I’m Your Wild Girl! White Chocolate Ch-Ch-Ch-Cherry Bomb Smoothie Bowl [Local Product Feature, Part 2]

This past summer I had the opportunity to sample some lovely locally-produced plant mylk. I loved playing and making new recipes with it.

[You can find one of those recipes here. [Local Product Feature, Part 1]

Hippie Mylk, which you can find at Ottawa farmers’ markets and now in select health food stores, most definitely also passes the smoothie test! It’s creamy, naturally just a little sweet, and high in protein and healthy fats (you know I’m all about those #healthyfatsftw).

IMG_20180822_155222_171Something I’ve noticed with a handful of clients is that while they love the idea of smoothies, they don’t always feel satisfied having “just” that. This poses a problem, as a lot of the time, smoothies are actually really well-loaded with good stuff, and are indeed meal-sized in terms of calories and macros.

So what’s going on?

Our bodies like to chew!

Chewing helps rev the digestive engines – i.e. enzymes, which are released into your spit to start breaking down carbs in particular. A pretty common thread with a lot of smoothies is fruit, which are high in naturally-occurring starches, fiber, and sugar.

If you’re prone to getting gassy after having a morning smoothie, check in with your ingredients. This next bit’s for you.

Try holding your mouthful of smoothie in your mouth for 15-30 seconds before swallowing it. If your smoothie happens to have little pulpy bits, like apple skin, chia seeds, cacao nibs, maybe a chunk of date or mango here and there – definitely try this, and even try chewing it. You may find taking smaller mouthfuls helps with this.

Avoid just guzzling it all down as quickly as possible. We invented travel mugs and iced drink tumblers for a reason! (I’ve coveted the really big, venti/trenta size iced tea travel cups at SBux, which look big enough to hold even massive smoothies.)

Another solution to encourage slowing down and chewing your smoothie is to turn it into a smoothie bowl!

The trick with a smoothie bowl is in how much liquid you add to it to balance how much stuff you want to put both in and on it. I tend to like a 1:1 ratio of “solid” smoothie ingredients to liquid, erring on the side of a bit more of the solids, by which I mean the fruit, nut butters, seeds, greens, etc.

If the smoothie seems too thin for my liking to serve as a bowl, I’ll add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more frozen fruit or a teaspoon of flax or chia to help thicken it up to taste. Adding flax or chia post-blending is helpful too, especially if the bowl is left to stand for a bit.

Smoothie bowls also don’t have to be overly complicated and don’t need 70 ingredients to be impressive! I loved using Hippie Mylk to make this simple but so satisfying White Chocolate Cherry Bomb Smoothie Bowl – so much so that I even added the recipe to the 3rd edition of my holiday recipe ebook!

[Get the ebook here for 40% off through Giving Tuesday November 27]

You can get a peek at this chill brunch-ready recipe right here. Then just try to get “Cherry Bomb” by The Runaways out of your head after making it.

20180823_211933Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup cacao butter
  • ¾ cup frozen organic sweet cherries
  • 1 cup original plant milk of choice (I used local-made Hippie Mylk; Ripple would also work well)
  • 2 Tbsp. smooth almond butter
  • 1-2 tsp. maple syrup to taste, optional
  • Pinch sea salt, optional

Melt the cacao butter slowly using a double boiler (or melt in a pan on the stove), about 10 minutes.
In a blender or food processor, combine the remaining ingredients, then add the melted cacao butter. Blend immediately before the cacao butter re-solidifies. (If your blender has a removable cap in the lid, start blending the ingredients and slowly pour the melted cacao butter in while it’s running.)
Pour the blended mixture into a serving bowl.
Sprinkle on toppings, such as goji berries, dried cranberries, fresh halved cherries, dried coconut, cacao nibs, slivered almonds, hazelnuts, etc.
Tips: Smoothie bowls are best served thick! Adjust the amount of liquid as needed. To serve multiple guests, double or triple the recipe. Make the smoothie base ahead of time, storing single servings upright in small Pyrex containers. Allow your guests to add their own toppings (a la sundae bar).
Makes 1 large or 2 small servings. Prep time: about 15 minutes.

The LPFL Plant-Based Holiday Solutions 3rd edition ebook is available now through December 17 2018. $5 per sale goes to the Ottawa Food Bank! 40% off through Giving Tuesday November 27 2018.

When You Haven’t Changed Anything… But Your Pants Don’t Fit

I’m no stranger to that struggle.

You’re positive that you’re not eating more food or “junkier” food but you’re still gaining weight. And you don’t think you just shrunk your clothes, are PMSing, or haven’t taken a good poop. How could this happen?

You’re not going crazy. You’re not alone.

Here’s why your favourite seasonal fashion staples might be feeling a bit snug these days.

The “calories in, calories out” argument is an overly simplistic, outdated view of how weight management works.

There’s definitely more to it than just how many calories you’re eating, right?

A lot of this comes right down to your metabolic rate which is affected by things like your activity level, history of dieting, body composition, and what you eat.

But let’s go beyond the tired “eat less and exercise more” advice and dive into some of the less obvious underlying reasons why you may be gaining weight even though you’re eating the same way you have for years.

Things like:

  • Aging
  • Hormones
  • Sleep
  • Stress

Aging

Funny things happen the older we get. People commonly experience lower energy levels, more digestive discomfort, and weight gain, as well as aches and pains. If you work an office job at a desk, you might also be particularly familiar with those aches and pains.

Aging can result in hormonal changes for both men and women. And these can contribute to loss of some lean muscle mass, as well as increases and changes in fat storage on our bodies. Women tend to pack more around the hips and thighs, while men more so around the waist.

The good news is that this is very common and not your fault.

Hormones

Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism and as such can be a massive contributor to your weight gain. There are several things that can affect it and throw it off-course.

When your thyroid gets off-course and produces fewer hormones, your metabolism slows down. And when your metabolism slows down, you can gain weight… even though you’re eating the same way you always have.

Pro Tip: Talk with your doctor about having your hormones tested. Oh, and try the thyroid-friendly recipe that I created for you at the end of this post.

Sleep

There’s plenty of research that shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate.

And as we age it can become harder and harder to get a good night’s sleep.

The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night at consistent times as much as is possible to help avoid weight gain.

Pro Tip: Try to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night. The first place to start is by implementing a calming bedtime routine, like listening to a guided meditation, enjoying a soothing cup of herbal tea (I love lavender and rooibos), and keeping the lights dim.

Stress

You’re not imagining it – it’s everywhere! So many things that can cause stress responses in your body.

And you know that stress hormones are not going to help you sustain healthy habits or maintain a healthy weight, right?

While you can’t necessarily change all your stressors you can try to adjust your stress response to them.

Pro Tip:  Try meditation or yoga, mindful eating, journaling. What about those new adult colouring books that are all the rage now? You may even want to look at your work or living situation and do what needs to be done to make a change, even if that might be drastic.

Conclusion:

There are lots of factors that can affect your weight, even if you’re eating the same way you always have. Aging, hormones, stress, and sleep are all interconnected to each other and can all contribute to weight gain, even if you’re eating the same way you always have.

We go deeper with this in my LPFL Body Alchemy program! Learn more here.

Seaweed Sushi Bowl

IMG_20181029_195930_537

Serves 2

  • 1 cup cooked rice (I used black Japonica rice)
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • ½ red pepper, julienne/matchsticks
  • 2 small carrots, julienne/matchsticks
  • 2 Tbsp. dried seaweed (such as nori or arame; I used 4 squares of olive oil SeaSnax, torn up – wasabi flavour is also amazing here!)
  • Small handful microgreens such as broccoli sprouts or pea shoots
  • 4 strips tempeh, cut into small pieces (can use plain or marinated – I like Lightlife smoky BBQ or Tofurky brand sesame garlic); can substitute chickpeas or jackfruit if desired
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds

Dressing:

  • 3 Tbsp. plain or seasoned rice vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp. coconut aminos or gluten-free tamari sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. lime or lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger

Divide the first eight ingredients into two bowls.

Put the rest of the ingredients in a small jar or bottle and shake well to combine.

Pour the dressing over the sushi bowls. You may have some extra.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip:  This is a great lunch to take on the go. Keep dressing in a separate container so you can give it a shake before adding it onto the sushi bowl.

[LPFL Body Alchemy starts as a group online on Wed Nov 28 2018! Use code “alchemytea” at checkout through Nov 26 to get a free tea with your purchase of Body Alchemy.]

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/lose-weight-in-menopause/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/sleep-stress-and-fat-loss