Tasty Vegetarian Sandwich

Sometimes people think that vegetarian meals are boring. They think they lack flavor and are nothing but vegetables or meat substitutes. This sandwich shatters all those thoughts. It’s perfect for breakfast or lunch. It’s full of healthy fats and fiber to fuel your body until it’s time to eat again.

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Ingredients
2 slices of bread- whole grain, gluten free or paleo bread if you prefer
1/2 C balsamic vinegar
1 large tomato, sliced thin
1/2 C of spinach
1/2 of a medium to large avocado
1/4 C of fresh basil, chopped

Directions
In a saucepan, bring balsamic vinegar to a boil
Continue stirring vinegar until the amount is reduced by half (10-15 minutes)
Steam spinach in a small pan until wilted, add tomatoes just to warm
Toast bread
Mash avocado on one slice of bread
Drizzle vinegar on avocado
Top avocado with spinach and tomatoes
Place other piece of bread on top and enjoy!

Need some variety? Try using baby kale instead of spinach. Use hummus in place of avocado. Don’t be afraid to swap out ingredients! You never know what you might like.

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The Skinny on Fats

Over the last few decades, fat, and particularly saturated fat, has been demonized. We’ve been told it’s the cause of everything from weight gain to heart disease and high blood pressure. However, new studies have shown that saturated fats can actually benefit our bodies and our brains.

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The skinny on saturated fat


The saturated fat study that made everyone turn to low fat foods has now been proven to be deeply flawed. Researchers didn’t account for important factors like smoking, sugar consumption and exercise among the populations they studied. They also completely skipped over studying populations that ate high amounts of saturated fat but had relatively no heart disease. You heard that right- no heart disease!
Do fats make us fat?

Hardly. Once the recommendation to decrease the amount of fat you eat and increase the amount of carbohydrates you eat from sources like grains, things just got worse. If you remember the food pyramid, you may remember that it suggested 11 servings of grains. Oddly enough, the obesity rate has doubled since we started to consume 30-40% less fat but more starchy carbohydrates.
Benefits of fat

Satiety- In terms of just eating fat, it often tastes good and is filling. A healthy salad topped with extra virgin olive oil, or a hearty omelet made with eggs instead of egg whites is much more likely to keep you satiated that a bowl of cereal or a bowl of brown rice.
Hormones– If you don’t have enough healthy saturated fat in your diet, your hormones are likely to suffer. Saturated fats help increase testosterone levels, which are important for tissue repair, muscle growth and sexual function.
Mood and brain health– Healthy fats can also improve our mood. Although we’ve been told cholesterol is a bad thing, it is absolutely critical to your mental health and your brain. Low levels of cholesterol can lead to depression, as well as cognitive decline.
Nutrients– Healthy fats help you absorb nutrients! Many supplements are best taken with food because the fats will help them be absorbed. When you’re cooking, it’s best to add at least small amounts of fat so that all of the nutrients will be absorbed. So, sauté your veggies; top your salads with extra virgin olive oil, add avocado or nut butters to your smoothies and make your veggie omelets with real eggs.
Healthy fats to stick with
Keep in mind that not all fats are created equal. There are good fats and bad fats. Here are a few of my favorite healthy choices:
– Avocados
– Nuts and nut oils, which are great for cooking
– Coconut products- oil, butter, chips, flour, etc.
– Egg yolks
– Grass-fed meats
– Wild- caught salmon and sardines
– Grass-fed butter
– Extra virgin olive oil

You want to avoid the kind of fats that are typically found in processed foods. Sunflower, canola and cotton oil are not good for your heart, and if you flip over a bag of chips or a box of crackers, you’ll find that almost every brand is made with a combination of these oils. The same goes for fast food, so limit your drive-thru days and focus on the healthy fats that will actually fill you up and benefit you.

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Simple Spiced Nuts

We know healthy fats are important because they keep us healthy and full, but it’s not always easy to carry around an avocado or butter, right? Right. Instead, this recipe offers a simple snack that you can carry around in your purse, backpack, or even pocket. Make enough for the week and portion out 1/4 C before you leave each day.

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Ingredients
5 C plain mixed nuts and/or seeds- pecans, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews and pumpkin seeds work well
1/4 C coconut oil, melted- this gives a great aroma without an overpowering coconut flavor
2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp garlic salt
3 rosemary sprigs

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Mix the nuts together in a bowl
Remove the sprigs from one rosemary leaf and sprinkle over nut/seed mixture
In a smaller bowl, mix the seasonings with melted coconut oil
Pour the oil and seasonings over the nut/seed mixture and stir to coat well
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the mixture out evenly
Scatter the remaining rosemary sprigs on the baking sheet
Roast for 5 minutes, then remove and flip
Roast for 5 more minutes
*10 minutes of roasting should be all you need, but if you enjoy more flavor add on another 2-3 minutes

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