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Mood Boosters to Beat the Winter Blues

Mood Boosters to Beat the Winter Blues

Feeling like it’s too cold and you just want to hibernate? The days are shorter, the nights are longer and some of you may be experiencing something called Seasonal Affective Disorder or (SAD). Time change, colder weather, and shorter days can have a negative impact on mood. Some symptoms of SAD can include lack of motivation, lack of enjoyment in regular activities, changes in sleep or appetite, persistent sadness, and feelings of isolation. While you cannot control the weather, there are many things within your control to help alleviate some of the seasonal symptoms you may experience. 6 tips to help you beat the winter blues: Make sure you are getting adequate Vitamin D Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include getting sick often, low energy levels or fatigue, depression and bone pain. Although vitamin D is found in some foods it is very difficult to get an adequate amount of this nutrient from diet alone. Our main source of obtaining this vitamin is from the sun, something we don’t see much of this time of year or at all really due to working indoors and wearing sunblock when were not. If you’re not getting adequate sunlight it is recommend you supplement up to 1,000 IU daily. Exercise Exercise might be the first thing to go when you'd rather stay snuggled in bed. Don't let it. Exercise is wildly effective at giving your brain a boost! According to research, just 20 minutes can help improve your mood for up to 12 hours -- talk about an investment that pays off. It releases positive brain chemicals and reduces stress hormones. If you're in one of those "I DON'T WANNA" moods, start out with a couple minutes of SOMETHING. Jog in place, go for a walk, get your stretch on -- just start moving Get some sun. We now know that sunlight provides us with Vitamin D. But did you know that it also improves your mood? Similar to exercise, sunlight exposure releases neurotransmitters in the brain that affect mood. Try spending more time outdoors during the day or keep your shades up to let more light in. Sit near windows in restaurants or while at home or try changing the light bulbs in your house to “full spectrum” bulbs. These mimic natural light and actually have the same effects on your mind as the real thing. Another option is to purchase a happy light or a light therapy light. These are designed to mimic natural sunlight to improve the mood of individuals dealing with seasonal affective disorder. Meditate Research shows that stress reduction from meditation can have all kinds of positive effects, such as reducing blood pressure, relieving anxiety, and offsetting sadness. Beginners can start with a few quiet minutes of deep breathing or there are some great meditation apps out there, like Headspace. Try it with me real quick breath in for 3 seconds... Hold for 3 seconds... Breathe out for 3 seconds... See how easy and refreshing that was? Listen to some music It seems almost too easy, but it's true: A high-energy playlist is one of the quickest ways to get yourself out of a slump. Research shows our brains can be pretty easily manipulated by music. Think about how scary music in a horror flick makes you feel even more scared… energetic tunes work the same way. Pop on some music that will put a smile on your face and jam out. Eat Foods proven to boost mood Feeling blue can make you desire foods high in fat, carbohydrates and sugar. While these foods might make you feel better in the moment they can be followed by a blood sugar crash and low energy as a result. Replace those cravings with foods that boost your mood such as a variety of different fruits, vegetable, fermented foods, fatty fish and proteins such as eggs, nuts or turkey. One study found eating more fruits & vegetables boosted overall mental well-being, with the magic number for happiness being 7 cups/day. Write one thing you are grateful for when you wake up After waking up, the first thing that many of us do is look at our phones. If you can take 5 minutes before you look at your phone and instead write down one thing you are grateful for, that can make a world of difference in your day. It can be the smallest thing: "I am really looking forward to having an orange with my breakfast" or "I am so glad its not raining today". Even if its something minor, if you think of your mood like a scale, that habit sets you in the "plus" zone for the day. You should seek help if you are feeling tired more of the time, have less energy, or if you're not getting pleasure in things you normally love. Signs of depression include trouble focusing or concentrating, feeling foggy, sleep disturbances, and changes in appetite. If you are feeling any of these things talk to your doctor. I think people often feel like they need to hit a certain threshold before they make that call. If something feels off to you, no matter how little, now's the time to make that call. You don't have to wait until things feel really bad. Famous Supply associates are offered free counseling services through our EAP. To learn more go to www.myimpactsolution.com the company code is Famous.

Crispy Chickpea Quinoa Bowl with Lemon Honey Tahini

Crispy Chickpea Quinoa Bowl with Lemon Honey Tahini

I know what you are thinking- that's rice in that bowl not quinoa !! Oops you are correct, I didn't have quinoa so I used jasmine rice and it tasted great. Although brown rice and quinoa have slightly more protein and fiber, jasmine rice brings me more joy and they all have a similar calorie count per cup. So, feel free to use the grain that makes YOU happy and satisfied- white rice, brown rice, quinoa, jasmine, cous cous etc. Ingredients: Quinoa Broccoli Chicken Breast Avocado Lemon Roasted crispy chickpeas (I used the store bought kind) Lemon Tahini Dressing Directions: Prepare quinoa (or grain of your choice per box instructions) Skip this step if you are using store bought chickpeas. If you want to make your own- preheat oven to 425. Drain and rinse chickpeas and spread them out on a baking sheet. Spray or toss in olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika. Bake 15-25 minutes or until your desired level of crisp. Spread your broccoli on a baking sheet, spray or toss in olive oil, season with salt/pepp and cook at 400 for 25 mins. Grab your chicken breast and season with salt, lemon pepper and sauté' in olive oil until cooked through (165F internal temp). For the dressing mix 2 tbsp. tahini, 3-4 tbsp. water, and a tbsp. of honey with 1/4 lemon squeezed. Mix together and see if it needs more lemon or honey. Add more water if its too thick and more tahini if its too thin.

#RESOLVETOEVOLVE NEW YEAR CHALLENGE

#RESOLVETOEVOLVE NEW YEAR CHALLENGE

The New Year is a great time to reflect on the past 12 months with gratitude for our blessings and for releasing those things that no longer serve us. For many, wellness plays an major role in this. How many times have you told yourself that THIS will be the year? This will be the year you finally fulfill your potential. Live your best life. Implement better habits, think better, hit the gym? This year will finally—be the year you get yourself together? We all want to have better habits. Many of us even know what to do. Yet we can’t seem to actually do it. This year, stop putting it off until tomorrow, until Monday, until 2025, waiting for it to just happen. Because it won’t. Someone must make it happen. Someone must take control. That someone is you. How long until you RESOLVE TO EVOLVE? I have created the #RESOLVETOEVOLVE challenge for that reason—to help you bring the best version of yourself into 2022. This challenge isn’t, just a challenge, it’s a 6-week journey to lifestyle change. This is a long game, not a sprint! This is about CHOOSING HEALTH AND MAKING IT A PRIORITY. This is about bringing nutrition, movement, mindset and community to a crossroads. This is about working hard, eating well, being mindful and moving in the way your body deserves, because choosing a healthy lifestyle is self-care. The Challenge will begin Monday January 3. If you want to join, click the link to sign up. 6 weeks from now you will be so glad that you did. SIGN UP HERE What’s the difference between this and everything else you have tried? Accountability. This challenge will include a 6 week meal plan curated by a Registered Dietitian. A guide to getting stared and creating clear action steps and intentions. Daily accountability check-ins via our private Teams group, along with a squad of people with similar goals to support and motivate you. Assigned fitness videos for each day or the option of choosing your own fitness regimen. Me as your coach! I will be here to encourage & guide you throughout the entire challenge. My goal is to see YOU succeed! If that’s not enough motivation for you, there will also be weekly prizes for highest engagement in the Teams group and 4 grand prizes including 3 gift certificates for a new pair of Vionic shoes valued up to 250$ and a new pair of apple air pods for the best total transformation. Turn your wellness goals into a reality now by #RESOLVINGTOEVOLVE. SIGN UP HERE

Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowls with Adobe Lime Dressing

Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowls with Adobe Lime Dressing

Since the dawn of time there is nothing I have loved more than a BYO chipotle bowl for an easy dinner or work from home lunch. They are simple, buildable and appeal to the taste buds of most. If you are afraid of tahini (or have never tried it) this dressing will be the one to officially convert you. Its smooth, creamy and slightly spicy- reminiscent of a chipotle aioli but with better for you ingredients. I recommend tripling the sauce recipe and adding to everything from eggs, tacos, rice bowls, salads and anything else you can think of. You will love this one I promise. Makes: 4 servings Ingredients: 1 pound chicken breast or thighs 1 tbsp. avocado or coconut oil For the chicken marinade ¼ cup lime juice ¼ cup orange juice ½ tsp chipotle powder 1 tsp paprika 1 tsp cumin 1 tsp oregano 2 tsp salt 1 tsp garlic powder ½ tsp onion powder 2 tbsp honey For the Dressing ½ cup tahini 3 chipotle peppers in adobo 2 cloves garlic ¼ cup green onion ¼ cup cilantro ¼ cup olive oil 1 tsp salt ¼ cup water ¼ cup orange juice 1/4 cup lime juice Optional Bowl Toppings Brown or white rice Romaine lettuce Cilantro Pickled onions Avocado Tomatoes Carrots Directions: Add all of the chicken marinade ingredients to a small bowl and whisk together until well combined. Add the chicken and let it marinade for thirty minutes or up to overnight. After the chicken has marinated, discard the excess liquid. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, add one tablespoon of oil to the pan. Next add the chicken to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until the chicken is browned and fully cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan when cooked to internal temp of atleast 165 F. Do not overcrowd the skillet when cooking the chicken to ensure it browns. You may need to cook the chicken in batches. Make the lime tahini dressing by adding all of the dressing ingredients to a high powered blender of food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy. Assemble your bowls. Start with your grain, then add the chicken, and finally your toppings. Drizzle the lime tahini dressing over everything and enjoy! recipe source: Honey Chipotle Chicken Bowls with Spicy Lime Tahini Dressing - All the Healthy Things

KNOW YOUR NUMBERS: How to lower blood pressure naturally

KNOW YOUR NUMBERS: How to lower blood pressure naturally

It is often said the higher your blood pressure the lower your life expectancy. High blood pressure—medically known as hypertension—affects about 30 percent of adults. If untreated, it increases your risks for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and dementia. Fortunately, a number of natural strategies can help normalize blood pressure without prescription drugs or other invasive measures. Among those strategies include a whole-foods diet, targeted supplementation, exercise, and stress management. Dietary approaches to lower blood pressure: Reduce sugar intake. Increased consumption of sugar—especially sugar-sweetened beverages like soda—is associated with high blood pressure, and reducing sugar intake has been shown to lower blood pressure. Increase Potassium consumption. High dietary intake of potassium is associated with lower blood pressure. Sources of potassium include starchy vegetables like potato, sweet potato and plantain, fruits like banana, and some species of fish, like halibut, rockfish, and salmon. If you’re not eating these foods you may wish to supplement. Eat fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel. There are numerous health benefits of EPA and DHA, the fats found in cold-water fish. Studies have shown that DHA, in particular, is very effective at reducing blood pressure. You don’t need to take a fish oil supplement to get this benefit; eating cold-water fish three times a week is just as effective as taking a high-dose fish oil supplement, and the protein in the fish may also have a blood-pressure lowering effect. Canned salmon is great added to wraps or salads and smoked salmon makes a wonderful addition to any breakfast. Magnesium. A high dietary intake of magnesium has been shown to reduce blood pressure. Nuts, seeds, spinach, beet greens, and chocolate are high food sources of magnesium. Magnesium’s effect on blood pressure is magnified when combined with increased potassium intake. In fact, increasing potassium and magnesium intake together while moderately reducing sodium intake can lower blood pressure as much as a single medication. Lifestyle approaches to reduce blood pressure: Weight loss. Excess body fat can raise blood pressure, and reducing it can lower blood pressure. About 60 percent of Americans with hypertension are overweight but losing 10 or 20 pounds can normalize blood pressure. Exercise. Endurance exercise, strength training, high-intensity interval training and simply moving around more during the day have all been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure. Sleep. Both short sleep duration and poor sleep quality increase the risk that you’ll develop high blood pressure. Correcting sleep apnea has been shown to reduce blood pressure. Sunlight. Exposure to ultraviolet light increases the production of a chemical in our bodies called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a powerful vasodilator; it helps our blood vessels to relax, which in turn lowers blood pressure. Meditation. Several studies have shown that meditation can be effective for lowering blood pressure via its relaxing effects on the nervous system. Deep breathing Even short periods of deep breathing have been shown to modestly lower blood pressure, and using deep-breathing techniques over weeks to months may lead to long-term reductions in blood pressure. Research suggests that three to four fifteen-minute sessions per week of deep breathing are sufficient to have this effect.

Supplementary approaches to reduce blood pressure:

Several supplements have been shown to be quite effective for lowering blood pressure. In fact, research suggests that when combined together, diet and lifestyle changes and supplements can be even more effective than drug treatment.

Some supplements you can ask your doctor about include:
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), Garlic. Magnesium. Vitamin C. and Potassium if dietary intake is inadequate.

Zuppa Toscana (whole 30 edition)

Zuppa Toscana (whole 30 edition)

If you have ever dined out at Olive Garden you may be familiar with their zuppa toscana. Its equal parts rich, creamy, savory and heaven in your mouth. Try this lightened up dupe for equal the flavor but half the calories using better for you ingredients and only one pan. Recipe yields about 6 servings Ingredients: 1 tbsp. olive oil 1 lb Italian sausage casing removed or ground turkey or chicken sausage 4 slices sugar free bacon or turkey bacon cut into about 1/2″ pieces (optional) 1 yellow onion diced 3 cloves garlic minced 4 small red potatoes cut into small chunks (about 3 cups once chopped) 1 cup kale stems removed and torn into small pieces 32 oz. chicken bone broth 1/2 cup oat milk or 1 can coconut milk 1 tsp. Italian seasoning 1/2 tsp. red chili flakes Salt & pepper to taste 1 lemon juiced Directions: In a dutch oven or heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Add olive oil then your onions and garlic. Season with the Italian seasoning, chili flakes and a generous pinch of kosher salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes then add in your sausage or turkey. Break it up as it browns with a wooden spoon. You can also add bacon at this time if you are including it. Once the meat is browned, add in potatoes, chicken broth and milk. Bring to a boil, cover and turn heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Add in kale when you have you have about 5 minutes left on the timer. Kale should be bright green and softened when cooked. Add in lemon juice and season to taste. Optional: Serve with parmesan cheese on top.

Know Your Numbers: BLOOD PRESSURE

Know Your Numbers: BLOOD PRESSURE

High blood pressure is known as a silent killer because there are often no symptoms until something dramatic occurs such as heart attack, stroke or even death. Blood pressure is expressed as a fraction with the upper number in the fraction being your systolic blood pressure and the lower number being your diastolic blood pressure. The systolic blood pressure is the pressure your heart exerts when it contracts to force blood through the arteries. The diastolic blood pressure is the pressure that remains pulsing though the veins when the heart is at rest in between contractions. A typical healthy person will have a systolic blood pressure between 90-120 mmhg and diastolic blood pressure between 60-80 mm HG. Taken together, the American Heart Association guidelines recommend a goal of 120 over 80 for the majority of people. Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure occurs at 140/90. Hypertension typically develops over the course of several years. Usually, you don’t notice any symptoms, but even without symptoms, high blood pressure can cause damage to blood vessels and organs, especially the brain, heart, eyes, and kidneys. Several things can increase your blood pressure: Weight: The more you weigh, the more blood you need to supply oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. As the amount of blood flowing through your vessels increases, so does the pressure on your artery walls. Stress: Stress releases hormones that constrict blood vessels resulting in the increased pressure. Not being physically active: People who are inactive tend to have higher heart rates. The higher your heart rate, the harder your heart must work with each contraction and the stronger the force on your arteries. Lack of physical activity also increases the risk of being overweight. Using tobacco: Not only does smoking or chewing tobacco immediately raise your blood pressure temporarily, but the chemicals in tobacco can damage the lining of your artery walls. This can cause your arteries to narrow and increasing blood pressure. Too much salt in your diet: Too much sodium in your diet can cause your body to retain fluid. This isn’t a big deal if you have a healthy blood pressure level but if you don’t this can be life threatening. Too little potassium in your diet: Potassium helps balance the amount of sodium in your cells. A proper balance of potassium is critical for good heart health. If you don't get enough potassium in your diet, or you lose too much potassium due to dehydration or other health conditions, sodium can build up in your blood. Think about your blood vessels like pipes:
The walls of the pipes are elastic and designed to stretch, but when your blood pressure regularly rises over 140/90 it causes small tears in the lining of the pipes.
Your body sends special cells to heal these tears, but fat cells such as cholesterol also like to latch on creating a plaque that thickens. This stiffening and thickening of the walls is called atherosclerosis. If this plaque ruptures a blood clot is formed in the already narrowed pipe causing a partial or total blockage. A partial blockage will increase the pressure to move fluids through the pipes and make your hear pump harder. A total blockage blocks the flow of the blood containing oxygen and nutrients leading to heart attack or stroke.

It is important to pay close attention to your blood pressure numbers and start making changes early to make sure they stay in a healthy range. We know that if you achieve better blood pressure control, your cardiovascular health will improve and you’ll decrease your risk of stroke and heart attack.

In my next video we will talk about nutrition and lifestyle choices you can make to better manage your blood pressure. Until then, I wish you health and happiness.

White Chicken Chili

White Chicken Chili

Sunday was the first snow of winter in Cleveland which means that it is officially #soupszn. Throw on your favorite flannel and lets get cookin ! Since I know you are already all up in your winter blues, I am giving you the expedited version, using rotisserie chicken! This one will take you 20 minutes MAX, and one pot. Cook time: 20 minutes Servings: 8 Ingredients: 1.5 lbs/3 medium boneless and skinless chicken breasts or one entire rotisserie chicken from the grocery store (cooked) 1 small onion diced 2 garlic cloves minced 1 tbsp. olive or avocado oil 3 cups chicken bone broth 2 x 15 oz cans Great Northern (Cannellini) beans drained and rinsed 2 cups corn (or 2 cans) 2 4 oz can diced green chiles 1 tsp. cumin 1/2 tsp. oregano 1/2 tsp. chili powder 1 tsp salt Ground black pepper to taste Small bunch of cilantro finely chopped 1/2 cup plain or Greek yogurt fat 2%+ Juice of 1 lime Garnish/Eat with: Tortilla chips, avocado, more yogurt, limes, for serving Directions: Preheat large dutch oven or heavy bottom pot on medium-high heat and swirl oil to coat. Add garlic and onion, sauté for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt and pepper and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. In a small bowl, add about 1 cup of beans and mash with a fork. It helps to thicken the chili Add broth, mashed and whole beans, corn, green chiles and chicken. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for 20 minutes if you are using raw chicken breasts or 10 minutes if you are using rotisserie chicken. Pluck as much of the rotisserie chicken as you can off the bone and add to pot. Turn off the heat. If you used raw chicken, remove and shred with 2 forks or meat claws. Return chicken to the pot along with lime juice, cilantro and yogurt. Stir and serve warm with your favorite toppings like tortilla chips, cheese, more cilantro and lime. recipe adapted from: Healthy White Chicken Chili {Stove, Crockpot, Instant Pot} - iFOODreal.com

Mastering your Mind through Meditation

Mastering your Mind through Meditation

Meditation is the habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. When we pay attention to our breath, we are learning how to return to, and remain in, the present moment—to anchor ourselves in the here and now on purpose, without judgement. Meditation has been around for thousands of years, although it has recently gained more mainstream traction thanks to scientific research providing proof of its powerful benefits. During meditation, brain scans show increased activity in regions directly correlated with decreased anxiety and depression along with increased pain tolerance. The “default mode network” in particular is activated when one’s mind is at rest and not focusing on the outside world. This has been found to improve memory, self-awareness and goal setting. Meditation changes your brain waves and we can measure these frequencies. People who meditate have higher levels of alpha waves which have been shown to reduce feelings of negative mood, tension, sadness and anger. Meditation can better prepare us for the work day by boosting concentration, improving outlook and has even been found to help manage symptoms of high blood pressure, sleep issues and headaches. There is a lot of misinformation surrounding meditation so let me clear this up: You do not need a ton of extra time to meditate. You can benefit from even just a couple minutes of meditation daily. Additionally, Its important to understand that absolute mind silence is not necessary. The ability to clear ones mind is like building a muscle, your ability to do so will get stronger with time. 70% of people who meditate say they do not clear their mind completely and research shows that a wandering mind can still effectively meditate. Meditation is something anyone can do, but harder than most people think. Practice by trying this: 1) Take a seat
Find place to sit that feels calm, comfortable and quiet to you. 2) Set a time limit
If you’re just beginning, it can help to choose a short time, such as five or 10 minutes. 3) Notice your body
You can sit in a chair with your feet on the floor, you can sit loosely cross-legged, you can kneel—all are fine. Just make sure you are stable and in a position you can stay in for a while. Your eyes can be open or closed. 4) Feel your breath
Follow the sensation of your breath as it goes in and out. In and out Feeling the breath go in through your belly button Roll up your back Out through your mouth In a constant loop 5) Notice when your mind has wandered
Inevitably, your attention will leave the breath and wander to other places. When you get around to noticing that your mind has wandered—simply return your attention to the breath. 6) Be kind to your wandering mind
Don’t judge yourself or obsess over the content of the thoughts you find yourself lost in. Just come back. 7) Close with kindness
When you’re ready, gently lift your gaze (if your eyes are closed, open them). Take a moment and notice any sounds in the environment. Notice how your body feels right now. Notice your thoughts and emotions. That’s it! That’s the practice. You go away, you come back, and you try to do it as kindly as possible. The key is to commit to sit every day, even if it’s for a few minutes.. The most important moment in your meditation practice is the moment you sit down to do it.

Pumpkin Spice Protein Balls

Pumpkin Spice Protein Balls

If you have tried protein balls or bars in the past and hated them, I don't blame you. Anything containing protein powder tends to be dry, bland and chalky, but not these babies ! The addition of the pumpkin puree makes these sweet, soft and the perfect fall treat to satisfy your sweet tooth and your wellness goals at the same time. These are high in protein, fiber, antioxidants, gluten-free, added sugar-free and dairy free/vegan if you use the enjoy life chocolate chips. Ingredients: 1/2 cup pumpkin puree 1/2 cup natural nut butter 1 cup or 4 small scoops vanilla protein powder (I used this brand) 4 tbsp. almond flour Pumpkin Spice and Cinnamon to taste Chocolate Chunks (Enjoy Life is a great dairy free option or Hu Kitchen makes stevia (no sugar sweetened chunks) Directions: Mix everything together in a bowl, roll into balls and enjoy =)

November Challenge: Meditation

November Challenge: Meditation

For the month of November, we are challenging you to 30 days of meditation. SIGN UP HERE As we move into a new season, many of you may be feeling a range of tough emotions including anxiety, overwhelm or uncertainty. This November, we’re tapping into the power of meditation which can help you access feelings of peace and serenity in the most stressful of circumstances. This challenge promotes the practice of daily activities that reduce stress and anxiety, improve performance and increase happiness with a greater sense of peace, presence and overall well-being. Whether you are new to meditation or looking to refresh your practice, this is a great opportunity to learn more about the health benefits and power of meditation. We invite you to join us for just 30 days. 30 days to a calmer mind, decreased stress and overall improved wellbeing. The challenge begins November 1. WHEN YOU JOIN THE CHALLENGE, HERE'S WHAT WILL HAPPEN: You will be added to a private Teams group where every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at noon we will host a guided meditation beginning Monday, November 1. The guided meditation breaks will vary in length but will never be more than 15 minutes. If you are unable to make it to the live meditation times, the guided meditations will be saved in the group for you to view for 24 hours. On the days there is not a guided meditation there will be a journaling prompt, mantra or affirmation posted to the teams group for you to reflect on. To complete the challenge, practice mindfulness through meditation, journaling, reflection, etc. everyday for the 30 days of November.

Harvest Salad

Harvest Salad

As soon as September 1 hit I was instantly craving the warm comforting flavors of fall. This bowl hit all of the right notes with roasted brussels sprouts, sweet potato and even pomegranate arils for a little crunch. Ingredients for 4 servings: 1 lb. brussels sprouts, washed and halved 1 lb. broccoli ( I used broccoli rabe) 1 sweet potato or butternut squash cut into cubes 1 bag or head of kale, stems removed 1 cup farro 2 tbsp. goat cheese Optional: pomegranate arils, balsamic glaze, rotisserie chicken or cooked chicken breast Dressing: 3 tbsp. olive oil 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar 1 tsp. maple syrup Directions: Preheat your oven to 375. Save time by buying the precut broccoli, brussels sprouts and sweet potato or butternut squash. If not, chop everything up and put on a sheet pan. Do not over crowd the sheet pan or your vegetables will steam rather than roast. Spray with olive oil or avocado oil spray and bake for 20-25 minutes or until done. Be careful to watch the broccoli as it tends to cook the fastest. If you are adding chicken to your salad this would be a good time to cook that as well. I used rotisserie chicken for a quick and convenient option. While vegetables are roasting cook farro per box instructions. You can use any whole grain rice here but the farro has a nice chewy texture that pairs well with this salad. Add your kale to the salad bowl and pour your dressing ingredients directly on top. Massage the kale in the dressing to soften for a few minutes. Top massaged kale with roasted veggies, chicken, farro and sprinkle goat cheese on top. Optional: Drizzle with balsamic glaze and sprinkle pomegranate arils on top for a crunch.