them anti-inflammmatory agents.

Why honey? Well, it’s sweet and makes it easy to tolerate the onions. Additionally, it has anti-bacterial properties – so it’s simply a good carrier for the other items in the syrup. Some say it allows the medicine to stick to the throat too.

Why rosemary? Science says it has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties.

Here is the recipe I used today:

Homemade Cough Syrup

Instant Pot Cough Syrup

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium white onion, sliced (yellow will work too)
  • 8 - 12 ounces of honey
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary

Instructions

  1. Heat all the ingredients in the InstantPot on the "LOW" setting for 1 hour.
  2. Alternatively, you can heat on the stove-top, lowest setting - until the onions become translucent.
  3. Strain into a jar that has a lid.
https://realfoodanddrinks.com/homemade-cough-syrup

BUT, I got to thinking….my original recipe (back-in-the-day) used all fresh ingredients. So I added more fresh rosemary and more fresh onions to the jar. I will let it sit overnight just as I used to do. I need the most potent recipe I can find!

NOW, about those leftover onions…

They remained chewy, as one might guess. I just take a few to munch on when I pass by them.

Another idea: I have also been using some unsulphured ginger candies as throat lozenges for night-time. I think I will try making my own by soaking in honey and then dehydrating.

Note: The links to the InstantPot store are links through which I receive a small commission should you decide to make a purchase. I use my InstantPot just about every day. In fact, I have two of them.