My Top 6 Health Books

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When I first began my journey towards health, I read a lot of amazing books that inspired me every day to live better. Reading these books truly gave me all the willpower I needed, and have given me the knowledge and basis of how I live my life today. I still reread them all the time, they are so marked up and worn out from studying and lending them. Of all the “health” books that I’ve read in the past three or so years, these 6 authors were by far the most inspiring and enlightening. Most of what I know today is from them. If you’re interested in bettering your health, I suggest you read one of these, you won’t regret it! I included a little personal review of each and what I loved about them.

1.  The Beauty Detox Solution

This book changed my life. It was the first health book I randomly decided to read and once I finished it, I was changed forever, which I wrote about in one of my first posts. Kimberly Snyder is so brilliant and inspiring, she knows exactly what you want to hear and breaks health and eating down into understandable concepts. If anyone ever comes to me for advice, I immediately tell them to read her book. All of my girlfriends will admit they have changed the way they eat forever from reading this book. She explains in her book how eating healthy will make you beautiful… literally. Her second book Beauty Detox Foods is also filled with a ton of recipes and beautiful photos.

2. The China Study

If you doubt eating greens can change your life, you should read this book. It gives you all of the evidence and science to back up the fact that eating plant-based prevents cancer. A little dense and intense, but has so much needed credibility for skeptics. This book was the inspiration for one of my favorite documentaries, Forks Over Knives, which I reviewed here. It really is a book that could save your life.

3. The 8 Hour Diet

This book is known as the Food Lovers Diet, so if you love food, you’d loveee this book. The author of this book is also the editor-in-chief of Men’s Health Magazine and also wrote the infamous “Eat This, Not That” guide, so the science is there. Basically, you can eat anything you want in an 8 hour window, then stop about three hours before bed and “fast” until the morning. And in the morning, ALL you have to do is work out for 10 minutes on an empty stomach, which targets and blasts your fat. It sounds too good to be true but intermittent fasting works miracles. For a more in-depth review, check out this Women’s Health article.

4. The Kind Diet

Alicia Silverstone’s Kind Diet is a wonderfully written book that inspired me to go vegan for a year. She explains everything you need to know about the ethics of eating and opens your eyes to a whole new way of looking at food. She taught me the proper way to chew and I now take more time to eat and be thankful for each bite, and really care about where my food comes from. Beautiful recipes as well.

5. Crazy Sexy Diet

I just love Kris Carr. Her documentary, Crazy Sexy Cancer was so inspiring, I had to buy the cookbook. It’s so fun and colorful, I never get bored of reading it. Its filled with fun infographics and grocery lists, I always flip through it like a little girl. P.S. I raided her fridge here.

6. Skinny Bitch: A No-Nonsense, Tough-Love Guide for Savvy Girls Who Want to Stop Eating Crap and Start Looking Fabulous

This girl is hysterical. Even if you don’t want to eat healthy, this book will have you laughing tears. Rory Freedman is so blunt and real about eating crap, it gives you no excuse to be a fat pig. The personality and legitimacy of this book is so valuable, I read it every time I need a little reality check. “Perhaps you have a lumpy ass because you are preserving your fat cells with diet soda”, need I say more? Her Cookbook is amazeballs too.

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Blueberry Protein Pancakes

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Ingredients:

  • 1 scoop Vega Protein Powder
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 tbsp Almond Milk
  •  2 egg whites OR 1/4 cup flax egg replacement*
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • Blueberries

*To make flax egg replacement 1 tbsp ground flaxseed with 3 tbsp water

Completely mash banana with the almond milk and gradually stir in remaining ingredients until batter is smooth. Spray low-fat cooking spray into skillet and turn on med-low heat. Slowly pour batter into pan and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side. Top with berries and drizzle with real maple syrup or agave nectar :)

Makes 2 servings

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Seared Panko-Crusted Ahi Tuna with Coconut Rice

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Recently, my boyfriend and I have been utterly obsessed with seared tuna. Ever since we had it at my parents restaurant, we order it every time we see it on a menu and dream about it every night.  So last night I decided to do something special and tried to make the dish on my own, attempting to imitate the restaurant recipe. I was so surprised by how easy, fast and delicious it was! I rolled the tuna in a light and crunchy panko breadcrumb crust, and served it with ponzu sauce, adding a little flavor but still allowing the tuna to shine through.  You can find bottled ponzu sauce at most grocery stores but I also added a simple recipe too! I also served the meal with my special coconut rice to bring some savory sweetness to the dish, and included the recipe at the bottom. A refreshing and healthy meal you can feel good about serving – in more ways than one!

Ingredients

  • Two filets ahi tuna, fix/six ounces each
  • Two palmfuls of panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • dash of cayenne
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Directions:

Rinse tuna and pat dry, set on counter, not back in the fridge (you want to take some of the chill off.) In a shallow bowl or plate, combine and spread out panko crumbs, garlic powder, salt and a dash of cayenne pepper. Press tuna steaks into breadcrumb mixture on both sides (using your hands is easiest for this recipe). You want a really thick even coat so you may need to pour more and press on top. The thicker it is the tastier it will be.

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Heat canola oil in saute pan over high heat. You want it really hot to make it crispy! Once hot (but not smoking), add tuna to pan. ONLY cook for 30 seconds a side! I cooked it for about 15 seconds longer and almost cooked mine all the way through.

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Remove fish and allow to rest for a minute then slice thinly on a cutting board. Serve with avocado, ponzu sauce and coconut rice (Recipe below)

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Coconut Rice

  •  1 cup jasmine rice
  • 1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • handful shredded coconut

Rinse & drain rice in cold water. In saucepan, add rice, water, coconut milk, and salt. Turn to high heat and bring liquid to boil. Stir & reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover pot tightly with lid. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat, stir in shredded coconut and let stand for 10 minutes covered. Fluff with fork and garnish with more shredded coconut on top.

Ponzu Sauce

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar (opt!)

Combine all ingredients in small bowl and whisk together.

Fridge Files: What’s In Kris Carr’s Fridge?

fridgefileskriscarr.jpgI don’t know if it’s just me, but I have always had a strange fascination with what people have in their fridge, especially celebrity fridges, it tells so much about a person and how they take care of themselves, I also love finding new yummy brands. So I’ve decided to start a new series on celebrity fridges & pantries etc. Hopefully this series will help give you as much guidance as these fridges give me! Today I’m featuring Kris Carr,  one of my health idols and author of Crazy Sexy Diet. I fell in love with her after watching her documentary, Crazy Sexy Cancer.

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“My refrigerator is powerful. In fact, it has a direct link to my overall well-being.”

Smoothies & green juices: My husband and I make enough juices & smoothies to have two 12-oz servings of green drink per day, whether it’s two juices or two smoothies. Our recipes are often guided by what’s available in the fridge. Tip: Keep your smoothies low-glycemic by always using a 3 to 1 ratio: 3 veggies for every 1 piece of fruit.

Ezekiel flax bread: Ezekiel is one of the least processed breads out there. They offer a wide range of choices, including gluten-free, sodium-free and yeast-free varieties. I love that they use sprouted grains and whole food ingredients — no artificial junk! You’ll find their bread products (everything from wraps to English muffins to rolls) in the frozen section. One of my favorite ways to eat Ezekiel bread is toasted with mashed avocado, freshly ground pepper, sea salt and a squirt of lime. Perfect for breakfast or a midday snack.

Earth Balance vegan butter: I’m a fan of the bad-better-best approach to eating. Earth Balance falls into the better category for me. Yes, it’s processed, but it’s also a great plant-based alternative to dairy butter; plus it’s non-GMO, casein-free and trans-fat-free. You can also choose their soy-free butter if you’re sensitive to soy. I also love their coconut spread on my toasted hemp or flax waffles in the morning.

BONUS mystery leftovers! I’m a leftover junkie. I’m a double batch kind o’ cook because it saves me time and money. There are lots of ways to dress up your leftovers — wrap ‘em up, pair them with a salad, drizzle a fresh dressing or sauce on top or just heat them up and enjoy their second day goodness. Leftovers are a lifesaver, period.

Raw sauerkrauts: Gut health is the key to overall health. Remember, 60-70 percent of your immune system lives there, so it’s great to keep some probiotic buddies in your fridge. Raw sauerkraut is packed with good bacteria that populate your gut and help keep bad, pathogenic bacteria at bay. Make sure you avoid vinegar-based and/or pasteurized varieties, since good bacteria is killed when sauerkraut is made with these guys. Hawthorne Valley Farm is one of my favorite brands, but there are many more out there. I often add a scoop of sauerkraut as a side at dinner or on my famous tempeh reuben sandwiches.

Field Roast Apple Sage Vegan Sausages – Holy protein! Just one link of these delicious grain sausages delivers 26 grams of plant-based protein. They’re also great in pasta sauces, casseroles and as a hearty salad topper. If you’re transitioning to a plant-based diet, these sausages will make your life much easier and tastier.

Capers – These little flavor bombs are pickled buds from the caper bush. I like to keep them on hand for my quick and easy Penne a la Vodka recipe or when I need to add a little salty kick to any Mediterranean dish.

Avocado – What can’t you do with an avocado? Salads, desserts, smoothies, spreads, wraps and the list goes on. Yes, avocados are high in fat, but it’s the good, heart-healthy kind — monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Avocados are rich in B vitamins, which also support your cardiovascular health. If you don’t use the whole avocado, wrap up the leftover half (don’t remove the pit) and eat the rest within 24 hours. The green flesh may brown a little, but just scrape off the top and you’re good to go!

Lemon –  I use it in some way, every day. Lemons are alkalizing and help balance the body’s pH. They also support your detox-happy liver, and are high in Vitamin C (immune booster!). I probably go through at least 10 lemons a week (green juice, salad dressing, a spritz in my water, etc.). Pucker your way to good health by adding more lemons to your diet.

Kale – Kale is queen in our home. We always have a couple bunches in our crisper. This dark leafy is especially good in smoothies, salads and sautes. Kale is also a great source of vitamin K, helping you maintain strong bones.

Flax Oil – Flax oil (made from flax seeds) is high in omega-3’s, which promote healthy brain function. It’s also an anti-inflammatory food. Make sure you buy cold-pressed, organic flax oil in a dark bottle and store it in the fridge, since light and heat may turn the oil rancid. I like Barlean’s brand, but there are many other quality flax oils available. Since flax oil is sensitive to heat, I use it mostly in salad dressings and smoothies.

Parsley – Using fresh herbs makes a world of difference in your meals — hello flavor! Parsley is a frequent visitor in my fridge.

Organic Nectares Cacao Powder – Sometimes I need a pick-me-up in the afternoon, so instead of reaching for the coffee pot, I add a scoop of raw cacao to a green smoothie. Cacao is also perfect for creating delicious plant-based desserts. Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream, anyone?

Read more for Kris’s must-have pantry staples

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Simple Sweet Potato Veggie Burger

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What better way to celebrate Memorial Day than lighting the BBQ, bumping country music, and embracing the land of the free, because of the brave. My boyfriend Ryan recently served in the Air Force, so Memorial Day is a special day for me to thank him, through the only way I’m good at… food.

I’ll have to admit one of the most frustrating things about not eating meat is going to friend’s BBQ’s and having to turn down a delicious looking burger or hot dog, especially when I’m hungry, I feel so rude! So tonight, I made the BEST alternative, Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers. They were very filling and chewy, so I didn’t feel like I was “missing out” whatsoever. I also didn’t feel bad after because they were filled with fiber, vitamins, protein and digested very easily. They’re also SOO easy to make. I adapted this recipe from kblog.lunchboxbunch.com and added some of her photos, as mine didn’t do the burger enough justice.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato, washed
  • 1 can cannellini white beans, drained
  • 1 tbsp hummus
  • Scoop of Nutritional Yeast (optional)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cajun or lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1/4 cup almond or wheat flour
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Panko Break Crumbs
  • Coconut oil

Burgers: Toasted buns, Avocado, Dijon mustard, Romaine lettuce, tomato, basil

Directions:

  1. Bake sweet potato at 400 degrees for 45 minutes OR microwave for 6 minutes (Pierce a couple times before with fork to let steam out)
  2. Peel potato, place in large mixing bowl
  3. Add drained beans and mash together with potatoes
  4. Mash in seasoning, nutritional yeast, hummus, flour and any additional seasonings. It will be really soft, moist and sticky but you should be able to kind of form a patty. Add more flour or a scoop of breadcrumbs to thicken mixture if needed. 
  5. Heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil in pan over high heat
  6. Form patty and heavily coat in Panco crumbs.
  7. Drop patties in pan and cook until browned on both sides. OR bake for a healthier preparation
  8. Transfer cooked patties to paper towel, cool for a little
  9. Serve on toasted but with your favorite toppings!

This patty does kinda fall apart as you eat it but its totally okay because it tastes amazingg

Makes 3 patties (I freezed the two I didn’t eat for later)

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Favorite Health Links of the Week

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  1. How to grow an Avocado tree in just 3 steps with a pit, toothpicks and a jar
  2. Vegan Cuts sends you a package of popular vegan goodies to your door for just $19
  3. Real women proportions are compared to Barbie’s… and its creepy
  4. Check out my best friend and trainer’s health & fitness website The Body Project for amazing advice and recipes! (kmbodyproject.wordpress.com) and follow them on instagram (IG: kmbodyproject)
  5. Helpful picture guide of how to select the perfect produce by one of my favorite health guru’s Taralynn Mcnitt (undressedskeleton.tumblr.com)
  6. Find half off nike shoe prices at this website!
  7. If you’re interested in juicing or losing weight, check out one of my favorite documentaries Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead for free online. The website also gives you a free juicing guide and recipes.
  8. The TIU girls created the best ab routine based off of what made them the most sore and delivered the fastest results.
  9. 15 second video of how to make Tiramisu cups out of Quest Bars. You can bake these protein bars into just about anyy dessert. Quest Bars are my absolute favorite: 170 calories • 20g of protein • 17g of dietary fiber • 1g of sugar • Gluten free • No artificial sweeteners • 3g net carbs (they actually eliminate carb-based calories so there’s no room for fat gain!) You can buy a 12 bar variety box online here for just $25 

Maddy’s Famous Lime Dip

Maddy’s dip is definitely one of THE most celebrated dishes throughout our college life and easily one of the best appetizers I’ve ever had. All of our friends get so excited when she brings it and it’s literally gone in minutes. Maddy has finallyyy given me permission to post her recipe!! It’s so simple to make, delicious and loaded with protein.

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Maddy’s Famous Lime Dip

Ingredients:

2 cans yellow corn

2 cans black beans, strained

1 tub crumbled feta

1 bunch scallions, chopped

Lime Tortilla Chips

(Mix separately):

1/3 cup sugar (or 4 Stevia packets*)

1/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

1/3 cup Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

Squeeze of Lime

In a big bowl, combine corn, beans, feta & scallions in bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper and lime and pour over other bowl. Serve with Tortilla Chips (*Lime Tortilla Chips taste the best, and really make the dip!)

Floating Dinner Party

IMG_3280This past weekend my friends and I threw a little post-graduation wine & cheese party on the boat during sunset, it was so beautiful being on the water. We had an incredible cheese plate from the most adorable cheese shop in Charleston, goat.sheep.cow. We also had delicious appetizers… I made my Roasted Sweet Potato and Carrot Farro and Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Seeds. My friend Hanna brought her dangerous artichoke garlic dip and Maddy brought her FAMOUS lime bean dip.

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Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Seeds and my Farro with Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Carrots

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Maddy’s Famous Lime Dip

Watermelon

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Watermelon Fresca

3 cups seedless watermelon

1/4 cup water

Juice of 1 lime

Handful fresh mint

1 packet Stevia

Directions:

Blend all ingredients together, serve over ice and enjoy!

Feeling festive? Add 4 oz of vodka to the blender for a fun refreshing cocktail! Recipe from Tone It Up

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Series: Eating Out

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{Moonshadows, Malibu}

Left: Better Than Cobb Salad w/ grilled grain mustard chicken, mixed greens, avocado, tomato and chile-balsamic dressing.

Right: Grilled Vegetable Salad with mixed greens, corn, balsamic vinaigrette topped with grilled chicken.

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{Skull Creek Boathouse, Hilton Head Island}

Left: Green Goddess Caesar with chopped romaine, avocado, parmesan, croutons, pecorino cheese blend and green goddess dressing and a Veggie Roll (my favorite!!) with spinach soy paper, tempura artichoke and asparagus, goat cheese hummus, avocado, edamame and sun-dried tomatoes.

Right: Mediterranean Carpaccio with sliced sashimi grade tuna, fresh lemon, truffled sea salt, olive oil, shaved mushrooms, green onions on top of a baguette.

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{Jaguars Ceviche Bar, Miami}

Left: Ceviche Oriental Appetizer with tuna, ginger, soy, jalapeños, shallots, cilantro, lime, grapeseed oil, avocado balls, cucumber & sesame seeds paired with plantain chips

Right: Tropical Salad with Mango, Papaya, Pineapple, Avocado, Cashews, leafy greens, topped with coconut and hemp seeds.

eatingout5.jpg{Bistro 843, Hilton Head Island}

Left: Carolina pan-roasted trout on top of pasta salad and sliced cucumbers garnished with chervil herbs and ponzu sauce

Right: Ancient Grain Salad with warm farro, roasted sweet potatoes, butternut squash, brussels sprouts, cherry tomatoes topped with an apple cider vinegar mustard-molasses dressing (one of my favorite dishes ever!)

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{Spring Roll, Charleston}

Avocado Salad with romaine, carrot strings, tons of avocado (obviously), topped with sesame seeds and a carrot-ginger dressing