small eats healthy eats for a small table Fri, 22 Sep 2017 22:19:10 +0000 en-US hourly 1 92328518 Small Fact Friday: Sunflower Seeds and Magnesium Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:55:32 +0000 Sunflower seeds are a good source of magnesium. #smallfactfriday

Get more small facts on food and nutrition here.

Source: Self Nutrition Data.

]]> 0 2637
Yam Gnocchi with Sriracha Pesto Thu, 21 Sep 2017 11:19:08 +0000 Gluten-free gnocchi with a spicy pesto that’s great for a Sunday night meal from Debbie Adler’s latest book, Sweet, Savory and Free. | Yam Gnocchi with Sriracha Pesto from

Having a food allergy or an intolerance can be tough. Overnight, you become a sleuth, researcher, and all around expert on what foods have the ingredients that won’t work well for you. And most of the time, that also means turning down some of the favorite, common, or easy to find foods you used to love or just take advantage of (I’m looking at you, bread).

With the increasing amount of food allergies and intolerances, the more and more people are becoming aware, labeling foods, making versions of foods free of a lot or most allergens, and creating more allergen friendly ways to cook some of those favorite foods that are now off limits.

Gluten-free gnocchi with a spicy pesto that’s great for a Sunday night meal from Debbie Adler’s latest book, Sweet, Savory and Free. | Yam Gnocchi with Sriracha Pesto from

I heard about Debbie Adler’s latest cookbook, Sweet, Savory & Free: Insanely Delicious Plant-Based Recipes Without Any of the Top 8 Food Allergens earlier this year and I got so excited. I could easily cook anything in this cookbook and know that I could enjoy it and make it for other people with the same or different food allergies. All of the recipes in this book are gluten, egg, dairy, soy, peanut, tree nut, fish or shellfish free. They’re also vegan, meaning that if you’re a vegetarian and looking for more meatless recipes in your life, you can get a lot of use from this cookbook.

This cookbook is broken down into staples, then by the kind of meal (breakfast, lunch, pastas, entrees, and yes, even bread). The kinds of recipes hit the spot for the foods you’ve probably been craving, but with an allergen-free twist. Some of the allergen-free swaps are brands she recommends, and others are ones that you make. She’s got a pantry list in the front, as well as a great resource list the back for store-bought ingredients that are allergen friendly.

Gluten-free gnocchi with a spicy pesto that’s great for a Sunday night meal from Debbie Adler’s latest book, Sweet, Savory and Free. | Yam Gnocchi with Sriracha Pesto from

One of the things I never got too deep in before becoming gluten-free was pasta. I knew there were so many different kinds, shapes, sizes and techniques, but it always felt like something I could always try, since pasta is so ubiquitous wherever you go. Now that I am gluten-free, there’s a certain trepidation on even entertaining the thought of going to an Italian restaurant where pasta is the name of the game.

Debbie’s book has an entire section on pasta and other usual glutened out foods like pizza and noodles. I wanted to give gluten-free pasta a try to see what it would be like. I made the Yam Gnocchi with Sriracha Pesto because I love yams and sweet potatoes. The swaps and workarounds for the allergens in these books is real food, which I appreciate.

The Yam Gnocchi was easy to make (considering the fact that it is pasta after all) and would be perfect for a weekend night meal for the family or to entertain. The sriracha pesto brought a new twist to the dish, which is a common theme throughout the cookbook. There’s a nice variety of cuisines in this book, which as someone who loves trying new cultures through food, I enjoy.

Gluten-free gnocchi with a spicy pesto that’s great for a Sunday night meal from Debbie Adler’s latest book, Sweet, Savory and Free. | Yam Gnocchi with Sriracha Pesto from

The Gnocchi was also wonderfully filling. The fiber in the yam made it heartier than most wheat pastas I’ve had. I paired it with zoodles to add even more vegetables and non-pasta pasta goodness.

All in all, I enjoyed seeing the possibilities of cooking without the top 8 allergens. I foresee making a lot of these recipes as the holidays come up, where more and more gatherings with people with all sorts of dietary needs happen.

You can find Sweet, Savory & Free: Insanely Delicious Plant-Based Recipes Without Any of the Top 8 Food Allergens on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or a local bookstore.

Yam Gnocchi with Sriracha Pesto


  • 1 large yam
  • 1/4 cup unsalted, raw pumpkin seeds, finely ground (I use a coffee grinder)
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup No-Sodium Vegetable Broth
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons Sriracha
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup water


1. To make the gnocchi: Add the yam to a medium pot of boiling water, lower the heat, cover the pot, and let simmer until fork tender, about 9 minutes.

2. Drain the yam in a colander. When the yam has cooled a bit, peel off the skin and grate the yam into a large bowl. Grating lets air into the yam, making for lighter gnocchi.

3. Whisk together the ground pumpkin seeds, tapioca flour, garlic powder, nutmeg, salt, and black pepper in a medium bowl. Add the grated yam to the flour mixture and stir to combine.

4. Divide the yam dough in half. Roll out one half of the dough into a 14-inch rope and then cut it into 1-inch pieces. Repeat with the remaining dough.

5. To cook the gnocchi, fill a medium-size pot with water, place over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Add half of the gnocchi to the water. Stir to prevent them from sticking to the bottom, and remove them with a slotted spoon after they float to the top, about 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining gnocchi.

6. To sauté: Place the gnocchi immediately in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the broth and simmer for about 1 minute.

7. Spoon the gnocchi into bowls.

8. To make the pesto: Add the basil, hemp seeds, lemon juice, Sriracha, and salt to a food processor, and pulse until the mixture comes together. With the machine still running, drizzle in the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the pesto is smooth.

9. To serve, heat the pesto and pour over the gnocchi.


]]> 0 2646
Small Fact Friday: Shiitake Mushrooms and Fiber Fri, 15 Sep 2017 11:48:51 +0000 Shiitake mushrooms have a good source of dietary fiber. #smallfactfriday

Get more small facts on food and nutrition here.

Source: Self Nutrition Data.

]]> 0 2633
Sugar in its Many Names Thu, 14 Sep 2017 11:37:04 +0000 Know if your food has sugar in it and how many kinds of it. | Sugar in its Many Names from
This is part of a series I’ve been creating for Azumio. Azumio is an app company dedicated to improve health and wellness by tracking sleep and steps, monitoring your glucose levels and heart rate, and providing exercise libraries and routines.

Sugar is everywhere. From the obvious like cereal, soda, and the endless amounts of sweet snacks, to the not-so-obvious like ketchup, spaghetti sauce, yogurt, and protein powder. While some sugar doesn’t hurt, too much of it can lead to weight gain, hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), dental issues, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, inflammation, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.

How Much Sugar Should You be Eating?

The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) for women and 9 teaspoons (36 grams) for men per day. Even with those recommendations, people are still eating a lot more than that. According to a study from the CDC, Americans eat an average of 19.5 teaspoons (82 grams) a day!

Sneaky Sugars

So how are we eating so much sugar? Sugar is in way more foods than you think, whether it’s artificial or in plants or produce. Sugar hides behind several different aliases, which can be much harder to recognize in processed foods. Some manufacturers also use multiple kinds of sugar so other non-sugary ingredients appear higher on the list (nutrition labels list ingredients by weight, heaviest first).

With the large amount of sugar in foods, it’s also really easy to become dependent on sugar and seek out more sugary foods, which can also lead to exceeding the recommended daily intake.

Learn more about the many names sugar hides behind at Azumio’s blog.

]]> 0 2629
Small Fact Friday: Swiss Chard and Vitamin C Fri, 08 Sep 2017 11:41:26 +0000 Swiss Chard is a good source of vitamin C. #smallfactfriday

Get more small facts on food and nutrition here.

Source: Self Nutrition Data.

]]> 0 2613
A Review: The 21 Day Sugar Detox Thu, 07 Sep 2017 11:41:30 +0000 Thinking it's time to cut the cord with sugar? Consider the 21 Day Sugar Detox. | A Review: The 21 Day Sugar Detox from

Last month, I quietly went on The 21 Day Sugar Detox, and just finished it this past Sunday. I wanted to experience it before talking too much about it, and now I’m here to share the detox with you and give you a sense of what it is, what it’s like, and if doing it would be right for you.

What is The 21 Day Sugar Detox?

The 21 Day Sugar Detox is a program created by Diane Sanfilippo, certified health consultant and huge player in the Paleo world. She’s the author of Practical Paleo and is half of the podcast team behind the Balanced Bites Podcast, and she has her own gluten-free, paleo friendly spice line called Balanced Bites Spices.

The program is designed to eliminate pretty much all sugars, processed foods and carbs, gluten and alcohol from the diet to give your body a chance to recover, reset and to take your blood sugar off a crazy rollercoaster. When you eat too much sugar and refined carbs and processed foods, your blood sugar is constantly spiking, which causes those energy slumps, hanger, and the feeling like you can’t get through your day without coffee.

By cutting those foods out and focusing on real foods that are lower in sugar, your body can balance itself out and your blood sugar can fall into a more natural rhythm.

The plan detailed is in Diane’s book, The 21 Day Sugar Detox. It explains how too much sugar can be harmful, lays out the plans, and offers a slew of recipes to try, as well as resources for 21DSD (the abbreviation for the program) friendly foods and ingredients. You can also sign up on and join an online program that gives you enhanced access to the program, like online forums, Facebook groups, and additional support. There are various levels of programs depending on the support you want, and they do charge. The prices are pretty reasonable, and some include the book so you don’t need to make a separate purchase. The book has all of the information you need, so if you prefer to just use the book, that can also work.

There are also coaches that can guide you through the detox. runs a detox each month on their site and you can also find a certified 21DSD coach in your area or online that can give you guidance through the detox. Coaches may or may not run their detoxes at the same time as the site.

How Does it Work?

The 21 Day Sugar Detox lasts for 21 days and there are 3 main levels to choose from. The book has a quiz to determine which level would be right for you, depending on any health issues you’re working though or health events like pregnancy. Each level has modifications if you’re pescatarian, work out or lead a very active lifestyle, and the third level also has modifications if you’ve got an autoimmune condition.

It’s recommended to start with the first level if you haven’t done the detox before. The first level allows gluten free grains and beans, whereas the second and third don’t. The second level allows dairy, and the third level doesn’t. The third level is more what I see as strict paleo.

Each level has a list of foods you can eat, foods you should limit, and those you shouldn’t eat. If the idea of trying to make recipes from these lists is overwhelming, each level has a meal plan laid out for the whole detox and they’re all in the book. The recipes clearly state what levels they’re good for and if you would need to avoid/modify the recipe for AIP or any food allergies.

The 21DSD Pinterest page also features 21DSD compliant recipes from other bloggers if some of the meals don’t really speak to you.

Who is This Program For?

This program is perfect for lots of people. If you get hungry during the day, crave sweet things at the end of a meal or during the day, crave carbs, get energy dips throughout the day, want to lose body fat, have trouble sleeping… sugar can cause and mess up all of these things.

I took it because I’ve gone off of birth control, and cutting out sugar is highly recommended to help with your hormonal balance as it starts to wake up again. And I definitely crave carbs and sweet things at the end of meals more than I would like to admit. Also I was curious to see if I could do it.

Having the book as a guide can help you figure out what to eat on this detox, so it can appeal to lots of people of all skill levels with cooking and thinking of recipes. People I know have also done this with their entire family or friends as well to get additional support.

What I Did

I bought the book and chose level 1. I’ve never done a detox, so I was good with easing into it. Sara Lloyd, fellow NTP and friend of mine is also a 21DSD coach and was leading a coaching group at a time that worked for me, so I signed up and paid to be in her group. She had a private Facebook group, sent out weekly emails, and had 3 coaching calls, one per week to address issues and answer any questions.

I didn’t pay for any additional online programs, I personally felt like I didn’t need them. I’m also a NTP, so I understood more of the nutrition that was going on behind this and how things worked, so keep that in mind as well.

I meal planned and cooked food like I usually do, I just used my Yes and No foods list to direct any decisions in what I would make, eat or buy. I checked the list often just to make sure each week I was doing things on program. I didn’t feel the need to follow the meal plan in the book, but I recipe develop and cook all the time, so it was a challenge I enjoyed taking on.

How It Went

For the most part, cooking and sticking to the approved foods went well. I mostly missed sweet potatoes and cashews, which were on the avoid list. I really love sweet potatoes and might lean on them more than I thought to add a little extra bulk to a meal, especially if it’s light on the animal protein.

I did miss peaches a lot, I ate one a day during the work week before the detox, and it did feel sad to walk by my favorite fruit stand at the farmers market for three weeks and not even have a sample of some amazing summer fruit.

Social events got a little more of a challenge. Being gluten free can already present a challenge, depending on where you go, and also being on a detox that cuts out processed carbs, flours and booze made some events really interesting.

At a work happy hour I stuck to water and had a bunless burger (even though the bun was gluten free) while others sipped on wine and enjoyed pizza. I went to a yoga and wine tasting event and brought my own kombucha and 100% dark chocolate (that doesn’t have sugar and can be hard to find!) to enjoy instead of the wine, chocolate and fruit my friend was having. I went to a few other parties sober and either brought or made my own food so I could eat within the detox guidelines.

I did eat out a few times, and did as much research as I could to find food that would be unsweetened with sugars and went with whole foods when ordering.

A lot of things are going on for me physically, so it’s hard for me to pinpoint changes to the detox, but I know they helped. My eczema stayed down and only flared up when we had crazy heatwaves or I didn’t drink enough water. I don’t measure myself, but I’m pretty sure I’ve lost some fat since the detox happened. The cravings are mostly at bay, and doing this detox forced me to get my breakfast situation together, which I know set me up for success during the day.

What was hard then and interesting to look back on now was just how much sugar is in EVERYTHING. Yes, obviously fruit has it’s own sugars, but so many foods sold are sweetened (even jerky and meat bars, much to my dismay during the detox) in some form. While that’s not terrible, lots were sweetened with fruit, it was really eyeopening and makes it really clear how easy it is to eat more sugar than you thought. It was frustrating during the detox to look for high and low for unsweetened chocolate/cacao and not really find too many brands, to pass on fruits at events, and just see a whole lot of “nope” when I read food labels.

Would I Do it Again?

With all of my experiences and fruit and sweet potato FOMO, I would do the 21DSD again for sure. The 21DSD is a detox and not a way of life, so I would allow for some time to pass before doing it again. And I would probably wait for a time when I didn’t really love the fruit that was in season, to be honest. I like fruit, so anything to make me miss it less during a detox I’ll try.

I would also make sure to choose a month without a huge amount of social outings, like the holidays would be a bit much. If there were social outings, I’m going to continue to make it work for me, and depending on what it is, even just bring my own food. That was something I’m just starting to be comfortable with, and I would lean into that more.

There were times on the detox I didn’t have enough fat or protein and needed a snack, so I would up my fat and or protein at meals and have more 21DSD friendly snacks in the house or on hand in case the hunger struck.

I personally don’t see the need to do the detox with a coach again. I understand the different levels enough from doing it once that if I did level 2 I feel confident doing solo, which I mostly did this time around. The book answers enough questions for me if I have any, it’s very comprehensive.

Things I Learned

If you’re thinking of doing the 21DSD, give yourself time to prep and prepare. The book will help you get set up, don’t forget to listen to it. I felt confident enough that I could find things on my own and be a little scrappy when needed. If you don’t feel like you could do that, meal prep and set yourself up for success.

Also make it clear to your significant other, roommate, friends, close family you see all the time that you’re doing this detox and share the foods you can and can’t eat. The support is very helpful to sticking to the plan, even if they get it or not. If you want additional support, look into the online programs or get a coach. You can work with my friend and 21DSD coach Sara Lloyd, NTP as well. She’ll be starting up new programs soon.

Stay strong, even with social situations. I did feel really weird at social events when I wasn’t doing what everyone else was doing, but I also noticed that most people didn’t notice. Or if they asked (especially around drinking), a simple “I’m not drinking tonight” or “I’m on a detox” was enough for most people. Resisting fitting in to serve your individual health needs is a new muscle you may start to flex with this detox.

Have any additional questions about my experience with The 21 Day Sugar Detox? Leave a comment below or send me an email at hello (at)

]]> 0 2614