MAKE THIS: Harissa-Spiced Acorn Squash Soup

It's officially soup season and the market is ripe with squash in all different shapes and sizes. Squash boast an incredible amount of vitamins and minerals, like Vitamins A, C, B12, and folate, and just tastes right this time of year. 

When buying squash, look out for varieties with soft, edible skin, like delicata, petite butternut, kabocha, and (my personal favorite) acorn squash. There's nothing wrong with thick-skinned squash, but let's face it: it's annoying to cook! Save yourself the trouble. 

This Harissa-spiced acorn squash soup has become a staple in my kitchen over the past few weeks. I love the heartiness of the squash, along with the warmth and depth of flavor from the Harissa. Serve alongside roast chicken, a simple salad or have on its own.

It's also the perfect recipe for RASA's post-Thanksgiving Leftovers Challenge. If you're not signed up yet, get on board!

Happy Cooking!

xx Mia

 
Photo Credit: Diana Davis Creative

Photo Credit: Diana Davis Creative

HARISSA-SPICED ACORN SQUASH SOUP

Ingredients

¼ cup + 1 tbsp coconut oil ghee                                                                                               (Fourth & Heart's California garlic ghee is amazing in this)

2 medium-sized acorn squash

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

4 cups bone or vegetable broth

2 tbsp Harissa paste (I like New York Shuk)

Salt and pepper

Rosemary (for garnish)

Make It!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Cut acorn squash and scoop out seeds. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Melt ¼ cup of ghee or coconut oil and pour evenly over squash. Season with salt and pepper, and roast for 40 minutes, or until tender.

Heat remaining tablespoon of coconut oil or ghee in a Dutch oven. Add chopped onions and garlic and stir over a medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add roasted squash and Harissa and continue to stir for another minute or two before covering with broth. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes.

Use a hand mixer or transfer contents to a high-speed blender and puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with fresh or dried rosemary as a garnish.

 

Pantry Clean Out: What To Toss And What To Stock

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One of the easiest ways to stay healthy and sane is to simply eat well at home. We can’t really control what oil is used in restaurants or how much sugar they add to their salad dressing. Of course, we can be smart in making restaurant and menu choices, but it’s no fun to be obsessive about it and let's be real: sometimes you just want to eat a basket of fries. Instead of feeling guilty about it, balance out your indulgences by having the healthiest foods you can on your own time and in your home.

Food marketers are savvy and find sneaky ways to hide sugars and processed oils into our foods to make them cost less, last longer and harder to put down (once you pop, you just can't stop). Even seemingly “healthy” food companies and grocers are guilty of stocking these products. Fortunately, there are good products out there, we just need to know what to look for!

So, what can you do? Spend an hour or so in your pantry and fridge diligently looking at the labels of your nut butters, milk, crackers, chips, granolas, condiments, cookies, etc.

Don’t be fooled by fancy terms on the box, like gluten free, no added sugars, or no trans fats, and get rid of the following products:

 

Processed Vegetable Oils 

I’m talking about those highly processed and tasteless vegetables oils, like canola, corn, soybean, safflower or sunflower oil. They are a major cause of inflammation, which leads to a variety of unwanted issues. Staying away from these oils will help you avoid processed foods in general. Note: some food companies are using non-GMO vegetable oils in their products, which in small amounts are not a huge deal.

Refined  Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners 

Get rid of cane sugar, products with high fructose corn syrup, sugary cookies and treats. Anything  with Splenda, NutraSweet, sucralose or aspartame should also go in the bin. These are chemicals.

Franken-Ingredients

Anything you cannot pronounce or that sounds like a chemical: Buh-bye.

Really Old Stuff

Condiments, spices, anything in the freezer that has frostbite. The general rule of thumb for spices is two years. Check expiration dates on everything else, and when in doubt, give it a whiff.

After you have detoxed your kitchen, take an audit of what you need and make a shopping list! Here is a quick list of pantry essentials that will ensure that you can always make a satisfying and healthy meal at home.

 

Good Fats & Oils 

Coconut oil, ghee, good quality butter, olive oil, avocado oil. When cooking, a quick rule of thumb is to cook hot foods with fats that are solid at room temperature and use oils, liquid at room temperature, for non-heated applications (like a salad dressing or garnish).

Vegetables and Herbs

You don’t have to be a vegetarian to eat a plant-based diet. Make plants the cornerstone of your diet. Adding variety in your meals will automatically increase your nutrient intake (and add flavor!). Shop the periphery of the grocery store or head to your local farmer’s market. And don’t forget the herbs too: parsley, basil, dill, cilantro—spice things up!

Good Quality Proteins

Find a local butcher or a grocery store where you can get organic, grass fed meats, free range poultry, pastured eggs and sustainable fish. 

Healthy Dried Goods

These items have a long shelf life and can make for easy snacking and quick meals. Examples include, coconut flakes, nuts and seeds, steel cut oats, beans and legumes.

Spices

Make sure to keep plenty of healthy and anti-inflammatory spices on hand. Some favorites include, turmeric, ginger, cayenne, cumin and cinnamon. Getting high quality spices and storing them properly (away from heat and bright lights) is important too. 

 

Before you hit the store, do some research. Take your time to find products and brands that use good ingredients. Once you figure out what you like, it will be quicker and easier to shop. A few of my favorite brands to look out for:

If you find one or more of your pantry staples on the toss list, don’t freak out! Try to replace it with something a little better and consider moving that item from an everyday item to an occasional treat. It's all about balance and finding alternative products you enjoy just as much (if not more!).

Xx Mia

 

NUT MILK 101

Photo: Diana Davis Creative

Photo: Diana Davis Creative

If you’re not making your nut milk yet, this is your opportunity to get on board. I promise, it’s not nearly as intense as it may seem. Not only is homemade nut milk insanely creamy and delicious, but it is cheaper, healthier, and better for the environment than store bought varieties.

Next time you’re at the grocery store, take a look at the nutrition labels on the various almond milks…cane sugar, carrageenan, natural flavor? Did you know that some Silk and Almond Breeze milks only contain 2% almonds? What's more? Although that $3.99 carton seems cheaper than $6.99 of raw almonds, the raw nuts actually produce more milk and are package free (especially when you get your nuts in the bulk foods section). Plus, if you've ever tried to buy legitimate nut milk (that is, with more than 2% nuts and less than 5 ingredients) a carton can cost you anywhere from $8 - $20 (gasp!).

Whether you are a homemade nut milk novice or devotee, we’re diving straight into the deep end here with walnut cinnamon milk (recipe below). This isn’t your basic almond milk; it’s warming for cooler months, doesn’t curdle in your coffee and is a great vegetarian source of those coveted omega 3 fatty acids. 

Walnut Cinnamon Milk

Cinnamon gives this creamy milk a warm, nutty flavor and helps regulate your blood sugar levels. Use in your morning coffee, with granola, in a smoothie or drink on its own.

Ingredients

1 cup walnuts (feel free to substitute other nuts here; almonds, cashews, pecans, a combo…get creative!)

4 cups filtered water + extra for soaking

1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla powder

Sea salt (just a dash)

Make It!

Soak your nuts in filtered water overnight, or for a few hours.

Drain nuts and add to a high-speed blender with 4 cups of water, sea salt, vanilla and cinnamon.  Blend on high for about 2 minutes. Pour through a nut milk bag or cheese cloth into a bowl and transfer to a jug. Save your pulp for cookies, cakes, crackers and more (recipes and ideas coming soon!).

Your walnut cinnamon milk will keep in your refrigerator for 3-5 days. You’ll be able to smell if it has gone off.

Forgot to soak your nuts? No sweat. Soak them in hot water for 5-10 minutes, but you get more nutritional value out of the nuts when you soak them longer.

I’m challenging you all to give this a try. Tag RASA on Instagram in your nut milk making adventures for a chance to win a RASA Challenge for you and a friend. 

 

Anxiety Fighting Foods: What You Eat vs. How You Think

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Anxiety is rampant these days. It’s an epidemic, and even if you recognize that your anxious feelings are irrational and unproductive, they can still be hard to shake. If you’re plagued by those Sunday scaries or have a nagging feeling that just won’t go away, it might be worth taking a look at your diet for an answer.

Promising studies suggest that your gut flora, that is, the microorganisms living in your digestive tract, has a strong influence over your emotions. This implies that a happy tummy can lead to a happy mind (and vice versa). So how do you create and maintain a healthy gut flora? A few simple tips:

 

Decrease inflammation: Inflammation is both a symptom and a cause of poor gut health. To combat this, you should not only eat anti-inflammatory foods, but also limit consumption of pro-inflammatory foods.

Balancing your omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acid ratio is a great start. That means eating more omega 3-rich foods (salmon, eggs, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds) and less omega 6’s (vegetable oils). We need both, but Western diets tend to be heavier on the 6 and lighter on the 3, so just try to balance it out.

You can also flavor your meals with anti-inflammatory spices, like ginger, turmeric, cayenne and cinnamon, and cook with coconut oil instead of processed vegetable oil. 

Incorporate probiotics into your diet: Good and bad bacterial both play a role in gut health, but it’s all about ratio and you want more of the good than the bad. Probiotics are essentially the good guys. Some probiotic-rich foods include pickles, yogurt, kombucha, dark chocolate (yes!) and miso.

Ditch refined sugar and processed foods: Sugar is food for the bad bacteria, and processed foods are hard to digest, which causes inflammation and throws off this whole ecosystem of gut health. Cutting out processed foods will automatically lower your sugar and omega 6 fatty acid intakes.

Craving a cookie? There are good options out there with unrefined sugars. Check out my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Be mindful of alcohol consumption: Alcohol is processed in the liver. Your body likes to get rid of it fast, so alcohol gets prioritized and cuts in front of all the other foods your liver has to process. This can cause some digestive dysfunction and—you guessed it—inflammation.

Before you panic, the operative word here is mindful. A glass or two here or there might not throw you off, but 10 drinks on Saturday night could be the cause of your Sunday anxiety. Listen to your body. Also, when you drink too much, you run the risk of doing or saying stupid s***, which certainly doesn’t help. It’s okay though: we’ve all been there.

Avoid foods you cannot digest: Food intolerances wreak havoc on your digestive system and can cause anxious feelings. We are all different, so taking the time to learn more about your unique and amazing body can help and empower you to make the better food choices.

 

The good news is that you have nothing to lose by trying one or all of these tips, because they not only help with anxiety but overall wellbeing in general. There are other ways to mitigate anxiety as well: yoga, exercise, meditation, massage, taking a bath, hanging out with friends and family. Pair your healthy diet with some of these activities and you could be anxiety-free in no time.

If you’re looking for a jump start, try the RASA Challenge or get in touch with me about coaching packages. Consultations are always free.

xx

 

Make This: Kale Cauliflower Rice

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kale_cauliflower_rice

Oh hey, fall! New season, new recipes. That means it’s time to ditch your frozen treats in favor of something a little warmer and heartier. For anyone trying to cut down on grains or eat more vegetables, cauliflower rice is a satisfying solution. This version, mixed with kale, garlic, shallots and a firm squeeze of lemon, takes it to the next level and goes with pretty much everything: salmon, chicken, lamb, falafel….

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How to rice cauliflower? You can literally just shave a head of cauliflower with a sharp knife, but this method can get a little messy. If you have a food processor, it will be a much cleaner experience. And if you’re really feeling lazy, just buy riced cauliflower in the frozen section of the grocery store. No judgements, pinky swear.  

The best part? This recipe is 100% RASA Challenge-approved, along with 20 other recipes in the fall/winter book launching this Friday!

KALE CAULIFLOWER RICE

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups riced cauliflower
  • 1 cup kale, finely chopped (about the same size as the riced cauliflower)
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt and pepper

Make it!

Heat coconut oil in a medium-sized sauté pan. Add garlic and shallots and sauté for about 3-5 minutes over a medium heat. Add kale and sauté for 5 more minutes, stirring frequently.

Next, add cauliflower. Stir to combine, add ¼ cup of water to steam, and stir for a few more minute and cover until warmed all the way through. Top with lemon juice salt and pepper. Take off heat and top with olive oil and sea salt before serving.

Xx Mia

Which Fats Should You Cook With? Let's Break It Down.

Ever left oil in a hot pan and seen it start to smoke? That’s an indication of the fats' smoking point, or the heat at which it starts to oxidize, release free radicals and becomes rancid. This isn’t good for taste or health; think burnt flavors and harmful carcinogens being introduced into your food.

When it comes to cooking, you want to use stable fats that have a high smoking point. Generally speaking, these are saturated fats from animals (butter, lard, chicken fat) and some plants (like coconuts); their primary characteristic is that they are solid at room temperature.

Unsaturated fats—including your beloved olive oil—are considered unstable. From a molecular standpoint, it just means that the bonds between the carbon atoms are a little loose and they’re more susceptible to degradation, especially when heated. This doesn’t make these oils bad—in fact, they’re very very good for you—just not ideal for cooking.

So what should you use and when? Here’s a simple breakdown to make cooking with fat a breeze:

BAKE, SAUTÉ AND FRY WITH THESE.

Coconut oil: The best plant based oil to cook with.

Butter: Look for organic, grass fed butter and only if you’re not sensitive to dairy.

Ghee: Basically clarified butter, which is made when you separate the fat from the milk solids and is better for people sensitive to dairy.

Animal fats: Duck, chicken, pork.

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SAVE FOR YOUR SALAD DRESSINGS, GARNISHES AND OTHER COLD FOODS.

Olive oil: Invest in a good cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, if you can. The taste and nutritional value are worth the few extra dollars.

Avocado oil: Great for making salad dressings.

Nuts and seeds (including sesame oil): Use as a garnish or in dressings to add healthy fats to your meals.

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ABORT! AVOID THESE GUYS ALL TOGETHER.

Processed vegetable fats: these are basically unsaturated fats that have been chemically altered to increase their smoking point. No Bueno! Be especially careful of fried foods, as they are often made with canola oil.

A note about canola (or corn) oil: last time I checked, corn was not an oily or fatty food (not like avocado, coconut or walnuts). Where do they get this “oil”? Doesn’t sound very natural, if you ask me.

 

I recognize that there’s a lot of confusion about fats these days. If you’re baffled by the American Heart Association’s recent attack on saturated fats (including coconut oil), you should be. It’s extremely misleading. To learn more about how these claims have been poorly researched and reported on, read this.

Xx Mia

 
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How to Stay Healthy and Still have Fun on Vacation

Summer isn’t over yet! If you have one last vacation in you before the leaves start to fall, you’re going to want to make it count. But the only thing worse than the end of summer holidays, is feeling like you have to start all over with your wellness routine.

There is a healthy balance binge eating and binge health; you don’t want to go overboard eating and drinking everything in sight–that’s not going to feel good, but at the same time, you want enjoy and indulge a little. Here are a few tips to living it up on vacation without totally blowing your whole healthy vibe.

 

1.     Pack healthy snacks. Make sure you don’t find yourself in a situation where you’re starving and there’s no healthy food around. Bring easy to pack, high fat snacks that will keep you satiated and energized when traveling. Try homemade trail mix with raw nuts, seeds, coconut flakes and cacao nibs, or Vega One protein packets.

2.     Skip the breakfast buffet. It’s never really that good and it’s so hard to stop once you start. Just don’t even go.

3.     Stay active and plan workouts in advance.   Try to fit activities into your itinerary. If you’re going somewhere outdoorsy, try hiking, surfing, kayaking…whatever is available. Or, if you’re planning a city getaway, walk everywhere, rent bikes, try out a local yoga studio, make it a part of your trip. And if neither of these options work for you, get yourself some booty bands and a jump rope. They will fit in your bag and can guarantee a killer workout anytime, anywhere.

4.     Don’t use your holiday as an excuse to eat junk food.  Just because you’re going to loosen your “gluten free” belt for a few days, doesn’t mean you have to eat airplane peanuts and ketchup flavored chips. Make your cheats count and save your indulgences for really good food. Quality, not quantity!

5.     If you want to try something naughty, wait until your last day. That afternoon gelato run or morning chocolate croissant is a slippery slope; once you have the first one, you’re going to want it every day. Instead of denying yourself completely, just have it on the last day and you won’t have to worry about coming home with a waistline of souvenirs.

6.     Drink lots of water. Drink more water than you normally would. It’s summer, it’s hot, you’re moving around, trying new foods, help your body flush it out!

And what about when you get back? If you gained a few pounds, it’s probably a lot of water weight and your body should self-regulate, so just get back into your normal routine as soon as you can. If you want to kick things up a notch, try no sugar, fruit or grains for a few days or sign up for a RASA Challenge or RASA Lite.

Xx Mia

 

When life gives you collagen powder, make cookies

Collagen is the most dominant protein in the body. You can find it in your hair, bones, skin, muscles, tendons, digestive tissues, blood cells…pretty much everywhere. Unfortunately, that abundance starts to decline with age, along with other factors like poor diet, smoking and too much sun exposure. When we have less collagen in our bodies our skin sags and wrinkles, our digestive lining is weakened, which can lead to leaky gut, and the cartilage between our bones starts to break down, along with other unpleasantries.  

Luckily, we can supplement collagen when we stop naturally producing it. These products are all the rage; you’ve probably noticed an entire aisle’s worth of collagen products at your local health food store (powders, lotions, potions, liquids), but what do you do with it all?

Aside from adopting a healthier lifestyle, here are a few ways to increase your collagen intake:

1.     Add collagen protein to matcha or coffee.

Blending collagen powder (like Vital Proteins) into your morning brew makes it frothy and creamy without any milk. I like to add a dash of stevia and Bulletproof Brain Octane oil or coconut butter for some extra energizing, fat burning fuel.

2.     Try a collagen face mask.

Your skin is your largest organ, and what you put on your body goes in your body. There are a ton of collagen-rich masks available on Amazon with the quick click of your browser. Always opt for non-toxic products.

3.     Drink bone broth.

Treat it like a savory latte. Try plain or with a little coconut milk and maybe some turmeric. It’s delicious and makes a great night cap or afternoon snack.

4.     Make cookies (recipe below!)

These bad boys are full of collagen, grain free and low in sugar. Oh happy day!

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Better Than Botox Cookies

Makes 10-12 cookies

Prep time: 10 minutes

Bake time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour*
  • ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 4 scoops marine collagen
  • ½ cup vegan, sugar free chocolate chips**
  • Sea salt

Make it!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix almond four, coconut, collagen powder and salt into a medium bowl. Add chocolate chips, followed by almond butter, coconut oil and maple syrup. Use a spatula or your hands to mix until fully combined.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a spoon to scoop out golf ball-sized pieces of dough, form into a cookie shape with your hands and place on baking sheet. Repeat until all dough is used (feel free to eat some along the way—they’re great raw too!) and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly brown.

P.S. friends, these are 100% RASA Challenge-approved!

* If you make your own nut milk, you can dry out the pulp to make flour. Just spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment and put in the oven at 175 degrees F for about 90 minutes. Give it a whirl in a dry blender to break apart any clumps.

** I use Lily’s Chocolate Chips

xx Mia

 

HOW TO BOUNCE BACK FROM A BOOZY WEEKEND

We all know that post-holiday weekend feeling. You let it rip on the Tostitos, pizza and rosé for a few days straight and then reality sets in; Puffy, tired, a little thirsty, you’re dreading going back to work and slightly panicked about putting your jeans on.  

A weekend of indulgence shouldn't completely derail your wellness regimen, but it can definitely make you feel that way. That “puffiness” is most likely a combination of inflammation and bloating, aka temporary weight gain (cue sighs of relief).

What you might not realize is that your body is still dealing with Friday night on Monday morning (which is why cheat days don’t work, but that’s another story), so give yourself a break and your body a chance to reset. Here are a few tips for bouncing back:

1.     HYDRATE.

Drink lots and lots of water to flush out whatever is in your system. Adding a squeeze of lemon will also help you detoxify and de-bloat.

2.     GO GRAIN FREE FOR A FEW DAYS.

Easing up on grains (not just gluten) will give your digestive system a little rest, because hey, it deserves a vacation too!

3.     REDUCE SUGAR, EVEN THE NATURAL KIND.

Sugar is inflammatory and breeds bad bacteria in your gut. Laying off sugars (refined, unrefined, even fruit!) will give your body an extra hand so it can heal and reestablish a heathy ratio of gut bacteria.

4.     SWEAT IT OUT.

Get back to the gym as soon as you can. And while you’re at it, spend some time in the steam room or an infrared sauna, if that’s available to you.

5.     SLEEP.

Go to bed early and try to get a solid 7-8 hours to allow your body to reset.

 
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Before you head out for the holiday weekend, pack some healthy snacks: protein packets, raw nuts, carrot sticks, maybe an avocado. And if you want to plan your post-fourth of July reset, check out our new 10-day Challenge: RASA Lite.

Have fun, friends! 

Xx Mia

 

IT'S HOT! COOL OFF WITH THESE SUMMER SPICES (AND A RECIPE!)

Hot town, summer in the city. New York, you’re on FIRE right now. It seemed to go from a pretty mild spring to an all-out heat wave in just a matter of days. And while I love nothing more than cutoff denim and failed attempts to find a spot by the pool at Soho House, my body is still adjusting to these blazing heats.

Aside from consuming iced everything—ice cream, iced coffee, just plain ice—spices can play a key role in regulating your internal body temperature. When we think of spices, our mind often goes straight to the warming kind, like ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, clove, but taking a shot of ginger in the heatwave doesn’t really have the same effect as it does during the winter months.  

With temperatures on the high, focus on cooling spices that can help you tame that fire, just like the warming ones can light it up. Here are a few of my favorites and how to use them:

  • Mint: Add to smoothies and salads.
  • Coriander: Excellent in spice rubs for grilled meats and fish.
  • Dill: Add to pureed soups and fermented foods, like sauerkraut and pickled onions.
  • Cumin: Great for roasting and sautéing, also check out the recipe below!
  • Cardamom: Pairs great with sweets. Try adding to your next batch of homemade nut milk.

 


 

RECIPE: SPICED CARROT SALAD

This easy to make salad is great with grilled chicken or lamb. If you like to eat mezze style (as in a bunch of small, flavorful dishes), this dish is the perfect addition to your spread.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

2 whole carrots, peeled and shredded

2 tablespoons dried goji berries or currants

1 tablespoon cumin (a cooling spice, yo!)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon slivered almonds, toasted

½ tablespoon Maldon sea salt

MAKE IT!

Using a mandolin, shred carrots and place in a bowl. Sprinkle cumin over carrots and mix to combine. Next add olive oil, goji berries and sea salt. Mixing thoroughly and serve.

The salad keeps in the fridge for about 4-5 days. Try incorporating into your weekly meal prep to put in your lunches and serve alongside your favorite protein for dinner.

Xx Mia

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How To Cheat On Your Diet And Feel Good About It

Can I cheat? It’s the number one question that I get asked. Fundamentally, my goal is to help people crave healthier foods so there isn’t a need to "cheat", but even if you already eat super well, sometimes it feels good to go ham (literally, where is the bacon?). So how can you indulge and feel good about? Here are a few tips:

SET REALISTIC GOALS
Before we talk about how to cheat, let's think about what you're cheating on. Setting too many restrictions and unrealistic goals for yourself will only lead to an "ah f*** it moment", followed by that dreaded post-binge guilt. Make a plan that you can stick with for more than 3 days. 

ONLY EAT FOOD YOU LOVE
Life is too short to eat food you don't like! If you're trying to "diet" and you don't like the food, it's not going to work. Period. Think you could never truly enjoy healthier foods? Talk to me

FIND BETTER ALTERNATIVES TO YOUR FAVORITE INDULGENCES
Be smart about your choices. Read labels. You might be surprised to find that there are healthy versions of your favorite junk foods that don’t actually taste like junk. Some of my favorties:

MAKE YOUR CHEATS COUNT
In other words, don’t eat a donut alone in the dark. Share your indulgences with friends (not the donut, the experience). Really take time to appreciate and enjoy your food. When you’re home on your own, just eat healthy. No one is watching.

WHEN IT'S GOOD FOR YOUR SOUL. DO IT. 
If something is really going to make you happy—like cake on your birthday, your mom’s meatloaf or a bowl of pasta at your favorite restaurant—go and have it. Live your life. But just don’t make it an everyday thing.

QUALITY IS KEY
Eating better quality, less processed food will be easier on your digestive system and better for your overall health. If you want a burger, have one. Just maybe swap your MacDonald’s for an organic grass-fed alternative.

EAT CONSCIOUSLY
Try not to mindlessly eat a ton of crappy cheese and crackers from the buffet table (c'mon, we've all been there). If you’re eating something that might fall out of your healthy routine, make sure you’re paying attention and, more importantly, enjoying it. 

Being disciplined and taking time to reestablish healthy routines is a good thing (shoutout to all my homies on The RASA Challenge right now), and will help you make lifestyle changes that stick. You’ll notice that as you clean up your diet, your cravings will change and your “cheats” will become healthier. That’s the goal.

And for the record: yes, I cheat. All the time. But I don’t call it cheating, I call it living. No shame in that game.

Xx Mia

TRAVEL GUIDE: PARIS

Planning your summer travel? A trip to the French capital is not exactly the first place people think of when they want a “healthy” vacation, but hey: sometimes a hearty dose of fun and a bit of je ne sais quoi is just what we need. It’s called balance.  Here’s where to eat, drink and live it up in the city of love and croissants. Oui oui, Paris!


EAT
Wild and The Moon
OD on pomme frites? Pas probleme. Balance it out with a magical bowl and a golden latte at this Instagram-friendly café in Le Marais. 
55 Rue Charlot, 75003

hôtel costes
For a fancy AF but heathy lunch, park yourself in the picturesque garden of this post hotel. Order the salmon and spinach for a healthy respite from rich sauces and baguettes of neighboring bistros.
239-241 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001

Le Mary Celeste
If you’re in the mood for causal small plates, tasty cocktails and epic people watching, look no further than this stylish little corner of Le Marias.
75003, 1 Rue Commines, 75003


INDULDGE
Believe it or not, but you can now get lust-worthy French baked goods gluten free, dairy and refined sugar free (swoon!). Don’t miss the decadent eclairs at Foucade on your way to the Lourve and Chambelland in the 11th arrondisment for crispy loaves good enough for your picnic in the park.
Foucade, 17 Rue Duphot, 75001
Chambelland, 14 Rue Ternaux, 75011

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SHOP
What fun would Paris be without some ridiculously indulgent souvenir? You didn’t really just fly all the way over there for a baguette and some cheese. C’mon. For that one-of-a-kind purchase, check one of the city’s expertly-curated concept stores like Colette on stylish rue Saint-Honoré or Merci in Le Marais. 
Colette, 213 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris
Merci, 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003


CUT LOOSE
Time to bring those new shoes for a spin! Dance it off at the super hip Andy Wahloo or relax with a tequila cocktail (or two) at the über cool Candelaria
Andy Wahloo, 69 Rue des Gravilliers, 75003
Candelaria, 52 Rue de Saintonge, 75003


STAY
Traveling with friends? Live like a true Parisian and rent THIS killer apartment in Place des Voges. Yes, I’ve stayed here and the only thing chicer than the digs is the owner (and artist), Sandrine.


SWEAT
Get your derrière outside and burn off all those croissants! Lace up your running shoes and hit the Seine. You can run all the way to the Eifel Tower and check a couple other monuments off your list to leave more time for eating, drinking and shopping. 


 

SIX EASY WAYS TO COMBAT BLOATING AND FEEL BEACH READY BY THE WEEKEND

Beach season is so close, we can almost taste the Whispering Angel Rosé (at least I can!). Summer Fridays, sun-kissed skin, outdoor sports, ripe strawberries...lots to look forward to, but if your New Year’s resolution to get swimsuit ready by Memorial Day didn’t quite work out as planned, the excitement of summer can sometimes go hand and hand with a side of dread. If you're someone who struggles with their abdominal region, sometimes bloating could be to blame. 

Bloating is caused by a number of factors, like swallowing air, overeating or simply eating foods that cause you to retain excess water or...air. The good news is that by just changing a few of your eating habits you can quickly and easily reduce bloating, making you look and feel a bit lighter. Hey, you never know, maybe an ab will pop out. It’s a lot simpler than it seems and you can actually do it in just one day. Here are some simple tips to get beach ready by the weekend:

Eat potassium rich foods.

This is my favorite tip because it involves eating guacamole. Potassium helps the kidneys get rid of excess salt and the water it’s holding with it. Try incorporating bananas, strawberries, sweet potatoes and avocados into your diet.

Just drink water. Maybe with a lemon.

Stay away from carbonated beverages. Those bubbles end up in your belly.

 

Stop chewing gum.

Chewing gum leads to swallowing air and causes bloating. Most gums also have sugar alcohols, which can upset your stomach.

xx Mia

Ditch grains.

Grains (even whole grains) and other high-fiber foods can be hard to digest, even if they are part of a healthy, balanced diet. Try going grainless a day or two before you hit the sand. This one kind of sucks, because it means no chips with your guac, but just get a celery stick (or Siete Foods grain free tortilla chips).

Say no to processed foods.

Anything with a wrapper, don’t eat it. Most processed foods—yes, even in the “healthy” aisle—have vegetable oils, excessive salt and sugar alcohols. All of which contribute to that barrier between your abs and the outside world.

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But chew everything else.

This cannot be understated: CHEW YOUR FOOD. Chew it until it becomes mush. That could mean up to 30 chews per bite. Digestion starts in your mouth, help a stomach out.

WHAT'S HIDING IN YOUR "HEALTHY" FOOD?

 

True story. I’ve been ordering almond milk cappuccinos from this local coffee shop for ages. I routinely pass on the delicious looking biscotti because I don’t know what’s in it. Then one day I peek the label on their almond milk of choice and notice that is has cane sugar and sunflower oil in it. WTF!? No wonder it tasted so naughty. 

Let’s be real, a little sugar is not going to kill you. But it’s frustrating when you make grand efforts to clean up your diet and still find sugar and processed oils hiding in your seemingly healthy foods. 

Here are some top offenders, along with my favorite brands of refined sugar, processed oil-free foods. And if you’d rather not know, I get it, just don’t read any further.

 

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NUT MILKS

When you’re not confined to the limited milk selection at the coffee shop, you’ve got a lot of options here. The best is, of course, to make your own, but if you don’t have time there are plenty of options at your local health food store. Look for dairy free milks (almond, cashew, coconut, rice, hemp, etc..) that have less than 5 ingredients and no added sugars. I’m really into Forager Project’s unsweetened cashew milk at the moment.


KOMBUCHA

Kombucha doesn’t naturally taste that great. We drink this $5 refresher for the gut healing probiotics, but when sugar is added to the mix it’s literally feeding the bad bacteria that we are trying to combat. Not cool! I love GT’s Kombucha (the gingerade is my favorite) and I recently discovered Pilot Kombucha. Their Turmeric Aloe flavor has even more gut-friendly anti-inflammatory ingredients and it tastes great.


NUT BUTTERS

Nuts are naturally oily, so why people keep adding palm oil to their almond and peanut butters doesn’t really make sense to me (Justin, I’m looking at you). I don’t know much about the nut butter business, but I’m assuming it makes the product cheaper and have a longer shelf life. Look for nut butters that are 100% nuts! The Whole Foods brand is great and doesn’t break the bank.


PROTEIN BARS

I could spend hours grazing the protein bar aisle at my local bodega. Don’t judge, it’s fascinating. 99% of them are crap; they all have some sort of sugar (brown rice syrup, tapioca syrup, plain old cane sugar) along with a slew of unpronounceable ingredients. I’m yet to find any low sugar bars that taste good (please let me know if you do!), but I’ll settle for dates as my sweetener, because let’s face it, it’s kind of a treat. My current favorites are RX Bars and the Juice Press’ Clean Green Protein. Both use dates, so they’re not sugar free but it’s a better alternative.


GLUTEN FREE CHIPS & CRACKERS

Food marketers are going crazy adding gluten free to every label they possibly can. Popcorn has always been gluten free, just saying. The problem here is that food companies are making gluten free products using other refined grains, oils and ingredients that are frankly no better for you. Do your homework and read labels. Mary’s Gone Crackers are my jam; delicious and packed with healthy nuts and seeds.


Oh, and if you’re curious what I did about the coffee shop debacle, I started drinking black coffee with a dash of stevia. Try it. It’s not that bad.

xx Mia

 
 

SIX SIMPLE WAYS TO DETOX THAT DON’T INVOLVE FOOD

Detoxing is not just for January or before your birthday. Your body works hard to eliminate toxins every day. Unfortunately, we live in a world that is totally toxic; there are chemicals in almost everything (air, water, food, etc.) and your body needs as much support as it can get to ensure that the toxins you are exposed to don’t become a part of you. 

The good news: there are lots of things you can do to limit your toxic exposure and prepare your body to eliminate those which you cannot avoid. You can go on a literal “detox”, in which you abstain from certain foods for a fixed period of time. I recommend doing a detox (like The RASA Challenge) at least 1-2 time per year. But what about the rest of the time? 

Here are five simple ways to detox every day that don’t require giving up your morning coffee or your beloved glass of Sauvignon Blanc. 

 

1. Take care of your teeth.

Your mouth is full of bacteria (gross but true). Just like in the bacteria your gut, some are good, and some are not so good. Overgrowth of the bad stuff in your mouth not only makes your breath stank and causes issues like gingivitis and cavities, but it affects your whole body and can lead to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even low birthweight in babies.

Unfortunately, you can’t floss your gut, but lucky for us, you can floss your teeth! Studies show that consistent brushing and flossing significantly decreases the bad bacteria in your mouth. Aim to brush three times a day (preferably with natural, non-toxic toothpaste and an eclectic toothbrush) and floss twice daily. If you really want to impress your dentist, try oil pulling (put about a teaspoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around for 10-20 minutes a day or even just a few times a week) and tongue scrapping. But if that’s just way too much for you right now, just start with brushing and flossing.

3. Get a plant.

This is a double whammy, friends. Plants look super cool in your house and they help clean the air. So, if you live in New York City like me (or anywhere, really) and are concerned about pollution, plant some trees in your living room! Some of the best plants for cleaning the air include, Boston ferns, palm trees and (my favorite) rubber trees.

5. Invest in non-toxic beauty products.

Do me a favor and take a look at the ingredients in your dry shampoo. Then throw it out. You do not want those chemicals anywhere near your face or head. Fortunately, non-toxic beauty, skin and haircare products have become a thing, so there are plenty of options to look good without slathering yourself with chemicals. I love my Tata Harper skincare products and basically everything at CAP Beauty—they even have non-toxic dry shampoo. Problem solved.

2. Get a new bed.

Have you ever noticed the scary tag on your mattress? You know, the one that says UNDER THE PENALTY OF LAW THIS TAG NOT TO BE REMOVED. Ever think why? BECAUSE IT’S FULL OF CHEMICALS (sorry for yelling, but it’s important). I only recently learned this, so if you’re shocked right now, trust me, I was too.

Under US law, all mattresses must be flame retardant, which means that they use flame retardant chemicals, in addition to all the chemicals in that polyurethane foam (WTF is that?!). Mattresses off-gas these chemicals over time, meaning that they leak out and end up on (and in!) your body. You spend about 1/3 of your life in bed, so let’s at the very least ensure that you’re not consuming toxins while you sleep.

When buying a mattress, look for GOLS (for latex) and GOTS (for textiles) certifications. At least 95% of these mattresses must be made of certified organic materials and the other 5% of the materials are also restricted.

4. Throw out your Brita filter.

Filtering your water is great. Big fan, but please don’t let it sit in plastic after that. If you don’t have a home filtration system, try something like the Berkey or using charcoal in a glass pitcher.

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6. Go to an organic dry cleaner.

It is widely known that PERC, a chemical that 85% of dry cleaners use, is toxic and thought to cause cancer. Sadly, people who work in dry cleaning tend to have a shorter lifespan, which may be linked to chemical exposure. Fortunately, eco-friendly organic dry cleaners are on the rise. Do a little Google search to find one near you. It might be a little more expensive, but worth the investment in your health.

90% of illnesses are caused by environmental factors. Only 10% are genetic. You have the power to fend off disease and live a longer, happier, healthier life. More on this topic soon! 

 

TRAVEL GUIDE: CAPE TOWN


Listen up, friends! If there is one place to add to your wanderlust-wish list, make it Cape Town. Not only does the South African "Mother City" boast some serious eye candy (striking mountains, a gorgeous coastline, ridiculous sunsets), but there is so much to do, see, eat and drink. 

Cape Town feels just as familiar as it does exotic; killer farmers markets, awesome restaurants, vineyards (yeahhhh wine!), hiking, beaches and boutique-lined streets are juxtaposed with rich African culture, colorful art, music and dance. 

Fresh, healthy food is abundant and there are so many great hikes and other activities, so you won't skip a beat with your healthy routine. 

But unless you live in Botswana, Cape Town is a bit of a trek, so before you book your long haul here are a few tips:

In my WeWe romper at Blue Views

In my WeWe romper at Blue Views

STAY

If you’re traveling with friends, Blue Views in Camps Bay has some incredible (and I mean INCREDIBLE) vacation rentals. Fitted out with a large deck and pool overlooking the ocean and mountains, an awesome sound system, a fully equipped kitchen and BBQ (or as they call it in Africaans, a braai), you won’t want to leave. If you do decide to venture out, the location is great—you’re just steps away from some of the city’s best hikes and only a 10-15-minute drive from the city center.

Thirty minutes outside of Cape Town in the wine region of Stellenbosch, there is a magical place called Babylonstoren. No joke. It’s literally magic. The perfectly-manicured, freaking gorgeous farm is home to more fruit, veg and succulents than you can name (I dare you). The best part: you can eat whatever you can pick. Accommodations are nothing short of dreamy (think plush four-poster bed and free standing bathtub are just the beginning). Common areas are great for lounging; read a book from the library, hit the pool, sauna, steam or salt room (yes, I said salt room-it's lined with 100% Himalaya salt and is great for your skin and respiratory system, lowers inflammation and can even improve your mood). Don’t leave without tasting their yummy AF rosé and snagging a bottle of their house olive oil. It’s worth checking a bag for.

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SWEAT

Hit the mountain! Lions Head and Table Mountain are the most renowned hikes in Cape Town and despite their popularity, are not for the faint of heart. Prepare to climb over some pretty legit rocks. Get up bright and early to beat the crowds and the heat. And if you’re really motivated, try to catch the sunrise from the top.

HANG

If you’re in Cape Town on a Saturday, you absolutely must check out Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock. Once a week, this little village turns into the most incredible marketplace. Delicious food stalls, artisanal products, locally-designed clothing, jewelry, bags and other awesome stuff are all for the taking. Sit in the sun, enjoy an acai bowl and chill.

SHOP

At Old Biscuit Mill, look out for WeWe—super cool African clothing designs ethically handcrafted by local women working from home.

And don’t leave the continent without a colorful painting. Talented local artists are abundant. I found a piece I loved at the V&A Waterfront, which will hang prominently in my home and bring back so many great memories.  

EAT

Cape Town is oozing with super cool restaurants and cafes. Chefs Warehouse on Bree Street offers a nightly tasting menu that highlights local produce and South African flavors, and Kloof Street House feels like dining in an old Victorian home and is a hangout for all cool kids of Cape Town.

For a healthy bite, Sexy Food on Bree Street is fermentation heaven. Their gut-friendly bun-less burgers and keffir'ade taste just as good as they are good for you. Scheckter’s Raw in Sea Point will satisfy all your plant-based desires. The raw snickers bar  is perhaps the most delicious bite of food I’ve ever had. Period.

Head over to Honest Chocolate for a treat and a few chocolate bars for the flight home. Don’t miss the secret Gin Bar in the back for a little aperitif.

xx

Thinking About Going Gluten Free? Read This!

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via Pinterest

Everyone’s doing it. Even my dad is now “50% gluten free.” So…should you do it too? Let’s break it down.

 

FIRST, a pop quiz: What is gluten? (Hey, it’s a valid question!)

Gluten is a family of proteins found is wheat, barley, rye and spelt. It makes dough sticky and elastic, and allows bread to rise. Funnily enough, the word “glu-ten” derives from its “glue”-like properties.

There are some people who absolutely cannot handle gluten in any form: they have Celiac disease. While this is increasingly more common (we’ll get back to this), it’s still not the norm. For the rest of us, it’s more of a grey area.

If you’re already on the gluten free train or thinking of jumping on board, ask yourself, WHY?

Are you trying to lose weight?

Replacing gluten with other carbs might not be enough to move the needle. Many packaged foods labelled as “Gluten Free” substitute with ingredients like processed corn and potato starches, which quite frankly are no better for you. However, if it keeps your hand out of the bread basket, it could be doing you some good!

Do you want to get to the bottom of a digestive issue?

Many of us have a certain level of gluten intolerance, meaning it’s difficult to digest and can make you bloated, fatigued, cause skin issues, say mean things to your Mom…the list goes on. This is pretty common, and the degree to which people are effected by gluten varies from person to person. If you want to find out if this is an issue for you, try an elimination diet like The RASA Challenge.

Are you looking to cut out processed and GMO foods?

Unfortunately, wheat is one of the most genetically modified foods on the planet. We are consuming so many wheat products that food suppliers are racing to make them quicker and cheaper. This means that not only is the wheat genetically modified, but it’s not cooked properly. So you are essentially eating raw genetically modified wheat and your body can’t digest it. These genetically modified strands are also contributing to increased gluten intolerances and the rise of Celiac disease.

That said, not all gluten is created equal! There are some solid artisan breads, pastas and other products that do it right, so if you can’t live without a Dutch crunch roll, do your research. Also, other gluten-containing grains are not as widely processed, so you may want to consider going wheat free, but not gluten free.

You’re not sure why, but it just seems better?

Well, kudos to you for reading this. Hope you now have a reason one way or another.

The best way to ditch the g-word is to eat products that are naturally gluten free instead of packaged foods marketed as such. Processed food is still processed food. Don't let the absence of gluten trick you. I laugh every time I see a bag of popcorn, pint of ice cream or bottle of vodka labelled as “Gluten Free”. It’s ridiculous. Educate yourself and don’t fall into the trap!

What do I do? As a general rule of thumb, I try my very best not to eat any refined grains (sandwich bread, white rice, Cheerio’s, cous cous, etc..), but I don’t make a fuss about a few breadcrumbs, sushi rice or a bite of birthday cake (on my birthday). Girl’s gotta live, no?

xx Mia 

WHY Is It So Hard To Drink Water?

5 Ways To Make Your Hydration Dreams A Reality

If you’ve ever opened a magazine and read about Elle McPherson’s, Jennifer Aniston’s or any other super human’s “secret” to looking young, staying fit and just being generally perfect, it probably included drinking lots of water.

Of all the possible wellness tips you could get, this might be the best! It doesn’t require a private chef, personal trainer, or some crazy expensive powder you can’t pronounce and don’t know where to buy. Plus, you already drink some water, it’s (basically) free and you can even order it at a bar. Easy. You totally got this one!

So, what happens next? You spend about 12-48 hours pounding water and peeing every 45 minutes, and then the next day you get home from work and realize you’ve barely had a glass. Meanwhile, you’re working out all the time, eating gluten free everything and even taking probiotics, but for some reason, you can’t just drink water. WTF? Why is this of all things so hard?

There’s no denying that staying hydrated is good for you—it helps eliminate toxins, clears your skin, aids in weight loss, gives you energy. It’s basically that magic potion you just bought online and are waiting to arrive.

Aside from the benefits of being well hydrated, we all know what the opposite feels like—headaches, dry skin, dizziness, fatigue (hello hangover, I know you). But I get it: It’s hard to remember to drink water when you’re busy and quite frankly, sometimes you just don’t feel like it.

So how do you make this whole hydration thing work for you? A few tips:

1. Go drink a glass of water. Like right now. Down it like a frat boy would a Yeager bomb.

2. Try it with a squeeze of lemon, or get fancy with some strawberries and cucumber. My favorite: a vanilla bean and mint leaves. Trust me, it’s so good.

3. Get a snazzy water bottle and take it everywhere. Invest in a good one that you really like, even if it’s a little more expensive. If you travel a lot, bringing an empty water bottle through security is totally allowed. And you can even fill it up on the plane.

4. Get a head start on the day by chugging two big glasses of water right when you get up. I don’t like to have really cold water first thing in the morning, so I leave it out at night or just mix it with a little hot water from the kettle.

5. Make visual reminders: Put Post-it note on your computer, a fancy water jug by your bed or set reminders on your phone. There’s even an app for it.

So how much water should you drink? Well...it varies by weight, gender and activity level and a host of other factors, but try for a minimum of 2-3 liters per day.

xx Mia

 

Why You Should Eat Chocolate. Like Every Day.

In case you didn't know what a cacao bean looks like! (via Pinterest)

In case you didn't know what a cacao bean looks like! (via Pinterest)

Ancient Mayans referred to cacao as the “food of the gods”. And no, it’s not just because of its seriously delicious taste. Cacao beans—the base for chocolate, as you may know—are loaded with fiber and nutrients, like iron, copper, manganese, potassium, zinc and more.

Well that’s good news, right? But what do all these “healthy” things do? Here are just a few of the benefits of adding chocolate to your diet.

A mega source of antioxidants.

More than blueberries, in fact! Studies show that antioxidants protect cells from free radicals that contribute to aging. I'll eat to that.

Good for your heart!

Cacao has been proven to improve circulation, lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

Protect your skin from sun damage.

The flavanols (aka plant-based nutrients) in cacao beans increases blood flow to the skin, shielding it from sun-induced damage.

Improve your gut health.

Your gut has good bacteria and bad bacteria. The good bacteria really like to feast on dark chocolate, which helps them grow and protect your gut.

Be happier!

For real, though—cacao increases production of serotonin, which explains why we crave more chocolate during the winter months, when we get less sunlight and Vitamin D.

Before you hit up the candy aisle, make sure to choose your chocolate wisely!

To get the maximum health benefits from your chocolate bar, buy organic (preferably raw) dark chocolate without additives like dairy or processed sugar. Be sure to read the ingredients, and trust me: you will soon start craving the good stuff not just because of its nutritional value, but also for its taste.

A few of my favorite brands of chocolate bars are: Raiz The Bar, Pana, AlterEco Foods, Green & Blacks and Theo.

Raw cacao (powder and nibs!) are a pantry staple in my home, and used in everything from smoothies to hot drinks and baking.

In honor of the almighty bean, here is one of my favorite recipes using raw cacao.

CHOCOLATE CHERRY NO BAKE COOKIES

Prep: 15 minutes (plus 30 minutes to chill)

gluten free vegan chocolate cherry cookies

Makes about 10 cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • ⅓ cup raw cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup raw agave nectar or maple syrup
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • 1 ½ cups gluten-free oats
  • ⅓ cup shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup raw cacao nibs
  • ¼ cup dried cherries, diced
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of Maldon sea salt

MAKE IT!

Start by mixing agave or maple syrup and cacao powder in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until fully combined.

Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients, stirring until the dough is completely mixed together. Then spoon one tablespoon of dough onto a baking sheet or platter lined with parchment paper and form into a flat disc.

Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before eating.

NOTES

  • These bad boys are totally customizable—use any nut butter, dairy free milk and dried fruit that you like (or have in your pantry already).
  • You can also make them into energy balls instead of cookies.
  • Great for traveling or as an “on-the-go” snack.

If you're looking for more healthy, delicious dessert recipes. Check out my ebook

xx Mia

Now For Some Good News: You Should Probably Eat More

But Before You House That Box Of Double Stuffed Oreos, Read This.

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via Pinterest

Our culture is obsessed with being thin, so it’s only natural that many of us are conscience about not eating too much. Eat less, weigh less—aside from totally sucking, it sounds pretty simple, right? Not so fast, friends.  

Undereating is real! Dare I suggest that this is one of the most common diet issues facing both men and women today. Not only can undereating cause serious health issues, from bone deterioration to infertility, but not eating enough can actually inhibit fat loss (gasp!) and totally screw up your metabolism.

There are two types of undereaters.

The first is someone who consumes a lot of calories, but is not getting enough nutrients. These “empty” calories normally come from sugar, processed foods, alcohol and having too much of one thing (i.e. too much protein at one sitting or only eating one type of food).

The second is someone who just doesn’t eat enough to sustain their lifestyle. People who fall into category number two are often trying to lose weight and hitting the gym hard.

Before we move on, let’s clear up a couple of myths about calories:

1.     Consuming 1200 calories as day is not some magic weight loss formula for women. We all need to get over that. Like stat.

2.     Not all calories were created equal (cue undereater #1). 100 calories worth of Doritos is not equivalent to 100 calories worth of apples. Your body breaks down (or attempts to break down) these foods very differently.

3.     If you are working out and burning calories, your body needs food to recover. If you are overtraining and undereating you will naturally begin to burn muscle and conserve fat.

Worried that you might be an undereater? Here are a few signs:

1.     You’re trying to lose weight and the scale is not budging: your body is literally clutching to that fat like a mother to a newborn baby and your muscles are unable to build.

2.     You can’t get pregnant or are not getting your period: enough said.

3.     You’re cold all the time: OK, you can also be cold for other reasons, like if you live in Antartica, but if you're still cold in Miami that might be an indicator. 

4.     Moodiness: also known as being a HANGRY B****!

5.     Fatigue: your body needs fuel so you will have energy to do all of your things.

So how much do you need to eat?

We’re all different, but think in terms of quality, not quantity. It is very hard to eat 2000 calories of vegetables in one day. Try it, I dare you. Eat real foods—and plenty of them—and you’ll never have to worry about overeating.

I recommend 4-5 smaller meals per day with protein and vegetables to ensure your body is getting a steady stream of nutrients. You can only take in so many nutrients at once, so spacing it out over smaller meals is a good way to make all your calories count.  

If you think you might be an undereater and are in need of a new routine, give me a shout. I offer custom meal plans and health coaching packages to address just this.

OK…now run to the fridge and have a celebratory spoonful of peanut butter (or two). 

Xx Mia