Category Archives: Health

Tried and True Egg Substitutes

Tried and True Egg Substitutes | The Fresh Day
I have resisted seeing a nutritionist for years. Through all my digestive issues, I have read so much about nutrition and experimented with so many foods that I developed my own (fairly strong) beliefs and opinions. I worried seeing a nutritionist could mean spending time and money just to hear about things I already knew or had tried.

Recently, I got a recommendation from a friend for a nutritionist who is incredibly thorough, analytical, respectful, and understanding. Once I made an appointment, I was amazed how much her perspective and experience aligned with mine. I was able to get incredibly comprehensive tests looking at vitamins, minerals, antibodies, allergies and more, which she explained to me line by line. I learned hoards of valuable information about my diagnoses and deficiencies, but also a new allergy – eggs.

Honestly, this was not entirely surprising. While there are times when I really enjoy an omelette, sometimes just the thought of eggs make me a little nauseous. I’m not alone among my friends, and also know that eggs are one of the most common allergy-causing foods for children.

So what to do if you can’t use eggs? They’re harder to swap out than flour or milk, but in many cases, it can be done. I’ve got a few tried and true natural alternatives so that skipping eggs doesn’t have to mean giving up baked goods or breakfast scrambles.

Flaxseed
1 egg = 1 tbsp of ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp warm water
Mix the flaxseed with warm water and let sit for a few minutes before using. Fairly versatile, it helps with leavening and binding – I would use for baking, breading, mixing into meatballs, etc.

Banana
1 egg = 1/2 banana
Good for binding in baking – think cookies. It does add some sweetness so adjust your recipe if needed.

Applesauce
1 egg = 1/2 cup applesauce
Good for binding in baking – just like bananas but a more mild flavor.

Tofu
1 egg = 1/4 cup silken tofu
Helps add moisture to baked goods, but more important, makes for an awesome breakfast. Tofu can make a mean frittata, and I’ve had tofu breakfast scrambles that I liked even better than the real thing.

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A Healthy Way to Cleanse

Between the holidays and the heart of cold season, January always leaves me feeling a little sluggish. After all the sweets, feasts, and drinks, it’s the perfect time of year to “reset” and initiate a healthy new year. For me, a cleanse is not a resolution or a diet, it’s just part of the plan to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

I came across the Clean Program five years ago, the book was sitting innocently on a side table at my boyfriend’s parents’ house. His father had heard good things and bought it, but not yet read it or tried the cleanse. Struggling with chronic digestive issues and feeling all around lousy, I was intrigued by it’s claim to “restore the body’s natural ability to heal itself.” Willing to try anything to feel better, I embarked on my first cleanse.

These days, you hear a ton about cleanses. From talk shows to food magazines, the term is everywhere. Juice cleanses tend to be the most talked about, and the most criticized, for good reason. Juice cleanses, and many others, are less than a healthy choice. Anything that has you avoiding solid foods and consuming under 1200 calories is not a cleanse – it’s a crash diet. A good cleanse should provide proper nutrients and support your body’s natural process of detoxification.

The Clean Program does just that. The 21-day cleanse focuses on two main concepts: eliminating foods that are potential allergens or triggers of health issues, and providing the body ample time to clean itself up. The foods not allowed include sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dairy, gluten, soy, corn, and peanuts, among other things. You start the day with a raw fruit and vegetable shake, have a hearty lunch made from permitted foods, and then another shake for dinner. And you always allow 12 hours between your evening shake and breakfast. The goal is to condense the energy your body spends on digestion, so that the immune system can go to work elsewhere and the body can move on to detoxifying.

A Healthy Way to Cleanse | The Fresh Day

This week kicked off my fifth annual cleanse. It’s hard to believe I’ve been into it for this long, but the Clean Program keeps me coming back. It’s not a cure-all – in fact, that book states that flat out. But it’s safe to stay that you will feel the positive effects, which can be anything from cured headaches to better digestion to more energy. Before our first cleanse, my boyfriend was plagued with frequent sinus infections. Despite getting sinus surgery when he was younger, almost every cold he had turned into a full-blown infection and perpetual congestion. Since the cleanse, he hasn’t had a single sinus infection. Seriously worth it.

Several of the years I’ve done Clean, it has kept me cold-free for six months afterwards. With my track record for getting sick, that is nothing short of miraculous. So as I sit here fighting off the second of two back-to-back colds, I am really looking forward to the weeks ahead of cleansing and a fresh start.

If you’re interested, you can peruse the Clean Program blog and find the book on Amazon. I would definitely recommend doing the book version of the cleanse, as opposed to the kit that they sell. It’s expensive, and you can achieve great results without it.

Cold-Kicking Tea

This post is inspired by my day home sick from work. ‘Tis the season for colds, coughs, and sore throats. My sick day plans include cuddling with my dog and drinking tea constantly. Not just any tea, but a homemade concoction that keeps me warm, soothes my throat, and helps me get well asap.

Cold-Kicking Tea | The Fresh Day

My cold-kicking tea is made from honey, ginger, lemon, and apple cider vinegar. Each ingredient has its own unique health benefits. Together, steeped in hot water, they taste like a delicious tea that is medicinal in all the best ways.

Honey is known to be a great sore throat soother; you can feel its effects immediately. It is also an effective cough suppressant and helps calm inflammation in the throat and nasal passages.

Ginger is delicious for anytime, but has a whole slew of health benefits as well. When it comes to colds, ginger helps with headaches and dizziness in addition to being anti-inflammatory. Keeping ginger root in the freezer extends the life so you can always have it on hand. I peel and chop the root into small pieces before freezing to make it easy to throw into tea or breakfast shakes.

Lemon juice is a common addition to tea, and these days, simply hot lemon water is also very popular. Lemon’s list of health benefits include bringing down a fever and soothing a sore throat, making it a smart choice when looking to knock out a cold.

Apple cider vinegar has many health benefits that have led it to gain quite a fan club. Fermented using a mother culture and a process similar to kombucha, apple cider vinegar is full of probiotics, supporting digestion and the immune system. Drinking apple cider vinegar is also a home remedy for nasal congestion, and mixing it into a tea makes it go down easy.

Cold-Kicking Tea

Makes 1 pot (about 4 cups)

Ingredients
• 2 1/2 cups water
• 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar with the mother (like Bragg’s)
• 1 tbsp lemon juice
• 1 tbsp honey
• 2-3 1/2 inch pieces of ginger, peeled

1. Bring water to a boil. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a small teapot or other heat safe container.
2. Add boiling water and stir to combine ingredients and dissolve honey. Let steep 5 minutes before drinking, and get well soon.

Green Breakfast Shake

My typical weekday breakfast is a green shake. It’s a habit I got into from an annual cleanse I do (more on that later), but kept up because I love starting my day with fruit and vegetables rather than grains and starches. Shakes are super healthy, tasty, and easy to make, as long as you have 5 minutes in the morning.

Green Breakfast Shake | The Fresh Day

I tend to bring my shakes wherever I go; they’re also the perfect breakfast to eat on the run. Friends have asked me what’s in them and how I make them, looking for healthy options, working around food allergies, or just intrigued.

The base recipe is very simple, made up of a few staples I keep in the house. Each day I mix it up a bit, depending on my mood and what’s in season. However, one thing remains consistent – there is always baby spinach. It’s my favorite part. Nutritionally, spinach is off the charts. But raw, in a shake, baby spinach is virtually tasteless. So much so that I play a game with myself, seeing how much spinach I can put in before I dislike it. Still haven’t gotten there.

Green Breakfast Shake | The Fresh Day

Green Breakfast Shake
(naturally raw, vegan, and gluten-free)

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients
Base:
• 1 apple, roughly chopped
• 1/2 cup of frozen fruit (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, etc.)
• 1 generous handful of baby spinach (regular spinach will NOT taste as good)
• 1/4 cup raw almonds, or 1 tbsp almond butter
• 1 tbsp flaxseed meal
• 1/2 cup water, or non-dairy milk (almond, soy, etc.)

Optional additions, chose one or more:
• 1 tbsp fresh ginger
• 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 scoop of non-dairy protein powder (non-GMO soy, hemp, etc.)
• Stevia or honey to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, 1-2 minutes. Add more liquid if necessary to get your blender going.

Enjoy! Switch the recipe up next time to find your favorite combo and to keep things interesting.

Green Breakfast Shake | The Fresh Day

A Day at the Yogi’s Table

It’s hard to think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon than with an hour-long yoga class and a delicious, healthy chef-prepared meal. Conveniently, that is the very experience Onna Hepner and Stacia Nero put together for their guests at the Yogi’s Table.

A Day at the Yogi's Table | The Fresh Day

This past weekend, I had to pleasure of attending the Yogi’s Table, a yoga and dining event series recently featured on Be Well Philly. I was pumped to be a part of the experience, and to represent my CSA, Philly Foodworks, who provided local produce and products that were featured in the brunch prepared by Onna.

The event was hosted in the studio space of Full & Happy, a small supper club and cooking school Onna formed after years of working as a chef and food stylist. She transformed the apartment below her own into an enchanting yet functional space where the Yogi’s Table events have been happening monthly since May. Scheduled around brunch or dinner, the event starts with a challenging yet relaxing yoga session from Stacia, who is also an instructor at several studios in the city. As the class comes to an end, Stacia brings in freshly made green juice from the kitchen. The room is then transformed from yoga studio to dining room, thanks to some ingenious homemade portable furniture. The meal begins with a brief cooking demonstration, and Onna is enthusiastic about including some education in the experience. She told our group about the wonders of farro and barley – grains that are virtually foolproof and impossible to overcook (but note, they do contain gluten). Onna was careful to ask about food allergies up front, and the meal included options that suited us all.

Yogi's Table | The Fresh Day

Once we sat down at the table, we were joined by Onna, Stacia, and Onna’s assistant (who also happens to be her mother). The atmosphere was like a family meal – casual, comfortable, and conversational.

“I want people to leave feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and like they just did something great for themselves” Onna said,  “I also want them to learn something – about cooking, about food, about yoga, about themselves. We also love the idea of bringing eight strangers together for a really special experience- who knows who you might meet or where the conversation will lead?”

I have to say, Onna achieved exactly what she set out to do. The Yogi’s Table is a uniquely enjoyable experience, and a moment in time that allowed me to focus on my own well-being.

Email onna@fullandhappy.com for more details, or visit the website. Tickets are $50, which includes the hour-long yoga class and the meal.

Upcoming classes are:
Thursday, December 11th 6:30 pm (there’s only two spaces left for this date!)
Thursday, January 8th at 6:30 pm
Thursday, February 5th at 6:30 pm

Non-Dairy Milk: A Guide to the Options

There’s been a lot of talk about milks these days. Cow’s milk, soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk, hemp milk, oat milk. You name it, they’re milking it. This presents a lot of options, and a lot of controversy over how to make the healthiest choice.

The meaning of “healthy” can be subjective. Dairy milk is at the top when it comes to natural protein, calcium and vitamin D. If I could drink organic cow’s milk without feeling sick, I most certainly would. But for me, and others who choose not to drink dairy milk due to allergies, upset stomach, veganism or anything else, there are excellent alternatives I am grateful to have.

Non-Dairy Milk: You’ve Got Options, and They’re Not All Bad

Each of the options have pros and cons, so it’s important to be fully aware of what you’re purchasing (as always). Soy milk is condemned for its GMO contents, and almond milk for its preservatives. Dairy milk has its problems as well, with growth hormone being given to cows. By staying informed and carefully reading labels you can avoid these issues. Once you learn about the options, pick the one (or two, or three) that’s best for you.

Soy Milk
High in protein and smooth tasting, soy milk was once the most popular non-dairy milk option. With 8 grams of protein, soy milk has as much as dairy, but it does lack calcium and vitamin D. They are also even in calories (about 130 per cup), though soy milk has less saturated fat. However, soy is now being approached cautiously due to speculation of possible negative effects of naturally occurring hormones. Soy is also notoriously associated with GMOs, with upwards of 94% of the soybeans in the United States genetically modified (yikes). However, GMOs are easily avoided by purchasing organic or non-GMO labeled soy milk.

Recommended Brand: Westsoy Organic Unsweetened

Almond Milk
Almond milk is increasingly popular and widely available. It is much lower in calories than dairy or soy, with about 40 per cup, and is high in vitamin D and E. Lately, it has being marketed as a healthier option than soy and dairy, causing a problem with negative associations (as seen in the recent clickbait titled article that was hard to miss although misleading and narrow-minded). Organic almond milk is certainly good for you, but with very little protein (1 gram), almond milk being “healthier” is a debatable claim. Almond milk often comes in a carton with a long shelf life, which is super convenient but usually means added preservatives. For this reason, label reading is extremely important for almond milk. Look for organic, unsweetened, and watch for potentially harmful additives, including carrageenan. Fresh, homemade almond milk is most delicious and guaranteed to be preservative-free.

Recommended Brands: Wegmans Organic Unsweetened, Whole Foods Organic Unsweetened

Coconut Milk
Coconut milk, sold in a can or carton, is tasty but has a distinct and noticeable coconut flavor. It is low in protein, but is a key substitute for people with nut or soy allergies. It has high saturated fat content, therefore is higher in calories. The coconut oil craze touts these fats as hugely beneficial, but the jury is still out on whether it is in fact harmful or helpful. Cartons present the same preservative concerns as almond milk, although I have yet to find one without carrageenan. Overall, be aware of additives and look for unsweetened and organic options.

Hemp Milk
Hemp milk is a neutral tasting allergen-free option. It is higher in omegas than other non-dairy milks, but also higher in fat and does not offer significant protein. Also sold in cartons, watch for added preservatives.

Rice Milk
Rice milk is another allergen-free option with a mildly sweet flavor. It is relatively high in sugar, making it best used to make desserts or a quick horchata rather than a daily milk alternative. Again, watch for additives in cartons.

With so many options, my solution has been to keep several dairy alternatives in the house at all times. I vary what I use based on my nutritional or taste preference, or what I am using the milk for. How do you decide?