If there was just one facet of health that could be improved in the US, or the entire world, (and most-likely in many of our own lives) it would be nutrition. In our country, there is sugar added to everything, and high energy, low nutrient-dense foods are at the forefront of what is readily available… along with this: 70% of our healthcare costs are spent on care for LIFESTYLE illness… aka illness that could be avoided if we moved, slept, ate well, and de-stressed… In fact, there was actually a recommendation made to the FDA to put warning labels on foods high in sugar or trans fat, but unfortunately no action has been taken yet.
With that said, the small circle of influence that Wholee Healthy has will focus on food this month. Not on cutting things out. Not on diets. Not on focusing on the highly addictive things that we have to dodge and be on our guard against… But on what we SHOULD be eating. On the healthy, delicious foods God put on this planet for us to thrive on… On foods that we can feel good about eating and consume out of self-LOVE and care. It will take on a whole new mindset of being allowed to enjoy eating… especially when we’re filling our bodies out of LOVE… for the taste and for how those foods help us to thrive and flourish! And this mindset, my friend, is where the magic of SUSTAINING a healthy diet lies.
Wholee Healthy brings you February’s focus- Falling in Love with Food: Eat Like You Love Yourself!
Now, the challenge I’m presenting you with this February/March is focused on what we CAN HAVE vs CAN’T HAVE. It’s not solely a mindset shift, but also an aim to diversify that healthy foods in our diet. I will give you food lists as a starter for ideas for this challenge (and yes- recipes too!). This will help us learn a little more about food, get a variety, try new foods that are beneficial to our health, and will hopefully help us stop focusing on what we DON’T want to eat, but rather to focus on what we DO… And, as a whole, help us to fill our bodies with foods we love from a place of self-love.
Before I get into the details, let’s chat about a few statistics that you may find helpful:
- In general, our genetics only play 20% of the role in our health… so 80% of our health is in our court!
- In disease prevention, diet and exercise are just as effective IF NOT MORE effective than medication… (plus they have way better side effects- glowing skin, energy, a longer life, etc- yes please!)
- No matter what stage of life you’re in or what pre-existing health conditions you may have, making a change for the better in diet will ALWAYS decrease your risk of chronic disease.
- What we DON’T eat and what we DO eat are both important factors that will influence our health.
- Food is medicine… Use it wisely!
Now, onto the challenge!
This challenge can be done in the order you choose:
- You can pull a new food to try from each food group each week
- You can try a random new food each week
- You can go food group by food group and continue to cycle through
- You can find your own unique way of doing it!
The overall goal is to help you realize that there are so many more foods out there than what the standard American diet has to offer. The more we eat of these fresh, nutritious foods, the more we’ll expand our tastes, shift our pallets, and realize how GOOD healthy foods can taste! Plus, we’ll also FEEL the difference in our digestion, energy, mental health, and pain management- and it will encourage us to continue eating these fresh, amazing, health-beneficial foods out of love for the food– and for ourselves.
Below are the lists of the examples of each food group we’ll focus on (Veggies, Fruits, Whole Grains, Fats, & Protein). This clearly is not a full list of all of the foods that are out there, so feel free to look things up, learn, add to these lists, and expand your food knowledge! You can print them out, find more in depth lists, or just refer back to these as you try out new things. As always, do it gradually. Try 1-2 new recipes or foods a week. But, make it a fun challenge that you can do not just for February/March, but forEVER. Don’t forget to keep track of the recipes you love!
Having trouble finding or trying new things? Make it an experience- go to the farmers market, try a new, local, fresh grocery store, browse the internet for recipes, and ENJOY the process so you KEEP DOING IT! And, of course, I’ve included some of my favorite fresh recipes with a few uncommon ingredients or new takes on foods you know (but might not enjoy-yet) to get you started. What can help you enjoy the process of eating foods that fuel your health?!
Make sure to scroll through to the bottom to check out new health coaching services I’m providing that can match your unique lifestyle!
Bok Choy Stir Fry
- 1 ½ tablespoons tamari
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice, plus extra lime slices for serving
- ½ teaspoon honey (or maple syrup if vegan)
- ½ teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sunflower oil (or any high-heat oil)
- 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
- ½ small head broccoli, florets chopped, stems peeled into strips
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 2 baby bok choy, sliced vertically into quarters
- ½ cup edamame
- 1 carrot, peeled into thin strips
- 4 ounces brown rice pasta *(see note)
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- sambal or sriracha, for serving
- Make the sauce by stirring together the tamari, rice vinegar, lime juice, honey, ginger, garlic, and sesame oil. Set aside.
- In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the noodles according to the package directions until al dente. Drain, rinse and set aside (or leave them in cold water or toss with a little oil to prevent clumping).
- Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shiitake mushrooms and broccoli, stir to coat then let cook 1 to 2 minutes until the mushrooms begin to soften and the broccoli begins to brown. Give the pan a good shake and stir, then add the scallions, bok choy, and edamame. Cook, stirring occasionally for another 2 minutes, until the bok choy and broccoli are tender but still vibrant.
- Add the carrots and noodles and toss. Add the sauce, toss again. Add a squeeze of lime. Taste and adjust seasonings. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve with extra lime slices and sambal or sriracha on the side
Jess’s Homemade Poppy Seed Salad
1.5 cups greens (kale, arugula, & spinach are my favorites)
1/2 cup snow peas
2/3 cup protein (grilled chicken is the best, but I use lunch meat in a lunch)
1 cup berries (straw & rasp are the best, apples are great to mix in too!)
Drizzle lemon juice & 1 tsp seasame oil
Sprinkle ginger powder, 1 tsp seasame seed & poppyseed combo
Sliced almonds if desired
Toss it all up & enjoy! 🎉
Sauteed Swiss Chard
- 2 large bunches Swiss chard, or rainbow chard
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 large onion, diced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- pinch each dry thyme and nutmeg
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, optional
- Chop and clean Swiss Chard: Stack several pieces of Swiss chard on work surface. Remove stems and set aside. Roughly cut leaves into pieces about 2-inch square. Repeat with the remaining swiss chard. Transfer the chopped leaves to a salad spinner filled with water. Drain, repeat washing if necessary, and spin dry. Rinse and chop the Swiss chard stems (about the same size as the diced onion.)
- Cook The Swiss Chard: Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add chopped chard stems, garlic, onion, salt, thyme, nutmeg and pepper and cook, stirring often until the onions are starting to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add chopped cleaned Swiss chard leaves, 2 tablespoons water and cover. Let wilt, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove lid and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until the Swiss chard is completely wilted and softened, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and drizzle with balsamic vinegar if using. Serve hot.
Want to change it up!?
- Add a handful of toasted almonds or pine nuts at the end.
- When you remove the lid add a handful of golden raisins, dried cranberries or dried currants
- When you pull it off the heat crumble on a little feta or goat cheese.
- Fresh herbs can be added as well. Savory woody herbs like oregano or thyme can go in with the onions, where as tender herbs like mint, basil or chives can be stirred in after it comes off the heat.
Lentil and Black Bean Chili
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 red onion, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons diced chipotles in adobo
- (3) 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup uncooked split red lentils
- (2) 15-ounce cans tomato sauce
- 2-3 cups vegetable broth
- juice of 1 lime
- fresh cracked pepper
- vegan sour cream
- fresh chopped cilantro
- sliced jalapeno
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion along with a large pinch of salt and pepper. Cook 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, and sugar and cook for another minute, stirring frequently.
- Stir in diced tomatoes, chipotles in adobo, black beans, lentils, and a large pinch of salt and pepper.
- Then add tomato sauce and 2 cups vegetable broth.
- Cover, turn heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce heat and simmer over medium-low for 5-7 minutes or until lentils are tender, stirring frequently. Add remaining cup of broth if desired.
- Stir in the juice of 1 lime and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Garnish with Fritos, sour cream, and fresh chopped cilantro.
- Don’t let the chili simmer for too long. Just 5-7 minutes is long enough to get the lentils nice and tender. Any longer than that though, and they will likely end up mushy. Which isn’t the end of the world – if anything it will just make the chili a bit thicker and more creamy.
- Be sure to stir the chili every minute or so while it’s simmering. This will loosen any black beans or lentils that may try to stick to the bottom of the pan and make sure that the lentils cook evenly.
- 1 large head of cauliflower , chopped into florets (about 10 cups)
- ½ Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ghee or butter, plus more for topping
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper, plus more to taste
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- 1 Tablespoon fresh chives , chopped, plus more for topping
- ¼ cup reserved water
- Chop cauliflower into florets and place in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the cauliflower and heat until water is boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the cauliflower is tender, about 12-15 minutes.
- While cauliflower is cooking, heat a small pan over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon ghee or butter and minced garlic. Sauté until garlic is tender and fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
- Before you drain cauliflower, scoop out ¼ cup water to save for later. Drain cauliflower and add to food processor with sautéd garlic, ½ Tablespoon ghee or butter, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and chives.
- Process until cauliflower is smooth, adding water as necessary to reach desired consistency. I used 2 Tablespoons of reserved water. If you don’t own a food processor, an immersion blender, standing mixer or potato masher would all work work.
- Transfer to a bowl, top with chives and additional butter/ghee if you prefer and serve.
- 4 slices Whole30-compliant bacon cut into about 1/2″ pieces
- 1 pound Italian sausage made from below recipe or storebought
- ½ teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 4 medium yellow potatoes about 1 pound 3 ounces, diced into bite-sized pieces
- 1 medium white or yellow onion diced
- 2 tablespoons garlic minced, about 4 cloves
- 4 cups chicken stock
- ½ bunch kale stems removed and leaves chopped, 4 cups
- 1 can coconut milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
Homemade Whole30 Italian Sausage
- ▢1 pound ground pork
- ▢1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- ▢1 teaspoon salt
- ▢1 teaspoon black pepper
- ▢1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley or 2 teaspoons dried
- ▢1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ▢1 teaspoon onion powder
- ▢1 teaspoon dried basil
- ▢1 teaspoon paprika
- ▢1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ▢¼ teaspoon ground fennel seed optional
- ▢pinch dried oregano
- ▢pinch dried thyme
- If making Italian sausage: combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Alternately, combine all ingredients in the saucepan and stir well when browning.
- In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed medium pot over medium heat, add Italian sausage and sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes over. Use a spoon to break up the pieces. When browned and cooked through, drain and set aside.
- Cook the bacon pieces in the same Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, about 5-10 minutes. Remove the crisp bacon and set aside – don’t get rid of the bacon fat! Stir in the onions and garlic; cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Pour the chicken broth into the Dutch oven with the onions and garlic, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes, and boil until fork tender, about 10-20 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the coconut milk and the cooked sausage; heat through. Add the bacon and the kale into the soup just before serving and cook ’til the kale is bright green and softened. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Coconut Cashew Larabars
- 2 cups pitted dates
- 3/4 cup shredded coconut unsweetened
- 2/3 cup unsalted cashews
- Add all of the ingredients into a high powered blender (I use the Vitamix 7500).
- Process on low for 3-4 minutes.
- Line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper and press the mixture in, let set for an hour or two.
- Cut into 6.
Chia Seed Pudding
- 3-4 Tbsp Chia seeds
- 1 cup almond milk
Combine in mason jar or other covered container and let sit in refrigerator for 20 minutes (up to 4 days).
Top it Off!
You can add cinnamon, raisins, berries, nuts, or coconut giving it a unique flavor each time. Chia seeds are an awesome source of protein, fiber, omega 3 fatty acids, and iron. A great thing to grab for breakfast, as a pick me up an hour or two before the gym, or for a guilt-free dessert.
- 2 tablespoons Ghee
- 6 tablespoons Blanched almond flour
- 3 tablespoons Coconut sugar (or erythritol for a keto version)
- 2 tablespoons Cacao powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Paleo baking powder
- 1 large Egg
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon Unsweetened chocolate (chopped into chunks)
- Add all ingredients, except chocolate chunks, to a mug and mix well. Top with chocolate chunks.
- Microwave for 1 minute. The center should wiggle slightly and the outsides should be set. If needed cook another 30 seconds.
Don’t miss next month’s edition where we discuss a well-rounded fitness routine for longevity and life-long functionality and wellness: March into Fitness- Sustainable, Well-Rounded Fitness for Life!
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Have a great month, and stay healthy!
“Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.”MAHATMA GANDHI