This pesto has been a staple in my kitchen for the last several months. It can be used as a dip for veggies, a sauce for pasta, or a spread for sandwiches. This is definitely a recipe you’ll want to save!
The recipe is very loose, so all amounts are are flexible. But the base ingredients I use every time.
Into a food processor add: 1-2 bunches of basil, 2 handfuls spinach (or kale), the juice of 1-2 lemons, 3 cloves garlic, 1/2 to 2/3 cup pine nuts (or cashews), 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup nutritional yeast, 2 tsp salt, and a sprinkle of black pepper.
Blend all ingredients in your food processor for a couple minutes until a smooth pesto is formed. Store in fridge up to 5 days.
While nutritional yeast may seem like a weird ingredient, it is extremely affordable and easy to find at most grocery stores. It has a very cheesy flavor and is incredible for your health. It is high in protein and Vitamin B-12. It is great sprinkled on popcorn, served on top of soups and salads, or included in pasta sauces.
I hope you enjoy this recipe!!
The other night, we made a grain-free, healthy pizza! We enjoyed it while putting together a puzzle instead of just vegging out in front of the TV. I encourage you all to explore fun new recipes and activities!
To make this recipe:
mix 3 eggs and 1/4 cup melted coconut oil (or ghee)
in another bowl, mix together 6 Tbsp coconut flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp basil, and 1 clove minced garlic
slowly mix in the wet ingredients into the dry until well combined
roll out the dough into your desired shape until it is about 1/2” thick
bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes
pull out pizza from oven, add sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings (we did kale and baked sweet potatoes) and bake again for 3-5 more minutes
I hope you all enjoy this recipe!
Our Healthy Habit Challenge this January is Affirmations. I know for many this may seem like a strange month to do a simple challenge like affirmations. I mean it’s January. It’s a new year. A time for radical goal setting and resolutions. There is nothing wrong with setting big goals and pushing yourself to be the best version of you. However, a large reason these lofty goals often are forgotten by February is that we don’t have our mindsets right.
Growing up as an athlete, I was required to do hundreds of mental routines. I didn’t fully understand why they were important then, but there is research to prove that by doing a mental routine, your neurological connections are still appropriately firing communications to your muscles, as if you were actually doing the routine. You are physically getting almost the same benefit of actually doing the routine. Your mind is so powerful that you can do mental routines and reap the benefit of physically doing them. Visually creating a routine (or habit!) in your mind allows for the creation or strengthening of already existing neurological pathways in your brain. In the same way that mental routines help athletes get more out of their training, affirmations will help you sustain positive changes in your life by replacing your sabotaging and negative thought patterns. Speaking truth and encouragement over yourself and affirming yourself daily through affirmations, especially in areas you don’t feel confident or equipped in, can rewrite the negative narrative over your life you’ve been believing for so long.
So many people don’t reach their goals because, deep down, they simply don’t believe they can. Affirmations help us to rewrite our subconscious beliefs. YOU are the person you talk to most on a daily basis. Speak well to yourself and spend time building yourself up in truth.
These do not need to be long or complicated. Although I’ll leave you with an example, I would encourage you to write out your own affirmation. Write one that speaks to eliminate your own insecurities and encourage any positive changes you’re looking to make in your life this year. Write out your affirmation and hang it in a spot you’ll see every day, like on your bathroom mirror.
“I am loved. I am a daughter of the King. My life has value and purpose. I am surrounded by many close friends. I naturally crave whole, unprocessed foods. I am filled with passion. I move my body every day in a way that I enjoy. I am confident and strong. I am enough.”
A delicious and nutritious dinner can seem like an impossible task. You are tired from a long day of work and creating something comforting and quick that also fuels your body can be daunting. It’s easy to grab fruit with breakfast or a salad a lunch and feel good about your choices. But if I’m being honest, I rarely ever crave something that clean for dinner. I usually want something hearty after dealing with the stress of the day. But I also don’t want to wake up the next morning feeling sluggish from a heavy meal the night before.
We address this solution a variety of ways, but it usually involves healthy substitutes. Rather than denying my desire for certain foods, I look for healthy substitutes. Wanting pasta? I will whip up a garbanzo bean pasta. Want pizza? I’ll make a cauliflower crust pizza loaded with veggies.
One great rule of thumb is to include a protein, a healthy fat, and a healthy whole food carbohydrate in your meals. For example, tonight’s dinner was my favorite roasted tofu recipe (protein), sauteed kale in olive oil (greens and healthy fat), and quinoa (healthy carbohydrate). It really can be that simple. Yes there are nights I crave fancier options. But don’t let dinner stress you out. Eat whole foods. There is always a healthy version of your favorite dinners out there.
When winter hits and the cold weather sits in, how do I find the motivation to workout? There can be a lot of factors influencing your discipline of daily movement, but here are some of the ways I continue to find motivation in the snowy weather!
Nobody enjoys feeling under the weather. This time of year, most people are sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. With our household just coming off a week of battling some microbial invaders, I thought we could share our top tips on how we manage uncomfortable symptoms and heal faster in our house.
Sore Throat: I love taking a big spoonful of manuka honey to soothe a sore throat. The anti-inflammatory properties of this honey can immediately help reduce the pain of a sore throat, while it’s anti-bacterial properties can help fight the infection. You can also boil some water with a spoonful or two of manuka honey, fresh mint leaves, and the juice of 1 lemon for a citrusy and soothing beverage.
Nasal Congestion: If you have access to a steam room, definitely take advantage of this. If, however, you’re like us and don’t, you can make a homemade version. I just close all the doors and turn off the fans to the bathroom and take a long shower with the heat as high as I can stand it. I also like to wet a washcloth and put some eucalyptus oil on it and hang it around my neck. This is immensely helpful in clearing the nasal passages.
Fatigue: there are several different ways to help your body when it is exhausted from fighting foreign invasions. The first thing is to make room for rest in your day. Make getting extra zzz’s a priority. The second thing is to fast. Often when we’re sick, we have a decreased appetite. This is because whenever we eat food, roughly 80% of the cells in our body partake in the digestion of that food. If we give our bodies a break from eating, the cellular activity in our body can be more focused and deliver more energy to fighting the harmful microbes. If, however, you are feeling hungry but still want to rest your digestive system, consuming foods like smoothies, juices, or soups can help ease the burden on your digestion while still satisfying your stomach.
Boosting Immunity: the top two ways we boost our immunity is through adjustments and essential oils. Adjustments are proven to boost immunity somewhere between 200-400% by increasing your white blood cell count drastically. Essential oils are concentrated nutrients and can be absorbed directly into your blood stream through aromatherapy, by applying them on your skin, or by taking them orally in a capsule. All these options are great. Lemon oil, tea tree, and cinnamon are especially good in aiding your immune system. And they smell delicious!
I hope these tips were helpful to you and your household as we enter the cold and flu season!
November is a great time for giving thanks. There’s even a holiday scheduled that is focused solely on this topic. The idea behind developing a posture of gratitude is not a new one, but it does often seem like a lost art in our society. But this one simple habit can literally transform your life. Possessing an attitude of gratitude changes not only how you see the world, but also how you respond to it.
This month, we are engaging in a challenge to develop your gratitude muscle. The challenge is simple but will require some commitment. It is to simply write down one thing you are grateful for each morning. It can be as simple as jotting down your gratitude statement in a journal or you can purchase cute gratitude journals at places like Target or Etsy.
Developing this habit and making it a part of your daily routine is linked to so many different health benefits, including better sleep, decreased aches & pains, and improved self-esteem.
No matter where you are at in life, you always have something to be thankful for.
Pumpkin-everything season is in full swing. Although most adults are capitalizing on their pumpkin spice lattes, there is something incredibly nostalgic about carving pumpkins. Your imagination is the limit on the creation of a pumpkin masterpiece. But while carving pumpkins this year, I was reminded that many people throw away the precious seeds inside. We love pumpkin seeds at our house because they are dense with so much nutrition. They are high in healthy fats, iron, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and folate just to name of a few. So I thought I would share how we made use of this nutritional powerhouse this year!
First, you have to start by collecting your seeds from the pumpkin. I like to separate my seeds as I pull them out of my pumpkin and store them in a bowl for later.
When I’m ready to make my pumpkin seeds, I rinse all of the seeds off in water to clean them. Then you have to dry them. Definitely do not skip this step. Drying them out thoroughly allows them to bake better and get more crispy.
Once the seeds are dry, you can toss them in a bowl with some olive oil and seasonings. The seasonings I used were salt, pepper, paprika, dill, parsley, garlic powder, and onion powder. These seasonings gave it more of a ranch-flavor. There are so many varieties of flavoring though, you can really get creative. You could try cinnamon sugar, salt-and-vinegar, or even chili-lime.
Once the seasonings are tossed on the seeds, spread them out in an even layer on your lined baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees F until golden brown, tossing over 10 minutes. I usually let my seeds cook for 25-30 minutes because I love them crispy but be sure to keep an eye on them so they don’t burn!
I hope this inspired you to try some new flavors of pumpkin seeds instead of throwing them out!
Neuroplasticity- a fancy word that’s become somewhat of a buzz word in the latest neurology research. It’s hugely important to your neurological health and how your body functions on a daily basis.
So what exactly is it??
It’s your brain’s ability to adapt to changes in your environment. This is critical in times of learning new skills or information and in times of injury. When learning new information, our brain has to create new neural pathways and connections in order for us to retain what is new. The more we practice these skills or study information, the more ingrained these neural connections become and we are able to remember them almost subconsciously.
In times of injury, your brain must adapt to provide your body with necessary changes to start immediate healing. Sprained ankle? Your body is going to send more blood flow to the area with chemicals and antibodies that are going to kickstart the healing process.
When your brain loses the ability to adapt to new information, you see a significant decline in one’s health.
In a chiropractic office, this topic is hugely important, especially in terms of chronic pain. During the initial stages of tissue damage, noxious stimuli (pain signals) are sent to the brain. This is beneficial because it protects your body from further damaging the tissue by informing you of painful motions or activities. But when the healing process is delayed, the overstimulation of these signals can cause a physical change in the brain, specifically at the prefrontal cortex. This can lead to a chronic stimulation of pain receptors, leading your body to believe that it is chronically hurt because it has lost its neuroplasticity, or it’s ability to adapt.
The amazing news is that you aren’t bound to this fate. Your brain is an organ of change. It wants to adapt and to put your body in the best position to thrive. The latest research in chiropractic is showing incredible changes to the adaptive and neuroplastic capabilities of the brain, especially in the prefrontal cortex. This is good news for anyone suffering with chronic pain. Not only can consistent chiropractic care structurally benefit your body’s biomechanics, but it also enhances brain health.
While we are anxiously awaiting more research on benefiting your brain’s health, you can rest assured that chronic pain doesn’t have to be chronic. Healing is possible for you.
Staying healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. Simple, small changes can have a profound affect on both your physical and emotional health. During the fall, one of our favorite ways to stay healthy is to connect with nature. There are so many ways to get outside and enjoy the stunning beauty of Creation, and it never gets old. You can’t see too many sunsets or spend too many days with your toes in the sand. Here are some of our favorite ways to get outside in the fall.
Go for a hike and hammock at a beautiful spot. Take a nap, read a book, play with your dog. Just relax and breathe in the fresh air.
Hanging out by the water is also high up on our list when we’re out in nature.
Finally my FAVORITE thing to do outside, it to catch a beautiful sunset. I hope this inspired you to get outside, connect with nature, and discover some beautiful views where you live!
You want to eat healthy. You really do. But life gets so busy that it pushes your good intentions out the window. You bought a ton of fresh produce that is now sitting in your fridge going bad because you forgot about the late night work meeting, kid's soccer game, and the friend you promised you would help after work one night this week. Suddenly drive through's and take-out replace your good intentions and the healthy food in your fridge because you can't do it all.
So what is the key to finding balance in maintaining healthy food choices but also in finishing everything else you need to accomplish in your day? The answer is preparation. I'm going to share how meal planning has seamlessly become a part of my life and how it has saved me money and time along the way.
Meal planning, for me, starts before hitting up the grocery store. I make a quick list that looks something like this:
Monday: work late (leftovers)
Tuesday: home early to make dinner
Wednesday: work late (leftovers)
Thursday: church small group (bring side dish)
Friday: home early to make dinner
This is just a general outline that gives me a quick idea of which nights that week I will be able to make dinner and which nights I won't. Then, on nights I can't make dinner, I can either choose to make enough the day before for leftovers or plan a crockpot meal to start in the morning. It also helps me gauge an appropriate meal plan and shopping list so I don't overbuy. Food waste is a very real contributor to our landfills and to money that is just thrown away. If anything else, I highly encourage you to plan out meals and make grocery lists.
Then once my dinners are planned, I pick out 2 breakfast options and 2 lunch options for the week.
Once my lists are made, I head to the grocery store. When I come back from the store, I dedicate about 2 hours to meal prep and set me up strong for the week. I PROMISE this 2 hours is worth it. You can even watch Netflix while you do it.
Simple things I personally always prep are veggies, fruit, lunches, and sauces.
This week, I prepped berries and grapes for my fruit. I always soak my fruit in apple cider vinegar water to clean and preserve them. Then I store them in glass containers. I do the same with my cherry tomatoes.
For veggies, I peeled and cut up carrots, bell peppers, celery, and cucumber.
I also made a hummus for a dipping sauce and some homemade almond milk for smoothies in the morning.
I made some falafel to go with my lunches. These are awesome because you can make an extra big batch and freeze the dough in balls that can later be baked for a super-quick meal idea.
Then, once all my produce is prepped, I can make quick meals like this throughout the week. All I have to do is portion out how much I want for the next day.
The lunch shown below has a small salad with spinach, parsley, cucumbers, and tomatoes with falafel balls and fruit on the side. All I have to do is assemble and eat at lunch. I often make energy balls as well to have with a piece of fruit for a quick and easy snack.
Meal prepping can look so different week-to-week. But all of my basics are the same. Prep the base of all my meals (fruits and veggies), have some easy snacks prepared, and have your meals planned out. It takes all the guessing out of it and you've already prepared for late nights or crazy days.
I hope this helps you! It has revolutionized our family's ability to eat healthy on a budget and to make healthy food a go-to option for us.
Farmer's markets are vibrant with abundant varieties of fruits and veggies this time of year. While I LOVE going to visit our local farmer's market every chance I can, you may be wondering why farmer's markets are better to shop at than your convenience store. I'm going to share several of my top reasons for choosing to shop local over big box stores.
1) Locally-grown essentially means "freshly-picked." When you buy local produce, you are buying produce that is in season, at the peak of it's ripeness. Not only will this taste better, it also has a higher nutrient content. Food in the average convenience store is shipped from either out-of-state or out-of-country. It is often picked well before it is ripe and then sprayed with ethylene while it ships to force ripening to occur before hitting grocery shelves.
2) Farmer's markets are often way cheaper than the big box stores. When produce comes from long distances away, you are essentially covering the travel costs for the produce in addition to the growing costs. At your local farmer's market, you are just paying for the cost to grow the crops. And again, it tastes way more fresh!
3) Local produce is usually ethically sourced and you get to know your farmer. Knowing where your food comes from goes a long way in helping you make educated decisions. We love building relationships with local farmer's and knowing exactly what we are putting into our bodies!
If you've watched the news recently, you may have noticed some of the dog food brands (specifically Rachel Ray's Simply 6) and some breakfast cereals getting a bad rep for containing way too high levels of pesticides. News stories like this always bring awareness to the fact that our food supply is certainly not perfect. Some of the basic guidelines we like to follow in our home are:
1) eat real food, not food-like ingredients. This essentially constitutes whole foods consisting of only 1 ingredient, not ones made in a factory.
2) eat lots of plants. There is so much power in eating a diet rich in micronutrients. Forget the macros, it's the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in whole plant foods that make you thrive.
3) eat organic, when you can. No, it's not realistic for most families to be buying organic everything. But we do make an effort to buy locally-sourced and organic whenever possible. There are dirty dozen and clean fifteen lists online, created to help you decipher which produce has the highest levels of pesticides and are, therefore, more beneficial to consume organically. A quick rule of thumb, though, is if you eat the skin, try and eat organic!
This week we made a healthy, grain free breakfast for ourselves and a quick and easy homemade dog food for Brady. While this sounds intensive, I assure you it's not!
Let's start with Brady!
To make his food, simply add the following ingredients to a crock pot: 2 cans of rinsed and drained beans (I used black beans and white beans), 2 cups of uncooked brown rice, 3 cups frozen peas, sliced bell peppers (I used a bag of pre-cut frozen bell pepper strips), 3 cups spinach, 1 package of ground turkey, and 4 cups water. Cook on low for 6 hours. Once cooled, I store in individual containers. When I serve this for Brady, I often add a healthy scoop of fat from either peanut butter or coconut oil. He LOVES this. Whenever the crockpot is filled with his food, he rarely leaves the kitchen in anticipation of when it'll be finished.
Now on to our delicious breakfast. This is a great way to start your day these last few weeks of summer. It's a lemon-blueberry chia pudding. Chia pudding is great because it only take 2 minutes to prepare and can be made in large batches to have throughout the week. The ingredients for this pudding are: 1/4 cup chia seeds, 1 cup plant milk, the zest and juice of 1 lemon, 2 drops of lemon essential oil (make sure you have an edible brand like Young Living or Doterra), and 1-2 Tbsp maple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it). I like to put all the ingredients in a mason jar so I can give it a good shake before storing in the fridge. It takes about 20 minutes to thicken up into a pudding, but once thick can be eaten throughout the week. I like to top it with fresh berries and shredded, unsweetened coconut.
I hope this gives you some delicious inspiration for your breakfasts this week!
If you need a quick mid-week dinner recipe to help keep you on track, this is a great one for you!
- 1.5 cups whole grains, measured dry (this recipe used Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains blend that had quinoa, red lentils, orzo, and cous cous)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 lemon juiced
- pink Himalayan sea salt and black pepper
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cups frozen broccoli
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- avocado slices
Cook your grains according to package directions. While the grains are cooking, sautée garlic and yellow onion in 1 Tbsp olive oil. When translucent, add in cherry tomato halves and frozen broccoli. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika. Cook until all veggies are cooked through. When the grains are finished, toss with olive oil, lemon juice, and pink Himalayan salt/black pepper. Top with the cooked, sautéed veggies. Finish with slices of avocado. Aside from the avocado slices, this dish stores well and makes great leftovers for the next night as well. Enjoy!
Love it or hate it, fall is just around the corner. Soon the blistering August days will transition to cooler fall weather. This is our favorite time of the year to hike. Our little family loves traveling all over the west side of Michigan searching for new trails to check out! Brady loves it whenever the trails get close to water too :)
But there are some basic safety and health tips when it comes to hiking. Here are some of our top recommendations for when you hit the trails:
1) use a non-toxic flea/tick spray on yourself and your pets. Our recipe uses 2 cups filtered water, 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 Tbsp almond oil, 6 drops of orange essential oil, 6 drops lavender essential oil, 6 drops cedarwood essential oil, and 6 drops lemon essential oil. Put all ingredients in a dark glass spray jar. Spray your pup and yourself before heading out on a long hike.
2) hike with a friend. This increases not only the fun but your safety as well!
3) bring a healthy snack, like homemade trail mix or granola bars
4) stay hydrated!
5) pick appropriate shoes- if you are hiking in damp, muddy areas think hiking boots. If you are hiking sandy, water-based areas think Chacos. If you are hiking long distances on dry, solid ground think supportive, cushioned shoes.
Wishing you a happy end-of-summer and fall hiking season. We hope you get to enjoy as much of nature these next few months as we will!