Category: Paleo

Baked Parmesan Zucchini

Baked Parmesan Zucchini

Baked Parmesan Zucchini Recipe

Crisp, tender zucchini sticks oven-roasted to absolute perfection. It’s healthy, nutritious and completely addictive!

Zucchini and parmesan cheese. It’s a match made in heaven. And if all veggies were like this, I’d become a vegetarian tomorrow.

No, but really, this is by far one of the best veggie side dishes I’ve ever made. And the best part about this is that there is absolutely no deep frying or sauteing of any kind.

Simply cut your zucchini into quarters lengthwise, sprinkle on that Parmesan goodness and throw into the oven to let it get nice and crisp.

I like to let mine broil the last couple of minutes to get that nice golden brown crust. It’s so good, even your picky eaters will be begging for seconds and thirds!

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a cooling rack with nonstick spray and place on a baking sheet; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine Parmesan, thyme, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Place zucchini onto prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan mixture. Place into oven and bake until tender, about 15 minutes. Then broil for 2-3 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown.
  4. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.
4 Sneaky Sources Of Sugar!

4 Sneaky Sources Of Sugar!

Life is sweet, all right—so sweet that that the typical person will consume about 13 percent of their daily calories from added sugar, or sugar that doesn’t occur naturally in food.1 Compare that to the maximum of 5 percent of daily calories, or about 6 teaspoons, that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends, and it’s clear that our diets are a bit too sweet.2

One regular soda may have as much as 45 grams (11 teaspoons) of sugar, which is nearly double the recommended upper limit recommended by the World Health Organization. A 32-ounce serving of sweet tea contains 70 grams (17 teaspoons)!

And the not-so-sweet news is that high intakes of added sugars can sour your health. Beyond the concern over raising the risk for type 2 diabetes and weight gain, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discovered that people who obtained 10-24 percent of their calories from added sugar were 30 percent more likely to die from heart disease than those who consumed less.3

Unfortunately, cutting back isn’t as easy as ditching obvious sources such as sodas and Cap’n Crunch. According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, about 75 percent of packaged foods on store shelves now contain some sort of added sweetness.4 Even if you’re making a conscious effort to stay away from traditional dessert-like items, you can still find just as much sugar in the so-called “healthy” snacks that rule the interior aisles of the grocery store.

It’s clear that food manufacturers want you to eat felonious amounts of sugar, even if you bid adieu to dessert. And it seems they’re spreading it across all kinds of seemingly innocent foods to deliver it to you.

Don’t be an accessory to that crime and fall prey to these sneaky sugar smugglers. Here are four sneaky sources of sugar to watch out for!

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the vast array of yogurt options now available in the dairy aisle. And if you don’t choose carefully, you could end up spooning enough of the sweet stuff to make it a challenge to hold on to your abs. Case in point: vanilla-flavored yogurt.

While it may seem healthier than fruit-on-the-bottom versions, vanilla yogurt can be just as much of a sugar bomb. Typically, a serving of vanilla yogurt contains three times as much sugar as its plain counterpart. In fact, up to half of the calories in a nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt can come from added sweetness.

Sweet Nothings: To help keep your sugar intake in check, stick to a yogurt with a label that says “plain.” If you are yearning for that warming vanilla flavor, simply add a splash of pure vanilla extract. And of course, if you’re striving to look like a Greek god or goddess, be sure to grab protein-packed plain Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt.

Cow’s-milk alternatives have become supermarket staples. Whether you follow a vegan diet, are lactose intolerant, or are simply looking to shake it up, there are plenty of plant-based milk options for you to choose from.

While it may come as no surprise that chocolate or vanilla flavors also bring with them gut-busting sugars, what is less obvious is the sugar added to those labeled “original.” The vast majority of original milk alternatives have an ingredient list that contains a sweetener such as evaporated cane juice—just another euphemism for sugar.

yogurt

Sweet Nothings: If you include these drinks in your diet, select those that contain the word “unsweetened” on the package. Do so, and you’ll take in 6-7 times less of the sweet stuff.

Staple peanut butter brands have long been known to infuse sugar and other sweet derivatives into their nut butters, but even more upscale brands are becoming known for their added sugary goodness. In recent years, the market has exploded with various guises of nut butters. Yes, I’m talking about your favorite chocolate coconut butter and white chocolate peanut butter treats.

Sure, the sweeteners they use might be stuff like fruit-juice concentrate, maple syrup, or honey, but your body essentially breaks it down just like table sugar. In fact, a 2015 Journal of Nutrition study found that honey produces similar alarming metabolic effects—such as increased inflammation and blood triglycerides—as sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup when consumed in the same amounts.5 Both of those unwelcome metabolic effects raise your risk for heart disease.

Given that one serving—which is one bite—may contain upwards of 15 grams, it may be best to stick with a simpler version of delightful nut butter. And no, I’m not talking about the reduced-fat nut spreads. Such products often contain more sugar to make up for the loss of flavor when fats are stripped away.

Sweet Nothings: Nut butters can deliver some great stuff like healthy fats and must-have vitamins and minerals, but to make sure these come without the sugary baggage, read the ingredient label. You basically just want nuts and perhaps a touch of salt or other flavorings like cinnamon or cocoa.

Don’t forget that the other common red sauce—ketchup—is also a frequent sugar smuggler, containing 4-6 grams per tablespoon!

Mama Mia, shouldn’t tomato sauce just be, well, tomatoes? Sadly, this is another example of how some food companies are trying their darnedest to keep your diet nice and sweet. Manufacturers add sugar to extend shelf life, reduce acidity, and help mask the lack of natural sweetness present in the less-than-stellar tomatoes jammed into the jars or cans.

Some of the sugar listed on the nutrition panel of tomato sauce is naturally present in tomatoes. However, if the number starts moving well past a couple of grams, it’s a good tip-off the brand has pumped in extra.

peanut-butter

Sweet Nothings: Luckily, plenty of tomato-sauce options on store shelves contain no added sugar, but finding them requires some label-sleuthing. You can also buy plain canned diced tomatoes (Italian-style San Marzano tomatoes are the gold standard for sauces) and rustle up your own sauce by simmering the tomatoes with seasonings like onion, garlic, smoked paprika and basil.

To avoid falling into a sugar trap, you first have to become familiar with all the code words for it that can populate ingredient lists. Some may sound healthier than others, but once they pass your lips, there is not that much difference in how they work in the body.

Use this list to diligently inspect labels, and never mind whether a labels says something like “no sugar added”. You’ve got to read the ingredient list to know for sure.

 

sugar-tomato-sauce

Use this list to diligently inspect labels, and never mind whether a labels says something like “no sugar added”. You’ve got to read the ingredient list to know for sure.

  • Agave
  • Barley malt
  • Brown rice syrup
  • Cane sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Date sugar
  • Dextrose
  • Evaporated cane juice
  • Fructose
  • Fruit juice concentrate
  • High-fructose corn syrup
  • Honey
  • Invert sugar
  • Maltodextrin
  • Maltose
  • Molasses
  • Sucrose
  • Sorghum syrup
Probiotics are the Answer to a High-Fat Diet

Probiotics are the Answer to a High-Fat Diet

If you enjoy a high-fat lifestyle, you can avoid the negative side effects by making sure your gut bacteria is healthy, according to research from George Mason University.

A thriving colony of the right kind of gut bacteria could help offset damage to vital organs caused by a high-fat diet, said Robin Couch, a George Mason chemistry professor who’s been researching metabolic alterations as part of a project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

It soon could be as simple as taking a pill loaded with a dried bacteria blend, an approach that’s part of using probiotics to improve health, Couch said. Probiotics are a mixture of living microbes that affect the digestive system. They’ve been a nutritional buzzword for some time now­­––just check out the yogurt section of the grocery store or walk down a health food store aisle.

“The old adage is that you are what you eat, but more recently we have discovered that it’s really, you are what your microbes make in your gut,” Couch said. “The gut and its effect on the body is a big deal in your overall health.”

Probiotics may help mitigate unhealthy eating habits. Mason researchers have discovered that animals fed a high-fat diet supplemented with a side of probiotics maintained healthy vital organs such as the heart and liver, said Couch, adding that a published paper is forthcoming. Without probiotics, those organs showed the ill-effects of poor nutrition, he said.

While promising, there’s still a lot to know about how probiotics work, said Couch, whose lab has two USDA-funded doctoral students working on the problem. Researchers are figuring out how much and what kind of bacteria creates a healthy gut. The result could be a probiotic “cocktail” that helps beneficial bacteria flourish, he said.

Also, probiotics could help with Crohn’s disease, which is an inflammation of the digestive track. Couch is working with USDA researchers to discover the chemistry behind how a pig parasite helps sufferers of Crohn’s disease by decreasing inflammation in their digestive system. His hope is that a blend of probiotic bacteria in pill form could have the same effect as the worms.

Patients could simply take a pill full of the beneficial bacteria instead of ingesting a living parasite. Buy Proline Organic Probiotics here.

“People would clearly prefer not to eat worms,” said Couch.

Zucchini Pizza Crust

Zucchini Pizza Crust

Inspired by sheknows

Yields 4

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups fresh zucchini, shredded
  • 1/2 cup pepper Jack, mozzarella or cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup almond flour or other desired flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 egg

Pizza toppings, as desired

  • Extra cheese
  • Tomato sauce
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Pepperoni
  • Sausage
  • Olives
  • Peppers
  • Onions
  • Fresh herbs
  • Pineapples

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the zucchini in a microwave-safe bowl, and cook on high for 5 minutes. Allow to cool, and then place the zucchini in a colander lined with paper towels. Twist the paper towels and squeeze as much of the water from the zucchini as possible.
  3. In a mixing bowl, add the zucchini, egg, cheeses, almond flour and seasonings. Mix very well, and place on the baking sheet. Shape the mixture into the desired pizza shape, and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven.
  4. Top with desired sauce and toppings, and return the pizza to the oven. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Best served immediately.
Beet Salad with Ginger Dressing

Beet Salad with Ginger Dressing

The sweetness of beets is a natural match for ginger’s spicier side. Beets can be roasted up to 3 days ahead of time; simply bring them to room temperature before serving.

INGREDIENTS

6 small beets (about 2 pounds), scrubbed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, preferably white
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup shelled pistachios, toasted and chopped

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Wrap beets in parchment-lined foil and place on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast until tender, 45 to 60 minutes. Let cool briefly, then rub with a paper towel to remove skins. Cut into 3/4-inch wedges.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, and ginger; season with salt and pepper. Toss beets in dressing and sprinkle with pistachios.
How to Soak Nuts and Make Cashew Milk or Cashew Cream

How to Soak Nuts and Make Cashew Milk or Cashew Cream

cashew milk vitamix recipe
Making home made nut milk or nut cream is delicious and it’s so much easier than you might think. Especially if you have a Vitamix blender. This recipe and how-to is focused on making cashew cream or cashew milk but the method is nearly identical for a variety of different nuts. I do believe in soaking my nuts in purified water before turning them into cream or milk. The timeline for nut soaking times is below.

Which Nuts are Best to turn into Milk?

I have made nut milks from almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts and pistachios, but from what I understand the similar methodologies apply no matter which nut you decide to use. Macadamia nut milk in particular is amazing, so rich and full of incredible flavor, but it  has got to be the most expensive nut milk you can make. I only make it as a special treat during the holidays.

How & Why to Soak Nuts for Milking.

Most nuts, seeds, grains and beans are covered in natural chemicals – enzyme inhibitors and toxins – that protect them while growing. These nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances are enzyme inhibitors, phytates (phytic acid), polyphenols (tannins), and goitrogens. Once harvested, those same chemicals, the major one being phytic acid – are indigestible to the human body and must be broken down before consumption. When food containing phytic acid is consumed, the acid combines with important minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and blocks their absorption which inhibits our digestive systems’ ability to break the nut down properly.

The very simple process of soaking releases these chemicals, helping you to absorb your food’s essential minerals and nutrients.

Soaking nuts in filtered water makes them easier to digest and improves their flavor.

nut soaking chart

makes 1 quart
* I find that 1 cup of nuts is more than enough for 1 quart of milk, some people prefer 2 cups.

1) Soak your raw cashews and vanilla bean in filtered water for at least 2 hours.

2) Discard soaking water and rinse your cashews and the vanilla bean.

3) Place soaked cashews, honey (or other sweetener), vanilla bean, a dash of sea salt and 4 cups of water in a blender. Cover and blend on high for 1-2 minutes. It will be milky and have a bit of foam on the top.

4) If you’re using a Vitamix blender it will blend the cashews smooth. If you’re not using a Vitamix then strain milk through a nut bag, doubled up cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer.

NOTES:

Some people prefer not to strain their cashew milk, since it technically doesn’t have to be, (think about all those glorious creamy cashew cream sauces). Even though it has far less pulp than other nuts.

These same instructions work for any nut you may choose to use. Though, generally almonds & cashews are my favorites.

Store in a covered glass jar, bottle or pitcher in the refrigerator, it’ll be good for about 4-5 days.

Separation is totally natural with homemade nut milks, just be sure to shake it up just before serving.

 

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