Farmers Market Finds for October

Fall vegetables may be the ones I have the least experience with. Zucchini, berries, asparagus, sweet corn and peppers are easy to cook and add to various dishes. Beets, turnips and delicata squash are like a foreign language to me. Yet they looked so beautiful at the farmers market this month I just couldn’t say no.

Ever since getting my Ninja I want to try juicing everything. When I saw the garnet red beets at the market I had a vision of a brilliant red post run smoothie. Sometimes the vision is better than the reality. I made a slight variation of this Cranberry Beet Smoothie from Runner’s World, twice. It was not entirely unpleasant, still drinkable, but I wouldn’t call it a win. Failure is how we learn, right? I think beets will be more pleasing to me if I roast them instead of drink them next time. The trick will be how to do it without making my kitchen look like a murder scene. Anyone have tips on how to peel and slice a beet without getting the red everywhere?

The next kitchen experiment was the delicata squash. Squash is more familiar territory but I’ve never tried this particular variety. For over a year I’ve been making a chickpeas salad recipe from Vegetarian Times that shares a page with a recipe for Red Curry Delicata Squash and Tofu. Every time I make the chickpea salad, I tell myself that I am going to try the curry recipe “someday”. No more some day! I thought it was delicious and it passed my husband’s test for flavor (a little spicy, but not curry overload).

The last experiment was with the turnips. I was inspired by another recipe, this one from Health magazine. I’ve been trying to be a good steward of our grocery budget, planning meals around my overstock of pantry staples. I always have most of the ingredients for the Moroccan and Turnip Chickpea Braise on hand. I used quinoa instead of couscous to boost the protein power.  It turned out to be a “maybe”. I tasted okay but it was missing something. I may try it again but add a couple of extras to see if I can bring out the flavor a bit. If you give it a try tell me if you liked it “as is” or if you added a little something.

It wasn’t long ago that the coming of fall meant the end of the farmers market. I am so glad that the Farmers Market of the Ozarks will continue to have a winter market. Several vendors have told me I might be surprised what the market has to offer during the colder months. I’m looking forward to being inspired all winter long.

What about you? How do you feel about beets and turnips? Does your local market stay open year round?

Quick Guide to Nutrition During Breast Cancer Treatment

Quick Guide to Nutrition During Breast Cancer Treatment

Breast cancer is a battle. Not only are you fighting the disease but also the effects of the treatment. During this time food can feel like the enemy too. Eating can feel like torture, trying to find foods that sound appetizing and that the body can tolerate. In reality, food should be your ally.

Nutrition should be an important part of any treatment plan. It is time to think about food as medicine not just critically needed fuel. While every woman experiences different things during breast cancer treatment and recovery, there are some tips that can be beneficial to most who are undergoing chemotherapy.

  1. Chose organic whole foods when possible.
    Your body is fighting hard enough, why make it more challenging by giving it chemical and hormone-laden foods? Now is the time to embrace clean eating. If you can’t buy everything organic, start with the Dirty Dozen. This is a list iof produce that is the known to have high levels of pesticides and chemicals. Read labels to make sure you are buying hormone free dairy products. Visit your local farmers market to find a source of hormone free, antibiotic free and grass feed meats if you include meat in your diet.
  1. Increase your protein intake.
    The amino acids in protein are the building blocks to the immune system, critical for healing the body and preserving lean muscle mass (which is easily lost when you aren’t eating a lot or able to exercise). The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute recommends a quarter of your plate should be filled with protein at each meal. Plant based proteins are often highly recommended, like lentils and beans, along with organic dairy, eggs and fish.
  1. Pay attention to your fiber and water intake.
    Some people experience diarrhea while others experience constipation during treatment. Make sure you’re taking in at least 64 oz of water per day and 25-35 grams of fiber to help manage both. If you’re experiencing diarrhea, you may also need added electrolytes. Coconut water can help with electrolyte balance as does a natural sports drink like Recharge.
  1. Keep natural nausea fighters on hand.
    Ginger and peppermint can both help ease the nausea that often comes with treatment. Having a piece of crystallized ginger or a cup of peppermint tea can be a helpful part of your morning ritual.
  1. Limit the consumption of green and white tea.
    While green tea has been shown to have positive effects with breast cancer prevention it may need to be avoided during treatment. The polyphenols may block the effects of certain cancer treatment drugs. Instead, enjoy herbal teas like peppermint, ginger or chamomile.
  1. Eat small and nutrition packed meals frequently.
    Eating a large meal can compound the already unpleasant side effects you may be experiencing during chemotherapy. Eating smaller meals through out the day can help keep your energy up and be kinder on your stomach. Try nutrition packed smoothies like my Iron Woman Smoothie or this Green Goddess Smoothie from SkinnyTaste can help.

Just like every woman is unique, so is her experience and treatment of breast cancer. Always have a conversation with your doctor or a registered dietitian about your specific nutritional needs during treatment. If your doctor clears it, also try to add exercise to your treatment plan. According to a recent study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, adding exercise to your treatment plan increases survival rates by 7-8%. Use every weapon you have in this fight!

Top Fitness Favorites Oct 2014

Top Fitness Favorites Oct 2014

Unlike the rest of the world, fall is not my favorite season. I am not looking forward to shorter days, sweaters and falling leaves. Pumpkin spice ANYTHING is not making me happy this month. I don’t hate fall, it’s just not bringing me the same joy it seems to be sparking in everyone else.

So if I’m not all about fall, then what am I enjoying this month? I have three things that are making me happier than any latte or fall festival ever could.

  1. Ninja Ultima Blender

    Top Fitness Favorites Oct 2014

    I am leading off my list with the thing that literally makes me squeal with delight right now – my Ninja Ultima Blender! I got extremely lucky at the IDEA World Fitness expo and won my choice of Ninja products. It is AMAZING. I have made everything from my first beet juice smoothie to vegan cream of broccoli soup in it. I am almost convinced that there isn’t anything this blender can’t do. The dual stage blending even made quick work of the dried dates in the Date Balls of Energy I love to make. I was impressed with how well it handled them versus my food processor (which is a pretty mean machine in it’s own right). Clean up is a snap since most of the parts are dishwasher safe. I basically want to juice everything now. I even contemplated juicing a lone zucchini leftover from another recipe just to see what happened. (No, I didn’t do it. I spiralized it instead.). I have been cured of my Vitamix envy!

  2. Oxygen Magazine

    Top Fitness Favorites Oct 2014

    Oxygen Magazine is back! I hate to say this but even before Robert Kennedy Publishing went bankrupt 2 years ago Oxygen had been on a bit of decline. In my opinion they seemed to be chasing fads, recycling a LOT of old material and adding filler that had little to do with fitness. I missed the balanced strength training plans and solid science based nutrition advice that made me subscribe in the first place. Even after coming back from the bankruptcy hiatus, the magazine still felt it was lacking something, but when I sat down to read the October issue it was like being reunited with an old friend. I can say for the first time in a long I read EVERY article. I found the articles on BCAA and hiking very helpful. Even Jamie Eason was back! My fingers are crossed for a new beginning for what was once my favorite magazine.

  3. Lumosity

    Top Fitness Favorites Oct 2014

    I’ve added brain training to my workout routine. Exercising your body also is great for your brain but your mind needs some workouts just for it. I got a free month of the Premium subscription to Lumosity from Starbucks and I am hooked! Each training session only lasts about 15-20 minutes and can be done from your phone, tablet or laptop. They’ve confirmed something I’ve always known: I am an excellent problem solver. I also learned that my brain performs much better after a workout than it does after an evening of training others. Sadly, my free month of premium is up but I plan to continue taking advantage of the free version. Although the workouts are shorter something is always better than nothing, right?

Falling leaves aren’t making me happy but maybe you really do LOVE fall? Are you all about chili in the crockpot and football games on the weekends? What do you love (or at least like) about fall?

Tired of Pumpkin Spice? Try my Apple Pie Protein Smoothie Recipe!

I don’t get excited for Pumpkin Spice Lattes. For one, I am a tea drinker. Two, I eat pumpkin all year long. I eat pumpkin every morning in my Morning Mug Souffle and every night in my pumpkin pie oatmeal. What really excites me about fall is the apple harvest.

When I found the first gala apples of the season at the Farmers Market I almost jumped for joy. While I eat apples all year long too, nothing tastes better than the first bite of a crisp sweet local apple in September. While everyone else is putting pumpkin or pumpkin spice in everything (pumpkin spice salad dressing anyone?), I am experimenting with new ways to eat my apples.

With the help of my new Ninja Ultima, I turned MY fall favorite into a deliciously decadent protein smoothie. Pick your favorite sweet apple and give it a try.

Apple Pie Protein Smoothie

  • 1 small (2 inches in diameter) apple, cored and chopped
  • 4 pitted dates, chopped
  • 1 scoop Designer Whey Vanilla Praline
  • ¾ unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger

Put all ingredients into blend. Blend until smooth. Makes 1 serving.

Yield: 1 Smoothie
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: NA

Per Serving: Calories 300; Total Fat 4.4g; (Sat Fat 1g, Trans 0g, Poly Fat 0g, Mono Fat 1g); Protein 20g; Carb 49g; Fiber 4g; Sugars 13g; Cholesterol 60mg; Sodium 115mg

If you’re still craving pumpkin, check out this Protein Pumpkin Pie Shake recipe from Designer Whey!