Peanut Butter Healthy French Toast

Peanut Butter Healthy French Toast

French toast is one of my favorite comfort foods, so I’ve been determined to make it healthier, especially before I get little M obsessed with it too.

The best and easiest way to make healthy french toast is changing the kind of bread you use.  I like to use sprouted, whole grain bread instead of the typical crappy white bread, which instantly makes it a healthier, fibrous breakfast, instead of a high glycemic sugar bomb for the body.

The other healthy modifications include omitting sugar or maple syrup, and using peanut butter and fruit instead!  Peanut butter is naturally sweet, and makes this yummy french toast even higher in protein, which is great.  If you need even more sweetness in the batter, you can mash up a banana and mix it in, but I personally find that the peanut butter plus some added berries when serving makes the french toast sweet enough, and I can feel good about serving it to my toddler.

Delicious Fresh Pumpkin Bread

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Fresh Pumpkin Bread | The Organic Beauty

Ok yes. I may have gone a little bit gourd-crazy.  I had like 5 of those festive puppies sitting around in my kitchen, and decided that Sunday night was the perfect time to put them all to good use!  I roasted up a sugar pumpkin (used in this recipe), a delicata squash, an acorn squash, and another squash of unknown origin (thanks CSA!) for a whole week’s worth of yummy soup and healthy lunches.

But this bread takes the cake (so to speak!).  Made with fresh organic pumpkin (none of that canned crap!), it makes for a delicious breakfast and has the consistency of a perfect pumpkin pie.  Plus it’s gluten-free and has no white sugar!

To make the pumpkin puree:

Cut a sugar pumpkin in half, remove the seeds (wash and save them for roasting!), and roast at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Let cool, then puree in food processor until smooth (it should have the consistency of apple sauce).  If puree is a little dry, add water to reach desired consistency.

Gluten-Free Fresh Pumpkin Bread

Makes 2 loaves

Ingredients:

1.5 cups fresh pumpkin puree
2 cups coconut flour
1.5 cups gluten-free flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup coconut palm sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup almond milk (or more, to reach batter-like consistency)
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
1 cup chopped raw walnuts
1/2 cup organic raisins or dried cranberries (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, stir together flours, palm sugar, baking soda, salt and spices.  Add eggs, water, almond milk, oil, and pumpkin.  Stir until smooth. Add walnuts and raisins (if using). Pour into two oiled loaf pans. (I actually had a little extra, which I poured into a muffin tin.)  Bake for 1 hour, or until a knife stuck in the middle comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes.  Enjoy!

Yummy Fall Apple Cinnamon Oat Smoothie

Organic-Beauty-Fall-Apple-Cinnamon-SmoothieI’m feeling the fall vibes today, with an overcast sky and crisp 60 degree air here in Brooklyn… and nothing says fall like apples and cinnamon.  This yummy smoothie tastes like apple pie in a glass, with the healthy addition of greens to make it a total nutritional super-breakfast.

Enjoy!

Apple Cinnamon Oat Green Smoothie

1 organic apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tsp raw honey (or Active Bee Power Royal Jelly/Raw Honey/Bee Propolis)
1 cup organic greens of choice (or use 1 full scoop of green powder)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup organic rolled oats, uncooked
1 tbsp raw virgin coconut oil
1 cup almond milk (here’s my easy homemade recipe!)
(Optional) Hemp Protein Powder

Blend until totally smooth. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

This Weekend: Host a Healthy Brunch!

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

Organic Beauty Healthy Brunch

The last daily action step in the Greens. Grains. Gorgeous. 30 Day Challenge last month was to plan a party, so I got crackin’ to come up with something super fun!  The hubs was heading out of town on a really cool men’s adventure in the Sierra Mountains, so I thought that would give me the perfect opportunity to host a little ladies brunch.

We had some delicious, healthy, vegetarian food, a lovely little mimosa bar, fancy infused water, loose leaf tea… the works.  And it was a great excuse to whip out our china too (I’m a big fan of using china as much as possible… screw saving it for the formal dinners!).

Check out the photos and recipes below!

Continue Reading…

Flourless Blueberry Coconut Pancakes

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

These amazing gluten-free, flourless pancakes are moist, absolutely delicious, and loaded with healthy fats and antioxidants.  An Organic Beauty weekend favorite!

Flourless Blueberry Coconut Pancakes

Flourless Blueberry Coconut Pancakes

Serves 3

3 large ripe bananas
5 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup shredded dried coconut, plus more for garnish
1 cup fresh blueberries, plus more for garnish
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons coconut oil
Pure maple syrup or agave (optional)

In a medium bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Whisk in the eggs and coconut until combined. If needed, you can add a little more coconut to achieve desired pancake batter consistency.  Stir in the blueberries and cinnamon. Heat coconut oil in a large nonstick pan, over medium heat, until melted. Working in batches, pour ¼ cup portions of the batter onto the skillet (you should be able to cook 4 pancakes at a time). Cook the pancakes until the bottoms are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Gently flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown on the second side, about 1 minute longer. Transfer the pancakes to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter. Stack the pancakes and garnish with additional coconut and blueberries. Garnish with maple syrup or agave, if using, and serve immediately.

Healthy Nutribullet Smoothie Recipes

Nutribullet Recipes

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

I’ve gotten a lot of requests for Nutribullet smoothie recipes… Although you can make any smoothie creation in your Nutribullet, the proportions are on a smaller scale since you’re using a single serving blender. If you’re using a full size blender like a Vitamix or Ninja Pro, just double the recipe for two servings!

Delectable Detox Smoothie

This is an amazing smoothie for detoxifying the organs.  Loaded with diuretics and super foods, this is a perfect start to a detox day or to cleanse the body after a night of drinking and poor food choices.

1 cup  organic kale (stems and tough rib removed)
1/2 cup frozen organic mango
1 medium rib celery, chopped
1 cup filtered water
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp virgin coconut oil

Combine ingredients in a Nutribullet or blender.  Add a touch of raw agave or stevia, if desired.

Mega Protein Smoothie

This is a great smoothie for weight loss, since it will control appetite and cravings until lunchtime. It’s also great for a post-workout boost.

1/2 cup frozen peaches
1/2 avocado
1 cup organic spinach
1 tbsp hemp seeds
A handful of raw almonds or 1 tbsp raw almond butter
1 cup water or coconut water

Combine ingredients in Nutribullet or blender. Add a touch of agave or stevia if needed.

Perfect Skin Smoothie

This smoothie is loaded with skin protecting antioxidants, smoothing and anti-aging omega-3’s, and moisturizing healthy fats for clear, youthful skin!

1/2 cup organic blueberries
1 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 cup organic dandelion greens
1/2 avocado
1 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 cup coconut water

Combine ingredients in Nutribullet. Add a touch of agave or stevia if needed.

Super Energy Smoothie

Perfect for those days when you need a little extra something, or before a grueling workout!

1 frozen banana
1 cup organic kale
1 tbsp spirulina powder
2 tsp maca powder
1 tsp acai powder
1 tbsp raw organic almond butter
1 tbsp virgin coconut oil
1 tsp royal jelly
1 tsp raw organic honey (optional)

Combine ingredients in Nutribullet or blender.

Women’s Fertility Smoothie

This smoothie is wonderful for balancing hormones, increasing fertility, and giving women the nutrients they need for healthy eggs and baby-making! It’s also a great libido booster.

1 kiwi
1/4 cup frozen pineapple
1 cup organic spinach
A handful of pumpkin seeds
2 tsp maca powder
1 tsp acai berry powder
2 tsp bee pollen
1 tbsp virgin coconut oil
1 tbsp flaxseed oil
1 cup water

Combine ingredients in Nutribullet or blender. Add a touch of agave or stevia if needed.

Men’s Virility Smoothie

This smoothie is loaded with nutrients to improve male libido, reproductive health, virility, and increase testosterone!

1 frozen banana
1/2 piece ginger
1 cup spinach
2 tsp maca
1 tsp acai berry powder
A handful of walnuts
1 cup coconut water
1 tbsp virgin coconut oil
(Optional) Add a stick of celery for a virility boost!

Combine ingredients in Nutribullet or blender. Add a touch of agave or stevia if needed.

What’s your favorite Nutribullet smoothie? Click here to share it in the comments section!

What Do I Eat? Healthy Eating is Easier Than You Think!

how we eat

By: Natasha Uspensky, CHHC

With all the crazy conflicting ideas about what a healthy diet looks like, I’m sure that on more than one occasion you’ve found yourself staring into your fridge, throwing your hands up and asking “What the hell do I eat?!”

I’ll let you in on a little secret. It is SO much easier than you think it is. Healthy eating does not involve slaving in the kitchen for hours on end, calculating complicated ratios and formulas, or resorting to bland, boring food.  I’ll let you in on another secret. You already know how to eat healthy… It’s just a matter of loving yourself enough to do it! (Tweet it!)  

The answers are already there, you know them intuitively. It’s making the choice, consistently, every day, to act on that intuitive knowledge that so many of us struggle with. I dealt with the same challenges in my own long journey toward optimal health, but I’ll tell you what did it, what sealed the deal: Experiencing for myself the drastic difference in how I feel when I eat great, delicious, fresh, healthy foods… And when I don’t, opting for what I think is easiest and fastest. The proof is in the pudding, my dears. And until you give yourself that chance, until you commit to listening to your intuition for a solid few weeks or even months, you will continue fighting an uphill battle.

For me, connecting to that intuition daily has become second nature.  When I’m home, when I’m out, when I’m on vacation or at my parent’s house, I hold on to that knowledge of what feels good (and makes me look good), and what doesn’t.  Now don’t get me wrong. I’ll have an occasional fro-yo (I mean, there’s a Red Mango literally in my building), or share an amazing Neopolitan-style pizza with my hubby; I’ll eat some super yummy goat cheese at a party once in a while, or enjoy a few squares of killer artisanal dark chocolate.  But I’ve experienced first hand that when these yummy things enter the picture more often, I feel bloated, tired, and gross.  And after a while, it starts to show up on my body as well.  It just isn’t worth it!  I would rather look and feel amazing than eat cheese, and meat, and sweets, and lasagna, and all that other crap I know, intuitively, does not make my body happy.

So what do I eat?  My diet is simple, delicious, and super satisfying.  It allows me to eat my favorite foods (with healthy tweaks), eat out at my favorite restaurants, and still maintain my ideal weight.

Breakfast

I have green tea and a green smoothie most days… about 1 cup of organic kale, spinach, or collards; half a cup of fruit (organic berries, pineapple, an apple, or mango); half an avocado; a little handful of nuts or seeds; water and maybe a little squeeze of raw organic agave.  That’s it!

On days when I’m in a rush, I’ll just grab two pieces of sprouted grain toast with some raw, organic almond butter.

A couple times a week, if I’m a little hungrier, I’ll have two farm fresh eggs, sunny side up, over spinach with some toast.  Or, I’ll have a yummy bowl of steel cut oats or a quinoa porridge with apples, cinnamon, walnuts, and agave.

Lunch

As my private clients will tell you, lunch is the most important (and biggest!) meal of the day.  I mix it up, depending on my mood, but I’ll typically have quinoa with veggies (for example: roasted squash, sautéed greens, garbanzos); quinoa pasta with tons of veggies; some seafood and tomatoes over brown rice; or a huge salad with beans, avocado, sunflower seeds, and oodles of seasonal veggies with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice and olive oil (at least a tablespoon).

I make sure to eat my lunch in a calm, relaxed environment, which promotes digestion and metabolism… No rushing through lunch or eating while working!

Dinner

Dinner is nice and light most days of the week, which, as my clients will tell you, is the number one secret to sustainable weight loss and weight management.  The great thing about these light dinners is that they are quick and easy, which means we spend less time cooking, and more time hanging out and relaxing.  Most evenings, my hubby and I will have soup or a salad, or some cooked veggies (when it’s cold out).  Two nights a week, we order in.  We love sushi Tuesdays, and always share a “sushi for one” and a roll with miso soup or a salad (depending on the weather).  Another night, we’ll order in Thai where my winter favorite is Tom Yum soup… noodles, shrimp, and greens in a yummy spicy broth.

On the weekends, our whole schedule shifts later, so we end up having a late brunch, big, late lunch, and usually we’ll skip dinner altogether.  If we go out to eat, we try to make it on the earlier side, and I’ll typically order yummy veggies off the sides menu or we’ll split a veggie or seafood entree and a salad.

You might notice that there aren’t any snacks.  I am a firm anti-snacking advocate.  If you feel the need to snack, that means your meals (particularly breakfast and lunch) aren’t big enough.  If your meals are satisfying and nourishing enough, you won’t feel the need to snack, which means your blood sugar is more stable and your body has the chance to burn fat all day long.  You’re also not getting all kinds of unnecessary additional calories throughout the day, nor are you feeling hungry and obsessing about food all day long!  Win-win.

You’ll also notice a conspicuous lack of sweets.  Occasionally, I’ll have some dark chocolate or a handful of dried fruit.  Even more occasionally, I’ll have a little bowl of coconut milk ice cream with some berries.  But this happens so rarely that I don’t even include it in my “diet”.  How do I do it?  By keeping my blood sugar stable, my stress levels managed, and my love tank full ; )

Sounds easy right?  Nothing crazy, nothing mind-blowing… just simple, intuitive, healthy eating.  You know you can do it too.  Need help?  Let me know!

Quick & Yummy Macro Brown Rice Porridge

Alicia Silverstone is not only one of my absolute favorite silver screen starts (I miss you!! Come back!!), but she is also one of my favorite diet gurus. Her book, The Kind Diet, was a big reason behind my decision to become (mostly) vegan, and her recipes have had a lasting influence on my cooking. The following recipe is inspired by her soft rice porridge recipe.  It’s super fast, healthy, and is a great way to get some whole grains in at breakfast!

Macrobiotic Brown Rice Porridge

1 cup cooked brown rice (or 1/2 cup brown rice flakes)
1/2 cup water if using cooked rice, or 2/3 cup water if using brown rice flakes
5-6 dried unsulphured apricots, chopped
1/2 tbsp tamari
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
Raw, organic agave to taste–1 tsp is typically enough
1 tsp umeboshi plum paste (optional)

Boil bring water and apricots to a boil. Add rice and cook until it reaches a porridge consistency (typically about 3 minutes). In the meantime, toast pumpkin seeds in a small pan over medium heat, until they start to pop and lightly brown. When they’re browned, transfer to a small bowl and add tamari. When rice is almost done, stir in agave and umeboshi paste, if using. Serve rice topped with tamari pumpkin seeds.

I’ll upload a photo when I make it again next week!

4 Breakfast Foods to Avoid

We’ve all heard over and over again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  While I’m not necessarily in agreement with that (Team Lunch!), I think we call agree that a healthy breakfast is pretty damn important.  Not only does it set the tone for your mood and energy levels for the rest of the day, but it also sets you up for ultimate fat metabolizing, regulated blood sugar, and a whole lot more.

But what you may not know is that all breakfasts are not created equal.  If you are regularly consuming any of the foods below for breakfast, you’d be better off skipping the meal entirely!  (Not that I’m advocating that).  Read on for the biggest culprits of belly fat, mid-morning crashes, headaches, and crankiness:


1.  Doughnuts, Muffins, Bagels and Croissants

Yes, I know that’s four foods, but they all fall pretty solidly in the same category of terrible, refined, and processed carbs that are typically loaded with sugars, trans-fats, and empty calories as well.  These are the biggest barriers to weight loss, and will typically cause a midday energy crash as well.  Not to mention leaving your blood sugar depleted by lunch time, which can lead to some not-so-great, hysterical food choices.  If you’re craving carbs for breakfast, opt for a piece of whole grain toast with almond butter, apple butter, or some natural (no added sugar) preserves.


2. Sugary Cereal and Granola

99% of conventional supermarket cereals and granolas are also loaded with tons of added refined sugar, refined and processed carbs, and useless, chemical “supplements.”  As with all foods, read your ingredients!  There are plenty of healthier, whole grain cereals out there (check out Nature’s Path, Barbara’s and Ezekiel) that are sweetened with light amounts of organic cane sugar or honey, and feature super potent grains like flax, hemp seed, millet, amaranth and brown rice.  Better yet, go for a completely unsweetened cereal or oatmeal, and sweeten it yourself with a sprinkle of stevia or a drizzle of agave.  Add some nuts and berries for some added excitement and flavor!  And skim the milk in favor of some greek yogurt, soy milk or almond — all of which are much healthier and easier on your digestive tract!


3. Breakfast Sandwiches

This “all-American” combination of eggs, fried bacon or sausage, processed cheese and refined breads add up to a fatty, greasy, high-calorie, high-sodium junk food binge. Not only will this only serve to pack on the pounds, but you’re also clogging your arteries, increasing risk of heart disease and cancer, and negatively impacting your skin.  If you just can’t live without the occasional breakfast sandwich, make your own at home, with a two egg omelet, tempeh bacon, and avocado or high quality cheese on a whole grain toasted english muffin.


4. Meal Replacement Shakes

Popular brands like Ensure, Slim Fast, Atkins, or any other store-bought prepared shake is not a meal!  It’s not even a snack.  It’s a mess of processed garbage and chemicals that neither satisfies your hunger nor provides your body with any real nutrition.  And it certainly isn’t a healthy or effective way to permanently lose weight.  If you like shakes in the morning, make your own with hemp or rice protein powder, fresh or frozen berries, and some almond milk.  Delicious, nutritious, and real food!


BONUS!!!!
You know what else isn’t a breakfast?  A cup of coffee.  You heard me!  Starting your day off with a shot of false energy, adrenal imbalance, and a potential blast of sugar and unnecessary fat and dairy (depending on your particular coffee drinking style) is certainly not a healthy way to start your day.  If anything, this will lead to midday moodiness, depleted energy, and long term adrenal issues.  If you like your morning coffee, have it every other day (to avoid dependency), with some stevia and soy or almond milk.  And for the love of god, skip the Fraps and whipped creams and flavored syrups and crap! 


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Natasha Uspensky, chhc, aadp
NU Health & Wellness