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Lifestyle Nutrition Perspectives

Recipe: Chicken Dumpling Soup

Sustainable healthy eating habits rely on good eating, and good eating means good cooking.  Unless, you have your own personal chef, you need to learn how to cook and make it taste great!

 

Many of us will not get a better opportunity than now to hone our cooking skills and learn some new recipes to add to the arsenal.  The excuse of, “I just don’t have the time,” is out the window here. (Written during the COVID-19 isolation.)  A lot of us have all of the time right now, so why not put it to good use and learn something that will help carry you through life.

 

This is a chicken dumpling soup.  I can tell you what’s in it, but the measurements will be poor because I cook like my mother and just throw things in by feel. Lol!  So, if you’re attempting this, use your taste buds and test to see if it’s to your liking.

 

Rough measurements:

2 Tbsp - butter

½ cup of each – Onions, carrot, celery

½ a shallot

1 Tbsp of each (but probably more) minced garlic, minced ginger root

2 tsp. lemon juice

1 bay leaf

Sprig of Thyme

2 tsp. of each – curry powder, turmeric

1 tsp. cumin

**I probably use more of the spices than what I listed here, but this is a good start point for most.

1-2 Tbsp’s of chopped parsley & cilantro

6-7 skinless boneless chicken thighs cubed

1 to 1 ½ cups of cubed potatoes

1 to 1 ¼ litres of chicken or vegetable stock

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Dumplings

1 cup of all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp sugar

½ tsp salt

1 tbsp. butter

½ cup milk

 

Melt butter in a large pot.  Saute onions, carrot, celery, shallot until softened. Add garlic & ginger, mix in and cook for about 1-2 mins.  Add bay leaf, thyme, stir in.  Add chicken, mix in and cook about 2 mins, add spices, salt pepper and lemon juice and mix in and cook until chicken looks cooked through.  Add potatoes, parsley & cilantro, stir in.  Add chicken or vegetable stock.  Bring to boil and cook until potatoes cook through.  I spoon out some potatoes and broth at this point and puree them and pour it back in to thicken the soup broth.  For the dumplings, mix together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt.  Melt butter and slowly mix it in to dry mix until it becomes crumbly.  Add milk and mix into a batter.  Spoon out dollops into boiling soup and cover at let cook at low for about 10 mins.  All done!

Categories
Lifestyle Nutrition Perspectives

Meal prep – you don’t have the time to not do it

Food Prep

Preparation in general is a habit that pays back tenfold.  Meal prep in particular (in my opinion) is one of the best foundation habits you can have.  It’s close to the base of the pyramid in that it supports and affects so much of your daily structure.  There are a plethora of studies that show how proper nutritional balance improves everything from cognition and sleep to performance and body composition and much more.  Basically everything you need to be the best version of you, yet so many resort to the habit of, “Oh, I don’t have time to prepare a proper meal, so I’ll just grab something on the go.”  That’s okay every now and again, but that shouldn’t be the norm.  With all of the positive outcomes that can occur from one simple habit, it should be a priority, which is a nice segue into a few suggestions that might help make it so for you.

 

Make it a priority – because it is!  Do it during the hours that you feel the most productive so that you can get it done and out of the way efficiently so it takes less time and you can put the quality into it that it deserves.

 

Build an arsenal – Thinking of what to cook is an age old dilemma, but slowly building an arsenal of recipes that become easy to prepare, is a key element in being consistent with food prep.  Try learning a new recipe every couple of weeks and before you know it, you’ll have a wide variety of meals to choose from.  This takes a little bit of time in the beginning, but once it’s in place it will always be there for you.

 

Batch Cook – If you don’t like leftovers, get over it.  Batch cooking is one of the most effective methods of meal prep.  Each week I’ll take a couple of hours to prepare a few different meals all at once so that there’s variety and I have them ready to go for the week.  A lot of recipes will use similar base ingredients, such as onions, garlic etc.  So, if you’re chopping those up already for one meal, you might as well chop up what you’ll need for a different dish as well and prep that too.  It saves more time in the long run, plus it frees up intellectual real estate throughout the week when you don’t need to think or worry about what to cook or eat.

 

Have the right tools – Having the right equipment to perform a task makes it far more efficient and a lot more enjoyable.  A few good quality kitchenware items such as a good knife and frying pan can really make a world of difference.  This plays into something that I mentioned in a previous post about creating an environment that is conducive to the habit you want to create.  What items do you find yourself using the most when you’re cooking?  Do you feel miserable when you have to use them?  Get quality items for the tools you use the most that help you the most and you’ll find a much more enjoyable experience.

I hope these tips give you some food for thought!  Enjoy your week.

Categories
Lifestyle Nutrition

Super shake recipe

Super Shake Recipe – Custom-Fit Wellness

Super shakes, smoothies, whatever ever title you want to give them, are awesome for packing in a lot of nutrients in a simple manner.  The hardest thing is deciding on what you want to put in it.  So, here’s a recipe that I like to use from time to time that’s more veggie dense.  Again, measurements are not my strong suit and should also be adjusted to your particular needs.  These are just averages.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. grated ginger root
  • 1-2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1-2 tbsp. hemp seeds
  • 20-30g plain protein powder
  • 1-2 cups spinach
  • ½ cup parsley
  • ½ cup beets
  • ½ cup carrots
  • 1 banana
  • 300ml water

Instructions:  Throw it all into a blender and blend until smooth.  You can add ice to give it a nice cool texture.  Protein powder is optional as well.

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Lifestyle Nutrition

Energy Balls!

Homemade Energy Balls! – Courtesy of Custom-Fit Wellness

I went a little crazy with this last batch of energy balls!  I’ve made these on a few occasions now, and this experiment basically came about from reading the ingredients on a Lara Bar wrapper one day and thinking, “I could probably just make these at home.”  So here we are.

These bad boys are an awesome source of dense calories.  They’re perfect for endurance activities and I like them as a sweet pick-me-up if my energy level is weaning or I don’t have time to eat a full meal during the day.  They can be a good alternative to that chocolate bar hiding in your desk, but they are still calorie dense, so moderation is key.  You can be downing these like a puppy and liver treats!

Here’s the recipe, but note that these are averages because I don’t ever use a measuring cup (hence the oversized batch in the picture) so you may need a little more or less of some of the ingredients to get the consistency right.  I take no responsibility for how these may turn out if you follow this.  Enjoy!

Serves:  Maybe 15-20?

  • 250g of raw cashews
  • 400g of pitted dates
  • 3-4 tbsp organic natural peanut butter (crunchy)
  • 4-5 scoops plain whey protein
  • 2-3 tbsp organic coconut oil
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Cocoa powder to roll them in if you like

I use a blender because I don’t have a food processor, but you want to grind up the cashews into a fine meal.  Empty the meal into a large mixing bowl and then put the dates into your blender/food processor, handful at a time to make a sticky paste.  Add the pinch of salt, peanut butter and dates to the mixing bowl with the cashew meal and begin to mix together creating a consistent paste and then slowly add the whey protein.  I save the coconut oil for last because I only add as much as I need to get the batter consistency that’s needed to roll into balls, or pack into a flat pan to make bars.

Highly experimental instructions, hopefully it works out for you!  Maybe one day I’ll actually measure things and repost.

Categories
Lifestyle Nutrition

Quick Food Tip: Quick & Easy Chicken

Today I have another fantastic quick food prep tip that I wanted to share with you through a short video, where you can once again be exposed to my hyper energetic and overly expressive nature! Lol!

So food preparation is definitely a sticking point for many when it comes to adopting healthy eating habits.  While I generally like to bulk cook and have many things prepared in advance, sometimes you just aren’t able to do that.  But it doesn’t mean that you have to cave and grab fast food.  You can still whip up something healthy and usually quicker than it would take you to run and grab “fast food.”

Below I’m sharing with you one of the quick and easy ways that I will cook chicken when I’ve missed my bulk cook day, or just feel lazy.  Hopefully this helps stir your creativity in the kitchen and shows you that healthy can be pretty quick too!  The recipe isn’t that important, it’s the method that you should take away.  Enjoy!

Quick Explanation:

  • Mix together your favourite dry spices (in this video-cumin, turmeric, smoked paprika, chilli powder, red chilli flakes, thyme, cinnamon, salt, pepper)
  • Spread spices on to large flat surface
  • Rub or mash chicken cuts of your choice into spices coating them well
  • Heat cooking oil over medium to high heat in a frying pan (I like butter or coconut oil)
  • Place spiced chicken cuts into pan and let the magic begin
  • Cooking time will vary depending on the meat cut and thickness. Generally about 4-5mins per side
  • Before eating, check to make sure there is no pink jelly middle in your chicken! Cook for longer if there is.

Categories
Nutrition

Quick Food Tip: Delicious, Quick & Easy Asparagus!

For many people, getting your daily greens in is a chore.  A fair amount of people seem to dislike them due to taste, and some because of preparation time.  I’m not going to dive into the importance of getting your greens in here, because most of you have heard it a million times and already know.

Instead, I thought I would share one of my favourite quick and simple ways to deliciously prepare asparagus.  This method can also be used for greens beans and similar like vegetables.  I’ve provided a quick video of the preparation below so that you can see just how easy this is, and how little time it actually takes.  As a bonus, you get to endure the unbelievably excited tone of my voice throughout! Enjoy!

Quick Explanation:

  • Wash and prepare asparagus
  • Blanche/boil asparagus for 3-4 minutes
  • Drain water
  • Over low heat, drizzle olive oil, sprinkle some salt and pepper to taste and toss until evenly coated.
  • Boom!  You’re done.

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Nutrition

Perspectives: The Complexities of Nutrition Simplified in One Easy Read

Weather it’s with clients or just a conversation with family and friends, the topic of nutrition commonly rears it head.  I often hear about various diet trends that people are following, and I’m commonly asked for my opinion.  “What do you think works and what doesn’t?”  I used to get excited during these conversations and dive into the complexities of digestion or micronutrients before realizing that nobody wants to hear about that stuff.  While dissecting it can help you have a better understanding of what’s going on, in the end nutrition is simple.  If basic vitality and sustainability is what you are looking for, there’s no fancy special trick.  Just eat balanced real whole foods consistently and that’s it.  Now, you’re not going to get the amazing overnight changes that some of these crazy diets might give you, but over time you will be healthier and be able to maintain the change.

Then why is nutrition so complicated?  There are numerous reasons for that, and it’s very upsetting when you really get into it.  To answer many of the questions that I receive I’m going to give you my recommendation of a book that I feel in one relatively easy read, best sums up the crazy world of nutrition and gives some clarity and understanding through the distortion that surrounds it.  Over the years I’ve read countless articles, taken numerous courses, sat in on several seminars and of course read a book or two on the subject.  A book that I feel does an excellent job of dissecting, condensing and simplifying most of that information is In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan.  I believe there is even a movie of this book if you are too lazy to read, but I’d highly recommend actually reading the book.  It will give you a fantastic perspective on nutrition and the food industry.

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Nutrition

Quick Food Tip: Increase Your Recipe Arsenal For More Variety

I’m not going to get into crazy detail about nutrition here, but rather encourage you to try and adopt the healthy habit of cooking more frequently if you don’t already do so.  A great way to keep things fresh is to try and learn a new healthy recipe each week or 2, or month.  A neat trick for this is to add couple of different colours of produce to your shopping basket each time you go shopping.  If they are unfamiliar to you, you will need to find a new recipe that includes those items.  Gradually building an arsenal of recipes gives you a lot of options to choose from on a regular basis allowing you to cook a variety of tasty healthy meals.  Cooking at home is almost always the healthier option.  The more frequently you do it, the better and more efficient you will get at it.  It’s one of my top habits that I recommend to people who want to change their lifestyle.

Here is one of my simple and healthy recipes that I like to use.  Try it out and add some flavor and variety to your plate!

Baked Mixed Vegetables

This is one of the simplest side dishes to make and a staple in my diet.  You can be very creative with this dish and always change up the vegetables that you use.  Below is just one version that I will cram into a 9”x 13” bake dish.

Ingredients:

3-4 cups brussel sprouts halved

2-3 zucchinis (8”-12” in length)

2-3 bell peppers

2-3 yams or sweet potatoes

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste (I use sea salt or coloured salt.)

Directions:

  1. Halved brussel sprouts, cut zucchini, peppers, yams, into large chunks and mix into baking dish.
  2. Drizzle olive oil over vegetables, and mix in salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40-50 minutes.
Categories
Nutrition

Quick Food Tip: 3 Easy Strategies to Curb Your Sugar Cravings!

Ever get sugar cravings?  The healthier you eat on a regular basis, the less and less you will crave sugar.  But that’s not
helpful if you’re in the moment and all you want is a hot fudge sundae, right?!  Here are three quick tips.

  1. Drink some water.
  2. Take a “breathing break,” sit down for two minutes and focus on nothing but your breathing and listening to your body.
  3. Brush your teeth!

Try each of these three strategies next time you get a craving and you should be able to keep them at bay!