Lemon Asparagus Soup

I made this soup last week with some leftover asparagus ends and it turned out amazing! It is very flavorful and light. It can also be enjoyed cold if preferred during the summer. I was excited to include kale picked fresh from my garden in this recipe! Try to use local, fresh and organic ingredients when possible to optimize nutrient density and support your local community!

Lemon Asparagus Soup

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Soup

Equipment

  • large pot
  • wooden spoon
  • blender (I used my Vitamix but you can also use an immersion blender)

Ingredients
  

  • 1 bunch asparagus diced
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic pealed and smashed
  • 2 Tbsp butter substitute extra virgin olive oil for dairy-free option
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed, if possible
  • 1-2 kale leaves
  • pepper, freshly ground
  • sea salt
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese grated

Instructions
 

  • Melt butter in large pot on medium heat. Add onions and garlic and let sauté until soft and translucent.
  • In the meantime, cut off the tips of the asparagus to use later as garnish. Chop the ends up into 1/2 inch pieces.
  • Once onions are soft, add chopped asparagus, broth, salt and pepper to pot. Let soup come to a boil, then turn down heat to let simmer and cover with a lid.
  • Cook vegetables until tender, about ~20 minutes.
  • **Once fully cooked, blend ingredients together until completely smooth.
  • Transfer soup back to pot. Add lemon juice and chopped kale and gently stir in. If you desire a thicker consistency, allow soup to simmer, uncovered, until desired consistency is reached.
  • Sauté asparagus tips in pan with some butter until tender.
  • Top soup with asparagus tips and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Enjoy!

Notes

**If using a regular blender (as oppose to an immersion blender) let soup cool for 5-10 minutes before blending, as blending hot ingredients can increase the internal pressure in the vessel, causing it to explode (yes, I am speaking from experience). 
Keyword asparagus, soup

How to Supercharge Your Detoxification Systems

On a daily basis we are exposed to hundreds of different toxins. They are found in the air we breathe, water we drink, food we eat, and even the different products we expose our skin to. Our body has natural fighting systems to clear out these toxins such as our lymphatic system and liver. However, our lifestyle choices can determine how efficient these systems work. Although detoxification is a naturally occurring process, there are many steps you can take to raise the level of efficiency. Supporting your daily detoxification processes is essential to prevent disease and feel your best!

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Berry Overnight Oats

This is an excellent recipe to prepare the evening prior to a busy morning. I love the convenience of simply grabbing my jar of overnight oats and going! This meal is high in fiber, and contains both healthy fats and protein to ensure you will stay full all morning and avoid blood sugar spikes.

Gluten-free oats: oats are naturally gluten-free, but the facilities and processing methods pose high rates of contamination. Regular oats are fine if you don’t have a gluten intolerance, but if you’re eliminating gluten for whatever reason, be sure to choose gluten-free.
Cinnamon: helps lower blood sugar, loaded with phytonutrients that decrease inflammation
Bee pollen: local pollen to your area can help with seasonal allergies; packed with vitamins and beneficial enzymes
Raw honey: local raw honey can help with seasonal allergies; antiviral, high in antioxidants
Chia seeds: good source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber

Berry Overnight Oats

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 6 hrs
Course Breakfast
Servings 1 serving

Equipment

  • glass jar

Ingredients
  

  • ½ cup gluten free oats
  • ½ cup almond or coconut milk
  • 1 Tbs chia seeds
  • 1 Tbs almond or peanut butter make sure there is no added sugar listed in ingredients list
  • ½ cup strawberries
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • ¼ tsp bee pollen
  • dash cinnamon
  • drizzle honey omit or use stevia if monitoring blood sugar

Instructions
 

  • Add non-dairy milk, nut butter, chia seeds and honey (optional) to a glass container. Mix well, then add oats. Make sure oats are fully submerged in milk.
  • Put in fridge for 6 hours or overnight.
  • In the morning, top with fresh berries, bee pollen and cinnamon!

Notes

This recipe is a total of 37 grams of carbohydrates, making it appropriate for diabetics on a consistent carb diet of 30-35 grams per meal. 
*If you prefer to use frozen berries, add those the night before.

How to Acheive Beautiful Skin From Within

Throughout high school and college, nearly all of us deal with some form of acne. We brush it off and attribute it to hormones and just part of growing up. Dermatologists recommend harsh and often toxic facial cleansers that can dry out the skin. When those don’t work, females are often prescribed birth control pills to control it. However, neither of these options do anything to resolve the underlying issue. Because there is almost always an underlying issue.

Throughout my studies I have been told over and over that our skin is a reflection of what is going on inside our body. If we are detoxifying optimally and have minimal internal inflammation, our skin will reflect it and be clear and glowing. If toxins start to build up or your body is inflamed, whether it be from poor diet, environmental contaminants or constipation, to name a few, our skin will reflect that as well through acne, rashes, etc.

If you have struggled with any type of skin issue, here are some tips on ways to help get to the bottom of it.

  1. Do an elimination diet. Food sensitivities are infamous for causing skin irritation. Dairy commonly causes acne while gluten has been attributed to different rashes such as eczema. Try eliminating these two foods for 3-6 weeks to determine if a food sensitivity could be the cause.
  2. Avoid white sugar and processed foods. Fried food, pop and other forms of processed sugar, and highly processed packaged food can cause inflammation in the body and alter the gut microbiome. Focus on eating a whole food diet with loads of vegetables. Avoid frying foods at high temperatures with low quality oils such as canola, soy and corn oil. Use avocado or coconut oil instead.
  3. Drink more water. Many Americans, are chronically dehydrated. This could cause many issues such as weakened hair and dry skin. It can also lead to inefficient removal of metabolic waste, contributing to accelerated aging. Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day. If you sweat a lot in your workouts, live in a hot climate, or drink excessive amounts of caffeine, you may need to increase this further.
  4. Start your day with hot water with lemon. This is a great habit for digestion and detoxification of the liver.
  5. Take probiotics and eat probiotic-rich foods. Check out this post to learn all about probiotics.
  6. “Detox” your skin care routine. Most soaps, shampoos, and lotions contain fragrances, formaldehyde (yes, formaldehyde!), preservatives, and foaming agents that can be carcinogenic, hormone disrupting, and irritating to the skin. Download the ThinkDirty app, which allows you to actually scan your products to see what harmful ingredients are in it. You can also look up products on the EWG’s Skin Deep Database. Curious about my favorite products? Shoot me an email!

Have you struggled with some type of skin issue? Look up your skin care products in one of the programs recommended above — comment below what you learned!

Top Foods and Habits For A Healthy Brain

Most of us know someone with some type of neurological disease. Globally, neurological disease accounts for over 6% of disease burden, and it can be extremely traumatic for both the individual and their family. Diseases such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis (MS), stroke, and headache disorders all fall into this category.

At the present, conventional medicine lacks effective and long-term treatments for most of these diseases, and most are seen as irreversible. Prevention is by far the best option. To keep our nervous system healthy and functioning optimally, we must keep channels of communication open between the gut and the brain. This is referred to as the gut-brain axis. A healthy intestinal microbiome facilitates efficient communication between the gut and the brain. Therefore, supporting our microbiome with good nutrition is key. Stress, certain medications, inadequate sleep, junk food, and vitamin deficiencies can all impact your microbiome and cause your “good bacteria” to be replaced by “bad bacteria”. Below I will dive into some of my favorite foods and habits to help optimize brain health and function.

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Pre-Workout Fuel for a Happy Gut

What you eat before a workout is just as important as what you eat to recover after. Eating the wrong food could cause gas, cramping, and bloating, and impact your performance. Optimizing your pre-workout meal will help avoid these issues and set you up for success.

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How to Maintain Healthy Eating Habits While Traveling

Maintaining a healthy routine while traveling and on-the-go can be a challenge. This past month I was activated in the Air National Guard to provide assistance in the fight against COVID-19. During this one month period I lived out of a hotel room, which hosted only a mini fridge and microwave. While many of the other military men and women I was working with lived off fast food and donations of chips, pop, and canned tuna, I was fortunate to be able to maintain an eating lifestyle similar to what I live at home. This is how I did it.

Continue reading “How to Maintain Healthy Eating Habits While Traveling”

Why to Avoid Artificial Sweeteners

It is pretty clear that sugar is not healthy. Many swap sugar with artificial sweeteners but this is not likely the answer either. While I do try to limit my added sugar intake, I avoid artificial sweeteners altogether.

What are artificial sweeteners?

Artificial sweeteners, or non-nutritive sweeteners, are synthetic products used to sweeten food in place of sugar or other nutritive sweeteners. They have gained tremendous popularity due to their low- or zero-calorie content.

The FDA has approved 5 artificial sweeteners: acesulfame-K, aspartame, neotame, saccharine, and Sucralose. They are found in processed and packaged foods, predominantly items advertised as “diet”, “low sugar” or “no added sugar”. This includes foods such as diet pop, desserts, protein powders, and breakfast bars). They are promoted as a safe method to assist with weight loss and control blood sugar levels. However, over the years many studies have demonstrated otherwise.

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Ways to Upgrade Your Breakfast & 6 Healthy Recipes

Walking through the breakfast isle in the store, I can’t help but think, this is what America is serving our youth…breakfast cereals laden with sugar, artificial flavors and colors, and highly processed white flour with virtually no nutritional value aside from the vitamins and minerals added back in after the fact. Unfortunately even those are minimally beneficial as fortified vitamins and minerals are rarely added in a form our body can easily digest.

Granola bars, toaster waffles, brown sugar and cinnamon instant oatmeal — these are all in the same category. They are highly processed “franken-foods” (thanks Dr. Mark Hyman) with little to no fiber, healthy fats, or protein. When protein, fat and fiber is removed, foods become less filling, resulting in a higher than desirable intake. This process also increases the speed of digestion, resulting in higher blood glucose levels.

Growing up I would live off these foods for breakfast (though add toaster strudel into the mix). Now, with the obesity rates rising and over 52% of the U.S. adult population having either prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, I am here to provide you some better options!

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5 Shocking Facts About Coffee

For many, coffee is the elixir of life every morning, and rightfully so! It’s caffeine kick makes it a desirable beverage in the American fast-paced lifestyle, and it has been long promoted for its nutritional value (when not doused in sugar). In fact, coffee is actually the highest source of antioxidants in the Standard American Diet.

A Little About Coffee

Coffee beans are the seeds of a fruit called a coffee cherry. The fruit itself is also extremely high in nutritional value, higher than blueberries in fact. With this in mind, food manufacturers have started to find ways to incorporate it into the food system. For those of you that have heard of Bai Antioxidant Beverages, this red pulp is the main ingredient!

However, like any other food, quality and processing methods are a huge determinate of the actual nutritional value. The popularity of coffee has resulted in poor production practices which can compromise health attributes of coffee at nearly every step of the coffee making process.

Continue reading “5 Shocking Facts About Coffee”