Food for Thought: Healthy Snacks On The Go!
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As Seen in Haddam-KillingworthNow

July 23, 2019

Food For Thought

Healthy Snacks On The Go!

I asked friends on social media what they would be interested in for my next column and I had a handful of responses, but there was one that challenged me a bit, so here goes… “Healthy Snacks for those on the go”. I realized that I rarely snack, so this presented a bit of a challenge, but quite often I do eat “snacks” for a meal, especially when I am out and about. I like to be prepared so I don’t fall victim to highly processed junk or fast food.  We seem to be a society that is chronically on the go, so having some go to snacks/meals that are healthier is an important part of a busy lifestyle.

Being a bit of a gut guru, I must make a plug for making mealtimes less busy and to chew, chew, chew. Your stomach doesn’t have teeth and it is not only about what we eat, but how we eat, so put down your phone, walk away from your desk and make eating a delightful experience! If you must eat while traveling, be sure to say a word of gratitude for the deliciousness you are about to consume! On another note, unless you are diabetic, or your doctor has suggested eating more than your three meals a day, I would skip the snacks to allow you to properly digest your food. When your tummy is growling, this is your digestive track going to work to clean up your insides – think of it like a street sweeper clearing the debris from the roads. The more technical term is Migrating Motor Complex (MMC). So when those “hunger pains/growls” begin, don’t feed the beast, except water of course, and allow your MMC to go to work.

Okay, on to some simple, but yummy “packaged” foods and a few simple recipes… If you’re heading out, try package your snacks/meals in mason jars and pop it into a little travel cooler with an icepack. Oh, and don’t forget to have plenty of filtered water along for the ride!

  • Garbanzo Beans

    Chickpea Spread – Having a can (BPA-free) of organic chickpeas in your pantry is a must have. I drain and rinse them and then mash them with a potato masher, leaving a bit of chunk for texture. I add a drizzle of olive oil, lemon juice, kalamata olives, fresh basil, and a pinch of sea salt. You can add other spices as desired. This makes for a great spread on your favorite GF crackers or to scoop with some fresh cut veggies.      ~

    Fruits & Veggies

    ~

  • Assorted Lunch Plate – I love to have a variety of veggies and maybe even a fruit, which can be placed in jars individually or all together in a glass container. This can be fun for kids too – they can pick and choose which they want to add to their plate. In addition, I like a prepackaged cashew spread, by Nuttin Ordinary, on my favorite crackers, either Mary’s Organic Cracker, or Le Pain des Fleurs Chestnut Crisp Bread. Don’t forget a little spreading knife if you’re on the go! ~

Parfait

 

  • Yogurt Parfait in a Jar – these can be fun for kiddos to make ahead to take for lunch or if they are out and about. I use unsweetened Nancy’s Oatmilk Yogurt, which is non-dairy. I layer it with fresh fruit and GF granola, or sprouted oats. So yummy and yet so simple. This can also make a great breakfast or dessert! If you want to fancy it up a bit, you can puree some fresh berries to drizzle on top.

  • GF Wraps – I enjoy Blue Mountain Curry Wraps, or the basil ones. If I’m traveling, I bring the stuffers, like greens, roasted red peppers, hummus, avocado, and sprouts in a flat glass container and make the wraps when I reach my destination so they don’t get soggy.

  • Broccoli Bites with Guacamole – I keep Hillary’s organic Broccoli Veggie Bites (made with quinoa and broccoli) in the freezer for a quick meal when I’m on the go. I top then with guacamole or chunks of plain avocado. So delicious! You can also dip them in a yummy organic BBQ sauce, or a plain yogurt mixed with herbs.

  • Other great nutritious travel companions include whole fresh fruit, organic trail mix, a handful of nuts or seeds, pitted dried dates filled with an organic nut butter, and of course veggies sticks dipped in a plain, unsweetened yogurt mixed with your favorite spices.

I hope this gives you some traveling food for thought as you venture out into your busy day!

If you have a topic you’d like to learn more about, please email me at connect@roots2wellness.com. Until next time!

Janet

 

Janet E. Verney is an Author, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Wellness Designer, and Healthy Food Chef who resides in Higganum and loves helping others to “health-up” their lives!  Have a burning health or nutrition question, write to Janet at connect@roots2wellness.com. To learn more, visit her website at roots2wellness.com.

Janet Verney
Food for Thought: Health’d-Up Picnics!
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As seen in Haddam-Killingworth News, June 20, 2019

Picnics here, picnics there, picnics everywhere… I don’t know about you, but it seems there is one every weekend and sometimes in between. Don’t get me wrong, I love picnics because it means getting together with friends & family, usually being outdoors, and kicking back to enjoy the summer season. Having said that I bring my own food to stay away from the ingredients that leave me feeling sluggish and heavy.

The classic picnic foods tend to be processed meats on the grill, salads with thick goopy dressings, and sugar laden desserts to sink a ship. You know what I’m talking about! Most of these foods are made with bad fats, like partially hydrogenated oils, or are high in saturated fat. In addition, they commonly have high fructose corn syrup or refined white sugar and flours, and if you’ve been following my monthly column then you know this can lead to chronic inflammation and ultimately disease.

Okay, so rather than go on and on about the bad stuff and even the good stuff, I wanted to focus this column on some healthier picnic recipes that I have “ReDesigned” using better options. To keep your creations super healthy, do your best to use organic or locally grown produce and ingredients. I hope you enjoy them and that you experiment with some of your favorite picnic fare, giving them a health’d-up makeover. As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with questions.

Herbed Cauliflower Salad (like potato salad)

My friend introduced me to the idea of making a potato salad with cauliflower and so I decided to try it and I was ever so happy with the result! There’s nothing wrong with using some good old fashioned organic potatoes as well, but if you are trying to reduce starchy carbs this is a wonderful option.

I head cauliflower, chopped into bite size pieces
½ cup vegan, soy free mayo
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. spicy brown mustard
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. sea salt
4 stalks chopped celery
½ large red sweet pepper chopped
Assorted fresh or dried herbs like chives, tarragon, dill, fennel, parsley, etc.

Steam the cauliflower in a small water bath for about 10 minutes or until just tender. In a large serving bowl, whisk all other ingredients, except the celery and pepper. Add the celery and pepper and the cauliflower onceit has been cooled, toss and stir until fully coated with the dressing. You can make this the morning of your picnic. It was delicious the next day as well, but gets a bit watery overnight.

Sweet & Sour Broccoli and Carrot Salad

I love that sweet & sour flavor and over fresh broccoli & carrots it is so yummy! I like to make this in the morning the day of the picnic.

1 head broccoli, chopped into bite size pieces
3 large carrots sliced into bite size chunks
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. celery seed
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp paprika

Place the chopped veggies in a serving bowl. Whisk, or shake in a jar the remaining ingredients and pour over the broccoli and carrots. Stir well, refrigerate and stir again before serving. Adjust flavors as preferred (more sweet, or sour).

Curried Kale Slaw

This is so yummy, it is great leftover and it is a nutritional powerhouse with all the cruciferous veggies! This is one of my go to salads for potlucks and it always gets rave reviews!

¾ cup vegan, soy free mayo
½ cup lemon juice
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. spicy mustard
2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
2 tsp. curry powder
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp onion powder
1 bag organic veggie or broccoli slaw
1 bag baby kale, or large kale leaves chopped or torn off stems
1 chopped apple
1 can chickpeas (bpa free can)
1 cup raisins or fruit juiced sweetened cranberries
½ cup cilantro or parsley

Whisk the first 9 ingredients in a large serving bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients. This can be made the morning of the event and lasts up to two days.

Watermelon Fruit Salad

There is nothing more refreshing and hydrating on a hot summer day than watermelon! I like this recipe drizzled with a non-dairy vanilla yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg.

1 small water melon chopped into bite size pieces.
Other assorted fruit chopped
1 non-dairy vanilla yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg

Toss the fruit in a bowl and drizzle with the yogurt or place the yogurt in a small bowl with the fruit around it.

Lemon Infused Water

Staying hydrated on a hot summer day is so important. In place of sugary drink options, I like to have a big pitcher of lemon water available. This refreshing lemonade is so yummy and won’t raise your blood sugar! Be sure to use organic lemons for this recipe.

2 lemons juiced
1 lemon sliced thin
A large pitcher of filtered water
6 drops liquid stevia (I like Stevita brand), or even better fresh stevia leaves, slightly rolled to allow the plant oils to release. I place the leaves, stem and all into the water/lemon mix and it gives it just enough sweetness.
A spring of lemon balm, optional, (looks oh so pretty and adds a bit more lemon flavor)
5 drops of lemon essential oil, optional (I use doTERRA brand)

Combine all ingredients into the pitcher, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. I like to prepare this the night before for best flavor, but anytime is fine.

Lemon Ginger Cookies

Last, but not least, I had to throw in a health’d-up dessert recipe! These cookies are vegan, gluten free, grain free, and nut free, but certainly not lacking in flavor! They are super easy to make, using only one bowl!

1 Tbsp. psyllium husk (this is an Indian herb – I buy an organic brand on Amazon)
1 Tbsp. avocado oil
¼ cup lemon juice
1 tsp. lemon or 5 drops of lemon essential oil
½ cup avocado oil
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. sea salt
1.5 cups coconut palm sugar
Zest of one organic lemon
1 cup chopped crystalized ginger
2 ¼ cups chickpea or garbanzo bean flour

In a large bowl whisk the first 3 ingredients and allow to sit until thickened. Add the next seven ingredients and gently whisk. Stir in the chunks of crystalized ginger. Stir in the chickpea flour until blended. The dough will be thick and slightly sticky. Using two teaspoons, scoop onto a cookie sheet lined with unbleached parchment paper. Bake at 325 degrees for about 11-12 minutes. Cool on the counter. Store in a tin in the fridge. Make approximately 30 small cookies.

Okay, so there you have it, six new recipes to health-up your next picnic! Now I’m off to create something new in the kitchen.

If you have a topic you’d like to learn more about, please email me at connect@roots2wellness.com. Until next time!

Janet Verney
Food for Thought: Add Some Color to Your Plate!
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As Seen in Haddam-Killingworth Now

(May 18, 2019) — Consuming a Rainbow of Color adds years to your life and looks oh so pretty on your plate! Colorful fruits and veggies are jam packed with vitamins and minerals. All of these vitamins and minerals not only help clean-up your insides, all of the antioxidants and phytonutrients help prevent free radicals, they remove toxins, and help to douse the flames of inflammation.

Each color offers different nutrients, like the lycopene in tomatoes, the carotenoids in sweet potatoes and carrots, or the anthocyanin in blueberries. Nutritionally, these plant pigments go to work in your body reducing the risk of heart disease, type two diabetes, and cancer, among other illnesses. The phytochemical known as allicin, which is found in garlic, provides wonderful protection from viruses and bacteria.

Make ¾ of your plate an array of colorful veggies at each meal. The serving recommendation has always been 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies a day, but for the greatest benefits go for 10 a day! It is always a good idea to rotate your selection and your colors to gain the most variety of nutrients! Visit your local farmers market and try something new! Start with whole foods, preferably organic (check out EWG’s clean fifteen and dirty dozen list HERE). Fresh and frozen are best, but canned (BPA fee cans) will do in a pinch. Avoid pre-prepared veggies and fruits as they often have syrups, sauces, and preservatives added, which is not the healthiest option. Remember to read the stickers on your whole foods. If the label starts with a 4 it is conventionally grown and may contain pesticides and sprays. If the label starts with a 9 it certified organic. If it starts with an 8 it is a GMO food and most likely contains Round-up, which is highly toxic to your body.

Although fruit has great nutritional value, it also has natural fructose which can raise blood sugar. There are high sweet fruits like pineapple, bananas and mangos; medium sweet fruits like apples, peaches, pears, and plums; and low sweet fruits like berries which are filled with vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and flavonoids. Fruit is best digested on and empty stomach and not with other foods, but for special occasions it can become a wonderful treat or delicious dessert. Two of my favorites are a Berry Crisp and Chocolate Drizzled Strawberries!

It is important to consider the seasons in purchasing and preparing your veggies and fruits. In warmer weather months, consuming raw fruits and vegetables will provide super nutrients and help to keep you cool. In the cool weather months, it may be best to steam, sauté, simmer, bake, broil, or roast your seasonal produce to keep you warm! Keep in mind that we are all different and if your digestive track is out of balance it may not tolerate raw vegetables no matter the season. Adding herbs and healthy sauces will change a boring meal into a wowza meal! Try taking the same food and preparing it in different ways – need ideas, just email me at connect@roots2wellness.com.

Eating seasonally and buying locally is the best way to keep your circadian rhythm in balance. This will vary based on your geographic location and your climate. Some areas experience four seasons while others only have two seasons. Chinese medicine and the Ayurvedic philosophy are big into eating based on weather, climate, seasons, etc. It makes sense if you live in a hot climate to eat cooling foods and if you are in the dead of winter to eat warming foods. Eating cold smoothies and too many raw foods in cold weather can disrupt your circadian rhythm and throw you off balance causing an assortment of symptoms like digestive issues, fatigue, insomnia, achy joints, etc. These little signs and symptoms can lead to bigger issues down the road if they continue and are ignored for too long. Listen to what your body is telling you. When you buy local foods from your farmer’s market, you will be eating what is in season at that time. Consider joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) to get a share of local veggies, fruits, and herbs.

Our plant kingdom is so smart! Greens that grow in the spring time are wonderful for cleansing our bodies from the sluggishness of winter. Watermelon, berries, and cucumbers keep us cool in the heat of the summer. Apples, pumpkins, and cranberries in the fall prepare our bodies for the cold season to come. Root vegetables keep us grounded and hearty winter squash warms the bones in cold winter months. Also consider spice for cooling and warming the body. We commonly use warming spices like cinnamon, gloves, ginger and allspice in the cooler months and dill, basil, and cilantro in the warmer weather. Isn’t it fascinating how this amazing plant kingdom provides for us just what we need when we need it?

If you are dealing with a lot of inflammation, you may want to consider eliminating nightshade vegetables for a month to see how you feel. Then add one at a time and make a note of any symptoms or flare-ups of inflammation. Folks with arthritis and joint issues have had good results when they stop eating veggies in the nightshade family. They include potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, etc. A more comprehensive list can be found online.

As you begin to add more plants to your daily diet, consider trying a “Meatless Monday” and making all plant-based meals for a day. For special occasions be the person who brings a plant-based dish to share – make it engaging and fun, especially for the children. Adding these colorful nutritional powerhouses to your daily diet will having you looking and feeling better in no time. So get out to your local farmer’s markets and find some colorful treasures!

Very Veggie Lasagna

This is a great gluten free and dairy free recipe for lasagna lovers!

  • 2 medium zucchini

  • 2 medium yellow squash

  • 8 plum tomatoes

  • 2 portabella mushrooms

  • 1 vidalia onions

  • 3 cloves of garlic

  • 3 Sprigs of fresh basil & oregano

  • Salt & pepper to taste

  • 3-4 Tbs. olive oil

  • Cashew Cheese (see recipe below)

Alternate slices of green zucchini and yellow squash, cut thinly the long way.

Next, add a layer of sliced red plum tomatoes, sliced brown portobello mushrooms and chopped onion and garlic.

Then, add a layer of fresh green herbs and then sprinkle with sea salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Add a layer of cashew cheese.

Repeat the above process two or three times, depending upon the depth of the pan. Finish the top layer with extra tomatoes, whole cashews, more herbs, and then drizzle with olive oil.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-45 minutes, until warm through and veggies are tender. Enjoy!

NOTE: You can swap veggies and use eggplant instead squash and zucchini.

Cashew Cheese:

  • 2 cup raw, unsalted cashews

  • ½ cup nutritional yeast

  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice

  • 2 Tbs. water

Soak cashews in a jar of water overnight. Drain cashews in morning and place them in food the food processor. Add the nutritional yeast, then just enough water and lemon juice to make it moist. Add the sea salt and pepper to taste.

Kitchen Sink Soup

It’s always great to cook once, and eat two or three times. I love to repurpose food. Start by chopping a rainbow of colorful veggies with different tastes & textures.

You can use some of the veggies as a snack, add them to your salad for lunch, or as a side dish for your dinner. And of course you can add your veggies to soup!

  • 4 cups of water, or veggie broth.

  • 3-4 Tablespoons of Miso (a fermented soy typically found in the produce isle).

  • 2 cups of veggies you have on hand.

  • Sea salt, pepper, herbs and olive oil to taste.

Simmer for 30 minutes on medium heat until veggies are slightly tender. So easy, so delicious and so amazing for you! Use an emersion blender or hand held masher for a creamier soup. This works well with cauliflower, broccoli, and/or sweet potato soups. You can make a big batch and freeze half for leftovers or cut the recipe in half.

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Salads on-the-go

These Mason jar salads can be made on a Sunday and will last about 4 days. Chopping everything on a Sunday and prepping the jars is a great way to keep a healthy salad handy for a busy week.

  • Choose a legume, like chickpeas, or cooked quinoa. Another option is walnut taco meat (pulse walnuts in food processor with Braggs amino acid, lemon, and chili powder).

  • Dressing of choice (simple recipe: Braggs amino acid, lemon juice, sesame oil, and grated or ground ginger). If using walnut taco meat, do not add dressing.

  • Chopped veggies of choice

  • Sprouts & microgreens

Place the first ingredient at the bottom of the jar. Add your dressing. Begin layering one veggie at a time, starting with the harder veggies first. Top with the sprouts and microgreens. Wrap a fork in a napkin and tie it to the jar with some twine and you are set to jet.

Collard Green Wraps

This is a great way to enjoy a quick bite that is packed with a rainbow of colors, it is very satisfying, and is easy to make ahead, leaving you with lots of energy!

  • Collard Greens, lower stems removed

  • Add a slice of soft green avocado for a good fat source & Protein.

  • Add a few slices of roasted red peppers.

  • Add in a few shavings of crunchy orange carrots.

  • Add a few slices of crunchy purple cabbage.

  • Add a few green pumpkin seeds for crunch, protein, and a little extra zinc.

  • Add in some green broccoli sprouts for extra energy!

Roll up the ingredients, while folding in the sides of the wrap. Make a few at a time. Enjoy one or two. Chop ingredients ahead of time! Have your greens washed and stored in the refrigerator with a paper towel in a container for ready use. You can also prep veggies sticks in advance and store in an airtight glass container. If you are using large leaves, cut the rolls in half. Serve with a dipping sauce or dressing of choice.

Roasted Veggies

Roasted veggies are wonderful all year round and you can mix up types of veggies based on the seasons and what you have on hand in the fridge. Below is a powerhouse combo of veggies. Experiment with different combinations and added spice.

  • 1 red beet skinned and chopped

  • 2 large carrots chopped

  • 1 small head of cauliflower chopped

  • 1 small head of broccoli chopped

  • 1 medium onion skinned and chopped

  • 2-3 cloves of garlic minced

  • 1 small bulb of fennel chopped

  • 2 T olive or avocado oil

  • Seasonings of choice: (cumin, turmeric, smoked paprika) or (rosemary, dill, oregano).

  • Dash of sea salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and prepare all veggies. Drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with dried or fresh herbs and the sea salt. Toss to coat and roast for 30-45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes.

If you have a topic you’d like to learn more about, please email me at connect@roots2wellness.com. Until next time!

 

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Janet E. Verney is an Author, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Wellness Designer, and Healthy Food Chef who resides in Higganum and loves helping others to “health-up” their lives! Have a burning health or nutrition question, write to Janet at connect@roots2wellness.com. To learn more, visit her website at roots2wellness.com.

Janet Verney
Food for Thought: Don’t Be Fooled by -Free!
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As seen in Haddam-Killingworth Now

I know April Fool’s Day has come and gone, but I thought it was a great time to dive into the “foolishness of –free.” I’m not talking free as in it doesn’t cost anything; I am referring to foods that say they are Fat-free, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, and Sugar-free. The food industry wants to fool you into thinking that if it’s “-free” it’s a health food and most people believe this to be the case. So let’s break it down one by one.

For many years the “Fat-free” foods were all the rage, but then new studies came out claiming that fat doesn’t make you fat and is in fact good for you. Whew, that was a mouthful! There are still some pre-packaged foods out there touting their “Fat-free” status, but have you ever read the ingredients? Yikes, sometimes I’ve seen fake fats made from chemicals that are actually used to make yoga mats! I don’t know about you, but I prefer to sit on my yoga mat and wouldn’t consider consuming it no matter how hungry I got. Ok, so in all seriousness, the other ingredients can be quite alarming as well with higher sugar content, or even high fructose corn syrup, which is one of the primary culprits for our obesity epidemic and type II diabetes. I encourage you to read the food labels and if you can’t pronounce it, or you don’t know what an ingredient is, then it is likely not good for you.

Our bodies need fat to stay healthy, but only in moderation and a very small ratio to the rest of your diet. I prefer to get my fats through whole foods, like organic nuts and seeds; nut butters that do not have added sugars or salts; chia, flax, and hemp seeds; and the ever versatile avocado. On occasion for an added fat I will use olive, avocado, or sesame oil, but very sparingly. Some folks believe in using coconut oil, but I’m on the fence, as the research goes both ways on this one, so it is on my only now and then list for special treats.

Gluten-free is on the rise and more and more products are popping up everywhere, even on menus at restaurants. We need to ask ourselves, why are so many people becoming sensitive or allergic to gluten, which is in most bread, pastry, and many other pre-packaged foods. Of course if you have celiac disease then gluten-free is a must, but that is only a small part of the population.

Just to be a bit radical here, I don’t believe that in most cases that it is the gluten causing the problem. Bear with me here. I believe that in the US our grains have become so overly processed, overly refined, and chemically treated that it is greatly affecting our microbiome (your gut) from being able to properly digest your food, which in turn is causing unwanted and chronic inflammation throughout the body. This isn’t a free license to indulge in a bunch of bread, it is simply raising a red flag that I think more folks need to be aware of.

So let’s talk the good, the bad, and the ugly. Good “gluten” grains are best sprouted and in their whole form and may include wheat, rye, faro, spelt, einkorn, emmer, or barley (these are not suitable if you have celiac disease or a wheat/gluten allergy). If you have been off grains in general or following a gluten free diet then take it slowly introducing these sprouted whole grains a little at a time. A sampling of grains that are gluten-free, unless cross-contaminated via machines used to process grains with gluten, include rice, oats, quinoa, amaranth, millet, and buckwheat. So another good alternative to grains is organic nut fours like almond, or a chickpea flour. I use these in baked goods or in yummy crusts. These have no added ingredients and are a minimally processed food.

Moving onto the bad and the ugly… The replacement flours that are pre-packaged and gluten-free are generally not organic and the grains are treated with chemicals and are full of overly refined white rice, a variety of starches, like potato, corn, and tapioca, and fillers & emulsifiers. These gluten-free substitutes wreak havoc on blood sugar and can cause a whole host of other digestive issues. Many of the gluten-free cookies, waffles, and other packaged foods have the same issue as the fat-free items, too much junk that simply put, it’s not good for you! So if you want to try going gluten-free for a week or two, don’t run out and fill your pantry with prepackaged gluten free foods that have ingredients bigger than your thumbnail.

MOOving on to dairy-free… Rather than getting into all the reasons why I don’t think dairy is a good thing for anyone, I would like to chat a bit about the dairy-free options swamping the refrigerated section of your grocery store. Not to sound like a broken record, but we have much the same issue with too many ingredients that are commonly used as emulsifiers to thicken plant-based milks. I encourage you to not only consider the list of ingredients, but to look for organic options. Many of these plant-based milks are made from almonds, which are treated with a chemical during growing and processing, unless they are organic. That’s a hefty dose of not so good for you in a bottle. Making nut milks at home is easy-peasy and only requires some soaked nuts, clean water, a high-speed blender, a milk bag, a jar, and a wee bit of sea salt. You can watch a nut milk demo online for the “how to” of making nut milk. It is a cleaner and cheaper way to get a healthy plant-based milk!

Last, but not least is Sugar-free, or also known as “no sugar added.” This usually means the product has been sweetened with an artificial sugar. As I’m sure you have heard by now, artificial sugars are a toxic ingredient and can cause all kinds of health issues. I am actually surprised that they are still allowed in our food supply. Common issues I have seen from consuming these artificial sugars include migraines, chronic headaches, fatigue, digestive upset, heart palpitations, and weight gain. Some artificial sugars have even been linked to cancer. In my opinion the only sweeteners that are safe, with little or no side effects and that do not raise blood sugar, are stevia (organic liquid is best – I like Stevita brand) and monk fruit. Two others that don’t raise blood sugar and are generally safe to consume are erythritol and xylitol, but both of these may cause digestive upset if used regularly.

If you are not dealing with blood sugar issues and are not diabetic, then other natural sugars consumed in moderation are fine. My go-to favorites are pure maple syrup, raw local honey, and coconut palm sugar. The food industry is starting to catch on and you can find some pre-made products in your local health food store with these natural sweeteners, so be a label reader, or better yet, make your own goodies and freeze them in small batches for that occasional sweet treat!

So my foolproof way to steer clear of the “–free” phenomenon is to be a food detective and if you see free on the packaging, read the label and know what you are consuming, or buy simple, pure ingredients and make your own at home!

If you have a topic you’d like to learn more about, please email me at connect@roots2wellness.com. Until next time!

 

Janet Verney
Food for Thought: Go Green!
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I’m not talking St Patrick’s Day green; I’m talking about green veggies and the powerful nutrients they pack to support your overall health. Tis the season for some serious spring greens to pop up at your local farmer’s markets, so be prepared to add more of this vibrant color to your plate!

So why eat your greens? Well, they are chockful of vitamins and minerals that go to work cleaning up your insides, helping your skin to glow and your hair to shine! In addition, they are filled with antioxidants that slow down the aging process and can even help protect and fight against cancer. The potassium in leafy greens can support the reduction of high blood pressure as well. They are high in fiber, which aids in digestion and elimination. These green superfoods are one of the best natural anti-inflammatories and you don’t need a prescription to indulge!

Some of my favorite greens include cruciferous veggies: kale, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, arugula, cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, mustard greens, watercress, cauliflower (the white green food), and many more. Cruciferous veggies have long been known for being superheroes when it comes to fighting disease. To gain the many benefits, it is best to consume 1.5 – 3 cups a day.

Herbs are a powerful green as well and not only add great flavor to food, they are nature’s medicine. Fresh or dried, they are high in antioxidants. I especially love cilantro and parsley for the added benefit of a spring detox.

Bitter greens like arugula, dandelion, and mustard, just to name a few, are incredibly helpful for stimulating digestion. It’s important to rotate your dark leafy greens and drink lots of water to avoid kidney stones that may develop from eating too many greens, such as spinach, that contain oxalates.

Last but not least when I think of greens, I like to include sea veggies, like chlorella, spirulina, dulse, kombu, arame, nori, and kelp. They are a great source of protein, iron, iodine, and vitamin C. They can easily be incorporated into smoothies, salads, and soups.

If you are on blood thinners, be sure to ask your doctor about avoiding veggies with vitamin K! Romaine and iceberg lettuce tend to be lower in vitamin K and may be a good choice, but always consult with your physician before consuming greens when taking this medication. If you have a thyroid issue, be sure to cook your cruciferous veggies, versus eating them raw.

If you notice gas and bloating from eating too many raw veggies, you may need to steam or cook your greens to support optimal digestion. Be sure to chew all your food to liquid, as your stomach does not have teeth!

Let’s look at three ways to serve up your greens:

       Living: Sprouts are at the top of my list! They are a living food as they are still growing when you eat them and are filled with powerful phytonutrients that gives you the highest nutritional content. They are wonderful in salads, wraps, or on top of other prepared dishes.

       Raw: These greens when freshly picked still have that “life-force-energy” in them and the more energy in your food, the more energy in you! If you think about what would happen if you boiled a seed and then tried to plant it… would it grow? I highly doubt it, as the heat would certainly zap all the “life-force-energy” from the seed. Having said that, raw food may not be for everyone (see the note above about thyroid and digestive issues). Raw greens can be added to smoothies, blended in dressings, used as wraps, chopped in salads, and juiced for a powerful dose of nutrients. The “other” green, cauliflower, is fun to pulse in a food processor until it resembles rice or couscous and then tossed with your favorite dressing and other herbs and spices.

       Cooked: When you use a steamer to cook your greens you lose some valuable nutrients in the water. Rather than throwing away the water, try steaming them directly in a small water bath that gets mostly absorbed and then there is no need to drain the greens and lose all the wonderful nutrients. Sautéing is another great option, as long as it is done on a medium to low heat with quality oil. It is best not to brown greens and to not overcook them. You want them to retain their vibrant green color. Oven roasting is another option, stirring often to prevent burning. This works especially well with broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

The bottom line, eat more greens! Try to incorporate them into every meal. Remember to mix it up and rotate those greens. Have spinach in your morning smoothie; romaine lettuce, with cucumbers, sprouts, microgreens, and other assorted veggies for lunch, topped with a grain or protein; and make some sautéed kale, collards, or chard for the base to your dinner. You will be amazed at the increase in energy you will feel, the decrease in your inflammation, and how your skin and hair will improve! Food is medicine; it is the software that programs your sophisticated bio-computer. Eat Your Greens!

Massaged Kale Salad

This is a raw kale salad that you can make early in the morning, or two to three hours before you’re ready to serve. It is best fully “marinated.”

  • 1 bunch kale leaves, remove stems and tear leaves into bite size pieces, curly works best.

  • ¼ cup olive oil, or your favorite dressing.

  • Juice of one lemon or orange, unless you are using a pre-prepared dressing.

  • ¼ cup dried, fruit juice sweetened dried cranberries.

  • Organic pecans or walnuts, lightly sautéed in avocado oil with a drizzle of pure maple syrup.

Massage the kale leaves with the olive oil, using your hands. Add in other ingredients, except nuts and stir with a wooden spoon. Add the nuts just before serving to keep them crisp. Get creative with this. You can do a Mediterranean version with kalamata olives, capers, and chopped tomatoes.

Apricot Swiss Chard

  • One bunch Swiss chard

  • ½ cup dried apricots, chopped

  • 2-3 T olive oil

  • 1 T apricot preserves (fruit juice sweetened)

  • ½ t garlic powder or 1-2 cloves minced.

  • ½ t onion powder or 1 small onion chopped.

  • Pinch of sea salt

Wash and dry the Swiss chard leaves. Tear from stems into bite sized pieces. Chop stems into small chunks if desired. Heat oil on medium heat and gently simmer the onion and garlic. Add the Swiss chard and the apricots. Sauté for 10-15 minutes on medium heat until the greens are tender. Add preserves and sea salt and mix well.

Collard Green Wraps

  • Collard Greens, lower stems removed

  • All of the below ingredients are optional. Include what most appeals to you!

  • Avocado, sliced

  • Assorted veggies, sliced into thin sticks (carrots, peppers, cabbage)

  • Sprouts, microgreens, and or pea/sunflower shoots

  • Roasted red peppers

  • Hummus

  • Prepared quinoa

  • Fresh herbs, like cilantro, dill, or basil.

  • Dressing: drizzle with olive oil & lime juice, your favorite dressing, or a yummy nut-butter sauce (1/4 cup nut-butter, 1 T pure maple syrup, ¼ cup hot water, 1 T Braggs Amino Acid, dash of lemon juice, and dash a cayenne).

Have your greens washed and stored in the refrigerator with a paper towel in a container for ready use. You can also prep veggies sticks in advance and store in an airtight glass container. Have some prepared hummus or quinoa on hand. Lay the collard greens on a flat surface and lightly layer assorted “stuffers” and gently roll, folding in the ends to prevent the loss of your stuffers. If you are using large leaves, cut the rolls in half. Serve with a dipping sauce or dressing of choice.

Kale Chips

Kale chips make a great nutritious snack when you need something a little savory or salty.

  • 1 bunch curly kale

  • 2 T olive or avocado oil

  • Seasonings of choice: (cumin, turmeric, smoked paprika) (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves) (rosemary, dill, oregano).

  • Dash of sea salt (optional)

Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Wash kale leaves and dry thoroughly. Remove stems and tear leaves into chip sized pieces. In a bowl, whisk oil with desired seasonings. Toss the kale pieces into the oil & seasoning mixture, best to use your hands for an even coating of all chips. Place chips on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Keep chips from touching for best results and a crispy texture. Bake for 15 minutes, then toss and continue to bake for 5-10 minutes. Watch them closely so they do not burn. Best eaten right away, but they will store for 2-3 days in an airtight container after they are completely cooled.

Green Smoothie

  • 1 handful of spinach leaves, fresh or frozen.

  • ½ small cucumber, chopped into large chunks.

  • 1 small fresh banana, or ½ cup chopped frozen banana.

  • 3-5 fresh or frozen strawberries.

  • ¼ cup frozen pineapple chunks.

  • 1 t spirulina algae powder.

  • 1-2 cups non-dairy milk of choice or coconut water.

Wash all fresh ingredients. Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth.

If you have a topic you’d like to learn more about, please email me at connect@roots2wellness.com. Until next time!

 

Janet Verney
Food for Thought: A Healthy Heart!
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As I sat down to write about a Healthy Heart, I struggled a bit with where to begin, as there is so much contradictory information out there. This can certainly leave you feeling a bit confused and maybe even overwhelmed. There are theories that tout adding a spoonful, or two of coconut oil to smoothies and those who say stay away from saturated fats all together. There are diet regimes that suggest eating lots of animal protein and no grains and those who say animal protein is a bad thing for the heart and to consume more vegetables. Believe it or not, nutrition is still a fledgling science and it is ever evolving as the latest research points us in a new direction.

Having studied integrative nutrition for many years, I consistently see that all the experts agree on consuming more leafy greens and seasonal veggiesreducing or eliminating sugar from your daily dietavoiding overly processed pre-packaged foods and preparing more whole foods at home; and to stop being a couch potato and to keep your body moving. I agree with the experts, but will add my two cents below. As always, before starting any new diet or lifestyle change, be sure to consult with your doctor.

In previous columns I have alluded to overall inflammation in the body and how to reduce it and without sounding like a broken record, this is critical for a healthy heart. I believe it begins with a healthy, loving attitude towards life, which includes reducing day to day stress; to stop worrying over every little thing; to rephrase negative chatter to positive thinking, and to live from a place of gratitude & love. Fear and worry erodes health and hope leaves room for doubt that things will get better. When we believe in our ability to heal that is when the magic happens! I speak from personal experience on this front.

Once you have shifted to a positive mindset the rest is a piece of cake, or should I say “leafy green” … I’m actually a big fan of many of the concepts in a Mediterranean diet, which include healthier fats like olive oil and avocado oil; lots of leafy greens and veggies; anti-inflammatory herbs like oregano, thyme, sage, & rosemary; organic nuts, seeds, and beans; less refined whole grains like sprouted whole wheat, quinoa, amaranth, & millet; wild caught fish from time to time; along with foods rich in polyphenols like organic berries, coffee, green tea, and even a little red wine & dark chocolate as tolerated.

I’m not a fan of dairy and feel this, for many, can trigger lots of inflammation. I will occasionally enjoy goat or sheep cheese, but avoid it otherwise. I believe some folks need a little animal protein in their diet and others do better being totally plant based. If you are a “meat” eater try reducing the portion size, keeping it lean, grass-fed, free-range, and making it less often and as a side dish to your veggies. Avoid those overly processed foods, especially those with sugar, bad fats, and yucky chemicals. Foods that sit on that fence of heart healthy or not, like coconut oil, butter, coffee, etc., I’m a big believer in moderation. It’s kind of that 80/20 rule – if 80% of the time you eat/live a heart healthy lifestyle, then the 20% is just part of living all in!

Some of my go-to superfoods include fermented vegetables; nut milk yogurts; chia, fax, & hemp seeds; fermented tempeh; green juices and nutrient dense smoothies; ginger & turmeric root in teas or stir-fries, and living foods like sprouts and microgreens. These are all super heart healthy and will support reduced inflammation in the body.

What I have consistently witnessed is when folks make these changes and are consistently practicing a heart healthy lifestyle (80% of the time) their doctors begin either reducing or even eliminating blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar medications. As I like to say, LOVE yourself enough to ______ (you fill in the blank)!

If you have a topic you’d like to learn more about, please email me at connect@roots2wellness.com. Until next time!

Janet E. Verney is an Author, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Wellness Designer, and Healthy Food Chef who resides in Higganum and loves helping others to “health-up” their lives!  Have a burning health or nutrition question, write to Janet at connect@roots2wellness.com. To learn more, visit her website at roots2wellness.com. 

Some Heart Healthy Recipes:

Berry Nutty Smoothie:

  • 1 cup frozen berries of choice

  • ¼ cup of mixed soaked/dehydrated nuts & seeds (chia, hemp, pumpkin, walnut)

  • Juice of ½ of lemon

  • Organic almond milk or water

  • Drops of stevia or pitted date for added sweetness (optional)

  • ¼  avocado and or banana (optional for a creamy texture and added nutrients)

Blend on high until well mixed.

Walnut Tacos

  • 3 cups walnuts (soaked & dehydrated)

  • 1 tsp. garlic powder

  • 2 T chili powder

  • 1 tsp. cumin

  • 1 tsp. paprika

  • ½ tsp. turmeric powder

  • Dash of pink sea salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until chopped. Wrap in collard greens or romaine lettuce, top with sprouts and shredded & chopped veggies of choice

Grain-Free Crackers/Crust

  • 1 T ground chia seeds

  • 1/4 C water

  • 1 T olive oil

  • 1/4 t baking soda (non-aluminum)

  • 1/4 t pink sea salt

  • 1/2 C ground flax meal

  • 1 C ground almonds

  • A pinch of rosemary, oregano, & sage

Whisk the chia seed with the water until it is “egg-like.”  Add oil, baking soda, and sea salt and whisk until well blended.  With a wooden spoon, stir in the flax meal and then the ground almonds.  Mix until dough forms.

Place dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll flat.  Slide the dough that is between the parchment paper onto a large cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with the spice blend.  Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes, or place in the dehydrator for 24-36 hours, or until crisp.

Can be used as a pizza crust or broken into small pieces for dipping or spreads.  

Hemp Hearts

  • 6 large Medjool dates, cut in half the long way and pitted

  • 3 Tbs. melted dark chocolate, preferably 85% dark

  • 1 Tbs. hemp hearts

Cut a small triangle at the top of each date half and pinch the lower portion to make the shape of a heart. Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Spoon about ½ tablespoon of dark chocolate on each heart. Sprinkle with hemp hearts. Set in the refrigerator until set. They make a wonderful holiday or hostess gift. Great to have a batch in the refrigerator for when you just need something a little sweet and chocolaty.

 

Janet Verney
Food for Thought: The 9 R’s of Managing a Healthy Weight

As seen in Haddam-Killingworth News

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So by now you’ve likely seen oodles of ads, Facebook posts, and other promotions to shed those extra pounds. Everyone seems to have a shtick on how to lose weight… via the latest fad diet, a super cleanse, a magic pill, or one heck of a powerful detox. The problem I see with most of these “solutions” to weight loss is that they are usually temporary – the weight comes off and then creeps back on over time. Some like to call this the “yo-yo” effect!

To me the answer is quite clear, but for many not always easy. I find that most people know what they need to do, but are still seeking that quick fix. It may take some effort to make some important lifestyle changes, but it is so worth it in the long run. Below I share some of what I have learned through the years in my own health journey and Integrative Nutrition Health education. I broke it into the 9 R’s of managing a healthy weight.

I’m not promoting a product or selling a service. I’m sharing what I know to support your journey to better health! Before beginning any changes in your diet or exercise routines, it is best to consult your physician.

RELATIONSHIP

Before setting out on a path to shed those pounds, it is critical for some to explore their relationship with food. I know there are health coaches out there who specialize in this area of nutrition, so if you have struggled with this, reach out to an expert and get some help or all of your efforts will be for nothing. You may not even realize you have a relationship issue with food. One way to discover this is either working with someone who will ask the right questions, or keeping a food/mood journal. Without changing how you eat, keep a log of what you ate and when, along with how you were feeling before you ate and your mood after eating. You may see a trend that will help you change a stubborn habit or pattern of eating. Don’t go it alone – get some support!

RESTORE

The “GUT”, your microbiome, plays a huge role in managing your weight. Think of your gut like a garden. It needs to be well nourished with a balance of good & bad bacteria, along with a healthy level of yeast. Tend to your gut, weeding out the bad stuff and nourishing it with the good stuff, including lots of clean filtered water. When your gut is out of balance, you may not be absorbing nutrients properly, or you may feel overly bloated. Poor digestion can lead to an assortment of health issues and inflammation throughout the body. Not only do we need to feed our gut good food, we may need to restore good gut flora from bad eating habits. Ask your physician about a high quality prebiotic/probiotic. Consider eating more fermented vegetables and reducing pre-packaged foods filled with sugars and unhealthy fats. Be sure to CHEW, CHEW, CHEW – your stomach doesn’t have teeth! Maybe you need a little more help than others and would benefit from a good digestive enzyme or bitters. Bottom line, a healthy gut means a healthy body!

ROUTINE

Your day to day routines can make or break your efforts to maintaining a healthy weight. It is critical to get a good night’s sleep. When we start our day without a good night’s sleep we tend to reach for garbage food in the morning, which starts a trend for how the day will progress.  If you are working full time, or simply have a hectic schedule, planning ahead is key. Set aside a couple of hours, two days a week to plan and prepare some healthy eats or some grab & go snacks. This is especially important for those who travel. If you know there are certain times during the day, or evening that you want to reach for that unhealthy snack, either have a substitute ready to rock, or make a plan at that time to call a friend, take a walk, or do something special just for you. Avoid eating when you are feeling stressed and do your best to eat your meals in a delightful setting, with gratitude. Yes, it’s a bit of work, but YOU ARE WORTH IT!

REJUVINATE

Get your engine running and get moving! Start from where you are and take small steps to get your motor running. I personally love to walk and dance! If getting out and moving is something you have not done in a while, take it slow. Start by walking ten minutes, twice a day and increase each week as you feel comfortable. Don’t go from zero to a five-mile marathon or one of those extreme exercise programs – this is when folks get hurt! If you are unable to walk, then talk to your physician about physical therapy and start with simple movements from sitting or lying in bed. Even good digestion depends on getting yourself moving! So grab a friend and set some time to do it together, keeping you and them accountable to rejuvenate your entire system.

RESET

I mentioned earlier that you may need some extra support if you are dealing with a stubborn weight issue and although I’m not one for fad diets, there are some wonderful programs out there. Do your homework, ask questions and see if it is right for you. Two bricks and mortar places that I am aware of and feel confident in their approach is Compass Weight Loss in CT and The Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach FL. My favorite authors who support managing a healthy weight are Donna Gates, Body Ecology; Dr Mark Hyman; Dr. David Katz; and Kris Carr. They are all very different, so explore their websites and see what feels right for you. I always say, no one diet is right for every person, so find what will work for you to reset your system and get you on track to a healthier way of living.

REDUCE

This may sound simple, but it can have a great effect on your efforts to lose, or gain weight. Reduce the pre-packaged foods that have all the hidden sugars, unhealthy fats, food dyes and preservatives and replace them with more whole, plant based foods. The more you add in the good, the more you crowd out the bad. Many diets encourage you to reduce your portions of food, or to cut out an entire food group, but if you have a plate filled with whole foods, especially leafy greens and other low starch veggies, you can eat till the cows come home! Take the time to makeover your pantry and fridge and get rid of the junk that may be tempting you and replace it with healthier options.

RESTOCK

Restock your pantry and fridge with whole foods. When it comes to veggies, I like to get them locally and preferably organic so they are in season and packed with the most nutrients. For grains, I go for the less refined, like brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, and sprouted whole wheat. My go-to fats are cold pressed organic olive oil, avocado oil, organic sesame oil, and on occasion coconut oil. I steer clear of common sweeteners and never eat artificial ones. Instead, I use raw honey, pure maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, and organic stevia in moderation. I keep organic nuts and seeds on hand for a healthy, protein rich snack. I am a big fan of legumes for a high protein, low fat addition to my meals. For those meat eaters, I suggest getting free range, organic options and keeping the portion size super small, making it your “side-dish.” Choose low glycemic fruits like berries & grapefruits and save the moderate and sweeter fruits for treats. Be sure to spice things up! There is no reason for healthy foods to taste bland. Spices have many medicinal qualities and can even improve gut health, so try something new and you may just be surprised.

REMEMBER

Remember, you are only human, so don’t play the guilt card when you enjoy something not on your plan. It is what you do 80-90% of the time that counts. Having an occasional goodie when you are out and about will not sabotage your hard work, as long as it’s not a daily routine. I love a good cookie, so rather than having a store bought version, I make a batch of my re-designed chocolate chip cookies and freeze them for my go to cookie fix. Feel free to email me at connect@roots2wellness.com if you would like the recipe.

RESTRICTIVE

Diets that are too restrictive for too long are the worst! This is what I call the rebound effect. If something is too restrictive, then you will not stick with it. I am not one for diets at all… I just enjoy good food that is good for me! Dr. Katz once said “Love food that loves you back” and that has been my go to motto, most of the time…

Wishing a joyous and healthy New Year!

Janet E. Verney is an Author, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Wellness Designer, and Healthy Food Chef who resides in Higganum and loves helping others to “health-up” their lives!  Have a burning health or nutrition question, write to Janet at connect@roots2wellness.com. To learn more, visit her website at roots2wellness.com. 

Janet Verney
Food for Thought: Gifts From The Kitchen

As seen in Haddam-Killingworth News

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Tis the season for some holiday treats! Of course in my kitchen, I like to keep things a bit healthier, so here are a few of my go to recipes, made with lots of love, to gift at the holidays! You’ll notice I’m a fan of avocado oil. This healthy fat is great for baking as it can tolerate heat better than most and it has so many health benefits. Check out this article to learn more: https://draxe.com/avocado-oil/

Once you have created your healthy treats, it’s time to think about how to package them. I buy inexpensive glass jars and take-out-boxes for this purpose. I embellish them with fabric, bows, stickers and other assorted fun! Tying cinnamon sticks with twine to the outer packaging makes for a delightful presentation and it smells divine! Most of all, have fun, get creative, and give a gift of love.

 

Half Baked Granola

Lightly toasting the oats with the dried fruits, the maple syrup, and the spices gives the granola such wonderful flavor. I keep the remaining ingredients in their raw state to preserve the nutrients, making this granola one of my favorite superfoods!

·       ½ Cup avocado oil

·       1 Cup pure maple syrup

·       1 Tbs. vanilla extract

·       1 Tbs. pumpkin pie spice (1-tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 -tsp. nutmeg & ginger, & ½-tsp. allspice & cloves)

·       4 Cups GF, organic rolled oats

·       1 cup mixed dried fruits of choice

·       Raw Additions

·       2 Tbs. cacoa nibs

·       2 Tbs. hemp hearts

·       2 Tbs. chia seeds

·       1 Tbs raw vegan protein powder (SunWarrior)

·       1 Tbs maca powder (optional)

·       1 Cup organic raw nuts & seeds

 

In a large bowl, whisk the first four ingredients. Toss in the oats and dried fruit and stir until well coated. Spread on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Stir half way through baking and watch carefully not to burn.

In the same large bowl, mix all the raw food ingredients while the oat mix is baking. While still warm, add the oat mix to the raw food mix and stir well. Allow to cool and store in glass Mason jars. Serve with your favorite nut milk or use as a topping to your favorite dairy free ice-cream or yogurt. You can also add crystalized ginger and/or fresh berries or fruit.

 

Acorn Truffles

These are so simple, fun to create, delicious, and make an adorable gift packaged in a little take-out box.

·       12 meljoon dates, cut in half and pitted

·       Organic Almond butter

·       1 bar organic dark chocolate

·       Crushed almonds

Cut the dates in half, making a little cup out of each half. Stuff with almond butter. Melt the dark chocolate and dip the flat end into the chocolate, then dip into a bowl of crushed almonds. Set on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and place in the fridge until solid. Package into cute take-out-boxes.

 

Gingerbread Bites

My one bowl, health’d-up version of this old holiday classic, is not only easy, it is deliciously healthy and allergy friendly.

Wisk the following together:

·       1 Tbls. Psyllium husk (an Indian herb available in health food stores or on Amazon)

·       ¼ cup water

·       1 Tbls. Avocado oil

Add:

·       1 cup Coconut Palm Sugar

·       ½ cup Molasses

·       1 cup Avocado oil

·       ¾ tsp. sea salt

·       1 Tbls. Baking soda

·       1 tsp. cinnamon

·       1 tsp. allspice

·       1 tsp. ginger

·       1 tsp cloves

·       3-4 cups loosely packed chickpea/garbanzo bean flour

The dough should be stiff. You can roll it in one inch balls, then flatten with the bottom of a glass, or roll it between two sheets of parchment paper to use cookie cutters. Embellish, if desired with raisins, then bake at 350 degrees, on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, for 8-9 minutes. Makes about 24 cookies.

 

Janet E. Verney is an Author, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Wellness Designer, and Healthy Food Chef who resides in Higganum and loves helping others to “health-up” their lives!  Have a burning health or nutrition question, write to Janet at connect@roots2wellness.com. To learn more, visit her website at roots2wellness.com. 

Janet Verney
Food for Thought: A Thankfully Healthful Feast
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As seen in Haddam-Killingworth Now

I adore the flavors of fall, but I don’t like feeling “stuffed” by a meal that is filled with too many carbs and sugars. My favorite aspect of Thanksgiving is being with family and friends, counting my many blessings, and of course watching the Macy’s Day Parade!

I like to keep it simple and pre-prepare dishes that I can just throw in the oven the day of the big event. This allows me, as the chief cook (and bottle washer) to spend time visiting with my family and friends. Below are three health’d-up recipes that I love this time of year and that won’t keep you in the kitchen all day.

If you are setting the table for a sit down dinner, consider adding a little glass or small jar at each place setting with the guest’s names. Give each person a piece of paper for the number of guests at your event. Encourage them to write something positive about each person and to put it in their jar. It could be as simple as complimenting the sweater they are wearing or something more in depth about how special they are. They can be read outload at the beginning of the meal and shared or kept private. This is a wonderful way to honor the Thanksgiving Feast and each other!

In my Recipes ReDesigned below, I have used healthier fats, kept everything gluten free, reduced the sugar content, and made them easy to prepare. Whenever possible, please use organic ingredients!

I hope you enjoy these health’d-up dishes and I encourage you to send me some of your favorite recipes that you would like see a healthier makeover. You can submit them to connect@roots2wellness.com

The Other Stuffing

Cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable with so many health benefits. This recipe is a superfood dish that won’t spike your blood sugar and yet is tastes like this old fashioned favorite. This recipe is not for stuffing the bird though, sorry.

  • 3 Tbs. Olive oil

  • 1 tsp. poultry seasoning

  • ½ tsp. Italian herbs

  • 1 tsp. sea salt

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 4 stalks celery, chopped

  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into small bite sized chunks

Gently heat the olive oil and the spices in a sauté pan on med/low. Add the onion and celery and simmer. Stir in the chopped cauliflower and toss on med/high heat until slightly brown and tender. You may need to add a small amount of water to help steam the cauliflower. Check for taste and add more seasoning as desired. Turn into an olive oil greased, oven proof dish. Cool, then cover and place in fridge until ready to serve.  When ready to serve, leave at room temp for 1 hour, then bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Special Note of Recognition:  Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, which is known for its cancer fighting properties. It is a terrific anti-inflammatory and is full of antioxidants.  It is rich in vitamins, supports digestion, and is a natural detoxifier to the body!

Simple Sweet Taters

Another powerhouse food that often gets criminalized with heavy fats and way too much sugar. Here is my favorite go to sweet potato recipe that keeps it simple and relatively healthy!

  • ¼ cup avocado oil

  • ½ cup fruit juice sweetened apricot jam

  • 2 Tbs. pure maple syrup

  • 1 Tbs. of orange liquor or fresh orange juice.

  • ½ tsp. sea salt

  • A pinch of cloves & allspice

  • 4-6 organic sweet potatoes

Wisk all of the above ingredients, except the sweet potatoes, in a shallow casserole dish and spread it evenly in the pan. Remove the tips at both ends of the sweet potatoes. Keeping the skins on, wash and cut the sweet potatoes into one inch round disks. Dip one side into the mixture, then turn over to coat the other side. Cover and place in fridge until ready to serve. When ready to serve, leave at room temp for 1 hour, then bake at 400 for 40-50 minutes, or until tender, turning once half way through baking.

Apple Crisp

I grew up in a Pennsylvania Dutch home where apple pie was often served for dinner… I even ate it for breakfast with warm milk and a teaspoon of sugar! I still love this fall favorite, but the gluten and all the refined sugar just trigger inflammation for me, so here is one of my easy, go to recipes to get my apple fix.

FILLING:

  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup

  • ½ lemon, juiced

  • 1 Tbs. GF flour

  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

  • ½ tsp. nutmeg

  • 1 pinch sea salt

  • 4 cups of sliced apples

TOPPING:

  • ¼ cup avocado oil

  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup

  • 1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract

  • 1 pinch of clove

  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

  • ½ tsp. nutmeg

  • 1 pinch sea salt

  • 2 cups organic almond flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For the filling, whisk all ingredients in a large bowl, except the apples. Add the fruit and toss to coat. Pour into a 9” baking pan.

For the topping, using the same large bowl, whisk all the liquid ingredients, adding the spices and salt. Add in the almond flour and mix in with a fork until chunky bits form. Crumble it over the fruit mixture. Cover with parchment paper, bake for 30 minutes, remove parchment and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until bubbly and brown.

Janet E. Verney is an Author, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Wellness Designer, and Healthy Food Chef who resides in Higganum and loves helping others to “health-up” their lives!  Have a burning health or nutrition question, write to Janet at connect@roots2wellness.com. To learn more, visit her website at roots2wellness.com. 

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Janet Verney
Food for Thought: You’re Sweet Enough!
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Posted on October 11, 2018 in Haddam-Killingworth Now

Are you feeling fatigued and tired all the time? Do you suffer from chronic headaches? Are you frustrated with your weight? Do you battle mild anxiety, depression, or chronic mood swings? Are you catching colds too often? Oh the list could go on… Much of this could be from what I call the sugar blues!

Did you know that when too much sugar is in the blood it gets all sticky and can cause a whole host of issues with blood vessels, leading to heart disease, an increase in inflammation, and type 2 diabetes? Well, the good news is so much of this can be reversed and prevented!

The “simple” solution is to decrease the amount of sugar and refined carbohydrates you eat, but we all know that can be “not so simple” to do, especially when those cravings hit! Here is another reason it can be hard to do – sugar is a sneaky ingredient and is disguised by more than 60 different names hiding in most pre-packaged foods. Many of these sugars have names that you may not recognize as sugar when reading food labels. Did you know that most of us consume about 30 teaspoons of sugar every day? That’s about 100 pounds a year! Yikes that’s a lot of sugar. No wonder so many of us are getting sick.

With the holiday season creeping up on us, this is a great time to make some changes and plan for success. I can already hear you saying “I’ll get back on track after the holidays and make it my New Year’s resolution.” We all know how that goes! So let’s switch it up and take control of your blood sugar and make it your best holiday season ever! Keep in mind, it is not about depriving yourself; it is about taking some small steps, one at a time, and crowding out what is making you feel sick.

Here is a road map to take charge of your blood sugar and curb those cravings. Start by focusing on eating a whole food diet (add in lots of veggies at every meal), eat less pre-packaged foods (be a label reader and look for that pesky sugar), ditch the soda and other sugary drinks, decrease alcohol consumption, eliminate high fructose corn syrup and refined white sugar, and replace refined carbohydrates with whole grains. Eliminate artificial sweeteners like aspartame, NutraSweet, and Splenda – many have well-recognized neurotoxins and can cause a host of other issues. I have heard these artificial sweeteners have actually been linked to weight gain making you want to eat more food. Add in lean protein and high quality fats like avocado and olive oil.  Eat your veggies first to support optimal digestion. Nibble on a small handful of organic nuts or seeds as an afternoon pick-me-up. All of this is a great start to reducing blood sugar and getting yourself on track to better health.

Sweet is part of life and should be enjoyed in moderation. Choosing healthier options is a great way “to have your cake and eat it too.” Try replacing sweet treats with whole fruits (not juiced). The fiber in the fruit slows down the spike in blood sugar. For optimal digestion, fruit it is best when eaten alone.

Some of my favorite sweeteners, with the most nutritional value, include: raw honey, pure maple syrup, brown rice syrup, dates, coconut sugar, yacon syrup, and blackstrap molasses. These sweeteners will raise blood sugar, but are better choices when used in moderation. I will often change up a recipe, replacing an overly refined sugar with one of the above and use much less, making it less sweet. Not to worry, your taste buds will adjust in time!

One of the best natural, plant-based sweeteners out there is stevia. I especially like the liquid version called Stevita. It is less refined and it is organic. The best part of Stevita is that it does not raise blood sugar and you need very little of it to make something sweet. I use it in my homemade lemonade, or a drop or two in my herbal tea. Some don’t care for the taste of stevia, but I find over time you get used to it and may even come to like it.

Some other sweetener options that do not raise blood sugar include: xylitol, erythritol, and inulins, but these natural sugar alcohols can cause digestive issues for some. My favorite in this sweetener category is Lakanto, a combination of non-gmo erythritol and monk fruit. Lakanto is a great option for baking.

Remember, you’re sweet enough! Adding a bit of sweetness to life now and then is okay, but you’re doing yourself a disservice when over consuming it. Plan ahead and make a batch of something using a more nutritional sweetener and freeze it for an occasional snack. When attending those holiday gatherings, bring something to share made with less sugar and healthier options. After one month of ridding yourself of the excess sugar you will see some remarkable differences and when you taste something made with overly refined sugars you may make a funny scrunch face and realize what you haven’t been missing!

Here are a few of my go to sweet treats to keep on hand (I use mostly organic ingredients whenever possible):

Chocolate “sea-salt” Turtles

  • 6 large Medjool dates, cut in half the long way and pitted

  • 3 Tbs. melted dark chocolate, preferably 85% dark

  • 36 organic pecan pieces, whole or cut

  • Coarse sea salt

Place date halves, sticky side up, on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Place 6 pecan pieces on each date, strategically to look like a turtles head, tail, and four little feet. Spoon about ½ tablespoon of dark chocolate on each turtle, anchoring the pecans to the date. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Set in the refrigerator until set. They make a wonderful holiday or hostess gift. Great to have a batch in the refrigerator for when you just need something a little sweet and chocolaty.

Strawberry Banana Ice-cream

  • 2 bananas cut into chunks and frozen

  • 1 small bag of frozen organic strawberries

  • 1 can (BPA-free) coconut milk, refrigerated

  • 1 cup almond milk

  • 2 large Tbs. of raw honey or pure maple syrup if vegan

  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract

  • 1 pinch sea salt

Place all ingredients in high-speed blender and start on low, then high until completely smooth. After blending you can add sliced fresh strawberries for texture if you like. Place all ingredients in an ice-cream maker and churn for 15-20 minutes, until thick and creamy. Serve immediately or transfer to a glass Pyrex container and freeze. Stir every couple of hours to keep smooth, or simply thaw for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Note – if you are using fresh ingredients that are not frozen, refrigerate after blending for 2 hours, before churning.

If you do not have an ice-cream maker, it is a wonderful investment to make whole food, clean, delicious ice-cream!

Very Berry Crisp

FILLING:

  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup

  • ½ lemon, juiced

  • 1 Tbs. avocado oil

  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

  • ½ tsp. nutmeg

  • 1 tsp. arrowroot powder

  • 1 pinch sea salt

  • 4 cups of your favorite berries

TOPPING:

  • ¼ cup avocado oil

  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup

  • 1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract

  • 1 pinch of clove

  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

  • ½ tsp. nutmeg

  • 1 pinch sea salt

  • 2 cups organic almond flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For the filling, whisk all ingredients in a large bowl, except the berries. Add the fruit and toss to coat. Pour into a 9” baking pan.

For the topping, using the same large bowl, whisk all the liquid ingredients, adding the spices and salt. Add in the almond flour and mix in with a wooden spoon until chunky bits form. Crumble it over the fruit mixture. Cover with parchment paper, bake for 30 minutes, remove parchment and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until bubbly and brown.

Black Bean Brownies

  • 2 Tbs. water

  • 2 Tbs. flax meal

  • 3 Tbs. avocado oil

  • 1 Tbs. pure vanilla extract

  • ½ tsp. sea salt

  • ¾ cup raw cacao powder

  • ¾ cup coconut palm sugar

  • 1 can (BPA-free) black beans, rinsed

  • 1 tsp. baking soda

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place all ingredients, except baking soda & baking powder, in blender and blend until smooth. Add baking soda & baking powder and blend on low. Pour into greased baking dish or in muffin tins lined with paper baking cups. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Completely cool before cutting

Janet Verney
Food for Thought: Is Gluten Free Right for Me?
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By now I’m sure you have heard the term Gluten-Free (GF), but what does this mean and is it right for you?

So what is gluten and who should avoid it? Gluten is a protein found in many grains, prepackaged foods and in many beauty products. For someone with Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder, gluten can be lethal and must be completely avoided. I have friends with this challenging disease who cannot even use pots and pans that have been exposed to gluten, even after washing.

Although I do not have Celiac disease I personally follow a GF lifestyle. Some folks are sensitive to this gluten protein and if they have any underlying inflammation in the body, gluten can be one of the culprits. It is especially aggravating for those with digestive issues and joint inflammation.

If you don’t have Celiac disease, but are struggling with inflammation and/or digestive issues, you may want to try going GF, but first I would suggest looking at avoiding overly refined flours and sugars. I find it quite interesting that friends who cannot tolerate breads and pastries in the US, go to Europe and eat the breads and pastries without any upset. This furthers my belief that it may not be just the gluten, but the overly processed grains here in America.

I encourage my clients to eat 100% whole and/or sprouted grains, the less processed the better. To take it a step further, I ask them to try some of the ancient grains like quinoa, millet, amaranth, and buckwheat, which are all gluten free. Technically they are all seeds, not grains, but in most recipes they are used like you would a grain. You may want to try using one of these in your favorite rice dishes as a substitute. Yes, rice is GF, but it is a more starchy carbohydrate that will raise blood sugar and has been known for having traces of arsenic.

A word of caution when considering a GF lifestyle… don’t fall victim to all the overly, ultra-processed GF foods on the shelves of the supermarket. It is simply junk food in another form! Here is an example of a GF cookie, with the first ingredient being “SUGAR,” which all experts agree is the number one culprit for the deterioration of health in our culture. My next article will be about the sugar blues… stay tuned!  When it comes to reading labels on pre-packed foods, also consider the ingredients you cannot pronounce or if you do not know what it is – these are best to avoid and are typically preservatives or emulsifiers that can wreak havoc on your digestive system.

So let’s look at some great GF alternative flours. My two favorite, go-to for replacements are garbanzo beanalso known as besan flour in Asian markets, and organic almond flour. Local grocers carry the garbanzo bean and I get my organic almond flour from nuts.com. I create an assortment of baked goods with these flours and also use them to “bread” veggies and meats to bake.  Below are two of my all-star recipes.  Keep in mind that some folks have allergies to nuts so it is important to share with your guests that you have used a substitute to prevent anyone from consuming something they may be allergic to.

I hope you enjoy these recipes, and as always if you have questions, reach out to me at connect@roots2wellness.com

Chocolate Chip Cookies — Vegan, GF, Nut-free, Grain-free

Wisk in large bowl & allow to sit until thick:

  • 1 Tbsp. whole psyllium husk (this is an Indian herb you can purchase at a health food store

  • 1 Tbsp. Avocado oil

  • ¼ cup water

Add:

  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla,

  • ½ cup avocado oil

  • ½ cup coconut oil,

  • 1 ¾ cups coconut palm sugar,

  • ½ tsp. sea salt,

  • 1 tsp. baking soda,

  • 1 tsp. baking powder

  • Fold in 1 pkg. dark chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)

Stir in 3 cups chickpea flour until just blended.

Scoop by spoonfuls and press flat onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, bake at 325F for 8-10 minutes.

Best kept refrigerated or frozen (place on a cookie sheet and set in fridge until chips are solid, then place in container for storing).

Grain-Free Crackers/Crust

1 T ground chia seeds

  • 1/4 C water

  • 1 T olive oil

  • 1/4 t baking soda (non-aluminum)

  • 1/4 t pink sea salt

  • 1/2 C ground flax meal

  • 1 C ground almonds

  • Favorite spice blend

Whisk the chia seed with the water until it is “egg-like”.  Add oil, baking soda, and sea salt and whisk until well blended.  With a wooden spoon, stir in the flax meal and then the ground almonds.  Mix until dough forms.

Place dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll flat.  Slide the dough that is between the parchment paper onto a large cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with the spice blend.  Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes, or place in the dehydrator for 24-36 hours, or until crisp.

Can be used as a pizza crust or broken into small pieces for dipping or spreads.

Janet E. Verney is an author, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Wellness Designer, and healthy food chef who resides in Higganum and loves helping others to “health-up” their lives!  Have a burning health or nutrition question, write to Janet at connect@roots2wellness.com. To learn more, visit her website at roots2wellness.com

Photos of food by Janet. Photo of Janet by Studio Petronella. 

As seen on Haddam News Online.

 
Tami Reagor
Food for Thought: The Zucchini Invasion
 
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‘Tis the season for this wonderful veggie, but if you’re like me and have a garden full of it, it can be a challenge to reinvent it into another culinary creation!

I have to say that the many health benefits of this abundant vegetable make it worth the trouble. It is low in calories, has a high water content that is great for staying hydrated in the heat of the summer, and it has a good deal of vitamin C to help reduce inflammation and keep you healthy!  

When possible, buy organic or locally grown and keep the skins on – they are full of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A when consumed, keeping your eyes healthy and bright! In addition to the skin, be sure to try the zucchini blossoms as well, which also have their fair share of beta carotene.

Zucchini has to be one of the most versatile vegetables with its unassuming flavor, taking on the seasonings of your choice. Let’s explore a few ways to prepare this garden favorite.

  • I like a simple grilled zucchini. I slice it and then place it into a grilling basket, lined with parchment paper. I drizzle it with olive oil, add a sprig of fresh rosemary (dried is fine too), a sprinkle of sea salt and then grill to the desired consistency (about 15 minutes).
  • My favorite has to be spiralized zucchini, which creates long strands that are very much like pasta. The zucchini noodles can be eaten raw, or lightly steamed and served with your favorite sauce. I make my own crockpotted marina with tomatoes and herbs from my garden. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can find them online for under $25. It is fun to do and kids just love to help!
  • Zucchini boats are a great option for the ones that hid in the garden and look more like a giant club. I cut them in half, the long way and scape out the overly large seeds. I bake them skin side up on a cookie sheet with a small amount of water until they are easily fork tender (about 30 minutes at 350) I make a quinoa/lentil (high protein) mix with some chili flavoring or a ginger gluten-free soy sauce mix and then stuff the zucchini boats. These can be made ahead and then re-heated with a drizzle of olive oil, a bit of crumbled cashew cheese (cashews ground with sea salt and a bit of garlic), or with your favorite asiago or parmesan cheese.

Make the most of this abundant veggie and enjoy all the wonderful health benefits! You may even consider the famous zucchini bread, but that’s for another day.

As seen on Haddam News Online.

 
 
Tami Reagor
Herbs & Olive Oil are Good for the Gut!
 
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Did you know that Herbs & Olive Oil are a win win for your GUT?

In this picture, I have fresh rosemary, sage, oregano, and thyme in a glass jar with some organic, extra virgin olive oil.

  • Rosemary supports poor digestion of fats and has some prebiotic properties.
  • Sage can reduce bloating and abdominal spasms. In olive oil it can help lower blood sugars.
  • Oregano is a powerful antioxidant, is anti-microbial and promotes healthy gut bacteria.
  • Thyme mixed with olive oil is superior for gut health.

Olive oil is a polyphenol that is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and is believed to help lower LDL, bad cholesterol.

So get some high quality organic olive oil and some fresh herbs and make your own wonderful infused oil for use on salads of all kinds, or over some GF Ancient Harvest pasta with lightly sautéed veggies.

Happy Gut, Healthy Life!

 
Janet Verney
To Juice or to Smoothie is the Question...
 
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I have heard so many debates on this and continue to hear much confusion about this topic, so here are my two cents for your consideration.

First, I believe they both have their benefits, when done right!

When done wrong, they can really mess with your health. I have even heard some “smoothier’s” say they are juicing because they make their smoothie less thick and more watery…. Um, no…. that isn’t juicing folks.

Ok, let’s start with JUICING! Juicing is not blending, it requires a juicing machine (I’m partial to my Omega  J8006 – easy to use and easy clean-up). My first rule is to only use organic produce. My second rule is only juice low glycemic veggies, no fruit. When we juice we are removing the FIBER from the produce. When we remove the fiber we speed up the absorption of nutrients, which is like liquid gold to our cells when we only use the green stuff, of course. When you juice fruit it is like overdosing on sugar, spiking your blood sugars. You see, fiber slows down the sugar spike of fruit.

Juicing may take a little more time, but in my humble opinion, it is one of the key ingredients to improving your health. My go to recipe is one cup of peashoots (a living raw food, high in protein), one cup of sunflower shoots (a living raw food, high in protein), one cucumber (super hydrating), and five celery stalks (a superfood in its own right, decreasing inflammation in joints, soothing gut issues, and supporting lunch function). Sometimes I add lemon or ginger root (great anti-inflammatory and adds heat to your digestive fire). For newbies to juicing, adding ½ a green apple (no seeds) may make it more palatable. To me, my green juice says “I LOVE YOU!”.

Now we are on to SMOOTHIES! When we blend organic produce, including fruit, it maintains the fiber, slowing down the glycemic spike to your blood sugar and it is a great way to get some high quality nutrition in a single serving. Having said all that it is important to choose your ingredients wisely. This is not an opportunity to throw in a scoop of ice-cream or other junk foods. I encourage low glycemic fruits, like berries to get you started. My favorite go to blender is a Vita Mix, but they are expensive, unless you find a reconditioned one online. There are many mini blenders out there now that work pretty well for this purpose.

Smoothies can be healthy, but they do pack a lot of calories, so it’s best to make them a replacement for a meal when you are short on time. My favorite go to recipe is a cup of wild frozen blueberries, ½ of an avocado, one pitted date, a handful of greens (I like to mix them up, but my favorites are spinach & kale), a tablespoon of chia or hemp seeds, and organic almond milk to blend. This is packed with protein from the greens, the seeds, and the avocado! No need for those expensive, overly processed protein powders.  If you do invest in protein powder, I suggest organic, vegan, and raw – my two favorites are Sunwarrior and Garden of Life, but be sure to read the labels and get only those sweetened with stevia and no other sugars!

One more thought while I have you on this subject… A common mistake folks make when consuming their smoothie or juice is to GULP it down… No, no, no, not a good thing! Did you know that your gut is responsible for 90% of disease? Ok, that’s a whole new topic, but for the sake of your gut, it is super important to swish or chew your juice and/or smoothie to stimulate those critical digestive enzymes in the mouth. I’ve had clients tell me that they often feel bloated after consuming a smoothie and when they make an effort to chew their smoothie that greatly improves.

I hope this helped to clarify juicing versus smoothies and how they can both play a role in your health. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have on this highly debated topic.  For those enrolled in our foodGEVITY.com program, we have demos and recipes as well for both juices and smoothies.

Here's to your health! 

 

 
Janet Verney
What's Your Body Telling You?
 
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Do you have that "feel good factor"?

The one without fatigue, aches & pains, and lack of energy?

What's your body telling you? Your body is constantly talking to you, letting you know when it's out of balance or lacking harmony!

But do you listen...?

Feed your body clean food, decrease your stress levels, move your body, and practice daily self-care - this is a great start to quiet an inflamed body and begin your road to health!

Join me at foodGEVITY.com and let's get started!

 
Janet Verney
Be Your Own Health Advocate!
 
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There are many awesome doctors out there, but they are human, they make mistakes, and they don’t have all the answers. 

You know you found a good one when they serve as your partner in health. They listen, they are open, they help you explore options, they dig deep to get to the root-cause, and best of all, they practice the “care” part of healthcare! 

There are many types of practitioners out there and in addition to their specific training & education, each one comes with their own unique experiences and personality. Find the ones that are right for you. 

I have my MD, my ND, my pulmonologist, my acupuncturist, my massage therapist, and of course my GYN.  This is my “village”, my team that supports my health. What they each have in common is a high intellect, compassion & kindness, and an openness to my thoughts and ideas. 

Find your village, be your voice, and stand up for your health! 

 
Janet Verney
Are You Feeling The Love?
 

Happy February Friends!

So, what are you doing to show yourself a little LOVE?

Loving Yourself to Health includes...

  • Keep your neurotransmitters fired-up - don't underestimate the power of positive thinking!
  • Reboot your battery - schedule time for self-care, daily, weekly, monthly! There is only one you.
  • Fill your fuel tank - What you put in your mouth makes a huge difference in your health. Love yourself enough to make the right choices!
  • Grab some time with friends - surround yourself with folks that believe in you, who bring you up, who celebrate you as the loving person you are.

This is the foundation of my signature workshop, Loving Yourself to Health. Get a dose of Vit L = LOVE and watch the magic happen!  I would love to bring this to an organization you're involved with, or your company for a lunch & learn.  Keep me in mind through your busy day!  You can reach me at connect@roots2wellness.com.

If you are in need of a LOVING transformation, check out my new online program for an inside out makeover - foodgevity.com. Check out the foodGEVITY Facebook page and grab one of the incredible coupon codes for a discounted enrollment fee! 

In Wellness, With Love,
Janet

 
Janet Verney
My 12 Tips to Feeling Better From The Crud!
 

How are you holding up during this busy holiday season?  Tis the season not only for family & friends, mixed with a little merriment, but also for sharing the not so fun colds & other nasty bugs.... 

I see so many friends posting that they are stuck with a nasty cough or cold.  There is lots that can be done, but when going a more natural route you have to hit it hard from all angles.  Below are some of my cold-proof remedies for prevention and for recovery from the crud.  As always, consult your doc before trying something new, especially if you take any prescription meds.  

When you first feel the crud creeping in or it hits you overnight and BOOM you’re down for the count, this is what I do:

1.    Take a hot Epsom salt bath (1-2 cups) with a few dashes of eucalyptus oil.  If you have On Guard by doterra, even better.  Soak as long as you can, then wrap in towels and sweat it out! 

2.    Rotate taking zinc and Vit C, at least two hours apart.

3.    Other terrific supplements to support are Vital Nutrient’s Herbal Biotic & Immune Support.  The Immune Support is also great for preventing catching what’s going around! 

4.    NAC = N Acetylcysteine.  This is another great way to support your immune system and incredible for clearing congestion.  For my lungs I sometimes take up to six a day when super congested.  You can order NAC online.  My favorite brand is also Vital Nutrients. 

5.    If you are not taking D-3, you should consider a min dose (2,000 iu) and then get some blood work done to check your levels – you may need more. 

6.    The basics of getting plenty of rest and staying well hydrated goes a long way to preventing and recovering from illness.

7.    Herbal teas, like Throat Comfort, with a little raw honey is wonderful for soothing that irritated throat. 

8.    My favorite cough liquids are Wise Woman Herbal CE-II and Olbas Cough Syrup.

9.    Another great defense for infections is Kyolic (organic garlic extract).  I get the Immune formula 103. 

10.  For the aches and pains of the crud I like Willow Bark, which has salicin as the main ingredient.  It acts like aspirin.  If you have any kidney issues you would want to stay away from this and aspirin.  As always, check with your health care provider. 

11.  Eat lots of veggies and avoid grains and sugar while sick and congested - they will only add to the gunk!  Add in some superfood smoothies with berries, ginger, greens, and lemon juice.  Avoid nuts and seeds if heavily congested.

12.  Brew some super turmericginger tea with a little powdered or dried sage.  Breath in the steam while it simmers.  Add a little raw honey and lemon. 

Be Well and Happy Holidays! 

Janet

 
Janet Verney
Are you “Shoulding” all over yourself?
 

I recently heard Tony Robbins speak about should versus must and it being the difference between being successful versus unsuccessful!  This got me thinking… Why do so many fail to meet their healthy living goals?  I think they may be “shoulding” all over themselves…

  •   I SHOULD eat more vegetables
  •   I SHOULD stop eating so much sugar
  •   I SHOULD call about the job opportunity
  •   I SHOULD go for a walk each day
  •   I SHOULD sign up for that yoga class
  •   I SHOULD call my mom and tell her I love her
  •   I SHOULD make time for meditation
  •   I SHOULD ______________________________

What if you changed your SHOULDS to MUSTS… Imagine the life changes you would create! 

  •  I MUST eat more vegetables
  •  I MUST stop eating so much sugar
  •  I MUST call about the job opportunity
  •  I MUST go for a walk each day
  •  I MUST sign up for that yoga class
  •  I MUST call my mom and tell her I love her
  •  I MUST make time for meditation
  •  I MUST ______________________________

For each of your MUSTS I challenge you to add them, one at a time, to your calendar – YES, schedule it into your day, your week, your month.  It is when you take these simple, small steps, actions towards a goal, a desire, a dream - it becomes your reality! 

Here’s to your success!

Janet

 
Janet Verney
Hydration Without the Sugar!
 

Keep Hydrated this Summer with Water Infused Recipes

Too often we turn to high sugar content soda and juice drinks to help hydrate us and quench our thirst, especially during these summer months. Thanks to some experts in the field of health and nutrition, Waterlogic has compiled a list of healthy hydration alternatives, our best fruit infused water recipes that will help quench that thirst while avoiding sugar during these sizzling summer months.

An article from WaterLogic...  Read More

 
Janet Verney