I love gingersnaps. They're one of my favorite kind of cookies, and it makes me sad that they're often relegated to a Christmas cookie. Why limit such a delicious cookie to only one time a year?
Ginger is a root with numerous health benefits. It's has antioxidant effects, can help decrease nausea, and it has anti-inflammatory properties. All the more reason not to limit one of the most delicious ways to eat ginger to only one time a year.
This recipe uses both ground and fresh ginger, which give the cookies an extra spicy, gingery kick.
I was running low on butter when I made these, so I swapped it for Greek yogurt which has a closer consistency to softened butter than oil. I also used white whole wheat flour, but whatever flour you have at home will work.
Fresh Ginger Cookies
Yields: 2 1/2 dozen cookies
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon fresh ginger
2 tablespoons sugar (for rolling)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Whisk yogurt and sugar together, then add molasses and mix well. Add water and fresh ginger, sift in dry ingredients. Mix well.
Stick dough in the fridge for 15-20 minutes to make it easier to handle.
Scoop tablespoon size scoops of dough, roll into balls and roll in sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and press down slightly to flatten.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until the middle of the cookie can’t be dented with your finger when you press on it. Cool on wire rack or enjoy immediately.
Tell me if this sounds familiar - you’re going about your day when all of a sudden a thought comes to you - “X (cookie/donut/pastry/sweet coffee drink) would be really good right now.”
Then, as soon as that thought’s finished, your Willpower steps in - “No! You can’t have that.”
How does the rest of your day go after that?
If you’re like a lot of my clients, you spend a lot of time and energy after that moment trying to satisfy that craving with foods you’re “allowed” to have. In the end, are you ever really satisfied?
Or maybe you finally do give into that craving. Just this one time, you tell yourself, and then you eat way more than you planned on, or even wanted to.
The problem with restriction is it's based on willpower, and willpower doesn't work. Willpower is basically just saying no, and human nature is to react to hearing no by automatically wanting whatever it is we can’t have.
One of the first steps to healing your relationship with food is recognizing that your appetite (and your body) is not your enemy. You do not need to vigilantly control or punish yourself for cravings, thoughts, or eating.
You don’t need to earn food. Food is not good or bad, and it’s not so serious that eating one cookie is a life or death choice. Part of living a healthy life is having those joyful moments with food.
Getting out of that diet mindset of guilt and restriction is hard, and it takes a good amount of courage to go against the grain of society. But when you shed the diet mindset and focus on self acceptance and happiness your life will be so much more fulfilling and joyful.
I have a complicated relationship with bananas. I love them, but as soon as they lose that last bit of green I want nothing to do with them. This often results in the last few in the bunch being destined to hang sadly in the kitchen until they get overripe and become usable again.
I tried this recipe with the latest leftovers last week. The addition of oatmeal to the classic banana bread makes the bread more filling and less crumbly. I don't think I'll ever go back to my old banana bread ways.
The use of buttermilk helps to keep the bread from getting too heavy, which can definitely happen with whole wheat grains like the oats and flour I used. I never have buttermilk on hand so, in case you're in the same boat as me, I gave you a quick cheat to save you a trip to the grocery store. Vinegar also works in place of lemon juice.
Banana Oat Bread
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
2/3 cup old fashioned oats
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 bananas, very ripe
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup buttermilk (or 1/3 cup milk and 1/3 tablespoon lemon juice)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mash the bananas until no chunks remain. Mix in honey until well mixed. Add buttermilk, vanilla, eggs, and oil and mix until eggs are well mixed in.
Add wet ingredients to dry and ingredients and stir until just mixed.
Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Cool in the loaf pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then pop the bread out of the pan and cool the rest of the way directly on the wire rack.
3 Reasons to Ditch the Treadmill and Pick Up the Barbell (And none of them are about that number on the scale)Read Now
Exercise is great. The virtues of exercise are spread far and wide across the internet - helps with weight loss; decreases stress; improves your mood; improves blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood lipid levels; improves your sleep. The list of health benefits is long.
Thanks to CrossFit, weightlifting for women is slowly entering the mainstream, despite many women’s magazines still pushing “light” weights and high reps for a “toned” but not “muscular” look (which is impossible by the way. What do you think you’re toning?). There is a growing online community such as Girls Gone Strong and Girls Who Powerlift where you can find inspiration.
I believe that strength training is the most empowering way women can meet any and all of their health goals. Here’s why:
Weight training can be intimidating when you’re first getting started. Figuring out what equipment to use, how to use it, and how to lift safely can seem overwhelming. If you want to get started, but don’t know where to start, contact a local certified personal trainer (like me! Or your gym may have trainers available, ask at the front desk) to show you the ropes.
One comment I often get when I talk about mindful eating is something like - “Does that mean I never have to eat vegetables again? I’m never going to crave those.”
There are a lot of steps to go through to get to a place where you’re truly listening to your body and your cravings and eating in honor of them. Once you get there, I believe there’s a way to honor your cravings and food preferences and still be open to new tastes and food experiences.
When we talk about introducing children to new foods, we often hear the saying that it takes 10 tries of tasting a new flavor for a child to like it. Some people say the number is as low as 7, while others go as high as 20. That doesn’t end at a certain age; you’re often not going to like a new flavor on the first try.
In life, and especially if you want to live mindfully, it’s important to maintain a sense of curiosity about the world. That curiosity should naturally extend to food. So although you may not crave foods you’ve never had (or maybe only had once or twice) you should be curious about them.
I’ll use myself as an example - until about 4 years ago, I had never eaten a Brussel sprout in my life. One day at a restaurant I shared a Brussel sprout dish with a friend. Brussel sprouts have a very strong flavor, and I certainly wouldn’t say I liked them on the first try. But I was intrigued, so the next time I saw them on a menu, I ordered them. Then I started buying them and experimenting myself. Now I can honestly say that I have times where I crave Brussel sprouts (much to my husband’s dismay).
On the other hand, I am not a fan of eggplant. I would say at this point in my life, I’ve probably tried eggplant a couple dozen times. There was a moment a few years ago (after I made it the last time) where I gave myself permission to not eat it anymore. I think eggplants are beautiful, the deep purple is always tempting at the grocery store. There are a lot of dishes with flavors that I know I enjoy that call for eggplant. And eggplant has a variety of nutritious benefits (it’s rich in fiber and a number of vitamins and minerals). But when I eat eggplant, I never feel satisfied. It’s not a flavor or texture that I enjoy, despite trying it a variety of ways, so I don’t eat it.
If this idea of being curious about vegetables, or food in general, seems crazy to you, start small. Be open to being curious and see where that takes you. Life, and food, is all about adventure.
Today I failed a set at the gym. For those who might be confused, when you do a training program for lifting each day has an amount of weight and a number of reps and sets you need to complete. If you are unable to complete one of the lifts in a set, or unable to complete the number of reps in a set you are considered to have failed the set.
It sucked. Failure doesn’t feel good. But just because you fail something doesn’t make you a failure.
In fact, let’s talk a little bit about failure.
Does that word make your cringe? Nobody likes failure.In fact our society teaches us failure is something we should avoid. In our effort to avoid failure we often don’t even bother to try. Fear of failure stops us before we even get to the action stage of change.
But the truth is, failure is the only way you learn. Failure is a good thing, a great thing even. But it certainly doesn’t feel that way in the moment.
Failure, in reality, is a gift. It makes you reevaluate. Today’s failure means I look back on my day - did I eat enough? Did I get enough rest? And if that doesn’t seem to be the problem; I look at the bigger picture - do I need to do more or different assistance work? Do I need to improve my diet or recovery?
In order to overcome failure we have to get honest with ourselves. What went wrong? What went right? What can you do differently next time? And then the most important part - try again.
It’s easy to say, I know, but when you’re licking the wounds of your failure it can feel impossible. The trying again is where the rubber really meets the road. You may fail again, even if you think you learned from the failure before. But, remember, you failed before and it didn’t kill you.
It may feel easier to just walk away, but if what you’re working toward is a healthier, happier life, can you really live with the alternative? A new year is a time for us to reflect on what we want for our lives and begin working toward it. So if you miss a workout, or let the stress of the day get to you when promised yourself it wouldn’t this year, just remember - no road worth traveling is smooth.
If a healthier, happier life is in your 2017 plans, I would be happy to help you on your journey. Message me for an initial consultation and we can get you started on the right path.
As a Dietitian I often get asked about what I eat everyday, so I thought I’d document it!
Breakfast: Over easy egg on whole wheat avocado toast, with a clementine and 2-3 cups of coffee with Lactaid milk and hazelnut syrup
Lunch: Whole wheat peanut butter and jelly sandwich, jicama sticks and humus, and a glass of Lactaid milk
Mid-workout snack: Fig bar
Post workout recovery: 16 oz chocolate milk
Afternoon snack: Popcorn with a butter and parmesan cheese; a handful of raisins
Dinner: Ginger garlic mahi mahi over basmati rice and stir fry veggies
Evening snack: dark chocolate chips and lemon ginger tea
In all honesty, every day is pretty different. I eat intuitively, which means I listen to my body’s cues and cravings. Some days I eat more than others due to natural variations in hunger. I always eat 3 meals a day, and snack between meals when I’m hungry, which some days means one snack, other days can mean 4, 5, maybe even 6 snacks.
The idea of eating intuitively is scary for a lot of people.
What if I never stop eating?
What if all I crave are sweets?
What those fears really come down to is control. We are so programmed to diet by outside influences that we think we have to strictly control what we eat in order to be healthy.
But the truth is your body, when allowed to regulate naturally, knows what it needs, how much it needs, and when it needs to be fueled.
You may not eat a salad every day when you eat intuitively (sometimes I go a month or more without one), but then a salad isn’t really the epitome of health anyway.
Intuitive eating takes a lot of hard work and practice to achieve, depending on how restrictive you’ve been with your eating it can be a painful process. But when we heal our relationship with food and relearn to listen to our body, the joy we get from food and mealtimes return and eating can be the pleasurable experience it’s supposed to be.
I love to bake this time of year. There's just something about chilly weather and a warm kitchen that feels like the holidays.
And winter has so many wonderful flavors in season - savory squash like butternut or acorn, tart cranberries, and sweet citrus. Winter is far from a barren time of year for fresh produce.
How many times have you been tempted by those vibrant bags of cranberries, but you just don't know what to do with them? Cranberry sauce really only gets a seat at the table on Thanksgiving, and eating them raw is out of the question for most people.
Well, load up on those cranberries because I have the perfect recipe for you! These muffins are whole grain, with Greek yogurt taking the place of butter to give them an extra bit of protein. The small amount of sugar paired with the citrus gives just enough sweetness to balance the cranberries' tarty zing.
Cranberry Orange Muffins
Yields 12 muffins
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup Greek non-fat plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
1 cup whole, fresh cranberries
Zest and juice of 1 orange
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line muffin tin or spray with non-stick spray.
2. In large mixing bowl, pour 1/4 cup of sugar and the orange zest. Use your fingers to mix the zest in with the sugar until the sugar is fragrant and orange hued.
3. Mix flour and baking powder with zested sugar.
4. In a small bowl beat egg and yogurt together. Add to flour mixture along with milk and orange juice.
5. Fold in cranberries. Pour into muffin tin, filling each to about 3/4 full.
6. Sprinkle remaining sugar on top of muffins. Bake ~25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Nutrition (serving size 1 muffin): ~112 calories, 4 g protein, 23g carbohydrates (3g fiber)
There's a new diet that's causing some excitement in the health world. You may have heard it mentioned on a quick health section on your local news, but it probably won't be promoted across social media.
The diet is a mash up of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. It's called the MIND diet, and a study at Rush University found that it may be able to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's by 53%.
The MIND diet was created specifically for the Rush University study. They created it by taking what we already knew about certain foods and their good or bad effect on brain function. They selected over 900 people in the Chicago area and had them report on the foods they ate over a 9 year period and monitored them for the development of Alzheimer's dementia. They found that those who followed the MIND diet appeared 53% less likely to develop Alzheimer's than their peers who did not follow the diet.
Now, Alzheimer's is a complicated disease that appears to have many contributing factors. This was also only one study following a small group of people in one geographical area. There need to be more studies looking at this diet and its benefits. However, the initial study is very promising.
I think the most exciting aspect of the Rush study suggests that even those who followed the MIND diet only "moderately" well still saw a 35% reduction in their risk of developing Alzheimer's. Most people are not going to follow a diet perfectly 100% of the time, so if you can mostly follow the diet you can still benefit, which makes it functional in the real world.
In the end, the MIND diet isn't all that different from what nutrition professionals have been saying for years. The diet has 10 food groups to eat regularly and 5 to limit or avoid.
10 Food Groups to Include
-Green leafy vegetables
5 Foods to Limit or Avoid
-Fast food/fried foods
-Pastries and sweets
-Butter and stick margarine
The study also suggested that the longer people had been following the MIND diet, the more protective the benefits. Which means it's never too early to start.
June is Migraine and Headache Awareness Month. As a sufferer of migraine headaches, I know how brutal they can be and how they can completely derail a whole day, or even week.
For some, but not all people, diet can play a role in triggering migraines. The best way to know if your diet is affecting your headaches is to keep a headache diary. Keep a log of when you have a migraine, and what foods you ate within the 24 hour period before the headache began. As you log more headaches, see if you start to see a pattern of a particular food consumed the day of or before a headache.
If you do have a food sensitivity, it should trigger a headache within 12 to 24 hours.
Common migraine food triggers are:
-Foods containing monosodium glutamate (MSG)
One of these, or other foods, may be triggering some of your migraines. Or maybe your migraines aren't triggered by a food at all.
Migraines can be caused by a variety of factors. I think it's helpful to not only record food consumed in a headache log, but also other common headache triggers. These include: amount of sleep over the past few nights, stress level over the past week, recent exercise, any change in your normal routine.
Taryn is a Los Angeles based Registered Dietitian who's passionate about helping you be your healthiest you.