How many carbs in olive oil?

carbs in olive oil

I recently had a big “ah-ha” moment with a client.

She and her husband love to enjoy stovetop popcorn and Netflix each evening before bed.  She left the popping to her self-proclaimed “popping pro husband (say that 10 times fast).” He had the corn popping touch and this was a tradition they truly looked forward to.

She made the assumption that a simple tablespoon of oil was being used to pop their popcorn.  After wandering near her husband who was about to pour the popcorn into the pan one evening, she was shocked to find almost ½ cup! WHOA!

The experience evolved into some fantastic discussion about the following: was olive oild a healthy fat or not, can too much of a great thing sabotage progress? And what is really in that oil anyway?

Oily Confusion

Olive oil can be a bit confusing…there are so many different kinds out there. Virgin, extra virgin, refined and many more. Olive oils from different countries, organic, conventional — so many dang choices. Then, of course, there is the confusion about fat. Isn’t fat bad for you? Won’t it make you fat? By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of the types of oils used for cooking, their benefits, their drawbacks, and some bonus recipes too!

First off, your body needs fat

Don’t be scared of fat.  Your body needs it, wants it, craves it, and loves it. The good fat that is (but more on that in a moment). So what does fat do for your body? Fat is a major source of energy and is the most energy dense macronutrient coming in at 9 calories per gram of fat. Fat can keep you full for a long time. It can also help balance hormones, form cell membranes, plus transport fat-soluble vitamins like A, E and K. Fat has been shown to reduce levels of ghrelin, which is the hunger hormone responsible for high satiety and lowered cravings.

The human body is capable of producing all the fatty acids it needs except for two. The body needs omega-6 fatty acids such as linoleic acid (LA), gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and arachidonic acid (AA). You also need to take in omega-3 fatty acids via diets such as alpha-linoleic (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). They are called essential fatty acids and can only be obtained through diet or supplementation.  

This is a a big part of overal health and something I focus on in my Feel Amazing Naked program.  Click here to learn more about it!

Why do we need them?

These acids are needed for growth and repair and to help make other fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in foods such as cold water high fat fish, hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and avocados. Omega-6 fatty acids can be found in pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, grapeseed oil, flax seeds, and pistachios.

One thing to keep in mind is you want to get a good balance of both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Currently, in North America and Western Europe, the consumption of omega-6 fatty acids is much higher. That is due to the high intake of processed foods that contain high levels of oils with omega-6 fatty acids. To better balance, the intake of these acids, focus on more whole foods and lots of variety.

What are “good fats”?

As mentioned above your body needs good fats. What are good fats you ask? Our body likes fats that occur naturally in different types of foods. Some of these foods include nuts, avocados, eggs, fatty fish, and olives. These foods mostly contain unsaturated fats which are the naturally occurring fats. There are different types of unsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats have been shown to improve blood cholesterol levels and help with insulin levels and blood sugar control which is beneficial to those with type 2 diabetes (we…and everybody too).

Not all fats are created equal

However, not all fat is good fat. Man-made fats such as trans fat, also known as trans-fatty acids, are the ones you want to avoid. Trans fats are made by the chemical process of hydrogenation of oils. This means they take an unsaturated fat and bubble hydrogen ions through it until it is solid at room temperature. They raise LDL, which is the “bad” cholesterol and can lower HDL which is considered the “good” cholesterol. High LDL cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease, which is one of the leading killers of both men and women.  

Some products such as meat and dairy contain small amounts of naturally occurring trans fats. However, manufacturers use oils containing trans fats in many products to increase the shelf life of foods. Restaurants use trans-fat-containing oils for frying because it lasts longer and does not have to be changed as much.  

Trans fats can be found in conventionally produced baked goods, canned frosting, donuts, refrigerated dough, creamers, and margarine. In a nutshell, trans fats are found in many processed foods. Just another reason to stick with whole foods and avoid trans fats altogether.  Take a moment to check that food label before you indulge in your next packaged snack. Think twice and perhaps grab a healthy alternative if the snack contains trans fats.

And finally — saturated fat

For years, saturated fat was considered evil and to be avoided at all costs. Remember the 90s “fat-free” craze where the company Snackwell’s was crushing it? However, recently it has been confirmed that saturated fats can be a healthy addition to your diet in moderation.  

Saturated fats have been found to form the foundation of cell membranes, increase HDL “good” cholesterol, reduce the risk of stroke, and boost brain health. Saturated fats are generally solid at room temperature and great for high-temperature cooking.

Some healthy options for saturated fats include coconut, ghee, grass fed beef, cheese, eggs, and dairy. However, not all saturated fats are good and it is best to stick with the high-quality ones. Avoid saturated fats in processed meats, pre-packaged fatty snacks, and processed baked goods. Again, as mentioned above, stick with real whole foods and you should be good to go!

The real deal on oils

Now you have an understanding of fats and why, in moderation, healthy fats are a must. If you are ready to add some quality fats to your diet, oils are a great way to start. However, like fats, not all oils are created equal. There are many different types out there to choose from. Let’s take a look at some options so you can make an informed decision the next time you are faced with an oil decision.  

Olive Oil

Olive oil is an excellent option to start with. It is versatile, easy to find, and affordable. One tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil has 13 grams of fat (mostly monounsaturated). It has NO carbohydrate content, is gluten-free, and full of energy providing good for you fat. Olive oil is made by pressing olives and extracting the oil. Olive oil has many uses including soaps, pharmaceuticals, and fuel for traditional oil lamps. However, let’s focus on the main (and best) use for this oil and that is for cooking and eating!

Olive Oil Varieties

There are six different types of olive oil used for cooking and eating. First off, is extra virgin olive oil which is made from the first pressing of olives and many consider it the best variety.  The extraction is done without chemicals and excessive heat. Many times, it is cold pressed using no heat and this helps it retain most of its antioxidants.

Virgin olive oil is also made from the first pressing but has a bit higher acidity level and has a milder taste. Refined olive oil has been refined using agents such as heat and acids. It is oil extracted from the leftover pulp from the first pressing and that is why additional agents are needed to extract any further oil. It does not generally contain the antioxidant benefits; however, the lack of antioxidants gives it a longer shelf life.

Olive oil or pure classic olive oil, is a blend of refined and virgin olive oils. Then there is light olive oil which is a blend of refined olive oil and other vegetable oils. This oil has little to no flavor. Pomace oil is the lowest grade of oil made from the byproducts of olive oil production. It is best to avoid this oil because it has been found to have carcinogenic contaminants.

Which olive oil is best for you, and how do you use it?

Based on what you know now, it’s best to stick with extra virgin or virgin olive oils. When purchasing olive oils, look for dark bottles which help protect the antioxidants that degrade when exposed to light. If you want a more pesticide-free oil, look for the USDA organic stamp of approval. Once purchased, store your oil in a cool and dry place, keep the cap on, and use within a few months of opening if possible.    

Olive oils are best used uncooked or heated at low to medium temperatures. You want to avoid the oil reaching its smoke point.

Smoke point, huh?

It is the temperature at which the oil begins to burn and smoke. Once an oil begins to smoke it can get a burnt flavor, beneficial nutrients are destroyed, and it can begin to develop harmful free radicals. Olive oil’s smoke point is about 400 degrees.

Olive Oil Uses

There are so many different ways to use olive oil. It can be used to create salad dressings or used as a dip for pieces of bread. It is great for use in marinades or sauces for meat, poultry, seafood, or vegetables. You can also drizzle some olive oil over cooked pasta for a simple and delicious dish. Check out a few recipes below for ways to use uncooked olive oil.

Recipes

Olive Oil and Herb Bread Dip

The Best Lemon and Olive Oil Dressing (or marinade)

Cilantro Lime Potato Salad

Grilled Summer Squash With Olive Oil Marinade

Super Simple Lemon Dijon Marinade

6 Ingredient Mediterranean Salad

As mentioned above olive is great for low to medium temperature cooking. It can be used for grilling, sauteing or pan frying.   

Recipes

Olive Oil Garlic Zucchini Noodles

Olive Oil Parmesan Grilled Corn

Pasta With Roasted Broccoli Pasta and Oil

Cod Sauteed with Olive Oil and Fresh Tomatoes

Roasted Lemon Chicken With Potatoes and Rosemary

But wait — you can even bake with olive oil! It is a great way to add moisture to your dessert or favorite baked good. It is recommended that you use a mild tasting olive oil when baking so it does not overpower the other flavors (I learned by mistkae here). You can experiment with replacing butter with olive oil in your favorite recipe. Start by replacing a fourth cup butter with three tablespoons of olive oil.  This will also reduce the total fat of what you are baking since you use less.

Recipes

Healthier Lemon Loaf Cake

Honey and Olive Oil Zucchini Muffins

Olive Oil Pie Crust

Olive Oil Cocoa Brownies

Whole Wheat Olive Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

What about other oils?

Let’s quickly look at a few other oil options. One oil that has been growing both in popularity and controversy is coconut oil.  It has a smoke point of 350 for extra virgin coconut oil and up to 400 degrees for refined coconut oil. It is 90 percent saturated fat, however about half of those fats come from medium chain fatty acids also called MCT’s which have the ability to increase “good” HDL cholesterol and have also touted weight loss benefits. Some other claims about coconut oil are they can boost brain function, keep hunger away and help lose body fat.

Coconut Oil

If you are looking to add coconut oil to your diet there are many ways to do so. You can use it for higher heat cooking, add it to your smoothie, or, for your morning coffee. Baking is also a very popular way to use coconut oil. It is used a lot in recipes for those following a low carb high-fat diet or a ketogenic diet. Like all things that have nutritional benefits, coconut oil still must be consumed in moderation and is not a miracle food. Below are a few recipes if you want to give coconut oil a try.

Recipes

Shrimp Scampi with Zoodles

Coconut Oil Salad Dressing

Coconut Oil Fudge

Avocado oil

Next up, avocado oil, which is high in monounsaturated fats which reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and raise that “good” HDL cholesterol. Some of the many health claims for avocado oil say it fights inflammation, protects your heart, fights free radicals, and prevents oxidation. Avocado oil contains a high level of antioxidants which can also keep you looking young. Another fun fact is avocado oil is high in vitamin E which many fall short on in their diet.  

The best part is that avocado oil has a high smoke point of 520 degrees which makes it ideal for high temp frying, searing, or browning. It also has a nice mild taste, so it’s great for eating cold in a dressing. As with most oils, you want to use an avocado oil that is cold pressed. The less refined the oil, the higher in nutrients. Here are a few recipes to give avocado oil a try.

Recipes

Chili Lime Chicken Drumsticks with Avocado Oil

California Salad with Avocado Oil Vinaigrette

Dream Worthy Orange and Avocado Oil Cake       

Sesame Oil

Finally, we will take a quick look at sesame oil which is made from sesame seeds. It is rich in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats and is low in saturated fat. This oil has a wonderful nutty flavor and is great for adding richness to a recipe. It is used a lot in Indian, Korean, and Asian style dishes.  

When choosing a sesame oil, you want to use a light version for cooking and a darker version for dressings and cold dishes. The lighter sesame oils are made from untoasted seeds and the darker oils are generally made from toasted sesame seeds. The oil has a high smoke point of 450 degrees, so it can be used for higher temperature cooking. It has been shown to have many health benefits including lowering blood pressure, is great for your bones, and can boost your metabolism, plus so much more. It is packed with nutrition including vitamins B complex, E, and D. Plus, it contains minerals like phosphorus and calcium.

What can you make with sesame oil? The first thing to remember is that once you open your sesame oil, it is best kept in the refrigerator to stop it from going rancid. One of the nice things about sesame oil is that it has a pretty intense flavor so you do not need much. A little oil goes a long way, so your overall fat content may be a bit lower since you use a lot less. Try out a few of these recipes and enjoy!

Recipes

5 Minute Asian Salad Dressing

Sesame Oil Hummus

15 Minute Cauliflower Fried Rice

The oil list can go on and on, and it includes oils such as walnut, almond, grape seed, and flaxseed oil, justs to name a few. Just remember that fat is your friend and adding some healthy oils to your diet can not only add flavor but also lots of nutrition. Oils have both a macro and micronutrient punch, so use food awareness while you enjoy them!

What is your favorite cooking oil? I’d love to hear why below.

If you are ready to start making YOU a priority with both Mind and Body, join my FREE 7 Day challenge to start feeling amazing naked NOW!

Work Hard Be Kind,

Amanda

 

 

 

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Do you suffer from squirrel syndrome?

squirrel syndrome

In my first few years as a business owner, I struggled with the constant urge to find the next best idea to grow my business.

Creative inspiration would hit (and by that, I mean I had many) and I’d immediately go ALL IN and begin to work on it. I’d speed through its creation, put it into the online space, and expect immediate results.

The moment I didn’t, I’d chase another big idea with the same outcome each time…disappointment and a lack of results.

I did this many, many times until finally, I realized I was suffering from the exact same thing many of my clients do their entire life: “Squirrel syndrome.”

Now, I was surrounded by my powerhouse entrepreneur friends. I followed uber successful online business bosses. I thought if I just kept trying something new that I would have to see results just like them, right?

Yep…I preach consistency above everything to create sustainable results in health, yet I was guilty of wanting a “get successful quick” approach time after time. #ohtheirony

It didn’t work.

You can learn more about 5 Food Fails that sabotage women and how to nip them in the butt in my FREE webinar here.

Do you suffer from the same?

One of the greatest struggles I have witnessed as a nutrition coach isn’t overconsumption of Mickey D’s or eating too many Reese’s. It’s actually something much greater than that.

I work with clients all the time who have suffered a life dominated by squirrel syndrome. In fact, you might be reading this and realizing this has been you and you didn’t even know it.

What Is Squirrel Syndrome?

It’s called “squirrel syndrome” for a reason.

It’s the constant quest to find the next “best” thing.

Like drinking Slim Fast shakes for 30 days, losing weight, gaining it back and then taking…

HCG shots for 30 days and losing weight, gaining it back and then doing…

Keto for 30 days and losing weight, gaining it back and then doing…

Whole 30 for 30 days and losing weight, gaining it back and then doing…

A 30-day cleanse and losing weight, gaining it back and…

I think you get the idea!

It’s the notion that you are constantly looking for the next magic outcome, the next best quick fix approach.

Each time you get excited for quick weight loss, only to find that the approach is not sustainable one single bit. In fact, all the weight you lost comes back and then some.

Why are you a squirrel?

If this sounds familiar, you my friend, maybe the squirrel.

There is so much noise in the health and nutrition space that there is a perception that there is a magic solution to weight loss and feeling healthy. The success of those around you makes it seem that they get there quickly and that you too can have the same overnight.

Every nutrition guru has their answer and Instagram is flooded with lots of know-it-alls.

You want immediate results and instant gratification and they seem to have the answer. Naturally, you fall in line and give it a go — again.

At first, it seems AMAZING. You see results on the scale and in the mirror. That will hold your attention for a short-term until you realize that a world outside the restrictive fad approach exists and you want to live in it.

Chocolate, pizza, burgers, and wine exist and are meant to be enjoyed (in balance).

You can learn more about Squirrel syndrome and 4 other mistakes women are always making in their relationships with food in my FREE webinar.

Overcome Black and White Thinking

Your health journey is not black or white. Food is not “good or bad.” Instead, you must learn to live in the grey.

Life happens and things get messy. This I know! To navigate your thinking,  you must shift into learning how to operate when times aren’t perfect. This is when quick fixes get exposed and reveal their lack of flexibility and sustainability.

Stop Chasing Nuts

Nothing will change if you continue to chase the next big thing.

Your good old friend Jane who swears she has the magic answer to weight loss every month and hasn’t really lost a pound…ignore her.

It’s time to invest in a long-term strategy and start focusing on the real magic: consistency.

The truth is, it ain’t easy!

It’s the mundane day to day work that brings about sustainable change.

The best analogy I share is a river. It’s literally the most perfect example of how powerful consistency can be.

If you’ve ever doubted what consistent effort over time looks like, just look at a river. It is the epitome of consistency.

The constant power of the water carves through layers and layers of rock, over thousands of years, slow and steady creating canyons.

It never waivers.

The river puts in the work, day after day, no matter what life throws its way. It may slow down or speed up, but it never trades short-term intensity (or a quick fix) for the long-term gain.

This is where change happens. In the mundane, day to day work, we do to create habits that drive the outcome we want.

If that river can create that amazing change, so can you, my friend.

Less Is Not More

The squirrel rears its head because you’ve learned over time, through media and culture, that less is more. It’s ingrained in your mind that dieting is the answer and that each new diet will be the one you’ve been chasing.

It’s a paradigm shift to think that possibly eating more could drive weight loss. Wait, huh?

Paint A Realistic Picture

This is not about painting an unrealistic picture of skinny supermodels. Nope, no way!

If you want to truly change your life you must be realistic about what the true focus should be and what you really want out of life.

It’s about living the FULLEST life possible — to operate as humans should, and live out your full potential. It’s about knowing that the hard work you are putting in is paying off. That doesn’t come from jumping from one new thing to the next. It comes by abandoning all the quick fixes and investing in SELF!

What I Learned As A Coach

After working with women for years a theme began to emerge.

They come to me wanting to work on “food.”  

But it’s never really about the food, is it?

Food is just the vessel for deeper work. I teach this to my clients all the time and this is the focus of my free webinar.

It made me realize even more that what my clients show up wanting is never really what they need.

The food gives us a springboard into all the other things that need to be done on the inside to truly feel amazing naked on the outside.

Yes…I said naked. No woman would deny that this is a feeling they long for. To be so confident that they feel amazing naked.

But chasing squirrels is not going to get you there. You must be willing to combine inside work to feel amazing on the outside. It’s a combination of food and mindset that allows you to escape the quick fix trap of chasing squirrels.

I Feel Amazing Naked

For the first time in my life, I feel amazing naked. Like I am totally okay with walking around my house naked.

You might be quickly passing judgment, “She’s so vain. Why is she sharing this publicly.”

Being super transparent, it was never really that way. Even when I was at my thinnest, I didn’t feel that way.

I was critical, filled with negative self-talk and sucked into the trap of comparison. I am not at my lowest weight right now, and I feel the best I ever have. I feel fit and healthy on the outside but the confidence came when I began to do deeper work on the inside. When my clients do the same, it shows in so many ways.

I want more women to have that feeling.

It won’t be easy, this I know, but I am 100% up for the challenge.

Overcoming Squirrel Syndrome

To truly say goodbye to squirrel syndrome, you must be willing to do the dirty work and combine food, mindset, science, and self-work to invest in yourself.

Why?

Because you deserve to finally find something that lasts!

This very reason is why I created my passion project and am on a mission to help more women overcome a life of fad diets, negative self-talk, and learn to treat their body and mind like it was designed to be treated.

When you start to do the inside work, it will show on the outside.

I want you to join me in my FREE webinar where I talk about the 5 Food Fails that sabotage women and how to nip them in the butt.

Are you guilty of squirrel syndrome?  I’d love to hear your experience below!

Work Hard Be Kind,

Amanda

In case you missed it, sign up for my free webinar HERE.

 

 

 

 

How many carbs in avocado?

How many carbs in avocado

When my kids were babies I was majorly obsessed with their food (and some things haven’t changed at all).

I spent hours baking, boiling and pureeing every single drop of their baby food so that I knew they were getting what they needed and deserved.

I honestly loved it.

But some days, those days where you need to take a mom time out and hide in the bathroom, those days I needed a break.

When the dinner bell rang on those days, I had one rockstar go-to that I knew would give me a cooking break.

Avocado.

My kids loved them.  They would have easily gobbled up two at every meal if I allowed it.  I didn’t just serve these up when I was tired, but regularly as a means of adding so many good nutrients in their diet.

What’s an avocado?

An avocado is a fruit which is readily available in most commercial grocery stores. Depending on the time of year, they can be a very affordable and nutrient dense food. Avocados come in different shapes including pear-shaped, egg-shaped or spherical.  

They have a rough leathery skin and a smooth green, oily, and edible flesh which has more or less oil content depending on the variety.  They also contain a large pit in the center that you do not eat. One thing to keep in mind with avocados is that the flesh will turn brown on most varieties once cut open (but more on that later.)

Where Did They Come From

The avocado was thought to have originated from South Central Mexico.  Remains of the avocado plant have been found that date back to over 15,000 years ago. Today they are grown in tropical and Mediterranean climates because they do not tolerate freezing temperatures.  They grow on a tree that can reach up to 66 feet tall.

Variety of Avocados

There are many different varieties of avocados which are available depending on the time of year. I will just touch on a few of the common ones you see in the stores. However, all are delicious and worth trying any day, especially Taco Tuesday 🙂

Hass

This is one of the most common avocados you will find and is the leading California grown avocado. Many feel this is the best tasting one, and that’s probably why it’s the most popular.  This avocado has a very creamy flesh and a tough exterior which is usually dark green or brown in color. Because the flesh is so soft and easily mashed this is a popular avocado for making dips.

Choquette

This is a very popular avocado in Florida and they can be very large. Some weigh up to two pounds each. Much of the weight is due to the water inside the avocado and the flesh is very mild tasting. This type of avocado has a much lower oil content. The firm flesh works well when cutting up and adding to dishes where you want it to maintain its shape. These are great for adding to salads because they will hold up.    

Fuerte

This avocado has a smooth green skin and is more elongated than the other varieties. It is also grown in California but more heavily in Mexico and Central America. This variety has a much higher tolerance to grow in colder temperatures and is harvested in late fall and early spring. This avocado has lost popularity and is a bit harder to find these days.  

Reed

The Reed avocado is round and almost resembles a lime. This variety is a summertime fruit and has a green and slightly grainy skin. The best thing about this variety is the flesh does not turn brown after being cut. This variety is also environmentally friendly because it needs less water and produces fruit more densely. Many say it tastes very similar to the popular Hass variety.

Why Should I Eat Them?

Avocados are a nutrient powerhouse, and they contain lots of heart-healthy fats.  

Wait….you thought fat was bad for you?

Well, I am here to let you know your body needs healthy fats to survive. Fats like monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are where it’s at. They are a great source of energy and help your body absorb vitamins and minerals. These fats are needed to build cell membranes and are essential for blood clotting, muscle movement, inflammation, and brain health.   

Avocados contain a healthy dose of monounsaturated fat and a bit less of polyunsaturated fat.  One medium avocado contains 15 grams of monounsaturated fat and 3 grams of polyunsaturated fat. They are also very low in carbohydrates with a medium avocado coming in at only 12 grams. As a bonus, they are naturally sodium, sugar, and cholesterol free. But wait there’s more! A medium avocado contains 9 grams of filling fiber. They also pack so much micronutrient power including magnesium, potassium, folate, vitamin K, B6, E, C and much more. Get this, an avocado contains more potassium than a banana! Eat them with other fruits and vegetables and they will help you absorb more fat-soluble nutrients.

An avocado is a very filling food with the high satiety of both fat and fiber. It is also low carb as mentioned before with only 12 grams of naturally occurring carbohydrates (also known as complex carbohydrates) per medium avocado.

You can join my FREE 7 Day Feel Amazing Naked Challenge to learn more about your balancing your food and mood.

What are naturally occurring or complex carbohydrates you ask?  

Complex carbohydrates are found in whole foods such as peas, beans, whole grains, and vegetables. On the other hand are simple carbohydrates which are found in many processed foods. Both are turned into glucose (sugar) in the body.

The difference is that complex carbohydrates bring with them vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  They are absorbed more slowly into the system and generally do not cause a spike in blood sugar. Many times, simple carbohydrates are considered empty calories because they are just simply processed sugar that brings nothing else to the table. Your body usually processes them quickly and they don’t keep you full for longer.

So, how many carbs in avocado?

It’s true, an avocado is considered a low carb fruit with only 12 grams of complex carbohydrates. As a comparison, a typical medium banana has 27 grams of carbohydrates and a medium apple has 25 grams. Both the banana and the apple are great sources of complex carbohydrates. Due to the avocado’s high fat and fiber, the carbohydrate content is much lower than typical fruit.

Ready to enjoy an Avocado?     

These little green machines are on my weekly shopping list.  When shopping, Hass avocados are most likely what you’ll find. When selecting an avocado, you can purchase them ripe and ready to eat or less ripe and let them get soft at home.  

You will know an avocado is ready to eat when there is a little give when you press on the flesh.  If they give a lot to pressure then they are probably overripe and no longer good to eat. Also look for the color of the skin. A darker skin generally means they are ready to eat. You can store the ones that are not quite ripe on the counter. Those that are ready to eat are best kept in the refrigerator.

Avocado Tips

Here’s a big avocado life hack — When selecting a ripe avocado, take a look at the dried stem. If it comes off easily then it’s probably ready to go. The color under the stem is another way to check. If it is bright green you are good, but if it’s brown then the avocado is probably overripe.  

Stem not coming off? There are a few quick tips to help ripen an avocado. Place them in a paper or plastic bag with an apple or a banana overnight. You’ll be able to wake up and have a nice ripe avocado for breakfast. Don’t have all night? Then you can wrap them in a piece of foil and put them in a baking dish. Then, bake at 200 degrees for about 10 minutes. That should do the trick if you are in a pinch. However, the best way is to be patient and wait for them to ripen on their own.

Another avocado tip is to buy lots of avocados when they are on sale and in season. Get them home and freeze them for later use. You can cut them in half, dice them, or mash them. Just make sure to spritz them with a bit of lemon juice before freezing so they don’t turn brown.  

You also want to make sure that when you freeze the avocados in bags, you get as much of the air out of the bag as possible. When you’re ready to enjoy, just pull out your desired quantity, let them thaw and you are ready to eat! They can also be mashed and frozen in ice cube trays.  Add those frozen nuggets of avocado to your next smoothie for a nutritional boost (I did this often when my babies were little).

How Do I Eat Them?

Because avocados have a large pit in the middle you have to be very careful when preparing them. The best way to cut them is to use a knife and cut them in half lengthwise. Then, twist each half in the opposite direction to break them apart. The pit will stick in one of the halves.  

There are a few ways to remove the pit. You can dig it out with a spoon or hit it with a knife so the knife sticks, then you’ll twist the knife, dislodging the pit. If you want to keep the half intact you can use a large spoon to scoop the flesh out. If you want avocado slices or squares simply use a small knife to make the desired cuts while it’s still in the skin. Then, use a large spoon to scoop out the already cut up flesh.

I make fresh guacamole often (you can find my slimmed down recipe here). Once I discovered this simple little avocado masher, my avocado world changed. It makes mashing avocados (and potatoes too) so much more simple and fast!

Beware of Browning

There is an enzyme in avocados that causes the flesh to oxidize and turn brown when exposed to air. One solution to avoid this is to cut your avocado right before you plan to eat it.  However, I know that is not always possible. You can put plastic wrap on the uneaten part but that does not always do a great job.  

Another option is to put lemon juice on the exposed flesh. When adding avocado to salads, using a lemon based dressing and tossing the salad with the avocado will stop it from turning brown. I have one of these avocado savers and they work great for storing in the refrigerator.  

It has also been found that if you store an avocado in an airtight container with an onion it will not go brown for a few days. If your avocado happens to turn brown have no fear. Even though it is not recommended that you eat the brown part, you can just scrape off the brown layer and enjoy!

Avocado recipe ideas

You can eat this fruit any time of the day. Avocados are perfect for a filling breakfast, in addition to a hearty salad, or even dessert. Check out these recipe ideas and have some fun with avocados!

Breakfast of Champions

Avocado Egg Cups

Blueberry Avocado Smoothie

Spinach Avocado Breakfast Quesadilla

Lunch, Dinner and Beyond

Easy Avocado Egg Salad

Zucchini Noodles with Creamy Avocado Pesto

Quinoa Avocado Spinach Power Salad

Avocado Cilantro Dressing

Crispy Baked Avocado Fries

Sweet Treats

Avocado Coconut Popsicles

Dark Chocolate Avocado Brownies

Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Peanut Butter Avocado Cookies

Healthify your next baked good by replacing the butter or oil with mashed avocado. This can work for brownies, cakes, muffins or cookies. Just experiment first before you plan to serve to guests!

Avocado products

Avocado oil is another great avocado product. You can purchase avocado oil at most grocery stores. It is made by pressing the inside flesh of the avocado and extracting the oil. Avocado oil is one of the few edible oils not extracted from a seed. It can be used both for uncooked items like salad dressings and dips, but it’s also great for cooking.

Avocado oil has a high smoke point which means it can get up to 400 degrees before the oil starts to visibly smoke. Once an oil reaches its smoke point it begins to break down, nutrients are lost, and dangerous compounds can be created that are bad for your health.

When purchasing avocado oil it is best to find one that is organic, extra-virgin, unrefined and cold pressed. You want to store it in a cool place and use within 6 months of opening.

Still Want More?

Avocados can also be a great addition to your beauty regimen. The oil is easily absorbed and penetrates the skin nicely. It can also be put in your hair as a great conditioner adding moisture back into your hair follicles. Both your skin and hair will be soft and hydrated after applying avocado. You can directly put avocado flesh or oil on your skin for lasting hydration. I have included a few recipes for you as well.

DIY Whipped Body Butter  

DIY Avocado Soap

Easy DIY Avocado Hair Mask For Dry Hair

DIY Avocado and Honey Mask For Dry Skin

And that my friends, is just a few of the many recipes and ways you can use the avocado. Or just simply add it to any meal or snack. They make a great addition to salads, sandwiches, scrambled eggs…the possibilities are endless.

These green machines are a superfood that can add so much nutrition and diversity to your day!

Do you enjoy eating avocados?

 

Ready to start your journey towards feeling amazing naked? Join my FREE 7 Day Feel Amazing Naked Challenge HERE.

Work Hard Be Kind,

Amanda

 

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Client Success Story: Mission for balance

Working with women ages 40 and over has been extremely gratifying.  Most have come from a childhood of strong influence of a “dieting” culture.  They’ve been exposed to super skinny supermodels on TV, low-fat diet trends and have found themselves dieting their entire life.

When it comes to food, they believe “less is more.”

The most rewarding part for me is that I can show them that the body is meant to be fueled and not starved.  Together, we work to overcome the dieting mindset and by increasing their food intake, help them lose weight.

This week’s client is one of those amazing women. When we began our work together she was barely consuming 1,000 calories in an entire day.

Together, we helped her understand the power of fueling her body to both lose weight and feel better in her fifties than she ever did in her twenties.

Here is her story:

“I’ve had quite the journey in the last 12 months with Amanda. I was at a point in my life that I knew I had to make some changes in my food choices, but I just didn’t have the balance. No matter how much I worked out, my weight stayed on. In fact, I continued to gain weight.

I didn’t gain in my 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, but then I came into my 50’s (rather reluctantly I might say), and wow the metabolism put on the breaks. I was not happy and I was really frustrated! My clothes fit poorly, I didn’t feel confident, and although I told myself it was ok and my friends and family all said the same (that’s what they’re supposed to say right?), I secretly knew that I needed to get a handle on things and I needed a guide.

While I’m a natural leader in the workplace, when it comes to my eating habits and my workouts, I needed someone else to be the leader and teach me. I knew I had to find balance in the things I liked and loved. I love and enjoy my wine, a cocktail on the weekends, and good food, so I needed to find a way to balance it all and achieve my goals.

I contacted Amanda, and bless her heart, she accepted me as a client. I shared with her what my habits were, and she listened to them. Then she challenged me.

I knew this was something I desperately wanted and needed. When I began with Amanda, I was eating less than 1,00 calories per day. The first week was HARD. “What do you mean I need to eat 1300 calories each day?”. But I stuck to it, and I lost weight that first week from eating more food. I was hooked!

Months later, I was down 20 pounds and I feel great! On top of that, I’m down 4 pant sizes. Twelve months ago at my Orange Theory Fitness classes, the fastest I could run was 5.5 – 6.0 MPH and it took me up to 12 minutes to get to a mile.

I thought that I was dying. I seriously thought my lungs were going to collapse and I’d have a heart attack. Plus, I hate running. But on 5/17/18, I ran 1 mile at 7.0-7.4 MPH and did it in 8 minutes 33 seconds. I felt great. I have to say I was pretty proud.

How was this done?

All through Amanda’s guidance, weekly reviews, feedback, her posts on her site around example(s) of food options, recipes, shopping lists (although I’m not a lover of those baby beets ☺), and product reviews. ALL of this helped me get to where I am today.

As I journey out on my own, I know the value of tracking my food, and I will always balance out the wants with the results I want to sustain. I know I have the tools in my food “tool belt” to make the choices that will last me a lifetime.”

If this story sounds familiar, I’d love to help you create your own success story too!

Click here to schedule a FREE Nutrient Awareness Breakthrough session now.

 

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

6 Ways to kickstart a healthy school year

The “Back to school” season seems to grow bigger each year. I feel like it’s gaining speed as another marketing ploy for us parents to spend unnecessary money.

There are school supply lists, new shoes, new clothes, and of course, the coolest new backpack. It gets costly. In fact, it’s so costly that my hubby and I have a special sinking fund (Money Peach changed our lives) just for back to school expenses.

One area we don’t spend much time thinking about though is how to increase the health of our children as the year begins. We focus on all the other “stuff”, and not on the most lasting expense for our kids…their health.

In many ways, adjusting to a new normal provides a perfect opportunity to invest in changing habits to kickstart a healthy school year. Not just for the kids, but you too!

Ready or not

Maybe you are a parent that’s so ready for your kids to go back to school.

Or maybe not?

One thing that I do know is that all parents want their kids to be happy, healthy, and ready for the start of a new school year. 

Let me help you, challenge you, and support you in making changes that will last far beyond this school year.  

Understand habit formation

Part of creating a healthy lifestyle is developing habits that will be sustainable. Habits are formed through repetition — like a lot of repetition.  

First, something must trigger the habit to be put in motion, then the action must be performed, and lastly, the habit must be rewarded in some way. This “habit loop” named by Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of Habit, applied over and overtakes the action and stores it into memory.

There are stages of habit formation that make what seems to be an easy task much more complex. It’s called life.

Yes, the chaos of life often prevents you from seeing a trigger and beginning the loop altogether. So you must arm yourself with reminders until that trigger becomes automatic. I share with clients all the time to use sticky notes to provide the trigger while they are working on a habit.  

For many, it is a reminder on the coffee pot to defrost dinner or on your toothbrush before bed to make lunch for the following day.  Don’t let pride get in the way of creating life-changing habits. Identify where you struggle to remember a specific habit and sticky note the crap out of it.

Don’t give up when it gets messy

The initial launch of habit formation usually has high motivation and energy. Think of any time you decided you were going to make a change. You knocked it out of the park for the first two weeks or so and then things got messy. You got busy, so you were unmotivated and unprepared.

Don’t gloss over this period, the messy. This means you are about to turn a corner. If you can rely on a trigger and follow through on the action you are right on the cusp of change.

In a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes just over 2 months for an action to turn habit.  Keep that in mind as you kickstart a healthy school year. Be patient, use a trigger, and realize it takes time for the little people in your life too.

Here are my 6 tips to help you kickstart a healthy school year.

Set the alarm early

Let’s be honest, the school day mornings are a disaster sometimes. Especially at the start of a school year when the kids are getting back to regular sleep cycles, new school start times, and actually having to be accountable to a schedule. It is a great time to set the alarm clock 15 minutes early in anticipation of things moving a bit slower as you acquaint yourself to a new school schedule.  

And as a reminder, you are the parent and set the tone for the day. Your kids feed off of your energy. If you wake up late, or if you’re angry, frustrated, etc, guess who will be too? Part of being able to kickstart a healthy school year is setting a positive tone for the day so your children can thrive, not just survive. You are the leader of this and in doing so for them, helps you thrive too!

Prep the night before

This is a habit worth forming on so many levels. Spending time in the evening when you are not rushed to prepare for the next morning will save you frustration, time, and will guarantee a healthy start.

Kill two birds with one stone by prepping the next day’s lunches while you make dinner or when you are cleaning up dinner. This is also a great time to think about breakfast prep too. Any steps you can save at the time of day you are mostly limited by time helps ensure your success.

Don’t overlook breakfast

Breakfast is a key component to a child’s day but also your day. It kickstarts metabolism, ensures satiation and revs up their little engines for all the learning that will take place.

Because of morning chaos, I often hear from parents that convenience prevails over health in breakfast food selections. What I’ve realized though is that parents are willing to try new breakfast options if they had easy go-to’s to also include. Preparing a well-balanced breakfast of all macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrate) for your child is key to helping them stay full and regulating energy and hormones levels.

Simple Breakfast ideas

Here are  few simple ideas for your kids that may replace a sugary cereal or a daily dose of Nutella is a yogurt parfait:

DIY Yogurt Parfait

You can take a plain Greek-style yogurt (with no added sugar) and add fresh fruits and nuts. These can be made ahead and stored in mason jars a few days in advance.  You can also sub with an alternative yogurt style if dairy allergies exist.

DIY Oatmeal Bar

The same is true for making a morning bowl of oats or overnight oats. The kids can make their own version after dinner for the next day.  Overnight oats store well in mason jars for a few days in advance.

I like to keep all the yummy and nutrient-dense mixins on hand at eye-level in my pantry so the kids can help create their favorite breakfast combos. You can learn more about how to organize your pantry HERE which is a great project to put on your list once the kids head back to school (and you have some free time).

“Non-Oat” meal

If you can’t do oats or don’t prefer them, try a bowl of “non-oat” meal. Add 1 cup applesauce,1 tablespoon nut or seed butter, and ¼ cup of your favorite milk (coconut milk is yummy here) together in a bowl. Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute or until warm. For adults, you can even add in 1-2 scoops of collagen (you can find my favorite brand here) to boost protein.

Egg Sandwiches

Another easy one is a fried egg, egg whites or a combo, tucked in between two slices of sprouted bread (read more about sprouted bread here) with added extras like greens, ham or whatever their heart desires.  These also can be wrapped in foil and made in advance to store in the freezer.

Lunchtime

Nighttime prep also includes lunchtime. Use the night before to prepare the kids’ lunches and yours too.

Some of our favorite well-balanced lunches include a ton of sandwich ideas on sprouted bread which you can find here. In addition, the kids love to create their own knock-off Lunchables with our favorite crackers like Nut Thins or Mary’s Gone Crackers. We also make lettuce wraps, cucumbers roll-ups and many more options to keep diversity.

My kids also love leftovers. Each has a thermos like this one that they will pack with them. My trick to keeping food warm all day is to boil water and pour into the thermos and allow it to heat up for about 5 minutes.

While heating, I reheat the leftovers for them. After five minutes I dump the hot water, wipe it dry and quickly pour in the leftovers and cap it. The kids tell me every time that the food is still warm (not piping hot of course) but just right. I love this option because it saves time and energy by using dinner for lunch.

Get the kids involved

Parents underestimate their kids’ desire to be a part of the action in the kitchen. Kids who get involved in the cooking process better understand where food comes from, appreciate the energy put into food preparation and (drum roll, please) are more likely to eat it when they make it. The last reason alone could change your life.

The way you organize your kitchen can create a place to foster the inclusion of your kids. I have invested in awesome bins and organization so that my kids can see what is in there and grab healthy options for lunches and snacks.  

You can check out how I organized my pantry here and download my FREE healthy pantry checklist too.

So, get them involved. Ask them to be a part of picking their lunch items, prepping breakfast, and cooking dinner with you. Teach them how to cut and chop, peel and wash. One of the best gifts my daughter was ever given was a set of kid-friendly knives like these. She began to experiment and gain confidence in the kitchen that has truly exploded since then. It also allowed me to take a deep breath and not worry about her chopping off a finger.

Another great way to get them involved in the beginner stages is to use a sorting style lunch box like these Lunchbot containers. You can help your kids by asking them to fill each compartment with a vegetable, a dip, a protein, a fruit, and a healthy starch.  

Make some healthy swaps NOW

This is prime time to begin to expose kids to new items in their lunches. They have forgotten the last school year (well, sort of) and they are refreshed and ready for more veggies. Give them more credit. Don’t assume because they didn’t eat it before that they won’t eat it now.

Their taste buds are changing just as fast as their shoe size. Studies show that we taste buds are regenerate every 10-14 days depending on the type of taste receptor.  That means you should try reintroducing foods to them they didn’t eat previously because they just might surprise you.  “Taste buds tell your brain whether or not to swallow what’s already in your mouth,” according to Dr. Trey Wilson.

Here is a big “ah-ha” when it comes to “picky eaters”…repeated exposure matters.  Studies who that when kids are invited to consume a new food every day for two weeks, that their liking to it will improve.  In fact, this evidence-based article is worth the read for parents of “picky eaters” as it is often the behavior of the parents that determine the preference of their children.  So if at first, you don’t succeed, try and try again.

And just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean they won’t. Put on your parenting pants, take one for the team, and let them decide what they do and do not enjoy.

They are hungry at lunch and you will be surprised at what happens when the only options they have are the ones you provided them (and hopefully decided upon together).

Send the kids with a refillable water bottle

Dehydration is a real thing and it doesn’t always manifest itself in symptoms that are immediately critical. Not having enough water during the school day could lead to sluggishness, lack of ability to pay attention, nausea, and headaches. More severe symptoms of dehydration can include irregular heart rhythms and vomiting. I live in Arizona, and at the beginning of the school year, it is still 115 degrees or more. Dehydration can be and is a real thing.

It’s a great time to swap out the boxed juice at lunch and invest in a refillable water bottle like this Hydroflask or another brand. It is a worthwhile investment to fill that bottle every day and ensure your kids have water as their primary drinking option.

Now — focus on you!

Lastly, vacations and summer events are over and now you too can regain routine and focus on you. The kids’ and their lack of schedule are no longer an excuse. It’s time to bounce back and work towards your goals. I know it is easier said than done and that is exactly why I wrote a recent blog post about this very thing. Click here to read my 8 easy ways to bounce back into your routine.

If you need an extra push and support, I’d love to help guide you too.

You can click HERE to join my FREE 7 Day Challenge to start gaining confidence and feeling amazing…naked!

How are you going to make this school year the healthiest yet?

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

 

This post may contain affiliate links to the products I know and LOVE to use in my kitchen.  If you want to support my continuation of adding content to my blog, I appreciate you using the link to purchase.

 

What is stress eating?

It’s one of the biggest topics I face as a coach.

Eating to fill a void other than hunger.

Often we have been eating to fill that void for years and never even realized it.

Bringing it into awareness is the first step toward overcoming the habit and beginning to practice daily mindfulness to overcome it.

I am again excited to bring a friend, colleague and all around awesome lady as a guest writer on the blog again this week.

Jamie (MC, LPC) is the Owner and Clinical Director of Elevate Counseling, a counseling private practice.  Her specialties include research-based interventions to address stress and anxiety, trauma, self-esteem, eating issues and the struggles of the gifted and high-achieving population.

Take it away Jaime…

What Is Stress Eating?

Stress eating or “emotional eating” is eating in an attempt to make yourself feel better.  In other words, to feed a psychological need rather than a grumbling stomach. Too often we feed our bodies when it’s our souls that are starving.

If this is you, don’t beat yourself up.  Biologically, stress eating makes sense and it works in the very short-term. Think about those foods that you grab when you are feeling overwhelmed.  Maybe it’s your favorite bag of chips, your family’s homemade chocolate cookie recipe or a quick drive to that hamburger joint with the amazing milkshakes.  These are high-fat, high-sugar, calorie-laden comfort foods that stimulate the reward centers of our brains. They release feel-good chemicals, such as serotonin.

Are YOU A Stress Eater?

Wondering if you are eating due to stress? Consider the following questions:

Do you eat when you are not hungry and/or eat past the point of fullness?

When you finish eating, do you find yourself experiencing a barrage of negative self-judgment based on your food choices?

Do you intentionally eat alone so others don’t see what you’re eating?

Does eating temporarily relieve or distract you from the feelings prior to the eating episode?

Do you eat based on a primary (positive, negative, or neutral) emotion? (By “neutral”, I mean the feeling of boredom)

Do you crave specific foods when you are upset?

All of us will answer “yes” to these questions occasionally.  And, as with most behaviors, “it’s not a problem until it’s a problem.” However, if your “yes” answers pertain to more than a few times a week, it’s time to change the pattern.

How To Stop Stress Eating

Using these strategies below you can begin to curb your stress eating habits.

Identify the source of stress

Looking into the reasons for your eating patterns is the first step to making changes. Maybe you’ve been arguing with a friend or loved one.  Or your new boss has increased work demands. Sometimes the source of stress stems from internal negative thoughts. In that case, you could be your own worst enemy.

Read About How To Stomp Out ANTs (Automatic Negative Thoughts) here

Before you can devise healthier solutions to emotionally feed yourself, it is necessary to identify the reason for your stress eating habits.

Most stresses fall into one of the following categories:

Physical: You’re too tired, worn down, or exhausted.  You aren’t sleeping well at night, which causes an imbalance in hormones, contributing to increased food cravings.

Mental: You may be mentally overloaded with work and life demands.

Spiritual: A crisis of faith or a shift in how you see your place in this world often creates feelings of distress.  This often happens during life transitions (early adulthood, midlife crisis, retirement). If you are questioning your place in this world and what your impact means, this can create feelings of cognitive dissonance (where old thoughts or beliefs are challenged by new views or information).

Social: We are social creatures by nature.  If something isn’t sitting right in one of your primary relationships, changes in eating patterns often develop.

Psychological: A traumatic event, even something seemingly “small” or from a relatively long time ago can shift the way that you see and interact with the world in ways that we are often unaware of.  Look at your thoughts and behaviors surrounding food choices and needs to explore if this may be affecting you.

Feed yourself what you need

Now that you know where the stress eating is coming from, you are in a better position to make positive change.  Look at the category contributing to the stress eating and find a different way to meet that need.

Physical:  Find ways to build in breaks throughout your day so that you aren’t over-tired.  Improve your sleep habits so that you aren’t a walking zombie. Get off the couch. Research shows that exercise improves emotional balance.

Mental: Allow moments to check out or relax.  A daily dose of meditation or diaphragmatic breathing will reduce not only stress eating but other anxiety-related symptoms as well. Read more about diaphragmatic breathing here.

Spiritual: Explore and reflect on your life’s ambitions and goals.  While our core personalities and global beliefs often remain the same, our outlook on life and the importance of goals often shift over time.  Most people see this as a good thing. In fact, people generally report that they are happier as they age into their twilight years. To get to a less conflicting mental space, you may need to acknowledge a shifting of views and adjust your life accordingly.

Social: Practice good boundary setting and kind but direct communication with the people in your life.  If a relationship is unhealthy, you may need to distance yourself or change the way that you interact with that person.  You deserve to have the same support that you give.

Psychological: Explore the thoughts that you tell yourself. Oftentimes, we are so busy getting through something that we don’t have a moment to reflect upon the impact that it’s had on us until further down the road. Journal your thoughts, share with a friend, or buy a self-help workbook related to your personal challenge for assisted guidance.

More about the author: Jamie Dana, MC, LPC, helps teens and adults overcome mental roadblocks and achieve their goals to live an elevated life. Specialties include research-based interventions to address stress and anxiety, trauma, self-esteem, eating issues and struggles of the gifted and high-achieving population.  For more information about her techniques, services, and additional resources to help you succeed, check her out HERE .

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk

 

 

What is Abundance?

I recently traveled across the globe on a vacation with five other couples.

That’s twelve people traveling together, staying in a house for seven nights in a foreign country.

I’ve never even vacationed with two other couples, let alone an entire dozen under one roof.

To say this was a new experience for me was an understatement.

I was hesitant and filled with self-doubt. Yet I was excited, ready, and open.

The trip was filled with new experiences, a ton of laughs, and moments of truly intimate conversation.

Born from one of those conversations, over sushi and a glass of wine, came the motivation to share something I had been struggling with for years.

what is abundance

Scarcity sucks

I’ve been competitive my entire life.  In sports, academics, friendships, business, and yep, pretty much everything. Competition can be healthy, but not when you are competing with the intention to beat out others rather than improving yourself.

I’ve realized in the last few years that much of my competition was rooted in scarcity.

Scarcity is a relatively new term for me (I am totally late to the party).

In case you are too, scarcity means that you live in the belief that there is not enough. Not enough time, not enough business, and not enough love.

I am embarrassed to admit that this is new for me after 36 years of living. But perhaps it came into my life exactly when I needed it.

I was finally ready.

Limited self-beliefs

There have been so many times in my life where I’ve felt like an outcast. The awkward girl standing at the party, surrounded by so many people, yet feeling alone like I didn’t belong.

I bounced from friendship to friendship because I always questioned my actions and their reactions to me.  

Was I good enough?  

What if I say the wrong thing?

Do they even like me?

I was a grown A$$ woman and still struggling to feel confident in my friendships.

The reality though is that nobody made me feel like I didn’t belong. I told MYSELF I didn’t belong, that I wasn’t worthy of certain friendships, that I was lesser-than.

I’d continue to open myself up to more social situations in hopes that they would be different. But they all ended the same way.

These were my self-limiting beliefs, stories I’d told myself for so long, that I had no awareness of them even being told.

Until now.

I’ve lived with that self-limiting belief for long enough. I guarded my heart for fear of rejection, fear of failure, and fear of let down. By bringing this into awareness, the tides began to change.

Scarcity stunts growth

Self-limiting behaviors prevent you from being who you really are. You are so afraid that there isn’t enough that you have to pretend sometimes in order to be the winner.

If you want to evolve as a person, it requires practice to move from scarcity to abundance. When we think with limits, we see the glass as constantly half empty.  In the words of Ed Mylett, abundant thinkers believe, “that life is happening for them, and not to them.”

I refuse to let history repeat itself anymore

My former beliefs are no different than the ones I find my clients holding. They’ve told themselves for years that they don’t have time for themselves, that they aren’t worthy of self-love and confidence, and that they don’t deserve the investment of health.

But what it takes is one person, one incident, one conversation to help unearth that limiting belief and bring it into consciousness.

Once it comes into awareness, you can start to tear down those walls and work toward creating habits that break down those beliefs. What emerges is the realization that the investment should have been made years ago.

When we start on a journey of growth, no matter our age, it is a commitment to never going back to where we were. It honors the experiences we’ve had but it’s also a guarantee that those negative ones won’t be repeated.

What is abundance? (and how to live abundantly)

Just as the sun needs the moon, peanut butter needs jelly, and hate needs love, you must experience scarcity to begin to live in abundance.

Duality is a reality.

And that sounds really woo-woo coming from me.  But it’s true (and I kinda like it).

Rock bottom, the lows, and the struggles reveal the highs.

I realized I was living in a space that was deeply rooted in my ego, not in love. I believe it was the finding of my passion and the birth of my business that began to expose this ugly side of me.

And I am forever grateful.

It forced me into a path of shifting my thinking from struggle to opportunity. I began to realize that if I wanted to think bigger and get rid of judgment and truly answer up to what I felt in my heart, I had to change too.

I had to create an abundant mindset.

In the words of a great mentor of mine, Lesia Peterson from www.wealthclinic.com:

“To feel abundant means knowing in the moment that you are enough — that you are whole and complete, regardless of what you have or don’t have, are doing or not doing.  An awareness of abundance allows you to recognize how every living thing is complete and whole by design including you.  If you want to feel more abundant, learn how to allow and accept your own wholeness.  If you want to feel abundance all the time, learn how to extend this awareness from moment to moment until all your days are filled with these moments. “

What does an abundant mindset look like?

Abundance is not a place, but a journey. In all honesty, scarcity challenges abundance daily just as it’s supposed to. It ain’t always pretty or adorned glitter and rainbows. Sometimes it sucks you in and you have to claw your way out of it.

Abundant minds know that there are plenty of fish in the sea. They think big instead of small. They are willing to admit fault and take responsibility for their actions. They are willing to say they don’t know and be a beginner. Abundant thinkers celebrate the success of others and know their worth isn’t less because of another person’s success. They also feel they are designing their own life every single day.

Health and abundance

How are health and abundance connected? I believe they go hand in hand.

When a client reaches out to me, they themselves have already identified their need for change.

Change happens faster and is much greater when we abandon the “poor me” scarcity mindset and embrace abundant thinking.

The road to paving a healthy lifestyle is much deeper than food.

It’s about learning about self, learning how you respond to change, and learning to think BIG. So big that you realize that your body is a temple and to be abundant in all areas of life, it must come first.

If I can help a client make that one connection in our work together then I have walked away with a big old WIN.

You must practice

Creating an abundant mindset is just like creating healthy eating habits, they both require practice. The habit of planning a weekly menu, grocery shopping, and meal prepping takes practice. Once you bring the awareness into your consciousness that these are habits that you need to work on, repetition begins to develop the habit.

Abundant thinking is no different. That positive thinking drives the desire to want better for yourself in all areas of life, including your health, fitness, and relationships.

Surround yourself with people who make you better

One of the biggest struggles I often hear from clients on their journey to healthy living is that they are lonely because they aren’t surrounded with like-minded souls.  

I too have discovered the importance of this in my life.

It is impossible to grow with individuals in your life who don’t support your desire to get better and level up. If you find yourself trying to justify why you are eating a chicken breast over pizza, this just might be you.

It’s time to invite them along in your journey to healthy living and abundant thinking too. Fair warning though, they may not be ready and that’s okay. You do you boo, and they will eventually see the value of what is waiting for them too.

Vacation vibes

Abundant thinking has shown me that there is enough. By changing my mind I am changing my life. In my work, in my relationships, and in my health.

I’ve recently been reading Lori Harder’s “A Tribe Called Bliss”, which pretty much speaks to my season of life (you can shop for it HERE on Amazon).

She writes, “And suddenly she realized she didn’t need an eraser for her past, but a pen to a beautiful ending.”

My scarcity mentality is a part of how I arrived here today and will give me the experiences to create what happens moving ahead.

No matter how imperfect I am or how much I may struggle, the more I follow my heart and drown out the noise, the happier I become.

If you want better, you must seek it. You have to put in the work and life will begin to shift.

One simple dinnertime conversation on a vacation that took me so much bravery to attend brought me full circle.

Our worth is our own. It is in our hands to choose abundance and surround ourselves with others who chose it too.

Are you ready to choose abundance?

Work Hard Be Kind,

Amanda

Learning to Bounce Back

8 tips to bounce back

Not too long ago, we went to Sunday Brunch with friends.

There was bottomless champagne on the menu.

I love champagne.  

So, I did what any budget-minded person would do and did the quick math to realize the more glasses I had the cheaper it became.

The pores were heavy and the meal turned into an entire DAY of friends and families together eating, drinking, and thoroughly being present in the moment. It was almost a welcoming of summer with open arms.

But, I drank too much champagne.  

No, I didn’t have to visit the porcelain throne. But all day I was struggling with the inner voice that said “Drink up sister!” and the other one saying, ”Respect your body, Amanda you’ve had enough.”

I woke up Monday, a little sick to my stomach, foggy, and with a few extra visits to the restroom (sorry if that is T.M.I.).  

But do you know what else I woke up with?

Having lived a FULL life on Sunday.  

I maintained food awareness while I enjoyed some additional adult beverages I hadn’t planned for.

Having no shame about my choice, my body, and having ZERO food guilt.

I woke up not caring about the scale, still confident in my skin, feeling strong and with my soul a bit more renewed from friendship, laughs, and family time.

Most of all, I woke up with the ability to bounce back. I have worked hard to create habits that allow me to overcome failure as a learning experience and come right back to my routine as a grounding place for my health and well being.

However, it hasn’t always been this way. There have been times when a day like that left me with a tremendous amount of food guilt and body shame. There were times when a day of drinking too much alcohol sent me into a tailspin of overeating because I had an “all or nothing mentality.” I used to think “Well crap, I already ruined the day with too much alcohol, I might as well have Taco Bell”.

Which then gave way to a day of restriction in an attempt to offset “Sunday Funday,” and then a week of struggling to get back on the wagon.

This all or nothing mentality is one of a few eating patterns I see when clients begin their work with me. It’s their laser focus on the need to be perfect which then often paralyzes their ability to bounce back.

This paralysis is one of the GREATEST challenges I see as a coach. Clients start a week or a plan with great intentions. In fact, they are great at starting. But they struggle with how to maintain consistency and bounce back when things don’t go as planned, when routine fades and when motivation dwindles.

It’s those times where we must have strategies to help ourselves come back to the routine that we were thriving in. The real truth is that it isn’t easy and it comes with practice and more practice.

If you find yourself struggling, here are 8 tips to bounce back and getting back on track.

You can also join my FREE 7 Day Challenge to being to improve your ability to bounce back and start FEELING AMAZING NAKED HERE!

Accept that done is better than perfect

It’s time to let go of the “all or nothing” mentality.  Life just doesn’t present you with the perfect time to start changing your life. Learning to see that the mere act of doing is far more valuable to your success than having unrealistic expectations of perfection is life-changing.  

If you just try, just do, you are one step ahead of the game. From there you will get better and better with practice and time. More reps lead to more experience and progress.

You can read more about why the plan is never perfect HERE.

Schedule it in

Yep…schedule that $h!^ on your calendar now. Treat your goals and your health as an appointment to yourself.

Schedule in time to meal plan, grocery shop, meal prep and move your body. Put it in your Google Calendar or write it in your planner. When you see it come up as an appointment for yourself, you are reminded of your worth and the commitment you’ve made to yourself to get better.

Sticky note the crap out of it

This is my favorite of the 8 tips to bounce back. Until things become habit, you must remind yourself of the habits you hope to create. I am a huge fan of placing sticky notes as reminders to encourage habit formation.

Place sticky notes in places that are already a habit: on the coffee pot, on the medicine cabinet, near your toothbrush. Use these sticky notes to remind yourself to defrost your dinner protein, grab your lunch for work, or to meal plan on Sundays.

When you are struggling to regain routine, these notes will remind you of the habits you are working to create.

You can grab my Meal Prep Guide HERE.

Find your accountability partner

Sometimes, self-motivation dwindles. When you are really in the trenches and trying to climb out, having a partner to push you can make or break your progress.

Create a relationship with someone, a friend, a coach, or even a fitness tracker, that can help you be accountable for your goals when your routine has slipped away. It’s okay to reach out to them and say, “I need you right now.”

Rekindle your why

You began the journey to better your health for a reason. Whether it’s to lose weight, gain energy, sleep better or be able to play with your kids or grandkids, only you know the real, deep reason.

Sustainable change is slow and steady and when we remind ourselves of why we began in the first place it creates motivation to bounce back.

Create an environment for success

Look around you and see what is causing your struggles. Is it the Oreos in the pantry, the leftover ice cream in the freezer, or is it unsupportive friends or family?

Time to do the dirty work of purging those things in your environment that are causing you to take a detour from your path.

You must eliminate the triggers bringing back old habits in order to bounce back. Throw out the junk food until you learn how to moderate it and you must talk to those friends and let them know how important it is to change your life.

You can click here to read more about how to create a physical environment for success here.

Creating both a physical and emotional environment for your success eliminates any barriers and allows the habits you are trying to create to grow more organically.

Work with what you have right NOW

When we think too far into the future, we overlook the progress that is happening RIGHT NOW. You may want to be able to run a 5K down the road or deadlift your bodyweight. But don’t forget to celebrate that you are actually moving your body consistently 3-4 times a week from doing nothing a few months ago.

Remind yourself of where you’ve come from and what resources you have at your fingertips right now to create your success. Progress is an extreme motivation to bouncing back.

Positive mind, positive outcome

Don’t have a pity party for yourself and tell yourself the same story that you don’t have time or life is hard. It hasn’t gotten you anywhere so it is time to leave the negativity behind.

The benefits of positive self-talk are HUGE and include shifts in thinking, energy, and overall, more happy juice.

We work on this big time in my FREE 7 Day Feel Amazing Naked Challenge that you can join HERE.

If you want life-long change you must learn to talk nicely to yourself and try to see the positive in each moment even when you feel like your mind is fighting it. Practice consistency above all. Perfection is overrated and consistency is where true progress is.

The ability to overcome one “bad meal” or one-off day is far more important when it comes to the real deal of lasting results.  

Developing that skill to bounce back takes constant practice.

It’s also one of the hardest skills to develop and is what I constantly hold my clients accountable to it.

Learning to bounce back during times where you weren’t perfect and give yourself the grace to put it behind you paves the foundation for lasting success.

I want you to learn how to enjoy life, to discover the balance you’ve been chasing for far too long and create a lasting ability to bounce back in times you would normally throw in the towel.

I have, and I know how good it feels. And I’ve led so many others to that place too.

Now, my friend, it is your turn.

How will you bounce back?

Ready to start?  Click here to join my FREE 7 Day challenge to start bouncing back and feel amazing naked!

Work Hard Be Kind,

Amanda

The Difference Between Beans And Lentils

I was 9 or so when we took a trip to my Grandma’s house and we arrived at dinner time. I was starving, like eat an entire grocery store hungry.

We dropped our stuff quickly and sat down to commence ravenous eating at the dinner table when a bowl of soup was set in front of me.

Soup isn’t my favorite food to eat when I am in HANGRY beast mode. I noticed strange discs inside that were unfamiliar…and I was afraid. I quietly whispered to my mom, “What is it?”

She whispered back, “Bean and Lentil soup.”

GROSS, I thought.  I reluctantly dug in and was pleasantly surprised by what ensued. It would soon become the first of many lentil and bean meals.  

Beans and lentils have been a great source of plant-based protein since the beginning of time.  Many people lump both beans and lentils into one category.

You are probably asking yourself “Is one better or are they just the same thing? Which one is right for me?”. To answer your question, let’s dive into these nutrient-packed powerhouses.

What Are Beans And Lentils?

A legume is the fruit or seed of plants found in a pod or shed and is used for food.  The list of legumes is long (who knew?) and the Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council can provide you with a complete list here.  

Some of the most common legumes you might be familiar with are:

Peanuts

Peas

Soybeans

Alfalfa

Lentils

Beans

how many carbs in lentils

Why Should I Eat Legumes?

Legumes are a powerhouse of nutrition. They are higher in protein than most plant-based foods. This is why many plant-based eaters rely on legumes for much of their protein needs.  

According to the USDA, a fourth cup of dry red lentils contain 12 grams of plant-based protein. Both beans and lentils are a very cost-effective way to get in your protein. They are inexpensive and readily available.    

Most are low in fat and have quality energy-giving carbohydrates while being low in the glycemic index. They are filled with nutrients such as B vitamins, iron, zinc, calcium, and magnesium. Not to mention, they’re also a great source of soluble and insoluble fiber which according to the Harvard School of Public Health has its own long list of benefits. One cup of cooked black beans contains 15 grams of filling fiber which is 60% of your daily recommended allowance. And of course, legumes are gluten-free.

Let’s Start With Some Background

The harvest and origin of lentils are impressive. Lentils are one of the oldest pulse crops grown and date all the way back to 11,000 BC in Greece. In the US, most lentils are grown in Idaho and eastern Washington State.  They are also grown in Canada, India, and Australia. The plants have pods that contain the seeds known as lentils. A combination of gravity, screens and air flow help sort and clean the lentils getting them ready to be sold.  

Dried beans are grown just like fresh beans, however, harvested a little later. The difference is dried beans are harvested when they are completely brown and the pods are beginning to crack. 90% of the leaves on the plants are dead when it is time to harvest.  

Many beans are grown in the United States as well as other parts of the world like China and Mexico. They were originally domesticated 7000 years ago in Central and South America.  Today, most harvesting is done with machines specially manufactured to be gentle enough to keep the beans whole and avoid damage.   

Is There a Difference?

The biggest difference between beans and lentils is the cook time. Lentils are much smaller and can cook more quickly. They do not require pre-soaking so you can bring them home, rinse them off and start cooking. Lentils usually take about 15-20 minutes on the stove.

If you have trouble digesting lentils, you can sprout them prior to cooking which will help cut down on the phytic acid which can be difficult to digest. This will add to the prep time and is not a necessary step for everyone. Another thing to keep in mind with both beans and lentils is to make sure you rinse and sort them before cooking. There can be small stones or debris that may have wound up mixed in.  

Beans are best when soaked overnight before cooking. This cuts down on the cooking time and also helps remove some of the indigestible sugars that have potential to cause flatulence. The childhood mantra of “Bean, Beans, the magical fruit” is actually well warranted.

You can also use the quick soak method which requires you to bring the beans to a boil, turn off the heat, and let the beans stand for an hour. Either way, there is a lot more prep time involved when it comes to beans. Once you have soaked the beans they can take anywhere from one to three hours to fully cook.

Fiber Differences

The other main difference is fiber content.  A fourth cup of dry lentils contains a whopping 13 grams of fiber. Red lentils come in even higher at 15 grams of filling fiber. A fourth cup of kidney beans comes in at about half that with 7 grams of fiber and garbanzo beans only have 6 grams of fiber.

Besides cook time and fiber, beans and lentils are very similar so now we can focus on the different varieties.

Beans vs Lentils Nutritional Information per 1/4 cup (Source: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list)
Type (1/4 cup)CaloriesCarbohydrates (g)Protein (g)Fat (g)Fiber (g)Sugar (g)
Brown Lentils16027121130
Red Lentils18030131151
Black Beans1653010.517.51
Kidney Beans1552810.4171
Garbanzo Beans1893210.2365

Lots of Lentils

Most people are familiar with brown lentils. Those are the flat brown discs you see in most grocery stores. When cooked they usually turn a darker brown and hold their shape nicely, depending on how long you cook them. Cooking time varies from 20-30 minutes.  

Brown Lentils

They have a mild flavor and are very versatile. Brown lentils make a great side dish or addition to salads. They can also be used in place of meat for dishes like tacos or chili. Because they hold up well, brown lentils can also be used to make delicious veggie burgers.

Lentil Sweet Potato Kale Soup

Classic Lentil Burgers

Red Lentils

Another common lentil you have probably seen are red lentils. These are smaller than green lentils and are a bright orange color. These lentils are the sweetest variety and have a bit of a nutty flavor. They take about 20 minutes or less to cook and get mushy easily. Red lentils are often used for curries in Indian dishes. The nice thing about red lentils is they take on the flavor of whatever you cook them with, so they make a nice addition for thickening soups and chili.

One Pot Red Lentil Chili

Lentil Bolognese

Brown and red lentils are two of the most common types. If you are feeling daring and want to expand on your lentil experience, there are other types out there including black lentils and french lentils. They may not be as easy to track down but are just as tasty and full of nutrition.

Balsamic Kale and Black Lentils

French Lentils with Garlic and Thyme

All The Beans

There are many different types of beans out there. They too are nutrient powerhouses. With such a huge variety of beans, let’s focus on a few common varieties that are easy to find in your local grocery stores. Just keep in mind when you are planning to cook beans that they need to be either soaked overnight or have a quick soak (which is still at least an hour) before you can prepare.  

If you don’t have the time, canned beans are another great option, but just be mindful that the sodium levels in canned beans can be high. Giving them a good rinse and drain can help lower the sodium content a bit, or look for low sodium or no salt added canned beans.

Black Beans

Black beans are a very common type of bean that have been used in many different cultures for hundreds of years. You can find both dried and canned black beans at most grocery stores.  They are colored a shiny black just like the name and have a dense, almost meaty, texture. They have a very mild almost sweet flavor. When combined with brown rice, black beans create a complete protein which is why you see black beans and brown rice as a diet staple. Also, cooked black beans mash well into an almost creamy consistency and are often used to make dips.  

30 Minute Black Beans and Lime Rice

The Best Black Bean Dip

Kidney Beans

Next up are kidney beans. There are two different colors of kidney beans. White kidney beans — also known as cannellini beans and red kidney beans, which are a dark red in color. Both are shaped like little kidneys and have similar nutrient content. They are easy to find and a great meal staple to keep on hand. Red kidney beans hold their shape well and are best for dishes that require longer cooking times. White kidney beans have a thinner skin and cook faster so are better for dishes with less cook time.  

Mediterranean Style Kidney Bean Salad

White Bean Hummus with Roasted Garlic

Garbanzo Beans

Perhaps my favorite bean is the garbanzo bean, also known as a chickpea. The most common type of chickpea is round and beige. You can find them both canned and dried in most grocery stores. There are other less common colors of chickpeas including black, green and red.  

They have a bit of a nutty taste and a very fluffy texture once cooked.  When blended, chickpeas get a very smooth texture which makes them great for dips. They are the main ingredients in traditional hummus, and can also be roasted for a great protein-packed snack or addition to a salad. Once roasted they become light and crunchy.  

Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Garlic Roast Chickpeas

Favorite Homemade Hummus with Spiced Pita Chips

Sweet Cocoa Hummus (this is delicious and so easy)

I often see beans and lentils as an untapped treasure of potential for clients. Unless you live a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, both beans and lentils are often of little exposure.  

When talking about nutrition, we spend so much time talking about what foods to exclude that we forgot the potential of so many other amazing foods out there. When we work on being inclusive and exposing ourselves to new foods, we find it much easier to incorporate diversity and motivation into our lifestyle. Beans and lentils can be a simple, cost-effective, and yummy addition to your diet.

Do you cook beans and lentils often?  I’d love to hear about your favorite and why!

Work Hard Be Kind,

Amanda

How many carbs in coconut flour

Admittedly, I do not know how to pick out makeup.

I recently went into a local beauty store on a mission for mascara.

My stress level increased, my heart raced, and I had no freakin’ clue which one I should buy?

My inner brain said:

“It’s mascara Amanda, for goodness sake, it’s a $6 mascara. Pick one out and move on.”

I immediately text friends to help bail me out and give me direction.

It’s funny how we each have our thing. Our zone of genius and comfort.

Makeup is not mine.

Food is.

The perfect healthy cupcake (is there such a thing?)

What I realized is that grocery shopping isn’t really any different.

How often have you been on a mission for a special ingredient only to face analysis paralysis by so many choices?

There are usually over twenty, each with their own unique features and and benefits.

It’s kind of like when you are in the baking aisle to pick out the perfect healthy flour to make an awesome treat for a friend’s birthday.

You take a look at Pinterest and it is brimming with alternate flour treat ideas;  cupcakes, decadent cakes, donuts, pies…the list goes on.

But where do you start and which flour is truly best for YOU?

Which ones are low carb, low fat, gluten-free? And most important how do they taste?  What’s it like to cook and bake with them? What brand is best and where can you get them?

Have no fear. This alternate flour guide will touch on several different types of flours. You will find out how to use them, their differences and I am even going to share some of my favorite recipes for each flour type. Most importantly, you will learn which ones meet your nutritional goals.

Types of Flours

This guide is here to help you navigate the many alternative flours out there and make a decision on which is the best one for you. You can jump to each flour section by clicking below.

Coconut (go to coconut flour)

Almond (go to almond flour)

Oat (go to oat flour)

Rice (go to rice flour)

Coffee (go to coffee flour)

Cricket (go to cricket flour)

How many carbs in coconut flour?

Macronutrient Values of Alternative Flours per 1/4 Cup
Type of Flour per 1/4 CupCarbohydrate (g)Fat (g)Protein (g)Fiber (g)Sugar (g)
White230300
Whole Wheat211441
Coconut164451
Almond614631
Oat202530
Brown Rice301320
Cricket382020
Coffee2815240

Coconut Flour

Coconut flour options are popping up everywhere and for a good reason. Coconuts are a good source of quality saturated fats which can have many benefits. They lower your risk of heart disease by lowering your good to bad cholesterol ratio. Coconut flour is easy to digest and gluten-free. It is full of filling fiber, protein and is low in sugar.

So how many carbs are in coconut flour? A fourth cup of coconut flour has 16 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fat and 4 grams of protein, plus an impressive 5 grams of filling fiber. It has been shown to have a low glycemic index which means it does not spike your blood sugar as quickly as grain-based flours.

Coconut flour has a very slight sweet taste despite having little to no sugar.  It can be a wonderful addition to both savory or sweet dishes.

How is coconut flour made?

Coconut flour is actually a byproduct of making coconut milk. To make coconut milk you soak coconut meat. The liquid is drained off and the meat is dried then ground into a powder. So this flour helps utilize all parts of the coconut so there is no waste and you are doing your part to help the environment.

How do I use coconut flour?

Working with coconut flour can be a bit tricky at first because it tends to be on the dryer side.

I suggest finding specific coconut flour recipes to try first. Once you get comfortable with coconut flour then you can begin to experiment on your own. It is very high in fiber, therefore, needs a lot more moisture than regular flour.

It is incredibly absorbent and generally baked goods require a lot more eggs. Sifting the flour will also help smooth out the coconut flour because it does have a tendency to be lumpy.

Where can I find coconut flour?

You can find coconut flour at most conventional grocery stores these days.  Below is a link to a few of my favorite brands:

Nutiva Coconut Flour

Bob’s Red Mill Coconut Flour

My favorite coconut flour recipes

Here are a few yummy coconut flour recipes that you might want to give a go:

Coconut Flour Blueberry Protein Muffins

Banana Coconut Flour Waffles

Healthy No Bake Chocolate Chip Blondies

Super Easy Coconut Flour Pizza Crust

Almond Flour: A Lower Carb Option

If coconut is not your thing or if you’re looking for an even lower carb flour option, try almond flour.

A fourth cup of this flour only has 6 grams of carbohydrates. However, it is a bit higher in the fat department with 14 grams of fat. But it also contains 6 grams of filling protein.

Almond flour is another delicious option when looking for a low carb, gluten-free flour option that is full of nutrition.  Almonds contain healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E.

Almonds have been shown to lower blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol and reduce blood pressure.  Almond flour is higher in fat but quite a bit lower in carbs than coconut flour yet will still keep you satisfied. Like coconut flour, it has a slightly sweet taste even though a fourth cup only contains 1 gram of sugar.

What is almond flour?

You may have seen both almond flour and almond meal in the store, as the names can be used interchangeably. Both are ground up almonds. Generally, almond flour has been ground a lot finer and is more uniform.

What you need to pay attention to is blanched versus unblanched. Blanched means the skins have been removed. This usually results in a lighter product both in color and texture. Blanched almond flour is best used for cookies, treats, and most baking.  Unblanched means the skins have been ground up into the flour. This generally results in a darker flour with a heartier texture. You would use this for a more hearty baked good such as a breakfast cookie or dense bread.

Where do I get almond flour?

The great news is almond flour is also becoming readily available in most grocery stores, including budget-friendly options in bulk sections. This would be a great way to purchase a small amount and see if you like it. You can also purchase almond flour on-line by ordering below from Amazon (cause Amazon Prime is LIFE).

Bob’s Almond Flour

Now That I Have Some, What Can I Make?

Once you purchase your almond flour you can get cooking. One thing to keep in mind is that once opened you must keep almond flour in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. Because of its higher oil content, it can become rancid quickly if not kept cold. Here are some great recipes to try:

Healthy Paleo Pancakes

Blueberry Almond Oat Bars

Low Carb Turkey Meatballs

Vegan Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oat Flour: A Lower Fat Option

If you want to stay away from fat you can grab yourself a bag of oat flour. Or better yet, just grind your own in a food processor or blender.  Oat flour is basically just ground up oatmeal. About 1 and ¼ cup oats make one cup of oat flour. It can be a very cost-effective flour that tastes great!  Oat flour is higher in carbohydrates than coconut or almond. It contains 20 grams of carbohydrates per fourth cup. However, a fourth cup contains only 2 grams of fat and 5 grams of protein.

Don’t forget oat flour also contains 3 grams of filling soluble fiber comprised of indigestible sugars called beta-glucans. They have been shown to lower risk factors for heart disease such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Beta-glucans have also been shown to enhance the immune response to infection, have anti-tumor properties and stabilize blood sugar.  The fiber also helps with satiety. If you have ever had a bowl of oatmeal you know how well it fills you up. Baking with oat flour could potentially make a filling treat that leaves your full and content.

Where can I buy oat flour?

A simple way to get out flour is to #diy. You can make your own flour at home by putting oats in your favorite food processor and grinding it until a fine flour is created.

If you want to make this flour gluten-free make sure you use certified gluten-free oats if you make your own, or make sure the already ground oat flour is certified gluten-free. Not all oats are gluten free due to cross contamination so be sure to read the label if this is a necessity for you.

As with almond and coconut flour, oat flour can be found in many grocery stores. You can also purchase it online.

Bob’s Red Mill Oat Flour (can you tell I love this brand?)

What can I make with oat flour?

Oat flour has somewhat of a chewy crumbly texture when used for baking. It is a bit heartier and has a slightly sweet taste to it compared to wheat flour. Oat flour is great for making cookies and breakfast items like waffles and pancakes due to its higher moisture content. It also is best used for items that don’t need to rise, such as quick bread and muffins.

So Simple Oat Flour Pancakes

Gluten-Free Banana Oat Muffins (Vegan)

Better than Restaurant Falafel (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

Easy Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies

Rice Flour

If you are looking for another low-fat alternative flour, you can also use rice flour (also known as rice powder). The three types of rice flours are brown rice flour, white rice flour, and sweet rice flour. For this purpose, we will focus on brown rice flour. Brown rice flour keeps the husk intact and therefore contains more fiber and nutritional value.

Many find that brown rice flour is easy to digest and has a very mild nutty flavor. It is gluten-free and contains B vitamins, calcium, and zinc. Brown rice flour only contains 1 gram of fat per fourth cup. It is higher in carbohydrates with 30 grams per fourth cup. Brown rice flour works well in baked goods such as crackers and muffins.

This would be a great flour to use when making a snack that you want to be a bit higher in carbs, like a pre or post-workout treat.  Brown rice flour is also great as a gluten-free thickening agent in soups, sauces or gravies.

Where do I get rice flour?

The great thing about rice flour is you can purchase it at the store or you can make your own. It is made by grinding rice into a powder using your high powered blender. If you prefer to purchase it, you can find rice flour in most groceries stores. You can also purchase it online.

Bob’s Red Mill White Rice Flour

Rice flour Recipes

Like all of these flours, I suggest starting with a recipe that is made to use rice flour.  Once you get comfortable with rice flour you can begin to play around with it. Here are a few ideas:

Rice Flour Blueberry Muffins

Brown Rice Crackers

Simple Gluten Free Rice Flour Pizza

Brown Rice Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

Coffee Flour

One type of flour gaining popularity is coffee flour.

How is coffee flour made?

Contrary to what the name implies, coffee flour is not actually made from the coffee bean itself. The coffee plant itself produces a fruit, the cherry. Inside those cherries is the coffee bean that is used for your morning brew.

The leftover part of the fruit is then dried, ground to a pulp and used to make coffee flour. This a double win for coffee growers and for agriculture as the entire part of the plant is used leaving nothing for waste.

Benefits of coffee flour

Some alternative flours are packed with fat. Coffee flour is a lower fat alternative with only 1 gram of fat, 28 grams of carbohydrate, and 5 grams of protein per ¼ cup.

Coffee flour is high in fiber and potassium, two key variables needed for overall health.

It also falls in line with the categories of vegan, kosher, gluten-free and Paleo.

Cons of coffee flour

But beware, this flour is caffeinated. It might be a fun addition to your pantry but it isn’t likely to cycle into the rotation regularly.

Coffee is also constantly under fire for being highly constrained by chemical exposure.  This same issue extends to the fruit itself.

Coffee flour Recipes

Check out the original coffee flour site for recipes HERE. And you can find coffee flour on Amazon HERE.

Cricket Flour

Still looking for more protein? If you really want to step out of your comfort zone you can try cricket flour.

Did you know there are over 1000 different species of edible insects?

Believe it or not, crickets have been a source of food around the world for a long time, but the cricket trend is just now catching on in the United States. According to a study by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, crickets could be a sustainable protein source for our ever-growing global population. It contains a whopping 20 grams of protein per fourth cup and only 3 grams of carbohydrates. Each fourth cup contains 8 grams of fat and 2 grams of fiber. It is also high in calcium, vitamin B, amino acids, and iron. Another bonus is this flour is gluten-free.

What is cricket flour?

Cricket flour is simply whole crickets ground up into a flour or powder. It’s that simple. It has a slightly grayish color and has a very earthy smell. Since it is ground up insects it has a bit more moisture than your typical flour. However, you must keep in mind that if you have a shellfish allergy you could also react to cricket flour. Crickets are arthropods just like shrimp, crabs, and lobsters. Cricket flour should be kept in the refrigerator to stop it from going bad.

How does cricket flour taste?

Cricket flour has been described as having a slightly nutty flavor similar to buckwheat. The nice thing is it has a very subtle flavor so it does not change the flavor of what it’s added to. This makes it a nice addition to smoothies as well as used in baking. It can make baked goods have a slightly grainy texture but not enough to make anyone notice.

Are you daring enough to get some?

You can purchase cricket flour easily online. When purchasing, it is probably best to make sure your cricket flour is organic and high quality without additives. Please also ensure it is gluten free if that is what you are after. Like with the rest of the options, flour companies can add things to their product and you want to be aware of what you are purchasing.

Click here to check out cricket flour

I’ve also tried these Bars made with cricket flour. Once you get over the mental struggle of protein origin, they actually are quite nice!

Bought some cricket flour?

Here are just a few recipes using cricket flour. There are so many great recipes out there that it may surprise you. If this trend continues to grow, so will the many recipes you can make using cricket flour.

Pancakes With Cricket Flours

Cricket Flour Onion Rings

Spicy Cricket Fritters

High Protein Cricket Flour Cookies

Now you are armed with information about several alternative flours, including coconut flour, almond flour, and even cricket flour. These flours continue to grow in popularity and with that, so do the recipes to utilize them. So whether you are gluten free, low carb, high protein, or low fat, there is an option out there for you. Give them a try and see if you can create some delicious homemade food that fits your needs.

Which one are you going to try? Share your experience with these flours. Can’t wait to see how it goes!

Work Hard Be Kind,

AWalk