six healthy things


in february, i decided to really buckle down and try to lose about 10 pounds. getting stronger was also part of the goal, since i knew a lot of my back, shoulder, and neck pain was due to the fact that i had almost no core or upper body strength. i forgot, however, that when i strength-train, or just work out a lot, i tend to gain weight. aaack! so now i’m a couple months in to adjusting my eating habits as well. really tough, since i have almost no willpower when it comes to food. so, this post is all about the six things i’m totally relying on to help me reach my goal…

1. the vitamix! one of the best kitchen investments ever. you can do completely unhealthy things with it too, like make frozen margaritas and cream-based soups, but i use it for my morning green smoothie. i’ve also made hummus, tapenade, pesto, and salad dressings in it. works like a dream, and i use it every morning for that smoothie.

2. & 3. for the purpose of this post, these two – rice cakes and avocados – go hand in hand, but they don’t have to. one of the stylists i work with turned me onto this combo. it’s so much lighter than everyone’s favorite lunch, avocado on toast. i treat the avocado the same was as if i was putting it on toast- slice, place on top of rice cake, drizzle with sea salt & pepper, red chili flake, lemon, and olive oil. avocados are a dream on their own, too – i add half of one to my morning smoothie, and find use for the other half in that day’s lunch or dinner. and the rice cakes from Lundberg are great – they come in lots of flavors and most have just two or three ingredients. that i can pronounce! they’re also great with a schmear of almond butter or hummus. basically, they are the perfect alternative to bread, crackers, and chips – stuff i used to eat way too much of.

4. kale. oh i know, it’s so ubiquitous now. but totally delicious and filling, plus eating it will make you feel super righteous. i either braise it with beans (like this) for lunch or add it to that green morning smoothing.

5. megaformer class at Brooklyn Bodyburn. the best workout EVER. for the first time in my adult life, i’m starting to have visible abdominal muscles. do you know what was there before? abdominal rolls. i’m serious. this is a completely addictive exercise that engages the entire body, and the studio i go to has great instructors and a killer playlist.

6. tera’s whey grass-fed, unflavored, unsweetened protein powder. if you’re not into that soy isolate crap and hate the chalky fake taste that literally every other protein powder on the market imparts to a smoothie, try this one. i love that it’s unflavored and adds 22 grams of grass-fed whey protein to whatever i’m making. i add it to my green smoothie (last time i’m mentioning the green smoothie, i swear) and it literally adds no taste. but if you want a flavored version, they do offer those, too. i’ve added their bourbon-vanilla protein powder to fruit and yogurt based smoothies, and it was great.

okay, so there are my six little healthy things. i’d feel derailed if these things were suddenly gone from my life. what about you? any health-helpers you’d feel lost without?

eat it: beans & greens

bkp_beansngreens_3-26-13this has become one of my favorite go-to healthy lunches. it’s simple, cheap and quick. yes, it involves the tiniest bit of cooking and you will have a sautée pan to wash, but it’s worth it. i swear it is…

what you’ll need:

half a bunch of kale (i like the tuscan kale, or cavolo nero, for recipes like this) washed & ready to use

7 oz. white cannellini beans (about half a can)

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 t crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 c white wine

2 T diced canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, OR 2 T tomato paste*

juice from half a lemon

1 scallion, thinly sliced (optional)

olive oil for the pan

make it:

take your kale leaves and cut in half. i remove the stem from the lower half because they get kind of tough at that end, but skip it if you don’t mind a little extra chew. rinse and drain beans so they’re ready to go. set both aside.

put a glug of olive oil in the sautée pan, add minced garlic clove and crushed red pepper. turn on the flame. when garlic starts to sizzle, add kale leaves. before the garlic starts to smell weird and burn, add the lemon juice, white wine, and tomato paste. using tongs, turn kale leaves over and around in the pan for about 2-3 minutes. add beans, and pop the cover on for another minute or two so beans can heat through. if the pan starts to make that hissing dry sound, add a splash more lemon juice or wine.

transfer to a bowl. dress with another little glug of olive oil, sea salt, and fresh cracked black pepper. sprinkle with sliced scallions and EAT.

* i use about 2 tablespoons of a fresh tomato sauce made from canned San Marzano tomatoes that i try to make and just keep on hand. tomato paste works well too, as would some chopped fresh tomato or 2 tablespoons of canned diced tomatoes, just straight out of the can. if you buy tomato paste – buy it in the tube! you can use a little at a time and it’s won’t go bad like it will if you try to save the remainer of the can. i love the kind from Amore. (i’m dying to try their anchovy paste in something, too!)

recipe and photo by laura kinsey for bklynprairie