10-01-2014

Eggplant Parmesan {Gluten-Free}

I’ve recently been trying out a gluten-free diet and really feel like it’s working for me. Another new addition to my daily diet has been fresh food from Urban Acres! I started buying a weekly produce share from a famers co-op when I lived in North Carolina. Ever since moving back to Texas I have been missing my weekly batch of fresh fruits & vegetables.

I started looking around a few weeks ago at different produce pick-up companies in the area. I decided on Urban Acres because they supply fresh, organic and wholesome food from local farmers in the DFW area… BUT not only does it include fruits & vegetables that are in season, but you can also purchase chicken, beef, pork, eggs, etc in their store when you pick up your share for the week. The location for pick-up is not only close to me, but also close to a fun new area of Dallas called Trinity Groves… if you live near Dallas, go check it out {and definitely eat the Charred Okra at LUCK}!

In my past 2 produce boxes, eggplant has been the highlight. I started looking around for a unique and new recipe to test out with this plethora of eggplant I accumulated in the past two weeks. Eggplant pizza? Maybe. Sounds tasty. Roasted eggplant? Ehh, way too easy. Eggplant smoothie? Whoa… yuck. No way. Eggplant parmesan? Yes… this made me remember a delicious recipe my dad tested out a few months back from Cooks Illustrated Magazine. It was the perfect amount of toasted crunchiness with a smooth, but non-soggy eggplant inside.

What’s the main ingredient in eggplant parmesan for the breading? Yep you got it. BREAD.

Bread = gluten

Recent discovery –> gluten = probably contributes to my headaches

 

There are multiple substitutes that can be used for traditional breadcrumbs, but I didn’t want to toast anything for sake of convenience. Here’s the recipe I came up with…

Eggplant Parmesan

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4-6 (I had 24 slices on my baking sheet)

Ingredients
3-4 medium eggplants (I had 5-6 small eggplants from Urban Acres)
4 cups rice chex cereal, crushed into tiny pieces {so it looks like breadcrumbs}
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp basil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 eggs

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Eggplant Parm-1
2. Wash and slice eggplant (~ 1/4 inch thick). Sprinkle with salt as needed to let the eggplant “sweat” or release water for 30-45 minutes. Place the slices in the sink in a colander or on a thick stack of paper towels. Rinse & pat dry – make sure they are very dry before moving on.

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3. While eggplant is “sweating”, mix together the rich chex, spices and parmesan cheese in a bowl or large ziploc bag for breading the eggplant. Beat 2 eggs together in a bowl for dipping the eggplant.

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4. After making sure the eggplant is nice and dry, dip the slices into the egg mixture and immediately into the breading mixture.
5. Place the slices on a baking sheet coated with olive oil spray or a thin layer of olive oil.

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6. Bake at 450 degrees for 7-8 minutes, then flip them over and continue baking for 7-8 more minutes.
7. Serve with your favorite marinara sauce and noodles {or gluten-free noodles}.

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Nutrition {per 3 slices eggplant}: 150 calories, 3g fat, 21g carbohydrate, 4.5g fiber, 6g protein

Have a favorite or go-to eggplant parmesan recipe?? Let me know!

Eggplant Parmesan {Gluten-Free}
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4-6 (I had 24 slices on my baking sheet)
Ingredients
  • 3-4 medium eggplants (I had 5-6 small eggplants from Urban Acres)
  • 4 cups rice chex cereal, crushed into tiny pieces {so it looks like breadcrumbs}
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp basil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 eggs
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Wash and slice eggplant (~ ¼ inch thick). Sprinkle with salt as needed to let the eggplant “sweat” or release water for 30-45 minutes. Place the slices in the sink in a colander or on a thick stack of paper towels. Rinse & pat dry – make sure they are very dry before moving on.
  3. While eggplant is “sweating”, mix together the rich chex, spices and parmesan cheese in a bowl or large ziploc bag for breading the eggplant. Beat 2 eggs together in a bowl for dipping the eggplant.
  4. After making sure the eggplant is nice and dry, dip the slices into the egg mixture and immediately into the breading mixture.
  5. Place the slices on a baking sheet coated with olive oil spray or a thin layer of olive oil.
  6. Bake at 450 degrees for 7-8 minutes, then flip them over and continue baking for 7-8 more minutes.
  7. Serve with your favorite marinara sauce and noodles {or gluten-free noodles}.
  8. Nutrition {per 3 slices eggplant}: 150 calories, 3g fat, 21g carbohydrate, 4.5g fiber, 6g protein
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 3 slices Calories: 150 Fat: 3g Carbohydrates: 21g Fiber: 4.5g Protein: 6g
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09-27-2014

Weekend Announcement: The Body Department

Guess who is the newest contributor to The Body Department??

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Yours Truly!

Please visit their website and check it out… there’s lots of great information on nutrition, exercise and living a well-balanced healthy lifestyle.

 

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09-26-2014

The Truth About Gluten

If you keep up with the changing trends of nutrition, you’ve heard “gluten” mentioned a few times lately. People love to be part of the next new trend whether it’s really beneficial to the body or not… you’ve seen it with low-carb, low-fat, high-fat, grapefruits only, and the list goes on.

 

The whole reason for starting this blog was so that you could find trustworthy information, backed up by science and tested by a real human being. Let’s break down the latest headlines on gluten… has it truly given you a “wheat belly”? How about a “grain brain”?

First things first… what IS gluten?

 

If you haven’t seen the Jimmy Kimmel video on this… check it out now. So stinkin’ hilarious.

gluten

Gluten is simply the protein found in wheat. It is comprised of gliadin and glutenin, giving elasticity to dough & helping it rise.

Those that have a true allergy to gluten suffer from celiac disease.

You can easily have a blood test done to see if your symptoms are a result of celiac disease. However, if the test comes back negative, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are not affected by gluten.

If you have been suffering symptoms that seem related to gluten, it may be possible that you have non-celiac gluten sensitivity (‘gluten sensitivity’).

Research estimates that 18 million Americans have gluten sensitivity. That’s 6 times the amount of Americans who have celiac disease.

Non-celiac gluten sensitivity has been coined to describe those individuals who cannot tolerate gluten and experience symptoms similar to those with celiac disease but yet who lack the same antibodies and intestinal damage as seen in celiac disease. Early research suggests that non-celiac gluten sensitivity is an innate immune response, as opposed to an adaptive immune response (such as autoimmune) or allergic reaction.

I’ll be honest and tell you when all of this gluten stuff started popping up, I thought it was ridiculous. As registered dietitians, we are taught to include everything in moderation, choose whole grains and include them often… especially in an athlete’s diet. Gluten sensitivity? Really? Either you have celiac disease or you don’t. Here we go having to deal with the newest way to cut out a food group or reason to make lots of “gluten-free” processed foods to sell at the grocery store.

If you watched the video above, yes, lots of people are taking it on as a trend. However, the research is showing us that it IS a real problem. Many people suffer from headaches, bloating, digestion problems and more due to gluten sensitivity.

Improvements are being found in those with the symptoms above as well as those suffering from inflammatory bowel disease, fibromyalgia, migraines and fatigue.

Research presented by Columbia University clinicians at the 2012 American Academy of Neurology meeting found that 56% of people with gluten sensitivity, and 30% of those with celiac disease, suffered from chronic headaches compared to 14% of people in the control group. About 23% of those with inflammatory bowel disease also reported chronic headaches.

If you’ve been wondering about gluten or whether you may have a sensitivity, here are the symptoms to consider:

Bloating
Diarrhea
Fatigue
Skin rash
Tingling/Numbness
Mouth sores
Joint pain
Headaches
Depression/Anxiety
Discolored teeth
Foggy brain

Personally, I’ve had really bad headaches for the past 6-7 years. A couple of years ago, I started to seek medical help… I had MRIs done, saw plenty of MDs (neurologist, internal medicine, sleep doctors), and came up with no result. I was left with a bottle of pills for my “migraines” that really doesn’t work or help anyway.

Like I said, I was against this gluten-free movement at first… wanting to avoid the next “trendy” nutrition claim.

After a lot of reading and the newer research coming out, I decided why not try cutting out gluten? Why not just give it a shot? And I don’t mean buying lots of packaged “gluten-free” foods to carry around with me. I mean… limiting grains and when I do eat them, double-checking they are gluten free (oats, quinoa), while including a lot more produce and lean meat. It’s definitely not easy. I’ve had more than a couple slip-ups but it’s a work in progress.

I’m happy to say in the past 6 weeks, I’ve had one really bad headache instead of the 1+ per week. I’ve lost 8 pounds without really altering my exercise habits and the daily morning “foggy” brain has become SO much better.

While research absolutely has an important place in science, there’s also something to knowing your body and feeling the change that happens when you’re aware of what’s going into your mouth.

This starts the first of a few posts on non celiac gluten sensitivity on the blog! I want to show you how easy it can be to try out a gluten-free lifestyle if you’re interested.

If you have a similar story or a favorite gluten free recipe, please email me or comment below! I would love to hear your stories. Have a great weekend!

 

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09-01-2014

Berry Macaroon Energy Bites

Monday is here and the deal stands…

A brand new recipe!

When thinking about how to incorporate nuts or trail mix into a client’s diet in a creative way, there tends to be a roadblock for me. Not everyone will eat plain nuts, or even trail mix… so how else can I get the omega-3, nutrient dense and salty snack into an athlete’s body?

Meet energy bites. There are SO many varieties. They are delicious no matter which one you choose. They are the perfect snack based on nutritional qualities.

I took one of my very favorite energy bite recipes and tweaked it to give room for using the Sahale Snacks Berry Macaroon Almond mix because it is addictive and it will most definitely be a brand new way for many people to get in their omegas {woohoo!}.

This recipe is gluten-free (check your oats) & dairy-free.

Berry Macaroon Energy Bites 

Ingredients

1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp cocoa (optional)
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup Sahale Berry Macaroon Almond mix, chopped

Directions

In a large bowl, mix almond butter, honey, vanilla extract and cocoa {if using} well. Add in oats and mix well.

Form ~20 energy bites in small balls {think ping-pong ball size}.

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Roll balls in chopped berry macaroon almond mix.

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Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 7 days.

Nutrition (1 energy bite): 77 calories, 4.5g fat, 8.5g carbohydrate, 1.5g fiber, 2.5g protein

2-3 bites is the perfect morning or afternoon snack for those watching their weight… bump it up if you’re looking to gain.

Sahale Blueberry-the fueled athlete

 

Have a favorite energy bite recipe already? Please share!

Don’t forget… Sahale Snacks is on tour and currently in the Cali area! Visit their Facebook page or follow on Twitter for more details.

 

Berry Macaroon Energy Bites
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 10
Ingredients
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp cocoa (optional)
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup Sahale Berry Macaroon mix, chopped
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix almond butter, honey, vanilla extract and cocoa {if using} well. Add in oats and mix well.
  2. Form ~20 energy bites in small balls {think ping-pong ball size}.
  3. Roll balls in chopped blueberry macaroon mix.
  4. Refrigerate in airtight container for up to 7 days.
  5. -3 bites is the perfect morning or afternoon snack for those watching their weight… bump it up if you’re looking to gain.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 bite Calories: 77.8 Fat: 4.5 Carbohydrates: 8.5 Fiber: 1.5 Protein: 2.5
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08-29-2014

Blog Break = Heartbreak

heart·break \ˈhärt-ˌbrāk\ noun
: a very strong feeling of sadness, disappointment, etc.
: crushing grief, anguish, or distress

Everyone gets busy. It actually isn’t even a valid excuse for anything anymore when someone replies with “I’m sorry, I’ve just been so busy”. Who isn’t, right? This is where is comes down to priorities.

Who is actually SO busy that they are skipping out on Grey’s Anatomy or Game of Thrones or {my personal favorite} Homeland? Oooooh… this is where it gets interesting. Very few. It comes down to priorities.

 

So this is my apology to all of you who have been wondering where the heck I have been the past month… there’s really no valid excuse. I’ve realized this little blog break has caused me some heartbreak. I’ve felt the sadness and disappointment of not interacting with all of you on a regular basis.

Yes… I moved. I received new projects at work. I’m trying to train Bella to roll over. The list goes on.

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The important news is I’m back…

 

Starting Monday, I have some great posts planned for the blog annnnd there is a big project in the works, which remains a secret for now.

Remember when I told you about Sahale Snacks?

Great news. They are touring around the US giving out samples of their newest inventions. I was lucky enough to try all three varieties and cannot wait to share some of my own creations with you!

Monday will roll out with a new recipe {from yours truly} containing the Berry Macaroon Almond Mix.

The Snack Better Tour is currently in California so check out their Facebook Page for details on where you can get some samples!

On a different note, what are you craving from the blog these days? Recipes? Sports nutrition education? Let me know in the comments or shoot me an email!

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

*Note: these are not affiliate links. The links are a general resource.

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