Cacao Avocado Pudding

Growing up I had a pudding cup in my lunch bag every day. Which explains why I am a total chocaholic now! Since going gluten and dairy-free, I haven’t had pudding! Well, it dawned on me. I use avocados in my smoothies to make my smoothies extra creamy, so why not use them with a little cacao to make my dream pudding bowl. Four ingredients later, my dream pudding bowl had been made!
What You Will Need:
2 Avocados
1/2 Cup Cacao Powder
1/4C Maple Syrup
1/2C + 2T Unsweetened Almond Milk
Pinch of Salt
1tsp Vanilla
What You Will Do:
Slice two avocados and add to a blender or Vitamix.
Add Cacao Powder, Maple Syrup, Almond Milk, Salt, and Vanilla.

Blend on high, pausing here and there to scrape down the sides of the blender if need be.
Pour into a bowl, and add your toppings! I added Banana Slices and Cacao Nibs.
Enjoy!
 
I like my pudding as is, and use toppings as a way of adding sweetness to the pudding. But if you like things EXTRA sweet like my assistant, add a little more maple syrup on top and stir it in!
This recipe makes 4 servings! 

Why I Take Vital Proteins Collagen… Religiously!

I’ve been using collagen for about a year and a half now and I can’t imagine my life without it! What is it, you ask? Collagen is a protein found in our body; some call it the “glue” that holds our body together! Over time our collagen production decreases, which results in a whole range of issues from bad skin to gut troubles. I first learned about collagen when friends of mine raved about its benefits and told me they were reaping the benefits by using Vital Proteins!

Collagen sounded exactly like what I needed. Sadly, I wasn’t blessed with the thickest hair by the hair gods, and years of curling, straightening, coloring, and more was making my hair so thin and damaged! My bad hair, compiled with my constant gut issues, made me the perfect candidate for collagen.

My first time trying Vital Proteins I was so amazed. A protein packed powdered packet (say that ten times fast), that had no flavor and I could simply add to my water and reap the benefits?! I was floored. After 2-3 weeks, I could already feel a difference!

So what are the BENEFITS?! Here are just a few!

  • Hair and Nail Growth
  • Heal Leaky Gut Syndrome
  • Clears Skin
  • Brain & Altzheimer’s Protection
  • Ease Joint Pain
  • Boosts Metabolism
  • Helps Detox

Adding Vital Proteins to my water was easy, but once I became a smoothie-addict and realized I could use VP collagen as the protein source in my smoothies, my smoothie game was changed. Furthermore, Vital Proteins comes in a range of collagens, from animal to marine based, bone broth collagens to flavored collagens. VP has a collagen for every occasion! I recently started using Vital’s matcha collagen. I mean, why not give my latte a little protein kick?!

To get your Vital Proteins, click here!

 

My Struggle with IBS

Hey everyone! LET’S TALK!

I was compensated by Salix Pharmaceuticals for this post. However, all opinions are my own.

It’s funny, as a blogger my job is to ‘get personal’ and share my life with y’all, but I often find myself trying to keep certain parts of my life private. Today I want to talk to you about a condition that I suffer from. As you know, I am gluten-free, but what you may not know is that I also have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

For those who don’t know, IBS is a chronic gastrointestinal disorder characterized by symptoms of abdominal pain and abnormal bowel habits, and it affects between 3% and 20% of Americans. In particular, IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D) affects more than 16 million Americans.

A few more facts!

Facts about IBS:

  • IBS affects about twice as many women as men.
  • Microbial imbalance has been linked to symptoms of IBS-D.
  • IBS is the 7th most common diagnosis by primary care physicians.
  • 67% of IBS sufferers experience symptoms for 1+ year before seeing a doctor.

I’m super excited to collaborate with Salix Pharmaceuticals to create IBS-D awareness. I guess the reason why I don’t talk much about my IBS is because it’s a bit awkward for me to discuss my intestinal symptoms and discomfort! It turns out that a lot of people feel embarrassed by their symptoms and wait more than a year before seeing a doctor.

Salix launched letstalk-2.com this past IBS Awareness Month, in April. The website informs visitors on when #2 is a problem, common triggers and causes, and offers tips on starting a conversation about IBS-D with your healthcare provider, because the talk shouldn’t be as uncomfortable as the symptoms!

What 2 Know Before You Go ‘2’ the Doctor:

  1. Write down your symptoms and triggers
  2. Make a list of all your medications
  3. Plan questions in advance, such as:
    • What is most likely the cause of my symptoms?
    • Should I change my diet and lifestyle?
    • What treatment options do you recommend?

To deal with my IBS, I’ve recently started taking fiber supplements and living a low FODMAP life.

If you think gluten-free is tricky, just wait until you try low FODMAP! FODMAP foods are appointed based on how their sugars and carbohydrates are broken down. Squash, zucchini, and carrots are low FODMAP favorites when it comes to veggies, my NOBREAD smoothies are all good to-go, and salmon and eggs are A-OK! But just imagine my devastation when I went low FODMAP and learned that only 1/8 avocado is allowed, and brussel sprouts are an absolute NO!! My IBS savior has been bone broth, which I wrote a whole blog post about here!

Check out some of my favorite low FODMAP meals! :

If you, too, suffer from IBS-D, do NOT fear! Talk to your doctor to determine what treatments options might be right for you.

My Go-To Smoothie Made with Vital Proteins

If you have followed me for long then you know that I am the queen of smoothies! Yes my title may be self-proclaimed, but I have tested and tried every kind of smoothie at every time of day, and my addiction isn’t because of their great flavor and taste, it is because I have discovered a way to make my smoothies nutrient packed! Oh, and because I am LOVING reaping the benefits!

Today I introduce you to my go-to smoothie made with the help of my go-to brand, Vital Proteins. I use Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides EVERY. DAY. in my smoothies. Why? Well collagen is known to heal leaky gut, improve hair and nail growth, improve skin elasticity, protect from heart disease, and protect your brain from Alzheimer’s and more! Since adding VP to my diet, not only has my digestion improved, but I’ve noticed SIGNIFICANT hair growth and my nails and bones are stronger than ever. TRUTH.

And if you’re not a smoothie person that’s okay!! You can simply add Vital Proteins to 8oz of water and drink it straight! The classic flavor has no taste, but the flavored lines including Vanilla Coconut, Melon Mint, Cucumber Aloe, and more will give your drink the perfect touch of taste. Vital Proteins started with their collagen peptides, and I’ve LOVED seeing their business develop to now include collagen creamers, bone broth powders, greens and veggies, beauty collagens, and more!

(use this post’s hyperlinks for your Vital Proteins purchase!)

The NOBREAD… aka My Vanilla Avocado Smoothie!

What You Will Need:
1.5 C Unsweetened Vanilla Nut Milk
1 Scoop Vanilla Coconut Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
Handful of Spinach
Handful of Blueberries
1T Chia Seeds
1/2 Avocado

What You Will Do:
Add all ingredients to a Vitamix or NutriBullet starting with your nut milk.
Blend on High for 30-45 seconds, or until the smoothie is totally blended.
Pour into a bowl and top with cacao nibs, coconut shavings, and a little almond butter or with fruit!
Serve and ENJOY!

Matcha Latte made with Califia Farms Creamer

When people think of NOBREAD and I, they think of smoothies and MATCHA LATTES.

…And I don’t hate it. Funny enough, until I mastered making matcha myself, I always bought my lattes at cafes. I mean I tried to make them myself! But they never turned out as good as the ones from my favorite cafes. Well thanks to Califia Farms nut milks and creamers, this matcha addict has learned how to master the craft.

What You Will Need:
1.5C Unsweetened Vanilla Califia Farms Milk
1-2T Califia Farms Almond Milk Creamer
1tsp Matcha or Turmeric… whichever suits your mood!

What You Will Do:

Heat your nut milk on the stove or in the microwave for 3 minutes. Add to blender.
Add your creamer and matcha OR turmeric.
Blend on high for 20 seconds or so, and serve!

Note: The cute little cinnamon decorations on top that you see in the photo below are made with the help of a latte stencil!!

 

Sweet Potato Smoothie Bowl made with Blender Bombs!

SWEET POTATO SMOOTHIE BOWL! Made with probably the coolest little creation ever, Blender Bombs by Hushup And Hustle!! Helen’s Blender Bombs are packed full of protein, fat, and fiber, so all you do when making your smoothie is take a ball, add some nut milk, and add your veggies! WATCH IT GO DOWN ON MY STORIES! My smoothies usually have 6-7 different ingredients in them, so using these bombs cuts down the amount of ingredients I need and the time it takes to make!

What do Blender Bomb’s consist of? My go-to is the classic flavor which consists of pecans, dates, local raw honey, flax seeds, hemp seeds, almonds, chia seeds, walnuts, and bee pollen!

Sweet Potato Smoothie Bowl: 

What You Will Need:
1.5 Cup Unsweetened Original Almond Milk
1 Medium Sweet Potato (~3/4 Cup Mashed)
1 Blender Bomb by Hushup and Hustle!
To Garnish: Cinnamon, Pecans, Cacao Nibs, and Coconut Shavings

What You Will Do:
Add all ingredients to a blender/vitamix etc, starting with your nut milk.
Blend on high until fully incorporated.

Van’s Gluten Free Products!

May is National Celiac Awareness month… a month that I cherish immensely. And in honor of the month, I want to talk about one of my favorite brands that offers gluten-free products. When I first went gluten-free ten years ago, gluten-free brands were essentially non-existent! I wanted so badly to feel ‘normal’ and to eat the food that my friends and siblings were still eating. That is how I found Van’s!

Van’s Foods is a leading better-for-you foods brand committed to making wholesomely awesome products that the whole family will love. They offered delicious waffles and breakfast foods that my gluten-eating siblings loved, and gluten-FREE alternatives that I could indulge in, too! For almost a half-century they’ve been dishing up gluten-free and allergy-friendly products that bring together simple, nourishing ingredients in a way that makes their foods deliciously irresistible.

When I say irresistible… I MEAN IT. The gluten-free blueberry waffles are better than any gluten-free waffle I’ve had to date (especially when topped with blueberries, maple syrup, and gluten-free granola!) and the gluten-free Cinnamon French Toast Sticks are incredibly unique and tasty. Oh, and not only are they made with all good-for-you ingredients, but they are also low calorie! So you can indulge without the guilt!

Like Van’s says, eating wholesome and nutritious foods doesn’t mean you have to compromise on deliciousness. In addition to gluten-free waffles, pancakes, and French toast, they also offer gluten-free snack and sandwich bars, granola, cereals, and crackers! Also in addition to gluten-free options, Van’s offers Organic, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, and Corn-Free options! MY DREAM!

I incorporate Van’s delicious and gluten-free recipes into my daily routine- whether it is cooking up a breakfast meal or toasting up a waffle as a late-day snack. I’m excited for you to meet Van’s and taste everything delicious they offer!

Turmeric Cauliflower Rice

Let’s talk about Turmeric. You’ve seen it in your lattes, you’ve seen it in your food, and you’ve heard everyone rave about its beneficial properties. Turmeric fights inflammation, it is a powerful antioxidant, is brain boosting, and protects your heart! For a few months now, I’ve been adding turmeric to anything and everything, but with its strong taste, I’ve had to learn how to add it to my food without making my meals too bitter. One of my favorite foods to add turmeric to is cauliflower! I was inspired by a meal I had in NYC at ABCV, and ever since then I’ve been dying to recreate the masterpiece.

Well, it’s taken a little time and experimentation, but I’ve developed a recipe that is just. right. Introducing my Turmeric Cauliflower Rice- it takes just minutes to prepare and only a few ingredients! I hope you enjoy!

What You Will Need:
2C Cauliflower Rice
1tsp Tumeric
Dash of Nutmeg
Dash of Salt + Pepper
3/4T Garlic Powder
1T Avocado Oil
Handful of Sliced Almonds and Goji Berries

What You Will Do:
Heat up 1T of Avocado Oil on a skillet.
Add your cauliflower rice to the skillet, and sauté it in the avocado oil.
Add your turmeric, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and garlic powder.
Stir cauliflower rice into the spices until fully incorporated… and YELLOW.
*If you want to add almonds and goji berries, do so here!
Cook cauliflower rice for 5-7 minutes, or until cooked to your liking.
Serve! If vegan, add avocado. If not vegan, add wild salmon or eggs!

Enjoy Life Foods New Packaging!

Did you know May is National Celiac Awareness Month!? Well if you didn’t know before, you know now! And to celebrate, my friends at Enjoy Life Foods and I are having our own little cookie/chocolate party!

We all know my love for Enjoy Life Foods products, specifically their chocolate chip cookies (crunchy and soft) and their mini chips and baking chocolates. ELF mini chips are in each recipe I create that uses chocolate chips, and I’ve had an ELF cookie as a dessert every. single. day. for the last 9+ years. Not only am I forever loyal to the brand (the only true GF brand out there when I found out I had Celiac almost ten years ago) but the cookies are genuinely DELICIOUS.

Back when I had to go gluten-free, there were NO good gluten-free options on the market. The GF products out there were bland and boring, or products that were naturally gluten-free. Enjoy Life Foods was the one brand offering allergy-friendly baked goods, and the brand that got me through my difficult dietary transition. As their product line has grown, their morals and values have stayed the same and they are dedicated to providing allergy-friendly food to our community. It was Enjoy Life Foods who made me realize I was still going to be able to enjoy my life.

Recently the team came out with their teal packaging!! And I invite you all to embark on some #TealSpotting with me!! Snap a photo of the teal packaging on the shelf, tag Enjoy Life, the retailer and #tealspotting for a chance to win a free product coupon!

OH, and what’s a celebration without a gift?! By clicking THIS LINK you can ‘enjoy’ (lol, get it!?) 15% off your order!! See more details below!!

  • Promotional Code: ENJOYNB
  • Discount: 15% off (minimum order $10)
  • Restrictions: One time use
  • Live date: May 1 – June 8

Plant Snacks

Introducing a new favorite snack, Plant Snacks’ cassava root chips! The chips are not only VEGAN, but they are GLUTEN-FREE, free of the Big 8 Allergens, non-GMO, paleo friendly and free from added sugars, grains, corn, trans fat, artificial flavors and preservatives. Oh, and most importantly, they taste INCREDIBLE. The chips come in four flavors: Sea Salt, Super Seeds, Vegan Beet with Goat Cheese and Vegan Cheddar, and each only has 140 calories and 1 gram of saturated fat per serving.

Whether I need a handful of crunch to satisfy a craving, or I am packing up snacks for the beach, Plant Snacks’ cassava root chips have become my go-to. When I went gluten-free and I needed a snack to replace my gluten-filled bread cravings, chips were my savior. The Plant Snacks flavors are so unique and provide much needed variety to my snacking routine… and you have to love when variety comes from a healthy root!

I have so many good things to say about EACH flavor I don’t know where to begin! I’ll start with the Vegan Beet with Goat Cheese, because this flavor caught my eye from the start! This variety combines cassava flour with beets and vegan goat cheese, the perfect mix of sweet and savory. It’s RARE to find a vegan goat cheese that isn’t made out of nuts, plus the clean ingredient list is amazing!

For the old-school Dorito or Cheeto lovers, Plant Snacks’ Vegan Cheddar cassava root chips are for you – you won’t even know they’re vegan, I promise! My favorite flavor is Super Seeds, which is a blend of pumpkin, sunflower, flax and sesame seeds. This packed chip is incredibly satisfying and FILLING.

I’m tired of artificial flavors, cheap ingredients, and poor nutrition, and the team at Plant Snacks is, too! Plant Snacks source their cassava directly from Brazil. And if I don’t have you sold at this point, did you know that the benefits of cassava (a root veggie also known as yuca or manioc) include: an amazing source of fiber, folate, vitamin C, and potassium, and it boosts immunity and has beneficial properties for your skin?!

To find Plant Snacks at a store near you, click here!

Mikey’s

Mikey’s, brought to you by my childhood friend, Michael Tierney, is a paleo breads and baked goods company with a variety of gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, and soy-free breads and english muffins! Years ago, Michael began Mikey’s with a gluten-free take on the classic English Muffin and his company quickly soared to success. Not only were the muffins gluten-free, a rarity at the time, but they were also paleo-friendly and low calorie! Most importantly, they tasted as good as the gluten-FILLED English muffins of my past.

Since my first Mikey’s tasting in 2014, not only has Mikey’s product line grown, but he has revamped his original English Muffin recipe and the recipe of today is a total winner. Keeping in line with “simple,” each muffin is under 100 calories and it’s hard to believe a product with so few ingredients can be so healthy, and tasty! My favorite is the cinnamon raisin!

Simplicity is Mikey’s mantra and his muffins are made with SEVEN real ingredients that you can trust- Eggs, Almond Flour, Purified Water, Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut Flour, Baking Soda, and Kosher Salt. My motto is and always has been, “if there are too many ingredients listed, you don’t know what an ingredient is, or you can’t pronounce it, then you can’t buy it.” Applying this mantra to Mikey’s products, I CAN HAVE THEM ALL! I love topping the English Muffins with almond butter, avocado, or pretty much any nut-butter spread!

Mikey’s product line has since expanded to also include muffins tops, sliced bread, pizza crust, and tortillas! Clean eating, gluten-free, Paleo, low carb, low sugar, and dense nutrition; from flavor to nutrition, Mikey’s does it right! The chocolate chip muffin tops are my favorites, because I’m a chocoholic, but the lemon blueberry is SO interesting, I was actually shocked at how much I loved the flavor combination. I like to top my muffin tops with a spread, OR take two muffin tops and use them as sandwich halves for my favorite proteins or desserts!

When I first went gluten-free, the food I missed the most was without a doubt PIZZA. So when it came to trying all of Mikey’s products, I insisted I first recipe develop/experiment with the pizza crust! The crust has amazing texture and is the perfect base to bring your crazy pizza fantasies to life.

What You Will Need:
1 Mikey’s Pizza Crust
1/2-1Cup Tomato Sauce
1/2-1Cup Dairy-free Cheese!
Optional: Sunny Side Up Egg

What You Will Do:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper, and place your Mikey’s Pizza Crust on the tray.
Top your crust with sauce and vegan cheese- amount of each is up to you!


Place in the oven and cook for 9 minutes.
*Cook time is anywhere between 7-14 minutes… all depends on your toppings! 
Cut your pizza into 4’s and serve!

The pizza crust is soft with a bread-like consistency, but crisps super nicely when baked!

Mikey’s tortilla’s are some of the healthiest out on the market, and they have come in handy for my constant taco craving! Stay tuned for some fun taco recipes coming soon 🙂

Mikey’s is a STAPLE in my refrigerator and freezer, and I have at least one of Mikey’s products A DAY. NO JOKE. Check out http://www.mikeysmuffins.com/ for more product information and to see where you can buy at a store near you!

Vegan Smoothies Made with Califia Farms

I asked a few friends this weekend, “When you think of my brand, what do you think of?” The answer was unanimous. SMOOTHIES! I start every morning with a smoothie, and often have them for dinner or lunch, too! And no it doesn’t get boring! With so many inclusions available and varieties of proteins, fats, greens etc, no two smoothies are the same. Well, one thing is the same. Each smoothie incorporates one of Califia Farm’s nut milks!

The plant-based brand is not only vegan but GMO-free, and all ingredients are sustainably sourced. I’m kind of obsessed with the Toasted Coconut AlmondMilk, and other favorites include the Chocolate Coconut AlmondMilk and Vanilla AlmondMilk. Califia also has the BEST creamers for your coffee’s and latte’s, and their on-the-go AlmondMilk Matcha’s are my life.

BLUEBERRY VANILLA:
1.5 Cups Califia Farms Toasted Coconut AlmondMilk
3/4 Cup Blueberries
1 Scoop Vanilla Vegan Protein Powder
½ Banana
1T Coconut Butter
1T Chia Seeds
1C Frozen Cauliflower
TOPPINGS: Blueberries, Straberries, Raspberries, Blackberries

CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER:
1.5 Cups Califia Farms Chocolate Coconut AlmondMilk
1 Scoop Chocolate Protein Powder
1/2 Banana
1T Peanut Butter
1T Chia Seeds
1/2 Frozen Zucchini
TOPPINGS: Cacao Nibs, Coconut Shavings, granola

MATCHACADO BANANA:
2 Cups Califia Farms Toasted Coconut AlmondMilk
2 tsp Matcha
1 Scoop Vegan Vanilla Protein Powder
1/2 Avocado
½ Frozen Banana
1T Chia Seeds
1C Spinach
Toppings: Avocado, Coconut Butter, Banana