The Nourishing Health » Whole, nourishing, plant-based health and nutrition

As the warm weather arrives its time to ditch the soup (as much as I love a big bowl of it!) and be nourished by refreshing favorites to keep you cool and your tastebuds dancing.  As challenging as it can be to stick to your health goals in the winter when you’re stuck inside and your calendar is bombarded with holiday parties, it can be just as challenging in the summer when popsicles, ice cream, and cookouts are constantly calling your name.

Check out these four tips and my favorite recipes to make your summer fun and keep your body nourished.

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  1. Fire up the Grill!  – Toss any veggies on the grill or try kabobs with Green Goddess Dressing.  Whenever we have the grill fired up we always add as many extra vegetables as we can since they make great leftovers on a salad or in a wrap.  These Easy Mexican Stuffed Mushrooms were one of my favorite recipes from last summer.  Again, we made extra and enjoyed them throughout the week.
  2. Make Life Easy & Choose a Dish to Prep Ahead – A favorite of many of my clients, this Creamy Coleslaw by Cathy Fisher is the perfect side dish for your summertime gatherings.  It’s loaded with nutrients and flavor!  Speedy Summer Power SaladRefreshing Cucumber Salad with Creamy Mint Dressing, and California Quinoa Salad are great side dishes that can easily be made in advance.
  3. Lighten Up – Warm weather calls for light and refreshing sides like this Fresh Pineapple Salsa or Salsa Fresca (3 ways – Mango, Strawberry, or Cilantro!).  When you show up to a gathering with one of these served with tortilla chips, baked pita chips, or fresh veggies you’re sure to get some attention.:)
  4. Be Sweet Naturally – No need to ditch sweet treats in the summer.  Cool down with some of my favorites that just happen to be healthy!  Vegan Frozen Chai Latte, Banana Blender Ice Cream (it’s just fruit, so dive right in!!) or these Chocolate Avocado Banana Milkshakes were a that we regularly enjoyed while sitting on our front porch.
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The grocery store can be overwhelming!  You desire to purchase healthful foods, yet are bombarded by advertising that pulls you in different directions.  Below you’ll find my top 4 considerations when selecting a packaged item for purchase.

The easiest and most nourishing way to shop is on the perimeter of the store where labels and marketing is nearly obsolete – produce!  Whole, plant foods provide you with countless nutrients and no additives, making shopping much less confusing.  However, we all need packaged items at times, so let’s make sure you feel confident selecting the best available option!

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1.  Skip the Advertising – Ignore what the front of the package is trying to communicate. A product may say it is “100% natural”, but what does that mean? Is it the same as a label that reads “100% organic”? The answer is no, they are not the same. Companies have a lot of freedom regarding what they can communicate in their advertisements. Rather than allowing them to tell you what is best, use what you’re about to learn to make a well-informed decision.

2.  The Ingredients List Matters Most – When pulling a product from the shelf, I immediately go to the ingredients list before anything else. Ingredients are listed on the label in descending order based on weight. The ingredient taking up the most weight in the product will be listed first. I have two rules for whether I’ll purchase a product:

  • Can I pronounce every ingredient? What is Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate? Diacetyl Tartaric Acid Esters? If its not real food, I don’t want to eat it!
  • Does it have more than 5 ingredients? This is a good rule of thumb, however, it not always definitive. For example, a label for my favorite crackers is below. They have 9 ingredients, but they are all whole foods and herbs!

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3.  Sodium Content – After identifying that you can pronounce every ingredient in the product and it has minimal ingredients, then consider the sodium content. Ideally a product will have a 1:1 ratio of calories to milligrams of sodium. If it has 100 calories per serving, it’s best to select a product with 100mg of sodium or less.  This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but an important general guideline.

4.  Serving Size – Always be aware of the serving size of a product. You’ve worked hard to identify that it’s a nutrient-rich product and the bag may not look that big, however a serving size may be ¼ cup and the bag contains 16 servings. Without being aware of serving size you could easily consume 8 servings in one sitting. Keep in mind that the company selects the serving for their product. The serving size represented on the package is not necessarily the “recommended” or “best” amount.

I hope next time you’re buzzing through the grocery store you’ll feel more confident making choices as to what is most nourishing for you and your family!  If you live in the Raleigh area and are in need of further assistance implementing these tips and more my Clean Sweep Kitchen Consult and Grocery Store Tour are excellent options for getting you fully prepared for success!

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Have I ever mentioned how much I love Spring?  I’m sure I have!  😉  One favorite of this season is sitting on my back steps enjoying breakfast as the sun rises and the birds sing their little tunes.  I love oatmeal and eat it nearly every day, but when warmer months roll around a hot dish is the furthest thing from my mind, so I’ve been enjoying many of my typical oatmeal dishes cold.

Breakfast

Angela Liddon’s Apple Pie Oatmeal has always been a favorite and is actually better the next day after the flavors have had plenty of time to mingle.  It’s like eating leftover apple pie for breakfast!  (Oh yea!)  I triple or quadruple the batch in order to enjoy an easy, hearty breakfast all week.

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Heather Crosby’s Toasted Super Seed Power Bread (reviewed here by Angela Liddon) is my all-time favorite bread.  It has the perfect texture, is simple to make, and a nutritional powerhouse.  You can easily make 2 or 3 loaves at a time and freeze a few for later.  We recently enjoyed dinner-time brunch with sweet friends and this was my contribution.  We spread mashed avocado on each slice, topped it with tomato slices, and baked at 350 for approximately 7-10 minutes.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and let it melt in your mouth!

Main Dishes

I’ve previously mentioned how much I love Dana at Minimalist Baker.  She has an ability to create the most flavorful, satisfying dishes with 10 ingredients or less and many times using only one pot, like this Thai Yellow Coconut Curry with Mango.  I was only able to get this quick shot while it was cooking because we were eating it straight from the pan (classy, I know, but it really is that good!).:)

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Dana’s Crunchy Thai Kale Salad as well as her Gingery Thai Kale Salad with Cashew Dressing were sweet, savory and super delicious.

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Andrew Olson’s quick Spicy Quinoa Taco Bowl made our palates and tummy’s very happy several times this month.  Such an easy and delicious dish should definitely be repeated as much as possible.:)

This Taco Chili with Nacho Cheeze Sauce has always been one of my go-to recipes for busy nights.  It can easily be made ahead and enjoyed all week long in big taco salads or rolled up burrito style.

There are a lot of recipes we’ve been enjoying from the recently released Oh She Glows app.  Many can only be found on the app, which I know you’ll be more than happy you grab for yourself!  This month we’ve enjoyed Angela’s Speedy Teriyaki Veggie Noodle Bowl, Glowing Spiced Lentil Soup, Tangy Cilantro-Lime Quinoa Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing, 10-Spice Vegetable Soup, and The Perfect Granola.

Have you cooked or created a great recipe recently that you’d like me to share?  I love trying new recipes, so please send your favorite plant-powered to Stacy@thenourishinghealth.com for a chance to be featured in the months to come!

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There are so many reasons to love cruciferous vegetables!!  Taste, texture, fun recipes, and major health benefits!

Cruciferous vegetables are part of the Brassicaceae or Cruciferae family.  They are widely cultivated and enjoyed in cuisines around the world.  Naturally low in calories, high in fiber, and rich in micronutrients, cruciferous vegetables receive a nutritional A+.  Research on this vegetable family has skyrocketed in recent years revealing numerous impressive and hard to ignore health benefits.

Joel Furhman, M.D, well-known physician focused on nutritional therapy, explains some of the most astounding benefits,

“All vegetables contain protective micronutrients and phytochemicals, but cruciferous vegetables have a unique chemical composition—they contain glucosinolates, and when their cell walls are broken by blending, chopping or chewing, a chemical reaction converts glucosinolates to isothiocyanates (ITCs)—compounds with a variety of potent anti-cancer effects. Because different ITCs can work in different locations in the cell and on different molecules, they can have combined additive effects, working synergistically to remove carcinogens, reduce inflammation, neutralize oxidative stress, inhibit angiogenesis (the process by which tumors acquire a blood supply), and kill cancer cells.” [1]

Common Cruciferous Vegetables Include:

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Are you ready to enjoy more of these beauties in your diet?  Check out a few of my favorite recipes and begin enjoying the beautiful benefits today!

[1]  Fuhrman M.D., Joel.  GBOMBS:  Greens, Beans, Onions, Mushrooms, Berries, and Seeds.  Retrieved from https://www.drfuhrman.com/library/gbombs.aspx.

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