Welcome to my blog! Come back often to read about nutrition, yoga, healthy living, clean eating, and how to live and eat consciously, not conveniently. Life is all about choices and I'm looking forward to helping you make the right ones!

Brownies! Sweet Potato Style!

original recipe from Joy McCarthy

Ingredients:

1 cup + 2 Tbsp. (as close as I can get) mashed, cooked sweet potato

¾ cup almond butter

½ cup + 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup

2 single servings organic unsweetened applesauce- or short of 1 cup

2 eggs

1 ½ cups raw cacao powder

2 tsp. baking soda

¾ tsp. sea salt

¼ cup dark, semi-sweet mini chocolate chips- I like Thrive and Enjoy life brands

 

Instructions :

Preheat oven to 350 and bake a large sweet potato until fork tender- about 40 min.

Remove from oven and let cool, set aside.

Reduce oven temp to 325.  Line a 9X9 baking dish with parchment paper.    (I used an 8X8, they did not spill over, but rose to the rim)

Take the cooled sweet potato and slide the skin off and mash the flesh.  Measure out 1 heaping cupful.

In a large bowl add the sweet potato, almond butter, maple syrup, applesauce and eggs.  Mix until there are no lumps of almond butter.  Pour all of the dry ingredients on top.   Do not overmix,  or the baking soda will activate too early and the brownies won’t rise.  Mix just enough to remove the bumps and lumps.

Pour into the pan over the parchment paper and smooth into the corners.  Sprinkle lightly with the chocolate chips.

Bake for about 40 minutes, but check them at 25.  Mine took 45 minutes at 8432 feet.  A toothpick inserted in the middle will come out clean.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.  Cut into 16 squares.  Keep and serve chilled.  You can individually wrap in plastic and freeze any extra.  These will last in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Nutritional Highlights:

Sweet potatoes are a powerhouse of antioxidants.  They are high in Vitamin C and carotenes.  Although it is a starchy veggie, studies have shown that they help in blood sugar stabilization by improving the bodies response to insulin.  They are high in fiber too.

Cacao – aka pure chocolate, contains flavonoids and proanthocyanidins which are the same compounds that provide the health benefits in many fruits and medicinal plants.

Almond butter lends a good healthy fat, protein and a little more fiber to the mix.

 

My Manhattan Styled Meatballs

 

So, these are not my normal super clean and healthy variety recipe, BUT they are better than most health-wise.  We use organic meats, gluten free bread crumbs and free-range eggs.  I prefer to use fresh pineapple when it is in season, but a BPA free canned version is fine.  The BBQ sauce and preserves you choose should be the cleanest version you can find.  Watch for the sugar content and ingredients you can’t pronounce.  Do the best you can.  My latest batch included Apricot BBQ sauce and Robert Rothschild’s Hot Pepper Peach preserves and I sprinkled in some red pepper flakes too!

INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs. of ground elk, grass fed beef, or turkey

3 eggs

½ cup minced onion

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tsp. sea salt

2 tsp. black pepper

1 13 oz.  jar of BBQ sauce.

1 12 oz. jar of pineapple preserves.

½ cup crushed and or blended pineapple

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a medium bowl, mix the BBQ sauce, preserves and pineapple together and set aside.

In a large bowl, add the meat, eggs, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and parsley and combine well.  (I find it easier to use my hands, just make sure they are clean!)  Once it is mixed well, add ½ cup of the BBQ sauce mixture and mix well.  You want it to be very moist, but where it still holds together in a ball.

Take a large baking sheet and lightly coat with olive oil, form the mixture into 1-2-inch balls and arrange in a single layer.

Option 1:  pour the remaining sauce over the meatballs and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the meat is cooked, but not overdone!

Option 2:  Bake the meatballs for 30-35 minutes, until just done.  In a serving crock pot, place some of the sauce into the pot, add the meatballs and then pour the remaining sauce over the top.  This method works great for larger parties.

Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and serve with toothpicks!

Carrots, are they still okay to eat?

I recently came across this interesting tip from the World’s Healthiest Foods website, one of my favorite places to lose a few hours! – http://whfoods.org/

Many of us have seen a whitish type coating that often forms on peeled carrots—especially those baby bullet shaped carrots—called “white blush.”

DID YOU KNOW when carrots are peeled, the process of peeling takes away the outer protective layer of the carrot root? Without this protective layer, the carrot becomes more easily dehydrated. The carrot helps to protect itself from damage following the loss of its outermost layer by creating a new protective layer of phenols. This new phenol-based layer contributes to the appearance of the “white blush.” If you immersed the carrots in water the carrot cells can absorb some of the moisture that has been lost after peeling.  This rehydration also helps restore its orange color. I personally am not a fan of peeling carrots and losing some of the extra nutrition you get from the peel, but at least we know that the “white blush” on carrots is a natural and protective response to dehydration rather than a reason to think they are bad and ready for the garbage (or compost pile).

 

Sometimes you just need to take a breath

Life gets busy.  It’s hard to justify taking time for yourself, spending money on yourself.  But in reality it is NECESSARY.  Your health is your everything.  Especially during the busy holiday season, take some time, slow yourself down, and enjoy your people!  Book a massage, book a private yoga session (preferably with me!)  Buy a book that is just for fun and relax for a few minutes each day.  Or maybeeeee, dig out that meditation cushion and just sit in silenced with yourself for 10 minutes.  Don’t worry about not doing it right.  The mind wanders, when it does, just bring it back to how your breath sounds.  There is no right or wrong way.  Make the time for yourself your own.  If you think meditation might just be your thing, there are tons of gorgeous meditation cushions online.  MY FAVORITE, is from Brentwood Home.  But a quick search on Amazon will give a good variety.  Just find the one that speaks to you!  https://www.brentwoodhome.com/products/crystal-cove-meditation-pillow

There are so many people around you that need the same down time, find a friend and schedule something together if that is what it takes.

Where I live, the snow is coming!  Look outside, take a deep breath and appreciate the beauty of the moment.  See the sights, smell the scents, and feel it all the way to your toes.

In summary, sometimes you just have to Trust, and Relax.

 

If you are interested in a very hands on, one on one, yoga session with me, I am now booking into December.  These classes are very personalized to YOUR set of conditions.  We will develop new habits and patterns while letting go of old ones.  We will find space in your joints and give your organs room to function!  This is a great way to care for yourself as well as a great gift to give someone you love.  If you would like more information or are just ready to reserve a time, contact me via website or feel free to call or text  970-531-2274.

I’m curious, what do you do to rest, and restore?

Lisa Turan

 

Coconut Curry Shrimp

Serves 4

Total time about 1 hr.

 

I’ve been craving the sweet heat of this meal for days!!  I tend to forget my favorites until the weather changes.  Not only is this dish a personal favorite, but it packs in anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric, ginger and garlic.  Cilantro is a powerful detoxifying herb.  Good quality fats like the coconut oil keep you satiated.  Feel free to play around with the veggies you use.  I’ve even made this with  chopped kale (added toward the end).  You can serve with ¼ cup cooked whole grain brown rice or even quinoa if you like.  It is delicious topped with a slice or two of avocado!

 

Ingredients:

 

2 tsp coconut oil

2 small carrots, chopped (fairly small pieces)

1 medium zucchini, rough chopped

½ yellow or white onion, rough chopped

½ large red bell pepper, rough chopped, reserve a few pieces to garnish

½ tsp. sea salt (divided)

3 Tbsp. unsalted tomato sauce

1 can light coconut milk (If you have access to good quality and fresh full fat canned coconut milk – choose that)

1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/8 cup fresh cilantro, chopped to garnish (and detox)

2 scallions, cut at angle (optional to garnish

1/8 avocado sliced (optional)

 

Chile Ginger paste:

1 serrano chili, (keep seeds if you like it hot),

1 tsp. red pepper flakes or more to taste

2 inches of fresh ginger peeled and rough chopped

2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

5 garlic cloves

3-4 tsp. curry (or 2 tsp of cumin seed, 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds, 1 tsp ground turmeric)

 

How to put it together:

Prepare the Chile/ginger paste first.  In a food processor, add all ingredients and process until everything is finely chopped, scrape down sides a few times to make sure all ingredients are incorporated.  Set aside.

 

In a large pot on medium high heat, heat the coconut oil.  Add in the carrots, zucchini, onions and bell pepper.  Using a pinch of the sea salt, stir and cook until soft- about 5 minutes.

 

Add the Chile-ginger paste and cook.  Stir for a couple of minutes, and reduce the heat (things will start to stick if you don’t)

 

Push veggies off to the sides of the pan, add the tomato sauce, and heat, gradually mixing into the veggies.  Add about ¾ cup water, stirring up the bits that will brown on the bottom of the pan.

Add the coconut milk and remaining sea salt.  Bring to a boil, reduce to medium and add the shrimp.  Cook until pink and tender (don’t over do it) 3-4 minutes will do it.

 

Divide into 4 bowls, top with cilantro and serve with rice or quinoa.

 

 

 

Natural Headache Remedies

Ayurveda is considered to be the “sister science” to yoga. Think of it as the nutritional or internal side to the physical part of yoga.  The yin to the yang.  They work together and complement each other in a way that brings harmony and balance to the body.  The body naturally and continuously will try to restore balance, all you need to do is to give it a little support.

Let’s just face it:  the current state of the world we live in doesn’t exactly promote effortless harmony.  Stress, worry, fear and living in an almost constant state of ‘fight or flight’ leaves us out of balance and exhausted.

This often brings on nagging and irritating headaches.  I am not talking about chronic migraines, but the normal life driven headache.

According the Ayurveda, these headaches are usually caused by tension or stress (aka tension headaches).   The muscles around the head and neck contract and slow down blood flow to the area.  This leads to the ache that moves from the back of the head and often spreads up to the forehead. The blood cannot get in and it hurts.

The other common headache stems from the vascular system.  This too is a result of too much stress for too long.  Fight or flight is only designed for short bursts of needed energy.  It certainly wasn’t supposed to become a way of life 7 days a week.  Not only does it give a good headache, but it wears down the adrenal system and the immune system.  With a vascular headache, the blood vessels in the head and neck first contract, and then expand.  The dilated blood vessels create the pressure in the forehead, temples and can spread throughout the entire head.  The blood cannot get out and it hurts.

 

So what can you do about it? 

First, reduce your stress and tension.  Schedule some time for yourself to recharge and relax on a regular basis.  Yoga, massage, meditation, even just reading a book, isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity for healthy living!

If you get one of these lovely headaches anyway.  The Ayurvedic treatment is easy to remember:

Heat to the feet!

Cold to the Head and Heat to the Feet!  

The feet have tons of blood vessels and when you warm up the tootsies, they dilate.  The circulation increases with the expansion and pulls blood away from the rest of the body (like the head that hurts).  If you don’t have access to or time for resting your feed near a fire, you can simply wrap the feet in a towel with hot water bottles or soak them in a warm tub.  20 to 3o minutes is usually enough.

At the same time, cool the head.  Lying down and placing a cold towel or possibly even an ice pack on the head will help to constrict the congested blood vessels and move that blood away from the head and toward the feet.  Circulation is improved and restored.   As with all things Yoga and Ayurveda, comfort is key.  Don’t stress, the heat and the cold should be comfortable, not painful.

Thinking it’s not enough?  You can layer on one more remedy.  Slice some fresh ginger and steep in hot water for a warm, soothing tea.  This natural remedy will reduce the inflammation of the blood vessels and calm your nervous system down into it’s natural and balanced state.  It is also delicious and smells wonderful!

 

 

 

 

Did you know? Vitamin C is easily damaged by heat and air?

Vitamin C is damaged by heat and air.  What does that mean to me, and why do I care?  Well, first of all we are coming up on cold and flu season.  It’s a common practice of drinking orange juice to boost the immune system. Many people load up on fizzy C loaded drink packets.  Not many of us know how much we need or how much we are actually getting.  The problem is that when commercial orange juice is produced it goes through a process of pasteurization (it is heated).  So much of the vitamin C that was in there is gone by the time it hits your glass.

A similar process happens when we cut or peel our produce.  If left exposed to air the nutrients begin to degrade.  A cucumber, nicely sliced and left standing will lose 49% of it’s Vitamin C in just 3 hours.  Did you know that cucumber is a great source of Vitamin C?  A cut up cantaloupe uncovered and stored in the refrigerator will lose 35% of it’s C in just 1 day.

There are many fresh and delicious sources of Vitamin C.  Red bell peppers, Kale, parsley, broccoli, papaya, strawberries, and kiwi.  Its not just oranges, lemons and limes!  A great resource to look at to see what is in your healthy foods is www.whfoods.com.  It is very user friendly!

If you just feel a little run down this season, or if you think you need a boost to your immune system here are a few quick and easy tips:

  1. Eliminate the junk.  No gas station food, no fast food or junk food.
  2. Eat real, whole foods.  Cut and juice your own oranges, lemons or limes and drink it fresh!

    Two halves of orange in a wooden bowl with uncut oranges and a glass of orange juice in the background
  3. Stay hydrated by drinking  1/2 of your weight in daily ounces of pure, clean water.
  4. If you feel you want or need to supplement your diet with some extra vitamin C choose the best one for you.

Vitamin C supplementation comes in many forms

  • Ascorbic acid- this is the cheapest
  • With bioflavonoids, in amounts equal to or more than the Vitamin C to help increase the absorption by the body.
  • Buffered- has added minerals including Magnesium, Calcium, and Potassium to be easier on the stomach for those that are sensitive.

Vitamin C is important not only to support the adrenals and immune systems, but it is a powerful antioxidant.  It is supportive to conditions like asthma, cancer, diabetes and wound healing.

 

 

 

 

 

Kid friendly Kale Chips

 

What you need:

2 cups Kale, I prefer Dinosaur Kale for the chips, but any variety will work.

1-2 Tbsp. of either Extra Virgin Olive oil, Avocado oil OR for a little sweeter chip, try coconut oil

1/4 tsp Himalayan sea salt

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

Options:  you can really alter your spices to fit your taste.  If I use olive oil, I often add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes or Spike seasoning.  I don’t know if it would work with coconut oil, but maybe I’ll try that soon!

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350

Remove the large veins leaving the leaves as big as you can.

Wash and dry them, make sure they are DRY.

Pour the olive (or coconut) oil over the leaves and massage them in your hands.

Add the sea salt and give another quick rub down to distribute the spices evenly

Place the leaves on a cookie sheet in a single layer and leave an inch of space in between.  If the leaves over lap or are too close they can end up steaming themselves and we want some crunch for our chips!

Bake for about 10-15 minutes.  Check at 10 minutes as times can vary with different ovens as well as at altitude.

This dark leafy green wonder contains vitamins A, C, E, and K.  It provides a healthy dose of fiber, has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  YEAH KALE!

 

 

Kale and Eggs Power Breakfast

Kale and Eggs Power Breakfast

 

From the trial and error kitchen of Lisa Turan

 Ingredients:

2 cups Kale, remove large veins, tear into 2 inch pieces and massage (squeeze and rub in your hands)

1 Tbsp. extra virgin coconut oil

1 -2 eggs

1 tomato, sliced

pinch sea salt

1 tsp. Nutritional yeast

 

Instructions:

In a small skillet, melt the coconut oil.  Add the kale and lightly Sautee, until slightly wilted.  Push kale to one side of the pan and add the egg.  Cook to desired doneness.  Serve the egg over the kale and sliced tomato.  Sprinkle with sea salt and nutritional yeast.

Loaded Avocado Rice Cake

This breakfast can certainly be modified in many ways using ingredients you have on hand.  We just can’t ever use up a loaf of bread (gluten free and packed with nutrients of course!) before it goes bad.  Breads can be frozen, but I have a very finicky hubby.  The best and easiest swap for me is to use wild rice cakes.  My favorite brand is Lundsberg and I find the organic wild rice holds together better than the brown rice variety.  Remember every nutritious meal consists of a good clean protein, a healthy fat and some fiber.  This packs them all into a lovely little meal that is great as a post workout snack too!

Here is my current version of my favorite easy to take or make at work breakfast!

  • Organic rice cake
  • Avocado
  • Applegate nitrate free turkey
  • Sprouts (i’m currently using radish sprouts for a little kick)
  • Sliced tomato

Simply spread the avocado over the rice cake (about a 1/3 of an avocado usually does it).  Top with a slice or 2 of turkey, a handful of sprouts, and sliced tomato.

Fun Fact:

Avocados are full of fiber (surprised?), rich in potassium, as well as a good source of magnesium, manganese, iron, and many of the B vitamins.  Did you know they also have about 4-5 grams of protein?