Yes, you can eat better and smarter, and save money doing it. Wellness for One Writer SAMANTHA POLLACK shares smart suggestions and specialized strategies for healthy choices and behaviors. She puts some fun in nutrition, demystifies the latest foodie trends, and shares recipes, too.
I’m Sam, a certified holistic health coach and founder of InsiderWellness.com, an online meal-planning service for families of one and two. My original recipes are inspired by my busy life as an entrepreneur, and dutifully taste-tested by my man (it’s a tough job, but somehow he muddles through).
We live in the mountains of Asheville, NC with our fur baby, Henry the cat. I’ve never felt the urge to have human children, and am lucky to have a family who supports that. My favorite things are trail running, writing in local coffee shops, and olives.
Views and opinions expressed on this page are entirely my own. I am not a medical doctor, licensed nutritionist or registered dietician. I will only endorse activities, products or services reviewed through my own experience and expertise in nutrition and health.
Have a Green, Spring Fling with Asparagus
What’s green, spear-shaped, and makes your pee smell weird?
Nothing is better than fresh, young asparagus. All produce is at its best when eaten seasonally, but asparagus is actually nasty any other time of year – thick, woody stalks and flavorless tips. Yuck. You can eat fresh asparagus raw, and it’s tender and slightly sweet. You can blanch it for a softer texture, and eat it hot or cold with a squeeze of lemon and some olive oil. Add a few spears to a salad, lettuce wraps or sandwiches, or just snack on them as described above. Recipes: Asparagus with Wasabi Mayo; Asparagus with Goat Cheese Omelet. Read More
How to Do a [February] Cleanse
Right now, cleanses seem to dwell in the realm of Super Duper Health Freaks. Green juice and fasting and strange concoctions, yay! (Yuck)
I think this is because most cleanses & detox diets (remember, they’re the same thing) are marketed as such – you just don’t see many cleanses touting three square meals a day, plus snacks. This leads a lot of well-intentioned, otherwise highly motivated people to believe that they don’t have what it takes to do a cleanse, or that it would be such a major drag…and they don’t even try.
Well, I think that’s sad. And wrong. And misleading. Read More
The Virtues of Cranberry Sauce
The cranberry: Cancer-fighting. Anti-inflammatory. UTI-preventing.
And inedibly bitter.
Unless, of course, you simmer them into a syrupy preserve with a truckload of sugar, and pour the concoction over your Thanksgiving turkey. (Or in my case, any and everything else.) I have tried every imaginable method to reduce the sugar and make cranberry sauce healthy. It’s been 12 years, and I hate to break it to you, but…
There is no way to make cranberry sauce taste good without sugar.
But here’s what you CAN do. Read More
The Ins & Outs of Detox Diets
A cleanse is any extended period of time during which you eliminate certain “trigger” foods from your diet, while increasing your consumption of vegetables & fruits. It can be as simple as eliminating that 16 oz. soda you drink every day. Or, it can be more extreme, like a 10-day juice fast.
Both are good, as is everything in between – it really depends on what you’re ready for. Your lungs, kidneys, liver, colon and skin are your five detox organs. One of their jobs is to eliminate waste (or, toxins) – through sweating, exhaling, peeing & pooping.
(Sorry kids. You can’t discuss detoxing without a little poo.) Read More
Are we really supposed to separate eggs and throw away the yolks? Seems like a lot of egg-wasting, especially for a single lady who also throws away week-old produce she never got around to using. (Ahem. You know who you are.)
Nature gave us a digestive system that accommodates everything the food chain has to offer, including animal meat and plant foods. It wouldn’t have created a food that’s inherently bad for us (humans are the ones who do that.) Recipe: My favorite Green Eggs Quickie. Read More
Creating healthy meals for the child-free should be easy, right? No kids whining about eating their broccoli, or refusing to eat anything that isn’t mac and cheese.
It should be easy, but small families actually have a harder time with this than their procreating friends. The main problem boils down to portions. Not all vegetables are available in single servings. (Sadly, you can’t just get four basil leaves.) Recipes for Butternut Squash: Winter Green Salad, Harvest Hash. Read More
How to Stay Grounded Through the Holidays
I know, as sure as I’m sitting at my computer wearing a red sweater, that you’ve read at least one advice piece about how to cultivate a healthy, stress-free holiday season.
Know what I didn’t find?
- How to Honor your Child-Free Status during the Holidays
- Thanksgiving for Two: Recipe Bonanza
- All I Want for Christmas is Some Freaking Peace and Quiet
It’s not that holiday discussions are child-centered per se, it’s that they decidedly DON’T acknowledge that not everyone has a large, bustling family. Read More
Holiday Wellness Tips for Grown-Ups
Christmas music is coursing through speakers all over America. Black Friday has morphed into Red Tuesday; Cyber Monday is now a whole week long, and after the second week of December, my calendar is chock full of holiday-related obligations.
I already promised I wouldn’t write ANOTHER ‘surviving the holidays’ guide, and I won’t. But I am going to tell you how to actually enjoy the weeks ahead, with or without spiked punch. Recipe: Hot Spiced Apple Rum Punch. Read More
Juicing is an insanely healthy, unbelievably tasty thing, that you should definitely start drinking. If you’re a juicing virgin though, it can seem pretty inaccessible. Until today.
What IS juice?
Fresh juice is extracted from fruits and vegetables, with a juicer (more on that later). Juicers separate the “meat” (basically, fiber) from the plant, extracting all the moisture (juice). This juice is power-packed with phytonutrients and live enzymes. “Drinking your vegetables” this way allows your body to absorb the good stuff immediately, with no fiber to slow it down. Read More
Everything You Need to Know About Juice, Part 2
You know how to get juice and why you should drink it. But, when should you drink it? How much? And, what to do with all that pulp? The way you drink juice matters more than you think. The delicate nutrients and enzymes in fresh juice are easily destroyed – and you don’t want to go to the trouble of making juice if you’re not getting the benefits. For the uninitiated, juicing takes a lot of getting used to. Use these tips to guide you. Read More
You can’t shake a stick at the Internet these days without hearing all about KALE. Why is everyone suddenly obsessed with this “superfood?” And, what the heck is a superfood anyway?
The first thing you need to understand is that nutrition is like fashion – crazes come, and crazes go. Right now, kale is the new black. It’s just a cultural phenomenon: we find out something is good for us, and decide WE MUST EAT IT ALL THE TIME EVERY DAY FOREVER. Remember that, and you’ll be somewhat immune to the Next Big Thing. (And the one after that.)
Most nutrition crazes have a basis in truth. Kale is a superfood, which means it packs a wallop of nutrition in each bite – they call this nutritional density. Everyone’s freaking out about kale because: It’s really good for you, it’s easy to get and to prepare, and it doesn’t taste disgusting. Recipe: Garlicky Greens. Read More
Kitchen Gadgets: Must-Haves & the Tools to Toss
I spend a whole lot of time in my kitchen, as you may have noticed. I love love love to cook – but that doesn’t mean I want to get all fancy and complicated every night. I’m a busy lady, my kitchen is pretty small, and I don’t own a dishwasher, soooo….
Let’s just say, I value simplicity. I like a kitchen gadget that has multiple uses and doesn’t take two hours to clean. With that in mind, there are a few items I couldn’t live without, and you might need to get on board with them.
On the flipside, there are some other kitchen tools which are totally overrated. I’ll give you the skinny on those as well. Read More
Slow-Cooker Recipes for Good Health
The slow-cooker is one of my absolute favorite kitchen tools. Just dump a bunch of food in there and push “on.” Go to bed, or to work, and when you get home/wake up, you’ve got a complete, nutritious meal waiting for you that dirtied only one dish!
If you don’t have a slow-cooker, a) You should seriously get one – they even make single-serving models! And b) You could do all these dishes on the stovetop. They won’t take as long, but they will require a lot more attention. Stovetop instructions are included, too. Recipe: Lamb Stew; Overnight Oats; Turkey Chili; Applesauce Read More
Solve 97.999% of your Healthy Eating Challenge: Meal Planning Part 1
The main reason people succeed at healthy eating has less to do with the specific foods involved, and more to do with this simple little word: Structure.
Think of all the energy you spend deciding what to eat. Or feeling guilty about what you ate. Or flogging yourself with the willpower stick every time you want a cookie. When you know what to eat and when to eat it, Blam! Your day/week/life becomes smooth, calm, simple. You have a plan, and when you have a plan you can freakin’ relax.
There’s a simple tool for this. It’s totally customizable to your life. And it’s free. It’s called…..Meal Planning. Read More
Always Be Prepared (Or, Meal Planning, Part 2)
There is only one rule when writing meal plans:
They must work FOR YOU, not the other way around. Do you eat lunch at 4:00 and skip dinner? Great. Have no interest in making or eating breakfast, ever? Then don’t put breakfast in your plan.
Don’t try to squeeze your life into some idealized version of a meal plan. That’s like wearing shoes that are too small. ALL the time. Try these expert tips on how to write an awesome meal plan. Read More
The Great, Green Allergy Remedy That You’ve Never Heard Of: Nettles!
When you suffer from severe seasonal allergies, Spring kind of sucks. Not only do you sneeze every five seconds and have a balloon head, you feel like you’re missing out on all this natural beauty and great weather.
One of the most effective strategies is an elimination diet – an extended period of time during which you exclude certain foods, in order to determine your food sensitivities. For the purposes of this article, suffice it to say that if your allergies are severe, you might benefit from eliminating any of the following: gluten, corn, dairy, and soy.
A different strategy is to acclimatize your system to the local flora by ingesting as many wild, local foods as you can. Local, unheated honey is easy to get and chock full of enzymes and vitamins to boot. There’s another Spring superfood that works wonders for allergies, and it’s the unsung hero of greens. Nettles. Why you didn’t even know they existed. Recipes: Nettle Tea; Nettle Dip; Chicken & Nettle Soup. Read More
New Ideas for New Year Resolutions
The intention behind our most common resolutions is great – we want to be better people, is all. And we can! With specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-sensitive goals (otherwise known as SMART goals). There’s something funky about all these self-improvement goals – they imply that we’re not OK right now. That we need fixing.
The last few years, I’ve experimented with some out-of-the-box New Year’s Resolutions. I encourage you to try some, if you’re the resolution-making type. Read More
Seasonal depression is no different from regular depression – it just happens to occur in the winter. If you live alone, you’re especially susceptible to a winter “funk.” Without co-habitants to distract you or reflect your mood and behavior, it’s oh-so easy to eat the entire pizza while gorging on SVU reruns. But, what if this season has something to teach us? What if we’re not supposed toovercome the winter, but embrace it? Read More
Squashing Acorn, Pumpkin & Butternut
Each of the most popular types of squash available in October has a different taste and texture, and can be used for sweet or savory dishes. Generally speaking, one squash makes two servings, and it’s easy to get stuck in a squash rut. Bake an acorn squash, smear it with butter and salt – yum! But what else can you do with it?
Here are five favorite, delicious, and unexpected uses for your squash. Read More
Love Strawberries? They Love You Back
In most climates, strawberries are the first fruit of the year. The sweet–but-not-too-sweet taste and juicy texture make them delightful snacks. They’re versatile – add them to yogurt, salad, and homemade pancakes. Dip them in almond butter for my favorite springtime snack. Make strawberry rhubarb pie.
They’re great for small households because they never stick around for long enough to go bad. And if they do, you can just cut off the tops and freeze them for smoothies or future jam.They require zero prep besides a little rinsing. Remember, don’t wash your berries until just before you eat them – they get mushy otherwise. And unlike some other superfoods that are decidedly weird looking, strawberries are beautiful. Recipes: Strawberry-Mint Salad; Balsamic Strawberries. Read More
How to Enjoy Valentine’s Day Even If You ‘Hate’ It
It’s a one-size-fits-all, made-up holiday that excludes the majority of the population. Not just singles, but happy, non-Hallmark-y couples like my man & me. And here’s my solution:
We should reinstate our childhood Valentines traditions for adults. Imagine! A mailbox full of Scooby Doo valentines from your coworkers! Cut-out hearts and red and pink paper chains! Bowls of those little “Be Mine” sugar candies, and a box of chocolates with holes poked in them!
OK, I know that’s unrealistic, and possibly creepy. Not everyone wants a valentine from her boss. So, how can we bring the essence of childhood Valentine’s Day into the present reality? What made it so great back then, that’s missing now? Read More