Stay Healthy This Season!

While the holiday season brings much joy to people, it can unfortunately bring stress and sickness, too. Stay healthy this season with these tips from The Ed & Phyllis Davis Wellness Institute at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital.

Get Outside Often. It’s easy to avoid going outside in winter. A covered garage can mean going from car to office to car and back home without ever feeling that icy sharpness on your face. Staying inside for days on end can cause people to get sick. Get outside on days when the sky is clear and the temperature isn’t too frigid. Dress warmly, head out, and feel that winter sunshine. Admire how beautiful and clean your world looks when there is snow on the ground. You’ll feel much better after some fresh air…and even better, a good walk!

Keep Up the Exercise.Thumbs up if you have a goal to exercise more! Don’t begrudge yourself if things haven’t exactly gone as planned. We know that it can be harder to stay motivated when it’s cold outside and the days are shorter. Make the most of a beautiful sunny day by bundling up and going for a walk or run. If you prefer to stay inside, head to a local gym or fitness class!

Make the Most of Nutritious Winter Fruits and Vegetables: Eating during winter doesn’t have to be boring or vitamin deficient. Keep carbohydrate-laden foods such as white bread and pasta to a minimum and fill your plate with dark leafy greens, winter squash, citrus and pomegranate, all of which thrive in the chill of winter. These fruits and vegetables are laden with nutrients, antioxidants and fiber, which increase your energy, help keep that winter weight at bay, and help fight cancer, too. For more on eating for the winter season, click here.

Protect Your Skin From the Inside-Out and Outside-In: Cold, dry air quickly sucks moisture from your skin. Combine that with a blasting of hot air from a heating unit and some scratchy winter fabric and your skin can end up being one dry, itchy, scaly mess. Keep moisture locked into your skin with a moisturizer. Lather it on every time you bath or shower, or whenever your skin feels dry. Drink plenty of water to keep skin hydrated and eat foods like berries, which are high in antioxidants and lots of omega-3s (also found in salmon, walnuts, or omega-3 supplements), and consider using a humidifier to help add moisture to the air in a dry room.

Stop a Cold or Flu In Its Tracks: Maybe your throat has become a bit sore or scratchy. Perhaps your nose or eyes are starting to feel a bit congested. If you can feel a change in your health, but it’s still in the early stages, keep some natural remedies on hand to take at the first sign of a cold or flu. Olive leaf, garlic, echinacea, elderberry, vitamin C, and zinc may help boost your immunity and increase your resistance to those nasty winter viruses. For some more natural immune boosters and remedies, click here.

One Healthy Breakdown: don’t let winter get ya down!

*content provided by The Ed & Phyllis Davis Wellness Institute at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital.

Basil Guacamole Dip and Sweet Potato Chips

Since it’s been a hot minute (ok, a loooong while…blame it on my need to soak up every single waking second with baby girl…and the fact that she lets me get very little else done!) since I’ve posted a recipe, the big come back better be double good…and it is!

A creamy, zesty, bbq-friendly but good enough for a dinner party too chips and dip. If you can’t decide between pesto and guacamole, this recipe is going to be your best friend. Not that we’re into labels or anything, but it also happens to be diary and gluten free and vegan too.

The icing on the cake? The perfectly roasted crunchy sweet potato chips so good that they put sweet potato fries to shame. Not that you’re not already salivating, but allow me to also mention the fact that this is super simple and easy to whip up. In fact, I did it before baby girl’s attention span ran out…which is pretty damn quick! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 bunch fresh basil leaves
  • 1 handful arugula
  • 1 small or 1/2 large avocado
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

Blend everything together in a high powered blender or food processor (I use a Vitamix) until it’s thick and creamy. That’s it!

For the chips, take 1-2 sweet potatoes (I used one large) and cut into thin round discs. Roast in olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper at 400 degrees until crispy (about 45 minutes at 400 degrees.) Let cool and arrange around your dip.

One Healthy Breakdown: good luck making this one last more than a few minutes!

 

Creamsicle Power Smoothie

Spring is arguably the most promising of seasons, showing signs of growth, vibrance, sunshine, and rejuvenation. Unfortunately, spring also brings about unreliable weather, the peak of allergy season, and those end-of-flu-season germs that have us needing some serious Vitamin C. Ditch the pills and give your immune system a healthy boost with this tasty treat instead!

Ingredients:

  • 1 orange or 2 clementines or 1 grapefruit (peeled)
  • juice of 1/4 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 scoop high quality vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 3/4 cup vanilla almond milk or coconut water
  • 1 handful romaine lettuce (optional)
  • dash of turmeric or small piece of turmeric root (optional)
  • ice cubes (optional)

Add all ingredients to a blender, starting with the liquids. Blend until smooth. Add ice cubes if you wish. Pour into a glass and enjoy, knowing that you’re feeding your body right.

One Healthy Breakdown: real food cures all most!

Paleo Lemon Blueberry Loaf

I just love anything (and everything) with a tangy lemon flavor. Lemon squares, you’re SO GOOD…but you’re SO BAD! This guilt-free, grain-free paleo bread with lemon, blueberries, and very little sugar…now that’s a show stopper. This deliciousness can be made as a loaf or muffins, crunchy on the outside and soft and crumbly on the inside. Does it get any better?!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond or coconut flour (or healthy flour of choice)
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 or 3 lemons (depending on how lemon-y you like)
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set aside blueberries and lemons. Combine all other ingredients in food processor (I use a Vitamix.) Wash lemons and grate the zest of one lemon into mixture. Cut lemons in half, remove seeds, and squeeze juice into mixture. Continue to blend until batter is consistent and smooth. Add blueberries and stir by hand. Grease loaf or muffin pan with coconut oil and pour batter in, leaving about an inch on top for loaf to rise. (If you have leftover batter, it can be used for muffins or pancakes.) Bake for 35 minutes (25 for muffins!) and check with a fork to make sure it’s cooked through, if not, continue to bake another 8-10 minutes. Once top has started to brown, remove from oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from pan. Refrigerate leftovers to keep fresh. Enjoy this sweet and sour snack!

One Healthy Breakdown: take that sugar-laden lemon bars!

*recipe inspired by Savory Lotus’ Blueberry Lemon Bread

Healthy (to die for) Shortbread

Oh, shortbread. It’s one of those things we don’t see/eat very often, but one bite of that buttery, crumbly goodness and it’s enough to throw all of those healthy habits right out of the window and dig in…hard. Just me?? Inspired by Bulletproof’s Shortbread bars (containing collagen, which is great for skin health, hormonal balance, bones and joints, and digestion) this simple, no-bake recipe is full of healthy goodness and tastes just as good as the real deal. Seriously!

Healthy Shortbread (raw & gluten-free)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 3 tablespoons coconut butter
  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
  • 4 pitted dates
  • 1 scoop collagen peptides (I use Vital Proteins, but this is optional/tasteless)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • dash of sea salt
  • filtered water as needed
  • coconut oil or parchment paper to coat pan

Slightly melt coconut butter and regular butter until soft or liquid and throw all ingredients together into your food processor. Mix until consistent. You may have to stop to collect mixture a few times. After a minute or two, add water by the teaspoon until mixture starts to slightly stick together into a dough (you should not need much water.) Grease a square or rectangular pan or glass container with coconut oil or cover with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Once dough is mixed and consistent, pour into pan/container. With a spoon (or your fingers!) spread and compact dough until it evenly coats the bottom (thickness doesn’t matter.) Refrigerate at least 2-3 hours. Once solid, use sharp knife or metal spatula to cut into the shape of your choice, remove, and devour.

One Healthy Breakdown: do they call it shortbread because it doesn’t last long?? 😉

PB & J Sorbet

This super simple sorbet is easy to whip up any time of day for a tasty treat in as little as three ingredients. If you have a little sweet tooth, you’ll love this alternative to ice cream. No dairy, gluten, or added sugar involved. Basically, think of it like a dessert smoothie…but better. Oh, you may have noticed that I’m kinda in love with anything PB & J…if you don’t feel the same way, just omit the nut butter for a classic berry sorbet.

Ingredients: (makes 2 servings)

  • 1 cup frozen berries (I use a mix of strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon peanut or almond butter
  • 1/4 cup of almond milk
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon cacoa powder for a slight chocolatey taste
  • Optional: 1/2 cup plain yogurt (Greek for protein, coconut for dairy free)

Simply blend all ingredients together until it’s the consistency of sorbet and enjoy! Feel free to add some toppings, like coconut, chopped nuts, granola, cacoa nibs, etc. for a crunch.

One Healthy Breakdown: if you’ve had a bad day, sweeten it with sorbet!

Paleo Strawberry Beet Bars

What looks like a brownie but has zero grains, dairy, chocolate, or added sugar? Another experiment gone right in the OHH kitchen, Paleo Strawberry Beet Bars, of course! These babies are chock-full of superfoods and taste, so much so that even the littlest critics will enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1-2 cooked beets (I used 2 precooked Love Beets)
  • 2 tablespoons goji beries
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 heaping tablespoon hemp seeds
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup almond or peanut butter
  • 5 whole figs or dates
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 heaping tablespoon coconut oil
  • splash of almond milk (if necessary)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a brownie pan with coconut oil. Combine all ingredients in Vitamix or high-powered blender/food processor. Once mixture is blended, pour into pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. Test with a fork or knife to make sure bars are solid, they may need a little bit more time depending on your pan size. Let cool, cut into bars, and enjoy for breakfast, snack, post-workout fuel, or a healthy dessert all week long!

One Healthy Breakdown: these bars are paleo-rific!

One Healthy Gingerbread Recipe

All I have been wanting to eat lately is food that tastes like Christmas…anyone else?! Spices like cinnamon, clove, ginger, and foods like citrus fruits, pomegranates, and cranberries are lighting up my life. Homemade gingerbread, however, is brand new to me…until now!

Growing up, we always had gingerbread in the house this time of year, but I don’t even know what was in it. After looking at several gingerbread recipes online, I decided to create my own version with more spices and less sugar. Just one taste of this healthy homemade gingerbread and I know it will be a new holiday tradition. I love it THAT much and you will too!

The best part is that this gingerbread contains no granular sugar, just honey, maple syrup, and molasses. (To be honest, I don’t even think I own sugar. There’s just no need for it when there are delicious natural substitutions out there.)

It’s also dairy free and can be made gluten-free as well! Let’s get started, shall we?!

One Healthy Gingerbread Recipe:

Dry Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2  cups healthy flour of choice (I used spelt)
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbsp grated fresh ginger

Toppings:

  • Pomegranate seeds
  • canned full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients, mix wet ingredients, then mix together. You don’t need a fancy mixer, a regular old fork will do. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and fill the pan with batter, leaving a few inches at the top (this stuff rises!) Bake for 45-50 minutes.

To make the frosting, skim the top half of the coconut milk from the can (be sure not to shake it as to only get the thick paste on top). Add in honey, (or maple syrup if you prefer) vanilla extract, and whip it together. This will make a thicker frosting. If you prefer a thinner frosting to drizzle on the bread instead, you can water it down with the thinner coconut milk from the can (or a little bit of water) use 1-2 tablespoons at a time until you get the right consistency.

Once the bread is cool, frost and top with pomegranate seeds, which are equally nutritious, delicious, and festive. Feel free to get creative and try different toppings, like chopped nuts, red and green sprinkles, crushed candy canes, or cinnamon. Make one loaf to have at home and others as gifts. The perfect Christmas breakfast or healthy dessert this time of year!

One Healthy Breakdown: Happy holidays and happy baking!

*Caroline O’Neill is a year round Hamptons resident and health and wellness lifestyle blogger of Bloom & Spark with a passion for nutrition, yoga, food, spirituality and personal development.

Zucchini + Oats = ZOATS

What’s a zoat?! Much like zoodles are noodles, zoats are oats made out of zucchini (plus, they’re fun to say.) While they’re not the prettiest of breakfast bowls, they sure are delicious and super, duper healthy, without any gluten, dairy, or sugar! What’s better than polishing off a cozy breakfast knowing that you’ve already gotten in a good serving of veggies? Nada.

zoats

Breakfast Zoats (makes 1 large or 2 smaller portions)

Ingredients:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons oats
  • 1 heaping spoonful of flaxmeal
  • 1/2 mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tablespoon walnuts or nuts of choice
  • optional: 1 egg or 1 scoop collagen peptides or protein powder of choice

Grate zucchini into a saucepan on heated stove top. Add remaining ingredients, mix together, and simmer until liquid is absorbed. Transfer to bowl and enjoy warm.

One Healthy Breakdown: totes for zoats that taste like oats!

Thanksgiving Staples Done Right

Thanksgiving food has a bad rap. Not only is the holiday a celebration of gratitude, giving, and grub, but Thanksgiving dinner can actually be pretty freaking healthy with a little bit of thought, control, and balance. So, ignore the hype, don’t fast for the feast, and go into the meal knowing that it’s not your last, so enjoy! Here’s the deal on those Thanksgiving staples:

thanksgiving

Turkey: the main event. Turkey is actually a healthy, low-fat lean protein with tons of vitamins, so let it take center stage on your plate. It’s when the turkey is covered in stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes and devoured alongside alcohol, dinner rolls, and dessert. So, instead of using the turkey as a means to hold these other foods, actually enjoy the turkey itself!

Potatoes: potatoes are a healthy, starchy veg BUT they’re usually ‘buttered up’ (literally) with tons of butter, cream, and cheese, adding tons of fat. If you’re like us, you’d take sweet potatoes any day over regular white potatoes – they’re sooo much sweeter! Luckily, sweet potatoes are also sooo good for you, full of Vitamins A, B, and C, fiber, and beta-carotene. Just keep it simple with a little bit of oil (olive or coconut) or butter and some cinnamon, rosemary, or your favorite spices. If you agree to disagree and prefer the white mashers over orange, simply enjoy a small serving, not a potato volcano on your plate…unless you’re gearing up for a post-Thanksgiving marathon. In that case, you’ll actually need those carbs!

Brussels Sprouts: this cruciferous veggie is a fall staple in the OHH kitchen. Full of fiber, they’ll help you to digest your holiday meal while lowering cholesterol and risk of certain cancers when eaten regularly. Plus, they’re so damn good! No reason not to pass the sprouts, please!

Cranberry Sauce: sadly, we’re in America and that means that your traditional cranberry sauce is more like a gelatin of sugar (with very little to no cranberries) that plops out of a can. Not so appealing. Why not try to make your own, because real cranberries are actually a great source of antioxidants. Here’s a super simple recipe without the added sugar or chemicals!

Casseroles: yeah, not so healthy. The dish on casseroles: not to rag on this classic holiday dish, but a casserole is basically an excuse to make a normally healthy food (like green beans) into a cheesy, buttery, saucy, glutinous dish, with a bit of veggies hiding inside. Keep things simple and skip the ‘role, just stick to the good old veggies above!

Dessert: Have your cake and eat it too. Pumpkin and pecan pie, yum yum. Ok, so not the healthiest things in the world, but again, pumpkin and pecans themselves are both full of nutrients, so if you’re in charge of the pie, aim to bulk up these ingredients and dial down the sugar. Either way, there’s no need to turn down Thanksgiving dessert, just have a few bites of your very favorite, enjoy the deliciousness, and be done with it. It’s when dessert becomes an all-you-can-eat buffet that’ll have you feeling YUCK with a side of guilt.

One Healthy Breakdown: Thanksgiving is one meal, one day, and the focus should be on gratitude over grub…but enjoy the grub too! Happy, healthy holiday!