Monday, April 21, 2014

Bistango Gluten-Free Restaurant Expanding

Have you heard?!

Bistango Italian Restaurant in NYC is expanding!!  This is such exciting news!!  Bistango's original location is in the Murray Hill neighborhood and is expanding to the Upper East side with it's own 'on premise' gluten-free bakery!! Yeah!!

Coming soon!

Enjoy!! xx Julie 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Green Goddess Smoothie (Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Low Sugar, Paleo, Vegan)

By now perhaps you have noticed that I am totally obsessed with Smoothies!!  If you follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter you would definitely know that I love them!  If you don't follow me, then what are you waiting for?!  Get on the goodie wagon with me and let's go for a ride!

Smoothies make me feel ALIVE!  And it is the BEST feeling ever!! Step aside coffee, you won't dehydrate me this time! (at least not in the a.m.) : )

I never realized how different my mornings could be until I started making smoothies.  A few years back I was basically a zombie dragging myself each morning to my job as a Fashion Designer and starting off with a caffeinated cappuccino followed by random carb snacks to stay awake, followed by another cappuccino at lunch, when really all I needed (clearly) were some low sugar fruits, veggies blended into a gorgeous smoothie! I don't think I ever realized what energetic (naturally) really felt like.  It was and still is amazing each and every morning.  In fact, when I don't have one not only am I bummed, but I'm not my spunky self at all.  And that's just no way to live.  Especially since I have seen the other side and it is greener!! It's greener, it's better, it's prettier, it's clearer the list can go on my friends!!-That's why I wake up even earlier then I should just to make those gorgeous green smoothies!

I wake up an extra 20 minutes just to make them daily.  It's not just the drinking part that rejuvenates me, it's the whole process.  Gathering the veggies, fruits, super foods and proteins and concocting beyond my wildest imagination some pretty freaking awesome smoothie combos.  And then I usually drink them while I'm getting ready, or I shower with the smoothie.  Yes, you heard right…I shower with my smoothie.  What else am I gonna do while I wait for the conditioner to settle in? By the time I leave the house I am wide awake on a natural high that completely satisfies me until lunch time.  It's pretty amazing.

I perfected this goddess this evening so I could get it on the blog ASAP!  Just 2 tries and it's the Shizzle! 


1 cup ripe Honey Dew Melon
1 cup English Cucumber plus 3 extra slices (not frozen) (peeled)
1 handful spinach
1/4-1/3 slice of avocado
1 heaping kitchen size tablespoon of Coconut Butter
1/2 coconut water
1/2 unsweetened coconut milk
Optional: 1 Tbsp. Aloe Vera Gel
Optional: Lime juice from 1/2 a lime (this is only needed if you add the Aloe)

-Add everything into the blender minus the ice and blend until all particles have disappeared.  
-Add 3-4 ice cubes and blend again

Serves 1 very large smoothie or 2 smaller smoothies

-Aloe Vera is a magical plant!  It's inside gel heals/aids burns, sunburn, skin irritations, rashes, eczema.  It's great for the hair and the scalp and makes your skin shine.  It's gel is soothing.  Aloe Vera helps with indigestion and Acid Reflux.  I sometimes put it in my tea.  Chamomile tea brewed with coconut milk and some Aloe Vera gel is amazingly relaxing.  
-Cucumbers.  While I used an English Cucumber for this recipe, sometimes they are hard to find.  Fear not my lovelies, just use a regular cucumber.
-I prefer organic produce as much as humanly possible, but whatever floats your boat ladies and gents!

Enjoy!! xx Julie 

Like my posts? Get on the Goodie Wagon and let's go for a ride!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Hot Chocolate Coffee (Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Paleo, Vegan, Sugar-free)

Sometimes I feel like there are days only chocolate would understand.  And following a strict Paleo diet does not allot for chocolate eating.  Especially chocolate with added dried cane sugar.  And especially in abundance.  Of course special occasions allot for this type of activity, but today is not that day.

So how do you put a sock in your chocolate craving?  Well, simply remove your sock from your foot and put it in your chocolate.  I'm kidding!  Please use a clean sock! Kidding again!!…

Often, chocolate cravings can get the best of us, so I created a delicious recipe to kick my craving and your craving.  It's delicious.  And it's perfect for the lover of coffee and chocolate.  Taking a sip of this sent signals of pure decadence to my brain.

A lot of my readers often describe how tough it is to drink black coffee without sweetener, so this one is for you guys!!  This recipe is a total Brain Trick.  It tastes sweet and chocolaty, so you think there is sweetener.  But it's all naturally sugar free.  And it's easy.  No slaving in the kitchen for this one…I just need a few minutes of your time.

1 cup of your favorite coffee (decaf or regular) (I use decaf)
1 Tsp. Raw Cacao Powder
3-4 drops of Liquid Stevia Concentrate
2 capfuls of Sugar Free Vanilla Extract  (that means no alcohol in the extract)
1/8-1/4 cup unsweetened Coconut Milk

1. Brew your coffee and pour into a cup
2. Add raw cacao, coconut milk, liquid stevia and vanilla and mix well with a spoon
3. Serves 1

Drink it hot.

-Sugar Free vanilla extract is hard to find, but well worth the search.  The brand I use is called Premium Quality Pure Vanilla Extract All Natural, Sugar Free by Morton and Bassett Spices.
-Liquid Stevia-Not all Liquid or even powder Stevia is created equal.  The real Diabetic friendly Liquid Stevia is from the Whole leaf and is a very tart dark substance with purified water.  If you read the labels (despite the pretty marketing of 'all natural', 'safe for diabetics') read the ingredients list.  If you see ingredients like Dextrose, or any other ingredients you cannot pronounce, know that is not pure Stevia).
-Raw Cacao powder is not processed, but Cocoa Powder is the processed version.  I say stick with Raw Cacao powder because there are so many nutrients worth your while in Raw Cacao, that regular cocoa does not have like Iron, Magnesium, dietary fiber, antioxidants, mood improving qualities and more.

Enjoy!! xx Julie

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Versatile Pancake (Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Paleo, Vegan, Sugar-free)

Over the weekend I woke up with the overwhelming feeling of needing to eat pancakes.  So I thought, what would be the best way to accomplish Paleo Pancakes and what ingredients could I use?  I began to scour the internet at 8:30a.m. on a Saturday determined to find a good recipe.

I came across one that called for 3 eggs, Ghee, Coconut Flour and a sprinkle of salt from Nom Nom Paleo.  

I thought…That's easy, and I have Coconut flour.  Score!

I ran to my kitchen and began to prepare.  I got out the griddle pan.  I buttered the pan and turned on the heat.  I cracked 3 eggs into my cooking bowl and opened the cupboard looking for the Coconut flour.  I had so many gluten-free flours, but I didn't have coconut flour.  But I wasn't going to give up.  I scoured through my gluten-free flours again and decided on Arrowroot and Flaxseed Meal, since those were the only two Paleo friendly flours I had, and I hoped for the best.  You see I have never used either of those flours before, so it really was trial and error.  I was uber excited that the pancakes were such an awesome turnout!! 

Recipe 1: The Crepe Pancake:

2 Tbsp. Arrowroot Starch
1 Tbsp. Flaxseed Meal
1 Tbsp. unsweetened Coconut Milk
pinch of salt
3 eggs
up to 1 Tbsp. Ghee
optional: handful raw pumpkin seeds

Recipe 2:  The Thicker Pancake:

3 Tbsp. Arrowroot Starch
1 Tbsp. Flaxseed Meal
1 Tbsp. unsweetened Coconut Milk
pinch of sea salt
3 eggs
up to 1 Tbsp. Ghee
handful raw pumpkin seeds

1.  In a mixing bowl add Arrowroot, Flaxseed Meal, Coconut milk, 3 eggs and mix on medium speed with a hand mixer or fork until blended.
2. Grease pan with cooking spray and 1 Tsp or more. Ghee for each pancake.  Turn the stove on to medium heat.
3.  Add mixture to the pan, so that mixture coats the pan.  For a thinner crepe like pancake rotate the pan in a circular motion getting the pancake batter around the edges of the pan.  
4.  Add pumpkin seeds to pancake, or any spice or herb that you want to try, add at this point.
5.  These pancakes cook fast, so just a minute or two on each side, or until lightly browned, while pressing your spatula downward on the pancake.

Serves 2.

And as I began, It turned out to be the easiest and fastest recipe that ever lived.  I really think it was a total of 15 minutes from start to finish.  Perhaps even less.

I have to say, I was envisioning originally a sweet pancake, but once I realized I didn't have coconut flour I knew this would be savory.  I made these two different ways, and both were FANTASTIC.  The recipe makes two huge pancakes or a few small ones.  The flexibility, the chewiness of the pancake was all so perfect.  The arrowroot used curls up the edges, and even one pancake looked like it could have been an edible bowl.  It was literally the shape of a bowl.  The edges just curled inward.  It was wild.  Now keep in mind, and do not be alarmed if your pancake morphs into odd shapes.  Simply tame your cake with a spatula and pat it down.  Each pancake I made had a life of it's own.  It was definitely cool to watch.  I do believe that the pancakes come out differently if used with a fork to mix the batter vs. a hand mixer.  When it comes to appliances you use what you have as there is no 'wrong' way to make this pancake.  

Some of the pancakes looked hardened, but within moments would relax back to a flimsy pancake.
(This is from the thicker batter)  This one looked like that Indian Nan bread I used to get at the restaurants.

The thin Pancake started out like this: Flat, thin and flimsy.  It wasn't as thin as a paper thin crepe, but it was thin enough for me.  I got it this thin by rotating the pan in a circular motion so the batter would hug the sides of the pan too.

Then it morphed into this:
Small circular craters within the pancake, with the edges curling inward and upward.

Then the craters flattened, and the edges got curvier.

And then a flattened masterpiece.  Ta Da!

The Thicker version at first looked like this:
All wonky and weird.  But a few pats down with the spatula and it looked like

this.  A bit on the thicker side with wonkier edges curling in...
So I flipped it and patted it down.

And then it looked like this.  And of course, when I flipped it again another crazy thing happened!

This could have been a pie crust the way it looked.  But then it relaxed completely.  

 I ate mine plain.  They were just that good.

TIPS: Amazing and Delicious options to pair with these gorgeously tasting pancakes:

1. with maple syrup or honey, ghee and a sprinkle of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cardamom and Cloves
2. with nuts, seeds, dried fruit and maple syrup
3. with dates and crushed bananas
4. with steak, spinach, sautéed onions
5. with steak, sautéed red peppers, sautéed spinach, Portobello Mushroom
6. with chicken, red peppers, carrots, sour cream, avocado and salsa
7. with bananas, dark chocolate and whipped cream
8. with sautéed apples or pears, cinnamon and nutmeg
9. with grilled peaches and coconut sugar
10. with chicken, dried chives, sour cream and guacamole

Enjoy!! xx Julie

Cauliflower Marinara Bacon Wraps (Gluten-free, Paleo, Dairy-free)

In my creative kitchen leftovers are the perfect playground for creative masterpieces.  I find it so easy to create "wow" appetizers for company by using little scraps of the previous night's leftovers.  I kid you not, the less I have the more creative I can get.  Instead of having the supermarket at my disposal or a fully stocked kitchen at my disposal, I am left with less, making my body and mind go into instinct mode.  Have you ever stood in your kitchen and let your instincts do the cooking?  the guiding?  the directing?

Friday night I was having my cousin come by for a True Blood Marathon and decided I would make a cauliflower pizza for the first time ever.  And for that I went out and bought additional cauliflower.  But I didn't just want to serve that entree.  Would that be enough?  I wanted to add in an app.  Appetizers are easy ways to practice your creative cooking skills in small servings.

In my fridge I had leftover homemade steamed cauliflower and garlic Marinara, 2 slices of turkey bacon, grape tomatoes and baked zucchini.  I decided to save the zucchini for a topping on the pizza.

Mind you I served this cold.  And I served it cold because hot was expected.  I had never ever made this dish before, nor have I ever paired these ingredients together.  For a moment I thought, "would this even be a good medley"?  I quickly decided it would.  How could it not?  The ingredients together just sounded right.  Thank you instincts.  Cauliflower has been the veggie of the last two weeks for me.  Once I realized just how much you can do with this amazing vegetable I have become obsessed in creating different dishes with it!

And this dish was a HIT.  My guest thought it was a perfect appetizer to the cauliflower pizza.  It was a taste of what was coming next, even though the next dish was prepared differently.  I have to say I loved it too, and now I'm sharing it with you!

Serves 2


2 slices of Turkey Bacon
6-7 Grape tomatoes, sliced
1 cup steamed cauliflower with 4-5 pieces of steamed garlic
1/4 cup Marinara Sauce (I used Rao's)


1. Steam your cauliflower and garlic pieces.  (this can be done in the microwave or stove top).  You will need a large pot and a steamer to put inside the pot.  Steamer should have little legs.  Fill the pot with 1/4 inch water bring to a slow boil.  Add cauliflower to the pot and cover for about 10 minutes or until fully steamed.
2.  Heat Marinara sauce in a separate microwavable bowl and set aside to cool.  
3.  Add cauliflower to the Marinara mixture and coat.

TIPS: If you don't just want to steam 1 cup of Cauliflower, steam the whole head.  Wash it, slice it and steam all of it.  Use the small amount for this dish and save the rest for another dish.

1. Quality is important, try and find a brand that does not use antibiotics, preservatives or thickeners.  Most importantly use a gluten-free brand.  I used Bell Evans.
2.  Follow instructions on package for baking.  I used a saute pan, lightly greased with PAM and added small amounts of water.  Lay each piece next to each other and flip after 3 minutes on each side.

Additional sliced tomatoes should be raw.

The idea is to wrap the turkey bacon around the cauliflower marinara, and tomato slices.  The steamed garlic is a garnish, but also meant to be eaten.

Enjoy!! xx Julie

Chocolate Chai Iced Smoothie (Gluten-free, Paleo, Dairy-free, Vegan)

What I love about my chocolate smoothies, is that they are anything but chocolate. I pack my "chocolaty" smoothies with tons of vegetables.  Heck there is even frozen broccoli in this one and a lot of it.

Green smoothies are my favorite. Your kids would never notice the difference and neither would you. And this is why I love eating clean. There is nothing in this smoothie that is processed.  You know your body is getting the BEST.  And that means you will feel your best!  

3/4-1 cup frozen broccoli (stems and trees)
7 frozen cucumbers
1 handful spinach
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 medium size frozen banana
2 heaping tsp. raw cacao powder 
a pinch of nutmeg, cinnamon, cardomom
ice or additional frozen cucumbers
Optional-1 capful sugar free vanilla extract

1. In a high speed blender blend broccoli, spinach, cucumbers, 1/2 frozen banana and coconut milk until icy consistency.  
2. Then add in remaining 1/2 of banana, raw cacao, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Cardamom. Blend.
3. optional: add ice or additional frozen cucumbers and blend again, this time not entirely smooth.  Small chunks of the cucumber or ice should remain.

-If you don't have all the spices don't worry!  Just add what you have!! This smoothie is delicious even without the spices.  But the Raw Cacao is a must.
-For an icier version add in more frozen cucumbers, and for a more chocolaty version add more Raw Cacao.

Serves 1

Enjoy!! xx Julie

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Sweet Spot Smoothie (Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Paleo, Vegan)

I'll let you in on a secret lovelies!! I get cravings too.  Who doesn't?!

There are days where I just want to eat cake.  All.  Day.  Long.  With chocolate frosting, perhaps some custard-I'd pass on the sprinkles but a side of Ice cream I wouldn't mind.  And then I would want pizza with extra cheese, and throw some fries in too.  I kid you not.  If I could, I probably would, I definitely used to (not all at once though, and not all day).  Wouldn't you?  And I'll tell you, I haven't had anything near this decadence in a long time. (Praise the lord)!

While it's fun to imagine scoring the golden ticket to the world made of chocolate, and fantasize about living the life of Charlie from the Chocolate Factory, my body could NEVER handle that amount of sugar.  I'd end up with a sugar hangover.  I would feel horrible.  I'd break out with more acne then life itself, not to mention terrible stomach upset, more eczema and whatever else my body felt like doing to me.  Not to mention my poor immune system.  She'd be shut down.  I'd be sick and in need of antibiotics for whatever sickness my Immune system decided to give me if I consumed that much.  Oh and let's not forget cavities.  Lots of drilling if my days consisted of non-stop cake eating.

We have all been there for the most part, or at least in some form.  I was the girl that brought decadent cheese platters and gluten-free sugary cupcakes and cookies to parties without fail-and there were LOTS of parties in my twenties and early thirties.  Nowadays?  I bring fillet Mignon and Brussels Sprout.  I am happy to report that I am so thankful and grateful for this healthy, fun and better way of eating.  Better way of nourishing me.  Thank you Universe, I have seen the light!

It's like my body is speaking another language when I eat or drink something that doesn't agree with me.  Does this happen to you?  Do you get stomach aches, allergies, rashes, acne?  Do you get tired, or even high?

And while most may say, enjoy and go for it, I say hold back for a second…

If you are going to indulge in anything before you go for it, you think about it first.  Is it really worth it? What is at stake?  Would you drink and drive?  Probably not.  Since it's so hard to resist once you have had a piece of sugar something, to the point that you are going to throw it away so you don't touch it, and then act  like George Costanza from Seinfeld or Miranda from Sex and The City and dig it out of the garbage can and eat it-You have to really think about what you are doing and why.

I'll be the first to admit I have done this.  I'm not proud.   I have taken cake from my kitchen garbage and eaten it (gluten-free cake of course)!  I have justified that it's clean.  That it was only in the garbage for a little while, and hey it was my garbage anyways, it's totally fine.  Granted it's been years since I have done this deed, but still. Why couldn't I have made a green smoothie then?  Because I didn't know!  That's right!! In a world spreading processed love-I didn't know any better.

But what If I told you, you could satisfy your sweet craving with a creamy banana smoothie with cauliflower, cucumbers and unsweetened non dairy milk and seed butter and only taste the sweet decadence of vanilla banana?  You would think I was crazy right?  You may think it's impossible.  Hmmm?

(I have no idea why it came out purple.  I will assume the seed butter did it).

Hold on the chocolate, hold on the cake, hold on the refined sugar something, I'm telling you-this is the shizzle!  This is the golden ticket.  No sugar hangover.  No cavities, breakouts, stomach upsets, allergies or any reactions other then the reaction of pure goodness.  And you finish your smoothie feeling satisfied.  Feeling like the craving is gone.  Feeling like you can move forward, and not be stuck in your craving. This agitated feeling that you must have what you want at that moment.  That passes and it's like "ahhhh".  Sweet! (no pun intended).  But sweet!

Never in a mil did I think I'd be blogging to all of you admitting that a fruit and vegetable smoothie could get my goat.  Yes, I own a goat.  No, I'm kidding I don't really own a goat.  A goat in my New York City apartment would never work out.  But I do have this stellar recipe I created to satisfy my sugar craving that hit the spot immediately.  The sweet spot.  You know the spot I'm talking about.

1 medium frozen banana
1/2-1 Tsp. Sugar Free pure vanilla extract
2-3 Tbsp. Unsweetened Sunflower Seed Butter
1 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk
2 large steamed Cauliflower Florets
4-5 frozen cucumber slices about 3/8 thick

1. Add frozen banana, vanilla extract, 2 Tbsp. Sunflower Seed Butter and 1/2 cup Coconut milk into a high speed blender and blend until smooth.  Taste.  If you want more Sunflower Seed butter add the remaining Tbsp.
2.  Add the steamed Cauliflower florets and about 1/4 cup of the Coconut Milk.  Blend.  If it is too thick add the remainder of the coconut milk.
3.  Add the frozen cucumbers.  The frozen cucumbers act as ice, and you are getting some extra veggies too.
4.  BLEND.

Serves 1.  A small 1 Serving.  It's dessert!

-Steamed Cauliflower adds a bit of thickness into a smoothie and has ZERO taste.  You will NEVER know there is Cauliflower in your smoothie.  Don't forget to steam it first.
-Organic or Local is best, but get what you can afford.
-Frozen Cucumbers are amazing!  Simply wash, peel, slice and freeze in a ziplock bag for up to 6months.  They act as ice and they are a fantastic snack for kids and adults of all ages, and they hydrate!
-Using unsweetened coconut milk and unsweetened nut butters keeps the added sugars low, therefore concentrating on purely natural sugars.
-Can't find sunflower seed butter?  That's OK!! Use Almond, Peanut or Cashew nut butter!!
-Frozen bananas.  Peel and put in a ziplock bag and freeze for up to 6 months.  Do not forget to peel the banana!!

Enjoy Lovelies!  I leave you with this-Anything you want to be can be.  Just use your imagination.

As Gene Wilder says "If you want to change the world, you can do it".

xx Julie

Friday, March 21, 2014

Hold The Everything! I Just Went Paleo

So what can you eat?  

Is there anything left?  

Do you have to do that forever?  

What are you going to do when you go out to a restaurant?  

What do you do when you go out on a date?

And who is this doctor that you went to that would prescribe such a diet?  

Are you doing this for weight loss?  

But I thought you were Celiac and gluten-free.  Now Paleo too??  

No cheese?  How are you going to live?  No candy? OMG.  No added sugar?  What do you mean?!

You can't drink alcohol?  When the eff are you gonna get off this diet so we can go out drinking?

Not even wine?  Come on, wine never hurt anyone!  Have some wine.  "No thanks I'm good".  Come on just a sip.

What are you like a health nut now?

Do you even feel better on this diet?

What does it feel like to eliminate so much?

What do you mean you can't add sweetener to your coffee?  What? No coffee? Only on occasion? How do you live? No milk? Whaat? You drink it black? Whaat?  How.  Why.!!!!! I could never.

Is it hard?  It seems really hard.  I could never do it.  I love my sugar.  I love my dairy, my grains etc.  How are you even doing this diet?  I could never. Oh no.  Never.

What my phone conversation sounds like when I call Bareburger for takeout: 

"I'll have the Portobello burger with beef, medium well".

"No, hold the bun.  Yes, that is correct, I do not want the bread".

Are you Celiac?  "Yes".  We have Tapioca Rice bun.  "Nope, no bun.  I'll have the lettuce bed".


"Also hold the sauce".  No sauce?  "Yep.  No sauce".

"And hold the cheese too".

Ok, no cheese.  Anything else?

"Maybe.  What kind of sauce is your homemade slaw made with"?  

What do you mean?

"I mean, what's it marinated with?"

I don't know.  Can you hold on?…We use mustard.

"What kind of mustard? Is there sugar in it"?

At this point this guy is beyond annoyed that he has to answer so many questions he doesn't know or ever thinks to know.

Honey mustard.

"Oh.  Bummer, I can't have that right now, that has added sugar, forget it-no slaw".

Guy on the other end sounds very uncertain:  So you want a beef burger with Portobello Mushroom on a lettuce bed with no bun, no sauce and no cheese?  


You realize that's just a beef patty with mushroom and lettuce.  That's all you want?


I then hear some serious hesitation and I have to say "I'm on a new lifestyle.  I know it sounds bland, but my diet - It's very simplistic", just to justify my order.


Yes.  This diet can be super frustrating.  But it is also liberating!!! I feel great!  This lifestyle is right for me right now.  It has healed many of my health issues that mainstream doctors could not heal.  It has completely reversed my Anemia, my reflux, my eczema, my fatigue, my confidence, my absorption, my brain fog.  I feel like a shiny brand new me.  My body; my temple feels better then it ever has before.  I will continue this diet until every parcel of my body has completely healed along with a side of humor!  Because without humor-this road will be very long.

These are some of the funny things I deal with on a day to day basis while on Paleo.  For the most part this whole experience makes me laugh.  As frustrating as an Elimination diet is, the end goal is so much bigger.  The end goal is health.  The end goal is to feel vibrant again.  This is a journey.  And a journey has wavy roads and flat roads.  A journey has forests filled with trees.  It is our duty as human being on this planet to figure out our paths, and that includes healing our bodies, and sometimes going gluten-free is not enough.  Sometimes it involves more experimenting with lifestyle to heal our bodies from Auto-immune disorders.  I can sit here and say I wish I didn't have these problems, but then I wouldn't be where I am today.  And today is fantastic.

Enjoy!! xx

Thursday, March 20, 2014

I Bet You NEVER Thought To do This with Cucumbers!

Peel them, slice them, bag them, freeze them and eat them frozen!!  It's one of the best treats I have ever made and I feel I must share the cucumber love and let you in on this amazingly hydrating secret.  I would not steer you wrong.  I have gotten quite a number of my friends, family and co-workers sharing the frozen cucumber love.

First off Cucumbers are a water vegetable.  No harm there.  They have large amount of Silica which is great for your hair, skin and nails!  Tons of Vitamin A in the skin of this veggie.  Lots of Vitamin C and Folic Acid.  All good stuff.  And this lovely veggie hydrates the Eff out of you!

What I have also noticed is that it calms my sugar cravings and those moments when I get Hangry (hungry and angry because of low blood sugar).  I swear, I could be in the bitchiest mood but the moment I munch on some frozen sliced cucumbers? I'm golden!  All calmed down back to my normal self and ready to go.

It is often said that those with cravings may just be dehydrated and advised to drink a glass of water before reaching that cake, candy bar, chips, cheese doodles what have you.  But I definitely do not know many people that are going to drink a full glass of water before a craving.  I don't even do that.  Pulease, you know we are running to the nearest bodega for that Snickers bar or gummies and eating it as fast as possible before feeling that wave of agitated aggravation disappears.  And then where are we?  A few pounds heavier on processed sugar overload with a sugar high that will crash in moments and perhaps an acne breakout the following day, plus a bit of cross contamination from gluten and some serious guilt about not going to the gym to burn it off.  And then from there we are going to want more sugar, because that's what sugar does! You know it.  I know it.  It makes us want more.  Doesn't that sound totally awesome?  I am so kidding!!

I started making Green Smoothies when I enrolled at the Institute For Integrative Nutrition.  This school for me was a game changer; a life changer.  I was then and I still am now all about the veggies.  Green leafy's are my rock, but frozen cucumbers are a delicious snack come true.  At some point during the course of my smoothie making I started to freeze a lot of my organic veggies so they wouldn't go bad, and that happened with my cucumbers.  I would use them in large quantities for my smoothies, but I would also sub them in as ice.  They were frozen, and they get really, really frozen because they have so much water content.  So ice wasn't needed.

Then one day, perhaps during PMS, I don't really remember why, but I was beyond Hangry.  I was agitated.  Following the Paleo diet I couldn't resort to chocolate or cheese like I would have in the past, and raw cacao certainly wasn't going fix this in its bitter form.  I stood in front of my fridge for what seemed like an hour and just stood there stewing and thinking "What the eff can I eat?".  I really wanted the frozen gluten-free donut I had in there, wrapped in tin foil.  I couldn't even see it's goodness and I just wanted it.  But if I did that, then all hell would break loose.  No, I couldn't.  I wouldn't.  And I didn't.  I didn't have much else in the house that day, so I ended up reaching for those frozen sliced cucumbers, and that is where my love affair started and the rest is history.

I bring them everywhere.  I bring them to the office and munch on them there.  I often ask others if they want a frozen cucumber slice and they just look at me as if I am offering them mouse meat.  They are baffled by this.  So what, I'm the weird creative girl working at a Law Firm eating frozen cucumbers.  Whatever!! I'm fully hydrated.  And it stops me from wanting to eat other not so good for you snacks.  I'm in a serious win win situation here.  But after I sell them the idea of frozen cucumbers, they are all in awe of how great this snack really is.  I have my ladies at work stocking up on this hydrating veggie.  Oh yeah, it fully rocks.  You would think I was a Sales Rep for the Cucumber Industry.  Nope not me…I just really like them.

And i'm not the only one who does!  Friends and co-workers have reported that this is now their go to snack for their kids!  They tell me the kids (of all ages) love them!! I believe because the cucumbers are frozen kids think they are sweet treats, not realizing they are the most hydrating veggie on the planet.  It's as if they are eating flavored ices.  So here you have another win win.  Easy to make.  Can be prepared quickly.  You love them and your kids love them!! Whoop Whoop! Success has arrived in the form of a vegetable!

And frozen cucumbers will be the bomb for Summertime!! Sitting on that hot rooftop or beach?

Frozen cucumbers are also great for Summer blended with Mint and Coconut Milk or Coconut Water.  So unbelievably hydrating.  Just make sure you don't go to an interview after that concoction like I did and have to pee twice before it starts!

So tell me are you running to buy cucumbers?  Stock up!  Peel, Slice.  Throw in a zip lock bag and freeze.  A friend of mine raised an excellent question.  She asked if they get stuck together when you freeze them and do the slices turn into a blob?  Yes that happens!  What you can do to prevent that a little better is to try to lay the bag flat in the freezer if you can.  If you cannot, then simply take the frozen bag out of the freezer and bang the bag on the counter Bam Bam and Fred Flintstone style.  BAM! Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam!  A few will stick together like three or four, then you can eat them as a stack.

You must tell me if you like them!!  I haven't had any negative feedback thus far.  I'm intrigued to hear what you have to say!! xx

Enjoy!! Julie

Friday, March 7, 2014

Confessions of a Sugarholic

Hello Lovelies!!

I think this is probably one of the funniest and most honest posts I have ever written!  It's condensed into story form, but please keep in mind this sugar addiction took a long period of time since childhood to accumulate and evolve into an addiction.  And only after recently going Paleo, did I realize I had one. As of now, I follow the Paleo diet strictly, and eat clean. That means I don't eat anything processed.  I stick with animal protein, seeds, whole veggies, healthy fats and on the occasion low sugar fruits like berries.

It all started with my childhood.  My parents never had obvious sugar in the house. Soda was a random occasion allowed at the movies only.  Fruit Roll-ups and candy were never seen at my house, unless on Halloween, and even then we could only eat that stuff for a certain amount of time before my mom took it away.  "Candy rots your teeth"!  Ugh, how many times did I hear that one?  The best we could find at my house was yogurt covered raisins (yuck), I'd lick the yogurt off and spit out the raisin.

(Have you ever listened to Jerry Seinfeld Stand-up Comedy?  He has the best bit on Candy and Kids and how important candy is to a kid.  It's downright hilarious, and I laugh so hard every time I listen to it.  If you are a Seinfeld fan or love candy you must listen!!  The bit is called Halloween. )

Then middle school happened, and I started getting $10 a week for allowance.  And I was definitely a buyer, and not a saver.  So what did i buy?  CANDY.  There was a new girl in school and she came to town and flaunted that she lived next-door to a candy shop (my dream come true!).  She started taking orders and you can guess who was first in line! ME!.  I hoarded gobs of 3Musketeers and sticks of Starburst in my locker.  I gladly handed over my allowance, and said get me all the candy you can with $10.  I happily awaited my treats, and when she delivered I was in heaven, stuffing my cavity filled mouth with sugary goodness, and hiding the rest in my locker so my parents wouldn't find out.

In Summer Day Camp, I traded my swatch watch with a girl that promised to give me an entire bag of Watermelon Jolly Ranchers!  Swatch Watch or candy?  Um, hello! Candy.  Naturally!  I did get in trouble for that, and when my mom found out I traded an expensive watch for candy she made me get my watch back.

In High School I had discovered drug store crap candy.  Russell Stovers was all the rage. Peanut butter cups and caramels.  And again, hid in my locker for safe keeping. This was of course before I found out I was Celiac.

When I had play dates with fellow classmates I'd raid their pantries super excited that they had all the goodies I'd only wish my mom bought!  Fruit Roll-up HEAVEN!.

Our house NEVER had the bad stuff.  We didn't even have sugar cereal.  The closest I got to sugar cereal were Frosted Mini Wheats or Kix.  I can't tell you how many times my mom pushed Puffed Rice cereal on us.  Uch.  As great as my parents were regarding our nutrition, I only drank juice.  And what is juice filled with?  Sugar.  I never drank water.  Ever.


In December, 2013 I found a new doctor.  I had run into some troubles post Celiac and my health was at stake.  My new Integrative Functional Doctor/Holistic Wonder told me I am and was and always have been ADDICTED TO SUGAR!  Eek.  Had you told me this pre-Paleo I would have thought you were a fool!  There was no way I was addicted to sugar, how could that be?  I'm gluten free!  I'm all about nutrition and wellness!  I'm studying to be a Health Coach for G-D's sake!  But after 2 months with the strict Paleo diet on my back, I knew he was right.  And I even admitted it for the very first time.  I said "I know!  But I didn't know until Paleo"! And I didn't.  I never thought past chronic yeast infections were related, or constant illness, or poor immunity and bad skin, even when my dermatologist and Endocrinologist would say "it's the sugar"!! "stop the sugar".  -Well, I never thought eating jars of homemade jam with a spoon was a sugar addiction!  I mean, it was from the Farmer's Market!! I was blinded by the sugar crystals.  When I compared myself to others, I was a saint! And so I continued to think despite their words that they too were just fools.  Um-Earth to me!  Clearly-I was the only fool here.

But actually in all fairness, it is a known fact that the dopamine in sugar is the same chemical in heroine.  It's the feel good chemical.  And in the brain it's the neurotransmitter that helps control the brains reward and pleasure center. What does that mean?  It means sugar is addictive, and that chemical makes you want more, and more and more…until the jar of jam is totally empty and I'm thinking "Did I just eat a jar of jam with a spoon and nothing else"?.  Ewe.  

In September of 2012 (after a break-up) I decided to have my movie movement and I'd eat a whole pint of Haagen Daz Coffee Ice cream in one sitting numerous times and didn't even bat an eyelash.  I didn't like frozen yogurt, I wanted the real creamy sugary stuff.  The good stuff.  Where the fat went, I have no idea, as I'm pretty slender…but when I think about that now I am totally grossed out.  Just think of all that sugar.  That's not normal.  Lucky for me the Ice cream craze only lasted for a few months before I ditched the idea of "Ice Cream Does A Body Good", got my shit together and stopped buying it altogether.  There was no way that I could just keep it in my freezer for dessert or special times.  Pulease.  I had no sugar boundaries!  I had to remove the culprit.  And I haven't had ice cream since.  Phew!

But then I started going out to trendy restaurants like Beauty and Essex in Manhattan's Lower East Side and splurging on the decadent Butterscotch pudding bowl.  I wouldn't eat it all, but seriously, who needs dessert after brunch?  Come on.  Between the dessert and the wine, I am sure I was on sugar overload!

When I enrolled at the Institute For Integrative Nutrition, it all just stopped.  I was enlightened!  Finally!  I felt vibrant, I ate the rainbow of veggies and fruits and I left Sugartown.  Yippie!  Who knew life could be good without sweets!! Yeah!! I was riding the amazing healthy wave.

Until, I learned about Raw Chocolate.  Raw Chocolate is heated at a much lower degree, therefore keeping the nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants intact-reaping more benefits then the artificial processed chocolate I had been eating, and well all hell broke loose.  I started with a little.  Then a little more.  Then more and before I knew it I was buying raw chocolate bars every time I went to the the specialty markets, because you couldn't find Raw Chocolate at a regular grocery store.  This stuff was special.  Again, the good stuff.  And I had to have the good stuff.  Oh boy, without realizing I had fallen off the wagon again!  

When I think about my "healthy" diet pre-Paleo, I realize I wasn't as healthy as I thought. Yes, I ate veggies, fruits, proteins, healthy fats, grains, non dairy milk etc…but my balance was so off!  I was going often to the Gluten-Free bakeries!  S'MAC Gluten-Free mac and cheese opened up by my apartment and I became even more of a glutton for sugar.  Crumb's Gluten-Free opened, and of course I had to go there 1, 2, 3, 4 times in the matter of a month!!  Don't even get me started on Pip's Gluten-Free Cakery that opened up in my hood as well.  Mmmmm Lemon Bars.  Those were dairy-free too-even more of a reason to enjoy them!  Dairy-free and Gluten-free?  They must be healthy!-NOT.  Oh. So. Good.  Yum.  That became a ritual with my cousin.  We would eat Pips and watch True Blood on Sunday nights.  Suddenly sugar became a part of Sundays without fail.  It was weird if we didn't watch True Blood with sweets.  Consider it a catastrophe.  Well I did at that time.

Then suddenly after a while, running to the dermatologist every week to get cortisone injections because of the cystic acne grew tiresome.  My new BFF Sugar was really letting me down-WTF.  I didn't feel great.  I wasn't my exuberant self.  I was dragging.  Now of course I had vitamin deficiencies but in addition, my diet was not good at all-and I'm being humble here, as I don't want to judge myself too harshly.  No amount of veggies can compensate for that much sugar.  But I was in denial.  Or I just wasn't educated enough (to stop) in what sugar does to our bodies.  And I really wasn't.  These are the things you should know, and always hear about, but never really put two and two together or associate with yourself.  And that's what I did.  Sugar addict? Never, not me!!.  I'm a smart cookie! (no pun intended), but clearly not so much when it came to the healthy life without sugar.  You never want to listen to your parents that tell you, that you eat too much sugar.  It's like "can it ma-yada yada yada (as George Costanza played by Jason Alexander from Seinfeld would say).

The amount of times I went to the bakery I always justified.  "I have to blog about this"! I thought!  I must review this bakery 400 times so I can accurately blog about these amazing cupcakes, cake, cookies...  As you can see if you follow my blog- I have not reviewed these bakeries on my blog yet!! That's the crazy part.  I went to these bakeries when they opened!! It's been months and months. You will see those posts shortly.

When you think about sugar, or at least when I did, I didn't think it was something that was considered or could be considered an addiction.  We never see Advertising Billboards that say "Don't drink, and do sugar".  And we never see Television commercials that speak about the downfalls of sugar and how addicting it actually is.  We don't see commercials like "This is your brain.  This is your brain on sugar, any questions?".  We see commercials about drugs like crack, cocaine and heroine and even cigarettes.  Nicotine kills.  Well so does sugar!! (Sugar is the leading cause in obesity and Diabetes type II).  We don't loose our jobs over sugar overdoses.  It's not taken seriously at all.  The advertisements we see on sugar are paid enhancements portraying the illusion of how amazing sugar can taste, like those Nutella commercials that show a family and a mom saying it's healthy to eat hazelnut chocolate butter spread that is processed with tons of sugar and artificial additives as healthy breakfast for kids!  That's what we see.  But the truth is, is that Sugar is so bad for us.  Our bodies cannot digest it.  It wrecks havoc on our immune systems, our bodies, our skin, our bones, our digestive tract.  We under appreciate the amazing foods from mother nature, and instead run for the additives and processed chemicals used to make artificial sweets!  Remember in the 1970's, Sesame Street had that part of the show called "Which one doesn't belong here" and there would be 4 squares on the television screen, and one would not belong?  That's sugar.

In all fairness I am human.  Health Coach or not, we all have our our weaknesses.  Just like you I also succumb to the sweet goodness of sugar found in chocolate, fruits, cupcakes…these would be the obvious ones. The un-obvious would be all those processed supermarket brands whether they be cookies, crackers, chips, mixes, salad dressings, drinks, alcohol, sauces and more-they had added sugar too.  Sugar lurks everywhere.  It's almost impossible to escape if you don't realize you fell through the rabbit hole.  You have to catch yourself and pull yourself up and out by cutting it out!  And the good news is that you can!  I did!  I have kicked refined sugars completely (with the exception of one incident, called Babycakes, but that's for another post coming soon).  I'm not going to lie-I miss it.  But these days I can have chocolate bars sitting in my freezer untouched.  I have sugars, sweeteners, cake mixes just sitting in my pantry for later use and I'm not running to it ripping the wrappers open.  Huge improvement.  Instead when I am really craving sugar, I sub in some Raw Cacao nibs which are 100 percent dark chocolate with zero sugar directly from the Cacao Seed, totally unrefined and unprocessed (lowers insulin resistance, reduces blood pressure, reduces risk of stroke, boosts your mood and is rich in minerals like Magnesium, Iron, Calcium, Zinc and more) .  It's a huge change in taste.  Have you ever tasted real 100 percent dark chocolate?  Trust me when I say after a few nibs, you're done.  It's very bitter.

The good news.  You can detox from sugar.  Because that's what it ends up being.  Detoxing from sugar?  Expect it will be a few weeks of detox bitchiness.  No one tells you about that part.  You feel the withdrawal.  You get pissed, angry, agitated, irritable-you just want to slap the person in front of you, grab the chocolate and run!  Run for your life with the chocolaty goodness and never look back!  Stuff your face, it tastes soooo good…until later when you feel so sick.  The kid in you took over!  You had to have it!  All those years growing up with parents that said NO!  And now you can have as much as you want!  And then after two-three weeks the cravings are magically gone.  POOF.  You feel like yourself again, not Jekyll and Hyde, and then and only then-not eating sugar becomes effortless.  

When I started Paleo-the first two weeks were a disaster.  I felt deprived.  I couldn't snack.  No processed.  I didn't know what to eat.  I had to be in the kitchen much more then I ever was, and sometimes I just wanted something sweet.  But I think it was more about the fact that I wasn't allowed to have it, as per doctor's orders that made me want it more.  It's so psychological! And things that are easy to reach for have sugar, including those protein energy bars that advertise as healthy-pulease.  So not.  But... once those two weeks hit, I felt great!  I didn't drink coffee or caffeine anymore, I had green smoothies and I had energy like never before.  My Acid Reflux and Eczema went away and I thought my love affair with sugar had ended.

Until one night THE MANGO INCIDENT HAPPENED.  I just wanted a little bit of frozen mango.  Little did I know that mango is one of the highest fructose sugar fruits, and on actual sugar free diets like I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson, that fruit is a no no.  But at the time, I didn't know.  And I thought what's wrong with a little Mango-it's natural…so I had 1 serving which is equivalent to 1 cup of diced frozen mango, which is equivalent to 24 grams of sugar.  Then I had some more.  A few more here, a few more pieces there…I was reading a magazine and I didn't realize I had eaten the WHOLE BAG OF FROZEN MANGO!  Who does that?!  I never even eat frozen fruit, talk about desperation.  In all fairness I was horribly PMSing, but still.  After that my stomach hurt so badly, because I had eliminated sugars for two whole weeks! and then loaded it back on in, in just one sitting.  System overload!  OMG!  What did I do to myself?  I was embarrassed that I'd have to confess this to my doctor.  I had failed.  I felt terrible about myself.  And I was so mad at myself.  As I'm sure you can imagine, all of my crazy acid reflux, eczema and bad skin came flashing before me, and this time so much worse then It started out.  Talk about inflammation!  My face blew up!!  And I had to start all over again with the sugar detox!  Nightmare!! Because this time, my cravings were so much worse, and instead of it taking two weeks to detox, it took a month!  Doing a sugar detox the second time around was so much harder.

But, this was and still is a journey.  And journey's take time, and learning lessons does not happen over night.  You know that saying "Rome wasn't built in a day"?  Well that saying applies here.  I kept up this diet and still going because the end goal was and is to heal my gut, which would therefore heal me, and my symptoms. After my doctor didn't judge me like I feared I carried on.  And I continue this Paleo lifestyle because I know there is a bigger picture that is larger then my cravings.

Enjoy!! xx

Like my posts?

Get the goodies by following me on PinterestInstagram and Twitter 
for my latest tips, pics and fun!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lover's Lane Smoothie

Hello Lovelies!

Did I catch you with that awesome title?  I have been concocting this amazingly delicious chocolaty smoothie!  This one took about 3 times to get it just right.  I was so grateful yesterday for finding my mission in life I woke up as excited as I would be for Santa Claus or Chanukah Harry!!  I was ready for this smoothie to ROCK.  And it did!!!  This is so freaking delicious.  There are four things you need to know about this smoothie.

1.  This Smoothie is Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Vegan and has no Refined Sugar.

2.  It's a dessert smoothie.  Meaning I wouldn't make this your breakfast.  Because of the raw cacao content and the use of dates and coconut water, it's a tad bit sugary then other smoothies I make. Perhaps serve as a snack or even a dessert.  If the idea of chocolate sounds too rich, I suggest a dessert shot!  And if you want, this is something I did not do, but if you want to serve these as a happy hour treat, then add 1-2 Tbsp. of your favorite alcohol like gluten-free Vodka or gluten-free Spiced Rum.  

3.  It is a green smoothie-what's a green smoothie?  For those of you who don't know-It's a smoothie with vegetables in it!!  So not ew!! So good, you don't even taste it!  And it's so uber chocolaty.  Don't let this scare you at all.  Please trust me on this!  I would not steer you wrong.  You will LOVE this!  And while you are indulging on a smoothie with only the most natural ingredients in it, you can feel chocolate sin while bringing in Mother Nature's best veggies at the same time.  Win Win!

4.  Benefits:  Ah the use of Superfoods.  What are superfoods?  Superfoods are those foods make by our Planet that supposedly have natural healing powers.  It is truly incredible how much better your body will feel by adding in super foods daily to your diet.  I'll be doing a post on super foods soon to educate my lovelies!  Maca Root, Coconut Butter, Chia Seeds and Raw Cacao were used in this smoothie.  

-Peruvian Maca Root Powder (organic) is the most potent Maca Root Powders, made from pure lepidium Peruvianum Chacon Maca Perennials grown more then 10,000 feet above sea level in the high Andes Mountains of Peru.  This Superfood of the Incas is a nutrient-dense ancient medicine that has been prescribed for centuries by holistic Native American Healers.  It's properties are to Enhance libido and fertility in both men and women, Increases athletic energy, stamina and endurance, improves mental clarity, focus and eyesight sharpness  Provides faster muscle recovery time and helps the body heal itself, treats menopausal symptoms and boosts the metabolism and supports the immune system.  It also balances your body, relieves stress.  

-Raw Cacao are the seeds directly from the South American Evergreen Tree, and is used to make Cocoa, chocolate and Cocoa Butter.  It's in it's purest form.  It is 100 percent chocolate with zero sweetener and zero dairy.  This seed has been used in Mexico and Central South America for centuries for it's healthful powerful Anti-Oxidants and energizing properties.  Cacao in it's raw, unprocessed state is filled with beneficial nutrients.  Raw forms are filled with Iron, Dietary Fiber, Calcium, Zinc and Potassium.  Raw Cacao promotes the release of Neurotransmitters, which promote a positive outlook and bodily rejuvenation, and releases feel-good hormones.  Raw Cacao raises levels of Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, and acts as an antidepressant that can help reduce symptoms of PMS.  It also stimulates the secretion of endorphins, which produce a pleasurable sensation.  It also acts as a mild mood booster.

-Coconut butter is known to be one of the healthiest fats you can get besides avocados (which is also in this smoothie).  Coconut butter is rich in Lauric acid, which boosts immunity and destroys harmful bacteria, viruses, and funguses.  It actually boosts your metabolism, which aids in weight loss and increases energy levels.  It's packed with healthy fats so you feel full longer.  It's full of essential Amino Acids, Calcium and Magnesium.  It will provide better skin, it acts as an anti-inflammatory and can even ween you off artificial sugars.  It helps to protect the skin from the damaging effects of free radicals.  It works as a skin moisturizer (the oil).  It penetrates into the deeper layers of the skin to strengthen the underlying tissues and helps to keep connective tissues strong.  It helps with skins softness and elasticity, naturally.

-Chia seeds are a great Omega-3, is higher in antioxidants then Blueberries!  And has a whole lot of fiber to keep you naturally regular.  This seed was used by the ancient Aztecs and Mayans.  This seed provides sustained energy and has numerous medical benefits.  It is a valuable source of Alpha-Linolenic Acid, an Omega-3 essential fatty acid that helps support normal cardiovascular function and fiber which helps support normal functioning of the digestive tract and can have a positive effect on Cholesterol.  If you have trouble remembering this seed at the market, just think of those Chia Pets that were advertised back in the 80's.  Every time I take out my Chia Seeds, I start to sing the song from that commercial!  Cha, Cha, Chia!


2 Tbsp. Coconut water (Use the organic kind, it is more natural then your processed brands)  Try Harvest Bay.
2 Tbsp. Unsweetened Coconut Milk
1 Cup Unsweetened Hemp Milk
1 heaping Tsp. Coconut Butter (use a small dining spoon for measurement)
1/4 Cup Raw Cacao Powder
1/4 Cup Avocado (ripe)
2 Dates (which ever ones you can find) Remove the pits.
2 Tsp. Rosewater extract (can be found on amazon-if you can't find this, try Lavender extract organic but if using Lavender extract start with only 1/4 at a time and taste it.  Lavender is strong)
1/2 Tsp. Vanilla extract (organic)
2 Tsp. Maca Root Powder
1 Cup Sliced Cucumber (prefer frozen cucumber)
1 Tsp. Chia seeds
Raw Cacao Nibs-for garnish
3 ice cubes

What my crazy kitchen looked like!  No one said cooking or baking was a neat experience.  It's quite messy, but so fun!

-Add it all into the Nutribullet or a high speed blender-adding the liquid last and blend.  Then after blended add the ice cubes, and blend again.

What your mixture will look like.

No need to dice your cucumbers.  Just some slices will do in 1 cup as pictured above.  Some of those are frozen and some are not.

-Cucumber Tips-I slice mine and freeze them for up to 6 months.  But when I made this last version I used half of my slices frozen and half of them not frozen.  If you use all frozen cucumbers prepare to use additional water so that the blender can break it down.
-Happy Hour Tip-If you want to add in some liquor I suggest 1-2 Tbsp. of Gluten-free Vodka such as Tito's or a Potato Vodka or Gluten-Free Spiced Rum.  If 1-2 Tbsp. is too little and you need a stronger kick, add some more!
-Add the raw cacao nibs last, as it is a garnish

Shot version.

-Raw Cacao vs. Cocoa Powder-Cocoa powder does not have the benefits that Raw Cacao does.  Raw Cacao is in it's purest forms holding all the benefits and nutrients.  Cocoa powder is the artificially processed version of Raw Cacao.  I made the switch a long time ago.  It's amazing.  It's expensive, but lasts for at least 8 months plus.
-Rose Water-I bought mine on
-Vanilla Extract-Organic kind please.  This frees you from artificial chemicals and additives our bodies cannot digest.
-Avocados-make sure they are ripe!  You can stick with non organic Avocados, because they are protected by the skin, they will not be so harmed by the bad things added to these fruits.
-Cucumbers should be organic-No GMO's or additives or injections in those babies.
-Superfoods can be bought at your local or chain health food store, amazon or Vitacost.  They are expensive, but again I will tell you I have had mine since July!  It's now March.  They last.
-Frozen cucumbers can be a great snack!! Try it! 

Like what you just read? 
Get the goodies by following me on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter for my latest tips, pics and FUN!

Enjoy! xx Julie

The BEST Cauliflower Mash

Hello Lovelies!!

A super cold week just lends itself to this amazing recipe.  Once I went Paleo I had to say goodbye to white potatoes of any kind all together.  I never really ate them often, but I definitely like having that option, plus I had just gone to the Farmers Market and bought a bunch of Fingerling potatoes.  That was definitely a bummer.  In my beginning days of Paleo, I just didn't know what to eat or what to cook, and what to cook that would make me feel full and satisfied until I came across Cauliflower Mash.  I had always heard of making faux mashed potatoes from Cauliflower, but the inspiration to make it never took place.  I was set in my ways.  Until I couldn't be set in my ways any longer.

I started looking at Paleo blogs, and searching for easy recipes that I could make that wouldn't take a long time.  And I came across one of my now favorite blogs called Nom Nom Paleo by Michelle Tam and Henry Fong.  I ended up using my Nutribullet and not a food processor, so I had to add in a bit of coconut milk to get it moving.  I swear this is the best side dish ever!!!  You cannot mess up this recipe. It's nearly impossible.  I usually eat that along with veggies and my animal protein like turkey meatballs or beef meatballs.  It's just the BEST.

You can make this with one head of cauliflower, two heads or three or even four-but you definitely can only fit one head in the Nutribullet at a time.  I'll break it down for you.  The below recipe is using one head of Cauliflower, but if you want to make more simply double, triple or fourple the recipe.  It's really just that easy.

1 Cauliflower head 
3 peeled pieces of Ready Cut Garlic
1/3 cup unsweetened Coconut Milk
High speed blender
Large Pot

Remove bottom of Cauliflower, and cut into pieces.  Wash thoroughly.
In a large pot steam your Cauliflower and garlic until tender.  How do you know it's tender? Stick a fork in it.  If it easily slides out, then it's done.  5 minutes plus.
Add Cauliflower and garlic into high speed blender and push down so all pieces fit in.  
Add 1/3 cup of unsweetened coconut milk
Blend until desired consistency

This is your $4.95 Steamer.  It's rubber, dishwasher safe, can be bought at any Kitchen store.  This has little legs and should sit inside your large pot.  

This is your large pot.  Set on the stove on Medium heat.  Fill it with a tad amount of water.  You don't want the water above your steamer.  The legs of the steamer should have water.  But you don't want water seeping through the wholes of the steamer or coming up above it.  Once your steamer filled with the garlic and cauliflower is inside the pot, you will want to cover the pot so the steam gets locked in.

Serves 3 or 1 with plenty of leftovers

Goodie Tip of the day-Use your seasonings!! Spices or herbs always work, and can change the taste of your mash each time.  A few days later I added just a tad Nutmeg and it was delicious!

This can either be a mash as a side dish or it can be a soup just blended a little longer.

It's so easy.  You can make this.  Your kids can make this.  I'm not sure if your pets can…but you can try and teach them…I mean Jinxy the cat in Meet the Parents learned how to flush…

Enjoy!! xx Julie

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Day In My Paleo Life

Hello Lovelies,

Many of you have been asking me what my meals look like on an average week while leading the Paleo lifestyle, so I have decided to create a post to answer all of your juiciest questions.  As I have mentioned in previous posts I do not think this diet is easy, but it's also not impossible and if I can do it then you totally can!!.  I am often in the kitchen and have to have foods prepared ahead of time or I am shit outta luck, since I can't go to processed or grain. (That part is annoying).

Yesterday I got amazing news from my doctor that my deficiencies like my Anemia and Vitamin D deficiency are actually reversing for the first time in two years!  My reflux and Eczema has subsided dramatically and my hair is growing.  I really think yesterday was the best day of my life since getting diagnosed with Anemia and it's been a long time.  So now that I know all of my efforts are working and I must stay on it.  Prior to finding out this terrific news I was having mixed feelings about this diet and maintaining the balance of what is OK to eat.  I don't want to feel like eating a piece of organic bread (grains, sugar, starch, buckwheat, tapioca, sorghum) means I am being bad or cheating.  Since I am usually out of balance, having a diet where I have to find harmony through trial and error drives me mad, but the reversal of the Anemia has just put a big barrel of extra faith in my mind, my body and my soul.  This doesn't mean my Anemia or medical issues are out of the woods yet, but it does mean that something is working, and I am hoping by staying on this lifestyle, it will heal me enough that my levels will maintain if not get higher, rather then taking a nose dive backwards, like it was for the last two years.  I'm willing to keep on going because I am feeling so amazingly good now, and before I was utterly exhausted, riddled with stomach pains, I felt depleted.

Do I cheat?  I really hate that word.  So instead I will tell you that I like you am human, and perfection is not realistic.   I will NEVER eat gluten ever again,  and I haven't for almost 9 years.  But I have had a piece of GF bread and I have had a vegan gluten free cupcake since going Paleo.  There are in my eyes always exceptions to perfection.  And once in a blue moon is ok.

For those of you curious of the Paleo Diet or what it is…I will tell you it is also known as the Cave Man Diet, The Blueprint Diet.  It's how Cavemen ate back then.  They didn't have access to so many foods including processed, so we are to eat what they could eat that was readily available.  The foods eliminated on this diet include:  No grains (not even gluten free ones), No dairy, No soy (in any form), No white potatoes of any form, no added sugar in any form, no forms of alcohol even in cooking, no canola or vegetable oil, no legumes, no peanuts (because that is a legume), no sulfites, MSG or Carrageenan. And for my special case no corn and no bananas.

Many of you are probably thinking the way my family and friends did, OMG what are you going to eat?!  Eek!!  So i'll say at first this is the most frustrating lifestyle I have EVER tried.  In the beginning it makes PMS feel like a vacation.  There is, believe it or not a detox period from all these foods we are so used to having like sugar.  Sugar is in everything from yogurt to sauces to processed crackers to mustard to cake.  And you truly detox.  That detox is a nightmare.  I was frustrated and pissed off.  I consumed more nuts and seeds then anyone would ever need because i felt so deprived.  If I couldn't eat what I wanted then I would eat something I could at large quantities just to feel satisfied.  But as the detox wore off and I got used to this diet, my body recognized that I didn't need to eat large consumptions of random things.  That in reality I wasn't as hungry as I thought.  That's when this diet becomes effortless.  Give that time 2-3 weeks max.  Then it's smooth sailing.

So without further adieu-My Paleo menu…

Green smoothie and eggs.  I like to load my smoothies with everything-spinach, kale, avocado, cucumber, low sugar fruit, coconut milk, coconut water, bee pollen, chia seeds, sunflower or pumpkin, nut or seed butters, seed powders and raw cacao.  I like Superfoods (foods that have healing properties).  I really want to feel that energy, and I have replaced my daily cappuccino with a green smoothie!  I change it up every day to make them taste good.  Sometimes I use my own recipes and other times I check out other blogs for inspiration.  As for eggs I like to do the healthy version of Deviled eggs like adding homemade guacamole and Cilantro.  Or I just eat them hard boiled and whole, or I have an omelet.  It really depends how much time I have in the morning.  Some days I just grab the eggs and have them hours after my smoothie.  Breakfast is imperative on this lifestyle.  It sets the day.

I have two options here.  I used to treat lunch as dinner and I would eat some form of animal protein like steak, chicken, fish or turkey meatballs, or beef meatballs (meatballs I would make homemade and make enough for a few days) or Salmon, along with Cauliflower mash and a big side of veggies.  Or I would have a spinach salad with a form of animal protein, avocado, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and any veggie that would intrigue me and then I would top it with olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper and that would be extremely satisfying.  Lately I have made the switch.  I no longer feel utterly deprived so I just have a salad for lunch.  Before I realized I was allergic to tree nuts, I would have a vegan lasagna with cashew cheese which was amazing, but that is out for me now.

A piece of fish, Steak, Turkey Meatballs, Beef Meatballs, Cauliflower Mash, Sweet Potatoes, veggies galore, lots of green veggies like broccoli, spinach, kale, dandelion greens, chard and any other green you can think of, Zucchini with Marinara sauce, sunny side up eggs with Marinara, and always a salad.  Sometimes a hamburger wrapped in lettuce with Portobello mushrooms.  Sometimes I turn my meatballs into a taco form and use a lettuce bed and stuff all the veggies and meat in it and eat it like a taco.  I also have the option to eat Sashimi.  (Since the rice at sushi restaurants is not gluten-free), eating sashimi is no different then before Paleo, instead of Soy sauce I use Coconut Aminos (similar taste to that of soy sauce, but is made from the coconut).

When dining out there are plenty of plain options.  A plain piece of fish or non marinated meat.  Veggies are a no brainer.  Dessert is off limits.  Since the daily maximum of low sugar fruit is two servings, and one servings is usually my smoothie, I pass on dessert.  That's where the frozen cucumbers come in.  But mostly you realize that it's your mind not your body that needs the dessert.

I usually have an apple or a pear.  Either raw or baked.  Both are delicious options.  Or if I am dehydrated I have a coconut water and treat that as my fruit.  I may have a few Goji berries, or some shredded coconut, some seed butter with veggies or the remainder of my smoothie I didn't finish, or if I haven't had a lot of natural sugars that day I'll have a date eclair, which is 1 date with coconut butter and sunflower seed butter on it.  That's usually a treat that I love.  If I am starving which is usually unlikely I eat more veggies.  My favorite is celery and frozen cucumber.  Frozen cucumber curves my sweet tooth and they really are so good.  Another snack I love is bacon sandwiched with avocado.  On the occasion I will eat raw cacao nibs, or chia seed pudding.  Or a green juice, which I personally have learned I do not like, but I can always make some form of a veggie smoothie without fruit.  For people that are not allergic to tree nuts, don't forget you have those options too.  I also love to make seed butter protein balls.  (recipe coming).

I think I am the only one that can sit in a pizzeria or watch all of my friends eating chocolate crepes and not feel deprived.  I instead reminisce in the smell and the look and I remember the taste.  I appreciate the art of dessert without indulging.  I credit that to the foodie in me.  My friends often feel bad and apologize, and I usually say "don't be silly!! Enjoy it, savor it, taste it".  Because through Paleo I have learned to taste and savor my food.  This I believe is something we all in this world forget to do.

That's my diet in an nutshell.  I don't miss grains.  And I don't miss the dairy, surprisingly (since I love cheese).  I do miss the sugar, and that is a constant battle.  There are weeks I could care less about the sugar, but then there are some days I just want it!  And will succumb by eating a piece of 70 percent organic dark raw chocolate.  When I have the flu or a cold I do use raw honey with bee pollen in my tea or a citrus fruit.  If i haven't had any fruit that day and no smoothie I may have a half of an orange or a grapefruit which actually is a low carb fruit.

Lately my body is craving greens which means, I am out of balance.  So this week my grocery list contains mostly green veggies.

It's much easier to listen to your body when all of the foods that inflame it have been eliminated.  It's easier to read.  It's easier to figure out what the problem may be.  

Overall, I am loving how my body is feeling.  I never would have thought this would be my answer.  I never thought that losing 65 percent of my hair could be repaired by changing my diet.  I never thought that having a leaky gut could be repaired by anything else then going gluten-free.  I never looked at food as medicine until I went back to school to learn Nutrition at the most awesome school there is!!! The Institute of Integrative Nutrition has changed my life.  And I would not be where I am now without this school.  I found my Integrative Functional Doctor through this school.  This school changed my mindset about food. And how food can either be your greatest victory or your biggest poison.

I did not start this diet to loose weight.  This diet which I consider a lifestyle is in my life at this time to repair the damage that the Celiac did to my intestinal lining that the gluten-free diet did not heal.  And it has been a hard two years of ups and downs, that I am so happy to see are slowly reversing.  And just in time for Summer!!

Enjoy!! xx Julie