Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Avocado Lime Dressing

One of the simplest ways to healthy-up your salads is by skipping store-bought dressings. Even the "healthier" ones seem to have extra ingredients to create texture, color, or flavor that we'd never dream of using in our own kitchens. My take on a super-simple "green-goddess" dressing is tangy and smooth.


1 avocado, peeled, seed removed
1 clove garlic, peeled
Juice of one lime (or lemon)
Dash of dried minced onion
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (optional, depending on taste preference)
Salt to taste

Add first six ingredients to blender and puree, adding water if necessary to reach desired consistency. Use dressing to top salads, noodle dishes, on tacos, or as a dip for veggies and (healthy!) chips.

Elly Haddad is a healthy life-style coordinator, combining her certifications as an Integrative Nutrition Coach and yoga instructor. She's the owner of Elemental Fit and founder of The NashWell Group, both based in Nashville, TN. She helps individuals and groups understand the important influence that diet & lifestyle have on health, happiness, and overall wellbeing. Elly is also a freelance writer and public speaker, conducting workshops and seminars throughout the midwest and southeastern US. She can be contacted directly via email here

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Red Bean Hummus

I try to have a constant supply of hummus in my refrigerator these days. With farmers' market produce that begs to be eaten raw, the addition of fiber and protein rich hummus is a great, satisfying compliment to the light crispness of the veggies.

My husband is Lebanese and while chickpea hummus is standard fare at all of our traditional meals, I've started tweaking the recipe for a more modern - and multi-ethnic - twist. One of our favorites is a red bean hummus inspired by an appetizer we had at a restaurant in Columbus, OH. Instead of a Middle Eastern flare, this one is more along the lines of Mexican or South American inspiration. It would even make a good sandwich spread for those of you who have a fondness for ham salad (trust me on this one)!

1 1/2 cups red beans, cook, rinsed and drained (or 1 can)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 to 1 whole fresh jalapeƱo, seeded and chopped
2 Tablespoons tahini (ground sesame seed paste, similar to peanut butter - which is a fine substitute)
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon salt (add more or less, depending on preference
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon liquide smoke
crushed red pepper flakes (optional, to taste)
1/2 to 1 cup water

Combine all ingredients in blender, adding only 1/2 cup of water initially. Blend. Add more water if needed.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dark Chocolate Vegan Truffles

Normally, I am not a huge fan of sweets. Primarily, the turn-off for me is the warm, buzzy feeling that I get when I eat a sweet that is quickly followed by a case of the blahs - the queasy, sleepy, give-me-another-one-quick-before-I-completely-crash type of feeling. Since I've become more in-tune with how foods affect how I feel, I tend to avoid sweets.

A few weeks ago, in anticipation of a weekly girls' night get together, I was browsing through some cookbooks trying to find a healthy treat. While the recipe that I settled on was OK, I felt that it could be TONS better. Using dates as the primary sweetener and base, that recipe tasted, well, like dates, and I am not a huge fan of dates. Their appearance alone turns me off, but if disguised, I am willing to overlook that fact and eat them. The recipe that I tried made it difficult to pretend that they weren't there, so I set out to make a better version, and this is what I came up with.

These truffles are rich tasting, yet don't leave a heavy feeling in your stomach. They are packed full of antioxidant-rich cacao (raw chocolate), healthy fats and flavor!

1 cup raw almonds
3/4 cup dates, pitted
1/4 cup flaxseeds
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 Tablespoon grade B maple syrup (use REAL syrup, not the pretend stuff)
2 teaspoons vanilla (use REAL vanilla extract, NOT vanilla "flavoring")
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup coconut water (or nut milk)

6 Tablespoons cacao powder
1/2 cup quick oats (or rolled oats that have been slightly pulverized in your blender)
1/2 cup shredded coconut (UNSWEETENED)
2 Tablespoons nut butter

In blender* or food processor combine first seven ingredients and pulverize, beginning on very low speed and gradually increasing to medium speed, using a tamper to push ingredients into blade. Add the coconut water (or nut milk) to blender as you are doing this (if the mixture is too dry, add slightly more liquid). Blend until nuts are pulverized and have been incorporated with the dates.

Scrape contents of blender into large bowl and add the cacao, oats, coconut and nut butter. Using your hands, kneed the mixture as if you were making meatloaf, mixing all ingredients together until well combined and uniform in color. The mixture will be sticky and clumpy (it will firm up once it is chilled), and should resemble sticky biscuit dough. At this point, you are ready to roll the truffles into 1-inch balls. If this is impossible due to the consistency of the mixture, add a little more oats and shredded coconut. After shaping the truffles, place them into a flat container lined with waxed paper and place in freezer for several hours. Makes approximately 3 dozen truffles.

Truffles can be served frozen, chilled or at room temperature (they will retain their shape at room temperature, and will be the consistency of fudge).

*I HIGHLY recommend using a powerful blender or food processor for this. My tool of choice is a VitaMix (which you can purchase through my daughter Sarah here)!

Elly Haddad is a certified holistic health coach (through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition), mother, grandmother, and avid yogi. She works with clients and groups to help them understand the impact that diet and lifestyle has on their health, happiness and overall wellbeing. You can get more information about her health coaching services by visiting her website,

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Natural Sports Cleaner

Please note: this is NOT an edible recipe (although, I think that you could probably drink it without risk of harm… but it would taste awful and I do not recommend it)!

I spend a lot of time practicing hot yoga in a 100+ degree room, sweating profusely onto my yoga mat. At times, I have been in class in close proximity to someone who could greatly benefit from using an effective method of deodorizing their own mat and equipment. It makes me extra mindful of not EVER wanting to be THAT person. While I believe in avoiding exposure to germs and fungi as much as possible, the thought of spraying toxic germ-killing chemicals onto my mat that I also lie on is not appealing to me. We can't control all of the environmental toxins we are exposed to, so it makes sense to reduce exposure in the areas that we DO have a say-so over. The types of personal cleaning products we use is one of those areas.

This cleaner is made effective with its use of white vinegar as the primary ingredient. Vinegar's acidity kills most bacteria and fungus. The eucalyptus oil may offer some anti-bacterial properties, too, but I primarily rely on it to counter the vinegary smell (I hate showing up for yoga with my gear smelling of pickles!). When my kids were younger, I would have LOVED to had access to a recipe like this for disinfecting and deodorizing their soccer shin-guards, softball batting helmets, track shoes, and even their sports duffles that held their track supplies (and goodness only knows what old, random scraps of food!). This works well as a cleaner for shoes, flip-flops, hats, hand weights and exercise balls, too!

In a clean spray bottle, combine 1 cup water, 1/2 cup white vinegar* and 1 − 2 teaspoons eucalyptus (or tea tree) oil. Shake well. Spray on surface of mat (or other sports equipment) and allow to sit for a few minutes, then wipe with dry cloth and allow to completely air dry before rolling or storing.

To keep clothing smelling fresh, add 1 cup white vinegar to wash load with your regular detergent, and when possible, rinse twice. When you've got a little extra time, allow clothing to soak in machine with the vinegar for an hour or two, prior to adding detergent. Then add detergent and run load as usual.

*You can save a TON of money by purchasing your white vinegar in a gallon jug (usually less than $3) versus a smaller bottle (a 16-oz bottle costs about a dollar). I also disinfect my yoga towels and clothing by soaking them in filled washer with 1 cup white vinegar for 30-minutes before adding detergent and running wash cycle.

Elemental Fit is a holistic health coaching practice passionate about helping people understand the influence that food and lifestyle have on health, happiness and overall wellbeing.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Can't BEET This Smoothie

Forget what you think about beets if your only association with them is as warm, mushy, pickled red balls of weirdness! Instead, think tart, tangy and refreshing! This beet smoothie is a great-for-what-ails-you elixir when you've over-indulged on the Christmas goodies or the holiday beverages. Beets are also  helpful in correcting digestive issues resulting from the use of oral antibiotics. I like to consider this smoothie to be a great 'insurance-policy' when I know that I will be out celebrating. Drinking one of these babies is a fantastic way to fortify myself with some powerful antioxidants, protective micronutrients, and satiating fiber BEFORE I hit the parties (why on earth it's the norm to starve oneself prior to being surrounded with tempting goodies is beyond me . . . of COURSE you're going to over-indulge then!).

1 medium apple, washed, cored and cubed
1 small/medium raw red beet, peeled and cubed
1/2-inch piece of raw ginger, peeled
1 lime, peel removed, halved
6-8 ice cubes
1/2 cup frozen blueberries OR 6-8 large frozen strawberries
1/2 − 1 cup water (or more, depending on desired consistency)

Combine all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth, adding 1/2 cup water, then more if necessary. Optional additions include 1 Tablespoon flaxseeds and/or 1 scoop whey or plant-based protein powder (just be sure to add the protein powder AFTER completely blending the smoothie, and then blend it for only a few seconds - otherwise, your smoothie will be fairly frothy).

Makes one large, or two small servings.