It’s almost turkey time, folks. A time for family gatherings, serious shopping and constant temptation around every corner by red and white treats and pumpkin flavored everything-under-the-sun.
While I usually start out being strong-willed when it comes to consuming holiday goodies in moderation, I would be lying if I said I haven’t made a tray of cookies disappear before (specifically those peanut butter ones with the Hershey Kiss in the center. I mean, I’m only human.)
But the holidays don’t have to be so tough if you’re trying to eat healthy and not down 10 cookies in one sitting. I’ve recently been introduced to a new online company (with Minnesota ties!) that helps you think differently about healthy living and gives great food for thought for before you get into a situation where you could really go crazy on the calories. It’s called Prescribe Nutrition and they’re here to prove eating healthy doesn’t have to be scary. They offer online nutrition programs that arm you with the knowledge you need to make smart choices but still be able to live your life. (Their next program is a 7-day Holiday Disaster Prevention Program which starts Dec. 9. Hello, perfect timing. Use code katie20 for 20% off. Thanks for the hook up, PN!)
I’ve asked co-founders Katie Jasper and Megan Morris to give some tips and ideas over the next few weeks on how to eat, drink and look your best for the holidays (see a Q&A with them down below!)
First up: cocktails! Check out this yummy recipe for blood orange gin sparklers and consider making this for your upcoming holiday party. You will impress your friends and do everyone a favor by not making them drink something loaded with sugar (ain’t nobody got time for a holiday hangover.)Blood Orange Gin Sparkler
You can keep the rosemary simple syrup in the refrigerator for a week or so. You can do this ahead of time. Also, if blood oranges are hard for you to come by – navel oranges are also delicious.
2 cups / 480 ml water
1 cup coconut palm sugar
4 tablespoons (~2 sprigs-worth) fresh rosemary leaves
1 bay leaf (optional)
gin (or vodka)
Combine the water, palm sugar, rosemary, and bay in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer for 3-5 minutes, or long enough for the sugar to dissolve, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let infuse for 10 minutes. Strain into a jar to cool completely.
In the meantime, juice and strain your oranges, you’ll need 3 tablespoons / 1.5 ounces of juice for each drink.
To make each drink you’re going to combine equal parts gin (or vodka),juice, and sparkling water with a bit of syrup and ice. So, its 3 tablespoons / 1 1/2 oz gin, 3 tablespoons / 1 1/2 oz freshly squeezed blood orange juice, and 1-2 teaspoons of the rosemary syrup in each tall glass (I used kolsch glasses here). Stir to combine, fill each glass 2/3 full with ice and top off with 3 tablespoons / 1 1/2 oz tonic water. Stir again and you’re set.
Prep time: 5 min – Cook time: 10 min
I love a good digital concept and I’m digging what I’m seeing Prescribe Nutrition do for people. We do everything online these days – shop, work, date – why not work with a nutritionist to plan a healthy lifestyle? They’re only a year old and have started to build a great online presence that folks are responding to which is fun to see. Oh, and their co-founder is a Minnesotan!
Here’s a little more from Katie Jasper and Megan Morris.
1. Katie and Megan – Introduce yourselves! Where are you guys from? What are your professional backgrounds or connections to the health industry?
Hey Katie, it’s Katie. So I’m the Minnesota gal. Grew up in Edina, moved a few places (Iowa to Montana) and then landed back here and have lived in St. Paul for the past 8 or so years. My professional background is well, a bit lengthy. You’d think I was fifty. I’m pretty sure I stressed my parents out to no end. But, what I found in all the job “exploration” was where my passion lives. Honestly a gift. I’ve had some health challenges of my own – both with food and some more chronic health challenges. The power of food is pretty ridiculous. When I learned that food had the wild ability to make me feel like a different person, it was clear as a bell that I needed to know more. I have a background in communications and production so I took all I learned there and jumped back into school. I graduated with a Master’s Degree in Holistic Health Studies from St. Catherine’s University and went to the Institute of Integrative Nutrition as well as some extensive continuing education in hormone and brain health as they relate to nutrition. I never considered myself brainy – I actually wasn’t a smarty growing up – but I LOVE the connection with food and the health of the brain. Anxiety and depression are everywhere and nutrition’s role in that is huge. Ok, enough on that. It makes me very hopeful though!
And hey Katie(s), it’s Megan here, coming at you from San Francisco. I, like Katie, have ended up where I’m from. I was born and bred in the Bay Area, lived in Colorado during college and moved back to San Francisco which I’ve called home now for 10 years…yikes…how did that happen? I’ve always had a quite the travel bug and have been lucky enough to explore many different countries and cultures during my backpacking experiences, and hopefully more to come in my future. My somewhat random choice of majors in college, cultural anthropology, now seems like a pretty spot on reflection of what my interests have always been – learning about other people and the way they live. My career afterwards was a random hop, step and jump around San Francisco – working in everything from educational travel to architecture and design to insurance. It wasn’t until I was on one of my “let’s freak my parent’s out” 6 month backpacking trip through South America that I uncovered two things: 1) I had serious, chronic health issues. 2) Food was related and I was going to have to figure it out on my own. When I came back I worked my day job and at night studied nutrition at Bauman College. The clinical side of it all fascinated me to no end, and still does. My focus has always been on nutrition and digestive health, but man do I love digging deep with all topics. One lucky day over a year ago I met Katie Jasper, my MN soul sister, and the rest is history.
2. How did Prescribe Nutrition come to be?
Megan and I met just over a year ago. We were exploring a mentorship program where we both selected as residents for a nutrition company out of Portland. We immediately became thick as thieves. We aligned across the board. We now joke that we share the same brain (speaking of brains.) The original partnership didn’t work out BUT we did! The bottom line is that our philosophies on food are actually pretty basic at the core. Whole foods are the foundation for health and healing and we’ve lost that connection. We believe that real food goes bad, that dieting sucks and the more alive your foods are, the more alive you’ll feel. Beyond that there is so much therapeutic healing that can be achieved through food/nutrition.
3. What are you most proud/excited about with Prescribe Nutrition?
Oh gosh. We are proud of a lot. It’s just been a year since we found PN and our biggest successes have been with the clients and program participants we’ve gotten to work with. I don’t think there is anything better than a testimonial. Those make us smile more than anything!
“I have always described myself as a “low energy person,” even with what I thought was healthy eating habits and exercise. I didn’t sleep well, and almost every morning after taking the kids to school I couldn’t wait to hop back into bed. Now I sleep well and after I get the kids to school, I can’t wait to start my day! I finally feel “normal” and can breathe so much easier too. No more tight chest and feeling like I never get a full breath. I will definitely pay attention as I reintroduce foods because I do NOT want to go back! Thank you!”
4. Many think eating healthy can be difficult or intimidating. What would you say to those folks?
Sure it can be… and IS for many. It was for us. We get it. In our minds, it’s not about revamping everything all at once, it’s about making shifts and seeing those shifts slowly improve the quality of life. Like Jen (testimonial) said above, we sort of just accept where we are at – sub par for many and once we realize what good really feels like, the rest is history.
We also believe that (in the long run) NOT eating healthy is far more difficult (and expensive) than not. Chronic disease and health issues are rising exponentially. And the only big thing that has changed in the last 50 years? …our food.
5. I’m a snacker. Favorite quick, healthy snack?
We are HUGE fans of snacks! ”Blood sugar support” in our geek’ed out world. Here’s our little trick – fat, fiber protein. That’s the magic trio. Nothing beats a great raw nut (almond, cashew, peanut) butter and a fruit – we love that snack. We also love a fun bar like this – Brazil nut bars. YUM.
6. You are St. Paul and San Francisco gals. Tell me your favorite places to eat in each of your cities:
Katie: I have to say that Megan’s San Fran picks are going to trump mine any day. It’s the mecca of great eats. Here in Mpls/St.Paul, I’m a big fan of Wise Acre, Peoples Organic, and then I always dig a night out a Crave.
Megan: Well I’m going to have to say I get real excited every time I get to head back to the Twin Cities. You guys have a ton of amazing places out there, one of my favorite being Mill Valley Kitchen (which is actually a shout out the city where I grew up!) My favorite places in San Francisco…a tough question but I’ll say they are predominantly Mexican related, including Nopalito and Tacolicious, but I also adore Limon Rotisserie, Sol Food (seeing a theme here?) and Nopa.