Carefree… it’s a word that’s been coming up a lot in my mind the last few months as I continue to feel stronger and healthier day by day. I’ve been waking up feeling carefree- just grateful to be alive and feeling resilient. I’m spending more time in nature, less time scrolling through social media, more time with my amazing group of ladies, less time worrying about what I’m going to eat for my next meal and more time staying in the present moment and soaking up L-I-F-E. Remember life? I feel like I forgot to ‘live’ the last 10 years while I was busy keeping myself alive and living in survival mode, launching my business, healing my body and trying to please everyone but myself. So, this step towards a more carefree lifestyle is starting with some talk about these fabulous tacos you see above and some real talk about SUGAR just in time for the holiday sugar blues! Now, what does carefree actually mean?
Definition: Free from anxiety or responsibility.
While I’m not one to have anxiety, I know many of my clients and readers do have anxiety about food and life and their health so I wanted to use today to talk a little bit about adopting a carefree approach to the foods we eat. To let go of the anxiety and responsibility to eat perfectly all the time and to stop feel guilty when we eat something that we really want such as some coconut milk ice cream. One of the biggest anxiety’s my clients have is with sugar. They have a hard time cutting out sugar and find themselves always craving more and more. However, no matter how much they eat, they’re never satisfied, which is why today we’re talkin’ about SUGAAAAAAAR and what little tips you can use to keep that refined sugar out of your life and instead- add in wholesome sugars made from real fruits!
Just in time before the holidays kick off, this post is going to be super helpful for those of you who end up eating a tiny bite of green beans and then 3 slices of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving or a scoop of mashed potatoes and 10 sugar cookies at Christmas. I get it. You pick at the main course but then gorge on the sweet stuff. So many of my clients are in the same boat. But, what many of them don’t realize is that they’re craving sugar because they’re not eating enough healthy fats and healthy proteins! I promise you, once you stabilize your blood sugar, you won’t have any sugar cravings. EVER. I’m living proof. I haven’t craved (or honestly even thought about) sugar in over 5 years (when I had terrible candida, my gut health was a mess, and I wasn’t eating enough healthy fats). When I started adding in raw walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, tahini (sunflower seed paste–which I used below), Brazil nuts, avocado, avocado oil, extra-virgin olive oil, and coconut oil- my cravings vanished. That’s when I started working with Functional M.D.’s to start to understand how to balance blood sugar. The best way to balance your blood sugar is to always eat a healthy fat and protein anytime you are eating a starch such as a cracker, cookie, muffin, banana, etc. The fat and protein combo will help your body so that you don’t get a sugar high and send your blood sugar through the roof- only to crash moments later. I know most of you know that feeling. This is a simple step you can start this week or at your holiday parties. Anytime you reach for a cracker, add some hummus. Want a banana, add almond butter on top. Eating roasted squash, add some olive oil and sesame seeds on top. Get the picture?
Now, one of the main things about sugars that people don’t understand is they think fruit is unhealthy because it’s a sugar. Au contraire, my friend! Fruits are made from natural sugars- not refined sugars, which are the unhealthy sugars! So, let’s take this example below.
Most dried fruits are made from fruit (such as a cherry or cranberry and a TON of added refined, inflammatory sugar)- YUCK! That’s inflammation central, folks. That’s not what you want and you do not want to add that dried fruit into your stuffing for Thanksgiving or into your quinoa salad for Christmas. So, what do you want? Well, there’s an amazing brand called Made in Nature that I discovered last year and fell head over heals for because they are literally JUST the dried fruit and NO refined sugar and NO sulfur, which almost every other brand of dried fruit has in it. Surprise, surprise, right? It’s sad that most of the apricots you see are orange because they have sulfur in them! But if you look at the Made in Nature apricots, they are brown because they are REAL and not shot up with a bunch of junk and refined sugar and sulfur. What you see is what you get, which is why my pantry is loaded with their products from A-Z year-round and my clients simply can’t get enough.
Side note: If you follow me on instagram and facebook, you’ll notice they just launched this limited time Gingerbread Coconut Chips that has absolutely NO sugar inside and I’m slightly obsessed with them because they taste amazing and are sweetened without any sugar. But that’s just a side note that I thought you may enjoy because when I find a food that’s not made with added sugar. I rejoice. REJOICE as in—- I sing in the aisles of the food store. Yep. I’m that woman.
So, this is why I added the Made in Nature Tart Cherries to my tacos because I wanted you to all start to live life the way we’re supposed to be living. To stop worrying about every morsel of food that might hurt you but to start to embrace food and see what food can do FOR you and not TO you. Yes, refined sugar is something I highly suggest staying away from (for your gut health, your immune system and pretty much everything else in your beautiful body) and instead reach for a naturally sweetened food such as fruit or these dried fruits I’m chatting about that are sweetened with organic apple juice and no refined sugar. To me, these cherries are a double gold star- you know- the kind you got in kindergarten when you were a good boy or girl. Well, those days are long gone but I assure you, these tart cherries will rock your world and they won’t bring on a sugar crash like all the other processed refined sugar added dried fruits you see that line the aisles of the food store.
So, before you head out and stress yourself for Thanksgiving and in a few weeks Christmas, take some time to yourself, sit with yourself, get quiet (YES it’s super uncomfortable and NO ONE likes to sit alone quiet at first because we’re used to ‘doing doing doing’ but I’m asking you to ‘BE’ for a little bit this holiday season, stay in the present moment and eat a hearty main meal before the dessert comes out so that you’re not overdoing it on the sugar. Add in some healthy fats like some avocado slices or walnuts and some protein and you’ll see you don’t yearn for that chocolate cake that’s staring at you on the dessert table. Instead, toss some of these tart cherries into a little baggie (these parchment cooking bags are my favorite non-toxic ones and no you don’t need to use them for just cooking) and some walnuts and almonds together and snack on them before you get to your family’s home for the holidays. This combo will help keep you satisfied with the healthy fat and the protein as well as a touch of natural sweetness so you’re not running for the whipped cream. Please don’t do that.
Sending you all so much love for Thanksgiving and jump into these tacos tonight.
p.s. These are also amazing when topped with any leftovers from your Thanksgiving menu.
Try to buy everything organic. Here’s why I eat organic: The Benefits of Eating Organic.
- 8 gluten-free whole grain tacos (if you purchase corn tacos, make sure they are organic since corn is a high GMO food)
- 1 head cauliflower, cut into small ½ inch florets
- 6 large stalks asparagus, ends trimmed
- ½ cup green beans, ends trimmed
- 1 large red onion, halved then slice each half into quarters
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more if needed
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- ½ cup quinoa
- ⅓ cup tahini (sesame seed paste), stirred well
- 5 Tbsp. hot water
- 1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup or honey
- Juice of 1 small lemon
- Large pinch ground cumin
- 2 red radishes, quartered or thinly sliced
- ½ cup finely chopped purple cabbage
- ½ cup Made in Nature Organic Dried Tart Cherries
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil, for garnish
- 1 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
- Roast the oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Toss the cauliflower on one baking sheet and drizzle with 1½ Tbsp. olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Roast for 30 minutes or until tender and golden brown.
- Toss the asparagus, green beans and onion on another baking sheet with the remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Roast for 10-15 minutes or until very tender.
- Meanwhile, cook the quinoa on the stove top according to the package directions. Fluff with a fork when done cooking, cover and set aside for 10 minutes.
- Then, in a small bowl, combine the stirred tahini, hot water, maple syrup, lemon juice, cumin, sea salt and pepper, to taste in a blender or whisk well (might be hard to whisk if your tahini is thick). Season to taste with the cumin, sea salt and pepper.
- Toast the taco shells in a cast iron skillet over medium heat for 20 seconds or until warm on each side. Then fill with the quinoa filling and top with your choice of toppings; feel free to have fun and get creative. You can finely chop the green beans and asparagus, if desired. You can also cut the cauliflower into smaller pieces, if needed. Here's what I chose:
- Taco 1 (front of the image): Radishes, Dried Cherries, Basil, Parsley Tahini
- Taco 2 (middle of the image: Roasted Onions, Dried Cherries, Parsley, Tahini
- Taco 3 (back of the image): Green Beans, Purple Cabbage, Asparagus, Dried Cherries, Tahini
- Serve immediately.
This post was sponsored by Made in Nature. All opinions are my own. I’ve been a fan of Made in Nature for over a year and their products have helped my clients and my family tremendously.