Reading Food Labels

You may think what you are eating is healthy but do you actually read the food label to know what it is you are actually consuming? Don’t get tricked in to thinking something is healthy just because it says “Organic”, “All Natural”, “Healthy”, “Gluten Free”, “Fat Free” or “Vegan”. Those are just marketing ploys to make consumers think that they are healthy. For example, look at the picture below. The company markets this product as “Gluten Free”, “Fat Free” and “No Artificial Color.” Must be healthy, right?

marshmellows.jpg

My general rule of thumb when reading a label is if I don’t know what an ingredient is, I don’t buy it. The main ingredient I am always very cautious about, especially when buying food for our son, is sugar. Have you ever noticed that there is added sugar in EVERYTHING processed!! It amazes me! Pasta sauce, salad dressing, cereal, bread, teething bars and the list goes on and on and on. Going back to the picture above, take a look at this products ingredients. Do you know what any of them are? And if you do, does that sounds like a healthy, nutrient dense product?

marshmellow%2Bingredients.jpg

So how can you tell if there is added sugar in your processed food? Sometimes it is not as simple as the label just reading “sugar.” Companies are good at sneaking sugar in under names that some people wouldn’t think would be sugar. Ingredients that end in the word “ose” are sugar. Common names for sugar that many companies use are :

  • Glucose

  • Fructose

  • Molasses

  • Syrup (Corn, Maple, Date, Golden, Carob, Brown rice etc.)

  • Barley Malt

  • Dextrose

  • Evaporated Cane Juice

  • Fruit Juice Concentrate

  • Honey

  • Agave

  • Buttered sugar/ buttercream

To sum this up for you, when reading labels make sure that you know what the ingredients are before just buying something that states that it is “healthy” on the package.

If you ever have any questions on an ingredient, a food item or anything else, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Have a wonderful week!

XO

Lisa Catherine

www.LisaCatherineCoaching.com

LisaCatherineCoaching@gmail.com

Coconut Oil vs Cream & Sugar

Who here loves coffee?? 

If you are like me and you said OF COURSE I LOVE COFFEE, than read on. 

If you said no, keep reading because you may find that you will enjoy coffee after you try this recipe. 

If you drink your coffee black, good for you. However, the majority of people I know like their cream and sugar with a splash of coffee. Who wouldn't?? Everyone likes stuff with sugar in it. It's addicting. It is the worlds worst drug  (my own opinion). That is why I am ridding it from my diet once and for all. 

But sugar is a WHOLE different topic for another time. The real topic today is coconut oil. Yes..coconut oil. I have always loved coconut oil for cooking but I recently found a new love in adding coconut oil to my coffee. I am sure many of you have heard of the Bulletproof coffee and maybe even heard of just adding coconut oil in your coffee but I am here to tell you that it is delicious! It is a healthy alternative to the cream and sugar that you may add every day. Coconut oil is PACKED with health benefits! But you may be wondering why should I add it to my coffee. Here are just a few reasons why: 

  1. It is delicious! Coconut oil gives your coffee the same creaminess and sweetness as adding milk and sugar do (I think its event tastier).
  2. It's like drinking a double expresso. You will get the energy from the caffeine in the coffee, but did you know that coconut oil gives you energy too?? Coconut oil is made up of Medium Chain Triglycerides. MCTs are absorbed and metabolized by the body quickly meaning you will get energy quickly, giving you a little more of a morning boost.
  3. It's Good For Your Brain. Your brain needs dietary fat. At least 60% of your brain is composed of fat! 
  4. Improves Your Metabolism & Aids in Weight Loss. Many studies have proven that the MCTs in coconut oil metabolize differently than long chain fats. In one study, rats were overfed with either long chain or medium chain fats. The rats fed the medium chain fats gained 20% less weight and 23% less body fat (source).
  5. A healthier and happier you. Coconut oil contains lauric acid which contains antiviral and antibacterial super powers (non-coincidentally, lauric acid is, also, found in breast milk).
  6. It is an easy way to add some healthy fat into your daily diet.

So without further ado, here is my coconut oil coffee concoction.

1. Make a pot of organic coffee

2. pour into a blender and add 1-2 tsp of coconut oil

3. Blend, Pour & ENJOY! (You can add a few drops of vanilla or stevia)

 

XOXO 

Lisa Catherine

Lisa@LisaCatherineCoaching.com

www.LisaCatherineCoaching.com

5 Delicious Thanksgiving Plant Based Meals

Just because it is the holiday season does not automatically mean that you have to eat unhealthy and gain 10lbs. Here are some of my favorite tasty and nutritious plant based recipes to help you stay on track during the holidays.

Garlic Green Beans and Mushrooms

Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 15–20 minutes | Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

1 pound green beans
1 pound mushrooms
2 tablespoons vegetable broth
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tamari
Salt, to taste

Steps

  1. Rinse the beans, trim the ends, and break into 1-inch pieces. Steam over boiling water until tender, 7–10 minutes.
  2. Rinse and slice the mushrooms.
  3. Heat vegetable broth in a skillet over medium heat. Add sesame seeds and garlic, and sauté for 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tamari. Add the mushrooms and cooked beans. Season with salt.
  5. Cook 3–5 minutes, then transfer to a serving dish.

Tips:

  • The papery skins on garlic can be easily removed using a chef’s knife. Lay the flat edge of the blade on top of the garlic clove and press down firmly with the palm of your hand. You should hear a slight cracking sound as the skin breaks. Then it can be easily peeled from the clove.
  • My mother likes green beans with tarragon. When adding tarragon to this recipe, do not add tamari or sesame seeds.

Source: The China Study Cookbook

Holiday White Bean, Potato, and Stuffing Casserole

Serves 6

Potato/Bean Layer

3 cups peeled and chopped white potatoes
1½ cups cooked white beans (drained and rinsed if canned)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves

Stuffing

4 cups whole-grain bread cubes, from 7 to 9 slices fresh wholegrain bread (see note)
3 teaspoons Italian seasoning (see note)
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 cups diced onion
2¼ cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 cup diced celery
4 cups diced mushrooms
⅔ cup chopped pecans

Garnish

½ teaspoon paprika, plus more as needed

Steps

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Oil an 11 x 7 inch baking pan or casserole dish.

To make the potato/bean layer, fit a large sauce pan with a steamer insert. Add 2 inches of cold water, and then add the potatoes. Cover and bring to a boil. Steam for 15 to 20 minutes, until they are soft, but not mushy. Put the potatoes, beans, garlic powder, and salt in a highperformance blending appliance and process until smooth. Transfer to a medium-size bowl and stir in the marjoram.

While the potatoes are steaming, cut the wholegrain bread into 1/2-inch cubes. Put the bread cubes, Italian seasoning, and salt in a large bowl and toss to combine. Transfer to a large, rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the bread is slightly crisp. Put the pan on a wire rack and let cool.

While the bread cubes are cooling, prepare the stuffing by combining the onion, ¼ cup vegetable broth, and the basil in a large skillet. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 7 minutes. Add the celery and ¼ cup broth, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the diced mushrooms and another ¼ cup broth, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has cooked down, leaving the mushroom mixture very moist but not soupy. Stir in the pecans and remove the skillet from the heat.

Put the remaining 1½ cups vegetable broth into a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Put 4 cups of the toasted bread cubes in a large bowl. Add the mushroom-pecan mixture and stir gently to combine. Pour in ½ cup of the hot vegetable broth and stir to combine. Add as much of the remaining broth as needed so the mixture is moist but not soupy. (If the mixture still seems dry after adding all of the broth, add a small amount of water.)

Spread the stuffing in an even layer in the bottom of the prepared baking pan or casserole dish. Spread the potato mixture over the stuffing in an even layer. Sprinkle with the paprika. Cover loosely and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 5 to 7 minutes, until slightly golden on top. Cool for 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Chef’s Notes:

  • For a gluten-free option, make gluten-free stuffing using 7 to 9 slices of gluten-free bread in place of the whole-grain variety.
  • If you prefer a sage-flavored stuffing, replace the 3 teaspoons Italian seasoning with 1 teaspoon crumbled dried sage leaves, 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, and 1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves.

Source: Jazzy Vegetarian Classics

Vegan Zucchini Gratin

Ingredients

  • For the Gratin:
  • 2 medium zucchini squash, sliced in thin rounds (I used 1 zucchini, 1 yellow)
  • 1 small bundle asparagus
  • 1/2 yellow or white onion, cut into thin rings
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 3/4-1 cup vegan Parmesan cheese
  • 2.5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • For the Vegan Parmesan Cheese:
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Prepare vegan parmesan cheese by whirling all ingredients together in a food processor or blender until a fine meal or powder is formed. Don’t over-process or it will begin to get clumpy. Set aside. Will keep covered in the fridge for about a month.
  2. In a 10-inch cast iron or oven safe skillet, sauté onion in .5 Tbsp olive oil over medium-low heat until soft – about 10 minutes – seasoning with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. Slice squash into very thin slices, about 1/8th-inch thick (see photo). Use mandolin if you have one, or just a sharp knife.
  5. Cup off the top 2-3 inches of the asparagus. That’s the only part you’ll be using. Save the rest for another dish. Carefully split the top portion in half so it nestles into the gratin better (optional).
  6. Add asparagus and squash to a mixing bowl and top with remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, 3/4 tsp salt, pinch of black pepper, 1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional), and 2 Tbsp of the vegan parmesan cheese. Toss to coat.
  7. Spread the slightly cooled onions around in the bottom of the skillet to create an even base. Top with squash, layering green and yellow as you go (if you did two colors). It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just start on the outside and work your way in, keeping them in line as much as possible. Once the squash is arranged, tuck pieces of the asparagus into the layers in a circular motion (see photo).
  8. Top with an even layer of the vegan parmesan cheese (~3/4 cup) and bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes. Then broil on high for the last 1-2 minutes to toast up the top (optional, but recommended). Watch closely as it can burn quickly. Let rest for a few minutes before serving.
  9. This makes an excellent side dish, brunch item, or light lunch or dinner when accompanied with a protein, such as hummus or chickpea salad, or scrambled or fried eggs if not vegan. Reheats well in the microwave or oven.

Source: Minimilist Baker

Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls with Cranberry Pear Sauce

These lentil mushroom balls are festive, filling, and a great vegan protein option for your holiday feast! You can most likely prepare the lentil balls in advance. Just shape the balls and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for no longer than 12-24 hours, bring to room temperature, and then bake as usual (of course, remove plastic wrap first). The cranberry sauce can be made a couple days in advance as well. I don't suggest skipping the sherry vinegar; it really makes this lentil mixture come to life and it pairs so well with the mushrooms. Lastly, it's important to (very) finely chop all the vegetables and walnuts so everything sticks together.

Yield
13-14 balls

Prep Time
35 Minutes

Cook time
45 Minutes

Ingredients:

for the lentil balls:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked green lentils
  • 1 cup walnuts halves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 heaping cups finely chopped cremini mushrooms (one 8-oz package)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup finely chopped destemmed kale leaves
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (or 1/4 tsp dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax + 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats, ground into a coarse flour
  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

for the cranberry sauce:

  • 2 cups frozen or fresh cranberries
  • 1 ripe pear, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • small pinch fine grain sea salt

Directions:

  1. Add lentils into a medium pot along with 2 and 1/4 cups water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Simmer for about 20 minutes, uncovered, adding more water if the lentils dry out. Once the lentils are fork tender, remove from heat and mash with a potato masher until it's a coarse paste with some lentil pieces still intact. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325F. Toast the chopped walnuts for 9-12 minutes, until lightly golden and fragrant. After toasting, increase oven temp to 350F.
  3. In a very large skillet or wok, add the oil along with the finely chopped mushrooms and garlic. Season with salt. Saute over medium-high heat for about 7-9 minutes, until most of the water cooks off. Now add the kale, toasted walnuts, cranberries, herbs, and sherry vinegar. Stir until combined and continue cooking for another few minutes until the kale is wilted. Remove from heat and stir in the mashed lentils when ready.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flax and water. Stir for 10 seconds and then immediately pour into the skillet mixture. Stir to combine. Now stir in the 1/2 cup oat flour until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The mixture should be fairly moist and sticky. If it's way too sticky, add a bit more oat flour. If it's dry, add another tbsp of water.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape lentil mixture into balls and pack tightly with your hands so they hold together. Place on baking sheet an inch or so apart. Repeat for the rest. If the mixture is too hot to handle, let it cool for a bit first and then proceed.
  6. Bake the lentil balls at 350F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, gently flip over, and bake for another 11-13 minutes, until golden and firm on the exterior.
  7. For the sauce: Add the cranberries, pear, and maple syrup into a medium pot. Bring to a low boil over high heat and then reduce heat to medium. Simmer, uncovered, for 10-20 minutes until thickened. Use a potato masher to mash up the pear.

Tips:

1) If your mixture seems dry (and this could be the case if the lentils are cooked too long), feel free to add a touch of water to moisten the mixture enough so it adheres. 2) To make oat flour, add the rolled oats into a blender and blend on high until a flour forms. Alternatively, you can use 1/2 cup oat flour if you already have some on hand.

Source: Oh She Glows

No Bake Cranberry Pear Tart

Instructions:

For the Crust:

Combine the walnuts, dates, cinnamon and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process until the mixture is well combined but not completely smooth. Press it into the bottom and up the sides of a nine-inch non-stick tart pan and refrigerate while you make the filling.

For the Filling:

Place the pears, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, apple cider, and dried cranberries in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the pears are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove the pears and cranberries with a slotted spoon to a bowl and set aside. Return the pan to the heat and cook the remaining liquid in the pan until it is reduced by half.

Spread the fruit over the tart crust and pour the reduced liquid over it.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Source: Forks Over Knives

 

 

Have a healthy and happy Thanksgiving!

 

xoxo

Lisa Catherine