The Rungry Health Coach

8 Tips to "Healthify" Cozy Meals

As the mercury lowers, we all crave warm, stick-to-your-ribs meals. Mac and cheese, saucy noodles, chunky stews--they all foot the bill of comfort. Despite their popularity, these meals are often caloric bombs--full of calories that offer little nourishment.

Stroganoff

That doesn't mean you have to stop eating them, however.

These kinds of meals-curries, noodle dishes, soups and stews--can still rotate into your weekly meal plan, and you can feel good about serving them. All it takes is a new mindset and a few tweaks to amp up the nourishment in your favorite meals.
  1. Invest in a spiralizer. A spiralizer is a unique kitchen appliance that can turn your favorite fruits and vegetables into noodles (think zucchini, apple, potato, etc.). These noodles can then be easily substituted into your favorite recipes. While they don't strictly replace pasta, they're great at getting more nutrients into one meal.
  2. Reduce the cheese. Many recipes call for a lot of cheese, so try simply reducing the amount used. To boost health benefits, purchase cheeses made from organic milk (if it's available to you).
  3. Or, make your own non-cheese cheese sauce. Yes, that's a thing. Using a high-speed blender, you can make flavorful cream sauces using ingredients like white beans, soaked cashews, non-dairy milk or steamed cauliflower. (I've even seen queso made from eggplant.)
  4. Sneak in more greens. Greens like kale, spinach or arugula are incredibly versatile. They can easily be added to stews, soups and curries just before serving. Or, you can always add a bed of greens underneath your warm meal. The heat of your meal with naturally wilt your greens. 
  5. Stuff it full of veggies. This should come as no surprise, but add in extra vegetables into your favorite cozy recipes. Carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers and sweet potato are all great additions to curry. Vegetable soups can be made with any veggies--the more the merrier! (And of course, opt for organic if possible.)
  6. Blend to create a natural thickener. We are drawn to these meals because not only are they comforting, they're thick and delicious. Thickeners like milk or flour usually get the job done, but you can try pureeing about 1/3 of your soup in a high-speed blender--before you add more tender vegetables like greens, peas or corn. Return the puree back into the soup and stir. 
  7. Use real butter. If you're going to use butter, use high-quality butter or ghee made from happy cows. Friends don't let friends use margarine--an extremely processed food made with hydrogenated vegetable oils.
  8. Use warming spices. If you're feeling cold, add more warming spices to your recipes. Cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, cayenne, cloves, cumin and more offer a host of benefits. Including adding a natural warming sensation in the body, these spices have anti-inflammatory benefits and hare full of anti-oxidants. 
Want more cozy meal ideas? Check out these recipes!

The Rungry Health Coach

What Are Healthy Fats

Fat gained a bad rap in the 1990s. It was during that time we were all lead to believe that fat made us fat. There was an influx of fat-free products and for years, many people bought into this myth.

We became more concerned with a product's fat content than its ingredient list. When a company removes fat, it often replaces it with processed sugars and other ingredients.

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But, we were lied to. We need fat to function. A diet rich in healthy fats can help prevent heart disease, keep hunger at bay, regulate blood sugar, and help some vitamins dissolve in the body. Fats are also needed in hormone regulation.

Are you a gym rat looking to improve strength and gain muscle? Eat more fat. Fats can elevate growth hormones, and speed up recovery time in between workouts. 

Looking to ease the symptoms of PMS or menopause? Eat more fat. Because fats help regulate hormones, they're ideal at establishing balance in the body. It also helps boost labido. (Bow chicka wow wow.....)

When it comes to things like yogurt or ice cream, fats provide the velvety mouth feel we've come to associate with both of these. Fats make things creamy and dreamy. 

There are fats that are better for us: omega-3, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated. Despite this rage in low-fat diets, many people started eating the wrong kinds of fats--omega-6 and trans fats. These kinds of fats increase inflammation, and are often found in vegetable oils. (Think of all the fried food we consume as a nation....)

When consumed in too high of quantities, omega-6 fatty acids can block the positive health effects of omega-3 fatty acids. Excessive consumption of omega-6 fatty acids have been linked to cancer, arthritis and inflammatory diseases.  

So, what healthy fats should you add into your diet?
  • Avocado
  • Olive Oil/Avocado Oil
  • Coconut (Oil, Flour, Flakes, Shreds)
  • Fatty Fish
  • Nuts/Nut Butters
  • Seeds
  • High-quality red meats
Aim for a healthy fat at every meal and snack. Avocados pair wonderfully with eggs, and make luscious additions to smoothies. Hemp seeds can easily be sprinkled on salads, added in smoothies, or make a creamy base for dressings. Change out your cooking oil from vegetable/canola oil to olive or coconut oil. 

If you feel constantly hungry or unsatisfied after a meal, lower your consumption of carbs and add in a bit more fat. A healthy combination of fats, proteins and carbs should keep you full for hours until your next nosh. 

Experiment with how much fat you eat. Some people function very well on a high-fat, low-carb diet. However, when you're transitioning to eating more fat, you may feel some symptoms of your body adjusting. Brain fog, dizziness and headaches are all common as you transition to a higher-fat diet, for about two weeks. 

Want to learn more about fats and how they could affect you? Send me an email


The Rungry Health Coach

How to Prepare for Fall Running

Fall differs in so many parts of the country, but as autumn rolls on into winter, what seems consistent is the weather's inconsistency. 

It's cool (sometimes frosty or snowy!) in the mornings, and it tapers off to a mild heat in the afternoons. It may be breezy, or cloudy, or sunny, or rainy, or all of the above at the exact time.

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This can make it hard to figure out what to wear for your run during the fall season. Runs lasting longer than two hours make is specifically difficult to plan ahead, because the temperature starting your run definitely won't be the same when you end.

  1. Check weather reports. This may seem like a no-brainer, but check the weather reports as your run approaches. Depending on both your schedule and the local weather report, you may need to switch around your run. Maybe you become a lunch-time runner, or morning runner. Maybe, you sleep in and run at night. 
  2. Dress in layers. Your arms, chest and hands can't tolerate cold as best as lower extremities, so consider wearing a base layer with a long-sleeve on top. Mid-length leggings for women are also a good option. If it becomes too hot during your run, you can easily remove the top. (You probably shouldn't remove your pants.)
  3. Wear a ball cap. Ball caps are great at both keeping the sun off your face and retaining some heat on your head.
  4. Wear bright colors. As the season drums on, keep track of time. Sunrise is later and sunset is earlier--meaning that's a whole lot of darkness. If you're running during a time when the sun is not out, be prepared and wear bright or reflective clothing. Bonus if you have a running light or vest.
  5. Consider doing a warm-up. Prior to venturing out on your run, bundle up and head outside. Do a quick jog around your block just to warm yourself up. Return home, strip off your unneeded layers, and carry on with the rest of your run. This tip can easily transition you into winter running. 
The weather may not be cooperating, but with the changing leaves and milder temperatures, it's too pretty outside to pass up. 

Need more running tips? Check these out!