Food as Medicine

Purslane Salad with Strawberry and Avocado

Harvested purslane, roots snapped off picked and plopped in a bowl Harvested purslane, roots snapped off, picked and plopped in a bowl

This year we have our largest vegetable garden by far.  Thanks to my husband, our family gardener, we have four separate beds that have been planted with nearly a hundred plants including tomatoes, peas, beans, peppers, kale, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, garlic and herbs.  Sounds impressive, and it is (an heroic effort!), but it’s also a comedy of errors.  As organic gardeners we’ve endured pests a plenty, including cabbage worms, tomato blight, slugs, aphids, and most recently…rabbits.  We’ve sprayed our weight in neem oil, sent our toddlers out to chase the rabbits, and even dumped beneficial ladybugs into the garden.

Some of our efforts have been rewarded nicely; our kale looks awesome, we have green tomatoes on several vines, healthy garlic scapes made delicious pesto, and the kids are happily picking snap peas every day.  Other areas of the garden are a little depressing…the rabbits continue to eat down the carrot tops and swiss chard into little stumps, our strawberry plants failed to actually fruit, and the beans have had to be replanted.  Ah well, you win some you lose some, I guess.  We are still learning, after all.  Still, it is hard to put so much effort into some of these plants, only to have them fail to make something edible.

On the other hand, there is one edible plant in our garden that took no effort at all.  Absolutely none, because it’s a weed – purslane.  We didn’t plant it, didn’t plan for it, and yet it’s thriving in its own [...]

Honey and Soy Glazed Turbot with Garlic Greens

Soy and Honey Glazed Turbot with Garlic Greens Soy and Honey Glazed Turbot with Garlic Greens

Life moves pretty fast with three kids, and it’s been a while since my last post.  Since I’ve taken on full-time stay-at-home parenting, I’ve been busy to say the least: diapering, rocking, potty-training, potty-training cleaning, pre-school transporting, and yes, cooking.  I’m always cooking.  I’ve come to really, really appreciate easy recipes like this Soy and Honey Glazed Turbot.

Now that I’m not spending so much time writing and developing meal plans, I’m free to actually use my old ones.  People would frequently ask me if I followed my meal plan and my answer was always, unfortunately not.  The reality was that I was always testing new recipes and figuring out what would be on the next week’s menu.

But now I am liberated!  (Sad as it is to not be writing new plans!)  Now I pick a meal plan, give the shopping list to my husband on the weekend, when he takes our 4 year old out on errands, and follow the plans that I took so much time to produce for others in the past.  I am happy to report that they’re pretty darn nice to have around.  Fantastic, actually, not to pat my own back or anything.

Over the past few years I’ve written literally hundreds of recipes.  Some were really great, but I only made once or twice (others were not so good, but I didn’t use those in my plans!).  So in using my old meal plans I’m rediscovering some of those recipes.  This Soy and Honey Glazed Turbot is [...]

Braised Red Cabbage with Apples

Braised Red Cabbage with Apples Braised Red Cabbage with Apples

If you’re looking for a new vegetable dish to try  tonight I highly recommend this Braised Red Cabbage with Apples.  Here is why:

  • It’s super easy, taking only about 10 minutes to throw together
  • It’s pretty hard to screw up
  • It tastes kind of like a candied version of a vegetable, making it easy to palate for non-veggie lovers, and a treat for veggie regulars
  • The health benefits are through the roof, yo
  • It pairs really well with mashed sweet potatoes, which are also super easy, and just about any protein you want to throw together

While “cabbage” has a pretty boring and bland reputation (one that may or may not be justified depending on the dish), red cabbage is its sexy cousin.  Not only is it glamorous in color, but it cooks down to be wonderfully sweet when paired with apples, and its health benefits are sky high.

What health benefits, you ask?  Well, pretty much any vegetable in the cabbage family has anti-cancer properties thanks to its sulfur-based glucosinolates.  From whfoods.org; glucosinolates “are cabbage’s trump card with regard to “anti-cancer” benefits. The glucosinolates found in cabbage can be converted into isothiocyanate compounds that are cancer preventive for a variety of different cancers, including bladder cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer.”

But red cabbage is also especially high in antioxidants thanks to its deep red, actually purple, color.  Here’s another little snippet from whfoods.org:

“A recent study showed that a 100 gram (about 3 ounces) serving of raw red cabbage delivers 196.5 milligrams of polyphenols, of which 28.3 milligrams are anthocyanins. Green [...]

Oatmeal Breakfast Bar

Oatmeal Breakfast Bar Oatmeal Breakfast Bar

We have four breakfast eaters in our house, including one toddler and one four-year old, and not everyone is always delighted about the idea of an oatmeal breakfast.  While I’m happy to make other things for breakfast when there’s time, oatmeal is such dependable staple we’ve figured out how to make it stay interesting and attractive…for everyone!

The secret is the Oatmeal Breakfast Bar.  Like a taco bar – but for oatmeal.  A variety of toppings that each person can pick to customize their oatmeal just how they like it.  Even though there may be a large number of toppings at play, more toppings doesn’t necessarily translate into more time or effort if they’re all easily accessible.

This morning I glanced at my counter (picture above), and realized that the number of oatmeal toppings we have on a daily basis is  a little bonkers.  But it’s really ok – I just pop things out of the fridge or cabinet – both of which are within arms’ reach of the counter.

This all evolved quite naturally, thanks to a very picky toddler.  At times the requests get a little obnoxious (syrup and cinnamon on top of the oatmeal – not mixed in, etc).  Even with the super picky requests we’ve managed to keep everyone happy over the years while only cooking one main ingredient: oatmeal.

So here’s what we have going on currently in our “toppings bar”:

  • Cinnamon
  • Raw honey
  • Real maple syrup
  • Raisins
  • Dried cranberries
  • Coconut oil (this really helps the oatmeal stick with you through the morning)
  • Hemp seeds for protein – you could also add any kind of nuts you like
  • Pumpkin seeds – full of protein and minerals, and store [...]

Eat Happy the Book: Pre-Orders are Available, with Bonuses!

Eat Happy: Transform Your Health with Foods You Love is available now for pre-order Eat Happy: Transform Your Health with Foods You Love is available now for pre-order

My first book, Eat Happy: Transform Your Health with Foods You Love is now officially available for pre-order here.  And, if you order before 12/1/14 you’ll get some awesome bonuses, including a signed copy, free shipping, and a free month of Eat Happy Meal Plans.  All in plenty of time for the holidays!

If you’re wondering what this book is all about, I’ll try to explain a little more about it.  Basically, after years and years of working with clients to help them find their happiest ways of eating, I’ve come to one big, universal, most-important conclusion.  Yes, each client is unique, and I’ve seen my fair share of food intolerances and/or specific food triggers which make a world of difference to many people.  But that even those individuals still need to learn this most important rule: eat whole foods.

I have seen so many ailments, aches, pains, and discomforts alleviated with a switch to unprocessed foods.  Migraines, joint pain, fatigue, chronic hunger, sugar cravings, heartburn, constipation, IBS, etc etc.

It’s so simple, but in our current food culture – so complicated at the same time.  Truly whole and unprocessed foods are borderline difficult to recognize these days.   What do you buy?  How do you prepare it?  How do you make it taste good and be convenient?  Why is it even important?  This is what Eat Happy is all about!

Real food is so tasty, so simple to prepare, and will make your body feel [...]

Eat Happy: The Book is Almost Ready!

I’m so excited to share the cover from my upcoming book – Eat Happy: Transform Your Health with Foods You Love!  This is my first book; part-cookbook and part-health tips that will transform your health in a delicious way.

The book is written and in the final round of edits, and I just got some great news – an endorsement from the wonderful Joshua Rosenthal of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  Here’s what Joshua has to say:

Eat Happy provides readers with knowledge and motivation to call their own shots with food. Health coach, Alissa Glenn teaches which foods nourish best and which should be left on the shelf through simple techniques, food guides and healthy recipes, so that you will “Eat Happy” for the rest of your life!” ~ Joshua Rosenthal, MScEd, Founder and Primary Teacher, Institute for Integrative Nutrition

Here’s a shot of the back cover:

I hope you’ll stay tuned for more information, sneak peaks at the great recipes inside, and information on pre-ordering.  Like Us on Facebook to be sure to get all of this great info!

Cheers and Eat Happy!

~Alissa

Eat Happy Book Sneak Peak Recipe: Homemade Granola

Homemade Granola Homemade Granola

My new book (available this Fall), Eat Happy: Transform Your Health with Food You Love features my all-time favorite recipes, including this homemade granola.  Starting your day with a delicious and nutrient-dense meal is so do-able with this homemade granola!   It takes just 10 minutes to toss together the ingredients, 15-20 minutes to toast in the oven, then you get to enjoy it for an entire week or two – which means zero breakfast prep in the am.  I’ve started making this homemade granola again now that my oldest kiddo is back to school and the morning routine is both earlier and crazier than it was during the summer.

Making your own homemade granola is easier than you’d think, and makes a fast breakfast or a filling snack.  Not only does it taste better than store-bought varieties, it will have significantly less sugar and more of the good nuts and fruits that you like.  I still remember my mom’s homemade granola as one of my favorite breakfasts when I was younger.

If you like crunchy granola don’t add any fat to the mix (oil or nut butters).  If you like a chewier granola, try adding some nut butter (peanut, almond, sunflower seed, etc) or coconut oil.  I’m a chewy girl all the way, and I love that the fat makes for a more filling breakfast.

Have fun experimenting with different fruit and nut combinations, and try mixing it up with spices, too.  Cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and ginger are all great options.  My current favorite combo is: 1/2 cup sunflower seed butter, 1/3 cup honey, and about 1/4 cup [...]

Pizza vs. Real Food, Round 1

Summer veggies saute Summer veggies saute

Let me set the stage: it’s 4pm and I”m madly rushing to finish chapters on the manuscript of my first book, which I’m so excited about.  If I get it done in the next week I’ll have an awesome opportunity to present and advertise my book at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition Conference in November, attended by 10,000 people!   So exciting, so cool.  I have to do this.

My 2 year old and 4 year old are screaming at each other downstairs, my sitter is off in an hour, and I’m 38 weeks pregnant, uncomfortable, grumpy, and rather stressed.  Dinner time looms.  I have Eat Happy Meal Plans that I need to schedule in advance over the next few weeks so I can take a mini-break when the baby comes.  The baby room isn’t set up, no bags have been packed, and I’m banking too much on the fact that my other two kids were nearly two weeks late.  I need more time to get everything done.

I have wanted to order pizza for the kids for dinner, pretty much every night for the last few weeks, and tonight is no exception.  The leftovers are gone and I’ve pretty much exhausted my go-to quick and healthy dinner ideas.  They’d love the pizza obviously.  But it’s not going to do them any favors (they’re just getting over a summer time cold), it won’t really do me any favors, as it’s not exactly a go-to food to enhance my productivity (quite the opposite).  My book, by the way, is called OverProcessed and Underfed, and is all about how processed food is [...]

Meal Plan Menu for Week of August 10, 2014

Eat Happy Meal Plan Menu and Shopping List Week of Aug 10, 2014 Eat Happy Meal Plan Menu and Shopping List Week of Aug 10, 2014

When I don’t follow my meal plan menus, I’m as lost as anyone else when it comes to dinner.  I end up making the same old thing, deciding last-minute, and ending up with something less tasty after a more stressful process.  Not fun!

With Eat Happy Meal Plan I do the planning for you, although you can still decide which meals are best for you in any week.  It can transform your relationship with dinner, if you let it!

 This is the meal plan menu for next week, August 10-16th.  It came out bright and early this morning into subscribers’  inboxes, but if you sign up in the next few days I”ll email it directly to you so you can still start next week!

I take extra care to make summer meal preparation as quick as possible, which is usually easy to do since summer produce doesn’t require anything elaborate or lengthy.  Next week you can enjoy these delicious dinners:

  1. Roasted Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce with Simple Herbed Quinoa and Steamed Broccoli 
  2. Beet and Blue Cheese Salad with Adzuki Beans and Sunflower Seeds and Summer Melon 
  3. Grilled Shish Ka Bobs with Greek Marinade and a Simple Green Salad 
  4. Tomato Chickpeas with Spinach over Brown Rice 

Enjoy meals that are homemade, fast, nutrient-dense, and full of fresh flavor with this meal plan.  Along with the full meal plan menu and shopping list, you’ll receive the easy-to-prepare recipes and a calendar for the week that describes how [...]

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    The Organic Debate: Organic Produce is Higher in Antioxidants

The Organic Debate: Organic Produce is Higher in Antioxidants

Another fascinating study has been published, revealing that organic produce is higher in antioxidants than conventional produce.

A large meta-analysis of 340 peer-reviewed international studies concluded that organic foods have several health advantages.  Among them, that organics are higher in antioxidants, have fewer pesticide residues, and are lower in toxic metal content than conventional counterparts.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about antioxidants (research for my new book – more on that later!) and the range of positive health effects they can have.  Hundreds of studies have shown that various antioxidants have the power to improve the immune system, shrink tumors, regulate blood sugar, improve blood pressure and cholesterol, and even improve athletic performance.

The primary job of antioxidants, however, isn’t to help us out, it’s to protect the plant they’re growing in – from pests, the sun, fungi, or other threats.  One hypothesis is that organic foods have higher levels of antioxidants because they have to be a bit more hearty to survive in nature.  Conventional produce has the advantage of various chemicals that do that job for them.  So their antioxidants aren’t as high because they simply don’t need to be.  Supply and demand!

Being lower in toxic heavy metals and pesticides that potentially cause cancer, hormone disruption, or neurotoxicity seem like nice advantages, too.  For more on pesticides check out the Environmental Working Group’s great information.

While organics are likely a bit healthier for the above reasons, it’s still better to eat fruits and vegetables vs. skipping them if conventional is what you have.  Even better, look for local options from smaller farms, who are more judicious about using sprays, use more sustainable farming practices, and likely have better soil quality than some of the massive organic [...]