I know you’re in the mood for something healthy right about now. Thanksgiving just passed, Christmas is on the way and in between are a dozen holiday parties, cookie swaps, events and family gatherings-all of which are filled with lots of food that probably doesn’t make you feel so fabulous.
So, today you’re getting a new recipe that I just created last week because I’ve been craving a new go-to meal when I’m bogged down from too many holiday gatherings. Sometimes you’ve got to just whip your body back into shape with some real, wholesome food. Some people think the gym can whip them back into shape but that’s not how it works because if you’re eating junk and working out, you’re not really getting anywhere. You’ve gotta start with what you put INTO your body and then once you ace that, you can hit the gym or walk outside or do something active like yoga. But, it starts with food, folks. Remember that the next time you want to eat a bunch of cookies and then head to the gym to “burn” them off, think again. If you’re putting good, healthy, whole foods into your body then you don’t need to kill yourself at the gym. You can be active in your life by hiking or walking or doing yoga and eating clean, organic foods! Make sense? So many of my clients deplete themselves and their adrenals start to crash when they eat junk and/or workout too much- which increases your cortisol and other stress hormones and actually makes you gain weight. The reason I’m bringing this up is because a lot of you have emailed me the last few weeks asking how to stay healthy during the holiday season. It starts with eating healthy fats, quality proteins and lots of whole-food fiber from fruits and veggies! When you eat like that, you won’t crave the sugary foods and the starchy white-flour inflammatory packaged foods! It’s a lifestyle shift- it’s not a diet. Remember that.
So, one easy way to get you on track this holiday season is by adding healthy fats and quality protein to your lifestyle with nuts and seeds. I have never felt better being able to finally eat nuts/seeds after my gut couldn’t digest them for years after c-dfff colitis. Now that I’ve been able to eat them the last 3 years, my entire world has opened up and it’s been magical. Why?
Well, because I’m no longer starving during the day and I don’t need to eat as much as I did before. It’s incredible when you add in healthy fats to your meals and snacks because your body uses it as fuel and your energy rises so you don’t get hungry an hour after you eat. Nuts and seeds are also incredible at balancing your blood sugar. If you have PCOS or other hormonal issues, balancing your blood sugar is a great way to support your hormones because when you don’t eat for a long time during the day or if you don’t eat breakfast, your blood sugar will drop, your cortisol (stress hormone) will rise and your insulin will get thrown out of whack.I started carrying raw, organic nuts and seeds in my work bag so that if I get stuck on a delayed subway or stuck in traffic in midtown or I’m hungry in between lunch and dinner, I simply grab a handful or two of almonds, pecans or walnuts.
As I spoke about in this post, I’m a nut and seed snob. I like my nuts and seeds to be fresh. Always. So, where do I find them?
Let me tell you why I don’t buy my nuts from stores or other online retailers.
I had no idea how good (or should I say INCREDIBLE) nuts and seeds could actually taste. I used to just purchase them from any ol’ store and then use them in my recipes but I didn’t realize how much flavor nuts and seeds could actually have. Why is this important?
Well, because the fresher the nut/seed and the more flavor, the more satisfied you’ll be and less likely that you’ll reach for something sweet after you eat. When we’re not satisfied with the foods we eat or if there isn’t enough flavor, we often need something sweet after our meal to satisfy us. I know you’ve been in this situation before, right?
So, when Nuts.com reached out to me a few months ago and asked me to try their nuts/seeds, I just assumed they would taste like every other nut and seed I had eaten the last few years. So I thought nothing of it. Then, one day I opened one of the bags and honestly could NOT believe what I was eating. Their walnuts are HUGE-I’ve never seen organic walnuts this beautiful and big and they didn’t have that funky after taste that walnuts usually have. Their dry roasted almonds are beyond words- beyond. I really can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am that I found Nuts.com and their amazing variety of nuts and seeds. You can easily stock your pantry from just a few clicks on their website without having to run to a few different stores.
Trust me here, check them out and let me know what you think. My clients are obsessed already.
Now, onto this veggie platter.
As I mentioned above, you’ll be needing something healthy throughout the next few weeks and well into the New Year so think of this as your go-to meal that you can serve for lunch and leftovers for dinner any night of the week. It’s full of naturally sweet veggies and fruit like onions and yellow bell peppers and sweet apples and dried cranberries or cherries. It’s also ideal for entertaining because everyone can pick what they want from the platter. The quinoa is super fluffy and filling and is a great way to round out the fruits and veggies. And of course, last but not least, the organic walnuts are out-of-this-world. I’ll let you dive in and let me know what you think.
SHOP the STORY
And when you’re food shopping, try your best to buy everything organic. Here’s why I eat organic: The Benefits of Eating Organic.
- 4 medium white onions peeled and quartered
- 1 large head cauliflower cut into 1 inch florets
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- Filtered water
- 1 yellow bell pepper diced
- 1 large cucumber diced
- 1 large Fuji apple thinly sliced
- 4 Tbsp. raw walnuts
- 2 Tbsp. Nuts.com Dried Cherries
- 1 tsp. sesame seeds optional
- 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 1 tsp. finely chopped fresh basil
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place the onions on one of the prepared baking sheets and the cauliflower on the other baking sheet. Drizzle the onions with 1 Tbsp. of the oil and drizzle the remaining 1 Tbsp. of the oil over the cauliflower; use your hands to rub the oil into the veggies to ensure they are coated in the oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and roast for 40 minutes or until they are golden brown.
Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to the package directions.
On a large platter, place the cooked quinoa, roasted cauliflower, roasted onions, bell pepper, cucumber, apple, walnuts and parsley.
In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the basil and drizzle over the quinoa and veggies. Serve immediately.