Show Off Your Holiday Cookies with Dietitian Gone Wild's Simple Tips

‘Tis the season for baking!   And to try to avoid a growing waistline…

Every year the desire to bake around the holidays creeps up on me.  Thankfully, there are plenty of holiday parties to bring the cookies to so I’m not just sitting at home having cookies for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

The last couple of years, I’ve decided to take it a step further by making healthier cookies.  I know what you’re thinking… but they taste pretty darn good!  Like the real thing good.  And I’ll list the recipe below for y’all, but since they’re pretty classic chocolate chip cookies I needed to find creative ways to spice up the presentation to give them festive holiday vibes. 

 

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Step 1: Choose a fun platter

Either get a pretty holiday platter (you can find fun ones for low cost at Goodwill) or do as I did and take any platter you have at home and place a decorative towel over it.  I then sprinkled the platter with coconut flakes for some snowy-vibes.   Like a flocked tree… I flocked the tray.

 

Step 2:  Add a couple not-so-healthy holiday cookies into the mix.

I used these adorable holiday cookie cutters that I DID find at the Goodwill to make Christmas tree and gingerbread man sugar cookies and played with all the colors and sprinkles.  I threw some bright candy canes in, too, for a pop of color.   After all, it’s the holidays… ya gotta indulge a little!

 

Step 3: Use simple holiday decorations on your tray

Just like you decorate your home, decorate your tray!  Add in a simple fake sprig of holly or a poinsettia. 

 

Step 4: Serve bevs in festive holiday mugs to accompany your cookies

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I’ve got my holiday Naughty or Nice mug filled up with cashew milk (or is it eggnog?) all ready to go, just how Santa would want it.

 

Again, most of these kitchenware and decorations are super cheap to find at thrift stores like Goodwill, and you never know WHAT you’ll find.  They have so many cool things to help you get creative this holiday season!  And you’ll be supporting a good cause which is really what the season is all about. 😊

 




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Paleo Cacao Chip Christmas Cookie Recipe

-1 cup Cassava flour

-1/4 cup coconut sugar

-1/2 tsp baking powder

-1/2 tsp baking soda

-1/4 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt

-1/2 cup ghee

-1/3 cup manuka honey

-1 egg

-1 cup cacao nibs

 

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Best Part.  I made this in a Vitamix.  SO. EASY.  However, you can of course use a hand mixer, but I like to challenge myself to make basically everything with the Vitamix.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  First add the dry ingredients (cassava flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt) and blend on regular speed at 1.  Then add in the ghee and honey and blend on 2.  Add in the egg. Continue to blend until smooth consistency.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add in the cacao nibs.  Mix it up with a spoon and use a cookie scoop or just a regular spoon like I did to make medium sized dough balls.  Keep them about 2 inches apart on the pan as they will spread out.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Take the trays (I used 2) out of the oven and let them cool 10-20 mins.  Option to chill them in the fridge for an additional 10 minutes to really set the consistency.  If you try to eat these straight out of the oven, they will crumble for sure… the cassava flour doesn’t have the same hold as regular cookies.  Serve with cashew or almond milk (or some nog) and enjoy!

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Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

Grain-Free Chilaquiles Brunchin'!

Ever have one too many cocktails or glasses of wine and find yourself with a case of the munchies?  Life hack: keep Siete Foods grain-free chips in the house for these emergencies.  Guilt-free pig out!  :-P

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But anyway, I eat Siete Foods tortillas and chips daily in one way or another.  I think I might even go as far as to say that this is one of my favorite homemade alternatives thus far.  I love going to an amazing brunch spot and ordering chilaquiles, but since it's a pretty heavy dish this doesn't happen that often.  Thanks to Siete Foods, I made my own version at home with all the healthy alternatives! 

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Ingredients:

-1 egg, cooked over-easy

-Better Bean Co black beans

-1/2 avocado

-2 tbsp. diced red onion

-1/2 tsp onion powder

-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

-1/4 cup fresh salsa

-1/2 jalapeno, sliced

-2 tbsp. cilantro

-10-15 Siete Nacho grain-free tortilla chips

-1/4 cup Siggi's plain Greek yogurt

-Vegan cheese (optional)

Instructions:  So while the egg was cookin on the griddle... I made the guac.  Mash the avo and mix it up with the diced onion, cayenne pepp and onion powder.  When the egg is almost done, throw some Siete Foods grain-free chips on the stove top, too, with coconut or avocado oil until they look a little toasted and browned.  Throw the chips on a plate and pour salsa over them (I used store bought from Whole Foods because I like to be crafty, but I'm also a busy lady).  Plop the egg right over the chips and salsa, sprinkle with jalepnos and greek yogurt, which is replacing sour cream.  Put a dollop of Better Bean Co black beans and your guac on the side (with optional vegan cheese sprinkled over).  Sprinkle cilantro and voila!  Served here with a bulletproof coffee and 1/2 grapefruit with a little coconut sugar because I've been on a grapefruit kick.  Enjoy the guilt-free crunch this weekend, y'all!!

 

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Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

 

Bedtime Snacking... Yay or Nay?

“So, you’re not supposed to eat after a certain time of night, right?” 

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I get asked this ALL. THE. TIME.  And my answer is always the same... “It depends.” 

 

First of all, if you know me and my nutrition philosophy, you know I don’t think there really is a “supposed to” when it comes to nutrition and, also, that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach.  However, the answer to this question can depend on what you’ve been eating the rest of the day. 

 

For instance, are you snacking because you’ve had balanced meals/snacks throughout the day and want something to hold you over through the night?  Do you have a health condition, such as diabetes, which would make bedtime snacking potentially very important?  Or did you skip meals all day and are now starving and just want to cram some junk food down to fill the void from the lack of nutrients all day?   Or are you emotionally eating?   Or maybe something I haven’t listed here, but the point is.. there are a lot of things that can contribute to whether snacking at bedtime is a good or not so necessary idea, but I would always redirect someone back to mindful eating.  Ask yourself if you’re eating because your body is need of some fuel or are you eating because of boredom, stress, etc.? 

 

All that being said… bedtime snacking CAN be beneficial and even lead to a better night's sleep!  HOORAY (that’s what you wanted to hear, right?)!  Let me tell you how...

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Use my code "DGW" for 20% off  Drink Sleepy Head

Use my code "DGW" for 20% off Drink Sleepy Head

The first thing is… you want to make sure your snacking is part of a balanced day.  Meaning you’ve been eating nutritious, balanced meals/snacks throughout the day and haven’t been over doing it.  The second thing is, making sure the snack is balanced and nutritious itself.  So, probably not ice cream or chips (every now and then.. yes, of course indulge because balance is important, but not on the reg).   When I say “balanced” snack I mean a snack composed of a variety of macronutrients (protein, healthy fat/complex carbs).  This is important because a balanced snack will slow digestion, keeping you satisfied longer, offer more nutrition and regulate blood sugars better throughout the night which can help you sleep better throughout the night, too... wink, wink. 

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Here are some ideas for healthy snacking:

-Apple and almond butter

-Grain free crackers or veggies and hummus

-Gran free chips and guac/salsa/bean dip

-Greek yogurt with fruit and grain-free granola

-1/2 a sandwich

-Certain health bars

-Drink Sleepyhead hot bevs along with one of these tasty snacks to help you wind down and get a good night’s rest

-Handful of mixed nuts

-Energy balls

 

 

Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

Sweet Potato Avo Quesadillas

Yeahhhhh baby... THESE. ARE. LIT. 

I got my vegans, my vegetarians and all my foodies that just plain like food because I think these are quite tasty for everyone.  Just like most of my recipes, simple and REAL ingredients.  You can add cilantro if you're a cilantro person.  I feel like most people are strongly for or strongly against it.  I'm pro-cilantro, but just didn't have it on hand.  Still making use of this amazing cashew cheddar, too!  I made another batch just for this. WORTH IT. 

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Ingredients:

-1 small sweet potato

-1/2 avocado, sliced

-2 Siete tortillas (I used cassava and chia tortillas)

- Cayenne Pepper

-My Cashew Cheddar (recipe linked here)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the side: Primal Kitchen RANCH dressing made with Avocado Oil for dipping (*not vegan, but IS Paleo, Whole 30, Keto friendly and dairy-free).  Check out all of Primal Kitchen's tasty products and purchase HERE:

Instructions:

Microwave or bake the sweet potato until it's soft enough to easily cut (approx 3 minutes).  Cut into 1/4 inch chunks.  Put one tortilla down on a skillet or lightly greased pan.  Spread 2 Tbsp of my Cashew Cheddar.  Then add sweet potato chunks and avocado slices.  Spread the cashew cheddar over the other tortilla and top the second tortilla directly over the first, like a lid.  Turn on the burner and grill on one side for approx. 2-3 minutes, flip and cook for 1-2 more minutes.  Carefully transfer to a plate and cut into quarters.  Dip in Primal Kitchen's RANCH dressing and it's EXTRA good.

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Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

 

Cashew Cheesin'

My Vitamix adventures continue!

And I'm a BIG fan of this one... creamy cashew cheddar.  It's seriously amazing.  I try to limit dairy MOST of the time.  Pizza is one of my favorite splurges, as are wine and cheese nights, but in my day-to-day I really don't consume dairy. 

I served mine over lentil pasta (also good) and it totally hit the "mac & cheese" spot. 

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Ingredients:

-1 1/3 cup raw unsalted cashews (soaked in water for 8 hours)

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-1/2 cup roasted butternut squash

-1/4 cup nutritional yeast

-2 Tbsp olive oil

-1/4 cup canned Pimiento peppers

-lemon juice (1/4 lemon)

-1/4 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt

-1/8 tsp nutmeg

-1 tsp garlic powder

-1/4 cup water

 

 

 

Instructions: Throw everything in the Vitamix or food processor.  Turn on at speed 1 and slowly increase to speed 7.  Then turn on High for 3 minutes.  You will get a hot, creamy faux-cheese.  Pour over your favorite pasta or use as a dip for nachos.  :)

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Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

Salmon with Pesto Fettuccine

Since I've gotten my Vitamix, I've been on a mission to try new recipes semi-regularly.  I had my heart set on homemade pesto, but the store was out of basil for 2 weeks.  TWO WEEKS.  I think this is where we hashtag #firstworldproblems but ANYWHO... it was back in stock this week so I made this bomb dish.  It's super simple.  Super basic. And, thanks to Vitamix, super easy to make!

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Disclaimer: the pasta is store-bought almond flour (paleo friendly) and the salmon was grilled with just olive oil, salt and pepper.  I seasoned with parsley on top, as well.

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Ingredients:

-3 Tbsp pine nuts

-2 cups basil

-1.5 tsp minced garlic

-1/2 cup parmesan cheese

-1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

-salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: Throw all of it in the Vitamix/food processor and blend.  For Vitamix, gradually turn up from setting 1 to 7.  For Vitamix, use the Tamper ("wand thingy" as I like to call it) as needed to maneuver all of the basil leaves/nuts into the blades to blend.   Serve over pasta... on homemade pizza.... maybe some pesto chicken... go nuts!

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Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

 

Cranberry Compote Sauce

I didn't know whether to call this, "Cranberry Compote," Or "Cranberry Sauce," soo.... Cranberry Compote Sauce it is!  Some of y'all may LOVE canned cranberry.  I know there's some of you weirdos out there (kidding :P ).  But every year when that cranberry comes to the table I wish I made my dang own.  And I've been majorly procrastinating because I should've made this around Thanksgiving, but point is... I made it!  And it's soooo easy.  Here we go...

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Ingredients:

-1 12oz bag cranberries

-1 cup coconut sugar

-1 cup water

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-2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

-dash of pink Himalyan sea salt

-dash of cinnamon

Instructions: In a pot, whisk together water, coconut sugar and apple cider vinegar and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Once boiling, whisk in cinnamon and salt.  Then add in cranberries and lower to a simmer for 10 mins, stirring occasionally.  You will hear the cranberries poppin'.  After about 10 minutes, use a potato masher (or a fork like I did) to mash up the cranberries to desired consistency.  Turn off heat, but leave the pot on the burner to cool for 20-30 minutes.   Enjoy as a jam on toast or sauce on meats!

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Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

Easy Homemade Hummus

My love affair with the Vitamix continues... 

It's just....

so...

EASY TO USE.  It's almost toooooo easy, but I mean that in a great way.  This time I made some homemade hummus.

Ingredients:

-1 can chickpeas (low-sodium) WITH the liquid

-1/4 cup tahini, stirred (homemade or store bought)

-1/4 cup lemon juice (approx. 2 lemons)

-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

-2 cloves garlic, minced

-1/4 heaping tsp cumin

-1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

-1 tsp salt

Toppings for Serving:

-paprika

-parsley

Instructions:   Set 2 Tbsp chickpeas off to the side for serving.  Place the remaining chickpeas and liquid, along with all of the other ingredients (tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper, salt) into your Vitamix or food processor.  Turn Vitamix on regular setting starting at setting 1 and slowly moving up to 10.   Smooth until well blended; if necessary add in a little more liquid for consistency.  Pour into a serving bowl and place the chickpeas you set aside in the center.  Sprinkle with Paprika and parsley.  Serve with veggies or pita chips or whatever the heck you want! 

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Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

 

Autumn Squash Soup in Winter

YOU GUYS!  Wow.  Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!  I can't believe it's almost New Years! This little blog baby always kind of gets the back burner to the business of my life, but I'm going to work on changing that in 2018 (one of my "intentions" because resolutions are so overrated). 

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ANYWHO.. for Christmas I got a new Vitamix and I. AM. PUMPED.  I've been wanting to make this healthier version of Panera's delicious Autumn Squash Soup since, well.. autumn.  I didn't think my Nutribullet could handle it, though.  So as soon as I got this baby... SOUP TIME. 

I'm gonna keep it real here.. this is pretty good, but I may tweak something the next time I make it.  Can't quite put my finger on what's missing... maybe if you make this and notice you can let me know what it needs.  Maybe cassava flour.. something to ponder.  Overall, a great homemade soup with healthy, real food ingredients (and less money.. let's be real). 

Ingredients:

-4 to 5 cups cut butternut squash (I got the pre-cut because cutting butternut squash is kind of a pain in the you-know-what)

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-1 can pumpkin puree

-2 medium gala apples

-1 small sweet onion

-2.5 cups vegetable or bone broth (I used Vital Proteins Bone Broth)

-1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar (or 1 cup apple cider/juice)

-2 Tbsp honey

-2 Tbsp virgin olive oil

-1tsp cinnamon

-1 tsp ginger

-1/2 tsp curry powder

-1/2 tsp turmeric

-few dashes pink Himalayan sea salt

-few dashes black pepper

-1 cup plain Greek yogurt

Instructions: Chop the apples, quarter the onion, chop the squash if not precut).  Drizzle and coat with olive oil.  Place on a baking sheet and roast at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove and let cool for approx. 10 mins (I removed mine from the pan and let cool back in the bowl (I used to coat with olive oil).  Add pumpkin and apple cider vinegar to the blender (Vitamix, etc).  Once cooled, add the roasted veggies.  Slowly increase Vitamix speed from 1 to 10, then turn to High setting for ~1 minute.  You may need to do this in 2 batches depending on the size of your blender.   Pour pureed mixture into a large stovetop pot.  Add in veggie or bone broth and bring to a boil over medium-high heat).  Once boiling, add in honey and spices.  Lower to a simmer and stir occasionally for another 10 minutes.  Turn off heat and stir in plain greek yogurt (this replaces the heavy cream and butter you might otherwise have added).  Top with pepitas and enjoy! 

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Stay Wild and Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

 

Chili Today, Hot Tamale...

I don't know 'bout where y'all are at, but in Chicago it is gloomy and chilly.  The cold and rain have kicked in, the days are getting shorter and darker and I just want to be cozy AF.  But this time of year means at least one awesome thing... CHILI SEASON.  I made this healthier version (which could totally be a vegan version, as well, if you leave out the meat and bone broth).  Now I've got a huge full pot that I will be eating for the next foreseeable future and life is good. 

Ingredients: 

-2.5lbs ground lean turkey

-1 red bell pepper, chopped

-2 green bell peppers, chopped

-1 large jalapeno, diced and seeds removed

-1 medium yellow onion, diced

-4 cloves garlic, diced

-4 cans reduced sodium kidney beans, unstrained

-2 cans diced tomatoes, unstrained

-1 can tomato paste

-1/4 cup organic ketchup

-1 Tbsp light organic maple syrup

-2 Tbsp chili powder

-2 Tbsp coriander

-1 Tbsp cumin

-1/2 tsp salt

-1/4 tsp black pepper

-4 tsp hot sauce (more or less depending how spicy you like it)

-1/2 cup Vital Proteins bone broth (or red wine)

Toppings: Kitehill chive cream cheese, avocado, Nutritional Yeast, Seite Foods Nacho chips

 

Instructions: I used a Dutch Oven on the stove top.  Brown ground turkey first with seasonings (chili powder, cumin, coriander, sea salt, black pepper and diced onions) for flavor.  Once turkey is browned, stir in other diced veggies (peppers, jalapeno, garlic), light maple syrup and bone broth or red wine.  Once stirred in, add kidney beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, ketchup and hot sauce.  Let simmer on low on the stove top for 1-2 hours.  Then DIG IN.  I topped mine with lots of goodies because loaded chili is what's up. 

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Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

Sweet Potato Squash Smoothie

HALLOWEEEEEEN.  So, Halloween is actually my absolute favorite holiday.  I used to throw Halloween parties annually and make jello shots for everyone.  This was quite a few years ago now (so quit judging me), but I still LOVE to celebrate Halloween and fall (when Mother Nature actually gives us fall).  So post my yoga-sculpt class I decided....  It's fall.  It's Halloween.  Time to step away from my green smoothie for a minute and get seasonal with this orangey goodness.  

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Ingredients:

-1/2 small organic sweet potato

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-6 frozen butternut squash cubes 

-2 diced roasted carrots seasoned in cinnamon and sea salt

-1/2 cup frozen cauliflower

-1/4 cup cashew milk

-1/4 cup water

-dash of pumpkin pie spice

- 1 tbsp maca powder

-1 tbsp ground chia seeds

-1 scoop Vital Proteins Vanilla & Coconut Water Collagen Whey

Instructions: BLEND, BABY, BLEND.  Topped with grain free pumpkin granola and delicious Manna Organics Cinnamon & Date Nut Butter and Coconut flakes.  

 

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Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

Pumpkin Pie Energy Balls

Pumpkin e'rythang, AMIRITE?!  So these are actually SERIOUSLY delish, you guys.  SRSLY.   Like, how can they be good for me and taste this good delish.  If you haven't gotten on the energy ball train yet, hop aboard.  I've made others in the past and just to reiterate.. they make great pre-workout bites and or snacks/desserts.  These particular ones are on the sweeter side, but it's pumpkin season and I have a lot of organic canned pumpkin left over so I gotta get creative and along came these...

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Ingredients:

-1/4 cup organic cashews

-1/2 cup oats

-1/4 cup organic canned pumpkin

-1/4 cup organic maple syrup

-2 scoops Vital Proteins Vanilla & Coconut Water Collagen Whey (click here to purchase)

-1/2 cup Nut butter/Peanut butter

-2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice

-1 tablespoon ground chia seeds

-1/4 cup almond flour

 

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Instructions: Blend oats and cashews until you get a powder (flour-like consistency).  In a large mixing bowl, combine pumpkin, maple syrup and nut butter.  Stir until combined and then add the oat/cashew powder.  Stir in chia seeds, protein powder, pumpkin pie spice, and almond flour.   Consistency will be stickyyyyy.  So let chill in the fridge for 30-60 mins.  Remove and roll into balls about 3/4" in size.  Store in the fridge and enjoy one before your workout or in between meals as a snack.  Party, party, party....

Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

Holistic Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Speakinig of basic… IT’S FINALLY FALL!!! Bring on bonfires and football (and playoff baseball… I see you, Cubbies <3).  But mostly… Pumpkin Spice Latte madness is upon us and I’m not mad about it.  But TBH, I don’t really ever go out and order a PSL.  They’re usually so loaded with crap that it takes the fun out of it for me.  So this season I decided… PFFT!  I’ll make my own.  Now you can, too!

 

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Ingredients:

-1 good, strong cup o’ joe

-1/2 cup nut milk (I used cashew)

-I scoop Vital Proteins Beef Gelatin (click to get some)

-1 Tbsp canned pumpkin

-1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

-2 tsp vanilla extract

-1 tsp organic honey

 

Instructions: Brew your coffee.  Then add all ingredients to coffee and blend.  The beef gelatin will make your coffee foam right up like a latte.  No whip cream necessary (but totally optional if you’re feelin’ it!  Or use coconut cream).  Pour into your fav mug and add a dash of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice to the top.  Then get sippin’!

 

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Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RDN, LDN

D's Go-To Green Smoothie

Also known as the "Basic AF" smoothie.  I'll be honest, my breakfast and lunch during the week tend to stay prettyyyyyy boring.  I usually have just about the same thing every day during the week.  I do this for a couple of reasons... 1). It doesn't bother me at all.  I don't get bored.  2.) It makes my daily routine and sticking to a healthy game plan that much easier because it takes the "think" out of it.  I'm used to making my go-to smoothie. so I prep it the night before and blend it in the mornin' and off I go.  No time wasted in the AM. 

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I do occasionally make modifications to get some new nutrients in there, but for the most part I can trust on old faithful here to get the job done and be on the go.  So now I will share it with you. :)

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Ingredients:

-2 cups spinach or kale

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-1/2 cucumber

-1/2 green apple

-4-5 frozen pineapple chunks (option to use cauliflower chunks instead for less sugar)

-1 tbsp Spirulina

-1 tbsp maca powder

-1 tbsp ground chia seeds

-3 dashes turmeric

-1/2 tsp black pepper

-2 scoops collagen peptides

-1/4 cup water

Instructions:  Just chop veggies/fruits and blend ingredients.  Because I prep the night before I will add the spinach or kale, cucumber, apple, spirulina, maca, chia and Ashwagandha and leave unblended.  Then in the morning I add the water and blend that.  After blending I add the pineapple, turmeric, pepper and collagen and blend once more. 

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Now you may be asking yourself, what the hell is with all the potions and powders?  I'll briefly discuss the benefits of all of these little gems in more detail.

Collagen Peptides:

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human bod.  As we age, we stop making enough.  Adding collagen into the diet can help replenish some we've lost and is beneficial for gut health, digestion, hair, skin, nails, joints and bones.  

Spirulina:

A high protein, very nutrient-dense algae powder.  It also contains fatty acids which have anti-inflammatory benefits and many antioxidants.  Some studies suggest Spirulina may help with heavy metal toxicity and with allergies.

Maca Powder:

Maca is a cruciferous vegetable and very nutrient dense.  It has been associated with several hormonal balancing benefits.

Chia Seeds:

Another nutrient-dense "superfood," as they say... chia seeds are associated with benefits related to healthier skin, aging, digestion, energy and heart health.

Ashwagandha:

An herb commonly used in Ayurvedic healing or Chinese medicine.  It is often compared to ginseng for it's adaptogenic properties.  Associated benefits range from improved immune system to reductions in stress and anti-inflammatory benefits. 

Feel free to use the "potions" or ditch 'em.  Get creative and add your own!  Feel free to share your recipes/modifications below. :)

Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RD, LDN

What the Hell, "What the Health?"

So this will not be the most scientific of reviews, but more of me offering my personal, dietitian opinion (mini-rant) on this documentary since I’ve been getting a lot of questions about my thoughts on it. 

Within the first 22 minutes I wanted to pull my hair out, but nonetheless, I perservered on for review purposes.  “Documentary” is such a loose term.  The problem with “documentaries” like these, i.e., “scare tactics,” is that they can be done irresponsibly and with so much bias it makes my head spin.  I don't mean to pick on, "What's the Health?" in particular because many documentaries use this method, but this one is current so yeah.. I'm going to pick on it.

First of all, processed meat isn’t great for us… WHAT??!! This is brand new information to me!!  ::Sarcasm::

Sorry, but this should have been kind of a, “DUH,” moment for most of us. 

No, processed meat isn’t GREAT.  I think the consensus has pretty much been that nothing processed is GREAT for us.  As a whole, I agree that we could stand to limit the quantity of meat and dairy in our diets.  Should we encourage eating more vegetables and plant-based foods?  HELL YES.  However, this documentary OBVIOUSLY has an agenda to frighten people into becoming vegan.  I am NOT anti-vegan.  If you want to be vegan because of beliefs or values or the animals or you feel better eating that way… ALL FOR IT.   DO YOU, BOO. 

However, please give people accurate, unbiased information so that they can make an educated decision for themselves.  If I wanted to convince you that a specific food causes cancer, I could more than likely dig up some obscure article that backs those findings and it’s probably sponsored by that food’s competitor.  Not everyone realizes that when they watch something like this, though.  Some people take it for face value and don’t do their own research to see if what they’re being sold even makes sense.  This documentary is insinuating that other companies or organizations are biased in telling you to eat more protein and meat and yet, “What the Health?” is hypocritically doing the same thing for the exact opposite purpose.     

Pictured here: Eggs, aka, Cigarettes... SIKE.

Pictured here: Eggs, aka, Cigarettes... SIKE.

Second of all… No, I don’t always think the government recommendations are exactly “up to par” and, yes, I think conflicts of interest may exist between pharmaceuticals and the government which is why I encourage others to take a more holistic approach to their health and choose whole, REAL foods most of the time.  I’m not going to get into the statistics used in this documentary to scare people (such as, comparing eggs to cigarettes ::insert upside down smiley emoji here::) because other articles have already done a fabulous job of debunking those stats.  Hit up Google for those. 

Thirdly… Anytime in the history of diets ever that we have excluded entire food groups it realllyyyyy hasn’t gone very well for us.  Allow me to refresh your memory… The low-fat diet.  And now everyone wants to be Ketogenic and eat ALL THE FAT.  The low-carb diet which resulted in Atkins which made everyone want steak and bacon all day long.  Basically, all of these equate to us eating more of other shit we don’t need to eat more of (I disclaimered this wouldn’t be scientific so I can say, “shit”) or something that we would later say DID NOT WORK for the general population.  

BALANCE GUYS.  To insinuate that eating mass quans of sugar and carbs is all good as long as you don’t eat meat is frustrating to hear.   So, we can eat biscuits and skittles everyday and in any quantity we want and it’ll be all good?   C’mon, at least encourage healthful carbohydrate sources when you’re insinuating something like this.   You know what a good carb source to eat more of is… VEGETABLES.  What about taking an approach of encouraging people to eat more vegetables and the benefits of doing that rather than trying to create fear of meat? 

To re-emphasize, I am not saying it’s wrong to be vegan or vegetarian and exclude meat.  My philosophy is that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to nutrition and I know vegans and vegetarians who do so healthfully.  I know meat eaters who are healthy, too.  There are SO MANY factors that contribute to health outcomes.   A documentary supporting veganism is cool, but do so in a credible way.  This documentary almost discredits vegans by being over the top.

All this being said, "What the Health?" has been successful in doing what it set out to do.. get people talking.  The reason documentaries like these get so much attention is the same reason fad diets get attention.  Everyone just wants to hear that there’s a quick fix.  Stop eating meat and you’ll live forever (okay, I’m being dramatic, but this documentary is dramatic so we’re even).  The thing is guys… there hasn’t ever and there isn’t ever going to be a “quick fix.”  Eat whole, REAL foods MOST OF THE TIME.  Live an active lifestyle.  Take time to de-stress.  Work on building a healthy, long-term relationship with food through mindfulness. 

And most importantly… take information like this with a grain of salt (oooh… pun intended. I’m sorry, guys.  Lame joke.).  Do your own research.  Don’t jump on all the bandwagons.  And most importantly…

 

Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RD, LDN

Game Changer: Protein Pancakes

Whose weakness is pancakes?! ::raises hand:: How can ya not love these fluffy, delectable little thangs? Well, I shi--- kid* you not... these protein pancakes are life savers.  IMO they're just as good, if not better, than the real deal. And they're EASY to make.  They contain literately THREE ingredients, although, ya know I gotta doctor mine up.  So here's my recipe! Enjoy and let me know how much better your life is. 

 

PS- sorry vegans.. this one contains eggs. You can make vegan pancakes w bananas, though. Perhaps I'll get to that another time... 

 

Ingredients:

 

-1/2c cottage cheese 

-1/2c oats

-3 whole eggs 

-1 tsp vanilla extract 

-cinnamon 

 

Toppings:

 

-pecans

-blueberries

-extra cinnamon

-1 Tbsp organic maple syrup (optional) 

 

Instructions: Blend all of the ingredients in a blender/nutribullet, etc. Spray or oil a griddle/frying pan.  I spray with coconut oil. Light the burners on medium heat.  Wait about 1-2 mins or until a drop of water sizzles on the griddle.  When the temp is right, scoop a 1/4c serving of batter and pour onto the griddle or pan.  When the pancake is bubbled up on one side, flip to the other side.  Recipe makes approximately 6 pancakes.  Top with toppings listed or toppings of your choice! 

Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RD, LDN

Avocado Acai Bowl

Looks ain't everythang, eh?  Full disclosure here.  I F'd up.  My intention was to make a purdy purple acai bowl and here we have pea soup colored acai bowl.  All good, man!  Gotta roll with it.  Still delish and nutrish (totally a word). 

Ingredients:

-1 cup kale

-1/2 cup frozen red berries (raspberries, strawberries)

-1/2 frozen nana

-1/2 avocado

-2 scoops collagen peptides (optional, omit if vegan ;-) )

-1.5 teaspoon acai powder

Toppings:

-berries

-coconut flakes

-pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

-drizzle sprouted almond butter

Instructions: Blend 'er up.  Slurp 'er down.

Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RD, LDN

Pitaya Pretty

Namaste in bed.  Siiike! I actually did go for a solid run today and made this delish post-run Pitaya smoothie.  Super simple.  Super tasty.  Super nutritious.  Easy like Sunday morning...  but now that I did all that I am legit going to go relax in bed.  SUNDAZE.

Ingredients:

-1 pack Pitaya Plus

-1 frozen banana

-1/4 cup frozen berries

-1/2 cup cashew milk

-1 cup frozen cauliflower

Toppings:

-Almond Butter

-coconut flakes

Instructions:  Blend that shiz.  Top with creamy almond butter and coconut flakes.  I use Manna Organics nut butters because they are TASTY.

 

 

Stay Wild,

Danielle

MS, RD, LDN