Go Fish! How to Choose Safe Seafood

Seafood is one of the healthiest foods you can eat because it’s an excellent source of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but not all seafood is equally healthy for you. With so many questionable sources of seafood, including the new GMO salmon, it’s important that you do some research and choose your seafood wisely.

What are omega-3s?

Omega-3s are essential fatty acids found in both plants and animals. In plants, such as leafy greens and flaxseed oil, the omega-3s are called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). In seafood, there are two omega-3s – eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Omega-3s are beneficial to your heart, brain, vision and the immune system of children and adults. They are also healthy fats that aid in weight loss.

Your brain and body use EPA and DHA and have to convert ALA from plants to EPA or DHA. Studies show that only around 3%-5% of omega-3s found in plant oils are converted into the DHA that your brain needs. Your body doesn’t need to do any conversion when you eat the EPA and DHA omega-3s from seafood, so it’s absorbed and used more quickly.

3 Things to Consider When Choosing Seafood:

Wild vs Farmed: As a general rule, wild caught fish are the best sources of safe seafood because of their natural diet of healthy sea plants. Wild caught fish also get plenty of exercise because they have to swim long distances in cold water. The cold water also helps fish develop more healthy fats rich in omega-3s.

Fishing Technique: Troll and pole caught tuna are typically smaller and have fewer contaminants than long-line, deep water tuna. These fish tend to be larger and have more contamination.

Mercury Content: When aquatic life takes up the mercury that settles in wetlands and streams it becomes methyl mercury, which is a toxic compound. Excessive mercury in the human body can lead to fatigue, hair loss, muscle pain, headache and other neurological ailments. Make sure you choose fish that are likely to contain lower amounts of mercury.

Recipe

Blackened Salmon Sandwich

Makes: 4 servings

Active Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound wild caught salmon fillet, skinned

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 teaspoons blackening or Cajun seasoning

1 small avocado, pitted

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 cup arugula

2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced

½ cup red onion, thinly sliced

4 crusty, whole grain rolls, split and toasted

Preparation

1. Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat.

2. Rub salmon on both sides with blackening (or Cajun) seasoning and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side.

3. Mash avocado and mayonnaise in a small bowl.

4. To assemble sandwiches, spread some of the avocado mixture on each roll and top with arugula, tomato and onion.

If you’re ready to choose safer seafood options, but need help getting started, contact me to schedule a consultation – the first step to a healthier you.

Want to learn more about the positive impacts of seafood and other topics? See a full calendar of my workshops in your area!

Stress Busters

It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it. – Lou Holtz

Stress – we’ve all felt it. While the extrinsic effects of stress vary by the individual, stress impacts the body. Specifically, stress impacts how your body responds to the aging process. Stress ages the heart and can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar. It also elevates your heart rate, which can wear the heart out over time.

Stress has also been shown to weaken the bones, make you sick and even make you fat! High levels of stress hormones, or cortisol, raise the body’s blood sugar, which can lead to insulin resistance, and also aggravate conditions like heartburn and inflammatory bowel problems.

The list of negative health impacts that stress has on the body goes on, but I’m sure you get the point. Let’s focus on what you can do to prevent suffering any of these stress-related issues!

Here are five ways you can mitigate the effects of stress:

Let it go. If you can’t change it, don’t worry about it! Oftentimes our reactions to stressful situations causes more problems than the situation itself.

Shift your focus. Instead of focusing on the problem, focus on the solution. By doing this, you divert your energy away from the problem to how to fix it, which gives you more control over the situation.

Practice redirection. When you’re stressed, it’s easy to focus on the negatives of the situation. This doesn’t do you any good! When you find yourself in a stressful situation, pause, take a deep breath, and redirect your mind to focus on positive thoughts and images.  

Breathe deeply. You can balance your hormones and increase oxygen, both of which help calm your body’s response to stressors. So take a deep, belly breath.

Get moving! Exercise is the best medicine for stress, without the mood-flattening side effects of prescription pills. Plus, you have the added benefit of knowing that people who move more are bothered less by stress!

Quick Tips

Five Kinds of Relaxation

Daily Meditation: Be mindful and be aware of your thoughts. Learn to become more sensitive to your internal workings by adapting a daily meditation practice.

Relaxation Exercises: Try yoga, meditation or even a walk around the neighborhood.

Imagery: Counteract external and internal stressors by filling your mind with positive thoughts and replays of pleasant scenes.

Music: Listen to whatever music relaxes your mind and body.

Recipe

Healthy Chicken Nuggets

Makes: about 15 nuggets

Active Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound organic, hormone-free, boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 egg

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups whole grain bread crumbs

pepper (optional)

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  

2. Cut the chicken breasts into roughly 2-inch x 2-inch cubes and place in a food processor. Add sea salt and pepper. Pulse all the ingredients until the mixture is of even consistency (it only takes a few seconds!).

3. Put the flour on a plate, beat the egg in a bowl and put the bread crumbs on a separate plate. Form the chicken mixture into 2-inch x 1-inch nugget size pieces.

4. Coat one nugget at a time lightly in flour, dip it into the egg, shake off the excess egg, and then roll it in bread crumbs. (Tip: Dip fingers into water in between nuggets to prevent fingers from sticking to the nuggets.)

5. Place the nuggets on a cookie sheet that has been lightly coated with olive oil. Bake for 8-10 minutes on each side or until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear.

If you’re ready to decrease the effects of stress on your body, but need help getting started, contact me to schedule a consultation – the first step to a healthier you.

Sleep Foods

“Eat. Sleep. Repeat.” – Unknown

After a day in the sun, you will likely be ready for a good night’s sleep. But, did you know that certain foods can also play a role in the quality of your sleep?

All food we eat has an effect on our health in some form. The brain is highly affected, for better or for worse, by nutrition. Some foods help boost your brain activity and energy level, while others help you get a restful night’s sleep.

The Science

Tryptophan is the amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that slows down nerve traffic, so your brain isn’t so busy. Tryptophan is also used by your body to make melatonin, which helps you sleep restfully.

At the end of the day, focus on eating foods with high levels of tryptophan and healthy carbs because they will help calm your brain, rather than make it more active. These foods are also referred to as “snooze foods”. For a restful night’s sleep, shoot for an early evening meal and a before-bed snack comprised of snooze foods.

Here is a list of some snooze foods to store in your kitchen for when you need to wind down at night:

  • Beans
  • Hummus
  • Lentils
  • Whole Grains
  • Hazelnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Eggs
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds

Lighter meals at night are more likely to give you a restful night’s sleep. High-fat meals and large servings prolong the work your digestive system needs to do, and all the gas production and rumblings may keep you awake! It is best to eat your evening meal early and have a small before-bed snack, if needed.

If you’re ready to eat better snooze foods, but need help getting started, contact me to schedule your pantry makeover – the first step to a healthier you. Want to learn more about making healthy eating choices? Book a free session with me today!

Recipe
Butternut Squash Lentil Soup

Makes: 2-4 serving

Active Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 tablespoons curry powder
  • 8 cups vegetable broth
  • 5 ounce can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups chopped butternut squash
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 2 ½ cups dry lentils (any color)
  • sea salt
  • pepper
Preparation

1. Heat the oil in a large pot and sauté the onion, garlic and celery for about 3 minutes.

2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring the mixture to a boil.

3. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Be careful not to overcook; the vegetables should stay a little firm so they maintain more of their nutrients.

4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 Quick Tips
Sleep Tips to Get the Rest You Deserve

1. Eat a snooze-food snack before bed.

2. Do not do strenuous exercise within the hour before you go to bed, though a few simple relaxing stretches are fine.

3. Limit phone calls, email or exchanges that might be stressful right before bed.

4. If your mind is still “busy”, try some white noise like waterfalls or mountain rain. You don’t need to buy a special gadget, iTunes has many options!

 

A.M.E.N. to a Healthier You!

Coach Toni

Your Mom Was Right, Breakfast Is Important!

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” – Moms Everywhere

Yes, mom was right. Breakfast is an important way to start the day, for kids and adults alike. Skipping breakfast can lead to erratic eating patterns throughout the day, indulgence in more junk food and ultimately, weight gain. Here are three benefits of eating breakfast:

1. Breakfast Jump-Starts the Gut: Studies show that people who begin the day with a balanced breakfast of protein, carbs, and fiber tend to eat less junk food during the day because it primes the brain and gut to expect (and crave) nutritious food for the rest of the day.

2. Breakfast Jump-Starts the Brain: When you sleep, you’re fasting. Breaking your fast revs up your metabolism and perks up the brain. Eating a nutritious breakfast and feeding your neurotransmitters, the neuro-chemical messengers that rev up your brain and steady your moods, will help you feel energized and relaxed during the day.

3. Breakfast Keeps You Lean: Skipping breakfast will not help you lose weight! Studies show that breakfast eaters are leaner because by “front-loading,” they prepare their bodies for the rest of the day.

Before you reach for the coffee and donut and call it “breakfast,” it’s important to understand that all breakfasts are not created equal! A coffee and donut, or even a bowl of many popular cereals, does not fit the bill for a balanced, brainy breakfast.

A brainy breakfast includes Green and Yellow Light foods with the right balance of complex carbohydrates and proteins to both stimulate and relax the brain for optimal performance. Protein perks up the brain and, because the body takes longer to digest protein than carbs, it helps you stay comfortably full for a longer period. A high-fiber breakfast of slow-release carbs prevents mid-morning crashes and sugar cravings.

If cereal is the breakfast of choice in your home, you should look for the following:
• Cereal made from whole grains, not just “wheat”
• At least 3 grams of protein per serving
• Less than 6 grams of sugar per serving
• At least 3 grams of fiber per serving
• No hydrogenated oils, artificial preservatives, artificial colors, or high fructose corn syrup

If you’re ready to eat brainy breakfasts, but need help getting started, contact me to schedule your pantry makeover – the first step to a healthier you. Want to learn more about making healthy eating choices? See a full calendar of my workshops in your area!

Recipe
Fruity French Toast

Makes: 6 pieces of French toast
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients


• 6 eggs, beaten
• 1 tablespoon vanilla
• 1/3 cup thawed 100% orange or pineapple juice concentrate (do not dilute)
• 1 tablespoon coconut oil
• 6 slices whole grain bread

Preparation


1. Mix all ingredients together except the bread and oil.

2. Heat the oil in a skillet.

3. Soak the bread in the egg mixture and carefully place it in the skillet.

4. Brown on both sides and serve!

Quick Tips
Tricks for Dining Out With Kids

1. Ditch the kids’ menu. The kids’ menu is filled with some of the junkiest foods around – hot dogs, breaded and processed chicken and French fries. Instead, look for healthy menu items like soups, salads with grilled fish and sandwiches with lean meats that you can ask for a smaller portion of or just share with your child. Don’t want to eat the same thing as your child? Order a “to go” box right when their plate is delivered, then pack half of the meal right away. This can also help mom and dad control those notoriously large restaurant meal portions sizes too!

2. Start with soup and salad. Fibrous foods like salads or veggie rich broth-based soups are a great start to a restaurant meal because they’re filling without the fat. That way if your kids insist on ordering something less than perfectly healthy they won’t want as much of it once it arrives.

3. Offer choices to your child. As you look through the menu together, point out three or four healthy choices and let your child select what they want to eat or share with you.

A.M.E.N to a healthier You!


Coach Toni

Make Healthy Choices with Traffic Light Eating

“A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.” – Plato

Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean counting calories, monitoring fat content or analyzing every detail of the nutrition facts. While that information is certainly important, it can become overwhelming when trying to make healthy choices for you and your family. However, choosing healthy foods doesn’t have to be complicated!

Traffic Light Eating makes eating healthy simple to understand, even for kids. Just like when you are driving a car, a traffic light tells you what to do:

Green means “go”

Yellow tells us to “slowdown”

Red means “stop and think”

Green Light Foods

Green Light foods are “go” foods, meaning eat as much as you want. These include all fresh fruits and vegetables. Emphasis on fresh – these foods are grown, not manufactured. Packaged gummy fruit snacks are not Green Light foods!

The numbers: These foods are low in calories and high in nutrients. In other words, Green Light foods are nutrient dense.

Yellow Light Foods

Yellow Light foods are “slow down” foods. While foods that fit in this category are okay to eat every day and are essential to your health, they should be eaten in moderation. Too much of a good thing really is no good!  Examples of Yellow Light foods include: whole wheat pasta, eggs, salmon, nuts and seeds, rice, whole grain bread, and yogurt.

The numbers: These foods have more calories than Green Light foods and usually have more fat or sugar as well.

Red Light Foods

Red Light foods are “stop” and think foods. Since these foods are low in nutrients, high in sugar and contain artificial sweeteners and ingredients, you should try and find a healthier option, or eat a smaller portion. Examples of Red Light foods include: cookies, candy, fatty meats, sugary drinks, bacon and other processed meats and frozen yogurt.

The numbers: These foods are lower in nutrients and higher in calories, fat and sugar.

If you’re ready to start following Traffic Light Eating, contact me to schedule your pantry makeover, the first step to a healthier you. Want to learn more about Traffic Light Eating? See a full calendar of my workshops in your area!

Recipe
Black Bean & Salmon Tostadas

Makes: 4 servings, 2 tostadas each

Active Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients
  • 8 6-inch tortilla chips
  • avocado oil
  • 1 6-to 7-ounce can boneless, skinless wild caught salmon, dried
  • 1 avocado, drained
  • 2 tablespoons minced pickled jalapenos, plus 2 tablespoons pickling juice from the jar, divided
  • 2 cups of shredded cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons salsa
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • lime wedges (optional)
Preparation

1. Preheat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Coat the tortillas on both sides with olive oil and place on baking sheets. Bake the tortillas in the oven, turning once until light brown.

3. Combine the salmon, avocado and jalapenos in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the cabbage, cilantro and pickling juice.

4. In a food processor, combine and process the black beans, sour cream, salsa and scallions until smooth. Transfer to a microwave-safe bowl, cover and heat on high until hot (about 2 minutes).

5. To assemble the tostadas, spread each tortilla with some bean mixture and salmon mixture. Top with the cabbage salad and serve with the lime wedges, if desired.

Quick Tips

Avoid These 3 “Bad Words” On Food Labels for a Healthier Family

1. High-fructose corn syrup

2. Hydrogenated oils

3. Any word followed by a number, such as red #40, blue #5 and other artificial flavors and colors

A.M.E.N to a Healthier You!

Coach Toni

Sign up to receive your free healthy eating guide!