Jen's Blog

Hi, I'm Jennifer Varga!

I’m a Dietitian,  nutrition coach, integrative dietitian, gluten free and low FODMAP recipe developer, and digestive health expert in sunny San Diego. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what I do…working with amazing people like YOU, to help you discover your own optimal balance of “feel-good-foods” + exercise you love + a holistic approach to living so you can live your healthiest, happiest, most DELICIOUS life!

My nutrition philosophy is simple…no one diet fits all, but a healthy diet is built upon whole, fresh, minimally processed ingredients, with room to enjoy your favorite foods. Life’s too short not to eat the damn cookie! (I have a HUGE sweet tooth myself and am always looking for the “healthiest” desserts!)

 

Confused by all the conflicting nutrition advice on the internet?

If so, you’re not alone! By listening to my body, I’ve figured out that a Mediterranean diet makes me feel my best. The diet that makes YOU feel your best may not be the same~I’m here to help you figure it all out.  EDS affects people differently – I’d like to help you find the diet that works best for you!

My Nutrition Philosophy…

Nourishment is more than getting the right balance of macro- and micronutrients! Cooking, eating and sharing meals with family and friends, celebrating your family’s heritage and traditional foods, and savoring your favorite indulgences from time-to-time are all part of your feeling great equation.

I’m also a realist.  As a working mom of two, I know how busy life can get, so in addition to the fresh foods stocked in our house, you’ll also find the freezer loaded with fruits and veggies for last minute sides and smoothies, plus jars of marinara and other tasty {minimally processed} ready-to-eat dishes to compliment the fresh foods in my kitchen.

 

Today I would like to share a recipe called Super Duper Raw Power Salad. – This power salad is loaded with nourishing superfoods like kale, apples, purple cabbage, edamame and sunflower seeds.  Your body will thank you!!

Ingredients

Dressing

·         3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

·         1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar

·         1 tablespoon maple syrup

·         1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

·         1/8 teaspoon salt

Salad

·         4 cups finely chopped kale ~1 bunch

·         1 1/2 cups finely chopped purple cabbage

·         3/4 cup dried berries and/or tart cherries

·         1/2 cup shelled frozen edamame thawed

·         1/2 cup shelled raw sunflower seeds

·         1/2 cup mung bean or other sprouts

·         2 finely chopped Granny Smith apples

·         salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

 

Instructions

1.  Make the dressing by combining oil, vinegar, garlic power, and salt in a lidded jar, and shake well to combine. Set aside until ready to use.

2.    To make the salad, combine all the remaining ingredients, and pour 1/2 cup dressing (you may add more or less to suit your taste) over ingredients. Toss well, then season with salt and pepper, and serve.

 

Notes

·         I used a combination of tart cherries, blueberries, and raspberries for my dried fruit.

·         You will have dressing left over.

·         This salad will keep well for a day or two, especially if you add the dressing right before serving.

Easy Vegan Black Bean Brownies with Walnuts (Gluten Free!)

These Easy Vegan Black Bean Brownies with Walnuts from Plant-Powered for Life by Sharon Palmer are the most delicious “healthy” brownies you will ever taste. Heck, they might even be some of the most delicious brownies, period!

To tell the truth, I’ve had “Make Black Bean Brownies” on my To-Do List for some time now, and thanks to this easy 1 bowl recipe, I can now cross this one off my list. 

Raise your hand if you get a thrill from crossing things off your to-do list like I do!!!

I got this recipe form Sharon Palmer's book:  Plant Powered for Life.

 

Review of the book-Plant Powered for Life by Sharon Pmer, RDN:

Sharon’s book begins with an introduction to the health and environmental benefits of plant-based living, which doesn’t mean you have to become a vegan or even a vegetarian, but instead to embrace plant based foods {grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds} and make them the superstars at your meals, and showcase them front and center on every plate.

“Whole plants, which have sustained humans throughout the centuries, possess the power to keep you healthy, functional, and fit-to help you live a long rich, full life. It’s that simple.”

3 reasons & simple tips for moving towards a more plant-based diet…

  1. Take meat off the center of your plate. Some of the healthiest diets around the world are centered around plants, and meat, if it is used at all, is used as a “seasoning”, not the main event. These types of meals have been dubbed “poor man’s diets” by researchers, and the people that eat this way tend to have lower rates of chronic disease, than people who eat a traditional Western or American diet where meat is served in large portions as the main course.

TIP–>When you plan your menu for the week, try adding in one or more plant based meals, or center your meals around plants using meat as a “condiment.” 

2. Make variety your motto. If you eat the same foods over and over again, you may be missing out on key nutrients, as one veggie may be rich in calcium, while another may be a good source of iron or vitamin C.

TIP–>You don’t necessarily have to get 100 % of each nutrient everyday, but if you plan out your weekly menus with a wide variety of foods, you can fill in  any nutrient gaps over the course of the week.

3. Shop thoughtfully and purposefully. Ignore the bold statements on the front of the box and read ingredient lists and nutrition facts panels instead. Choose products with ingredients you recognize and understand. Look beyond nutrition-learn about the way your food is grown, or find out what your favorite food companies are all about.

Easy Vegan Black Bean Brownies with Walnuts

Here's the perfect scenario-a dense, moist brownie packed with cocoa, polyphenols and bean nutrition-protein, fiber, and even antioxidants! The beans replace the grains and some of the fat in this gluten-free, egg-free brownie. I guarantee that nobody will guess the magic ingredients-black beans-in this delicious treat. What a great way to get kids (and grownups) to eat their beans.

~From Plant Powered for Life by Sharon Palmer Course Dessert Cuisine American, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Vegan 

Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes Cook Time 45 minutes Total Time 55 minutes Servings 16 Calories 151kcal 

Nonstick cooking spray

One 15-ounce can black beans no salt added, rinsed and drained (or 1 3/4 cup cooked)

1/2 cup honey or agave nectar ( I used maple syrup)

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons chia seeds

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 tablespoons canola oil expeller pressed (I used expeller pressed high oleic sunflower oil)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup dairy-free dark-chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I used pecans)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Spray an 8 by 8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Place the black beans, honey, cocoa powder, chia seeds, vanilla, canola oil, and baking powder in a blender. Process until smooth. Scrape down the sides halfway through blending if needed.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.

4. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and walnuts evenly across the top of the brownies.

5. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the edges pull away from the side of the pan and the brownies are firm.

6. Cool for a few minutes, and slice into 16 squares

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Tel: 715-600-1722
601 S 32nd Ave
Wausau, WI 54401
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Dr. Bluestein's approach is helpful for anyone suffering from chronic or persistent pain by thoroughly assessing each person's unique challenges and tailoring the intervention to meet the specific needs of each individual. 

Tel: 715-600-1722
4203 Schofield Avenue, Suite 2
Weston, WI 54476
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