Best post-workout snacks

As a mom of 3 young boys and a chiropractor who promotes a healthy lifestyle, I lead a very full life with health always remaining a top value in our family.  I read a quote today that highlighted the fact that the ‘greatest gift you can give your family and the world is a healthy you’. So, we invest a lot of time and energy eating well and working out to keep our bodies healthy and strong.

The following are some of the snacks we like to make often so they can be added to the kids’ lunches for their busy days or to come in and eat following a rigorous workout. We typically eat a diet high in vegetables, healthy fats, adequate protein and low glycemic fruit. Keeping the blood sugar stable is key to lowering inflammation in the body and promotes optimal hormonal health.

Many of the ingredients used in the following recipes can be found on Nuts.com along with a great list of recipes for some healthy snack options.

  1. Guacomole- Add some fresh chopped cucumbers, carrots, peppers, or whatever veggies you love to this easy to make dip for a quick, nutritious snack.

guacomole

2. Creamy Chocolate Smoothie- Make this on your way out the door in the morning and keep it cold and ready to consume following your workout.

chocolate-smoothie

3. Date Balls- Throw all the ingredients in the food processor and roll these into delicious date balls your whole family will enjoy.

Date Balls

4. Chocolate muffins (flourless)- These high protein and deliciously moist chocolate muffins can also be made as a cake.  No one will ever guess the main ingredient is black beans, promise!

chocolate cupcakes

5. Paleo Power bars- These are much healthier than most power bars out there and you’ll know exactly what you’re fueling your body with-all natural ingredients.

power bar

50 Shades of Grain (summary from Dr. William Davis talk)

Dr. Bill Davis

Dr. William Davis (Cardiologist and author of Wheat Belly)

Hi Everyone, Jason’s turn to write a short post.

I was recently in attendance at Dr. William Davis’s second Halifax presentation and would love to provide a short synopsis of his work.  As a cardiologist in practice he has always been interested in treating the cause of disease and not masking problems with medications.  This is our philosophy as well, especially as it relates to pain and dysfunction.  He started his presentation talking about mammals and what each of them would need to eat in order for them to have ideal health and how different mammals have a different nutritional requirement.  For example, a lion needs meat and a cow needs grass, switch their diets and both animals would not be able to survive.  So what is the ideal human diet?  Well there are a million books, a million experts and a bunch of scientific studies proving one model and disproving another.  He explained how the consumption of grains started roughly 10,000 years ago but our genes were not designed or ready for this shift.  He feels we have been given very bad nutritional advice when government, agencies and experts say to watch fat but eat your healthy whole grains (ie: wheat).

In his first book Wheat Belly, he goes into detail about all of the issues that wheat can cause in the human body.  For some people (like me) that enjoy detail, I appreciated his use of examples and clinical experience with real patients.  He has different chapters in the book explaining several health issues including heart disease, diabetes, weight loss, joint issues, autoimmune diseases and more. Tonight, he offered a very short synopsis of what happens when we consume grains and especially wheat. One issue is blood sugar and he makes a point that 2 pieces of whole wheat bread have a higher glycemic index that a Snickers bar. High blood sugar leads to an excessive insulin response. Over time this is what contributes to type 2 diabetes, belly fat, and increased levels of inflammation in the body.

Another issue which can affect our own immune systems is the lack of digestion of certain proteins in wheat and other grains.  When our bodies cannot completely digest a protein such as the wheat protein gliadin, it can affect the lining of our intestines causing them to be “leaky”. When this happens, other proteins and particles cross into the blood stream and our body will mistake it as a threat and mount an immune response. This is what happens in some cases with autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Phytates are chemicals that will block absorption of positively charged minerals such as zinc, iron and magnesium. He stated grain induced iron deficiency is the 2nd leading causing of iron deficiency world wide. If you are having iron issues, this is a possible source. We see many patients that respond well to magnesium supplementation for muscle cramps, poor sleeping, etc. What about addressing this potential cause of magnesium deficiency?

He is also very clear to not replace wheat with high starch gluten-free items. While they may be “less bad”, it does not make them healthy.  These items are high in corn starch, potato starch and corn which can also create havoc for our blood sugar and digestive systems.

After removing grains from the diet, he feels the next most powerful step we can make is to optimize our vitamin D levels.  He is also very supportive of having optimal gut flora (found in probiotics and fermented food), which often takes some time to rebuild. He is a huge supporter of omega-3 fish oil and specifically endorses the brand we carry, Ascenta. These recommendations would mimic our basic supplement philosophy and we carry these items at the clinic.

So what can you eat?  REAL FOOD. Healthy fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and organic butter should be staples.  Vegetables should also be a staple. We recommend 8 servings or 4 cups/day. Be careful with excessive fruit intake for blood sugar reasons. Excessive fructose is not ideal for most people. Wild fish, grass fed beef, free range chicken/eggs are quality sources of protein. Nuts and seeds are great snacks and additions. We limit dairy intake and he would advise the same (use with caution as it can also create an immune response in many people).

veggieshealthy meats

I will likely be doing Saturday afternoon or Wednesday evening seminar to fill in some of these details and to help with implementation. If you are interested, please message us or email info@novaspinalcare.ca and your preference of Wednesday evening from 6-9 or a late Saturday afternoon from 2-5pm.

Yours in health,

Dr. Jason Plotsky

Healthy Holiday Snow Balls

health holiday snow balls2Holiday snow balls recipeHealthy snow balls3

We decided to make these after school today and with my niece here it was an easy job for me as I pretty much just set her up and watched her roll them.

The original recipe is from a local holistic health coach (Michelle MacLean http://www.michelle-maclean.com).  She posted it in her weekly newspaper write-up.

Makes 24 balls (ours are about an inch wide)

  • 1/2 cup walnuts (we used pecans)
  • 1/2 cup fresh dates with pits removed
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup whole almonds
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 20-24 whole almonds for stuffing
  • shredded unsweetened coconut-for rolling
  1. Place walnuts (or pecans) in a food processor and process until coarsely ground. Add the dates, and pulse until well combined with the nuts.  Add cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla extract and sea salt.
  2. Process until mixture is thick and smooth.
  3. Add almonds and pulse a few times until combined but left in coarse fine chunks.
  4. Add almond butter and mix well.
  5. Form mixture into golf-size (or smaller) balls with your hands placing one whole almond in the center of each ball.
  6. Roll each ball in the coconut.
  7. Place in a sealed container in the freezer until hardened.
  8. Enjoy them straight from the freezer!

 

 

Raw Chocolate Brownies

raw brownies1We visited friends who made us these delightful brownies on the weekend.  I came home the next day and made sure we had all the ingredients to make them.  My oldest son David and I made them in minutes, placed them in the freezer for the recommended time and they were a hit.  What I love most about the recipe is that it makes great use of superfood ingredients like coconut oil, cocoa, cocoa nibs and hemp seeds. Hope you enjoy!

Find the recipe here by visiting the wonderful blog Oh She Glows Raw Brownies.

Paleo Brownies

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My sister made me this recipe as my birthday cake this year.  It was just the perfect amount of sweet and chocolate taste I wanted.  My kids loved it too.  No one will every guess the magic ingredient.  They are also nut free so can be brought to school as a treat for the kids in my sons’ classes…on my to do list:).  Found the recipe at EatDrinkPaleo and have tweaked it ever so slightly so here it is:

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium raw sweet potato, peeled and grated (2 to 2 1/2 cups of shredded sweet potato)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of raw honey, melted if not soft enough
  • generous 1/2 cup of melted coconut oil
  • 1 heaped Tbsp of gluten free baking powder
  • ½ Tbsp of baking soda
  • 1 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 365 degrees.
  2. Using a food processor with the attachment to grate the sweet potato or using a hand grater, grate one medium sweet potato.
  3. Combine the grated sweet potato, eggs, vanilla extract, raw honey, and coconut oil in the food processor or mixing bowl.  Stir together until mixture is well blended.
  4. In another small bowl, stir together baking powder, baking soda (yes the amounts are correct, that’s a lot of baking soda and powder for a small recipe but it works), cocoa powder and coconut flour.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the well blended wet ingredients and combine until mixture is consistent throughout.
  6. Pour the mixture into a pan that is greased with butter or lined with parchment paper.  This is an important step as it will stick to the pan, I prefer parchment paper.
  7. Bake the brownie for about 25-30 minutes.
  8. Let cool for 5-10 minutes prior to serving.
  9. This is not a necessary step but you can add dark chocolate chips as a topping when it is warm so they can melt like frosting for added sweetness.  I used 76% dark chocolate chips (bought them at The Superstore for all you Canadians), the darker the better.

Gluten Free Pizza (grain-free)

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This is one of the best pizza crusts I’ve ever had, period.  My sister found it on pinterest and it was such an easy recipe I decided to try it.  With only 7 ingredients, it can be made relatively quickly.  You can find the original recipe on this site.  She did a fantastic job creating this recipe and I just couldn’t wait to share it with all of you.

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup ghee, grass-fed butter or extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups tapioca flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the fat of choice, water, and salt and bring to a boil.
  3. Remove from heat and then stir in the garlic and tapioca flour. Combine it well. (The consistency of this mixture gets a little gooey and you may feel like you’ve done something wrong, you haven’t).  Set this mixture aside and let cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Next add the eggs, combine them well and then add the coconut flour.  Knead the dough until it comes together nicely.
  5. Place the dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. You can spread it out thinly making sure there are no gaps in the crust.
  6. Now place it in the oven for approximately 35 minutes.

Toppings:

  • tomato sauce- spread a thin, even layer over the entire cooked crust
  • 6-8 slices of bacon (preferably a nitrite free brand), cook them in your frying pan until desired crispiness is achieved.
  • 1/2 large onion (we chopped it up and caramelized it in the bacon grease).
  • 2-3 peppers chopped into thin pieces (whatever colours you have in your fridge will work great).  We added them in to the bacon grease along with the onion and just cooked them for a few minutes until they were a little soft.
  • 2 cups of shredded goat cheese mozzarella (I get mine at Sobeys).  Spread this on top of all the ingredients.
  • The original directions say to place the oven on broil and leave the pizza in for about 8 minutes.  I was afraid to burn the ingredients so took it out sooner around 4 minutes.  Watch it closely so as not to burn the ingredients but you can be the judge of what you want it to look like.
  • Enjoy!

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium sauce pan, combine the fat of choice, water and salt and bring to a boil.

Flourless Chocolate Cake/Cupcakes (black beans)

I made this as a birthday cake the other day and it was fabulous.  The best part is that compared to other chocolate cakes, it is much lower on the glycemic index, tastes just as good if not better, is extra moist, and very high in protein.  You may also feel good after eating it vs bloating with sugar high then low.  When the kids asked for seconds, I told them to go ahead, knowing it was actually good for them.  I doubled the following recipe to make it 2 layers.

Ingredients

Makes a 9″ one layer cake

  • 1-19 oz can (or approx. 2 cups) of unseasoned black beans (strained and rinsed)
  •  5 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
  • 1/2 cup honey + either 1 teaspoon pure stevia extract (liquid vs powder) or 1TBSP of xylitol powder
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Mint Chocolate variation: 2 teaspoons mint extract (in place of 2 teaspoons vanilla)

Preparation

  1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9″ cake pan with extra virgin olive oil cooking spray, or just grease it with a thin layer of butter. Dust cocoa all over the inside of the pan, tapping to evenly distribute. Cut a round of parchment paper and line the bottom of the pan, then spray the parchment lightly.
  2. Drain and rinse beans in a strainer or colander. Shake off excess water. Place beans, 3 of the eggs, vanilla, stevia (if using) and salt into blender. Blend on high until beans are completely liquefied. No lumps!
  3. Whisk together cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix together honey and coconut oil. Add remaining two eggs, beating for a minute after each addition. Pour bean batter into egg mixture and mix. Finally, stir in cocoa powder, and beat the batter on high for one minute, until smooth. Scrape batter into pan and smooth the top. Grip pan firmly by the edges and rap it on the counter a few times to pop any air bubbles.
  4. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cake is done when the top is rounded and firm to the touch. After 10 minutes, turn out cake from pan, and flip over again on to a cooling rack. Let cool until cake reaches room temperature. You can then apply frosting as per the directions below.

I used my food processor and once I had strained the beans simply added all the wet ingredients and blended them together.  In another small bowl, I mixed the dry ingredients until well blended then added them to the wet ingredients in the food processor. In just a few minutes it was all mixed together very well and was ready to be put in the pans.

Healthy Chocolate CakeThe original recipe came from the website www.healthyindulgences.net.

Frosting

On the cupcakes, I put one square of 72% dark chocolate on each cupcake when I don’t have time to make a frosting (I buy a big bag of dark chocolates from Costco).  I put it on while the cupcakes are still warm to let it melt.

In this cake recipe I used a chocolate mousse recipe as the frosting and it turned out very well.  I also evenly placed some of the dark chocolates (from the bag I buy at Costco of 72% dark chocolate) in between the layers of the cakes while the cakes were warm.  The chocolate squares melted and tasted really good as the middle layer of the cake.  On its own, the following recipe makes a great chocolate mousse dessert.  Add a little hazelnut butter in it for a more nutella-like flavor.

Ingredients

    • 3 avocado
    • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 4 drops of vanilla stevia (optional) for added sweetness (several teaspoons of xylitol powder can be used instead)
    • Blend the above ingredients together in the food processor and once it is the right texture of a fluffy mousse, refrigerate until ready to serve.  Since I used it this time as a frosting, I refrigerated the mousse until the cake was no longer warm  then spread it evenly over both layers.