I completed my Fresh Start 10-Day Cleanse at the beginning of this year with a group of clients and it was the perfect timing for me – after a non-stop party and holiday season with definitely too much sugar, carbs and alcohol. I love working with clients to do a gentle seasonal detox at the beginning of the year as it can shake up your diet, hit the reset button and help you lose a few pounds and feel more energetic and ready to tackle anything at the beginning of a New Year.
It’s getting cold outside, the evenings are drawing in and this is the week that America celebrates Thanksgiving. At this time of the year, it’s natural for us to turn to rich, heavy, comforting foods. With the sugar craziness that starts at Halloween and finishes after New Year’s, many of us throw out our diet and nutrition goals and forget about healthy food options and our good intentions from the summertime.
Don’t worry, here are some easy tips that you can use throughout the entire holiday party season that will keep you healthy and won’t have you starting all over again with unrealistic health goals on January 1.
It’s been so cold this week in the Northeast, I think many have us have wanted to hibernate at home with a DVD box set and eat meal after meal of stodginess just to keep us warm until June.
Eating in the fall or winter months can be such a huge shift to what we were eating just weeks before when the days were long and hot and all you wanted to eat all day was sweet watermelon.
As much as I love smoothies and juices, sometimes I find the thought of them hard to digest when it gets cold! However, I was determined this week to find a juice that would work for me when the temperatures dipped. That would make me feel refreshed and warm inside. That would have seasonal ingredients that I could pick up at the local Farmers Market or CSA. And here it is. Simple but nourishing and a little spicy. I added the turmeric for its super anti-inflammatory properties and you don’t taste it a bit here. The ginger is also really great for your digestion.
This fall, I’m officially in love with squash of all kinds. I love roasted rainbow slices of delicata squash, butternut squash soup and of course my old favorite acorn squash. Squash is such a versatile and easy fall vegetable and there is no reason to be intimated. In fact, you don’t need to peel squash at all when roasting. Just cut it in half, drizzle over some olive oil, add a pinch of salt and pepper and roast until soft. Roasting squash is kind of a miraculous event – you can’t even imagine that something so hard could turn into something so sweet and caramelized in the oven.
Even though I’m not vegetarian and look forward to my Thanksgiving turkey every year, I have many vegetarian friends and clients and they are always looking for an extra special dish for the holidays rather than being left with all the vegetable side dishes. Personally, I’m moving away from eating meat with every meal to having meat once in a while for a little extra flavor so this roasted acorn squash would be perfect for anyone – vegetarian or carnivore come Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. You can experiment your own spice mixture and add some holiday pizzazz with some cranberries or pomegranates too. Of course, you could add in a little ground pork or turkey into the stuffing mix but I think this is perfect just as it is.
Stuffed Acorn Squash with Cranberries and Pomegranates (serves 2 or 1 hungry vegetarian)
1 medium acorn squash halved lengthwise and seeds removed
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
4 scallions, finely chopped
8 cremini mushrooms, sliced thinly
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 tablespoon thyme
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 cup mix of cooked wild rice and brown rice – preferably cooked in vegetable or chicken stock instead of water
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper – to taste
1 tablespoon cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds
- Heat the oven to 450°F.
- Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and place cut side up on a roasting tray. Drizzle over a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until just a little soft for about 30 minutes.
- Saute the onion, scallions, mushrooms and celery in the butter. Stir occasionally and cook on low heat until the onion is translucent and the vegetables are soft for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the thyme and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in the rice, chopped walnuts and cranberries.
- Remove the squash from the oven and add the rice filling to each half.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350°F.
- Place squash back in the oven and roast for a further 25 minutes until the squash is completely tender.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle the fresh parsley and pomegranate seeds over the top. Serve warm.
Do you love green smoothies as much as I do? I have one nearly every day, adding in kale, chard, spinach or parsley and watercress into mine. Green smoothies are so delicious and nutritious. If you have digestive problems, it’s the perfect way to add extra greens into your diet.
Have you joined the smoothie craze?
There are so many benefits to starting your day with a delicious smoothie including glowing skin, improved digestion, more energy and extra vitamins and minerals all in one lovely glass.
Unfortunately, so many people add too much fruit and extra sweetened milk drinks into their smoothies. When you throw in a banana, mango, pineapple and sweetened almond milk into your blender the end result may be delicious but you are going to cause a spike in blood sugar and you will have a huge crash in energy hours later.
That’s not what drinking a smoothie is all about.
I believe in adding very high quality pure protein powder and more greens than fruit. This way, it’s a low glycemic meal and your energy levels will be sustained for several hours after drinking the smoothie.
Here are three helpful ways to add more greens and goodness into your morning smoothies:
- Throw in a handful of spinach, kale, watercress or chard into the smoothie. Steamed broccoli is also delicious. You don’t have to measure exactly but a small handful is what I go for. Tip: add this into a berry smoothie (blueberries, blackberries etc.) and you won’t even notice that there is anything green in there. This is a great tip for fussy kids.
- Do you like salad? Add your salad to your smoothie! Romaine lettuce, parsley and cilantro are all wonderful choices and provide additional flavor.
- Add green powder. I like a teaspoon of spiraling or wheatgrass powder to my morning smoothie for an extra concentration of protein and iron.
Here is a simple recipe for a summery green smoothie that I’m loving right now:
Summer Greens Smoothie
1 small handful spinach
1 small handful kale, roughly chopped
1 sprig cilantro (or to taste – it’s quite a strong flavor!)
1/4 ripe avocado
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 frozen banana
2 scoops chocolate or vanilla protein powder: I love Shaklee 180 protein powder
Blend together until smooth and enjoy immediately
Last Friday, my friend Laurisa and I hosted a healthy breakfast event at Real Simple magazine in Manhattan. We were up bright and early to serve Green Beauty smoothies with chia seeds for the editorial and marketing teams. The staff oohed and aahed at the beautiful smoothies and tried to guess all the delicious detoxing ingredients (hint: avocado, spinach and coconut anyone?) in the smoothies. As readers of this blog will know, I’m a big smoothie aficionado and try to start my day with them throwing in all sorts of fruits and veggies into the blender as well as protein powder and my homemade almond milk.
We were also at Real Simple to present the next 5-Day Reset Challenge starting on June 23. It’s a mini program that will help you lose weight, get rid of carb and sugar cravings and back into your skinny jeans in time for summer. It’s completely healthy, nutritious and delicious.
• Lose up to 5 pounds in 5 days
• Get better eating habits
• Control cravings for carbs and sugar
• Improve your nutrition
• Look and feel fabulous
• Recipes from Anneka for smoothies, healthy dinners and snacks
• Vegan protein powder for up to 3 smoothies per day
• Daily support
• Access to private Facebook group
Join the Real Simple team and sign up today by emailing me and I will send you all the information!