I hate to toot my own horn... but I must say, these are very likely the BEST whole food treat I've ever made! It took 3 batches to get it perfect (and the taste testing process was tough) but I think it is finally ready to be shared (oh the things I do for you guys)!
These brownies have a peanut butter cup twist and will make your tastebuds dance with delight! The best part? They are completely free of refined white sugar and are also gluten free AND dairy free (for my food sensitivity sufferers and die-hard primal eaters out there).
Who doesn't love the combination of peanut butter, banana and chocolate? These muffins are extremely simple and delicious. They are a great mix of healthy ingredients with a touch of sweet making them the perfect treat for people of all ages!
So many of my clients are sensitive to gluten and/or dairy meaning they typically avoid muffins at all costs. However, this recipe is 100% gluten and dairy free making it a great option for many of my clients and any of you out there who are also living with food sensitivities. Remember - if your goal is weight loss and you're constantly consuming foods you're sensitive to (and thus increasing inflammation in the body), weight loss will be extremely difficult!
Prepare a batch of these muffins this weekend and let me know what you think in the comments below!
When you're looking for a decadent dessert to prepare for your next dinner party I suggest giving this pudding a try! Feel free to spice this pudding up however you'd like - adding nuts, coconut or dark chocolate chips for a simple twist. This pudding is fantastic because it contains NO refined sugar and contains lots of healthy fats from the avocado and nut butter. This treat will keep you satisfied much longer than the traditional sugar-laden chocolate pudding. Enjoy!
Do you find yourself bored of the same old snacks everyday? Do you find yourself reaching for the candy dish or hitting up the vending machine just for some variety? Does your lonely snack of just an apple leave you hungrier than you were before your snack? This may sound like an infomercial but I have some great options for you!
Below I’ve outlined some tasty alternatives for traditional snack foods that are sure to spice up your day and get you excited about your snacks again. These snacks not only have great flavour but they contain a perfect balance of macronutrients (read more about balancing your blood sugar through snacks here). All of these snacks take minimal time to assemble and by preparing several of these recipes ahead of time you will be sure to stick to your nutrition plan this week (remember - it's when we allow ourselves to get too hungry or our blood sugar levels get too low that we don't make the best nutrition choices)!
During the winter months getting enough zinc is important in helping to boost our immune system. Try this recipe to get a great source of zinc and a hit of protein at snack time.
1 cup of pumpkin seeds
2 teaspoons of olive oil
2 teaspoons of curry powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Preheat oven to 300F.
Coat pumpkin seeds with oil then toss with curry powder and salt.
Roast seeds on a baking sheet for 20 minutes.
I recommend a 1 ounce serving of pumpkin seeds served with 1 apple.
1/4 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
1 tablespoon of coconut oil or butter (for popping on the stove) - omit if you have an air popper
2 teaspoons of sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon of sesame seeds (optional)
Pop kernels in a stock pot over the stove with coconut oil/butter.
Once popped, remove from stock pot and toss popcorn with sesame oil and sesame seeds.
I recommend using a stockpot and some coconut oil or butter on the stove to make popcorn. Check out this YouTube video to guide you through making your own popcorn at home.
Health tip: I recommend avoiding the store bought microwave popcorn (even SmartPop or one of those “healthier” varieties). The lining of those microwave popcorn bags (perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as C8) is made of the same ingredients used in Teflon pans.
As stated by Dr. Andrew Weil
In June 2005, a scientific advisory panel to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified PFOA as a "likely carcinogen" but drew no conclusions as to whether products made with it pose a cancer risk to humans. However, animal studies have identified four types of tumors in rats and mice exposed to PFOA.
While scientific studies have not established a link between microwave popcorn bags and other products containing trace amounts of PFOA to increases in cancer in humans, the chemical has been shown to cause cancer and birth defects in animals, and it is so pervasive that it's detectable in the blood of 95 percent of Americans.
½ cup chia seeds
2 cup almond milk
1 tbsp maple syrup
4 tbsp raisins
Combine all ingredients into 4 - 4 ounce or 8 ounce mason jars (or small glass storage containers)
Stir well and let sit overnight.
Leave jars in the fridge for quick grab-and-go snacks for the week.
1/4 cup of unsalted almonds
1 ounce of dark chocolate (70-80 percent cocoa), melted in microwave or double boiler
1/2 tablespoon of dried cranberries or cherries
1/8 teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt
In a bowl, mix together almonds and melted dark chocolate.
Drop mixture onto wax paper.
Refrigerate until set.
Recipe makes 1 serving.
I recommend tripling or quadrupling this recipe to make 3 or 4 servings at one time.
1 ripe avocado, cubed
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup fresh berries
Place avocado in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Add the remaining ingredients except the berries.
Serve topped with fresh berries.
May be kept refrigerated for one day until needed. Recipe makes 2 servings.
Hopefully these recipes help to spice up your menu plan this week! Do you have other grab-and-go recipes that you love? Share them in the comments below!
Yours in Health,
Stable blood sugar levels are important for everyone, not just people with diabetes. When our blood sugar levels are stable, we have stable energy, stable moods and our hunger remains under control. We’ve all had that feeling before, we have a sugary treat and feel a burst of energy but then before we know it we are feeling tired, hungry or irritable (sometimes all three at once – yikes!) What if I told you that you could prevent (or at least mitigate) these feelings just by combining your foods appropriately?
This term may be new to many of you – the glycemic index refers to the measure of how foods affect your blood sugar and insulin levels. Foods with a high glycemic index will affect your blood sugar and insulin levels more than foods with a low glycemic index.
When we are looking at the glycemic index of different foods, we see that foods are rated on a scale of 0-100. Pure glucose is given a glycemic index of 100 and all other foods are rated in relation to pure glucose. Since foods made up of only fat and/or protein don’t affect blood sugar levels (because only carbohydrate-containing foods affect our blood sugar) they would automatically receive a rating of 0.
High Glycemic Index Rating: 70+
Moderate Glycemic Index Rating: 56-69
Low Glycemic Index Rating: 55 or less
Let’s begin by discussing which foods have the biggest impact on our blood sugar levels. Foods that likely comes to mind are candies, cookies, and chocolates. These foods absolutely have an impact on our blood sugar and insulin levels but other foods that also our impact blood sugar and insulin levels include fruits, vegetables (some more than others), grain products and dairy products. We don’t often think of foods other than indulgent sweet foods as having a significant impact on our blood sugar levels but remember, natural sugar, added sugar and starch breakdown the same way in the body once they are consumed.
Let’s look at some of the numbers:
Grapes - 59
Carrots - 35
Potatoes - 82
Yam - 52
Green peas - 51
Fruit Roll-Ups - 99
You can see a more comprehensive list here.
In order to understand the glycemic load we need to have a good understanding of the glycemic index. So now that we’ve discussed the glycemic index and how different foods affect our blood sugar levels, let’s dive a little deeper and talk about the glycemic load.
The glycemic load is calculated by dividing the glycemic index rating by 100 and multiplying this number by the number of grams of available carbohydrate in the food (the amount of available carbohydrate is found by taking the total number of carbohydrates minus the number of grams of fibre). In simpler terms, glycemic load takes into account how much of a food we will actually consume. Let’s use watermelon for example; the glycemic index of watermelon is 72, which is high. However, the glycemic load of watermelon is only 7, which is low. Why is this? Well, if we eat the whole watermelon (approximately 5 cups), yes our blood sugar and insulin levels are going to be impacted significantly, but if we eat a cup of cut up watermelon (an appropriate serving size) it is not going to have a huge impact on our blood sugar and insulin levels. Make sense?
High Glycemic Load Rating: 20+
Moderate Glycemic Load Rating: 11-19
Low Glycemic Load Rating: 10 or less
Now let’s discuss the components of food that can fight the blood sugar spike caused by simple carbohydrates (sugars) – protein, fat and fibre.
An easy comparison to make would be to compare fruit juice versus a piece of whole fruit. The glycemic index and glycemic load of orange juice versus a whole orange is 50 and 40 respectively. The major difference between fruit juice and a piece of whole fruit is the amount of fibre each contains. One cup of 100% real orange juice contains 0 grams of fibre, whereas a whole orange contains an average of 3 grams.
So what does this tell us? Fibre reduces the glycemic index and glycemic load of a food.
Let’s use yogurt as our second example. The glycemic index and glycemic load of regular plain yogurt is 14 and the glycemic index and glycemic load of plain Greek yogurt is 5. The major difference between these two types of yogurt is the amount of protein they contain.
From this example we can see that protein reduces the glycemic index and glycemic load of a food.
For our last example we will use a slightly different comparison – fruit juice versus a chocolate bar. I use this example because I have heard from many diabetic clients over the past few years that often times they will keep a chocolate bar on hand to help bring their blood sugar up if they are having a low. When I suggest against using a chocolate bar I get the same question, “but one chocolate bar contains ___ grams of sugar, shouldn’t this help bring my blood sugar up quickly?” If we are trying to bring our blood sugar up as quickly as possible (which is only really necessary for diabetics experiencing a low blood sugar level and for athletes manipulating their blood sugar prior to or during an event) we want to have as little fat in the food/meal as possible because fat, like fibre and protein, also slows down the release of sugar into our bloodstream.
In summary, protein, fat and fibre all slow down the release of sugar from food into our bloodstream and therefore reduce the insulin response that these foods cause the body to have.
This is easy and once you start implementing these rules you will notice a huge difference in your energy, mood and hunger levels throughout the day.
At a meal, be sure to have a food that fits into each of these three categories: protein, fat and complex carbohydrate and at a snack have a food that contains fat OR protein WITH a food containing complex carbohydrates.
At a meal this combination of protein, carbohydrate and fat could be:
butter/olive oil/coconut oil on the vegetables (fat).
At a snack this could look many different ways:
Challenge this week: look at your meals and snacks to determine whether or not you are optimizing your blood sugar levels with your food choices. Use some of the snack options above and see how you feel at the end of the day. The goal is to make a small tweak with your meal and snack options to maximize your energy, improve your sleep and stabilize your mood.
Do you have some balanced snacks that you love that I didn't list above? Comment below and share!
Yours in Health,
[vc_row type="in_container" scene_position="center" text_color="dark" text_align="left"][vc_column column_padding="no-extra-padding" column_padding_position="all" background_color_opacity="1" background_hover_color_opacity="1" width="1/1"][vc_column_text]These delicious chocolate bites are a great holiday treat! They are very simple to make, require no baking and are sure to be a hit amongst your friends and family this holiday season. I recommend making a large batch of 24 to have in the fridge or freezer for unexpected visitors.