December holidays have been known as “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, but did you know it is also the most fattening time of the year as well? The fact is that an average American gains a few pounds during the month of holiday parties, family gatherings and food gift galore.
Because many holiday dishes are drenched with fattening dressings, I suggest making your own and then bringing them to group gatherings. Why not share the joy of healthy eating with friends and family? Here are some ideas on how to “accessorize” your holiday favorites, so you don’t deprive yourself of fitting into a fabulous New Year’s outfit!
Smoked Salt: To get the smoky flavor of fatty ham, simply add Smoked Salt to your side dishes. It goes great with lightly sautéed spinach with Portobello mushrooms and tomatoes.
Fresh rosemary, thyme and sage: Use these fresh herbs to season your meals – this way you will get holiday flavor without adding extra calories. Try adding them to your roasted sweet potatoes, purple potatoes, broccoli and Brussels sprouts to create a colorful holiday dish.
Go Green with Green Beans – Enjoy your green beans simply roasted with a touch of extra virgin olive oil and almond slivers. You will get lots of protein and fiber to keep you full and satisfied.
Mashed Potatoes Alternative – Try adding a mashed celery root, parsnips or cauliflower to your mashed potatoes to cut down the calories and the starch.
Stuffing – forget low-quality stuffing with wheat bread. Gluten is so last year! Make your own with Sprouted Ezekiel Bread – (recipe below)
Desserts – Opt for dark chocolate bark (recipe below) that is high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Better than Turkey – if you are still looking for a high-protein, meaty dish, then try this Chicken-Less Chicken with Gravy! It tastes and looks like poultry, but is 100% vegan and cholesterol free!
BETTER THAN TURKEY DINNER RECIPE
1 Package of Lightly-Seasoned Beyond Meat Chicken, roughly chopped
Raw Vegan Mushroom Gravy
1 pound of sliced baby bella mushrooms
1/2 cup walnuts, soaked overnight and drained
1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight and drained
1/2 cup Coconut Aminos (it is a soy-sauce substitute)
1/2 cup flax seeds, ground
4 cups filtered water
1 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
1 clove garlic
Place mushrooms in coconut aminos and marinate for 1-2 hours.
In a high-speed blender, blend coconut aminos, water, pepper, walnuts, cashews and garlic until creamy. Pour into a serving dish and stir in the mushrooms. Let gravy set for 30 minutes to thicken.
Pour the gravy over the chicken-less chicken and serve with your favorite side dishes. My favorite meal would be this entrée with the stuffing, Brussels sprouts and cooked cranberries combined with cooked pears.
▪ 1/2 a loaf of Ezekiel Bread
▪ 1 sweet onion, chopped
▪ 3 stalks of celery, chopped
▪ 1 tbsp olive oil
▪ 1 1/2 cups of veggie stock
▪ ¼ cup chopped walnuts
▪ 1 tbsp fresh rosemary
▪ 1 tbsp fresh thyme
▪ 1 tbsp fresh sage
▪ Sea salt + black pepper to taste
Toast the bread until dry and crispy and cut in small pieces. Set aside.
In a pan, sauté celery and onions until onion is translucent. Add seasoning and walnuts and stir in for about a minute.
Add the bread pieces and let soak until desired consistency is reached.
ANTIOXIDANT CHOCOLATE HOLIDAY BARK
2 cups of dark chocolate chips
1.5 cups of walnuts
1.5 cups dry sour cherries
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup goji berries for topping
1/3 cup raw cacao nibs
Melt chocolate in a pan on the stove. Remove from stove and mix in walnuts, cacao nibs and sour cherries. Let cool for 5 minutes.
Place saran wrap on top of a rectangular plate and pour the chocolate mixture on top.
Cover with another piece of wrap and press with hands to let air out between nuts and dried cherries. Sprinkle with coconut, pumpkin seeds and remaining sour cherries.
Place in the fridge until chocolate is solid again. Cut in small pieces and enjoy!
When dining with a group of friends or family, sometimes we don’t have a choice of the restaurant and creativity is key. Being mostly vegan, I prefer to eat plant-based meals when going out and with experience I learned how to order a healthy meal even at a steakhouse.
In this blog I will share my top “green goddess- approved” meals that you can find around Boca. Use these guidelines to create your own healthy meal at any other steakhouse around the country. You will be surprised how easy it can be to eat at the meat-eaters paradise!
Z-TIP: If you would like to eat 100% Raw Vegan at any restaurant, including the ones below, print out this card and take with you whenever you go out. Give it to the waiter and ask the chef to create you a raw meal using some of these ingredients or any other fruits/veggies they may have. The add some olive oil and lemon juice to dress up the meal.
NEW YORK PRIME and MORTON’S
When eating here, I would begin with either the New York Prime's Chopped Italian Salad without anchovies and blue cheese or at Morton’s you can get their chopped salad without the cheese or bacon. For the entrée you can create your own main course of steamed garlic spinach, asparagus (sans the hollandaise) and a plain baked potato, drizzled with olive oil and a little bit of salt. The salad will provide you with a plethora of vitamins and enzymes to boost your energy and your immune system. Spinach will love your body with a good doze of iron, asparagus will help detoxify your system and baked potato will keep you full as it is high in fiber. New York Prime: 2350 NW Executive Center Dr, Boca Raton, FL (561) 998-3881 Morton’s: 5050 Town Center Cir Boca Raton, FL 33486 (561) 392-7724
ABE AND LOUIE’S
Here I would recommend the Abe & Louie’s Salad that features bibb lettuce, apples and pistachio nuts and I usually ask to hold the cheese and place the dressing on the side. This is one of the most interesting salads I have seen at steakhouse and it is pretty nutritious as lettuce is high in blood-purifying chlorophyll, apples are rich in fat-reducing pectin and pistachios are known to be the highest-protein and lowest-calorie nut. For my entrée, I would go with a Cauliflower Steak, Jumbo Baked Sweet Potato (without the brown sugar_ and Brussels sprouts. Cauliflower is a great low-calorie vegetable that is high in fiber and low in starch. Sweet potatoes are rich in bloat-reducing potassium and Brussels sprouts are a part of cruciferous family of vegetables that help detoxify your liver. 2200 West Glades Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431 (561) 447-0024
PRIME in DELRAY
Prime happens to have one of my favorite vegetarian menus. Here I like to begin with the Roasted Beets salad (without the feta) that comes with golden Frisse lettuce, micro basil and toasted walnuts for extra Omega 3’s and protein. For my main course I would recommend a plate of Wild Steak House Mushrooms, Baby Broccoli Rabe and an order of Roasted Sage Fingerlings. While mushrooms are full of protein and low in calories, they have a great meaty texture. Baby Broccoli Rabe is rich in blood-purifying chlorophyll and Fingerlings are rich in fiber. They also balance off the meal as they happen to be the only high-calorie part of the dinner. Another alternative here is a vegetarian sushi roll – a great dinner for those who are in the mood for a lighter fare. 110 E Atlantic Ave Delray Beach, FL 33444 (561) 865-5845
When you are looking to experiment with new kinds of food, especially raw foods, it can get a little overwhelming. To help you get started, I interviewed the creators of RawVolution.com and the writers of their new book – RawVolution Continues.
If you live in LA (and if that’s the case, I am very envious!) you can drive down to their restaurant in Santa Monica and experience some of their foods before trying to make them. But if you don’t have such opportunity, don’t despair – Matt Amsden shared his tips on what’s most popular, what’s easy to make and what is sooooo worth the time to make it. To purchase the book, click here.
Z-Tip – look at the numbers under each recipe and you will find how easy or complex they are as each one is rated on a scale from 1 to 3. Thank you, Matt and Janabai for this great reference!
Those who love raw food, love it for two reasons – you get the most nutrition and it is easy to prepare. Case in point – smoothies! Turn to page 54, 63 or 62 to find some delicious recipes for super easy concoctions.
Wakame salad, one of my personal favorites is also very easy to create. I am happy to share the recipe below from page 151.
Another easy one is the Dragon Rolls from page 176. They are filled with nutrition, flavor and take little time to prepare.
If you have already experimented with raw foods, then try the super-tasty Sea Cakes with Cilantro Chutney from page 132. Make a lot at a time, so you’ll get more than just one meal.
For those who can’t imagine life without bread, don’t despair! Instead make the fabulous Focaccia Bread from page 125. Dip it in Olive oil or have it with a salad and you will feel satisfied. It is also great to be refrigerated for a couple of weeks.
When I talked to Matt, I also wanted to know what his personal favorite superfoods are. We all got our staple outfits in the closet and the same applies to pantry as our personal tastes reflect our choices. Try one or all of them, accessorize your meals with them and see how they fit you:
CREAMY WAKAME SEAWEED SALAD
FOR THE DRESSING
FOR THE SALAD
To make the dressing, in a high speed blender, combine all of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
To make the salad, combine the wakame, cilantro, green onions, and sesame seeds in a large salad bowl. Toss the salad with the dressing. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
When people hear the term “raw food” they often tend to think that it is a complicated way of eating that requires lots of discipline. Partially they may be right. Partially. But there is so much more to raw food and if you look at it from a different perspective, then perhaps you too would give it a try. And that perspective is through the lens of shopping.
Let’s side track for a minute and think of a special party that you were looking forward to attending, like prom or your cousin’s wedding. If you are like me, then you probably started looking for a dress months in advance. I remember that before my prom, my mom and I took a train up to New York for a weekend to find the dress that I loved. It took hours.
First we had to find dresses that looked good on the rack. Then we had wait in long lines to the fitting rooms in order for me to try them on. Then, we had to weigh the pros and cons of each dress as far as price and value. Once that was decided, we would put the dress on hold and go to another store to make sure we didn’t find anything better. Let me just say that it was one long weekend, but in the end, it was worth it – I did get the dress and I looked great at the prom.
So, how does that go with the raw foods? I think it is all about the value of discipline and figuring out whether you are worth the effort or not. It is a well-known fact that raw food has the enzymes and vitamins that your body needs to flourish. But when we cook our food, they are destroyed. Due to the lack of food enzymes, our bodies have to work extra hard on digesting the food, instead of sending nutrients to the cells and burning off extra fat. And because most of the vitamins are destroyed during cooking, our bodies crave more and more food, leading people to overeat.
But if you look at raw foods as something that will make you look and feel great for the entire life, not just a day, you will see how valuable raw foods are. And they don’t require hours like shopping does. I personally know many people who cured diseases, increased energy and lost weight on raw foods. And because there is no actual cooking involved, you have more time on your hands to do other things.
Lastly, I want to say that raw food takes LESS time to prepare than cooked food, simply because you don’t cook it! Yes, there are things that need to be soaked overnight or sprouted, but you don’t have to stand next to the stove for hours as you would with cooked foods. All that is required of you is to put the items in the water (takes less than 1 minute) and rinse the next day (takes less than 1 minute again). It does take remembering to do these simple actions, but then again, what doesn’t? We all brush our teeth everyday, twice a day because we want to avoid going to the dentist. So, why not introduce more simple raw foods into your diet if it will help you avoid going to the doctor?
Now, I don’t suggest that you should go on an all-raw food diet and forget about the simple pleasures of sharing a home-cooked meal with friends and family. I, myself, occasionally eat foods that are contain animal products because I found that with my bio-individuality that is what my body needs. However all ingredients are organic and from humanely-treated and raised animals and these foods are not the staples of my daily diet.
What I do advise my clients is to experiment with raw foods and to leave excuses behind. If you don’t like all raw foods, then it’s ok, as long as you gave it a fair chance. But you won’t know unless you try it, just like you have to look for a dress that has the right fit and color for you.
Your body is worth nourishing and pampering. It is worth receiving all the best foods available so you would look and feel great. I think that if we spend hours shopping for clothes that will make us look good for a special occasion, then we are definitely worth looking and feeling good during our entire lives.
I encourage you to give some raw foods a shot and see how you like them. You are worth having a healthy, beautiful body, and raw foods are an easy way to achieve just that. To begin, just start adding a banana to your morning donut or add some kale to a fruit smoothie. For lunch and dinner, add a big green salad and some of your favorite raw vegetables. Start small and you will still see the difference. Take a look at my "Getting Started" Tab for more ideas!
Cheers to your health!
June 1st can mean two things – beginning of summer travels and beginning of the hurricane season. To help you be prepared for both, I want to offer you my Z-tips for healthy foods to stock up on. They are great to take with you on the road, to the airport or to enjoy when you are at home without electricity.
Snacks to keep your hydrated
When flying, many people experience dry skin and slight swelling due to the cabin pressure and low humidity. To help you with that, I suggest bringing oranges and bananas on your flight. Their high potassium content will help you keep fluid in your body regulated and the vitamins and antioxidants can boost your immune system on crowded flights. Also, these fruits have a thick peel that makes them easy to transport and eat. If you are stocking up for a hurricane, these are great to have on hand as well since there is no hand-washing needed.
Get your greens on
Travel and tropical storms can be stressful and healthy dark leafy greens may be hard to find. If you find yourself needing a nutritional boost, I recommend stocking up on energy bars with greens. One of my favorite is the chocolate-covered Greens + CHIA bar that you can buy at Whole Foods on Glades Road or online. This bar has great flavor, it is full of immune-system boosting nutrients and it has chocolate! http://greensplus.com/index.php/cPath/84_186)
Fill up on Carbs
To get an energy boost and help you stay away from airport pretzels and potato chips, try the Mary’s Gone Crackers. They are my favorite-tasting brown rice crackers and they are full of good carbohydrates and healthy fats. Take the whole box or portion them out in Tupperware containers, and then pack in your carry-on luggage. If you are buying in bulk, try getting them at Costco to save yourself extra money.
To continue reading, click here
While it is a known fact that people in Asian cultures stay slim and live the longest, it is also a fact that the American version of Asian food may yield the opposite effect. If you are craving Sushi, Thai or Chinese, here are my tops tips to indulging in these oriental dishes.
If you want to eat clean, then steer clear of anything with Tempura or Mayo in the sushi rolls. Those words simply translate to high calories and high fat.
Green Goddess Sushi: I like to order an avocado and cucumber roll in brown rice and the Vegi-Vegi Roll - an all-vegetable roll that is wrapped in potassium-rich cucumber.
Z-TIP: If you are eating raw fish, make sure to dip it into soy sauce and have a generous amount of wasabi with it. Those two ingredients can help kill bacteria and parasites.
For Thai-food lovers one of my top Green Goddess-Approved Meals is the Papaya Salad. Papaya is knows for its high concentration of digestive enzymes that can help digest fats and aid with assimilation and weight loss.
My second favorite healthy Thai dish is a vegetable curry. I prefer to skip the tofu, unless it is organic, and load the dish up with seasonal vegetables. Besides the delicious flavor, curry dishes are rich in inflammation-fighting turmeric that has even been shown to help reverse Alzheimer’s disease.
Z-TIP: If you choose to go with the curry, opt for waist-trimming steamed brown rice which unlike white rice has extra fiber.
I believe Chinese food has been getting a bad rep due to the high-calorie dishes such as the General Tso’s Chicken or Pork Fried Rice. Despite this not-so-healthy fare, you can find plenty of dishes that are low in calories and high in taste. One of my favorite restaurants for healthy Chinese food is the famous P.F. Changs.
There I can indulge in the low-calorie Buddha Feast or the tasty Steamed Vegetarian Dumplings. One of the best things I like about PF Changs is that they have an extensive nutritional chart, so you can check what each dish offers. Another bonus is that they have a separate gluten-free menu, so those avoiding wheat, barley or rye can rest assured they will be eating clean!
If you are looking for a stylish water bottle and want to support a fabulous entrepreneur, then check out S’well insulated beverage bottles and their Water Aid for Life limited-edition bottle as they celebrate World Water Day.
Available in ‘Oscar’ gold, the bottles will come packaged with a certificate of authenticity, acknowledging the purchaser’s participation in the partnership to provide a lifetime supply of clean and safe drinking water and sanitation for one person in need. I think I am going to get one just so that I can manifest my own golden award for a TV show soon :)
ONE BOTTLE. ONE PURCHASE. ONE PERSON. WATERAID FOR LIFE.
The Water Aid for Life bottle costs $100 and is available for purchase at www.swellbottle.com.
Fashionable, sustainable and socially responsible - S'well bottles are fabulous products to stay hydrated:
· Stainless steel (never "sweats" on hands or inside of handbag/carryalls)
· Bottle neck large enough to insert ice cubes
· Non-toxic - saves you from dangerous BPA
· Assortment of uni-gender colors including black, yellow, green and red
· Ideal for wine/alcoholic beverages for outdoor entertaining
WORLD WATER DAY:
In 2010, the United Nations Governing Body declared 2013 as the International Year of Water Cooperation. The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is the governing body to organize the efforts of World Water Day.
Since 1993, World Water Day is held annually, as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater resources and advocating for sustainable management of safe and clean drinking water and sanitation.
In recognition of the worldwide efforts of World Water Day on March 22, especially focusing on the theme of water cooperation, S'well has designed an exclusive limited-edition bottle. For each generous contribution, you will be gifted this special S'well bottle and more importantly, WaterAid will provide a lifetime supply of clean and safe drinking water and sanitation for one person in need. Your WaterAid for Life limited edition S'well bottle will come packaged with a certificate of authenticity, acknowledging your participation in this partnership. Thank you for supporting the efforts of WaterAid, an organization that strives to protect one of life's most important resources: water.
First I want to give thanks and share some fabulous news - I have joined the team at DeliverLean.com, a gourmet food delivery company in Boca Raton, FL., and as the new Director of Public Relations it is my job to promote the convenience of healthy eating! DeliverLean's mission to help people get healthy is very much in line with my own beliefs and I am very grateful to be working with this company.
Right now we average about 70,000 meals a month and offer Traditional, Gluten-Free, Paleo, Organic and Vegetarian meal options. We even have a new line of 100% organic, cold-pressed juices and gluten-free desserts (talk about great work benefits when I get to sample them!) I will keep you updated on more news as we are launching some great products soon.
While right now I am working at DeliverLean part-time, I am still coaching clients and making Raw Vegan Food. So with that in mind, I want to share some November tips, especially on how to avoid that famous Thanksgiving Food Coma
When we think of Thanksgiving a few images may come to mind: roasted turkey in the middle of the table, family members gathering together, football game on TV and the often inevitable food coma. While we love our holiday traditions to repeat annually, this year I want to propose a new ending to your thanksgiving feast - a comfortable satisfaction and easy mobility. Here are our top 3 tips to avoiding Thanksgiving Food Coma:
1. The week of Thanksgiving: I often see people over-indulging at Thanksgiving because they deprive themselves in weeks before the holidays. To avoid overeating in one big meal, allow yourself small treats through out the month. For example, at DeliverLean we have guilt-less desserts that can be enjoyed any day of the week. Their low-calorie Spiced Pumpkin Pie muffins are a fabulous way to satisfy a sweet tooth which can help clients be less likely to over-indulge in a traditional pumpkin pie after the big dinner.
2. The Day of Thanksgiving: Make sure you eat small balanced meals through out the day, especially before the big turkey dinner. The impulse may often be to dramatically restrict your calories beforehand, however that may backfire when your eyes become bigger than your stomach. Instead of starving yourself, enjoy small, portion-controlled, balanced meals with your favorite holiday flavors. That way when dinner comes around you won't be anxious to dig in and instead will make the best food choices for yourself.
3. During Thanksgiving Dinner: When you find yourself sitting in front of all your holiday favorites, first thing to do is to take a deep breath and make a conscious plan of what dishes you would like to indulge in first. Fill up half of your plate with green veggies and salad, one quarter with your favorite starchy side dishes and leave a palm-sized space for the protein.
Slow down during the meal and focus on enjoying the conversations with the family and friends. Wait 20 minutes after you are done with your plate before you reach for the seconds. If you choose to get more food, eat it slowly and with gusto and pleasure. By taking your time to eat slowly, chewing every bite and enjoying every morsel, you will help your body do its best to digest the food and leave you happy and satisfied.
While traveling is great for our minds and souls, sometimes I find it challenging to keep our bodies healthy when on-the-go, at the airports and away from a home routine. If you want to enjoy your vacation and still fit in your fabulous clothes when you come back, then try some of my tips that I use when I travel:
EATING IDEAS WHILE TRAVELING:
Bobble Water Bottle - This reusable water bottle comes in many color combinations to match any outfit and it has a filter, so it is easy to refill with tap water. Now you can save money on bottled water AND help the environment by reducing plastic!
Whole Oranges - Thirsty when traveling? Grab an orange. No need to wash them, just peel, so they are perfect when stuck in your seat during flight. Because it is a whole fruit, you can get them through security at the airport.
Bananas - loaded with potassium, bananas will help reduce bloating when flying and keep your hunger at bay, so you don't over-indulge.
CHIA Greens+ Bars - Better than a salad you will find at an airport take-out AND it is Chocolate-covered! Use these as a meal or as dessert.
Dr. McDougall Split Pea Soup, Reduced Sodium - Because it is a dry soup, you can easily bring it to the airport and just fill up with hot water once past security. It is only 200 calories and packed with protein and fiber! For $1.50 a cup, it is a better deal than airport food.
Greens+ Sticks- These little stick-packets are a perfect way to get your greens and vital nutrients while on-the-go. Just mix with water and drink up first thing in the morning!
Why ask me?
- After many challenges and different crazy life experiences I am living my dream life and since my friends say I am pretty wisdomous and I think I am a little bit funny too, I want to share my life approach with you so you can live the life you love as well.
Here is a little bit about me:
- I am a creator of #1 Best Diet as selected by Harpers Baazar Magazine
- I started my career in the corporate world and didn't even know how to peel a shallot
- I have been a chef for celebrities for over 10 years
- I have a realistic approach to food and life
- I have a great relationship with food and can even let chocolate go bad because I simply forget I have it at home (something I wasn't able to do 10 years ago)
- I eat carbs whenever I feel like it without any guilt
- I used to hate to cook and now absolutely love being a private chef and a food relationship coach
- I wear whatever clothes I desire no matter what everyone is wearing or thinking
- I am in good shape and my body’s biological age is 13 years younger than the one in my passport
- I have experience being super poor, super wealthy and in between
- I’ve worked in corporate world and am now an entrepreneur
- I was married and divorced
- I used to cry going to work because I was so miserable with my boss
- I’ve had an emotional eating disorder
- I moved from Russia to USA alone at the age of 15
- I’ve lived in Russia, Europe and on both coasts of USA
- I have been super skinny and overweight
- I have been insecure and unhappy with reasons and secure and happy for no reason
- I used to wear glasses and healed my eyes with the power of thought and exercises
- I created "Couture Nutrition®" so you can have tailor-made solutions for your body and soul
- My brain usually comes up with jokes to soften stressful situations
- I think color coordination, sparkles and rainbows are underused