Raising the Nutrient Bar on Sandwich-making

by Thrive Now Nutrition


Ever make a sandwich or lunch wrap using lettuce rather than bread? It offers the light flexible energy of a salad to power through your day. You can use a variety of leafy options such as Boston, Green Leaf and Butter lettuces. I prefer Romaine for wrapping because it’s sturdy and crisp. Also, the life force which is evident in the root system of the romaine leaves is noteworthy.

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Method: Lay two large leaves out in a criss-cross fashion. Place the burger in the center of the leaves where they intersect. Top the burger with a nutrient-dense spread like @followyourheart vegan mayonnaise (chipotle please!), hummus or a favorite vegetable pate, and top with grilled vegetables. Fold the lettuce leaves over the stack to create a pocket-sized sandwich that’s perfect for healthy eating on-the-run.


Keeping Summer Flavors Alive in the Kitchen Well into Fall

by Thrive Now Nutrition


Saying goodbye to summertime and all of its' sweet offerings is never easy. Labor day is near and back-to-school preparations are in full swing. Outdoor pools promise to close in a few days, while piles of freshly picked corn are shrinking fast. Towers of boxed summer blueberries at irresistible prices are no more. I'm so glad I loaded up my shopping cart with an absurd number of boxes of organic blueberries at Trader Joes in late July. I can hardly close my freezer door, but my mornings are merrier when this seasonal favorite shows up in my oatmeal bowl, on salads and in the blender when a craving for 'nice' cream hits.

Good to see whole watermelons are still available in the produce aisle. I realize that pre-cut watermelon to-go has become an almost year round commodity in markets. However it just can't compare to selecting a melon, smelling it, knocking on it to check for ripeness and lowering that baby into my shopping cart.

I love to blend fresh watermelon in a high performance blender and pour it into a glass with some fresh basil. Cutting it up with a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of lime zest is most refreshing. Sometimes a special recipe comes along that captures a season in one bite. That is surely the case with this sweet, tangy Watermelon Salsa.

Served with tortilla chips, over a salad, a main dish or just as a side dish, this flavor of cool summer days is worth preserving as long as supplies last!

Watermelon Salsa

  • 3 cups watermelon, diced
  • 1 ½ cups cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • ½ cup of red onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt

Combine watermelon, cucumber, onion, jalapeno, herbs and lime juice in a bowl. Add salt. Chill well before serving.

 

 


The Power of Eating in the NOW

by Thrive Now Nutrition


So often, when I hear or read the words mindful eating, I am somehow repelled by it. Odd for a health coach right?  I think the subject is very important, in terms of preventing its’ polar opposite -- mindless eating; eating unconsciously and somewhere in the past or future. Perhaps it’s because in younger years I was a mindless stress eater. I wouldn’t typically check out when I ate nutritious foods but once around the sugary treats I was swept away and lost track of the moment.  I know there have been times when I have been checked out while multi-tasking, busy on the computer or immersed in busyness on a digital device. Back in grade school, I vividly recall that I  would park myself outside the kitchen freezer door armed with a quart of Oreo® ice cream and a spoon. I realize now that I was living on auto-pilot in those moments. Nobody was consciously at the wheel. To this day, when I read about eating mindfully in books and articles online, the subject tugs at those lucid memories.

As a nutrition educator, these years later, I approach the subject of conscious eating with renewed interest given new tools.  This concept of being present to what and how we eat first came to me when I started eating with nutrient density top of mind. I got off meat and poultry and most dairy products, quit refined sugar and caffeine and reduced my gluten intake. at the same time I significantly ramped up my intake of vegetables – especially micronutrient-rich dark leafy greens. In the process, intense cravings faded, my taste buds were reborn and I became so excited by the delicious food I was preparing and eating and how it made me feel that I grew passionately committed to creating a sacred space at mealtime and being infinitely present in it. The idea that I would no longer have to diet, count calories, feel deprived, overthink protein and chase my blood sugar with a snack every few hours freed me to stay present more. I would eat mindfully now without thinking about it. I wonder in this writing if this is a contradiction in terms! Not really. Eating real, whole, plant-based food has actually slowed me down. It grounds me in the now.

This book HOW TO EAT inspires my path. It’s a neat little read filled with big ideas. Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh illuminates on the mindful practice of selecting the food we eat, peaceful meal prep, zen cooking strategies, the nourishing art of eating, mindful mealtime conversation and dishwashing as meditation.

While vacationing in the Hamptons I enjoyed a lunch by the water that fueled me on many levels beyond my belly. The restaurant in Sag Harbor is called Provisions and their Red Coconut Dahl over brown rice with steamed greens blew me away. The feeling of energy and centeredness I would fell while enjoying  this plant-perfect dish was powerful, so much so that it led me to order  takeout for dinner – Vegetable Stir-fry with seasonal veggies, sesame and ginger (and pixy dust!)

The actual act of mindful eating makes a lot of sense to me in terms of the importance of being conscious and present when we eat. It clearly feels a lot better and tastes a lot better to be fully in the moment when eating. I just have a hard time listening to all the mindfulness eating jargon out there today. All the rules of eating mindfully, while valid are still rules. I don't eat according to rules anymore.

I like the idea of eating like a yogi - seeped in ideas of slowing down when we eat, making a ritual of healthy cooking with real ingredients and being nourished by food mind, body and spirit. Food is afterall fuel, and the state in which we find ourselves at mealtime inevitably lays a foundation for the rest of our day (and into tomorrow.) Often too busy to eat lunch, we might wind up gobbling down an energy bar in haste chased shortly after by a cup of coffee. This can lead to an afternoon and evening that’s far different by design than one that runs on brown-bagged leftovers from last night’s Ginger Vegetable Stir-fry and simply brewed unsweetened iced tea. Energy and stress levels, mood and the way we move in the world is directly influenced by the grade of fuel we choose to put in our tank.

I recently attended a local workshop called How to Eat Like a Modern Yogi given by Maria Savarino, a Certified Yoga Instructor. Maria shared the importance of proper diet for mind, body and spirit. A yogi with some sharp plant-based cooking skills in the kitchen, Maria talked about balancing yogic values and nutritional needs. She emphasized how the foods which nourish our body are instrumental in creating our thoughts and emotions too.

My favorite illustration of yogic eating was the preparation of Maria’s Acorn Squash Chocolate Karma Cake. Just the name makes me want to preheat my oven!

This moist, nutrient-rich recipe combines healthy grains, seeds, spices, nuts in the form of milk and a nut meal, seasonal vegetables, alternative flour and other whole ingredients.  

Acorn Squash Chocolate Karma Cake: A very moist and healthy cake. 

Ingredients:

2 cups Acorn Squash boiled with skin on

1 cup Almond Meal

1 Cup shaved Chocolate and melted in bowl with warmed almond milk

¼ teaspoon Salt

1 Tablespoon Baking Soda

½ cup toasted ground Sesame Seeds ½ cup coconut flour

3 cups cooked drained Quinoa

½ - ¾ cup Almond milk

2 Cardamon pods boiled in water:  add 2 tablespoons of liquid

3 Heaping Tablespoons Sugar

3  Whole Eggs

3 Tablespoons Vanilla

¼ Teaspoon Nutmeg

¼ Teaspoon Cinnamon

½ Cup Olive Oil

Oven 350 Degrees   35 – 45 Minutes: check with a toothpick at center: if no ingredients are left on toothpick, cake is done. 

STEPS:

Melt the chocolate in a small bowl by adding the warmed almond milk

Add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend

Add all the ingredients to an oil lined deep dish baking pan: ceramic or metal.  Depending on your pan, you may wish to line the pan with baking paper, cut to size, on top of the oil lined pan, and then it is easier flip the cake once cooled. 

Maria’s business is Yoga Touch in Westchester County in New York.

Here’s to eating with a present mind so you can savor every flavor and be fully nourished daily. Namaste.

Ronna


The Best Part of Waking Up - Scoot Over Folgers!

by Thrive Now Nutrition


I woke up this morning and decided to alter my standard wake-up routine. Typically, guilty of reaching for my Smartphone within arm's reach of my bed, I will check breaking overnight news and social media before my bare feet hit the floor.  I will grab the television remote to switch on my morning news program while heading to the front door to pick up the daily paper waiting outside. As soon as I rise, and before filling my belly, I’ll stuff my head with noise and begin a long march of multi-tasking all day long.  Today, I decided, was going to be different.

Could I spend the first fifteen minutes of my day differently, I wondered, and throw opposing intentions into the universe to recalibrate my day? What could I do to get grounded and energize myself before my morning herbal Joe?

This in mind, I glanced at the clock sitting on my night table and committed to ease into this day - at least the first fifteen minutes of it, more mindfully. It was in that spirit that I began to slow things down. After sipping the glass of water sitting on my nightstand, I had a moment of gratitude for my ability to break with routine. Then, instead of my cell phone, I reached for a bottle at the edge of my headboard - a bottle of Tangerine essential oil. As the scent of citrus, especially upon rising, is widely known to be invigorating, I inhaled the open bottle like my life depended on it. I noticed the bottle said the word 'Cheering' on it – indeed.

Next, I slid into a pair of specially constructed slippers hiding in the back of my closet that slid between my tired toes. They made my sleepy feet so happy. Then, while sitting on the edge of my bed with my feet firmly planted in the moment, I made a conscious decision to limit my thoughts strictly to my present activities. No list making, no worrying about imperatives of the day - just being for the duration of this alternative rise & shine.

I took a few moments to stare out of my bedroom window. This luxury is usually reserved for weekends. Staring into the trees, duck pond and golf course beyond my window, it all seemed routine.  But as I allowed a couple peaceful moments to pass to really take in what was in front of me, I noticed that the tree right before my eyes was bursting with beautiful red buds.  I had not noticed that this weekend and had looked out this window more than once. In the stillness of this experiment I had already sharpened my view.

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Other activities this morning included ringing a favorite set of chimes. The sound was so pure and enlightening.  I placed a heaping spoonful of extra virgin coconut oil in my mouth to get in some oil pulling, refreshed my face with a Rosewater mist and my lips with a calming lip balm boasting eight organic oils. Up next was dry brushing.

Off to the kitchen I went to heat some filtered water and add the juice of 1/2 of a freshly-squeezed lemon to get the digestive juices flowing.

Before I knew it time was up. I felt unhurried, calm, refreshed, invigorated and ready to take on the day. What this made me realize is that we can either create our own chaos when we awaken or we can opt to stop, smell the flowers and build an arsenal of good vibrations to jumpstart the day. Those first minutes of activity or inactivity are crucial.

Turns out I didn't miss a thing on my phone that wouldn't be there after taking time to recharge my personal battery. Quiet time really is the best part of waking up. The world meets us very differently in that stillness. And if we are lucky, it seeps into our day.

Peace + Plants,

Ronna


Eating More Plants Cooked at Home

by Thrive Now Nutrition


I used to eat hummus from a package. It tasted good, was convenient and I had not really considered the option of making my it at home. But these days I have discovered that dips like this popular Middle Eastern staple can be homecooked in  minutes while saving you money. I think the flavor is bigger and brighter than anything I have ever purchased in the market or sampled in a restaurant.

Cultivating a plant-based lifestyle has made me much  more courageous in the kitchen. Today, prepping healthy food fast is less of the task  that is used to be for me.  Dare I say it's kind of adventurous playfully experimenting with health recipes these days. Stocking my fridge and feezer with an arsenal of health-optimizing foods in advance of a busy week ahead turns out to be a game changer. Preparation truly is the cornerstone of health. And eating foods you love that love you back is a party. Hummus is always a welcome celebration.

Traditionally, hummus is prepared with cooked chickpeas, garlic, olive oil, fresh lemons sesame paste called tahini and salt and pepper. I stick with this classic concept and then give it a zhush.

SCRATCH HUMMUS

2 cans of garbanza beans, rinsed

5 cloves of garlic, peeled, sautéed & chilled

1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Zest of 1 organic lemon + juice of 2 lemons

1/4 cup organic tahini (sesame paste)     

1 + 1/2 teaspoons lo-sodium tamari                

Sea salt & pepper                                               Directions: Sautee garlic cloves in olive oil to lightly brown and let garlic sit while other ingredients are being  prepped. The longer the sautéed garlic rests, the more flavor gets infused into this hummus recipe. I like to chill overnight. Rinse both cans of garbanzo beans and toss the contents into the food processor. Zest one lemon and juice two lemons. Add these to the blender bowl along with tahini and tamari. When garlic is cooled, pour contents of pan, including the garlic-infused oil in with the rest of the ingredients.

Blend to consistency you prefer. I like to pulse first, scrape sides of food processor down and then cover and then hit the ON button for 30 seconds. If you want to add additions like the sun-dried tomatoes or avocado or spices, just add and pulse.

This recipe is fool-proof.  Spread onto sandwiches or wraps, served as a dip or alongside a healthy bed of raw or stir-fried vegetables, made-from-scatch hummus is a simple way to build confidence in the kitchen while rocking some healthy fast food.

Home cooking just feels better too.

Power to the plants,

Ronna                                                                                         


Nut Butters Are My Jam

by Thrive Now Nutrition


When asked during an interview what food I most coveted food in my fridge, my immediate response was cashew butter. Not just any cashew butter, but the pure, raw, organic, single ingredient kind. The writer labeled me a Nut Butter Lover when the article was published Inside the Fridge Welcomes Nut Butter Lover Ronna Corlin.  I accept that title. I adore nut, seed and coconut butters. They are a mainstay in my whole food, plant-based diet. In fact, you can find me on any given day, at any given meal, delving into a jar of one of a dozen plus varieties I keep on hand, in preparation of nutrient dense meals that provide plenty of satiety.

Open my cupboard and a dollhouse-like assortment of favorite spreads appear. Some hold residence inside my fridge. It  depends upon the texture I seek. I'm a collector for sure, but it goes beyond that for me. While I relish eating and cooking with these butters, I take equal pleasure in tweeting, pinning and posting about them. Yesterday, one of my favorite artisan purveyors JEM Raw Organics, maker of premium sprouted nut spreads announced the birth of a new member of their nutty family - Cashew Cardamom. #areyoukiddingme. I do fancy their Superberry Maqui Camu. If you can imagine peanut butter and jelly all grown up, this would be it. Boom!

What draws me to these plant-built butters is that they have all of the qualities I seek in food these days. They're real, nutrient dense food  - easily incorporated into a plant-powered lifestyle.

But nuts have gotten a bad wrap. New York Times Personal Health columnist Jane Brody recently stated that she has been avoiding '"some of natures most perfect and healthful foods: nuts and peanuts" for more than half her life. Recent studies she shared, have lead her to revisit nuts. Functional medicine man Dr. Mark Hyman suggests nuts & nut spreads provide healthy fat - a necessity at mealtime. It is the excess added sugar in our diet, rather than healthy fat that triggers overeating and keeps the pounds on.

Fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar makes you fat.
— Dr. Mark Hyman

The great thing about nut butters is that they provide incredible satiety. What a great feeling you have when you eat deliciously and are no longer hungry nor overly stuffed.                          

It's those processed nut butters with added refined sugar, processed oil and extra salt that hijack the appetite and lead to overeating and weight gain.

How I use nut butters

I'll add different nut butters to my oatmeal bowl in the AM, always on the side to preserve the flavor's impact. I might spread a local lettuce leaf (Butter lettuce or Green Leaf) with raw cashew butter and garnish with raw cocoa nibs, hemp seed or chia. More greens in my morning routine is anything but routine. It is more like an energized culinary adventure.

I might top 100% sprouted bread with a shmear of pecan nut butter and raw trail mix. That's a fortifying post-workout recovery meal when you toss in a live green juice. (See my favorite 'live' sprouted bread in  this previous blog post

Don't Sweat the Sweet Stuff.)

There will never be too many raw, organic, non-GMO, vegan, enzyme-rich, cocoa and spice-infused nut butter options on market shelves for me. They're my jam.

Peace + plants,

Ronna






The Secret Weapon That Keeps Plant Eater's Coming Back For Seconds

by Thrive Now Nutrition in , ,


Savory, smoky, crispy Mushroom and Eggplant Bacon from my plant-based kitchen.

My experience eating meat-free for three years now, has been without an ounce of deprivation, regret or skimping on delicious flavor.

Initially, as a plant-based eater, I looked to some of the most common meat substitutes like soy that tastes like chicken and veggie-burgers that share hamburger's sensibility to get me through the night.  But these days, it's more about a secret ingredient introduced it seems, by my exposure to vegan activism and culture.  I'm not vegan at this time. I say 'at this time' because as a coach I take the position that our eating and lifestyle is ever evolving - day to-day and year-to-year. Obviously my eating choices have changed over the past several years and six months ago I ate slightly differently than I do today. I listen to my body more than ever and this hugely influences how I process nutrition information from the outside.

And while not a vegan, I lean most days into the vegan eating style. My plant-powered life is fueled creating simple, flavor-packed dishes with limited ingredients. I have a deep respect for the compassionate eating compass of a growing global vegan community as I discover what works for my body.

But back to the secret ingredient! As I have became more experimental in the kitchen eating a diet of mostly plants, my search for and adaptation of palette provoking nutrient dense recipes has become almost sport for me. With recipe bloggers exploding all over the internet and social media, it's not difficult to build an arsenal of plant-powered favorites and eat like a king all week long. And along the way I learn new things.

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A Japanese term which has consumed me as of late is UMAMI - or savory taste - the sort omnivores experience all the time. This is the taste that alongside salty, sweet, sour and bitter is considered the fifth taste. Umami represents a meaty layer of flavor. Meats have umami in spades. Vegans often find this richly satisfying flavor in plant foods including: mushrooms, balsamic vinegar, seaweed, fermented foods (sauerkraut) and tamari, avocado, cheezy nutritional yeast, Japanese miso paste, sweet potato, toasted cumin & sesame seeds and olives. Umami is released as well, in the cooking process, specifically in rendering, grilling and roasting.

Vegan talk show host Ellen DeGeneres recently had Drew Barrymore and her Hollywood Nutritionist Kimberly Snyder on the show preparing some of Drew's favorite healthy plant-based recipes. Kimberly demonstrated her Wild West Eggplant Bacon. I decided to tackle that dish bursting with umami. It didn't disappoint. I have some left which I'm tempted to add to a Mexican rice bowl with guacamole for lunch!

Excited to discover the secret weapon for adding a powerhouse of flavor to meat-free dishes I dashed back to my Nourishing Breakfasts board on Pinterest to dig out a drool-worthy Mushroom Bacon recipe recently stashed away. Check it out here:  Ronna Corlin on Pinterest .

While initially I couldn't fathom removing meat from my plate for an extended period of time, umami has made me forget what I'm not missing. And I'm convinced that since my plant-based adventures as a non-cook have gotten me into the kitchen more, my fridge and pantry filled with umami-enhancing foods have helped in obliterating cravings while taking my energy and health north as I age.

Time to pick a balsamic vinegars from my cupboard. Should it be fig, pear, golden, cherry, orange, apple or vanilla today? I'll toss it over dark leafies in a colorful salad as big as my head. Topped with a deliciously prepared savory nut-based dressing I can bank on flying through this afternoon without turbulence. No cravings or 3PM slump - way to start the work week. 

Gotta love a secret weapon.

Peace and plants,

Ronna


Go Nuts, it's National Pecan Day in America

by Thrive Now Nutrition


 Chocolate Chili Spiced Pecans                        

Chocolate Chili Spiced Pecans                        

Today I noticed that the National Pecan Shellers Association (www.ilovepecans.org) is celebrating National Pecan Day. This is, they describe, the anniversary of the planting of pecan trees by George Washington, a gift from Thomas Jefferson.

For me, this plant strong whole food is a health-supportive gift that I unwrap with frequency. Pecans are a mainstay in my diet for reasons worth mentioning. The American Heart Association certifies that pecans are a heart-healthy food. They are a rich source of good fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Pecans are a crunchy, buttery nut that satisfies my hankering for something sweet. And best of all, it's another good reason to just eat more plants.

Considered "America's nut" for the abundant pecan harvest in the U.S., pecans are pack a punch nutritionally. Be sure to chew them well to promote digestion and satiety. By doing so you can avoid falling into the temptation of eating them by the handful. While a nutrient powerhouse, pecans are calorie-rich so they should be eaten with discretion.

In celebration of National Pecan Day, I opened up a fresh jar of my favorite nut butter - Pecan Butter from Artisana Foods. My mouth waters just thinking about it. Here's a nut butter made exclusively of nuts. It's raw, organic and vegan too. Eaten alongside my morning oatmeal or spread of warm sprouted grain bread, it’s a feast for the senses. Right out of the jar it's pure pleasure.

I relish cooking with pecans. Chocolate Chili Spiced Pecans are a new favorite. I made a batch recently and stored them in the freezer for when I have a hankering for something sweet 'n spicy, or simply want to add pizzazz to a stir-fry, Buddha bowl or salad.

 This raw, organic nut butter is made exclusively of nuts.

This raw, organic nut butter is made exclusively of nuts.

I was introduced to this recipe concept on a visit to recipe blogger Katie Webster’s  site www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com.  Since it is a constant goal of mine to upgrade recipes so they provide the most bang for your nutrient buck and can support all-day energy, I have eliminated  the dairy and refined sugar from her recipe. I'm confident you won't miss a thing. 

Often I'll recommend that my clients substitute processed sugar in recipes with more 'whole' food sweet alternatives such as medjool dates or sulfur-free dried apricots that can both be whipped into a paste that mix easily with other recipe ingredients, but in this case,  the grit provided by the sugar roasted on top of the nuts makes these chocolate spiced nuts too memorable to strike this specific ingredient. So I upgraded to coconut sugar.

Here is my plant-powered version of CHOCOLATE CHILI SPICED PECANS : 

 3T  organic coconut sugar

1T pure maple syrup

2 tsp Earth Balance organic whipped buttery spread, melted

2 cups pecans

1 tsp raw cocao powder  (raw variety is more nutrient dense and ends in ‘O’ not ‘A’)

1 tsp chili powder

½ tsp chipotle pepper powder

½ tsp fleur de sal (French sea salt)       

 Three bites of pure decadence made of just 'plants'.

Three bites of pure decadence made of just 'plants'.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Stir coconut sugar, maple syrup and Earth Balance in a medium bowl. Add pecans cocoa, chili, chipotle and salt and stir to coat. Spread the nuts out on the lined baking sheet and bake until the cocao mixture is bubbling. 8 to 10 minutes. Stir nuts and continue to bake until nuts are sticky and maple mixture is coating them - about 4 to 5 minutes longer. Let cool. They freeze perfectly.                                                                                                

For dessert recently, I challenged myself to find something that would completely satisfy me in just three bites. I dove into my freezer for a small piece of a favorite plant-based brownie I had made previously without flour, sugar or dairy. I proceeded to top it with a smidge of a healthy, decadent chocolate coconut butter.  It would have been enough to stop there but I love a plant-powered challenge so I crowned it with one perfectly inspired chocolate chili pecan. Three bites never tasted so decadent.

This was a sweet reminder that eating less can render all the satisfaction a craving sometimes demands and hit you with health benefits to keep you thriving. 

Happy National Pecan Day. Go Nuts!

Peace and plants,

Ronna


Don't Sweat the Sweet Stuff

by Thrive Now Nutrition


I’m excited about the opening of the film documentary FED UP executive produced by Katie Couric and Laurie David which examines our candy-coated food supply in this country and how it is instrumental in making us fat and sick.

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Having been highly addicted to processed sugar most of my life I was the classic yo-yo dieter, binge eater, excessive exerciser and emotional eater. It never occurred to me that my cravings and behaviors had anything to do with the addictive nature of a sugar habit. With a talent for baking and an entrepreneurial streak I was led to open a boutique sweet shop. Now I had complete access to my vice, sugar at wholesale and I became an enabler of other people’s sugar habits. Later, as a confectionary buyer for an Internet giant, I found myself on international flights to Belgium visiting chocolate factories and getting cozy with just-baked cookies overnighted to me from the then reigning chocolate chunk cookie company here in the US. Chronic cravings for the sweet stuff and sugar withdrawal became a way of life for this junkie.

With a desire to head down a healthier path and rid myself of the sugar cloud I was living under, I became a certified holistic nutritionist. In theory, I became quite adept at separating refined sugar from less processed more nutrient dense varieties. A little paleo maple sweetened granola here, a few bites of a gluten-free ice cream sandwich sweetened with natural agave there, a drizzle of enzyme-rich raw honey and a freezer full of fruit juice sweetened muffins kept me in the grip of sugar’s pull. It is a rather slippery slope in Sugar-ville when you are kissing off recipes with added table sugar while courting refined sugar’s close cousins – barley malt, date sugar, brown rice syrup and molasses. Sugar is sugar. And despite the way it sometimes feels, sugar that comes from anywhere other than a fruit bowl or a dried fruit container that indicates ‘absolutely nothing added’ (thank you Trader Joe’s unsweetened unsulfured Dark Sweet Cherries and Go Hunza (www.GoHunza.com) raw, organic dried fruits and trail mixes) is nobody’s friend.

I got FED UP and detoxed from added sugar much like the Fed Up 10 Day Sugar Challenge (www.FedUpMovie.com) advises. My metabolism was reborn. Removing this toxin from the body and becoming completely immersed in the power of eating for nutrient density changed everything for me. I salute all those who have taken the oath to give up added sugar for these ten days. I say carry on challengers with guided support and seek your own truth.

The first days are rarely easy.  And as your self-healing body detoxifies you will likely feel worse.  On the 3rd, 4th and 5th days of my own sugar detox it felt like I had been literally thrown up against a wall.  I was fatigued, sleepy and my head ached. I craved sugar badly but opted instead for delicious whole food, plant-powered alternatives to aid me in getting over the hump. These days I get the gift of assisting others to rediscover their palettes while ridding themselves of sugar toxicity.

Here are some well-tested sugar-free tips, tricks and a few of my favorite no sugar-added treats to inspire your journey wherever this meets you.

RONNA’S NO SUGAR-ADDED TREATS:

  • Artisana Raw 100% Organic Cashew Butter or Pecan (Cashew) Butter. I don’t want to say it’s like cupcake icing but … spread over a slice of warm 100% sprouted (fruit-sweetened) bread from Manna Organics (found in the freezer section of most green grocers.)(www.mannaorganicbakery.com). Sprinkle with cinnamon or raw cocoa nibs. This bread gets digested like a piece of fruit
  • Ultima Replenisher (www.ultimareplenisher.com) It’s sourced exclusively from plants. Sweet.
  • Fresh Medjool Dates and Dried Malatya Apricots stuffed with almonds, pecans or walnuts satisfy a desire for sweet and crunchy. The healthy fat and protein in nuts sustains you and balances blood sugar. A favorite trick is to soak either of these dried fruits in hot water and make a date or apricot paste that you can use in both sweet and savory recipes. Dates sweeten smoothies like a charm. One date goes a long way and you want to cultivate your palette to desire less so start with half a date and go from there.
  • Make ‘Nice Cream’ with frozen fruit. Use a high performance blender or check out the Yonanas machine (www.Yonanas.com). I got Yonanas at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Or try plain frozen fruit (mangos, cherries and grapes) that taste like frozen confections.
  • Baked Japanese potatoes stuffed with sautéed greens or simply spread with almond butter help to satisfy (and prevent) sugar cravings. This recipe is a keeper.                     https://ultimateyounow.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/eat-optimally-this-winter.
  • Here is a favorite seasonal dessert prepared au natural. Whether you choose to include the nominal addition of honey in this recipe or go without, the fresh dates, berries and dairy-free Cashew Cream featured are a winning combination.   Strawberry Oat Bars with Whipped Cashew Cream – Natural

I post additional craving-busting tips, healthy food picks and meal planning ideas on my Pinterest boards.

Come visit me here     Ronna Corlin on Pinterest.

Congratulations to those who are up for the challenge of discovering the body’s infinite resiliency when we get real and quiet enough to listen to it.

Tips for challengers:

  1. GET PAST THE DETOX PHASE Potential for feeling good every day will increase exponentially. Cravings will cease. Pain fades. Longings for old comfort foods get replaced with substitutes that taste even better. You hit your goals eating food you love.
  2. GET COOKING Get playful experimenting in the kitchen, cook in batches to save time and money and be sure to plan ahead. Preparation is the cornerstone of health. Crowding out old sugar habits with upgraded nutrient-dense recipes is the ticket.
  3. BE WILLING TO LET GO OF THE GAMES we continually play in our heads that can sabotage our best efforts.

Change is coming. Hold on tight!

Ronna

Read more:  How A Body Can Be Better After 50,

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How to Eat to Stay Warm in an Arctic Blast and Thrive

by Thrive Now Nutrition


  Thrive Now Nutrition Tip: The cob of an ear of corn is a great source of natural sugar. Cut corn off cob cooking as it will release its sugars in soup while it cooks.

Thrive Now Nutrition Tip: The cob of an ear of corn is a great source of natural sugar. Cut corn off cob cooking as it will release its sugars in soup while it cooks.

Many of us find ourselves in the throes of extremely cool temperatures today. Even with the heat on winter is, with or without snow, in high gear. Maintaining a balanced system that allows us to feel energetic, focused and warm on the inside is critical in this season and especially now, as our bodies are needing to adjust to arctic air which is demanding.

Cooler conditions call for warming measures, especially in the kitchen. Consuming more grains and root vegetables to push blood to the surface of the body to generate heat is the prescription for winterized nutrition. The inclusion of spices such as cinnamon, Chinese 5 Spice and pumpkin spice add heat to food and in turn up the body’s thermostat.

Try these simple and value-friendly warming winter dishes to keep the home fire burning and to fuel you optimally now and throughout this cooler season:

1.) Keep a big pot of SOUP on the stove that you can dip into all week and keep adding ingredients in order to keep it going. Cut up some onions, carrots and celery and toss them into a pot with some vegetable bouillon cubes or powder. I like Knorr’s. After a couple hours you have the base and you can add sliced mushrooms, kale or spinach, even frozen vegetables like edamame, packaged split lentils, dried beans (that have been soaked overnight.) In a pinch, canned beans you rinse can go in, along with a pinch of natural sweetener, salt, pepper and preferred spices. A trick I use to boost flavor is I toss in a small piece of corn-on-the-cob and use the actual cob (I cut the corn off and repurpose it.) Add a dash or two of cinnamon and BAM! –  more heat in your pot.

2.) Did you know that you can strengthen a vulnerable immune system by adjusting cooking styles when it’s cold out? So, along with that pot of soup, why not toss some sweet potatoes into the oven. Baking and roasting food adds added warmth to the body and right now, here in NY that’s an inviting prospect. And no need to remove skin on organic potatoes as they are nutrient-packed. Sweet potatoes are loaded with fiber and vitamins K and C and serve to balance blood sugar levels and mood too. They ease sugar cravings too which makes them an invaluable tool if easing up on sugar is a resolution this year.

  Thrive Now Nutrition Tip: Bake a few potatoes ahead for the week or for the family so meals in minutes are at the ready.

Thrive Now Nutrition Tip: Bake a few potatoes ahead for the week or for the family so meals in minutes are at the ready.

If you take the time to bake potatoes you might bake some extra and cook them until slightly underdone so that they can be reheated. Either YAMS or my favorite Japanese Satsu-IMO POTATO. Learn more about this magic variety here https://ultimateyounow.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/imo-one-hot-potato/ .  And think about making a potato more of a meal with toppings including sautéed vegetables like spinach and onions with paprika or black beans, salsa and guacamole or other vegetables, legumes and favorite protein sources. Use your favorite dressings and sauces, nuts, nut butters and seeds, or just allow the beautiful flavors of these whole foods power up your spuds.

3.) And while you’re adding fuel to your inner fire, throw a pot of GRAINS on to cook. It will act like kindling in your body and while keeping the heat in. I batch-cooked this

Mango Quinoa Salad http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/mango-quinoa-salad and a  Hot Lap Bowl http://engine2diet.com/recipe/hot-lap-bowl/ to eat all week.

  Mango Quinoa Salad    

Mango Quinoa Salad

 

The key is taking a handful of nutrient-dense ingredients, cooking them in batches to save time (and money) and throwing durable ‘logs’ on the fire within.  This will just require adjusting your sail a bit and using cooking methods that add warmth to your food. Spring really is just around the corner. Heavy jackets are coming off and lighter, cooling fare is in the forecast. Eat warm and prosper.  

Peace + plants, 

 Ronna