Healthier chili recipe

by: Ali B, RD

In my house, chili is a hearty comfort food consumed in the fall and winter months. While chili isn’t necessarily bad for you, some bowls can add up to over 700 calories after toppings are added. While working with clients who are following detox diets we found that chili can be part of a healthy diet!

A few tips for keeping your chili “lean” include:

  • Watching your toppings: high-fat toppings like sour cream and cheese should be limited (or avoided if you can’t resist the temptation). There are plenty of other add-ins that can bring variety to your chili. Check out a few of our favorites here.
  • Choose a lean meat: at Feed Your Vitality we use 97% lean ground beef. Choose the leanest meat you can find at the store, or make sure to remove the fat from your pan before using.
  • Cut carbs: you can GREATLY reduce the carb content in your chili by eliminating the beans. We often have customers tell us that they don’t even miss the beans in our hearty chili.

Here is a basic chili recipe that has 165 calories per serving and can be eaten even on the most strict phases of diet plans.

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Chili Con Carne

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef (97/3 if possible)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 6 cups diced tomatoes with juice (canned tomatoes are fine to use, just make sure there is no sugar added)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Brown beef with onions and spices over medium-high heat.
    Tip: if you do not have lean meat, brown the meat in a separate pan and drain before adding to onions.
  2. Reduce heat to medium, add tomatoes, and mix thoroughly.
  3. Simmer for 1 hour and adjust seasonings to taste.

Again, for more variety try including some of our favorite add-ins, listed here. Foods that are incorporated into the dish can be added with the tomatoes to simmer. Toppings should be added when the chili is served.

smoky-butternut-chili

Smoky Butternut Chili – includes butternut squash, green chilies, and smoked paprika. Topped with green onion.

turkey-chili

Turkey Chili – made with lean ground turkey instead of beef. Incorporates sweet potato, roasted poblano peppers, roasted red peppers, lime juice, and Mexican seasoning.

Sweet treats you can enjoy on a paleo diet

by: Ali B, RD, LD

If you’re anything like me, your sweet tooth will never be a thing of the past. At least once (or twice, or three times) a week I get a craving for something sweet. My typical go-to is a piece of fruit, but sometimes that just doesn’t do the trick. I’m a pretty lazy cook, so it took me a while to find sweet snacks that are quick and easy to make. Here are 6 of my favorite paleo-friendly sweet treats.

 

Dessert bullet. I refer to my dessert bullet multiple times a week in conversation and use it nearly as much. If you don’t know what a dessert bullet is, check out our blog post explaining it. A simple banana with a little vanilla extract has been my staple lately and has stopped the urge to drive through Dairy Queen on multiple occasions. I think my favorite part is that it requires no preparation. All you need is a bag of frozen fruit (which I keep on hand anyway) and the machine.untitled

 

Baked apples. Before we get too far, let me disclose that this is a Feed Your Vitality recipe from the SHAPE/hCG line. The photo below is borrowed from FYV, and an official recipe can be found in Ashley Nanney’s “SHAPE ReClaimed: Simple Recipes for Phase 1”. I make this regularly at home when I’m wishing for something “apple pie-esque”, but I truly can’t make it taste as delicious as the team at FYV.

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All you need is an apple, cinnamon, stevia, apple pie spice, and orange juice. FYV also uses cloves and cinnamon sticks, but I don’t typically have those on hand at home.

All you need to do is cut the apple in half and remove the core. In a small bowl mix about 1/4 cup orange juice, cinnamon, apple pie spice, and stevia to taste. Top the apple with the mixture, wrap in foil, and bake at 350 F for 10-15 minutes.

A variation of this includes cutting the apple into small chunks, marinading with the orange juice and seasonings, and topping with Nut Thins (or any other gluten-free/dairy-free cracker) before baking. This adds a great crunch to the dessert. The apple can also be replaced with a grapefruit, peach, or any other fruit you desire.

 

Muffin in a jar. This is a delicious and EASY dessert to make when you are craving a cake or muffin. Simply get a coffee mug and mix together 1/4 cup flaxseed, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 2 Tbsp stevia (powder), 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 egg, 1 tsp applesauce, and 1/4 cup of your favorite fruit (I chose peaches). Once the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, put the mug in the microwave for 1 minute. Be careful when you take the muffin out of the microwave because it will probably be hot. Let it sit for 1 minute and enjoy!untitled

 

tea
Substitute sugar for anti-inflammatory sweeteners. 
One way I squash my sweet tooth in the winter is by adding honey to hot tea. (Plus, drinking tea is much better when you have a cute tea infuser like this one).

You can also swap out sugar in your classic recipes for one of these paleo-friendly sweeteners and use almond flour in place of all-purpose flour!

 

Smoothies or “milkshakes”. This is another time when keeping frozen fruit handy can help with your sweet tooth. Make a smoothie by blending together frozen fruit and almond milk. (Tip: add carrots for a sweet serving of veggies). I’ve also created a faux-milkshake by mixing frozen strawberries, almond milk, and a bit of coconut milk. The coconut milk gives the shake a creamy texture, similar to what ice cream would provide. untitled

 

 

20170131_142149Larabars. Yep, the pre-packaged energy bar is both paleo-friendly and satisfying. Their ingredients include dates, almonds, and whatever ingredients needed for each flavor. For example, the apple pie Larabar has dates, almonds, apples, walnuts, raisins, and cinnamon. The banana bread Larabar has almonds, dates, and bananas. Individual Larabars can be expensive (more than $1 each), but I just found a box of 18 at Sam’s for $5.50.

 

Do you have any other “sweet staples” that are good for those following a paleo diet? Leave suggestions in the comments below!

 

Best Paleo Breakfast Ideas for People on the Run

The hardest part of being paleo is breakfast. Growing up, I constantly ate cereal and milk, toast, or yogurt for breakfast. Then I learned about paleo. I love eggs, but scrambled eggs and omelets don’t give much of a variety when it comes to my favorite meal of the day. Not to mention, most of the time I’m in my car on the way to the gym or work when I need to eat breakfast. I had to sit down and do some serious brainstorming about what I could eat in the AM when I am in a hurry. Here are my favorites:

 

Banana and almond butter “sandwich”

I thought of this tasty breakfast during my running days. Nothing keeps you full during a workout quite like the delicious combination of banana and nut butter. All you have to do is cut a banana in half lengthwise, put a little almond butter on each half, and stick it back together. (Note: the more nut butter on the banana, the messier this breakfast is.)

 

Egg muffins

Yep. I just said I was sick of omelets and scrambled eggs. But these egg muffins are easy to eat in the car and are a simple way to pack veggies into your day.

All you need to do is whisk 12 eggs, salt, pepper, and about 1-1/2 cups of chopped veggies of choice (I like spinach, jalapenos, tomatoes, and onion) in a bowl. If you like your veggies more tender, sauté them in a pan with olive oil for about 3 minutes before adding to the mixture. Spray a large muffin tin with non-stick spray or olive oil, and fill the tins until they are ¾ of the way full. Put them in an oven that has been pre-heated to 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until they are golden brown.

These can stay in your refrigerator for about a week. They are wonderful reheated in the microwave, but are also fine served cold if you are in a hurry!

 

Trail mix

This is the easiest breakfast ever! All you need to do is take a handful of almonds, a handful of cashews, half a handful of craisins, and half a handful of EnjoyLife brand chocolate chips and mix them together. You can put this together in the morning or the night before you want to eat it, or make a large batch at the beginning of the week. Feel free to change up the nuts and dried fruit to your favorites!

 

“Chicken salad”

Okay, this isn’t really a “breakfast” item… but anything you eat in the morning counts as breakfast, right? This chicken salad is quick and easy – all you need is leftover chicken, an avocado, and salsa!

Take a leftover chicken breast (or bake/grill/sauté one if you’re feeling ambitious) and shred it with a fork. Mix it into a mashed avocado and stir in some salsa for flavor.

Voila! You’ve made yourself breakfast in less than 5 minutes. When I’m in a hurry I like to put the combination into Tupperware or the avocado skins so I can eat it with a plastic spoon in the car

 

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Feed Your Vitality Muffins

I always like to keep a few Feed Your Vitality muffins in my freezer. Not only are they delicious, but they defrost in the microwave in less than a minute. The variety of flavors are delicious and they are packed with 10-14 grams of protein, keeping me full all the way until lunch time (a difficult feat).

 

I also always keep Larabars and beef/turkey jerky on hand for when I’m in a hurry to get somewhere and barely have time to brush my teeth, much less make breakfast.

 

Do you have any breakfast items that you turn to when you’re in a hurry?

Why you need to buy a Dessert Bullet

by: Ali Brown, RD, LD

 

It is no surprise that I’m obsessed with food. After all, I get paid to think and talk about different foods all day. And while yes, I am always looking for ways to increase my fruit and veggie intake – I like to splurge. And not that I’d turn down pizza or a piece of cake, but I particularly enjoy ice cream. As you know, ice cream doesn’t have a place in an anti-inflammatory diet (so annoying).

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One day I was at my local Target and stumbled upon something that caught my eye. This magical “Dessert Bullet” claims that it can make a healthy dessert in 10 seconds. The box stated that I could put a piece of frozen fruit into this machine, and it would produce ice cream. Huh.

It sounded too good to be true (a sign of a bad product), but for whatever reason, I chose to push aside my skepticism and buy the machine and a bag of frozen fruit.

The Dessert Bullet comes with a cookbook and one of the recipes is for a simple vanilla “ice cream”. Get this: you put 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract and a banana in the shoot up top…… and that’s it. The marvelous product that is spit from  machine was yellow, had a texture similar to ice cream, and made my heart happy. I can finally eat ice cream!!! Or is it fruit?? Or ice cream? It doesn’t matter – it’s delicious and cold and melts on my tongue so I’ll take it.

Do you have to use a banana? Absolutely not. If your combination of fruit includes a banana, the end product has a great ice cream like texture. However, using a mixture that excludes bananas is just as delicious – with a texture similar to sorbet. There are endless possibilities for making delicious treats between using a variety of fruits and other add-ins.

At Feed Your Vitality, we like to play with our SweetLeaf Stevia flavors. Using these, you can make hundreds of flavor! Take a banana, strawberry, and chocolate Stevia and you have a delicious concoction. A banana and root beer create a root beer float. I’m not exaggerating when I say that any sweet, cold treat you can imagine can be made with this machine. And have I mentioned that it’s all FRUIT? Just checking.

 

Last night I was deciding if I wanted to go to the local ice cream shop and fill my stomach with regrets. It was then that I remembered that I had a bag of mixed fruit in my freezer. Heck yeah! I added some strawberries, pineapple, mango, and peaches to the shoot, pushed it down the tube, and watched a delicious treat come out. I saved myself the shame, bloating, calories, and fat that come with ice cream and in return consumed nothing but 2 servings of fruit. I know – so cool.

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My advice to you – make your life better and get on Amazon or go to the store and get yourself a Dessert Bullet. It will be the best decision of the week.

Healthy Game Day

by: Ali Brown, RD, LD

This Sunday at 5:30 our focus will be shifted to something very important: the Panthers and Broncos, booze, snacks, and friends. Unfortunately, our diet tends to be pushed aside and forgotten until we try to button our pants the next morning (ugh). I’m going to let you in on a little secret: being at a Super Bowl party doesn’t mean you can’t eat nutritious food. Crazy, I know! Below are some tips and tricks to have a healthy (and delicious) Super Bowl.

 

The first thing we’re going to talk about is the food you prepare for the big game (and don’t worry – none of these suggestions involve you munching on carrot sticks all night). If straying away from chili breaks your heart, head over to this blog post for ways to make it healthy. Here are our top 5 favorite healthy game day recipes:

#1. Spice things up with these Grain Free, Dairy Free Jalapeno Poppers

#2. If spicy foods aren’t your thing, try Garlic Rosemary Shrimp & Paleo Cocktail Sauce

#3. If you’re looking for something a little more traditional, these Glazed Chicken Wings may be up your alley

#4. For all the nacho lovers out there, you may be interested in these Sweet Potato Bites 

#5. And last but not least, a Feed Your Vitality favorite: Cauliflower Hummus

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Another tip: try not to overindulge on your booze. Unfortunately alcohol quickly adds calories without you noticing (5 light beers adds about 500 calories, 2 glasses of wine are over 400 calories and 3 rum and cokes have 500 calories). Drinking also leads most people to eat more and make undesirable food choices. Double whammy.

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One way to minimize calorie intake from alcohol is by choosing your mixers wisely! You can do this by choosing a low-calorie beverage without added sugars such as unsweetened tea or club soda. If you want more sweetness you may consider using SweetLeaf Stevia to flavor your drinks. For example, make your own rum and coke using rum, seltzer water, and about 15 drops of SweetLeaf Cola.

 

 

But hey, we’re all human. If you end up making undesirable food choices, just remember that it’s not the end of the world! Make up for it on Monday with an extra walk during your lunch break or a smoothie packed with fruits and veggies for breakfast.

 

As always, for more recipes and tips for healthy eating follow our Pinterest page.

All Wrapped Up…with Lettuce

27076940_sHere is another surprising fact that I discovered while working at Feed Your Vitality. I don’t have to have bread to enjoy a sandwich. In my previous life, the bread was non-negotiable; it wasn’t a sandwich without bread. Period, end of story. Lettuce sounded like a very sorry substitute.   The first time I tried a wrap in heavy duty crispy lettuce I felt almost guilty that afterwards I hadn’t missed my beloved bread. Now I am almost obsessed with how good everything tastes wrapped in lettuce – Burritos! Tacos! Spring rolls! And of course, sandwiches!

So now, while I am more than happy to eat lettuce wraps that other people make, I wasn’t exactly sure how to go about creating them myself. Here are a few tips I learned from the experts here at Feed Your Vitality.

  • The key to the lettuce wrap is, obviously, the lettuce – and there are quite a few differences of opinion about the “best” type to use.
  • Generally, you want a large leaf that can hold a lot of ingredients.  It should be pliable so it is easy to wrap.
  • Most commonly used are iceberg, romaine, napa cabbage, Boston or Bibb
  • Cut off the end and separate each “leaf”
  • Wash well, making sure to remove any grit, and pat dry with paper towels
  • Fillings can be warm and spicy, cold and refreshing, or basically anything that you would include in a sandwich, burrito, taco, etc.  If the filling is juicy, you may want to drain it well so there isn’t a lot of dripping from the wrap.  This also goes for any additional condiments, dressings or dips you consider adding.
  • When filling, try to keep the ingredients about an inch from the edges of the lettuce. Some people prefer to mix all the ingredients first; some prefer to layer them.
  • Fold the lettuce sides into the center, and roll – it is very similar to putting together a burrito!

All in all, lettuce wraps can be very versatile and used as appetizers or main dishes. You can have a build your own wrap station, or you can prepare them yourself. Depending on the fillings they can be Mexican, Asian or just a simple sandwich.

And that’s a wrap!

10 Anti-Inflammatory Road Trip Treats!

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What is the best part of a road trip? Well to me, it is listening to my favorite tunes, and munching on favorite snacks along the way. On my recent spring break trip to Texas, I wanted to stay paleo-compliant, but still have some options, so here are some suggestions for your next road trip adventure…and just a reminder – some of these are truly meant to be “treats” (vacations are for splurging a bit!) and not recommended for your daily diet.

  1. Raisins – They are good for you AND good to eat!  Raisins are packed with anti-oxidants, fiber and potassium, and come in little boxes that are handy to carry around when you need a quick energy boost.
  2. Fresh fruit – We found many larger gas stations along the way had bananas and apples, and of course you can always pack up some of your favorites to bring along, especially if you have a cooler to keep grapes, cut melon, etc. cold.
  3. Pork Rinds – Here is a snack that feels more like a gas station / road trip kind of treat! Surprisingly pork rinds (get the kind with no fancy flavoring – make sure to check the label) are paleo-approved, and a good option when you are craving chips or pretzels.  In fact, they have 9x the protein and less fat than potato chips (in a 1 oz sample there were 0 carbs, 17 grams of protein and 9 grams of fat – and of that fat, 43% was unsaturated.) They can even be dipped in hot sauce for a little extra flavor!
  4. FYV Granola – Did you know that our Feed Your Vitality granola is considered extremely addictive and delicious?  It includes nuts, coconut, honey and all kinds of healthy ingredients.  Stock up and include this in your bag of treats for the car!
  5. Nuts – Another staple that you can easily find while you make stops along the way…just be sure to stay away from peanuts and go with natural, unsalted almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, etc.  Even a handful will provide protein and fiber and help fill you up!
  6. Jerky – Sometimes you just need something more substantial on your trip, and jerky is a solid choice – it is high in protein and doesn’t raise your insulin levels.   You need to carefully check the labels here though to ensure a brand that isn’t full of high sodium ingredients – look for natural ingredients.  FYV sells BBQ Beef Jerky and BBQ Turkey Jerky – these are healthier choices, so you may want to order some before you go.  Somewhere in Oklahoma or Texas we passed a road side stand selling homemade buffalo jerky and my husband offered to stop…unfortunately I am not as adventurous as some of my co-workers (Ashley for example has tried everything from antelope jerky to ostrich jerky!) and I was very content to nibble on my turkey jerky as we passed on by the buffalo jerky stand…
  7. Hard boiled eggs – Not much simpler than this one, and another great way to get some protein. Sarah, our kitchen manager, said she loves to bring these on trips.  And you may find some hard boiled eggs at some of the larger gas stations along the way.
  8. Unsweetened Applesauce – Last week I said that this is one of my new favorite snacks.  I brought a little six pack of these (like the kind you would put in a school lunch) – just don’t forget some plastic spoons!
  9. Freeze dried Fruit – Many stores now offer freeze dried fruit in all kinds of varieties; I’ve seen apples, strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, mango and my very favorite, pineapple (the little pieces are a great substitute for candy!)  Again it is important to check the label to make sure there is no added sugar.
  10. Paleo muffins, cookies, brownies etc. – Okay, these would be more difficult to find along the way.  Get organized before you hit the road, and order a few of your favorites from Feed Your Vitality.   You will be glad you did when you get a craving for something sweet!

We’re already planning our summer vacation road trip! Do you have any suggestions for treats that you like to bring with you? Let me know!

When it comes to Cauliflower, I was a late bloomer…

CAULIFLOWERWhen I was growing up, I would only eat cauliflower if it was smothered in Campbell’s Cheddar Cheese soup. Working at FYV, I am learning that cauliflower can actually taste delicious all on its own, without requiring cheese topping! In addition, cauliflower is really good for you…it’s a cruciferous vegetable, like its cousins kale and broccoli. It’s packed with fiber – over 9 grams in every 100 calories – so it’s helpful for your digestive system. And not to get too technical, but research investigating inflammation related health issues have found that vitamin K, and glucosinolates / isothiocyanates in cruciferous vegetables, could provide benefits by reducing inflammation in the body.

Cauliflower is also very versatile, and you can eat it raw (the little florette makes it perfect for dipping – okay I still like it with a little cheese now and then!) or it can be made into hummus, pizza crust, soup or roasted/sauted by itself – there are so many opportunities for fitting cauliflower into your diet. Check out our pinterest page for recipes using cauliflower! Its fairly neutral taste makes it a great option for mixing with different spices to completely change its taste. For example, you can actually turn cauliflower into a paleo approved “rice” and depending on the seasonings you choose, you can add an Asian seasoning mix to make it taste like it is coming from your favorite Chinese restaurant, or you can add cinnamon or stevia for a sweeter option.  Whatever way you like cauliflower, it’s certainly not your garden variety “flower”.

How to make “rice” from cauliflower

  1.  De-stem a head of cauliflower and cut into florettes
  2. Place 6 –7 florettes into a food processor and pulse until cauliflower reaches a “rice” like consistency.  Remove the “rice” and repeat with remaining florettes.
  3. Place a medium stockpot on the stove and fill with 4 cups of chicken broth.  Bring broth to a boil. (If you are planning on adding stevia or sweeter spices, use water instead of chicken broth)
  4.  Add “rice” and cook for 1 minute.  Drain “rice” and season to taste.

A few cauliflower tips

  • Avoid spotted and “dull” cauliflower
  • Don’t overcook your cauliflower, as it will be mushy and not as tasty
  • We are still in cauliflower peak season – best from December through March!

5 Ways to Kick Off a Super Healthy Bowl of Chili

chili blogIf the Super Bowl is practically a national holiday, then chili would be its traditional meal. Everyone has their favorite chili recipe, and so we thought we’d offer up a few suggestions to make your bowl a little more paleo (anti-inflammatory) friendly. Yes, you would have to leave out the beans and any other inflammatory ingredients or toppings. But how about trying one (or more) of these delicious options to take their place?

1) Butternut Squash  Besides tasting great, this squash is known as a food that can actually help reduce inflammation in your body. So roast up some squash and toss it in with the chili. (Here’s how if you’ve never roasted squash before!)

Roasted Squash

2 lbs butternut squash (peel it, seed it and cut into chunks)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt

Preheat oven to 425. Mix the butternut squash chunks in a bowl with the oil and a bit of sea salt. Spread the pieces on a baking sheet lined with foil.   Put in the oven, and turn the chunks every 10 minutes or so while baking – cook until brown and tender (about 30 – 35 minutes)

2) Sweet Potato  Same idea as the squash – roast it up and toss it in. Also, sweet potatoes are a good source of magnesium, which is known as the relaxation and anti-stress mineral (great for if you are a Seahawks or Patriots fan and the game is a close one!)

3) Avocado with cilantro and lime   This trio of toppings will not only taste great, but avocados keep your heart healthy and are high in the “good” fat which lowers your blood sugar level.

4) If you prefer White Chicken Chili to traditional red spicy chili, try adding in some cauliflower – we love cauliflower because its omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin K help keep chronic inflammation down…and we are all about reducing inflammation.

5)   Portabella Mushrooms and Colored Peppers Portabella mushrooms are not only a great source of selenium, copper and niacin, they are also very low in calories.   The peppers are also low in calories and high in vitamin C (especially red peppers) which can strengthen your immune system among other benefits!

So put on the chili, pour a gluten free beer, and enjoy the big game. Unfortunately at $4 million for a 30 second spot, you won’t see any Feed Your Vitality commercials during the broadcast (not quite in our marketing budget) but we wanted you to know that we’re thinking of you!

Anti-Inflammatory Spice Turmeric Used 5 Ways

Ever wonder what gives mustard that bright yellow color? It’s Turmeric. It is one of the most thoroughly researched plants in existence, and there are numerous current studies validating its healing properties. Turmeric has been shown to possess  potent anti-inflammatory properties due to its active antioxidant curcumin.  Since it decreases inflammation of the body it’s  good for arthritis, diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular health, and may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s,  fight or prevent cancer, and is used topically for burns, cuts, and skin problems. Turmeric is a natural pain killer and is comparable to prescription and over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs without all the toxic side effects. We recognize the healing potential of this magical plant, and have used it in many of our meals. Here is how we have used it in 5 of our meals.

Turmeric used 5 ways:

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Dijon Chicken:
Seasoned chicken in a creamy dijon mustard sauce with roasted kale and sweet potatoes.

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Tai Chicken Wraps:
Spicy tai chicken mixed with finely sliced and shredded vegetables. Served with nappa cabbage and cilantro to enjoy as a wrap.

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Chicken Chardonnay:
Seasoned chicken in a creamy coconut milk based sauce over a bed of fresh vegetables.

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Thai Spring Curry:
Seasoned Thai chicken and vegetables in flavorful and moderately spicy coconut sauce.

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Fresh Garden Salad:
Tender chicken atop fresh garden greens with a honey mustard sauce.

Honey Mustard Dressing

3/4 cup olive oil

1/4 mustard

1/8 honey or to taste

1 TB turmeric

1 pinch salt

1 pinch red pepper flakes

1 pinch of mustard seed