Turmeric Quinoa Salad

Recipe: Turmeric Quinoa Salad

Buy LocalThis quick recipe was adapted from a simple quinoa recipe from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I had made it before, but I wanted to make something that incorporated more turmeric which I could include as a nice pairing to the Red Lentil Dal I made earlier.

This “salad” incorporates green onion, fresh basic and parsley, as well as some healthy extra-virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar.

I typically use grains sparingly as an accompaniment to a salad. The intent today was to pair it with lentils and fresh arugula to get some added greens in my life. The spices blend perfectly with the peppery arugula. This will be a great meal prep meal for me.  This can be made vegan, but I used chicken bone broth instead of water for some extra protein and hopefully healing properties for my nagging knee osteoarthritis.

Turmeric Quinoa Salad

10 minPrep Time

20 minCook Time

30 minTotal Time

Yields 6

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa (I used a local tri-color quinoa from Lundberg)
  • 1 cup coconut milk (I used light, but full-fat can be used too)
  • 1/2 cup water, vegetable broth, or chicken bone broth
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Instructions

  1. Wash quinoa well and strain.
  2. Add quinoa to coconut milk and water (or broth).
  3. Add turmeric and stir well.
  4. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or following timing on quinoa package).
  5. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
  6. Transfer to a small mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients.
  7. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
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https://offtheplatehealthcoach.com/2017/12/29/recipe-turmeric-quinoa-salad/

Fresh Chopped Parsley

Food is Medicine: Exploring the Anti-Inflammatory Diet

I’ve been exploring the concept of food as medicine as a way to help deal with the pain and inflammation of my knee. So many years of bearing excess weight, and running half marathons at 200+ pounds have caught up with me. I’ve got bone on bone in my left knee, along with damage to all of my ligaments. Since my gastric bypass, I am no longer able to take NSAIDs for inflammation and pain, so I have turned to more homeopathic approaches like arnica, CDB topical products, heat and ice, and food. Yes, food.

Since starting my health coaching program, I have learned quite a bit about the healing properties of a lot of different foods and spices and the benefits of a primarily plant-based diet to help heal a variety of ailments. I recently picked up the book “Healing Arthritis” by Susan Blum. The book connects arthritis to other immune and inflammatory disorders and focuses on restoring gut health, elimination of inflammatory foods, and reducing inflammation without adding medication. I heard Dr. Blum discuss the connection between gut health and arthritis in an interview with Dr. Mark Hyman on Twitter. I’m a skeptic at times, but the science makes sense to me.

Last week I received a few recipes from my own health coach and fellow student at Institute for Integrative Nutrition to address my goals of adding more plant-based foods and more anti-inflammatory, healing foods into my diet. One was this recipe for Easy Vegan Red Lentil Dal, which I ended up pairing with a modified version of a quinoa salad that features turmeric.  Seemed like a good pairing.

Both recipes together took me about an hour to prepare and clean up (for me, I need to know how much clean up there will be, and I am definitely getting more efficient about cleaning as I go). I’m definitely going to incorporate these recipes into my food prep tool box.  Considering the volume of food I can eat, I may consider cutting the recipe in half next time, or sharing with my food prep clients too. If you try them, let me know what you think!

Serves 6

Easy Vegan Red Lentil Dal

5 minPrep Time

15 minCook Time

20 minTotal Time

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups dried red lentils
  • 1 (15oz) can of coconut milk (full-fat or light - I used light)
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt & pepper (or to taste)

Instructions

  1. Wash lentils in a strainer and let them drain.
  2. Bring water to a boil.
  3. Add lentils and coconut milk.
  4. Return mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  5. Cook (uncovered) for 10 minutes until the lentils have softened, then stir in spices and cook for another 5 minutes.

Notes

Serve with quinoa, cauliflower rice, or brown rice. The turmeric quinoa recipe pairs nicely, served on a bed of arugula.

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https://offtheplatehealthcoach.com/2017/12/29/food-is-medicine-exploring-the-anti-inflammatory-diet/

Massaged Kale Salad

Massaged Kale Salad

For Christmas eve, we were asked to come up with some kind of a vegetable side dish to go with dinner, and since I had all the ingredients on hand for this super easy and healthy salad, I proposed this.

My husband isn’t exactly a kale guy, but he knew that there was plenty of other food for him to eat if he didn’t want the salad.

This salad is simple to make and can be done without a whole lot of concentration, and everyone can joke about how you are giving the kale a good massage.

The verdict: thumbs up from everyone. In fact I even got a thumbs up the next day because apparently it made great leftovers too.

That’s my favorite thing about kale. Aside from being nutrient dense and just plain good for you, it’s also pretty hearty in terms of consistence and holds up well when prepped in advance. This is actually a good one to make for meal prep as you can enjoy it for a few days.

The rest of the story: my sister-in-law has what I would consider a dream kitchen. Modern, open, lots of surface space. Multiple people can be making different things without getting in the way of each other. The only think I really needed the stove for was the quick toasting of the almonds. The joy of a gas cooktop is something I can’t describe (since our kitchen is the original harvest gold electric cooktop and is now on it’s last burner). We have been on the hunt for a gas cooktop that would fit in the same space as our current electric one — it’s an odd size.  So — we’ll planning a big kitchen remodel! Stay tuned for more as plans take shape.

With all the food prep I’ve been doing, I’ve really started to enjoy spending time in the kitchen. I’m looking forward to inviting clients in for some experimentation with healthy recipes in the new year! Goodbye harvest gold!

Massaged Kale Salad

15 minPrep Time

3 minCook Time

18 minTotal Time

Yields 3-4

Author:

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Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch raw kale
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sliced raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Sea Salt and Ground Pepper to taste
  • Pecorino, parmigiana or asiago cheese, shaved (optional)

Instructions

  1. Remove stems from kale and slice into thin ribbons.
  2. Massage with lemon juice to soften the leaves and cut the bitterness.
  3. Combine kale and olive oil in a large bowl.
  4. Massage until kale softens. Drain any liquid released from the kale.
  5. Toast almonds in skillet over medium heat until they begin to brown.
  6. Add the almonds and tomatoes to the kale and toss.
  7. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
  8. Top salad with shaved cheese (optional).
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https://offtheplatehealthcoach.com/2017/12/28/massaged-kale-salad/

Winding down 2017 — as a prepper!

Chopping Vegetables with caption: Meal Prep Mania

It’s not what you think. I am not preparing for the end of the world by stocking up my underground bunker in the middle of nowhere. I find myself at the end of the new year venturing into new territory!

For the last two weeks, I have been testing out a service: meal prep. I’m not just creating Pinterest boards full of bento box perfection (although I did create a Food Prep board). I’ve started preparing meals for a client at her insistence.This wasn’t what I had in mind when I started on this health coaching track, but hey — if I can help someone take control of their health and well-being, why not! She wants to eat healthy, but doesn’t want to take the time to do all of the prep.

I get it.  There’s sometimes when it’s easy to grab some pre-boiled eggs and some string cheese and call it a day. But to really eat healthy, to get in your greens and fiber, and all the goodness of whole food nutrition, it takes work and planning.

And meal prep for someone else keeps me on track too. I’m definitely getting more efficient the more I do this.

I thought I would share a few tips for you to try if you’re embarking on a food prep adventure in the new year.

  1. Planning starts with the menu. Pick a few recipes that you plan to make and that you can make in bulk.  I usually will make a few different entrees, a few vegetable side dishes, and sometimes a grain. Then I find a few breakfast recipes like steel cut oats, protein muffins, egg fritatta muffins, and green smoothies. Once I have the menu down, I make a grocery list. Many times I already have a lot of staples at home, but I’ll just need a few extra thing.  I also plan things like extra greens for smoothies and salads, fruit and veggies for snacks, and some basic protein options like eggs, cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt that can be used at any time for a snack or meal.
  2. Shopping – I try to do all my shopping at one place, and since I know the layout of our local store well, I try to put my lists in the order that food is laid out at the store.  Believe it or not this saves time. For produce, I tend to buy organic, or at least follow the Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen guidelines. I also go with frozen organic fruit for smoothies.  I consume such a small amount of food, it usually goes bad before I can eat it unless it’s frozen.
  3. Unpack and prep. Once home, I put away anything I’m not going to immediately use, but I will wash and chop all the veggies needed for recipes so they are good to go.
  4. Plan your order. If you are roasting vegetables, I try to get those washed, chopped, and prepped to throw in the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or so, and I can switch out sheet pans as I go. I try to find all recipes that cook at roughly the same temperature to save some time too.
  5. Clean as you go. I am one of those people who tends to use every bowl, pot and pan in the house when I do food prep.  I like to clean up between each recipe to keep things organized and to save some time at the end when the last thing in the world I want to do is wash another dish.
  6. Package for mix and match. As I prep my food, I portion everything out for my portion sizes that are roughly the same caloric value or macro nutrients. That way, I can just grab a few things to mix and match during the day that can also be interchangeably breakfast or lunch or dinner. I tend to make “buddha bowl” type things where I can add  various proteins to greens, grains, roasted vegetables, and maybe add an interesting dressing or sauce, or just top with hummus or some other pureed bean recipe. I like to make it an adventure.
  7. Save what works! When you find a recipe that’s easy and tasty, make sure you pin it to a Pinterest board or add it to your folder of favorite recipes.  You’ll want to add that to the rotation.
  8. Have fun! Put on some good tunes and your Fitbit and dance around the kitchen.  Time on your feet is time you aren’t on the couch, and cooking really can be a lot of fun.

Now that I have a few weeks under my belt of actually doing this for someone else, I can see some benefits for myself. I’m challenging myself to try some new things — like baking.  It was never really my thing, but now I have made a number of different sugar free and low sugar treats, and really awesome protein muffins made from black beans!

Whether your goals for 2018 are to eat healthier or move more, there’s a way to build some simple steps into your life to get you on that track. I’d love to discuss your goals and intentions for the year. Are you ready for the big things ahead?  I know I sure am! Contact me for a free consultation if your are interested in learning more about health coaching and about how you can incorporate more home cooking into your diet and lifestyle.

What’s getting in your way?

Get Unstuck

We can be our own worst enemy, or, we can be our own best friend. Sometimes a little of both.

When looking at long term goals and achieving satisfaction, whether it’s in career, relationships, creativity, or some other area, we can be our own roadblock. We are sailing along, performing our action steps and doing our due diligence, then suddenly we lose sight of the big picture and start letting things get in our way.  Maybe it’s a sense of obligation to others. Maybe it’s the fear of success. Whatever the reason, if you recognize this as a pattern, how do you handle it? How do we find ways to put ourselves first without feeling selfish?

Self-care is not selfish. Self-preservation is not selfish. Treating yourself with kindness is one of the best things you can do for yourself so that you can be more giving to others.

Here are a few tips for nurturing a more positive mindset:

Let it go

Negative self-talk

Treating yourself with kindness begins with letting go of your negative self-talk. Listen for it. When you hear your inner voice go into that negative space, find a way to turn that thought into something positive. You are awesome! Let that be your mantra.

Compare and Despair

It’s so easy to look around you and feel like a failure when you compare yourself to others. Whether it’s career-related or weight loss, tell yourself, “where you are right now is perfectly okay.”  Keeping that single point of focus on achieving your goals will help you get unstuck and help pave your own path and find your best solutions. Great ideas only come to an open mind.

Fear of Change

Think about how things are going for you. Think about patterns you are in. Are you stuck? Well then maybe those patterns aren’t quite the right direction — for you! Think like George Costanza — do the opposite of what you normally do. You may have to get into uncomfortable territory to make a breakthrough.

Turn it around

Be Grateful

I’ve said it before — a little gratitude goes a long way for change and personal development. Developing a grateful mindset automatically creates a more positive space for change to happen. Find something to be grateful for in every single bad experience — your own personal silver lining.

Find Your Tribe

Surround yourself with people who support you and uplift your spirits. They will help you find your way and your confidence.

Clear Your Mind

Find ways to incorporate quiet time into your day for meditation, mindful breathing, and to quiet your mind too. Nothing lowers stress levels like clearing your mind and letting the physical tension drift way with some nurturing and calming activities.

Random Acts of Kindness

Do something kind for another person. Kindness is infectious and has a profound effect on your mood and mindset.

Get Unstuck.

You can do this. It really takes discipline to get in touch with yourself and understand the things that are holding you back. Sometimes a simple shift in thinking is what does the trick.

Share some of your strategies in the comments.

The power of your story

Adobe Spark-16

A flutter of negativity can ruin your day. That’s when you take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

Honor your past to inspire your future. Loaded words.

This was one of themes in my training this week. And oddly enough before I completed the assignment, I was feeling very reflective. Monday night, I spoke to a room full of potential bariatric surgery candidates and shared my story. It was a very moving experience, and gave me a bit of a mind shift. You can read more from my personal Instagram account which documents my journey post-bariatric surgery.

Connecting the dots: I have to step back and look at where I started and where I am now, and use that to inspire me to push towards my future goals. As I build my coaching practice I have been thinking of what really differentiates me from other graduates of my program.

Everyone’s journey is different, and destination too. But what I have learned along the way is what inspires me to help others, whether they are considering bariatric surgery or another medical intervention for obesity. I have learned through mistakes, I have gathered a significant amount of information about the disease called obesity and the negative stigma associated with it. I understand weight bias. I understand the frustration of feeling hopeless and like a failure.

But I also know what it feels like to emerge from the darkness and capture the true power of my own story.  I am ready to share what I have learned, and what I am learning.

View this post on Instagram

Monday night I had the honor and privilege of being the guest speaker at my bariatric surgeon’s New Patient Seminar. Before I was called up, she played a video with the song “everybody wants to rule the world” over dozens of transformation photos (which of course made me a little teary-eyed). At the end of the song, it paused on these three “before” pictures. And then I walked up. Hard to imagine standing in front of this crowd of people knowing I was in the audience not so long ago. My journey is different than most, but still inspiring to people who are just starting on their path. It made me feel completely relevant. And the person on the left is so much happier — and healthier. It made the difficulties of this year fade away and gave me renewed inspiration and a sense of accomplishment. I have maintained my weight loss for a year. I never expected I could do it. But I did. Time to reflect and give myself some credit for a year of hard work, mental toughness, and asskicking victories. #obesitysurvivor #wlsjourney #longstrangetrip #2017inreview #whatayear #enjoytheride #livelife #seizetheday #carpediem #healthcoach #iinsession

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Bariatric-style baking: Hermit cookies

As a bariatric surgery patient, the holidays can be a challenge. Staying on track with eating low carb can be a struggle, especially at potlucks and holiday parties. I’m about 17 months out from my surgery, but am celebrating a full year at my goal range and maintaining my weight. It’s easy to see how old habits can come back, so finding safe alternatives to bring to parties is one of my keys to success.

I am so not a baker.  Growing up in a house with a diabetic and a Weight Watchers instructor (mom and dad respectively), I didn’t learn about baking at home. I’m learning from Pinterest! You can find pretty much anything there, and there are so many resources for bariatric-friendly recipes and ideas, you are more than likely to find something within your skill and patience level and that works with your dietary goals.

IMG_8434 Bariatric Eating is one of my go-to sites for recipes and for information about maintaining post-surgery. Their Inspire protein line is definitely one of the best-tasting supplements out there in the bariatric formulated arena. I subscribe to their email updates and recently received one that was full of holiday cookie recipes. I saw the one for Hermit Cookies and I knew I had to give them a try. My baby brother and my grandmother used to bake hermit cookies together, so there’s a touch of nostalgia there. I’m pretty sure the recipe called for brown sugar and molasses, which is strictly off limits for me, post-bariatric surgery.  This bari-friendly recipe uses almond flour, so it cuts down on the carb content and is also gluten free, which is important for people with gluten and wheat sensitivities.

I know a sugar-free recipe is successful if my husband tries one and tells me they are okay to bring for our Christmas Eve dinner. The recipe is simple and easy to follow, so might be a good one to try if you’re wanting something lower in carbs and sugar but definitely a seasonal taste.

So consider hermit cookies to bring to your next gathering.  You can bring hermits, so you don’t have to be one.

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups almond flour
  • ⅓ cup Truvia
  • 2 teaspoons Pumpkin Pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large brown eggs
  • ¼ cup raisins, chopped – optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Blend the almond flour, Truvia, Pumpkin Pie spice and salt in a medium bowl. Mix in the raisins if you choose to add them.
  3. Next add the eggs and blend into a soft dough. Gather into a smooth ball. Divide in half.
  4. Roll each piece into an even 1½ inch log, place on lightly sprayed baking sheet, press to flatten slightly. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, until logs begin to turn golden and are firm to the touch.
  5. Cool and cut into one inch bars with a chef’s knife.

Recipe credit goes to Susan Maria Leach, founder of Bariatric Eating.

Self-preservation during the holiday season

season4stress

How well do you know yourself? If you’re anything like me, the holiday season just saps the life force out of me. As an introvert (who seems to get more introverted by the day), I have learned to be very protective of my time. The social calendar keeps stacking up with work holiday parties, multiple family holiday parties, and other social gatherings. This year I’m putting into practice all of my strategies for managing the stress of a busy calendar.

I found myself a little overwhelmed a few weeks ago, and my live-in health coach (a.k.a. my husband) asked me a really great question. “What would coach Marilyn tell you to do?”

That’s it, right there.  I could tell you the same thing you can read on HuffPo — rest, gratitude, self-care, time management, etc.  In fact, those things seem to be a theme on this blog.

But really, ask yourself, “If I was my own health coach, what advice would I give myself?”

Only you know and understand your threshold for family drama, exposure to excessive sugary baked goods and alcohol, and small talk with acquaintances at parties. Really take some time this holiday season and come up with your own plan to manage life’s chaos. We really do have our own answers, but sometimes we just need to ask ourselves the right question.

Having trouble finding the answers? Or the questions? Let me know if I can help. You never know how a single conversation can change your outlook on everything.

Peace to all.

Breathe.