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Keep It Clean

Heels To Laces is on a mission to break through the clutter of health and fitness and make it easier to live healthier – and have a ton of fun doing it. As always, we love interaction so email us, comment, share and send your thoughts.

QUOTE FOR THE WEEK
“Surround yourself with people that reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel. Energies are contagious. ” ~Rachel Wolchin

TRUTH OR DARE
Each post we will present you with a truth or dare – the idea is to tackle it with gusto and make it happen. Focusing on just one change is much less daunting and more achievable, giving you the jump start you may need.

Dare: Be grateful.
It is so easy to go about your day and focus on the things that may not have gone well. What if you turned your perspective around and focused on three things that did? Every night, right before you go to sleep, name three things you were grateful for in that day. You will be amazed how effective this is – not only does it give you positive vibes to end your day, it helps you fall asleep faster by focusing on the good and giving you a sense of calm.

ASK THE EXPERTS
We don’t claim to know everything – so sometimes we have to ask the experts:

In An Instant
So, we are a little obsessed with the Instant Pot – thanks to a very good friend of Heels To Laces (looking at you NG!). We turned to certified health coach and founder of “Flavor Your Health“, Rebecca Ryan, to help us navigate the benefits of this popular device. Here’s what Rebecca shared:

One of the best ways to maintain your health and weight is to cook your own meals. Yet, finding time for meal planning and cooking in today’s busy world is daunting. Enter one miracle device that helps you whip up meals that taste as if you were slaving in the kitchen for hours. The Instant Pot is a game changer. And not just for saving time – for health benefits. Pressure cookers cook food thoroughly and evenly – allowing foods to retain 90% of water-soluble vitamins and phytochemicals and locking in flavor. It also helps eliminate harmful microorganisms and bacteria (buh-bye lectins!).

The airtight canister seals in high temperatures, allowing for rapid cooking (an answer to your prayers when it’s 5:00 and you’ve had nothing planned for dinner). It can cook anything from hard-boiled eggs, soups, pasta, meats and even yogurt. There are endless recipes online, with easy instructions. Most often, you simply need a few minutes of prep before you press the “on” button and walk away. The Instant Pot comes in multiple sizes including the 3, 6 or 8 quart. If you are looking for leftovers, this 8 quart is your best choice.

Still feeling confused or like you want someone to personally demonstrate? This cooking class on March 21st is for you.  More of a private lesson kinda person or seeking personal chef services? It would be my pleasure: rebecca@flavoryourhealth.com  / flavoryourhealth.com   

WHAT’S TRENDING
Walk along the alternative milk aisle of the supermarket lately, and you may notice a new player in town next to the almond milk, cashew milk and hemp milk. Enter oat milk.

Why oat milk? It’s a non-dairy, non-soy, plant-based alternative to cow’s milk. It’s packed with fiber and contains vitamins B, thiamin and folate and the minerals magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc and copper. Not to mention, it is creamier than the typical non-dairy options out there.

Sounds pretty epic, doesn’t it? They jury is still out. Since it’s so new, there will continue to be information on the health benefits. For now, it is a nice find. Word of caution – the original inventor of oat milk, Oatly (literally impossible to find as it’s sold out everywhere), is the purest version out there even though it does contain 1.5% rapeseed oil (as confirmed by the company). Many copycat brands have additive ingredients like gums, sugar, lecithin, oils and well, crap. Same goes for other non-dairy “healthier” options. Always read the label. What might seem healthier is often quite the contrary.

WHAT WE’RE OBSESSED WITH
Sometimes, you just gotta have it.

Live Like Lilly
HtoL knows the importance of influencing youth to make healthy choices in fitness & nutrition. Our Youth Fitness classes are a highlight for us as we find the most incredible personalities and talent within these young adults. Lilly, a twelve year old entrepreneur, started her own organic bath salts and scrubs when she struggled to find organic options in the store. Yes, twelve. Lilly’s products are made from epsom salt, organic jojoba oil and lavender essential oils. And they smell incredible. To order, simply email Lilly: LASNatural@gmail.com. Let’s all #LiveLikeLilly and make dreams come true.

Almond You Glad We Told You?
If you are going to do all this gluten-free cookin’, you need a good flour. We have tried and tested multiple options out there and keep coming to the same one. This almond flour is the bomb and comes in a 5lb bag – ’cause as we all know, it goes fast. Blanched or unblanched, it never disappoints.

Ahhh-Choo!
Spring is in the air (officially on March 20th!) and with this mild, no-snow winter, allergy sufferers are in for a doozy. You do not have to ingest the best of pharma to get amazing benefits. This homeopathic remedy is a tried and true allergy defender. It’s all-natural and powerful – dare we say even better than the conventional popular picks.

THE DISH ON DELISH
All of our recipes will always be quick, healthy, easy, gluten-free, grain-free, sugar-free, mostly dairy-free, SCD legal and Paleo friendly. And yes, all sorts of deliciousness.

Bring these to a party. You may get a kiss on the lips.

Cookie Delight
Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups of almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted (or 1/2 cup of coconut oil or vegetable shortening, melted)
  • 1/2 cup of honey (or other sweetener)
  • 1 egg (can substitute one flaxseed egg)
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips (omit for SCD) or Good Stuff chocolate chopped into small pieces

Note – for those who eat oats, you can add 1/2 – 3/4 cup of oats to the batter for that extra thickness.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and blend with a spoon.
  3. Add the wet ingredients and blend it well with a spoon.
  4. Drop about a tablespoon of batter in each cookie spot on the cookie sheets. Space them about 1 1/2 inches apart.
  5. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are starting to brown around the edges.

Caution: you will not stop at one.

Thank you, ComfyBelly.com

SHARE THE LOVE
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PS. We love you too.

WANT TO SHINE?
Have a product you’d like us to try and review for potential inclusion in our newsletter? Simply contact us: info@heelstolaces.com

WANT MORE?
Let the fun continue…Follow us on Instagram & Facebook to get daily doses of inspiration, knowledge & recipes.

Disclosure: some product recommendations are affiliate sites, which simply means we get a small compensation from the companies that sell the products we endorse. We will never endorse a product we do not personally use or love. Opinions expressed are solely those of Heels To Laces.
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Granola Bars: Homemade and Amazing

I have referred to my daughter’s cooking in past blogs and I can’t resist sharing her latest treat with everyone.  These granola bars with blueberries (or any berry of your choice) and yogurt drizzle are not only healthy, but incredibly delicious.  They are a good source of protein, omega-3, biotin, vitamin E, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber.  I never considered making my own granola bars until I tasted these and I have a feeling you will agree.

There is only one caveat – resist the urge to eat the entire batch at once.  We wrap them individually and keep them in the refrigerator so we don’t finish them off as fast as we make them.

Note – the yogurt drizzle contains sugar (the only non-healthy item in the entire recipe) so you can choose to skip it altogether as we sometimes do, or just lightly drizzle the bars with it.  As an additional note, the directions below will make much more yogurt coating than we have ever needed or used.

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Ingredients for the bars:

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup brown rice krispies
1/4 cup whole roasted almonds, roughly chopped
2 tablespoon chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup peanut butter or almond butter (I typically use peanut butter)
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 (rounded) cup fresh blueberries or 3/4 cup dried blueberries

Ingredients for the yogurt drizzle:

1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon gelatin
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Directions for bars:
  • Skip this step if using dried blueberries.  Roast fresh blueberries in 350 degree over for 30 minutes or until they pop and shrink.  Best to coat baking sheet with parchment paper – then blueberries won’t stick
  • In a large bowl combine the oats, rice krispies, almonds, chia seeds and salt.
  • Combine almond or peanut butter with honey and microwave for about 40 seconds or until mixture is pourable
  • Add vanilla to warm honey mixture
  • Add honey mixture to the dry oat mixture and combine – it will be thick!
  • Add dried blueberries
  • Coat a 9 X 13 pan with parchment paper and pour mixture into pan and press down evenly and until tightly packed
  • Place in freezer for one hour, then cut into bars
  • Bars should be stored in refrigerator to keep fresh and hold their shape better.

Directions for yogurt drizzle:

  • Combine water, vanilla and then whisk gelatin in and let thicken for about 5 minutes
  • In another bowl, combine yogurt, honey and salt
  • Microwave yogurt mixture for 15 seconds, mix and repeat till warm, but do not let it boil
  • Add gelatin mixture to yogurt mixture and whisk together
  • Add in powdered sugar and whisk until thick, but pourable
  • Drizzle bars with the yogurt
  • The bars will be sticky now – we usually just wrap them (one or two together) with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for later eating. The yogurt will harden in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!

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Boost Your Mood With Food

imagesMost of us are aware, at least on some level, that what we eat can affect our mood.  However, we generally don’t understand why or how.  There are many different avenues in which our food consumption can affect our mental health, but the primary physiological explanation is neurotransmitters.

Neurotransmitters are the chemicals in our brain that regulate mood and behavior, and they are affected by our food intake.  Some of the most important neurotransmitters are serotonin, dopamine and endorphins.

  • When the brain makes serotonin, we tend to feel happier and more relaxed and are less likely to suffer from mood swings and depression.  Serotonin is also linked to feelings of satiety and satisfaction – which is very important when trying to avoid overeating or emotional eating.
  • High levels of dopamine are related to feelings of pleasure.  And, dopamine also helps with appetite control, focus and muscle coordination.
  • Endorphins, possibly the most well known neurotransmitter, are associated with euphoria and can act as natural painkillers.

Below are some of the foods that aid in the production of these and other neurotransmitters and have been shown to boost mood and reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. 

Dark Chocolate:  There are scientific reasons why you feel happy after eating chocolate and one is called anandamide.  This is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that temporarily blocks feelings of pain and depression.  It is also believed that other chemicals in chocolate slow down the breakdown of this chemical, so it stays in your system longer allowing the ‘happy’ feelings to last.

Additionally, serotonin and endorphins are released when chocolate is eaten.  And, if all of this is not enough, chocolate also contains magnesium, which helps the body manufacture serotonin, that all-important calming brain chemical.

Bananas:  Bananas are rich in tyrosine, which is needed by your body to make dopamine, a natural chemical that boosts your mood.  They are also rich is B vitamins, especially B6, which helps sooth your nervous system.  And they are a good source of magnesium, another nutrient associated with positive moods.

Complex carbohydrates:  Foods such as whole-wheat bread, pasta, oatmeal and brown rice are rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that converts to serotonin in the brain. Other nutrient-rich carbohydrate choices include starchy root vegetables (such as sweet potatoes and corn) and legumes.

Foods Rich in Omega-3:  Coldwater fish, (such as wild salmon and mackerel) walnuts and sunflower seeds, support healthy function of the brain and nervous system and have been shown to elevate mood and reduce anxiety and depression.  Some studies have shown that omega-3 fats can be as effective as anti-depressant medication in treating depression.

Dark Green Vegetables:  Vegetables like spinach, asparagus and broccoli are all high in folate, a B vitamin, that is needed in the brain for the synthesis of serotonin and dopamine. One Harvard Medical study found that raising the level of folates in the diets of depressed patients helped improve their mood. 

Avocados:  Healthy fat like that those found in avocados helps raise dopamine levels and increase endorphins.

Purple Berries:  Anthocyanins are the pigments that give berries like blueberries and blackberries their deep color. These antioxidants aid your brain in the production of dopamine.

Probiotics:  These have been shown to improve mood.  Our bodies have serotonin receptors in our gut, and an imbalance in good and bad bacteria can disrupt the production/reception of serotonin. Probiotics keep levels of bad bacteria down. You can find probiotics in yogurt, cottage cheese and some cereals.

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