I've been on a watermelon kick lately, because…Summer. Our latest creation involved the baby, the toddler, some fun cookie cutters, and MOST DEFINITELY a couple of baths afterwards. ;-)
Check it out:
Check out my latest video in which I am asking you for help.
Weeds, and lawns, and organic landscaping…oh my!
Just another decision to make in the "real world". Another set of priorities to reconcile. This is life! We want our children to have a beautiful, lush lawn to run around on, get their fair share of grass stains on, play ball on, and take their obligatory prom pictures on. We want to have BBQs, cookouts, and fun with friends and family. We want to sit around the (baby) pool and under the shade while we take too many pictures on our kiddos.
AND, we want to do all of this without the use of industrial pesticides. No Monsanto. No Glyphosate. No thank you!
So, where does this leave us? What to do? This is a real question! Please weigh in and help us with our dilemma.
P.S. We live on Long Island (New York) and are open to both organic landscaping company recommendations and DIY options.
In good health amongst the weeds,
February is in full swing as we are approaching the middle of the month already. How?!? With the famous groundhog forecasting 6 more weeks of Winter, I suppose we should've been expecting the blizzard we were met with today on Long Island.
Snow and all, February is a time for love, heart-shaped everything, shades of pink and red, heart health, and lots and lots of…chocolate!!
So, what if you're on a roll with upgrading your health so far in 2017, but still looking for something that looks and tastes like an indulgence? What if you or a family member have some food allergies / sensitivities that prevent you from being able to eat most of the store-bought or homemade recipes out there? I hope this Red Velvet Love Brownie recipe fills that void for you!
These bad boys are gluten-free, dairy-free, high in protein and fiber, and contain healthy fats plus a full serving of veggies. They're chocolate-y, yet low glycemic…how's that for showing your heart some love this month?!
Red Velvet Love Brownies
- 1 (15-oz) can of black beans, rinsed (BPA-free can)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup beets (sliced and cooked - either roast in oven or buy a jar)
- 1/3 cup honey
- 3 T coconut oil, melted
- 1 T water
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup cacao powder
- 1/4 cup unsweetened / dairy-free / gluten-free chocolate chips
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Mix wet ingredients in food processor, high-speed blender (keep scraping sides down), or with a mixer.
- Combine wet ingredients into bowl with dry ingredients and mix well.
- Pour into well-greased muffin tin or line with paper liners. This makes adorable, round brownies with slightly crispy edges that are like getting the highly sought-after corner piece each time. ;-)
- For the look pictured up top (with the heart in the middle), cut a beet slice into the heart shape and press onto top. Other ideas for toppings include: chocolate chips, hemp seeds, walnuts, or anything else your creative mind comes up with.
- Bake 20-25 minutes - until edges start to pull away from muffin tin and become slightly crispy.
- Share with your favorite people!
Alright guys…will you dare to try these? It is definitely "different" to bake with black beans, but they taste so chocolate-y and are healthy…come on now! Brownies for lunch, anyone?
In good health,
Last month I was asked to come into the very friendly and progressive company, National Business Capital, to have a bit of fun with the employees and take them through a nice stretching routine that they can implement into their busy days right at or next to their desks! We laughed, we took deep breaths, we got the blood flowing. I received several awesome emails afterwards letting me know about different ways in which that morning visit improved their day. :-)
It's a new year and as such, I see many companies embracing employee wellness programs now more than ever. Yay for 2017! Yay for smart management! WIth increased employee satisfaction and productivity and decreased sick days, you can see how the value and ROI far surpasses the investment.
Do you own or work for a company like this? Do you want to see more companies - large AND small - taking time to educate and motivate their employees to take good care of their minds & bodies?
Employee wellness programs may include stretching breaks, yoga, meditation, workout classes or personal trainers, nutrition consults, cooking demos, one-on-one health coaching, vital signs and consultations, a group sport, race, or contest.
I challenge you to speak with your boss about a potential employee wellness program being implemented or upgraded in your company. If you ARE the boss, keep this in mind… healthy and productive employees are your biggest asset!
Pictured: Silly activity at National Business Capital to "break the ice" before we started Stretch and Relax. (Sorry to those I did not capture in the picture! Next time I'll try to take more pictures).
Baby it's cold outside! And, with the holiday parties, cookie exchanges, and uber-sweet festivities practically upon us, we need a new cookie recipe!!!
For me, baking Christmas cookies with my mom is an annual tradition and one we haven't missed for even one year. We follow my Grandmother's recipe and I feel bittersweet knowing although I never had the chance to meet her, that we are now 4 generations of girls/women (plus Jagger and sometimes my husband) being connected every year while we follow the instructions on this well-loved piece of paper that is stained, falling apart, and very hard to read. But, it was hers! There are just some things that don't need upgrading.
However, with shortening, loads of butter, mounds of sugar, bleached / refined flour, and artificial food dye, I just can't let that go over with my very young toddler. We'll reevaluate as she gets older (this motherhood thing is a constant moving target), but as for now, she eats only foods that *cause* health. As for baby Jagger, well, he won't be eating (or missing out) on any of these cookies this year.
So, what's a sensitive-daughter-and-granddaughter slash health-conscious-mama slash Christmas-tradition-lover to do? Come up with a new recipe that's just as fun to make, tastes like a treat, and adds some extra fuel to our day! It's almost-Winter and absolutely cold & flu season - let's stack the deck….ok? ;-)
These cookies are easy to make and work well with your favorite cookie cutters. Feel free to decorate them as you choose.
What they have: protein & fiber.
What they don't have: refined sugar, gluten, dairy, soy, flour/grains, artificial anything, trans fats.
HOLIDAY SPICED SUGAR COOKIES
- 2.5 cups almond flour
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 large egg
- 1.5 T coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- coconut flour (for dusting cookie cutters and rolling out)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix all ingredients in a food processor, mixer, or with (clean!) hands.
- Flatten dough to about 1/3 - 1/2 inch thickness. Cover and allow to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Place dough between wax paper, sprinkle with coconut flour, and roll out with rolling pin.
- Dust again with coconut flour before using cookie cutters.
- Collect "scraps" and repeat steps 4 & 5 until all dough is used.
- Place cookies on a baking sheet greased with coconut oil.
- Decorate as desired or leave cookies plain.
- Bake 7-10 minutes (until edges start to turn golden-brown). Thin cookies will cook faster - keep your eye on them.
They were a big hit and I didn't get any pictures on the finished product. I'll take that as a good sign instead of an oversight. ;-)
Please leave me a comment or an email if you make these cookies. I'd love to hear about your holiday celebrations!
Peace, Joy, and Health,
It's the day before Thanksgiving here in the U.S. and most folks are either traveling to be closer with friends and family or hunkering down to get their meal prep on. It's also day 3 of my GREAT and GRATEFUL week here at Tara Allen Health. I'm grateful to have spent previous years helping patients in the hospital on Thanksgiving Day. There's nothing quite like seeing how important you are in someone's day than when you are caring for them on a holiday while they're missing out on their own traditions back home. Therefore, as I enjoy a day off with my family tomorrow (well, limited work - I am an entrepreneur!), I am grateful for the nurses, doctors, police officers, firefighters, and ALL service professionals that will be working hard tomorrow to keep this country running as safely and healthfully as possible. I'm grateful for all experiences that have lead me to where I'm at currently - as a wife and mama to an infant and toddler, and a business owner that gets to CHANGE lives in the best way on a daily basis with a schedule flexible enough to allow me to "mom" when i need to "mom". GRATEFUL!
Now to share something GREAT in celebration...
A little birdie told me you may be in a pinch for a last-minute Thanksgiving dessert recipe. This pumpkin pie comes together quickly and is something you can feed your guests, young and old, and feel good about! It takes about 5 minutes to prep, so throw it in the oven while you relax, chase your kiddos, or figure out how the heck to carve that turkey. ;-)
Cheers to a peaceful, smiley, laughter-filled Thanksgiving to you all!
In health and gratitude,
CRUSTLESS PUMPKIN PIE
Crustless Pumpkin Pie
15 ounces pumpkin puree (1 can)
1 cup coconut milk (full fat)
¼ cup honey or pure maple syrup (ok to sub with 1 T stevia for an even lower glycemic index)
¼ cup crushed walnuts or pecans
2 T chia seeds
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
coconut oil (to grease pan)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease baking pan with coconut oil.
3. Mix all ingredients in blender, except crushed nuts.
4. Pour mixture into pan and bake for 45 – 50 minutes.
5. Top with crushed pecans / walnuts and allow to cool.
6. Serve yourself a slice before it gets eaten all up. ;-)
It's a bird, it's a plane, it's….Jagger (all 20 pounds of him) and we're working out together!
Today is part 2 in my GREAT & GRATEFUL series that coincides with Thanksgiving week here in the United States. As many of you know, I had an incredibly difficult time both with getting pregnant and during my two pregnancies as well. After multiple rounds of IVF and two pregnancies with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (check out helpher.org for more about this disease), I might be the luckiest person I know to be on the 'other side' with two wonderful, healthy children. In today's video, I share a brief, fun moment on the kitchen floor with Jagger. We workout, we laugh, we play. Magnolia just so happened to be upstairs avoiding her nap when this was shot. ;-) Today I mention my journey, my babies, the beautiful life of joy and health we can now share together. GREAT & GRATEFUL!
Try these at home with the nearest baby, toddler, or gallon of water you have for a good triceps burn. **Please note: no skulls were actually crushed in the making of this video! It's a weird name for an exercise, right?
In health and gratitude,
Today's blog post kicks off my GREAT & GRATEFUL SERIES that seems more than appropriate to share during Thanksgiving week here in the United States. Kimberly Chacon is an amazing woman, breast cancer survivor, mom to 3 under 2(!), teacher, and now pours her heart and soul into spreading awareness about breast cancer diagnosed in young women. Check out her blog, www.partyoffiveblog.com. Kimberly is not just a survivor, but a mighty magnetic individual that I had the pleasure to meet with in-person. A quick example...she knew I'd be showing up to our meeting with my two kiddos and thought to bring a few seasonal crafts for my toddler to have fun with as we chatted about business and motherhood. There should be more people like Kimberly in this world!
Read Kimberly's incredible story:
I was 28 when I heard the words that changed my world forever. "You have breast cancer." At the time I was working full time, finishing my graduate degree, and living a healthy life. My diagnosis completely knocked my life into a new reality that was dark and frightening. I did not look or feel sick, but I had a tiny lump that I mentioned to my doctor, and that was where it began.
Going through breast cancer brings with it a palette of mixed emotions. Sadness at those we've lost, pain for those engaged in the battle and hope that we are going to find a cure for this vicious disease. Over the years I have participated in different ways with various organizations, and recently I have made it a point to write about my own experience. This is what I'd like you to know about being a young breast cancer survivor:
1. There is no cure for breast cancer and women continue to die everyday. There is a misconception that this disease is easy to treat. Again, it is still a fact that breast cancer does NOT have a cure and while some prognosis are better than others, breast cancer can come back, even years after you have shown to have NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE.
2. Eight years after my diagnosis I still take a daily medication and while you may never hear me complain about it, there are side effects. It is recommended that I take this medication for ten years following my initial treatment. When you are in your 20's and you imagine ten years of medical treatment it seems impossible. It is life saving and a blessing to have it, but it is also a daily reminder of my past with cancer.
2. Medical research saves lives and quite possibly saved mine. Based on the kind of cancer that I had, I was able to take a "new" drug called Herceptin. It only exists because of extensive research which involves lots of $$$$ and brave end-stage patients that agree to try new drugs. This drug became available two years before I was diagnosed and without it my odds of survival would have been much lower. There was even a Lifetime movie made about the breakthrough starring Mr. Harry Connick Jr.
3. A mastectomy does not mean you get a free, new pair of boobs. Yes, several people made that comment to me while I was in treatment. (Why?? Why would you say that to anyone? Please don't ever say that to anyone.) Quite the contrary. Having a double mastectomy means that you lose a part of yourself and gain significant scars. It means a painful surgery and a long healing process. It means fighting to gain acceptance of a new version of the most intimate parts of your body. It steals a part of your sexuality and it robs you of the basic human choice of breastfeeding your children. It is often all of these things right before beginning six months of chemotherapy. It leaves scars, both physical and emotional. While the procedure and outcomes have improved over the years, do not believe that a mastectomy is an easy solution.
4. Just because your hair has grown back does not mean that you are "finished". After going through the hell that is cancer treatment you are a different person and it takes time to find your new normal. We have gone down a tumultuous road and it takes time to heal. That can mean that relationships change, you make lifestyle changes, or you look at the world in a new way. Be gentle with someone who has gone through treatment, even if it's two years later. Just because we look fine again does not always mean that it's done.
5. As survivors, we are glad there are many awareness campaigns, but we are always concerned about who benefits from all the pink. First, read the fine print on anything you purchase and see what they are actually doing with your dollars. Second, keep in mind that Avon and Komen get tons of money and they have major corporate sponsors, so don't worry about them. What's better than buying pink socks and glitter boas? Donating to organizations that directly benefit research and women like www.metavivor.com or www.pinkdaisyproject.com. If you want to give, make a smart donation.
Becoming a cancer survivor changed my life forever. Chances are that you know someone who has been touched by the disease. How can you take meaningful action? Make a donation to a research program or an organization that directly helps women in treatment. If you personally know a survivor, reach out. Finally, if you're putting off having yourself checked, please make sure you make that appointment. It could be the most important thing you do.
Tara here, again. Thanks, Kimberly, for sharing your incredible story with us!
We're celebrating the GREAT and GRATEFUL for Thanksgiving week! Tell me what is moving you these days. What is great in your life? Who are you grateful for? Please share here or come join the conversation on Facebook at Facebook.com/TaraAllenHealth.com.
Ugh. Alrighty, sorry for the spoiler. If you are amongst the many millions of people that still drink soda on a regular basis, pay attention. And if you've kicked that habit long ago, I still want you to watch this video so you can become an anti-soda ambassador for your friends and family. :-D
In this video, I show you - teaspoon by teaspoon - how much of the white stuff is actually in one serving of this particular ginger ale. It's frightening!
Let's talk about something real quick that the giants in the food industry try to keep secret from us - the "bliss point". This is a chemically created "magic point" of sorts that results from a combination of sugar, salt, and/or unhealthy fat that turns on the pleasure sensors in our brain the same way cocaine does. This bliss point is actively sought out by the chemists that CREATE food-stuff in a lab. It leaves us with intense cravings and addiction to these products. Not cool! And guess what? The more you consume, the greater the sugar, salt, and/or unhealthy fats are needed to achieve the same "high". Doesn't this sound a whole lot like substance abuse? Unfortunately, it IS a very similar process. Here's the caveat… our bodies are really amazing and can buffer a lot of damage we do to it for quite some time. I know this sounds like a good thing, but think about it this way - you can be doing a ton of harm to your organs, digestive system, brain, cells, etc. and not know until wayyyy later in life.
If you have been diagnosed with Diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, hormonal imbalances, an auto-immune disease, or anything else that you consider to be your 'wake-up call', there's a silver lining. Your body just does not want to let you get away with too much damage. Your body is asking for you to clean up your act earlier on. That's great news!
Watch this video and please let me know where you stand, currently, with your soda consumption. I want to be the catalyst for you to hold yourself accountable. I promise I won't be too harsh. In fact, I believe in very small and sustainable changes over time for lasting results. So don't give up your Coke cold-turkey (unless you feel confident that you can). Instead, how about ONE less soda THIS week? Drop me a comment or email and let me help you. :-)
Now, brace yourself for this… ONE serving of soda equals HOW much sugar?!?!? ...
Magnolia has a cough. Magnolia requests honey about 2,406 times a day. How are these things related?
We mix up a quick "cough medicine" for her when she's sick or something else is going on that may be compromising her immune system (like when she skips too many naps or happens to have a few dairy-heavy days in a row). The best part? Make a bunch and leave it, covered, on the counter. Honey is the ONLY food that doesn't spoil.
**Please note: honey is not recommended for babies under the age of 1 due to their lessened ability to fight off a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum - which can cause botulism in young babies.**
Here's the "recipe": mix together raw honey, turmeric, and cinnamon. Feel free to add some powdered probiotics if you'd like for an added immune boost.
- The honey contains antioxidants, is antibacterial and anti-fungal, soothes a cough and sore throat, and aids in fighting allergies if using a local, raw honey.
- What does the turmeric do? This is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant! Therefore, it helps relieve pain and promote healing.
- Cinnamon not only helps to mask the strong taste of the turmeric, but it helps stabilize blood sugar and insulin responses (which an important player in our health and immunity. It is also anti-microbial and contains antioxidants (see a pattern here?). Oh, and it aids blood circulation so your little one's own defenses can get to work!
- Probiotics boost the health of our "gut". Think of these as soldier reinforcements…more good guys to help fight the bad guys. :-)
This is a safe, effective, and relatively inexpensive staple to keep in your household this Fall / Winter to give to any child or adult over the age of 1 as prevention or as an extra boost when a cold or cough appears. 1-3 teaspoons spread out throughout the day works well! I hope your kiddos request this "medicine" as much as mine does.
Raise your hand if you're on the pumpkin-everything-until-January bandwagon.
I'm right there with ya! ;-) If you answered no, first of all, what's wrong with you? Kidding! Or am I? Regardless, you may know someone (like a child, a spouse, a friend) who DOES love pumpkin everything. Here's a super-quick, easy, and healthy recipe that works well as a snack, a dessert, a dip for fruit, mixed into oatmeal, under granola, or on top of yogurt. The kitchen is for creativity! How do you plan to eat this Pumpkin Pudding?
In an earlier social media post, I promised you guys some nutrition facts. I think there's a time and place for counting calories, protein, etc. I don't believe it's for everyone or forever, no matter what your situation is. I'm a strong believer in listening to your body, balancing hormones, reducing stress and cravings, and eventually being able to be so in tune with your own needs, that there's no food journaling or strict tracking needed. That being said, it IS helpful sometime. Example: If you want to start your health journey and have NO IDEA how many calories you take in on a typical day, you may want to track for a few days to get a baseline. Or, as in this case, I created this recipe custom for a client of mine that has Gestational Diabetes. She needed something high in protein, high in fiber, low in carbs/sugar, and wanted it very "pumpkin-y". Haha! So, here you have it...
- 150 Calories
- 8g fiber
- 12g net carbs
- 11g protein
- 1 full serving of veggies
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 4 T peanut flour (a.k.a. powdered peanut butter)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp stevia
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice
1. This is the easy part - mix all ingredients together in a bowl / mug / cute cup. That's it! Enjoy immediately, store in fridge up to 3 days, or freeze and serve at a later date for your holiday party.
Enjoy. In joy. In health!
You know you WANT to change something. You can practically feel / taste / smell the results and you've made 25 vision boards with your dreams plastered all over them. Then why, oh why, do you end up feeling as though you've self-sabotaged?!
In this video, I get into one of the most basic and foundational questions you should be asking yourself before beginning any type of behavioral change. I use chocolate in my example, because, well who can't relate to chocolate?!
Are YOU and abstainer or a moderator? How will this help you moving forward in wherever you're at in your health journey? Drop a comment or shoot me an email. I'd love to hear more and send you some encouraging words!
It's November 3rd. You have pumpkins still out on the stoop in a Halloween-hangover of sorts. You could throw them out (why?!?!), cook with them, donate them...
…But first, you should get a KILLER workout in (or 2 or 3) before you and your Orange Balls of Autumn-ness part ways.
In this 2.5 minute video (come on now, guys - you do have 2.5 minutes, right?), I show you 3 simple exercises you can do RIGHT NOW to get that blood pumping and endorphins bathing your brain and body. Don't confuse simple with easy. Do three sets of these 3 exercises for a QUICK and POWERFUL jolt of energy (and health and toned muscles…blah, blah). ;-)
Ready? 3….2….1….press play!
Come on….come into the bathroom with me!
Weird? Sort of. Helpful? I hope so! In this short video (read: SHORT - have I mentioned I need A LOT more storage on my phone? I got 99 problems…and mobile storage is #1)...
…Anyway, in this short video I share 3 products I use daily that I swear by. These are not affiliates of mine, I'm just a believer in their health benefits! If you work with me, these may sound familiar to you already as I suggest only the best for my clients. ;-) Each of these items are under $10 or $15, last a while, and won't take more than 45 seconds (total) to implement.
Have I piqued your curiosity?
Ahh, guys…I see my viewership numbers growing here and I'm so excited! Please let me know what you'd like to see more of. Leave comments below so I can say hello. I'm a mama of an infant and toddler - you know that means I need more adult conversations in my day, right?
It's no secret that sleep has been a scarcity around here for….well, quite some time! As a breastfeeding mama, I'm "on call" every night - and that usually ends up being at least 5 or 10 night-time wakings (and feedings). :-O Yup, that wasn't a typo.
My daughter was the same way, so I'm sort of immune to how ridiculous this actually sounds. It's a path I'm more than happy to continue on until things happen to change organically. I'm not looking to sleep-train, cut him off from night feedings, ask my husband to give him a bottle in the middle of the night, or anything else really. No judgement to anyone else - this is just our choice. It's actually quite a sweet set-up - Jagger sleeps in our room and he has this adorable way of simultaneously kicking and punching me when he's ready to nurse. I swear it's much cuter than it sounds! There's usually no crying involved, just a gentle "Mom, I need you now please" type of nudge. At 9 months in, we've definitely gotten into a groove.
Magnolia is now almost 3 years old and those early co-sleeping and breastfeeding days with her are just beautiful memories now. I know all-too-well how quickly the weeks slip by, even as each night may seem to last forever.
With our days totally filled with Magnolia's stories, songs, activities, and boisterousness, I'm a-okay letting the wee hours of the night be reserved for one-on-one time with Jagger. The snuggles and sweet baby breath will be gone before I can say, "Sleep, child!". ;-)
So where does that leave me with my health and productivity? There's this whole work thing, house thing, wife thing….Well, I have my moments of dragging and clawing my way through each hour, for sure! However, I do like to think that a few of my good habits are responsible for keeping me as healthy and energetic as possible during this extended period of barely-any-sleep (and REM? Do I ever get into REM?!). I am typically rather fast-moving (that type A curse), happy, and feeling good and strong.
I started to record this video, as usual, without Jagger at first. But, my storage space ran out on my phone about 30 seconds in and after taking time to make more space on this device, Little Man was ready to join me. Perfecto! After all, the lack of sleep is just a liiiiiiiittle bit about him anyway.
'Til next time...
It's October now. We've survived back-to-school and maybe even are feeling a little more on top of things with a return to schedules and routines. Gone are the Summer s'mores and unlimited Sangria pitchers. Now, we may not be perfect (and why should we be?), but let's not run the train off the tracks here with the upcoming holiday season. I know everyone is aware of the ridiculous overeating that happens at Thanksgiving and the weekly holiday parties and Auntie Anne's mall pretzels that jump in our mouths while shopping in December. But, can we stop for a minute to talk about the big secret here? HALLOWEEN is actually THE gateway holiday! Halloween is the start of the chocolate overdoses, candy highs, and resulting sugar cravings that won't go away. You buy 5 bags of candy to give out to the kids because you ate the previous 5 bags of candy that you bought to give out to the kids. Before October 15th. Because they were on sale. A few (handfuls) too many of these fun-sized treats leads to a not-so-fun-sized amount of bonus holiday pounds. Then what? Halloween's candy rolls right into Thanksgiving's pies which turn into Christmas' cookies before you can say "green smoothie". Oh, hello New Years! Now it's time to proclaim my resolution for a healthier me - the same one I've made the past 12 years in a row - over a few glasses of champagne. Hmmm.
You can try some new options to hand out to trick or treaters this year. Not only will your neighbors thank you, but when you or the little people grab 1 (or 5) of these snacks for yourself, your body (especially your waist and immune system) and the kiddos (sugar-high tantrums, anyone?) will be much better off. Plus, what's cooler than being the healthy-ish mom on the block (says the health nerd)?
25 Alternatives to Junky Candy: Tricking and Treating your way to a healthier Halloween...
The items below follow just a few rules. They are all:
- Individually wrapped (tamper-proof)
- Healthier than typical candy
- Can be purchased in bulk
- Slightly more exciting than giving out pennies or boxes of raisins (though that IS another option).
- Mini Larabars
- Dark chocolate
- Trail mix mini packs
- Single-serve popcorn
- Single-serve veggie chips
- Organic candy (No artificial colors or flavors? That's a win!)
- Freeze-dried fruit or veggie packets
- Pureed fruit/veggie pouches
- Apple chips
- Beef Jerky (Weird tip from the vegetarian, huh?)
- Dried fruit (apricots, mango, apples)
- Mini granola bars
- Coconut water single-serve boxes
- Various milk single-serve boxes (regular, dairy-free, etc.)
- Pumpkin seeds (how apropos)
- Bananas or apples
- Applesauce containers
- Freeze-dried yogurt bites
- Individual bags popcorn kernels (hold the nasty chemicals)
- Small packets nut butter / sun butter
- Gum (sugar and fake sugar-free; bonus points if it has xylitol for their teeth!)
- Coconut shreds
- Individual boxes of oats or cereal
- Hot chocolate mix pouches (look for dark chocolate and one with the least amount of ingredients)
***With the rise of food allergies, it's worth noting that many of the listed items contain common allergens (nuts, gluten, dairy). These won't work for everyone. I recommend keeping a separate container of things like stickers, temporary tattoos, and glow sticks around for the children that need to be super careful of what they eat.
Here's to a boo-ti-ful October! ;-)
You guys, I have barely been able to get used to it being September already and now September is coming to an end this week?!? What the what?! Wow!
Well, I'll tell you what….at least the time is flying with things happening behind the scenes. ;-) Hint hint; wink wink. You've asked and I'm listening.
Fall is upon us and there's something about this season that truly energizes me - more than in an I'm-shivering-for-the-first-time-in-half-a-year kinda way. I suppose you can liken it the calling of a deep clean that Spring thrusts upon us. Maybe it's my mind's rebellion against the days getting shorter. Or, maybe it's the bubbling of excitement over the holidays coming. I like a good party - can you blame me? These days the onslaught of holidays start with my daughter's birthday next month and will end with my son's birthday in January. Who knows (and who cares) though, right?! When I can reign in the flurry of ideas just a bit, I am super-productive in the Fall. I'm just going with it. (Note: Super-productive IS a relative term with a toddler, baby, new house, clients, etc.)
So….Autumn is here. Bugs will be buggin' off soon and germs will be multiplying in their place. Did you know whether you get sick or not has a lot less to do with what you "catch" and a lot more to do with how strong your immune system is? We're filthy beings…covered in germs all the time despite the best hygiene. Working on your health from the inside out is a great place to begin to ward off many colds/viruses or at least kick them out a day or 2 earlier.
The idea for the immune-boosting latte came to me while I was making my morning cup o' joe one day. I was headed to the gym and wanted a little energy before my workout, but not a full meal. While adding coconut oil to my coffee for a little taste and energy, I couldn't help but think about how this would be a great time to consume some turmeric, as the coconut oil aids in its absorption. So does black pepper. Then I needed something else to help mask that flavor while bringing added health benefits: cinnamon! I used a tad bit of honey to sweeten as an experiment because raw honey is excellent in helping to fight all kinds of microbes. I added my cashew milk as usual. Wouldn't ya know - blended all together it actually tasted GREAT! Not only was the taste on point, but the texture was creamy with a little froth on top. A fancy latte for a fraction of the price, a 20 foot commute to the kitchen, no refined sugar, no gluten, no dairy, no weirdness anywhere in the recipe, and a good deed done for my immune system (you're welcome). Yup!
Here you have it: IMMUNE-BOOSTING LATTE...
To a blender, add:
- 1 cup of coffee
- 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used cashew milk)
- 1 T coconut oil
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp - 1 T honey or sweetener of choice (depending on taste preference)
- pinch of black pepper
Blend and enjoy the creamy, frothy goodness!
P.S. Use a Tinkerbell mug as pictured to complete the pleasurable experience. ;-)
Guys…guess what? If you rethink your hummus strategy, your whole world opens up. ;-)
If you buy (or make) a plain, classic-style hummus, use it as a base to mix in other condiments, herbs, spices, produce, "things".
- Avocado for a good mayo replacement
- Tomato sauce for a creamy pasta topping or veggie dip
- Sriracha or hot sauce if you like it spicy
- Pumpkin or beets for a filling, sweeter, healthified dip or sandwich topper. Or, try this on zoodles (zucchini noodles)
- Herbs, spices, oil, vinegar, and/or lemon juice for a creamy salad dressing. This also works well for cold pasta and potato salads and spiralized veggie-pasta dishes.
Make your hummus work for you! It's a happy medium between eating more real/whole foods and not becoming overwhelmed with too much time or energy in the kitchen. This tip saves your money too! Buy your hummus (or chickpeas to make your own) in bulk and customize it for each person and meal afterwards. No more buying 1,284 different kinds of hummus at the store and draining your wallet.
Need help in the kitchen with meal prep or learning HOW and WHY we should be eating a certain way for our individual bodies and health goals? Let me know! I work with my one-on-one clients to catapult you towards your healthiest version of yourself. I aim to get you on your feet so you don't need me anymore! I provide nutrition, fitness, and overall wellness assistance. I am your health buddy! I am the front lines. Let's see if we can save you time and money by increasing your energy, your vitality, your productivity, and boosting your immune system, Let's decrease your reliance on meds, your grocery bill, your sick days, and your days missed LIVING because you have brain fog, pain, and fatigue.
Email me! We can chat about how I can help you. Tara@TaraAllenHealth.com
I take a quick dive into this juicy topic in today's video. Watch up!
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