DIY Protein Bars (Allergy-Free!)

Nut or Allergy-Free Seedy Energy Bars in Skinny Dish!

Nut or Allergy-Free Seedy Energy Bars in Skinny Dish!

Ever thought about making your own bars? Eventhough Larabars and the like come pretty close to home cookin’, this recipe will energize your soul, and help you achieve your lifelong goal of turning your kitchen into a food factory. This is an upgraded version of the one in Skinny Dish with hot-off-the-press chia seeds and hemp hearts for superfood power. Use gluten-free oats and sunflower seed butter to impress even your most allergic friends, and enjoy one while you reread why the world is being taken over by food allergies.

Energy Bars

Makes 12 bars
Prep time: 5 minutes
Hands-off cooking time: 15 minutes plus 45 minutes to chill
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Nut-free

1 Tbsp ground flax seed meal or chia seeds, soaked in 3 Tbsp warm filtered water for 10 minutes until a gel forms
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (or gluten-free rolled oats)
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut (optional)
1 cup hemp hearts, pepitas, or other seeds or crushed nuts
¼ cup packed raisins
1 ripe banana
½ cup sunflower seed butter, peanut butter, or other seed or nut butter
¼ cup agave nectar
1 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, coconut (if using), hemp hearts, and raisins.

3. In a separate small microwave-safe bowl, microwave sunflower seed butter, agave, and vanilla for 30 seconds. Stir together until well-mixed. Add ripe banana and crush with a fork to combine. Stir in gelatinized flax or chia mixture.

4. Press firmly into a lightly greased 9-inch by 9-inch baking dish, and bake for 15 minutes. Chill in the fridge for 45 minutes before slicing.

5. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in individually wrapped bags in the freezer for up to 2 months.

NUTRITION SNAPSHOT with HEMP HEARTS & SUNFLOWER SEED BUTTER
Per bar: 210 calories, 12 g total fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 42 mg sodium, 18.5 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 8 g protein, 18.5% iron

Watermelon Protein Cooler

Well hello! I fell of the earth for a bit and finally find my way back. Phew! And when I say “fell off the earth,” I really mean I’ve been tackling an enormous pre-baby-#4 to-do list (baby due in 3 weeks). Thankfully, I finally reached item #47: Post something new on BitchinDietitian.com! And here it is. A standby since watermelons have appeared at CostCo, and a creative way to get more watermelons in your life if you’re tackling high blood pressure (new research here).

watermelon smoothie

Watermelon Protein Cooler
Serves 3 (or 1 very thirsty pregnant lady!)

4 cups watermelon chunks (about 430 grams)
12 frozen strawberries (or 12 fresh strawberries, stems removed, plus 1 cup ice)
2 tsp lime juice (fresh is best!)
8 ounces almond milk, hemp milk, or other non-dairy milk
1 scoop protein powder of choice (I like Plant Fusion vanilla)

Blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Each serving has 121 calories, 18 g carbs, and 9 g protein.

See you sooner than later. Cheers! xoxo

The Cheapest, Ugliest, and Most Delicious Green Juice

Hello drinkers! Just had to share my new favorite beverage. Its ingredients are inexpensive (juicing CAN be cheap!), the final concoction is a brilliant brown (close your eyes while you drink), and it is SO tasty that you should probably make it right now.

Army Green Beauty

Army Green Beauty

The Army Green Beauty
Serves 1 (Makes about 14 ounces)

3 stalks organic kale
3 organic carrots
4 stalks organic celery
1/2 lemon, with peel

Juice the ingredients. Serve over ice, and fall in love! Oh, and don’t make the mistake I did and try to make a double batch and drink half the next day. Something about this juice just doesn’t stand the test of time (even 8 hours). Make it fresh, clean your juicer right away, and repeat the next day. You’re welcome! xoxo

Detox Day 7: Top 13 Detox Foods

Can you believe it’s the last day? What a super journey this has been! Now that you’re accustomed to inhaling so many of nature’s powerfoods (raw nuts, berries, quinoa, broccoli, kale, spinach, beans, lentils…), I thought a quick list of my top favorite 13 detoxing foods along with their top reasons why they’re so awesome would be a cool graduation gift. Try to incorporate at least FIVE of these every day from now on, and you’ll continue to feel like you have wings.

Wheatgrass Juice from mekonfarm.com

Wheatgrass Juice from mekonfarm.com

1. ALMONDS: Help remove impurities from your intestinal tract. Almond milk is a great dairy alternative to cow’s milk.

2. APPLES: Contain glucaric acid which helps your body get rid of estrogen-like chemicals and heavy metals.

3. AVOCADOS: Rich in healthy monounsaturated fat which doesn’t upset the proper balance of Omega-3’s to Omega-6’s. Contain glutathione which blocks 30 different carcinogens and helps the liver detoxify synthetic chemicals.

4. BEETS: Contain the compound betaine which lowers levels of several inflammatory markers and protects against liver damage. Also contain antioxidant betacyanin, which helps liver detoxify chemicals.

5. BLUEBERRIES: Super-rich in antioxidants including anthocyanins which stop free radical damage (free radical damage can lead to wrinkles and cancer tumor growth). Enhance glutathione production (see AVOCADOS).

6. CABBAGE:  Cleanses the digestive tract and contains powerful cancer-purging isothiocyanates. Eat raw in juices or salads as heat destroys isothiocyanates. Fermented cabbage (kim chi) is rich in natural probiotics.

7. GARLIC: Contains allicin which fights off harmful bacteria. Increases production of glutathione (see AVOCADOS). Garlic also cleanses the arteries, lowers high blood pressure, and cleanses mucous buildup in the lungs and sinuses.

8. GINGER: Eases nausea and digestion, but also promotes detoxification by speeding the movement of food through the intestines.

9. KALE: Rich in tons of anti-cancer compounds and flavonoids which reduce chronic inflammation and oxidative stress, but also contains a compound that jumpstarts the liver’s production of cleansing enzymes.

10. LEMONS: Super liver detoxifier and very alkalinizing: help restore the alkaline-acid balance of the body. Add 1/4 lemon to a glass of water every morning.

11. PARSLEY: Rich source of chlorophyll, a natural detoxifier. Raises glutathione levels (see AVOCADOS). Contains the volatile oil eugenol which is a strong anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic agent.

12. SEAWEED: Binds to heavy metals and radioactive waste (from medical tests and food grown in contaminated soil) for elimination. Rich source of iodine which is essential for thyroid hormone production and your body’s metabolism.

13. WHEATGRASS: Potent detoxifier, and richest edible source of chlorophyll which rebuilds bloodstream, nourishes tissues, and purifies the liver. High in oxygen which helps brain and body function at optimal levels (a pregnancy must!). Grow and grind your own, or buy as frozen cubes or powder, and add to juices or smoothies.

Good thing you’re going grocery shopping today! Thank you thank you for joining all of us on this better-you health trip. You are all shining green stars! xoxo

Detox Day 3: 8-Minute Chili

Breezin’ into Day 3, are we? You should already be feeling lighter, smarter, and more energized. If not, it’s right around the corner!

While tonight’s Veggie Pupusas are surprisingly awesome, here is another superfast dinner or lunch to try this week if you’re in a cold climate. It’s actually one of our household staples, and just happens to be detox-worthy. While it adds another minute of prep, I usually toss in a generous amount of kale, torn into small pieces. Give it a quick spin, and see you tomorrow! xoxo

Chili Cook-Off from Skinny Dish!

Chili Cook-Off from Skinny Dish!

Chili Cook-Off

Makes 7 (1-cup) servings
Prep and cooking time: 8 minutes

Everyone’s got a favorite chili recipe, but this one is soon to become your favorite and takes less than 10 minutes to prepare, and better yet, it’s detox-friendly! Serve alongside a gigantic green salad for the total package. 

2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cubes frozen crushed garlic, or 2 tsp minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes
1 large green bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces (preferably organic)
1 (15-oz) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups frozen Trader Joe’s Roasted Corn or other frozen corn kernels
Juice of 1 lime (optional)
Hot sauce, chopped fresh cilantro, or avocado chunks for garnish (optional)

1 In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, sauté onion, garlic, chili powder, and cumin in oil until onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.

2 Turn heat to high and add tomatoes, pepper, beans, and corn; continue to cook, covered, until heated through, about 3 more minutes.

3 Squeeze lime over chili and top with hot sauce, fresh cilantro, or avocado chunks if desired.

4 Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days or as individual servings in the freezer for up to 2 months.

NUTRITION SNAPSHOT
Per cup: 205 calories, 2 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 438 mg sodium, 38.5 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 7.5 g sugar, 9.5 g protein, 28% vitamin A, 65.5% vitamin C, 6% calcium, 34.5% iron

Recipe reprinted w/ permission from Cooking with Trader Joe’s Cookbook – Skinny Dish!, by Jennifer K. Reilly, RD,
(c) 2011, Brown Bag Publishers http://www.cookTJ.com

Gone Bananas! Peeling the Love with Spirulina

Spirulina Colada

I spent a good part of my childhood hating bananas simply because my brother loved them. Sibling rivalry at its strangest. In reality, I liked the taste, but the strings (technically called phloem, pronounced “FLOM”) scared me. All that chatter about peeling the banana upside down and not getting any strings is a bunch of banana bologna!

Fast-forward to today and I cheerlead for what bananas do for creamy smoothies, how they turn so nicely from frozen chunks into ice cream, and how important they are for banana bread. Ever made banana bread without bananas? It’s REALLY hard. Plus, who doesn’t love a fruit that has its own online museum?

So, when DOLE asked me to host a “Peel the Love” banana fest, I was psyched for an excuse to get a little bananas with bananas. They gave me banana recipes on a banana-shaped flash drive (dude!). But, the dietitian and direction diverter in me had to put a green spin on the yellow. Enter, the green Pina Colada….

Spirulina Colada
Makes 3

2 cups frozen pineapple chunks
2 medium bananas
2 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (the kind in the fridge section of the grocery store)
2 teaspoons spirulina powder (I like this one, and I get it at Whole Foods Market)

Blend and drink. Freeze leftovers in popsicle molds.

Nutrition info per serving: 188 calories, 3 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 431 mg potassium, 33 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 20 g sugar, 6.5 g protein, 470% vitamin A, 300% vitamin B12, 85% vitamin C, 40% calcium, 87% iron

Why Spirulina? It takes any smoothie from zero to hero. Check out the nutrition info again! Look at all that iron! Sorry Colada, but that is from the Spirulina alone. Spirulina is a TASTELESS blue-green algae that does everything from cleaning your house (well, your body’s house), boosting your immune system, getting your sex hormone situation in order, to lowering high blood pressure. It even helps prevent cancer. Did I mention it’s tasteless? So you can add it to pretty much anything. Annnnd, it has *more* complete protein than meat! Spirulina is 65-71% protein. Red meat is 22%. Just 2 tablespoons of spirulina per meal gives you all the protein you need. I know, I know. Green powder on your dinner plate is even a little too extreme for a dietitian. But, throw it in a smoothie, stir it into a fresh juice, add it to pancakes on St. Patrick’s Day, or mix it into your brownie batter. You *could* take it in pill form, but where’s the fun in that? 🙂

Next up… Brownies made with bananas, pecans, and black beans. And you thought eating algae was weird! XOXO

Thyroid Demystified

Hd-butterfly-pictureWondering about soy, cruciferous veggies, all the different types of thyroid hypers and hypos, why there’s a picture of a butterfly here, or just want some new cocktail party convo material? Check out this new post on KrisCarr.com. Thyroid Demystified!

2 Must-Drink Summer Power Smoothies

I’m on a new kick this summer — I’ve dropped the breakfast oatmeal and bran flakes and have become a blending maniac! EVERY morning, I throw a bunch of colorful plant matter plus some seeds and perhaps a yummy powder into my Vitamix, blend it, and go. If there are leftovers, I pour them into sealed glass jars and guzzle later in the morning. Here are my 2 favorite blendcoctions:

Daiquiri Power Tower

Daiquiri Power Tower

Chia Daiquiri
Makes 3 12-ounce portions

2 cups frozen organic strawberries
1 banana
Handful organic kale leaves (lacinato or dinosaur kale are my fave), spinach if the kale is too kale-ey
1/4 cup chia seeds (get them at Costco: $10 for a 2-lb. bag): Awesome source of LDL cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber and heart-healthy Omega-3’s
3 cups fortified non-dairy milk such as unsweetened coconut milk: Great source of calcium and vitamin D
1 scoop Vanilla Almondilla Vega One Energizing Smoothie powder: Superstar for protein, fiber, and sweetened with stevia so low-sugar too!

Blend, pour, and go!

Nutrition Info per 12-ounce serving: 246 calories, 12 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 22 g carbohydrate, 14 g fiber, 10 g sugar, 11 g protein, 90% vitamin A, 141% vitamin C, 30% vitamin D, 25% calcium, 14% iron.


Brown Hippie
Makes 3 12-ounce portions

Not pictured, because you might not try it! It’s brown, people. Close your eyes and enjoy!

1 cup frozen organic blueberries
1 cup frozen mango chunks
banana
Handful organic spinach leaves
3 cups fortified non-dairy milk such as unsweetened soymilk: Great source of calcium and vitamin D
1 scoop vanilla hemp protein powder (such as the one from Trader Joe’): Super rich in protein, Omega-3’s, and insoluble fiber
1 frozen cube wheatgrass juice (optional): adds nature’s richest edible source of chlorophyll – a natural detoxifier and blood pressure reducer

Blend, pour, and go!

Nutrition Info per 12-ounce serving: 220 calories, 5 g fat, <1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 33 g carbohydrate, 8 g fiber, 19 g sugar, 12 g protein, 31% vitamin A, 37% vitamin C, 30% vitamin D, 32% calcium, 25% iron.

Ta da! 🙂

Raw Food 3-Day Starts Tomorrow!

Image by: Manitoba Harvest

Image by: Manitoba Harvest

A totally raw diet has been on my to-do list for a super long time. While I eat lots and lots of raw foods every day — sometimes 75% of what I eat is raw — I’ve never gone completely 100%. Actually, after looking at this raw meal plan, I know why I’ve waited so long! But, you can do anything for 3 days, right? This time around, I’m not going to do anything fancy or extreme. No sprouting or specialized products beyond hemp hearts for making raw hemp milk, and no specialized equipment beyond my juicer, Vitamix blender, and oven to act as a dehydrator running at 115 degrees. I *am* going to try and replicate those pricey kale chips that are coated with “cheesy” raw cashews. Keep an eye out for that final product. So, here goes: Starting tomorrow! With me?

Breakfast: I plan to start the day with herbal tea and a hearty Green Smoothie containing fruits (banana, berries), veggies (greens), raw almond butter (newly found at Trader Joe’s), and raw hemp milk (see recipe below). I’ll continue my philosophy that a healthy high-calorie breakfast will bring you nothing but glory throughout the day. Many raw foodists eat an entire watermelon and 15 bananas for breakfast. That sounds dreadful. Other ideas that sound way better (to me at least…):

Snacks: I plan to chow on raw nuts, fruit, veggies, and my Pulp Crax dipped in raw hummus or spread with mashed avocado. Perhaps some dried fruit or a Larabar.

Lunch: Large fresh veggie salad topped with raw seeds, cold-pressed olive oil (raw foodists like this brand, although I’ll probably stick with the cold-pressed one in my pantry for this 3-day experiment), a teeny tiny bit of apple cider vinegar (can’t find any other easy-to-find vinegars that are raw), and sea salt.

Dinner: Raw soup, warmed up with the spin of the Vitamix. Check out all these raw soup recipes. The Carrot Ginger and Cream of Mushroom look especially tasty. Or, I may go for Skinny Dish’s very own Gazpacho a la Shepherd Street using apple cider vinegar instead of red wine vinegar, omitting the croutons, and doubling up on the avocado. Plus, some raw almonds on the side or crumbled on top.

Dessert: 1 or 2 dates stuffed with raw almond butter. Divine! I tried this recipe for Raw Cookie Dough SHAPE Magazine a while back using raw agave instead of honey & maple syrup. It totally rocked!

Night-time Snack: I have one of these every night, and I can’t imagine that that urge is going to go away with the powers of a raw diet, although I’m totally open to being surprised. I will *plan* on having some fruit and a mini “trail mix” of dried fruit and raw nuts along with my herbal tea.

Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Raw diets claim to give you more energy, better clarity, greater euphoria, better sleep, and even better sex.

For today, happy green foods and St. Patrick’s Day! I’ll see you tomorrow for more green and more raw 🙂

hemp milkRaw Hemp Milk

1 cup raw hemp hearts
4 cups chilled water

Blend for 30-60 second until milky white and smooth. Store in fridge for up to 7 days. Makes 4 cups.

Detox Day 6: Thinking About Days 8, 9, & 10….

Mmm! A half-plate of veggies

Happy Day 6! What’s the latest? Still feeling good? Sleeping well and feeling energized? Now is a perfect time to start thinking about what happens the day after tomorrow. Will you go back to your pre-Detox eating? A modified version? Take today and tomorrow and make a plan for what you’d like to do long-term. Here are some popular, healthy, and realistic post-Detox modifications to consider:

1. Go back to drinking the morning cup of coffee you missed, but with vanilla almond milk instead of cream and sugar. Try this creamy, dairy-free concoction. Or, enjoy green, white, or black tea as your morning caffeinated beverage.

2. Continue eating the level of fruits and veggies with a giant heaping of cooked veggies at either lunch or dinner, and a giant serving of raw veggies at the other meal. Shoot for HALF your plate being veggies (either raw or cooked) at mealtime.

3. Continue with shakes or smoothies in the morning, but add a protein powder such as this hemp seed one from Trader Joe’s or Planet Fusion’s Vanilla Plant Fusion. High in protein, fiber, and essential amino acids, and makes your morning drink more filling.

4. Add a more substantial morning meal such as gluten-free oatmeal (Trader Joe’s has amazing gluten-free oats that seem exactly like traditional rolled oats) with a handful of dried cranberries for sweetness, raw cashews, cinnamon, and cooled down with a dash of unsweetened non-dairy milk. Or heat up a cup of cooked quinoa from the previous night’s dinner with dried fruit, nuts, cinnamon, and non-dairy milk.

5. Enjoy a raw food bar in the afternoon to satisfy your sweet tooth–they’re easy to keep on hand, easily survive life in the bottom of bags, and can be stepped on without changing shape. Examples: Larabar, Pure Energy, and KIND. These can all be found in any old grocery store, TJ’s, or Whole Foods.

6. Continue with the Detox as your constant (developing your own menus using the guidelines), and veer from the Detox for special weekend days, when you go out to eat (trying your best to keep with the guidelines, but allowing yourself those treats you may have been missing), have potlucks, or attend parties.

7. Do the Detox 1-2 days per week or 7 days a month, and a modified version on the other days.

What else will you do to carry on the healthy changes you made once the Detox is done? Hopefully you’ll all continue drinking all those energizing fluids!

Enjoy this day and the new, healthy you! XOXO

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