Incredibly Inspirational, Inc. Empowering Mind, Body and Spirit
 Incredibly Inspirational, Inc.Empowering Mind, Body and Spirit

Healthy Diet

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Rule #1: Eat Two Pounds of Vegetables

Every single day. "Loading your diet with vegetables will naturally crowd out things you shouldn't be eating," says Joel Fuhrman, MD, author of Eat to Live Cookbook, who recommends this amount after analyzing studies connecting vegetable consumption with overall health. Aim for one pound raw and one pound cooked: Certain cancer-fighting compounds in some vegetables, like broccoli, cabbage, and kale, are better absorbed raw, while cooking others (carrots, sweet corn) can boost their levels of antioxidants. Though two pounds might sound like a lot, a single sweet potato can get you a quarter of the way there. "You don't necessarily need to measure your food; just use this figure as a reminder to eat a hefty amount of veggies every day," Fuhrman says. "Work in cooked greens and interesting stir-fries, and you're set."



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Rule #2: Put an Egg on It

So long as you have eggs in the refrigerator, you can throw together a healthy dinner in the same amount of time you'd need to order takeout. You can top a pita with a baked (or fried) egg and some cheese (see recipe below) or add an egg to a bowl of rice, dressed salad greens, or cooked vegetables.



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Rule #3: Sub In Seeds

These oft-forgotten all-stars come packed with key nutrients we all need: protein, healthy fats, and essential fatty acids. Toss a handful of hempseeds into the blender when making a smoothie, sprinkle chia seeds or flaxseeds on top of oatmeal, or swap sunflower or pumpkin seeds wherever you usually use nuts, like in this winter pesto, which tastes delicious spread on a sandwich or drizzled over roasted squash.



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Rule #4: Make Your Own Junk Food

Sure, there are moments when no one can come between you and your potato chips. Which is why banning them isn't the goal—it's making them at home. "Junk food is wonderful," says Michael Pollan, author of Cooked. "But it's become so cheap that we eat it too often. When we used to have to make it ourselves—and a long time ago we did!—there was a built-in check on overconsumption." Take French fries: You peel the potatoes, cut them into matchsticks, fry them in oil, and make a mess in your kitchen while you're at it. If you decide to go the DIY route, says Pollan, "you will not do that more than once a month—I promise you."



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Rule #5: Prep Breakfast

"If you feel overwhelmed by the transition to eating more real food, just start with breakfast," says Lisa Leake, blogger at, who challenged herself and her family to avoid highly processed food and has never looked back. "Most of us eat the same thing in the morning, so changing this one meal can have a big impact." Follow Leake's lead and carve out time on Sundays to make a week's worth of breakfasts, like these parfaits. Assemble the yogurt and fruit and store the parfaits in individual jars, one for each day of the week, in the refrigerator. Top with granola when you're ready to eat.



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Rule #6: Build Your Bases

Make your life easier by preparing batches of foods you can combine into multiple meals. Start with a pot of grains or beans—or both—every week. "A pound of dried beans costs about $1. Once they're cooked, it's a snap to add them to any soup or salad," says Mark Bittman, New York Times food columnist and author of VB6 and the forthcoming VB6 Cookbook. Apply this strategy to roasted vegetables (broccoli, butternut squash) and dressed hardier greens (kale, Swiss chard). "Don't roast just two sweet potatoes; roast six," he says. "The more you cook and have stuff around, the less you'll depend on junk." Start with these fridge-friendly staples.


Kale In a large bowl, combine 2 stemmed, chopped bunches of Tuscan or lacinato kale (2 pounds), 1 Tbsp. olive oil, and the zest/juice of 1 lemon. Season with pepper and massage until softened, 5 minutes. When ready to eat, salt to taste. Makes about 10 cups.

Sweet Potatoes Preheat oven to 400°. Prick 6 medium sweet potatoes with a fork. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast until tender, 45-60 minutes.

Herb-Tahini Dressing - In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add ½ cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley, ½ cup tahini, 6 roughly chopped scallions, 2 cloves garlic, the zest and juice of 2 lemons, 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, ½ tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper and pulse to combine. With the motor running, add 1/3 cup olive oil in a thin stream until combined. Makes 1 cup.

Farro - In a medium pot, combine 3 cups water, 1 cup rinsed farro, and ¼ tsp. salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer until tender, 35 to 40 minutes. Drain excess water. Makes 3 cups.

Store each base in an airtight container in

in the refrigerator up to a week and reheat as needed.

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Rule #7: Eat a Vegan Lunch

Each year, the average American consumes 175 pounds of meat and poultry, almost double the global average. Eating less red meat may do you a favor: It can lower your risk of cancer and heart disease. "Learn to love big heaps of vegetables," Bittman says, "and pile them on until you're more than satisfied." To achieve that feeling, try meatless proteins, such as lentils, edamame (see the Soba Noodle Bowl, below), and tofu ("so underappreciated; it's a blank slate you can do a lot with," he says). "Head to a place with options, like a salad bar, and experiment."



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Rule #8: Ditch the Whites

Why and how to avoid two major dietary saboteurs.

White Flour

The milling process strips the grains of most of their nutrition. The result: "White flour digests in your body rapidly, which makes blood sugar spike," says Foodist author Rose. (Cue the almost inevitable crash.) "It should be a supplement to your diet, not the main event." Try more-nutritious flours, like almond, coconut, and chickpea. One easy way to start: Substitute white whole-wheat flour for 1/3 cup (or more) of the white flour in recipes.

White Sugar

Research suggests that sugar can be addictive. And it's a sneaky ingredient added to processed foods that don't even taste sweet, like bread and pasta sauce. Reach for organic honey or maple syrup instead; they're less refined and offer small amounts of antioxidants. (Still, aim for no more than 24 grams of added sugar per day.) Steer clear of foods with sugar listed among the first three ingredients—and that includes agave nectar, evaporated 

cane juice, malt syrup, and anything ending in "-ose." ("There are 1,001 code names!" warns Rose.)








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Rule #9: Go with the Grains

"Ancient varieties are super-nutrient-rich and offer long-lasting energy," says Mollie Katzen, author of the cookbook The Heart of the Plate. And it doesn't take much for quinoa, amaranth, and spelt to go beyond ho-hum: "Once you add sautéed garlic or scallions, they come to life." These staples also add texture and heft when stirred into soups and stews and sprinkled on salad greens.



Bulgur Wheat Pilaf

Serves 4-5


1/4 cup onions, chopped finely

2 Tbsp. butter or oil

1 cup organic bulgur

1/2 cup sliced almonds (optional)

2 cups water

1/8 tsp. pepper

1/2 tsp. marjoram

1/2 tsp. chicken bouillon


2 tsp. parsley flakes



Sauté onions in butter or oil until transparent. Add bulgur and stir until bulgur is coated (about 1-2 minutes). Add all ingredients but almonds; cover and simmer on low 15–20 minutes. Fluff before serving.

Top with 1/2 cup roasted or raw sliced alm



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Rule #10: Don't Ban Dessert

"You can totally build dessert into healthy eating," says Ellie Krieger, host of the Food Network show Healthy Appetite. "If you say, 'I'm never having it,' you give all things sweet an enticing, forbidden-fruit aura. When you inevitably give in, it becomes a mindless munch fest." Reach for better-for-you desserts like this clever chocolate pudding, made creamy by its secret ingredient: avocado.



Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Serves 4


2 large avocados, pitted and peeled

         ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

         6 Tbsp. honey

¼ cup skim milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. instant coffee or espresso powder

Toasted coconut flakes, for garnish

Orange zest, for garnish

Flaky sea salt, for garnish


Active time: 5 minutes

Total time: 35 minutes

Using a food processor fitted with a metal blade, blend avocados, cocoa powder, honey, milk, vanilla, and instant coffee until completely smooth, then chill, covered, in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.

Transfer to 4 bowls and garnish with coconut, zest, and sea salt.

More Chocolate Desserts

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White Bean Huevos Rancheros



7 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large garlic clove, very finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 large tomatoes, cored coarsely chopped

1/2 canned chipotle chile in adobo, mince

(about 1 teaspoon), plus 1 teaspoon of

the adobo sauce from the can

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons very finely chopped cilantro

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 ounces thick sliced ham, coarsely chopped

Two 15-ounce cans white beans, drained

1/2 cup water

12 corn tortillas, warmed

1 dozen large eggs

1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco

Sour cream, for serving

Step 1                                                                       

In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the garlic and half of the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chipotle and adobo sauce and cook over low heat, stirring, until the tomatoes have broken down but are still slightly chunky, about 20 minutes. Stir in the lime- juice and cilantro and season with salt and pepper; keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until shimmering. Add

            the remaining onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the ham and cook, stirring, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the beans and water, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately low heat, mashing, about 10 minutes.

Step 2

Preheat the broiler. Spoon the bean mixture into 6 ovenproof shallow bowls and top with 2 folded tortillas. Set the bowls on a sturdy baking sheet.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Crack 4 eggs into the skillet and cook over moderate heat until the bottoms are just set, about 2 minutes. Transfer 2 eggs to each bowl. Repeat 2 more times with the remaining oil and eggs.

Sprinkle the queso fresco over the eggs. Broil the eggs 6 inches from the heat for about 1 minute, until the cheese is lightly browned and the egg yolks are just set. Spoon the warm tomato salsa on top and serve with sour cream.


The recipe can be prepared through

Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Reheat

the white beans and salsa before

proceeding with the recipe.

SERVE WITH Guacamole.

Egg Sandwich with Mustard Greens and Avocado


2 tablespoons safflower oil

1 pound mustard greens, thick stems discarded and leaves coarsely chopped

Sea salt

1 large Hass avocado, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

4 large eggs

8 slices of whole-grain bread, toasted and buttered

Hot sauce


In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil until

shimmering. Add the greens and cook over moderately high heat,

stirring, until tender, 1 1/2 minutes; season with salt. Transfer

the greens to a bowl and keep warm.  In a small bowl, mash the

avocado. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt.  Add the

remaining 1-tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Crack the eggs into

the pan and season with salt.  Cook over moderate heat until the whites

are crisp, about 1 minute. Flip the eggs and cook until the whites are

firm and the yolks are runny, 2 minutes

  • Spread the avocado on 4 of the toast slices. Top with the greens and fried eggs and sprinkle with the hot sauce. Close the sandwiches, cut in half and serve right away.

Tri-Color Slaw with Lime Dressing

Serves 8 at least


1/2 head green cabbage, cored

1/2 head red cabbage, cored

1 pound carrots, peeled and shredded

1 large bunch cilantro, leaves roughly chopped

3 limes, juiced (about 1/3 cup)

2/3 cup neutral oil, such as peanut or safflower

1 to 2 teaspoon sugar

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

Shred the cabbage finely in using a chef's knife, a mandolin, or a food processor's shredding blade. In a very large bowl, toss together the shredded cabbage with the shredded carrots and chopped cilantro.

Whisk the lime juice and oil together in a bowl or measuring cup, and whisk in the sugar. Toss with the slaw, and season generously with salt and pepper (it may need more than you think it will at first, and this salad definitely needs its salt!).

Best served within a day or two, cold from the fridge, but you can refrigerate it for up to 3 days or until it loses its crispness.


Italian Chopped Salad

Serves 4

1 head iceberg lettuce

1 small head radicchio

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, sliced in half

4 ounces ricotta salata, divided

1 lemon, juiced

3 tablespoons olive oil

Pinch sugar

2 tablespoons capers

Flaky salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

Cut the head of lettuce and the radicchio into quarters and core them. If you have a mandolin, use it to shave each quarter into very, very thin shavings. If you do not have a mandolin, simply slice the lettuce and radicchio with a very sharp knife, keeping the shavings as thin as possible. Toss the shaved lettuce and radicchio together in a large bowl.

Toss the olives with the lettuce. Crumble in about two-thirds of the ricotta salata and toss.

In a separate measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, pinch of sugar, and capers. Toss this dressing with the lettuce, making sure it is well distributed and coats the lettuce well. Taste and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spread the salad on a platter and spread the halved cherry tomatoes over top, and crumble the remaining ricotta salata over them. Shake a bit of extra black pepper on top, and refrigerate the salad until ready to serve. Serve very cold.


9/23/15 - CIGNA:  We are happy to announce that we can now take Cigna clients.


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