Maple Cinnamon Almonds

Fertility Friday + Recipe for Maple Cinnamon Almonds

Do you remember back in the ’80’s and ’90’s when all fat was considered “bad?”

Looking back on that time, it was almost comical the degree to which we feared fat. Companies worked so hard removing it from their products and people went crazy buying fat-free everything. I remember noshing on a box of fat-free cookies thinking, “wow, no fat, but they sure taste good, I’m so glad they’re good for me!”

Fat is Back?

Oh dear! Luckily research has improved and we are no longer shunning fat. In fact, now we know that fat is vital to our existence. Fats provide energy, help us absorb fat-soluble vitamins, and can keep our hearts healthy. We just have to be smart about the type of fats we’re choosing and how much of them we’re eating.

But I Can’t Eat as Much as I Want?

While all fats fit, it’s important to keep moderation in mind. Saturated and trans fats are the types of fats we should limit. Research is always on-going on this, and recently saturated fast have been in the news about not being as “bad” as we once thought. My advice? Stick with moderation. Go for the whole milk, but keep your serving to one cup. Enjoy that birthday cake, but choose the small slice instead of the massive monster piece. See where I’m going with this? Don’t over-indulge. It’s never wise to eat too much of one thing, right?

Instead, focus on getting more healthy fats into your diet. We call those unsaturated (specifically monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) fats. These unsaturated fats can also help support fertility by helping control blood sugar and tamper inflammation. Where do you find them? Great question!

Where to Find The Fantastic Fat:

Sources of polyunsaturated fats: fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines; flax seed and flax seed oil, walnuts and edamame

Sources of monounsaturated fats: nuts (like in these Maple Cinnamon Almonds!) and seeds, avocado, canola and olive oil 

Putting it Together

It’s easy! Eat fat, but make smart choices. Stick with moderation and balance your intake with other foods. Eating this way just makes sense! Feeling inspired? Get into your kitchen and make these yummy Maple Cinnamon Almonds so that you can enjoy some of those nutritious healthy fats!

 

Maple Cinnamon Almonds

Maple Cinnamon Almonds

Maple Cinnamon Almonds

Maple Cinnamon Almonds

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Maple Cinnamon Almonds

Super easy snack made with almonds, maple syrup and ground cinnamon.

  • Author:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 cups almonds

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300’F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Place the salt, maple syrup, water and cinnamon in a medium pot and set over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir to combine. Pour in almonds and stir until almonds are well coated. Spread out on prepared sheet pan and bake 20 minutes, rotating the pan half way through cooking time.
  3. Remove and allow to cool before enjoying.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 2118
  • Sugar: 32
  • Sodium: 1192
  • Fat: 180
  • Saturated Fat: 14
  • Unsaturated Fat: 157
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 90
  • Protein: 73
  • Cholesterol: 0

Fertility Feature: Let’s Talk Snacks!

Smart Snack Tips + Recipe for Sweet and Spicy Peanuts

Snacks! Yay! Snacks!

Right? Who doesn’t love a great snack!? How about if I told you that dietitians love and believe in snacks too? And that Liz and I also believe that snacks are an important part of staying well-nourished for fertility? It’s true, but here’s the deal, the type of snack you choose matters.

We’re not encouraging chips, donuts, or cookies. No, we want you to eat nourishing snack foods and keep them small. Remember, this isn’t a meal! Shoot for foods that make you feel good after eating them and keep the portion to a reasonable amount. 

Need more information? Sure you do! Don’t worry, Liz has you covered! She’s explains tips on smart snacking and shares an amazing recipe for Sweet and Spicy Peanuts. So head on over there now by clicking here to learn more.

Happy Snacking Friends!

Read All About It! Fertility In the News!

Fertility Feature: Infertility Awareness in the News!

We are so happy to announce that we’re not the only ones talking about infertility this week. So many great people are sharing their stories through the news and media and we wanted to take today to highlight a few with you. 

Before you head on over to Liz’s site for her amazing round-up of the latest “buzz” and news surrounding infertility, I thought I would share some of my reflections. 

Reflections on Infertility

I – Isolating. Even though you often feel isolated in this journey, please know you are NEVER alone! Liz and I are here to prove that! And Resolve is an amazing resource that can help you find support in your area.

F Futile. It may seem that your attempts at conceiving are futile. That all of the work you’re putting in isn’t paying off. But, we encourage you to have hope and to focus on the things you can control and the things that make you happy. Hard to do, we know, but definitely worth the effort.

EEmotional. You knew this one already. One day you’re the happiest you’ve ever been and the next, you’re crying in your pillow. Infertility is an emotional journey! Gain support from friends, family and US! 🙂

RRest. Yes, you heard me. Rest yourself. Nurture yourself. So many times we’re so busy caring for others, that we forget about ourselves. It’s ok to take a break, to take a deep breath and relax. 

TTime. It may often feel like time is working against you. But I encourage you to think differently. Realize that time is something you don’t have control over. So live in the moment, live in the now. 

IIntimate. Maybe not the word you’re thinking of, but it’s true. This is an intimate journey – so very personal. Honor that and the emotions that come with it. 

LLove. This is a journey that needs to have a foundation that starts with love. Take this time to nuture your relationship with your significant other. Build a strong base to bring that baby home to!

EEnlightening. I have learned more about myself and others than I ever thought I would through my journey with infertility. Enlightening doesn’t seem like a strong enough word for that gift. I’ve been blessed with a journey full of “aha” moments that have made me a better mother, wife, daughter, sister and person, in general. 

Click here to head over to Shaw Simple Swaps for her amazing fertility feature today! 
Fertility In the News

 

Fertility Feature: Meet Elana Natker

Fertility Feature: Meet Elana Natker of A Sprinkle Of Sage + grab her recipes for Oatmeal My Way and Spring Rolls!

This is a big world full of awesome people, and I always feel so blessed when I meet anyone in that “awesome” category. Elana is one of those awesome people. She’s a rock star dietitian and a true advocate for our profession. She’s excellent at communicating nutrition information in a practical and relatable way, and we love that. She’s also honest and human!  So, Liz and I were super honored when she said she would be happy to share her infertility story (and a few recipes!) with us for our special Fertility Feature Series.

And Elana is the Real Deal! Read about all that she does here:

Fertility Feature Elana

Elana is a nationally recognized food and nutrition expert and spokesperson with nearly two decades of experience working in communications. Prior to becoming a registered dietitian, Elana worked in public relations, eventually parlaying both skills into a career as a nutrition communications consultant. While she works with a variety of clients and issues, the cause most dear to her heart is maternal and child nutrition, from preconception to the preschools years. 

And she’s been there!

Elana is a wife and mom to two fabulous kids (and one fur-baby – her dog, Buster.) She struggled with infertility with her first child and can relate firsthand to the emotional side of trying to conceive (fueled by some seriously strong hormones). She is also a resource for postpartum depression, as PPD is four times more likely for those who have received infertility hormone treatment vs. those who conceived spontaneously.

Thank you Elana. What a wonderful profession that you get to combine your love for nutrition to help others achieve the family they too, have dreamed of! We are so incredibly honored to have you join us!

Recipes!

Just to prove how awesome and generous she is, Elana’s also got two amazing, fertility-friendly recipes for you. Visit her over at A Sprinkle of Sage and grab the recipe for her Oatmeal My Way and Spring Rolls!

Want more? Don’t forget to head over to Liz’s site, Shaw Simple Swaps, for more features of dietitians we love. 

National Infertility Awareness Week Feature – Alex Caspero

Start Asking! Our Fertility Feature Series Continues!

Join the conversation as courageous women speak out all week to raise awareness about infertility.

April 24-30th marks Resolve’s National Infertility Awareness Week. This year’s theme is #StartAsking and we love it! It’s time to give infertility a voice and we’re excited that others feel the way we do! Once we started asking, we heard the stories about the heartache, pain and joy, related to infertility and it was powerful. 

So powerful that Liz and I felt inspired to host a week long Fertility Feature series that includes very special guests as well as important media clips to help spread the message. Please join in the cause and click to share and spread the word as well!

Today we’re featuring the lovely and wonderful Alex Caspero as our guest. Please click here and head on over to Liz’s blog to read the interview with this outstanding woman, who’s photography and recipes on her site, Delicious Knowledge, make us drool.

Meet Alex!

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Fertility Feature: Meet Jessica Fishman Levinson

Fertility Feature: Meet Jessica Fishman Levinson of Nutritioulicious + grab her recipe for this fantastic Salmon Waldorf Salad!

Today Liz and I are so excited to introduce you to dietitian and mom extraordinaire, Jessica Fishman Levinson. Her recipes, stories and blog posts can be found just about everywhere (see her bio below) and bless her heart for always putting that awesome nutritional touch on everything she writes. She’s a credible and valuable nutrition resource and we’re so happy she’s decided to contribute to our Fertility Series. Without further adieu, meet Jessica Fishman Levinson!

She’s Legit! Check out her amazing bio!

Jessica Levinson Headshot

Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN is a registered dietitian nutritionist and the founder of Nutritioulicious, a New York-based nutrition communications and consulting business with a focus on culinary nutrition. She maintains the popular Nutritioulicious blog, where she shares weekly meal plans, family-friendly recipes, and nutrition tips. Jessica’s recipes and nutrition recommendations can also be found in numerous media outlets and health and lifestyle websites, including the monthly Culinary Corner column of Today’s Dietitian Magazine. Follow Jessica on Twitter, FacebookPinterest, and Instagram.

And she’s sharing her story (and recipe!) with us!

I’m honored that Sara and Liz asked me to participate in their posts for Infertility Awareness Week. As someone who struggled with infertility, it’s a topic near and dear to my heart and I’m so happy that Sara and Liz started Fertility Fridays to bring attention to the often unspoken topic. When my husband and I realized getting pregnant was not going to be as easy for us as it was for many of our friends, I felt very alone and depressed. It seemed like everyone around me was pregnant or just giving birth to newborn babies and as happy as I was for them, I couldn’t help but feel jealous of what they had and the fact that we were going through treatments to help us get there. I remember sitting in the packed waiting room of the fertility clinic looking around at all the women and men who were sitting there with their heads buried in magazines and books and thinking to myself this is such a missed opportunity for people who are all struggling to come together, talk to each other, and find comfort in a shared experience. I hope that Sara and Liz’s focus on fertility helps other couples open up more about their experiences. 

My story has a happy ending and I know I am lucky. Despite having to go through various treatments, we were able to conceive, which I know is not the case for so many others. Our four year old twin daughters are a blessing to us and I am forever grateful for them. I wish the same for all those who are suffering and struggling with infertility and know you are not alone. 

We are so incredibly honored to have Jessica share her story!  Just to prove how awesome and generous she is, she’s also got an amazing, fertility-friendly recipe for you. Visit her over at Nutritioulicious and grab the recipe for her Salmon Waldorf Salad!

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Don’t forget to check out the other spotlight features of the week over on Liz’s blog too!

Baby Steps: Stress Less for Fertility

Are you stressed and trying to conceive?

Stress is an almost tangible feeling that many of us experience on a daily basis. We’re desperately trying to meet work deadlines while attempting to make everyone happy. We’re over-extending ourselves to the point where we’re constantly anxious and tense, which leads to complete exhaustion.  And that state of “being” is detrimental to the health of anyone trying to conceive. Think about it, that’s some serious weight to carry and when you add infertility to the equation, it only intensifies those emotions and feelings. 

My advice? Stress less for fertility! Yes, that’s so annoying of me to say. In fact, I actually really dislike when people to tell me this, but listen, my advice is to take baby steps when it comes to stressing less. Baby steps are small changes, maybe even hardly noticeable, but they free up your time and your mind in small ways. Who wouldn’t want more of that?

Baby Steps to Help Stress Less for Fertility:

  • Stop the Mental Overload. Buy a notebook and pen to write down your thoughts and compile your lists. If you’re tech-savvy, you can certainly use your phone too for this. Jotting this info down on paper (or keypad) relieves some of that mental beat-down that happens when you’re trying hard to remember everything.
  • Breathe. Oh yes, you heard me right, breathe. It’s something we don’t often think about, but it’s the key to relaxation. Focusing on your breath and “being in the moment” really works, just ask any yogi! In fact, just ask Katie Cavuto over at Nourish. Breathe. Thrive. And read her awesome post all about the power of one amazing breath!
  • Exercise. Now, don’t go and run a marathon, but get out there (as long as your doctor ok’s it!) and use that breath to move your body. Exercise can boost your mood and beat stress and even the smallest amount can help. Move more, stress less!
  • Read. Put down the scholarly journal or work-related text and pick up a really great book. Reading fun or interesting novels can help relax you and quiet you. No way are you stressed when you are quiet and relaxed!
  • Make meals simple. Yes, stop trying to recreate the cover of Bon Appetit for dinner every night. And stop thinking that you have to cook every. single. night. You don’t! In fact, some of the best meals I’ve made have been leftovers or scraps of things left in my fridge. Make it easy and save the fancy cooking for when you have time to enjoy playing in the kitchen.

How About Some Simple Meal Ideas to Get You Started? 

Don’t worry, I’ve got your back! These are all super easy and delicious! Stress less, my friends!

Chickpea Hummus Wrap

Easy Pizza Toasts

Easy Freezer Burritos

My lovely friend Liz has some simple recipes to help you stress less in the kitchen too! Take a deep breath and say “oooom.”

Toast Two Ways

Kachumber Salad

Sweet Potato Pie Greek Yogurt Parfait

 

And don’t forget about our friends over at RESOLVE. They offer support for anyone struggling with infertility! #startasking

Chickpea Hummus Wrap

“Simplify, simplify, simplify!” Henry D. Thoreau, eloquently and prophetically proclaimed in his famous work, Walden.

That demand to simplify seems even more relevant today than it likely was in 1854, when Walden was first published. How many of us challenge that decree everyday? Adding more things that instead “complicate, complicate, complicate!” Ugh.  Thoreau’s mantra is one I’m trying (somewhat successfully) to practice in my daily life. I’m not taking the easy way, but the smart, simpler way. Case in point, I recently got so frustrated with making healthy lunches for my family. PB&J was in the lunch box more than I would’ve liked. Of course there’s nothing wrong with that sandwich, but variety is a good thing.

Inspired by Thoreau, I decided to “simplify” lunch.

And with this Chickpea Hummus Wrap, I simplified on execution, but didn’t sacrifice taste or flavor! Yay! It all starts with a  whole grain wrap and continues with layers of flavor. Canned chickpeas and pre-washed baby arugula keep things easy and fast. Flavor boosters like feta cheese and pepitas add a simple, yet tasty addition.

Luckily, the Recipe Redux theme for this month was how to get out of our “lunch rut.” How appropriate! Fortunately I figured out just how to do that with this Chickpea Hummus Wrap!

And here are the pretty picture of my Chickpea Hummus Wrap:

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Chickpea Hummus Wrap

Chickpea Hummus Wrap

 

Chickpea Hummus Wrap

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Chickpea Hummus Wrap

Chickpea Hummus Wrap

Time is of the essence! But don’t forget about good nutrition either! These simple chickpea hummus wraps make lunch easy, delicious and nutritious!

  • Author:
  • Yield: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • pinch teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 (8-inch) whole wheat tortilla or wrap
  • 2 tablespoons plain hummus
  • 1/3 cup chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese

Instructions

  1. Toss the arugula with the lemon juice, black pepper and salt.
  2. Lay tortilla on a clean work surface. Spread the hummus down the middle of the tortilla and top with the chickpeas. Sprinkle on the pumpkin seeds and feta cheese, then the arugula mixture.
  3. Roll up and enjoy.

Notes

  • Want more? Just multiply ingredients by desired serving size and divide everything evenly among tortillas.

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Sautéed Mushrooms with Thyme and Bulgur

The Fertility Friday series celebrates the mighty mushroom.

Thank goodness this little fungi is a fertility-friendly food. Mushrooms boast some powerful nutrition – think Vitamin D, selenium and B vitamins such as riboflavin – all nutrients that are beneficial to fertility. In fact you can head on over to Shaw Simple Swaps to learn more about Vitamin D and selenium! But before you go, learn why I think you should include more mushrooms in your diet (even if you’re not struggling with infertility!). I’ve got a super simple recipe that starts with delicious sautĂ©ed mushrooms and ends with fresh thyme and toasted pine nuts! Yum!

Let’s focus for a moment on an underlying theme present in most of the foods and recipes we recommend for fertility. That theme is the power of a plant-based way of eating. The research shows that eating more plants is a great way to nourish and fuel your body for fertility. Plant foods contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other nutrients, all of which play a role in making you the most healthy version of yourself, while also preventing chronic disease. And mushrooms, while fungi, make plant-focused eating easy.

Here’s Why You Should Use More Mushrooms In Your Cooking:

  • Umami. Just what is that? It’s the 5th sense of taste and it’s just as important as it’s fellow tastes, sweet, sour, salty and bitter. Umami means “savory” and that’s exactly how mushrooms behave in food applications. They add a “meatiness” when there isn’t any meat and that can leave you feeling more satisfied. It’s an easy way for people to transition into eating more plant-based foods, which leads me to my next point…
  • Interest. If you want people to eat and enjoy their food, it helps if you keep them interested. At least this is what I’ve learned with my work as a chef and dietitian. If the food your prepare has just one note and that note is boring, than no way can you convince yourself or anyone else to eat it. This is where mushrooms can help. Since there are so many varieties, all boasting their own unique flavor, they can instantly add interest and intrigue to a meal. This is a win-win, because you’ll be getting more plant-based foods in while showcasing just how delicious and easy it is to do so. Which takes me to my final point…
  • Flavor. Remember my mention above about each variety of mushroom having it’s own unique flavor? The flavor difference is actually quite amazing and is something many people don’t take advantage of. Cremini mushrooms, for example, have mineral and earthy tones, while shiitakes sharply boast that umami savoriness. Think about how that flavor can boost the flavor of other foods too. Think how amazing sautĂ©ed mushrooms taste! That taste means you might need less fat or salt, both of which we don’t necessarily need more of in our diets.

Next time you’re at the grocery store, don’t forget to add mushrooms to your cart. Besides nourishing and fertility-friendly, they’re loaded with satisfying umami, adding interest and flavor to your nourishing fertility-friendly plant-focused way of eating.

Oh and before I forget! For my meat-lovers, have no fear! I’m not saying forgo meat, no way! It has a place on the fertility-friendly food list. But I figure we could all use a little more encouragement when it comes eating more plant-based foods.

Feeling lost? RESOLVE is a non-for-profit that helps people dealing with infertility. They’re a great resource and can even connect you with people in your area going through the same thing. You’re not alone! Feeling inspired? Why not be apart of National Infertility Week and share your blog posts, tweets and Facebook posts about your journey. Use the hashtag #startasking to make it easy for people to follow you on social media.

And here are the beautiful pictures of Sautéed Mushrooms with Bulgur

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Sauteed Mushrooms with Thyme and Bulgur raw

Sauteed Mushrooms with Thyme and Bulgur chopped

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Sautéed Mushrooms with Thyme and Bulgur

Finely chopped mushrooms sautéed until golden then tossed with bulgur, fresh thyme and pine nuts.

  • Author:

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup bulgur
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8 ounces mushrooms (cremini or a blend), cleaned and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (about 20g)
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped

Instructions

  1. Place bulgur in a medium bowl. Add 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt, then cover with boiling water. Immediately cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and let bulgur steam for about 20 minutes.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat, add the pine nuts and toast, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan and reserve.
  3. Turn heat down to medium, add the olive oil and butter to the skillet. Once butter has melted, add the shallot and saute until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Increase heat to medium high, Add the chopped mushrooms and a sprinkle of salt and continue cooking another 5 minutes.
  4. Remove plastic wrap from the bulgur and drain any excess liquid. Add the mushroom mixture to the bulgur along with the toasted pine nuts, black pepper and fresh thyme and stir to combine. Garnish with extra thyme if desired and serve.

Notes

  • Makes 3 cups

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 6
  • Calories: 115
  • Sugar: 1
  • Sodium: 34
  • Fat: 5
  • Saturated Fat: 2
  • Unsaturated Fat: 3
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 16
  • Protein: 4
  • Cholesterol: 5

Strawberries Top Dirty Dozen List

Strawberries are a delicious, nutritious treat, but now that they have moved up on the “Dirty Dozen” list, what should you do? 

Strawberries recently moved up on the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list. Just what does that mean for you? Read my article on Parents.com to learn just what prompted the changes and what you can do! Hint, don’t worry, you can still safely enjoy strawberries!

Click here for the full story on Parents.com. Don’t forget to check out the EWG website to see the complete and updated Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Lists.

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