Spaghetti Squash With Garlic and Butter Sauce

Spaghetti squash is one of my favorite winter dishes. It is a great gluten-free alternative to regular or whole wheat pasta. Unlike pasta, spaghetti squash is considered a “whole food,” that means that it is unprocessed, more easily digested, and still has all of it’s nutrients.  One other benefit to spaghetti squash is that it is significantly lower in carbohydrates than pasta.

Here is a simple spaghetti squash recipe for you to try. There are some additional suggestions for recipe variations below.

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Ingredients

  • 1 medium Spaghetti squash
  • 1.5 Tablespoons organic butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ½ tsp chili flakes (optional)

Directions for Roasted Spaghetti Squash

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees
  2. Cut spaghetti squash in half (long-way from top to bottom) and scrape out the seeds.
  3. In a large glass baking dish, pour enough water to cover the bottom of the dish until there as ¼ or ½ inch of water.
  4. Place spaghetti squash halves face down in the dish and cover with tin foil.
  5. Bake in the over for 35-45 minutes– until the squash is easy to grate with a fork.
  6. Run a fork down the squash to create “spaghetti-like” strings.

Saute

  1. In a medium pan, melt 1 Tablespoon of butter. Add shallots and garlic and sauté for 3-5 minutes until fragrant.
  2. Add roasted spaghetti squash to the pan and mix until well-incorporated and heated through. Season with salt and pepper (and optional chili flakes)

Serves 2-3

Chef recommendations

  • Plate the spaghetti squash sauté and add a piece of Wild Tilapia or Grilled chicken
  • Option to add Italian spices like oregano, basil and/or thyme
  • Add a homemade pesto or tomato sauce to the Spaghetti squash

4 Ways to Stop Dieting and Start Achieving Your Goals

There are over 150 diets to choose from. Just step into the Health and Wellness section in Barnes and Nobel, you will be overwhelmed with options. Or, type the word “diet” into the Google search bar, you could be surfing the web for weeks.

Researchers at UCLA found that “People on diets typically lose 5 to 10 percent of their starting weight in the first six months. However, at least one-third to two-thirds of people on diets regain more weight than they lost within four or five years, and the true number may well be significantly higher, they said.”

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The truth is: “there is no diet that works for everyone who tries it.”

So what is the answer? How do we figure out what to eat?

1. Eat REAL food- If there is one thing that we can be sure of, the answer to health and weight loss is not in the latest “diet product” or packaged food option. If you want to lose weight, you must feed your body with real foods that come from the earth.

2. Keep a food journal– a food journal is a great short-term tool to asses if how we are eating is working for our bodies. I suggest keeping a food journal for 1-2 weeks whenever you are trying a new way of eating.

  • A good food journal will include: Date, time, type of food, amount of food, how you felt after you ate it, how you felt 1 hour later and a summary at the end of each day.

3. Consistency– It takes a few weeks for the body to adjust to changes. Sometimes you may feel worse before you feel better. Give yourself at least 3 weeks to test if your new method is working.

4. Don’t use a scale! – This may sound counter intuitive, however, the scale can really hold you back from reaching your goals. The best way to tell if you are losing weight is by paying attention to how your clothes fit. Since muscle weighs more than fat, the number on the scale might not change.

You know you are eating right for your body if:

  1. You have adequate energy throughout the day
  2. You feel satisfied (full) for at least 3 hours after you eat
  3. Your mood is stable
  4. You can sleep through the night
  5. You maintain a comfortable weight (not losing or gaining too much)

One way to speed up the process is to work with a Holistic Nutritionist or a Holistic Health Coach. Making changes can be challenging and frustrating. Working with a practitioner is a good way to:

  • learn more accurate nutrition information through surveys and testing
  • create a solid “game plan”
  • to follow through with the changes you have always wanted to make.

If you live in San Diego and would like to schedule a free 20 minute consultation,  you can contact me at nourishedbalance@gmail.com

What You NEED to Know about Plastic Water Bottles

While plastic water bottles may seem convenient and inexpensive, there are definitely a few reasons to reconsider your water drinking habits.

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Plastic water bottles contain BPA (Bisphenol A), which is also used in compact disks and the lining of cans. A 2007 report by the organization Environment California, showed that when heated, “five popular brands of BPA containing plastic baby bottles leached high levels of bisphenol A.”

Many plastic water bottles are left in the sun or in a hot environment upon transport. When the water bottle is heated slightly, there is a high chance of BPA leaching into the water. A lot of people also leave their water bottles in the car during the day. This is a HUGE no no.

In a study of lab rats, BPA exposure was linked to changes in the brain and reproductive system. There is also concern that BPA may lead to increased risk of prostate cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cysts, endometriosis and even early puberty.

The problem is that overall bottled water consumption is increasing. “The new BMC data show that the overall consumption of bottled water increased by 6.2 percent and bottled water sales were up 6.7 percent.” There are huge health and environmental concerns with the continuous rise in bottled water consumption.

I used to drink out of plastic water bottles. I now have an in-home water filtration system and use a reusable water bottle. The best options for reusable water bottles are:

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The benefits of carrying a reusable water bottle with you is that you will drink more water and there is no chance of BPA contamination. Plus, you will be saving lots of $$!!!

“Bottled Water Costs!  Assuming you buy cheapo bottled water Walmart at $10.88 per case / 24 x .5 Liters. This equals $0.45 per bottle of water. For a family of 4 who each drink two bottles of water per day = 8 btl x .45 = $3.60 per day. Per year that totals = $1,314.00,  so your 5 year total is $1,314.00 x 5 = $6,570.00″

As you can see, plastic water bottles are not your best option. I recommend installing a water filtration system to your faucet at home and at work and drinking out of reusable BPA-free water bottles.

Click here if you are interested in finding out the best water filtration system options.

Your Best Options for In-home Water Filtration

The adult body is made up of at least 60% water. Good quality water is vital of optimal health. I suggest installing a good quality water filter in your home. By doing so, you will save at least $5000 in the next 5 years. And, you will dramatically improve the quality of your drinking water.

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There are several water filtration systems that you can install in your house. Some people have a full-house water filtration system and some choose to install the filter just in their kitchen. The best water filtration systems are:

  • Reverse Osmosis- filters out fouride, bacteria, parasites, pesticides, heavy metals and basic minerals from the water. If you choose to use a reverse osmosis filter, most of them contain a carbon block which will also remove solvents from your water. You MUST add back “trace minerals” to your drinking water if you use reverse osmosis filters. They can be found at your local health food store.
  • Solid Carbon filters out chlorine, parasites, pesticides and solvents. A carbon filter is less expensive than reverse osmosis and as you can see, it still does a good job at eliminating the top contaminants. Carbon filters must be replaced annually (sometimes more regularly, depending on how much water you use). It is a great second option to reverse osmosis.

A lot of people will order the bigger gallon jugs of water from spark lets or arrowhead. The truth is that those companies do not filter their water efficiently. The water bottling industry is all about making money, not about consumer health.

Another option that people tend to lean towards is a Brita filter. While a Brita filter is cheap and convenient, it does not a good quality water filter. I would suggest an in-home water filtration system, as mentioned above.

Contact a local water filtration company to ask about a monthly plan. I pay $27 per month which included installation, services and maintenance. You also have the option to purchase the unit online and have someone install it.

If you live in San Diego, a great company to call is: www.sandiegopurewater.com

I LOVE the taste of my filtered water. Trust me, you will notice the difference too.

(Raw) Wilted Kale Salad

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Kale has become a new favorite leafy green in the past couple of years. There are plenty health benefits to this dark green celebrity including:

  • Cholesterol lowering
  • Cancer prevention
  • Detoxifying
  • Anti-oxidant with plenty of flavanoids

My favorite technique for a quick kale salad is called “massaging” the kale. This technique takes 1 minute (if you are using dinosaur kale) or 5 minutes (if you are using curly kale). There are several benefits from using the massaging technique:

  1. Better texture
  2. Easier to digest
  3. You get more nutrients
  4. Better flavor

Here is a recipe for a nutritious and flavorful 10 minute kale salad:

photo-52Ingredients
2 bunches kale, de-stemmed and chopped
1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons pumpkin seeds, toasted
2 Tablespoon dried cranberries
Dressing
1/3 cup olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 tsp celtic sea salt
2 tsp dijon mustard                                                                                                                                      1/8 tsp fresh cracked pepper

Directions

1. Place kale and 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt into a mixing bowl. Massage salt into kale until for about 45 seconds until it begins to wilt. (It will get moist but you do not want liquid in the bottom of the bowl)

2. Add red onion, roasted pumpkin seeds and cranberries into the bowl

3. Whisk dressing together in a separate bowl. Then pour over salad and serve.

Store salad in the fridge for up to 3 days.

If you would like to get some healthy holiday recipes, I will be teaching a holiday cooking series in San Diego on November 20th and October 23rd.

6 Simple Detox Tools To Incorporate Everyday

When the body is alkaline, it is capable of eliminating toxins and your cells can absorb all the nutrients that you intake through a healthy diet. On the contrary, when the body is acidic, it becomes inflamed and your cells become malnourished.  Here are some tools to create a more alkaline environment in your body so that you can detox effectively.

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1. Water with lemon juice– first thing in the morning, squeeze the juice of 1/2 a fresh lemon into 6 oz of filtered water.

2. Incorporate leafy greens into at least 2 meals each day.

3. Deep breathing– Stress is acidic and causes inflammation in the body. Whether you are at your desk or in your car, there is always time to take some deep breaths. Set an alarm to remind you to take 5 deep-belly breaths at least twice per day.

4. Moderate exercise- Sweating is essential for detox. However, if you are feeling run down and tired, high intensity workouts can be stressful on the body. Choose exercise that is appropriate for your energy levels. A 30- minute walk may be better than a 30 minute run if your body is already run down.

5. Positive Self-Talk- thoughts can be toxic or they can be healing. Imagine how you feel when you are really angry and what that does to the body. Now imagine what happens when you are feeling loved and cared for. Negative self-talk is counter-productive when it comes to alkalinizing and detoxing the body. Become aware of your self talk. Find a way to turn the negative into positive.

6. Chew your food! If our food is not digested properly, acid waste particles enter the blood stream. The body perceives these acid waste particles as invaders and starts to attack. Our body starts to produce more cortisol, cholesterol and thyroid hormones to get rid of the “invader.” Chew at least 10 times per bite (the ideal is 30 but that is a little unrealistic).

Your ideal alkaline-acid balance is 75% alkaline and 25% acidic. We want to be consuming more alkaline food than acidic foods. Remember that nutrition is only one portion of health. Our minds are just as powerful as the food that we put into our body. Focusing on food and exercise are only 2 pieces of the puzzle.

If you live in San Diego and would like to find out more about how to alkalinize/ detoxify your body. Please contact me for a nutrition consultation.

Is a Clean Home Really a Healthy Home?

What type of cleaning supplies do you use in your house?

Are you still buying your cleaning products from a conventional supermarket or from Costco?

Maybe you want to think again.

When it comes to our health, we tend to focus on eating nutritious food and working out. One component that we seem to push aside is our environment. Each day we are exposed to THOUSANDS of chemicals and toxins. Our liver has to work really hard to eliminate all of these toxins. When our “filter” or liver gets overloaded, we can start to have some serious health issues.

“In the U.S., 1 in 3 people suffer from allergies, asthma, sinusitis or bronchitis (US National Center for Health Statistics). Treatment for these conditions should include reducing synthetic chemicals in the home environment. “

Conventional cleaning products are loaded with toxins. They are also pretty expensive too. What ever happened to cleaning with baking soda? Or a vinegar and water solution. These cleaning options actually work REALLY well.

When we spray our homes with these strong chemicals, we breathe them in. These are unnecessary toxins that we are voluntarily exposing ourselves to.

It is healthier to have a clean home, if and only if,                                          you are using non-toxic cleaning supplies.

Non-toxic cleaning supplies, green cleaners

As you can see in the picture above, you do not have to make your own cleaning supplies. There are some great options for “green” cleaning supplies at your local health-food stores.

If you are in San Diego, you can find these products at Sprouts, Whole Foods, People’s, or at Jimbo’s….Naturally!…

If you want to make your own cleaning supplies it is really simple:

Vinegar solution= equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle.  This vinegar solution is great for countertops, sinks, toilets, tubs. (Not good for marble. Test on a small area surface before using on wood or tile.)

Baking Soda is great to use as a rub baking soda stain remover, deodorizer and for polishing. Example: rub baking soda into stain with a damp cloth then rinse with water and towel dry.  So easy!!

For additional natural cleaning options, go to www.eartheasy.com

Comments? Questions? Please share your favorite “green” cleaning brand or home recipes.