A work in progress

A BLOG DEDICATED TO MOTIVATING MYSELF TO BECOME WHO I WANT TO BE, AND PROVIDE RESOURCES, MOTIVATION AND SUPPORT TO OTHERS.

Strawberry Banana Spinach Smoothie
delicious and packed with vitamins, minerals, & antioxidantsapproximately 150 - 200 caloriesIngredients 6 medium Strawberries1 Banana1 cup Baby Spinach6 cubes or ½ a cup of iceDirections
Combine ingredients in a blender or food processor and enjoy! You can also freeze into ice cubes and add to milk, almond milk, or soy milk :) 
I usually find it hard to eat raw spinach, but in this recipe, I can barely taste it and it’s so quick and easy to make! 

Strawberry Banana Spinach Smoothie

delicious and packed with vitamins, minerals, & antioxidants
approximately 150 - 200 calories

Ingredients 
6 medium Strawberries
1 Banana
1 cup Baby Spinach
6 cubes or ½ a cup of ice

Directions

  • Combine ingredients in a blender or food processor and enjoy! 
    You can also freeze into ice cubes and add to milk, almond milk, or soy milk :) 
I usually find it hard to eat raw spinach, but in this recipe, I can barely taste it and it’s so quick and easy to make! 

(via dank-ass-granola)

Healthy Spinach Artichoke Cheese DipIngredients
10 oz bag fresh spinach
6 oz (¾ block) ⅓  less-fat cream cheese, softened
6 oz (¾ block) fat-free cream cheese, softened
½ cup fat-free sour cream
1 ½ cups part-skim mozzarella, shredded
1 (14 oz) canned (opt for fresh) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
½  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 garlic cloves, crushed (not minced)
6 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese, divided
DirectionsFor warm dip
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Tear spinach into bite-size pieces, removing any thick stems. Rinse in a colander, leaving a little water on the leaves. In a large nonstick skillet or Dutch oven, sauté the spinach over medium heat until wilted. Drain in the colander, pushing a little of the extra water out.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheeses with a potato masher. Add sour cream and mash more. Add spinach, mozzarella, artichokes, pepper, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of the parmesan. Stir everything until thoroughly combined.
Pour mixture into a 1 ½ quart baking dish. Sprinkle remaining ¼  cup of Parmesan on top. Bake 30 minutes, or until parmesan is melted dip is all bubbly. Remove from oven and give it a minute or two to cool down.
Nutritional Information per ½ cupCalories: 135 Fat: 7 grams recipe from here

Healthy Spinach Artichoke Cheese Dip

Ingredients

  • 10 oz bag fresh spinach
  • 6 oz (¾ block) ⅓  less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 6 oz (¾ block) fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1 ½ cups part-skim mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 (14 oz) canned (opt for fresh) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • ½  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed (not minced)
  • 6 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese, divided

Directions
For warm dip

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Tear spinach into bite-size pieces, removing any thick stems. Rinse in a colander, leaving a little water on the leaves. In a large nonstick skillet or Dutch oven, sauté the spinach over medium heat until wilted. Drain in the colander, pushing a little of the extra water out.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheeses with a potato masher. Add sour cream and mash more. Add spinach, mozzarella, artichokes, pepper, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of the parmesan. Stir everything until thoroughly combined.
  4. Pour mixture into a 1 ½ quart baking dish. Sprinkle remaining ¼  cup of Parmesan on top. Bake 30 minutes, or until parmesan is melted dip is all bubbly. Remove from oven and give it a minute or two to cool down.


Nutritional Information per ½ cup
Calories: 135 Fat: 7 grams 

recipe from here

Cucumber Tea SandwichesIngredientsBread (Dempsters BodyWise bread has only 45 calories per slice)CucumbersLight Cream CheeseSalt & PepperMint LeavesDirections1. Shave long strips of cucumber with a regular vegetable peeler. Pat with a paper towel if the cucumber seems too wet.2. Spread some light cream cheese on to the bread.3. Lay out cucumber in a pretty pattern, slightly overlapping. If you line up the cucumbers to one side of the bread, you’ll have long enough strips left over for a second sandwich.4. Cut off crusts and cut to desired shape. Use a cookie or biscuit cutter for non-square/triangular sandwiches. Sprinkle with salt and fresh pepper. Garnish with parsley, mint, or watercress.Calories: 75 per sandwichstep-by-step picture guide here

Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

Ingredients
Bread (Dempsters BodyWise bread has only 45 calories per slice)
Cucumbers
Light Cream Cheese
Salt & Pepper
Mint Leaves

Directions
1. Shave long strips of cucumber with a regular vegetable peeler. Pat with a paper towel if the cucumber seems too wet.
2. Spread some light cream cheese on to the bread.
3. Lay out cucumber in a pretty pattern, slightly overlapping. If you line up the cucumbers to one side of the bread, you’ll have long enough strips left over for a second sandwich.
4. Cut off crusts and cut to desired shape. Use a cookie or biscuit cutter for non-square/triangular sandwiches. Sprinkle with salt and fresh pepper. Garnish with parsley, mint, or watercress.

Calories: 75 per sandwich

step-by-step picture guide here

How to Eat More Vegetables
It’s been my experience that people rarely have trouble eating more meat when going Primal. Sure, former vegetarians may struggle with the transition, but the average omnivore usually welcomes the opportunity to indulge more often. Vegetables, on the other hand, seem to present more of an issue. We don’t live in a very veggie friendly culture. Vegetables get a bad name from the overcooked, colorless portions served in schools to the tiresome model of bland “house salads” across America. (Can we all just agree that iceberg lettuce is just a handy wrapping agent – for real food?) I get emails and comment board questions from time to time asking how to incorporate more vegetables into a Primal Blueprint diet. Sometimes they’re from self-professed vegetable haters. Other times, folks are just looking for tips to expand their limited horizons in the produce section or in the cooking realm. Fallmight not be the height of farmers’ market season, but it’s a good time to up your antioxidant intake. Why put off making a positive change? Let’s dig in.

 Train Your Palate

I always tell people you *can* train your taste. Sure, chocolate will probably always taste better than broccoli, but as you distance yourself from a daily onslaught of sugar, salt, and processed additives, you’ll begin to appreciate the taste of freshness in all your food – vegetables included. Be patient with the process (and yourself). Take it as slow as you need to.

Start with the veggies you already like or sort of like. Work more of them into the meal rotation more often. Use them raw in one dish and cooked in another. Chop them finely in one meal and use large chunks for dipping at snack time. Start your own list or cookbook to record your favorites.

Add One Quality Vegetable At a Time

Go to the best farmers’ market or produce department you can. Buy the best quality you can afford. Start with just a little of each new thing. Get plenty of inspiration from your favorite cookbooks and online recipes (like here of course).

Have Fun With It

Host a potluck, have each family member make a dish, or go out to dinner with the weekly veggie theme in mind. That way you’ll get to try a vegetable prepared differently in several dishes. You’re bound to like at least one.

Learn to Cook Each Vegetable

Guess what – no one likes green beans when they’re cooked to an olive-colored mush. The same goes for limp asparagus or soggy eggplant. Here’s where I think cooking shows can come in handy – when they aren’t just carb orgies. (Anyone out there want to bring the Primal Blueprint to the “Next Food Network Star”? I take an oath to actually watch the show from start to finish and post updates on your progress here.) Good cooking magazines and cookbooks often give more detailed recipe instructions or ingredient guides, which can be handy. That said, many vegetables are better raw. Stay open-minded.

Don’t Underestimate Good Seasoning and Accompaniments

Cut yourself some slack early on, and use dips, sauces, and dressings as you need them. As your taste adjusts, you’ll depend on them less. If you’ve been Primal for a while now, use your favorite recipes to your advantage. Dip vegetable sticks into meat juices or mushroom sauces (works great with cauliflower, BTW). Whip up a jar of Primal ranch dressing or tzatziki for some some raw veggies.

Look beyond the typical dip ideas, however. Try the veggies at hand as a hot side dish with an Asian (stir fry!) or Mediterranean sauce. Add some umami with some good quality cheeseif you do any dairy. (Gratins aren’t just for potatoes.) Or mix your veggies with some fruit while you get used to the new tastes.

Yes, You Can Eat Vegetables for Breakfast

Now for the nitty gritty of a day’s menu. Like eggs? Throw in diced bits of a single vegetable (or more) when making scrambled eggs or an omelet. Mince it if you’d rather not taste large chunks. Or blend some kale or spinach into a smoothie. Add a splash of fruit juice or a handful of fruit if you need to. As you get used to one, look at adding another.

Envision a Better Salad

First, experiment with better greens. If it’s your least favorite part of any salad, minimize the greens portion and try out alternatives. Baby spinach and romaine, for example have more flavor than iceberg but are still pretty tame. Butterhead varieties and endive are a few of the mildest leaves. For more flavor, try dandelion and other “weed” greens, radicchio, or a peppery arugula. Shred some red cabbage or throw a few kale leaves in there to mix it up. While buying whole heads or loose stock leaves gives you the freshest (and usually cheapest) option, consider trying pre-packaged mixed greens to test out what you like the most.

That said, a good salad is so much more than the greens. (Sometimes, there are no greens to be had period.) Here’s where the veggie of the week idea can come in handy. Use the vegetables you like already and throw in a new one every few days. Don’t limit your salads to veggies only. Just about any salad, if you ask me, tastes better with some meat or even a little cheese on occasion. Do a chef salad, a salmon Caesar salad, or a broccoli, scallion, and carrot slaw with some marinaded beef. Then get bold and add to the mix over time. If texture is an issue, try a chopped salad.

Veggie Snacks Can Be More Than Carrot and Celery Sticks

I personally love a crudite platter, but it can get old if you never mix it up. Invest in adehydrator and make vegetable “chips” with everything from kale to zucchini. Season generously, and enjoy. Use the leftovers from the previous night’s veggie adventure as a snack, or do a butter leaf wrap with a vegetable-rich tuna or chicken salad. Good readers, I know you’ll have plenty to add here!

Sneak Them Into Your Favorite Dishes and Comfort Foods

One of the best meals I ever had at someone else’s house was shrimp cooked in a Greek vegetable and feta sauce. I never would’ve guessed it was just tomatoes, green pepper, scallions, olive oil, and herbs with feta. The longer things cook, the more the flavors become blended into something wholly new and rich. Use this principle to your advantage. Add minced veggies to your favorite chili, stew, or soup recipe. Mash some root vegetables and serve it with garlic butter, homemade gravy, or plain meat drippings.

Anyone ready to eat now?? Thanks for reading today. Be sure to share your own ideas for enjoying vegetables Primally. I’ll look forward to reading your tips, questions, and recipe ideas. Have a great week, everybody!

How to Eat More Vegetables

It’s been my experience that people rarely have trouble eating more meat when going Primal. Sure, former vegetarians may struggle with the transition, but the average omnivore usually welcomes the opportunity to indulge more often. Vegetables, on the other hand, seem to present more of an issue. We don’t live in a very veggie friendly culture. Vegetables get a bad name from the overcooked, colorless portions served in schools to the tiresome model of bland “house salads” across America. (Can we all just agree that iceberg lettuce is just a handy wrapping agent – for real food?) I get emails and comment board questions from time to time asking how to incorporate more vegetables into a Primal Blueprint diet. Sometimes they’re from self-professed vegetable haters. Other times, folks are just looking for tips to expand their limited horizons in the produce section or in the cooking realm. Fallmight not be the height of farmers’ market season, but it’s a good time to up your antioxidant intake. Why put off making a positive change? Let’s dig in.

 Train Your Palate

I always tell people you *can* train your taste. Sure, chocolate will probably always taste better than broccoli, but as you distance yourself from a daily onslaught of sugar, salt, and processed additives, you’ll begin to appreciate the taste of freshness in all your food – vegetables included. Be patient with the process (and yourself). Take it as slow as you need to.

Start with the veggies you already like or sort of like. Work more of them into the meal rotation more often. Use them raw in one dish and cooked in another. Chop them finely in one meal and use large chunks for dipping at snack time. Start your own list or cookbook to record your favorites.

Add One Quality Vegetable At a Time

Go to the best farmers’ market or produce department you can. Buy the best quality you can afford. Start with just a little of each new thing. Get plenty of inspiration from your favorite cookbooks and online recipes (like here of course).

Have Fun With It

Host a potluck, have each family member make a dish, or go out to dinner with the weekly veggie theme in mind. That way you’ll get to try a vegetable prepared differently in several dishes. You’re bound to like at least one.

Learn to Cook Each Vegetable

Guess what – no one likes green beans when they’re cooked to an olive-colored mush. The same goes for limp asparagus or soggy eggplant. Here’s where I think cooking shows can come in handy – when they aren’t just carb orgies. (Anyone out there want to bring the Primal Blueprint to the “Next Food Network Star”? I take an oath to actually watch the show from start to finish and post updates on your progress here.) Good cooking magazines and cookbooks often give more detailed recipe instructions or ingredient guides, which can be handy. That said, many vegetables are better raw. Stay open-minded.

Don’t Underestimate Good Seasoning and Accompaniments

Cut yourself some slack early on, and use dips, sauces, and dressings as you need them. As your taste adjusts, you’ll depend on them less. If you’ve been Primal for a while now, use your favorite recipes to your advantage. Dip vegetable sticks into meat juices or mushroom sauces (works great with cauliflower, BTW). Whip up a jar of Primal ranch dressing or tzatziki for some some raw veggies.

Look beyond the typical dip ideas, however. Try the veggies at hand as a hot side dish with an Asian (stir fry!) or Mediterranean sauce. Add some umami with some good quality cheeseif you do any dairy. (Gratins aren’t just for potatoes.) Or mix your veggies with some fruit while you get used to the new tastes.

Yes, You Can Eat Vegetables for Breakfast

Now for the nitty gritty of a day’s menu. Like eggs? Throw in diced bits of a single vegetable (or more) when making scrambled eggs or an omelet. Mince it if you’d rather not taste large chunks. Or blend some kale or spinach into a smoothie. Add a splash of fruit juice or a handful of fruit if you need to. As you get used to one, look at adding another.

Envision a Better Salad

First, experiment with better greens. If it’s your least favorite part of any salad, minimize the greens portion and try out alternatives. Baby spinach and romaine, for example have more flavor than iceberg but are still pretty tame. Butterhead varieties and endive are a few of the mildest leaves. For more flavor, try dandelion and other “weed” greens, radicchio, or a peppery arugula. Shred some red cabbage or throw a few kale leaves in there to mix it up. While buying whole heads or loose stock leaves gives you the freshest (and usually cheapest) option, consider trying pre-packaged mixed greens to test out what you like the most.

That said, a good salad is so much more than the greens. (Sometimes, there are no greens to be had period.) Here’s where the veggie of the week idea can come in handy. Use the vegetables you like already and throw in a new one every few days. Don’t limit your salads to veggies only. Just about any salad, if you ask me, tastes better with some meat or even a little cheese on occasion. Do a chef salad, a salmon Caesar salad, or a broccoli, scallion, and carrot slaw with some marinaded beef. Then get bold and add to the mix over time. If texture is an issue, try a chopped salad.

Veggie Snacks Can Be More Than Carrot and Celery Sticks

I personally love a crudite platter, but it can get old if you never mix it up. Invest in adehydrator and make vegetable “chips” with everything from kale to zucchini. Season generously, and enjoy. Use the leftovers from the previous night’s veggie adventure as a snack, or do a butter leaf wrap with a vegetable-rich tuna or chicken salad. Good readers, I know you’ll have plenty to add here!

Sneak Them Into Your Favorite Dishes and Comfort Foods

One of the best meals I ever had at someone else’s house was shrimp cooked in a Greek vegetable and feta sauce. I never would’ve guessed it was just tomatoes, green pepper, scallions, olive oil, and herbs with feta. The longer things cook, the more the flavors become blended into something wholly new and rich. Use this principle to your advantage. Add minced veggies to your favorite chili, stew, or soup recipe. Mash some root vegetables and serve it with garlic butter, homemade gravy, or plain meat drippings.

Anyone ready to eat now?? Thanks for reading today. Be sure to share your own ideas for enjoying vegetables Primally. I’ll look forward to reading your tips, questions, and recipe ideas. Have a great week, everybody!

(via stopneglectingyourhealth)