Chili Spice Sweet Potato Fries

Are you a meal person or a snack person? I’ll admit, I am a total snack-a-holic. I prefer multiple appetizers over the whole meal. And my body just craves a bite every couple of hours.

Sometimes, this snack-a-holic craves something crispy, warm, spicy, and dense. These Chili Spice Sweet Potato Fries fit the bill. Yes, they require some prep and some patience. But trust me – they’re so worth it. The fries themselves are amazing, but you DON’T want to miss out on the chipotle mayo because that is what really brings this over the top.

If you’re not a snacker, you should know that these make a great side-dish too, maybe to a good burger or taco. Or how about making it for a game night, or better yet a games night!

Time to bust our your sheet pans and preheat that oven because your mouth can’t wait to meet these Chili Spiced Sweet Potato Fries.

This recipe is vegan and gluten-free

Ingredients

Chili Spiced Sweet Potato Fries

  • 1 Large Sweet Potato
  • 1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 TSP Chili Powder
  • 1 TSP Paprika
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • Salt
  • Cilantro

Chipotle Mayo

  • 3/4 CUP Mayo
  • 1 TBSP Hot Sauce (I used Franks Red Hot)
  • 1 TSP Garlic Powder
  • 1 TSP Chili Powder
  • 1 TSP Paprika
  • 1/4 TSP Chipotle Powder
  • Juice from 1 Lime

Directions

Preheat your oven to 425, and prepare a sheet pan with parchment. Cut your sweet potato into fries and add them to the pan. Once on the pan, drizzle the olive oil, and sprinkle on the chili powder, paprika, and minced garlic. Massage onto the fries. Bake at 425 for 30-35 minutes.

While those are baking, combine all the ingredients for your chipotle mayo. Use vegan mayo, if thats your preference of course. I like to make the sauce right away, which gives the flavours a chance to mingle for a while.

Once the fries are done, bring them out of the oven and let them cool for a couple of minutes. When you are ready to plate them, top with salt and fresh cilantro.

Not a fan of cilantro? Swap for green onion! Those would be good too, but I do love the combination of the spices with the lime and cilantro. Either way, you’ll love this recipe. These are the best sweet potato fries ever. Just wait – you’ll agree.

These fries are a total flavour-bomb, but there are some health benefits to sweet potato too! Sweet potatoes are high in B vitamins, vitamin C, and fibre. That means that even though these fries are dense and delicious, they are also great for digestion!

I would love to see your take on these fries – don’t forget to tag me on Instagram when you post your batch!

How to Reach Your 2020 Nutrition Goals

We all start the year with the best intentions. I know you want to crush those goals for 2020! I can imagine you are starting this new year feeling overwhelmed with enthusiasm. You’re ready to move towards your nutrition goals full. steam. AHEAD!

I’m rooting for you, because I also know what a huge difference a change in diet and lifestyle can make. Making it a priority to eat better has changed my body and my mind. It has helped with my anxiety, made a drastic difference in my skin, helped balance my hormones, and gotten my gut on track for good.

Knowing how much this change has helped me, I get so fired up when I hear that other people have a goal to cultivate a healthier lifestyle. I want to see you win! But I also know what stands in your way. That’s why today I wanted to share with you a suggestion that could make or break your ability to meet your nutrition goals.

The suggestion is simple: hire an expert!

When your toilet overflows, you call a plumber.

When you need a cavity filled, you go to a dentist.

When you’re buying a home, you enlist the help of a realtor.

So when you’re ready to overhaul the way you eat, why not hire a nutritionist? Someone who is trained in nutrition has a lot to offer. If you haven’t considered the benefits before, you may want to dig deeper. The reasons, after all, back up why it’s such a good idea in the first place.

Education. Yes, your nutrition professional is (should be – double check this!) educated, but that’s not what I’m talking about. What’s really great about working with a professional is that they get a chance to educate you. With this gained knowledge, you will have the tools you need to make a long-lasting change. Plus, knowledge is so empowering! With enough of it you will be able to make your own educated decisions in the future, even after the experience of working with a professional is over.

Support. The ultimate goal of a nutrition professional is not to work with you forever. The goal is to support you on your journey as much as possible to ensure your success. This person can cheer you on and help keep you moving toward your goal with enthusiasm. Not only that, but they can provide you with the tools you need to make this a sustained change, and not one that lasts only as long as your motivation does.

Accountability. This is one of the most powerful tools available when creating a change. Being held accountable can be the key to so many people meeting their goals! Some of us just need that person. I know when I began working out, I loved having a trainer because they kept me accountable for the work I was doing. High accountability reduces excuses. If you are someone who struggles with this in particular, hiring a professional is really going to help you.

If you are ready to turn your 2020 goals into full gear, I hope you will seriously consider hiring an expert! If your goal is not necessarily nutrition, remember that hiring an expert to help you is transferable across all your other goals. Consider it a short-term investment in a long-term change.

I hope you work hard in 2020 for what you want, and let great things happen for you!

Chickpea Vegetable Curry

Everyone has their comfort food – that dish they turn to when they’re feeling especially worn down or in need of something cozy. That dish, for me, has not changed for the past 4 years; every time I’m in that mood, I always make my Chickpea Vegetable Curry.

Curry isn’t one of those dishes I have nostalgic ties to. We didn’t grow up on it as kids – it something I was even introduced to in my childhood or teens. Actually, my love for curry began on a trip about 10 years ago to Thailand. I was introduced to all different types of curry, and other ingredients I had barely known before. It sparked my tastebuds, and I haven’t looked back since!

Despite having relied on this meal heavily (and I mean HEAVILY) over the past few years, I haven’t shared it. In my mind, I guess I just thought, “no one cares about your boring EASY curry Jen!!!”. But then I realized, a quick, super yummy, warm but not too spicy, easy to throw together curry is exactly what the world needs. So here we are.

The great thing about curry is that we all have our own special ways of making it. I think I add some touches that really might charm you – and your tastebuds – so I hope you’ll try it out!

Like almost all of my recipes – this is easy. There is some prep work involved, but the rest is pretty straightforward and hands-off. It’s great to put together if you’ve had a long day, and you really just want to throw a healthy meal together that is basically just going to cook itself.

This recipe is gluten free and vegan

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas, soaked and drained
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup carrots, diced
  • 1/4 purple onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup zucchini, diced
  • 1 can water chestnuts
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 thumb of ginger, minced
  • 1.5-2 TSP red curry paste, to preference
  • 1 TBSP Coconut Oil
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • Green Onion and/or cilantro, to garnish

Directions

Start with a medium-sized pot, and set the stovetop to medium temperature. Melt the 1 TBSP coconut oil. Add in carrots and onion, and stir for about 3-4 minutes. The carrots should be starting to cook through. Add the zucchini, minced garlic, minced ginger, and stir for another 2 minutes.

Then add your curry paste, chickpeas, water chestnuts, coconut milk, and vegetable broth – yep, all at once. Throw ’em (not literally) all in! Turn the stovetop down to medium-low, and let simmer for 25 minutes. You know, give those flavours some time to dance together. After 25 minutes, mix in your frozen peas and turn the stove off.

Now this curry is ready to serve! But wait – this last step is so small, and so crucial. Garnish with green onion or cilantro, if you like it – but this is the crucial part: squeeze in some lime!

Trust me on this one – this step perfectly tops off all of the other flavours. You can squeeze an entire lime into the pot, but I like to take the quarter pieces and squeeze them in once the soup is in a bowl.

A little black pepper never hurt either, so don’t be afraid to crack some of that on top. Brace yourself – this is gonna be amazing!

Now as you can see, I’ve added something a little extra to my dish here and I highly recommend it as a curry side-kick: sourdough bread! Perfectly toasted, AMAZING for dipping.

One more tip: don’t be shy with that curry paste if you want to go all the way. I usually put in between 1.5-2 tsp, but you can totally add in 2-3 if that’s more your thing.

There’s nothing better than making a batch of this for dinner and enjoying leftovers for lunch! There’s something about this Chickpea Vegetable Curry that’s even better the next day.

This Chickpea Veg Curry is all about taste, but the nutritional benefits are clear too: lots of fibre, chickpeas provide essential amino acids, the garlic is antimicrobial, and the full-fat coconut milk provides a satiating mouthful of healthy fats.

This recipe is really near and dear to my heart, so if you decide to try it definitely let me know! Tag me on Instagram, or comment below and let me know what you thought.

I’m also curious to know if you ever make curry as well, or if you have a favourite kind! Feel free to share.

Enjoy this Chickpea Vegetable Curry! I know I will be!

January Reset

I am so so happy to introduce the newest addition to programs at Standing Strong Wellness!

When I was coming up with the Reset program, the motto I kept in mind was “health for everyone”. Years ago I would have loved to work with someone educated in nutrition, but I could never afford it.

I was determined to come up with a practical solution that worked for everyone, no matter what their budget or personal diet preferences (vegan, celiac, etc…).

Thus, the Reset Program was born! It’s affordable, practical, easy to follow, and effective! Health – for everyone.

I’m so proud of this program, and I’m excited to start January alongside all my fellow Strong Babes!

Sad you missed it? Don’t worry, we’ll be doing this program quarterly! Every 3 months we’re going to reevaluate, reassess, and reset!

It’s gonna be a great way to start off 2019!

Want to follow my January Reset journey? Follow me on Instagram @standingstrongwellness !

Later babes!

Strong Babe Summer Guide Launch

It’s a day to celebrate, babes!

The Strong Babe Summer Guide is officially available on Standing Strong Wellness!

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After months of writing, rewriting, and recipe testing I have to say I couldn’t be more excited to share the finished product with you all.

The Strong Babe Summer Guide is so different from any other guide out there – because I wanted to bring you something different. That’s why instead of focusing on body ideals and weight loss, this guide is about feeling healthy, strong, and alive.

If you want to feel your best and stay body positive this summer, click here to read more…

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3 Plant-Based Breakfast Ideas

We all go through a rut in our eating routine, don’t we? It can be hard to find inspiration to keep our meals exciting, so why not let me help you out?

Check out this video for 3. AWESOME. Plant-based breakfast ideas! They are all super tasty, but still simple and easy to throw together in the morning!

 

Which one would you eat first?

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#betterskin Challenge – Final Update 

Hi guys!

Last we left off on the #betterskin Challenge – week 4 – I really didn’t feel like I was where I wanted to be. You know why?

Because good skin isn’t made overnight or errrr, even in 4 weeks! It takes time, diligence – perseverance! But the patience pays off, I promise you!


So here we are, week 6. But woah woah woah… let’s rewind it for a minute and talk about the changes I’ve implemented over the past few weeks in an effort to help my skin…

  1. Drinking more water
  2. Supplementing with Stress Care
  3. Adding dandelion root tea (daily)
  4. Adding a homemade face scrub to my beauty routine (2 x a week)
  5. Upping my dietary fats (daily)
  6. And keeping it all up for 6 weeks!

 

I know it can be hard to tell, but I can feel the difference in my skin. It is much, much less dry. My skin tone is brighter and I have a more even skin tone. I am proud of the changes that I’ve made to my routine, especially drinking more water and just practicing some extra acts of self care, like drinking tea and doing my homemade face scrub!

What I learned from doing this challenge is that there really is no secret to good skin. And like most of the rewards in this world, it is earned – not given! That means I can’t give up the great changes I’ve made and expect great results – I need to keep up with my routine.

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So what am I gonna keep – and what’s getting kicked? Well – I wouldn’t say I’m kicking anything – but I am going to make a couple of adjustments. I love a good homemade face scrub, but if I can find a great natural one at the health food store, I’ll make the swap. It saves me time, which is precious to me, and I’ll also get to feel like I’m pampering myself more.

I’m also going to switch up my nightly tea – I love dandelion root, but I think Holy Basil and Chamomile are also great options that help to regulate cortisol levels as opposed to focusing on the liver detoxification route.

I believe the same thing I did when I started this challenge – that great skin is made mostly from the inside out! If you want better skin, start with your nutrition – and make the tweaks necessary along the way for you to reach your goal.

Thanks for following along!

Find me on Instagram here

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Netflix Review: “What’s with Wheat”

 

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I find food trends fascinating, and I would be interested in getting a show of hands as to how many people have or have tried – heck even considered giving up wheat or gluten this year.

It’s everywhere. I mean, you can’t walk around the grocery store without seeing gluten free labels slapped on almost anything. After all, it’s what consumers these days are looking for. Wheat has gotten a bad rap, and for that reason many people want to give it up.

What I enjoyed about this documentary is that it digs deeper to answer some of the questions as to WHY anyone should give up wheat, beyond just the general sense of it being ‘better for your health’. It starts at the very root of it – literally.

So does wheat get the bad rap it deserves? Watch the documentary and you decide. As the movie expresses, since the way wheat has been manufactured has changed so profoundly, allergies and sensitivities related to wheat seem to have sky-rocketed.

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Should you take wheat out of your diet? Without knowing you well enough, I can’t answer that. Perhaps watching this film could help you figure it out?

What I do know for sure is that education is key – and what we need to do as consumers is be educating ourselves on what we are putting in our bodies. For instance, many of us have no idea how wheat is grown, or how many different products wheat can be found in.

At only just over an hour long, this documentary will provide you with a little extra knowledge that may help you improve your health so I say: give it a watch – Standing Strong Wellness approved.

Why are you Depressed? 

Like many other things in mental health, depression is multifaceted – there are many signs, symptoms, explanations, and origins behind depression. It cannot be explained simply. It can’t be encompassed simply, and it shouldn’t be treated simply.

So why are you depressed? A lot of the stigma that still has a stronghold on mental health reiterates the narrative that people who struggle with depression are just “mentally weak”. Another common misconception is that it only affects the “have-nots” of society, that is, those of lower economic status. (because what could people with money possibly be sad about?)

What’s interesting is that as a society we still haven’t full acknowledged and absorbed just how prevalent depression is. It’s simply not talked about. Well, let’s put a little dent in that today shall we, and talk about it.

So, what is it? Are depressed people weak? Ungrateful? Poor? Messed up? Under difficult circumstances? Negative? Let’s unravel it a little.

There is no one factor that has been indicated in “causing” depression, in fact, there are several things that could be linked between you and your depression.

For example:

  • Food intolerances or allergies
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Traumatizing experiences/ Grief/ Difficult life circumstances
  • Neurotransmitter malfunctions
  • Hormones

Any single factor or combination thereof could be contributing to your depression. I realize this is a small, albiet generalized list – but the point I’m trying to drive home is that there are any number of reasons why you might be depressed.  

This is why I have such an issue with the fact that we treat depression in such a blanketed way: by suggesting antidepressants to treat depression – for everyone. First and foremost: did you know studies have never definitively found a link between serotonin and depression? Yet SSRI’s , which increase serotonin in the body, are the most often prescribed antidepressant.

So, in essence, people with depression are encouraged to take a drug that has not actually been scientifically supported to work. Some studies do say that SSRI’s do show small improvements in some people; other studies chalk that up to a placebo affect.

I know some people personally who take SSRI’s for depression, and they really feel that these drugs work for them. I can’t argue with another person’s experience. And without definitive answers, it is plausible that these drugs could very well improve symptoms for some. I am not anti-drug , I’m just pro-whatever works. What I worry about treating depression with such a “one-size-fits-all” approach is that people might ignore the other factors that could be contributing.

For example, did you know that depression is a symptom of low testosterone in men? Or that hypothyroidism can look like depression? Or that low dopamine correlates with a decrease in motivation, which is a symptom of depression? Or that untreated food allergies and sensitivities can lead to chronic inflammation, leading to fatigue and a host of other symptoms, all of which could contribute to depression? Or that magnesium deficiency has been linked to depression?

Some depression is also circumstantial, you can be optimally healthy and still struggle with depression (you can also be rich and depressed – myth busted). 

So why are you depressed? If you’re not sure, I encourage you to dig deeper. Emotionally and physically. Get whatever test you need to get done. Get in tune with your body. Talk to your doctor, spiritual adviser, your chiropractor, and figure out what’s getting you. And as always, advocate for yourself.

Lord knows – I’m not saying it’s easy. Having had my own mental health struggles for over ten years, I know it takes a lot of work – sometimes years – to get to a good place. All I want for you is to channel that energy into productive ways of figuring it out – when you’re feeling up to it.

Any comments or questions? Please leave them down below, I would be interested to hear about your experience with depression!

 

Continue reading “Why are you Depressed? “

April Update 

Hey you, how have you been?

Oh me? Oh you know, I’ve just been hanging out here on my beautiful white chair, in this room this pristine decor, hanging out in a body suit. I’m pretty sure that’s what bloggers do.

Jokes aside, it was a pleasure to have my sister take these shots the other day. I am in awe of how well she captured me. I think there is something to be said about being able to be vulnerable around someone. During this shoot, I was able to be and embrace myself,; I felt completely comfortable. And isn’t it interesting how that can come across in a photo? It reminds me that energy transcends everything.

I have been feeling so comfortable in my own skin lately. They say that is something that comes with age, and now at 28 years old I can say I believe it is true. Even when my skin was fresher, or I was smaller, or my eyes were brighter – I never appreciated all that I was. But now I look at myself with the audacity to say “I’m cute” ( I am though).

I wish I could go back and shake the younger me – I wish I could just say STOP! You are beautiful! Stop criticizing yourself! But I guess that it’s all a part of growing up.


So I will do my usual fitness update but first I want to say: even if my cutting season didn’t go very well, I would still rock a swimsuit with pride. My eyes are nice and my butt is round and my stomach is cute… so take that, society!

I’ve been cutting for the last couple months, but only last week since Brittany left have I actually kicked it into high gear. You know how it is #fitfam – less carbs , more cardio. I’ve been doing at least 30 minutes of cardio with each workout – sweater on and sweating up a storm.

I’m trying to keep my carbs under 100g daily for my cut, with refeeds when I really feel I need them. And before you begin to believe that this means I am restricting myself, please remember that I eat in abundance. Ask anyone who has the pleasure of eating near me about the size of my meals. It’s ridiculous…ly awesome. At the same time, in this lifestyle, sacrifices must be made – I know this game. And I love to play it.

Although this is an important part of my lifestyle, I want you guys to know that I do this for me. I’m happy with who I am. No number on a scale can ever change that. And restricting carbs will never make you happy. Being skinny will never make you happy. So I urge you to be at a good place before you put any additional stress on your body. And as always: love yourself first (the rest will follow anyway).

 

 

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If you are wondering what has been on the menu lately, a day in the life of me eating looks something like this…

  • Meal 1 – Breakfast shake (fruit, veg, Iron Vegan protein powder)
  • Meal 2 – A banana and a handful of almonds
  • Meal 3 – A large salad with greens, vegetables, and nuts
  • Meal 4 – A bit of protein and greens (usually tofu or chicken)
  • Meal 5 – Raw fruits or veg with almond butter or a piece of choc, etc…

Does anyone else get mad sweet cravings before bed? I’ve been making my own chocolate with melted coconut oil, raw cacao, nuts and stevia. Then I just pop it in the freezer for a couple minutes – voila!

Oh one more thing – only 3ish months of school left! I can’t wait to begin taking on clients. I’ve learned so much and my passion for health is a fire burning hotter than ever before. We can all be healthy. We can all be happy. And we all deserve it.

 

Stay tuned for my next post – it’s coming up tomorrow and it’s going to be a good one!

I hope everyone’s April is off to a great start, and onto an even better end!

Catch ya later

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog on your way out, if you haven’t already!

Find me on Instagram: www.instagram.com/standingstrongwellness

Watch me on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9XftlyYl711lf0o7MMt8MA/videos