Jennifer Hanway

Enliven Your Lightest, Brightest You

Jennifer Hanway is a Holistic Nutritionist, Bio Signature Modulation Practitioner and Certified Personal Trainer, originally from London but now living in Newton Centre and working in Back Bay, Boston.

Filtering by Tag: boston

Gut Healing: Gut Health 101 with Boston Magazine

A few months ago I chatted all things gut health with Tessa Yanonne, the Wellness editor at Boston Magazine…

What is gut health? 

In my opinion gut health is the foundation and the starting point of optimum health. Over 80% of our immune system is housed in our gut, it is the first stage of the body’s detoxification process, what we absorb or don’t absorb gets decided in the gut, and if our gut health is compromised then it can create systemic or chronic inflammation, which is the root cause of all disease. Sub optimal gut health is also a huge contributor to hormonal imbalance, heart disease, insulin resistance and depression and anxiety 

A healthy gut is one that one that has healthy walls (or intestinal lining) and a balanced microbiome (the population of good and bad bacteria): these two elements will mean that we eliminate toxins, absorb nutrients, and provide an optimum environment for the hormonal and neurotransmitter production that takes place in the gut. 

What causes gut issues? 


Modern day life! Processed foods, environmental toxins, medications, stress, over exercising, lack of sleep - all this things can contribute to comprised gut health. 

What are the symptoms and signs of a gut that is out of balance? 

We can have comprised gut health without even knowing, and as it so prevalent I ask all my clients to make it their priority. Most often however we see signs of systemic inflammation that can manifest as skin issues (eczema, acne, rosacea), joint pain, and brain fog. Often I see hormonal imbalance that can lead to irregular periods, low energy and hair thinning, and then there are the more obvious symptoms of gas, bloating, diarrhea and constipation. 

What foods cause gut problems? 

Processed foods are the number one offender when it comes to gut health, and by cutting these out of our diets we can avoid so many of the ingredients that cause inflammation such as gluten, dairy, sugar and processed soy. 

However if the gut is damaged and we have systemic inflammation even nutrient dense foods such as eggs and some vegetables can be challenging as we are unable to digest them completely. 

What foods promote a healthy gut? 

Great quality proteins that contain healing amino acids such as glycine and L-glutamine are key (these can be found in collagen and bone broth), healthy fats such as avocado, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and ghee, and easy to digest polyphenol rich fruits and veggies such as berries, tomatoes, baby spinach and dandelion greens. Fermented foods such as kombucha and sauerkraut should actually be consumed in moderation, as if there is an imbalance of bad to good bacteria these can actually cause digestive issues. I recommend starting with a more gentle options such as coconut yoghurt. 

How do you go about repairing the gut? 

I use a four step process, that differs to the most of the current approaches. We have to start by removing foods causing an inflammatory response, such as gluten, dairy and eggs. Secondly, we repair the intestinal lining by using targeted proteins and amino acids. 

The third step is to rebalance the microbiome by using specific strains of probiotics and lastly, once these measures have had time to work I re-introduce the foods that have nutrient value to our diets. 

You mentioned raw vegetables could be challenging for those with gut health?

Salads can be one of our healthiest choices when it comes to lunch in a hurry, but for those with gut health and digestive issues the wrong order can be a disaster! Avoid hard to digest  raw cruciferous veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower and kale (yes, avoid the raw kale), and choose a base of easier to break down leafy greens such as baby kale combined with cleansing and digestion boosting bitter greens such as arugula and dandelion leaves. 

A dressing combining any kind of acid (balsamic or apple cider vinegar, lemon or lime juice), will help to break down the fibrous membranes of the veggies, and fat (avocado, extra virgin olive oil) will help move the food through the GI tract, and ensure the fat soluble vitamins in the salad are bioavailable to the body. 


Do you want to improve your gut health whilst eating delicious, easy to make recipes, receive personalized guidance from a gut health expert, and get the support of fellow gut healers?

My 28 Day Guided Gut Healing Program contains over 56 tried and tested, simple to follow recipes designed to reduce inflammation, bloating and brain fog, and give you better digestion, a flatter stomach, glowing skin and increased energy and vitality. Our next program starts January 14th and Early Bird pricing is now available.

Here’s what Liz had to say:

I loved it! I was at a wedding last weekend and my friends were complimenting me on how glowing my skin was. I have also never been a very good cook so it was fun to experiment with new recipes and challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone. Thank you so much for putting together this program! I’m looking forward to adopting these changes going forward because I really loved the way my body felt”

To sign up simply head to: https://www.jenniferhanway.com/28-day-gut-healing-plan/

Fat Loss: Chicken and Zucchini Skewers with Raw Cashew Satay Sauce

I've given one of my favourite recipes a gut healing makeover for my 28 Day Gut Healing Program and I have to say I think its even better this time round! 

Chicken and Zucchini Cashew Satay Skewers

Makes 2 servings

For the skewers

2 x chicken breasts

  • 1 large zucchini

  • 1 large bell pepper

For the marinade

  • 2 tablespoons tamari

  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger

  • 1 clove finely minced garlic

For the satay sauce

  • 4 tablespoons cashew nut butter

  • ½ cup coconut yoghurt

  • 1 teaspoon tamari

  • 1 teaspoon lime juice

  • ¼ teaspoon finely chopped red chili

 Mix all marinade ingredients in large bowl. Cut the chicken into cubes and place in marinade for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Soak the wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes

Make the satay sauce by placing all ingredients in a food processor and mixing until smooth.

Slice zucchini and peppers into cubes, then slide onto skewers alternating with marinated tofu or chicken cubes.

Grill skewers for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked thoroughly

Serve with the satay sauce and a green salad.

We buy all our pasture raised, grass-fed meat from Butcher Box and its changed our lives! Snag your free bacon for life, free shipping and $15 discount by heading to: 

https://www.butcherbox.com/jenniferhanway

Our pantry staples come from Thrive Market and we love the convenience of the service, the prices, and the fact that our membership gives back! Use the link below to save an extra $25 on your order and get free shipping:

http://go.thrv.me/SH7Be

Our local, seasonal and organic produce comes from Boston Organics, and every time the big green box arrives it feels like my birthday! Save 10% off your first delivery with the code: 6519bofdbh

https://bostonorganics.com/ 

Meal Prepping 101

One of the biggest challenges my clients have is meal prepping, from what to prep, to how much to make to how to store it. 

In my opinion meal prep is one of the most important things you can do to help you stick to a healthy diet, especially if you have a busy schedule and are following any kind of special diet (vegan, gluten free, paleo, low carb, etc). It will also save you a ton of money, help you eat locally and seasonally and keep a connection to the food you eat on a daily basis.

It is also a life saver for Husband Hanway and I, as at least 95% (maybe more) of the food we eat is made at home, we both have busy schedules, and he doesn't have a lot of time to cook during the week (and he eats a lot)! 

I suggest setting aside about 90 minutes on a Sunday to meal prep for the week (if you work a Monday to Friday), or find a day and time that works for you. Make a list of what you are going to prep and the order that it needs to be cooked in, and have your storage containers ready. Ensure you have cleared space in the fridge, freezer or pantry for storage. Finally, put on your favorite music or a good podcast, and instead of thinking of it as a chore, reframe your thinking to know you are taking time out to nourish yourself and fuel yourself for the week ahead. 

Getting Prepped for Meal Prep

You don't have to have a lot of fancy kitchen equipment to meal prep for the week, but I do recommend getting a few good basic items to make the process easier. My essentials include: 

Storage

  • Glass food storage containers with lids - varying sizes, and these can be used for both cooking and storage. Amazon has a lot of great inexpensive options.
  • Mason jars with plastic lids - swapping out the metal lids for plastic on my mason jars has been a game changer (thanks to my MIL for the tip). They only cost a couple of dollars for 10 lids, and are easier to use and don't rust. 
  • Ziplock bags - I try and avoid plastic as much as I can and favor reusable items, but ziplock bags are great for freezer storage when you don't have a lot of room
  • Unbleached parchment paper - to use in place of aluminum foil

Preparation

  • One good chef's knife
  • A chopping board
  • Veggie peeler
  • Measuring cups 
  • Blender or food processor (not essential, but there are now a number of good inexpensive blenders on the market). 

Cooking

  • 1 cast iron skillet (not essential, but definitely a good investment) or a frying pan 
  • 1 ceramic saucepan 
  • Slow cooker or crock pot 

What to Prep

This is going to be different for everyone depending on your diet, how much you eat and what you like to eat, but here are some options or ideas. I start with the items that need to go in the oven, then prep the rest as they are cooking to save time. Remember you don't have to prep all of the options below, and we certainly don't do all of these every week! 

Roast in Oven

I usually roast chicken breasts or chicken thighs in the oven, and keep it simple by using coconut oil and salt and pepper. This is delicious on its own, but also means I can add different flavorings during the week to mix it up. Cook, cool, then place in a glass storage dish in the refrigerator. 

We also roast a big batch of winter veggies in coconut oil - its very easy to do, and they keep well in the refrigerator. Its also a great way to eat seasonally, and in the winter I'd rather eat some beautiful, nutritious root veggies than a salad! What I cook changes each week with whats good from local farms, but at the moment includes carrots (of all colors), squashes, celeriac and kohlrabi. I peel and cube these, coat them in coconut oil, and roast with salt and pepper, and a couple of garlic cloves. Cook, cool, then place in a glass storage dish in the refrigerator.  If I have extra I can use these to blend into a soup too. 

I'll also cook up one egg based breakfast dish such as a frittata or egg muffins as they can easily be made into individual portions and kept in the refrigerator or freezer (see Turkey Bacon Egg Muffins)

Cook on the Hob

Here I will cook some kind of patties or pancake that I know will be good cold and last well in the refrigerator. Options include Turkey Meatballs, Cashew and Rosemary Patties, or TigerNut and Oat Savory Pancakes.

I will also cook at least one gluten free grain, such as quinoa, buckwheat or brown rice, in some Bare Bones Broth or veggie stock for added flavor. 

You can also make a vegan curry or stew on the hob for my plant based eaters, and for this who are trying to get more veggies in your diet (i.e. everyone)! My Chickpea and Quinoa Curry is perfect for this. 

Slow Cooker

Throwing a chili in the slow cooker and letting it cook overnight is so easy, and a great option in the winter. Try my Hearty Cacao Chili for a super nutritious option. 

I also use my slow cooker for cooking sweet potatoes - just wash and pierce the skin, and set on high for 4-6 hours depending on how big the potatoes are. I use these either in meals for the week, or freeze and use in my Gut Friendly Sweet Potato Smoothie.

No Cook Breakfast Options

Depending on my schedule for the week I may grab my mason jars and ziplock bags for some no cook breakfasts and snacks - I'll prepare some simple Overnight Oats or Chia Puddings in my mason jars and put in the fridge, and if its a super busy week then I'll portion out all the ingredients for my morning Superfood Smoothies and put into individual ziplock bags and but in the freezer. This is amazing for when I have to eat breakfast at 5.30am in the morning to get to my early clients, and don't have time (or the brain power at that time of the morning) to measure out all of my Maca, Collagen, Spirulina! I also now swear by my Organic Living Superfoods Designer Smoothie Blends as all of the hard work is done for you! 

Super Supplements

The one other prep I do at the weekends is to organize my supplements for the week, as even I need some help to remember to take them every day. I'll put the supplements I take each day in a small container, and then put them in the fridge next to my almond milk (essential for my morning coffee) so I cant fail to see them! 

By following these guidelines it should enable you to have great grab and go options throughout the week. All of the dishes mentioned here last about 5 days in the refrigerator, and you can either portion out all of the meals ready to go for the week, or (what I do) is make a list on the front of the fridge of what we have in there, then mix and match all of the dishes to keep variety during the week. 

All of my online plans include what to prep and how to prep for the coming week, grocery lists and recipes. My 28 Day Lean and Clean Plan is perfect if you are looking to clean up your diet and re-energize your training and nutrition regime (or are looking to start one)! 

28 Day Lean and Clean Plan

I'd love to hear your healthy meal prep hacks! What are your go-to dishes that you prep for the week? 

 

 

 

5 Simple Ways to Ease Post Workout Soreness

A lot of my personal training clients are ‘mentioning’ their post workout soreness after their sessions. These particular clients are in the middle of tough training phases right now, so a little muscle soreness is natural, but there are some simple things that can be implemented to help ease the pain! When a client asked how much soreness is natural I tell them that it differs from client to client and depends on the workout / training phase, and a little soreness up to 48 hours post training can be expected. A red flag for me is when the soreness is debilitating and affects everyday life, other overtraining signals can be lack of progress in the gym, disrupted sleep and feeling like there is ‘no gas in the tank’. At this point training should be reduced and strategies such as extra rest, yoga, and nutrition support should be implemented.

If there are no red flags then I ask them to implement the following, and may even bring them in an Anti Inflammatory Mango Smoothie if they are working extra hard!

Drink more water: I know this may sound obvious, but proper hydration can increase performance and reduce post workout muscle soreness. Ensure you are drinking water throughout the day, not just during and after the workout, and aim for at least 0.7 ounces of water per pound of bodyweight as your personalized water goal.

Train more often: this may sound counterproductive, but training large muscle groups at least 3 times a week can condition the muscles to hard training and eventually reduce post workout soreness. This is also why new trainees may experience more soreness than those more experienced, and why you may be more sore after a changing your workout. So hang in there - it gets better!

Warm up and cool down properly: boring, I know, but reducing muscle soreness starts even before your workout does. I ask my clients to walk, bike or row for at least 8-10 minutes (more if they have a desk job and are coming to me during their work day), then complete another 5 minutes of mobility work and dynamic stretching. Warming up has so many benefits, preventing injury, improving performance, preparing the mind for exercise, and reducing soreness post workout.  After working out I ask my clients to foam roll and stretch for as long as they can. If they are in a rush then I advise them to stretch post shower or in the evening before they go to bed. 

Take a cold shower: this is my favorite way to ease muscle soreness post workout, and can be really enjoyable once you are used to it! A cold bath or shower post workout increases circulation, bringing fresh blood to your muscles to help repair, lower inflammation and increase recovery speed. It also has the added benefit of tightening skin and giving you a great glow! If this is too much to bear try switching to a cold shower for the last 2 minutes after your hot shower.

Supportive nutrition and supplementation: if you are working hard in the gym your nutrition should support your efforts. Ensure you are well fueled before training (a mixture of protein, carbs and fat 60-90 mins before training is ideal), and a strategic post workout shake can give your muscles the materials for repair whilst lowering inflammation.

Turmeric (the active ingredient being curcumin) is a wonderful anti inflammatory, and can be use to great effect either in food or supplement form. One of my favourite functional foods is Inflam PX from the Poliquin Group, which contains turmeric extract (along with other anti inflammatory and healing compounds) that can be consumed on its own, or I like to add it to a vanilla protein shake. I recommend Inflam PX to all my clients if they get injured or after surgery, but it can also be used everyday to support hard training. 

You can also replicate this at home with my Turmeric Mango Coconut Protein Smoothie, which also contains collagen powder which is my go-to for muscle repair and ginger which also has anti-inflammatory properties: 

Anti Inflammatory Mango Protein Smoothie 1 scoop vanilla protein powder 1 cup coconut milk ½ cup filtered water ½ cup frozen mango ½ banana 2 teaspoons collagen powder 1 teaspoon fresh grated turmeric or turmeric powder 1 teaspoon fresh grater ginger or ginger powder Throw ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Anti Inflammatory Mango Protein Smoothie 1 scoop vanilla protein powder 1 cup coconut milk ½ cup filtered water ½ cup frozen mango ½ banana 2 teaspoons collagen powder 1 teaspoon fresh grated turmeric or turmeric powder 1 teaspoon fresh grater ginger or ginger powder Throw ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Anti Inflammatory Mango Protein Smoothie

1 scoop vanilla protein powder

1 cup coconut milk

½ cup filtered water

½ cup frozen mango

½ banana

2 teaspoons collagen powder

1 teaspoon fresh grated turmeric or turmeric powder

1 teaspoon fresh grater ginger or ginger powder 

Throw ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Endless Energy Bites!

My favorite recipes involve grabbing a bunch of super nutritious ingredients, throwing them in a bowl and smushing them into bite size pieces...these Endless Energy Bites fit that bill perfectly! Like most people these days, a good proportion of my snacking and meals happen on the go. As a result of this we want to make sure we get as much 'bang for your buck' nutrition as possible, in a way that is easy to digest and accessible to the body.

These Endless Energy Bites are packed full of energy boosting superfoods and are easy to make, easy to grab and go and easy to eat on the run (not literally, thats dangerous)! 

Maca: an ancient super food known for increasing energy and stamina, balancing hormones, and is said to help raise libido...

TigerNut Flour: the world's number one source for resistant starch (the food for the good bacteria in our stomachs), tigernut flour is also packed full of vitamins and minerals and has a delicious sweet taste.

Cacao Nibs: Natures chocolate, cacao has the highest concentration of antioxidants than any other known food, raises levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine (that make us feel great) and has gentle levels of caffeine to give us a little boost!

Endless Energy Bites

  • 1 ripe avocado

  • 1 ripe banana

  • 1 cup tigernut flour

  • 1 scoop vanilla vegan protein powder

  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed

  • 2 tablespoons chia seed

  • 2 tablespoons shredded coconut

  • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs

  • 1 tablespoon maca powder

Mash avocado and banana together until smooth (can use a food processor). Add in all the dry ingredients and mix well together (can use a food processor). At this stage I like to refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to help the mixture to solidify, but this step can be skipped if pushed for time. Roll into balls, about 1 heaped teaspoon of mixture per bite. Refrigerate, will keep for about 5 days in the fridge.

 

Pelvic Floor Health - Not Just Mama Drama!

One of the reasons I love having this blog is to be able to give a platform to experts in all of the fields of holistic health. This week I asked the wonderful Dr Sarah Duvall to explain the importance of a strong pelvic floor for everybody, not just mamas and mamas to be! Sarah holds both Masters and Doctorate degrees in Physical Therapy and has over fifteen years experience as a Personal Trainer - I am delighted for her to share her expertise with you.  Pelvic floor strength is extremely important even outside the pre- and postpartum time period. Sure, being pregnant and giving birth does have an impact on your pelvic floor. It would be silly for us not to admit that! BUT, I’ve seen numerous clients that have weak pelvic floor muscles but have never had kids. Crazy, right? And what about all the men having pelvic floor weakness? They have certainly not had babies. So, it’s a topic worth a closer look no matter where you are in life.

Your pelvic floor affects and is affected by your kinetic chain. Just like I can fix a patient's neck pain by turning off their hip flexors and activating their glutes, we can activate or deactivate the pelvic floor through muscle firing. I’ve seen some crazy cases. Take, for example, an old ankle injury that turned into a hip compensation pattern that then shut down this runner's pelvic floor.

Or Sam (not the client's real name), the runner with a chronic hamstring strain and pelvic floor weakness that had a dysfunctional diaphragm. She could take a deep breath at rest just fine, but when I added in exercise her system fell apart, hence the chronic nature of the injury. Sometimes a system looks great at rest, but then falls into compensation patterns when you up the intensity. Being able to keep great muscle firing patterns allows an athlete to remain injury free over the long haul.

If you are suffering from anything chronic, you better believe there is more involved than just the site of injury. (Probably why just foam rolling your IT band is not fixing your IT band problem.) In order to fix the issue, you have to look at what’s going wrong in the entire kinetic chain and fix that.

We should all focus a little more on the pelvic floor because it’s a great indicator of your pelvis as a whole. Is your pelvis in correct alignment? Are all the muscles firing like they should? Your pelvic floor will often tell you.

I’ve had several women that came in thinking they were going crazy because they had trouble making it to the bathroom, but the feeling would come and go, sometimes weeks apart. I thought it had to do with pelvic alignment. Alignment puts muscles in advantageous angles to work. Ready for the catch? Muscles determine alignment! Yep, we just got on the proverbial wheel. I often hear the complaint that “I got adjusted but it doesn’t hold,” and that’s because it’s how your muscles are firing that caused the misalignment in the first place. So, if you realign without changing the firing, then you will go right back. This can be very frustrating!

Let’s take a second to talk optimal pelvic floor alignment. The pelvic floor is the base of your pelvis and spine. It’s a sling of muscles that helps hold up internal organs and keep proper alignment. Because your pelvic floor sits in the middle, it helps stabilize against lateral forces to the sacrum and pelvis. A lateral force can simply be your body weight when stepping off a curve. Ever step funny and feel like you tweaked something?

So, what in the kinetic chain helps the pelvic floor stay strong? The diaphragm is a clear driver of pelvic floor strength. It acts like a piston, when you take a deep breath in the diaphragm expands down, pushing pressure down into your pelvic floor. Then, on the exhale, your diaphragm recoils back up and so does your pelvic floor. Well, at least it’s supposed to! This system often gets mixed up. The pelvic floor will go down when you exhale due to diaphragm dysfunction. This is bad for building and maintaining proper pelvic floor strength and firing.

One of my favorite exercises for getting diaphragm expansion is a full squat. This is such a great exercise for getting your paraspinals to release, which allows for back body diaphragm expansion. Plus, it gets you ready for glute activation! This PRI squat really promotes diaphragm expansion and pelvic floor response:

Squat down, feet close together. Balance weight between balls of feet and heels. Really try and sink into your glutes. Hold on low but keep your arms straight and relaxed. It may take a little playing around to find the perfect distance from what you are holding on to.

Inhale: pelvic floor relaxes down, should feel a great stretch across your midback

Exhale: pelvic floor naturally comes up, try and relax on the exhale and just let it happen.

The other common kinetic chain issue for the pelvic floor is hip rotational strength. Part of the pelvic floor is made up by the hip rotational muscles. Now that’s pretty cool in my book! I love it when systems in the body overlap. When I watch clients exercise, I will often see a hip collapse or knee cave in -- think running, step ups or single leg squats. This tells me that their hip external rotators and lateral stabilizers are weak. This is a glute medius and pelvic floor weakness issue. My favorite glute med exercise is as follows (this is also a great exercise for the VMO and creating a healthy knee):

http://www.coreexercisesolutions.com/wall-squat-enhance-glute-medius/ 

If you are in the Boston area and would like more information on the importance of Pelvic Floor Health, Dr Sarah is running some FREE workshops over the next couple of weeks, for more details and to book click HERE.

About the Author: Dr. Sarah Ellis Duvall, PT, DPT, CPT, CNC

A wife, mom and adventure sports athlete, Sarah takes functional training to a whole new level. In her unique approach to treating patients, she believes in teaching. Fully understand every aspect of the body is a necessity to complete healing. To learn more about her approach to the Pelvic Floor, check out her Pelvic Floor Video Series today. When she is not hanging off the side of a mountain, Sarah enjoys writing and presenting at http://www.CoreExerciseSolutions.comand figuring out how her patients can continue to pursue their dreams and lead a strong, adventurous life.

My Top Five: Beauty Boosting Foods You Already Have at Home

  Our Instagram and Facebook feeds are full of exotic looking superfood smoothies and acai/moringa/matcha/unicorn horn bowls, that promise glowing skin and endless energy, but what about the humble kitchen staples we all have in our refrigerator and panty?

There are many 'everyday' foods we already have at home that can deliver the same results as these 'superfoods', but that are easily accessible and a fraction of the price! Here are my top five everyday 'Glow For It' foods:

Apples

My favorite fruit, and I'm living proof that an apple a day does keep the doctor away!  Apples are a antioxidant powerhouse (they have the second highest levels of antioxidant activity of commonly consumed fruit in the US), containing host of phytochemicals such as quercetin, catechin, phloridzin, and chlorogenic acid.

How does this translate to beauty benefits? Quercetin acts an anti flammatory for the skin, reducing free radical and UVB damage, and it also has anti aging properties. Apples are also a great source of pectin, a soluble fiber found in the cell walls of plants. This type of fiber is super gut friendly (remember great gut health is one of the keys to great skin), has been shown to help balance gut bacteria, helps to keep you satiated, and has a detoxifying effect.

The key to getting the most of benefits from an apple - eat the skin as this is where the majority of the nutrients are housed. I love to munch on apples as a snack, and they are a staple of my green smoothies (including the skin) on a daily basis.

Apple Hearts
Apple Hearts

Avocado

Where do I start with the beauty benefits of avocado? Full of wonderful monosaturated fatty acids (the good fat), avocados are a great source of oleic acid, an omega 9 fat that can help with lowering inflammation within the body. They contain lutein, an antioxidant that is important for both skin and eye health. Avocados are rich in fiber, Vitamin E which keeps skin cells strong and hydrated and B Vitamins that are essential for energy production, and that assist in lowering redness and inflammation in the skin.

Avocados are also a budget friendly beauty food as they are one of the 'Clean 15' - meaning you can buy conventionally grown avocados (as opposed to organically grown) as their thick skins are a great barrier to pesticides.

Something you may not know about avocados - you can actually eat the pit! The pit (or seed) is where you will find 70% of the avocados's antioxidants, and avocado pit oil can increase collagen formation, keeping skin young, firm and wrinkle free! A word of warning though - you need a heavy duty blender to handle these!

I eat avocados with my breakfast, throw in my smoothies, even use them as a face mask! I also love them as a dessert food - check out my Avocado and Cacao Mousse recipe here! 

green avocado on the dark wooden table
green avocado on the dark wooden table

Oats

Oats contain a double whammy of fiber - soluble and insoluble, both of which are fundamental to great gut health and digestion (a healthy gut is the foundation of beautiful skin). Although they are a carbohydrate they are have a very low glycemic load due to their high amounts of fibre and protein content, making them a great option for sustained energy throughout the day.

Their beauty benefits? They are rich in minerals, including manganese, which is important for healthy hair and vibrant hair color, iron, for strengthening hair and nails, and selenium which is essential for skin elasticity.

Oats are absolutely one of my staple foods, from traditional oatmeal, baking with oat flour, overnight oats and as a component of my go to beauty snack: Glow Bites!

Just like avocado, oats are also wonderful for your external beauty, and one of my favorite green beauty products to contain oat flour is from SW Basics:

on a wooden spoon oat flakes
on a wooden spoon oat flakes

Olive Oil

Olive oil has fallen out of fashion recently to its hip cousins coconut oil, ghee and grass fed butter. Whilst those are all wonderful options, olive oil still has a myriad of beauty benefits that we can enjoy on a daily basis.

Due to its high content of Omegas 3's, olive oil is a natural anti-inflammatory agent, which can help in reducing puffiness and redness in the skin, as well as improving body composition (the body's muscle mass to fat ratio). Its high in anti oxidants (including phenols) and Vitamin E which can protect the skin from harmful UVA rays and helps to strengthen skin membranes.

Olive oil is great for using in salad dressings and for drizzling on veggies - a little fat helps the body to absorb all the amazing vitamins and minerals from your nine (!) a day.

Not all olive oils are equal however, choose wisely and always pick an organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil for beauty betterment! Most importantly, save olive oil for post cooking only as heating it can alter its structure and can change it from an anti inflammatory to a pro inflammatory food source.

Olivenöl, Fleur de Sel und grüne Oliven, Draufsicht
Olivenöl, Fleur de Sel und grüne Oliven, Draufsicht

Sweet Potato

My number one when it comes to carbohydrates for beauty. The beautiful orange color is an indication of the high amounts of beta-carotene present, that converts to Vitamin A within the body. Also containing Vitamins B and C, these 3 vitamins keep skin smooth, ensure cell turnover, and regenerate collagen. They are also a low GL carbohydrate due to the huge amount of fiber they contain, ensuring an energy boost but not a blood sugar spike. Yams however are different from sweet potatoes, and are nutritionally inferior, so choose carefully! 

Some of my clients complain that sweet potatoes take forever to cook, but a great tip is that you can throw them in the slow cooker! Just wash and piece the skins, and throw in your crockpot on low for about 4 hours. You will then have perfectly cooked sweet potatoes that you can eat whilst warm, save for cold, or even freeze for another time.

If I'm in a rush post workout I love to throw cubes of frozen sweet potato into a vanilla protein smoothie for a beauty boosting blast that tastes like a milkshake!

Sweet potatoes season
Sweet potatoes season

And there is one extra booster that I have to mention: Water!

Water is such a simple component of beautiful skin that sometimes it gets forgotten about in these types of lists! Up to 60% of the human body is water, and, unlike the other foods in the list here we can feel and see the results of not drinking enough water in a matter of hours.

Consider a water goal of 0.7 ounces per pound of body weight, and even more if you train hard or to tend to be a ‘sweater’!

Zucchini and Sundried Tomato Meatloaf Muffins

My breakfast of choice for all my clients (and myself) is a combination of high quality protein, good fats and veggies. This is going to guarantee a great start to the day, ensuring high energy, stable blood sugar levels and a revved up metabolism!

These Zucchini and Sundried Tomato Meatloaf Muffins contain some amazing macro and micro nutrients as well as being a great way to get an extra portion of veggies into your day without even realizing it!

The grass-fed beef is not only a great source of protein that will keep you satiated for hours, but contains the following health boosters:

  • Taurine - an amino acid that helps to lower the stress hormone cortisol (it facilitates the production of the neurotransmitter GABA, in turn helping your body to manage anxiety), encourages the body to metabolize fat so you can use it as an energy source (vital for a lean physique) and it protects the heart and lowers blood pressure.
  • Omega 3's and CLA - the 'good' fats found in grass-fed beef (not cereal fed), Both of these fats offer properties that can reduce inflammation and insulin resistance, help prevent CVD and high blood pressure and improve body composition.

Zucchini contains a high amount of potassium, a mineral essential for a healthy heart. It also has significant amounts  Vitamin A and beta-carotene, and the lesser known lutein and zeaxanthin, micronutrients essential for eye health!

A fun fact about tomatoes, botanically speaking they are a fruit, technically they are a berry, and legally they are a vegetable! Whatever you call them, when they are cooked they are the ultimate source of lycopene, a compound that has shown to both prevent prostate cancer and reduce the severity in sufferers. Research shows lycopene can also protect against other cancers, and has been shown to lower blood pressure.

Finally, regular readers will know about my love for tigernuts due to their fiber rich, gut friendly properties. Tigernuts are the number one source for prebiotic fiber, the fiber that feeds the probiotic fibre in the gut.

Best of all, these meatloaf muffins are not only super good for you, but they are easy to make, keep well in the refrigerator or freezer, and are portable so make a great breakfast or snack on the go. And they are delicious too!

Ingredients

  • 1lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 cup grated zucchini (squeeze out moisture)
  • 1 egg (or flaxseed egg)
  • 1/4 cup tigernut flour (almond or coconut flour is fine too)
  • 1/4 sundried tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Thoroughly mix all ingredients in a food processor or large mixing bowl (I use my hands)!
  • Separate into 8 equally sized balls and put into muffin tin.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until brown on top.

 

My Top Five: Tips for Clean Eating on a Budget (Part Two)

Thank you so much for the wonderful response to last week's 'My Top Five: Tips for Tip for Eating Clean on a Budget (Part One)'. Here is part two, I hope you find it just as helpful!

1.Price Per Pound is Paramount

This was such an eye opener for me and my husband when we first started to reduce our food costs. It's very easy to just look at the price on the ticket, and not what I would now consider the 'real' price, which you will usually find on the bottom left of the sticker.

This will really help you to compare prices between stores, as most products come in differing sizes, so the price per lb is your metric when it comes to working out which options, and indeed which grocery stores are cheaper.

For example, feta cheese was $ $14.84 per lb in Star Market, 9.89 per lb in Trader Joes, and just $5.70 per lb in BJ's! 

Price per lb
Price per lb

2.Learn Which Cuts of Meat are the Cheapest

This is a continuation of last week's 'Convenience Cost' tip - but is vitally important when it comes to cuts of meat. For example, I can buy a whole chicken for $1.99 per pound, but if I want just the chicken breasts, neatly divided and put into individual bags, that will cost me $4.49 per lb!

Honestly, I cant say that I don't buy the prepackaged cuts, because I do, but I try to buy a selection of cuts because of cost, and because different cuts of meats contain different micronutrients (variety is key for a healthy diet).

IMG_4450
IMG_4450

3.Join a Wholesale Membership Club

Okay, I'll admit, I was pretty skeptical about this one myself until we tried it! We are now proud members of BJ's Wholesale Club, and I truly think this is the number onereason we have managed to reduce our grocery bill so significantly.

So what do we buy from BJ's? I estimate around 60-70% of our groceries come from BJ's. This includes (but is not limited to), organic fruit and vegetables, both fresh and frozen (look for the Wellesley Farms brand),organic and hormone free meat, both fresh and frozen (look for Harvestland or Perdue brands) and eggs, feta cheese, nuts, pasta sauce, Himalayan salt, coconut flour and all our gluten free grains (a 20lb bag works out to be just $1.20 a lb, and you can use it for square) all come from BJ's too.

Every time we shop there I see more 'clean eating' options, and their coupons also feature more healthy foods too week by week - yes, I clip coupons too!

BJ's offer a free one day membership so you can try it before you commit to a year. A year's membership usually costs $50, but I often see special offers from both BJ's and on sites such as Groupon for memberships starting at $25 a year. For more information on membership, click here.

BJ's 2
BJ's 2

4.Hold a Clean Eating Supper Club

This is definitely one of the more fun tips on this list! Round up a bunch of friends who also have an interest in clean eating, and once a month hold a supper club, at which you all bring a healthy, nutritious, delicious dish to share.

This option is way cheaper than eating out a restaurant, and will introduce you to new ideas and recipes for clean eating. Each guest will also bring the recipe for his/her dish, so you will leave not only having eaten a great meal, but with a bunch of new recipes to try at home too. And don't forget to bring an extra empty dish so you can take home your share of leftovers!

image1
image1

5.Cute Clean Eating Gadgets

Last week I highlighted some of the gadgets I use for food preparation at home, this week I will feature some of my absolute favorite money savers that I use when I'm out and about!

Mini Crock Pot

My mini crock pot has been an absolute life saver in these cold winter months in Boston! I hate eating cold food on cold days, so I found an option in which I could safely reheat my leftovers when I was at work. Enter Baby Crockpot! This mini crockpot holds up to 20 ounces of my leftovers, and gently reheats them for an hour or so, meaning I can eat a hot, nutritious, budget friendly lunch every day! Its perfect for reheating chili, soups, stews (all of the options from last week's food prep tip), and I use it for making oatmeal too.

Travel French Press

Those of you who know me personally, or are regulars know I am very particular about my coffee, and I shun the big chains such as Starbucks and Dunkin for may reasons (business ethics, price, quality of coffee). So what do I do when I want a coffee on the go? I make my own! About a month I bought my travel french press from Bodum, and I now I cant be without it!

All you do is put one scoop of freshly ground coffee in it before you leave the house, and then fill it up with freshly boiled water when you want a piping hot coffee on the go (we have a water heater at work, but most eateries will give you hot water for free, or for a nominal price)! It may seem like an investment to start, but will definitely save you money in the long term...

Water Filter Bottle

I have just switched up my old glass water bottle to this version from Brita that is not only BPA free but filters my water too. This now means I can drink safely and cleanly from any water source, saving not just money but also helping the environment too (Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. However, the U.S.'s recycling rate for plastic is only 23 percent, which means 38 billion water bottles – more than $1 billion worth of plastic – are wasted each year).

The title of this post is 'Five Top Tips', but permit me to add in one extra, one tip that may be more important than the prior ten. This one is 'Give Back'.If clean eating is on our agenda, it means we are in a very prividliged postion to be able to pick and choose what we eat every day. In 2014 8.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 32.8 million adults and 15.3 million children. In light of this fact my chosen charity, both personally and for my business is The Greater Boston Food Bank, who do amazing work for the food insecure in Boston. For every $1 they receive they provide 3 meals for those in need.

Donate to The Greater Boston Food Bank

So consider donating the price of one of those Starbucks coffees a week, the money you save onto buying bottled water, or anything you can afford. If donating money is a challenge for you, consider donating food to one of the wonderful food pantries in MA, even if it is just one or two items (a list can be found here).

In the spirit of full disclosure, some of these are affiliate links, which means that I may get a commission if you decide to purchase anything.  I only recommend products and services that I use and love myself, so I know you’ll be in good hands!

What am I missing? I'm sure you have your own tips, and I would love for you to share them with me and my readers!

My Top Five: Tips for Eating Clean on a Budget (Part One)

Clean eating doesn't have to break the bank - I can personally attest to that. When I first came to live in Boston I was subject to US  immigration and waiting on a Green Card -  the full process took us a total of six months, meaning we were living on one salary for the whole time! I also had to learn how to shop for food in the US, all the grocery stores were alien to me, except the ever enticing Whole Foods. Well, I learnt the hard way that we couldn't afford to buy all our food and household products there, and had to find ways to make our dollars stretch without compromising our clean eating values.

Using the principles below we managed to save hundreds of dollars a month on our grocery bills, some months even saving up to $700!

1. Eat Real Food

This may sound simple, but I truly believe this is the number one strategy to both save money on grocery bills, and get healthy! Base all of your meals and snacks around good quality proteins, an abundance of vegetables and fruits, and clean carbohydrates. Your food should resemble its original source and have minimal processing. It doesn't matter if you are not a great cook, keep meals super simple, 6 ingredients or less, and utilize the wealth of recipes available on the internet. Some of my favorite sites to go for inspiration are Nom Nom Paleo and Paleo on a Budget.

Organic Vegetables
Organic Vegetables

2. Convenience vs. Cost

Even when aiming to eat real food can we fall into the trap of buying 'convenience foods'. Think pre peeled, pre cut carrot sticks, jerky, store bought chia pots and  protein powders. Now I'm not saying there is anything wrong with those foods, to the contrary they are all nutritionally sound (and I eat them myself on occasion), but when it comes to eating on a budget just take a little extra time to do these things at home, and your bank balance will thank you.

chia pudding
chia pudding

3. Find an Alternative to Whole Foods (a.k.a Whole Paycheck)

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE Whole Foods for their quality and selection of products, but now there is a socially conscious alternative offering an enormous range of healthy products, at approximately 50% retail value,and they get delivered to your door!

Enter Thrive Market. Thrive Market offers the best selling natural and organic products at wholesale prices for a membership of less than $5 a month. And my favorite part? For every membership bought to Thrive Market, they will donate another membership for free to a low income American family.

At present Thrive Market is offering an extra 15% off your first order, and shipping is always free if you spend over $49. To sign up for Thrive Market click here or on the picture below and do good for both yourself and another family.

Thrive_Sharing_0004_5
Thrive_Sharing_0004_5

4. Food Prep Like a Boss

We meal prep twice a week because that fits in with our schedule (and I enjoy cooking). We usually roast up a joint of meat (pork or beef), chicken breast and or thighs, throw something in the slow cooker (usually a chili) and roast up seasonal veggies too.

Roasting veggies is super simple (and delicious), just peel and chop them into equal size pieces, then melt coconut oil with salt, pepper and herbs and spices if you wish (I use smoked paprika, turmeric and fresh or frozen thyme) in a pan. Put vegetables in a pre heated dish, and cover them with the melted coconut oil - this means you use less coconut oil than if you put it in the pan, and it covers the veggies more evenly resulting in quicker cooking time. This food prep enables us to have a delicious meal that night, and have leftovers for breakfast, lunches and dinners during the week. If we get bored of eating the leftovers dry I add them to a soup base (I call this 'pimp soup'), use them as a topping for veggie or gluten free pasta, throw them in a curry sauce or add to a gluten free wrap.

It is worth investing a little money in equipment that will make food prep easier and therefore save you money in the future, consider a slow cooker and a set of Pyrex storage as a great starter kit. Click here and scroll down to 'Equipment' for a list of links to my favorite food prep tools.

Food Prep
Food Prep

5. Reduce Food Waste

The average American household looses up to 40% of its food through food waste, a statistic that has huge economical and environmental implications. My husband and I have worked hard to reduce our food waste to under 5% food waste through forward planning and being conscientious. Here is how we did it:

  • Have a rough plan of what you are going to eat throughout the week (this ties in with the food prep advice above)
  • Understand how much you approximately eat each week
  • Get creative with leftovers - they can be turned into soups, stews, pasta toppings, salads, fillings for wraps and sandwiches
  • Learn how to store your food: did you know citrus fruits, avocados, fresh herbs, ginger and red wine can be frozen?

For more information on how to reduce your food waste check out the guest blog food activist Ashely Gelineau wrote for me last year: Reducing Food Waste On a Clean Eating Diet.

foodprint_img
foodprint_img

For more tips and tricks on how to reduce your food costs and still eat clean, nutritious, delicious foods check back next Monday for Part 2.

I'd love to hear your ideas for Clean Eating on a Budget - comment below and let us know what has worked for you!

In the spirit of full disclosure, some of these are affiliate links, which means that I may get a commission if you decide to purchase anything.  I only recommend products and services that I use and love myself, so I know you’ll be in good hands!

Contact: jenny@jenniferhanway.com