Healthy

3 Simple Summer Recipes by Thyme and Joy

As you know, I am no self-proclaimed food blogger, but I do LOVE food...I LOVE my food blogger friends, who bring me food...I obviously LOVE to support these friends...and I LOVE to share their recipes with all of you, because who doesn't want meals that are simple, fresh, delicious, and perfect for Spring and Summer?!?! Meet my good friend Valerie of Thyme and Joy. 

Thyme and Joy

Valerie is a personal natural foods chef that bridges the gap between being healthy eating and busy lives by providing simple healthy meals that taste delicious to you and your family.  On her site, you'll find musings on healthy living as well as whole food recipes for everyday life. And did I mention she is a Jersey girl too? Us Northeasters always find each other and I am so excited to have met her, work with her, and have another lady in my tribe who not only supports my endeavors but is always there for me when I need to "Take A Moment".

Make sure to learn more about Valerie and then try out one of these recipes. ENJOY!

Cruciferous BLT Salad

CRUCIFERIOUS-BLT-SALAD

Ingredients

  • 4 slices Sugar-Free Bacon cooked + chopped
  • 1/2 pound Brussels Sprouts shredded
  • 1/2 cup Broccoli Slaw
  • 1 bunch Lacinato Kale cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 pint Cherry Tomato quartered
  • 1/3 cup One Minute Mayo or Ranch Dressing
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Add everything to a large bowl except bacon and tomatoes. Massage all vegetables until broken down and soft.
  2. Toss in bacon and tomato and serve immediately.

Prosciutto Frittata with Sweet Potato Crush

Prosciutto Frittata with Sweet Potato Crust

Ingredients

  • 1 large Sweet potato
  • 3oz Prosciutto sliced
  • 1 dozen Eggs
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1/2 Red Onion
  • 3 stalks Green onion
  • 1.5 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tbsp Avocado or Olive Oil

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375. Grease a 9X10 deep baking pan with avocado or olive oil. 
  2. Thinly slice your sweet potato using a mandolin or very sharp knife. Slices should be 1/4-1/8" thick. Layer the slices overlapping on the bottom of the pan evenly to create the bottom crust. Once layered, put in oven for 25 minutes or until potatoes are 80% cooked through.
  3. Slice up your bell pepper into thin strips along with your red onion. Heat a skillet to medium heat, add 1 tbsp olive or avocado oil and saute onion and pepper for about 5-6 minutes making sure to soften but not fully cook through. 
  4. While you wait for your pepper and onion to cool down, crack one dozen eggs into a large bowl and whisk until blended together. Tear up prosciutto into bite sized pieces and add to egg mixture along with thinly sliced green onion. Then add your pepper and red onion mixture to egg bowl and stir until fully combined.
  5. Take potato crust pan out of oven and pour egg mixture right on top making sure you distribute the vegetable mixture evenly. Egg mixture will go under the crust and in between layers and this is ok!
  6. Bake Frittatta for 25-30 minutes or until middle is firm. Let cool and slice into 6-8 pieces. 

Instant Pot Carnitas

Instant-Pot-Carnitas

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds Pork butt or shoulder
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped save some for garnish
  • 10 cloves garlic keep whole
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil or bacon fat
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup Saucy Lips Zesty Cilantro Sauce
  • 1 piece orange, juiced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  1. Cut your roast into equal pieces and make slits in each one to stuff garlic in. Coat with salt and pepper.
  2. Add oil to the instant pot and turn on saute function. 
  3. Add pork pieces in a single layer to the instant pot and let pork pieces cook for about 5 minutes flipping once. Add 1 cup of water to instant pot. 
  4. Add 1/2 bunch of chopped cilantro to instant pot sprinkling evenly. Add lime and orange juice. Drizzle 1/2 cup of saucy lips on top of pork.
  5. Cover instant pot and put on manual high pressure for 90 minutes.
  6. Once instant pot is finished cooking, pull out meat and discard any large fat pieces. Shred the meat and put it on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  7. Broil on high until crispy and top with salsa, tomato, onion, cilantro and sauce.

Which recipe are you going to make first? 

CULTIVATING A HEALTHY BODY IMAGE - VICTORIA MYERS

Beautiful Inside and Out...Strong...Knowledgeable...Passionate...and INSPIRING, I am so excited to introduce y'all to Victoria Myers!!! Another woman in my TRIBE, who I respect and admire for her fearlessness of being unapologetically herself!!! She helps educate others - To eat intuitively...To live authentically...To practice self-care...and most importantly to LOVE YOURSELF!!! We need more women like Victoria and I hope you will continue to read what she has to say about cultivating a healthy body image in today's society. ENJOY!!!

CULTIVATING A HEALTHY BODY IMAGE

Well, hello! I'm so thankful for this opportunity to talk about some of my favorite topics, the body positive movement and how to cultivate a healthy body image. 

The body positive movement is growing right now and is currently a buzzword for sure in the health and wellness space. Of course, its something that I want every person to experience, because it feels AMAZING to have love and compassion for your body. Every single person deserves that! But I think a good place to start this conversation is actually talking about who the movement is for.

To put it simply, the body positive movement is meant primarily for the marginalized bodies of today's world. While we are all affected by diet culture, and I think each of us can attest to feeling the weight of diet culture on our shoulders and the need to shrink our bodies, many of us still are not as stigmatized as those in larger bodies, disabled bodies, older bodies and the like. 

The body positive movement is for all of us, but primarily for understanding that we need representation and respect of every body type out there.

Personally, I have always felt the need to shrink my body and to be smaller. For many reasons...because I am a woman, because I am a dietitian, because I am a blogger...the list could go on. I felt like I always had to look and be "perfect" for what I had to say to have validity. The pursuit to have the perfect body led me down a deep hole of restricting and binge eating, orthorexia, over-exercising, constant anxiety and contributing to major health issues I experienced.

CULTIVATING A HEALTHY BODY IMAGE

But even as terrible as all the repercussions of the pursuit of the perfect body was, I am so incredibly thankful for each of these learning opportunities. To teach me to love my body as it is, right here, right now. To say screw it to diet culture and give up the dieting and disordered eating for intuitive eating. To learn over time to love my body. I feel that if all of us can begin to love our bodies and heal our relationship with food, we can also continue to propel the body positive movement forward and ensuring that ALL of us experience it. 

So...how do we begin to cultivate a healthy body image, love our bodies and join the body positive movement?

1. Develop boundaries - Develop boundaries for the kinds of conversations you have about body image to co-workers, friends, and family. Develop boundaries as well for the information you consume, on social media, magazines, TV, etc. Unfollow people who make you feel unworthy or less than in your own body, or who promote poor body image in others. Develop boundaries for the length of time you spend on social media and consuming content in order to avoid the comparison trap. I personally find having my morning and nighttime without any outside influences (like Instagram) allows me to consume the content more mindfully, choosing to be inspired by it instead of comparing myself to others. I also find it very helpful to follow bodies of all shapes and sizes, people outside of the health and wellness space, people of different races, genders, ages, etc to ensure I am getting a good representation of what true health looks like.

2. See your body as something more than its appearance- Understanding that our bodies do amazing things, that have nothing to do with our bodies appearances is vital to cultivating positive body image. This is where I began my journey, by choosing daily to STOP thinking of my body's appearance and instead focusing on the amazing things it did for me. I walked today, I am so thankful for legs that move. I helped a client today, I am thankful for my compassion to help others. Focusing on aspects outside of what we look like (both physical and mental abilities our bodies provide us) and having gratitude for each of those abilities goes such a long way in this journey.

3. Start with being neutral towards your body - Look, I get it, in the beginning, if someone would have said to me you will one day love your body fat, I would have looked at them like they were crazy! After steps one and two, I believe this next step is crucial. Just be NEUTRAL towards your body. This is a great leap from hating your body and is progress towards loving it. Every time you think to yourself something negative about your body, stop yourself and turn it into a neutral comment. So instead of saying, "Ugh my thighs are SO big, I hate them so much", instead say "I have thighs that touch". Period. Understanding that this doesn't have to be a negative thing (because let's remember the only reason we think this is a bad thing is because society says so), it is just stating a neutral comment and then moving forward with life.

4. Developing love towards your body - Again, this didn't come first for me nor was the easiest part of this. This work is HARD. But it so uplifting, empowering and so damn worth it. Overtime of developing steps one through three as part of how I viewed my body, I was then slowly able to change the internal comments to positive ones. I began to love my thick thighs. The cellulite covering all my legs and stomach. The body fat I hated for so long, I truly began to see as beauty in my eyes. Because I realized that I, and only I, get to choose how I see beauty. I had spent my entire life being influenced by others views of how I should look, I never stopped to ask myself- but what do I value? What do I truly believe in? Shifting my perspective and seeing my body, and ALL bodies as beautiful has truly been life changing.

5. Use your voice to advocate for change - This last step is a must! Once we cultivate positive body image, self-love and join the body positive movement, I believe it is our duty to use our voices to stand up for the changes we need to see in our society. So many of us have been affected by diet culture, and every single person out there deserves a life free from the restrictions it has placed on us. My favorite way to advocate for change is actually quite simple...Be a role model. When you hear others hating on their bodies, talking about how they need to change their bodies, or the new diet they are starting on, simply do not encourage it by not adding to the negative talk. You may feel comfortable talking to the person about your own struggle with body image and how you got to a place of love, but not everyone can be ready for that message. If they are, great! If not, no worries! Just keep the conversation light and find a way to transition the conversation to something else. By simply not contributing to the diet and negative body image talk we can begin to shift the way each of us views ourselves, and then truly begin to change the world.

CULTIVATING A HEALTHY BODY IMAGE

I truly hope this post today helps you to cultivate positive body image, and I'd love to hear from you on your progress towards body positivity! Keep me updated by tagging me at @victoriamyers_.

MY FAVORITE YOGA POSES TO STRETCH YOUR HAMSTRINGS

Running...Strength Training...Sitting for long periods of time...and overall inflexibility causes tight hamstrings. The hamstrings NEVER lie and these big ass muscles are VERY crucial for our daily movements, so it is important to make sure that you to take the time to stretch them.

MY FAVORITE YOGA POSES TO STRETCH YOUR HAMSTRINGS

Let’s be real and state the obvious, that many of us do not take the time to stretch. I will be the first to admit this and I have admitted it MANY times. That is why I make time to incorporate yoga into my training schedule EVERY week. It honestly the only way that I can disconnect...slow down...breathe deeply...let shit go...and yes STRETCH.

If you cannot make it to a yoga class, then I highly recommend you take some time after your workout or your long day of work to do as many of these poses as your schedule allows. Grab your mat; put on some music; get in the zone to stretch. I promise you will feel better...Pinky swear!

Some tips to remember:

  1. Hold each pose for up to 1-minute;
  2. Try to do each pose 2 - 3 times;
  3. Listen to your body...Remember to breathe...And take your time with getting into the pose and holding the pose...Do not get frustrated...Enjoy and embrace the pose!
  4. Use props if are unable to touch the ground in certain poses. Yoga blocks can be your best friend!

Pyramid Pose:

  1. Make sure that your front foot is aligned with your back arch;
  2. Square your hips to the ground;
  3. Reach for the ground and allow your upper body to fall over your front knee;
  4. Fold forward as much as your body will allow you and HOLD!

Head to Knee Forward Bend:

  1. Bring one foot into your groin, while the other goes straight in front;
  2. Keep the front leg straight and reach for your foot;
  3. As you reach as far as your body will allow you, let your head relax and fall off the straight leg;
  4. I like to cross my wrists and pull myself towards my foot to get real deep into the hamstring;
  5. Hold, breathe, and try to relax!

Big Toe Pose: L O V E this one!!!

  1. Stand straight up with your feet hip-width distance apart;
  2. Slowly fold forward and grab your big toes with your thumbs and peace fingers;
  3. Pull your toes toward your face; bend your elbows to the side; and bring your chest towards thighs as far as your body will allow you;
  4. This pose will let you know how tight those hamstrings are, so be patient with your body and this pose...Remember to breathe and move into it slowly!

Triangle Pose:

  1. If there is one pose you should do every day...this is THE ONE! It is one of my favorites for stretching my hamstrings; opening my heart and shoulders; improving and strengthening both my balance and core. YEP, it works all that stuff!
  2. Make sure your front foot aligns with your back arch and your feet are spread wide. An easy way to get into this posture is from Warrior II;
  3. Slowly hinge your body forward and bring your front hand as close to the ground as possible;
  4. Keep your hips and chest open and facing forward;
  5. Keep your legs and core engaged...Do not get lazy in this pose...Feel that hamstring burn;
  6. You can use a block for support if you cannot reach the ground and you can grab your big toe for a different variation.

Reclining Hand to Big Toe Pose:

  1. Lay on your back and take a moment to breathe and enjoy that time laying down;
  2. If you don’t have a yoga strap, you can always use a towel, jump rope, etc.;
  3. Keep your spine glued to the mat; one leg straight and on the ground; and bring the opposite leg up. If you cannot grab your foot, use your prop.
  4. Try to keep the lifted leg as straight as possible, while slowly bringing closer to your nose;
  5. Hold...breathe...let your body settle into the stretch!

Let me know which ones you start adding to your daily stretching sessions...Like I said up above, make the time to take care of your body. Whether it is five minutes or 30 minutes, a little self-care goes a long way both physically and mentally.

Embrace the hamstring BURN and just do it!

MORNINGS ARE MY JAM

I truly love to wake up early in the mornings and take that time to myself. There is something so peaceful about waking up to the smell of coffee brewing; watching the sunrise; hearing Lucy snoring by my feet; and being able to do about 2 hours of work with no interruptions. It is a magical and creative time for me, that I try to take full advantage of, because once the rest of the country wakes up, it is time for me to manage everyone else and I go into full work mode. I never know what each day will throw at me, so it is important for me to take full advantage of this time, and I definitely do.

Monday through Friday my schedule is pretty consistent, but on the weekends, I make sure to sleep in just a little bit more (depending on what kind of shenanigans I got into the night before), disconnect, relax and spend a decent amount of time on the couch with Shannon. Sundays involve A LOT of couch time (during the winter and the pool during the summer). He has definitely helped me SLOW DOWN on the weekends. Enjoying those slower days are good for both of us. But once Monday morning arrives, we are both ready to go and tackle the week and it is time to go back into crazy work mode.

MORNINGS ARE MY JAM

6:00 - 6:30 AM: Coffee is brewing...And as soon as I smell it, I slowly start to get my butt out of bed. It is still dark and the sun hasn’t even started to rise. Lucy is passed out cold on her bed and Shannon rolls back over to sleep hiding under the covers. I brush my teeth, wash my face, and turn on Fox Business and wait for the coffee to be ready for that first delicious sip.

6:30 - 7:30 AM: First cup of coffee in hand. The computer is on. My planner, notebooks, phone, post its, and pencil surround me and I am ready to dive in. I check my InstagramTwitter feed, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and HootSuite. After that, I dive into the six different email accounts and respond to all of them. Then I can check the Instagram accounts that I manage and respond to all of those as well.

MORNINGS ARE MY JAM

During this hour, I am typically on cup number two. The sun is up! I have a beautiful view from my apartment and I love being able to look over my shoulder and see it rise, see the walkers and runners on the sidewalks, and weather permitting, I will open the porch door and let Lucy sit out there and soak it all up. If I left that door open all day, she would be out there all day.

7:30 - 8:00 AM: Depending on the day, I may or may not be on cup number 3. This last half hour, I double check everything. I take some time to sit on the porch, enjoy the view, give Lucy some love, send Shannon on his way...always with a kiss, no matter what is going on. I also take that time outside, to remind myself what I am capable of doing with my life, my relationships, and how grateful I am for ALL OF IT. It is the perfect time to reflect before I set out to tackle the rest of the day.

MORNINGS ARE MY JAM

And after all of that is done, it is time to workout. I like to get that sweat session in before 11:00 AM, because once I start getting into the afternoon hours, the time to train can disappear FAST. I am fully caffeinated. I am full of my daily goals. I hopefully have my “Positive Patty” pants on. I am ready to tackle the day. And that is that…

Do you have a morning ritual?

Early riser or sleep as long as you possibly can?

Recipes That Use GHEE

After reading all your comments last week on my review of Gather Superfoods Ghee, I thought that it would be appropriate to follow up with some FUN recipes that you could try out that incorporate ghee. And later on, I would like to dive in a little deeper as to why it is important to incorporate ghee and other healthy fats into our daily eats. But first the recipes...

Ghee is a very versatile healthy fat that you can use as a substitute for butter, for sauteing, for slathering on your favorite delicious toast, and for drizzling on your nighttime popcorn. But there are MANY other ways you can use ghee. Here are 5 GHEE RECIPES that I found inspiring and I am looking forward to whipping up in the near future. 

GUT HEALING CINNAMON COCONUT LATTE by The Real Food Dietitians

I LOVE coffee and I LOVE lattes! The Real Food RDs are pretty amazing ladies, who I have gotten to know this past year and worked with on many projects. They are knowledgeable, inspiring, and their recipes are delicious. Make sure to whip up this latte and enjoy all the nutritional benefits it has to offer!

PALEO LEMON BUTTER CHICKEN by Jay's Baking Me Crazy

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably notice that I make chicken thighs a lot. They are so damn good and that crispy skin is my favorite part. I love the simplicity of this recipe with all the fresh lemon and the nice touch of coconut cream. I feel like this photo needs to be a scratch and sniff. DELICIOUS! 

GHEE RICE by Sailu's Food

This recipe only takes 5 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to cook! It is versatile, healthy, and loaded with lots of delicious flavors. Who knew you could dress up rice like this? I love the addition of Garam masala and cashew nuts. Make a big pot of this on Sunday and eat it throughout the week! 

WHOLE30 SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI RECIPE by Design Life Diaries

This recipe...This photo...OMGHEE...I want this now! Was that cheesy enough for you? But seriously. Yes this recipe is going to take a little bit of time, practice, and extra love, but I believe it is 100% worth it. Invite a friend over, sip on some wine, and make these little sweet potato bites and just have fun with it! 

MEXICAN CAULIFLOWER RICE by Fashionable Foods

Another thing that I eat on a regular basis is cauliflower! I love how versatile this hearty vegetable is and how it is the perfect side dish with any meal. Next time you are craving Mexican, make sure to whip up this simple, healthy, and easy Mexican cauliflower recipe. Pass the hot sauce PLEASE!

I hope that you will try some of these recipes and if you do, definitely let me know how they turned out. They are ALL great recipes that are good for your health, so use that ghee and reap all those health benefits that they have to offer. 

Would you try any of these ghee recipes?

Did you know that ghee was this versatile?