Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a good holiday and enjoyed some time off. I had a Griswold-like family vacation through Arizona, exploring every mountain and canyon, including the Grand one (more to come on that).
With all the end of year traveling, meals out and holiday parties, my diet has officially become a bit too merry. I got more offers for gym memberships than mail when I returned home, but the start of a new year feels like a chance to re-set and begin anew. In addition to returning to more consistent exercise beyond multiple trips to the egg nog bowl, I'm also focusing again on eating whole food in its most natural state. I could argue that there were in fact pieces of whole artichokes found at the bottom of the steaming cauldron of cheese and butter, aka artichoke dip, but my body would say otherwise.
Over the last year, I've been focusing on consuming unprocessed foods that grow from the ground, and I have to say, I've never felt better. I have more energy, sleep better, have better focus and have even found that a long time injury is finally healing, which I also attribute to special attention on anti-inflammatory foods. Once I started really paying attention to what ingredients made me feel good and which made me want to curl up in the fetal position (I'm looking at you cheesy artichoke dip), the rest was just up to a well stocked fridge and some smart decisions.
With that, I thought I'd start the year with a collection of healthy recipes for every meal, starting with breakfast. Breakfast sets the tone for the day. I like a balance of ingredients to get me moving, but also taste good and don't take hours to prepare. Here's hoping for great health and happiness for everyone in 2015!
Healthy Whole Food Breakfasts
Quinoa isn't just for lunch and dinner. Get your day going by hitting all the food groups in one bowl, complete with egg on top.
When I have a busy week ahead, I make several bowls of these overnight pumpkin oats on Sunday so I can eat them the rest of the week by simply pulling them from the fridge and inserting a spoon.
There's no better way to ensure you're getting enough greens in your diet than to blend them into your morning smoothie. Ginger helps with digestion and fruit does wonders inside and out, and of course just takes good!
I love the ease with which a frittata comes together. There's no turning and flipping. You just warm your favorite seasonal ingredients in a pan with some eggs and then throw it in the oven for all over browning.
Cookies for breakfast? With these ingredients, I say yes. These healthy bites are great when you're on the go and will help you from reaching for one of those naughty scones at Starbucks.
Not only can you have cookies for breakfast, I say you can have chocolate as well, or at least cacao. Raw cacao is loaded with antioxidants and minerals and a great addition to your morning smoothie.
Get more vegetables in your life by including cauliflower in your pancakes - your kids will never notice, but everyone will reap the rewards.
The toast fad was big this past year with many different ingredients being piled onto your favorite crusty bread. I like Ezekiel sprouted grain bread, which is packed full of nutrients, easier on digestion and a complete source of protein. Avocado, egg and salsa up the ante on all fronts.
No fuss pumpkin walnut balls can be made ahead of time and enjoyed all week long for a power protein bite to keep you going.
Figs are a great source of potassium, calcium and fiber. Combined with strawberries, bananas and chia seeds, this drink is a great way to start your day.
When you want to impress your overnight guests with a beautiful brunch, try making these sweet potato nests with a pretty egg baked right inside.
These are a great pre and post-workout pick-me-up, packed with protein and healthy fat to quickly restore your muscles after hitting the gym.
Breakfast doesn't get much easier than mixing together just banana and eggs for these gluten free and tasty pancakes.
I got to prance through the fields of an artichoke farm this past year, which was almost as much fun as pulling together this more upscale breakfast dish with a steamed artichoke and poached egg.
Make your own almond butter with a few simple ingredients. All of these ingredients are also pronounceable. Spread it on whole grain bread, throw it in a smoothie or dip celery or other vegetables in it for a great breakfast or power snack.
I don't eat much dairy anymore since it can be hard to find milk without GMOs, antibiotics and pesticides. Raw milk can help, but it can still be hard to digest. I do prefer getting my calcium and Vitamin D from whole plant foods like leafy greens, but if I'm in need of cottage cheese, I prefer to make it myself. Homemade cottage cheese not only tastes better than store bought, it's also healthier (assuming you use the right ingredients) since you're controlling everything that goes in and there's no need for shelf stabilizers.
See above for my take on dairy, but again, if you really want it, make it yourself so you can regulate what goes in, and then have fun topping it with fresh fruit and nuts.