breaking up with sugar

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I’m sharing an article today that I wrote for our local newspaper, for the full article, please click here to see a PDF of the full newspaper article. It’s on page 11, under the blue heading “Lakewood Cares.”

If I could pinpoint the moment when I felt a downward shift in my health, it would be late winter 2009 when a bout with bronchitis required antibiotics to take care of the infection.
For the following five years, I experienced continual cycles of fatigue and cold-like symptoms to full-blown colds… [find the rest of the article here on page 11]

For more details on the Sugar Pretox Challenge, you can go to this post and this one here on wildberrypress.

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date night: eating raw @ The Root Cafe (a review)

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Cleveland, and Lakewood in particular, has a seriously under-rated food scene. If you live in Northeast Ohio, you’ll know what I mean. If you’ve never been here…well, you are missing out my friend, though I suspect many people will discover this hidden treasure in July during the RNC.

Last night my husband and I were treated to a three-course raw foods meal at one of our favorite local hang outs…The Root Cafe.

I love The Root’s commitment to locally sourced, organic ingredients for it’s vegan and vegetarian menu and that the atmosphere reflects our community. It is quintessentially Lakewood. And I’m not alone in my opinion…this past Tuesday, The Root was featured on MSNBC’s Morning Joe show.

So last week when I saw this post by owner Julie Hutchinson, I jumped at the offer:

root menu

raw food night <3If you’ve never had a raw style meal before but are super curious, post in the comments below and we will pick a name to enjoy a complimentary 3 course meal! xoxo

I was so excited when Julie responded that my name had been selected…raw veggies + a date with my husband = one happy girl.

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I picked the Cheezey Kale Chips, Chop Salad with  Creamy 1000 Island Dressing, Pesto Pasta Primavera and we were treated to both beverages and dessert. We also couldn’t resist ordering the soup of the day (not raw) which was a Coconut Tomato Curry Bisque, which The Root kindly added with their compliments.

The highlights of the meal for me were the soup, which struck an excellent balance between the coconut and curry and brought the heat to match, the Chop Salad which even got me to eat the radishes – a veggies I usually avoid , and the Pesto Pasta Primavera because…garlic! It also was my first time trying spiralized squash noodles as a stand in for traditional pasta and they did not disappoint. I also give a forks up to the strawberry fig salad which complemented the pasta. It’s greens and balsamic dressing where a bright refreshment to the nut-infused dishes.

Our meal concluded with the warmed Vanilla Bean Almond Mylk and Chocolate Almond Cocoa and the Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Creme. While the vanilla almond milk was bland, I was pleasantly surprised by the almond extract in the cocoa. Usually I’m not a fan of almond extract, but in the cocoa it reminded me of my son’s favorite cherry cordial ice cream.

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Since maintaining a low-sugar diet, I found the ice creme topped with cashew whipped creme to be a little sweet, but my husband – and I’m sure other traditional dessert lovers – had no problem scraping the bowl clean. 🙂

Overall, I’d give The Root Cafe a five forks up on this months’ raw food menu: everything was well presented, creative in its menu options and the service was friendly and attentive. Bonus marks are given for the locally sourced, organic ingredients.

*While I received a complimentary meal, the idea for this post and my opinions are my own.

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sugar detox challenge

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“I need to eat less sugar.”

“I’m addicted to sugar.”

“I have a hard time stopping myself from eating too many chocolates…cookies…desserts?”

“I wish I had more energy.”

“I need to lose weight.”

Sound familiar?

So often, I encounter people who share their struggle with eating too many sugar-laden foods or are frustrated by their lack of energy or their weight. Yet, they struggle with taking the next step to kick the sugar addiction.

Our culture doesn’t help. Cupcake wars, cake bosses, and Pinteresting parties with cakes and candies taking front and center encourage us to believe no special occasion or informal gathering is complete without some sort of sweet confection. And sugar, its cousins and chemical stepsisters are everywhere and not just in our desserts. For goodness sake, I’ve even found it in salsa.

In salsa!!!

As a fitness and nutrition coach, I am passionate about helping people live healthier lives. While I am not a dietitian, nutritionist or doctor, in my own life, I’ve found that maintaining an extremely low-sugar diet is one of those keys to a healthier life.

Two years ago, when I completed a three-month fast from sugar, my anxiety levels significantly decreased, my digestive health improved, and as an added bonus, I radically reduced the amount of allergy medicine I was taking to combat seasonal allergies. I did this fast without consulting any doctors, but after much prayer and research.

My heart in offering the Sugar Detox Challenge is to encourage others to explore the benefits of eliminating sugar from their diet, and, hopefully, maintaining a low-sugar diet once the challenge is complete. Since going “cold turkey” on sugar can be difficult, there will be a one-month Sugar Pretox Challenge to help challengers step down their sugar intake.

I invite you to join the full Sugar Detox Challenge (fee involved) which starts May 1,  if you:

  • Want to make a positive change in your health
  • Currently struggle with eating too many sweets and need some extra support
  • Suspect you have a systemic yeast overgrowth and have decided to try the Anti-Candida Diet
  • Are feeling tired, anxious, depressed, fatigued, angry and irritable, have a hard time sleeping and are often sick
  • Don’t believe me that cutting out sugar will make any difference in your health.

Join the free Sugar Pretox Challenge which begins April 1, if you:

  • If you are committing to the full detox
  • Are curious about coach and how coach it works
  • Believe you can do the full detox on your own

To sign up for either the Sugar Pretox and/or Sugar Detox, please complete the contact form below, indicating in the comment section whether you are interested in the Pretox, Detox or both and I will get back to you within one business day with more information.

 

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chocolate mousse cake (vegan, sugar free, gluten free, paleo)

mousse cake

I’m not really sure if “cake” is the right work to describe this dessert. Pie doesn’t really fit either, although this does have a crust. But after doing some research to see if there was a more fitting name for this confection and turning up nada, I’m running with cake. Food people, if I’ve missed named this dessert, please let me know. I’m all ears.

Ever since radically reducing my sugar intake a couple of years (and more on this to come next week), I’ve tried to stick to desserts that use mostly fruit to sweeten them. After seeing similar concoction around the Web, I knew I had to try my hand at my own version.

mousse cake steps

This recipe combines the recipe for my dark chocolate pudding mousse with an almond-coconut-chocolate crust sweetened only with date paste. If you want more “cake,” then double the recipe for the pudding.

The best part? You won’t regret eating a second, or third, piece. It’s a cake that will make your taste buds and your body sing – even if it’s not made for a birthday. 😉

CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the Chocolate Mousse Cake recipe

chocolate mousse cake

Prep Time: 20-25 minutes

Serves: 8-10

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 1 c. whole almonds
  • ½ c. date paste
  • ½ c. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ c. unsweetened cocoa powder

For the Mousse

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • ¾ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ c. date paste
  • 1- 14.5 oz can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 scoops 100% pure stevia
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1-2 T almond butter

Instructions

Combine all crust ingredients in a food processor and blend until the mixture begins to hold together.

Press the crust mixture in a springform pan, packing down tightly,

Combine mousse ingredients in a food processor, scraping down the sides a couple of times, and blend until smooth. You may need to do this in two separate batches if doubling the mousse.

Spread mousse over crust and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Recipe Notes

Double the ingredients for the mousse layer if a higher cake is desired.

Make sure you buy 100% PURE stevia – it should come with its own very tiny scoop. I get mine at Trader Joe’s.

Buy fair trade cocoa powder, if possible

For a raw food dessert, be sure to use raw almonds and almond butter.

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Clean Eating Works!

CEC horizontal logoI’m so excited to share a few results from the 5-day Clean Eating Challenge that took place last week. I’ll admit I was skeptical at first if anyone would really notice a difference in just five days, but they did!

Here’s what a few of the Challenger’s said:

We both definitely feel better overall. We don’t feel so bloated and we felt more energized so that two of the days we didn’t even have coffee.

This is just what I needed. I think my favorite part was the snacks – being intentional and packed with raw foods. Plus, I have had such a hard time pumping enough milk and this week I didn’t…I am going to keep this up!

I think honestly it’s a menu I may use a guide because it helped me to maintain a more regular eating schedule. I am guilty of skipping meals (breakfast in particular), so I’m going to make it a personal goal of mine to start having breakfast more regularly.

My takeaways: I noticed myself that by taking the time to plan out every meal in detail and spend a few hours over the weekend preparing what I could, I ate better during the week when I’m on the go. Usually I do well at planning breakfast and dinner, but lunches often get overlooked. And I was excited to rediscover the joys of homemade hummus.

We also challenged our participants to increase their water intake – something I struggle to do. As a result of this challenge, I realize I want to step up my own meal planning game and continue drinking more water throughout the day.

BLT salad
One of the recipes featured in the plant-based meal plan and a challenger favorite!

I’ll be hosting another FREE 5-day Clean Eating Challenge sometime later this year, but if you want to give this a try and just can’t wait until then, gather a group of five friends and contact me via email: andrea(at)wildberrypress(dot)com and I’ll set up a private Clean Eating Challenge group for you.

If you’re looking to make clean eating a permanent goal and would like some support, I’d love to coach you in this! Just leave a comment, email me at andrea(at)wildberrypress(dot)com or visit my Beachbody website: www.beachbodycoach.com/wildberrycoach.

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everyday hummus (vegan, gluten free, oil free)

100_4231I was reminded this week how good homemade hummus can taste.

As part of the Clean Eating Challenge, which wraps up today, I committed to making my hummus fresh since most (all?) store-bought hummus has citric acid – a food additive that is derived from feeding black mold. Ummm, gross! You can read more about that in this Wikipedia article. It’s also present in many other store bought foods, like canned tomatoes.

Although, it’s not as fast as opening the lid to store-bought hummus, once you have your ingredients assembled, it comes together in less than five minutes. Hummus is not only great for pairing with fresh veggies, I also use it to replace the savoriness of cheese in some recipes – especially pizza and burritos.

To reduce the fat content, I don’t add extra oil, which many store-bought and homemade hummus recipes contain and I add a solid kick of garlic.

CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the Everyday Hummus recipe

everyday hummus

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yields: About 1.5 cups

 

Ingredients

  • 1 -5-oz can chickpeas
  • 2 T tahini
  • 2-3 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 medium-large garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 4 T water

Instructions

Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until thoroughly combined.

Scrape down sides and blend again, adding more water if needed.

Recipe Notes

Store in an air tight container in the fridge. Will keep for about 2-3 days if properly stored.

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