Author: Laura Jauregui

Beef Stew for ya boo

Beef Stew for ya boo

Most of the time, when reading a recipe on someone’s blog, I don’t really want to read a 20 minute long explanation of why I should make this recipe and the history behind it. Sometimes, you just want the recipe. I always like the “jump […]

Territory Foods: Meal Prep Chefs to the Rescue

Territory Foods: Meal Prep Chefs to the Rescue

So you want to eat well all or most of the time, but you’re a human and you have a job and relationships to maintain and people to take care of and a house to clean and not enough hours in the day.  What do […]

Grain Free Chicken Tenders

Grain Free Chicken Tenders

There are a lot of diets out there.  Many of them have been around for decades or even centuries.  Some are fads and quickly fade.  Not all “diets” are bad, and there are specific reasons for adhering to certain rules that can be beneficial.  The keto diet has a lot of acclaim and success stories in diabetes and seizure disorders.  The autoimmune paleo protocol is great for people who are either battling an autoimmune disease, or majorly healing their gut.  A diet filled with a lot of raw vegetables is beneficial for someone with gall bladder issues, but for someone with IBS, they are better served with steamed or cooked veggies.

 

I believe in the power of food and I believe many diets can be extremely helpful and healing.  The main takeaway in diets or lifestyles or ways of eating, whatever you want to call it, is that one size doesn’t fit all.  What works for your friend may not be ideal for you.  Something that makes one person thrive, might make another person sick or deficient.  The best thing you can do is first: focus on eating real food AKA skipping processed junk and weird additives or chemically derived food substances.  The second thing is to experiment, research, and see for yourself what makes you thrive on an individual basis.  This can take time, error, and sometimes frustration.  Ultimately, you can figure out what works best for you.  This also can change based on the season of life.  If you are in tune with your body, its needs and reactions, you can adjust accordingly as you go along in life.  The goal is to feel your best, to achieve optimum health, and to not deal with uncomfortable symptoms or disease.

 

It has taken me years to figure out what works best for me, and I still make minor adjustments sometimes.  Different stages of life call for different things.  I feel my best when I avoid things such as processed foods and low quality oils.  A few things that make me thrive are plenty of vegetables, avocados, high quality pasture raised meats, and sauerkraut to name a few.  I plan to go more in depth about what eating real food and avoiding restrictive thinking soon.  But for today, I would love to share my recently delightful grain free chicken tenders.

 

I am a [busy] mom of two little kids with a working husband who is in school full time.  I understand the need for convenience when it comes to mealtime.  But I have realized that freezer foods don’t always save time, and they often skimp on some quality and nutrition.  Most of us love the idea and the taste of chicken fingers.  I finally found a brand I felt good about serving, but buying several boxes of organic gluten free chicken fingers that only contain about 6 pieces of chicken in each for $8 or whatever wasn’t cost effective, was taking up a lot of room in my freezer, and adding more boxes to my recycling pile.  I discovered that making my own chicken tenders was really easy and super delicious.  These are kid, husband, and friend approved!

 

I think it’s fun to use different kinds of flours.  There are so many options for grain free and gluten free flours besides just buying an all purpose for everything.  All purpose is great for some recipes, and there are different reasons to use all the many flours that are available.  This recipe uses cassava flour and hazelnut flour.

Print Recipe
Grain Free Chicken Tenders
grain free, paleo chicken tenders
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20-22 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20-22 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or unbleached parchment paper. Set aside
  2. Pour cassava flour into a medium bowl. Crack eggs into a similar bowl and whisk. In a third bowl, pour hazelnut flour, salt, pepper, paprika, oregano, red pepper flakes, basil, and sesame seeds and stir.
  3. Taking one chicken tender at a time, dip into cassava flour to coat on all sides, then into the egg mixture, tapping the sides of the bowl to leave a thin layer, then dip into the hazelnut flour mixture until evenly covered. Place on baking sheet. Repeat this step with all chicken tenders.
  4. Lightly spray tenders with avocado oil.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, flip over and bake for another 10 minutes.
  6. You can check a tender by cutting open and making sure there isn't any pink in the meat. OPTIONAL: turn the oven to Broil on HI and bake for 1-2 minutes to crisp.
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Hungry Harvest, Honey!

Hungry Harvest, Honey!

Have you heard about Hungry Harvest?  If you’re a Shark Tank fan, you might have seen them pitch their business back in 2015.  Since then, they’ve grown quite a bit, so far saving 5 million pounds of food from ending up in a landfill.  They […]

Banana Skillet Bread

Banana Skillet Bread

Everyone likes banana bread, right?  If the answer is not right, I’m not sure what to do with my hands.  I grew up on banana bread.  If there were ripe bananas, you can bet there would be banana bread in our future.  This banana bread […]

7 foods to balance postpartum hormones

7 foods to balance postpartum hormones

You’ve done it!  You’ve birthed your baby in a magical or not so magical experience and now you’ve crossed the world changing bridge into motherhood.  The hardest part is over, right?  Wait, right?  The idea of childbirth was terrifying at first, but somehow you made it onto the other side and you don’t have anything else to worry about.  Except for the tiny human you’re raising, and what the heck just happened to your nether regions, and why are your breasts so engorged (or not), and will you breastfeed, and for how long, and what preschool will they go to, and will their future spouse like you, and…!  Breathe.  It’s 100% normal to feel overwhelmed, confused, maybe even disappointed after giving birth.  There is so much that comes after baby that no one seems to prepare you for.  I believe that much of motherhood is instinct, but also, there is much that could be taught or guided by a community of women who birthed before you.

So, what is going on with your hormones?  If you had a vaginal birth, you probably got all that good oxytocin (the love hormone) flowing through your body and filling you with that warm feeling.  Progesterone levels are really high during pregnancy, but when the placenta is expelled, it causes an immediate drop in progesterone levels.  It’s quite dramatic.  Your body sometimes can’t keep up with that drastic of a change.  Enter baby blues.  Progesterone is important for mood stabilization.

As if this wasn’t enough, estrogen levels are often sky rocketing and dominating.  This can lead to heavy cramping, irregular and heavy periods, bloating, weight gain, anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.  Thanks a lot, estrogen.  All of these imbalances can also lead to thyroid problems, adrenal fatigue, hair loss, dry skin, fatigue, and migraines.  So this momentous turning point in your life has not only left you with a new, beautiful, tiny human to feed and care for and shape and mold, but also a whacked out emotional and physical state.  It happens all of the time and it is normal.

And yet there are simple ways to get back on track and balance your hormones so you can truly enjoy this next part of life!  It doesn’t have to be difficult, you can make 7 additions to your meals that will benefit you greatly.

The following 7 foods should be added to your diet to help balance postpartum hormones:

1. Fermented Foods

These guys are gaining popularity in millennials, although our grandmothers were rocking them daily long ago.  They aid in creating and maintaining an anti-inflammatory state.  While the food is fermenting, the natural bacteria feeds on sugar and starch and creates lactic acid.  This preserves the food while creating helpful digestive enzymes and leaves them high in probiotics.  Probiotics are essential to a healthy gut which creates a healthy environment allowing for proper nutrient absorption.  Some delicious fermented foods are homemade sauerkraut, kimchi, properly pickled vegetables, and kefir.  It is recommended to have a small amount (about a tablespoon) of fermented foods with each meal to aid in digestion and nutrient absorption.

2. Seaweed

Seaweed is high in iodine which is an essential nutrient for thyroid health.  The thyroid is essential in regulating hormones.  Seaweed also helps regulate estrogen levels!  Brown seaweeds have a insoluble indigestible fiber that directly benefits intestinal microflora.  Try sprinkling dulse on your salad, making your own maki rolls with nori, blending spirulina into a smoothie, and making a gelatinous dessert with agar agar!  There are many kinds of seaweeds and can be a delicious part of a hormone regulating diet.

3. Brazil Nuts

You only need 3-5 of these power packed nuts for a full serving of selenium.  Selenium is thought to reduce inflammation.  Getting rid of inflammation allows the body to properly absorb nutrients from all those great veggies you’re eating.  Brazil nuts are also a great form of prevention, especially women who are prone to autoimmune disorders.

4. Avocado

Oh, the super ever popular (and rightly so) fruit.  Unlike most fruits, it acts as a fat, rather than a high sugar carbohydrate.  It is full of monounsaturated fat, fiber, potassium, magnesium, vitamin E, B vitamins including folate, which are all vital for hormonal balance.  It is a well balanced food as fat is necessary for the absorption of may vitamins and minerals.  So dip your carrot and celery sticks in homemade guacamole while knowing you’re helping out your hormones!

5. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids that nourish the gut while fighting fatigue.  It is antimicrobial meaning it kills bad bacteria, while encouraging good bacterial growth.  It is nourishing to the gut and very beneficial for hormone production.  Coconut oil is heat stable, so the uses are virtually endless.  It can be used for sautéing vegetables, making raw or baked desserts, frying an egg, or for fattening up a smoothie.

6. Reishi Mushrooms

Reishi mushrooms are an adaptogen, which means they adapt to the current needs of your immune system.  (Nature is so cool!).  Reishi work to restore hormonal balance while regulating the immune system.  They also have anti-viral and anti-cancer properties and are beneficial to the cardiovascular, central nervous, and digestive systems. They contain beta-glucans which stimulate the immune and endocrine system.  Reishi is referred to as the “queen” of medicinal mushrooms and is another powerful food to have in your corner.  Reishi are usually consumed in a dried powder, a tincture, or steeped in hot water to make a tea.  They can be added  to a morning elixir, stirred into a super food porridge, or blended into a smoothie.

7. Cauliflower

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable.  Cauliflower along with it’s other family members, broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, and kale, is filled with nutrients that detoxify bad estrogenic molecules.  They are natural aromatase inhibitors, which means they can combat the process of converting hormones into estrogens, leading to estrogen dominance, and therefore a hormonal imbalance. Cruciferous vegetables have many more super powers as they also aid in liver detoxification, provide better rest with magnesium, and so much more.

{Photos by Arianne Teeple}

Sources:
Axe, Josh. “Natural Remedies for Hashimoto’s Disease.” https://draxe.com/hashimotos-disease/ . 2017. Web.

Body Ecology. “Two Smart Pregnancy Tips for Healthy Moms & Babies”. https://bodyecology.com/articles/two-smart-pregnancy-tips.php. Web. 2017.

Husband Coached Childbirth. Dr. Robert A. Bradley, MD. May 20, 2008.
Hotze Health & Wellness Center International. July 5, 2011. https://www.hotzehwc.com/2011/07/how-childbirth-affects-hormones-estrogen-dominan/

The Journal of Nutrition. 2009. http://jn.nutrition.org/content/139/5/939.full

PharmacistBen: Top Ten Foods for Protection from (The Stress Hormone, Fibroid Stimulating, Anti-Libido and Potential Carcinogen) Estrogen. http://pharmacistben.com/nutrition/top-ten-foods-for-protection-from-estrogen/

Romm, Aviva. “Thyroid Problems After Pregnancy: Ending Unnecessary Postpartum Suffering.” https://avivaromm.com/thyroid-problems-after-pregnancy/ . 2015. Web. October 20, 2015.

WebMD. Beta-Glucans. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-1041-beta-glucans.aspx?activei ngredientid=1041&activeingredientname=beta-glucans

Reishi Mushroom: The Ultimate Guide. 2017. https://chagahq.com/reishi/

Soothing Superfood Anti-inflammatory Moisturizer

Soothing Superfood Anti-inflammatory Moisturizer

Gaining a knowledge of what goes on your skin is just as important as being mindful of what you eat.  Your skin is your largest organ and anything you put on it will be absorbed.   To my dismay, I have a food sensitivity to coconut.  […]

beet cacao pancakes

beet cacao pancakes

What?  Beets in pancakes?  You better believe it, babe.  I told you I like sneaky vegetables, right?  Beets are beautiful!  I think they’re tasty, but not everyone agrees with that.  My kids are often unsure of them.  On a good day, they’ll eat them roasted, […]

tropical green smoothie

tropical green smoothie

It’s late October, but it still feels like summer here in Maryland.  This gives the excuse to have pumpkin spice some days and a totally tropical treat another. That’s my takeaway anyway.

 

This smoothie recipe is one of my classics and favorites. I used to walk to a vegan juice bar and cafe when I lived in Towson during college. It was one of my favorite spots which was also a few doors down from my favorite yoga studio.  Ah, the late teens/early twenties version of myself.  She had so much time on her hands that she didn’t even realize.  Yoga and smoothies every day.  Now I’m a mom who randomly practices yoga, but still has time to whip up a quick, nutrient packed, healthy smoothie.  The following recipe is a nod to that time in my life, and those smoothies, but adapted to meet my current nutritional needs AKA more protein, greens, superfoods and less sugar.  Go team mom.

 

I always like to sneak in vegetables to recipes.  It is very easy to do this in a smoothie.  Spinach is virtually tasteless, unlike some other greens which can be a bitter and chunky addition.  Spinach blends well even in a regular blender, so even if you’re not packing a Vitamix or Blendtech, you can enjoy a smooth green smoothie.  Spinach is high in the fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E & K.  It needs to be paired with a good quality fat for these nutrients to be absorbed.  It is also contains thiamin, vitamin B6, folate(!), more calcium than milk, iron, magnesium, potassium phosphorus, copper, and manganese.  Hey, superfood!

 

Also featured in this smoothie is zucchini, which can be raw, or if you have digestive issues, can be pre-steamed and frozen.  The zucchini gives a creamy texture, which means a banana is not needed, and it offers many phytonutrients.  It is low on the glycemic index, low in sugar, but high in potassium, manganese, vitamin C & vitamin A.

 

Coconut is an extremely healing food.  It is good for gut health, skin, and brain function.  The coconut oil helps your body to absorb those fat soluble vitamins, and adds a delicious tropical flavor.

 

Pineapple contains a powerful digestive enzyme called bromelain which helps digest proteins and is anti-inflammatory.

 

Protein and is found in spirulina, a highly concentrated antioxidant filled and alkaline microalgae.  Spirulina is loaded with chorophyll- which is energy from the sun.  It is also a good source of iron, calcium, and B vitamins.  It is the most nutrient dense food on the planet!  Yes please.

 

Another protein in this smoothie is collagen.  This particular collagen is found in beef and is great for skin, hair, and nails, but also is good for gut health and combatting inflammation.

 

And of course, almonds are a source of both fat and protein.  They also are a good source of fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E.  They help to lower blood pressure and maintain a healthy weight.

Print Recipe
tropical green smoothie
nutrient dense and protein packed
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients on high until smooth. Serve in a glass and sprinkle hemp seeds and shredded coconut on top.
Recipe Notes

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Apple Pie Smoothie

Apple Pie Smoothie

I’ve done it.  I’ve made the perfect fall smoothie.  It tastes like dessert, because it kind of is. But I promise you it will pass for breakfast in any house because it’s loaded with secret vegetables and healthy fats!  And apples.  (Freshly picked by my […]