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Does Drinking Warm Lemon Water Actually Detoxify You?

08.26.15

There are countless claims that having warm lemon water in the AM will do wonders for detoxifying your body, specifically the liver. The short answer to that is: it’s not likely. There is an antioxidant in the fruit called d-limonene, which is also found in oranges and grapefruit (the highest concentrations found in the peel). This antioxidant has been shown to activate compounds in the liver that are part of the detoxification process. However, lemon juice only contains about 1/5 of the levels that are needed to detoxify.  When you nourish your body with all the healthy foods that it needs, it does a great job at detoxifying itself with out the assistance of any special water or detox. Having said that, there are several benefits to having a warm cup of lemon water in the AM.

Hydration: Having a glass of lemon water, or any water for that matter, first thing in the morning helps us jump start our day with the hydration the body needs to thrive. I tell my patients to have1-2 cups of water when they first wake up, lemon or not, to re-hydrate after a long night’s sleep.

Vitamin C: All citrus foods (lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange) are great sources of vitamin C. Having just 2 ounces of pure lemon juice in the AM will provide you will 1/2 of your vitamin C needs for the day.

Eat Less: Some studies suggest that drinking water (lemon or not) before meals leads to feeling full, which in turn will prevent overeating. (This one definitely works for me as well!)

Reduce constipation: Some research suggests that having a warm glass of water in the AM can actually stimulate the bowels to get moving, which can lead to decreased instances of constipation.

Iron: Drinking lemon water in conjunction with foods that contain iron will help promote iron absorption. If you know your iron is low and the doctor has prescribed you iron supplements, having a class of lemon water with your supplement will help your body absorb more vit C. Note: We do not recommend iron supplementation if your doctor has not diagnosed you with a deficiency.

How to Get your Kids to Eat More Vegetables

08.26.15

I work both in an adult medicine and pediatric clinic and one of the common issues our parents face is that their kid doesn’t like to eat veggies. I reassure them that this is normal, but also point out that it is hard to be healthy with a diet void of vegetabless.

In fact, the USDA recommends that we all eat vegetables, everyday. At different age ranges that intake varies, but here’s a general daily guideline for kids:

2-3 year olds: 1 cup of veggies
4-8 year olds: 1.5 cups of veggies
9-13 year olds: 2 to 2.5 cups of veggies
14-18 year olds: 2.5 to 3 cups of veggies

If you find your child isn’t eating that amount of veggies per day, here are some tips that have worked for the families I work with.

1. Focus on what they like. Does your child really not like any vegetables. At all? Parents often say yes, but when I turn around and ask the kid: do you like broccoli, do you like carrots, do you like cauliflower, etc., the answer is usually yes to at LEAST a couple of vegetables. This is a great place to start. Reward your child for eating vegetables they like and encourage them to venture out and try a few more veggies. It often helps if you explain that veggies will help them grow and be strong just like mom and dad.

2. Let them have a choice. Many kids want to feel like they have a sense of power over what they eat. When it comes to veggies, offer two choices at mealtimes. For example, let them choose between carrots and broccoli or asparagus and cauliflower. Being a part of the decision making process may be all your kid needs to try something new.

3. Make it fun. I love love love this Vegetable Discovery Table from Cook Smarts. I even created a Spanish version since 95% of the pediatric patients that I work with are Spanish speaking. The idea is that each time your child tries even a bite of a new vegetable, they can add a sticker to the chart. Red = they didn’t like it. Yellow = so so. And green means it’s a go.

4. If at first you don’t succeed, try try again. And again. And again and even again x 10. Most kids need to be exposed to a new food 10-15 times before they start to tolerate, or even like it.
Don’t give up if your kid doesn’t like vegetables on the first tasting, as it will usually take several before they are open to more.

5. Be a good example. A lot of times parents will complain that their child does not like x,y or z, but when we get down to the nitty gritty, the parent is not actually eating a vegetable rich diet either. Remember that often times your kids will follow your lead, so if you are eating a healthy, mostly plant-based diet, they are more likely to also.

6. Sneak ‘em in. Okay, so sometimes nothing you do works. In these instances, I opt for the sneak in. A great places to start is a smoothie. I co-teach a pediatric healthy eating group with one of the pediatricians at my clinic and we make different healthy recipes each week. A couple of months ago I made my green smoothie recipe that consisted of almond milk, non-fat plain Greek yogurt, pineapples and spinach. The kids had no idea that there was spinach in the smoothie and you know what? They gulped it down with a quickness. Other ways to sneak in veggies are shredding carrots and adding them to pasta and pizza (like the example above). Or pureeing onions, peppers, garlic, carrots, broccoli and adding to your favorite soup or pasta sauce. It works!

7. Save it for later. Okay, so maybe Jimmy is not in the mood for his vegetables now. That’s okay. Put them in the fridge and save them for when he is hungry again. When his stomach starts growling, pull them out and offer them again. Make sure that he has at least a few bites before letting him have any treats or dessert.

I hope this was helpful. If you try a few things from this list, let us know if they worked!

Whole Wheat Blueberry Waffles

08.18.15

Okay, so I had to try this recipe a couple of times before striking a win. Either the consistency wasn’t quite right, or the flavor was super bland. Aside from the precise ingredient measurements, this recipe was so simple to do and came out tasty and flavorful. If you love the recipe, consider making the waffles and then freezing them for a quick on-the-go breakfast you can pop in the toaster!

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Ingredients:

  • 7/8 cup (a little less than a cup full) of soy milk- or your favorite milk
  • 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 1/8 cup of blueberries
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda
  • Small pinch of salt

Directions:

  • Beat egg well, and then beat in all the other ingredients minus the blueberries, until batter is smooth (I used a hand mixer)
  • Spray your waffle maker with non-stick cooking spray, and pour batter into the hot waffle iron.
  • Cook until golden brown. Serve hot with your favorite toppings! I used blueberries as a topping vs in the mix, because when I tried it within the mix it messed up the consistency of the waffle.

**This recipe yields 2 servings, but how the servings look will vary depending on what kind of hot waffle iron you use. The one I used yields 2 rectangle waffles=1 serving.

5 Minute Pepperjack Protein Tacos

08.10.15

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As a vegetarian, I’m constantly looking for ways to boost my protein intake after an intense weight training workout. Out of all the proteins that exist, eggs are actually the best source, according to the PDCAAS or Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (yes, there are actually people who have the job of breaking down proteins and ranking them according to their amino acid content and ratio). These egg tacos were oh-so-tasty and only took 5 minutes in total to make. At 21 grams of pro per serving, they’re literally PERFECT for helping your muscle fibers repair themselves after strength training.

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup of black beans (mashed or Trader Joes’ Fat Free Refried. You can also make our “un” refried beans recipe here.)
  • 1 slice of pepperjack cheese
  • 1/4 cup of chopped spinach
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped onion
  • 1/4 avocado, cubed
  • Optional: 8 pitted Kalamata olives
  • Garlic powder, salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven at 400 degrees
  2. Once oven is hot, add corn tortillas for 3 minutes to heat up
  3. Mix chopped spinach, eggs and onion in a bowl
  4. You can either cook egg mixture on stovetop or in microwave. For stovetop, add a teaspoon of oil and scramble at low heat, then melt pepperjack atop the egg mixture. If cooking in microwave, cook on high heat for 1 minute, then stir, add slice of pepperjack and continue cooking for another minute until done.
  5. Heat up bean mixture in microwave or in saucepan
  6. Spread beans on top of tortillas, then add cooked eggs
  7. Top with a few chunks of avocado and olives
  8. Sprinkle garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
  9. Enjoy

Serves 2 if snack and 1 if meal.

 

Avocado Pesto Grilled Cheese

08.8.15

I love grilled cheese! Mainly because of how easy it is to prepare, and how personalized you can make it out to be. This is one of my go-to’s when coming home after a long day. I throw whatever vegetables I have in the fridge on some bread with my favorite cheese, and 5 minutes later a tasty grilled cheese is born. This recipe is super simple, and the pesto really brings out the flavors of the other ingredients. Hope you love!

 

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Ingredients: 

  • 2 slices of bread
  • 1/4 cup of raw spinach
  • 1/8 hass avocado
  • 1 ounce of mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of pesto

Directions: 

  • Spread the pesto on each slice of toast
  • Layer with cheese, spinach, and avocado
  • Grill for 5-7 minutes (you can also do this on the stovetop following the same steps) Enjoy!

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Serves 1

Simple Eggplant Rollatini

08.3.15

Like with all recipes that inspire me, I am constantly looking for ways to simplify and minimize ingredients. This eggplant rollatini is as simple as can be, and came out so delicious that I was seriously considering whipping up another batch right after I tore this one apart. Hope you enjoy!

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Ingredients: 

  • 1 medium-sized eggplant
  • 1/2 cup of marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup of pesto
  • 4 ounces of mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

Directions: 

  • Cut ends off eggplant, then cut eggplants lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
  • For this recipe, you only need 4 slices (you can double this recipe to make more, or use the rest of the eggplant for something else!)
  • Heat up a pan with olive oil, and cook eggplant slices on each side for 5 minutes with the cover on. (I used a grilling pan, which made those pretty grilled lines)
  • Assemble the cooked slices on a plate.
  • Spread marinara, pesto, balsamic vinegar, and mozzarella cheese on each slice, then roll them up.
  • Preheat the oven to 450F.
  • Place the rolls into a baking dish, and bake at 450F for 25 minutes. Enjoy!

Serves 2

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DIY Basil Berry Popsicle Recipe

07.29.15

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Ingredients:

A popsicle mold
2 cups of berries (I used blueberries and strawberries)
1/2 cup of almond milk
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla
8 leaves of basil
Optional: 1/4 teaspoon of stevia (liquid or powder form works fine)

Directions:
Blend ingredients
Add to mold
Freeze overnight
Enjoy this healthy treat!

Serves 4

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Blackened Sesame Tofu Sandwich

07.21.15

IMG_0309Ingredients: 

  • 4 ounces of firm tofu
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame seed oil
  • 1 teaspoon of light soy sauce
  • 2 slices of your favorite whole wheat toast
  • Your favorite sandwich toppings

Directions:

  • In a small bowl, marinate tofu in sesame seed oil and soy sauce for at least 20 minutes.
  • Throw it on a grill or pan, and cook for 5 minutes on medium-high heat
  • Enjoy it on whole wheat toast, and top your fave ingredients! I used avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion, and a super thin coat of mayonnaise. Enjoy!

Curry Coconut Chickpea Dish

07.20.15

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Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups of raw kale, finely chopped
  • 1.5 cups of chickpeas, cooked
  • 1 medium potato, chopped
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/4 cup of coconut milk
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • teaspoon of cayenne pepper 
  • Salt to taste

Directions: 

  • In a pot, heat up olive oil and add 1 tablespoon of curry powder. Allow it to cook for 1 minute, and then add chopped onions. Sauté for 2-3 minutes under medium heat.
  • Add coconut milk, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and the other tablespoon of curry powder. Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add salt to the curry sauce, to taste.
  • Add chopped potato, 1 cup of water, and all of the chickpeas. Put a lid on the pot, and allow to cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked.
  • After potatoes are soft, add in kale, stir in, and cook for another 5 minutes. Enjoy!

Serves 4

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Greek Yogurt Black Cherry Creme Brulee Recipe

07.14.15

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Ingredients: 

Reduced sugar option

  • 2 cups of Non-fat, plain greek yogurt
  • 10 cherries, sliced and de-seeded
  • 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar (granulated sugar works fine too)
  • 1-2 packets of stevia to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • Creme brulee torch

Regular option

  • 2 cups of Non-fat, vanilla greek yogurt
  • 10 cherries, sliced and de-seeded
  • 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar (granulated sugar works fine too)
  • Creme brulee torch

Directions: 

  1. Mix cherries, yogurt (+ vanilla and stevia if you are doing the reduced sugar option)
  2. Divide mix into 4 mini flame-proof bowls
  3. Cover with a layer of brown sugar
  4. Use a Brulee torch or the broiler in your oven for 2-3 minutes until the sugar caramelizes into a perfectly golden crust
  5. Enjoy!

Serves 4

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