I hope you’ve had a wonderful holiday season, and that your 2015 is off to a great start. It’s been a while since I’ve written a post. I was busy, and I’m sure you were busy as well. Even still, I hope you found time to reflect on the best of 2014, and to think about what’s in store for this year. I know I did!
I think we can all agree that life is short, and these days, so is time. Is anyBODY out there hungry for complicated or time consuming health solutions? Not unless the person is seriously motivated! That’s why this year, my focus will be on making health as simple and convenient as possible for you. Today, I will share a quick and easy recipe for Dairy-Free Berry Delight. It’s an alternative to store bought, dairy based, heavily sweetened yogurt, and is packed with healthy fats from coconut milk and one other secret ingredient! Can you guess what it is – a fruit that is a great source of monounsaturated fat?
Hint: it’s dark green or black on the outside, and light green on the inside. It contains one large seed, which makes it a fruit. One cup of it contains 25% of your daily requirement of vitamin C, 39% of vitamin K, 30% of folate, 21% of potassium and pantothenic acid, a whopping 10 grams of fiber and even 3 grams of protein! That makes an avocado a superfood, don’t you think?
As I wrote about in part 2, most of us do not get anywhere near the recommended 7 to 13 servings of vegetables and fruit every single day, so it’s important to find creative ways to squeeze them in. The beauty of this recipe is that it does double duty because you get quite a dose of healthy fat (which is an essential macronutrient) in there too, along with some other key nutrients. Did you know that it’s important to eat your vegetables and fruit with some fat? That way, your body will absorb fat soluble vitamins A.E, D, and K more easily.
As most of you already know, not all fats are created equally. To say that all fat is bad is to deny that our bodies need this essential macronutrient in order to function properly. Did you know that your brain is made up of about 60% fat? (1) And that lipids “are the major components of cell membranes,” and “provide an important form of energy storage?” (2)
The trick is to figure out which fats are bad and which are good. Quality (real vs fake, organic vs conventional/GMO), and heat sensitivity of any particular form of fat, are both often overlooked factors when it comes to nutrition research and recommendations. It would be impossible to cover this topic in any one post, so today we are only scratching the surface. I’m keeping the content as simple as the recipe is!
Speaking of which, this one has 5 ingredients, and is best made in a food processor or blender. Dairy Free Berry Delight is creamy and light, a cross between a mousse and a pudding. Some might say it’s the consistency of yogurt. And that’s because of the coconut milk. Have you tried it yet? It’s packed with a healthy form of saturated fat and other important nutrients, but like other pre made dairy free milks, it might contain food additives, so you have to be careful which brand you pick. If you have time, you can always make it yourself! It’s best consumed in moderation, but avoided altogether if you are on a low Fodmap diet (3), or have fructose malabsorption. (4)
Here’s the recipe, which will more than cover your fruit intake for the day. Enjoy it in moderation!
Since I don’t consume dairy products, I love to eat avocados and/or coconut milk as a creamy alternative. Since I can’t take time to make my own coconut milk too often, I use Thai Taste (in a pouch and available at Whole Foods) or Natural Value (free of BPA and additives, on Amazon) in moderation. Too much of any kind of milk (even dairy free) just does not make sense to me, since you’re getting a lot more of the ingredient than if you’d eaten whole, fresh pieces of it. The same goes for nut butters and flours. Best to change it up and set your limits. Food for thought as you start the new year.
So, is this recipe quick and easy enough to prepare for you? I recommend buying an avocado a few days ahead of time so it has time to ripen. Hard avocados are not fun to eat or work with! In general, what I’ve found is that a little planning goes a LONG way when it comes to preparing snacks and meals. It’s when you are really hungry and nothing healthy is on hand that you get yourself into trouble! At least, it is for me.
What new foods will you try this year? How will you find simple and convenient ways to do so, every week? By diversifying your diet as much as possible, like you would an investment portfolio, you take in different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. By adding more color to your plate, you consume a wider variety of nutrients, some of which your body might really be hungry for!
I’ve decided to eat more mushrooms this year, and to try different kinds (there are so many). Now sure why I’ve been avoiding them, because they are not as difficult to prepare as I previously thought. I think that since I didn’t grow up eating many of them, I’ve used my uncertainty as an excuse. Well, I simply sautéed them up with onions the other day, and put them over chicken, and they were deliciously simple! I busted my own myth.
A lesson I’ve learned in recent years, while having to adapt to an allergen limited diet: eating well doesn’t have to be time consuming or complicated. Small changes can make a big difference in your level of health and overall wellness. Savor every moment, and every bite! Most of all, enjoy your food and your life. It’s gonna be a great year.
To start at part 1, click here.
(2) The Cell: A Molecular Approach, 2nd edition via NCBI Resources