Chicken & Avocado Soup

The weather is cooling down here in Georgia and unfortunately everyone in the CookLisaCook house has managed to get a cold.  So in our book, nothing could be more comforting, warming and healthier than some homemade soup.  But since EVERYONE has been sick, the soup preparation needed to be simple and the flavors bold to make it tasty for our dulled senses.  We all enjoyed this soup and the
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Roasted Grape Tomato, Garlic & Poblano Ragu

I swear that just a week ago here in Georgia, we were still sporting long pants and sweatshirts.  I don’t like being cold so I’m thankful that the warmth of summer has finally arrived. It was one of those cold days though when it came time to cook for this month’s Secret Recipe Club so we were looking at recipes which were healthy, easy, warm and hearty. That’s how we decided on Beth’s Roasted
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CROCK POT CHICKEN


When choosing a salsa, make sure to check the ingredients. First off is there un
needed sugar added? Quality tomatoes don’t need added sugar, but most brands pick green tomatoes to get them to the factory; which causes a bland salsa and therefore they add sugar and undesirable ingredients. Second, make sure there are no hydrogenated oils (trans-fat). I have even seen it in refrigerated salsa.

Partially hydrogenated oils don’t just damage your cells, causing allergies, arthritis and auto immune diseases, but in they also make you fat!

Essential fatty acids are called ‘essential’ because your body NEEDS them and you can only get them through food. Your brain and body are very smart, even though your stomach may feel full, your brain never tells you to stop eating, because it still needs the essential fatty acids to sustain life. You will never be full until you do.

Partially hydrogenated oils make you gain weight because they interfere with the body’s ability to ingest and utilize the healthy fats that you want to fill your cells with.

Imagine this, your cells are like neat parking lots. When you eat omega 3 fats, they are like little Smart Cars that park nice and neat into the parking spots that feed our body by decreasing inflammation (everything from joint pain to asthma to heart disease). BUT when we eat trans fats they are like huge SUVs that don’t fit into these parking spots, but they force their way in anyway…damaging the cars around them so they can’t run anymore (or help our body) AND they cause our fat cells to grow! If you eat even more trans-fats, those SUVs get mad because they can’t find a parking spot, so they just drive around furiously in your body and bounce into all the cells causing free-radicals. To read more on how to decrease free-radicals, go to Supplement chapter in Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism.

Over time, more and more SUV are filling the parking spots which leaves no room for the Smart Cars. So new parking lots (fat cells) have to be built to make room for them. So now our body gets bigger, we have more inflammation and more health problems like asthma, arthritis, heart disease…not a good outcome!

“HEALTHIFIED” CROCK POT CHICKEN
 2 lbs uncooked frozen chicken breast (0.9 kg)
11/2 cups diced tomatoes (375 mL)
16 oz salsa (500 g)
8 oz cream cheese (250 g)

Put frozen chicken breasts in crock pot, cover with tomatoes and salsa. Cook on high 4-5 hours or until chicken is cooked. Place block of cream cheese on top. Cook for an additional 30 minutes. Stir to incorporate cream cheese into sauce. The stirring will cause the chicken to shred. Serve on top of cauliflower rice (or on my “healthified” bread).

 NOTE: This has been a favorite recipe of my clients and their families.

NUTRITIONAL COMPARISON (per serving):
Traditional Dish with White Rice = 490 calories, 40g protein, 17.6g fat, 42g carbs, 3.3g fiber (38.7 effective carbs)
“Healthified” Dish = 349 calories 37.3g protein 17.4g fat, 8g carbs, 2.8g fiber (5.2 effective carbs)

Are you looking for a unique gift? How about a slow cooker cookbook and my favorite slow cooker? What busy mom or dad wouldn’t love to make fast and healthy meals for their family?

The Slow cooker is on sale now! Click HERE to find it.

Click HERE to find the cookbook.

Thank you all for your love and support!

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Chicken Enchiladas and The SEA of Estrogen


Are you drinking half you body weight in ounces, taking the right probiotics, a proper dose of magnesium citrate and still not going #2 everyday? Has your doctor told you that it is fine and that is just how your body is? Well, your doctor is wrong. Everyone should go #2 everyday…it is more important than you think. We are living in a sea of estrogens. When we aren’t properly excreting those toxic levels of estrogens, they get stored in our fat cells which is detrimental for weight gain. Fat cells make estrogen and estrogen causes fatty tissue growth. This is a vicious cycle we’d like to avoid. Excess estrogen is excreted in the bowel. When stool remains in the bowel for a longer time, as in constipation, the estrogen is reabsorbed. Click HERE to find my suggestions for eliminating constipation.

If an imbalance between certain hormones develops, the result if often discomfort or cramping during the menstrual cycle. Nutrition plays an important role in maintaining proper hormone balance. For example, carbohydrates and alcohol can make the monthly menstrual cycle much more uncomfortable.

Our body produces 3 types of estrogen:
1. Ovaries produce healthy estrogen: Estradiol
2. Fat Cells store and form unhealthy estrogen: Estrone
3. 3rd type is produced only when pregnant: Estriol

Healthy estrogen from our ovaries gives women ample curves, attractive breasts and youthful skin. However, estrogen from our fat cells and external sources causes too many curves…or you might say ‘bulges,’ mainly in the belly area. Farmers have known this for years. They use a little synthetic estrogen to fatten their cattle. But women say to themselves: “I don’t take any form of estrogen. Why do I have too much?” The sad truth is that estrogen comes from our food choices. Our bodies make more estrogen when we eat too many processed carbohydrates. Insulin, the master hormone, is secreted from the pancreas in response to sugar and processed carbohydrates. Insulin stores fat and also causes our bodies to make more estrogen.

Some ways we get too much estrogen is exposure to chemicals that mimic estrogen such as many plastics (microwaving food in plastic dishes or using plastic wraps and containers…like they did in the schools on JAMIE OLIVER’s FOOD REVOLUTION) or eating non-organic food. Beef and chickens are typically given potent estrogenic substances (‘super-estrogens’) to make them more productive. Our produce is often laced with these substances.

People develop estrogen dominance as a result of a high-carb diet and consuming excess fructose, drinking alcohol, having a “Tired-Toxic Liver (see chapter in Secrets to a Healthy Metabolism), or environmental factors…all of which we have some power to control.

The liver is a filter of sorts. It detoxifies our body, protecting us from the harmful effects of chemicals, elements in food, environmental toxins, and even natural products of our metabolism, including excess estrogen. Anything that impairs liver function or ties up the detoxifying function will result in excess estrogen levels. If your liver is tired and toxic, a special diet plan would be in order to help.

Estrogen is produced not only internally but also produced in reaction to chemicals and other substances in our food. When it is not broken down adequately, higher levels of estrogen build up. This is true for both men and women, although the effects are more easily recognized in men. Alcoholic men with impaired liver function develop a condition called gynecomastia, with estrogenic characteristics including enlarged breasts, loss of male pubic hair, and belly fat.

Some signs of excess estrogen in MEN and WOMEN:
-Migraines
-Low back pain
-Weight gain secondary to insulin resistance
-Belly Fat Accumulation (A “Beer Belly” is really an “Estrogen Belly”)
-Fibrocystic breast disease
-Excessive PMS
-Menstrual disturbances–irregular and heavy bleeding
-Endometriosis
-Fibroids
-Ovarian cysts
-Breast Cancer


Correcting Estrogen Dominance involves more than just correcting the estrogen-progesterone balance and supporting the adrenals. It is important to eliminate the factors as much as possible. Exposure to xenoestrogens , insufficient sleep, toxic exposure, poor nutrition (high carbohydrates, low fat/protein intake, low nutrient value), and stress are some common causes. I also have suggestions for supplements to help speed the process of healing.

So, do you feel like you are eating the right way, taking the right supplements and STILL aren’t going #2? It is most likely a food allergy! Contact me if you need some individualized meal plans and supplement suggestions.

FYI: Even bar soaps leach estrogen’s into our bloodstream. Click HERE to find one that doesn’t!


Click HERE to find water bottles that don’t leach estrogens.
“Maria, Today is my 50th birthday and I feel AMAZING and thats thanks to you!! I have
lost 15# I have incredible energy, I sleep through the night for the first time in
years,and I’m no longer hungry all the time. I can’t say enough about you, your
books amazing recipes and all the support you offer. As you know I have tried
so many plans and have been a chronic dieter since age 13. This all makes sense
and its a life time change that is so easy to do. Thank you again for all that
you do to make people healthy. P.S I plan to celebrate my birthday today by
taking a 50 mile bike ride, I just had knee surgery 4 weeks ago and healed so
well. This too has to do with the way I feel. Thanks Mary”

“HEALTHIFIED” ENCHILADA
16 oz. raw boneless skinless chicken breast
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup freshly shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup plus 4 TBS enchilada sauce, divided
4 large cabbage leaves
Optional toppings: sour cream, chopped scallions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a pot, boil water and place large leaves of cabbage in the water. Boil for 5-7 minutes or until tender.

Bring a skillet (with a little coconut oil) to medium-high heat. Add onions and chicken and cook for 4 minutes per side. Cook until chicken is cooked through and onion begins to brown, about 2 more minutes. Set aside. (Option: place frozen chicken breasts and onions in a crockpot before you leave work…they will be tender and cooked when you get home).

Once chicken is cool enough to handle, place in a bowl and shred using two forks; one to hold the chicken in place and the other to scrape across the meat. Add onion, 1/2 cup cheese, and 4 TBS enchilada sauce to the bowl with the chicken. Mix well and set aside.

Lay cabbage tortillas out flat, and evenly distribute chicken mixture between the centers. Wrap the cabbage tortillas up tightly, and place them in the baking pan with the seam sides down. Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the enchiladas. Bake in the oven until hot, about 10 minutes.

Evenly sprinkle remaining cheese over the enchiladas. Bake in the oven until cheese has melted, about 2 more minutes. Plate and top with sour cream and scallions. Serves 4.

NUTRITIONAL COMPARISON (per serving):
USING CORN TORTILLA = 430 calories, 17g fat, 40g protein, 22g carbs, 2.25g fiber
USING CABBAGE TORTILLA = 350 calories, 17g fat, 40g protein, 5.7 carbs, 2g fiber

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Tomato Basil Wraps and Tortillas

I hear so many people are starting to buy “Whole Grain” products instead of “White” bread, cereals, and baked goods. But are they any better? These Mission Tortillas are marketed as “Life Balance” and claim that they have no trans-fat, BUT check out th… Continua a leggere

Enticing Cabbage Ideas!

TestimonialAnother great testimonial! I love getting these. Makes me want to continue working hard to help people on the path to health! ”Hi Maria! I wanted to let you know how much I love your blog, Facebook info, books and of course your recip… Continua a leggere

Mexican Meatloaf and IRON Facts and CLA

New Service Package Available

I work with a lot of clients where I provides many educational videos and guides that help them understand why they should eat this way. I also get many people who have followed me on my blog and facebook page and understand these concepts but just need help implementing them. So I have come up with a new service package. The 30 Meal Plan and Instructional Video Package. With this package you get a full 30 days of meal plans including the first 2 weeks of Pure Protein and Fat days to get your metabolism kick started. You also get access to a dozen instructional videos to help you stock your pantry, grocery store visits and lots of meal and recipe instructional videos. This is the ideal plan to get you an the right path the a “Healthified” you!

To introduce this package, for the first 20 people, it is 20% off ($160 instead of $200). Click the Buy Now below to start the Maria “Healthified” eating plan now!  (Note: this package includes just 1 email response for clarifying questions)

Do you crave chewing on ice, have a bit of anxiety, yet low in energy? You could be low in iron. Gluten has many bad side effects, one of which is how well you absorb iron. Iron helps to carry oxygen to the mitochondria of your cells, which is where fat burning occurs.
If you get a hemoglobin test done and it comes back “normal” you could still be having absorption issues, which is why I require a ferritin test for my clients instead. This test shows me if the iron in your body is getting INTO the cells. If for some reason your hemoglobin is “normal” and your ferritin is “low” I would recommend a 100% elimination diet of gluten. If you are working out a lot, eating low carb and still aren’t losing weight, I would get your ferritin checked. Losing weight is all about fat “oxidation”… when you inhale you carry oxygen through the hemoglobin to the mitochondria of your cells, where fat is burned. BUT if you don’t have any iron in your cells, you aren’t getting the oxygen to the mitochondria. Even though iron numbers may come back fine, this means that you are consuming enough iron in foods, but it isn’t getting into the cells… which means there is a food sensitivity inhibiting you from absorbing it.
A few things that deplete you of iron:
1. Heavy menstrual cycles
2. Loss of blood (injury/surgery/pregnancy)
3. Food allergy (damaged intestines/leaky gut)
4. Heavy exercise (running)
5. Not eating red meat/sources of iron
Now, there are 2 different types of iron:
1. Heme iron: form of iron that comes bound to heme proteins and is easily in your digestive tract.  (found in Red Meat)
2. Nonheme iron: form of iron not bound to heme proteins, less easily absorbed. (found in spinach and other plant sources)
If you are a vegetarian, I suggest that you pair spinach with foods high in vitamin C to enhance the absorption. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) forms a complex with iron and chemically modifies iron into a form that your body can more readily absorb. Most people underestimate the power of herbs and spices; things like parsley, dill, rosemary, as well as most spices, have a ton of vitamin C; more than most fruits.
Also adding lemon and lime help with iron absorption. The acid helps to change the iron from nonabsorbable ferric iron to the more absorbable ferrous iron. Eat foods high in iron with coconut, balsamic or apple cider vinegar, or acidic lime or lemon juice. For example, top a spinach salad with a lemon and herb dressing, or use the juice from a lime as the garnish.
NOTE: Do not take iron supplements unless directed by a doctor. Too much iron isn’t a good thing!
Find fun facts like this along with recipe ideas for health in my book: The Art of Healthy Eating: SAVORY

Instead of using breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs, I use an egg for the binder along with finely chopped mushrooms (don’t worry you don’t even taste them, but it makes it very moist) and grated cheese. Mushrooms and aged cheeses have something called “UMAMI.” Umami is a pleasant savory taste produced by glutamate and ribonucleotides, chemicals which occur naturally in many foods. Umami is subtle and not generally identified by people when they encounter it, but blends well with other tastes to intensify and enhance flavors; it plays an important role in making food taste delicious.

“HEALTHIFIED” MEATLOAF
2 lbs grass fed ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup finely chopped mushrooms
2 c. shredded pepper jack or Mexican cheese
1/4 cup salsa
1 tsp Mexican-style seasoning
1 tsp cumin
1 clove crushed garlic

Meatball Cupcake ideas found in my Kids Cookbook
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a large bowl, mix together ground beef, eggs, mushrooms, cheese and salsa. Season with Mexican seasoning, cumin, and garlic. Press into a 9×5 inch loaf pan, and cover loosely with foil. Bake in the preheated oven approximately 1 hour, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). Makes 6 servings.
NUTRITIONAL COMPARISON (per serving)
Traditional Meatloaf = 535 calories, 33g fat, 29g protein, 16.2g carbs, 1.4g fiber, (14.8g effective carbs)
“Healthified” Meatloaf = 475 calories, 31.6g fat, 43.3g protein, 2.3g carbs, 0.5g fiber, (1.8g effective carbs)

Made into meatballs
CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) helps increase lean muscle mass. It is a fatty acid that is found in some of the foods we eat. At one time, beef, turkey, lamb and dairy were exceptional sources; however, when we changed their diet from grass to grains, the levels of CLA dramatically decreased in meat and dairy products. If CLA is present, it is found in the fatty portion of milk. Drinking skim milk will never provide the benefits of CLA.
CLA not only reduces fat but also preserves the muscle tissues. The most amazing part is not that it makes fat cell smaller but it prevents a small cell from becoming fatter. A low calorie diet often helps a person lose weight for a short period, but once the cravings take over and the diet comes to a halt, that person is even more likely to gain back the weight. CLA seems to stop this undesired weight gain from happening because it causes you to hold onto valuable muscles during weight loss. Studies show that CLA is also helpful in lowering blood sugar levels. In one study almost 2/3 of the volunteers had a reduction of blood glucose level and triglyceride levels.
This supplement helps in reducing fat at a faster rate. At least 3.4 grams per day must be taken in order for it to show its effect in our body. It has been shown in numerous studies that people taking this supplement have around 6 pounds of weight lose as compared to others.
When taken in effective doses, CLA decreases body fat, especially in the area of the abdomen. Various studies prove the following additional benefits:

1. Increases metabolism and is evidently very beneficial for thyroid patients.
2. Lowers high cholesterol level and triglycerides at a faster rates.
3. Increases the growth of muscles which stimulates our metabolism.
4. Lowers insulin resistance and therefore assist in controlling weight.
5. Decreases Adrenal imbalances, which decreases abdominal fat stores.
6. Calms hormonal shifts; an area of concern to migraine sufferers and thyroid patients.
7. Enhances our immune system.
SO, instead of spending money on supplements, let’s buy QUALITY grass fed meat that is filled with CLA! (mushrooms and cheese are also high in CLA). But if you are in need of extra help, click HERE to find my recommendations for weight loss help.

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