cold as ice. cryotherapy

This weekend I tried cryotherapy. Yes, that’s right. I voluntarily put myself into a -250 degree box for fun. The session lasted for three minutes and, while it was the longest three minutes of my life, the benefits I experienced afterwards were well worth the cold. Cryo 1

Cryotherapy is a method of pain treatment that exposes the body to extremely cold temperatures in order to heal muscle soreness, reduce inflammation, and improve health. Cryotherapy is also said to boost energy, relieve stress, and improve skin among other things.

Although all the benefits sounded great, it was the promise of reduced inflammation and muscle soreness that peaked my interest. You see, I am in the process of training for my second half marathon. If that wasn’t hard enough I am still recovering from a foot and ankle injury that set me back big time. As my training runs begin to get longer the discomfort and soreness I’m experiencing in my foot, ankle, and legs is worsening. And so, despite working with my physical therapist and using a training plan I was eager to see if the benefits associated with cryotherapy were true.

And the verdict?

Yep! Cryotherapy definitely helped to ease my muscle soreness and stiffness. I highly recommend it for those looking for an additional way to recover from injury. I must say the effects I felt were not immediate and it took about to day for me notice a change. However, after an amazing night sleep, the pain I was feeling from my run the day before was gone and the soreness/stiffness in my feet, calves, shins, and ankles was greatly reduced. DISCLAIMER: The only benefit I did not experience was the energy boost,  I was absolutely exhausted afterwards. But, looking back it’s not the worst benefit to miss out on (plus I got a great nap out of it).  If you are considering cryotherapy, don’t let the cold deter you from all the benefits it has to offer. Your body will thank you for it!

 

Advertisements

flour power.

I was diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease when I was eighteen years old. Cue the familiar “I don’t know how you do it, if I couldn’t eat bread I would die” exclamations that usually follow. However, in reality being diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease changed my life for the better. I mean sure, I do miss the ease of eating food without inspecting every ingredient listed, but overall I have much more energy and feel a whole lot better. In fact, learning and adapting to my diagnosis led me to change my major in college to dietetics and I have been working in the health and nutrition field ever since.

giphy

A little background for those who may not know about Celiac’s Disease ( or think it’s a fad diet). Celiac’s Disease is an autoimmune disorder where your body views gluten as a foreign invader. Gluten is a major protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It is composed of two elements called gliadin and glutenin. They contribute to the elasticity and extensibility of bread, making gluten a near-perfect starch…except for those of us living with Celiac’s Disease.

When gluten is ingested it causes physical damage to the villi that line the small intestine. Villi are little hair-like extensions responsible for nutrient absorption. Meaning, when damage to the villi occurs the ability to absorb nutrients is significantly impaired. In addition to the damage, you get all the fun GI side effects that no one ever wants to talk about.

The only way to not feel the effects of Celiac’s Disease is avoidance of all things gluten. Luckily, nowadays it’s easier to do. Overall understanding of Celiac’s Disease, and its effect on the body, is rising. Restaurants are getting better at labeling gluten-free menu items, grocery stores are designating aisles to gluten-free products, and efforts to minimize cross contamination has improved.

As I bake and cook I try to incorporate different gluten-free flours to see which ones I enjoy the most. To my surprise, when it comes to gluten-free flours there are a lot of options. Here are some to look out for!

  • Chickpea Flour: Also goes by garbanzo flour, cici flour, gram flour, and besan. It’s an amazing source of protein and fiber. Want to try it? I highly recommend trying Banza Pasta.
  • Buckwheat Flour: Despite it’s name it contains no gluten. Also…makes for amazing pancakes, just saying.
  • Coconut Flour: Was surprised to learn that it doesn’t have an overly strong coconut taste. Heads up! It soaks up a lot of liquid, so make sure to plan accordingly (buy extra water and eggs).
  • Almond Flour: Also goes by almond meal. This type of flour is powdery, so don’t use this flour alone if you’re making homemade bread.
  • Amaranth Flour: Contains lysine, a protein missing in many other grains. Also, it’s an ancient grain, which makes it seem magical in a way. Just me? Okay…moving on.
  • Corn Flour: Made from cornmeal, which is milled from the whole kernel. Comes from both yellow and white corn. I cannot pass on this flour without mentioning the use of precooked cornmeal to make the most wonderful food in the world: Arepas
  • Oat Flour: Made from grounded whole oats, oat flour is sweet in taste and an amazing source of fiber. I personally substitute oats in for many of my favorite recipes such as pancakes, cookies, brownies, and muffins.
  • Quinoa Flour: Quinoa flour is a complete protein-meaning it’s made up of all amino acids. When baking, it is best to mix quinoa flour with other types of flour since it does get pretty dry.
  • Rice Flour: Rice flour is a good substitute for pastas, crackers, and additions to soups or sauces. It can be made from with both white and brown rice (although brown rice flour is higher in fiber).
  • Tapioca Flour: Also known as tapioca starch or cassava flour. Tapioca flour is made from starch taken from the cassava (yuca) plant. It goes well with baked goods, sauces, and might I add my newest obsession cauliflower gnocchi from Trader Joe’s. I am not joking- go get it.

There are many more gluten-free flours out there, however these are the ones I have tried. I am always on the lookout for new types of gluten-free flours to try. So please share with me any ones I have missed and even some awesome recipes to use them with!

healthy eats. spaghetti squash

Looking for a healthy alternative to the traditional pasta dish? Use spaghetti squash!

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped Vidalia onion
  • 1 can low sodium black beans, drained
  • 1 lb. chicken breast, grilled and diced
  • 1/4 cup buffalo sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds from middle until forms a shallow bowl
  3. Rub each side of squash with 1 tbsp. evoo and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  4. Place squash on pan face down. Place in oven and cook for 25 minutes
  5. While squash is cooking, dice the onions and grilled chicken. Place in pan with remaining olive oil and drained black beans
  6. Cook contents of pan until heated thoroughly, approximately 5 minutes
  7. Place into a bowl and add buffalo sauce. Mix together.
  8. Remove squash from oven after 25 minutes. Scrape squash with fork to make into “spaghetti”.
  9. Leaving spaghetti squash in the shell, add chicken, bean, onion mixture into spaghetti squash bowls.
  10. Sprinkle with cheese on top and place back in oven for five minutes
  11. Remove and Enjoy!!

An un-fig-ettable food

Although figs have been around for centuries, this wonderful fruit has recently entered my life and has quickly become a delicious and healthy addition to many of my meals and snacks.

Spring Salad with figs from Open Door Tea in Stratford, CT

Figs provide the body an array of health benefits. They provide fiber, antioxidants, and a rich supply of vitamins and minerals! For example, a 1/2 cup serving of figs [approximately, six figs] offers less than 1 gram of fat, 3 grams of fiber, 230 milligrams of potassium, 4.7 micrograms of vitamin K, and small/trace amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, folate, vitamin A, and copper- all for 74 calories!!

So how do these nutrients impact health?

Fiber aids in digestion, helping to relieve constipation. Fiber also plays a role in helping to lower cholesterol and blood sugar- reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease. Antioxidants help protect your body from free radicals by donating electrons. Free radicals, in the easiest terms possible, are atoms with unpaired electrons leaving the body vulnerable to disease and aging. Potassium helps support muscle and heart function and Vitamin K supports blood clotting.

While they can be on the pricey side, you can wait to buy them in season [June to September] for a lower cost. Figs can be eaten dried or fresh, they go well with many dishes. They make a great salad topping [see above]. In addition, they pair well with oatmeal, yogurt, and chicken salads. My personal favorite is figs and goat cheese with a balsamic dressing.

Like I said, they are un-fig-ettable!

Follow me on instagram @filisitee_foods for more recipes and health tips!

healthy eats. Blueberry vanilla smoothie

Although the weather is getting colder and the incentive to drink cold beverages is steadily decreasing, I️ have become hooked on smoothies as my go-to breakfast choice. Smoothies provide you with an endless supply of nutrients and health benefits. Plus, with all the different combinations available you’ll never be bored!

This particular smoothie, a blueberry vanilla smoothie, provides you with a ton of antioxidants, protein, healthy fat sources, and enough energy to start your day off on the right foot!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1 tsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1 scoop pea powder (I️ use Vega Protein & Greens Vanilla Flavor Powder)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • ice cubes, if you would like it colder

Directions: 

  1. Rinse off blueberries
  2. Combine all ingredients into the blender
  3. Blend ingredients until it reaches a smooth consistency
  4. Enjoy!

Prep Time: 5 minutes   Cook Time: 5 minutes Total Time: 10 minutes Serves: 1 person Calories: 240            Serving Size: 1 Cup 

healthy eats. Roasted Maple Butternut Squash

Who doesn’t love Autumn!? Weather is cool, there’s hiking, apple picking, and pumpkin carving galore, leaves are changing color, and the foods in season are irresistible.

Butternut squash is harvested in the fall and offers numerous nutritional benefits such as Vitamins E, A, B6, & C, Potassium, and Folate. Butternut squash can be enjoyed in so many ways [savory or sweet, what do you prefer??] So instead of diving into the Halloween stash meant for trick-or-treaters on Tuesday I made this sweet dish.

unnamed

Ingredients:

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • cinnamon, to taste
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cut off the ends of the butternut squash
  3. Cut the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds
  4. Cut the butternut squash in half once again
  5. Peel the four pieces of the butternut squash
  6. Cut the newly peeled butternut squash into cubes [think size of a stamp]
  7. Place butternut squash, olive oil, and maple syrup in a bowl
  8. Toss mixture until butternut squash is completely coated
  9. Place the coated butternut squash onto a greased baking sheet
  10. Season with cinnamon, salt and pepper
  11. Cook in oven for 40 minutes, until butternut squash is soft
  12. enjoy!

Prep Time: 20 minutes   Cook Time: 40 minutes     Total Time: 60 minutes

Serves: 2-3 people           Calories: 275                      Serving Size: 1 Cup 

bucket lists.

giphy (5)

Well it happened. The time finally came when I was asked to completely clean out my childhood bedroom. Though I had moved out of my parents home over a year ago, my bedroom was still filled with odds and ends that needed tending to — for all of you who have moved away from home you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s all the things you have no room [or desire] to have in your new place, but can’t throw it out for the life of you. I’m talking old pictures, ticket stubs, postcards, clothes, electronics, notebooks, books…I could keep going but you get the point. Anyyyy who — while I was going through all these things I came across an old wallet I had in college and guess what was inside- my bucket list.

I can remember exactly when I wrote this.  I was at the campus coffee house waiting for a friend to show up. I had just signed up to go on a Habitat for Humanity trip during Spring Break with a group of people I have never met before and was feeling motivated to continue writing a list of experiences and challenges to work towards.

Reading over what my 19-year-old-self thought were such great bucket list items was laughable. I mean c’mon the whole concept of a bucket list is documenting dream experiences and achievements that want to be accomplished over a span of a lifetime! I don’t think things like “catch a fish or fly a kite” really qu689979bd-ea0d-44ed-8595-133c1cc5bf34alify. However, a lot of these things were great goals created to push me out of my comfort zone, face my fears, and try new things. It was an even cooler experience to go down the list and see that I was able to cross a lot of the items off, the most recent being to see a moose! woo hoo!! (yes that small blurb in the back is a moose).

Seeing all I had accomplished since I wrote this list, the things I still have left to achieve, and what I would like to add to this bucket list put a lot of things in perspective for me. It made me realize how fortunate I am that I had, and still have, the opportunity, support, and the means to reach many of the goals on my list such as traveling, going back to school, and advancing my career. It made me proud that I continued to push myself out of my comfort zone and face challenges head on– like sticking it to my fear of heights by going skydiving, embracing my anxiety of solo ventures to travel alone, and even giving myself a voice by starting a blog! Ultimately, finding my bucket list allowed me to take a step back from the schedule I have become accustomed to and look back fondly on my many accomplishments.

So please, if you have a bucket list- go track it down and do at least one thing on that list. If you don’t have one, go write one! Life goes by fast and it is easy to get set in a routine. Like my list not all items need to be extravagant- just one new thing that you have never done before is all it takes! The sense of pride, inspiration, and accomplishment that comes from achieving a goal is an indescribable and great feeling.

It’s time – stop reading, get out that notepad, and set some goals! The sky’s the limit!

some good reads.

16636119335_ba0537cb8d_o

Who doesn’t love opening up a good book in order to escape life’s stresses for a little while? For me, a big part of my wellness plan includes curling up with a nice book and getting lost within the story. No matter how busy life may get I strive to read two books a month [even if it’s only a chapter a day]. Here are my two November reads.

Brain on Fire by Susannah Cahalan:

imagesThis book is a fascinating tale into the mind of Susannah Cahalan, a New York Post reporter, who loses her sense of self and memory after coming down with an unnamed, and not yet treated, disease. Her story is a raw, touching, honest, and heartfelt account of her month of madness. You won’t want to put it down!

 

Gaining Ground by Forrest Pritchard:

imgresI was asked to read this book for work as part of a local farming and environmental series we were doing and I am so glad I did. This book is a first-hand account about the journey Forrest Pritchard and his family took to save and recreate his family farm. In a time where subsidized farming and mass marketing are prominent, this book allows you a peek into the world of family farms, farmers markets, and the benefits of purchasing and consuming local foods. It will definitely leave you thinking about the food you are consuming and where it is coming from.

 

shop smart.

You all know the scene: you finish your grocery shopping, go through the check out line, lift your gaze to see your total amount, and come to find out that you have spent three times more than what you were expecting too.

giphy-4

While you have some say in how much you purchase, larger groceries stores are actually scientifically designed to increase consumer spending- in fact they have perfected it. Everything from product placement, advertisements, and shelf space to lighting, temperature, and music are crafted to maximize time spent shopping, as well as spending.

To help outsmart the system here is a list of 10 simple things you can do when grocery shopping:

  1. Prior to embarking on your trip to the grocery store, make a grocery list of everything you will need for the next few days and STICK to that list! Straying means extra spending on things you don’t necessarily need.
  2. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Stores are designed to fill the aisles with the more processed items while the staple items (eggs, milk, produce, meat, and bread) are on the outskirts.
    • it is no coincidence that you have to walk through aisles containing cereals, snacks, candy, and frozen meals to get to the milk or eggs
  3. Bring cash only. While this is a pain in the butt it holds you accountable to only purchase needed items
  4. COUPONS. My  mom taught me the value of a good coupon early on. Stores such as Shop rite, Stop and Shop, and Stew Leonard’s have coupon booklets that come in the weekend papers or have them accessible at the front of their store. It highlights sales, as well as offers coupons on food, hygiene products, and drink items.
  5. Bring the reusable bags with you! Stores such as Trader Joe’s allow you to enter a raffle for discounted groceries when you bring their store bag with you to shop.
  6. Sign up for the store savings card that gives you discounts on foods throughout the store. You can even attach it to your keys so you never forget it!
    • Plus on your receipt it shows you how much money you have saved throughout the year. Time to give yourself a pat on the back!
  7. Get in and get out. The less time you spend in the store, the less you buy. Strolling through the aisles leads to unnecessary purchasing
  8. Eat before you shop. Shopping hungry leads you to buy more because your mind is fixated on eating the foods you are looking at.
  9. Look at the price tag. Apples for $1.00/ pound? Seems like a score, however the weight of those apples add up quickly leading to a higher price than anticipated.
  10. Use the self-scanners. Stop and Shop has a self-scanning tool that you can bring with you during your shopping trip. You can scan the items while you shop and keep a running tally on how much you are spending before you get to the checkout line.

 

 

 

 

healthy eats. Zucchini Fries

3567805419_163c83ebe3_o

Who doesn’t love french fries. The warm, crispy, and satisfying taste of this popular side dish has won over the hearts of people all over the world. However, french fries are high in fat, calories, and sodium. Diets high in these three things increase your risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity-related problems.

A healthy alternative to this fan favorite are zucchini fries. Zucchini is low in calories and high in vitamins, phytonutrients, and minerals. Zucchini can be eaten both cooked and raw and is a great addition to many meals! Opting for zucchini fries versus the standard potato french fries will give your body the antioxidants it needs to help fight off free radicals, while limiting your fat, sodium, and caloric intake.

Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchinis
  • 2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs (gluten free breadcrumbs work just as well)
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees
  2. Cut the zucchini into 1/2 – inch sticks [approximately the size of a tube of lipstick]
  3. Place the zucchini sticks into a mixing bowl
  4. Add the greek yogurt and panko crumbs into the bowl
  5. Toss the mixture until the zucchini is coated thoroughly
  6. Season with salt and pepper
  7.  Place the coated zucchini sticks onto a greased baking sheet
  8. Cook in oven for 15-20 minutes, until sticks are nicely browned
  9. enjoy!