The big problem I have with extreme diets and detoxes is the purposeful calorie restriction.
Here’s my stake in the sand, my rage against what I call the Diet Industrial Complex:
Calories. Don’t. Matter.
When you’re trying to cleanse your body of built up toxins and inflammation, and to really heal your digestion, hormones, and mood, counting calories is a false promise.
It’s all about the types of food you put in your body, avoiding foods like gluten, dairy, sugar, corn, soy, and caffeine for a while, and adding foods and supplements to heal your body.
Counting calories makes you crazy and fills your head with useless numbers.
Counting calories (or points for the “weight watchers rejects” who have finally escaped) focuses on the wrong thing:
Counting calories makes you stop listening to your body, and that keeps the horrible cycle of dieting and body-shame in place. CLICK TO TWEET THIS
What you see here is a sample of the snacks that I enjoy, and that are Cravings Cleanse approved. My rules for snacks while on the cleanse are:
- Toxic 6 free (gluten, dairy, corn, soy, sugar, and caffeine)
- I eat when I’m truly hungry
- I eat slowly, with love, appreciation, and away from my computer
- Snacks have to be yummy!
Whether hard boiled eggs, avocados filled with extra virgin olive oil, fruit, chopped veggies, or coconut wraps filled with apple slices and almond butter, my snacks are healthy, yummy, and cleanse approved.
I will not choose a snack based on how many calories are on the label.
And that’s how I’ve been coaching my clients to eat for over 13 years.
Because counting calories will not tell you how a food makes you feel, and that’s the most important thing you can learn now.
Counting calories will not help you heal your body, or fix your relationship with your body.
Choosing wholesome foods, and listening to how your body feels when you eat them, while removing the ingredients that cause us to feel sluggish, bloated, foggy, and in pain, is the only way to really create a new way of eating and living.
And helping you feel well in your body is my main mission.
I’ve used green smoothies with added protein to help me and thousands of clients heal - on many levels.
I love them! Smoothies are an easy, yummy way to nourish your body, feel satisfied, and start new food habits without feeling deprived.
Since calorie restriction is NOT part of my program for getting clean, happy, and in touch with my body, I’m a fan of adding good quality fat to my smoothies, especially in winter.
See, a lot of green smoothie recipes don’t help us feel warm and cozy, because they use frozen, out-of-season fruit, and don’t include protein and fat.
In order to feel good, enjoy and feel satisfied with your smoothies in winter, you must add warming fats, protein, and even some spices.
The danger of not adding fats and protein to your winter smoothies is that you’ll feel hungry, cold, and uncomfortable sensations in your tummy.
Here are 2 simple Winter Smoothie recipes, which are part of my Cravings Cleanse + Mindset Makeover program – we start 2/12 and you can join here!
Winter Green + Clean Protein Smoothie
2 leaves curly kale, washed
1 apple or pear, seeded
1⁄4 cup full-fat unsweetened coconut milk
1 – 1 1⁄2 cups unsweetened almond or hemp milk
15+ grams clean protein powder (free of gluten, dairy, soy, corn, sugar, caffeine)
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon (warming spice that balanced blood sugar)
Place all ingredients in your blender and blend away!
Glow Green Smoothie
2 cups water
1 apple or pear, seeded
1⁄4 of a bunch of flat leaf parsley, washed
15+ grams clean protein powder (free of gluten, dairy, soy, corn, sugar, caffeine)
1⁄4 cup raw cashews
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
1 large Medjool date, pitted
Place all ingredients in your blender and blend away!
Did you know you’ll get over 50+ recipes like this when you join the Cravings Cleanse?
We start 2/12 and you can get over $300 in bonus resources when you join now!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
Your gut is the base of your health. When your digestion works well, the rest of your health will be well too.
In fact, we now know that when your gut and digestion are well, you are less likely to feel depressed as your gastrointestinal system is where most of your dopamine and serotonin are produced.
Happy gut = happy mood.
This simple soup recipe combines sweet turnips, potatoes, leafy greens and garlic for a powerful digestive aid.
It’s the kind of recipe we’ll be enjoying in my 8-week Cravings Cleanse! Click here to sign up – we start 2/12!
And it’s a perfect dinner on a chilly spring or winter evening.
Turnips aid the digestion, dissolve mucus, and are good for general detoxification. They’re also high in anti-carcinogenic glucosinolates.
Potatoes (be sure to get organic!) nurture stomach functions and help cool inflammation, except arthritic conditions.
Leeks support the movement of energy, or chi, throughout the body and are an excellent source of lutein, which protects your eye and cardiovascular health.
Chard treats the large intestines, stomach and cools overheated conditions. It’s also used to ease constipation in the elderly, and has anti-carcinogenic properties.
This soup is powerful!
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 medium leeks, or 1 large leek, tender green and white parts only, cleaned & sliced thinly
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon taragon
1 teaspoon dill
1 pound white turnips, cut into 3/4 inch chunks
1 pound small red potatoes, cut into 1 inch chunks
4 cups chard leaves, trimmed and chopped
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the leeks, season with a the salt, and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes.
2. Add the garlic, bay leaf, tarragon, and dill and sauté for 1 minute more.
3. Add 6 cups of water, the turnips, potatoes and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 15-20 minutes.
4. Add the chard and simmer until wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Taste and season with salt and fresh black pepper and serve hot.
For more great recipes, a live, supportive community, and coaching from me, join the Cravings Cleanse -
Sweet Potato Pudding
Yield: 1 serving
- 2 Red Garnet sweet potatoes
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- pinch cinnamon
- pinch pink Himalayan salt
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Wrap potatoes in foil and cook for 60 minutes. Remove from oven to cool.
2. Peel skins with a pairing knife and place flesh in a food processor. Add maple syrup, cinnamon, pink Himalayan salt and vanilla extract. Process for 10 seconds, scrape sides and process 10 more seconds.
Eggnog is one of my favorite holiday treats – but now that I know I’m egg-sensitive, I had to put on my thinking-chef’s hat
and get creative in the kitchen -
which I love doing!
I used some leftover, naturally sweet garnet yams as the base. This thickened the smoothie, and added great fiber.
I’ve been feeling very “featherweight” lately, which is one of my cravings types (I’m a dual type, also Fire Brand, or Pitta)
and wanted to add some spices that would help me feel warm and comfy.
Earth Mama/Papa types can add some ginger to this recipe to help them feel more energized and uplifted!
Eggless Nog Smoothie Recipe:
12 ounces unsweetened almond or coconut milk
½ cup water
1 cup cooked sweet potato (peeled)
2-3 pitted Medjool dates (the big juicy ones) cut in half
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in the blender.
Blend, pour, sip and smile!
Holiday food should be pretty. So this dish rocks.
Especially if you’ve discovered that you have to cut out a ton of foods to get or stay healthy.
We just discovered that our family has to avoid gluten + eggs + soy (me and the boy), whey from milk (me), and corn (the kid).
So, yeah. That’s a lot of ingredients we’ll be avoiding!
BUT, I always loved a good challenge, especially in the kitchen.
AND, one way to ensure optimism + resilience is to look at the cupboard as half full, and expect the best, rather than getting depressed + overwhelmed by saying goodbye to certain ingredients.
I’m putting on my big girl panties, looking on the bright side, and putting all my energy into making delicious, nourishing foods that everyone can enjoy at the table.
One of the first places to start is with super easy, super tasty, no-fail recipes:
Ok, so most hummus is already gluten-dairy-soy-corn-free, but when I saw a picture of this gorgeous dip, I couldn’t resist making it in hopes of livening up the impending Christmas table.
Ruby Red Beet Hummus
- 1 medium beet (1 cooked a whole bunch at once to have for later)
- 15-ounce BPA-FREE can (1 3/4 cup) of garbanzao beans, drained
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tiny pinch cayenne
- 1 dash paprika
- 2tablespoons lemon juice
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
How to make the best hummus ever:
First, roast the beets: Preheat oven to 400F. Clean, scrub, and cut off the stems and root end. Loosely wrap individually in foil, place on a roasting pan. Roast for 50-60 min. They’re ready when a knife can be easily inserted.
(might as well wrap a head of garlic and roast that, too – I mean, who can ever get enough roasted garlic?)
While you’re waiting, take a nap or watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix.
When the beets are done, slip the outer peel off. Your hands will get red, but you’ll look pretty bad a$$.
Combine all ingredients into a food processor. Add water or additional olive oil until desired consistency. You want this to be creamy + smooth.
Add salt and pepper, about 1/2 teaspoon at a time.
Serve with gluten-free crackers, yo! Or just eat it with a spoon, like I did.
This is a great cooling recipe for Firebrand cravings types if you add a 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, a traditional hummus ingredient (AKA Pitta in Ayurveda). The cooked beet is good for Featherweight cravings types, and this recipe is great for Earth Mamas, but go light on the added drizzle of olive oil.
Don’t know your Cravings Type? Take my quiz and get your free Cravings Type Report here:
Happy Holidays, all! Eat to be happy + healthy…xo, Alex
not just about yourself, but about the world and people around you and how you feel in your body - isn’t that the big goal?
That’s why I love to cook, especially for other people, and that’s why I’ve been studying positive psychology.
It’s all about what helps us flourish – not just feel “fine.”
What I’ve learned so far may not seem totally earth shaking to you, but it has made me think hard about what I do with my time, and why.
And it’s all coming down to one thing:
Other People Matter.
Happiness and contentment aren’t about how much money you make. In fact, after our basic needs are covered (in the USofA, that’s about $50-60K a year), we don’t feel a lot happier when we make more money. We just think more money, more stuff, or having the right stuff will make us feel better about ourselves.
The one thing that makes us happy, if you’re rich or poor?
Having strong, connected relationships. Having people you can share your wins and your troubles with.
In short: we crave connection. We crave being with other people who love us. It’s a basic human need.
Well, one of my favorite things to do with other people is share good, delicious, healthy food. Making it together, talking while we cook, planning the meal, and savoring the delicious aromas and flavors – that is jus what life is all about.
So I want to share my new favorite recipe with you – a pumpkin soup, baked right in the pumpkin.
Pumpkins are wonderfully round, sweet, and immediately make me feel cozy.
They’re also super healthy! The health benefits of pumpkins or winter squash are long:
Considered an energetic tonic and a warming food, pumpkins and winter squash are medicinal for the spleen, stomach, large intestines and lungs. It improves energy and blood circulation, and is high in beta-carotene, which is good for eye health. Rich in vitamins A, C and potassium + magnesium, pumpkins are high in carotenoids and have anti-carcinogenic properties.
So this recipe is healthy, easy, fun to make, and really fun to eat with someone you love. Go be happy, love.
Pumpkin Soup Baked In A Pumpkin
For this pumpkin soup recipe, you’ll need:
1 pumpkin (edible and sweet)
2-3 tablespoons grass-fed butter, olive oil or coconut oil
1 yellow onion
2-3 cups stock or broth (vegan, chicken, etc)
The pumpkin I was growing in my back yard was carried off by what I can only assume was a whole gang of New York City squirrels – so I had to buy one from the local farmers’ market.
I chose a 3 lb. “Sugar Pie,” which is sweeter than the standard carving pumpkin you see around Halloween. Preheat the oven to 350F.
Carve the top of the pumpkin just like you would for a jack-o-lantern. Scoop out the seeds and stringy guts, and save the seeds to salt and bake later.
Do not leave the pumpkin seeds baking for too long while you talk on the phone to a friend like I did. Please set a timer.
Use 1-2 Tablespoons real butter, ghee, or coconut oil to coat the inside and outside of the pumpkin. Scatter a couple pinches of salt around the inside, and don’t forget the bottom of the pumpkin lid!
Chop a yellow onion into large dice.
You could do this step first, and carve the pumpkin while the onions are cooking to save time.
Brown the onions over medium heat for 8-10 minutes with 1 Tablespoon butter, ghee or coconut oil.
Fill the pumpkin with cooked onions.
Pour home made vegetable or chicken broth (or stock) over the onions, filling up the pumpkin to about 1-inch from the top.
If the broth is unsalted, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir well.
Place the pumpkin lid back on, and place the entire pumpkin into the oven.
Bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, checking to test for doneness. You’ll want the inside of the pumpkin to be spoon-ably soft.
Remove from the oven and gently remove the top.
Use a towel to grasp the stem, as the pumpkin will emit hot steam when you open it. Have your spoons at the ready…
Eat that soup straight from the pumpkin!
I like placing it on the table amongst the family and allowing everyone to take a spoonful from the pumpkin before scooping servings out to individual bowls.
There’s just something really fun about eating soup directly from a pumpkin.
Make sure that everyone gets a bowl-full of stock, onions and cooked chunks of sweet pumpkin.
Willing to take the risks…
And being kind to ourselves when we’re less than perfect.
That’s what “growth mindset” is all about.
Telling yourself (and really believing) that “I’m working hard, learning and I’ll get this…”
…instead of telling yourself “I’m just not smart about this and never have been.”
Knowing that learning from challenges is an amazing way to rewire your brain…
…rather than beating yourself up for “not being good at something…” yet.
Looking at what you did well…
…instead of always focusing on what you did wrong.
Appreciating yourself for the effort and hard work that’s moving you forward…
…not just aiming for perfection, which is totally exhausting.
Rather than focusing on judging and labeling yourself as “good at” or “bad at” something, we all feel more confident when we look at what we learned and how we showed up to try.
This is as true in life as it is in the kitchen.
Feeling confident in the kitchen comes from allowing yourself to grow, evolve, try, and even “fail.”
I’ve been experimenting with healthy animal-protein meals, and started with the basics: roast chicken.
I was worried when I started eating meat again…
Worried that I wouldn’t be good at it (I was a vegan chef for over 10 years)…
Worried that I’d feel guilty about eating it…
Worried what other people would think about me and label me as…
But then I started cooking, just to cook.
I started with eggs, then advanced to chicken.
(guess that answers the age-old question, doesn’t it!?)
And I’ve learned a lot in the process:
- how to roast a whole chicken (please remove the gibblits)
- how to make chicken broth (have to add enough water when simmering overnight)
- the best of vegan cooking can make cooking meat recipes even healthier (sea veggies!)
So if you’ve told yourself that you’re no good…
not creative in the kitchen…
can’t do it like your grandma did…
I encourage you to take a risk and switch your mindset.
Try these 3 chicken recipes, all from 1 chicken, over the next week.
Not only is the chicken broth incredibly delicious, even heated up in a mug for a quick lunch, but it’s filled with nutrients and minerals that build your bones and heal your gut.
Roast Chicken with Garlic, Lemon & Rosemary
1 organic, free-range chicken (5-6 pounds)
fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika
1 lemon, halved
1 large bunch fresh rosemary
8-10 cloves garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, cut into 6 wedges
4 carrots, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bulb fennel, cut into 6 wedges
- Preheat oven to 450 F.
- Remove the giblets from inside the chicken. Rinse the chicken inside and out, and pat dry with paper towels.
- Sprinkle the outside with salt, pepper and paprika.
- Stuff the cavity with rosemary, lemon, and 3 garlic cloves.
- Brush the outside with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkle again with salt and pepper.
- Place the onion, carrots, fennel and remaining garlic cloves in a roasting pan. Toss with olive oil, a pinch of salt, and more pepper.
- Spread around the roasting pan, and place the chicken on top.
- Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, on the middle rack of the oven, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and a thigh. Remove the chicken and veggies to a platter and cover with foil for 15 minutes.
- Slice and enjoy the chicken, saving all bones and carcass, plus any bits of chicken still clinging to the bones for the bone broth recipe below.
Throwing chicken bones and veggies in a pot with some water is like magic – you end up with a healing, flavorful, CHEAP home remedy for healing your gut and building your bones. The gelatin found in bone broth is a hydrophilic colloid. It attracts and holds liquids, including digestive juices, thereby supporting proper digestion – bone broth “heals and seals” your gut.
Adding a bit of vinegar to the cooking stew helps draw out the calcium and magnesium and other minerals from the bones, making this super nutritious!
Bone broth also helps with reducing join pain and inflammation due to the chondroitin sulphates, glucosamine, and other compounds extracted from the boiled down cartilage
Place leftover chicken bones and carcass with clinging bits of meat in a large pot. Add a variety of vegetables for flavor. I like:
1 yellow onion, quartered
1 head garlic, sliced in half (no need to peel)
1-2 chunked carrots
2-3 celery stalked, chopped
handful of shiitake mushrooms and stems
1 chopped leak
1-2 pieces Kombu sea vegetable
1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Add enough filtered water to cover all of the chicken.
Place over high heat to bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. Add more water and bring back to a low, low simmer. Cook for 12- 24 hours, adding water to keep the chicken covered.
Strain the broth and press the vegetables and chicken to extract all possible liquid.
Store in glass jars for future use, drink hot for a quick snack or lunch, or use to make Chicken Soup recipe below!
Chicken Soup with Bone Broth
6 cups bone broth
1-2 cups cooked leftover chicken, cubed or shredded
1/4 cup yellow onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 carrot, thinly sliced into rounds
1/4 cup minced celery
6 shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
Combine all ingredients into a soup pot, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat.
Lower heat to a simmer, and cook for 20 minutes. Taste and add 1/4 teaspoon salt if you like.
Learning how to roast a chicken, and use it 3 different ways, while creating a deeply nourishing meal for my family kinda makes me feel like a bad ass.
What’s cooler than knowing how to heal your body with food? Not much.
I’m SO psyched. iTunes released my new podcast show today!
It’s called the Crave Cast: Cravings Whisperer and Women, Food & Desire
I’ll be sharing my best stuff on cravings, health, nutrition, gut health, body confidence, the beauty of our desires, where they come from, and what they really mean. I’ve got a killer line up of expert interviews to share as well.
I’ve heard from lots of you that you want to know about sleep, sugar, and gut health, so I’m covering all those in the next couple of weeks!
Please click the link below here to subscribe for free and help me get this great show out into the ears of more people who need this support!
First, click here: http://alexandrajamieson.com/itunes
Then, click “View in iTunes”
Once iTunes opens, click the next blue button that says SUBSCRIBE and you’re all set!