Tag Archives | chocolate

Six Superfoods for Women

Nature demands a lot of women. Fluctuating hormones, growing babies, demanding work schedules, managing households, and shuttling children to endless activities requires nearly superhuman powers. However, with the right nutrients on your side you can get through it all with less struggle and greater joy.

Here are six great-tasting superfoods to help you get through is all, while keeping your health intact. For the greatest benefits, include two to three servings of each these foods every week.

1. Leafy greens: Kale, Swiss chard, collards greens, spinach, and their cousins provide bone building calcium. They are also high in folate, the natural form of folic acid, which is important for pregnant women and may also prevent cervical cancer. Leafy greens that are part of the crucifer family (including kale, collards, mustard greens, and turnips) contain a compound that helps the body metabolize estrogen into a safer, more usable form to boost protection against breast and other hormone-related cancers.
How to use: Virtually all leafy greens are a great addition to soups and stews. When sautéed with onions and garlic they make a simple and delicious side dish. Adding lemon to greens helps cut their bitterness and makes their iron content more easily absorbed in the body.

2. Fatty Fish: Wild salmon and sardines provide high-quality protein as well as a healthy dose of omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3’s may help prevent menopause-related depression and mood changes. This healthy fat also reduces LDL (lousy/bad) cholesterol, lowers blood pressure and protects the brain against Alzheimer’s disease.
How to use: If you don’t have time to cook fresh fish, don’t fret. Canned salmon and sardines are an excellent alternative, while still providing the same health benefits. Serve them alongside a salad, on a sandwich or make fish patties. Up to 6 ounces per serving, twice a week is also safe for expecting moms.

3. Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and others, are some of the healthiest, and most beautiful, foods available to us. Berries are an important source of an anthrocyanidins, a chemical that not only gives berries their vibrant colors, but provides us with powerful antioxidant effects that strengthen our blood vessels, helping to protect our hearts, prevent varicose veins (which includes hemorrhoids), improve our eyesight, reduce inflammation, and prevent cancer.
How to use: When berries are not available fresh, frozen organic berries are a great substitute. Use them on yogurt or cottage cheese, in smoothies or salads.

4. Avocados: Avocados are lean green nutrient machines! Avocados contain healthy monounsaturated fats. Avocados are loaded in nutrients, such as potassium, magnesium, folate and B6. They help keep you satisfied and prevent cravings while also nourishing skin, hair and nails.
How to use: Try having half an avocado alongside your breakfast eggs in the morning, or add it to your lunchtime salad. Avocados also make smoothies nice and creamy.

5. Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds are rich in lignans, compounds that naturally modulate estrogen levels. This can increase protection against breast cancer and promote regular ovulation. They contain omega 3’s for heart health and protein for sustained energy. Plus, flaxseeds high fiber content prevents constipation and improves colon health.
How to use: Buy whole flaxseeds and grind them fresh before using to gain maximum benefits. You can add them to yogurt, smoothies, sprinkle them on salads or use them in baked goods.

6. Dark chocolate: That’s right! Even dark chocolate has superfood health benefits for women, especially for your heart. Heart diseaseßs is the leading cause of death for women in the United State. Cocoa contains flavonoids, which have antioxidant properties and can suppress oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol), which can cause cardiovascular disease.
How to use: Choose at least 70% dark chocolate and enjoy one piece per day. They key with chocolate is to take your time and savor it, instead of eating it for emotional reasons. You can also try adding raw cacao to a smoothie for a “healthy-fied” milkshake.

What superfoods do you use to supercharge your health?

Comments { 0 } · Posted on October 20, 2015 in General

Tasty trail mix with toasted coconut

Food….I never leave home without it!

No matter where I go I always have some sort of snack stashed in my purse. If I’m on the run all day I pack a whole grocery bag of goodies. Yes, it might seem a little much but it certainly saves me from scrounging for something while I’m out and about and my blood sugar start going dangerously low.

I used to not be this prepared. In the past I wouldn’t eat until my blood sugar was dangerously low – I would feel tired, my heart would start beating faster and I would get the worst case of hangry (hungry AND angry). My friends and family knew that when my eyes started to glaze over and my sense of humor disappeared it was time to feed Tanya. NOW!

hangry

When you’re constantly fighting that blood sugar roller coaster you will always default to the worst choice possible – chocolate bars, blueberry muffins, coffee cake and ice cream will be your defaults. These were my regular snacks and meals for a long time. Nearly 10 years ago when Mr. Wes and I first met he wooed me with candy gummies, lollipops, candy bars and scooter crunch ice cream. I kid you not! He put boxes of candy in the interoffice mail to me when we worked together and met me in my college parking lot after class with a cooler full of ice cream. We laugh now that my standards are much higher now so he has to work a little harder!

My favorite snack to keep on hand is trail mix. Sure, there are plenty of ready made trail mixes to buy and some stores even have “trail mix bars” where you can mix your own. However, those nuts are usually salted and roasted in low quality oils. Some even have sugar, preservatives and other funky ingredients in them. I say, save your money and mix your own!

The secret ingredient to my trail mix is toasted coconut. Coconut contains lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid which increases HDL (good) cholesterol and is utilized as a source of energy instead of being stored as fat. Plus, it’s delicious!

20131019_104254

So, before you get hangry, get these ingredients and make your own totally tasty trail mix! These are the ingredients I like to use but you can certainly experiment and make your own. In the comments below tell me what you like to add to your trail mix.

20131019_104635

Tasty Trail Mix with Toasted Coconut

Ingredients 

Handful of each of the following:
large coconut flakes (make sure they are unsweetened)
cashews and almonds
pumpkin seeds
raw cacao nibs or chocolate chips (I like The Good Life brand)
Raisins and chopped dried apricots

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place coconut on a baking sheet and toast for 5-6 minutes. It will brown VERY quickly so keep a close eye on it. You want it to brown very slightly.
  2. Mix the nuts, seeds, cocoa nibs or chocolate chips, raisins and dried apricots in a large bowl. Add the toasted coconut and mix until well combined.
  3. Store your trail mix in jars or divide up into baggies for easy grab and go. Enjoy!
Comments { 0 } · Posted on November 7, 2013 in General, Healthy Recipes

Let them eat truffles!

“Do You Eat Brownies???”

Last week I attended a women’s business conference and this question came up when the person learned that I work in the nutrition field. I get this question pretty regularly in different forms….”do you eat chocolate? Do your clients have to give up sweets? Can you tell me how to say no to chocolate chip cookies? Please tell me you eat dessert!”

So, I’m going to declare it right here. I, Tanya McCausland eat dessert!

Sweets and treats are part of exploring and savoring amazing food. When we deprive ourselves of the occasional piece of chocolate we’re setting ourselves up to inhale the entire bar. Yeah, we’ve all been there!

This week I’ve been in San Francisco visiting with some of my dearest friends. One of our favorite things to do is cook and enjoy a meal together. There is something absolutely magical about roasting potatoes, chopping herbs and grilling fresh sausages and is amazingly heartwarming and soothing – especially when you’re doing it in a tiny but bright San Francisco apartment kitchen! Alas, no meal is complete without a sweet treat at the end. The other evening we shared some amazing dark chocolate with almonds and dried cherries while we finished our wine and laughed late into the night. It was fantastic in every way possible!

So yes, this girl DOES eat dessert. But, I have standards that make eating it enjoyable instead of totally shameful.

How to Eat Dessert

1) Spot Cravings: How do you feel when you go scouting out the office candy bowl? Are you angry, frustrated, stressed, sad, tired? We tend to reach for the treats when things aren’t going our way. But, guess what? After you inhale the Snickers Bar you’ll still be angry, frustrated, sad and tired. Weird how that works, right? Instead, address your feelings with an appropriate action like taking a 10 minute walk outside, talking it out with a colleague, taking three cleansing breaths or even looking up cute kitty pictures on Pinterest. Or, do all three!

2) Splurge: There is a ton of cheap, crappy candy out there. Don’t fall for $2 bags of mini chocolate bars or 2 for 1 deal. Your body is not a garbage disposal so don’t treat it like one by feeding it junk. Your body deserves only the best and that includes the best chocolate you can find! Go for quality, not quantity. Spend the extra couple bucks on the “fancy” organic dark chocolate bar or the macaroon from a local coffee shop. Then, move on to step 3.

3) Savor: Now with your treat in hand take time to really enjoy it instead of inhaling it in mere seconds. That little piece of luxury deserves full attention! Sit down, and deeply inhale the deliciousness you’re about to eat (yes, I said smell your food!) and then take a bite. Close your eyes and thoroughly enjoy the taste and texture of this amazing treat you just took the time to savor.

4) Share: Eating is a communal activity and that includes dessert! It’s much more satisfying, enjoyable and profoundly feeds the soul when we can share food with another person. Cut your muffin in half and offer it to your office mate, share dessert with your love (one spoon only!) and crack open that bar of chocolate when the girls come over for dinner.

5) Stir up Your Own: While I have a serious weakness for a good bar of dark chocolate, I do love stirring up my own sweet treats. Unfortunately (well, fortunately) I’m not much of a baker so my oven doesn’t see much cookie or cake action. But, I do make one tasty truffle! My Chocolate Chia Truffles are delicious and super simple. If you can push the button on your food processor you’ve got what it takes to make truffles. By the way, this recipe presents a great opportunity to invite your kids into the kitchen with you. Just beware of those messy fingers!

Chocolate Chia Seed Truffles

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups pitted dates, chopped
¼ cup unsweetened raw cacao or cocoa powder
½ cup whole chia seeds
½ teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
1 cup raw slivered almonds (can also use raw cashews, pistachios or walnuts)
½ cup shredded coconut for dusting

Instructions:

  • Soak chopped dates in hot water for about 10 minutes
  • Strain dates (reserve water) and puree in food processor until thick paste forms
  • Add cocoa powder, chia seeds and vanilla extract. Pulse until combined.
  • Add reserved liquid if needed. Add only a very small amount at a time so mixture doesn’t get too soft
  • Add almonds; pulse until well distributed throughout mixture
  • Form mixture into small balls and roll in shredded coconut
  • Place on wax paper in single layer and chill in refrigerator for about one hour. Place them in containers with lids. These will keep for about a week in the fridge.
Comments { 0 } · Posted on May 2, 2013 in Healthy Recipes